Scooby Doo: Return to Zombie Island (2019) Movie Review

Director: Cecilia Aranovich, Ethan Spaulding

Writer: Jeremy Adams (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Frnak Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Kate Micucci, Janell Cox, David Herman, John Michael Higgins

Plot: The gang is pulled out of retirement to investigate a mystery on a familiar zombie-infested island.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Adventure

Story: Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island starts when the Mystery Inc team, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo decide to give up solving mysteries and sell the Mystery Machine, looking to have fun they win a holiday in a tropical island, which just so happens to be infested with zombies, but the group refuse to look to solve the mystery.

The resort the gang end up, just so happens to be Moonstar Island, the very location where the gang faced one of their few real mysteries of the supernatural, only the island has unfinished business with the gang and they must break their promise to not be involved with a mystery.

Thoughts on Scooby-Doo: Return to Zombie Island

Characters – Scooby-Doo and Shaggy have both become tired of solving mysteries, they want the team to stop and get their way, they win the holiday for the gang which sees them going to an old location needing to decide whether to let the group solve the mystery on the island. Fred has sold the Mystery Machine, he is having daytime dreams of it returning to him, where he judges most other vehicles for not being on the same level as his beloved. Daphne is here, though we don’t see anything we haven’t seen before from her, while Velma has a blog showing us just how the character has evolved for the time, which does show the frustration here character has when she can’t solve the mysteries anymore. Most of the new characters are left to feel just here with only Alan the hotel manager and Seaver being properly introduced.

StoryThe story here follows the mystery inc gang who get invited back to an old location to solve the mystery from their past, only to find themselves needing to fight cat people once again. The story tries to be self-aware of many of the previous films, which has worked before, but for some reason doesn’t quite click this time. The fact we have seen the evolution of Velma and not the rest of the characters disappoints, which also seems to play along the idea of being a film within a film, that just again puts too much wink, wink, nudge, nudge to the audience. If you are a Scooby Doo fan, this story is everything you need, even if it does have a couple of flaws along the way.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure does see the gang return to one of their most famous locations, which is different to much of what we have seen before, while the comedy does land in a couple of places very well.

SettingsThe film does take the gang back to Moonscar island to face a new host of enemies in one of the most famous locations.

AnimationThis does have the typical animation you are used to seeing for the Scooby Doo movies, it never lets down and works for the slapstick side of things.


Scene of the Movie – The big jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Daphne is almost just painted background character.

Final Thoughts This isn’t the best Scooby Doo animated movie, it disappoints in a lot of places with how it handles certain decisions in the story and too many wink wink nudge nudge moments.

Overall: Basic Scooby Doo.

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The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating

 

 

Toy Story 4 (2019)

Director: Josh Cooley

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes, Stephany Folsom (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Tony Hale, Madeleine McGraw

 

Plot: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.


Tagline – On The Road Of Life, There Are Old Friends, New Friends, And Stories That Change You

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cash Grab Sequel

 

Story: Toy Story 4 starts as we see how the toys are now living with Bonnie, Woody is starting to get ignored more with her enjoyment of Jessie getting stronger, with Bonnie starting Kindergarten Woody goes against orders of the room to help her in class, where she builds a new toy called Forky out of trash.

Forky becomes her favourite toy and Woody wants to do everything he can to stop him running away, when the family goes on a road trip, Forky escapes forcing Woody to rescue him once again, on the rescue attempt Woody finds himself investigating an antique store which could have an old friend in Bo Peep in, only to find the toy living in the store Gabby Gabby searching for something, forcing Woody to team up with Bo and new friends to save Forky and get back to Bonnie in time.

 

Thoughts on Toy Story 4

 

Characters – Woody is struggling with not being in control of the room anymore, he still wants to help make Bonnie happy, which sees him acting selfishly, he does try to fix his own mistakes which will see him facing a second chance, meeting an old friend and distancing himself from his current friends. Woody is the key figure in this film, this is very much his story. Forky is the newly created toy out of a spork and is learning everything as it unfolds even though he believes he is trash. Buzz Lightyear is trying to step up when Woody goes off, he does feel like a bigger idiot than we are used to, using his voice commands to help him, which seems like a huge step back on his character. Bo Peep coming back to the franchise is fun, she shows Woody a new life away from kids, where she helps toys, she is Woody’s big love in life too, kick ass fighter too. Gabby Gabby is an older toy like Woody, she has been damaged and is searching for something to hope she can be taken home one day, she is painted as the villain, though she is the weakest villain in the franchise. Duke Caboom is the best addition to the film a stuntman that has failed as a toy, he is always up for trying something new and is filled with confidence.

StoryThe story here follows Woody trying to find himself a place in the world after becoming a smaller part in the life of his new owner Bonnie, he gets too involved and spends most of the story trying to make up for his mistake of letting Bonnie create a new toy, caught in the middle saving the day or breaking free. Now this is the 4th part of the franchise which did tie up nicely after the third one. The supporting characters do take a big back burner in the story which even sees Buzz getting less screen time, this is a full Woody story trying to figure out where his life is going on next. We do try to play on the heart strings, though it just doesn’t get to the levels it could have and has been there before. The new characters to bring the bright spark to the story, but we do end up going down the road, where this is becoming too unbelievable that these toys are acting like this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of this film comes from the idea that Woody will need to go on a new adventure to save Forky, only to see Buzz on his own adventure which does cross paths with Woody, only his feels like a simple side to everything. the comedy from the new characters hits very well, its just old character seem to fall short.

SettingsHaving the film use an Antique story is great idea because we get to see known toys that could add comedy in places, the carnival also adds potential new characters too.

AnimationThe animation is Pixar at its very best, it looks perfect like we know they are used to bring us, bringing us larger scale environment to everything going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Duke Caboom.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Buzz seems to be dumber.

Final ThoughtsThis does end up feeling like a cash grab sequel, it doesn’t have the heart the previous films do and fails to use the original characters well enough.

 

Overall: By the books sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – S – Seoul Station (2016)

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Writer: Sang-ho Yeon (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seung-Ryong Ryu, Fanciska Friede, Joon Lee, Sand-hee Lee

 

Plot: Several groups of people try to survive a zombie pandemic that unleashes itself in downtown Seoul.


Tagline – The animated prequel to TRAIN TO BUSAN

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Prequel

 

Story: Seoul Station starts as we see a homeless man injured and ignored around the station, we move off to see Hye-Sun who along with her boyfriend Ki-woong have been struggling for rent, forcing him into attempting to pimp her out, when her father Suk-gyu discovers this, he heads to Seoul to save his daughter.

Soon the homeless dies, but he doesn’t stay dead, turning into a zombie, it isn’t long before the zombie plague hits Seoul and Suk-gyu must work with Ki-woong to locate his missing daughter and escape the city before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Seoul Station

 

Characters – Suk-gyu is the father searching for his lost daughter, he knew she ran away and now he gets the chance to come and save her from the seedy underworld her boyfriend wants to put her in, only to become the real saviour against the zombies. Hye-Sun is the runaway daughter, she struggles to keep the rent coming and after her argument with her boyfriend wanders the streets alone just as the zombie outbreak starts. Ki-woong is the boyfriend who seems to be a slacker spending more time in the internet cafes over supporting his girlfriend, he is forced to work with Suk-gyu to find Hye-Sun.

StoryThe story here follows three main characters who are trying to survive a zombie outbreak in the big city of Seoul, this is a prequel to Train to Busan and shows us how the outbreak started to spread. The story keeps the attempts of a father trying to save his daughter the focal point in this film, this gives us two main characters to support and hope see get reconnected after she had run away from home at a young age. We also get to see a father and new boyfriend interact with the tension you would expect from this. This isn’t anything ground breaking for the zombie genre and by being animated we get to increase the scale of everything which does help show how a big city would cope with the panic of a sudden outbreak.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the zombie outbreak, the zombie behaviour will always work for horror and the idea that nowhere is as safe as it should be only adds to the horror in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Seoul which is one of the locations the train goes through in Train to Busan, the scale of the city shows us just how a big population would react to an outbreak.

AnimationThe animation used in the film is great to see, we get to see each bloody wound suffered through the outbreak.


Scene of the Movie –
Third act twist is shocking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Shut the bloody doors.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great prequel to put us in the world of Train to Busan, we get to see just how conflicted people can become and just follow one small story in the bigger picture makes us interested to learn more.

 

Overall: Great fun animation.

Rating

 

 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating