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

 

 

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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

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Justice League Dark (2017)

Director: Jay Oliva

Writer: Ernie Altbacker (Screenplay) J.M DeMatteis, Ernie Altbacker (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rosario Dawson, Camilla Luddington, Jerry O’Connell, Jeremy Davies, Alfred Molina, Enrico Colantoni, Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Nicholas Turturro, Roger Cross, Ray Chase

 

Plot: Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan.


Tagline – Every super hero has a dark side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darker Justice League Delight

 

Story: Justice League Dark starts when the people of the world start seeing demons in everyday life causing them to commit crimes including murder. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are doing their best to solve the mystery which leads them to work with John Constantine.

John is joined with his connection Zatanna and Boston Brand as Batman leads the investigation to the mysterious demons being seen by the people around the world. Destiny an ancient evil has returned and only Constantine’s dark magic can save humanity.

 

Thoughts on Justice League Dark

 

Characters – Batman must look outside of the normal Justice League for help on the latest mission, one that goes into the dark arts of magic, he must use his connection to find Constantine as they prepare to fight to save the world once again. John Constantine is the British dark arts expert, he doesn’t get on with many people, but knows each and every connection in the darker side of the universe. Zatanna is the connection between Batman and Constantine, she does have Boston around to help control bodies, which is what Boston uses his abilities for, Jason Blood is the one friend that John still has even if they do have moments where they don’t see eye to eye, as well as his own inner demon which does the fighting for him. Destiny is the demon that is trying to find his way back to Earth after being left in darkness after his failed invasion.

StoryThe story here takes Batman to a new group the dark magic group of the DC Universe which brings us the darkest story to date. We only have small appearances from most of the Justice League, this does let the new characters have the focus for the story which is important because we are in a world a dark magic. This does have twists along the way in the story which will keep you guessing along the way and if you don’t know most of these characters you will get a chance to learn with how they are introduced through the film.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action does fill the quota for a big superhero style fighting film, we have lots of explosion and destruction with each case getting bigger as the film unfold. Where this film uses the fantasy card is with the magic involved in the film, we get to see the creature from different universes appear and fight, with some showing us the horrors in these worlds.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us the different places the magic can take us, we see the darkness and the normal, the homes of the new characters and the past of them too.

AnimationThe animation is of good quality here and fits the style of the film giving us the action and horror we deserve.


Scene of the Movie –
Swamp Thing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slight short again.

Final ThoughtsThis is a much darker comic book movie with the big name of Batman involved, it works with the worlds colliding giving each side the battle they are looking for.

 

Overall: Darkest Justice League story.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)

Director: Sam Liu

Writer: Bryan Q Miller, Alan Burnett (Screenplay) Bryan Q Miller (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rosario Dawson, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara, Stuart Allan, Jake T Austin, Taissa Farmiga, Sean Maher

 

Plot: Robin is sent to work with the Teen Titans after his volatile behavior botches up a Justice League mission. The Titans must then step up to face Trigon after he possesses the League and threatens to conquer the world.


Tagline – Two teams. One epic battle.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Justice League Movie

 

Story: Justice League vs. Teen Titans starts as Robin’s behaviour on the latest mission sees him disappointing his father Batman and letting down the Justice League, being forced by Nightwing, to work with the Teen Titans, Raven, Blue Beetles, Beast Boy and Starfire.

With Robin needing to bond with people his own age, the evil spirit Trigon finds a new host in Superman, one deadlier than the Justice League is ready to handle, leading to the Teen Titans needing to assist in the defence of the planet.

 

Thoughts on Justice League vs. Teen Titans

 

Characters – Robin is the son of Batman, he has been getting tired of going on the mission and not getting involved in the action, he ends up being sent to the Teen Titan headquarters to learn about teamwork, here he discovers that his abilities will make him a great leader. Starfire runs the Teen Titans, she is from another universe which has seen her become like a guardian to the teens. Raven is another inter-dimension being that has called Earth home, she has a connection to Trigon showing she is the only one that knows how to stop him. Beast Boy, Blue Beetle and Nightwing complete teen titans. The Justice League do take a step back for Robin to learn, with Batman being the disappointed father, Superman being the one that gets taken over first, with Trigon as the demon villain wanting to destroy the Earth.

StoryThe story here shows that Robin needs to learn his place in the world of superheroes as he isn’t ready to be a part of the Justice League and will need to be ready to lead another team of young heroes, the Teen Titans. This does show how the Justice League can’t always be turned to, to fight evil and how the past of the young teens will show they will be best to fight against the enemies that will come to Earth. This does build on everything we have meant in the genre bringing the adventures the popular characters into the animated world which can make things bigger too.

Action/ComedyThe action is big fight sequences which show what each hero is capable off, the comedy in the film comes from how the teens react to the superhero world they aren’t fully prepared for.

SettingsThe film uses the basic big city settings, while going to other worlds to learn the bigger pictures.

AnimationThe animation is this film is good without reaching the levels of Pixar levels of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The trip to hell.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too short really.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that brings the Justice League into new light which is refreshing to see.

 

Overall: Justice League animation to enjoy.

Rating