Category Archives: Animation

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) Movie Review

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies begins with a reel of comic book panels flipping rapidly. It appears like a title card from a Marvel film. However, the camera pulls out to reveal a person flipping through a comic. After dispatching (sort of) a giant bubble supervillain, the Teen Titans—Robin (Scott Menville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Raven (Tara Strong), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes)—sneak into a movie premiere, where the film “Batman Again” is screening. The auditorium is jam-packed with DC comics superheros, some attending in order to watch themselves on screen.

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That is the type of movie Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is. It is the child-friendly Deadpool. A cousin to The LEGO Batman Movie. It is a film whose Continue reading Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018) Movie Review

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Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation (2018) Movie Review

Hotel Transylvania is a strange equation. Take Sony Pictures and add much-acclaimed animator Genndy Tartakovsky, a script co-penned by Robert Smigel, and a cast of voice actors featuring Adam Sandler and his frequent collab buddies. Sounds like a too-many-cooks disaster.

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It was a hit. Two sequels later, not much has Continue reading Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation (2018) Movie Review

Incredibles 2 (2018) Movie Review

Brad Bird’s first contribution to Pixar animation, 2004’s The Incredibles, was a rather prescient film. Using 1960s Silver Age superhero comics as inspiration, The Incredibles foresaw a future of superhero films and cheekily toyed with the tropes before they were firmly established (the modern era of the genre, led by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and the formation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was a few years away).

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It commented on a lack of female representation in the world of caped crusaders. Its plot involved complications around fear and distrust over supers, long before Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And how many modern silver screen superheros still Continue reading Incredibles 2 (2018) Movie Review

Isle of Dogs (2018) Movie Review

Many choice words have been used in describing Wes Anderson and his body of work. One of the more apt descriptors is “meticulous.” With Isle of Dogs, the director’s second foray into the realm of stop motion animation, meticulous is perhaps an understatement.

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There is an exacting precision to every shot and animated piece of mise en scene on display in the film, which tells the story of the aftermath of Continue reading Isle of Dogs (2018) Movie Review

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) Movie Review

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, a company made up of several former creators from the famed Studio Ghibli. It tells a story that is essentially Harry Potter adjacent, in which a young girl named Mary (Ruby Barnhill, in the English-language dub) stumbles upon a special flower, an engraved broomstick, and, ultimately, magical powers.

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I say Harry Potter adjacent because Mary is whisked away on broomstick to an Continue reading Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) Movie Review

Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review

The novelty of the animated film Loving Vincent is well-known at this point. Over a hundred artists were tasked with replicating Vincent van Gogh’s works as a backdrop for a rotoscoped story exploring van Gogh’s mental health in his final days.

The animation in the film is at first transfixing. The world that is created with the textures and brush strokes is Continue reading Loving Vincent (2017) Movie Review

Coco (2017) Movie Review

Pixar films often run on a formula of a handful of sure-fire tropes. A protagonist with dreams bigger than the present situation, prevented from acting on those dreams by external forces. A sidekick character who either doesn’t talk or has way too much to say. A supporting character who turns out to be evil at the third act break. The hero’s journey, all in pursuit of a theme that revolves around family and/or finding oneself.

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Coco does not deviate wildly from this formula, certainly not as much as Continue reading Coco (2017) Movie Review