‘Cobra Kai’ (Season 3) TV Show Review: Consistency Is Key

Featured

“You know what they say, there’s no such thing as a bad student.”

When The Karate Kid came to theaters in 1984 I’m certain that the creators as well as the actors did not believe the series would be relevant over 30 years later. Not only that but since Cobra Kai began it has proved itself to be a remarkable continuation of The Karate Kid.

The balance between campy and serious tones make for an enjoyable show. Even if some of the moments are a little corny for their own good.

Overview

Following the massive school fight between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai from Season 2’s finale the students as well as the dojos have to deal with the fall out.

Still Kicking It

The theme of heroes and villains not really existing and that everyone is just human is continued here. Depth that I never thought would be explored in The Karate Kid universe occurred during this season.

While at times it can be pretty predictable even those moments you knew were going to happen eventually have great pay offs.

We Didn’t Know We Wanted This

This season brings us numerous moments that we never asked for but turned into some of the best parts of the entire series. It’s a testament to how well they’ve payed homage to the source material.

I felt a flurry of emotions throughout the entire season. Most of them being very positive. Going forward my only hope is that they can keep up this level of consistency.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My biggest issue with this show involves casting choices and fight choreography at times. While this production falls into the campy/cheesy genre of media sometimes it goes a bit too far and my suspension of disbelief starts to diminish.

It’s pretty odd to see a child who isn’t physically imposing to fight off a whole group of people that are bigger than them. It just gets a little too unrealistic which may very well be the point.

Karate taking over schools in the present so much so that students of dojos practically wage war at school is obviously not too realistic.

This issue is not present for the majority of the show though. Immediately Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), & Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) come to mind when thinking about the best fight scenes. When they come to blows with an opponent I generally believe what I’m seeing.

In fact throughout the show the best fights involve all of these characters. There’s many that I haven’t mention that also are always a joy to see locked in battle. A few actors just seem to stand out for the wrong reasons but its not a fault of their own.

Why Are You Here?

One of the issues that’s persisted from the beginning of the program is that there are a few characters that just don’t have a place. These individuals don’t get much screen time and don’t have much character.

Cobra Kai does an amazing job developing characters that they choose to give attention to so it stands out significantly when that same love and care doesn’t extend to a few of the reoccurring actors/actresses.

Conclusion

After the shocking end of season 2 everyone knew that those events would affect the following season and Cobra Kai did not disappoint. Depth that was non-existent before in the universe of The Karate Kid is present now and its great to see.

There are so many heart warming moments across the season fans of the source material will enjoy just how the show handled everything.

The campy nature of 80’s action films are still present here and while sometimes I believe they go a little overboard the drama keeps you grounded. You want to see how the story will end even if there are moments that’ll leave you shaking your head.

Fight choreography is pretty important in a production like this and its executed decently. Not all fights are created equal and it comes down to the casting most of the time. Certain characters never have a bad fight scene while a few of the actors/actresses don’t even seem to be hitting their opponents at times.

To enjoy Cobra Kai to the fullest I believe you have to view it with some suspension of disbelief if not you’ll be poking holes in it from time to time.

Three seasons in and no sign of slowing down Cobra Kai has consistently been good. Even if you’ve never seen the movies that released in the 80’s there’s so much here for you to enjoy and I’m excited to see what the rest of the series has in store.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

‘Soul’ Film Review: Does it miss the Boat?

Featured

“I was born to play”

2020 may be one of the most memorable years for the wrong reasons. Many lives have been changed and for avid movie goers their routine of checking out the next blockbuster in theaters was stripped away from them.

While new movies releasing on streaming services isn’t ideal “Soul” is definitely worth a watch even if the normal Pixar audiences may not enjoy it as much as previous films.

Overview

Joe, a middle-school band teacher has a real serious passion for music specifically Jazz. He thought that by now he’d have accomplished his dream of becoming a well known Jazz artist but he’s fallen a little short.

His life takes quite a turn after he finally gets a real chance to prove himself and along the way Joe must learn what it means to have a soul.

A Visual Masterpiece

To not give attention to appearance of the film would be a huge mistake. From the characters, to the New York environments it truly puts the quick animation cash grabs that come out every year to shame.

The movie feels like it captures the nature of New York and it stands out. For a city that appears in so many films a feat such as that is remarkable.

One of the biggest complaints have is that just not enough time is spent in the city itself.

Very Thought Provoking

This may be the most mature Pixar film to date. The themes addressed require deep thought. You may even find yourself questioning your own life choices.

That is a powerful thing that a film whose designated audience is for the family can even make people think along those lines.

Too Young for the Deep End

After a rather slow start I found myself getting very invested in the story about half hour into the film. As the movie continued one thing kept popping in my head was “who is this for?” Pixar’s audience has always been family. This time I wasn’t so sure.

I don’t know what a five year old will get from this film. The slow nature is bound to turn off many children and impatient viewers. New York while visually appealing is not the only location in the film and without spoiling the other areas don’t feel filled with life.

Some of the best animation uses many colors and blends them beautifully. Because of that plenty of younger viewers can get engaged in some media even if the story is not very alluring to them.

Lastly, the comedy is not enough to keep audiences engaged if that was the deciding factor in continuing to watch the motion picture. The jokes are actually pretty good and they don’t over stay their welcome. However, they don’t come very often.

Conclusion

I feel bad for those who won’t make it through the lengthy introduction. They’re missing out on a very deep film that frankly can cause you to think about your own life.

This story feels relatable what Joe goes through many people do the same thing. It certainly gave me food for thought.

The animation is next level. I don’t believe there’s many other films where New York City has looked this good. All of the human characters have unique looks and possess depth. Most of the characters Joe deals with I wouldn’t be disappointed if they got their own specials on Disney+ they’re just enjoyable.

How many children will enjoy this? While ‘Soul’ is marketed as a family film I don’t believe kids will end up getting it. The messaging is what makes the movie as good as it is. Without it it’d still be a decent film but its maturity allows it to stand out from it’s fellow Pixar movies.

Finally, I think this film will be divisive with people either praising it or letting others know its being blown way out of proportion. I encourage you even if you don’t like traditional Pixar motion pictures to give ‘Soul’ a shot.

Verdict 7.5 out of 10 Stars

‘The Devil All the Time’ Film Review: What Was the Point of It All?

Featured

“It Wasn’t That Bad, Mama”

Have you ever invested your time into something only for you to question the reason you did it in the first place? “The Devil All the Time” is a gruesome and slow-burning film that doesn’t know how to take off.

Overview

A young man tries to protect the ones he loves in a town full of cynical characters.

A Diamond in the Rough

Arvin (Tom Holland) delivers a very solid performance so much so that he’s missed while not on screen. His casting allowed for at least one character for audiences to really root for.

Most other characters are just not great people or just aren’t very interesting.

Falling Flat

None of the “villains” in this film justify their presence. Audiences will struggle to find any antagonists that they even understand. These characters are given no motivation and practically zero backstory. They just commit horrible deeds.

The only sort of exception would be the Rev. Preston Teagardin (Robert Pattinson) and only because of the actor’s performance. Any antagonist introduced is pretty early forgotten. Admittedly most of the characters just aren’t too memorable.

Sticking to its guns

Shortly into the film, you’ll learn that no one sticks around for long. Characters drop by flies throughout the movie so much it just becomes predictable.

The creators of “The Devil All the Time” do stick to their message that evil is everywhere. In the church, the police department and, just your everyday civilians. You’re beat over the head with it so much that it gets tiresome knowing the outcome of a scene as soon as it begins.

We’re waiting…

The pacing and length alone of this film makes it a pretty difficult watch. Over an hour into the picture not many events worth mentioning even occurred.

“The Devil All the Time” spends much of the film jumping around in time. Even if you’re paying attention it wouldn’t be surprising if you end up being confused.

From time to time the narrator will jump in to give exposition and it feels overabundant. A story shouldn’t need a narrator popping in often to explain what’s happening to the viewer. However, without that exposition most would just be lost throughout.

Conclusion

What was the point of it all? That’s the question that comes to mind as I watched the credits roll. From predictable conclusions to forgettable characters this film is a mess.

Even with a superb performance from Tom Holland, not even that can save this picture. The story goes everywhere and really loses the audience. Nothing feels like it happens organically just more events occur so that the plot can continue.

Evil is everywhere and throughout you’ll see that the story was written to emphasize that. Eventually, it feels insulting because of how many times they choose to share the same message.

Finally, the movie just felt too long. The same job could’ve been accomplished in significantly less time. That also would’ve allowed for more exciting moments and maybe a more focused plot.

Verdict 4.5 out of 10 Stars

‘Cobra Kai’ (Season 1) TV Show Review: Always Strike First

Featured

“Fear does not exist in this dojo”

This is how you bring back a classic! Cobra Kai is an action-packed, comedic, well-executed drama that succeeds at most levels as a TV show.

This is a love letter to the fans of the original Karate Kid but even if you don’t have a history with this series it’s still incredibly easy to dive right into.

Overview

Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) former All Valley Karate Tournament champion was dethroned in 1984 by Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). Now 30 years later, Lawrence has been down on his luck since his high school days.

However, that all changes when he notices his neighbor Miguel, getting bullied, and comes to his aid. After, Lawrence decides he needs to stop sulking and is inspired to bring back one of the most infamous dojos ever.

Nothing Is Black and White

This show is filled to the brim with lessons and no one is without error. Generally in a feature its quickly established who the audience should root for. We are given our “hero” and we spend the show generally watching them overcome their adversary.

What I think the story wants to tell its audience is that people can and will change. Lawerence isn’t the same man he was when he went for LaRusso’s weak spot when they were teenagers.

LaRusso isn’t the same person from before either he’s allowed that event in high school to affect the rest of his life. So much so that the audience can see how his wife has begun to be more than annoyed by it.

Invigorating Action!

For years karate has been pretty much absent from the cinema and television. So to bring it back out of nowhere while making it exciting to watch is surprising to say the least.

From time to time I found myself getting out of my seat when someone was hit. Audiences will feel engaged and the cameramen do not shy away from the action.

Why stay silent?

Easily one of the most frustrating things is that certain issues aren’t resolved for episodes at a time because a character won’t speak up. It’s needless drama and it doesn’t feel like it would happen in a real-life situation.

For most, if they are accused of something that isn’t true they’re going to have a rebuttal ready. However, throughout the show’s first season events like this occur quite a few times where someone allows others to believe a lie.

Conclusion

I for one thought the universe of The Karate Kid had been concluded years ago. However, I was wrong and I couldn’t be more happy to say that. In many ways I believe Cobra Kai has surpassed its source material.

Pure heroes and villains are something of fairy tales at the end of the day we are all just people. This is the message that the show tried to shove down your throat and it does it well!

Compliments to the camera work because action films and shows suffer when they don’t capture the battle. The Transformers series for example doesn’t capture most of the action. With so many cuts its confusing to know what exactly is going on.

Throughout the season you’ll see devastating takedowns that’ll make you jump out of your seat. The fighting really is all that you can ask for at the end of the day.

Finally, the biggest issues this show has is concerning its story. Many situations could’ve been solved at an earlier time if people would just communicate. It becomes frustration very early on and doesn’t really get better until the end.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

‘Midsommar’ Film Review: How Long Until the Cows Come Home?

Featured

“What if I regret it later and I can’t get her back?”

When I reached the conclusion of this film and the credits rolled for the first time ever I was filled with uncertainty. I had no idea if this movie was great or if it was just your average run of the mill creepy film. What I will say is Midsommar is a movie you should watch for yourself and generate your own opinion.

Overview

A couple at the end of their rope decides to take a trip to Sweden to visit their friend’s hometown for its midsummer festival. However, as the event continues the more the vacation turns into a abhorrent nightmare.

Something Is Off

During the course of this film something just doesn’t sit well. From the opening events you’re kind of prepared for something to happen you don’t know what exactly but you have your guard up. Which is both good and bad.

A big problem that Midsommar has is that it’s a very slow burn for not enough payoff. This is a long film but admittedly I didn’t really want it to end. Even so I never felt like enough was happening to justify the length of the movie.

Something creepy would happen then a half hour would go by and another odd event would occur making me think that the main characters would try and leave.

Instead they’d shrug it off acting like nothing too bad happened. Which made it really difficult to feel bad for anyone knowing that they stayed when they could’ve at least attempted to escape.

Bad Decisions

My biggest annoyance when it comes to horror films is when the main characters make poor choices. It disconnects me from the product because most of the time one of the people who loses their life could have easily prevented it.

Get Out is one of my favorite horror movies and one of the best aspects of the film is that the protagonist wasn’t an idiot. Anyone could’ve gotten caught in the situation he found himself in. Sadly Midsommar‘s characters feel like they are begging for the worst to happen to them most of the time.

Fitting Score & Superb Camera Work

Easily two of the best aspects of this motion picture is the camera work as well as it’s soundtrack. There’s so much foreshadowing present from very early on you could spend hours trying to find everything. Not to mention the shots compliment the film in ways that could’ve been ruined with some shoddy camera work.

Sounds are incredibly important when it comes to making a good horror film and it feels like Midsommar knew exactly what to play throughout the entire course of the film.

Conclusion

I love the setting of this movie naturally its pretty creepy and I felt uneasy from beginning to end. Sadly I don’t feel like enough happened. Watching Midsommar felt like hitting a pinata but no matter how many times I hit it the candy never came out.

Characters making stupid decisions honestly did affect how I thought about the film since they could’ve all left as soon as weird events started happening. Not to mention none of the characters are too likable.

I didn’t care who lived and who died that goes for the entire cast. I believe they’re all great actors/actresses but just the way their characters were written made me not care for them.

From a technical aspect the film is pretty much perfect the camera work is amazing and the score fit incredibly well over the course of the movie.

However, at the end of the day I feel like the film was a little too long and was just not satisfying. Sitting down for a couple hours with not many exciting moments is a lot to ask for audiences and while I liked what they were going for I feel that it could’ve been executed better.

Verdict 6 out of 10 Stars

‘The Last Airbender’ Film Review: More Than a Disappointment

Featured

“You stand alone. That has always been your greatest weakness”

Have you ever seen a film that that you had close to no expectations for and you still ended up being disappointed? Avatar not only accomplishes that feat it’s also difficult to find any redeeming qualities throughout this blundering mess of a film.

Overview

The four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire lived peacefully until the Fire Nation declared war on the world. Even a century after their reign began, the fighting continues with no end in sight.

The being meant to keep the peace among the land is called the Avatar but he mysteriously vanished when the world needed him most. Now 100 years later a young boy is found encased in ice and learns he must master all four elements to stop the Fire Nation from bringing the world to their knees.

Clearly No One Watched the Show

From the opening moments something just feels off. The show this film is based upon is one of the most beloved cartoons of the 2000’s era and to this day the show is held in high regard.

The Last Airbender genuinely feels like no one knew what the show was about but right before they started filming someone gave them a brief description of all the characters and the plot. The actors/actresses screw up pronunciations of just about every single character in the original show.

If that were the biggest issue I think that most people could get over the mistakes this film makes but none of the characters are the same. The show Avatar: The Last Airbender knows how to balance seriousness and comedy in the best way possible.

While the film is the most serious children’s films I have ever seen. It’s difficult to find out who this movie’s audience truly is. It’s not for the fans clearly and for people who enjoy bad movies I doubt you’d even like this.

Going Through the Motions

About 70% of this film is going through the events in season 1 which most of the time just is not a great idea. That’s an abundant amount of information to cover in a less than two hour film. Many emotional beats are lost because everything feels so rushed.

Even if the film did well enough to get a sequel the movie left out key characters. If you never watched the show I couldn’t imagine how confused you’d be since the film feels like everyone skimmed a book then attempted to give a rousing presentation.

Weird Camera Work

I’ve never seen so many awful shots in a film with a decent sized budget. There are scenes that last over a minute that are just a one-shot that consists two characters just talking. Not only is it boring which is a crime in itself but also it’s such a lazy way of giving exposition.

Conclusion

Saying that The Last Airbender is a bad film is a given the reasons behind it being bad are pretty impressive though. From the terrible acting to the god awful camera work you’ll struggle trying to defend the movie in any way.

The characters both heroes and villains are beloved by fans of the show. However, when it came to the movie adaption they all lost their character.

They are almost unrecognizable. One of the main characters Sokka is known for his sarcasm and being pretty funny both of those are some of his biggest traits. Once he went on the big screen though that part of his character was gone and the same can be said about the rest of the cast.

Effects being awful in comparison to the show goes without saying as well. Bending is one of the best aspects of Avatar: The Last Airbender so of course they have to ruin it in the adaption. At the end of day this just isn’t a quality film it wasn’t worth your money when it was in theaters and its not worth your time now.

Verdict 2 out of 10 Stars

‘Bad Boys: For Life’ Film Review: Third Time’s a Charm

Featured

“We ride together, we die together”

Have you ever wanted to watch a film just because you loved the actors/actresses that starred in it? Although many were excited to see Mike (Will Smith) & Marcus (Martin Lawrence) return to the big screen after an abundance of years fans and critics alike didn’t expect the newest entry to live up to the 2000’s classics.

However Bad Boys: For Life blew my expectations out of the water and the film delivered after a 17-year wait.

Martin Lawrence, Will Smith,

Overview

The wife and son of a Mexican drug lord plan to kill everyone who ended up putting him in prison. This includes Miami Detective Mike Lowrey the cop that arrested him years ago.

Father Time Doesn’t Stop the Action

It’s no secret that Will & Martin aren’t as young as they used to be but that doesn’t stop any of the good stuff. The action scenes are engaging as ever with high-speed chases, gunfights, and burning buildings.

Deeper Than I Originally Thought

Nothing told me that Bad Boys: For Life would be anything more than just your average run of the mill action film. The beginning starts out fairly slow and while it’s enjoyable it’s nothing that truly stands out.

After the film hits the 20-minute mark it picks up and never really takes its foot off the gas.

Bad-Boys-for-Life-2020-01-56-20-167367

Weak New Additions

Sadly even though this outing was better than expected that doesn’t mean the newest characters stand their ground among the veterans. The new roles are simply forgettable and are all pretty one-note.

Fans of the previous films will definitely enjoy the way that Mike and Marcus were handled along with some other old faces but new ones not so much.

Just Having Fun

Easily one of the best aspects of this film is that its not a cash grab. It feels like a love letter to the fans of the first two films in the series. After all these years it would be easy to make some money by just throwing in Will Smith and Martin Lawerence.

Instead of that, we’re given a movie that I believe has been pretty overlooked since it’s release.

badboysforlife21

Conclusion

Will Smith and Martin Lawerence bring their absolute best to the film and it shows throughout. From their action scenes to their dialogue the chemistry they possess is immaculate and it makes me begin to wonder why this entry released so much later after the first two.

While fast cars and gunfights are in just about every action film there’s just something about the creativity used in this motion picture when it comes to the scenes that make me prefer this over your average action film.

There are definitely funny moments throughout the movie and most audiences will get a good laugh just about every other sentence when Marcus is on screen.

Even though the supporting roles are forgettable it doesn’t mean the actors/actresses didn’t perform well just the main focus of the film was on the main duo.

In conclusion, Bad Boys: For Life is a good time and it delivers a well thought out story that easily competes with what the rest of the series had to offer.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

’13 Cameras’ Film Review: An Unnerving Surprise

Featured

Have you ever seen a film that just makes your skin crawl? This particular experience was designed to make its audience feel uncomfortable and it does a pretty bang-up job at it, to say the least. The villain himself makes the outcome intriguing but other aspects tend to make going through the film a bit sluggish.

Overview

A newlywed couple gets more than they bargained for when their new landlord isn’t who they thought he was.

13-Cameras-Gerald-and-Claire

Simplicity

Many films suffer from not having an easy to follow plotline. Audiences can get confused and just uninterested if a story tries to juggle too many things at once.

13 Cameras is as straightforward as it gets in a good way. The majority of the film focuses on the new couple who have just moved in while at the same time showing their landlord who from the beginning will make your skin crawl.

He could simply be standing there and you’ll just have a chill shiver down your spine.

Mixed Focus

Although the story has a pretty good balance of focusing on different characters it doesn’t mean that everything is interesting. 10 – 20 minutes of the film could be cut out because it’s just not exciting.

010146_1280x720_325589_018

Not only is it unexciting it doesn’t add to the plot. At the end of the day, it feels like they were just padding out the film’s runtime. It’s still a fun watch with a couple of friends but it’s difficult to give it more credit than that.

Reasoning

In this film, you’ll find zero motivation behind the antagonist’s actions. In the sequel 14 Cameras, we see more of a reason behind his deeds but no one should have to watch another movie just to understand a villain’s motivation.

13cam8

Conclusion

Although 13 Cameras is not the most exciting thriller it does have it’s moments. When the film actually does try to focus on being exciting it’s pretty engaging sadly there are only a few of those moments throughout the film.

There are so many unnecessary scenes in the movie that could be cut out simply because they don’t offer anything. However, picking apart the weird scenes with a few friends will make for a fun night.

The most frustrating aspect of the film is how the protagonists could’ve avoided their dire situation if they just behaved how a normal person would.

In conclusion, don’t go into 13 Cameras with the expectation it’s going to blow your mind it’s a pretty fun film, and if you don’t have much going on just turn it on.

It’s available on Netflix currently along with its sequel.

Verdict 7 out of 10 Stars

Bored in Quarantine? Here Are Some Movies & TV Shows That’ll Keep You Busy

Featured

Being locked in the house all day isn’t what most people would call fun. However, if you have Netflix or Hulu there are some quality shows & movies worth your time. Hopefully, these entries can make staying in your homes a bit more bearable.

1. You (Netflix)

YOU_204_Unit_00897R

“There are terrifying people in the world. It’s important to be safe and that’s why I have to do what I’m going to do”

What would you do for love? For Joe Goldberg, nothing is off the table. Throughout the show, you’ll see just how far Joe is willing to go in his pursuit of love in ways that are just truly unexpected.

With a steady build-up to the final episode of each season tensions rise. The storytelling is done in such a way that the audience will remain interested from beginning to end to get the answers they want.

2. Creed 2 (Hulu)

CREED II

“If you want to change things in a big way, then you gotta make some big changes”

Who would’ve thought that when Rocky was released in 1976 it’s impact would still be relevant in 2020? The story of Creed II takes place shortly after the events of the first and the protagonist Adonis Johnson has built up quite a reputation since then.

The biggest reason why Johnson became a boxer in the first place was because of his late father Apollo Creed. In 1985, Apollo died in the ring against a Russian boxer named Ivan Drago. Now 33 years after the incident the son of Drago challenges Johnson to a match in the ring.

3. A Quiet Place (Hulu)

HWWF76VCDVFM7M67NSAJRPJ5QI

“If they hear you they hunt you”

In a world where people must live in silence or face certain death a compelling story is born. From the first scene onward you feel as though you’re right inside the shoes of the family we watch throughout the film.

A Quiet Place follows Evelyn (Emily Blunt) & Lee Abbot (John Krasinski) as they do all that they can to protect their family in a living nightmare.

4. Tiger King (Netflix)

tiger-king-netflix-reality-shows

“I’d shoot you before I shot my cat”

Easily one of the most shocking shows to come out recently. From the tiger king himself being Joe Exotic hiring someone to murder his long term enemy Carol Baskin. To the general public’s assumption that Baskin fed her husband to tigers.

Surprisingly as the show continues it only gets more ridiculous. Words can’t begin to describe the Netflix Original it’s truly something you’d need to see for yourself.

5. Kung Fu Panda 2 (Netflix)

kung_fu_panda_2_training_2011_a_l

“Your story may not have a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be”

Sequels more often than not pale in comparison to the original product and that just isn’t the case in Kung Fu Panda 2. Po (Jack Black) alongside the Furious Five are the protectors of the Valley of Peace. They are all martial artists with extraordinary skills.

While the valley has been safe for quite some time a new enemy threatens to take over all of China. Now it’s up to Po and his friends to defeat a foe who seeks out to wipe Kung fu from the world.

6. Bojack Horseman (Netflix)

bojack_horseman_s03e02_still

“Not Understanding That You’re A Horrible Person Doesn’t Make You Less Of A Horrible Person”

Bojack Horseman is a bitter, bad-tempered, self-loathing washed-up celebrity from the ’90s. After quite some time out of the limelight, Bojack decides he wants to gain his fame back.

The show has its happy moments as well as its sad ones. However, throughout the journey, while everyone tends to realize Bojack isn’t a great person there’s something about him that makes you want him to change for the better.

 

‘Onward’ Film Review: A Heartwarming Sense of Déjà Vu

Featured

“‘I think, with a little bit of magic in your life, you can do almost anything.”

From the world-renowned Pixar comes a new adventure filled to the brim with excitement, amusement, and deep heartfelt moments. While the story itself doesn’t reinvent the wheel it still serves its purpose as an entertaining animated film.

106429141-1583509619310onward2cropped

Overview

Two teenage elf brothers Barley (Chris Pratt) & Ian (Tom Holland) must set out on an adventure to spend one more day with their late father. Along the way, Ian must practice his newfound skills while their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempts to get them back.

Magical Chemistry

While the plot is straightforward, along the way are some memorable characters and beautiful locales to boot. Holland & Pratt have both shared the screen together before so it’s not surprising that they play off each other well. From beginning to end I believe in their relationship as people who truly care for each other.

Barley would do anything for his brother and it’s expressed without shoving it in the audience’s faces. Laurel also plays a bigger role than expected in the film, in fact, there weren’t any characters that bothered me while they were on screen.

wp4939664

Going into the film I believed it would entirely be about the two brothers but I was wrong. The movie benefits from having other characters with big roles. Even some with small roles give the film some added spectacle and its satisfying to watch play out.

World Building Done Right

From the opening shot, the audience is aware that their world is similar to ours except it’s filled with magical beasts. From unicorns digging through the trash like raccoons to centaurs riding in police cars, this magical land has been brought to the modern world.

To see these creatures placed in such an environment is refreshing it’s not where you’d expect to see them.

ONWARD

Same Old Same Old

While the overall idea for the film is fresh this isn’t an animated tale that breaks the mold. At the end of the day, it doesn’t tell a story that most audiences haven’t heard before.

However, that doesn’t make the film bad the idea of a family being able to reunite with their dead father is a story that I didn’t think I’d see from Pixar. At times the film really tugs at some heartstrings and it touched my heart. That’s a mature theme that I’m sure will leave audiences surprised that the film dealt with that.

While it’s great that most will be able to connect to the movie on an emotional level that doesn’t take away the fact that there is manufactured tension between the brothers. In most animated films at some point, the main characters will have a little bit of a falling out.

ONWARD

Everyone watching knows that they’ll make it up to each other and it’s just a matter of time before they do. I’ll love it when one day writers decide they don’t need to have something separate from the main characters in every film. It’s just exhausting at this point.

Conclusion

The idea for Onward to mix the modern world with magical characters was great. With plenty of sight gags as well as all the magic sequences the film just wouldn’t be the same if the story took place during a different time.

The film is entertaining, to say the least, and the chemistry between Tom Holland and Chris Pratt is strong from the very beginning. Their characters are both some of the best parts of the film and having them on screen together makes the movie even stronger.

Onward doesn’t tell a story that most people who have seen a film before haven’t seen. Many of the story beats are copy and pasted from other films. While I’d prefer for completely new ideas most animated films do fall into the realm of not being entirely original.

Even though the film isn’t too innovative that doesn’t make it non-enjoyable. It’s fun and adventurous you feel like you’re joining the characters on their quest. Not only that you truly support the main duo because at the end of the day who wouldn’t wanna see someone special they lost even if it was only for a day.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars