Scooby Doo On Zombie Island (1998) Review

Hello and welcome back. I said that I would review a Scooby movie every couple of weeks which I’m very happy to do because I’m a very big Scooby fan. I was humming and hawing about which one to start it with and I decided to start it with the first Scooby movie Scooby Doo On Zombie Island!

Production (P.S there won’t be production for some of them I did one for this because there is a lot of info on this film..) After A Pup Named Scooby Doo ended in 1991 the franchise was kind of dying out. Scooby was even erased from the Saturday-Morning line-up. After Turner-Broadcasting System purchased Hanna-Barbera. The result of this purchase was Cartoon Network a 24/7 animation TV network. This re-insated Scooby’s top position and before long he was topping ratings. (Note there were Scooby TV movies like Boo Brothers and Reluctant Werewolf so fellow Scooby-Heads please don’t correct me look at this!) In 1996 Turner merged with Time Warner. Davis Doi was tasked with creating new media on the studio’s older properties and IP and since Scooby Doo had a high Q Score (this tests people’s familiarity with properties.) Warner execs suggested Scooby with the idea of producing a direct-to video film. The team were given creative freedom and most of them were animation veterans. The plot for the film was taken from an unaired episode of the show Swat Cats (which I’ll be upfront I had never heard of!) (Or Should I say Swat Kats!) Glenn Leopold who had been with the franchise since The New Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo Show. Doi and Leopold developed the story and Leopold had credit for the screenplay. Doi and Jim Stenstrum who was the project’s director began developing the concepts for the film and they wanted the monsters would be real insisting that would work for a feature film. Leopold disagreed because throughout Scooby’s history it had remained a simple mystery. Lance Falk who worked as a model coordinator suggested that they combine both. Casey Kasem was re-cast as Shaggy as he was a vegetarian and vegan and he wanted Shaggy to adhere to a similar diet but the crew disagreed saying this didn’t fit up with his character and also since the film was to be set in Louisiana they wanted to have him eating crawfish. Kasem was replaced by Billy West for this film but West was replaced by Scott Innes (who was also voicing Scooby) for the next three films but then Kasem returned and now we’re up to Matthew Lillard. Frank Welker was the only original voicing Fred with B.J Ward voicing Velma and Mary Kay Bergman (R.I.P 1999) voicing Daphne

Opinions I think before I start this review I should say I enjoy most Scooby movies. They are flawed for sure but I just enjoy them. So I would take these reviews with a grain of salt because I enjoy these mostly but if I’m not enjoying them on re-watch I will tell you. But having said that I genuinely think Scooby Doo On Zombie Island is a great movie. I could see if you are not a Scooby fan the middle 20 or 25 minutes as they have arrived on Moonscar Island and the plot is not progressing that much you might be a little bored but there are still some good gags and fun scenes and even some emotional resonance. The film is famous for it’s tagline “This Time The Monsters Are Real” and I think the ‘real’ monsters work quite well in the story (There are gonna be spoilers in this review and I know the film is 23 years old but some people are far too spoiler sensitive so I just wanted to put it there!!) I love how we find the gang in the middle of a mystery with them solving the case of The Moat Monster. I just think that is a great narrative framing of the story because you get a taste of them before the main events of the film and Moonscar island. We get a cool opening credits with a underrated score by Steven Bramson and I would like to see more of his work because it was a really good score. I love the way we cut to Daphne being on a talk show promoting her own show and I like the way they kind of re-wrote Daphne’s character but while not taking the core aesthetic and dressings of her character they used the fashion and slight wealth privilege in a more independent and feminist way which is quite cool in my opinion. Daphne is probably the character who had the most substantial growth from her original incarnation in Where Are You? The others are basically the same so I don’t need to get into that! I also that they went to the time to show us the gang working at Post-Scooby locations. As I said Daphne works as a TV show host (Her Show is named Coast To Coast With Daphne Blake!) and Fred is still with her as cameraman for the show. Velma owns a book shop (Surprise Surprise!!) which I’m not sure what to call because there are three names but I think the official name is Dinkley’s Mystery Book Shop. And finally Shaggy and Scooby work as contraband security and get fired because they eat all the food! Daphne has a new segment on her show called Haunted America where she attempts to find ‘real’ monsters and Fred invites all the gang and the story begins! Let’s talk about the music and the soundtrack. I already mentioned the score by Steven Bramson which I was noticing throughout was really good but let’s get to the goodies. Third Eye Blind’s version of ‘Scooby Doo Where Are You?’ is OK. It sounds very 90’s in terms of the style of the production but it is short and punchy and upbeat. Skycycle did the two other songs for the film more montage-esque you might say. I’d never heard of anything else they did but these songs are great. The Ghost Is Here is a fun song where they show them trying to find ‘real’ monsters but keep failing. It is one I would bop my head to! It’s Terror Time Again is an absolute classic. I will always sing along with it and it’s grungy guitars and passionate vocals kind makes me wish the band did more (though they are kind of derivative!!) Let’s get onto the big reveal of the film. First though some of the context. Shaggy and Scooby discover that there is ‘real’ zombies and the rest of the gang finds that out pretty quickly and that’s what leads to the ‘Terror Time’ sequence. They get back to the house and we find Lena who says Simone was taken (*dragged away) by the zombies. Velma quickly debunks that claim. We go into a cave and we learn that Simone and Lena are the true villains! We get a very intense backstory for them which is a bit too long to type out here but here is a video.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Island – Werecat Backstory (click the link)

I love the backstory because they used historical context very well with Moonscar arriving in the late 1700s. I think Moonscar sounds like a pretty evil person because he nearly killed an entire island for himself like for me that is pretty disgusting! I can see that Simone and Lena would want to enact revenge on Moonscar and his group of his pirates. Like I don’t condone violence but I don’t think their motivations were that bad. For me they were more evil for draining all those other people’s souls. Like the people from the pepper plantation and there is a great shot of the horror on one of the pepper plantation people and you don’t even see Simone or Lena! That is why they are more evil. Jacque the boat captain was also part of their cohort. He also wanted immortality so he joined them doing their activities! I love the ending because Fred was filming it with his camera and it dropped in the quicksand and they are just content with the world!

Conclusions As a huge Scooby fan I enjoy most of the films but this definitely takes it step further with everything be a little bit more……….

Ratings *These aren’t the same as my Disney and Pixar ratings* I’m giving Scooby Doo On Zombie Island an A+

Pixar No.1 Toy Story (1995)

Hello and welcome back. We are starting covering all the Pixar films with Pixar’s first film Toy Story. Revolutionary for graphics (not least for being one of the first animated franchises!!) and spawning three sequels let’s talk about Toy Story

Production John Lasseter first experienced computer animation when working at Walt Disney Animation when two friends showed him a scene from Disney’s groundbreaking 1982 film Tron. Lasseter later pitched The Brave Little Toaster as a fully computer-animated film. The concept was rejected and Lasseter was later fired (The film would be made hand-drawn and released in 1987) In 1986 Lasseter became a founding member of Pixar and they began attracting attention for their inventive short films the apex of which being when Tin Toy won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1989. This gained Disney’s attention and Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg tried to hire Lasseter back to Disney. After this failed Katzenberg began a plan to ink a deal for Disney to distribute Pixar’s films. It took a long time for the two studios (or parties!…..) to ink and agree a deal but on May 3rd 1991 they signed a deal for Pixar to produce a feature film for Disney (I’m skipping over lots of this part of this story because it is long and convoluted and I’m not typing it all out. If you want to know more I would definitely recommend reading Lawrence Levy’s book To Pixar and Beyond. It’s more about the financial aspects but it is definitely worth a read.) The original screenplay resembled the finished film in very few ways. It featured characters from Tin Toy and a ventriloquist doll. It evolved into Woody (whose name was a homage to Woody Strode a western actor) who was initially a villain who would rail against the toys. Woody eventually became a good guy as the film evolved into a buddy film akin to 48 Hrs and The Defiant Ones. Woody’s opposite would be space-themed and after having several names he was named Buzz Lightyear (after Buzz Aldrin.) Katzenberg approved the script so voice casting could begin. Paul Newman (who would later in Cars) was considered for Woody but quickly Tom Hanks was cast. Buzz Lightyear’s casting would more complicated. Billy Crystal , Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were approached for the film (Crystal would later say that it was the worst decision of his life!! But he is great as Mike Wazowksi.) Many more were approached but eventually Tim Allen was chosen

Opinions I absolutely love Toy Story. I’m a huge Pixar fan (I feel like that is no surprise to anyone) and I love Toy Story as a franchise (in my opinion it is the greatest film franchise of all time!!) but I hadn’t watched the first film in a couple of years so I wasn’t sure how I would think about the film but this film has held up remarkably well. In fact I think the Toy Story franchise are as close to universally beloved films as anything gets to that ultimately unattainable thing! Let’s talk about the characters. Woody and Buzz are classic buddy movie characters. The opposites that are annoyed at each other and by the end they are friends. They spar in very entertaining ways with the iconic “YOU ARE A TOY” from Woody and the response from Buzz “You are a sad strange little man and I pity you”!! But the thing with Toy Story is that there are so many great side characters! Hamm one of my favourite all time Pixar characters and obviously it was John Ratzenberg’s first Pixar role! Hamm has lots of great one liners and maybe this is an odd thought but I’ve always thought of Hamm as a Dad. I feel in all the films he makes a comment about like finance or cars or something similar that is quite Dad-like. OK that is kind of weird but comment if you agree with me!!! Rex is probably my favourite Toy Story character of all time. I just think the concept of a dinosaur who is bad at scaring people and is also the most scared of everything like maybe this is just me but I feel like every time there is a crisis in (Toy Storyworld????? well I know Andy lives on Elm Street which is pretty creepy!!) Rex is the most worried whenever something happens. Like in this movie when Buzz gets ‘murdered’ Rex is “We’ll get you out Buzz!!” and really anxious when the barrel of monkeys ran out (That would be explained in Toy Story 2 though!!!) Wallace Shawn was the perfect voice for his character and I just love his design and he’s probably the cutest dinosaur I’ve ever seen which is not usually a word I associate or use with dinosaurs!!! Bo Peep is a cool character and I really like her art design and voice performance by Annie Potts but maybe this is some weird Mandela effect nonsense but I really did think she was in the movie way more than she actually was. I think besides 4 this is the one she is in the most. I just think she’s a more important character and is in the films more than she really is but in the couple of scenes she is in she’s really fun! I know Mr Potato Head is a very popular character and I like him but he was kind of annoying and rude. Like I get Woody did do something wrong as a toy and he was getting a bit antsy and jerky but he wanted to literally hang him on a hangman’s noose. Like as I said I get Woody did something wrong but I don’t think it was enough for him to be hanged! I mean they are toys! I guess I am judging these on Human standards! I know Mr Potato Head is a very popular character among fans and I expressed some unpopular opinions about him but I do love Don Rickles’s vocal performance but I don’t know if he’s all that!! Let’s talk about the music by Randy Newman. I must say this is a really underrated soundtrack. Obviously knows You Got A Friend In Me and it is a classic and anybody who says it isn’t is (a) a liar or (b) a troll! But let us get to the hidden treasures in the soundtrack. Strange Things is probably my favourite song in the film. It’s got a really catchy melody and Newman’s vocals are actually really strong like I love his vocals they are fantastic! I Will Go Sailing No More completely like sums up Buzz’s mental and (Kind of?????) physical state and it’s a really delicate and maybe it’ wasn’t but it sounds kind of unproduced and raw. His vocals are kind of delicate and sounds like a man who has just had his heart broken you know what I mean!! Also I don’t like the credits version of You Got A Friend In Me. It feels like Lyle Lovett did the vocals on the telephone or something like that and it feels really staged! The score is really good and it sounds kind of westerny!! As this was the first 3-D full length animated film I must talk about the animation! I think it has aged quite well. Yeah it does look a little blocky and early 3-D and the humans are a little simplistic but it works for the story you know what I mean..

Conclusions I really enjoyed Toy Story. It’s a little simplistic compared to other Pixar for sure but it is really a certified classic!

Rating I’m giving Toy Story an A+

My Most Anticipated Films of 2022

Hello and welcome back. It is New Year’s Eve (As I write this it will probably be published on New Years Day) and yes I know I haven’t published my Disney ranking but that will be out pretty soon! I promise! But before that here are some of my most anticipated films of 2022. This is is ones that are confirmed for 2022 by the way. These are not ranked just my opinion

1.Strange World This is the Disney animated movie that is confirmed for 2022. It will be released on November 23rd 2022 and they released concept art looks really cool and mysterious. I’m intrigued to see where the film goes

2. Lighyear (2022) I know there are some people that are negative about this but as Seamus Gorman opined “This is Pixar’s chance to do a Star Wars movie” and I completely agree. This looks cool and unique and as a massive Bowie fan using Starman in the trailer got my approval

3.Turning Red (2022) Pixar’s other film of 2022 I’m excited for the film because I think the concept looks really cool and fun and while I’m not sure how it will turn out but the other reason is that it is being directed by Domee Shi who made the wonderful short film Bao!

4. The Batman (2022) I was unsure about Robert Pattinson as Batman but after the two trailers we’ve seen I’m a believer. I’m excited to see Colin Farrell as The Penguin and from the trailers it looks like Nolan infused with more noir elements which sounds like my cup of tea

The Fabelmans (2022) - IMDb
An image from the set

5. The Fabelmans (2022) I’m a huge fan of Steven Spielberg’s work and this is very interesting to me. A semi-autobiographical film about his early childhood with Michelle Williams , Seth Rogan and Paul Dano portraying slightly fictionalised versions of important people in his life. I’m sold!!

The book cover

6. Killers Of The Flower Moon (2022) This will be Scorcese’s next film and the follow-up to The Irishman and from what I’ve been reading it seems like it will be in a similar vein to that film which is why I’m excited for it because I loved that film! It will also have Scorcese’s most collaborated with actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro

7. Doctor Strange and The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) I was extremely excited for this before Spider-Man No Way Home and I feel enough time has passed (like it’s just over two weeks since it came out and anyway you know the spoilers!!) that I can let the cat out of the bag. There was a trailer for this film for the second end credit section of No Way Home!! It seems like there will be more multiverse which is cool, I loved the original Dr Strange and it is directed by Sam Raimi which I’m interested to see where he goes

8. Black Panther Wakanda Forever (2022) Before Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death I was very excited for this film because I loved the original Black Panther and I was very excited to see where the story would go. But after Boseman’s death I’m excited to see Shuri taking the mantle because I loved her character and Leita Wright is a good actor (Her stances on vaccines are really shady though!!)

Knives Out 2 Wraps Filming, Reveals Rian Johnson

9.Knives Out 2 (2022) I absolutely loved the original Knives Out. I love mysteries and Knives Out brought back a classic murder mystery but with a post-modern panache to top it off! As with the first one the cast seems like it’s going to be amazing with Janelle Monáe , Ethan Hawke ,Leslie Odom Jr , Dave Bautista and Kathryn Hahn playing the new characters which you should be sold on just that!

Puss In Boots 2 Release Date: What We Can Expect? - Gizmo Story

10. Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (2022) I mentioned in My Favourite Non-Disney Animated Movies that I loved the original Puss In Boots and while I thought this sequel would never happen I’m excited for it and it seems Guillmero Del Toro will be involved again which is quite cool in my opinion!

Conclusions Those are 10 movies I’m excited for. There are loads of others so comment what you’re excited for!!

Disney No.60 Encanto (2021)

Hello and welcome back. Back when Encanto came out I did a short non-spoiler review.As the film has just come out on Disney Plus this is my full canon review of the film!

Production In November 2016 (Just before Moana came out!!) Lin Manuel Miranda said that John Lasseter had presented him and Byron Howard with an idea while promoting the aforementioned film.Miranda said the project was still in development. Howard and Jared Bush wanted the project to be a musical after finishing Zootropolis. Bush and Howard begn talking to Juan Rendon and Natalie Osma about Latin-American culture. Rendon and Osma had worked with Howard and Bush before on Imagining: Zootopia. Rendon and Osma are both from Colombia and drew on their experiences in that culture which caused Howard , Bush and Miranda to focus the film on that country. Rendon and Osma would become the first two members of The Colombian Cultural Trust which Disney hired to help them with the portrayal of the culture. In 2018 several members of the production team including Bush and Howard went on a research trip to Colombia. They met several different people including architects and chefs to immerse themselves in the culture. They visited the bigger cities like Bogota and Cartagena but found more inspiration in smaller towns like Salento and Barichara. The film is vague in it’s timeline and this was deliberate but the film took inspiration from early 20th Century Colombia. Disney was planning to send more of the team on research trips but these were cancelled as Covid hit!

Opinions I absolutely love Encanto. It’s the return of the out and out Broadway musical from Disney and I must say I absolutely am here for it! I’ll probably spend half of the review but you’ve gotta be here for it! I think the film has one of the best cast of characters in Disney in recent years in my opinion. I feel like a lot of animated movies with large cast of characters have problems where they introduce all these characters and then just can’t be bothered adding anything to half of the characters and focus on the characters that they want to! But I feel like that didn’t happen in the film like I feel like I know all of the characters in the film (or at least the Madrigals) Their powers were all unique and even the ones that weren’t as different like Luisa’s super strength they did something different and unique and subverted in a way. Another thing that was cool (I guess!!!) and different was that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a film I’ve ever watched is that there are two characters I don’t like at the start of the film that I quite like at the end of the movie! Maybe that’s an odd compliment but I think in my opinion that shows strong writing and I think the film like a lot of Disney films had very strong character development but I think this is some of the best in Disney. But let’s talk about what you came here for the music………………..!!!! Lin-Manuel Miranda is back on the music and as I said in the start of the review it feels like the music of The Disney Renaissance. I mean the only thing missing is a proper villain song like Be Prepared or Poor Unfortunate Souls or Hellfire. The opener ‘The Family Madrigal’ is a great introduction song and opener and I thought was very well sung by Stephanie Beatriz who (no offence meant!!!) I didn’t think would have a great singing voice since (like most people I knew her from Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.) Usually I find accordions a bit annoying in songs because I feel like they are used cheesily you know what I mean but this was used in a cool way! Waiting On A Miracle is a classic ‘I want…..’ song which is another similarity to Disney Renaissance musicals. I think it’s probably the most pop-centric song of the film and I think it suits the song. I also liked the way everybody in the back was either frozen or in extremely slow slow-motion. It almost sounded like her fantasy and that’s what we call an I want song! I said before even with the powers that weren’t as unique or different they did something different with them and that’s what they did with Luisa whose power was super strength and that might seem generic but she has a genuine midlife crisis and that is explained in Surface Pressure which again has more modern pop production similar to Waiting On A Miracle but that is fine by me in my opinion because it just suits the type of song that they were going for. A cool thing about the sequence is that the visuals were almost adjusted to the lyrics in the song (They also missed a major Easter egg opportunity with a lyric in the song being about Hercules and they could’ve put a Disney Hercules easter egg but they didn’t that was probably the only thing I didn’t like!!) But the true stars of the sequence were the donkeys!!! They were like Gazelle’s backup tiger dancers in Zootropolis but they were more versatile like they were playing the violin on the Titanic and they were in the circus!! But now we are onto the showstopper of the film We Don’t Talk About Bruno! I love this song because it does introduce the character of Bruno who has been mentioned a couple of times before but we didn’t know much about him so we learn about him but also I love the different perspectives from each character which ends up in beautiful harmonies at the end. I like the flashbacks from each character and they all add up at the end and also I like the random people who talk about how Bruno messed up their lives. His power was very cool as he would prophesies things and they would just happen. Like that is cool!! What Else Can I Do? is a really fun song where Isabela a character I have disliked for nearly an entire film shows her non-perfect side and I really love it. That scene also showcases the films animation which I feel like I don’t have to say is incredible! The colours are incredible and they are just so vibrant. I love the combination of Isabela and Mirabel’s voice not because they are so different but they just have great harmonies. The two songs not sung by the characters ‘Colombia Mi Encanto’ and ‘Dos Oruguitas’ are both very enjoyable with one being intensely emotional and another being very upbeat! As a person that wears glasses it is very cool to see a Disney protagonist with glasses!

Conclusions I think it’s one of the best Disney movies in years. Some people might say that it follows a Disney formula to a T but I don’t mind things done to a formula well and it’s cool to see great representation on the screen!

Ratings I’m giving Encanto an A+

Merry Christmas and a couple of other things…….

Hello and welcome back. Before I get into anything I would just like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah (I know that ended a couple of weeks ago but still!) or whatever you do at this time of year just have a good time and have a enjoyable 2022! I thought I would write about some ideas I’ve been planning and thinking about for 2022. Feel free to comment some ideas you have and I will take them into consideration

Pixar This is the project that I certainly will be doing in 2022! After doing Disney Pixar is a natural step and with Turning Red coming out in March and Lightyear out in June it’s a good time to be a Pixar fan. This will be in The New Year. I’m not sure about an exact date but I’d say about early January. Just expect a lot of A+…………………..

Scooby Doo I won’t be watching every Scooby movie (to my chagrin!!) but I will be throwing a Scooby review every couple of weeks. I’m very passionate about Scooby Doo and I can’t wait to talk about it. I’m not sure when this will start but these will popping up throughout the year. Just so you know these will not be in chronological order (Though I might start with Zombie Island)

Directors I will be throwing in reviews from different directors every month (they won’t be different directors every month) These will predominantly be famous directors like Spielberg Scorcese etc etc These will be fun as I’ve seen some of these films and won’t have seen some so it will be fun to see which ones that I like and these will mostly be classic films so it will be quite fun!

New Movies I feel like I don’t really need to mention this but as I see new movies I will report on them. If I don’t have time to write full reviews I can do mini reviews with a couple of them. I also will be throwing in some Disney reviews like movies like Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and other films like A Goofy Movie and some of the better DTV sequels

Conclusions I’m very excited for this year as lots of films that I’m anticipating (I will do a most anticipated films of the year soon) are going to come out! I can’t wait to grow the website and maybe gain some followers. My Disney ranking will be out soon and My Favourite Disney Villains will be out very soon! I hope you have a great Christmas and a fantastic New Year (at least better than the last two!!)

Spider-Man No Way Home (2021) Non-Spoiler Review

Hello and welcome back. This is possibly the most anticipated film of the year so I was very excited for the film and (spoilers!!) I really enjoyed the film

Opinions I was very excited about No Way Home but a little bit cautious that it could have some of what we like to call in the West here ‘Spider Man 3 syndrome’ where there are too many villains and it’s just a mess but to my delight the film isn’t! Obviously this is a non-spoiler review so I can’t really talk about the specifics but I think I’m allowed to talk about stuff in the trailer but if you are going to the film and you want to know absolutely nothing about the film no offence this isn’t that type review. I was a bit worried with the inclusion of Doc Oc and The Green Goblin that it would just become ‘Fan Service:The Movie’ which I like fan service when it’s done well and I think Marvel does fan service the best because it’s subtle and it’s not in your face “Look it’s so and so” and this was done really well. Again this was done very well and I must say Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe are still great at playing these characters nearly 20 years after they first played the characters. Zendaya is really fantastic and her chemistry with Tom Holland is really good (which would make sense considering their personal life at this current moment) Jacob Batalon as Ned still steals the show and especially in some spoilery scenes is really funny and kind of vital to the plot if you ask me! But we must talk about Mr.Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman and maybe this is controversial and I really want to hear what you think in the comments but I think this is Holland’s best portrayal of the character. Again there’s not a lot of things I can talk about without spoilers but but there were lots of emotional scenes that were really good and showed Holland’s acting abilities at their best!

Conclusions Possibly the best superhero film of the year Spider-Man No Way Home has lived up to the hype and then some!

Ratings I’m giving Spider-Man No Way Home an A+

My Favourite Non-Disney Animated Films

I loved doing the Disney animated canon and in my opinion they are the best at it but I love a lot of different animated films so these are my favourite non-Disney animated films (Just a note Pixar is not included.) (Another note this is not a ranking just my opinions) (Another note…… Dreamworks and Aardman are separate)

Dreamworks 1 Puss In Boots (2011) My all time favourite Dreamworks film I just love the character of Puss In Boots so I was bound to like this film. Antonio Banderas is so good as this character and Salma Hayek and Zack Galifiankis also deliver solid performances. I just love the character I mean I watched all six seasons of the Netflix show!

2 Shrek 2 (2004) A film that *shock horror* I like more than the original. The original Shrek is a solid film but I would never say it’s one of my favourite animated films so Shrek 2 had some work to do. It just improves on every aspect of the original film but also adds the great new character of Puss In Boots (don’t need to go over him again!!) and The Fairy Godmother voiced by Jennifer Saunders who delivers a fantastic vocal performance for a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’!!

3. The Prince of Egypt (1998) Dreamworks’s only masterpiece you don’t have to be religious (I’m not really religious myself) to love this film! The shining star (ahh I see what I did there…….) of this film is the music written by Stephen Schwartz. If you remember from my Mulan review Schwartz left the project for this film and while it would be very interesting to see that film! I love the songs in the film. My favourite song is probably Deliver Us the opening number which is one of the mature numbers I’ve ever seen in a family film. I also really enjoyed the ‘Through Heavens Eyes’ number which I loved the singing

4. Rise of The Guardians (2012) A film that I really wish hadn’t bombed this film is extremely underrated with a really unique visual style. I hadn’t really heard of it until I found it one day at Netflix and really enjoyed the film. One of the film’s strongest points is just the concept. Like the concept of all the holiday characters coming together is just such a good idea. Rise of The Guardians was based on a book which was written by William Joyce who also wrote the book that Meet The Robinsons was based on. And I can see that because it’s so imaginative and vibrant. I also love the visuals of the film. It feels almost like we’re going into a child’s mind which is something that I think a lot of films try to capture but few actually achieve and this is one of the few that is in that category. Also one of the things that always irks me about Dreamworks is their casting of celebrities for attention and just to get bums in seats but in this film it actually works with Alec Baldwin as Santa like it worked and Jude Law was very good as well!

Warner Bros.5 The Lego Movie (2014) It’s almost a cliché to say it now but I think everybody expected this film to be absolutely terrible. I think everybody expected this to be a 90 minute commercial and that’s not like wrong but it has great characters , a cool story and is just really entertaining! I think no offence to him but Chris Pratt is a little overcast in things but in my opinion he was just perfect for the role of Emmet because he is just a well-worn normal person like us who is thrown into a crazy situation and what I like is that he kind of reacts like a normal person! You know what I mean! Another I love about this film is the way is the LEGOS were used. Like the way they move that is so accurate to the way I would actually use and move LEGOS like that’s really cool to me because it could’ve been very easy for them to just be really blasé about it but they weren’t! Also I love Batman in this film like Will Arnett is so fun in the film. I actually haven’t seen The Lego Batman Movie but I love the character so I will probably really like it! Will Ferrell is a very funny guy but for me him in film he can be very hit or miss but for me at least this was definitely one of his hits. Like his character Lord Business is definitely one of the better non-Disney villains I’ve ever seen in an animated film. Like his character is very funny and very relevant today especially with corporate executives being shadier as a day passes!

6. Corpse Bride (2005) I love Tim Burton and I love most of his films but in my opinion Corpse Bride is his animated masterpiece! (Just to let you know Nightmare Before Christmas wasn’t directed by him it was directed by Henry Selick who might pop up again!!) I personally love when he does musicals and like Nightmare Before Christmas the music definitely carries the film. I love the opening number ‘According To Plan’ which sets up the films dark but accessible humour and introduces the characters very well which is what all good musicals should do in my opinion. All of the other songs are really good but the other one I want to highlight is ‘Remains Of The Day’ which is just a really fun sequence as a whole and I love the stop motion there! Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp have good chemistry which is rare enough in animation for me! And the film has suitable gothic Tim Burton fun which I love!

Aardman. 7 .Wallace and Gromit and The Curse of The Were Rabbit (2005) This is one of the films I’ve seen the most in my life and there’s a reason why because I’m a huge Aardman fan but maybe this is controversial but I think this is their masterpiece. I love the intro with the classic W&G music and they’re panning over their family photos and they have to go do a job. Like however who came up with the idea of W&G running a pest company is a genius because that is a great plot idea and it is great for the story they are telling here. First though Ralph Fiennes is fantastic as the villain of the story Lord Victor. Yeah sure he’s a little bit cliché but like some Disney villains he just works for the story! Also I liked Helena Bonham Carter’s character who was fun and she delivered a fun voice performance for the character! I love the homages to like old horror movies and especially old Hammer films like even the concept of the film like The Were-Rabbit that sounds like a old horror film. I like how they balance the scares like they’re not scary like The Exorcist but they work for the film. I also love the congregation scenes because they are very accurate to what would it be like in a small town if something like this did happen!

8.Shaun The Sheep Movie (2014) I absolutely love the Shaun The Sheep series so I was a little bit apprehensive about this movie but I think this is one of the funniest animated movies ever made. It might not be as funny if you don’t find this type of humour funny but even if you don’t find this funny you still would find something to laugh at in my opinion! The film is incredibly well made because you might not know but Shaun and all the other sheep are silent so it almost reminds me of old silent comedy films like Buster Keaton which is cool and some great comedy company to be in. The thing with Shaun The Sheep the things that they do aren’t exactly innovative in the field of comedy but my opinion on formula and things being done that are cliche and might not exactly be new is that once they are done well and *shock horror* done with a bit subversion that’s fine. I think I would always prefer to see a movie that is new but if we are real there isn’t a lot of original ideas around today!

9. Chicken Run (2000) Aardman’s first full length feature film and remains their highest grossing film and the highest grossing stop-motion film of all time with a gross of $224.8 million (That was probably because of that Dreamworks marketing machine that propelled all sort of bad movies like 2004’s Shark Tale which is probably my least favourite animated movie of all time!!) But I’m glad the film did get an audience because it’s a fantastic film with a really fun story and Mel Gibson! Despite what you might think of him now he is quite good as Rocky in this film. The plot is one of the weirder to make it to the mainstream like it’s little bit morbid for a family film like about chickens about to be killed! I love the escape parts of the film. Like it’s a great plot device for the film and it’s always a great bit when people escape from the place that has been persecuting them. The villain Mrs Tweedy (voiced by Rita Skeeter herself Miranda Richardson) is an interesting villain because I feel a lot of animated movies now try to have villains be really nuanced and have tragic backstories and while I personally like this but it offers more to us than ‘good , bad end of story’ it was refreshing to see a villain who was just bad and no questions asked you know what I mean!!! I also loved the stop motion animation. The design of the chickens is just so organic and I just love Aardman’s animation style it almost looks like they just finished before they put it on screen which is cool!

Laika 10.Missing Link (2019) Another movie I really wished hadn’t bombed because I wish people would’ve seen instead of bad algorithm driven films like Illumination and Dreamworks at their worst. Before I talk glowingly about the film I just want to get out of the way the portrayal of Zoe Saldana’s character Adelina Fortnight was handled! I appreciate the representation but her character is the typical ‘fiery Latina’ that we’ve seen too many times in Hollywood. Some people might say “But Cian you loved Atlantis and Audrey was basically the same character”. I’d respond by saying “1. That was in 2001 not that’s an excuse but it was a different time this was 2019 2 If you watched Atlantis all the way through you would’ve seen that Audrey revealed a soft side!” I was disappointed with this because there are loads of other things I love. I’ve heard the visual style is a bit divisive especially the design of the sasquatch but I really love it. It looks quite unique and cute which is different from a lot of movies you’ve seen about these type of characters! Hugh Jackman’s character is the classic archetype of the arrogant person proved wrong but Jackman transcends the stereotypes and delivers a fun voice performance that is some of his best work. Zack Galifiankis is really cool as the titular yeti like that guy is so good at voice acting he popped up earlier in the list in Puss In Boots and while I don’t think it’s as good he’s quite good in the film as Mr Link the yeti who knows nothing about modern life (well an unspecified time in the early 20th Century!!) The film has some problematic elements but it is a sweet time at the movies

11. The Adventures of Tintin (2011) A fantastic film by Steven Spielberg which harkens back to his Raiders days and is underrated in his fantastic filmography! My personal favourite thing about the film is Daniel Craig’s fantastic performance as the villain Ivan Sakharine. What I loved about him (like Mrs Tweedy!!) he was just a classic villain like from those older adventure films that Raiders of The Lost Ark was paying tribute to. I admit I’m not that familiar with Tintin and his origins and so there were probably tributes to earlier stuff in the Tintin canon that I didn’t notice! I did read that they were very faithful to the original Herge comic strips which is cool. I love the score by John Williams. It’s very upbeat and dreamy and whimsical and suits the fun adventure story that they are telling in this film. I love Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. For most people (including me to an extent) it’s weird to not hear him as Gollum or in a motion capture role (I mean this is technically a motion capture role but you know what I mean!!) but he was really fun as this character like he was playing the classic ‘drunk captain past his glory days but as I said when formula is done well I don’t really mind!!

Conclusions The thing is there is loads I haven’t seen so leave your favourite non-Disney animated films down in the comments I wanna see what pops up in the comments!

Disney No.59 Raya and The Last Dragon (2021)

Hello and welcome back. We’re on to the final film of our project! It’s been very fun doing it and I’ll get a ranking out soon enough and I’ll do other stuff before Christmas! But anyway let’s talk about Raya and The Last Dragon a movie (spoilers!!) I really enjoy!

Production In mid 2018 Deadline Hollywood reported that Disney was going to develop an animated fantasy film being produced by Osnat Shurer , written by Adele Lim and directed by Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins. Most of them had been involved in Disney projects before like Moana and Frozen. In August 2019 Disney officially announced the film at D23 2019 with Cassie Steele cast as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu. In August 2020 (which would’ve been 3 months before its initial release) Disney replaced several members of the crew with Don Hall (director of Winnie The Pooh (2011) and Big Hero 6 (2014)) and Carlos López Estrada who joined Disney animation after directing the critically acclaimed Blindspotting (2018) became the directors of the film. Paul Briggs became writer of the film with John Ripa having previously being the director. Also Qui Nguyen became co-writer and Peter De La Vecho became producer with Shurer. Steele was also re-cast because as Nguyen came in reworked the plot and made Raya’s character more upbeat and confident. Nguyen compared this Star Lord/Peter Quill in Guardians of The Galaxy. As the protocol is usually for animated films the voice actors recorded their lines but I found out that the cast actually didn’t know that who else was in the cast! The film is set in Kumandra which is obviously a fictional place but if you were playing the slightest modicum of attention you would’ve known that the place was inspired by several places in Asia! To ensure the film had an accurate portrayal of this area in the world Disney formed The Southeast Asia Story Trust a group of cultural advisers including Dr Steve Arounsack who is an associate professor of Lao Anthropology at California State University , Stanislaus. The team also travelled to Thailand , Vietnam , Cambodia , Indonesia , The Philippines and Laos. To choose Raya’s name the filmmakers reviewed dozens of suggestions by The Southeast Asia Story Trust. Raya was chosen because Adele Lim said that ‘she had an emotional reaction’ when she heard the name. Raya means ‘celebration’ in Malay.

Opinions I absolutely love Raya and The Last Dragon! I love the story and the culture that it created! The score was fantastic and there was one character who immediately jumped to my favourite Disney characters. Let’s just talk about the story and this film is relatively new so there is spoilers so if you haven’t seen the film (well go watch it…………..!!!.) but there will be spoilers. I must say I loved the opening of the film. It kind of reminded me of the opening of Moana. Like it had literally had the exact same style as the opening of Moana! I mean that might sound like I’m being negative about it and I didn’t really like it but the exact opposite is what I think! It literally was the exact same which is cool! I’ve heard a lot of people compare this film to Avatar:The Last Airbender which I shamefully admit I’ve never seen (I’ll watch it one day!!!) so I can’t really talk about the intricacies of the series but from what I know it is a bit similar with the earth , water and fire. It is a little bit similar but I don’t want to say too much (I mean Lindsay Ellis got cancelled for it but did go make her 100 minute masterpiece ‘Mask Off’!) ……………….Let’s get back to the film. We get some cool narration from Raya. And I don’t really want to spoil anything else because the plot is quite spoiler heavy! Let’s talk about the characters. Raya is quite a good character and very well voiced by Kelly Marie Tran who I’m very glad to see getting roles after the torrid abuse she endured after The Last Jedi and she’s being cast in roles by the Disney company which is fantastic. The character I want to talk about is Sisu voiced by Awkwafina and maybe this is too much but I personally think that Sisu might become the new Mushu (I was thinking about saying the Genie but I thought that was a little too much!!) I love the character of Sisu. She is really funny which is a given I mean she is voiced by Awkwafina of all people!! I mean I personally find her really funny like all of the films I’ve seen her in like Oceans 8 and Crazy Rich Asians! So I just find her funny but I just love her character about she was kind of the least talented of the dragons and she wasn’t really valued. But I love that at the start of the film Raya and Namaari were kind of nerding out about Sisu like that was cool. Like I liked that Sisu is almost part of pop culture like she’s a superhero in our world. My personal favourite scene with Sisu was when they were in Talon and she insisted that Raya should get a gift for the chief. Raya dismissed this but then Sisu realised that she had no money and then Boun suggested that she spend it all with credit. She just walks around saying she’s spending stuff on the credit! All the shopkeepers are getting angry and then this nice old woman takes her along and then she puts her in with the Droon because Sisu realises that she’s the chief. Raya gets her out and it’s fine and dandy but for me that exemplifies why I love her character. There’s a mix of comedy and genuine emotion and I love that. There are some other great characters like Captain Boun who never failed to make me laugh with his jokes and also had some great emotional resonance! Namaari is a great character and I love her relationship with Raya because at her heart you know she’s a good person but certain circumstances have just shaped her and that is the person we see in the film! Before we go on to other things I want to talk about the score by James Newton Howard who we haven’t seen in a while but if you remember my Atlantis and Treasure Planet reviews I praised the scores which were done by one James Newton Howard (who I was reading played on Rock of The Westies and Blue Moves by Elton John and arranged strings for Don’t Go Breaking My Heart and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word!!!) But I love the score because it’s very choral and it almost sounds like a tribe sung it you know what I mean. I mean Atlantis’s score is very tribal but that would make sense to me if you’ve seen Atlantis. Also I must say I loved the con baby and her ongi sidekicks like they were so fun!

Conclusions While a little bit flawed it has some hilarious moments , a very cool story and one of the great Disney characters

Rating I’m giving Raya and The Last Dragon an A

Disney No.58 Frozen II (2019)

Hello and welcome back. We’re on to another sequel in the Disney canon with 2019”s Frozen II. Like Ralph Breaks The Internet it got good reviews though not as good as the original. But I’m afraid I’ll have to serve up some more controversial opinions!!

Production Discussion of a sequel to Frozen began in June 2014 after much will they won’t they Jennifer Lee confirmed John Lasseter had given them creative freedom to do whatever they wished. While working on Frozen Fever in 2015 Chris Buck , Lee and Producer Peter De La Vecho realised how much they liked the characters and missed the characters. On March 12th 2015 it was announced that a sequel was in development. For research purposes the production team travelled to Norway , Iceland and Finland. The first completed scenes were shown at The Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2019 where Becky Bresee and head of effects animation Marlon West being quoted as saying “The film is still in production with seven weeks of animation to be completed and 10 weeks of special effects”. The filmmakers also spoke to members of the Samí tribe for advice on the film. Lee also announced in a New York Times interview with Maureen Dowd that Elsa would not get a love interest much to the chagrin of a lot of people (and me!) Lee also said the film would not take any plot cues from the Frozen parts on Once Upon A Time (Which I’ve never fully watched I watched a bit of the first episode and was extremely confused I know it has it’s fans but I must say I didn’t really get it!) The film went under significant revisions especially the ‘Show Yourself’ sequence. These changes were made after some test screenings where adults seemed to be enjoying the film but children seemed to be confused about the plot and were not enjoying the film as much

Opinions I really really enjoyed Frozen II. While I couldn’t say for sure it’s better than the original it’s definitely (in my opinion obviously!!) of it’s equal with natural evolution of characters , fantastic music , powerful voice acting and just a very cool story! Let’s talk about the sequel and it’s place as a film. I think this is definitely a sequel that couldn’t have existed which is not a bad thing in my opinion. I like sequels that continue themes that were in our previous film but weren’t the complete thing or we only got a snippet of it so we can expand on the themes in our sequel. And in my opinion Frozen II definitely does that because while the characters are essentially the same you can sense that they have grown in the opening song ‘Some Things Never Change’ which I think marks a change in perspective especially from Anna and Kristoff (and Olaf?) Also Elsa is a little bit more positive which is quickly diminished (Spoilers I guess!!) Let’s talk about the music. Some Things Never Change is a fantastic opener with great lyrics and it definitely reflects the characters new viewpoints which is definitely required for me as a sequel. Like that’s my criteria for a sequel. While Into The Unknown might suffer from being ‘Let It Go lite’ for some people it is a fantastic song and yeah it does feel like ‘Guys we had to write a song for Idena Menzel that children are going to learn all the words to know and sing forever for three years’ Wow guys you overachieved you wrote two songs! Children are going to have choose!! But I gotta to be real my flippancy belies how much I enjoy the song and Idena Menzel delivers a truly powerful singing performance! When I Am Older is not an amazing song but Olaf is a fun character and Josh Gad delivers a really fun singing performance. It’s for sure the most Broadway song in the film and In Summer was definitely the most Broadway song in the first film so I think the thing is Josh Gad which makes sense if you know Josh Gad’s background on Broadway. Olaf annoyed me a little bit because he was acting all mature and I really don’t know why he just really annoyed me (Maybe I’m turning into an Old Man Negative) Lost In The Wood is not the best song in the world but Jonathan Groff turns in a very fun singing performance and even the aesthetic reminds me of 80’s music videos. Like when he was singing you saw his face at the bottom like to me that is such an 80’s thing. And also the way the Reindeers were singing the backing vocals “You Are Mine! Like that was so Eighties. But the song had beautiful modern production (Unlike 80’s production which has it’s own novelties I guess!!) Show Yourself is another blockbuster made for Idena Menzel and again for me it’s another winner. It’s equal to me to Into The Unknown because while I think Into The Unknown is the better song I love the exposition that Show Yourself and what we get to know. The final song is The Next Right Thing sung by Anna (a great singing performance by Kristen Bell) And while it’s not one of my favourite songs I think it is definitely a important moment in the plot. And here comes my only problem with the film. In my opinion the climax is a little bit rushed. Like I love ‘Show Yourself and while Anna’s not my favourite and the song’s not the best it’s a cool scene where she kind of lets go and goes out. But I swear like ten things happened in like 10 minutes like we learned about King Runeard and his alterior motive and we learn about Elsa and what she truly is and her parents and what they found out and just everything felt really rushed. And I must wonder were things cut from the film because it certainly felt like that! Now I don’t know own this film on physical media so I haven’t seen if there were deleted scenes. If there was I wouldn’t be surprised. (I know there is that Disney Plus documentary which I haven’t seen but that might give some clues!!!)

Conclusions It has some flaws but it has beautiful things and it’s music is some of the most emotional that Disney has ever released!!!

Ratings I’m giving Frozen II an A-

Disney No.57 Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Hello and welcome back. We’re on to Disney’s first sequel in the canon since 1990 Ralph Breaks The Internet! I really enjoyed the original Wreck-It Ralph so what did I think of this one?

Production In September 2012 Rich Moore announced ideas were being thrown around for a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph and in March 2013 Moore said if there was to be a sequel it would be focused on online gaming. In early 2016 Moore said a plot was still being written for the sequel and officially in June 2016 Walt Disney Animation Studios announced a sequel (with a release date of March 2018 which would be changed to November 2018). Before the plot of the film was decided there was two different versions of the plot and story. Obviously portraying the entire internet is quite intimidating and Director of Story Jim Reardon saying “They looked at how they could make the internet relatable on a human level like how Game Central Station (aka the power strip) mirrored a train station in the first movie”. When the filmmakers included memes they made sure to only include memes that had lasted and not include ones that seemed like fads and would not age well. The team also made sure to include all the positive aspects of the internet but also the negative aspects. I read they approached that like they approached racism in Zootropolis. The character would learn about it and overcome it but they wouldn’t exactly solve it. The film holds the current record for most characters in a Disney animated film with 434 different characters.

Opinions I believe it’s protocol to start your unpopular opinion with an introduction but here goes I prefer Ralph Breaks The Internet over Wreck-It Ralph. I have a couple of theories why this is but I’ll address them later in this review because I just want to let that controversial opinion sink in! Let’s just talk about this film as a sequel and in my opinion it carries on the story very well. While Ralph and Vanellope haven’t exactly changed that much I sensed that they had grown a little bit because they definitely weren’t the same people we had seen at the end of Wreck-It Ralph. While a cynic might say it’s just the same arc they went through in the film I would disagree because in the first film they had to get to know each other while this film’s arc is about their friendship and how you can still have a great friend that isn’t right beside you at every waking moment and I personally feel that is quite a powerful message especially for children watching. I would’ve personally liked to see a little bit more of Fix It Felix and Calhoun but I’ll be honest I loved all the new characters so much I didn’t really mind that they weren’t really there. Let’s talk about the new characters. Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot) is a fantastic new character. While maybe this is odd she kind of reminds me of Calhoun in the first film. That kind of ‘tough girl’ who reveals a softer side as the film goes on. I love the idea of Slaughter Race I like that it’s just really chaotic and it kind of reminds me of GTA. Like just a mindless game where you do anything! I also like the sly digs at certain internet trends like J.P Spamley (voiced by Bill Hader) who is the embodiment of all those stupid ways that companies try to get money off you! That character is really funny and I love the little sidekick he has called Gord who he shouts extremely loud. And if we’re honest J.P Stamley wasn’t that bad of a person you know what I mean he was one of those people who were kind of caught in a bad situation! But you could kind of see that he was a good person especially at the end of the film with Ralphzilla happened and he was trying to help Ralph and Vanellope. Also in that scene was my personal favourite character Yess (voiced by Taraji P.Henson). To me she had the best comic scenes and I loved her like over the top nature where Ralph was trending like 10 seconds ago and now he’s like ‘old school’ and ‘uncool’! And I just love the videos he does like watching them now I can see lots of past internet trends that I’d completely forgot about! Another character I absolutely loved was Knowsmore! Knowsmore was all the suggestions that come up when you search something and I must say I love that take! Related to that is I loved the way they portrayed the innocuous things of the internet. Like for example the users! They were little avatars they almost looked like little Funko Pops! And I know this was in the first film but I just want to mention I love the way they travel to their places like a little stream I just think that’s really cool! I think it might be time to address the controversial statement I made at the start of the review. I think the reason I prefer Ralph Breaks The Internet is that though I absolutely love the first film I’m not that into video games and obviously I wouldn’t say ‘I’m into the internet’ but you know I watch YouTube and use Snapchat and listen to music on Spotify so I just relate to it much more than playing video games you know what I mean. While I couldn’t say for sure that’s the reason that is definitely a factor I would say! From reading reviews and watching videos on the film I’ve heard the ending is quite divisive and I must say I disagree with that. While I agree it’s a bit of a weird tone shift I think it is quite consistent with the film if you’ve watched the previous times. Also I must mention the scene with the Disney Princesses because I absolutely love it. I was a little bit worried about it because they’d hyped it up a lot in the trailers and I was worried was it going to be as good but it was amazing and I love that they didn’t show the second scene because I almost preferred that one!

Conclusions It is flawed but it has great qualities and is a fantastic sequel to a fantastic movie!!!

Ratings I’m giving Ralph Breaks The Internet an A

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