A marionette boy, if worthy, can become human. Another of Zemeckis’s CG/mocap/animation hi-tech but low-soul classic adaptations, this time a remake of the 1940 Disney classic. A few wrinkles, characters, and new songs are added, but no improvements, with some aspects toned down.
A marionette is given the chance to become a real boy. Still-dazzling Carlo Collodi adaptation (only the Monstro sequence doesn’t quite work), with impressive visuals, some great songs used deftly, and more than a few adult gags sneaked in. A pop culture touchstone for good reason. Remade by Disney in 2022.
Buster Moon talks himself into trouble mounting a show in a Las Vegas-style resort. Dayglo jukebox animation sequel that doesn’t have the focus of the first flick, but nevertheless delivers jokes, visuals, and a musical palette from Mercury Rev to System of a Down via Prince, Billie Eilish, and The King and I. Something for everyone, pretty much.
A space ranger tries to rectify the error marooning his vessel and crew. Contrived Toy Story spinoff – purportedly the film spurring merchandise – that starts well and looks great throughout, hampered with a stupid plot reveal. Also, Buzz here isn’t the toy character. Some good gags and shoutouts, but an empty movie nevertheless.
The imaginative son of a NASA administrator reminiscences about his late-1960s Florida suburban childhood. Gentle, charming, if slight rotoscoped semi-autobiographical movie. The space mission stuff is pretty much simply a hook to hang the nostalgia on. Not that this is a bad thing in this case. Recommended.
An adolescent girl finds she carries an ancient curse. Parts are great, but the central idea – a form of lycanthropy as metaphor for puberty – is bungled, and there’s a sense we should focus on the mother, not on protagonist Mei. That said, there’s some fun Backstreet Boys parodies and an ending riffing on Ghostbusters II.
A socially-awkward boy gets a robot companion, except it’s malfunctioning. Generally straightforward (there’s some interesting darker edges and jokes) CG animation E.T. variant, that’s well-made if not really distinctive enough to set it apart from the likes of Big Hero 6 or The Mitchells Vs The Machines.
A Columbian family fractures when their magical powers weaken. Great-looking but derivative animation with too much tickbox Disney stuff, saddled with dull songs. Moments amuse, and the small scale gives focus, but there’s nothing here that Moana or Coco didn’t do ten times better.
A kinkajou quests from Cuba to Miami with a statement of long-held love. Bland animated musical comedy adventure. The songs are the movie’s weakest point: the movie looks great (Roger Deakins is listed as a consultant) and there’s some OK comic moments, but this is forgettable underwritten stuff.
An Italian mer-boy swims away from his boring undersea life to the 1950s surface, where he meets an exciting new friend. Sunny but slight animated adventure revisiting ideas done much better by Pixar elsewhere. Still, it looks great, there’s a lovely Sacha Baron Cohen voice cameo, and there’s openness to a gay reading of the central relationship, which is an interesting element.