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.
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.
A struggling family inherits a remote farmhouse formerly belonging to a Ghostbuster. A film of bits, some of them entertaining and fresh. Essentially a straight sequel to the 1984 film, it starts well as an 80s-style Amblin kid-centric comedy-drama, then reprises the original, then trips over fanservice.
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 woodcutter’s son journeys to find hope to save his father and his kingdom. Very straightforward festive origin fantasy shamelessly lifted structure-wise from The Princess Bride. A decent cast helps no end: the flick relies on professional support for its scant charm.
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.
Bilbo and Thorin’s company reach Mount Erebor via Laketown. The middle instalment of the prequel trilogy is all the better for not having to worry about set-up, though it lacks a story of its own. Still, if well-heeled fantasy spectacle is your thing, then there’s plenty to enjoy here.
A home-loving halfling is recruited for a perilous quest. Beefed-up partial adaptation of the Tolkien children’s novel so that it acts as the first part of a Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy. The quieter parts work best, though this is an acceptable if somewhat bloated action fantasy in its own right.
A warrior princess embarks on a quest to unite five fractured kingdoms and repel their collective threat. A very straightforward fantasy drawing on South East Asian design and story influences. Some pleasures in the incidentals, but this is secondhand tick-box monomyth stuff throughout.