Laika has the ability to conjure up magic and unique premises that you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s why I think they’re bringing so much to the animation medium. While “The Box Trolls” isn’t their best title, it surely is a meaningful and heartfelt work of art that works as an entertaining allegory about the class structure and the idea of the dream of wealth and whether or not it can ever live up to our fantasies. Is there such a thing as too much? And it is really as ideal as we think?
When I was a kid whenever councils or committees tried to encourage kids to read, they always invented some kind of mascot, and for me it was Cap’n O. G. Readmore. Every Saturday morning after the cartoons, he’d show up to remind kids to read, and explain how much fun reading was. “The Pagemaster” has good intentions but deep down it feels disingenuous and an awful lot like a glorified Saturday Morning special turned in to a big feature. At barely eighty minutes in length, it’s a mediocre, dreary, occasionally boring film that you can’t help but feel like it could have been shown as a TV movie.
Joe Dante’s 1984 masterpiece “Gremlins” is that perfect hybrid of a movie and culture milestone that appeals to horror fans, and fans of Amblin and Spielberg. It influenced a whole sub-genre of monster movies, and serves a wonderful purpose as a Christmas movie and a horror movie. It’s also a perfect bit of gateway horror for blossoming fans that want to ease in to what kind of heights this genre is capable of. There are also the hallmarks of Dante’s films from the chaos and terror implanted in to the suburbs, and the always great Dick Miller.
Disney remaking their loose adaptations of classic fairy tales and folklore is their newest confusing trend, and as a behemoth of a corporation they’ll keep churning them out. Because they know audiences will go see them. “Aladdin” banks heavily on the nostalgia of the nineties much like previous Disney efforts. And like previous Disney remakes, “Aladdin” is fine. It’s just fine. I’ve yet to see a Disney live action remake that has completely outshone their original effort; compared to “The Lion King,” Guy Ritchie’s remake is mediocre, time filling fodder and that’s about the best compliment I can give it.
Over twenty five years later, “Aladdin” is still one of the best animated films of the Disney golden age of the late eighties and nineties. Whether it’s on the big screen or the small screen, Jon Musker and Ron Clements’ adaptation of the original series of fantasy tales is engaging, and fun, but also excels in its simplicity and accessibility. Aladdin is also one of the most underrated Disney heroes in their staple, it’s a shame he doesn’t get mentioned too often.
With Disney remaking their remakes of classic fairy tales and adventure novels, stories like “The Jungle Book” are all the rage these days. For folks that want to branch out from the Disney umbrella and check out what other companies have adapted these classic stories, Mill Creek Entertainment releases a collection of animated adaptations of legendary adventures and fantasies. It’s especially good if you’re looking to save a few bucks while expanding your animated horizons beyond the House of Mouse.
Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.
By 1997 the “Power Rangers” had reached the nadir of their popularity and with the appeal of the franchise dying down as fans grew older, “Turbo” was a last gasp cash grab. It didn’t just bring the old and new Rangers (for the most part, anyway) to the big screen, but it also rebooted the Power Rangers in to a auto-centric kind of Power Rangers team that would do nothing but go downhill from here.