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The Boy and the Heron: A Young Man’s Symbolic Journey through Grief

By | Adventure, Animation, Anime | No Comments


As an animation enthusiast, I am admittedly a latecomer in experiencing Hayao Miyazaki’s long-celebrated gallery of animated storytelling. I regrettably had never experienced the spellbinding masterpiece that was Spirited Away when it arrived at Western theatres in 2001. The first time I viewed Howl’s Moving Castle, it was in French and without English subtitles, so I had no real idea as to what was going on. The first Studio Ghibli movie I went to the cinema to see proper was Ponyo back in early 2010. It was a fun, colourful and vibrantly animated viewing experience. However, it felt much too cutesy and saccharine for my liking, as it catered to a much younger audience. Consequently, it lacked the robustness and emotional depth that Miyazaki’s productions were known for. Suffice to say, It wasn’t an ideal first impression of his filmography. After recently viewing his earlier works; Kiki’s Delivery Service, Nausicaa, of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke I recognised how Miyazaki had become a household name in animated cinema. His library is rich with nuanced fantastical storytelling, strong and compelling character writing, and sumptuously detailed backgrounds and animation.

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Toy Story 4: A World of Toys that Still has a Story to Tell.

By | Adventure, Animation, Comedy | No Comments


It’s been a good nine years since Toy Story’s third installment had been released. A film that was once universally regarded to be the definitive and beautifully bittersweet capstone of the genre-defining Toy Story films. But, knowing Disney’s habit of capitalizing on its more nostalgic properties as of late, the release of a fourth installment to this beloved franchise was, more or less, to be expected, albeit with relative scepticism of its quality compared to its predecessors. With a new director, Josh Cooley at the helm along with writers leaving the project due to creative differences, and an almost 2-year delay of the film due to other projects, such as The Incredibles 2, audiences were nervous that Toy Story 4 was doomed to fall short of their expectations set by previous installments. For nine years, audiences were convinced that the potential of Toy Story had been fully realized, but with Toy Story 4, this make-believe world of charm and wonder could still breathe new life into the toys that inhabit it.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu: A Relentlessly Fun Love Letter to the Pokémon franchise.

By | Action, Adventure, Comedy | No Comments


I had always been a casual fan of the Pokémon franchise. I had enjoyed the show as a kid, I still play many of the games to this day, and I even briefly got on board with the Pokémon GO craze that came about in 2016. That being said, while Pokémon, to this day is still a big hit with younger audiences, I’ve always considered it’s older demographic to be a rather niche market. Which is why I never would have expected a film concept as shockingly outrageous as Pokémon: Detective Pikachu to be greenlit. Pun intended.

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Bumblebee: Transforming a Tired Franchise

By | Action, Adventure, Comedy, Sci-fi | 2 Comments


During its rather explosive 11 year
run, the Michael Bay-helmed Transformers film franchise hasn’t exactly
developed a particularly stellar cinematic legacy, with most productions being
widely regarded as crass, noisy, explosion-filled, soulless Hollywood drivel
with no shortage of puerile sophomoric humour and scantily clad girls draped
over car bonnets. For the longest time, this was the status-quo for this
franchise, to the point that I’d stopped caring about investing my money in
seeing these films at the cinema by the time ‘The Last Knight’ rolled around. This
simply boils down to the fact that since 2009, the mere act of watching Bay’s
transformers films, with all their typical tempestuous bombast, incoherence and
shameless product placement was in itself an exhaustive and mentally-draining
endeavour in and of itself. This speaks volumes of the sloppiness and utter
creative emptiness that Bay had invested into these films, and the knowledge
that a big budget Hollywood media franchise is comfortable to reduce itself to
such a state is utterly soul-destroying for modern cinema as a whole.

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Coco: An Animated Pixar Gem paying tribute to Día de Muertos.

By | Adventure, Animation | No Comments

When I’d first discovered that the roster for Best Animation at the 2018 Oscars had included some rather sub-par Hollywood-based productions such as Dreamworks’ Boss Baby and Blue Sky’s Ferdinand that were competing alongside some visually innovative and even ground-breaking international releases such as the spectacular UK-produced Loving Vincent, along with Cartoon Saloon’s 2017 production: The Breadwinner, I was somewhat disillusioned.
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