This is the fourth feature from the stop-motion geniuses at LAIKA. Following “Coraline” [IMDB] in 2009, the small studio has fallen into a comfortable two-year release schedule with “ParaNorman” [My Review at MoreBrains.com] in 2012 and “The Boxtrolls” [My Review] in 2014 and now this in 2016. Each and every film is a modern classic and “Kubo” is no different.
Ransom Riggs’ best-selling debut novel seems tailor made for Tim Burton’s [IMDB] off-kilter sensibilities. Most children are normal, some are odd, some are gifted and some very few are peculiar. Peculiar children might be as strong as a dozen men, be lighter than air or able to start fires with their hands. Such children are cared for by the Ymbrynes, magical women who create isolated loops in time to protect their wards.
We’re wrapping up Peggapalooza with Simon Pegg’s [IMDB] latest. Of course, he reprised his role as Scotty from 2009’s Star Trek [IMDB] and 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness [My Review], but he also co-wrote this installment. The reboot of the first film left fans cautiously optimistic. The second left them worried. How will this fare?
Peggapalooza! continues with a question that everybody has asked at one time or another: what is happiness? Hector (Simon Pegg [IMDB]) is a stable, dependable psychiatrist. He’s in a stable, dependable relationship with Clara (Rosamund Pike [IMDB]), a stable, dependable marketing consultant. His life is stable and dependable. Warm. Comfortable. Pleasant.
Apparently, there’s this game that’s got like, dragons and swords and hobbits and stuff. You play with other people and you, like, kill all the stuff. Mr. T told me all about it. Anyway, this game is pretty old, but, like, people still play it, so they made a movie.
This is the third film in the contiguous DC cinematic universe. It follows Man of Steel [My Review] and Batman v. Superman [My Review]. I enjoyed the first for its careful initial character development, but recognized its many flaws. I bemoaned the fact that character development was forgotten in the vapid, overwrought follow-up. Both left fans wanting more and Suicide Squad with every chance to be the first truly great entry in the series.
Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan stories have a rough row to hoe with modern interpretations of the character. Johnny Weissmuller’s [IMDB] primitive portrayal in the 1930’s set specific, but utterly incorrect, expectations of a grunting man-brute. A characterization that’s since been parroted repeatedly by hollywood.
Consider this: A movie radically changes its premise well over a year into production, with less than 18 months to release. To support this, a secondary character is promoted to lead and a new director is brought in to partner with the existing crew. All of this comes from a team of no less than 10 writers. The entire perspective of the film altered.
The question: is this movie is a hot, steaming mess?
My son was four in 2002 when Insomniac released the first “Ratchet and Clank” game on the PlayStation 2. He wasn’t truly able to play, but he watched me avidly and was upset if he discovered that I’d played without him. With the release of following games, they became our favorite series. We’d play through the games together, sharing our discoveries, and comparing notes. He’s 17 now (and I’m old). Will the modern reimagining of that first game and the companion feature film hold up to our idealized memories?
DC Comics has, sadly, doubled down on their loud, dark reimagining of their flagship heroes. While I truly enjoyed 2013’s “Man of Steel” [My Review], it was the soulful examination of a young Clark Kent that sold me. The brash deluge of destruction porn that ended the movie only worked as a counterpoint to that.
Soulful character development or special effects: guess which one they tossed for sequel?