Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
I think everyone's aware that Tim Burton's take on the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland had some...somewhat mixed reviews. I think most of the opinions I've seen and heard have been mostly unfavorable, but I thought the movie was alright. I admit it had some silly moments and Burton made some bizarre choices, but for the most part, I wasn't too mad that I saw it in theaters with my mother. When I heard that Burton was making a sequel, I kinda rolled my eyes to the idea, but intended on seeing it at some point. I halfheartedly tried to see it on the big screen, but ended up waiting until it was released on DVD. For most part, I thought the sequel was unnecessary. It barely connected to the first movie and it mostly focused on Johnny Depp's character as the Mad Hatter. Any silly parts from the previous movie seemed to be upped in the sequel, which usually fails to gain too many laughs from myself. There are some visual elements that aren't that bad, but overall, it's not that memorable of a movie and I still wonder why Disney and Burton bothered to create a sequel in the first place. The movie isn't terrible, but it's definitely nothing special.
Ghostbusters (2016, USA) | Rating: 3/5
One of many controversial movies of 2016 and really I have no idea why people were so upset over it either. "Ruined childhoods" is a phrase I hear too often when it comes to Hollywood taking liberties with old (or nostalgic) properties, when really they can't change the past. There are good and bad effects when Hollywood does decide to bring back nostalgic properties, like exposing a new generation to it...for better or worse. Of course, hardcore fans of nostalgia tend to take things too seriously and unfortunately this movie was subjected to that. There was so much debate about this movie and its critics that had to deal feminism, sexism, and of course the whole "ruining childhoods". Obviously, I was not phased by this. It had potential and it looked fun despite the cries of nostalgic fans (and also the asshole racists harassing Leslie Jones). One thing I agree with the critics I follow on YouTube is that it does retread the same story from the first movie,
Doctor Strange (2016, USA) | Rating: 3/5
Closing out the year for Marvel, we have this lovely visual treat that takes a slightly different direction with its presentation. Since jumping into the comic book scene, I still wasn't all that familiar with Doctor Strange's character. The comics I read that he appeared in had a very brief appearance with little to no backstory or information on him. The only thing I knew was his appearance, but after the fact, I have read one of the newer comics. What makes this movie different compared to previous Marvel entries is the pacing and seriousness of the story. Strange is quite the egotistical character (see Dr. House) and he isn't the most likable character either, but somehow along the way, you manage to root for his surprising fight with
Moana (2016, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
I'm not sure, but I want to say that my mother was more excited about this movie than I was, but it still looked quite intriguing to check out with her. I wasn't opposed to seeing it in the least, but I think some Disney movies kinda lost its appeal of excitement for me like it did with its older movies. Whether that's just growing up or lack of quality, I have no idea, but I do not regret seeing this movie. First of all, the visuals are absolutely gorgeous and vivid and made me want to jump into and explore the oceans of Hawaii with our main character Moana. I already have dreams of visiting Hawaii some day, but seeing all the culture, color, and warmth that the community shared among each other really appealed to me and made me feel welcomed in this universe. The story and soundtrack made me think of Disney classics The Lion King and Pocahontas, which are very good things, in my opinion. When I thought of those movies at certain points in this one, it awaken my nostalgia and touched parts of my heart that my childhood identified with my own family. While some of the humor with Moana's sidekick Heihei can be a little too silly for me, I enjoyed her interactions with her grandmother and relationship with Maui the most in this movie. I will admit that the story isn't anything new from Disney's catalog of self discovery, but I enjoyed this vibrant and comical journey with a new set of characters.
Finding Dory (2015, USA) | Rating: 4/5
I wasn't able to check out this other beautiful ocean adventure in theaters like I did with Finding Nemo, but watching it at home did not lose its visual appeal for me. Disney/Pixar are just really good at capturing the beauty and mesmerizing atmosphere of the ocean and ocean life. It's quite fascinating to watch these characters interacting and traverse these lovely blue and green hues of water, whether above or below the ocean. I was a little more excited about this sequel than I was about Moana and I was curious to learn more about everyone's favorite fish Dory. I felt like the story tackled self identity, self confidence, disability, and the importance of relationships very well. Who would've thought a story about a fish with short term memory lost could be so deep and emotional, right? I enjoyed the wild journey both Dory, Marlin, and Nemo had to go through in every setting they traveled through. While it could seem as a slight retread of Finding Nemo, I feel like there's a double meaning in the title as Dory is not only trying to find her parents and Marlin and Nemo are trying to find her, but she's also trying to find herself and the strength within her to pursue anything she desires and trust herself to be on her own. I think this could speak to millennials and those about to embark that mysterious world of college and adulthood. A couple of the supporting cast can be a little silly like Moana's Heihei, but for the most part, I enjoyed their interactions and connections with Dory as well as seeing some old favorites like the sea turtles.
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