Category Archives: Movies

Mulan 2020

Mulan is a 2020 American action drama film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name, based on the Chinese folklore “The Ballad of Mulan”.

The film stars Yifei Liu in the title role, alongside Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan, Gong Li, and Jet Li in supporting roles.

It is directed by Niki Caro, with screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin.


Overall, not as good as the animated version. This lacks the cute sidekick and the caricatures that an animated film can incorporate. And it has no songs.

It’s going for an epic look. And the NZ/Chinese landscapes do it justice. There are some great fight sequences and impressive horse riding. But Mulan herself has little empathy for most of the film. It’s not until the ending when she re-unites with her family that there is any emotional payoff for her journey.

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is a 2014 film produced by Walt Disney. Loosely based on the superhero team of the same name by Marvel Comics, the film is the 54th Disney animated feature film.

Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, the film tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a young robotics prodigy who forms a superhero team to combat a masked villain.

The film features the voices of Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell and Maya Rudolph.

Couldn’t recall if I had seen this one in the cinema. Another big fun action/adventure. The best thing about it that it gives the ‘villain’ real motivation and purpose. And the guy set up as the baddie gets a surprising ending. Goo to see that Disney is getting away from the easy good vs evil trope and putting some grey in the characters.

The film is followed by short videos and a TV series comprising two seasons of 25 x 23 minute episodes. With a third series starting 21 Sept 2020.

 

Wrecked Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

It is the 52nd Disney animated feature film. The film was directed by Rich Moore in his directorial debut, who also directed episodes of The Simpsons, The Critic, and Futurama, and the screenplay was written by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee from a story by Moore, Johnston, and Jim Reardon.

Cast:

Fairly sure I saw this in the cinema. It’s a big fun, candy coated film about depression, anxiety, achieving your goals and (ultimately) friendship.

Everyone is great in the film and it became a success, making $471m off a $165m budget.

The most memorable character must be Sgt Calhoun, who takes the female form to new levels of absurd.

Winnie 2

Winnie the Pooh is a 2011 American animated musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney. This is the 51st Disney animated feature film and not related to the previous 1977 version.

It’s not clear why Disney though it a good idea to repeat with another interpretation of the books. It shares a lot of graphic styling with the previous film. Most notable is  the way the characters interact with the pages and text of a book on the screen.

It does have some well known voice cast:

But in the end it’s the story that let it down. It just wasn’t engaging, making this the first Disney film I gave up on.

 

Tangled

Tangled is a 2010 musical adventure produced by Walt Disney Animation. It is the 50th Disney animated feature film.

Loosely based on the German fairy tale “Rapunzel” in the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm. The film tells the story of a lost, young princess with magical long blonde hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother’s wishes, she accepts the aid of an intruder to take her out into the world which she has never seen.


This I saw at the cinema. and it had a big star at the time. Zachary Levi was the star of the series Chuck (2007-2012).

Yvonne Strahovski & Zachary Levi

He went on to star in the film Shazam! (2009)

In Tangled he is Flyn Rider; thief, rogue and ladies man. He rescues poor Rapunzel from her tower and gets nothing but grief for it. She assaults him (frequently), threatens him and leaves him for dead.

Then, at the end gets all weepy  over him!

This is another favorite. As usual, it’s got everything, a strong story and fun characters.  I do remember being very impressed in the theatre during the lantern scene.

But by far the best character is super sleuth, tracker and warrior Maximus (the horse).

 

 

Princess Frog

The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation. It is Disney’s 49th Disney animated feature film.

Te film is loosely based on the novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, (I read in 2014)  which is in turn based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Frog Prince”.

Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film stars Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings, Jennifer Cody, John Goodman, Keith David, Peter Bartlett, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, and Terrence Howard.

Set in 1926 New Orleans, the film tells the story of a hardworking waitress named Tiana who dreams of opening her own restaurant.


I’m sure I have seen this before on TV. Yet another great film in the Disney Renaissance. Of real fun is a jazz loving Crocodile.

Bolt

Bolt is a 2008 American computer animated comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney.

It is the 48th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard. The film’s plot centers on a white dog named Bolt who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human owner, Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to rescue her.

Now we are getting into the second ‘golden’ period of Disney animated films. This is fully CGI animation with an extraordinary amount of detail. The films starts with a fantastic chase sequence before slowing down and getting into explaining the situation and plot.

From there, it’s a road trip with Bolt, Mittens and Rhino. The three work well together, thanks to some great script writing. And in the final act Bolt has to perform a heroic act for real.

Everything just works in this movie.

 

Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney. It is the 47th Disney animated feature film. The film is loosely based on characters from the children’s book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson”, by William Joyce.

The voice cast includes Laurie Metcalf, Adam West, Tom Selleck, and Angela Bassett.


Of all the previous Disney films, this is the first I recall seeing in the cinema. I remember it as a favorite, and seeing it again reinforces that view.

It’s just a great science fiction story. The main protagonist is suitably nerdy and cute. And the story unfolds in surprising directions, but it does allow the audience to guess the true nature of Lewis.

There is a great cast of strange characters. And the main villain, while the real mustache twirling  type does have a backstory and motivation.

Chicken Little

Chicken Little is a 2005 American 3D computer-animated science fiction comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and loosely based on the original fable of the same name.

It is the 46th Disney animated feature film and was directed by Mark Dindal from a screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson.

Cast:

  • Zach Braff as Chicken Little.
  • Joan Cusack as Abigail “Abby” Mallard.  She is Chicken Little’s best friend.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig .
  • Garry Marshall as Buck “Ace” Cluck, Chicken Little’s father.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young fox who is a baseball star and the “hometown hero”.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a dim-witted goose and Foxy Loxy’s best friend and henchwoman.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey and the mayor of Oakey Oaks.

This one is fun and irrelevant. It starts off in the traditional manner, with Chicken Little predicting that the sky will fall. Then it’s a school nerd romance story. This morphs into a sports movie, then finally when the Aliens turn up, an alien invasion movie.

Finally, remembering that Disney has some moralizing to do they throw in a bit of Father/Son relationship advice.

Overall it’s an entertaining film, but it is all over the map in terms of genre and tone.