Kids deserve better than yet another dull, going-through-the-motions misfire.
The animation world was recently startled by Warner Bros.' announcement that they planned to shelve their recently completed feature Coyote vs Acme for a quick tax write-off, rather than spend money to release it. Not to be outdone, Disney Studios offers up Wish, an animated feature that is the kind of artistic misfire that deserves to be hidden away and never spoken about again. This is a creation so alternately bewildering and banal that it's implausible that at no point during the entire creative process did anyone point out the seemingly obvious fact that virtually none of it works on even the most basic levels.
Wish takes place in the kingdom of Rosas, which was founded and is currently ruled by Magnifico (Chris Pine), a seemingly benevolent sorcerer who offers peace and protection for all those who live there. The catch is that they must surrender their deepest wish to Magnifico, who stores them in the lab in his castle in bubbles and once in a great while returns one to the person who made it. Inexplicably, the people of Rosas think this is a good deal, none more so than Asha (Ariana DeBose), a teenager who is all in on both Rosas and Magnifico and is hoping that the latter will present her beloved grandfather (Victor Argo) with his wish to commemorate his upcoming 100th birthday. Continue Reading →
What We Do in the Shadows
Season 5 of What We Do in the Shadows premieres tomorrow, and you might have some difficulty parsing that it’s already there. Many sitcoms tend to run out of steam by season 5 (you’ll note that exactly when Fonzie jumped the shark), resorting to dropping plot arcs without explanation, swapping out established characters for newer, less interesting characters, setting up tiresome romances, and relying on gimmick episodes, like flashbacks, clip shows, and musicals. Despite its supernatural premise, What We Do in the Shadows still follows much of the standard sitcom structure, so it’s a minor miracle that it’s still the freshest, funniest half-hour show on television right now, without anyone having to put on a fat suit or get stuck in an elevator. Continue Reading →
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
As Puss in Boots: The Last Wish begins, it’s evident that this movie is aiming for a different vibe compared to not only the first Puss in Boots but the greater Shrek series as a whole. A visual aesthetic that evokes hand-drawn animation and rapid-fire editing summons memories of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse or fellow 2022 DreamWorks Animation project The Bad Guys rather than Shrek the Third. Even the handful of pop culture references are more specific and idiosyncratic—Nicolas Cage’s take on The Wicker Man, for instance—than the very broad references the original Shrek movies became famous for. Continue Reading →
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that all that stuff about the importance of caring for your neighbors, and looking past differences in order to create a better world? Horseshit. Absolute nonsense. The phrase “I got mine, to hell with everyone else” should be emblazoned on the American flag. Not even a highly contagious, potentially fatal virus could bring us together - if anything, it divided us further, splitting the country right down the middle between “I’d like to not spread this virus to other people” and “Hey, pal, other people aren’t my fuckin’ problem.” As we slowly recover from said potentially fatal virus, it may not seem time yet to laugh at such a thing, and yet, by gosh, director Josh Ruben makes it possible in Werewolves Within, a riotously funny horror-comedy that pokes fun at neighbors who are unable to force themselves to get along even in the most dire of circumstances. Continue Reading →