A Dog’s Way Home (2019) Review

A Dog’s Way Home (2019)

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

Based on A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron

Starring: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi, Edward James Olmos, Bryce Dallas Howard

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A female dog travels four hundred miles in search of her owner throughout a Colorado wilderness.

My Opinion:

I can’t decide if this was pukey or lovely. Okay – all family films involving cute pets are pukey. But it’s kind of hard to not like them and feel all smooshy inside when you watch them. A cute puppy is a cute puppy! Who doesn’t love a cute puppy?! This film is sweet but it could’ve been better. It’s from the same guy who wrote A Dog’s Purpose, which overall was a much better film with a far more original idea. I’m not gonna lie – I really liked A Dog’s Purpose. My cold, black soul is capable of at least liking cute animals. A Dog’s Way Home is still fun, though, and certainly worth a family movie night at home on your couch.

Oh my god – I have nothing else whatsoever to say about this movie. I’m off to a great start with this blogging thing in 2019! I think I’m just bored. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen anything really good or, at the very least, interesting. I need to see something that can jumpstart my love of film again. Something epic like Arrival. Or something weird as shit like Mandy.

Okay – A Dog’s Way Home is sweet and you’ll enjoy it if you like dogs and have a young kid and like nice, innocent, pure, inoffensive, safe entertainment. Some slightly dodgy CGI ruins it a little and the story isn’t as strong as in A Dog’s Purpose (we’ve seen an animal’s “long journey home” SO many times in movies!). But it was an enjoyable if somewhat forgettable afternoon at the cinema. It was better than Glass, at least. I guess.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Advertisements

Coco (2017) Review

Coco (2017) Review

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Edward James Olmos

Music by Michael Giacchino

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.

My Opinion:

Finally! I hate how we have to wait months for Pixar movies to be released in the UK. What’s up with that?!?! I adore Pixar! So, thanks to months of hype about Coco, maybe that’s why I was slightly underwhelmed. Cute movie & nice story but it certainly won’t be at the top of my list of favorite Pixar films. I did do a list of My Top Pixar Movies HERE. Actually, that list needs updating. Okay, I’ll do it in this post! Here’s my Pixar Movie Rankings (counting down to my very favorite & including Coco):

18. Cars 2
17. Cars
16. The Good Dinosaur
15. Finding Dory
14. Monsters University
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. Brave
10. A Bug’s Life
9. Up
8. The Incredibles
7. Toy Story 2
6. Toy Story 3
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Monsters, Inc.
2. Toy Story
1. WALL-E

13th? Hmm. That’s disappointing. I do think Coco was hurt slightly by Book Of Life coming out first. My daughter said afterwards that Coco was okay but that she likes Book Of Life more. That’s unfortunate as I think Coco is definitely the superior film. It’s more timeless and has a better story. I liked the focus on family & following your dreams compared to the more complicated love story in Book Of Life, which I think fewer people can relate to.

I’ll keep this short. Coco is still a far better film than all the animated stuff we get from the Non-Disney/Pixar studios in Hollywood. I just have incredibly high standards when it comes to Pixar and some movies have been a bit disappointing in recent years. But even the worst Pixar films are FAR from “bad” (well, the Cars films leave a lot to be desired).

Coco’s lead character, Miguel, is strong and I really liked Héctor (voiced by Gael García Bernal). We don’t get to know a lot of Miguel’s family as well as I’d have liked, though (Plus they come off as a bit unlikeable at first). I also thought the movie was quite slow to begin with. Pixar movies usually grab me from the start but I didn’t really get into Coco until almost halfway through the film. The “reveal” was also very obvious from early on but, I dunno… I suppose that’s just because I watch too many movies. As always with Pixar, the film was lovely to look at (Even all the use of orange, my least favorite color! It looked great in this). Mostly, I just didn’t fully connect with the story & the characters in the same way that I usually do with Pixar movies.


This review is coming across as far more negative than I’m intending. Sorry! Coco is a really good film. I just look at that list of Pixar movies above and most of them are stronger films than this one. And I consider both WALL-E & Inside Out to be damn near masterpieces that transcend the whole “Oh, that’s just an animated kids’ movie” thing. (Which isn’t how I feel about animated films – I just know that some people see them as nothing more than “cartoons”). Coco is no WALL-E or Inside Out or the beautiful beginning of Up but it’s also not some other studio’s piece of shit like Trolls or something. Yay, Pixar! You’re still the best. I’m sure Coco will grow on me after I see it on DVD several times…

My Rating: 7.5/10

**I did a “double feature” of Coco & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (great combo!). I’ll try to review Three Billboards tomorrow or Friday. I really didn’t expect that to be the one that I preferred of the two but I liked it a lot.

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984) Review

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8229.jpg

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984)
Kaze no Tani no Naushika
Japanese: 風の谷のナウシカ

IMDB Top 250 Rank: 227 as of 01/01/2013

Directed & Written by Hayao Miyazaki

Starring Voice Actors:
Sumi Shimamoto
Gorō Naya
Yōji Matsuda
Yoshiko Sakakibara
Iemasa Kayumi

(English Dub Voice Cast: Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Chris Sarandon, Edward James Olmos, Mark Hamill)

Running time: 117 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia):
The film tells the story of Nausicaä, a young princess of the Valley of the Wind who gets involved in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle of mutant giant insects. Nausicaä must stop the Tolmekians from enraging these creatures.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8257.jpg

Before I Start The Review:

As this is my first review for my Studio Ghibli Project (perhaps I should start calling it a project as I think it’ll carry on for longer than a month), I figured I’d talk a tiny bit about my Studio Ghibli experience. Also, as many Ghibli films are in the IMDB Top 250, a lot of these reviews will also be a part of my IMDB Top 250 Project so I’ll mention it if they’re in the Top 250. Nausicaä was at 227 when I started the IMDB thing and is currently at 198 so I’m happy to see that it’s moved up the list quite a bit.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8242.jpg

Here’s my Studio Ghibli experience: The first film I saw was Spirited Away in 2001. It’s a great movie but I don’t think it was the best one to start on as it’s definitely one of the more “strange” Ghiblis. A few years ago I saw My Neighbor Totoro and, of course, loved it. Who doesn’t? But it wasn’t until I watched Princess Mononoke that I really started buying into the whole Studio Ghibli thing and I’ve been working my way through them ever since. Aside from Totoro (which I’ve now seen many times) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (where I’ve seen the subtitled & the dubbed version) and Spirited Away, I’ve only watched the other Ghibli films I’ve seen one time each. I know there are some huge Ghibli fans out there and I’m FAR from being any kind of expert on them as I’m still very new to them. All I really know is that I’ve enjoyed them immensely and I’m very glad to have finally decided to explore them. I want to have the time to watch them all again as I know they’re the types of movies that will only go up in my estimation the more I see them, just as My Neighbor Totoro did. And the one I want to re-watch the most is one that I saw very recently and also one that felt very different from the other Ghibli stuff I’ve seen: Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8254.jpg

My Opinion On Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind:

Version watched: In Japanese with English subtitles

I’m never going to be able to do this movie justice with my lack of any true writing skills. Due to this film’s success, Hayao Miyazaki & Isao Takahata were able to start up Studio Ghibli so, although this one isn’t “officially” a Ghibli, it’s considered to be the first one anyway.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8241.jpg

It’s very unlike any of the other Ghibli movies I’ve seen so far. It’s based on Miyazaki’s manga of the same name, which he still continued for a while after the release of the film. This movie is kind of like a weird mash-up of Heavy Metal, Dune, and the “sweeter” Ghibli stuff that came later. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future, which is always a favorite genre for me (what’s wrong with me?!). The title character, Nausicaä, is the princess of The Valley Of The Wind. This post-apocalyptic world is covered by a toxic jungle and large mutant insects. Nausicaä is happiest when exploring the mysteries of the toxic jungle and its insects while flying on her glider. She’s able to communicate with the insects and wishes to find a way for the remaining humans to live peacefully in this toxic land.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8231.jpg

I don’t know what it is but this movie just really worked for me on a level that not all the Ghibli films have. I think it’s just very much my type of thing even more than the kid-friendly Ghibli films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service or the more strange ones such as Spirited Away. The environmental & anti-war themes in this are very obvious and, as with a lot of Ghibli films, there’s a very strong female lead which is something I always like in a movie. So, Nausicaä is an excellent role model and the themes are ones that are good to teach kids. However, this is NOT a child-friendly movie. As with all kids, some are more mature than others and it’s down to parents to judge if their kids can handle a movie or not. It’s definitely not one for the very young due to some violence but also the fact that the story is quite complex and epic in scope so they wouldn’t understand or appreciate it anyway. However, I think it’s a great one for older kids (11? 12?) and one that most adults (like me!) would love as well if it’s their type of thing. This is really pretty much a tie for my number one favorite along with My Neighbor Totoro but I just have so much affection for the character of Totoro that I had to put that at number one. However, THIS movie is more my type of film overall.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8239.jpg

Summary:

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind is quite different from the other Studio Ghibli films most of you will have watched but I highly recommend it. I loved the excellent strong female lead and the post-apocalyptic world they created for this film. I loved the different sort of animation style of the insects compared to the human characters which have more of the look of all the later Ghibli films. Oh, and I loved the score which I completely forgot to mention! I thought it so perfectly set the right mood for the film and Nausicaä’s theme (not sure – I think it’s Nausicaä – Requiem? – The la la la la song!) was quite haunting & stuck in my head for days. Oh, I also enjoyed the supporting characters such as Lord Yupa and the totally Pokémon “pet” of Nausicaä’s. (I know nothing whatsoever about Pokémon and if it was influenced by Nausicaä or if it’s something that existed before the movie – just saying they look alike!). Oh, and I don’t know if I should point this out or if I’ll look totally stupid, but… I was a little concerned at first that Nausicaä was wearing no pants. She wears these form-fitting trousers that are so close to her skin color and she bends over her glider all the time and, really, I don’t know why they didn’t just make her pants a different color! I’ve Googled this as I felt stupid but see that I’m indeed not the only one who thought she was pretty much naked from the waist down for half the film. Now that I’ve made myself sound like an idiot, I can inform you all that she IS wearing trousers so that you don’t end up feeling as stupid as I did when you watch it.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8250.jpg

Either way, pants or no pants, this movie is an epic adventure that I really wasn’t expecting from a Studio Ghibli film. I’m not sure why it’s not mentioned quite as much as some of the others. I thought it was amazing.

My Rating: 9.5/10

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/90e/43272996/files/2015/01/img_8234.jpg