Posts Tagged ‘Animation’

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Hey everyone, I just got back from seeing the latest film from duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller; The Lego Movie. Here’s my take on it.

The Lego Movie tells the story of An ordinary LEGO mini-figure named Emmet. He lives in the town of ‘Bricksburg’ and is used to always following the instructions. One day he is mistakenly thought to be ‘the special’, an almighty, creative ‘MasterBuilder’ who’s arrival has been foretold by an ancient wizard. Emmet is then took on a huge journey around the LEGO universe, where he must stop the evil ‘Lord Business’ from gluing the LEGO universe together.

Where do I begin with this movie? When the first trailer came out I thought to myself ‘Really? A LEGO movie? This is low, Hollywood‘. It seemed like a stupid, unoriginal, cheesy marketing movie made for the sole intention of selling toys. Man, I was certain this movie was going to suck.

Well thankfully, I can now say I was absolutely 100% wrong…

Not only was this movie hilariously funny, hugely creative and filled with loveable engaging characters with a surprising amount of depth, it was special. That’s right, The Lego Movie is a very special movie. What do I mean by ‘special’? Well, I can’t really say without giving away most of the plot, so for now I’ll just say that the last 20 minutes of this movie turn it into an experience: It brings the film together and gives it a purpose, but more on that later. Let’s start from the beginning.

Firstly, there’s the comedy; HILARIOUS. I haven’t laughed out loud this much during a film for a long time. Every joke worked, every single scene had a least one humorous element to it. Not once did I roll my eyes thinking that one joke was too silly and childish, no, every joke was great. I mean we have Batman in this film and he has a girlfriend, that alone is already hilarious! And of course, the character of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) was one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a animated film since Ken from ‘Toy Story 3‘ (You’ll understand why if you see the film). There’s no question that this film is one of the best comedies I’ve seen for a long time.

Secondly, there’s the characters, I loved all of them. Emmet (Chris Pratt) was extremely loveable and engaging as was the rest of the cast; Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) was a total Kick-ass, but even she has her sensitive side too, and that was great to see. The two played of each other brilliantly and there share some great dialogue with one another. Will Ferrel was perfectly cast as the villain, President/Lord business, his delivery was so spot on and the character was so delightfully evil, he was such a blast to watch. Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) was a great supportive lead as was the hilarious Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie) who has a hidden dark side which totally caught me of guard. Of course Batman was awesome (Do I even need to explain why? He’s the goddamn Batman!) Speaking of which, what I also liked was that even if half of this movie is filled with other brands of movie characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Gandalf, Dumbledore and many more, the focus of the story is where it should be; on the original characters, It’s Emmet’s story, not Batman’s, he works fine as a supporting role and that’s fine.

The movie is also extremely creative. All of the LEGO worlds are just a joy to look at, as are the characters, for example, Metal Beard (Nick Offerman) is a pirate built as a massive robot, what an awesome idea! The animation is extremely spectacular, though it may take you a few minutes to get used to this style, once you do, you’ll be in for a visual treat. The animation is all CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) but at times the timing and movement of the characters looks exactly like stop-motion. Some of the sets looked like ones build entirely by hand. Another great trick is that every single object in this world is made of LEGO, for example the water is all LEGO, the explosions are all LEGO, even the water coming out of a shower is made of LEGO studs. Little touches really make this film visually stunning.

The soundtrack is also lovely, and oh my god, that song!  You may have heard the song ‘Everything is awesome‘ playing in all the trailers, and all I can say is that it is irritatingly catchy, I swear the moment you hear that song, it will never leave your head, it’s that catchy.

I also liked the pacing of the film. Not once did I think it was dragging or getting to boring, in fact by the time it ended, I actually wanted more, and that’s always the sign of a great movie, it leaves you wanting more (Thankfully a sequel is already underway). The writing was also spot on, with some very well written dialogue, some great story elements, brilliant character development and awesome turning points, this is a perfect example of a well written screenplay.

So the film is hilarious, witty, charming and creative with wonderful visuals and characters, but as I said earlier, what makes the film truly special and unique is the last 20 minutes. Not to give anything away, but there is a very clever twist that gave the movie a reason for being here. It takes the film to an unbelievably mature situation, and it gives the audience a perfect climax and resolution (I got a little teary eyed during it) What’s also great is that it explains to all of us why we love LEGO: Lego gives all of us the chance to be as creative as you want, you can do whatever you want with it, for many of us, LEGO was the toy that helped start our imagination when we were kids (Because come on, who didn’t play with LEGO as a kid?) and this movie shows how special the toy is and how it always be special. LEGO will never ever be forgotten. The film also delivers a lovely message that we are all special and that you can choose to either follow the instructions of life or forge your own path. Everyone in life is special, you just have to believe in yourself.

So far you’ve heard nothing but positive things about this movie and I bet you’re wondering ‘Is there anything wrong with it?‘ Well, if I really have to nitpick  I suppose that I do have to mildly complain about the ending. Not that it’s bad, far from it, I just feel that it all ended a bit too sudden. I personally would have liked to have a few extra 5 minutes just wrapping the story up and giving us a final epilogue to the characters. Also, sometimes the action scenes are a bit too fast, sometimes you may not see what’s going on because some of the action just appears in front of your eyes and then in a flash – it’s gone. But still, these are only small quibble’s and though I may complain about the quick ending, as I mentioned before. a sequel is already in the works and I for one can’t wait to dive back into this amazing universe.

Overall, I cannot recommend The Lego Movie enough. It’s a beautiful, funny, moving, exciting movie with a lot of heart and for audiences of all ages. I know that we’re only in February, but I can hand on heart say that this is not just one of the best animated films of the year, it’s one of the best films of the year, period.

Thank you Phil Lord and Chris Miller for creating this fantastic movie.

What else is there to say expect… ‘Everything is awesome!

Overall rating 5/5

Reviewed and written by Nick Zabierek

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I just got back from seeing the latest animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios: Frozen. Here’s my take on it:

Frozen is a 2013 American computer animated musical fantasy film released by Walt Disney Pictures. Loosely based (And I do mean LOOSELY) on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, the film tells the story of a fearless princess Anna (Kristen Bell) who sets off on an epic journey alongside a rugged, thrill-seeking mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his loyal pet reindeer, and a hapless snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) to find her estranged sister Elsa (Indina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

You may have seen some trailers proclaiming that this is the best Disney film since The Lion King. Is it? Well, no, not really, but it’s very very good.

First of, the visuals are outstanding, some of the best I’ve ever seen in a Disney film. The effects on Elsa’s snow powers are truly jaw dropping and just gorgeous to look at. The characters are awesome too, they’re well written, well animated, likeable, funny and just a lot of fun to watch. What’s great about this film is that the heart comes from not the Princess and the Prince cliche, but the relationship between the two sisters, Anna and Elsa. We haven’t really seen Disney tackle a relationship like this, but it really works. Anna is a ton of fun, she’s sweet but has her limits, well mannered but incredibly goofy at times and like any good character, she has heart. She loves her sister and only wants them to reconnect (Elsa has been told to stay away from Anna in case her ice powers hurt her) You really do buy their relationship and you want them to work things out and be best friends again.

Anna is great, but Elsa is definitely the star of the film though. Her song ‘Let it go’ is astonishing. It occurs when she has fled her kingdom and into the mountains. Here, after coming to terms with her icy secret being out in the open, she rejoices that she no longer has to be afraid of her powers, building herself an ice palace to stay in forever. The song is so well written,  beautifully performed and just a joy to listen to. It has to be seen (or heard) to believe. There are a lot of songs, and they’re all good, but ‘Let it go’ is the star (And a shoe in for the ‘Best original song’ Oscar)

Speaking of which, the music is awesome too. Okay, it’s not Alan Menken, but the score is very beautiful and calm. Giving homage to the Norway and Sápmi-inspired setting, the composers truly create a beautiful musical journey.

Voice acting from everyone is great, and the comic relief is good too. I was expecting to despise Olaf the snowman, but you know what? He was hilarious! I loved his running gag about wanting to see Summer, though he has no idea that he will melt if he ever sees it. Funny and poignant at the same time.

So, after hearing all this, the film seems perfect right? Well, there are some problems. First of, I do feel the story is a bit rushed at times, in particular the third act, the ending seems to occur way to fast. I was kind of hoping for a few extra minutes to bring closure and maybe a big booming broadway reprisal song, like most Disney films have, which we sadly don’t get.

The other songs are good, but not as memorable as ‘Let it go’. They’re around 9 songs in the movie and I really only remember two: ‘Let it go’ and ‘For the first time in forever’ Both have great lyrics and music and are really fun to listen too. The other one’s aren’t necessarily bad, they’re just not as good. For example, there is a song in the middle in which a family of trolls sing about how Kristof would make a good boyfriend for Anna. This song really does not add any purpose and it seems out of place. The villain is also quite weak. There’s a twist about who the villain of the film really is and while it is fairly well written, it’s also not very strong  and a touch predictable.

I would have also liked to get more backstory of the characters, like we never learn how Elsa got her ice powers, all we get is the fact that she was ‘born with them’, I’m sorry but that’s a pretty lame excuse. Also, I feel the third act of the film wasn’t as strong as the previous two. It was still good, but it seemed to be far to rushed, especially the climax.

So, overall even though this film does have flaws, I can’t deny that this was a fantastic film. The positives far outweigh the negatives.

It’s great to see Disney returning to their roots of making pure, magical, funny, touching and beautiful films. I definitely recommend it to any Disney fan and fans of cinema in general. It really does have something for everyone. I’m sure Walt himself would be proud of this one.

Bravo Disney, bravo.

Overall rating: 4/5

Reviewed by Nick Zabierek