Coco (2017, Directed by Lee Unkrich) English 8

Voices of Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Cheech Marin

Mexico’s Day of the Dead is an incredibly lively and colorful event. It’s fascinating, and I was amazed that it wasn’t featured in more films. Sure, I saw it somewhere in the background of John Huston’s Under the Volcano, but it wasn’t until 2014’s Book of Life that the annual  holiday was given a full film. Now the Day of the Dead is given the Pixar treatment which means tons of heart, humor, and glorious animation. While Book of Life was good, Coco will be the film best remembered and linked to Dia de los Muertos. It’s another feather in Pixar’s cap. A wonderful movie.

Miguel Rivera (12 years old) was born into a family that loves each other but hates music. Long before he was born, his great-great grandfather left home, a wife and child, to pursue a career as a musician. His great-great grandmother, left alone to raise a child, worked hard to overcome, but banned music from her life and the lives of her descendants. Miguel knows all of this, but also knows that his destiny is to be a musician. He can sing and play the guitar just like his idol, Ernesto De La Cruz, but how can he follow his dreams without alienating his family? With that he embarks on a journey through the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors and an untrustworthy rogue named Hector on his way to finding his hero Ernesto.

There’s an entire history of American cinema borrowing elements from foreign cultures through half-baked representations. Coco gets it all right. The voice cast (all stellar) is hispanic. The animators clearly and typically went to painful stakes to nail the small details. The writing conjures up a foreign culture lovingly and believably. The amazing thing is the film’s ability to show a separate culture but make it relatable to all. I loved the characters in this film, loved the family. I was impressed by the teamwork between animators and actors in creating them. The Day of the Dead offers a wealth of imagery for Pixar to play with, and they do their best work since Brave (which was technically brilliant, but weak story-wise).

When it comes to original, high quality animation, Pixar is in a class of their own. There was a period when Pixar was doling out an original, creative, masterful animated film every year, culminating in Oscars and huge box office returns. Lately, like the film industry as a whole, they’ve turned to a number of sequels: Monsters University, Finding Dory, Cars 3. These efforts though entertaining, beautifully animated, and well-crafted, they’ve failed to generate the same acclaim and excitement that Pixar was accustomed to. Coco is a return to form, in league with Inside Out, and Pixar’s early efforts.

-Walter Howard-

Eight Things I Liked About Thor: Ragnarok (2017, Directed by Taika Waititi) English 7

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo

Chris Hemsworth’s Thor returns for his third solo outing and fifth Marvel film altogether. I could not have cared less. That is, until I saw the trailer, and thought, this looks different. The first Thor movie (2011) was bad. One of my least favorite Marvel films, and Thor himself, was boring. He’s indestructible, devoid of a real personality, and trapped in an unappealing romance with Jane Porter, played by Natalie Portman (I don’t care how attractive the actors are, their relationship was dumb). Then the second film came along, The Dark World (2013), and managed to be even worse. Somehow, fans hung in, and thanks to them, we get this third adventure, directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi. Unfamiliar with his work before seeing the Thor trailer, I have since seen a number of his comedies, and been impressed. They’re funny, and beyond all of the special effects, CGI, and technical brilliance Thor: Ragnarok boasts, it, too, is very funny. Here are the ten things I liked about Marvel’s latest that make it worth seeing:

  1. Thor: Ragnarok is an oddball comedy-There is a lot going for this picture, which I will proceed to list out, but it all comes back to the director’s comedic sensibility. Every scene features some humorous detail or punchline. From the start, to the end, making this a fun picture.
  2. Death of Stoicism-Stoic heroes can be good when a film warrants being taken seriously, or if you have a solid comic foil. Neither of those reasons pertained to the Thor franchise. This time around, they got it right. Gone is the humorless protagonist from previous movies. Hemsworth has even commented, saying he was, “a bit bored” with his character. He, after being the only source of light in the Ghostbusters reboot, proves once again to have comedic chops, and despite the colorful supporting cast, he owns this movie.
  3. Stakes is High-The plot mainly concerns a long lost sister named Hela (played by Blanchett) who returns to Asgard seeking destruction and revenge. When attempting to stand up to her, Thor is defeated easily and his hammer destroyed. This happens at the film’s outset and allows for actual stakes, as we wonder how Thor will be able to stop her. Thor’s still a god, but not as invulnerable.
  4. Thor and Hulk bromance- Thor gets reunited with his old Avengers teammate on the planet Sakaar where the two are forced to fight it out Gladiator style. This sets the tone for their relationship in this movie, a very antagonistic rivalry. Much humor is derived from their arguments over who is stronger, but Thor knows he needs the Hulk if he’s going to stand a chance at Hela.
  5. Jeff Goldblum- He plays Grandmaster, a hedonistic leader of Sakaar, where most of the film takes place, and he almost steals the show. Goldblum was allowed to ad-lib and his humor fits right in with the director’s. I hope they work together more.
  6. Taking Cues from Guardians of the Galaxy-Guardians of the Galaxy hit big by mixing the superhero genre with comedy, huge amounts of color, and an eclectic soundtrack. Thor does that formula better than either Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Standouts from the soundtrack are, of course, Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin and Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
  7. Korg-Voiced and played through Motion Capture by the director, this new character Thor encounters while enslaved as a gladiator is a new favorite. Huge and fearsome looking, his soft-spoken demeanor comes as a wonderful surprise. Marvel even considered some sort of spinoff featuring the character, but have opted for a reappearance in some other Marvel property.
  8. Fresh Love Interest-As mentioned the Jane Porter romance was going nowhere. This entry features a jaded Valkyrie warrior played by Tessa Thompson. More Thor’s equal in fighting, and given a real personality right off the back as she stumbles drunkenly from her ship (she’s the one who captures him, leading to his stint as a gladiator). Interested to see where the Thor-Valkyrie relationship goes.

To wrap it up, Thor was a good deal of fun and a step in the right direction for the franchise. Marvel has given us two strong offerings this year with this and Spiderman: Homecoming which I give the slight edge. My main drawback was the villain, which is a common complaint I feel for the Marvel movies. They do not give as much thought to making their villains compelling as they do everything else. I like that Hela is stronger than Thor as I’ve stated but besides that, she’s not unique. I guess they thought by getting a great actress to play the role, the work was finished. Also, I wish there was more done with the gladiator fighting. I love the idea of fight to the death tournaments (Gladiator, Bloodsport, Enter the Dragon, The Quick and the Dead). It’s a very entertaining premise. All in all, an excellent action-comedy adventure.

-Walter Howard-

Blade Runner 2049 (2017, Directed by Denis Villeneuve) English 5

Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Carla Juri, Dave Bautista, Robin Wright

I was afraid this belated sequel would be made too accessible. The original masterpiece, directed by Ridley Scott, was met with faint praise and middling box-office returns, and so, I presumed, 35 years later, this new film team would simplify. Lighten. Keep the mood, the atmosphere, and premise, but then deliver a more structured story, a less elusive story. I’d like to say kudos to director, Villeneuve, writer, Hampton Fancher, and anyone else involved in this film’s final confounding effect. I’d like to focus on its many virtues and hail this film as the next sci-fi great, but that would be ignoring the tremendous amount of frustration I felt during and after its run. That, in itself, could be seen as a commendation for Blade Runner 2049, if it weren’t saddled with the more severe feeling, the worst of all film watching emotions, which is boredom. Blade Runner 2049 is 163 minutes long, and it felt like 163 minutes. Its runtime and massive pretensions wore on me. Therefore I will not be extolling this epic sequel, but instead will admit to feeling disappointed.

A quick catch-up is necessary, and fair warning, spoilers from 1982’s Blade Runner forthcoming (I will do my best not spoil 2049). The futuristic setting and context are recounted to us at the outset of 2049, so Ill only remind you of the key plot points in Blade Runner. Rick Deckard is an L.A cop whose sole purpose is to find and stomp out a rogue breed of androids (replicants) that have surpassed humans in nearly every aspect of living. Originally intended to be slaves of labor, these super-humans, led by Roy (Rutger Hauer) revolt, making them threats to society. Deckard, and anyone in the pursuit of killing androids are referred to as Blade Runners. In the course of his duty, Deckard meets Rachael and identifies her as a replicant. Instead of “retiring” her, he falls in love, and the two escape Los Angeles 2019 in hopes of starting a life together.

2049 stars Ryan Gosling as a Blade Runner known as K. We are told early on, explicitly, that he is himself an android, which is something that was left ambiguous about Deckard in the original. K, whose mission is to stop a growing resistance movement from a factious line of androids, stumbles on a secret that could change everything. A miracle of sorts. Twenty eight years earlier, an android gave birth to a child. Androids giving birth was previously thought impossible. Everybody wants this miracle android, now an adult. The resistance want the child as a symbol of their “humanity,” to validate them in essence. The L.A.P.D wants all evidence of a miracle android to disappear.  And a sinister third party led by replicant manufacturer and perverse God-figure Nander Wallace (Leto) want this mysterious android to help him solve reproduction in his models in order to bolster sales. K’s discovery ultimately leads him to an old, worn-out Deckard holed up in Las Vegas, and the two spend the rest of the film fighting Wallace’s henchmen and sorting through revelations.

Blade Runner, and this is certainly true of its source, the Phillip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, built its reputation on being a challenging science fiction marvel that blended pulp noir with enormous religious and philosophical themes. Is this true of its sequel? As comparison is inescapable. I don’t think it is. I found 2049 to be brooding rather than deep or thoughtful, and solemn rather than atmospheric. I found myself imagining the director holding a stop watch, making sure that there was at least a five second silence between every passage of dialogue. I especially found Jared Leto’s character, in theory, the most interesting, to be pretentious and awkward. His dialogue nonsensical and his weirdness forced. Should we talk about 2049’s themes? Does subtext matter when you find the text muddled? The most readily apparent theme concerns the character of Nander Wallace. Wallace has a God-Complex-he even calls his creations angels- but it’s important to note that none of his replicants can procreate. It was Tyrell, the original creator from Blade Runner who made the replicant that had the child. Think of Tyrell as a God-figure and Wallace as an imposter, someone who wants to be in Tyrell’s place. A sinister, lesser creator. A devil. Much of his dialogue highlights the dichotomy between him and Tyrell, as he laments that there are good angels and bad angels. Beyond that, I was at a loss to forage themes of interest. True, there are quotes intended to be provocative. “The most human thing you can do is die for something you believe in,” for example. But, in all, I found the pickings slim, in terms of subjects for thought.

The visuals, this artificial future created by film artists and technicians, which have been lauded by critics en masse, were a source of discontent for me. Shot to shot, is 2049 nice to look at? Mostly. Roger Deakins is a thirteen time Oscar nominee. The lighting and hues are spectacular, sure, but Blade Runner was more than that. The design of Los Angeles to this day, thirty plus years later, is awe-inspiring. 2049 reminded me of too many sci-fi pics that preceded it. Clinical atmosphere to indicate a washed up future. Rich hues to be aesthetically pleasing. Blade Runner created a world that I wanted to spend time with (if not actually inhabit). 2049’s vision of the future passed the time. There is almost no trace of noir in the proceeding, and that to me is major loss between Villeneuve’s film and the original. Just look at the original poster:

Image result for blade runner

This poster captures the noir spirit of the first film, one that’s lacking from its sequel, and it’s that spirit that mesmerized me.

I had mentioned virtues in my opening,and on a more positive note, 2049 unquestionably has some. The dual leads were impressive. Gosling as the weary, embattled cop is strong, and Ford gives his one of his best performances in this, a supporting role. The sound design, unlike the visuals, is inspired, and the final sequence, a fist fight in a flooding hovercraft, is a tour de force. Worth seeing. Worth being disappointed by. Worth holding the minority opinion on and having to argue with people you respect about.

-Walter Howard-

 

It (2017, Directed by Andy Muschietti) English 8

Starring Jaeden Leiberher, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs

Big budgets don’t usually equal big scares for me. The most horrifying films, I mean the ones that truly frightened me, have largely been the low-budget, gritty, raw, thrillers set in the mold of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Unnerving, punishing, with gory payoffs around the corner of every suspense scene, these kind of thrills aren’t for everybody. But It follows a different model. More Poltergeist than slasher pick, and it’s really more Goonies than anything else. It’s scary, but it’s more than that. It’s funny, nostalgic, and imaginative. It’s also a creditable big-budget spectacle.

Set in a town where children disappear at a rate well beyond the national average, we know, thanks to a vicious opening scene, that some sort of monster clown calling himself Pennywise (Skarsgård) is to blame. The film follows seven members of the “loser club,” a group of bullied junior high kids, at a time when kids are going missing left and right. Their leader, Bill, has a younger brother missing, but hasn’t given up finding him. Beverley, the only girl in the group, is abused at home and deemed a slut at school. Mike is an orphaned black kid forced to work in a slaughter house. Ben is an overweight, sensitive new kid. Eddie’s a hypochondriac. Stan’s a nervous Jewish boy on the cusp of his bar mitzvah. And Richie’s a big-mouth incapable of taking anything very seriously. Together they try to solve the mystery of the missing children, with the majority of the film’s thrills coming from visions Pennywise visits upon the protagonists.

It, with its elusive title, and alternately nightmarish and illusory qualities, speaks on the nature of children’s imaginations. Pennywise is malleable and enigmatic, which is what the title suggests. “It” is whatever scares you. “It” is what haunts you in your sleep carrying over to your waking life. Like countless children’s adventures and Disney classics, the adults in this film are either M.I.A, completely useless, or worse, something sinister. It takes that dynamic to the extreme. The children are left completely on their own to triumph against evil. Adults can’t see Pennywise or his dark illusions. At no point do any adults do anything to aid the young heroes. This is a standard nightmare scenario.

But the film isn’t simply a dark drag as its predecessor (in the form of a miniseries) was. Set in the ’80s, the film mines a number of pop-culture references and clever banter between the leads to great effect. We grow to care about the characters, which makes the impending horror scenes that much more scary. The soundtrack is fantastic (adding more to the coming of age feel). The young cast is impressive, with the characters Richie and Eddie providing much of the laughs. It easily could have been the equivalent of a one-joke comedy. You have a nightmarish clown which is scary, but not in itself interesting.  When weaved into a story about friendship and fighting back against bullies, you have the excellent movie that is It.

-Walter Howard-

10 Things I liked about Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Directed by Jon Watts) 7

Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau,  Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei

Spider-Man is back for his third incarnation, this time being played by young Brit, Tom Holland. As you probably know, Marvel got a hold of their original property, snagging the rights back from Sony who had made a mess of the work over the years (remember the Amazing Spider-Man 2?). This time out, Peter Parker, fresh off a stint helping the Avengers, impatiently waits his turn to save the world. Tony Stark is holding him back, he feels. Treating him like a kid. All he needs is a chance to show what he can do. In comes Adrian Toomes, an abnormally powerful weapons dealer played by Michael Keaton, and Peter sees his opportunity for a seat at the Avengers’ table. This was an all around good film; not a great film, but one that perfectly manages the right mix of high stakes action and adventure movie fun. Here is a list of the things I liked about Marvel’s Spider-Man:

  1. Tom Holland-Great Peter Parker. Great Spider-Man. I look forward to seeing him again in the inevitable 7 or 8 future appearances. He’s likeable. Convincing as a young man, because he is one (Andrew Garfield was pushing 30). Awkward. Clever. Everything you’d want from a protagonist in a teen comedy.
  2. Fun and Fancy Free: The newest Spider-Man, more than any Spider-Man film before it, feels like a movie about teenagers. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield had the weight of the world on their shoulders. Tom Holland lives in a world with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, etc. He wants more to deal with as opposed to his predecessors who wanted less. The result is this film is light and fun in a way that older Spidermans couldn’t be; especially the ill-conceived Amazing Spider-Man movies.
  3. Smells Like Teen Spirit: I mentioned that this felt like a movie about teenagers. Well that comes complete with petty romances, school bullies, uncool friends, awkward moments. In this case, I love the clichés.  While battling black market deals on world domination weapons, Peter also struggles with his crush on Liz, the pretty and popular senior girl on his Academic Decathlon team.
  4. The Vulture-This could have been the worst part of the film. A vulture? As great and as dominant as Marvel has been, villains are definitely their weakness. They haven’t had anyone to rival The Joker for example from DC. They tend to go for big, abstract villains rather than compelling character based baddies, which is what they did here. Casting Michael Keaton signaled a good direction, and he is excellent in the film. Compelling, real, intimidating, even relatable at times. His Vulture is truly more of a family man who saw an opportunity and took it. He’s ruthless rather than diabolical, and a big part of why the movie works.
  5. No Origin Story-We all know by now that Peter Parker was raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. That Peter makes a mistake that leads to his Uncle’s death. That the guilt Peter feels is one of his chief motivations. That he was bitten by some kind of spider that endowed him with these unique abilities. The last Spider-Man decided to recycle those plot lines, and it was a major drag. I don’t think anybody’s favorite part of a superhero story is his origin (unless we’re talking about Unbreakable). No need to retread here. When the movie, begins Peter Parker is already Spider-Man, and he knows how to use his abilities. Get on with the film. They do.
  6. Everybody Needs Somebody Sometime-Spider-Man gets a sidekick. That’s new. His name is Ned. He’s Peter’s best friend. He obviously knows his identity, and by the end begins to aid Peter with his elite computer skills. He’s also terrific comic relief during adding to the teen comedy vibe throughout the picture.
  7. Diverse Cast-Alright so Peter Parker’s still white. Fine. But his love interest: black. Best friend: Filipino. MJ: mixed. School bully: Hispanic. I approve. Plus Donald Glover is in the movie as a kind of nod to the popularity of his campaign for the Spider-Man role.
  8. The Adults- The veteran supporting cast definitely bolster the film without stealing the show from the young actors. Downey Jr., playing a more responsible Tony Stark, is a witty source of wisdom as opposed to earlier movies’ reliance on fortune cookie sayings from Aunt and Uncle. Marisa Tomei is a much more realistic Aunt to Peter Parker, and the film finds the humor in this attractive version of Aunt May. Jon Favreau, Bokeem Woodbine, Jennifer Connelly round out the cast, and I’ve already told you about Michael Keaton.
  9. Her, the Sequel-Peter gets his own version of JARVIS, and its the understanding voice of an attractive older woman (Jennifer Connelly). This makes the middle sequences where we basically are leaning about his abilities and functions way more entertaining than the instruction video it could have been. It also highlights the sheer number of abilities new Spider-Man has thanks to the suit.
  10. Surprise, Surprise-I won’t tell you what it is, but there was a pretty clever surprise towards the end of this film that I have to include on this list. It raised the stakes; both dramatically and comically. You’ll see.

-Walter Howard-

 

 

The Mummy (2017 Directed by Alex Kurtzman) English 4

Starring Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe

Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy (1999) knew what it wanted to be and delivered. Starring the largely forgotten Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, that blockbuster horror film which launched a trilogy was an unabashed knock-off of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series. Period setting, heroic male, beautiful but capable leading lady, mysterious loot. All hallmarks of the Indiana Jones franchise. But because it had no pretensions about being a great film, and thus embraced its B movie status so confidently, The Mummy was a terrific success, and still holds up as a tremendously entertaining 2 hours. Now, 18 years later, we come to yet another iteration of The Mummy story (remember that there were about a dozen or so versions well before Brendan Fraser had his turn). The new Mummy. The Mummy 2017.  This is the second worst Mummy film I’ve seen.

Starring Tom Cruise as Nick Morton, in another dedicated, seemingly effortless performance in an action picture, the film picks up with our hero and his reluctant partner fortune hunting in the Middle East. The two are Army officers who’ve stumbled on the tomb of Ahmanet, while disobeying practically every order given to them by their superior officers. Jennifer Halsey, an archaeologist played Annabelle Wallis, joins forces with the men, and together they unleash an ancient curse of unspeakable evil, in truly inept fashion. Rather than wasting time creating suspense, the film steamrolls past any possible build-up, and unleashes the Mummy first thing. The remainder of the movie deals with Morton and Halsey working together to eliminate the catastrophic power, before she…probably some kind of end of the world scenario, but I honestly don’t remember her plot. The Mummy, Princess Ahmanet, was second best in her Fathers eye, dwarfed by the existence of her brother, and so she murders her whole family. Making your monster even the slightest bit sympathetic is problematic in a blockbuster. The best example of a movie monster for me is Jaws, and what was his backstory? Filmmaker Alex Kurtzman would have been wise to follow that example. No sympathetic backstory, please. A large dose of the plot concerns the secret organization known as Prodigium, an excuse for Universal to contrive their “cinematic universe.” Russel Crowe plays Dr. Jekyll setting himself up for a follow up solo effort (although it seems pointless after this movie’s lack of success). Dr. Jekyll runs Prodigium, giving very long expositions, and teasing us with the inevitable Mr. Hyde appearance.

None of the film is done particularly well. Director Alex Kurtzman has absolutely no track record that would suggest he should have been given this job. He wrote the screenplay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? You’re hoping to rival Marvel with their proven cinematic universe, and you debut with this dud. To be clear, and anybody who knows me understands that I pretty much enjoy just about any movie watched at the theater. if I’m eating popcorn and sour patch kids while watching you, you’d have to be unwatchable for me not to have a good time. So this wasn’t the worst time in the world, but there’s nothing to endorse about The Mummy. There is almost no supporting cast to speak of which is incredibly odd and ill conceived for a horror film. You need characters we can anticipate dying in horrific fashion. There’s no one in this movie longer than five minutes for us to have any rooting interest in besides the stars and we know they aren’t going to die, which means there is zero suspense. Badly mediocre monster movie. Poor, probably death sentence start to Universal’s Cinematic universe.

For the record, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the only worse film in The Mummy franchise.

-Walter Howard-

Despicable Me 3 (2017, Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda) English 6

Voices of Steve Carrell, Trey Parker, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Julie Andrews, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate

Some film-thirds tie together and conclude epic storylines in spectacular fashion (see The Return of the King or The Dark Knight Rises for examples). The newest Despicable Me film, following the wildly and unexpectedly successful first two entries, does exactly what it did the first two times, with no apparent thoughts of slowing down or concluding. This series is going to go on for a while, more like Ice Age than Batman. And why not? They are relatively inexpensive money-making machines. The first one made half a billion on a 70 million dollar budget. The second made nearly a billion. I only hope that for as long as they make these films, they make them good, and so far, that’s been the case. Despicable Me 3 is an amusingly eccentric, fun, fast-paced, colorful film, much like its predecessors.

This time, Gru (voiced by Carrell), his new wife, Lucy Wilde (Wiig), and three adoptive girls meet Dru (also voiced by Carrell), Gru’s long-lost twin brother. When the two were babies, their parents separated, taking one child with them and keeping the other secret from his brother. Gru’s mother tells him she got second pick. Dru’s a fun-loving, gregarious type, but he doesn’t have the intelligence of Gru. So he tells his brother about their family’s history of masterminding great feats of villainy, and how he needs his help fulfilling his legacy. Gru’s given up villainy though, becoming an agent against crime along with his wife. Eventually, Dru brings Gru out of retirement, and the two plan to steal a precious jewel from Balthazar Bratt, an ’80s has-been turned supervillain.

One of the chief pleasures of these films has been the use of classic cartoonish humor. A character coming to see Gru is strapped to a rocket, launched into orbit, crash lands back on Earth, and limps his way back to Gru’s lawn. It’s looney tunes seen in modern three dimensional animation. Another hallmark of these films has been Pharrell Williams accomplished soundtracks, spawning the hit song “Happy” in the second entry. I doubt any of the songs this time around score that level of success, but they still work well with the movie. Third and finally, the voice acting is always on point, Carrell, Wiig, and Parker’s voices fully integrated within their characters.

I have no real complaints against the film except that I’ve seen this before. The combination of sweet and funny should work again to make the studio rich and the audience happy. Worth watching for those who love animation.

-Walter Howard-