The New Mutants (2020)

I was very intrigued by this when I saw the first trailer. A horror movie set in the X-Men universe? That’s hella original, comic book movies are usually action comedies, so the idea of one stepping away from that to create something truly original is exciting. Plus, it’s got Anya Taylor-Joy, who is suitably creepy and usually gives great performances, and would be perfect for this.

That was back in 2017. It’s 2020 now (in case you hadn’t noticed), and has a film that’s been delayed as long as this one ever come out and been thought of as good? Those kind of delays are usually a bad sign, especially with a release as quiet as this one, I know there’s a pandemic, but I have not seen ANY publicity for this at all lately. Maybe one day a film will break that curse, and all the delays will be worth it, but not this film.

It’s hard to pinpoint why this film is a mess, I was going to blame the reshoots, but they didn’t actually get done. The core film just isn’t that good. I don’t know if it is the case but it feels unfinished, some of the CGI is embarrassing for a film with a budget like this. The script is, well it’s kind of bad. The bit about “you have two bears inside you” I think is meant to be deep and meaningful (and lead into the big bad), but it’s SO unsubtly done (they mention the narrative of it at least 3 times in the film, two of which are voice overs) that it comes off as slightly condescending towards the audience. It might as well have a flashing light saying “This is symbolism. DO YOU GET IT?” That’s not the most frustrating thing though. Now I know for a fact everybody in this film can, and have, given great performances. I know they’re incredibly talented performers. So with that in mind I have to say this: what the hell was up with the accents in this movie? It’s like everybody thought they were still in rehearsal and they were trying to figure out who their characters were.

Some of the characters are just as inconsistent. With their personalities changing from one scene to the next in an incredibly frustrating manner. Anya Taylor-Joy’s character in particular seems like two characters in one, the writers never quite sure how to make her character work, should they make her a sweet teen who has suffered hardship? A badass warrior who cares about her fellow mutants, or a massive racist bully? In the end they can’t decide, so make her all three, depending on what the plot needs.

On the plus side, the central romance REALLY works. You can tell this because there were moments where the two characters are just sitting next to each other, and you can feel the sexual tension between them. It’s hard to explain how, but it’s definitely there. So when it does happen you’re not thinking “oh God, another romance. how trite. Yeah it’s the first openly gay one in an x-men film (to my knowledge) but still dull”. You want it to happen so you’re glad when it does.

So overall, a film that didn’t have reshoots, but probably should have. And you have no idea how frustrating it is that this is probably the last film I’ll see in cinema in 2020. Just about sums the year up. It’s just disappointing, they had a chance to do something different and exciting, instead it’s so pedestrian I want to run it over with my car.

Bill And Ted Face The Music (2020)

Yeah I love this film series, I love it so much I’ve even read the comics (I didn’t buy them, I’m not mad). I get they’re not the best films in the world, and I will still argue they didn’t deserve a passing grade for their history presentation (they didn’t do anything, they got the historical figures to do all the work). But there’s just something so damn wholesome about the whole thing. The characters are dedicated to each other, and to their partners. Seriously, across three movies they are never tempted to be led astray in their relationships, it’s so comforting.

So does that continue now? In a world where they are trying to make dark and gritty superman movies, is there really space for a Bill And Ted movie? Or will it just seem out of place, a relic of a bygone age that the modern cynical world will just laugh at?

Of course it works. Of course there’s still space for lightness and stupidity, in fact in times like this you could argue it’s essential. We need this movie. We need a movie devoid of cynicism, that we can just watch and enjoy ourselves for the duration of. In my review of Brahms: The Boy 2 (worst title ever btw) I mentioned that it seemed like nobody involved gave a shit, that’s definitely not the case here. I’m not saying this is definitely the case, but it seems like this role is the one that Keanu Reeves has some of the most love for. Despite The Matrix, John Wick, etc, this is the most comfortable you see him, it’s like he’s having the time of his life. Alex Winter, too, is relishing this role. The way the two perform it’s like they’ve lived these characters constantly since the last film. It doesn’t feel like they’re performing, it feels like they are.

The supporting cast is great too. I still can’t tell the difference between Samara Weaving and Margot Robbie, but that’s more my fault than theirs. There are two great surprise performers though.

One, I suspected would be the case from the trailer. Brigette Lundy-Paine, NAILS their part as Ted’s daughter, completely. I don’t know how much research they did into the part, but they got the mannerisms down 100%. You completely buy them as related and I really want to see them do more stuff. One that did surprise me, was Anthony Carrigan as a killer robot sent from the future. I’d only seen him before as Victor Zsasz in the Gotham TV series, so when I saw he was playing a robot assassin in this film I thought I knew what to expect. I won’t spoil his character here, but trust me you have to see it as it provides some of the funniest moments in the film.

Now onto the negatives: it doesn’t do quite as much with the general concept as it could. One of the highlights of the first one was seeing them use time travel to their advantage (when it comes to hiding keys etc). You don’t get any of that smartness in here which is a shame. Also, there’s an extended musician performance which I feel will really date this movie in a few years time.

So in summary, please see this, it’s wonderful and you’ll enjoy it.

Brahms: The Boy II (2020)

I’ll freely admit I did not see the first film, but I don’t think that matters as I’m not entirely sure the people who made this one did either considering how it seems to completely retcon the ending. Which raises the question: who is this film for? People who enjoyed the first one won’t like the change, and people who didn’t like it aren’t going to see this film as they would have been put off by the first one.

I suppose it would have been okay if the film was a remarkable improvement, but I doubt that’s the case. Like I said, I haven’t seen the first one, but there is no way it can be worse than this. It’s strange for a toy doll to not be the most wooden thing in a film. Nobody gives a good performance in this, and it’s not due to a lack of talent, it’s lack of effort. It’s nobody giving a single shit about this film. It’s directed without flair, how can someone who has directed 5 or 6 feature films before this seem so inexperienced? They’ve all been horror films too so it’s not as though he’s trying a new genre, he should be great at this by now. He should know how to subtly scare the audience and not be dependent on jump scares and babys-first-scares style of horror. This does not seem like it was directed with passion, by somebody who wants to make it the best he can. This seems like it was directed by computer, no emotion, no idea of why certain horror techniques are used, it just uses them because it feels it should.

The script……I watched this film four days ago and I still couldn’t tell you much of the plot. It left nothing on me. Nothing stood out in a positive way, and trust me, considering I’m writing a horror film, I pay attention to horror film scripts, even if only so I can get inspired. For a film to give me NOTHING I can use is almost admirable. Not a single shot, not a single moment, nothing, it gave me zero to work with. That’s incredible for a film that is nearly three hours long.

Wait, what’s that? It’s only 86 minutes long? Then why did it seem like it was taking ages to watch it?

Oh, okay.

Palm Springs (2020)

I went into this pretty blind. I knew it existed, I knew Andy Samberg was in it, and I knew the poster. The first minute or so were pretty much as I expected: he wakes up and has sex (attempts to) with his partner the morning of a wedding.

Then it gets weird. He seems a little too bored, a little too like he knows exactly what is going to happen at all times. There’s a reason for that, he’s in a Groundhog Day situation and has lived this day multiple times. The good thing about this is the film drops just enough hints that if you’re paying attention you can figure it out before it’s revealed. Before the reveal it is kind of a standard romcom, and then he gets shot by someone who hates him because he caused him to go through the loop too.

So yeah, the opening section sets in stone the notion that this is not a typical romcom. It has far more jokes about suicide than the typical romcom (well, the typical romcom not written by me, at least). It also has a much darker undertone than it appears. He brings up how he behaves knowing nothing has consequences, bringing up the fact that it doesn’t matter if other people don’t remember, you do. So if you do something awful, you will be haunted by it. As he says

“Being a source of terror is not fun and it’s not fulfilling, I know from experience”

That one line gives us so much potential backstory to that character. It hints that he went through a stage where he killed people, where he viciously tortured those who annoyed him (and considering he knows his girlfriend is cheating on him, that gives us some VERY dark possibilities). I love that it hints at that backstory, but never shows us. It gives us the impression that the characters have lives outside of this film, these characters and this world seem real (except the random dinosaurs).

This film does so much right, the performances are all spot on, and overloaded with unsaid character motivations and beliefs. Everybody is on top form, it doesn’t have as many comedian cameos as you think it would. Truth be told I only remember recognising three of the cast members, but even the “unknowns” do their job incredibly well, all meshing together to form a cohesive unit. I firmly believe this may be one of the best ensemble casts I’ve seen in a long time, not a single weak link.

Now the downsides: visually it doesn’t really do much. There is some impressive stunt work in it, but the location itself never feels as paradisiacal as you feel it could. I don’t know whether it’s set design, or directing, but the location itself doesn’t “pop” as much as you feel it should. Also I feel the music could be better, I can’t remember a single song from this film, and considering it’s a summer-based horror-comedy that’s a disappointment. Also some of the montages aren’t quite fun enough. There are some moments where they’re genuinely sweet and funny, but then there are others where they just feel kind of standard. Overall though, well worth a watch. If you have a hulu account (or have a friend with one), it’s on there so you should definitely check it out on there.

Vivarium (2019)

I remember when I watched The VVitch years ago and was amazed at how it made somewhat standard scenes seem creepy and scary. A shot of a tree would somehow be one of the scariest moments in film and you have no idea why, it’s just great film-making. This is similar. It has a moment where they drive up a street to a house, that’s it. Nothing happens to them, nothing jumps out at them, it’s just them driving up a street. It’s also the creepiest scene I’ve seen in a LONG time. The houses are identical, like they’ve all been copied and pasted in an unnatural manner. The whole film is like that, the mundane made incredibly creepy through FANTASTIC film-making. Normally in horror it’s darkness that makes things creepy. This is the opposite, everything is so well-light and normal and bright that it’s that that makes it creepy.

The story is good, but ultimately frustrating sometimes as there are multiple questions which don’t get answered. Normally I’d call that annoying and lazy, but with this it works. The tone is perfect for that kind of narrative. It’s supposed to be a confusing mess as that’s what the characters are feeling. It makes you feel as helpless and trapped as the characters. There’s not enough focus on how character empathy can be tied into the narrative structure. I’ve made a conscious decision to do this when I made Poppy Blooms. I intentionally kept everything in that building so that the audience would feel as limited as the character was. The best case I can think of where the opposite has been the case and the narrative structure has been hurt by it will be The Mercy, aka, the film where Colin Firth is stuck on a boat. As I said here the film was supposed to be about how isolated he felt, but it kept cutting back to other characters, and had a lot of flashbacks of him interacting with people, as such you never felt as isolated as he did.

This is the opposite, it’s a confusing mess, because the characters are confused. I refuse to believe the confusing nature isn’t intentional, the film-maker is just too talented for that to be the case. I’m basing that off one film, yes, but it is a very good film. Plus, anybody who made this scene is certainly one of the most talented film-makers the world has.

I highly recommend this film, I’m not going to want to watch it again but I’m very glad I watched it. Well, maybe “glad” isn’t the correct word but you know what I mean, if you have shudder (and if you don’t, you should), it’s available on there.

Bloodshot (2020)

I was going to cough on the woman who lives next door the other day, then I remembered that the bible says you shouldn’t COVID your neighbours wife.

There it is, possibly the worst joke I will make all day, maybe. But what does it have to do with this film? Absolutely nothing. So was there any point in me making it? Not really. So why did I do it? I don’t exactly have a word count here, I just go until the review naturally stops. I do know, though, that I don’t want a review to just be a single paragraph as that will be a bit weird. But that might be all I can manage for this review so I have to pad it out somewhat. It’s a difficult review to write. Not for any personal or deeply emotional reason, I just can’t remember much about it. I can’t remember any of the characters names, much of the plot or sequences etc, it left absolutely no impression on me.

I think part of that is due to the advertising, it made it clear that the backstory about his wife being killed was a lie so that he would hunt down and kill people in revenge. This takes A LONG TIME to happen in the film, so for a large portion of the film you don’t pay attention because you know it’s fake. You know that what you’re watching doesn’t matter so you don’t care. A smarter thing to do would have been to either not have that in the advertising, or to change it so it happens much earlier in the film.

Don’t get me wrong, predictable can still be good if it’s done well. If it’s either stylish enough or funny enough so that the predictability doesn’t effect it too much. This doesn’t do that. It doesn’t have enough impressive action set pieces and the ones it does have don’t really work. The best example of this is a scene set in the aftermath of a truck carrying flour crashing. The flour causes the scene to look like snow. It’s being bathed in the light from a red flare so it looks kind of cool. There’s just one small problem: flares are fire, and flour is flammable (trust me on this). This would have been a cool moment if he set fire to the flour and used that, but nope, they just it for a cool visual, and sacrifice realism and logic to do so.

I would mention some of the background characters but with the exception of two characters nobody was given anything to do. There are 3 more enhanced individuals but the enhancements they have are not really given any focus so it’s easy to forget what they are (I think one had robot legs, and one could breathe underwater, a skill which doesn’t really factor into the plot at all, despite it being very easy to do so). Obviously the script thought it was more important to spend all it’s time showing things the audience already knows is false when it would have been a better use of the time to develop the side characters.

So yeah, that’s Bloodshot, and I can’t even be bothered to write a joke about bloodshot eyes through alcohol consumption. I would not recommend this at all, a huge disappointment (well it would have been if I had any expectations of it to begin with) that just leaves you asking questions. Mainly:

  1. Who edited that trailer?
  2. Who thought it would be a good idea to try and start a franchise with a first time director?
  3. Why did they keep his ex alive? They should have known he would attempt to find her and then find out how long ago they split. Actually, why did they use a real person at all? They could have just fabricated one in a false memory like they did everything else. Was it an attempt to get emotion into the film? Why would you attempt to put emotion in a Vin Diesel action film? FFS

Babyteeth (2019)

Those of who who have been following this blog for a while, or have spoken to me for an extended period of time, know that I LOVE slice of life dramedys, especially ones with a cool visual style and a female lead. For evidence of this, view my love for Ghost World and Lady Bird. I also love films that go into dark subject matter, 50/50, for example, is one of my favourite comedies. So lets look at this film:

  • Slice of life dramedy? Check.
  • Female lead? Check.
  • Dark themes? The lead has cancer, so check.
  • The lead has funky hair? Check.

So this should be one of my favourite films of the year, but it pains me to say that it may be one of my least favourites. It’s not one of the worst, it has too many good things about it for that to be the case, but from a subjective standpoint I just could not enjoy this. I never hide the fact that these reviews are entirely subjective, that’s why Lego Batman movie gets a more positive review than Dunkirk. This approach hits some films more than others, and never will it hit harder than for this.

This film lost me in three of the opening scenes, to the point where it would have had to work VERY hard to get me back in.

1: The “meet-cute”

If your story is based around a romance between two people, you need the introduction of the two to each other to have a certain spark. Whether it’s locked eyes from across the room, one helping the other with an issue, or even just sitting near each other and their being an unexplained chemistry. So how do these characters meet? He bumps into her whilst running at a train. At first I thought what had happened was him bumping into her slowed his momentum as he attempted suicide by jumping in front of the train. I actually loved that as it would have been incredibly unique and funny. Now I look back at it I’m not entirely sure that was the case, there is a slight chance it might have been though so I won’t hold that against it. What I will hold against it is the following: they start talking and she gets a nose-bleed. How does he stop it? Pretty much like this:

Yes, he basically smothers her face (with a cloth though, not just his hand). Oh, and you have no idea how much I had to search before I found a non-porn picture like that. It genuinely looks like it’s going to start a kidnapping scene, especially once he gets onto the floor and pulls her down with him. For some reason she finds this cute, so he asks her for money, which she gives him. It’s at this point the film is begins to make me feel uncomfortable.

2. The therapy scene

Soon after this we’re introduced to a scene titled something like “9am Tuesday appointment” which features a woman and a therapist talking and then having sex. It’s not made clear until near the end of the scene that they’re husband and wife so you’re sitting there thinking it’s a man abusing a vulnerable patient and then by the time you realise it’s not you’ve forgotten what actually happened in the scene as none of your notions about what was happening were correct. This is good a time as any to point out how weirdly the film introduces major plot points. How do we find out the main character has cancer? A title card that says “remission”. It’s not set up AT ALL.

3. The Dinner scene

This is where we find out the characters ages. The girl? 16, the guy (Moses), 23. So this film is about a 23 year old guy (who already has a girlfriend) going out with a 16 year old cancer patient, breaking into her house to steal things, and at one point stealing her drugs. Why should I give a shit about it?

Like I said, it would have taken A LOT for the film to come back from these scenes, and it never even looks like it’s going to. Moses never gets any better, never has a redeemable moment that makes him likeable. He continues doing awful things throughout the film and is never held accountable. His relationship with the main character (Milla) is basically this:

Moses: *steals from her*

Milla: You dick I hate you, leave!

Moses: *breaks into her room in middle of night*

Milla: I forgive you

Moses: *takes her to a house party and makes out with a girl in front of her*

Repeat ad nauseam.

It all makes for an incredibly frustrating watch. He doesn’t even make up for it in the closing scenes. Chronologically (there’s a random flashback at the end with no indication as to when it was) this film ends like this: She tells him the pain is too much and asks him to smother her with a pillow until she dies. He does it but stops halfway through, they then have sex. Yup, they really did a euthanasia-based sex scene. Fuck that. He wakes up the next morning and says hi to her parents and has a smoke. By this point, she is dead, and he doesn’t mention it to her mum before she goes to wake her up. He doesn’t even have the decency to look shocked. Well he might do but you can’t fucking see as the scene is weirdly shot with him being half in, half out the door so you can’t get a proper look at his face, instead being met with the far more interesting sight of beige. In that scene you NEED to see his emotion. You need to see the emotional conflict he’s going through, and this film hides that from us, and is all the worst for it. There are multiple sub-plots I haven’t mentioned because in the end they meant absolutely nothing.

Now onto the positives: the colours were wonderful. It had a vibrant palette that really popped and was interesting visually. Also the music was incredible, it had possibly one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard all year. That cannot make up for the rest of the film though. It doesn’t make up for how, I’m really struggling to find the words here. Well, you know how when you do exercise in the middle of a heat wave? (like running, jogging, or standing up out of a chair). You know that horrible sticky sweat you get? The sweat that clings to your body like it’s semi-solid and hangs in the air so you can almost taste it? Watching this film feels like touching that. It also reminded me of one of the worst songs in existence

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

So we’ve reached the point where I’m catching up on films I’ve missed so far this year. First off is this one, a film not released in cinemas but was on netflix. It was originally supposed to be released alongside Eurovision, which was cancelled due to COVID 19.

Eurovision is insane and weird, so this is perfect fodder for a film, and should allow Will Ferrell to be at his madcap best. It’s a shame then, just how plain this film is. Will Ferrell’s character is essentially “Will Ferrell with an accent”, and at this point that type of character is just becoming grating.  The film itself is incredibly plain, very American. It also has a central premise that doesn’t hold up if you do any research into it.

It’s about two Icelandic singers who enter Eurovision (essentially a Euro-wide singing contest which is, well it’s kind of weird) hoping to win. But (unknown to them), one of the people on the Icelandic Eurovision committee has been killing Icelandic singers because if a country wins then they have to host the next years contest, and the country can’t afford it, so if the singers die then they won’t win. The central premise is flawed, as if a country can’t afford to host, it can defer to another country, and that has happened multiple times. So the premise of the film doesn’t work. It doesn’t even work in the universe the film creates. A character mentions in passing that “Everybody hates UK so they never win”, but in this film, the song contest is being hosted by the UK. So they obviously won the year before. So even if in this film universe of “no, if you win, you HAVE to host” it completely lacks consistency.

The opening song has to be commended though, it’s the kind of weirdness that you associate with Eurovision and is kid of perfect, the rest of the film? Not so much. It’s an incredibly generic “a man and woman work together and one doesn’t realise the other is in love with them, complete with comedic misunderstanding” film. First off, why is it a romance film when it should be like a sports story? Also I consider it a mistake to have so much Will Ferrell, this is the perfect setting for an ensemble movie. You have different comedians be different performers, focus mainly on one night of the contest, and just let them all go nuts.

It’s also FAR too American. There’s a moment where the cast randomly burst into a song medley. This would have been a good opportunity to do like a mini-showcase of Eurovision hits, and whilst it does include ABBA and a Celine Dion song which was an entry in 1988, it also includes Madonna, Cher, and Black Eyed Peas. So that scene doesn’t give you an insight into the contest, and instead is just an advert for American music. It would be like if a film about the American film industry had a montage that consisted mainly of anime and Bollywood films.

One final thing: why the f*ck was this 2 hours long?

Unhinged (2020)

I’m well aware of my big flaw when it comes to reviewing: all of it is down to personal taste. So if a film is impressive, but for whatever reason just doesn’t grab me, I won’t review it favourably (and conversely, if a film is technically awful, but I have a soft spot for it, I’ll review it favourably). They’ll be some films I negatively review because they just didn’t gel with me. Keep that in mind when I talk about how much I disliked this film.

I get some people will like this, it’s a pulpy violent throwback full of well-crafted but realistic car chases. It just wasn’t for me. It might have been fun if I was drunk, or I could have just found it super depressing. Before I start this I’ll point out that the performances are all good, there is absolutely nothing any of the actors could have done to improve on it So why didn’t I like it? Hard to explain, it could be how, despite being only 90 minutes long, I spent a long time looking at my watch. It could be how, outside of the main character, you didn’t care about anybody. There at least 3 characters who have two scenes:

Scene one: the character gets introduced.

Scene two: the character gets killed.

I’m not asking for an essay-level of detail on every minor character, but I need to at least feel like these characters exist outside of this film, and I never felt like that, I was always constantly aware that these are just characters in a movie.

I guess my main problem with this film is it’s just so ugly. Not in terms of look, in terms of spirit and world. It’s all just so relentlessly cruel.

I haven’t seen anything this despairingly ugly since I last looked in the mirror. The “happy ending” of this film is basically the main character letting people do whatever they want and she will just stay quiet. Yay, she’s scared and won’t ever stand up for herself, yay?

It’s not a story, it’s just a bunch of stuff happening one after the other. It’s far too dependent on luck. If characters don’t do the exact thing that they do, there is no film. If the police aren’t as stupid as they are, there’s no film. If bystanders do, well, anything, there’s no film. Again, this all builds together so you never really lose yourself in the film, you’re constantly aware that it’s fiction. It doesn’t help that it never builds up to anything, it starts with him burning someone’s house down and killing them, how can you increase upon that? He doesn’t even change his car until the final act, with all the cameras around, he never gets pulled over by the police? That’s kind of the case for a lot of this film though, it depends on only the main characters being active in the plot. If they’re not a named character, they don’t do anything. So even when Russell Crowe strangles someone with their own tie in a diner, nobody in the building does anything. It’s America, you’d think at least one of them would have a gun. Plus, it’s a diner, so there’s enough knives around, or even things you can just pick up and hit him with. Also, the diner scene happens after Crowe’s character has:

  1. Burned down a house in full view of the neighbourhood.
  2. Run someone over outside of a petrol station.

He parks his vehicle outside the diner and just sits in there for quite a while. Definitely long enough for the police (who really should be searching for him) to spot it and drive there to arrest him. It’s just incredibly narratively frustrating. Especially since there probably is a way to do this, but this film couldn’t be bothered.

All I can say about this film to end this review is this: Nicholas Cage turned it down. That shows the level we’re dealing with.

Onward (2020)

I was both looking forward to, and slightly apprehensive about this. Yes, it’s Pixar, and if a studio’s worst film is Cars (which, as much as I hate it, is MASSIVE financially) then you know you’re in for a good time, but since this film has been out I haven’t heard a lot of love for it. So maybe it’s just average, maybe it’s another Good Dinosaur, a film that’s perfectly serviceable but nothing special. After seeing the film, I don’t get it, it’s hard to say it’s one of Pixar’s best, but that’s only because their films are such high quality that it’s really hard to rank them. I will say this though: it’s going to take something special coming out for this not to be in consideration for one of the best films of the year.

I mean it could be argued that the plot is kind of generic, it’s essentially a road movie. But a lot of Pixar films are really when you think about it. For every brilliant plot of Ratatouille or Wall-E, you have the simple plot of Monsters University. Pixar are not about the story the telling, it’s about HOW they tell them, and they tell them perfectly. As to be expected it looks gorgeous, and the script and the characters are just as beautiful.

The best thing about this is just how deeply personal you can feel it is to the writer. I often criticise films by saying “I can’t imagine someone feeling they NEED to get this film made”. You could NEVER say that about this. It’s obviously deeply personal and that personal touch permeates every inch of the film.

It’s helped by the performances, Chris Pratt and Tom Holland work incredibly well together and their relationship is the true emotional core this film depends on. It depends on the brother relationship much more than the “sons missing their father” angle that you expect. I mean, the fact that they miss their deceased father is central to the film, and it does provide one or two deeply emotional moments, but the central emotional crux is the relationship between the two brothers. For a story about not-mythical creatures it is incredibly human, but then again that’s always been Pixars strength.

Now the downside: it feels like it doesn’t do enough with the premise. The film has two main concepts:

  1. Magic used to be a thing people could do, but then technology replaced it as it was simpler. Reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke quote: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  2. The legs.  Okay I should mention it: this film is about them trying to bring their dad back from the dead but it goes wrong and only his bottom half comes back (fully clothed thankfully).

I feel it could have done more with those premises, although then I suppose there is a risk that might have taken away from the emotional developments. The legs thing is weird, and should provide very unique scenarios, but it really doesn’t provide that many. It does provide a great moment where the legs realise that his sons are there. One of them lets him know by tapping on his foot like he did when he was a child, after that the legs immediately search for the other son, and press down on his foot with his own. It’s the closest it will get to a hug, and it’s beautiful. As is the moment near the end, when you see it you’ll know.

So yeah, go see it. It’s a great film, and all the cast are brilliant (I haven’t mentioned it but Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer’s characters are crying out for a spin-off).