Category Archives: y’know for kids

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

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Nananananananana

“Always be yourself… unless you can be Batman.”

Directed by Chris McKay
Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes

In crime-ridden Gotham City, the Joker (Galifianakis) launches a devastating attack in concert with a vast assortment of other villains, only to be soundly (and rhythmically) defeated by Batman (Arnett). When Batman declines to acknowledge his greatest foe (because he doesn’t do ‘ships,) however, Joker concocts a plan of breathtaking audacity to take his nemesis down a peg or two.

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Rebourne: Pete’s Dragon (2016)

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“Some Secrets Are Too Big To Keep”

Directed by David Lowery
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford

The Original

Pete’s Dragon is the tale of a young boy and his friendship with a magical dragon named Elliot, whose ability to become invisible makes most people assume he’s imaginary. Pete and Elliot stumble into a quaint little town, where Pete is taken in by the lighthouse keeper and his daughter, while being pursued by the violent redneck family who in some means purchased him and wish to assert their ownership. Meanwhile, Dr Terminus is in town, a quack doctor looking to go ‘legit’ by selling remedies made from slicing up Elliot. At the end, Pete has a family, and so Elliot goes off to help the next child in need, as magical friends in disney movies of the era were wont to do.

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A song, a smile and an indentured servitude.

Both the child slavery angle and the threatened violent dismemberment of a sentient being are, of course, discussed through the medium of jaunty, upbeat singing. It’s not terrifying like, say, Darby O’Gill and the Littel People is terrifying, but it is weirdly dark given the tone of the songs, or possibly vice versa. In particular the cheery tune of the number ‘We Got a Bill of Sale Right Here’, and the fact that no one seems to question the Gogans’ claim to ‘own’ Pete on any sort of legal grounds, worries me.

70s Disney; it’s its own brand of messed up.

 

The Remake

In 1977 a car crash kills a couple and strands their young son, Pete, in the forest. Six years later, Pete (Fegley) is living in the care of a displaced dragon he has named Elliot. As a logging operation moves into his home, he is spotted by Natalie (Laurence), the daughter of the foreman, Jack (Bentley), and soon after found by Jack and his fiancee Grace (Howard), a forest ranger. He is eager to get back to Elliot, but his discovery has already led Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban) to find Elliot.

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Ballerina (2016)

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“Never give up on your dreams.”

Directed by Eric Summer, Éric Warin
Starring Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen

The year is 1887 (or 1888; I’m working from how complete the Eiffel Tower is,) and plucky Bretton orphan Felicie (Fanning) dreams of being a dancer in the Parisian ballet. Running away from the orphanage in the company of fellow orphan, inventor and creepy nice guy Victor (DeHaan), she is promptly separated from her stalker, finds the opera and stumbles into a) helping the academy’s cleaner, Odette (Jepsen), and b) a place in the training class, the latter by stealing the identity of standard issue horrible rich brat Camille (Ziegler).

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Zootropolis (2016)

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“Like nothing you’ve seen be-fur.”

Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush
Starring Giniffer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate and Shakira

Country rabbit Judy Hopps (Goodwin) dreams of becoming a cop in Zootropolis, the cosmopolitan capital of a world of anthropomorphic animals far removed from its primal roots. Montaging her way through the academy, she wrestles with the prejudice of her boss (Elba) and the machinations of vulpine hustler Nick Wilde (Bateman) before landing a career-making missing mammal case with the help of Dawn Bellweather (Slate), the put-upon assistant of blowhard Mayor Lionheart (Simmons).

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The Good Dinosaur (2015)

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“Little arms, big heart”

Directed by Peter Sohn
Starring Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliot, Frances McDormand and Jeffrey Wright

65 million years after a giant asteroid doesn’t hit the Earth, a family of apatosaurus headed by Ida (McDormand) and Henry (Wright) work a small family farmstead with Flintstones-style technology. Their smallest child is Arlo (Ochoa), a runt with out-sized feet, and Henry asks him to protect the grain silo from ‘critters’ to earn a sense of self-esteem. When he takes pity on the critter – a young caveboy (Bright) – Henry is killed in a flood when they pursue the boy.

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Inside Out (2015)

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“A Major Emotion Picture”

Directed by Pete Docter
Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan

11 year old Riley (Dias) is uprooted from her home in Minnesota when her Mum (Lane) and Dad (MacLachlan) move with her to San Francisco.  The resulting turmoil is managed by Riley’s emotions, the five personifications – absurdly perky Joy (Poehler), neurotic Fear (Hader), splenetic Anger (Lewis Smith), discerning Disgust (Kaling) and morose Sadness (Phyllis Smith) – who live in her head and regulate her inner life.

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Minions (2015)

Basically, the heroes are one of each of the significant morphemes of minion.
Basically, the heroes are one of each of the significant morphemes of minion.

“Go back to where it all began”

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
Starring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm

After a potted history of the evolution of the Minion species and the tribe’s service to history’s greatest monsters, from T. rex to Napoleon, the Minions find themselves at a loose end, living an idyllic but apathetic life in an icy cave. Only Kevin (Coffin, who voices all of the Minions), the ‘smart’ one, has the notion to seek a new ‘big boss’, taking Stuart, the artist, and Bob, the innocent, with him.

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Tomorrowland (2015)

Tomorrow
This poster actually exemplifies this film’s confusion about who its main character is.

“Imagine a place where anything is possible.”

Directed by Brad Bird
Starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robinson and Raffey Cassidy

In 1963, young inventor Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) is brought to an incredible world of invention by a girl named Athena (Cassidy). Fifty years later Casey Newton (Robinson), a brilliant and irrepressibly optimistic young woman, is given a glimpse of that world, and sets out to find it, guided by Athena and enlisting the grudging assistance of the older Frank (Clooney).

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Postman Pat (2014)

Seldom has a poster so utterly failed to encompass the true insanity of a motion picture project.
Seldom has a poster so utterly failed to encompass the true insanity of a motion picture project.

“He’s About to Deliver the Goods”

Directed by Mike Disa
Starring Stephen Mangan, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint, Ronan Keating, David Tennant

Pat Clifton (Mangan) is a dedicated postman, and a dedicated husband, father and cat owner. When Edwin Carbuncle (Peter Woodward), an executive from the Special Delivery Service head office, slashes the company bonuses because they spend too much time rescuing sheep, he enters a TV talent competition to win the holiday his wife Sarah (Susan Duerden) has always dreamed of.

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