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Earwig and the Witch | Review

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Studio Ghibli can probably be considered as the world’s greatest animation studio. It never kowtowed to basic expressions of animation and continued to push the boundaries of hand-drawings to sweep away audiences in the studio’s ever-imaginative worlds (see Spirited Away). Even their simplest productions, such as Isao Takahata’s My Neighbors the Yamadas, had an aura of magnifying wonder to them. Their latest film, Earwig and the Witch, is the studio’s first fully 3D animated feature…and should be their last. Directed by Gorō Miyazaki, son of the great Hayao Miyazaki, the film follows the story of a young girl named Earwig (Kokoro Hirasawa) who gets adopted by a witch named Bella Yaga (Shinobu Terijama), so she can become her “apprentice” by helping her with spells. Bella Yaga’s abusive tenure forces Earwig to learn spells on her own with Thomas (Gaku Hamada), the talking cat, so she can finally be the one who controls the household. While the plot isn’t necessarily bad, Earwig and the Witch‘s cyclical structure makes for a pretty dull viewing experience, not particularly improved with its cheap-looking 3D animation.

Studio Ghibli's first CG movie, 'Earwig and the Witch,' is an insult |  Engadget

As I’ve mentioned in my previous paragraph, Studio Ghibli has essentially perfected the art of 2D, hand-drawn animation by crafting fully realized fictional worlds, which exalted the purely freeing imagination of many of their film’s child protagonists. In Spirited Away, we’re essentially seeing the entire world through Chihiro’s eyes–our eyes widen at seeing its incredibly detailed food and larger-than-life characters. That’s just but one isolated example of the many memorable images Studio Ghibli pictures has embedded in our minds over the years. So for (G.) Miyazaki to use fully synthesized/3D animation for his picture feels like a pure insult at what his father, Toshio Suzuki, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, and the late Isao Takahata have brought to the table for the past 35 years.

Sure, there’s a somewhat valid argument to say that the studio needs to “modernize” itself or at least experiment with a cheaper, more popular form of animation–but when that same studio has been revolutionizing the way audiences perceive animated drawings for 35 years, is it essential? It also doesn’t help that the 3D animation presented in Earwig and the Witch looks cheaply constructed and devoid of any movement, charm, and personality. The animation is placated on the screen without any proper direction or visual creativity. The sequences that could make the *best* use of 3D animation, particularly when Earwig enters The Mandrake (Etsushi Tokoyama)’s lair, are mediocre-at-best-, and the mostly boring, repetitive sequences of Earwig being constantly berated by Bella Yaga have no soul. Imagine that: a Studio Ghibli without any soul. How is that possible? Simple. Use 3D animation because it’s the only type that’s lost its value as more and more audiences become accustomed to the prospect of more realistic-looking characters (and worlds) inside computer-generated imageries.

Earwig and the Witch review: Ghibli's first 3D movie is better than it  looks - Polygon

It also doesn’t help that the film’s plot is extremely unengaging. We observe Earwig being constantly berated by Bella Yaga for most of the runtime, without any character progression from both protagonists. At some point, you may wonder in what direction the film is going–and you’ll quickly realize that the entire film only serves as a pretext for a sequel. Everything you’re watching is tediously written exposition, which acts as chapter 1 out of 152 of a story that’ll likely never get completed. It wouldn’t have been a problem if we didn’t spend so much time with the character doing the same chores, without an ounce of development or…direction, where the audience would see a clear path to a satisfying ending, but that never happens. At least the voice cast seems to bring a quasi-form of life to the picture–with Kokoro Hirasawa delivering a charming performance as the titular character, bringing lots of energy and heart to an inexpensively crafted character. The same can be said for her sidekick, Thomas, who shares the entire movie’s funniest lines, most notably in a hilarious scene where he has to confront his worst fear: worms. The comedic timing is spot-on and is the only time where the animation somewhat works within the context of the physical humor presented on-screen.

By Studio Ghibli’s standards, Earwig and the Witch is a terrible film, stripping away the one thing that made the studio stand out above every type of corporate made animation by major motion picture studios, while also turning the soulful imagination of hand-drawn paintings with lifeless, vapid and unresponsive 3D video-game cutscenes. To have a Ghibli film in 3D is showing to the audience small signs that the studio might become creatively bankrupt if they continue in that direction. Thankfully, Hayao Miyazaki has a new movie coming soon; crafted the way it should be done. Let’s just hope Goro won’t continue down the path of lifeless 3D and direct his next film the same way his father is doing it.

 

Earwig and the Witch is now available to rent or buy on video-on-demand and on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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‘Inside Out 2’ Review | Emotions Run Wild In Pixar’s Latest Triumph, Delivering A Powerful and Poignant Sequel

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Inside Out 2 beautifully crafts an emotionally mature sequel, embracing the chaotic complexities of Riley’s emotions through her teenage years. It’s hilarious and heartfelt while being poignantly resonant and incredibly moving. The film is ultimately Pixar at its best, providing such a joyous masterpiece that gave me all the feels and emotions as it tugged on my heartstrings and provided such nostalgia, thanks to the lovable June Squibb. “Inside Out 2” taps into the universal human experience, serving as a powerful reminder of the importance of loving ourselves, especially through a transition of change, and that overall, even emotions need each other. 

FIRST FORAY INSIDE THE MIND

Pixar Studios has once again proved its commitment to crafting exceptional storytelling with the long-awaited sequel to the 2015 phenomenon, Inside Out. After what feels like a long hiatus from the big screen, navigating the challenges of the pandemic and recent box office numbers, Pixar has emerged stronger than ever. The highly anticipated release of “Inside Out 2” marks a significant milestone for the studio, following the delay of their original film Elio due to Hollywood strikes. As their most important release yet, “Inside Out 2” is a triumphant return to form for Pixar, showcasing their continued commitment to pushing the boundaries of animation and storytelling. It’s a film that not only meets but exceeds expectations. While being a masterclass in storytelling, imagination, and emotional depth, solidifying the studio’s reputation as a leader in the animation industry.

The film masterfully brings to life five endearing characters, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, which reside within the mind of a young girl named Riley. Allowing it to transcend age boundaries, resonating and empathising with audiences across multiple generations, as we’ve all experienced the paralysing fear, overwhelming anger, and crushing sorrow that comes with growing up. 

Joy’s poignant journey in the first film is a testament to embracing all emotions, not just the happy ones. As she navigates Riley’s memories, Joy comes to understand that Sadness is an integral part of Riley’s emotional landscape. This powerful realisation sets the stage for a universal message transcending age and culture. The film’s timing was impeccable, as it coincided with the formative years of many children who could identify with Riley’s struggles and transformations. The film raised impactful questions about the nature of childhood joy, and now its sequel shows how it evolves as we grow older. The conclusion, marked by the introduction of a new “puberty” button on Riley’s console, ultimately leaves the viewers wondering what lies ahead for this young protagonist. After all, Riley’s 12 now. What could happen?

©Disney

MIXED EMOTIONS

“Inside Out 2” picks up approximately two years after the events of the original, with Riley (now voiced by Kensington Tallman) thriving in various aspects of her life. She excels academically, leads her hockey team to victory, and has formed strong bonds with her friends. The emotions residing in Headquarters, led by Joy (Amy Poehler), maintain a harmonious balance, making room for Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira). However, when Riley turns 13 and undergoes the tumultuous changes of puberty, a renovation crew arrives to demolish Headquarters, introducing four new emotions: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). As the emotions navigate their new dynamics and try to find equilibrium, Riley attends a competitive hockey camp and receives unexpected news that shakes her confidence. With Anxiety attempting to take control, Riley’s self-doubt threatens to upend her sense of identity. Can Joy and the other emotions restore balance and save Riley from spiralling into chaos?

The introduction of Anxiety as a primary character was a logical step, as it is an emotion that everyone starts to experience during adolescence. The idea of a “renovation” in Headquarters, symbolised by a crew of workers tearing down and rebuilding the emotional landscape, effectively captures the chaotic nature of teenage life. The story expertly navigates the turbulence of a young person’s teenage years, capturing the intense emotions and struggles that come with this phase of life. The film’s portrayal of panic and anxiety attacks is remarkably realistic, offering a powerful and authentic representation of mental health issues. whilst the ability to evoke emotions, spark relatability, and convey the importance of emotional intelligence and creating a sense of self is nothing short of remarkable.

The film’s exploration of these themes is both relatable and engaging, showcasing the importance of embracing and validating all emotions. The film encourages open and honest communication within families, emphasising that every feeling has value and should be expressed without judgment. 

©Disney

Riley’s transition into adolescence presented a rich tapestry for filmmakers to explore, and Pixar’s meticulous approach to storytelling shines through in their methodical research and attention to detail. As the teenage brain undergoes significant changes, the studio expertly captures the tumultuous emotions that accompany this period of growth. Regarding research, the filmmakers turned to the ultimate authorities: teenage girls. Nine dynamic young women, known as Riley’s Crew, were selected from referrals by organisations and studio team members. The diverse group of 13- to 16-year-olds regularly screened the film and Pixar provided them with notebooks to take notes, followed by virtual meetings where they asked targeted questions to ultimately help shape the film we see today. The introduction of new Emotions adds a fresh dynamic to the core five, creating a thrilling narrative as they navigate the complexities of adolescence. The intensity and passion of these formative years are expertly conveyed, making for an engaging and relatable cinematic experience.

Speaking of, Anxiety takes her role very seriously, using her unique strengths to anticipate and prepare for any challenges that may arise. Voiced by standout Maya Hawke, her emotion is a bundle of frazzled energy. “Inside Out 2” explores the coming-of-age transitioning period with the birth of new emotions. Four exactly that we all deal with every day once we enter the adolescence period of our lives. When the arrival of new emotions catalyzes personal growth and self-discovery this relatable portrayal explores the universal experiences we all encounter during this pivotal life stage. As Riley navigates the challenges of growing up, her core emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust – are confronted by the introduction of Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui. These newcomers assert that their sophisticated emotional nuances are better suited to meet Riley’s evolving needs, prompting a fascinating struggle for dominance within her mind. The film masterfully captures the all-too-familiar sensation of anxiety taking over our thoughts and emotions. One particular moment in the film left me breathless and moved to tears. It was a poignant reminder that this movie is not just for children, but for anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety.

GO TEAM!

In the latest instalment of the beloved franchise, the voice cast returns with a fresh lineup of emotions, including our core emotions Amy Poehler as Joy, Liza Lapira as Disgust (taking over from Mindy Kaling), Tony Hale as Fear (Taking over from Bill Hader), Lewis Black as Anger, and Phyllis Smith as Sadness. This time around, Joy is thrilled to tackle the exciting challenges of adolescence alongside Riley, a bright and curious teenager. As Joy’s top priority is Riley’s happiness, she’s determined to preserve her sense of self and help her navigate this new chapter with ease. With a sunny disposition and a knack for creative problem-solving, Joy is always looking out for Riley’s best interests.

Anger’s unwavering dedication to fighting for what’s fair is truly admirable. While his passion can sometimes lead to impulsive reactions, Director Kelsey Mann and Pixar’s expert handling of this fiery emotion allow him to grow and adapt in the face of challenging circumstances. In turn, Anger provides such visual comedy which Black is brilliant at. Fear plays a crucial role in Riley’s life, safeguarding him from potential dangers both big and small, from unexpected hockey pucks to minor mishaps. As Riley enters her teenage years, Disgust’s keen sense of what’s uncool becomes more refined, keeping her safe from situations that might be uncomfortable or unpleasant. The additions of Hale and Lapira bring a refreshing dose of opinionated humour and brutal honesty to the story. Both actors expand and elevate their characters and rather remarkably are indistinguishable from Hader and Kaling from the first film. Sadness however was just getting the hang of things before a group of new Emotions arrived. Everyone understands how important her role is in Riley’s life, so Sadness is feeling
more comfortable in her melancholy shoes these days.

Meanwhile, the character designs, which were painstakingly recreated using Pixar’s cutting-edge technology, reveal the vast expanse of Riley’s inner world.

©Disney

The first third of the movie sets the tone with clever humour, introducing the personalities of the new emotions in a playful way. Ennui, a character who’s perpetually glued to her phone, brings a relatable yet challenging presence to the team. Throughout the film Ennui is often seen lounging on the couch or slouching to one side, exuding a sense of detachment and lethargy. Her design was carefully crafted to convey this feeling of disengagement and lack of energy. What’s more, Ennui was the last emotion to receive an official colour, adding an extra layer of depth to her character. Exarchopoulos gives such a board and lethargic vocal performance that I fell in love with.

The talented artists at Pixar have once again brought their unique vision to life, creating characters that are both visually striking and emotionally resonant. The Emotions were designed to embody specific colours and shapes, reflecting their distinct personalities. From Joy’s sunny disposition and star-shaped form to Anger’s bold red colour and sharp rectangular shape, each Emotion has its own distinct identity. Sadness is blue and teardrop-shaped, Fear is purple and cowering, and Disgust is green and angular. The new Emotions were also designed to honour the visual canon of the original film while introducing fresh personalities. Anxiety is orange and electric, with tense and shaky movements that betray her constant energy. Embarrassment is pink and soft, evoking his shy nature and desire to hide. Ennui has the posture of a limp noodle, which conveys her lack of enthusiasm. Envy is small but packs a punch, with a teal colour and mushroom shape that sets her apart from the rest of the cast.

©Disney

THE LIFE OF RILEY

“Inside Out 2” is a stunning achievement in animation, showcasing Pixar’s unparalleled mastery of visual storytelling. The film’s vibrant colours and imaginative landscapes are a treat for the eyes, while the meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of production design is a testament to the studio’s dedication to craftsmanship. As expected from Pixar, the animation quality is breathtakingly beautiful, further solidifying its reputation as an industry leader. The studio’s expertise is also evident in their meticulously crafted designs throughout the movie. The innovative depiction of complex concepts like belief systems, brainstorming, overthinking, and sarcasm is a standout feature. The filmmakers’ artistic vision is brought to life through thoughtful attention to detail, making the world of Inside Out 2 a fascinating and immersive experience.

Building upon the success of the original film, the sequel’s world is designed to be both familiar and new, with a focus on expansion and enhancement. The contrast between the real world and the mind world is striking, with Headquarters serving as the hub of the mind operation. The sleeping quarters for the Emotions are a delightful addition, showcasing the attention to detail in even the smallest aspects of the film’s design. Each Emotion’s bunker reflects its unique personality and colour scheme, with props adding a touch of whimsy and humour. The Film is still rooted in the familiar setting of San Francisco with her loving family, the film takes a bold leap outside the city limits, offering a fresh and vibrant backdrop for Riley to pursue her passion for hockey and navigate a dynamic web of relationships with both old friends and new acquaintances.

©Disney

Composer Andrea Datzman’s exuberant and soulful soundtrack perfectly complements the film’s narrative, evoking a wide range of emotions and creating a deeply relatable experience. With its thoughtful balance of humour, drama, and adventure, Inside Out 2 is a movie that truly comes alive through the power of emotion. Datzman’s score also plays a crucial role in connecting the audience to Riley’s inner world, expertly capturing the nuances of her teenage perspective. By skillfully weaving together a deliberate blend of melody and harmony, the music perfectly encapsulates Riley’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions, allowing viewers to intimately connect with her journey.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, “Inside Out 2” is a masterpiece that will resonate deeply with audiences of all ages. This beautifully crafted film is a powerful exploration of the human experience, offering a poignant reminder that it’s okay to not be okay. The story masterfully weaves together universal themes of self-acceptance, empathy, and perseverance, reminding us that our emotions are what make us who we are. With its witty humour, engaging narrative, and deeply resonant emotions, “Inside Out 2” is a cinematic experience that will leave you feeling seen, validated, and moved. This film is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling to capture the complexities of growing up and to offer a message of hope and acceptance. If you’re looking for a film that will inspire you to love and accept yourself and others just as you are, look no further. With its iconic cathartic moments and timeless themes, this sequel is a triumph for Pixar and a reminder that even the most challenging emotions are an essential part of our journey to self-discovery. “Inside Out 2” is an absolute must-see and the Major Emotion Picture of the year.

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‘The Garfield Movie’ Review | A Delicious Blend of Humour, Adventure, and Heart!

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This review was made possible by watching an advanced screening

Love at first bite…Mark Dindal’s “The Garfield Movie” is a purrrfect adventure, filled with whisker-twitching humour and heartwarming moments, just like a perfectly crafted lasagna, offering delicious layers of enjoyment for viewers of all ages to devour. The animation is a feast for the eyes, with vibrant colours and sharp, snappy visuals that bring Jim Davis’s iconic comic strip to life in a captivating way. 

The iconic cartoon cat has been delighting audiences for over four decades with his unique blend of wit, humour, and relatable charm. Since his debut in 1978, Garfield has become a cultural phenomenon, captivating readers with his unapologetic love of lasagna, naps, and sarcastic remarks. Despite his blunt demeanour and self-centred nature, the lovable feline has won over generations of fans with his endearing deadpan delivery. The character’s long-lasting popularity is a testament to creator Jim Davis and his vision of crafting a relatable and dependable protagonist. 

Now, the beloved feline returns to the big screen in an all-new CGI-animated feature from Columbia Pictures and Alcon Entertainment, produced by DNEG and directed by acclaimed animation veteran Mark Dindal, known for his work on The Emperor’s New Groove and Chicken Little. When Garfield’s life takes an unexpected turn with the reunion of his long-lost father, Vic, the world-famous feline is catapulted from his indulgent lifestyle to join Vic on a high-stakes caper. Voiced by Chris Pratt, Garfield’s lovable yet lazy persona is put to the test as he navigates a thrilling outdoor adventure alongside his loyal canine companion Odie. As they join forces with Vic, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, the trio embark on a hilarious and action-packed heist that will leave fans on the edge of their seats. 

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

Since his birth, the lazy tubby tabby has solidified his position as a cultural phenomenon, rivalling the enduring popularity of many other beloved cartoon characters. Ultimately becoming an integral part of our collective consciousness, transcending generations and mediums to delight audiences worldwide. So as I sat down to watch “The Garfield movie”, I was instantly transported back to a nostalgic era of childhood memories and cherished moments that I shared with a loved one. The film’s portrayal of the beloved cartoon character’s wit and sass resonated deeply with me, as Garfield has been an integral part of my life, serving as a common thread that bonded us together over our shared love for the lovable yet cynical cat. Throughout his lifetime we would often collect Garfield-themed novelties, such as the iconic handheld massager among many others. To me the film’s nostalgic value was palpable, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of warmth and appreciation for the impact that Garfield has had on my life. 

Marking a new era in the beloved franchise “The Garfield Movie” masterfully serves up a plate of wit and emotional depth, a hallmark of Dindal’s directorial aesthetic. This cinematic adaptation takes an approach by exploring the formative years of the iconic cat, Garfield, and his poignant bond with his human companion, Jon Arbuckle. Audiences especially young children will delight in seeing Baby Garfield, showcasing his irresistible charm and hunger, ultimately forming an unbreakable bond. These heartwarming sequences are infused with humour, setting the tone for a narrative that skillfully blends nostalgia with fresh perspectives.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

To further elaborate the Garfield franchise, Davis created a cast of well-defined characters, including the endearing yet awkward Jon Arbuckle and the lovable but clueless Odie. In “The Garfield Movie”, we witness the integral elements that have contributed to the character’s enduring success, including his affinity for lasagna, as well as his penchant for embracing a life of comfort and luxury. This indulgence is facilitated by his owner Jon (Nicholas Hoult) and loyal companion Odie (Harvey Guillén), who serves as Garfield’s benevolent guardian angel, receiving a nuanced portrayal in the film that diverges from the more one-dimensional depiction in the comics.

As the story unfolds, Garfield embarks on a thrilling mission with two distinct objectives. With his sarcasm, and somewhat agility, he must outwit the sinister clutches of a vengeful female feline and her loyal canine accomplices to pilfer a vast quantity of milk from a farm-turned-amusement park. Meanwhile, he must confront the complex emotions surrounding his father, Vic, whose abandonment has left a lasting impact on Garfield’s life. Throughout the film, these two narrative threads maintain a harmonious balance between action-packed adventure and heartwarming sentimentality, blending seamlessly into profound themes of self-discovery and empathy. As Garfield navigates this journey, both father and son learn valuable lessons about growth, forgiveness, and the power of second chances.

One of the film’s standout qualities is its ability to reiterate timeless messages about friendship and family without feeling overly clichéd. The relationship between Garfield and Vic evolves naturally, reflecting the complexities of estranged family dynamics. The lessons they learn about trust, forgiveness, and the importance of family are conveyed with sincerity, making the emotional beats of the film resonate with families in the audience. Doing so with charm and wit makes “The Garfield Movie” an enjoyable experience. Mark Dinal’s direction delivers a mix of humour, adventure, and heartfelt moment, creating a film that is both entertaining and meaningful.

As Garfield navigates the complexities of the digital age, with food apps and drone delivery playing a significant role in the story, the film seamlessly weaves in Easter eggs that pay homage to the character’s rich history. Moreover, the movie’s clever nods to iconic action-adventure films are expertly woven throughout the narrative, creating a delightful sense of familiarity and nostalgia.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

“The Garfield Movie” shines with an impressive ensemble of voice talent, anchored by Chris Pratt, who has recently captivated audiences with his notable performances in films like the Super Mario Bros. Movie. In this latest endeavour, Pratt whose the cats meow brings his signature charm and charisma to the titular character, infusing Garfield with a delightful sense of humour and wit. His vocal performance effortlessly captures the essence of the beloved cartoon cat’s lazy yet lovable personality.

Samuel L. Jackson brings a delightful energy to his role as Vic, Garfield’s father, the other notable character in the film. His presence is always a welcome addition, and he effortlessly matches Chris Pratt’s charm with his own unique flair. Notably, Jackson’s scruffy father performance is a standout, thanks to the creative freedom director Mark Dindal gave him to bring a fresh perspective to the Garfield universe. Jackson in addition ad-libbed, putting his own spin on the character, making his performance truly memorable.

The supporting cast of lovable characters shines brightly in this cinematic treat, led by the steadfast and endearing Odie (Harvey Guillen), who brings a sense of warmth and loyalty to the screen. Meanwhile, the towering yet benevolent Otto (Ving Rhames) injects a sense of gravity and authority, his rugged presence perfectly balanced by the wit and charm of Garfield. Their dynamic interplay is a joy to behold, as their combined talents and personalities create a thrilling and heartwarming heist that will leave audiences smiling. Cecily Strong is another welcome surprise.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

Get ready to purr-fectly be delighted by the cat-tastic villainy of Jinx, the sassy and cunning feline criminal mastermind! Hannah Waddingham brings Jinx to life with a voice that’s as smooth as silk, as sharp as a claw, and as captivating as a cat in a sunbeam. Her dramatic flair and theatrical presence will have you hooked from the start, as she weaves a web of chaos and mischief with ease. Jinx, the Minxy mastermind diva, brings a level of gravitas and flair to “The Garfield Movie” elevating this caper that’s simply paw-some. As the feline thieves catch up with history between her and Vic , she’s evolved into a compassionate and self-actualised Persian cat effortlessly purr-suading her way through the most intricate of schemes with a wit as sharp as a cat’s whisker.

From her mood-changing necklace to her Milktini and Meowmosa at hand, Jinx is the epitome of feline finesse. Her dramatic moments are nothing short of theatrical, and you’ll be clawing your way to the edge of your seat to see what she does next. But don’t stop watching after the credits roll – stick around for a special performance by Waddingham herself. Her loyal cainine companions Roland and Nolan also provide comic relief voiced by her fellow Ted Lasso cast member Brett Goldstein and SNL’s Bowen Yang.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

The digital revitalisation of the iconic orange figure, Garfield, demanded a high level of care and responsibility. Thankfully, Dindal and Jason Boose, animation supervisor at DNEG, rose to the challenge with aplomb. The entire visual performance, expertly handled by Boose and his team, was inspired by the revered legacy of this beloved cartoon cat. The film’s success lies in its ability to balance the simplicity of the comic strips’ human emotions and relatable situations with its vibrant animation. Screenwriting duties were entrusted to Oscar-nominated David Reynolds, co-writer of The Emperor’s New Groove, who collaborated with Paul A. Kaplan and Mark Torgove to craft a fun, family-friendly plot that expands Garfield’s universe.

To maintain the classic charm of the original comic strip, Boose was meticulous in preserving the iconic character design, colour palette, and poses that fans have grown to adore. The result is a watercolour-inspired storybook quality, with painterly brushstrokes and backlit backgrounds. This unique aesthetic perfectly complements Garfield’s adventures.

DNEG’s innovative animation style is another highlight, as they seamlessly blend naturalistic and stylized movements to drive the story. The animation is both relatable and whimsical, often hovering between the two. This stylistic approach was influenced by Director Mark Dindal’s nostalgic feel of playing with View-Master toys.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, “The Garfield Movie” is a delightful cinematic experience that will leave audiences of all ages in stitches. With its masterful blend of humour, adventure, and heartwarming moments, this film is a true treasure for the whole family. It’s clear that the filmmakers’ passion for the beloved cartoon character has resulted in a film that is both faithful to its source material and innovative in its storytelling. By skillfully weaving together the classic charm of Garfield’s 45-year history, the filmmakers have created a culinary treat that will leave viewers feeling satisfied, entertained, and perhaps even a little bit nostalgic. So, if you’re looking for a film that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart, It’s truly the cat’s pyjamas – a whimsical ride that will have you purring with delight and hungry for more.

Columbia Pictures and Alcon Entertainment will release The Garfield Movie in theatres nationwide on May 24.

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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