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Serra20's avatar
Fledgling Reviewer
Reviews: 8
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A Goofy Movie © Disney
rated it:
posted: Apr 25, 2016

Excellent film.
Characters were really nice and relatable, every choice felt believable.
Animation was really good and smooth, movement looked very natural, and every exaggeration worked well and didn't look awkward at all like it does in some other movies.
Music, in my opinion, was excellent and, I must admit, very catchy. Left me wishing there were more songs in the movie.
While the music is the second thing I liked the most in this animated movie, the most well done aspect, in my opinion, was the plotline. The central conflict felt rather fresh and different from other movies centered around portraying father - son relationship (granted, I haven't seen or don't remember all that many), and all the choices the characters made in this film felt really relatable, actually making you think of how much you value your parents. Well, at least they did to me. The culmination and ''reunion'' of Max and Goofy was really emotional and sweet, surely made me feel sympathetic for these characters and their relationship.
All in all, excellent movie, definitely worth seeing!

Juuchan17's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 157
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Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey © Rankin-Bass
rated it:
posted: Dec 15, 2015

I am a sucker for the Rankin-Bass specials, especially the stop-motion and traditional animated ones that gave us the backstories and adventures of a few notable holiday icons that we love today: Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, and of course, "the most famous reindeer of all" Rudolph. However, not many consider the true meaning of the season - the birth of Jesus, at least it's important to the Christian demographic - as a subject for a Christmas special, but Rankin-Bass was one of the first mainstream companies to make an acknowledgement through a couple of notable "Animagic" shorts: "The Little Drummer Boy" in 1968 and the focus of this review, "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey" nine years later.

The story, told by Santa's donkey, Spieltoe, explains why Santa keeps a donkey, as well as who the first Christmas donkey was - in this case, it's Nestor - the little steed that would play a small yet major role in the Nativity story.

It's nicely animated in the "Animagic" style of stop-motion animation, and the character designs work for this tale meant for children. The voices fit well and are quite tolerable. The few songs that are in the special are a nice touch too, similar to the songs in "The Small One": the title song and its ending reprise make for great bookends as well as a storytelling device, and "Don't Laugh and Make Somebody Cry" [a song that's unfortunately edited out of television viewings] is a decent and welcome montage song that reminds viewers that it's really not okay to make fun of someone.

[MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD! You've been warned! Either way, you should already know what happens in this story - it's "The Small One" with the plot of "Rudolph" in it.]

Much like Disney's animated short a year later, "The Small One", "Nestor" is very much a Christmas special that focuses on the story of the donkey that would carry Mary to Bethlehem to eventually give birth to Jesus. However, the one difference between the two is that "Nestor" is much like a Rudolph story - Nestor is the oddball of the donkeys and is constantly teased for his long ears, yet halfway through the short, the cherub Tilly tells him that he is meant to do something... but clearly we all know exactly what that something is. It isn't until the last 5 minutes that we see exactly what it is that he can do that makes him so special, but it does make sense why only he is able to play this part.

What doesn't make sense is the scene once Nestor returns home - at first, everyone hated him for his ears, hence why he was eventually kicked out of the stable, and yet at the end after Nestor's destiny is fulfilled, he is lovingly welcomed back with cheer and joy from both the other donkeys and the stable owner, Olaf. Is it because he allowed for Jesus to eventually be born? Is it because they actually felt bad about what they did and learned their lesson?

NOPE. We never get a good answer and it leaves me baffled, especially with Olaf. He even said that he didn't care if Nestor froze to death, and yet after Nestor does his job, he's actually glad he came back alive? Sure, it's a 24 minute short, and I understand that it's impossible to put a lot of development in that little amount of time, but to change that quickly stuns me. Thankfully we don't get a sequel from this bible-based story.

However, the heart of this special is in the right place when it comes to the main story it tells and is focused on: Nestor's arc that leads to Jesus' birth. Nestor is the bullied victim and yet he seems to find others that love him so much regardless of how odd he is - his mother, TIlly, and even Mary [who loved his gentle eyes]. There is a scene that is short but very much a tear-jerker, but it does make sure that the titular character reaches his destined place. If anything, it is love that fuels this special at the right moments, though you may need some tissues.

Unlike Rankin-Bass's version of "Rudolph", Nestor is a much more likeable and relatable character, as much as the story seems like a biblical Rudolph tale. In "Rudolph" [the Rankin-Bass one], mostly ALL of the characters - even the great Saint Nick himself - shun and shame Rudolph for his nose despite the fact that it wasn't his fault he was born this way. Nestor's story at least reminds viewers that what makes one different is what makes us special while still having this sense of unconditional love about it. One of my favorite things about the special is the message that Tilly has for Nestor - "Your ears can do wondrous things no other ears can do. The sounds they hear will guide you on a path that's straight and true, and then you will save another, as your mother once saved you." - and one could say it's like a faith-filled message to take from the short, but I say it's more a mix of everything this story is about: one's unique skills being what could make a difference for another [or in this case, millions, if you think about it in a spiritual way]. However, it was a nice sign of respect at the ending though, mixing both the legend of Santa Claus with the Christian roots of the holiday together into one heartwarming moment that I honestly liked.

Overall, "Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey" is a well-presented Christmas special with a standard message that works for everyone, regardless of faith. As I'd said in my "Small One" review, "Nestor" is a typical story that is still good, but is not as good to me as the Disney short.

MY RATING: 3 STARS

J-Kitty's avatar
World Class Animation Critic
Reviews: 188
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The Small One © Disney
rated it:
posted: Dec 03, 2015

Here is a favorite Christmas special from Disney, with great animation and a heart-warming story. I think this special is the only directorial job for Don Bluth before he left the Disney studio to create films like An American Tail, Thumbelina, etc. The story (as some of you might know it) is about a boy who has to sell his favorite donkey (and friend) named "Small One". But the problem is finding the prefect, kind owner for him. That's all I could tell you folks, you will have to see the film for yourself how it ends.

So anyway, I really love this special with it's really beautiful story and wonderful animation.

Toonboy's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 319
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Home © Dreamworks
rated it:
posted: Nov 29, 2015

It's positively criminal how frighteningly bad this movie is, which probably made beaucoup bucks at the box office while more accomplished movies like the gritty 9 or the delirious Powerpuff Girls Movie barely make a blip on the money radar.

Misfit one meets misfit two. They go on misfit adventure. You know how it goes with these types of movies. Incredibly stupid race of outerspace aliens kidnap the entire human race and relocate the entire lot to Australia, where everybody just sort of goes along with it, with nary a military conflict or attempt at escaping back to everybody's countries of origins on airplanes.

Say what?

The characters are all flat as a cardboard. The movie even seems to acknowledge that fact by broadcasting early on how all these silly aliens aren't unique, don't have time for fun, don't do this or that(other than being good at running away), and seemingly wear their feelings on their skin. And to what means to the story are all these trite elements made? Absolutely nothing.

Home is so lifeless that saying it gets(ever so slightly) better after the halfway mark is probably the best compliment I can give it. A few mild chuckles are to be had around the Paris scene, but in all honesty, the "Go from here to here to there" motif had been done a lot better with movies like Bolt or Rio, and the "Highly improbable and extremely silly plot" thing could be better digested with Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

Toonboy's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 319
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The Peanuts Movie © Fox / Blue Sky
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posted: Nov 21, 2015

The Peanuts Movie is a refreshing and breezy change of pace from the norm for this generation's type of animated films, and certainly from the Blue Sky formula, although the Rio films were very much a hit with me. The Peanuts Movie is remarkable probably more for what it doesn't have than what it does, but we'll get to that in a bit.

Most people will probably remark on the animation style. Purists will probably bristle at the CGI style and wonder why the movie isn't hardcore hand drawn animation. Curious people like me will more likely wonder "How did they do that?"

The Peanut Movie lacks the shiny, computer game-y kind of look that most CGI movies possess. In most CGI movies, if you took a camera and panned around, you'd see space and the full body of the characters in every direction. In The Peanuts Movie, the characters only seem to exist in a front to back form, and if you panned a camera around, you'd reach a point where the characters would look unrecognizable, until the animator decided to change the character shape to adapt to the shift in viewpoint. You'd also most likely crash into the sky in the background if you went far enough. There are a few scenes that are testaments to this "3D imitating 2D" style, most notably a scene where Snoopy somehow manages to squash his body to hide behind a lamp. You couldn't pull this off with a full CGI movie.

This movie is also set up like a series of small vignettes tied together in one string. It's this approach of a bunch of little movies making up one big movie that makes it all the more refreshing, instead of re-imagining our favorite characters into something they're not and cramming them into "The Big Epic" as is the norm for so many animated films. Some may complain that Snoopy's fantasies of being a World War I flying ace break up the flow of the story, but they're often patterned around what Charlie Brown was feeling the scene before, and I find that these bits contain some of the best humor.

It is to many's great joy that this movie is fully faithful to the Peanuts name, and it proudly flies its themes as a symbol to these characters' enduring qualities. The sight gags. Charlie Brown's bad luck. Snoopy's tenacity. The musical ditties. It's all here. Whether today's kids would latch onto these "Charlie Brown-isms" and "Peanut Psychology", like the kite and the football and "good grief" and even pencil chewing, these little things that make Peanuts "Peanuts", as readily as nostalgic grownups remains to be seen. However the creators could've easily just hit all the regular family failsafes and make another Peabody and Sherman movie or something like The Chipmunks. They didn't. If I mentioned above that this movie is great for what it doesn't have than for what it does, it's because this movie doesn't have any of the usual cogs, wheels, bells and whistles than most contemporary animated movies go for to try and "hip it up". But you probably already guessed that. There are a few pop songs here and there that sound like would be extremely out of place in the 60s. Unlike the songs in Rio, all the songs are harmless and of the "just have fun and be true to yourself" nature. The presence of Bamboleo by The Gypsy Kings makes it all worthwhile.

Other than these minor quibbles, this movie is just Charlie being Charlie, Snoopy being Snoopy, Woodstock being Woodstock, and all the rest of the gang being just as wonderful. It could've easily been a four or five part Peanuts special, probably more 80s Peanuts than 60s, with a somewhat treacly message at the end of being yourself. But this is a-okay. The world needs more of this movie's idyllic sensitivity. And everybody at the end goes home a winner. Even Charlie Brown.

At least until the next school year, school dance, book report, and shot at The Red Baron.

lupercal's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 517
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The Hollywood Matador © Walter Lantz Productions
rated it:
posted: Oct 16, 2015

This is Walter Lantz's first Woody Woodpecker short after having lost Mel Blanc - if you don't count the Swing Symphonies '$21 a Day', in which Woody had a non speaking part.

It's not an auspicious beginning to this incarnation. Surprisingly this has little to do with Ben Hardaway's voice work - what little there is of it is decent enough - and everything to do with the uninteresting concept and writing. I can only assume Walter was unsure of giving Hardaway too much to do, and therefore resorted to a mainly visual story involving a bullfight.

Problem is, every classic cartoon character seems to end up in a bullfight cartoon at some point in their career. It's an uninteresting concept, and this
particular version does nothing to distinguish itself. It has nothing of the frenetic, if somewhat directionless energy of the first few Woody shorts. Fortunately it was only a hiccup. Woody's next appearance, in his first 'war-time' cartoon 'Ace in the Hole' was pretty much back on the tracks.

Loop

Maxtaro93's avatar
Fledgling Reviewer
Reviews: 6
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Yogi Bear © Warner Bros.
rated it:
posted: Jul 26, 2015

It ain't the worst of the barf bags this trend has churned out over the past 21 years, but the first third sure as heck comes close. What, with Dan Aykroyd's Yogi shaking his tail to M.C. Hammer and discussing urination, of course. If Joseph Barbera knew better, he'd be spinning in his grave.

Maxtaro93's avatar
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Reviews: 6
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Wreck-It Ralph © Disney
rated it:
posted: Jul 26, 2015

It's certain you may have loved this the time it came out. I know I did. But having watched it again this year, I found myself barely laughing. Not a good idea at all. While the title character is an easily sympathetic lug and the nostalgia is sure to make geeks giddy, the movie wastes its own world on candy-coated Mario Kart.

Even worse, it's Disney's attempt at being as hip as everyone else inspired less by Pixar than they have been DreamWorks - spoken toilet jokes, the "big, grumpy guy relying on a young'un to get better at living" story, pop culture references and product placement, even when done as satire, all feel eerily out of place in a film by the same studio we know for creating Snow White.

Combine all that with a dash of mean spirit and you've just realised you've been loving the weakest WDAS production since Chicken Little. I hope they do more with the Game Central Station in the sequel, otherwise executive producer John Lasseter's not as much Walt Disney as he thinks he is.

lupercal's avatar
KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 517
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Home © Dreamworks
rated it:
posted: Jul 21, 2015

After watching this anaemic, bubblegum movie, i felt so malnourished that I had to watch 'Eraserhead''. I don't consider Dreamworks infallible, but this time they've really dropped the ball. 'Home' is so uninspiringly dull; so predictable, and so full of vapid pop music that it's time someone stood up and said 'looking good ain't good enough anymore'.

The plot is idiotic: dumb, cowardly but 'cute' aliens somehow invade Earth and resettle the entire human population in Australia (in one city, which as far as I can tell when the map zooms in, must be Adelaide. That's the funniest thing in the movie). These aliens are so stupid and inept I can't imagine how they developed interstellar travel in the first place. They also speak English as if they picked it up from a phrase book last week - which is ok,except they talk to each other the same way. One of them, being an enlightened misfit, helps a human girl find her mother.

The pop music is not only godawful but it is deployed for whole scenes in lieu of dialog, which is incredibly irritating. I could go on, but it would just be a catalog of the film's shortcomings, and I don't think I'm failing in my duties if I just summarise by suggesting you don't waste your money/time.

The only thing holding me back from a one star rating is that little kids could watch this without being upset. Probably one for babysitters.

Loop

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KF Animation Editor
Reviews: 218
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Inside Out © Pixar
rated it:
posted: Jun 20, 2015

Well... hmm... I have no idea how to review this movie.

Was it better than some of Pixar's recent films? Yes... I think.

Did it top my list of Pixar classics like "The Incredibles" and "WALL-E"? No, definitely not.

Did it make me cry? Yes. (Damn you, Pixar!)

...but I actually think that's part of the problem I had with it. While the film is incredibly imaginative and clever, it also felt to me kind of deliberately manipulative. My favourite Pixar movies gently tugged at the heart strings and then the plot moved forward. I feel like "Inside Out" was reaching into my chest and YANKING at those heart strings on such a persistent basis that I got to the end of the movie feeling almost numbed and worn out by it all.

Then, of course, you realize that everything that came before was just to tenderize you to the emotional whammy the movie socks you with at the end. And... well, cue the tears...

I wish I could say I was being funny when I describe this movie as an 'emotional rollercoaster'... but it very much is.

I'd like to see this one again--mostly because it's so meta and there's just so much to take in--however it's not one that I'll likely re-watch in the theatre.

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