I’ve mentioned my love of the original Space Jam before but it’s always worth repeating. It was the first film that I saw multiple times in the cinema. I first saw it with a friend and I loved it so much that I forced my mother to take us to see it again. I adored it. I laughed at jokes that I didn’t understand and I had a bloody good time. I rewatch it all the time because it’s such a joyous thing. It’s a film that shouldn’t work. It’s based on an advert and it’s just shameless in its self-promotion. It relies on ridiculous cameos and in-jokes. Yet, somehow, it just comes together. So, of course, I was interested to see how the sequel would work out. It’s been 25 years. We neither needed or wanted it. But it’s here now. Would LeBron James ever be able to step into Michael Jordan’s Nikes?
My last Tuesday blog ended with me saying that I needed to stop watching random animated movies and start watching real films again. Of course, when I said real films what I meant was grown-up films. It’s not that I think animated films aren’t real. So, I guess it could be considered something of a failure that I’m back this week with another animated feature but I think this one’s okay. After all, the latest Pixar release is a far cry from the random stuff that keeps popping up on Netflix these days. I’ve always been a big Pixar fan, so I knew that I had to check this one out as soon as possible.
It takes quite a special film to do something exciting in a runtime of less than 90 minutes. Most likely. any film that doesn’t have enough story to pass the 1 hour 30 mark just won’t have a lot to offer. But, as I’m still off with my schedule when it comes to watching films, any film that doesn’t break 90 is always going to appeal. On Sunday, I once again found myself needing to watch something quickly to review today. Since the pandemic hit, I really have lost my desire to watch films. I need to try and get back into it soon. I’m missing out on so much. Until I do, I guess I’ll just be stuck watching short animated films on Netflix. At least I’m watching things that I wouldn’t have normally seen.
Just like my last TBT film review, this film has found a new lease of life in recent years. There’s something about the internet generation and supposedly underdog films. I never watched this when it was released because I was pretty beyond my Disney phase in 2001. I mean, yes, I still loved the classics of my childhood but would I actively go and see the new releases? Hell no! I was a super mature 13-year-old at that point. I wouldn’t be seen dead at a Disney film. Well, maybe I’d ironically go and watch Monsters Inc with my friend for someone’s birthday and pretend that I didn’t secretly love it. But The Emperor’s New Groove was released during that era of Disney when I wasn’t watching any animated films from the studio. So, why not finally watch it?
I have to be honest, I wouldn’t have watched this film if it wasn’t for its link with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. From the Netflix trailer, it just seemed like any other family animation mixed with every repetitive homicidal AI sci-fi film. Yes, it looked good and there were elements that really interested me. Mostly Olivia Colman. I didn’t think it was gong to be bad but I just wasn’t the market for something so seemingly unoriginal. Then this weekend happened and I hadn’t watched a new film for today’s post. There was only one thing to do. Find the quickest and easiest thing to watch on Netflix.
Shrek is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2021 and, apparently, not everyone is happy about it. In the Guardian this week, Scott Tobias decided to write a diatribe against the animated film that has captured the attention of millennials and beyond. It’s hard to ignore the fact that the film has achieved cult status and is still a very strong component of meme culture. Yet, according to Tobias, it’s not worth it in the slightest. He seemingly has nothing good to say about it. So, we have to ask, how did everyone get it so wrong? Why is he the only one who can see the DreamWorks animation for what is really is? Or rather, we should be asking, what exactly happened to Scott that means he is so against fun? And what exactly was he expecting from a film about an Ogre that’s based on a fairly crude picture book?
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of this film non-stop. I don’t know why I started listening to it. Especially considering that I’d never seen the film until this week. It was recommended to me on YouTube, which potentially shows you how much Disney I’ve been listening to lately. I guess it makes me feel better about how awful the world it right now. After months of ignoring it, I couldn’t resist the lure of the Rock singing a Lin-Manuel Miranda song anymore. Turns out, the soundtrack is absolutely amazing. It was only fair that I actually watch the whole film. At least I knew that if the story was bad that I’d have the songs to fall back on.
I had quite a bit to do on Sunday and my day ended up massively going off the rails. Meaning I forgot about watching a film for today’s post until that evening I didn’t really have time to watch what I’d originally planned so I ended up finding the first quick thing I saw on Netflix. What I didn’t realise at the time was that this film was a sequel. I’m not saying that it became difficult to follow because it’s still a kid’s film. It just meant that I was a bit slow on the uptake with certain references. I just thought the writers couldn’t be bothered to include all of the necessary context, which seemed quite an interesting choice.
I feel so much better about doing these film reviews having had a week’s break from it all. Maybe, I need to come up with a plan to do film reviews every fortnight and some other film related content on the alternate weeks? I don’t know. I never want to reach a point where it feels like doing the things I love starts to feel like work. I’ve started to realise that my self-imposed schedule is really driving my life more than it probably should. I spend so much of my free time writing or watching/reading something to write about. Then there are the photos I take every week. It’s fine in lockdown because what else would I be doing? But, eventually, I’m going to want to start socialising again. Having spent a year forced to stay inside, I’m starting to realise how little I went out before. Although, there’s no need to worry about that yet. The UK isn’t going to be getting out of this mess any time soon so I might as well carry on watching films when I feel like it.
Pixar films have been a bit dangerous in the last few years. By which I mean, they have been steadily getting more and more existential and they make me sad. Inside Out is one of the best discussions about mental health that I’ve ever seen. Coco explored the concept of death in such a moving and human way. These are the kind of films that I wish had been around when I was a kid. Maybe I’d have grown up to be a slightly more well-adjusted adult. Not much obviously. Pixar are great but they can’t perform fucking miracles! Considering the studio has something of a habit of making me cry, I was especially concerned about their latest film but I also knew that I couldn’t miss it. Even the poster was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. How could I not watch the whole thing?