For advent last year, I tried to watch a Christmas every day leading up to Christmas. I’m pretty sure that I managed it but I can’t actually remember. I was supposed to be posting each film on my Instagram story but I kept losing track of which day I was on. In the end, it was just better for everyone that I gave up. This year, I’ve vowed to do the same thing and, hopefully, keep up with my Instagram story record. I was already getting into the festive spirit thanks to The Princess Switch: Switched Again. So, I decided to keep the joy going with the most ridiculous looking film that I could find on Netflix. To be fair, I have already watched a lot of the shitty Christmas films on there for the TBT posts in past years. It left with one of the horrifying Nativity series or this monstrosity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Downey Jr. as much as the next person but, let’s be honest, he’s been playing the same character for years now. The actor was getting his career on track during the early 2000s but it wasn’t until Iron Man that he really became a person to watch. Since that point, it’s kind of felt that we’ve been getting the same thing in almost every film. He’s basically just playing a hyped-up version of himself. The major difference between his Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes is a hundred or so years. Now I think RDJ. is a great guy but there’s just no surprise any more. When you see that RDJ is in a cast, you can be pretty sure about the kind of character he’s going to play. Yeah, I understand that Dr Dolittle is a pretty odd guy but he’s inherently British. He’s described in the books as a well-respected and quiet man. Not an absurd comic figure of fun. I just couldn’t see how a big Hollywood adaptation with RDJ in the titular role would work as well as the classic 1967 film did. But I was willing to be proven wrong.
You have to give the mind’s behind Sonic the Hedgehog their dues. When they heard the criticism for the first trailer, they literally went back to the drawing board and redesigned the main character. It’s more than the Cats people did. They waited until after they’d released the film to try and fix some of their mistakes. Yes, it will definitely have come down to money and want to ensure as many people bought tickets as possible. After all, the amount of free publicity they got out of it will have made sure that plenty of people who were never going to see it wanted to. But it’s also a positive thing because Sonic is such an important figure from many people’s childhoods. It was important to get this right. Especially as so many video game films are so badly received. For plenty of people, this film would have been important. I’ll be honest, I was never much of a Sonic fan. I was more of a Super Mario kind of gal. But I have had some fun playing as the blue blur in my time.
Lady and the Tramp is a great Disney film but it was never one of my favourites. I mean, I loved the dogs but it lacked most of the things that I loved most about these films. The songs weren’t as catchy and there was no deliciously evil bad guy to stand up to. It’s lovely but there are more memorable ones. So, it’s not as if the live-action remake was ever going to make as big a splash as the recent Lion King or Aladdin films. I guess that could be another part of the reason why Disney decided to forgo a cinema release and leave it as part of its opening line-up for Disney+. Yes, it would have made money but does it have the popularity to bring in the big bucks? Also, the exclusivity would just make the people still wavering feel that their subscription was worth it. But how much value does it actually add to the platform?
I read a headline recently that suggested that The Call of the Wild marked the return of the dog film. I wasn’t entirely convinced about how good a thing this was. There have been plenty of great dogs in films but films about dogs aren’t always that great. For every Homeward Bound, there are about 10 Snow Dogs. For every Beethoven, there are 7 increasingly dreadful Beethoven sequels. Then there’s the fact that dog films always like to give their canine protagonists the powers of thought and reason. They have to anthropomorphise them to a certain extent to create a story and make the audience really care about them. You can’t just have an animal following its natural instincts. What would the children do when faced with a fluffy creature ripping apart a rabbit with blood dripping from its fur?