Do you remember how for a short period in the late 90s there was a load of drama about two animated films about bugs. It was a crazy time to be alive. For years, I believed that I had watched both Antz and A Bug’s Life. However, it has come to my attention that this was a false presumption. I definitely watched Antz because I remember Woody Allen’s voice. Admittedly, I doubt that I knew who Woody Allen was at the time but I probably thought it was funny. I also wouldn’t have known who anyone in A Bug’s Life was either because I was 10 in 1998. Good job I’m watching it now I’m 33. That way I can spend the whole time going “I recognise that voice” as I Google the cast on my phone.
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.
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?
Okay, confession time. Until last night, I’d never seen Coco. Why? I honestly don’t know. I guess it doesn’t help that I don’t often go to see animated films at the cinema these days. I only went to see Frozen 2 because I owed my friend for dragging her to see the awful Joker when she didn’t want to. Of course, there was nothing to stop me watching it once it came out on Blu Ray. Well, nothing but price. Disney Pixar films are always so expensive. But now I’ve got Disney+ and I might as well use it. It’s not as if I’ve been making the most of it in recent weeks. I bought it because I wanted to watch The Mandalorian and I’ve still not done that. And the second season is already here. What am I doing with my life?
Pixar has been responsible for some of the great family films that have ever been released but they have been pretty focused on sequels recently. They haven’t released an original film since 2017’s Coco and that was a massive hit with everyone. So, it’s safe to say that Onward had a lot to live up to. Pixar has never been afraid to experiment with styles and show children the harsh realities of life. Let’s not forget that Inside/Out offered a better analysis of mental health than anyone had before. Unlike Disney, Pixar is always trying to change the game and do something different. Well, they did before they decided to keep going back to the same old characters and do the same old things. Surely Onward was going to be something special. Plus, it stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland fresh off of their Endgame high. At the very least, it was something to take notice of.
I appear to be having a bit of a Tom Hanks moment right now. I reviewed Sully the other week, A Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Tuesday, and Splash on Thursday. I decided that I might as well embrace it by picking my favourite Tom Hanks films. Though, I quickly realised that I’ve not watched a great deal of them and, of those that I have watched, I don’t like many. I think Saving Private Ryan is just messy even though Hanks gives a great performance. I think Big is creepy. Forrest Gump isn’t as good as everyone says that it is. As a person who gets bored by romantic comedies, I can only just appreciate his films with Meg Ryan. So, I really started to worry that I didn’t really have any favourite Tom Hanks films. But I have no other ideas for today’s post so what the hell. There are a few that I’ve missed off not because, though they are good films, I didn’t quite enjoy them as much. This isn’t just about quality. We can’t only love Oscar-worthy films, you know.
It’s been 24 years since the first Toy Story film hit cinema screens. I’m not sure if we saw it in a cinema but we definitely had a copy of it on VHS. My sisters and I all loved it. We must have seen the second film in the cinema because we didn’t own a copy of that. And Toy Story 3 came out when I was at university. It was a house outing because all of us had fond memories of the series. Fond memories that were completely manipulated by the story of aging and leaving your childhood behind. That’s exactly what a 22-year-old needed. It’s been 9 years since Pixar left us utterly broken at the scene where Andy waves goodbye to his childhood toys and gives them to the next generation. It was the perfect end to the series. Or so we thought. There wasn’t any need for it but, god, we were excited to see the gang again. There’s something about the combination of Tom Hanks’ voice and Pixar’s unbeatable animation that just makes you feel at home.
I know that I liked The Incredibles but I really don’t think I have that same sense of nostalgia that a lot of people I know have for it. I was 16 when it came out so I was probably trying to appear too cool to give a shit about Pixar films. I definitely wasn’t but I was going through a phase. So, as good as I think the film is, it was never one of my favourites. I certainly wasn’t as emotionally invested in the sequel as I had been for Toy Story 3 or Finding Dory. Which is weird considering how much I adore superhero films in general. But, I have to admit, that every time someone was getting super excited about the new release I quite often had to fake enough enthusiasm to keep myself on par with theirs. I was excited but this wasn’t the film of my youth. Maybe I’m just spending too much time with younger people? Maybe I should have re-watched the original more recently? Who knows. I was excited enough to watch the damn thing. Plus, I’m always down to watch a Pixar film.