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 have to be honest, when I first requested this on NetGalley, I didn’t realise this book was part of a series and, embarrassingly, it took me a while to realise once I’d started. So, what was I going to do at that point? Stop reading altogether? I was invested now. And who is to say that you can’t just totally ignore the first book in a series? Well, pretty much everyone but it’s okay. This was a children’s book and, if I’ve learnt anything from trying to re-read The Chamber of Secrets over and over again, it’s that the second book in a kid’s fantasy series is just going to recap the whole of the first book anyway. In the case of JK Rowling, that almost literally means retelling the whole story whilst writing some half-arsed plot about a massive snake. Sorry to go off track as always but I bloody hate The Chamber of Secrets. Nothing happens for the first 2/3 chapters. It’s just Harry thinking about everything he did in his first year. It’s no wonder she had to keep spacing out her releases. It’s only when you read those babies back to back that you realise how repetitive she is. But, let’s not let She Who Must Not Be Praised ruin this extra bookish post. On with the review I should have written on Wednesday.
It took me two viewings before I really came on board with The Lego Movie. The first time, I just didn’t get what the fuss was all about but, thanks to a chance special offer DVD, I gave it another chance. And I loved it. I couldn’t get the song out of my head and it finally made sense. Everything about that film was awesome. As is everything that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have come up with since. The Lego Batman movie proved to be a huge success and a lot of fun. Then, as you may well remember, Into The Spider-Verse proved to be my favourite film of last year. I mean it was basically perfect. I still can’t get over it. And, considering how many disappointments there were at this year’s Oscars, it was well deserving of its win. It seems as though Lord and Miller are definitely set to be quite the duo and, especially when it comes to animated features, they are a pretty safe bet. So, I was pretty excited by the release of a follow-up to The Lego Movie. Obviously, sequels to great movies aren’t necessarily great themselves and, if I’m honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how the second film would work. But I was looking forward to getting the gang back together to find out. And who knows. Everything was probably going to be awesome anyway.
Last night was my Christmas party at work and, I’m sorry to say, the free wine on the tables was really flowing. Mainly in my direction. I wasn’t feeling as bad as I expected this morning but, boy, was I glad I had the day off today! I’m so tired. But, instead of spending the day in bed, I have to get myself sorted before I’m out again tonight. I’m such a Grandma these days. All I want is to snuggle up in bed watching more shit Netflix Christmas films. I still have loads that I want to watch but, I’m happy to say, that I have watched the most important one already. After last year’s A Christmas Prince got the internet going mental, I was kind of excited (maybe excited isn’t the right word) to see how the sequel would go. The first film was so bad but in such a wonderful way. And this one has a wedding. That’s always a narrative choice that is both original and full of funny ideas. Right? Guys? Am I right?
You know that thing where you’ve been saying something for years and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon? I feel like that about JK Rowling. I’ve been ranting about that woman and the damage she’s causing the Harry Potter series for years and now, all of a sudden, it seems that people are finally catching up with me. It was way back in 2012 that I first started complaining about her ability to fuck shit up. Then, with every passing year and every new revelation, I’ve continually begged her to just leave the series alone. I was definitely in the minority back in those days. Now? Now I’m reading articles in The Guardian saying exactly what I’ve been saying. It’s really infuriating. But also good, I guess. It helps to know that I’m not just being petty. That I’m not just targeting a famous and successful writer to make myself feel important. I’m just a fan who is sick of this dead horse being flogged for everything it’s worth. A fan who went into the new Fantastic Beasts film expecting to come out in an absolute rage because I’d already reached my limit thanks to the Nagini and McGonagall news. Plus, you know, Johnny Depp.
Maybe it’s growing up in the UK or maybe it’s the fact that my father was a massive fan of Blackadder but I love Rowan Atkinson. I think he’s genuinely one of the funniest people who has ever lived. When it comes to physical comedy and facial expression, I can’t think of any other actor who comes close to Atkinson. He can make any situation funny by simply gurning in the right way. So, despite how silly the Johnny English films have beem, I am always kind of happy to watch on. It even meant that I was looking forward to the latest one. Even though it has been a good 7 years since the second film came out and 15 since the first one. Did I think it was necessary to bring it out? Nah. Was I going to watch it? Of course. These films have always set out to be as silly as possible. And, in these dark political times, it’s probably a good time for Johnny English to come back out of retirement to show it’s fine to take the piss out of ourselves.
I’ve been behind the Ant-Man series of films since the first rumblings of an adaptation. Yes, he might not be the obvious choice for a standalone movie and he may not be the most impressive of all the potential Marvel heroes. But I like him. And initially having Edgar Wright sign on as the co-writer and director only helped to increase my excitement. Unfortunately, as we now know, that was to be nothing but a fantastic dream. Though we also know that the first Ant-Man film was pretty good all things considered. It wasn’t the film we had expected or even the film he deserved but it was entertaining and charming. Paul Rudd has proved, every time he’s donned his shrinking suit, that he is the perfect choice to play Scott Lang. He was a true high point in Civil War and was sorely missed in Infinity War. So, the question was, what exactly was Scott doing whilst his friends were trying to stop Thanos from snapping half of the Earth’s population to dust? Well, thankfully Ant-Man and the Wasp is here to answer it… with added Michell Pfieffer.
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.
It’s been 25 years since the original Jurassic Park was released and it still remains one of the most loved and well-made films many people have ever seen. It is a childhood favourite of many and you really can’t say a bad word against it to most people. Something I found out recently during one of my quite normal tirades against Steven Spielberg. I love more than a few of his films but, I have to admit, he is something of a hack these days. It was after I’d seen Ready Player One and I was pissed about it. So I happened to mention to a work friend that, even though I love Jurassic Park, it isn’t a perfect film. I mean, yes, there is technical brilliance and some super memorable visual moments but there is some of shit there. It’s just that the rest of it is so good that the bad bits don’t matter. Suffice it to say that nobody was willing to even listen to my argument so I gave up. What cannot be denied, of course, is that the subsequent films have all been going downhill. Even dropping the word “park” from the title hasn’t done much. Jurassic World was an entertaining enough film but it could never live up to the original. So my hopes for the second in the World part of the franchise weren’t necessarily high. I mean, yeah, I was still desperate to see it but I kind of expected it to be shit. Until, another work friend came back from the cinema using the phrase “better than the first”. Well, I just had to check it out now.