Cinema Dispatch: Onward

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Onward and all the images you see in this review are owned by Pixar and Walt Disney Studio Motion PIctures

Directed by Dan Scanlon

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty down on Pixar this past decade.  On the one hand, we DID get Coco and I guess Inside Out was just fine, but this was also the decade that brought us redundant sequels that I just failed to connect with; particularly Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 which everyone else seemed to enjoy a heck of a lot more than I did.  Because of this and the somewhat underwhelming trailers we got (It’s fantasy AND modern AT THE SAME TIME!?), I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing this kid friendly version of Bright, but that’s just the pessimistic side of me talking and maybe this really will be another return to form for the venerable studio.  Is this a road trip for the ages and the sequel to Brütal Legend we’ve all been secretly hoping for, or is this a mythical folly more disastrous than that Warcraft movie you’ve already forgotten about?  Let’s find out!!

Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is your typical Elf teenager; aspiring to be Legolas but more like The Elf on a Shelf.  He’s gangly, really quiet, and to some people he might come off as a bit creepy considering his lack of social skills.  VERY different from his brother Barley (Chris Pratt) who is basically the unholy offspring (in the cool Rock N Roll sort of way) of Andy Dwyer and Jack Black; spending most of his times talking theatrically, creating cool-tastic stories for his knock off D&D campaigns, and decidedly not getting a job or moving out.  Some of his arrested development issues as well as Ian’s social anxieties can be traced back to their father who died of an illness right before Ian was born, and there’s a lot of unhandled baggage there despite the efforts of their mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus ) to make a happy home and the stern if bumbling guidance of their mom’s new boyfriend Officer Bronco (Mel Rodriguez).  On Ian’s sixteenth birthday however, that all changes when their mother gives him a gift from his late father that she was instructed to hold off on until this day, and it turns out that their dad was a wizard who came up with a spell to bring him BACK FROM THE DEAD for one day so that he can see how great his sons turned out.  Sure!  Just ask the Elric brothers how well this worked out for them!  Well it KIND of works out as Ian is only able to bring back the bottom half of their dad and they now need to go on an EPIC QUEST TO FIND A NEW GEM FOR MAGIC STAFF, and cast the REST of the spell before the 24 hours are up.  Can Ian and Barley find the mythical Phoenix Gem and see their father one last time?  Who exactly WAS their father and how far does Ian want to go with these new magic gifts that he’s discovered?  Will Barley put him through the Rocky Training Montage of his life!?  He certainly has the right music for it!

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“You’ve gotta say it bro!”     “Sigh… This is my big staff, this is my wand.  This is for casting, this is for fun…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

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Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by David Soren

Captain Underpants was a big staple of my elementary school years and while I eventually grew out the series after the first five or six books, I still have good memories (albeit vague ones) about those stories and the characters.  Now at one point, even as recent as say 2010, I would have lost my freaking MIND over the idea of a Captain Underpants movie, but with this being made so later after I dropped off of the series coupled with the relatively bare bones marketing I saw for it, my expectations are somewhat tempered going into it even though I would love nothing more than for this series to get a new lease on life.  Does Captain Underpants manage to be a better super hero movie than even the MCU can put out, or are we doomed for another DCCU style monstrosity of epic proportions!?  Or maybe it could be the middle ground of the better X-Men movies… I guess.  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the adventures of George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch).  George is the kid with the tie and the flat-top while Harold is the one with the T-shirt and bad haircut.  You should probably remember that.  Anyway, they’re two good natured troublemakers at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School who always manage to peeve of their principal Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms) with their incessant pranking and never ending supply of self-published comic books that they distribute at the school.  Their most popular by far is the Captain Underpants series which involves a super hero who wears nothing but underwear and a cape since most superheroes look like they’re wearing their underwear.  I don’t know how true that is anymore as they mostly wear leather and body armor now, but that’s beside the point.  What’s important is that George and Harold’s latest prank was the final straw to break the camel’s back and Mr. Krupp is going to separate them once and for all by putting them in different classes.  In a last ditch effort to save their friendship, George uses his Hypno-Ring to hypnotize Mr. Krupp before he can sign the papers.  Not only that, but just for the heck of it they ALSO convince him that he’s Captain Underpants as well which is funny at first but proves to be quite a burden as he turns into the hero anytime he hears someone snap their fingers and will only turn back once he’s bene splashed by water (it’s unclear if other substances will work in water’s stead).  Oh, and there’s a mad scientist somewhere in this too who becomes a science teacher or something.  Will Harold and George learn a lesson about their pranking ways now that they have to keep Mr. Krupp from hurting himself or worse?  Eh, probably not, but will Captain Underpants manage to be an ACTUAL hero instead of just a guy running around in his tighty-whities?  Most importantly though, is this just as good as the books I remember reading in second grade!?

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“Guys.  Guys.  I’ve TOTALLY got this!”

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