Inside Out review

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It’s been two years of absence and InsideOut is Pixar’s most triumphant return since Toy Story 3.

There’s a reason why I respect Pixar as a movie company. All their films are incredibly mature while mantaining that innocent and cheerful spirit of an animated film. Also, every new Pixar movie is quite unique and different from the rest.

Inside Out aroused a lot of expectancy from me because Pixar is already good at portraying deep topics, so, when I heard that they were making a movie about how the emotions work inside the head, I knew something big was coming.

But most importantly is that we are talking about the emotions inside 11 year old Riley, a young girl who’s life has been mainly guided by Joy, hence, most of her memories are happy ones. Riley’s life seems very colorful in every aspect as Joy, Fear, Disgust and Anger all co-work in a very efficient way. The only one that doesn’t seem to fit very well is Sadness, as nobody really knows what she is there for.

However, things start giving a radical turn when Riley has to move to another city because of her dad’s job. This means goodbye to everything she once knew and now she has to  face the changes of a new school, a new sports team, new friends… and the 5 emotions are having a very hard time trying to find new ways for Riley to be happy again.

The most brilliant aspect about this movie for me is the fact that everything is a total represantation of real life. Everything Riley lives is actually what real kids sometimes have to face when they are growing up and Pixar takes advantage of this to explain how the emotions become out of control and try to restore balance to them.

And everything becomes even deeper and better when the movie starts showing the conflict most people have between Joy and Sadness in a very funny and heartwarming way. The way Pixar shows how all the emotions have a very important role in daily life is quite unique to experience.

Great merit for the film to feel authentic and immersive goes to the main characters who are the emotions. Everyone has his own personality portrayed in an excellent way while caring for restoring emotional balance. Joy is always energetic and cheerful and literally glows of happiness; Sadness is always remembering the possible sad outcomes; Fear is the one responsible for the second thoughts about decisions; Disgust is always judgmental; and Fear is the one who can’t tolerate injustices.

Another great aspect of the film is that everything is told in a very funny way. All the jokes have to do with the emotions and how the head of a little girl works. It’s enough to say that even the jokes make sense with the plot and are not just silly random jokes.

There are even short scenes where we visit Riley’s parents heads and see how their respective emotions work based on their personality, which results in very hilarious moments.

There are heartbreaking scenes, too. Another big topic in the movie is forgotten memories, and some of those memories end up being crucial for the film’s plot,  and when we see them vanish, it’s truly heartbreaking.

As a whole, Inside Out results in yet another masterpiece from Pixar. I really hadn’t enjoy another Pixar movie that much since those days of Toy Story 3. In fact, if you pay attention, there are some elements in Inside Out that will remind you of that movie, too.

Inside Out is a movie that has it all. It’s beautifully animated, the plot is a perfect combination between a deep story and a funny one, the jokes make sense with all the plot, it’s a new and great way to show kids and adults alike the importance of emotional balance…. I would say those 2 years of waiting for a new Pixar movie were worth it.

10 stars

Rating: 10

SpongeBob: Sponge Out Of Water review

It’s been 15 years since the first time Sponge Bob came to life via Nickelodeon and it remains today as one of the favorite cartoons to watch for kids. Since some are very popular, it’s not uncommon that cartoons have their own movie at some point of their lifespan and Sponge Bob has already had its own chance some years ago with Sponge Bob Square Pants: The Movie on 2004, however, Nickelodeon has changed the roles this time a bit to present us a mix of 2D and 3D action that feels at the same time pleasantly familiar with the series yet fresh enough to be a movie while avoiding the mistake many cartoon-based films have of making us think it’s just another episode. Even with all those years of presence, Sponge Out Of Water confirms us that everyone’s favorite resident of a pineapple under the sea has still a long life ahead.

The story of the movie revolves around the same concept as the series but with slightly turn of events. The charming pirate Burge-Beard (Antonio Banderas) has found a mysterious book in a lonely island that will help him leave Bikini Bottom to its doom and steal that which is most sacred in the whole sea: the Krabby Patty secret formula. Meanwhile, everyone enjoys a relaxing day at Bikini Bottom while eating a succulent Krabby Patty that Sponge Bob (Tom Kenny) cooks so well. Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), the series’ main villain, has developed a new plan that makes him able to finally steal the burgers secret formula, only to see it disappear in front of his one eye. Bob is the only one that witnessed Plankton’s lack of guilt and, thanks to that big heart of his, is willing to defend his innocence from Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown), turning both of them into accomplices of the crime forcing them to develop a teamwork to recover the lost formula in a journey that will take them out of the water.

The whole story is rather simple because, after all, it is a cartoon. However, the charming experience of the complete film comes in many different forms. First of all, the new concept of this flick is Sponge Bob’ entrance to the CGI. The way this was done was surprisingly nice and fun to watch, because the movie does a great job by starting with the classic 2D art style and once they are out in our world, they look both real and colorful. Perhaps if everything had been done in CGI, things would have looked very strange to everybody, but since it was not, it brings a new vision of the series while reminding us that it still the same cartoon. The transition between the art styles throughout the movie is quite something entertaining.

Secondly, as someone who watched Sponge Bob in his childhood, I can say the people responsible for the series were saving their funniest jokes to this very moment. From start to finish, Sponge Out Of Water delivers quite a bunch of jokes that are far from being tiring and reminds even the adult audiences that grew up with Sponge Bob what it was all about. It is a child’s movie, yes, but the jokes will not be found as ridiculous or something only a child would laugh at. The whole family will definitely have a funny moment with the whole characters. Even the score is perfect for every moment to be funny.

Loyal fans, newcomers and the whole family will find this movie delightful. The plot is simple, and there is no real moral message or something like that, but what the film tried to do was done right: to entertain with rather funny jokes and make you grow fond of the characters. Not all of them have the participation that I would have expected them to have, especially when the CGI comes to life, but, in the end, the overall experience is quite satisfying. With this new Nickelodeon feature film, far from being obsolete, the series will definitely catch a lot of attention from kids and new fans alike.

Rating: 8 – Definitely worth it

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Big Hero 6 review

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Versión en español: http://josephmovie.tumblr.com/

Nerds can be cool, too

One thing is clear: Marvel is the dictionary entry for “box office success”. Whether if you are a fan or unfamiliar with their works, in reality, every single movie of theirs can make anyone go to watch it. Back in 2009, the eyes of all the movies fans turned to Disney who acquired Marvel Studios later that year. “What would come up from that partnership?” was of course the most frequently asked question. Well, after 5 years of relationship, we finally have the first product that comes from the fusion of the two behemoths of the industry. Marvel’s field of expertise, superheroes, combines its forces with the pioneer of animation, Disney, to bring Big Hero 6, a CGI superhero origin tale based on the comic of the same name that brings those life lessons we are all used to see from Disney and Pixar: tragedy, loss, family first, and one’s quest to grow. And, frankly, the result is outstanding.

On a parallel distant future, San Francisco has merged with Tokyo to become San Fransokyo, where apparently, robots are now things of every day’s life. It is here where Big Hero 6 tells the tale of Hiro (Ryan Potter) and older brother Tadashi (Daniell Henney), two orphaned boys that are geniuses in electronics. The difference is that Hiro is very cocky to go to university and prefers earning money (illegally), in underground robot fights. Tadashi, as the father figure, concerned about his little brother, tricks him into thinking he will take him to his next fight, but instead, takes him to his university to meet his nerdy friends and learn about their science projects. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Tadashi shows Hiro his own life’s work, a robot, “designed to be adorable”, medical assistant, Baymax (Scott Adsit).

Fascinated about the new world he has discovered, Hiro is convinced he wants to study in that same institute. He presents a project which wins him the ticket to sign up for it and everything is joy for everybody. Suddenly, a tragedy occurs in the school, killing Tadashi and leaving Hiro alone. In his depression, he accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to treat his inner wounds by calling Tadashi’s best friends, who are now his friends, too. This is the moment when Hiro discovers the events of the school might not have been “accidentally”, so he and the group decide to build powerful costumes based on science to help them on their journey to find out who is behind all of this, including Baymax.

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Since many years ago, the animated sector has not exactly deliver “children’s movies”. Instead, they are movies that come with a deep plot but are, at the same time, easy for all the family to digest. The main focus of this animated film is a direct message: nerds can be cool, too. The word Nerd is frequently used in the movie without any of the common “cool guys” to bully them. It is something that is understood very early on the story, however, the other elements that comprise it make it a terrific plot. Some life lessons about how to overcome loss with the help of friends is perhaps not a new concept, but it surely has to be applied carefully for a family-friendly film. We all know something about the Disney protocol: there has to be drama. Nobody can forget what happens in The Lion King, Tarzan, Bambi, among others, and Big Hero 6 follows the Disney’s tradition by not making it feel cliché nor dark for children.

But I’m not saying the movie is only about drama! On the contrary, it is packed with so many funny moments sometimes you forget what they are trying to do. At the same time, the film is packed with so many emotional, heartbreaking moments, with most of them involving our big, stuffed balloon droid. He is a robot, yes, but the legacy of Tadashi that was programmed in his chip is crucial for Hiro to understand his true purpose. It might not be as groundbreaking as other giant Disney movies, but it does its job, although it has some Iron Man influences along the story that are quite obvious to notice.  Finally, Big Hero’s 6 animation is magnificent. The competence in CGI animation is surely a big one, with most movies from DreamWorks, BlueSky, Fox and Disney/Pixar resulting in such a sight for the eyes that the sense of awe is inevitable and this visual delight is no exception.

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Disney’s latest animation, with the influence of Marvel, results in a very nice, emotional and vastly funny experience. It is definitely one of the funniest CGI movies I’ve seen in a while. It is everything you would expect from the fusion of two of the experts in high-grossing films. The full experience of more than a century at making animated films and the superhero comics’ theme end up making a very good result. Perhaps some things might look a little recycled from previous films of both studios, but it’s nothing that truly affects the viewer’s experience. What really affects the spectator’s eye is the gorgeous visuals and the endearing plot that is unfolded by the great bond of Hiro and Tadashi and, later on, Hiro and his 5 big sidekicks. I keep falling in love with these movies that are not “children’s movies” anymore. These are family-friendly movies, which means, a strong message for the whole family to understand.

Rating: 8.5 – Definitely worth it

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3biFxZIJOQ

The Book of Life review

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Hollywood’s animated sector has seen some outstanding works since its debut almost a century ago with most of them taking us to inconceivable environments such as enchanted forests, outer space, lands with dragons and so on. Albeit, a change of scene from the books of fairy tales to a Book of Life feels as refreshing as the Mexican touch that is engraved on this visually gorgeous film from newcomer director Jorge R. Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro. What make this film stand out from others is that it doesn’t come in the form of a fairy tale. This “book” comes as an invitation to celebrate one of the most iconic holidays of Mexico: El Día de los Muertos.

The movie begins with a group of scholar kids having a tour in a museum whose tour guide is about to explain the origins of one of the most popular celebrations in Mexico as it is told in the Book of Life. It tells the tale of young Manolo (Diego Luna), a child who grows up passionate about music while trying to evade the traditional bullfighter profession of the family as he only cares about winning Maria’s heart (Zoe Saldana). The only problem is that his best friend, Joaquin (Channing Tatum), a brave boy destined to be the hero of the little Mexican town, is also in love with her. Bored out of his reign in the Land of the Forgotten, Xibalba takes advantage of the love triangle and wagers with La Muerte, the ruler of the Land of the Remembered, over who will Maria marry. This bet unleashes a series of unexpected turn of events with fate as Manolo will have to travel across the three kingdoms if he ever wants to see Maria again.

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Right from the beginning, the picture immediately catches the spectator’s eye, and not only because of the brilliant animation, but because of the original, colorful characters and landscapes that manage to accurately capture the essence and spirit of the festivity. This especially noticeable on two parts: the very first minutes in which the holiday is explained, with the many decorations surrounding the graves of the deceased families and when Manolo first enters the Land of the Remembered, where the colors of every single detail almost pop out of the screen. But first price goes to La Muerte (who is based on Mexico’s “La Catrina”) with its beautiful costume design and features. She, by herself, is enough to pay tribute to what El Día de los Muertos actually is about: characteristic colors, Cempaxúchitl flower and “Calaveritas” (little skulls). All of this definitely reflects the effort of newcomer but talented Jorge Gutierrez in showing his nation’s traditions.

“What is it with Mexicans and death?” asks a kid hearing the story, and he might be right, after all, how do you explain death to a child?  Well, the love story that is told throughout the movie ends up being a very good and funny way to explain a new way to see death to children. It is not the conventional “best friends turn rivals” kind of story, as both Manolo and Joaquin, even if they want the girl more than anything else in the world, they respect each other, it’s like a friendly “may the best man win” kind of match. This is a good move, I mean, why would kids want to see a cartoonish soap opera? Nonetheless, at some parts of the movie the theme of El Día de los Muertos is somewhat forgotten because there are moments in which the film relies too much on the love triangle. But that doesn’t represent a real problem for the film to be a nice thing to watch. Even if death represents a difficult subject for children, the rest of the story makes it comfortable with plenty of funny moments, moral messages and popular pop songs.

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The Book of Life arrives in perfect time to arouse the celebratory spirit of the Mexican holiday with an animation so rich in color and detail it becomes a real pleasure to the eye. Even if the story loses its Day of the Dead feeling at some points due to the love story of the characters, everything else reflects the full cultural pride the Mexican team has managed to engrave in the film (a remarkable achievement for rookie Jorge Gutierrez). Everything from the characters and environment’s design to some life and death lessons that kids may be able to understand without having to worry about it, the product of this “book” can’t go unnoticed by any fan of CGI animation and festivities.

Rating: 8 – Definitely worth it

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBw5YScs8iQ