I was very excited for cinema trips in December. I know most people have been most hyped up about Star Wars, but seriously, I’ve been looking forward to the ‘Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs’ since they announced it in like, 2011. For reals.
The Good Dinosaur
This is just the most incredible looking film. When the opening sequence started with vistas over mountains, rivers and fields, me and David looked at each other and both said “OH MY GOD!” (we whispered it of course). It looks SO GOOD. The animation is insanely beautiful and after the hyper imaginative world of Inside Out, Pixar have gone for a realism style for the setting of The Good Dinosaur.
It is a bit jarring then that the characters themselves are done in a much more cartoony style. I guess it’s easy to forget that Pixar movies are for kids but The Good Dinosaur definitely is. The premise is that the meteor tht killed the dinosaurs missed earth meaning that dinosaurs and humans co-exist. The twist being that the dinos have developed (taking on agricultural skills) while the humans are still primitive. Arlo is a apatosaurus who struggles to find his place on his family farm, he is small, weak and cowardly. A cruel twist of fate leaves him lost and miles from home and he has to seek help from the human boy Spot.
There were lots of things I loved about this film. The way the T-Rex are done as ranchers is brilliant (a slight raise of the arm gives the impression of horse-riding), Peter Sohn’s Forrest Woodbush, the paranoid styracosaurus is hilarious and the friendship between Arlo and Spot is touching. However, overall it is slightly disappointing. The plot borrows massively from The Lion King which straight away is unlike Pixar. It’s also incredibly earnest in it’s ‘moral message’, and I know it’s for kids, but I think even an eight-year-old would feel a little patronised by it.
I feel like I’m judging it a little harshly, but we expect so much from Pixar anything less than an A+ feels disappointing. I did love it, I just didn’t love love it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Easily the biggest release of recent years. I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, I’ve seen the other films but only once, but I totally got swept up in all the hype. I also wanted to see it fairly quickly so I could avoid the spoilers. For that reason I’m not going to go into the plot too much – it’s the new Star Wars film, there’s not really much else that is needed to be said to be honest.
Like the rest of the world, I really liked it. There are a few things about it I didn’t love (sorry Chewie fans, but what is the point of him in general?) but overall it’s a really fun ride. I love that the Star Wars films are quite diverse in their casting in general and this installment brings the first female villain as well as a great new heroine in Rey.
It definitely panders to the fans who disliked the prequels. It ticks all the boxes in terms of nostalgia, action and humour. All round a great film.
The Netflix show of choice last month was Gotham. This is essentially Batman: The Very Beginning. Instead of Bruce Wayne, the main character is Detective James Gordon – Commissioner Gordon before the Commissioner part. The first episode sees the murder of the Waynes and Gordon (played by Benjamin MacKenzie of The OC fame) promising Bruce that he will find who did it. However, Gordon faces a series of unforeseen challenges as a new recruit to the corrupt Gotham Police Department.
While not perfect, there are loads of great characters in this. It’s incredibly over the top – Robin Taylor’s Penguin and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney especially – but it’s quite addictive and very watchable. I’m looking forward to the next season for sure.
Reggie Yates Extreme UK
Lastly, I’ve been watching the new documentaries from Reggie Yates on the BBC iPlayer. The new series is based in the UK and looks at the struggles men face – the titles are ‘Gay and Under Attack’, ‘Men at War’ and ‘Dying for a Six Pack’. I really like Reggie Yates, he has a great perspective on a range of issues and looks at it from his own viewpoint and is able to imagine that of his teenage brothers.
The ‘Men at War’ episode was particularly controversial as, in a very Louis Theroux-style, Reggie met men who were frankly ridiculous in their anti-feminism/anti-equality/anti-women extreme opinions. I think it missed a trick in not engaging with real issues such as inequality in matrimonial law instead of the ludicrous statements some of the men featured were making, but I guess the point was to show the extremes. Regardless, it definitely put to bed the argument that we don’t need feminism within the first 10 seconds!
What have you been watching recently? I’d love some documentary recommendations if you have any?