Monday, 14 December 2015

Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur

A second release from Pixar this year, The Good Dinosaur have a simple, predictable plot that bears striking similarities with other past animations: The Land Before Time (1988), The Lion King (1994), How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and Walking with Dinosaurs (2013). Many were disappointed with the simplicity and familiarity of the plot, considering the fact that it's a Pixar film. Many have even tried to compare this film with Inside Out, Pixar's first release this year. But who says that simple can't be spectacular? Personally it feels unfair to make such comparison as each film has its own merit.

The Good Dinosaur is an emotionally engaging film that can both entertain and touches your heart. There are some truly emotional moments in the film that delivers some meaningful life messages to our younger generation. These moments, range from touching to tragic, will surely move you to tears. The film is based on a simple premise where the asteroid that supposedly killed off the dinosaurs doesn't hit Earth and the dinosaurs continue to roam free and alive. After millions of years later, primitive humans and dinosaurs co-existed together with the latter remains on top of the food chain.

The story focuses on the seemingly unusual friendship bond between an Apatosaurus named Arlo and a human cave-boy named Spot. After a series of events that leave Arlo separated from his family, Arlo must embark on a dangerous road journey back home with his unlikely human friend, Spot while meeting with other good and bad dinosaurs like T-Rexes, a pack of velociraptors, a styracosaurus, pterodactyls along the way.

The bond that slowly developed between Arlo and Spot throughout the journey is the best part of the film. The Good Dinosaur features similar themes of love, friendship, kindness, hope and courage to overcome life's challenges. Moreover, the animation in The Good Dinosaur is awe-inspiring. The landscapes depicted throughout the film are jaw-droppingly beautiful and realistic.

The Good Dinosaur is meant for the kids and some adults who can see its worth. It is by no means a bad film as many claimed it to be. It might be lacking in originality and creativity we've come to expect from Pixar, but it's still a fun, enjoyable, emotional ride for the family.

Pixar short film: Sanjay's Super Team - an animated short about a young boy daydreams of Hindu deities as superheroes!

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

After four films, we've finally here...the final conclusion to the Hunger Games franchise. Adapted from the 2nd half of the last book of the series, we've been expecting a final huge showdown between the rebels and the Capitol, considering the intense build-up leading to it. So does it deliver? Unfortunately, it isn't so. Surprisingly, the final chapter of the Hunger Games turns out to be quite underwhelming compared to its predecessors.

The story continues right after the conclusion of Part 1, where Peeta is brainwashed by President Snow to kill Katniss whenever he sees her. Katniss has finally made the decision to personally kill Snow by navigating through the various traps set by Snow throughout the city with a squad of rebel soldiers. Meanwhile, President Coin, leader of District 13 and the entire rebellion, finally reveals her true motive that could jeopardize the efforts of our main character and the future of Panem.

Mockingjay Part 2 relies heavily on Jennifer Lawrence's performance and thankfully she delivered her best. The film depicts the horrors and damages of war through Katniss. Without her, the movie would definitely suffer as the story becomes centered in on her and her quest to end it all. However, the action isn't as satisfyingly intense and exciting as its predecessors. The 'war' between the rebels of all districts and the Capitol that we wanted to see is not fully depicted in this film.

Moreover, some of its emotional scenes feel out of place and poorly executed, especially the death of a major character that comes late in the film. It doesn't provide the necessary emotional impact that it deserves to the audience. The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale is not fully fleshed out in the series and it abruptly ended without providing a satisfying resolution. Most of the supporting characters in the previous films have significantly reduced roles and screen time in this last installment.

Overall, the story does provide a relatively satisfying closure to The Hunger Games franchise. Unfortunately, it just doesn't inspire the same wonder as its previous predecessors. Furthermore, the most important question: could Mockingjay have survived as one film? Absolutely. In my opinion, it's unnecessary to split the final chapter into two parts. It could have been a far better film with a run time of probably 3 hours or so. Nevertheless, it's still a decent film to watch.

Ratings for all the Hunger Games films:

The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2