Sometimes once a year comes to an end, I like to close it out with a few thoughts on the year that is about to be behind us. Just last year, I spent a lot of my Goodbye 2020 article on the state of the film and movie theater industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it certainly seems like this edition of these New Year’s Eve articles will have to have a similar focus.
Because while I do think it’s possible to see a light at the end of the tunnel since most people are accepting the vaccines, it is also true that the world isn’t completely out of the woods yet (in part due to the various different variants of the contagious disease that has dictated our lives for a very long time now). But what has all of this meant for the aforementioned industries and, more broadly, the ‘movie year’ that was 2021? Well, let’s talk about that.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra — Screenplay by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa.
There are many films that have been turned into theme park attractions as a direct result of their popularity. However, the reverse doesn’t happen successfully as frequently. We rarely see great films that are instead based on popular attractions. Disney did find that kind of success, when Gore Verbinski turned the Pirates of the Caribbean-attraction into a beloved film franchise. It wasn’t Disney first or last attempt at making a successful film out of one of their many theme park attractions, but they have all mostly failed to garner the same success that Verbinski’s beloved films did.
Some of the not-so-successful attempts include the Eddie Murphy-led The Haunted Mansion and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise is based on the Disney attraction of the same name, and, even though it is not a true home run for Disney, I think it’s definitely the best of its kind since Verbinski’s swashbuckling action-adventure trilogy set sail.
In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I reveal my mixed thoughts on the Emma Stone-vehicle Cruella, and then I recommend three television shows, one of which I’ve been meaning to review for several months. This edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews is jam-packed!
Directed by Enrico Casarosa — Screenplay by Jesse Andrews & Mike Jones.
Pixar’s Luca, which is available to watch right now with a Disney+ subscription, is a, pardon the pun, fish-out-of-water coming-of-age story about Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), a teenage sea monster, who is curious about what exactly happens above the surface of the water. His parents — voiced by Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan — tell him to stay away from the surface out of a fear that the sea monster-fearing humans might catch him. But Luca, like another Disney-protagonist once sang, wants to be where the people are.
Directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) & Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) — Screenplay by Qui Nguyen & Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians).
Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada’s Raya and the Last Dragon is an action-adventure film set in the fantasy land of Kumandra, which is inspired by Southeast Asian cultures, that has been divided into five tribes — Fang, Heart, Talon, Spine, and Tail — named after their placement on a giant river that flows through all of Kumandra. These tribes don’t see eye to eye, and they all covet a magical orb that was once created by dragons that have since been turned to stone by evil spirits known as the Druun. The Druun have disappeared because of the creation of the powerful orb, which is now protected by the Heart tribe, led by Chief Benja (voiced by Daniel Dae Kim) who still believes that the tribes can reunite and bring new life to the once glorious land of Kumandra. Continue reading “REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)”→
The following is a recap and review of the eighth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the eighth episode of WandaVision — titled Previously On — we learn more about who Agatha Harkness (played by Kathryn Hahn) really is, before she and Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) take a trip down memory lane to rewatch and expand upon pivotal moments in Wanda’s life, which reveals why the Hex bubble universe was even created in the first place. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “Previously On””→
The following is a recap and review of the seventh episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the seventh episode of WandaVision — titled Breaking the Fourth Wall — Darcy (played by Kat Dennings) brings Vision (played by Paul Bettany) back up to speed, while Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) decides to have a day all to herself, which means that ‘Agnes’ (played by Kathryn Hahn) has to take care of the twins. Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris) tries to get back inside the Hex. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “Breaking the Fourth Wall””→
The following is a recap and review of the sixth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the sixth episode of WandaVision — titled All-New Halloween Spooktacular! — Tommy (played by Jett Klyne) and Billy (played by Julian Hilliard) get ready to celebrate their first Halloween inside the Hex with their family, including their mysterious “uncle,” Pietro (played by Evan Peters), who Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) seems slightly suspicious of (perhaps because he, well, has been ‘recast,’ as a character in the previous episode said). Meanwhile, Vision (played by Paul Bettany) has decided to lie to his family and explore Westview on his own. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!””→
The following is a recap and review of the fifth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers.
In the fifth episode of WandaVision — titled On a Very Special Episode — Vision (played by Paul Bettany) starts to question everything about the reality inside Wanda’s bubble universe, while Wanda and Vision’s twin boys age rapidly. Meanwhile, Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris) wakes up and immediately starts to work out a way that they can enter into the bubble universe without being altered by its time period. But S.W.O.R.D. is about to find out that Wanda (played by Elizabeth Olsen) doesn’t like intruders. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “On a Very Special Episode…””→