My June-ing the Cult month is winding down as I get to my last two which are also the two most recent films in this line up. Over at the The Movie Rat, Bernardo suggested that I check out Zokkomon, which is only five years old at the moment and was actually distributed by Disney World Cinema. Aside from that, I had no idea what I was getting into other than I assumed there would be at least some musical numbers based on what little I’ve seen out of Bollywood. What I ended up getting was a weird mix of Batman, Harry Potter, with a little Matilda and even the Karate Kid thrown in for good measure. The high point was the colorful characters and the touch of a greater message that was only slightly heavy handed. Very fun film and easily recommended.
Up, Up, and Away 2000
I’m continuing my efforts to watch the last few remaining Black superhero and comic book movies that I haven’t reviewed with this Disney Channel Original Movie. I was never really much of a fan of the DCOMs as some people refer to them, they were always too far on the schmaltzy scale for me as they seemed to be targeted directly towards tweens before the term tween even existed. The ones that I’ve been forced to sit through by my wife and daughter have been the surprisingly abundant girl-focused ones like the Zenon films, the Halloweentowns, and most recently Descendants. None of them would have likely appealed to me when I was younger and they definitely didn’t appeal to me as an adult. So I didn’t have very high hopes for Up, Up, and Away even with the inclusion of Robert Townsend as director and star considering I am a mild fan of his earlier work The Meteor Man. But while I didn’t absolutely fall in love with Up, Up, and Away, it did do a few things that surprised me and it made me laugh more than once.
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Big Hero 6 2014
Even though this was the last big superhero movie of 2014 that I had been looking forward to, the biggest reason why I wanted to see this movie in theaters is because of my daughter Jena and her 8th birthday this Saturday, November 8th. So that was the mindset I was in when I made it to the theaters to watch this latest Disney animated movie. In fact, I realized that even though I’ve had a pretty poor theatrical track record for the past several years, I had seen every Disney Animated movie in theaters since Wreck-it Ralph a couple years ago. There has become a finer line between the Disney animation studios, as the quality and subject matter between Disney Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and to a lesser extent the DisneyToon Studios with the likes of Wreck-it Ralph and Frozen being as good or better than Monsters University or Brave. So I was hopeful that the trend would continue with the first animated collaboration between Marvel and Disney. I have seen most of Marvel’s previous animated works and they were nothing special, and even though this movie doesn’t have any connection with the live action Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was still very excited to see it based on the trailers. I was hoping for a lot of laughs, a lot of action, and I had already heard that it had a lot of heart, and that’s exactly what I got from it. It’s true that it was fairly predictable even when it was trying to throw some twists out there, but it was still done well enough that I didn’t much care and just enjoyed the ride. Not only that, but Jena was there and completely on board for the whole ride as well. And as always here, I will be discussing the movie as a whole including any plot twists and reveals, so spoilers have been warned.
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Part of finishing off this list of 100 essential superhero movies is bringing in my audience, and so when I got down to the last 20 movies, I decided that I would let you decide. And what better than to reach out to other movie critics and reviewers and even just movie fans to let them argue the case for a superhero movie that they are a fan of and at the bottom of the post, there is a poll where you can vote whether or not you agree if it should be included in the 100 Essential Superhero Movies list. Today my guest is Aaron Maracle who is on Twitter at @IT_Spook who was a fan of City of Heroes alongside myself and a fan of superhero movies as well as this Disney spy/superhero movie from back in the 80s, Condorman.
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The Rocketeer 1991
I know I watched this movie ages ago when I was younger, but rewatching it today I realized that the only thing I remembered from my first watch of this movie was that the guy had a rocketpack and it took place in the 30’s. When watching it again, I was really impressed with the style and the feeling of the movie. I also recognized so many different actors in this movie that I didn’t realize were in here. Mainly it was Alan Alda who I’ve been seeing in a lot of great roles recently. I did think there were some overly ridiculous plot points towards the end of the movie, but overall I quite enjoyed it. It’s been something pretty different than a lot of the movies that I’ve been watching lately for this site. It does slightly make me want to re-watch Captain America which was done by the same director, Joe Johnston. I don’t think it quite lives up to the quality of Captain America, but it still has quite a few charms to it.
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Wreck-It Ralph 2012
So once again this year I made the trek to my local movie theater. More than superheroes, I’ve always been a big fan of animation, and on top of that, I’ve grown up with video games. Starting with a trusty Commodore 64 playing Jumpman, Circus, Snoopy, and other games before moving up to a Coleco Vision. I eventually moved up through the Sega Master System, NES, SNES, Playstation, PS2, and DS before moving onto the PC MMO City of Heroes, heck I even work in an arcade. I recognized many of the video games referenced, especially some of the classic arcade cabinets, as well as the games that inspired the original games featured in this movie. While Fix it Felix Jr. is an original game, it has its roots in Donkey Kong, Crazy Climber, and a touch of Rampage. Sugar Rush which is a candy version of Mario Kart/Nicktoons Racing, and Hero’s Duty is essentially every modern rail shooter ever. This movie was pretty much made for me to like it and I was in from the very opening.
Sky High 2004
I had seen both Sky High and Zoom several years ago and in my memory I had enjoyed Zoom a little bit better. When I watched Zoom again, it still made me laugh just as much as it did the first time, but when I wrote about it I realized a lot of flaws with the plot and the characters. I felt almost the exact opposite about Sky High, it had a much stronger plot and characters, but it just didn’t make me laugh nearly as often. It drew a lot of smiles and a couple chuckles, but no flat out laughter. Jena enjoyed it somewhat, but it couldn’t hold her attention for the entirety of the movie so she tuned out about an hour in. But even without any full fledged laughs out of me, Sky High is a pretty impressive movie for what it is.
It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m looking forward to catching up on my movies… well not technically catching up, but getting back to being ahead of schedule. And what better way to do that than with a bunch of movies that I can watch with my daughter. A lot of last month’s movies were rated R so I had to find a time to watch them when Jena wasn’t around. I also don’t have any specific schedule so it’s just whichever movie she is more willing to watch at the time, and tonight it was Bolt. She’s been watching it a few times last week, but I haven’t had the chance to watch it with her until now. It’s not exatcly what many people would think of when they think of a superhero. One one level it’s an animated kids cat and dog movie where they travel across the country to get back to their home. Based on that it sounds more like Homeward Bound than Krypto the Superdog. But it’s a totally fun movie with a good mix of action, comedy, and heart. And Jena absolutely loves the entire movie from start to finish. The entire rest of the day she was talking about Bolt and Penny.