Out in time for Thanksgiving we have a classic “boy & his dog” story, a classic “underdog” story and well, just a classic story. First we have The Good Dinosaur from Disney & Pixar. This is the second Pixar film of the year because this was supposed to come out last year. And there’s a good reason they sat on it and tried to fix it, it’s not that good. There’s nothing wrong with it exactly and young kids will love it, but it’s not what I think of when I think Pixar. Pixar films are usually great for adults and kids. There’s usually jokes that go over the heads of young children and adults usually don’t mind watching the movie over and over again with their family. This one here, well, you’ll be good to go after just one viewing. The film is the classic boy and his dog, but instead of a boy, it’s a dinosaur named Arlo and instead of a dog, it’s a human named Spot. It reminded me of The Croods a bit, but geared even younger than that. Like most Pixar films, someone dies and Arlo goes on a road to discovery. There’s fun little creatures and Spot is fun, but the story seems to wander and just isn’t what we’ve come to expect from Pixar. Sam Elliot is great as a T-Rex, but the film really is missing that Pixar magic. Even Disney diehards I know thought it was a bit of a mess. It looks absolutely beautiful though and the animation is probably its biggest positive. I didn’t go crazy over Inside Out like everyone else did, but The Good Dinosaur isn’t even as good as that one to me. But again, kids will love it because it’s cute and nice to look at. As an adult, take a nap. 3/5 stars.
Next we have the classic underdog story Creed. The film is a sort of sequel to Rocky, but also a stand alone film. It’s also completely fantastic. As a fan of the franchise I wanted to like Creed. I went in hoping it would be good and honestly, I think it’s even better than I expected. It fits Rocky canon perfectly yet stands alone for those not familiar with the franchise. Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Johnson who didn’t know his father Apollo Creed. He didn’t even know Apollo was his father at first until Creed’s wife takes him in as a sort of surrogate mother. Adonis moves to Philadelphia to be a full time fighter using the name Johnson so no one would know his secret. He gets Rocky Balboa to train him and his underdog story starts growing. The film feels like an homage to the Rocky franchise from a fan’s point of view and at the same time is a great film by itself. It has everything you want in a great boxing film, someone to root for, someone to laugh with and a great fight at the end. Everything about Creed feels like the original Rocky plus the added fact of already knowing some characters. Rocky in this is a mix of Mickey and Paulie, the old timer with old school training techniques and delivering fantastic one liners. Stallone is great and it’s his best performance in years. Jordan got into ridiculous shape for the film and it pays off. I’ve liked him as an actor, but this will make him the big time star Fantastic Four should have. I really don’t want to give away too much of the story and what happens because it’s not what I was expecting. His backstory is a lot different than I was expecting and the film itself is a lot more light than I thought it would be. I really expected a serious film with deep issues and a message, but instead, it’s really just another great Rocky movie and I love that. If you had any hesitations about the film and like the franchise, go see it, now. If you like boxing movies, go see it, now. It’s one of my favorite films of the year and I want a sequel soon. 4/5 stars.
Last we have the classic story of Frankenstein in its latest version, Victor Frankenstein. This time around we get James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor. We’ve seen this overall story a bunch of times before. It’s based on Mary Shelley’s story of the mad scientist piecing together his monster and using lightning to make him come alive. I don’t know if the backstory of Igor in this is original or part of Frankenstein canon to be honest, but I think it’s something new. I’m not 100% sure, it’s been a long time since I read the book so don’t quote me on that. I’ve always liked the Frankenstein story and concept of bringing life back and all the underlying tones. Plus I’m a big fan of McAvoy and like Radcliffe as well despite only seeing 2 or 3 Harry Potter films. So I was kind of looking forward to this. Two young actors who I enjoy watching, in a classic story, should be a home run right? WRONG. Wow was this not good. It’s poorly edited with a lot of errors (look for a disappearing eye patch towards the end) and it seems to drag on forever. It’s under 2 hours long, but feels much longer. It seems to take forever to get to the monster part and by then I had kind of checked out. I really hope these guys work together again because they really are talented, it’s just a shame this movie turned out so bad. It doesn’t look all that good which is surprising because most gothic/steam punkish films usually at least look cool. There’s lame graphics/animation and too much CGI for my liking. The costuming is good, I’ll give it that, but I’ll never watch this again. A generous 2/5 stars.