Monster High 2 – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Monster High 2.

Story

The tone of this one is much younger then the first. The story is simplistic; the twist is so obvious that I couldn’t believe it was the actual twist.

Score: 0

Characters

The characters were fairly consistent from the first one, but the movie didn’t give their cast much time to develop. The characters were there, but mostly ignored to make more time for forced drama.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is delightfully silly. Filled with puns and fun tidbits of monster lore. I wish there were more deep character moments, but overall the dialogue is okay.

There’s a lot of forced borderline toddler-level talk about friendship that got tedious quick.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuel style is extra poignant with the contrast to the human world. They did a great job building a colourful, dynamic, and interesting world. Unfortunately a good half of the movie is set in our world and is the weaker for it.

The music is catchy but very similar to the first and again feels better than the plot of the movie.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I’ll be honest, I was bored by the halfway mark. It’s colourful with good music, but not particularly fun to watch. The kids loved it and it wasn’t bad, just meh.

Score: 0.5

Overall

A lackluster sequel which forgets what made the first entertaining and spends way too much time in the human world. The characters and music are great, but don’t make up for the pre-school dialogue and storyline.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5

Better Nate Than Ever – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film Better Nate Than Ever.

Story

This is a combination of musical, kid running away, and trying to reach your dream. It’s fairly predictable but lots of fun. I liked the friendship and I really liked the casualness of his sexuality.

I do feel there should have at least been a little bit of dialogue about him running away between him and his parents. They should have at least admitted that they pushed him to run away with their disregard for his dreams.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I didn’t like the parents. I found they were, as usual for an American movie, too focused on the sports star and too dismissive of the younger son. I also found the line where the dad is justifying Nate sleeping over at a girls house a little ridiculous. He says that’s it okay because, “Nate is different.” That works if they’ve had a talk about his sexuality, but if the dad is just guessing, that’s a dangerous line of thought. We bisexuals exist and there are a lot of boys who look or sound gay and are somewhere else in the spectrum.

The dynamics between the best friend and Nate are great and I love the aunt. The brother’s growth is well done.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was pure Broadway fan with a few explanations for those who didn’t know. It was clever, witty, and quick while still being hopeful and naive. I loved it.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was excellently framed and shot, making perfect use of the camera without being too static. The sets and locations were a great mix.

The music was perfectly picked and the musical numbers were a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Fun

This is a feelgood movie with lots of hope and talent. My 2yo was glued to the screen and my 5yo was writhing on the floor in second-hand embarrassment (she really doesn’t like movies where kids lie to their parents.)

The rest of us had big grins on our faces most of the time.

Score: 1

Overall

A fun, exciting, and musically filled film with lots of heart. I hope that the matter-of-fact treatment of sexuality is something we’ll see more of in the future.

This movie will make you smile and want to get up and dance. It almost made me want to audition for something.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Luca – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Luca

Story

An interesting mix of coming of age and fish out of water (pun intended) stories. It had me wondering how they were going to resolve the plot with a happy ending. They managed a satisfying ending and I’m impressed with how heart warming it is.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters acted and reacted like they were in a stereotypical kids story. The parents didn’t listen, the kids didn’t know what they were doing, the stakes felt high, but in a well obviously nothing’s going to happen, kinda way.

There wasn’t one character I didn’t get annoyed with at some point for doing the most dramatic thing possible.

Although I felt for the trio, I didn’t really like them or feel they were in any kind of trouble.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Although played out both in fiction and in reality, the boisterous exaggerator who is covering for trauma, is still relevant and we all knew a kid like that when we were young. It’s done in such a believable way with the dialogue that it shows the writers have dealt with kids.

The rest of the dialogue ranges from silly to hilarious and I was quite impressed.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This movie was typical Pixar beauty. The backgrounds, textures, and world were absolutely gorgeous.

The music was good accentuating and enhancing the story and made the kids want to dance.

I was also ridiculously impressed with the voices underwater being a little muffled. That was a nice touch.

Score: 1

Fun

The movie had some awkward angst that I found forced and made me lose interest, the relationship with the parents was uncomfortable to watch, and the entire thing with the uncle felt like a gross out joke gone to far.

That being said the kids were riveted, as were the other adults. It was exciting, cute, funny, and satisfying.

Score: 0.5

Overall

Pixar creates another wonderful story filled with beautiful animation. Despite a few forced moments and some awkward jokes it’s a fun movie with something for everyone. Warning, you might want a Vespa afterwards.

Final Score: 4 stars out of 5

Wish Dragon – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Wish Dragon.

Story

An interesting re-imagining of the wishing trope. The main character is adorable and actually as innocent as he seems. The dragon is both funny and has an interesting backstory.

The movie does get bogged down by forced awkwardness and ridiculous drama. The story is at it’s best when it’s exploring family and community and at it’s worst when it veers to close to romance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is adorable and only does stupid stuff because he’s very trusting of the magical dragon.The dragon is over the top and completely out of his depth. The friend is the definition of dutiful and conflicted about it.

The goon villains are cute and scary while the main villain was a nice surpise.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Clever and funny, but not extremely memorable, the dialogue serves its purpose. There are a few good lines, especially the dialogue between the main characters.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie looks very similar to what other top studios are doing, character design looks pulled from Pearl Studios or Blue Sky Studios. There are moments of pure beauty, however.

The music is lovely and really accentuates the story.

Score: 1

Fun

Overall, the movie is a lot of fun. The kids loved it and other than that annoying middle part, it was a joy to watch. I was excited to have a movie all about friends and felt a little betrayed when they played with the possibility of the characters becoming love interests.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful addition to the animated “genie” genre. It is a lot of fun, but sacrifices some depth for awkward humour and a few too many chase scenes. In the end it’s pretty, has a great moral and is fun to watch.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The Road to El Dorado – JenEric Movie Review

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2000 movie The Road to El Dorado.

Story

It’s rare to get a good buddy comedy where the two main characters are good friends and work well together. A lot of films concentrate on the building of that friendship instead of what happens after.

The story isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s well paced and has some interesting things to think about. I like that they mixed up cultures to make it a unique place that can’t be tied to one group of people.

I was not impressed with the angst between the main characters; it felt forced and overdone.

Score: 0.5

Characters

It was all very simple stock characters but the dynamic between the main two is superb. I would have expected that adding the girl would destroy the dynamic but instead it added a new dimension that worked.

The bad guy is a walking fantasy stereotype and not all that interesting. Same with Cortes.

The chief played being the dumb fat leader and ended up being the smart wise leader. In both roles he was always kind which makes me happy.

Score: 1

Dialogue

There are so many quotable parts of this movie. Wonderful dialogue and quips. It’s the gold standard for this sort of movie along with Emperor’s New Groove.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This was a stunningly animated movie. Beautiful scenery, action, and detail.

The music was okay. It felt very bland and a little overly similar. I kept wondering why I thought of the Lion King. Beyond Elton John (who is always fantastic) it was a very derivative score.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie made me want more. Two kind hearted grifters trying to make a score and quipping the whole way. Lots of laughs and lot of beautiful scenery.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is fun, non-offensive (except maybe a few sex jokes), and keeps you entertained the whole time. It’s something I’d re-watch without hesitation. The dynamic between the three mains is something I hope to be able to emulate in some of my own writing.

Final Score: 4 Stars