Tangled: The Importance of a Character’s Ambition (Guest Post)

“When we write characters who are fighting both their circumstances and their own natures, we create characters who are instantly real. And thus, instantly interesting.” K.M.Weiland

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(Beware: spoilers abound!)

Some might call it nostalgia that keeps Tangled in my top spot, but I firmly disagree.

Sure, when Tangled came out, I was ten years old and already obsessed with the classic Rapunzel tale. And yes, maybe I forced my family to the local theater on release day. And yeah, to date, it’s the only movie I’ve watched the day it came out. Again, yes, maybe it’s true that the movie seemed to fulfil all of my expectations and dreams, exploding onto the scene with a vengeance. And, okay, yes, others have come and gone, but Tangled, inexplicably, has remained my favorite film for almost a decade now.

But I promise I have excuses lined up…!

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

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The summer movie season is officially here, and it’s off to a great start. I had a feeling that Detective Pikachu was going to be fun as soon as I saw the first trailer, but there was a sizeable amount of folks, fans or not, who were not on board with the idea. While I don’t think the film won’t work for everyone, I’m thrilled to say it was exactly the kind of film I was expecting it to be. If Detective Pikachu worked well for me as a stand-alone adventure, I can only imagine how enjoyable it will be for fans of the Pokemon universe.

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Okko’s Inn

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it’s not exactly uncommon to see a family film tackle the mature concepts of grief and loss these days. Films like Big Hero 6, A Monster Calls and the grossly underrated Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure ( I promise it’s a masterpiece) all feature these themes and use them effectively. Okko’s Inn fits into that lineup nicely, with a cheerful and bouncy animation style coupled with some joyful art direction, and a solemn undertone throughout that makes the film simultaneously poignant and adorable.

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Avengers: Endgame

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In the summer of 2008, me and my dad went to see the first Iron Man film. It was a terrific superhero film that still holds up today as a great piece of entertainment, but no one could’ve ever guessed that it would’ve spawned a series of films that lead to this. Avengers: Endgame won’t be the final Marvel Studios film, but it is meant to serve as the ultimate climax to what is being dubbed “The Infinity Saga”. The Infinity Saga covers all MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) films from 2008’s Iron Man to this year’s Endgame. This will be a hard film to talk about without going into spoilers, but I will do my best to simply talk about how I felt about the film and avoid going into specifics in regards to the plot. I will say right off the bat that while Avengers: Endgame isn’t going to win over anyone who doesn’t already have an invested interest in the MCU, it will likely please fans and does serve as a rather satisfying conclusion for most of its central characters.

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Penguin Highway

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Penguin Highway is the latest Japanese Animated film (Anime) to be release theatrically in Canada, although it was first released in late summer of last year in Japan. Based on a science fiction novel of the same name, Penguin Highway tackles complex scientific theories and presents them in a comprehendible fashion through a highly bizarre and imaginative concept; A woman who can transform ordinary items into Penguins. While that premise alone helps the film stand out, the execution of its themes and concepts are what truly elevate this into becoming one of the most unique animated films in years.

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Missing Link

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Laika is an animation studio that I’ve struggled with. Each time they release a film, I want to love it, but very rarely can. In a world where it seems like just about every studio is pumping out an overwhelming amount of computer animated films every year, It’s incredibly refreshing to see Laika Studios utilize classic stop-motion animation for their films. While each of their film’s technical merits are impressive, the screenplays have never been particularly strong. (Coraline being an exception) Missing Link is only Laika’s fifth film, and while it’s undeniably a visual feast and has its clever moments, it ultimately doesn’t offer much beyond its visual splendour.

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Hellboy

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Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot prides itself in being the first R-rated Hellboy film. That fact is splattered all over the marketing campaign, and the film itself takes every chance it gets to remind the audience that this is a raunchy and bloody take on the character, with gratuitous violence and language spread throughout the runtime. While this fact alone might make some fans (particularly ones who enjoy Horror) excited, the film seems to offer almost nothing beyond its R-rating. Aside from some rather interesting art design and a marvellous line of Posters (seriously, look at that thing up there. That’s a work of art), this Hellboy reboot is kind of a trainwreck, and I’m kinda bummed about that.

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