The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

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The Hunger Games is a series of great films, if you’re a fan. From what I’ve heard, the films have put forward a fairly solid effort in terms of staying true to the books, and I’ve even talked to some people who think some of the films have improved upon their source material in various ways. As a non-fan, I’d say my opinions on the films have ranged from “decent” (Catching Fire) to “forgettable”( Mockingjay: Part 1) to “just plain bad” (The Hunger Games) Despite my lack of knowledge of the books and my minimal interest in the series as a whole, I was curious about how the final instalment, Mockingjay: Part 2, was going to wrap itself up, especially since the only thing I knew about the way the book ended was that it was incredibly controversial amongst fans and readers alike. One thing I was wary of however, was if splitting the final chapter into two films was necessary.

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I don’t remember much from Mockingjay: Part 1, but I remember the majority of that film being buildup for the big finale that would unfold in Part 2. The film had some nice moments, but overall it was a pretty disappointing followup to Catching Fire, (which was a film that I surprisingly enjoyed and is by far my favourite of the series) Mockingjay: Part 2 is definitely an improvement over Part 1, but I can’t help but feel that it would’ve been a more satisfying finale if the two films were trimmed down and combined into one long film. But of course, that wouldn’t’ve made Lionsgate studios double the money, so I guess focusing on making one good film is just a silly idea. Huh….I’m being a little harsh. And who am I to talk? After all, I personally enjoyed the Hobbit trilogy, and that was quite possibly the biggest offender of the “unnecessarily stretching one book out to multiple films” club, so I won’t harp anymore on the decision to split the last book into two movies. Having said all that, Mockingjay part 2 works well as a climax. Once the film kicks into high gear, it rarely slows down and leaves you on the edge of your seat during it’s effective action set pieces. I personally liked the battle in the sewers the most. I’m a sucker for cool monsters, and the creatures present in this fight scene were thankfully a vast improvement over those horrible CGI monster-dogs from the first film and the so-so looking baboons from the second film.

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The acting in the film is also quite good, with Jennifer Lawrence and Donald Sutherland pulling off compelling conflict between Katniss and President Snow. I would’ve liked to see the two share a bit more screen time together, but what we got is fine. The tired love triangle thankfully doesn’t play as big a role in this movie, and almost feels like an afterthought here, since the focus is rightfully on Katniss leading her resistance against the Capital. Nearly every character you’ve met over the course of the series makes an appearance in this film, so if you’re a fan, this will definitely feel like a good farewell to the film franchise. (Although The Studio is apparently developing a series of prequel films….are you the least bit surprised?) The actual ending of the film feels a tad rushed. Perhaps that’s how it was in the book too, but after four films I expected the film to take a little more time with it’s actual ending. One could argue that the entire film is one big climax, And while that is a fair argument, It’s not what exactly what I’m referring to. I’m talking about the actual resolution. It’s shockingly quick, and left me feeling a little less satisfied then I wanted to feel, but again, that may’ve been the intent of the novel’s ending.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is going to thrill longtime fans but probably won’t win over naysayers.The film is certainly well made, and I can’t fault the acting or the editing, but I just never fell in love with these characters or the story the same way many other people did. (Also, where was that amazing Red Suit that Katniss was wearing in all the promotional material for this film!? That was an incredible costume, and I was let down that it wasn’t in the actual film…) Out of all the movies, Catching Fire is still my favourite, and the only one I can see myself revising from time to time. Overall ,The Hunger Games franchise wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t for me. Fans will be happy however, and that’s the audience that will truly appreciate these films when all is said and done.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

mad_max_fury_road_ver13_xlgThe Mad Max franchise isn’t necessarily as much of a household name as other properties like Star Wars or Jurassic Park, but the latest entry, Mad Max: Fury Road, has remarkably had just as much buzz and hype as any other hollywood franchise being released this year. What’s even more surprising is just how much everyone and their mother LOVES this movie. Some are even declaring it as the best film of 2015 already, and the year’s not even half-over! (Settle down guys, We still have Jurassic World, Spectre, Inside Out and a little movie called The Force Awakens to see before I could ever make that claim) So what has audience and critics alike so united by their love for this film? Let’s take a look at it and find out.

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First and foremost; Fury Road is visual Storytelling at it’s finest. There’s minimal dialogue in the film, but the story is conveyed by the characters actions rather than their words. I thought this was incredibly refreshing and effective for an action movie in this day and age to take this route. Speaking of action films, while I can’t officially call this movie the best of 2015, I can say that it is without a doubt the best straight-up action film of the decade so far. (So long as I don’t include Super-hero, films, which have kinda become a genre of their own.) I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the entire movie is a chase across the desert, and it’s incredibly exhilarating. The film rarely slows down, but you’ll probably be too busy having fun to even care about that. (Almost all the effects are practical too, which will undoubtably  be refreshing for many film fans) When it does briefly (and I do stress the term “Briefly”) Put on the brakes to settle down, you realize that it’s not just a mindless action movie either. There’s a story that matters, and you care about these characters and you want to see them succeed, which makes the action all the more thrilling.

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I can understand how some people, as well as hardcore mad max fans, may be upset to hear that Max himself comes off as more of a secondary character in the grand scheme of things. He’s still a cooll character and all, but he’s not the in the spotlight quite as much as some would’ve hoped.  This would bother me too…if all the other characters weren’t so interesting. And yet, I’d be hard pressed to name a character in this movie that  didn’t care about, although I can pick out three of my favourites. One of the main protagonists, Furiosa, is an engaging lead and the one that really gets this whole chase started in the first place. She’s a complete badass that also genuinely cares about the people she’s protecting, which makes it easy to root for her. (plus her robo-arm is just the coolest thing ever) The main antagonist, Immortan Joe, is quite the terrifying  character. The more you learn about him and his plans, the more you realize what a creep he is. His appearance echoes the likes of other iconic movie villains such as Darth Vader and Bane. My favourite character would have to be Nux, a member of Joe’s army. He starts off as an antagonist and/or the comic relief, but as the film progresses, he becomes much more complex and I grew to really like him as the film went on.

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Mad Max is one of those few films where the hype is truly justified.  There’s plenty ore I want to talk about, but it’s more satisfying to experience some of the moments for yourself without being spoiled. (trust me, you’ll know which moments i’m talking about when you see the movie) Complaining about this film is useless because it does what it sets out to do perfectly. It delivers what the fans wanted and manages to be accessible enough for new audiences to also have fun as well. I’m hesitant to call it a perfect movie, but for what it is, it’s an incredible action movie and one of the must sees of the summer.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

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For many people, Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t just a movie, It’s an event. And why shouldn’t it be? The first Avengers film was somewhat of a movie miracle. There were many ways that film could’ve failed, but the finished product ended up being one of the greatest superhero films of all time. So as you can imagine, there’s alot of expectations for Age of Ultron to not only live up to it’s predecessor, but to surpass it. As huge fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, me and a few friends arrived at theatre on opening day with dozens of other fans to see the long awaited sequel. Now if you’re anything like me, I’m sure only one question matters to you. Did Age of Ultron achieve the impossible? In other words; Did it live up to the hype?

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In many respects, Age of Ultron delivers exactly what it promises. Tons of action, wonderful chemistry from the mane cast and a memorable villain. The fact that writer and director Joss Whedon, as well as the entire creative team at Marvel studios, were able to pull off a movie of this scale again is quite impressive.  However if I’m being honest, I do have a few problems with it that I’d like to get out of the way first. My biggest problem with the movie is the editing. The best way I can describe the editing is that it just feels a little loose, particularly whenever one scene would transition to another, at times it felt jarring, and I’m not sure why. However It’s not distracting enough for the average moviegoer to complain, and I have a suspicion some of this may’ve been intentional to emphasize just how insane and crazy some of the events that take place in the film are. One of the film’s key characters even gives the Avengers hallucinations, resulting in some pretty effective nightmare sequences. I grew to really enjoy the soundtrack for the first Avengers, but the sequel’s soundtrack is a little bland by comparison. That’s about all I have for the complaints, now onto the good, the great and the exceptional.

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As far as the characters are concerned, it’s a safe bet that you won’t find a more entertaining group than the Avengers. The team is just a joy to watch, thanks to their great chemistry. Each Avenger has a moment to shine, and I can almost guarantee that no two people will have the same favourite character (My personal favourites were The Vision and Ultron) Each of the recurring Avengers, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk and Hawkeye all play important roles in the story. I’d say the two most prominent members this time around are Iron Man and Hulk, since they’re the ones that really get the plot started. Despite that, It’s Hawkeye who really steals the show here. (Yes, you read that right) Without giving too much away, Hawkeye becomes the heart of the movie, and his character is much more compelling here then he was in the first Avengers. There’s even a few moments where the film pokes fun at his minimal role in the first movie, which should please skeptics and also make fans happy, considering that Hawkeye is a fan favourite in the comics. The new characters are also handled very well. Two new Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Whitch, make for welcome new additions to the team, even if they are a little underdeveloped by comparison to some of the other characters. Having said that, they still offer interesting arcs and their relationship with the heroes and villains is very interesting to watch. Joss Weadon is a very talented writer, and one of the areas he excels at is his comedy. Despite the darker tone, this movie can be no less then hysterical when it wants to be

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The one character I was most interested in seeing was Ultron himself. Ultron makes for a fantastic villain, and is so far the best that 2015 has to offer. He’s scary, smart, charming, and even humorous and manipulative. Just about everything you want in a villain, (much like Loki from the first film). You just can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen, and I’d definitely rank him as the second best villain featured in this franchise so far, right after Loki. And then there’s The Vision. The less I say about him the better, but trust me when I say he’s one of the film’s highlights, and Paul Bettany does a tremendous job with the role. (I’m also happy to report that the character is not entirely CGI, but is rather achieved with the actor wearing an extensive costume makeup. Some might not care either way, but I thought it was nice to have such a fantastical character be portrayed in a very old-school way.) There’s alot of cameos from the series that show up here, like War Machine and Falcon, and while the film doesn’t include every single character from the franchise, they were pretty close. The action featured is very good, and while it may not be as memorable as in the first film, there are still some stand out sequences that’ll thrill audiences, most notably the opening sequence where the Avengers storm a Hydra base on a snowy mountain and the Hulk vs Hulkbuster showdown around the middle of the film. Much like the first film, the action is well choreographed and exciting. There is a moment where the movie takes a break from all the fighting (When the Avengers go to their “Safe-house”) and becomes more quiet, allowing for some great character development as well. I’d say that’s where Age of Ultron improves upon it’s predecessor. It’s character development is much more engaging this time around, and I really cared for all the characters.

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Age of Ultron is probably Marvel’s most ambitious film to date. I laughed, I cheered and I had a great time watching the long awaited sequel. There were more than a few times where me and my friends (along with the rest of the audience) laughed and applauded throughout the movie. Does it have flaws? Yes. Is it better than the first Avengers? It doesn’t QUITE reach those heights. (in my opinion of course). But are any of the problems big enough to distract from the fun? Certainly not. Age of Ultron is a tremendously great time at the cinema and a satisfying new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic universe. This film gets a high recommendation from me and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again.

(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: And one last thing; if you stick around through the credits, there is a mid credits scene that features a certain mad Titan that fans won’t want to miss. but there is no post credit scene.)

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies

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And so we come to the end of the Hobbit trilogy.  For some book purists, this might be a relief, as the changes Peter Jackson made to the original children’s story were far more controversial then the ones made in his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. For others however, like myself, it’s bittersweet. All good things must come to an end of course, but the fact that this may very well be the last time we get absorbed into Jackson’s vision of Middle-Earth is a pretty sad thought to bare. On the other hand, seeing the story come to a conclusion is still satisfying. And hey,  we’ve still got the extended edition to look forward to!

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The third Hobbit film kicks off right where 2013’s “The Desolation of Smaug” left off, with Smaug making his way towards lake town to reek havoc. I was surprised that tie film jumped right in so quickly, with very little build up. And no prologue!? That’s a first for this franchise. Nevertheless, it’s still an effective intro and one of the most memorable moments of the film. Shortly after the stunning opening sequence, the majority of the film deals with the battle of the five armies, with a subplot involving Gandalf and the white council taking on the Necromancer (whom we now know is none other then the Dark Lord Sauron himself) This subplot doesn’t take up too much time, but it was still impressive, and it’s a nice way to link the Hobbit storyline with the Lord of the Rings. Without giving away spoilers for those who haven’t read the book, the rest of the movie is battles, battles and preparing for battles. Don’t worry though, this is no Michael Bay film folks. while the film is very action heavy, it doesn’t forget to keep the focus important on the characters rather then the action surrounding them. Having said that, when the film does focus on the action, it’s very well choreographed and staged. No one shoots an epic battle scene like Peter Jackson and crew.

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I do have a few issues with the film sadly. First and foremost, Bilbo’s screen time is less satisfying then I would’ve liked. Don’t get me wrong, Bilbo’s in the movie quite a bit, and he does play an important role, but there are times when the script seems to forget about him entirely, and there are long stretches of the film that are relatively Hobbit-free, and that can be disappointing. Many of the dwarves don’t get much to do for the majority of the film either, but I think one of the biggest offenders for a lack of screen-time is BEORN. The shapeshifting man that can turn into a bear from the last movie makes an appearance in the final battle..for about five or ten seconds, and then we never see him again. While I have faith that the extended edition will fix this, it was nothing short of disappointing to see this beloved characters not get the treatment he deserved (in the theatrical cut at least). My final issue with the film is it’s length. Being not only the shortest of the trilogy, but the shortest of all six of the Peter Jackson middle Earth films, The movie definitely felt short to me. Once again however, the Extended edition will most likely fix this flaw as well.

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Let’s get back to the positives. the soundtrack once again a triumph. All of the Hobbit films have had great soundtracks, and this film is no exception. The ending song, preformed by Billy Boyd (Pippin) is a emotional and heartwarming, and a perfect note to end on with this trilogy. When Bilbo finally gets to appear onscreen, Martin Freeman once again nails the role. Making Bilbo easily one of the best and most endearing protagonists I’ve seen in a while. Returning characters like Gandalf, Smaug and Saruman are also in top form, and Thorin’s character goes through a startling change throughout the film, and becomes almost a tragic Shakespearean figure as the film progresses. I also enjoyed how the film bridged the gap between the story of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings towards the end. I won’t spoil how, but it was really well done.

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As you can see, the Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is kind of a bittersweet ride. I certainly wouldn’t call it underwhelming though, as it features some of the most impressive scenes of the trilogy, such as Smaug’s attack on lake town, The Necromancer battle, and some of the quiet character moments that we all know and love from this series. Out of the three Hobbit films, I still say the first one, “An Unexpected Journey was my favourite. I’m hoping that my problems with the film will be fixed in the Extended edition, but as it is, The Battle of the Fives Armies ends the trilogy on a good note, and I can safely say that I’m happy the Hobbit was a trilogy, especially since we got such high quality adventure from all three works. To finish this off, take a listen to Billy Boyd’s wonderful song from the film. In the words of The film;

“I bid you all a very fond farewell”

 

Dumb and Dumber To

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In 1994 three films helped shape Jim Carry’s career and made him the household name that he is today. These films were Ace Ventura, The Mask and of course, Dumb and Dumber. As a younger kid, Jim Carry was my favourite actor and I loved rewatching his films. (Although I will admit, one of my favourite performances of his was actually The Grinch.) Out of the three film’s mentioned above however, I’ve probably seen Dumb and Dumber the least. But that’s not because it’s bad, on the contrary, many people view it as a comedy classic, and it’s not hard to see why. Carry and Jeff Daniels have great chemistry and there are too many memorable scenes and lines to count. A short-lived TV spinoff was made along with a terrible prequel in 2003, neither of which featured Carry or Daniels. But exactly 20 years later, fans finally got the sequel they were all anticipating, “Dumb and Dumber To”. Does it live up to the hype? No. But it will probably satisfy hardcore fans of the original.

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So where exactly does Dumb and Dumber To fail? I think it tries too hard to be like the first one. It had a very similar set up, once again centering around another road trip and there’s yet another subplot involving two villains that follow the duo throughout the movie. I also felt like the characters of Harry and Lloyd sometimes acted a little TOO dumb. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous, especially for a movie that’s called “Dumb and Dumber To” but hear me out. In the first movie, the stupidity of these two characters was still in the spotlight, but it was often presented in a clever way. This time, it’s just dumb humour for the sake of dumb humour, which can be funny sometimes, but not for a two hour long film. The comedy style reminds me of how Spongebob Squarepants started off as a naive yet lovable goofball but has since deteriorated into an obnoxious and loud idiot. That’s not to say that the film’s completely devoid of good humour, but it’s too few and far between. There are a lot of callbacks to the original film, but thankfully they don’t get in the way of the story too often.

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The highlight of the movie is easily Jeff Daniels and Jim Carry’s chemistry. The duo are still fun to watch even to this day, and it’s clear that the two actors are having a blast reprising these roles 20 years later. The duo do provide some genuinely hilarious moments, but their novelty wears off about halfway through, and we are left with a very weak third act that feels slow (although I will say that the movie does end with a pretty funny and unexpected payoff.) The jokes range from juvenile gross out humour (which I really don’t like), to dirty and offensive jokes that only exist to give the film some edgy shock value. Big fans of the original may get a kick out of these jokes more than I did however, since quite a few of them are callbacks 1994 classic. Lots of characters that I won’t spoil return from the original as well. It’s just hard not to feel underwhelmed by the finished product, not only because a lot of the jokes feel lazy, but also because there’s been 20 years of hype and anticipation. Another problem I had was the length. A film like this does NOT need to be two hours long, yet Dumb and Dumber To clocks in at just under that. I was definitely feeling the time during the third act, and movie probably would’ve been just fine if it were an hour and a half.

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The cleverness of the first Dumb and Dumber appears to be mostly lost here. There is still a charm in seeing Harry and Lloyd go on an adventure, and the jokes that work REALLY do work. Besides that however, I thought the film was overlong and uninspired. It’s not the worst movie of the year, but it’s not the grand and satisfying sequel that many were hoping for either. If you’re a hardcore Dumb and Dumber fan, there’s a good chance that you’ll find this entry worth your time, but for casual fans, this movie doesn’t have much to offer.

Big Hero 6

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After last year’s smash hit “Frozen”, I applaud Disney for trying something different for their latest film. They could’ve taken the safe route and done another fairytale musical that would’ve guaranteed them a box office success, but instead, they went for a superhero action movie that feels more like a Marvel film than a Disney film. This makes sense, because Big Hero 6 is in fact based off a very obscure Marvel comic of the same name. This also marks the first time that Disney has made an in-house movie based off of one of Marvel’s properties since the companies merged. Did the gamble pay off? Read on to find out.

Big-Hero-6-15 The heart of Big Hero 6 lies with it’s two main characters, namely Hiro, a young boy genius (no, not that one) and his big squishy robot Baymax. The two of them share a friendship that really carries this movie, and I’d go as far to say that it’s one of the best relationships in Disney’s history. The rest of the superhero team (GoGo Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred) don’t get as much screen time as I feel they should, and feel more like supporting characters rather than part of the film’s main cast. When they do appear on screen, they’re completely memorable and loveable, as you’d hoped they would be (Fred in particular reminds me a bit of myself.) The main focus is really on Hiro and Baymax for the most part. Speaking of Baymax, he completely steals the show. When he’s onscreen, he’s either offering the biggest laughs, or the most emotional moments. I want to call him one of Disney’s best comic relief characters, but he’s more than that. Baymax is one of the most irresistible and loveable Disney characters in general.

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Once all six members team up and start working together, the movie becomes very action oriented, but sadly, none of the action scenes really struck me as being all that great. It doesn’t help that the identity of the film’s masked villain isn’t as shocking as it should be. As a matter of fact, the entire third act of the film is pretty weak in comparison to the first two acts. It just feels rushed and clunky whereas the beginning and middle of the film felt well paced. What saves the action (and the third act) from being completely dull, however, is the animation. As per the norm for Disney, the animation is some of the best you’ll see all year, and that alone makes this movie worth seeing on the big screen. One of my favorite things about the movie was the use of the microbots. The way they’re animated is incredible, and the way the characters in the film used them was often creative and unexpected. I especially love the scene where Hiro is presenting them for the first time, and his monologue sounds like Walt Disney himself wrote it. Walt was always fascinated by technology, and I have a feeling he would find a lot to enjoy about this movie.

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Mild spoiler warning ahead: One of the things Big Hero 6 excels at however, is its core theme of losing a loved one. This may seem like a scary thing to throw into a movie aimed at kids but the fact is that it’s something that everyone goes through and can relate to at some point in their lives. Seeing Disney delicately handle the concept with this film’s plot is surprising, but I was impressed by how well they handled it. I mentioned that the film’s climax wasn’t too great, but the ending (everything after the big battle) is brilliant and may even make you shed a few tears. I know I certainly did. This not only makes this one of the most mature Disney films out there, but also one of the most heartfelt. On top of that, the movie is also very funny. The humor ranges from smartly written dialogue to slapstick, and nearly all the jokes work. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard at a Disney film since 2000’s “The Emperors New Groove”. The film’s terrific balance of humor and heart alone makes this a must see this holiday season.

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In some ways, Big Hero 6 is the Incredibles meets the Iron Giant (with a little bit of The Avengers thrown in) yet it still manages to stand on it’s own as not only a great Disney film or a great Marvel film, but just a great film in general. I do wish the third act was stronger, and I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it more than Frozen. Dispite it’s flaws, the beautiful animation, loveable characters and mature story make this a very strong entry in this new era of Disney classics.

And don’t forget to stay after the credits!

The Book of Life

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Expectations are a funny thing. For the most part it feels like they can never be fully met. I fall victim to this all the time. As a movie buff, there’s often dozens of films per year that I eagerly anticipate, and while most of them satisfy me, there’s always a few that are complete letdowns. So imagine my surprise when The Book of life, A film that i’ve been anticipating, not only meets my Expectations, but in some ways surpasses them. The Book of Life is a highly enjoyable piece of art that deserves more attention then it’s currently getting.

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One of the areas this movie exceeds at is it’s pacing. I can see some people complaining that it’s a little slow and that it takes too long before the really big stuff happens, but I personally love movies that take their time establishing world and characters before introducing the larger than life conflicts. The three main characters are introduced as children and it’s not until almost a half-hour in that they grow up, and the movie’s only an hour and a half long. I personally love this because the film clearly wants you to understand that these three characters aren’t simply in a love triangle. They’re friends first, and have been friends for a long time. Speaking of main characters, the three of them ( Manolo, Joaquin and Maria) are extremely likeable and well written. Maria sort of falls into some stenotypes towards the end, but she’s still a pretty enjoyable character, and never goes overboard with her extreme feminist nature.

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My favorite characters of the film however would have to be the spirits of the day of the dead, specifically Xibalba, ruler of the land of the Forgotten. Talk about an iconic and memorable villain. His design is great, he’s voiced by the great Rob Perlman, and his character animation is unbelievable. He comes off as intimidating, while still being charismatic.He brings to mind the character of Discord (from Friendship is Magic) both in personality and design. the scenes between him and his wife (La Muerte: ruler of the Land of the Remembered) stand out as the highlights of the movie. Xibalba isn’t just my favorite character of the film. He may just be my favorite character of 2014, period. There’s also another spirit known as the Candle maker (voiced by Ice Cube) who isn’t as memorable as the others, and his celebrity voiceover sticks out like a sore thumb, but He’s got some good lines here and there.

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The animation…what can I say? It’s some of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s colorful and bright when it needs to be as well as being dark and atmospheric when required. It really does a good job at transporting you to each the different worlds, which are all unique and memorable. The decision to make the characters resemble wooden figurines was a stroke of genius and it really helps set this movie apart from the other animated features of the year. In short, The animation is as stunning as I hoped it would be. Did I mention that the film’s also kind of a musical? All of the songs are mexican covers of popular songs, and they are a joy to listen to.

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The Book of Life is a ton of fun and a must-see for fans of animation. It features some of the most impressive animation I’ve seen all year and it demands to be seen on the big screen. The story may feel familiar at times, but there are enough unexpected twists and turns that certainly kept me guessing. So far it’s my favorite animated film of the year, (which is saying alot) and I recommend you go see it before it’s out of theaters. I cannot wait to see this again.