Quick Review #1: “Luca”
Pixar’s newest film “Luca” is about a young boy discovering & falling in love with the surface while trying to hide the fact that he’s a sea monster. While “Luca” is a passable film overall, it doesn’t meet the standards of Pixar that we have now come to expect. The best aspect of this film is the animation — it’s spectacular. The visuals are breathtaking, especially in sequences involving water. It’a mindblowing how far animation technology has come. The film has a generic story that works well enough due to good direction and (mostly) enjoyable characters.
Unfortunately, I found the Luca character to be very annoying at times due to the voicework from Jacob Tremblay; he was unconvincing and miscast. There are also some problems with the script, specifically how many details concerning the setting of the film are left out. For example, the society and lifestyle of the sea monsters underwater are never fully explored, causing the audience to not care about the home of our protagonist.
“Luca” succeeds at telling a decent story which children can enjoy, but it ranks near the bottom of Pixar’s films.
Quick Review #2: “Mortal Kombat”
“Mortal Kombat” is one of those films which get worse and worse the more you think about it. Not only is it filled with plot holes, but it also has terrible pacing. Like “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” it moves through its events so quickly that plots points aren’t allowed to develop and the storyline becomes hard to follow. For example, the ending fight in which multiple characters are engaging in their own one-on-one battles is just a confusing montage rather than a fully realized fight sequence.
It’s important to note that this review is coming from someone who hasn’t played the video games this film is based on, but rather someone who just wanted to enjoy a fun action movie. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a fun action movie, despite this film being marketed as an action-packed, bloody rollercoaster. Almost all of the action scenes are filmed horribly. Shaky cam and quick-cut editing are used as a crutch to hide the choreography, not allowing the viewer to understand what is going on in the action scenes, and therefore making them unenjoyable.
Due to its 99-minute runtime (excluding credits), “Mortal Kombat” is a rushed mess with few memorable or likeable characters. Most of its action sequences are impossible to follow, making it fail as an action movie. Some of the performances were good, namely Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero and Josh Lawson as Kano, but this film was still a massive disappointment.
Quick Review #3: “Raya and the Last Dragon”
“Raya and the Last Dragon” was not at all worth the $30 price for premier access on Disney+. I found the plot to be completely uninteresting. It was overly complicated (especially for a children’s movie), generic, and extremely predictable. The film was also very boring for most of its runtime. This is partially due to the plot itself being uninteresting, but also due to its main character, Raya, being a Mary Sue. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it means a character that lacks any flaws and is able to accomplish anything without any setbacks or difficulty. Raya was always kind, strong, and seemingly invulnerable, making her unrelatable and a little unlikable.
However, this film still has several praise-worthy elements. Firstly, the animation is gorgeous. The environments, character designs, water, and even hair are all pristine. The action sequences were phenomenal as well. The camera moved with a lot of energy during fight sequences while (thankfully) never using shaky cam.
While “Raya and the Last Dragon” is entertaining at times due to the frenetic action sequences and beautiful animation, it suffers from an unlikeable lead character and a boring storyline.