Movie Reviews

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

raya-and-last-dragon-movie-review-2021Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Family

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Alan Tudyk, Jona Xiao

Plot: Many years ago in the land of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. When an evil force threatened their lives, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the humans, leaving behind a powerful stone that turned the humans against each other. Raya’s father tried to unite them all but failed, leaving Kumandra’s fate in Raya’s hands.

My Thoughts:  I really hope this is the last time I have to watch a new Disney movie in my living room instead of on the big screen, it’s just not the same. Also, is it just me or has Raya and the Last Dragon had virtually no marketing? I don’t watch regular TV to see adverts there but I’ve heard nothing on the radio, seen no posters on buses or billboards, nothing at all. So if you read reports on how Tom and Jerry (2021) is beating this at the box office, don’t for a second think that it’s because Raya is a bad movie. I don’t think it’s up there with the instant classic Disney movies, but it’s still great.

It’s biggest strength lies with its characters. Raya is instantly likable and she’s fearless. As with most Disney movies, the sidekicks are the scene-stealers. Sisu the dragon made me laugh every time she was on screen, Awkwafina did such a great job voicing her. Izaac Wang voices a young boy named Boun, an energetic kid left fending for himself whilst running a restaurant on a boat. He’s so lively! And I haven’t even mentioned half of the supporting cast yet.

Raya and the Last Dragon has some strong Moana vibes to it, but I can’t help but compare it to Onward. Both great animated Disney movies, both with enthralling characters and a stunning fantasy world. But both are missing that extra bit of magic that’s stopping them from being great. Once the disaster had taken place and Raya’s mission was clear, it felt like a quite generic adventure movie. Travel to each location, get the piece of stone, restore the peace, and so on. It’s a fun journey but there aren’t any surprises along the way.

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Best Bit: I thought Raya’s little rag tag gang couldn’t get any better. Then they added a con-artist baby and I lost my mind. After that, they got a big ol’ brute join them and don’t even try to tell me he wasn’t one of the regulars at the Ugly Duckling from Tangled!

Worst Bit: If having to watch this at home instead of the cinema wasn’t bad enough, I had to suffer through my husband making terrible jokes whilst half-watching the movie and half playing his Playstation. “I hope her Dad doesn’t lose his…chiseled chin!” Ughhhhh!

Fun Trivia: The land of Kumandra is inspired by the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Laos.

My Rating: Three and a half tomatoes I wish I had to hand to throw at the back of my husband’s head.

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Movie Reviews

Good Boys (2019)

good-boys-2019-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Gene Stupnitsky

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 89 Minutes

Main Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Izaac Wang, Millie Davis, Josh Caras, Will Forte, Chance Hurstfield, Stephen Merchant

Plot: Max, Lucas and Thor have been best friends their whole lives, but are growing apart as they get older. When Max gets invited to a ‘kissing party’, the boys club together to learn how to kiss – which inevitably leads to a broken drone belonging to Max’s Dad, and two older girls chasing them down after the boys unwittingly steal their drugs.

My Thoughts: Yes, Odeon, for giving us a Limitless exclusive preview that actually feels like a preview! I’ve been excited to see Good Boys after the teaser trailer revealing that the 3 lead boys aren’t actually allowed to watch their own movie trailer because they’re too young. Like Booksmart from earlier this year, Good Boys is at risk of being hailed ‘the new Superbad’ but I honestly think this is better than that, anyway. Does it bring anything new to the genre? No. Does it bring any surprises along the way? Also no – but the cast carries the entire movie so well that it stands above the rest anyway.

Little Jacob Tremblay is literally the cutest kid in Hollywood, I can’t even. One day he’s going be a megastar and we’ll all be like ‘Omg, do you remember that movie when he was playing a foul-mouthed kid?’. One thing is for sure, after watching this I’m SO glad I’m a mum to a girl and not a boy. Boys are gross! Honestly though, Good Boys brought out the inner child in everyone in the screening I was in last night. We all giggled away at the word ‘boobs’, and the boys’ choice of err…weapons.

So many comedies rely on pop culture references to bring the laughs, and whilst I love those comedies too, they don’t hold up over time to new audiences. I feel like Good Boys will be one of those comedies that’s still just as funny in 10 years time as it is now. If you haven’t already guessed, this movie gets a huuuuge thumbs up from me!

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Best Bit: I thought nothing could be more outrageous than Thor’s parents’ ‘CPR doll’ but oh, I was so wrong. When the boys open the door to Stephen Merchant (a welcomed surprise cameo!) armed with a plethora of other ‘weapons’ they must have got from the bedroom…oh my. I was crying from laughing. It was one of those jokes that carried on through the movie…until Max gave Brixlee the ‘necklace’.

Worst Bit: Speaking of the CPR doll…if there was any moment that made Seth Rogan’s involvement obvious, it was the aftermath of Max kissing that doll. I was half expecting another character to shout ‘OHHH BOYYYYY’ just to remind me of that horrible (but hilarious) moment in Long Shot.

Fun Trivia: The film received an R rating for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language – all involving tweens. This marks the first time an R rating has been given with the description ‘all involving tweens’.

My Rating: 4 and a half beers. I dare you to try and beat the record of…3 sips.

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