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Toy Story 2 [in 3D] Review


Excellent
While this film looks terrific in 3D, it doesn't quite stand up over time.

There's an odd sense of dragging in the middle, and some of the action sequences feel like they never quite crank up to high gear.

On the other hand, the film is a series of gorgeously conceived set pieces and terrific character interaction and, unlike newer films, it's not afraid to get a bit grim. Stinky Pete's character is especially well-realised, right through to the anarchic closing-credit outtakes. As with most good sequels, the secret is to create strong new characters, and Stinky Pete certainly does that. It's also great to have Barbie in this world.

Continue reading: Toy Story 2 [in 3D] Review

Mulan Review


Good
In the rush to contrast the early-nineties Disney golden age (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) with the current crop of underperformers (Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range) that have resulted in Disney's foolhardy decision to jettison hand-drawn animation, some pretty decent films have been lost in the shuffle. Disney's Mulan, for example, is a beautifully drawn and exciting little adventure movie from 1998 (when it was a decent-sized hit, too). It's no kind of classic, but who says Disney Animation can't put out something minor now and again?

In their own ways, the late-nineties Disney cartoons (which include the similarly mythical Hercules and Tarzan) take risks in stylization and subject matter. The semi-experiment here is to craft a story around a strong female protagonist who is not, on any level, a princess (even intelligent and bookish Belle in Beauty and the Beast is defined by a love story with a prince, handsome or not). The title character (voiced by Ming-Na (now sans the Wen)) masquerades as a man in order to take her aging father's place in the Chinese army; it won't spoil your enjoyment to know that she isn't instantly killed and forgotten.

Continue reading: Mulan Review

Toy Story 2 Review


Excellent
Previously destined for a straight-to-video release, the Toys are back in the long-awaited sequel to 1995's massively successful Toy Story.

Thank God! Almost as good as the original, Toy Story 2 is an unabashed crowd-pleaser to children and adults. With enough (non-offensive) adult humor and plenty of good-natured kid stuff, this film had our tiny audience in stitches from start to finish.

Continue reading: Toy Story 2 Review

Mulan Review


Good
In the rush to contrast the early-nineties Disney golden age (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) with the current crop of underperformers (Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range) that have resulted in Disney's foolhardy decision to jettison hand-drawn animation, some pretty decent films have been lost in the shuffle. Disney's Mulan, for example, is a beautifully drawn and exciting little adventure movie from 1998 (when it was a decent-sized hit, too). It's no kind of classic, but who says Disney Animation can't put out something minor now and again?

In their own ways, the late-nineties Disney cartoons (which include the similarly mythical Hercules and Tarzan) take risks in stylization and subject matter. The semi-experiment here is to craft a story around a strong female protagonist who is not, on any level, a princess (even intelligent and bookish Belle in Beauty and the Beast is defined by a love story with a prince, handsome or not). The title character (voiced by Ming-Na (now sans the Wen)) masquerades as a man in order to take her aging father's place in the Chinese army; it won't spoil your enjoyment to know that she isn't instantly killed and forgotten.

Continue reading: Mulan Review

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