The State of the Moives: Tomorrowland – My Most Disappointing Movie Going Experience of all Time

Before I go into discussing why this movie and its existence haunts me as much as it does, I figure I ought to explain the expectations I had going into this feature.

When I first heard the concept of Tomorrowland, my 15 year old self had trouble containing his excitement. There was this overall sense of glee and joy upon hearing that a movie based off my favorite section of Disneyland was going to be made, and that it would be directed by Brad Bird who, for me, has always been one of the most inspirational directors working in Hollywood. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, he is primarily known for animation having done The Iron Giant in 1999, but he is most known for his work with Pixar having created the Incredibles and Ratatouille. It wasn’t until 2011 when Bird was given the chance to helm a live action film with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I had seen all his movies and loved all of them. Until Fallout was released in 2018, Ghost Protocol was actually my favorite Mission Impossible movie.

The trailers then were released for the movie and they were very secretive in how they presented itself.

The first teaser merely showed a mysterious main character, Casey, played by Britt Robertson, checking out of what seemed to be either a prison or a police station. The police goes through all her items that she went to collect, until she notices a bizarre pin with a letter “T” painted on the front. When she touches the pin, it transports her to a wheat field with a futuristic city in the distance waiting to be explored. This was such a cool concept, the idea of being transported to a city merely by holding onto a pin, I wondered where they were gonna go with this concept.

The next few trailers were released and they slowly revealed a little more about the plot, but honestly not much else. They showcased that the pins were more of a temporary calling card to the city of Tomorrowland and that the film would actually be about the journey to the city. Admittedly, the trailers were really vague and didn’t provide much info on what the movie was about but what kept me on board for this film was the grand sense of adventure that the trailers promoted. I went into this movie under the impression that the film would be a fast paced sci-fi adventure spent mostly in the futuristic city with some possible world ending stakes involved too.

By the time I had turned 16 and the movie was ready to be released on Memorial Day Weekend of 2015, I didn’t know what to do with myself. A theater close to my house had just opened up a new IMAX theater and I forced my dad to take me to the new theater to experience this movie. I had just gotten over my anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron and this was a movie that deserved a proper and ultimate movie viewing experience. When I walked out, I found myself disappointed and even slightly confused by what I had just watched. It was one of the most ambitious, yet bizarre and even unsatisfying movies I’ve ever seen in my life. As a teenager, this movie cursed me because I acknowledged the potential for greatness it had but knew that this movie was just too ambitious for its own good.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this movie but without giving too much away, what doesn’t work about this movie?

The way Tomorrowland is presented is that the entire idea of the city is a mystery. What is it? What draws people to it? How does one get there? These questions are what is supposed to keep the plot going and hold the audience’s intrigue. This is fine as the film can potentially become more exciting due to this intrigue, especially if the characters find themselves struggling to find these answers due to unfortunate events. The problem is the excuses the script gives as to why the characters do not have all the answers they need is so lame. Let me explain.

Oftentimes, in order for Casey, played by Britt Robertson, to find the answer to a question she is looking for, she just needs to ask someone she knows for help. She comes in contact with an android, Athena, played by Raffie Cassidy, who is extremely strong and can easily fend off bad guys in an instant. As Athena helps Casey in these moments Casey finds herself asking questions like “What is going on?”, “What’s happening?”, “Why are you doing this?”, and the only response that Athena gives is “I can’t tell you that yet.” There’s no reason as to why she can’t tell her anything yet other than that the screenwriter, Damon Lindelof, would prefer you not find out the main conflict of the movie before the third act. If Athena just tells Casey all the information she and the audience needs to know, the intrigue of the movie ends right away and there’s nothing left.

The writing in this movie just feels really lazy and it even becomes frustrating as an audience member to watch. It’s fine that Lindelof chooses to leave the audience at a state of confusion throughout the movie, he should just find a way to convey that mystery in a meaningful way and he never really does. Had the characters that surround Casey either had the same questions she did or had this movie been set in Tomorrowland with the answers slowly trickling in, it would’ve been a smoother and even more satisfying experience.

Instead, what we get is a drawn out 1st act that goes on for about 90 mins and then a final act that goes on for about 30 mins where a bunch of information is dropped onto the audience. None of it feels earned or coherent, it just feels chaotic, in the worst kind of way. Once we do get to the third act of the movie, you find that the answers to your questions are really underwhelming. It’s not what you expected and although I appreciate a film that can play with your expectations, it’s important that it does so in a way that feels, once again, earned and meaningful.

Most of the movie isn’t even set in Tomorrowland. It’s mostly on Earth and they don’t even reach the city until the finale of the film. In fact, they never even call the city Tomorrowland in the movie except for once towards the end. They only refer to it as “there” or “the city when I touched the pin.” Part of this is because Casey herself doesn’t know the city name, and again they’re trying to build mystery in anyway they can, it just feels weird knowing that they aren’t even really giving you what the film itself promised. Also, it isn’t much of a mystery what the name of the city is when we see George Clooney say the name of it in the trailer and when the movie itself is titled by the city name. We only get a few minutes of the beauty of Tomorrowland before the finale with a flashback of Frank (played by George Clooney) and when Casey touches the pin until she realizes the pin has expired and she can no longer use it as a means to transport herself to the city. This film needed to be set in Tomorrowland and have a more exciting screenplay with more interesting twists. Had it done so, we probably would’ve had a really special and fun science fiction film that would be talked about today.

To be honest, this is one of the worst screenplays to one of the best looking movies I’ve ever seen.

Brad Bird does an amazing job behind the camera and every aspect on the technical side is wonderful! The cinematography, production design, color correction, visual effects and lighting are all spectacular and you can tell they got some of the most talented people in the industry to work on this project. The film was shown in the 1.90:1 IMAX aspect ratio and it made the movie feel even more alive and was actually a great way to experience it. All the scenes in the city of Tomorrowland, although brief, are fantastic! The music builds a sense of excitement and awe for the characters as we experience what seems to be a really cool city. The design of these gadgets and gizmos throughout it are very fun too having taken much influence from Walt Disney’s design of Tomorrowland at the parks and other sci-fi related media from the 50’s and 60’s. The way the buildings are created and cars are modeled feels very reminiscent of that retro look Americans had been used to in the late 50’s and early 60’s. It at times feels like a live action version of a movie like the Iron Giant, the Incredibles, or even Meet the Robinsons (not a Brad Bird film). It’s not a vision of the future we are used to seeing in today’s films but it’s one that I really admired and hope can be put to a better screenplay at some point in the future.

So with that all said and done, what kind of story would I want to tell if I were ever given the opportunity to adapt my favorite section of Disneyland into a feature film?

I think the use of the “mystery box” that Lindelof is known for on shows like Lost was really used poorly within this feature. It felt incredibly unfocused and disorganized which really ruined the experience for me. If a producer had insisted I used the mystery box as a means to tell this story, I would have none of the characters involved in this adventure know anything about what they are encountering. In fact, I would completely redesign this screenplay as to model a more traditional sci-fi adventure film while still remaining its own unique thing. Perhaps the characters that reside on Earth can notice a disturbance on their planet and a signal coming from another mysterious planet many light years away.

From there, my screenplay would follow a group of characters on their way to the city and the oddities they come across as they head towards their destination. Tomorrrowland doesn’t even have to be a city, it can be a country. Hell, it can be a planet for all I care. If we were to go with that, the characters would have so much more to explore. Maybe there are certain parts of the planet Tomorrowland that are more desolate than others. Maybe there’s a war between the classes that reside within the city. Maybe the governor of Tomorrowland has noticed life on Earth and hopes to destroy it as a means to widen his influence in the galaxy. I know it sounds silly but there’s gotta be a way to tell this story in a more satisfying way while still remaining ambitious.

I’ve thought for a while about a screenplay for a movie called “Space Mountain” in fact based off the ride that is similar to these ideas I’ve just mentioned. I’ve structured it mostly as a journey movie where characters find more and more along the way. It’s still underdeveloped, but it’s something I have fun messing around with as a writer. I understand that Lindelof’s vision of this movie and my vision of this movie are very different, which is fine, I just wish the film took advantage of the incredible production on display and made a more fun adventure that could still hold an impact with audiences years after they’ve experienced it for the first time.

Further, the movie is so full of itself. It believes it’s this grand adventure that takes you beyond the cosmos when in reality it’s just a two hour meandering experience where grumpy characters refuse to give other characters answers to questions and where “stuff” just kind of happens with no merit or meaning behind it. I didn’t even mention the fact that one of the main subplots of the film is the relationship Frank, who is now an older man, once had with the android Athena when he was young and the pain he feels knowing that he’ll never be able to experience a meaningful relationship with her because she is an android and cannot grow or experience love. The performances just do not sell it and truthfully these are ideas I don’t feel a Disney movie can really truly do properly. As is, it just feels uncomfortable because all I see is George Clooney being sad that he cannot pursue a relationship with a child and it’s just too ambitious an idea for Disney to successfully tackle in my opinion. Lindelof believes he’s making the next Her or Under the Skin when in reality he should’ve focused more on making an accessible yet unique sci-fi adventure.

Overall, Tomorrowland is a clumsy, awkward mess of a movie that never feels satisfying or fulfilling. It’s one of the most frustrating movies I’ve seen in years and it curses me to this day that it wasn’t as good as it should be. Every once in a while I get the urge to watch it again just to confirm that it is not nearly as good as I thought it was, and I have to stop myself when I get these urges because I know that if I follow through with them, I’m settling myself in for a really disappointing ride. I really wish this movie was better, and I probably would be a better person in a world where this movie was the masterpiece it had the potential to be. I think had the story perhaps remained more simple and had they spent more time in the city, this could’ve been something really special. Brad Bird in particular does a great job with simple yet charming stories and you can tell that story wise, this project is way out of his comfort zone. I still respect that this movie was attempting to be as ambitious as it was, but I can also acknowledge when this movie ultimately fails at achieving the goal it set out towards in the first place. Tomorrow truly feels like another dream away with this one.

Written By: Christian Scognamillo

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Does Joker Still Hold up After its Release?: The State of the Movies

It’s been a few months since the release of the film Joker and the legacy the film has held with audiences has been much different than I expected. When I saw it at the time of its release back in October, I loved it. 

I thought the film was an absolute delight and was thoroughly entertained.  In my opinion it was the best movie of the year at that point and although I didn’t expect that to stick, I acknowledged the film absolutely left an impact on me not seen in many other movies. The film had also undergone lots of controversy as many believed the film would inspire mass violence, which to this day I still think is a stupid claim. The movie went onto be nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Director for Todd Phillips, and Best Picture.

What was surprising was the negative reaction people had to it receiving as many nominations as it did. Film fans in particular found themselves upset that Todd Phillips got a nomination for Best Director over Great Gerwig for Little Women (which makes sense). So what happened then? Why is it that a movie many film lovers had initially supported is now being looked down upon? Are many of the “haters” of this movie still concerned film fans that believe the film will inspire violence or was I perhaps missing something after my initial viewing? Click here if you want to read what I initially had to say about this film.

I don’t think Joker is THE best movie of 2019, but I still think it’s pretty good and for sure one of the better movies to be released last year. I still think it’s impressive that the film was able to take a comic book story and use it as a means to promote a political message without having it come across too preachy.

I also think the film on its own is very entertaining and even very funny at times. Its little moments like the awkward interactions Arthur Fleck has with his co workers or the other people around him can be really funny yet at times heartbreaking to watch. The way this film builds up tension and leads to its finale is really tremendous and very satisfying. In my opinion, this film both works as a serious psychological thriller and as a comic book origin story.

The biggest issue I found with this movie upon revisiting it is that sometimes it admittedly has trouble finding its own unique voice. 

I’d say although the film stands out in the comic book film genre, it does at points feel like a “What if Martin Scorsese had directed a Batman” video on YouTube. Admittedly, at the time I saw Joker I had never seen Taxi Driver or King of Comedy, but now that I have seen both movies I can confirm that this movie does indeed rip off both quite a bit. 

Gotham City and the way it is presented is very similar to how New York is shown in Taxi Driver and Arthur Fleck is very similar to both Travis Bicke in Taxi Driver and Rupert Pupkin in King of Comedy. Both Rupert and Arthur in particular are similar in that they have a shared obsession with a famous talk show host (Arthur’s being Murray Franklin and Rupert’s being Jerry Langford). I don’t believe the way this all is presented is bad, the filmmakers just should have found a way to present it without having it be blatantly obvious they are trying to mimic the success of Scorsese’s other works.

Some fans have also commented that the film is too pretentious and doesn’t tackle its subject matter (mental health awareness and class division) as well as it should. In fact, some just deny those themes being prevalent in the film in the first place. I will agree that the film does not present its themes in a complex manner, but I also don’t think it necessarily needs to be complex to be successful. The main focus I’d argue lies more in presenting Arthur Fleck and his world rather than preach to the audience the importance of mental health care in America. Those themes and struggles almost seem like a secondary takeaway. And again, this is not bad as I still believe Arthur’s world and struggles are presented so seamlessly.

I can understand why some fans would believe the themes are not presented strong enough here, especially after having seen Best Picture winner Parasite which presented similar themes in a much more complex way. I think it works here though because Parasite sought to explore themes of class division and social issues while still be an entertaining film while I’d argue Joker is trying to be an entertaining film first and have a message to say about SOCIETY second. I think both films do a very good job at exploring these themes, but I will admit one does go much more in depth than the other.

What I believe is very important to bring up, however, is the discourse that has surrounded this film now that the majority of audience members have gotten the chance to see it.

Over the past few years or so film discussion and discourse has been taking a really nasty and even toxic turn that I hope we can soon end. There’s some movies that are released that seem to be very divisive among the film community that it almost becomes like a political position to hold a certain view of a movie. I first noticed this notion taking place in 2017 when Rian Johnson created Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. The discussion that seems to be taking place is that fans either call it the greatest Star Wars movie of all time or think it’s the worst Star Wars movie of all time.

Further, a general theme I’ve seen being thrown around is that you’re either a “liberal SJW cuck” if you love the Last Jedi or an “alt-right nazi troll” if you hate it. This is likely because the Last Jedi is infamous for its strong political themes including the dangers of capitalism and female empowerment even though these are not the elements naysayers of the film generally take issue with. I’ve noticed a similar trend arise among the discussion of this movie where instead “alt-right nazi trolls” are the ones offering praise for Joker while “SJW lib-tard cucks” seem to hate on it. This is a very bad assessment and I’m hoping we can put an end to it.

Liking or disliking a movie does not have to coincide with your political position. It is true that sometimes a movie can speak to some audiences and not others based on the values that an audience member personally holds, but watching comic book movies and Star Wars movies is not the same as doing politics. You can think Black Panther is just an average but fun Marvel movie and be fully in support of civil rights. You can watch Joker and think the film is boring and predictable but still support helping mental health patients and the less fortunate.

What I will say about this movie in particular is whether or not you believe the themes are presented well in this movie, do not deny that there isn’t an attempt being made to present these themes. As I mentioned, I’ve seen tweets, like the one down below, of people in complete denial that this movie is trying to present any of the themes many fans have seen in this movie and I think that ignorance is bad for discussion.

When I look at a movie I tend to view the messages of the movie first and then analyze whether or not I think the film successfully presents these themes. If I miss something from before, I look back at it and think if the film made that message clear or if I think it did a good job of presenting it to begin with. Again, I understand if fans found the messages of this movie unclear or poorly presented, but to make the assertion that this movie makes no attempts to present these themes is close minded.

It’s hard because people online tend to act really defensive either for or against their favorite movies nowadays and I don’t think film discussion should be part of the current political culture war we’re in the middle of. I do encourage differing opinions and respectful discussions of this movie which I really hope fans continue to have. The Last Jedi has had a really bizarre legacy because to this day fans still find themselves aggressively defensive towards their opinions of that movie.

I hope Joker doesn’t leave a similar impact but it already looks like it unfortunately will. My hope is that fans will discuss the themes and the filmmaking of the movie and whether or not they believe it is successful rather than assign labels to fans or haters of the movie. It will be interesting to see where the discussion of the movie goes from here and I am certain that this movie will continue to be discussed for a while which is cool. I do think the film is great but I don’t think it’s the best movie of the year and maybe not as spectacular as I initially thought. I still think the movie has a lot of interesting takes about modern America and I think the film was well made too.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo



The State of the Movies: Are the Frozen Films Really Worth all the Trouble?

Frozen is one of the most culturally significant movies to have been released this decade. With Frozen II now out in theaters, is this film able to retain the magic the first one had or does it “Let it Go”?

I remember when Frozen was released into theaters. I was a freshman in high school and was going through a bizarre “Disney fandom” phase. It was my favorite film I saw in theaters that year due to its songs, characters, animation, and magical sense of adventure present through every frame. To my shock at the time, the film would go on to be the highest grossing animated film of all time, before being overthrown by 2019’s remake of the Lion King, and a cultural phenomenon. Audiences simply could not get enough of Frozen and they too fell in love particularly with the songs and characters. In fact, Elsa’s main song in the film “Let it Go” was played so many times on the radio and any kid’s talent show you went to, people who weren’t fans became sick of it fast.

Further, once Disney saw the financial incentive that came with promoting Frozen as a franchise, it went onto become of the most recognizable brands and one many audience members, including myself as a fan of the original, became sick of. Naturally, Disney sought to expand the market of Frozen with a brand new original film made for theaters. This is a first for Disney as generally whenever a sequel to an animated Disney princess film is made, it is released under the now defunct “Disney Toon Studios” brand and sent straight to home video. This film is brought to you by the same animators who created the original film six years ago and sent to theaters as well. But with that being said, let’s go ahead and look at both Frozen 1 and 2. Are either of these films actually any good?

Frozen is a film that is by no means flawless, but it still is incredibly enjoyable years later.

I’m not sure if I need to explain the plot of the original film, but just in case it tells the story of two sisters named Anna and Elsa who live in the kingdom of Arendelle. It is revealed that Elsa was born with “magical ice powers” in which she can summon ice at will using her hands. She uses the magic at first to play with her sister Anna, but things turn ugly after Anna is struck in the head by Anna’s ice powers. The two are then separated for the rest of their childhood as Elsa is forced to live within the confines of her bedroom while Anna talks to her from the door. With Anna’s memory of the incident having been wiped by “rock trolls” in the forest in order to treat her injury, she lives the rest of her childhood unaware of Elsa’s powers and what she is capable of.

By the time Anna and Elsa are all grown up, the parents have now passed on and Elsa is crowned the new queen. But after Elsa refuses to bless a marriage between Anna and a prince she met that day, her powers are accidentally revealed to not only her sister, but everyone in the kingdom. This then forces Elsa to run off into the mountains where she brings an eternal winter onto the sunny kingdom and it’s up to Anna to get Elsa to bring back the summer.

I re-watched Frozen again before I went out and saw its sequel, and although I do not love this movie as much as I did when I was in high school, I still think it’s pretty good. Frozen is a very fun and delightful adventure that has some fantastic songs, great animation, and fun characters. The film follows the formula we’ve all grown used to from these classic Disney fairy tale movies, but it also modernizes it and does something new with it. It’s a shame the songs were as overplayed as they were because they are admittedly really good songs. Say what you will about “Let it Go,” when you listen to it as its own song, it really is empowering and Idina Menzel’s performance as Elsa is spectacular. She is an extremely talented singer and I have been hooked to whatever project she has decided to take ever since I saw her in this film for the first time.

All the other voice actors do a good job too. Kristen Bell as Anna is really strong, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff isn’t bad, Santino Fontana (who would later play Greg in the television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) has a fun role as Hans, and Josh Gad is surprisingly funny as Olaf. In fact, Olaf, a talking snowman created by Anna and Elsa as children, is not annoying as you would expect a comic relief snowman character in a kids film to be. He whispers a lot of his line and much of his humor comes from sarcasm rather than stupidity or annoyance. I remember the 3D presentation of this film being particularly strong as well when I saw in in theaters for the first time.

Although it is annoying to see a children’s film like this be as over hyped as it was, it’s not hard to see why it was. The film is very well crafted and further a very fun enjoyable adventure for the whole family. And I suppose if Disney were to annoyingly shove one of their films onto all its products it releases, this isn’t a bad choice. It’s a very strong movie, I just wish it was not as exposed to the mainstream which therefore ruined its magic for me.

As for Frozen II, it’s hard to see the potential the creators see with this flick, and it’s clear that the only incentive for this blockbuster was to make a few extra dollars.

Despite me being critical of some of the business decisions Disney has taken within the last few years (decision to launch their own streaming service, decision to purchase the entirety of 20th Century Fox, and their reliance on releasing mainly animated sequels and live action remakes being some of the examples of questionable business practices), I was still very excited for Frozen II. I did not go into this movie expecting to dislike it, I was merely hoping for and expecting a fun adventure with the characters I’ve grown to love. The good news is that despite being a vastly inferior film to the original, this does make some attempts at creating a fun adventure. The animation is still spectacular and Elsa performs many creative “tricks” and “spells” with her powers.

Although I feel like everything in this movie is fine, it is all inferior to the original and even feels hastily rushed. The songs aren’t as good, the story is nowhere near as good, and the characters have gotten less interesting as well. The only aspect that I feel has gotten improvement was the animation. It’s spectacular to see what they have accomplished with the animation and think it looks gorgeous. The 3D this time around was good too. To discuss my issues with this movie though I will need to go into spoilers. If you do not want this movie spoiled for you, click away now. The overall recommendation I have for this movie is if you want to see this movie because you are a fan of the original and are excited to see these characters again, you may find some enjoyment in this. If you are skeptical about this film and was never a fan of the original anyways, you can easily skip this one.


The first notable issue I can pin point about Frozen II is that it’s very complicated and at times hard to follow. This is especially concerning given that this is an animated adventure dedicated to families. I watched this entire movie and at times struggled to comprehend and make sense of the narrative. The reason for this is that so much lore is introduced and not all of it receives the amount of screen time it should. With the amount of conflicts set up in this film, they could have almost made this an over two hour movie. Everything in the film though is so rushed since they cannot make this movie over 100 minutes given that it is made for children. But what is this movie about exactly? Well here’s the best way I can describe it.

Frozen II takes place three years after the first film ended. The gates of the palace are now wide open and civilians get to enjoy Elsa’s ice powers while still feeling secure under her rule. Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven meanwhile are all living happy lives together with Elsa at Arendelle and Kristoff is even hoping to propose to Anna soon. Problems start to arise though when events from the kingdom’s past start to affect them in bad ways. Elsa feels compelled to follow a mysterious voice which accidentally awakens elemental spirits which leaves the kingdom without resources and forces them to evacuate. It is now up to Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf to go north towards a mysterious forest and find out how to bring Arendelle to its once prosperous state.

They enter into the forest, that apparently no one is able to escape from (this movie kinda rips off Annihilation), and find soldiers from Arendelle still in conflict with the Northuldra tribe, which shocks the team given that they had always believed there was a treaty set in the form of the building of a dam. They then are forced to call for a truce as they discover Anna and Elsa’s mother is of Northuldran descent while the father is of Arendellian, a marriage it is assumed would bring the two warring states at peace. You can already start to tell how jam-packed with detail this plot is. You would expect this much lore and background from a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars movie that’s well above two hours, but to see it in a Frozen movie that’s a little over an hour and a half long is so bizarre to me.

Kristoff and Sven then stay with the tribe as Elsa continues north with Anna and Olaf. She ditches them, however, after she discovers a map to an island known as Ahtohollan which apparently holds the answers to how to end this conflict and how it began in the first place. Elsa goes on her own hoping she can also find the answer to how she got her powers in the first place. It is also in this moment that the ship their mother and father drowned in was found as it turns out they were traveling to this island so they too could help their daughter understand why she has her powers in the first place. Anyone who hoped that they were going to Rapunzel’s wedding is going to be very disappointed when they see that.

Once Elsa reaches the island, though, she finds that the dam was actually built to block resources and halt the growth of the Northuldran civilization. She becomes a sculpture while on the island and Olaf vanishes as Anna is given a sign that the dam is what started the conflict and without much thought, fully acknowledging that Arendelle will perish, she leads a bunch of giant rock trolls to the dam to destroy it. They’re successful in doing so, but Elsa is able to unfreeze at the very last second to stop the water flow from hitting the kingdom and putting it underwater. Elsa then decides Anna is now queen and she decides to live with the Northuldran people forever away from Arendelle. And I didn’t even get to mention that there are five “elemental spirits” that being earth, water, fire, and air and the fifth is Elsa and her powers which were granted to her as a peacemaker and gift to others after her mother married an Arendellian prince to bring the two nations together.

Wow, this is clearly too much lore for a kid’s film. Where do we begin in dissecting all this?

Whenever the film focuses on being an adventure with these characters we’ve all grown to love, the movie is fine. Whenever it takes itself as seriously as it does and decides to delve into its complex lore, the film falls flat. I just don’t understand why the filmmakers felt the need to jam pack as much information about this world’s universe as they did in this movie. Although I respect the filmmakers’ intent to invest its audience into the world and respect their intelligence, it is all information that isn’t necessary in furthering the narrative of this film along. It just feels like “fluff” to make this movie more confusing for children and even adults. It’s also unlikely that any children or even adults are going to be compelled to discuss the politics of the Frozen universe. Children are smart, but they certainly are not smart enough to understand treaties, governmental relations, and the complications of war.

I understand and respect the filmmakers who take their audience seriously, but I think if they want to have this much lore in this universe, it either needs to be saved for a television show or built up and discussed in future movies. Maybe the filmmakers introducing as much lore as they did gives them an excuse to make more movies in the future (which would be a bad idea probably), but even if they want to simply set up this lore, the film should still probably be over two hours. And again, if they’re concerned about the film being too long for kids, take out some lore and don’t make it so complex, because the end result is that this film feels incredibly rushed and convoluted.

The rest of the film and its elements (aside from the animation) are average.

Every other element in this film feels like a downgrade from the first. The songs are good but nowhere near the quality of the songs from the original. One of the worst songs in the whole movie is a song Kristoff gets about how he’s afraid to propose to Anna. The sequence is accompanied with singing reindeer and an early 2000’s boy band style music video. That’s not to say I did not like any of the songs. “Into the Unknown” was an nice song that I hope the radio stations can have remain unknown to the mainstream.

As for the characters, Kristoff does not have much of a character aside from the fact that he wants to propose to Anna but can’t find the right time to do so. So many other movies, especially animated flicks, have done this before and I’m sick of it. It’s not cute or quirky anymore, it’s just annoying. Olaf is annoying this time which is super unfortunate because he was not in the original. His humor is now comprised of how annoying he can be and how much of a bumbling idiot he is, which is odd because they specifically did not do that in the original movie. In fact, they recreate the bit from Shrek 2 where Donkey annoys Shrek and Fiona on their way to the city of Far Far Away. It’s not clever, it’s not funny, it’s just annoying and cringe-worthy. Anna and Elsa are still alright characters though. I really liked the relationship they had with one another, and if anything is to be explored in future films, it should be that. Other than that, though, everything feels rushed and as if not much care was given to its production.

Frozen II is one of the most disappointing movies I’ve seen in a while.

It represents the corporate commercial nature that many grew to hate about the first film and doesn’t actually feel like a film but rather a product made by a large company like Disney. Had this film been funnier or more engaging (had a simpler narrative that still took its audience seriously), it probably would have been better. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Disney is on a downward spiral and bad movies like this do not help its case. With the exception of Toy Story 4 and some of the Marvel movies, I have not liked a single Disney film I’ve seen released this year and that is a shame. Yeah, all of their movies have made money, so I guess this was a successful year for them, but I really wish they would focus on art and creativity rather than profit. There’s no soul in any of these movies. This is polished garbage released by a company that we’ve all been brainwashed to trust.

The thing is if they were to focus on the creative aspect of their films, they would still do well. People love going to see a new Disney movie whether it’s a reboot or an original concept. Don’t believe me, how did Zootopia, Coco, and Moana all go onto be successful? I trust Disney so little lately that I still am reluctant about subscribing to Disney+ because I specifically do not want to promote the idea that a single studio can just release their own streaming service.

Disney is a company, not a corporate empire, the idea that they care about you or your enjoyment about any of their products or your approval of their actions is crazy. As long as we continue to give money to them, they are only going to continue to grow. They have money to burn, they can make whatever movies they want. I swear Lars Von Trier could create a disturbing surrealist film under their name that completely abandons their image and likeness and their profits would barely be impacted. If you care at all about Disney and want them to take more risks with their projects, show that to them. Don’t support the crappy movies they put out and don’t give them money to encourage them to continue doing so. Only give them money if you feel them releasing this project in question is beneficial for the industry.

So my final thoughts on this movie though are that if you still really want to see this movie and want to see where these characters end up, you can see it. Just don’t expect the movie to be a masterpiece. If you’re on the fence about this one, skip it. The movie isn’t awful and I understand I’m treating it as if it is awful, I just wish Disney would make good movies again because they are on a downward spiral once again and it depresses me to see.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

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The State of the Movies: Ford v. Ferrari – Your Dad Will Like This One

Ford v. Ferrari is a true “dad movie” with wholesome values, goofy moments, and intense racing scenes that will keep you and your pops entertained.

Ford v. Ferrari comes to us from James Mangold, the director behind Logan and Walk the Line. It stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale and tells the story of two men, Carroll Shelby (Damon) and Ken Miles (Bale) who are hired by the Ford Motor Company to build a car that can defeat Ferrari in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The film highlights the struggles the men went through not only to defy physics and build a car capable of reaching the speeds necessary to beat Ferrari but also deal with the corporate control of the Ford Motor Company.

I really did not know what to expect going into this movie. I really liked Logan so I knew at the very least this would be a well-directed movie. I had heard some mostly positive buzz coming out of festivals like TIFF, but I was concerned the movie would be “Oscar bait.” If you don’t know what “Oscar bait” is it refers to a movie that is overly sentimental and created as a “crowd-pleaser” in order to win over the voters of the Academy Awards. Famous YouTube film critic Adum from YMS had called the movie “oscar bait” in his review so I was concerned that it would be too overly sentimental. I still wanted to see it though, so I got my ticket for a showing at a Regal theater for 9:30 at the Thursday night IMAX showing.

The only thing was that when I got to the theater, the IMAX projector was broken and there were no other showings in any other formats. Any other night I would go home and simply see it another time, but I had a rental car for the night, and what the hell else was I to do with it from 9 PM-1 AM. I quickly saw that an AMC was also showing the movie in IMAX at 9:30 in IMAX, and next thing you know I got in my car and had my own little race down the I-8 West towards Mission Valley to get to the theater. Fortunately, I was able to get my ticket and get settled into the movie with only two more trailers left before the showing. It was overwhelming because I was not sure if I would make the movie in time, but the fast drive I was forced to make down the highway got me in the mood to see a fun racing movie.

Despite Ford V. Ferrari being a somewhat cheesy movie, it is overall still a lot of fun and worth seeing on the big screen.

Ford V. Ferrari is a fun movie with some very well constructed racing scenes and really great acting from both Bale and Damon. I don’t think it’s the best movie of the year but I don’t think it’s bad either. This really is a “dad movie” at heart which isn’t necessarily an insult as you may think. I think that simply means this movie has more wholesome values than the other selection of movies you have currently in theaters. Despite being a tense sports movie, it’s very wholesome which was definitely welcomed. There’s no larger force causing significant physical or psychological harm onto a person or group of people, it’s just simply a movie about two guys who love building and racing cars butting heads against other people who are also passionate about cars.

As expected the filmmaking in this movie is very good! From the directing to the cinematography to the editing, everyone in the crew was on their A-Game while making this movie. I loved the cinematography and sound design in particular and thought they made the racing scenes a lot of fun. As a filmmaker myself, the prospect of trying to get these racing scenes right makes me incredibly anxious. I can only imagine the issues they faced with the placement of the cameras onto the cars and the continuity of each shot. There’s so much that goes down in many of the scenes; cars are not only passing each other but they’ll often times crash into the track and explode, and it is important that if you are going to get multiple takes of these sequences from different angles, they match each other identically.

What they were able to accomplish was incredible and I, once again, have to commend all the crew involved in this production. The acting, as expected, is also fantastic! Matt Damon and Christian Bale work very well together and you see their friendship develop over the course of the movie. One of my favorite scenes is when they fight each other in front of Ken’s (Bale) house, but rather than have it be an intense dramatic sequence, it is very funny. They tumble on each other and Christian Bale throws groceries at Damon, it’s one of the funniest scenes in Ford v. Ferrari. There are a couple of moments like that where they will give each other a hard time in the most loving and goofy way they can and it’s always enjoyable to watch.

In regards to issues I have with this movie, it’s mostly in the script. The villains of the movie (the people at Ferrari and the corporate folks over at Ford) are so “cartoony” and one dimensional. It was clear they were trying to go for a more goofy approach to these villains, but it comes across really cheesy. In fact, all the other characters that aren’t Carroll and Ken are all cookie cutter and boring characters. Also, although this movie is still funny every once in a while there will be a joke that won’t work very well for me. It’s not common this happens, but it does happen every once in a while. Also, the movie is 2-1/2 hours long and for the first 45-60 minutes or so you can feel it. Once the racing is underway the movie mostly flies by but with trailers, prepare to be at the theater for almost three hours.

Despite Ford v. Ferrari being a pretty cheesy movie, I still had a lot of fun with it and would recommend you see this one too. I like that this movie is not a prequel, reboot, sequel, or anything else but rather a true story that a team of filmmakers decided to adapt into their own screenplay and production. I say the whole “take your dad to this movie” thing as a joke, but I do actually think this is a good movie to go see with your family when and if you go visit them for Thanksgiving next week. Don’t expect this to be the best movie of the year, but expect a good time!

Written by Christian Scognamillo
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