Animated Movies of 2021 – Honest Reviews

Luca – Pixar Animated Studios

Sheltered from world beyond the ocean surface, a young sea monster ventures to a small coastal town disguised as a human boy. This movie unfortunately falls to an unreasonably high standard having been produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Sparing a few exceptions, there is an expectation that any given Pixar film will be in discussion for best movie of the year. While Luca certainly will not be talked about in any such manner & pales in comparison to Pixar’s other creations, it is far from a bad movie. This movie offers enough charm & heart to be generally enjoyable to almost any viewer. The environment is established well & the characters are all relatively likable. The animation, while not superb, is competently crafted.

The humor is mostly effective, with the physical comedy rendering the best laughs for me personally. The only aspect that didn’t work for me was that of the emotional investment. While there is some tension to be felt throughout the conflicts, the motives are never relayed strong enough for me to feel the weight behind some of the decision making. The climax went for deep emotion that just never struck. I don’t mean to sound redundant, but this just failed to capture that special Pixar spark. Outside of that, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this movie. It’s a harmless, entertaining watch for a young family movie night.

Raya And The Last Dragon Walt Disney Pictures

Worlds divided amidst war, a driven young warrior sets off to find a legendary dragon in hopes to reunite the community as one. While Disney Princesses are a trademark in the studio’s animated productions, I can’t say modern original creations like Elsa or Moana have really captured that magical spark for me. Raya, on the other hand, turned my head. The characters in written & showcased in a way that demonstrates deep understandable complexities while also crafting her into not only a likable protagonist, but a badass heroine as well. Per usual with Disney & their related properties, the quality of the animation cannot go unrecognized either. The script itself has its fair share of issues, including gaping plot holes & dialogue that is clearly pandering towards younger audiences, but nothing ever really compromised the enjoyment of the experience in a distracting way.

No movie is ever perfect, but it’s a huge compliment when it’s flaws can feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The one part that I had a harder time looking past was the execution of Awkwafina’s character. While she is undoubtedly a talented actress & comedian, I feel like she was given too much improvisational freedom for comedic relief that it made her character feel somewhat shallow. The writing was there for the character but I still had a difficult time building an emotional connection. My last minor complaint is that the music choices occasionally did not suit the tone of a given scene. As I said before though, this movie left me feeling positive about it once the credits rolled. It’s an engaging story & I would easily recommend giving it a chance if you haven’t already.

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