Pokémon Detective Pikachu — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1roy4o4tqQM
Julia: Pokémon has never been my favorite as a concept. I never quite understood the appeal of it. But this movie I actually might watch. It looks like a less raunchy version of Ted (2012). I was getting serious Ted vibes from Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), what with his secretly deep voice and bro persona below his high-pitched squeaks and outwardly cuddly exterior. Also, Tim (Justice Smith) appears to be a character worth watching. He’s very endearing with his whole “I’m going to ward off evil with a stapler” schtick, and “nerdy boy comes out of his shell” arc. My big question though, is what defines this movie? Is it a buddy comedy? A drama about a boy trying to find his father? I guess I’ll have to watch to find out.
Noah: To answer Julia’s question, this is a buddy comedy, as the use of the Turtles’ song “Happy Together” implies, and it will probably be a bad one at that. I imagine the studio execs realized they had the rights to this particular property and decided they wanted a Deadpool-esque deadpan for Pikachu and PG-13 audience, and went and poured buckets of money on Ryan Reynolds until he signed on to the project because they knew it would result in them being able to pour even larger buckets of money on themselves. Maybe it is because I was never into Pokemon and lack any nostalgic feeling after seeing this, but Pikachu saying he is “a world-class detective” who will help Tim find his father there is something so ridiculous that my suspension of disbelief has already been lost, and I have yet to step foot into the theater. I think I will pass on this one.
Anna: Whoever would have thought Pokemon could make such an amazing film? I was definitely pleasantly surprised when watching this trailer and couldn’t help but smile as Pikachu bopped all over the screen. I really like the way the film incorporated animated characters with real-life actors. Recently, it seems like this dual reality filming method is being used more and Pokémon Detective Pikachu uses it in a very interesting way. I was also happy to see that the main character, Tim, wasn’t your stereotypical white male. Justice Smith adds his own flair to the movie and is definitely worth going out to the movies for. If that’s not convincing enough, at least see the movie to hear Ryan Reynolds voice!
Julia: When it started with a young woman dancing around her pink-lit room in her underwear, I thought “maybe it’s a coming of age movie.” Spoiler alert: it’s not a coming of age movie. I like sticking to the overly cheesy rom-com variety of Netflix original movies. Cam is exactly the type of movie I stay away from due to its nightmare potential. But hey, if you love a good psychological thriller, this might be right up your alley. What I can’t tell is if this movie takes place in real life. On one hand, there are girls creating scenes of sexual fantasy that can be streamed straight to your phone, something that might be found on any adult website. But on the other hand, there’s a creepy clone showing up and stealing the main girl’s face. I’m very confused, but maybe that’s the point of a psychological thriller. I don’t watch enough of them to know.
Noah: I have to say that the number of storylines in movies and television that involve some sort of weird thing happening to someone over the internet, and/or a weird disembodied threat coming through their computer, makes me want to change my passwords and have the camera and microphone removed from my laptop. Technology has provided us with this new frontier to be connected to one another, but also a new plane in which we can do harm. Instead of addressing that topic in a way that makes us ponder our internet habits, this movie looks like it just wants to scare your pants off with a weird clone, some generic ethereal threat that travels through fiber optic cables, and probably a couple of cheap jump scares. This will certainly be recommended to me on Netflix every which way as they try and promote their own content, but I will not be partaking.
Anna: Confusing was the first thought that came to mind when I was watching this trailer. The storyline goes all over the place. At first it seems like the movie will be some weird commentary on the internet lives of millennials, but halfway through the trailer it suddenly seemed like I was watching a horror film. I’m still unclear who the film is catered too, young millennials and gen-Zers or a more adult audience. It’s very unlike Netflix to put forth such a seemingly obnoxious trailer, but maybe they are going for a new aesthetic? Regardless, I’m not sure if I really would give this film the time of day just because of its confusing nature. The vibe of the movie is strange and very unwelcoming, but if you are into eclectic, funky movies maybe Cam is for you!
Julia: Aww it’s Dumbo! But not…where did his cute yellow hat go? I have a bit of an issue with the fact that Disney can’t seem to come up with new material and instead has decided to make all the animated movies of my childhood into live-action films. But I do love those giant ears! This movie looks like a Tim Burton creation through and through. The circus performers in the quick shot of the parade reminded me of the outlandish colors in Burton’s live action remake of Alice in Wonderland. There’s a whole lot going on in this trailer. Obviously, this movie is meant to make the viewer feel something about hope, the cruelty of taking a mama away from her baby, and the power that children have. The inspirational music in this trailer could stir up emotions in a brick. I’m guessing this movie is also meant to shock in the same way the trailer did. What was up with the creepy Voldemort-looking guy we get a quick glimpse at? Who is the one-armed man so determinedly hiking up the outside of the circus tent? Also, one last thing that I’m fascinated by is how Burton is going to handle remaking the pink elephant hallucination scene. That scene was strange and disorienting enough in cartoon form, so I’m a bit nervous for the result in live action.
Noah: I will say up front that I am no fan of Tim Burton. I am not a fan of his aesthetic choices or how everything just ends up being kind of weird. At least this iteration of Burton will be without Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, even if Depp is still stood in for by a couple different characters who are tall, pale, and just kind of weird. That, and I think that the use of CGI characters in live action films, however much the practice might have improved in recent years, remains visually jarring or obviously computer-generated. Then, of course, I take issue with the idea that every single movie that was successful needs a remake. But, our corporate overlords at Disney have decreed that it shall be so, and here we are with a retelling of a true animated masterpiece. Will this new one stand up as well or as long as the original, probably not. It could also be quite delightful if done in good taste, however, from this preview and the strange collection of possible villains and steampunk futuristic amusement park aesthetic, and because Tim Burton has the reigns, my guess is that taste will not be making an appearance in this film.
Anna: What a wholesome film! It is so nice to see Dumbo come to life in this film. That being said, I didn’t really enjoy the animations in it. The animated characters seemed extremely artificial in comparison to the real-life characters. Also, in general I associate Tim Burton with his creepier, more Halloween-esque animations, so it was kind of strange to see him direct such a pure and innocent film. Overall, I also have some ethical problems with the story of Dumbo. It sugar-coats the life of animals in a circus and makes it seem like they are treated well. The reality is that circus’ treat their animals horribly and are known to put their animals at extreme risk to gain a greater profit. Dumbo doesn’t highlight the plight of animals in the circus, which I think is extremely unfair. That being said, in a world filled with constant problems, it is nice to take a two-hour break and be surrounded by a pure world. If you’re ever in need of a pick me up, Dumbo is the film for you!
Image Credits: IMDb