There was a weird period in the aughts where movie studios were becoming more and more open to adapting superhero and comic book movies, but weren’t quite committed just yet. Meanwhile they did release some movies that were comic book like in nature and concept, and while they kind of bombed critically and or financially, I enjoyed them quite a bit. A few of them were even ahead of their time in many respects. Here are five that I think are woefully under appreciated, and deserve more notice, even if they aren’t what I’d call flawless or masterpieces.
I imagine the board meeting at Disney Channel went “What if we did “The Hangover”–but G rated?” And what we got was “The Slumber Party.” Director Veronica Rodriguez lays all of her influences out for the audience from minute one, even involving a small group of friends that make a pact that results in a night that neither of them can recall. It’s almost verbatim sans any and all adult content. Not that that’s a bad thing in particular, as thankfully “The Slumber Party” is quite good. The fact it’s blatantly derivative of the aforementioned movie is outweighed by the charisma of its cast, and its lively energy.
I never had the pleasure of riding the famous Disney attraction but I know enough about it to understand the particulars of the story and its appeal. After the somewhat awful 2003 attempt with Eddie Murphy, Disney takes another crack at adapting one of their most iconic attractions. In the end it amounts to a very entertaining and heartfelt horror comedy that I imagine will allow for a good gateway for budding horror fans. I won’t proclaim it as a masterpiece, but when all was said and done, I was so much more satisfied than I was with the 2003 first attempt.
After the disappointment that was “Peter Pan & Wendy” I was hopeful and optimistic about the remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” I say remake because Disney has not bothered to really deviate from their successful formula. They haven’t borrowed from Hans Christian Anderson’s original story, but instead just remade their classic animated version from 1989. “The Little Mermaid,” despite my utter optimism and enthusiasm for it is yet another dull, assembly line repackaging of one of their classic interpretations that’s given a new coat of paint and is extended, for some reason. Because nothing signals “sophisticated” than making a movie longer–right? That makes it Oscar worthy–maybe? Simply stretch every nuance and sincere moment from the original animated movie and Bob’s your uncle.
For a studio that has a monopoly on animation, you’d think they wouldn’t be afraid of larger color palette, by now. I don’t know what it is about Disney where they think that the best approach to remake their classic films is to suck all the life out of them. The general color schemes for “Peter Pan & Wendy” are hefty shades of browns and whites that make the movie feel drab and bland. With a movie about Peter Pan and Neverland, this movie should feel colorful, bright, and exciting. Most of the time while I appreciated certain aspects of David Lowery’s production, “Peter Pan & Wendy” was a chore.
Director Peyton Reed’s style and sensibility really matches up well with the third “Ant-Man” movie series, a franchise that’s been a lot about an underdog hero. In a world where he’s even second to Spider-Man, a fellow under dog superhero, it’s interesting to see how “Quantumania” depicts the idea of family and how dads can be all the heroes we need when all is said and done. Deep down, “Quantumania” is a movie about family, about the unconventional family unit and how it works in a world that they’re woefully unprepared for.
Normally, this would be a top ten of 2022 after going through a wide variety of movies from the year. But in 2022, I spent five months in the hospital due to awful health complications that left me incapable of doing anything but lying in bed and hoping that I’d recover to full health. While on recovery I did my best to check out some anticipated movies, sadly with little success.
I was able to squeeze in viewings of a lot of movies upon my return home, though. While I wasn’t able to see much of anything in 2022, I was thankfully able to compile a reasonable top five list of great films I managed to find time for during the holidays. The list is subject to change upon viewing more 2022 films, but for now, I’m happy with this top five.
The Walt Disney Co. hasn’t done very much since it acquired the trademark to the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit character in 2006 – for those unfamiliar with the back story, Walt Disney created Oswald for Universal Pictures in 1927 and made 27 silent black-and-white shorts. But Disney lost the rights to the character, at which point he created a new character called Mickey Mouse.