McG’s “Family Switch” is a movie we’ve seen a thousand times before. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel and doesn’t really seek to, at that. It makes it abundantly clear in the big turn of events involving the body switch as the four central characters make blatant references to “Freaky Friday,” “13 Going on 30,” “17 Again,” and “Big.” It’s tough to really judge a movie like this because it’s an easy slam dunk. It’s an easy paycheck for Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms, and current teen star Emma Meyers (off her debut on Netflix’s “Wednesday”) is allowed her own vehicle.
I say this with the utmost honesty, that despite the initial criticism of “Wish” looking like generic AI produced junk, I was very optimistic about it. I defended it often. I loved Ariana DeBose in “West Side Story,” I’m a big fan of Chris Pine, I love Alan Tudyk, so its just so sad that Chris Buck, and Fawn Veerasunthorn’s “Wish” really does end up feeling like Disney is going for the bare minimum with audiences. In a year filled with humongous milestones like the 100 year anniversary and the SAG and WGA strike (which hurt their image with a lot of audiences), you’d assume Disney would pull out all of the stops for their newest animated movie.
A spider inspector, on his way to a vacation, ends up on a plane where a murder takes place, and he must investigate.
“Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween Special” is that kind of TV movie you watch when there’s really no other access to the Looney Tunes shorts that are presented here. That’s not to say “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special” is terrible, it’s just in line with a ton of the other Bugs Bunny holiday shorts. It’s about two minutes of original story with the nine shorts all cut, spliced, and redubbed to give what is an illusion of a story. One of the most jarring aspects of these specials is that it’s easy to discern what is the contemporary animated segments’ and what are the classic animated segments. This is made very easy in “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween Special” as a majority of the animation is pretty terrible.
1994’s “Aladdin: The Return of Jafar” (or “Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar,” or simply “The Return of Jafar” as it’s known in some circles), was originally intended to be the trio of episodes for the television spin off of the hit 1992 Disney film “Aladdin.” Not wanting to miss out on milking their hit further, Disney cobbled together a movie that acted both as a sequel and an entry point in to the “Aladdin” syndicated animated series. This meant that much of the resolution of the original movie was rendered pretty much null. Factor in that Robin Williams refused to reprise the role of Genie once again after a fall out with Disney, and you have what is—well, just an okay movie.
Sergei Prokofiev’s classic musical fairy tale “Peter and the Wolf” is a story that’s been adapted, and adapted, and re-interpreted, and remade, and rebooted, for sheer decades. My first introduction to “Peter and the Wolf” was the animated adaptation from an episode of “Tiny Toons Adventures,” and since then the story pops up every now and then for modern audiences. This one is written by musician Gavin Friday and the one and only Bono, both of whom originally collaborated on this story to produce a book to benefit the Irish Hospice Foundation. Their version is brought to screen thanks to Gavin Friday who offers up a minimalist but beautiful truncated take on the original story.
After being introduced to ruin the 100 Acre Wood in 2005’s “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie,” Disney brings Heffalump back to ruin my favorite holiday, Halloween. Normally Winnie the Pooh is very good about ringing in Halloween, but “Heffalump Halloween Movie” is a pretty dull adventure, sadly. The whole attempt to curb the entire narrative toward the bland goofy elephant, and away from Winnie the Pooh is uninteresting.
I usually have a lot of awful to say about modern Looney Tunes, but “Looney Tunes Cartoons” has at least tried to honor the legacy of the Looney Tunes. Say what you want about Warner’s handling of the Looney Tunes library but “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-O-Skreem Spooktacula” really isn’t half bad. It’s actually a pretty decent attempt to conjure up the spirit of the classic Looney Tunes as we remember. It has its finger on the pulse of the comic timing and classic raunch we know and love about the old shorts. It’s funny that Bugs Bunny gets the title of the program since he only has one short in the end of the program, meanwhile Porky has two that he shares with his usual foils.