The Little Mermaid (2023)

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.

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“Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai” is an Exciting Introduction to the Wider “Gremlins” Universe

It’s been almost thirty five years since we saw any semblance of “Gremlins” entertainment rear its scaley head. Now in the midst of reviving old IP’s HBO and Warner take a shot on reviving Joe Dante’s classic film series. “Secrets of the Mogwai” is thankfully built very much in the vein of the classic 1984 film, and less like “The New Batch.” It’s a dark fantasy (with charming animation obviously influenced by LAIKA Studios) with a lot of harrowing action and terror, but also revels in the inherent awe and wonder of Gizmo and the concept of the Gremlins, twisted as they may be.

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Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

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.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always (2023)

After thirty years, “Once & Always” feels a lot like not just a tribute to the fans of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” but some much needed justice. As many know, David Yost was horribly bullied when he originally joined “Power Rangers,” while Walter Jones was poorly utilized. So it’s no big surprise that the special centers mostly on Zack and Billy, two of the remaining elements of the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

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Super Mario Bros. – The Great Rescue of Princess Peach! (Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyūshutsu Dai Sakusen!) (1986)

By 1986, the world had only gotten so far as “Super Mario Bros.” on the Nintendo/Famicom, so Masami Hata’s “The Great Rescue of Princess Peach!” as a movie stretches as far as it can on very little source material. With the original NES game, they only gave you so much about the lore, and motivations of the villains, so the anime movie itself relies on a bizarre, anemic plot that, I can assume, is not at all canonical.

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

It’s been about thirty years since Nintendo allowed one of their IP’s to be translated in to a feature film, and now that video game movies have upped the ante in substance, the time is right for a return from the Mario Bros. Their mascot Super Mario makes his big screen return in a new animated feature from the studio that gave us the (ugh) Minions. In spite of that fact, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is really quite good, and dare I say one of the best video game movies ever made. As with most IP’s of Mario’s ilk, there was some ballyhoo around casting decisions made for his return, but “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” comes out looking quite shiny.

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“Super Mario Bros: The Movie” 30 Years Later: The Baffling Feature Film Adaptation

Kids today will soon know their Mario Brothers as CGI animated sprites in the upcoming “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” I, for one, am psyched. But back in 1993, my Mario Bros. (beyond the video games) were found on television and in the movies. After Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells ended their run as Mario and Luigi in “The Super Mario Brothers Super Show!” in 1989, the studios decided to finally bring the Super Mario world to the big screen in 1993. Said movie was called “Super Mario Bros: The Movie.”

You’d probably think: “How they could possibly get such an easy concept so wrong?”

But they did. They really did.

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The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse (2022)

“Asking for help isn’t giving up. It’s refusing to give up.” 

Based on a best selling book by British author and illustrator Charles Mackesy, who co-wrote and co-directed the film version, “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse” is a beautiful short worthy of a young audience. It was released around the holidays in 2022, and while it does compliment the Christmas aesthetic, it works wonderfully as a genuine fable about empathy and innocence.

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