REVIEW: ‘Abominable’ looks great but suffers from poor characters

Dreamworks’ animated features have had their ups and downs, and “Abominable” comes in at about the middle.

The movie follows Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a teenage girl who’s motivated to work several jobs to save money in order to go on a trip across China. Her motivation comes from her late father, who wanted to take Yi on the trip himself before he passed away.

One night when she’s on the roof of her apartment putting away her saved money and to play her violin, though, Yi is greeted by an abominable snowman. While frightened at first, Yi eventually befriends the yeti. The problem, though, is that the yeti is being chased by goons from a billionaire who collects exotic creatures. Determined to keep the yeti safe, Yi and a few friends decide to help it get back to its home on Mount Everest.

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Looking at Live Action: Ranking the Disney Remakes

The release of a new “Lion King” adaptation has marked about 10 years into Disney’s adventure in remaking many of its animated pictures into live action versions. OK, technically, the new “Lion King” is a fully animated picture, but it’s more or less a de facto live action movie.

With nearly a decade to look back on, plus some others from years past, here is my ranking of the Disney live action and/or life-like remakes of animated classics.

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REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 4’ doesn’t fly like predecessors, but still falls with style

I’ll admit, when I first heard a new “Toy Story” was in production, I was skeptical, considering “Toy Story 3” was such a solid end to the trilogy. Fortunately, Pixar did some solid work with this fourth feature.

The latest film picks up seemingly not too long after the end of part three. The original gang, for example, have adapted pretty well to life with Bonnie’s other toys. That is, except for Woody (Tom Hanks). Woody appears to be involved less and less in times of play, and as a result, is getting little anxious.

However, when Bonnie creates a new toy from some materials, mainly a spork, named Forky (Tony Hale),  Woody finds some purpose. Forky appears to be confused, thinking himself more akin to trash than a toy, but Woody is set on protecting him and keeping him around, as Forky has become Bonnie’s favorite. The work gets more difficult, though, when during a family trip, Forky escapes in a small town near a carnival. Woody sets off on an adventure immediately to save Forky, and fortunately, he gets some help from the long lost Bo Peep (Annie Potts).

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REVIEW: ‘Secret Life of Pets’ sequel is better suited for the small screen

In my review of the 2016 film “Secret Life of Pets,” I said if a person isn’t a pet owner, they can go ahead and skip it. It’s mostly the same old story this time around.

The sequel again follows Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet), who live in a New York City Apartment. The two are owned by Katie, who since the first film, has gotten married and has a child. Like the last movie, Max is a worrier and has his share of fears. As a result, he also has several concerns for Katie’s child.

He begins to face his fears, though, when the family takes a trip to a farm. There, Max meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), an older herding dog who helps Max face his fears and not be so-overprotective with Katie’s son. Meanwhile, the other pets back at the apartment where Max lives have adventures of their own.

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REVIEW: ‘Missing Link’ is a short and sweet crowd pleaser

Not going to lie. After sitting through “Hellboy,” “Little” and “After,” getting to watch “Missing Link” was actually a nice treat.

“Link” is the latest from the animation studio Laika, which made a personal favorite of mine called “Kubo and the Two Strings” a few years back. The movie tells the story of Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), a crypto-zoologist who tries to dig up evidence on mysterious creatures on Earth, such as the Loch Ness Monster.

His latest endeavor brings him to the northwest corner of the continental United States on a search for Sasquatch. Interestingly enough, Frost not only meets the creature, but learns that the Sasquatch can speak English and actually has a goal of his own. The Sasquatch, who comes to be known as Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis), wants to make it to the Himalayas to connect with Yetis, who he believes are his own species.

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REVIEW: ‘Wonder Park’ is a forgettable animated adventure

I expected “Wonder Park” to be one of the lesser animated pictures of 2019. I didn’t expect it to be so bizarre.

The film primarily follows June (Brianna Denski), a young girl with a creative imagination who pretends to run an amusement park with her mom (Jennifer Garner). However, when her mom becomes sick with an undisclosed illness, June stops playing with the imaginary world of Wonderland.

Just when it seems her creative spark is gone, though, through a series of events, she actually stumbles across the park from her imagination. But the park isn’t all that great. In fact, it’s seemingly fallen into disrepair. As a result, June needs to team with her imaginary friends to restore the park.

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REVIEW: Third ‘Dragon’ ends the series on a positive note

It seems like the dragons are trained by this point, but the name still rolls off the tongue nicely.

In the third and likely final film in the series that started in 2010, the main character Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), an expert dragon trainer and rider is now chief of Berk. Since the events of the second picture, the island village where vikings reside has become a sort of safe haven for dragons. Because the people of Berk have become experts in handling dragons, thanks largely to Hiccup’s efforts in the past two movies, the dragons are able to live in relative peace.

However because of how many dragons are coming to the island for safety, the land is becoming overcrowded. This is on top of the fact that there are antagonistic forces who want to eliminate dragons, seeing them as a threat. In response, Hiccup decides to find the so called “Hidden World,” where dragons can live safely without being found.

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REVIEW: ‘Lego’ sequel is satisfactory

Like the original, while not perfect, “The LEGO Movie 2” puts together the building blocks in a nice enough way to create a pretty good movie.

The first Lego movie was released in 2014 and the five year difference is reflected in the sequel. The protagonists of the first film, having seemingly saved the world, came under an immediate new threat right away, this time from other types of Lego blocks. As a result, Emmet (Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and the other heroes are forced to live in a world that looks like “Mad Max” in Lego form.

The situation only gets worse when several characters, including Lucy, are kidnapped by the new foe. As a result, it’s up to Emmet to go on a rescue mission and save his friends.

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REVIEW: ‘Spider-Verse’ is a fine entry to the webslinging series

Just to recap, in about 16 years, we’ve had a “Spider-Man” trilogy, a two-movie “Spider-Man” reboot, another “Spider-Man” reboot with a sequel on the way, and now an animated feature that is completely separate from everything we’ve seen before. Quite the history.

As previously stated, this latest adaptation of the comic book is completely animated and is set in a world where Spider-Man has been a longtime hero and even became a celebrity. The film’s focus, though, is on the character Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a teenager who is just starting a private school, but still enjoys getting into mischief.

On one of those occasions, Miles is bitten by a radio-active spider, just like the actual Spider-Man. Later, the two actually meet by chance when Miles comes across some villains who are trying out a device that can open portals to other dimensions. One thing leads to another and a whole group of Spider-Man superheroes from other worlds appear. As one might guess, they all have to work together to foil the villains’ plot.

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REVIEW: While ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ has its moments, the movie stumbles too much

The streak, unfortunately, is over.

For roughly a decade, I gave movies made by Disney’s animation studio very high marks, usually a 4/5 or higher, and regularly included them in my top 10 lists at the end of the year. However, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which certainly isn’t bad per se, has ended that consistency, as it’s simply mediocre.

More on that in a moment, but let’s look into what this sequel is all about. Unlike this summer’s “Incredibles 2,” which picked up immediately after the first, “Ralph breaks the Internet” is set in the present time and acknowledges the six years that have passed since the original picture, released in 2012.

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