When it comes to fantasy the realms of magic have been defined with the likes of elves, trolls and dragons; and these beings have continuously played a role in stories for many years be it in novels or movies. So what happens when you take these mythical creatures and you modernize them? That is the question that surrounds the latest film from Pixar: Onward. Directed by Dan Scanlon, Onward takes a fantasy world and puts a modern spin on it by having the likes of elves and gnomes in an urban society. While this idea is not original, this new animated film still managed to peak my curiosity with its promising adventure. I ventured to the theater to see this magical quest for myself, and while it may not enchant Onward is indeed one of Pixar’s more enlightening films in recent years.
Adventure comes in many forms. Concepts such as grand scale journeys and personal quests are the backbone of storytelling and it continues to be effective for the adventure film genre. In this case the latest adventure to hit the silver screen is one that deals with a dog’s odyssey throughout the wilderness; which many may know as The Call of the Wild. The Call of the Wild is based on the acclaimed novel by Jack London and has been depicted on several occasions. The latest rendition is directed by Chris Sanders and brings the story to life in a live action film that is heavy on visual effects. The trailer teased an adventurous movie but it also appeared to be a journey that was a little too straightforward for my liking. After seeing it for myself I can say this adaptation falls under the saying of “what you see is what you get”, but in this case that was not a bad thing.
When it comes to new anime, none may have gained notoriety like My Hero Academia. The work of Kohei Horikoshi has become a prominent title for both manga and anime and the series continually makes its mark in pop culture. In 2018 the series made its cinematic debut with the film My Hero Academia: Two Heroes. While the movie had some issues, Two Heroes was an enjoyable experience and accomplished in bringing the series to the silver screen. Two Heroes was a success with the movie doing surprisingly well in the US market to the point where its limited release was extended. For this reason it came to no surprise that Two Heroes would not be the only cinematic adventure for Midoriya and the rest of Class 1-A, and sure enough the next installment for the anime has come in the form of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. Directed by Kenji Nagasaki, Heroes Rising was released in Japan on December 20, 2019 but now the movie has made its way to American theaters. Because of how impressed I was with the first film, and the fact that I am a fan of the series, I knew I had to see the new film for myself; and just like its predecessor Heroes Rising lives up to the series by being an exciting film filled with heroism.
When it comes to video games there have been many characters to define the medium; from a plumber saving a princess to an adventurer raiding tombs. Among these icons is a blue hedgehog who redefines the meaning of going fast. Since 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog has been a major franchise in the video game industry and, despite the series having its ups and downs, the high speed rodent continues to be a major player in video games with his various titles. Sonic has been no stranger to pop culture as he has had several comics and television series to his name, but now the blue hedgehog takes a new leap as he runs onto the silver screen. Directed by Jeff Fowler, Sonic the Hedgehog was originally going to be released last year but, due to controversy surrounding the character’s design, the movie was pushed back to the winter season. Now the film has hit theaters and as a fan of the series I knew that I had to see this adaptation for myself. There were a number of ways that this movie could have gone, but what came to theaters was a blockbuster that was as much a worthy adaptation as it was an entertaining experience.
The worlds of DC continues to expand. The DC Films (or DC Extended Universe) has had its ups and downs, but it continues to make a name for itself with recent releases such as Aquaman and Shazam. The latest film from the shared universe takes a step on the wild side by centering on the one and only Harley Quinn. Since her debut in Batman: The Animated Series, the supervillain has become a major player for DC by being part of numerous comics and making her cinematic debut in 2016’s Suicide Sqaud. Now the anti hero breaks away from the Joker and the Squad to star in her own movie: Birds of Prey (aka Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn or Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey). Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey is both a spin off to Suicide Squad as well as an introduction to DC’s team of superheroines. Despite the notoriety of its central character, this film looked to be a gamble in more ways than one. While it took me some time to see it, I ventured to experience the new superhero film and when it came right down to it: Birds of Prey was an enjoyable film.
A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, a film by the name of Star Wars flew into theaters and became a cinematic legend. Star Wars would not only gain two sequels, but an additional trilogy as well which turned the series into a saga. In recent years, after a decade of being absent from the big screen, Star Wars would return with a brand new trilogy. The adventure began with nostalgic Episode VII, The Force Awakens, and continued with the unexpected Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Now the story that started in 2015 comes to an end with Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Directed by JJ Abrams, The Rise of Skywalker is not just an ending for its respected trilogy, but it is also marked as the final chapter in The Skywalker Saga. It goes without saying that bringing a nine film saga to a conclusion would be a difficult venture in its own right; so needless to say there was much riding on Episode IX. Naturally I journeyed to see this grand finale for myself and, while its execution was surprising, The Rise of Skywalker managed to be a satisfying conclusion.
Murder Mysteries can be an enticing concept. The idea of solving an unsolvable murder has been a captivating story that has been proven effective in a number of mediums; from the novels of Agatha Christie to the various crime dramas seen on television. However, while the idea endures, murder mysteries can be a dime and a dozen and if you have seen one then there is a chance that you have seen them all. However that may not be the case for the newest mystery sleuthing its way to the big screen: Knives Out. Directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out looked to be an intriguing crime as the trailers put a spin on the concept of murder mysteries. The movie has received an array of positive reviews but could this new mystery steal the respect of this Film Adventurer? Well after seeing it for myself I must admit that while the film gets a little tangled, Knives Out is indeed an homage to its genre.