Over the years there have been many animes to resurface in the confines of pop culture. Among these titles is none other than the popular franchise known as Digimon. What started off as virtual pet became a major franchise with a variety of shows, games and movies to its name. While the series continued in Japan, Digimon’s time in the states had been all but over as the franchise quietly left the limelight. That was until 2016 when the series made its international return with Digimon Tri. Tri was a series of six films that told the story of the original DigiDestined reuniting with their digimon partners. The series had its up and downs but one of things that surprised me was that Tri did not serve as ending to the original adventure. Well it seems that a conclusion was inevitable as it comes in the form of the new movie Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna. Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, Last Evolution serves as a finale to the original show as well as marking the 20th Anniversary to series itself. The film came out in Japan back in February and was scheduled to be seen in theaters this past March. However, due to a certain pandemic, plans of the film’s release changed and after a few delays the movie finally arrived on digital platforms. Now that it is out on both digital and blu-ray, I finally got a chance to see the new movie and while it may not have been what I was hoping Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution was certainly a noteworthy conclusion.
Liam Neeson has certainly had a notable career. From playing a Jedi Master to a Lego with a split personality, the Irish actor has had many noteworthy roles over the years and tends to stand out no matter what part he plays. One genre that Neeson continues to make a name for himself in is that of action movies. Neeson is no stranger to blockbusters but his presence does not give off the vibe of that of an action star. However, the actor has managed to make the leap into the genre as the likes of the Taken trilogy have proven to be successful. Now Neeson is at it again with a new action thriller called Honest Thief. Directed by Mark Williams, Honest Thief takes a different turn for Neeson’s action tenure as the actor plays a former criminal. Seeing the trailer this new movie looked to be just another action flick starring Liam Neeson, and after seeing this crime thriller for myself I can that Honest Thief is indeed just that-though that was not that it was a bad thing.
If there is one filmmaker who is an innovator to his craft it would be none other than Christopher Nolan. For over a decade the acclaimed filmmaker has made some of the most memorable blockbusters (not to mention some of my favorite films) like Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy, and each of his films bring a sense of style to their respected genres. Now Nolan is back with a new twist filled blockbuster by the name of Tenet. Much like Inception, Tenet takes a known genre like spy movies and blends with a surreal concept such as time travel. Originally the movie was supposed to be released in July, just in time for the tenth anniversary of Inception, but the global closure of theaters prevented it from making its that date and so the film was move to start the fall season. Regardless of when the film came out, seeing what Nolan had in store for Tenet was enough for me to check out this blockbuster-and the movie did not disappoint.
The X-Men have certainly had a memorable time on the big screen. Since 2000, the iconic superhero team have been a part of cinema with an array of movies to its name; from massive adventures like X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past to more unique titles like Deadpool and Logan. However, since Disney bought 20th Century Fox, the franchise has come to a halt and its future is now a mystery. The series came a conclusion, albeit an abrupt one, last year with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but it was not the last movie in the franchise as one remained in the form of The New Mutants. Directed by Josh Boone, The New Mutants is based on the X-Men comic series by Chris Clairmont and Bob McLeod which centers on the younger mutants of the X-Mansion. While there were interesting aspects surrounding the movie, such as its decision to have a horror aesthetic, the real story has been its journey to the silver screen as its been trying to hit theaters for over two years. From making room for other releases to the current pandemic, The New Mutants has struggled to arrive to the big screen but at long last it has finally made it and after this new superhero movie I find that The New Mutants was a different, albeit problematic, entry in the X-Men franchise.
When it comes to Dreamworks the animation studio has had its share of successful series like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. However, in recent years the studio has had difficulty establishing a new franchise that can live up to Dreamwork’s more popular series; well that was case until a few years ago when Dreamworks released Trolls: a movie based on the classic toy line. In a way Trolls took Dreamworks back to its roots by being an energetic musical and though it may not have been groundbreaking the film certainly made an impression by being an enjoyable experience. Needless to say, Dreamworks found success with the 2016 feature and with it came a new franchise for the studio. After a few television specials the colorful creatures would make a cinematic return in the new film: Trolls World Tour. Directed by Walt Dohrn, Trolls World Tour continues the adventure of Poppy and Branch by expanding the world of trolls. A sequel for Trolls was not unwarranted as there was plenty to explore in this zany world, and that idea alone was enough to get me interested to check out the new film. After seeing it for myself, I can say that Trolls World Tour brings the music-but it falls flat in certain areas.
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.