Movies

Soylent Green in a Kids Movie?!

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 | Sony Pictures Entertainment

Movie Analysis:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

Intro

This movie is a spoiler-filled review. If you don’t already know, my reviews that include spoilers are either for phenomenal movies that deserve analysis or movies that suck and invite ridicule.

This movie is one of those that is only good for poking fun at. Just because it’s a sequel doesn’t mean it should be cut some slack. If you don’t have a decent idea, don’t make a sequel. It’s that simple.

Below is a thorough analysis of this disturbing kids movie. Where does the Soylent Green come in? Read on to find out.

Background

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 was produced by Sony Pictures Animation and released in 2013. It fits into the genres of Adventure and Comedy.

The movie stars Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal, and James Caan.

It is the sequel to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. In the original movie, Flynn Lockwood creates the FLDSMDFR (Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator) to create food from water. When it accidentally rockets into the sky, it begins to rain food.

This goes all wrong when the new food weather gets out of control. Flint Lockwood is forced to shut down the FLDSMDFR for good. Or so he thinks…

Apparently, he failed to shut it down forever. Thus, a sequel was born.

LAST WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Analysis

The movie begins with a flashback to young Flint Lockwood. He’s a cute little kid with a head comprising almost half of his body. You can tell that’s not normal because Cal Devereaux, another kid from the same movie, has a head that is a third of his body. How does poor little Flint even stand upright?

10 Flint Lockwood ideas | flint lockwood, lockwood, flint
Cal Devereaux Voices (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) - Behind The Voice  Actors

Anyway, it flashes back to a young Flint Lockwood fawning over his childhood idol, Chester V.

Chester V is the completely not evil scientist who inspired Flint. He was not mentioned in the first movie because…I guess it was cuter for Flint to be inspired by his mom. Nah, I’m kidding. They obviously hadn’t thought up Chester V yet.

So Chester V is on television and lies about how he made his first invention as a teenager. Later on he tells Flint that his first invention was created when he was 3 years old, but let’s not be concerned about that discrepancy.

They always pronounce his name like “Vee.” That’s weird if it’s a Roman numeral, because you would say “Chester the fifth.” If it’s not a Roman numeral, that’s also weird because I cannot think of a single person I have ever heard of with a last name of only one letter. I guess it’s possible, just a little out-of-the-ordinary.

Review of the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 | by Mario Gomes |  Medium

Perhaps the most amusing part of this movie is the way the characters say FLDSMDFR, pronouncing it as if it were a normal word instead of an acronym. To hear how it is pronounced, click here.

The characters include Flynn the scientist, Sam Sparks the meteorologist and love interest, Tim the dad, Brent McHale the reformed bully, Manny the Guatemalan cameraman, Earl Devereaux the policeman, and Steve the monkey.

Flint and his friends come up with this plan for a lab. Since they are unbelievably childish, they do cutesy drawings of themselves on a paper and label it Sparkswood. The dad apparently has no drawing skills because instead of drawing himself, he just writes his name.

Then Chester V (hologram version) shows up to announce that everyone must leave the island and stay in San Franjose, California while he and his Thinkquanauts initiate clean-up on the island.

After buffering, the hologram of Chester V gives Flint an offer to work for him, which Flint declines at first because of the plans for Sparkswood. (The holograms never buffer again in the movie.) Sam Sparks convinces him to take the offer, however.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 3D Blu-ray Release Date January 28,  2014 (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD)

Then we get a scene where all of Flint’s friends supporting him. The shot includes some random bearded character who is apparently named Joe Towne. He’s not a friend; he’s just kind of awkwardly there.

He has no character development. He’s just an extra, a professional photobomber apparently there to add to the comedy.

Next, the Chester V hologram contacts the real Chester V. And that makes it all too obvious that the creators don’t understand how holograms work. They are supposed to be like projections, but this one is apparently sentient. In fact, none of Chester V’s holograms act like actual holograms. His most impressive achievement was probably the creation of projections with minds of their own.

The inhabitants of Swallow Falls all move temporarily to San Franjose, California, where they start new jobs and lives. Our old friend Joe Towne turns out to be the new bus driver for Live Corp. There is an awkward instance where he breaks the fourth wall, smiling directly at the camera instead of at any person.

Live Corp is giant building shaped like a lightbulb. There we meet Barb, who is an…

an orangutan with a human brain inside my ape brain…like a turducken!”

Barb

To me that seems like both animal abuse and a human rights violation. That poor innocent ape with combined brains…and where did they get the human brain?

Barb is an ape scientist with pink glittery nail polish, purple fur, purple eyes, and human-like hair. A disturbing combination, admittedly.

Flint gets a drink made of coffee with milk, and acts like the combo has literally just been invented by Live Corp. Come on Live Corp–is that the best you can do? The cup is all futuristic with its many edges, but all that’s in it is coffee with milk.

Then there is an uncomfortable moment when Steve the monkey spits out his coffee and exclaims “hot!” A woman immediately flirts with him, saying “not too bad yourself, monkey.” People flirting with animals is creepy. Period.

A running gag is that Flint’s nose keeps getting stuck in doors. It was mildly amusing the first time, but after that, it was just annoying.

Just like in the first movie, when characters type, it looks like are slapping the keyboard repeatedly and as clumsily as possible. I wish I could type like that. It would be amusing.

After traveling in a futuristic elevator, Flint is dropped off in a cubicle. He immediately submits as many of his inventions as possible.

One of them could basically be a murder machine.

Fork-And-Knife-And-Spooninator by KID-Z4P on DeviantArt

As soon as we see the flashback to when Flint tried the experiment, it shows a machine that shoves knives, forks, and spoons rapidly into his father Tim’s mouth. That thing could have killed him! It obviously had no control. If it didn’t stab him to death, than it certainly could have choked him to death.

Not too long afterwards, we get to see the vesting ceremony, where a promising scientist is chosen to be the next thinkquanaut and wear the much sought-after orange vest.

First, Chester announces that “Food Bar Version 8.0” will be available soon.

Then, in a very predictable turn-of-events, Flint is not chosen, but someone else who is also from an island, has unruly hair, and whose name happens to be Flint as well wins it instead.

And guess how he won? No, you won’t be able to. He won with a car that runs on “cute.”

Wait…what? Well, it is an animated family film, so whatever.

But then he opens the fuel tank and there is a cat in there. That is wrong on so many levels. More animal abuse.

The whole time, Chester V’s hands are moving like clockwork–without stop, flowing constantly into new positions. It’s mesmerizing.

Then Steve sets off Flint’s celebration machine, which explodes with paint and glitter and causes the whole stadium to laugh at him.

Meanwhile, Chester V is worried because two squadrons of his thinkquanauts were killed by foodimals (living food) while looking for the FLDSMDFR for nefarious purposes. They are obviously not on the island for cleanup like they said they were.

A bunch of people were actually killed by these foodimals. That’s really dark for a kids movie. Sure, they don’t show it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. (If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…)

But Chester’s mostly worried because he’s running out of alphabet letters to name his squadrons after. He decides their only option is to find someone who is simultaneously naïve and smart. Obviously Flint. After his celebration display at the vesting ceremony, that was super apparent.

Meanwhile, Flint is miserable and faceplants into his bed. His dad and Sam apparently assumed he would get the vest even though every single invention he’s made has ended in some sort of failure or un-natural disaster. They think this even though there were hundreds of candidates who have been working at Life Corp for years, and Flint has only been working there for like, a day. So his dad and Sam present him with matching vest-themed cakes to celebrate, making it even more humiliating.

Sam tries to make Flint feel better by saying

Everyone gets humiliated on national television. It’s not a big deal.”

That’s obviously far from true, but maybe that’s what Sam likes to tell herself too, since she was humiliated on television in the first movie.

Not long after, Barb knocks on the door. The dad answers, and realizes she’s the same ape from Flint’s poster.

Flint is told that Chester V wants to see him, and they have a secret meeting back at Live Corp. His holograms are doing all sorts of things, none of which the real Chester V is doing. All of them are doing completely different things too, which makes no sense.

Chester shows him a clip of foodimals attacking a Live Corp base, and then trying to swim. He cites this as proof the foodimals will reach civilization and wreak havoc, even destroying the Statue of Liberty. Since the food weather was destructive to start with, Flint isn’t too keen with the idea of his inventions causing more trouble.

He agrees to go alone to Swallow Falls to rid the world of foodimals by using the BS-USB to shut down the FLDSMDFR. BS-USB stands for bifurcating systematic universal stop button. What were you thinking? This is a kids movie, after all.

He says he will tell no one, so of course he immediately tells all of his friends. They are all working different jobs now.

Sam, he tells first, because she is the all-important love interest. She apparently is a complete zombie if you catch her at the wrong time.

Earl next…

Earl is working as a barista at a cupcake shop. Notice he has no facial hair in this picture. He basically makes a muscle and it grows back instantly. I wish I could change my hair style whenever I wanted with no consequences. That’s a pretty cool power.

Earl’s son Cal tries to convince his dad he can come by showing off a single chest hair, which is actually just a loop of icing, but his dad catches on.

Manny is now a veterinarian, and when he is recruited he leaves behind a cow giving birth…which is disturbing.

Brent is in a chicken costume, because the creators just couldn’t let that joke go. When tossing his sign, it ends up stuck between his buttocks. Then he gets a tree to cover his shift and joins them.

Flint tries to convince his friends that they can travel through his grocery deliverator, but after Steve is thrown back out twitching, they decide against it.

Grocery deliverator | Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Wiki | Fandom

Then Flint’s dad shows up with a boat and Flint is irritated, because no one wants their dad tagging along on a secret mission. He might get hurt–or worse, get in the way!

Pretty much everyone acts like a child in this movie, with the exception of the dad and Manny, so I think having at least a couple half-responsible people on the mission would be ideal.

On the way, they sing 99 buckets of chum in the boat, which is as obnoxious as it sounds.

Then the food puns come along.

“If we all work together, this will be easy as….PIE.” Cue giant slices of pie in the water.

“Oh no, we’re TOAST.” Cue giant slices of toast.

“This is totally BANANAS.” You guessed it–giant bananas jutting out of the water like rocks.

Dear ol’ dad is left on the boat because he’s too old to help apparently. Don’t feel too bad for him. He’ll come back in later.

They reach the Live Corp base and find it is covered with cheese webs. Earl utters the predictable line

I’m gonna cut the cheese.”

Of course, there is the expected flatulence right when Earl slices through the cheese webs.

They all go in, guns at the ready. Just kidding. This is a kids movie, so I guess they were not allowed to have actual guns. Instead they point their fingers like guns in a display of mock self-defense.

Then they meet a sentient strawberry that Sam names Barry. Flint is terrified of him. I actually think strawberries with eyes are kind of freaky too.

So, Sam does what any person would do to help someone conquer their fears–shoves it in their face.

If I had a friend who was afraid of spiders and who couldn’t appreciate spiders like I do, I wouldn’t be a jerk and shove one in their face. How exactly would that help the situation?

Then Barry swallows the BS-USB, and the team runs after him and beholds a fascinating wonderland of foodimals.

I admit, it’s kind of interesting. Except the one below. That one is nightmare fuel.

It’s so beautiful apparently, it’s enough to make a man cry. But not Earl. When a tear sneaks down his cheek, he demands it back into his eye. Seriously, this man has bodily superpowers beyond reason.

Barry floats away, and the team follows in a makeshift boat. As if this movie wasn’t groanworthy enough, there’s another food pun.

There’s a leek in the boat. Get it? Cuz there’s a…oh, never mind.

Then Steve has a little fight with a Shrimpanzee, because why not? Now this kind of is odd to me. This is an animal made of the dead body of another animal–dead shrimp. It’s basically a mutated zombie, a form of undead. Just sayin’–the walking dead make an appearance on a kids movie and no one even seems to notice it.

Flint sees all of these foodimals are sentient and behave like normal animals. Many of them are peaceful herbivores. Yet he still thinks, lets plug in the BS-USB and kill them all, because they will obviously bring devastation to mankind.

Then they are actually given a reason to fear foodimals. A cheespider attacks them unprovoked–or so it seems. It actually recognizes the orange on their backpacks as associated with Live Corp, which it hates.

My Thoughts: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (2013) – The Animation  Commendation

As they run away, Brent loses his chicken costume and is left wearing a diaper that’s apparently not fresh. I know that’s supposed to be funny, but it’s pretty gross.

They are rescued only by the sudden appearance of Chester V himself riding in a helicopter. Barb came along, and her first meeting with Sam goes sour. Both claim to be scientists, but Barb insists that meteorology is basically the science of looking pretty and pointing at a map. Then Barb is even more irritated when she realizes Sam is hiding Barry in her backpack.

When asked why, Flint tries to think of a good explanation but finally settles on the truth–that Barry swallowed the BS-USB. Barb immediately pulls a knife and decides she’s going to cut him open.

They are all understandably freaked out, and Barry…ejects the BS-USB along with a pile of jam. Flint picks it up, and Steve licks off the strawberry feces. I know, that’s barf-worthy.

Next we get to see Tim, Flint’s dad, and he is visiting his old shop where he expects to find sardines to eat. He finds the whole stash has been raided except for some that he locked away in a safe.

A bunch of dill pickles discover him and demand that he get more sardines for him. Because that’s totally dill pickle behavior. Vegetables that eat meat. That’s just messed up.

We switch back to the rest of the team. Brent is wearing a pair of Flint’s jeans, which he refers to as “skinny jeans.” He keeps using the stupid catchphrase he had when he was in advertising as Baby Brent in the first movie, saying “Uh-oh” all the time.

They find the lab and it’s hanging far above their heads. The only way to get up there is a tube. When Chester V and Flint get up there, Flint almost falls and Chester catches him by his underpants.

That’s unbelievably creepy. Who would reach inside someone’s pants and grab their underpants to stop them from falling. That’s just wrong.

Then we learn his underpants are extremely stretchy in order to be wedgie-proof. Chester V has the same kind of underwear, and it is revealed that they haven’t changed their underwear since they were very young children. In Chester’s case, he was three years old when he started wearing it. Ew.

Somehow Barb easily holds both up by their underwear as they dive into the lab, despite the fact that they both probably weigh at least close to her weight.

While they are down there, Chester V explains to Flint that he can’t trust Brent, because once a bully, always a bully. He says:

Stew offered by a bully is poisoned broth.”

That night, we get the scene that the comment above foreshadowed–Brent literally offers Flint stew, which Flint knocks out of his hand.

They said that Flint was acting jerky. And yes, the obnoxious monkey was holding a piece of jerky. The food puns never end…

Sam and Flint have a heart-to-heart discussion, and Barb and Chester spy on them. Chester calls Barb a monkey, which he’s done tons of times since the beginning of the movie. This sets up the later betrayal in a super obvious way. This is exactly what happened in the first movie. The Mayor didn’t appreciate Brent and Brent switched sides. Both the Mayor and Chester V acted as father figures to Flint because his real father was incompetent. This is all starting to get super predictable.

Then Tim teaches the dill pickles how to fish, I guess so they can replace Flint who always refuses to fish with his dad.

After some more jungle travel, the rest of the team happens upon a Tacodile Supreme.

Tacodile Supreme | Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Wiki | Fandom

Flint rescues Barb, thus setting up a reason for Barb to betray her master later on–her enemies are kinder than her friend.

Then, to remind us that foodimals don’t deserve to die, we get to see a (cute?) family of Tacodiles and find out that Mrs. Tacodile Supreme was just trying to protect her young.

When they reach the maple syrup swamp, tensions rise.

Sam tells Flint that she doesn’t think they should kill all the foodimals, which seems like a legitimate opinion, but Flint doesn’t think so and pretty much tells her that her opinions don’t matter.

Sam and the rest of Flint’s friends leave.

The feces-stained Sparkswood plan gets left behind in the syrup, picked up by Flint.

Flint, Chester V, and Barb go on without them and reach Rock Candy Mountain.

Flint uses a donut as a spyglass before heading in. Seriously, almost no one in this movie acts like an adult.

When Sam and the rest of Flint’s friends go back to the base, they are attacked by the Cheespider.

In a move straight from How to Train Your Dragon, Sam places her hand on the Cheespider’s head and tames it. The Cheespider flops over, and Sam says:

I think she wants you to scratch her buns.”

That sounds incredibly inappropriate. It gets even weirder when Brent says, “I like that too,” and actually scratches the Cheespider’s buns…

They then discover that live backwards spells evil, so Live Corp must be evil. That’s pretty flimsy reasoning at best. After all, most people don’t think they are evil even if what they are doing is evil. Putting it in the name on purpose is really odd. But they take this as conclusive evidence.

The thinkquanauts catch them before they can warn Flint and freeze them and the Cheespider.

Flint reaches the FLDSMDFR and is about to use the BS-USB on it before seeing it give birth to a marshmallow and deciding it’s worth saving after all.

Then Flint and Chester V get into a fight that includes nose sparring and an expert throw that lands the BS-USB right into the USB port.

It turns out the USB actually is BS, because it reprograms the machine instead of destroying it.

Chester V pushes Flint, causing him to plummet to what should have been his death.

Meanwhile, Flint’s friends are brought to a large Live Corp base, weakening Barb’s connection to Chester V in the meantime by reminding her how he always calls her monkey.

The marshmallow creatures bring Flint to his dad in Dilltown, where he learns that his friends were taken by the Sentinels of Safety (those thinkquanauts that came to the island with Chester V.)

Barry calls out to all the foodimals. He is apparently very good at projecting his voice and at persuasion because all the foodimals within a long distance come along to help.

A lettuce pun follows that is not worth repeating, then Barry translates what Flint is saying to the other foodimals by saying exactly the same thing but in a different voice. I don’t know how that would help, but it does.

Then Tim tells Flint he could launch Flint to the base where Flint’s friends are being held with a big fishing rod. Now, this is just not how Tim usually thinks. Fishing is his life, but imagination is not one of the skills in his repertoire. As a result, this is extremely out of character.

Then he says how it should be a piece of cake, and big surprise, there’s a piece of cake. All this food wordplay is getting old…

They make a giant vehicle that can be thrown by a makeshift giant fishing rod, and use a blueberry’s bodily fluid to write on it.

Flint and Barry get launched into the Live Corp base and find the foodimals in tubes in the wall. Barry uses the Grocery Deliverator to transport them away.

Another leek in the boat joke…

Flint finds Chester V and threatens him with spray on shoes, which is a valid threat because whatever comes in those cans is unremovable. He could clog Chester’s mouth or nose and kill him that way.

Here comes the soylent green part. It’s an old reference–to a movie in which there is a food made out of people.

Flint’s friends are revealed as they are lowered toward a grinder, and Chester V says he’s going to make them into food bars.

He then explains that he’s going to make the foodimals into food bars! Wait, food made out of animals–isn’t that like…normal? Why is he acting like this is illegal?

Sam is so horrified, she says:

You’re a monster. Those are living creatures!”

I wonder if she ever made the connection between hamburgers and cows…

Chester V promises not to make Flint’s friends into food bars if he drops the spray-on shoes. Predictably, he changes his mind as soon as Flint does and decides to turn them into meat bars anyway.

Barb is shocked, and you can see the impending betrayal written all over her little ape face.

Chester V calls her a monkey again, which is another nail in his coffin.

Chester then breaks into holograms to prevent Flint from saving his friends by grabbing the controller for the grinder.

Since the tape binding Flint’s friends is police tape, Earl refuses to break it. That’s probably best because if it broke, they would plummet into the grinder.

Flint proves that the fork-knife-and-spoon-inator is a murder weapon by throwing it at a Chester hologram as it stabbed rapidly. Since when was he carrying that? It’s not something that you can conceal,

Flint then uses the celebrate button to spray all the holograms with glitter and paint so he can find the real Chester and steal the controls. He saves his friends.

Chester tries to escape, and when he tries to get Barb to rescue him, he calls her a monkey. Dumb movie. Betrayal time.

He falls and asks his holograms to catch him, but the fail because duh, they’re holograms. Then he falls into the grinder but manages to survive by pulling his entire body into his vest. Don’t ask me how that’s possible. That’s a superpower in itself.

Then the Cheespider eats him, all except for his clothes. Yep, he’s dead. Eaten alive.

Then the FLDSMDFR is put back into commission and the foodimals and people live happily after…

There’s extra stuff though. Like when Earl’s fallen tear makes a blueberry grow chest hair, and the FLDSMDFR makes babies, Flint learns to fish in the most pathetic way possible, and Barb develops a crush on Steve.

Then it really is THE END.

Conclusion

So what I’ve learned from this movie is that eating anything that once breathed makes you a monster, and that animal abuse is supposed to be funny in certain contexts.

Just kidding–that’s just what the message of the movie seemed to be. I learned nothing from this movie, and feel like a few brain cells were killed by its stupidity.

It’s a kid movie, but the only reason I could see a kid liking it is because of all the cool-looking foodimals and the good animation.

I do not recommend it for any audience.

Movies

Soul: A Spirited Comedy and a Reminder of What Life’s All About

Soul | Disney Movies

Movie Review: Soul (Spoiler-Free)

Rating: 9.0 out of 10 stars

Intro

I was not sure what to expect from this movie when I decided to watch it. The only thing I had heard about it was that it was a bit “odd.” I couldn’t have anticipated how touching and fascinating it would be.

Sure, it was a little strange, but that’s part of what gave it its charm. It was worth every minute!

Background

Soul was created by Pixar and is currently streaming on Disney+. It stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, and Angela Bassett.

Pete Doctor, the director of Inside Out, developed the idea for Soul by considering what causes personalities and thinking about determinism.

Pixar settled on the idea of a musician for the main character after discarding the idea of a having his profession be scientist, offering the reason that that the musician’s life is just so “naturally pure” (1).

Summary

Soul Movie Review: Pixar Close to Its Best With Pre-Life Existential Romp

Soul is about a middle school band teacher by the name of Joe Gardner whose dreams are about to come true. Only before they do, he falls down an open manhole. His soul is then jettisoned into the afterlife, where he refuses to go to the Great Beyond and ends up in the Great Before instead.

The Great Before is where new souls get their personalities and prepare for life on Earth. Trying to blend in, he ends up becoming a mentor for a precocious soul called 22 who never wants to leave the Great Before. Life on Earth seems pointless and aggravating, in her opinion.

Joe soon realizes that if 22 gains her spark, she will receive a free pass to Earth. 22 agrees to give the pass to Joe if she finds her spark, because then she will never have to deal with life on Earth.

The movie follows their adventure to get Joe back in his body and a journey of self-discovery for 22.

Pros

  • Diversity
  • Brilliant animation
  • In-depth worldbuilding
    • Settings and backgrounds
    • Concept
  • Interesting characters
  • Superb character development
  • Comedic dialogue
  • Phenomenal music
  • Uplifting message

Cons

  • Black main character spends majority of movie in a different form

Review

Diversity

Soul: Jamie Foxx Explains Why The Barbershop Scenes Are Integral To The Film

Soul is one of the few Disney movies with an African-American protagonist, and Joe Gardner was also Pixar’s first African-American protagonist.

Additionally, one of the settings is a Black barbershop, which shows a wide array of hairstyles of young Black people.

To make sure they avoided stereotypes Pixar had twenty Black people provide their opinions in addition to Black members of the Pixar crew.

It is unfortunate that Joe Gardner spends most of the movie in a different form, similar to the way Tiana spent most of her time as a frog in The Princess and the Frog. While some of that was hard to avoid, since it was a movie based heavily on the experience of the soul, it might have been better to have Joe Gardner do more in his own body.

Animation

'Soul' trailer unveils Pixar's latest emotional animated ...

The animation was wonderful, even when the images, such as that of the Jerry’s, was simple.

Pixar focused especially on the texture of Black hair and the way that light shows differently on various tones of skin. (2)

Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding includes setting, but also the development of the concept and what makes the world tick.

The Great Before is perhaps the most interesting setting, with its array of soft colors, hordes of new souls, and assortment of Picasso-esque counselors all named Jerry.

The creation of the Great Before, where souls develop their personalities, was the most creative choice made in this movie.

The way the universe works in general, with Terry keeping track of the numbers of souls and the staircase leading to the Great Beyond, are pulled from more common ideas of what the afterlife would be like.

The mentorship program, where successful souls are paired with new souls to help them find their spark, was an interesting way to create a lot of humor, showing the way famous figures would react to young new souls.

Characters

Joe Gardner’s passion is music. He’s a middle school band teacher, but he wants to just be a jazz musician. He’s self-absorbed to the point of almost being completely unlikable, but he is not all bad. He’s also driven, determined, and talented.

22 is bored, cynical, and nonchalant. She is the 22nd soul to ever have existed, which shows just how long she has been unwilling to go to Earth. Despite her carefree attitude, 22 actually has deep-seated anxieties and feelings of self-doubt that she must grapple with throughout the movie. Her voice sounds like a “middle-aged White lady.”

Dialogue

The dialogue in this movie was witty and often comedic. Perhaps the best quotes came from those that mentored 22 in the past.

I have compassion for every soul…except you. I don’t like you.”

The Soul of Mother Teresa

The world doesn’t revolve around you, 22!”

The Soul of Copernicus

Stop talking! My unconscious mind hates you!”

The Soul of Carl Jung

Music

The music was wonderful, except the one part at the beginning with band class. That was intentionally awful. But other than that, it was a phenomenal supplement to the movies themes.

Message

The message is a profound consideration of what it truly is that makes life worth living, and that one’s passion can make a person lose sight of their purpose.

Conclusion

I would recommend this movie for both children and adults. If you enjoyed Inside Out, then Soul is likely to appeal to you. It is worth a subscription to Disney+ just to watch this movie.

Rating System

If you’re interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.

Recommended Links

  1. IMDB Trivia
  2. NY Times Article
Movies

If You Haven’t Watched This Classic Fantasy Movie, You Should

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) - IMDb

Rating: 9.7 out of 10 stars

Intro

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is an old favorite of mine. I had the privilege of watching it recently with one of my sisters who had never seen it before.

Getting to watch the movie was a bit of an adventure. My dad, who I sometimes call “Tech Support,” tried to get our Xbox One to play the DVD, but the Xbox gave up on life and showed the black screen of death instead. We then tried to find it on Netflix and to see if it was included for free on Amazon Prime, to no avail. Finally, we hooked up the PS3, which we never use, and used it to play the DVD.

Background

One ring | Mythology wiki | Fandom

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001. It stars Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Sean Bean (Boromir), Billy Boyd (Pippin Took) and Dominic Monaghen (Merry Brandybuck).

It was directed by Peter Jackson. The film falls into the genres of Fantasy and Adventure.

Summary

Sauron - Wikipedia

The entire plot of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is based around a ring. Nine rings were once forged and given to various rulers of the dominant kingdoms. Then an evil being named Sauron made a single ring that was more powerful than any of the others.

After a pivotal battle, the ring was lost and claimed by a human, and then was lost again. It was found by Gollum and then stolen by Bilbo, a hobbit, who would pass it on to Frodo.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring follows Frodo’s journey and that of others who seek to undermine Sauron’s power by destroying the ring.

Pros

  • Begins with low storytelling voice that encourages close listening
  • Gorgeous landscapes
  • Ornate architecture fitting the culture of each town
  • Phenomenal musical scores
  • Strong message of hope, courage, and purpose
  • Attractive and fitting costume design
  • Fascinating, insightful dialogue
  • Innovative CGI
  • Realistic orcs with prosthetics and make-up
  • Tolkien’s spoken elfin language is convincingly like a natural language
  • The written language on the ring is foreign and unique
  • Does not veer much from the book
  • Frodo, Boromir, and Aragorn have strong character development
  • Camera angles and movement increases immersion into the story

Cons

  • One scene with Galadriel is over-dramatic and looks fake
  • A lot of characters, but not much character development for most of them

Review

Beginning

The beginning of the movie starts with a low female voice telling the story of how the rings were created and the one ring came into existence. The voice is soft enough that I was tempted to listen closely, on the edge of my seat. It was a storyteller’s voice–one that promised a powerful, gripping, simple yet complex tale.

Setting

Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring | Film Locations

The landscapes of New Zealand where the movie was filmed were beautiful. Every landscape they traversed was stunning, like something out of a travel brochure. All the scenes of travel that made the movie longer were worth it because of the charming, idyllic land.

LOTR, Landscape and Settings, All Works on RowlingTolkienLewis ... | Lord  of the rings, Middle earth, Background images

The makers of the film paid great attention to detail, especially for architecture. This made settings like Rivendell not only attractive but also unique to the culture they represent.

Places of Fancy: Where Is Rivendell in 'The Lord of the Rings'?

Music

Fotrcd-cover.jpg

The music was composed by Howard Shore. In my opinion, the best song out of the lot is “Concerning Hobbits.” The music of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is both iconic and epic.

If you want to learn why the music of The Lord of the Rings has the power to captivate listeners, listen for yourself.

Message

The message is one of hope, courage, and purpose. This movie shows how there can be hope even in the darkest times and that courage can prevail against the powers of darkness. The story follows ordinary people who show tremendous bravery in the face of adversity.

Gandalf affirms that the ring that was found by Bilbo and passed on to Frodo did not fall into their hands by accident. All things happen for a reason, he insists. This gives the heroes a sense of purpose.

Costumes

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring | George Eastman Museum

The costumes are well-made and fit the character. For the hobbits, capes and clothes perfect for work and relaxation–peasant clothes. For Gandalf, an old man who does not care much about appearance, a simple cloak and a hat that has much character. For others, clothes befitting their status and positions are used. The clothes do not look tacky.

Dialogue

Gandalf | The One Wiki to Rule Them All | Fandom

The dialogue of the movie is rich and includes many quotable moments. For instance, when the value of a character’s life is questioned, Gandalf says:

Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”

Gandalf

CGI

What do you think of Peter Jackson's depiction of the Balrog in Fellowship  of the Ring? - Quora

The CGI, especially for the Balrog and Gollum, was innovative for its time and has stood the test of time. True, it’s only 19 years old, but there are plenty of films from around that time that would look contrived and poorly done by today’s standards.

Language

The elfin language used in the movie sounds natural and flowing. It is not like the made-up languages in many movies and books that are usually based on English or Latin. It is unique.

The written languages also appear to be authentic and realistic.

Likeness to the Book

Most changes from the book were made to save time, such as removing the whole Tom Bombadil scene that was in in the book. The movie was very faithful to the book.

Character Development

Fellowship of the Ring (group) | The One Wiki to Rule Them All | Fandom

Frodo is a character who seems nondescript but is capable of great bravery when the situation requires it. He feels a responsibility for what happens in the world, even though he wants nothing more than to go back to the Shire.

Boromir is a character who desires the power of the ring but nonetheless is an honorable character. Throughout the course of the story, he makes mistakes and changes as a result.

Aragorn’s initial reluctance to take his rightful place on Gondor’s throne affects who he is as a character. He is noble, and his actions show that he is worthy of being a king even when he doubts himself. His romance with Arwen is also a testament to his worth as a character–she is willing to give up immortality for him.

Most of the other characters are not well-developed, however. The movie suffers slightly from having too many characters.

Camera Tricks

The crew for this movie used various tricks with the camera. For instance, they used fast camera motions to make the battle scenes seem more frenzied. They also made horse riding scenes seem quick through other camera movements. The angle of the camera made it seem like sometimes we were seeing from the character’s point of view, and sometimes we were seeing the action from a perspective outside of any character.

Galadriel Scene

History Reading 06: Graphics. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of… | by  David Mellitt | Medium

This scene looked contrived and overly flashy, looking more like it belonged in a film depiction of a campfire horror story than a Lord of the Rings movie. A minor con, but worth noting.

Conclusion

I must say, the trouble it took to set up was well worth it. The movie is very nearly three hours, clocking in at 178 minutes, but it is a movie in which every second counts and adds to the whole. If you haven’t watched it, you’re missing out!

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate movies, check out my rating system.

Movies

I’m Gonna Spoil This Movie and You’re Gonna Enjoy it

Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale - Wikipedia

Intro

This analysis contains spoilers for Elle: A Modern Cinderella. Continue at your own risk!

So, why bother writing a spoiler-filled analysis of a movie?

There are two possible reasons:

One is that the movie is so good that it deserves analysis for the sake of learning from it. That is not what happened here.

The other possible reason is that there are times in life when one watches a movie so cringy and horrible that one makes fun of it merely to make the whole thing bearable.

This was that kind of movie. Kind of so bad it’s good…but not enough to justify seeing it.

Background

Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale was released in 2010. (Since it is not even that old a movie, it has no excuse for being so bad…)

It is a musical that rightfully is labeled with the genres of Comedy and Drama. However, it is comedic for all the wrong reasons and takes drama to a whole new level.

Analysis

The movie starts with some music and outdated-looking animations. The music is not too bad, but the animations are kind of odd. For instance, cartoon main character is about to kiss a guy when poof! He turns into her arch nemesis Stephanie.

Imagine. You’re about to kiss your crush. You’re going in for the smooch, and then bam! You’re inches away from kissing the person you hate most in the world instead.

Then there is another time when a butterfly lands on her breast and turns into part of her clothes, which was a little uncomfortable. Then it ZOOMS in on the butterfly. I mean, even though this movie is aimed at a teen audience, this is supposed to be a movie kids can watch….it’s kind of weird for the camera to dive into her cartoon bosom, even if it is properly clothed.

Then the actual plot begins. Elle Daniels, a young singer/songwriter, flunks her audition for Berklee, an esteemed music college in Boston. Her uncle, who is technically not her uncle so much as her part-time caretaker for when her parents are travelling the country, tells her that her parent’s plane crashed, resulting in their untimely demise.

Not that one’s demise is ever timely…but this plot device–I mean disaster–was particularly ill-timed, being on the day of the big audition.

It’s the kids movie trope where the parents can barely be present during the movie, either because they are dead, busy, or oblivious (i.e. Frozen, Home Alone, Lilo & Stitch, etc…).

Elle’s uncle decides to tell her this in the middle of her audition, because why not destroy her chance to go to her top college? If he had waited, like, 3 minutes the audition would have been over, but no….it’s not only deaths that are ill-timed in this movie.

Elle blames herself. Now, she isn’t think clearly, but that is somewhat accurate because people often blame themselves for things outside their control. The problem here is not that she blames herself, but that she is inconsistent as a character. She wants to abandon her dream because it “killed” her parents, but then she ambitiously tries to get her songs on the radio, and then in almost the next scene she is back to adamantly saying she can’t be a singer. It comes off as unrealistic.

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Elle Daniels

Now look at this picture really closely. This is live-action Elle. She looks high schooler age getting ready for college. That’s the magic of the glasses at work. Stay tuned to see her magically age.

Now, back to plot. After informing her of her parents’ deaths, her not-really uncle becomes her actual guardian and she begins to work as an intern for his recording company, Spunn Records. She acts as an assistant for the most obnoxious bubblegum pop trio in the world, Sensation.

Something About A Saturday - Sensation or CHE`NELLE - YouTube

We get to meet Sensation right away, because this Cinderella needs the equivalent of cruel stepsisters. They are laughable at best. Their makeup in the first scene is so poorly done that it looks like I could have done it better (even though I don’t wear makeup.)

They mess up Elle’s name by calling her every E-name that they can think of (Esther, Eleanor, Ellen, etc.). They say “Sensation” in a goofy, over-serious hushed voices. They walk while swinging their hips. I mean, look at the picture above. That is literally how they walk.

They made me wish they had been my childhood bullies because it would have been hilarious.

There are other times that they try to be funny, but it falls flat, such as when one of the girls says:

Does this corset make me look fat? Really? Cuz I had like two M&M’s today.”

Sensation singer

Now that was played for laughs, but if you actually think about it, it’s not a great joke. People with eating disorders probably wouldn’t appreciate that because it’s poking fun at people who are extremely weight-conscious. Of course, I don’t think this movie intended to poke fun at eating disorders, but the message a movie send its audience is important. The message it sends is that this behavior is funny, so you should laugh at it.

Anyway, Elle wants to sing, but her uncle thinks she isn’t ready. Apparently despite being her guardian and knowing her since she was little, he is not aware of the fact that she has talent. Either that, or he does not want her to move on after her parents’ deaths.

He has actual flashbacks to her childhood when he heard her sing, but no, she isn’t ready.

Next we meet Kit, Elle’s best friend, who encourages her to sing anyway.

Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010)
Kit

Elle is not so sure. Because we need more exposition, apparently, Elle says of her relationship with her uncle:

I’m the kid he didn’t ask for, and then has to send to college.”

Elle

Kit has some wild bobbing head movements throughout the movie.

Let’s try a experiment. Pick up your phone. Shake it slowly and repeatedly up and down, side to side. That’s basically the way her head moved the whole time.

She apparently cannot speak without her head moving like a bobblehead. I shall nickname her Miss Bobblehead for the rest of the analysis.

Miss Bobblehead gets such cringy lines as:

It’s like, I get my east wisdom from the east.”

Kit

Not only does that sound super racist, it also is just really dumb. It ruins all the supposed wisdom of her previous comments.

When Elle goes to get the milky coffee, we meet Andy, a guy who takes an awkwardly long time making coffee and acts like Mr. Doodle from Sesame Street.

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This is when Elle accidentally soaks Stephanie with it. Seriously, that’s the coffee up there. It is disgusting. That has to be like, 99% creamer.

It doesn’t look all that accidental even though it was obviously supposed to be. I mean, Elle certainly has the motive to launch a coffee-powered attack against her, and I wouldn’t have been convinced if Elle said it was an accident.

Anywho, Miss Bobblehead and Mr. Doodle like each other, but instead of saying so they use Elle as an intermediary. Elle is not a good intermediary, because she just lies to help Mr. Doodle out, saying,

He said you should drink more coffee.”

Elle

Of course, since he works at the coffeeshop, that means she would see her more often, so it’s kind of just weak flirting made up by Elle to get the two of them together.

Ty Parker, who is played by Sterling Knight, comes in shortly afterwards for an interview.

Picture of Sterling Knight in Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale -  sterling-knight-1312602158.jpg | Sterling knight, Modern cinderella, Knight
Ty Parker

At this point, my suitemate interjects with:

He’s a precious being.”

Of course, that was a good enough comment to include here. She probably meant he is hot, but my brain doesn’t seem to register hotness. Because like, I don’t think of anyone as hot or attractive. But despite that, considering that characters half decent at acting were rare in this movie, I guess that does make him a precious being.

Anyway, Ty wants to try something new, and Elle’s uncle wants him to sing with Kandi Kane, a popular British singer. Ty is not so sure about this, and leaves without making a decision.

Meanwhile, the Sensation singers ask Elle to help them out with recording the next day, and she believes they want her to sing. Instead, they have her hold sweat towels and fetch water.

Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Afterwards, she tries on a bunch of clothes. She takes off her magic glasses, and voila! It’s like she ages at least ten years.

How old she looks is especially odd considering how she becomes the love interest for Ty Parker not long afterwards. (Like we didn’t see that coming.)

All dressed up now, Elle decides to perform in the studio. Little does she know, Ty Parker is spying on her like a creep…I mean just happens to be watching.

She plays a guitar with no hole in it, which looked odd to me for one that isn’t an electric or bass guitar, but apparently it is possible. The hole in the guitar is meant to help it project sound better, but it’s not technically necessary.

The song is actually not bad, and her voice is really good.

Ty Parker loves her voice and thinks she is Kandi Kane. I don’t know why. This is a movie with computers. If he was going to maybe be singing with Kandi Kane but wasn’t sure, why didn’t he look her up to find out more about her? Or even listened to one of her songs? Then he would no Elle’s voice was not Kandi Kane’s.

Elle does nothing to correct him, instead putting on a British accent and following him around on what’s pretty much a date. This is her dream come true. Ty Parker is her childhood celebrity crush. Ty is rich, so he could take her anywhere, but you know how paparazzi are, so he treats her to street food instead.

If you’ve watched Starstruck, Sterling Knight is basically the same character here but with a different name.

Because we need a reminder that this is a Cinderella story, Elle gets a text from her uncle.

Elle it’s midnight. Where are you?”

Elle’s uncle

She kisses Ty Parker and ditches him. The next day, the studio is in an uproar because Elle unknowingly recorded her own song over Sensation’s when she was practicing. Ty doesn’t notice the problem, and instead says that he will definitely sing with Kandi Kane.

Download Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010) YIFY Torrent for 1080p mp4  movie - yify-torrent
The real Kandi Kane?

His actual first meeting with Kandi Kane goes off very poorly. She’s snarky and has a real attitude. It’s clear that their personalities are not compatible from the beginning. This quote is evidence enough:

Kandi Kane is a force of nature. RrrAW!”

Kandi Kane

I want to start using that. “P. A. Wilson is a force of nature. RrrAW!” It’s perfect for the first time I ever meet someone. “RrrAW!!”

Back at the studio, Stephanie breaks into Elle’s laptop. Any time someone comes by, Stephanie uses pathetic hiding skills to disguise herself. She finds out Elle was the one who recorded over Sensation’s song.

But why would that happen? I thought Elle was an intern there for six months? Does she really have no idea how recording equipment works? Wouldn’t she have to know how it works to record her song.

Moving on…

This is Stephanie’s “I’m being sneaky” face.

See Stephanie in that picture above? No, you don’t. She’s hiding. Shh….

Sensation then joins forces with Kandi Kane (the force of nature) to make plans to humiliate Elle.

Ty Parker insists on getting to sing with the first “Kandi Kane” he met, who he doesn’t realize is Elle because she hides behind a big hat when he walks by. I feel like it would be less suspicious if she just wore glasses without the hat, because reverse-aging 10 years makes you less recognizable anyway.

Ty puts on a radio program with a friend, trying to get Elle to call in.

Then Miss Bobblehead and Mr. Doodle bond over Elle’s conundrum, and end up a couple immediately.

The couple then convince Elle to show up at a party where Ty Parker will be. At the party, she plays her song and Ty Parker recognize it.

Cue Kandi Kane and Sensation. They break into Elle’s room and find all her Ty Parker fan girl junk and set it up like a little shrine. It’s meant to horrify Ty, but he is the Prince so instead he is angry at them and goes after Elle.

So they also end up a couple after a little heart-to-heart chat. Ty also convinces Elle to drop the ridiculous idea that she is to blame for her parents’ deaths.

Unfortunately, Kandi Kane threatens to sue Spunn Records and Ty Parker into oblivion if Ty doesn’t go through with his initial plan to record with Kandi Kane.

She also makes him break up with Elle from one of the shortest relationships ever filmed. Elle is so distressed she attacks her hair with her hand. No, not really, but the acting is so overdone that running her hands through her hair looked a tad overzealous.

Elle at this point has given up on glasses all together. I guess she became resigned to the fact she couldn’t use glasses to make herself look younger forever. Or she just didn’t need glasses. Or she did some off-screen shopping for contacts. Overall message–you’re prettier without glasses.

(As someone who wears glasses, I disapprove.)

Then Miss Bobblehead and Mr. Doodle assume that Kandi Kane is involved, with no evidence whatsoever. After sneaking around in the worst acting of the entire show–think preschoolers playing ninja–they frantically whisper and then kiss for no apparent reason.

Soon after, they break into Kandi Kane’s room and find out she’s really from the Southern United States and her name is actually Brenda Smirkle. Not only does she drop the accent and explain the whole thing to her mother, she also has a laptop with her actual name on it.

Miss Bobblehead records the entire phone conversation and tells Elle’s uncle that Brenda Smirkle is not actually Kandi Kane, which makes the contract between the supposed Kandi Kane and Ty Parker is void.

Elle’s uncle also dismisses Sensation on the spot, probably assuming they are involved, again without evidence. Miss Bobblehead then humiliates Stephanie by pulling her hair off–apparently it was a wig.

That seems unnecessarily cruel, especially since Stephanie is so self-conscious about her wig. I mean, what if she lost her hair due to cancer or something? Kit didn’t even have any evidence that Stephanie was involved in the plot. And even if she did, Kit being one of the “good guys” does not justify her doing horrible things.

Elle doesn’t know all of this because she was on her way to Berklee at the time. Miss Bobblehead, Mr. Doodle, and Elle’s uncle show up to see her audition.

Then–gasp–what a shock! Ty Parker shows up for her audition, she wins the approval of admissions, and they are a couple again.

Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale Images | Icons, Wallpapers and Photos on  Fanpop

Again, the music is actually not bad. It is the only thing this movie did right.

If I had to pin down a moral for this story, it would be that glasses make one unappealing (ouch), and that it’s okay to humiliate people, lie, and break into other people’s rooms if you do it for the right reasons.

But wait! It’s not over!

There are still the characters’ post-movie futures to think about. That’s what credits are for, right? I’ve only included the weirdest ones.

For Miss Bobblehead and Mr. Doodle, there was this little nugget of information:

What the heck is undercover dating? Like a blind date where both involved are secret agents or wanted criminals? And how could they be the most successful private investigator service? Is anyone supposed to buy this?

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Elle’s uncle apparently still doesn’t have time for a girlfriend. It was never established that he didn’t have time for a girlfriend before, but they found the need to point this out as the final word they give about his character.

It seems like something must have been edited out earlier on that would have made this make sense.

Or he was such a flat character they saved all his development for the end.

Then finally, the movie reaches its much-awaited end.

Conclusion

So…that was a bad movie. Thanks to my roommate for making me watch it. I forgive her, because at least it was enjoyable to make fun of the movie afterward.

Don’t watch it. It’s not worth your time. For actually good movies, check out my movie reviews.