REVIEW: Pixar’s Onward!

I’m a huge fan of Pixar, and I think the argument can be made that they have the best record of any film company ever, based on average quality, and financial success rates. I do not however, have an issue seeing Pixar’s flaws, and from the moment I saw the trailer for Onward, I thought “Well, that’s gonna be a dud.”

Onward in someways seemed to diverge from what I was used to from Pixar, of the 21 previous films, 16 of them had main characters that were animals/objects/emotions, and while Onward isn’t about humans, they’re human-lite. Other than Brave (and perhaps you’d argue Coco, but that’s a religious and philosophical debate for another post) none had featured magic, and this was the first film to not have some connection with ‘Earth.’

I don’t exactly know how to to describe it, but there was a lack of interest on my part, and if I didn’t have a 3 year-old, I probably would have skipped the film. But, I do have a 3 year-old, and he wanted to see unicorns eating trash, and so my wife and I took him on Saturday, and the three of us loved this film.

Now, one of the things that has become something of a Pixar staple, In the last 15 years, you could argue that it’s been their defining trait, has been their ability to make you adults sad, and in that way, this film was totally Pixar. I’m a bit of a crier as it is, but my wife isn’t, and she was choking up a couple times during the film. But one of the other things that Pixar does well, is they make you sad and then make you happy again, and this didn’t fail to deliver.

I don’t really think I need to go into spoilers, so please note that all of what I’m about to tell you, is in the trailers.

The film is about two brothers who go on a quest two finish a spell that brings their father back to life for a day, and because they have half completed the spell at the beginning, it’s a race against the clock. It’s a story about family, something Pixar has done an pretty incredible job with on a few occasions. (See what I did there? Incredible job?)

This film has fun, and adventure, plenty of laughs, and as I mentioned before, tears. It’s a great time start to finish. I do want to mention something that it accomplishes, which no animated film has ever done before, and it’s a super mild spoiler. There is a scene in which they’re dealing with a great height, and there are some live action films in which I have gotten a sick to my stomach feeling due to my own fear of heights (The Walk did it in the trailer alone), and this film had me feeling that flip-floppy vertigo feeling for about a minute. That may sound like a complaint, but it should really be a testament to how invested I was in the story.

As far as ranking this with other Pixar films, I would say it’s in the top third, I don’t know if it’s as good as Toy Story 3, WALL-E, Up, or Inside Out, but it’s certainly better than all of the Cars films, Brave, and The Good Dinosaur.

Overall grade: A-
Written by Michael Cole

3Below Season 1: Reviewed

 

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Earlier this year, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia ended after their third season.  As far as I know, they completed the story and ended according to the schedule that creator Guillermo Del Toro had envisioned.  I loved the series, and I was sad to see it go.  Then about a month ago or so, I saw on one of those “Everything new coming to Netflix in December” articles, something called “3Below: Tales of Arcadia,” and the article had an image, and it was clear that the animation was similar style to Trollhunters, but the article itself didn’t mention whether or not the two were related, so a quick IMDb check confirmed that his was a spinoff series, and a brief conversation with Paul, he informed me that this was the second in a planned 3 part series.

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Anyway, the show has been out for about three weeks, and I just finished watching the first season, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty good.  It’s not as good as Trollhunters, (my 2 year-old would give up about thirty seconds into every episode and say “we watch real Trollhunters now?”) but it’s good.

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Above: Krel, guardian Varvatos Vex, & Aja in their natural form.  Below: In their human disguises.

First off, even though the two main characters Aja and Krel, extra-terrestrial (they don’t like the term aliens!) siblings living in Arcadia were featured briefly in Trollhunters, the show had a little more work to setting it up than Trollhunters did.  Trollhunters starts out on Earth, on a pretty standard version we would all recognize, and then reveals that there is a secret underworld of trolls, and other magical creatures; they start with the default and add.  3Below however starts on a planet known as Acaridian 5 and tells the story of Princess Aja and Prince Krel on the day they are to become the King and Queen in waiting, and are attacked by enemies and have to go on the run.  We don’t see Earth until the end of the episode.  This doesn’t make it a worse show that Trollhunters, but certainly it gives it a different set of challenges to overcome.  They do so pretty well, but it takes just a little longer to really get invested.

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I’m not going to get too into spoilers, but I will say that one of the things I really like about this show, is that they create a lot of new mythology within this universe, and they aren’t just applying the same formula as Trollhunters to this, meaning it’s not an Madlibs style situation where they’re like alright we need this role because Trollhunters had it.  Trollhunters is largely about Jim and his friends going after something, and this is definitely more of Aja and Krell running from something, and not necessarily in a cowardly way, but in order to protect their kingdom.

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Another thing that I really like about this show, is that they manage to pull in characters we’ve gotten to know through Trollhunters, and build upon them.  We get to see Jim, Toby, and Claire, but we also get to see Steve, who’ a bully on Trollhuntersgiven some fleshing out, fully realized on this show, as he quickly has a crush on Aja after she kicks his ass.  We get to see Senor Uhl, less as the authority figure to be thwarted or avoided, but more as the protector when other humans seem to target the twins in their human forms.

 

                                           (Steve & Aja. Steve’s come a long way…)

All in all, I really liked this show, and I hope that we get to see another season or two (whatever Guillermo Del Toro has envisioned) and now that I’ve seen how aliens and magic have played with each other in this setting, I’m really interested in seeing what he has in mind for the 3rd series he’s planning.

DreamWorks Animation's 3Below

Written by Michael Cole

Thank You For A Great 2018!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

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This New Years Eve… party like you’re partying with The Avengers! You only go ‘round once!

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As we close out 2018, I just wanted say a heartfelt thank you to all of our readers, listeners, and supporters. World’s Best Media wouldn’t exist without you and I’m so grateful to you all for helping to make my silly dream a reality.

I also want to give special shout outs and thank yous to our fantastic contributors and a few other great people who’ve helped World’s Best Media in so many ways. To Michael Cole, Chocolate Diamond Media, Ryan McDonald, Paul Sr., you guys help make this whole thing work, so thank you very, very much. I’m eternally grateful.

To the guys at The Hall of Comics in Southborough, MA, Mathew Wright, Constance Wright, Matt Supple, Marc Rodolfo, & Sam Gryzbowski, you all know what wonderful things you’ve done and your help and support keeps me going. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

All of you have given me a gift I can never repay. Thank you. But make sure you stick around, because 2019 is shaping up to be our best year yet!

Now, I like to end every New Years Eve by watching this classic moment of quiet friendship, between two iconic DC characters. It’s a great little moment. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Have a safe and happy night!

-Paul

“Alexa’s Request” A Short Film by Mike Cole & Chocolate Diamond Media!

Check out this hilarious short film from Mike Cole and Chocolate Diamond Media that takes a sobering look at the relationship between man…and machine… DUN, DUN, DUNN!

For more great content like this from Mike Cole & Co., subscribe to Chocolate Diamond Media on YouTube!

Help Us Fundraise For Mike Cole’s Feature Film “Just A Pinprick Of Light”

Hey Everybody,

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Ask yourself, have you ever had a dream that you didn’t think was possible? Something you wanted so desperately, but thought could never happen? So has Michael Cole. Mike is an inspiration to everyone who thought the best would never come, he said “Fuck. That. I’m going to get up and MAKE my dreams a reality!”. Because right now, Mike is fighting for his own dream, by fundraising for his first feature length film; “Just A Pinprick Of Light”.  You can watch the films trailer right here:

Mike is already a published author, filmmaker, and throws the occasional bone to me by writing for my website. If you follow World’s Best Media, you may already be familiar with some of his work. Mike created the hilarious “Insurance Impossible” short film, he’s written many articles for World’s Best Media, including his column “What I Want To See”. However, that’s just the tip of Mike’s creative iceberg. So I know how talented Mike is and what kind of amazing person he is. If you’re fortunate enough to know Mike, you know what a good man he is and how lucky we are to have him in our lives.

When funding a project like this, every little bit counts. I guarantee if you go to his fundraising page and give $20 or $5 or even $1, it all helps. If you can put a couple of bucks together and donate, the part of you who had something that you always wanted to achieve, will realize that if Mike can do it, you can too. You can make your dreams happen.

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The film is being made by Mike’s production company, Chocolate Diamond Media. On the fundraiser website Mike can tell you much more eloquently than I can, about the details of this feature length film, it’s subject matter, and what it means to him personally. Mike is a gifted and unique storyteller and there isn’t a creative voice quite like his at the moment. Mike’s skill as an editor, writer, director, and on screen performer, allows him to put out wonderfully original content, while still feeling universal. It’s Mike’s bravery as a filmmaker that makes me love the stories he tells and the point of view he presents.

So please follow this link and contribute just a few bucks to this very worthy creative endeavor.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/just-a-pinprick-of-light#/

-Paul J. Wright
World’s Best Media
Founder & Editor-In-Chief