Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of INCREDIBLES 2

Incredibles 2, rated PG
*** ½

Incredibles 2, released fourteen years after The Incredibles, is a family friendly treat. It is action-packed, visually stunning and very funny. There were more laughs in the theatre for this film than I can remember for quite some time. The film is once again directed and written by two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles). The delightful musical score is by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino (Up), the seventh Pixar film he has scored. The animation is excellent, as you would expect from a Pixar film. At nearly two hours in length, this is the longest Pixar film to date.
The film picks up right where the 2004 film left off, with the Incredibles battling the Underminer, voiced by two-time Emmy nominee John Ratzenberger (Cheers).  Soon, the Incredibles are back to living their lives under the superhero relocation program in the Safari Court Motel. The family is led by Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr, voiced by four-time Golden Globe nominee Craig T. Nelson (Coach) and Helen Parr/Elastigirl, voiced by Oscar winner Holly Hunter (The Piano). The rest of the family is made up of 14-year-old daughter Violet, voiced by Sarah Vowell (The Incredibles), 10-year-old son Dash, voiced by Huck Milner, and infant Jack-Jack, voiced with archival recordings by Eli Fucile (The Incredibles), who is starting to display some superhero powers.
The government ban on superhero activities continues. Winston Deavor, CEO of the Telecommunications giant DevTech, voiced by three-time Golden Globe nominee Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), is a superhero fan. He and his scientist sister Evelyn, voiced by two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Capote), want to change the public’s perception of superheroes. Winston meets with the Incredibles and Frozone, voiced by Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction). He chooses Elastigirl, rather than Mr. Incredible, to be their public face, and so with a new costume and the use of a body cam to record her good deeds, they are off with their plan.
Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible takes over the stay at home Dad duties, which leads to some funny moments, as he deals with Violet’s dating life, Dash’s math homework and Jack Jack’s newly developed super powers. There is no doubt that Jack Jack was the favorite of those in attendance.
Edna Mode, voiced by Brad Bird returns from the first film. A new cyber villain is Screenslaver, voiced by Bill Wise. Screenslaver hypnotizes digital screen users to do whatever he says.
Themes include family, parenting, supporting each other, doing the right thing and fighting evil.
Content issues include superhero action violence and is the first Pixar film to contain some light profanity.
Although an animated children’s film, the movie does include messages about women, technology, and law enforcement (body cams).
Incredibles 2 is a family friendly film that is well-written, action packed, visually stunning and very funny.


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My Review of the Movie ‘Finding Dory’

Finding DoryFinding Dory, rated PG
*** ½

This delightful film is the latest from Pixar. It is written and directed by two-time Oscar winner (for Finding Nemo and WALL-E) Andrew Stanton. It is co-directed by Angus MacLane and co-written by Victoria Strouse and Bob Peterson.  The film is set six months after the 2003 film Finding Nemo.

Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres), a blue tang, is joined by some characters from Finding Nemo – grumpy Marlin (Albert Brooks) son Nemo (Hayden Rolence, who replaces Alexander Gould from Finding Nemo), as well as turtle Crush and son Squirt, fish-school instructor Mr. Ray and the “Mine! Mine! Mine!” seagulls. We are also introduced to several new characters, the best of which is Hank the octopus (Ed O’Neill). I also enjoyed the vision challenged shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olson).

Dory suffers from memory loss about every ten seconds. This was something that she was born with.  She finally remembers that she had parents and was separated from them when just a child. So, with friends Nemo and Marlin she sets out on a journey across the ocean to find them.

Their journey brings her to the Marine Life Institute, a conservatory that houses diverse ocean species. The Institute was inspired by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, which we visited in 2010.

The film includes beautiful colors and animation, humor and several good messages about family, friendship and helping those with disabilities.   A scene of Dory being lost and alone will be scary for wee ones.

And don’t forget to wait through the credits to see some additional content.

Of special note is the animated short Piper, which is shown just before Finding Dory. The wonderful short film tells the story of a little sandpiper gaining courage against the forces of nature.


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Movie Review ~ Inside Out

Inside OutInside Out, rated PG
*** ½

In the latest film from Pixar, we meet eleven-year old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). She’s a happy girl, living in Minnesota with her parents (Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane), and enjoying her life with her friends and playing hockey, which she is passionate about and has been playing since she was very young. But when the family moves to San Francisco for Riley’s Dad’s job, life changes for Riley. She has to deal with a different (older) home to live in, no friends, her father preoccupied with his new job, sleeping on the floor because the moving van is either lost or very much delayed and a new school.  Kinda reminds you of the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.

Through Riley’s emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Louis Black) we get an inside look at Riley’s reactions to all of this change in her life in this very creative and enjoyable film. The five emotions monitor Riley from a master control board at “Headquarters” inside her mind, all competing to control her reactions to life by turning knobs on the board. Riley’s memories are encapsulated in color-coded balls (like a small bowling ball). If it is a good or joyful memory, the ball may be yellow, but if Sadness touches the ball it will turn blue. There are also floating islands in Riley’s emotional world that depict things such as family, hockey and friends.

As we follow Riley to her first day in her new school we see how her emotions can quickly go from joy to sadness, the two dominant emotions in the film. When something happens to Riley’s core memories, the film really kicks into gear.

The film was written and directed by Pixar veterans Ronnie del Carmen and Peter Doctor. I thoroughly enjoyed it, finding it creative and entertaining. I think the film will be enjoyed by ages eight and up. Viewers younger than that may not be able to follow the storyline. Inside Out is a fine addition to the impressive list of films from Pixar (Toy Story, Cars, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, etc.).

A Pixar short, Lava, preceded the main feature. It is about a male volcano in the middle of the ocean that longs for love, singing a love song throughout its lifetime, hoping that a female volcano will answer his call. Honestly, where do they come up with these ideas? Regardless, it’s enjoyable and I think you’ll love it, so get there early enough to see it.