Here’s a quick rundown of the “children’s” movies I saw in 2016:
I finally saw Pixar’s WALL-E, which features an adorable robot who harbors a love for Hello Dolly. The first half of the film is lovely, but the second half, which introduces round humans (also cute), has an incredibly simplistic take on how humans need challenges to thrive.
Coraline‘s beautiful stop-motion animation and creepy premise set my expectations high. In spite of several amazing set-pieces, the plot is thin (I have not read the book, save one passage–this is criticism of the movie) and not as original as I had hoped.
Peabody & Sherman (2014)
This spinoff film of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon series is about the relationship between a father and son, in which the father is a genius time-travelling dog. It is overstimulating and features (intentionally) ridiculous history “lessons,” but it is fairly entertaining.
The live action version of this fairy-tale is not revolutionary, but it is a sweet ode to kindness, with a charming performance by Lily James as the titular Ella.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Another stop-motion feature with gorgeous animation, Kubo is an epic story about the power of storytelling. However, the script’s attempts at wit are not as impressive as the striking visuals, and the characters feel underdeveloped. It is still worth checking out Regina Spektor’s cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” arranged by Dario Marianelli.