Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 13, 2022

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 13, 2022

Lightyear
Rated PG for action/peril
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
In Theaters

Building a storyline for one of Pixar’s most famous characters is this sort of prequel for the Toy Story franchise which follows Buzz Lightyear in his early days as a space ranger. The film begins on a far off planet that can sustain life, but which proves to be extremely hostile. When they are trapped on the planet, Buzz commits his life to finding a way out for him and his fellow compatriots. What starts as a fun but frivolous action pic quickly turns into a deep and thought provoking drama, reminiscent of Interstellar, as Buzz’s experimental failures show real consequences to the world around him. I went in thinking that this would be a fun little inconsequential joyride but really didn’t expect the emotional punch thrown in here. So needless to say, I found the journey to be rather impressive. And for those of you like me who found the CGI from last week’s Jurassic World Dominion to be rather mundane, this animation is far from it, once again pushing the limits in subtle ways that enhance the experience. And speaking of enhancements, the score by Michael Giacchino (who also composed Jurassic World Dominion) is one of his best since he did Up and Ratatouille, which should make soundtrack fans everywhere very happy. My biggest critique comes in the form of voices and characters. I don’t mind Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz, and he does a fine enough job, but Tim Allen is perfect and would have been better in this role. Also, aside from Buzz, Alisha and Izzy (the three main characters), the film is sparse as far as characters go, and could have used a boost. Taika Waititi chips in as the voice for a throw-away character, but not even that provides enough to enrich the story. That being said, Buzz’s robot cat sidekick SOX steals every scene he is in, so at least there is that. All in all, for a summer family film, you can’t ask for a better time. A-

Ambulance
Rated R for intense violence, bloody images and language throughout
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
Available on disc and streaming on Peacock

Michael Bay steps back into the crime action arena again with this heist-gone-wrong film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as two brothers whose plans to rob a bank go south, and in order to escape, they hijack an ambulance with a dying cop in the back, creating a two hour, essentially real-time chase flick. While his Transformer films have certainly disappointed of late, the one thing Bay is great at is big action films with lots of danger, action and violence. The story is good enough to drive the action and the action is good enough to keep you engaged for the ride. And surprisingly enough, it’s a smart movie which, while overly stylized, doesn’t resort to ridiculousness as it progresses. For what it is, it’s an enjoyable roller coaster ride that’s worth turning off the lights and turning up the sound for. B

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