Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 14

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 14, 2021

Rated PG for some thematic elements, brief violence, rude humor and language
Streaming on Disney+

Since Disney purchased Pixar back in 2006, they have kept things fairly separated between the two animation houses. But their new film Luca is being billed as a true collaboration. Set in a lovely seaside town somewhere in the Italian Riviera, a merman child discovers that when he leaves the ocean, he becomes a human. Once on land he befriends a similar young merman and a human girl, all of which just want to enjoy a summer full of fun and friendship. The rub is that the human townspeople are deeply afraid of the merpeople, convinced that they are sea monsters out to get them. First off, I have to admit that I’m very surprised that Disney is not releasing the movie in theaters. I can only imagine that the profits are so much greater going to their streaming platform and that this is not a sacrifice. After all, this isn’t Disney or Pixar’s best work by far, but it is still a good film, filled with wholesome fun and it is truly easy on the eyes. The movie left me clamoring to fly to the Amalfi Coast and even had me looking at Vespa pricing. But while there is much to like about this project, it fails to overwhelm you like previous outings have done. The story is overly simple and completely predictable, lacking the depth of narrative that we are used to. The animation is strong and the story is sweet, but when Pixar films (and even some of Disney’s lately) fail to delivery a complex and rich project, then you can’t help but feel a little disappointed. It is truly adorable, but far from what most audiences will be expecting, and frankly, wishing for. B-

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and suggestive material
Streaming on Netflix

Kevin Hart’s latest pic, coming straight to Netflix, follows the comedian in a rather dramatic role as a young dad whose baby is born one day, only to have his wife die the next. But he decides to raise the daughter on his own, out of sheer will and determination, and of course, love. Much like the 2004 Bennifer vehicle Jersey Girl, the film takes on a sweet and sappy tone, filled with real-world scenarios and a sail-full of authenticity. It never really reaches a level you could call funny, although it makes many brushes with cute. But its best feature is its star, Hart, who is just plain likable and turning into a much better actor than I thought he could be. If you can get past the first 20 minutes without getting worn down by your tears, then there’s a nice little family film to enjoy here. B-