The Minions’ mania never ends! Now back with Minions: The Rise of Gruthe film is a spin-off sequel from their 2015 hit Minions and marks the fifth entry in the Despicable Me franchise.
Set in the 1970s, with the rise of flared jeans and over-the-top feather hair, Minions: The Rise of Gru introduces a young Gru (Steve Carell), who’s currently living in suburbia and worships the Vicious 6, the super villain supergroup of his dreams.
Together with the Minions, Gru hatches a plan to establish his many firsts – his first lair, first weapon, and first mission. When Gru finds out that the Vicious 6 has an opening, Gru immediately signs up to fill the spot, only to realize that things are not quite what it seems.
If you liked Minions: The Rise of Grucheck out these fantastic films as well.
Kung Fu Panda follows clumsy panda Po (Jack Black), who works with his goose father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), at his noodle shop in the Valley of Peace. An enormous kung fu enthusiast, Po has always aspired to learn the art of the martial art. So when a kung fu tournament is held in the valley in honor of the valley’s elderly spiritual leader, Grand Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), Po immediately rushes in to see the action. The tournament is also conducted to determine who is the Dragon Warrior, the one kung fu master who can comprehend the secrets of the Dragon Scroll, which contains limitless knowledge and power. The village expects one of the Furious Five, a group of skillful kung fu warriors trained by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), to be chosen as Dragon Warrior. But things take an unexpected turn when Oogway chooses Po, who accidentally stumbles into the tournament after being blasted by a fireworks explosion.
The movie is a delightful surprise. It does a fine job of reducing the use of cartoon clichés and puts in a tremendous amount of sincerity to focus on Po’s struggle. The central theme in Kung Fu Panda revolves around Po’s genuine love for kung fu and the lack of faith he has to endure because of his inabilities and the criticism he receives from other kung fu masters. But eventually, it’s all about the dedication and passion he puts into studying kung fu and redefining what it means to be a Dragon Warrior. The animated film Kung Fu Panda, full of life and color and features some of the biggest names in show business, was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Feature.
You’ve heard of spy movies. Now, what about penguin-spy movies? Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off based on the Madagascar franchise, focusing on a quintet of super-spy penguins, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon), and Private (Christopher Knights). These four penguins share a long history, dating to when Private barely hatches out of his egg, followed by drifting away on a broken iceberg. Throughout the next ten years, these penguins have developed a range of espionage skills, ranging from flying airplanes to making explosions, and continue on countless adventures. Sharp, intellectual, and ballsy at best, the penguins must join forces with undercover organization The North Wind, captained by its handsome Eurasian wolf leader Agent Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch). Together, they must stop the evil Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), who plans to kidnap every penguin in the world and transform them into horrible zombies.
In addition to its star-studded cast, the film Penguins of Madagascar boasts a humorous plot that engages children and adults, as well as excellent references that are likely to elicit some lighthearted laughter from the latter demographic. The cartoon action is silly and slapstick at its best, as the foursome gets into a series of hijinks, extravagant escapades, and globetrotting adventures with a dash of cute unexpected twists. In addition, it has a fast-paced plot that leaves little room to breathe as the antics never seem to stop but is still enjoyable enough to follow. Most importantly, the chemistry between the four penguins shines through. Each penguin has a distinct character, and it is fascinating to observe how their camaraderie and friendship develop as they work together to combat a cunning plot devised by an evil mastermind who intends to wipe out their entire species.
Released by Walt Disney Pictures, Zootopia is an animated buddy cop action-comedy film that follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), the first rabbit to be enrolled in the police force. Originally living with her farmer parents in a rural town, Hopps must now learn how to enforce the law while adjusting to the hustle and bustle of Zootopia, a city filled with anthropomorphic mammals coexist – from giant elephants to the smallest mice. Soon enough, Hopps realizes that the journey to becoming a respectable cop is a tough one. Nevertheless, she is so determined to prove her worth that she takes on a puzzling case, which turns out to be a well-entrenched criminal plot centering on the disappearance of predator animals. However, this also means she must partner up with the super street smart, red fox con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to unravel the case.
Starting light-hearted, it’s easy to dismiss Zootopia as your average buddy cop movie. We have two main characters, coming from opposite ends of the justice system, who must now work together to save the city. Considering that Hopps is prey and Wilde is a predator, it’s entertaining to see how they bounce off each other’s feisty energy. But Zootopia takes an unexpected turn when the plot touches on sexism, prejudice, and cultural diversity issues. Finding herself in a male-dominated police force, Hopps has to put in twice the effort to prove that she’s not some tiny little bunny. And eventually, in the movie, Wilde becomes the subject of Hopp’s generalization of predators, revealing that they’re aggressive and shouldn’t be trusted, hurting Wilde in the process. It is a movie that does not shy away from breaking stereotypes and is a reflection of the world we’re currently living in.
It does not get more OG than Ice Age. Long, long ago, when the Earth was still in the Pleistocene ice age, three different animals came together and became unlikely heroes: no-nonsense wooly mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), pessimistic and sardonic saber-toothed cat Diego (Denis Leary), and loudmouth, weird to the bone sloth Sid (John Leguizamo). As their paths cross with each other’s, the three of them become reluctant partners as they embark on a journey to return a human baby to his father. But with the impending Ice Age looming in, their journey is far from smooth sailing, and the trio must put aside their differences to ensure they all stay alive.
Ice Age is one of those movies we’ve watched at some point in our lives but have hazy memories of the actual story arc. The film eventually gains prominence from one of its supporting characters, Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel who does not talk much but shrieks a lot and is always looking for a safe place to bury his beloved acorn. The squirrel has become a pop culture icon of sorts and plays a big part in the film’s popularity. But asides from that, Ice Age features a well-written script that balances the three main characters well, supported by excellent voice work courtesy of its hilarious cast. In addition, the movie has sentimentality, mainly since the plot deals with a lost baby looking for its tribe. Combining humorous and touching moments, it’s a feel-good movie to watch that’s often misjudged by audiences but still has a place in our memories.
Over the Hedge (2006)
From the creators of Shrek and Madagascar comes the comical Over the Hedgewhich revolves around the intelligent but overconfident raccoon RJ (Bruce Willis), who accidentally takes food from the hungry bear Vincent (Nick Nolte). Sparing RJ’s life, Vincent expects the raccoon to return all of his food and wants them to be in the same place in a week or else. Down on his luck, RJ suddenly encounters a group of animals led by kooky tortoise Verne (Garry Shandling). RJ uses this chance to manipulate the animals to steal food by crossing over the nearby suburbia, shielded by a never-ending hedge. Little do they know that a resident there has hired a seasoned exterminator to catch and kill these animals.
Based on a comic strip of the same name, Over the Hedge is smart and sharp. It plays on the “outcast who finds a family” plot, but it’s loaded with satire, witty social commentary, and slapstick comedy. The combination makes the movie appealing to both children and adults. The family of animals is well-written and has unique quirks, though we’d wish some of them were a bit more developed. But hey. That’s usually the case for most ensemble casts in movies. The contrast between feral forest animals and civilized suburbia is an exciting setting for the story. Seeing a group of naive animals interact with humans for the first time is funnier than it sounds, and you’ll just have to see the rest of the movie for yourselves.
If Dracula decides to start a business, what would it be? Hotel Transylvania shows us what the nefarious vampire does when he is not sucking the blood out of humans. In 1895, Conde Drácula (Adam Sandler) opens a resort in Transylvania to provide a safe environment for his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Years later, the humble resort grows into a high-end hotel serving exclusively to monster families looking for an escape from terrifying humans. To celebrate Mavis’ 118th birthday, Dracula invites his loyal circle of friends for a party – Frankenstein, a pair of werewolves, a mummy, Bigfoot, and more. But when 21 – year-old human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) accidentally stumbles upon the hotel, Dracula disguises him as a monster and hides him from his other guests. Unbeknownst to Dracula, Mavis develops feelings for Jonathan, who is in his “monster” form at this point.
The movie is a fun way to look at the monsters versus humans trope. In typical folklore, monsters are usually horrifying, with their large disfigured forms and killer instincts. However, in Hotel Transylvania, the tables are turned. Monsters hide in a plaza hotel to avoid the never-ending persecution from humans. Dracula, who’s typecast as some sort of dark, brooding creature hiding in dark trenches, is a high-strung businessman and a doting, over-protective father. Despite its predictable plot, it has more than enough great moments, genre references, and slapstick-in-style gags that keep us entertained until the end.
Your pets are not what they seem to be. The Secret Life of Pets follows a bunch of pets living in a Manhattan apartment complex with their respective owners – from the dedicated and loveable Jack Russell terrier Max (Louis CK) to the gluttonous, gray tabby cat Chloe (Lake Bell). Mas has always been the favorite of his owner, so when she decides to bring a new dog home, a sloppy mongrel Duke (Eric Stonestreet), jealousy ensues, and his life is never the same again. When the two dogs find themselves lost in an alley, they are suddenly caught by Animal Control, only to be “rescued” by a white bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart). It turns out Snowball has plans of his own, and they do not look too pretty.
Nothing screams feel-good more than a cartoon about fuzzy animals. The Secret Life of Pets is an absolute treat and does not fall short on the cuteness level. The bouncy, fluffy animals are pumped up with high-spirited energy, which amps up the comedic elements included in the film. What’s surprisingly impressive is the detail of the animation that goes down in this film. It appears that the animators spent a lot of effort getting the anatomy and physiology of these animals down to a T, ensuring that the characters maintain their animal qualities despite showing human traits. Underneath the simplistic yet funny antics, The Secret Life of Pets teaches us to enjoy the present more and embrace whoever comes into our life.