Do you like scary movies?
I do. A downside of reviewing movies for a furry site is that you don't get to review horror very much, and when you do, it kind of feels like you're stretching more than a little (not pseudo-apologizing for this one, though, it's awesome). What you end up reviewing mostly is movies whose intended audience is for kids, and though the primary audience of Flayrah seems to be adults, its sometimes important to acknowledge that there are limits to what can and can't be done in a lot of more mainstream productions featuring talking animals.
Which makes it even wierder to finally get to a wide-release horror movie featuring a bunch of characters the furry fandom has embraced (if e621 is any indication), and my most positive response is, "yes, but the kids'll love it!"
Five Night's At Freddy's is a (very soft) PG-13 horror movie, directed by Emma Tammi, and is an adaptation of the 2014 horror video game of the same name, created by Scott Cawthon, who is a credited writer on this movie. The premise features an abandoned "dinner and a puppet show" pizzeria and arcade haunted by ghosts who possess the old animatronic puppet attractions. Though given a theatrical release, it's also available on the Peacock streaming service.
So to speak… We’ve been hearing about the new CGI film Under The Boardwalk for a while, but mostly about its release getting delayed again and again. (Seems to be a trend these days.) Now thanks to Cartoon Brew we found out it’s actually coming out — in a rather rushed manner, with almost no advertising. The movie will be coming to Paramount+ streaming in a few days, and today it begins a limited run in theaters… while also today, Paramount released the very first trailer to the Internet. ““When timid Jersey crab Armen meets bold tourist sea crab Ramona, it causes shell-shocking tension in the community. But when the duo are swept away by a storm, they embark on an epic journey to find home. Their courage unites their families, paving the way for great summers to come, Under the Boardwalk.” Director David Soren is known for animated films like Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and Turbo.
What's become clear is that thanks to Covid, film distribution is a mess. Some animated films are endlessly delayed, some get shown early at film festivals before getting a limited release up to a year later in their home country, and some just... show up, and it's anyone's guess which streaming services will carry them, or for how long.
For many of the films below, I can't find streaming versions yet - this might be because I'm in Canada. If you find out they're available in your area, let us know in the comments. (Justwatch has been a great help.)
I'll provide ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with [I=] and [RT=], if available. This list relied largely on Wikipedia. It's an okay source for older films, but isn't especially reliable for upcoming titles. So this is definitely an incomplete list. For babysitting films, Sturgeon's Law usually applies (90% of everything is crud). But perhaps there will be a few unexpected surprises - time will tell! So first, let's talk trends.
Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a cute, scruffy little mutt who lives with his owner, Doug (Will Forte), who hates Reggie. Reggie was actually adopted by his ex-girlfriend, and Doug blames Reggie for her leaving him, despite the fact that he is generally a terrible person himself. He only kept Reggie around just to hurt her.
Doug continuously tries to get rid of Reggie, who believes the frequent trips far out into the country ending with a tennis ball thrown into a random field followed by Doug not waiting for him to bring it back is a game. Reggie seems not to realize that this is not fetch until, out of desperation, Doug leaves him in a city over two hours away. There, Reggie meets Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who finally is able to explain to him that what’s going on here is so not fetch. Reggie and his new friend, as well as Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), decide to make the arduous trek back home, not to reunite Reggie with Doug as dog and master, but so Reggie can seek revenge for his mistreatment, specifically by biting Doug’s penis off.
The Great Wolf Pack ®: A Call to Adventure is a 45-minute 2D animated mini-movie produced in 2022 by Great Wolf Resorts, an American chain of family-friendly hotels featuring indoor waterparks. Most of the animation was outsourced to Mexico, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Kent Redeker. The IMDB page mentions an additional writer I couldn't find in the closing credits, M.J. Offen.
The movie is for young kids and can pretty much be skipped. There's a group of young animal friends in the forest: Violet the wolf and Sammy the squirrel (action girls), and Oliver (a raccoon tinkerer who always talks using the most loquacious and unnecessarily wordy vocabulary), who are joined by newcomer Wiley (the
coyote wolf), and finally Brinley, a young bear with self-confidence issues, who of course gets chosen as the Special One by a spoon-wielding spirit and is given the Magical Rock to guide them on their quest.
The two gold standard TMNT movies, at least for me, are the original live action version and the original animated version. Going the other way, I think the most recent live action movies, plus the third movie in the original trilogy, are a bit over-hated, but still weak. Meanwhile, the movie that most resembles the newest movie, Mutant Mayhem, at least in my reaction to it, is The Secret of the Ooze. They’re both fine, and a lot of fun, and I think a lot of both casual movie-goers and series fans will enjoy them. But they’re not my favorites in the series.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, directed by Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears, is only the second animated feature for the Ninja Turtles (at least theatrically; various feature length spin-offs of the animated series have gone direct-to-video/streaming/television, but I’m ignoring them), which is surprising, because if there’s one franchise that feels like it just needs to be a cartoon, it’s this one.
The Amazing Maurice (trailer) is a 93-minute UK-Germany computer-animated film released in late 2022. Directed by Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann, the screenplay by Terry Rossio (Shrek, and many others) is an adaptation of the 2001 children's fantasy novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.
"One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair."
-- from Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure
Set in Pratchett's Discworld comedic fantasy universe, The Amazing Maurice is the story of a cat (Maurice, voiced by Hugh Laurie) and a group of rats who have acquired speech and intelligence. Together they travel from town to town with a young human musician named Keith, running a pied piper scam. Maurice wants them to make as much money as possible, but the rats would like to move on and find a place where they can live in peace and harmony, finding inspiration in their revered text, Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure.
How about a trailer for a movie that comes out early next month this time?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is seventh theatrical movie to star the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and either the fourth or fifth cinematic continuity, depending on whether you count 2007's TMNT as a continuation of the first three Ninja Turtle movies or not.
The studio behind the furry Secret Life of Pets and Sing duologies, Illumination's next movie after their super-successful Super Mario Bros. Movie (well, at the box office, anyway; less so with critics) will be a movie about ducks called Migration.
The Transformers movies are hardly thought of as either particularly furry movies, or particularly good movies in general. Because of the latter, nobody has really argued the former, despite the fact that the Transformers are definitely anthropomorphic robots. If, as some furries argue, anthropomorphism by itself is of interest to furries, the near complete lack of said interest in this franchise from furries would seem to contradict that hypothesis.
But, as far as Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is concerned, some of the robots turn into animals instead of cars, as is traditional in the series. So, Acadamy Award winner Michelle Yeoh voices Airazor, a giant hawk robot, for instance. So that’s kind of neat.
Transformers: Rise of the Beast is the seventh film in the Transformers series of movies, and the second prequel movie not directed by Michael Bay, this one being directed by Steven Caple Jr. I have seen the first two of Bay’s movies, but tapped out after that.
I didn’t feel like I was missing much need to know information.
Only your letters, and, mostly, your support can bring it back for a third try ... now somewhere in the black holes of Sirius Major there lived a young boy by the name of Rocket Raccoon ... the fact that it really doesn’t make a lot of sense is part of its charm ... it basically retcons Rocket’s original mini-series out of existence, positing it as a false memory ... it’s a good time to be a fan of raccoons with rocket launchers ... Blam! Murdered you! ... I couldn’t find a picture of Rocket Raccoon wearing a party hat ... ooga chaka, ooga chaka, ooga ooga ooga chaka ... we just get a glimpse of his scarred bare back, which implies that his transformation was painful ... I am the fox you've been waiting for ... Rocket is fine. He's fine. He'll be fine. It's fine ... oh, I'm definitely putting copyrighted Avengers music in this ... at one point, the "snap" apparently reached out into the real world and even claimed their director, but it's okay, he got better ... now you’re just making it sad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the third and final instalment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy of movies, featuring the adventures of the titular group of spacefaring superheroes. James Gunn returns to direct, and the movie stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star Lord), Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, and, last but certainly not least, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket.
The results of the eighth once in a decade Sight and Sound "Greatest Films of All Time" poll were released last year, which kind of puts my list in its place. The number one movie there was Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles; haven't seen that one yet. Catchy title, though! Hey, my top pick for 2017 did make top 100 (in a five way tie for last)! Well, let's see how influential my picks for this year are in 10 years for the next poll.
So, this is a year end top ten list of my picks for favorite movies of the year. Pretty simple premise, and I've written what counts and what doesn't before, and this is the internet, so I can just link to older lists if you want the nitty gritty details. I don't need to rehash them. Though Flayrah is a furry site, this is not a furry list. However, I will pick out my favorite furry movie of the year, which was Turning Red this year, as well as a Cutest Vixen Award, just for fun. This year's prestigious CVA goes to Diane Foxington, a.k.a. the Crimson Paw, in The Bad Guys. It was an overall pretty good year for movies, so much that I actually feel like giving away a few honorable mentions, listed here in no particular order other than alphabetical; Beast, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Three Thousand Years of Longing and The Woman King. Also, shoutout to Prey, which was streaming exclusive, and which I didn't consider for the list, but was worth a shoutout anyway.
Well, let's get to the list proper. The film's title and posters link to IMDB or a Flayrah review for more information than the short blurb here could give you. Enjoy!
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (trailer) is a live-action musical comedy family film released in October 2022, with computer-animated critters mixed into it. It's an adaptation of two children's books by Bernard Waber, The House on East 88th Street (1962), and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965).
In my earlier review of My Father's Dragon, also an adaptation, my biggest complaint was how it borrowed story elements while destroying the spirit of the book. With Lyle, the spirit has definitely been kept. The premise is silly, it doesn't make sense, and has fun with it. It knows exactly what it is!
Hector P. Valenti is a charismatic showman and second-rate stage magician who buys a baby crocodile (Lyle), vainly hoping his new pet will become his ticket to stardom. When it doesn't work out (think One Froggy Evening), Hector leaves to recover his finances, abandoning Lyle in a New York townhouse, where he lives in secret. When the Primm family moves in, Lyle gradually befriends them and brings out their better natures. Until he runs afoul of their conniving basement tenant, Mr. Grumps.
The books had a low word count, so a lot of things had to be added to make a full movie. The Primms were originally bland and generic. Lyle's presence in the house (and how he survived) needed more of an explanation, so all of that received more details. Most (though not all) of the major plot points from the books still exist in some form. The changes make sense from a screenwriting perspective, but whether you think the movie is a respectful adaptation, that's going to vary a lot from person to person. It depends on what people are willing to accept or let go of.
You can poke holes in this movie like crazy, but at heart, it's an entertaining ride without any delusions of grandeur. I don't mean that in a snooty film review way. Like I said, the premise is silly, and it's having fun. I'm going to nit-pick things anyway, but there's lots of good energy!
Before Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, even. How about DreamWorks Animation's new studio bumper? It's a bit ostentatious, even a bit overly pleased with itself. Maybe goes on a little long. But, then again, what studio bumper doesn't, nowadays? But, being a celebration of DreamWorks past triumphs, it's interesting to note what franchises were chosen to be spotlighted.
Right out the gate, the Bad Guys are getting quite a vote of confidence, despite being the new guys with one movie under their belts. So I think it's safe to say we're getting a sequel. Also for furries, the Kung Fu Panda series is featured, and we already know that's got a fourth movie coming. The How To Train Your Dragon series is also represented by Toothless, despite the fact that the last movie came to a very decisive story end. It's one of the more acclaimed franchises of DreamWorks, so it has to show up, and even if there are no more movies, smaller screen spinoffs are still happening. There are also appearances by the Trolls and Boss Baby franchises, but they aren't furry, so who cares?
There are some notable absences, however. Despite featuring four movies, the Madagascar franchise is ignored. Spirit, you know, the one with the horse? That somehow managed two movies, but is apparently not an ongoing concern. And obviously, the Shrek franchise is prominently featured, but the star of the movie we're about to actually start reviewing is not. Maybe he'll show up in the bumper for movies he's not the star of?
There are two movies that came out this year based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the story of a marionette who gains life and then proceeds to, well, go on adventures. Both for all intents and purposes went straight to streaming services, but were treated on the higher "prestige" end of streaming movies, though we're still, as a culture, not sure if streaming first is on par with theatrical releases or more along the lines of straight to video trash (or are they TV movies?). Both were directed by Best Picture/Best Director Oscar winning directors. I personally found them both not actually very interesting, one being ridiculously over-hated, the other just as ridiculously over-loved.
The first was Robert Zemeckis's Pinocchio, which is less a straight adaptation of Collodi's novel than another one of those "live action Disney remakes" that everyone loves so much, this time of the 1940 version of Pinocchio. It released on Disney+ back in September, so I've been very efficient getting around to it. The second is Gillermo Del Toro's Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio. Normally, I hate when they do that "Director's Name's Whatever" thing to titles, it comes off as pretentious and boastful, but given the circumstances, I'm going to have to allow it this time. It released to Netflix this month.