Pixar rarely misses. Neither did Ryan Reynolds. So how do the latest home and streaming-ready offerings from each of these entities compare?
DALLAS — Well, no major studio wanted to take on “The Batman” at the box office last week. Which is completely logical.
But, with that grand opening now over, two new family movies are now airing as this weekend approaches.
Let’s see if they are worth your watch.
Teenage angst becomes a furry odyssey in “Turning Red,” the latest Pixar animated film released by Disney.
Here, a gifted 13-year-old named Meilin suddenly wakes up, looks in the mirror, and sees that she’s transformed into a giant red panda – a change that makes a pimple almost bearable!
The problem is that the transformation seems to happen every time her emotions flare up. The classmates go from completely shocked by the changes Meilin undergoes to exploiting him as a novelty. (Shades of “Teen Wolf”, perhaps?)
So, okay, coming home isn’t her mother surprised by all these developments? Well, it turns out that morphing gene runs in the family, and if Meilin can hold out, an ancient ritual comes from could takes that panda spirit away from the family line.
One problem: the ritual must take place on the same evening as a not-to-be-missed boy band concert. Can Miss Perfect lie to her mother? Does she really have to be perfect all the time? Or can she have some space to explore the young woman she would like to be?
“Turning Red” is the brainchild of Chinese-Canadian writer and director Domee Shi, and it’s based on her own experiences in Toronto. The film features several generations of women struggling with intimate issues, and while the mystical part may lose younger children, the film overall deals directly and well with mother-daughter arguments – not to mention a daughter’s burden of not not disappoint.
As the movie says, “We all have an inner beast.” And, sometimes, you just have to let it out!
(Disney-Pixar. Rated PG. Duration 1 hr 40 min. Streams on Disney+.)
“THE ADAM PROJECT”
First, Ryan Reynolds reunites with the director of his hit movie, “Free Guy,” to reunite with his younger self in “The Adam Project.”
The sci-fi film begins in the year 2050. Reynolds plays a rogue fighter pilot trying to time travel to save the future. He aims for 2018, but ends in 2022, where he finds himself younger in the form of a well-behaved kid played by darling Walker Scobel. (OK, Reynolds is darling too.) If you like Reynolds’ sense of humor, this kid is a carbon copy!
As the film progresses, older Adam takes his junior sidekick along on his mission to reach 2018 and stop his nemesis, played by Catherine Keener, from setting time travel in motion – because, you know, bad things can happen.
Oh yeah, and Reynolds’ wife is also caught in time! She is well played by Zoe Saldana.
If this all sounds like “Back to the Future”, it kind of is! In addition, there are fights with pseudo-light sabers in a nod to “Star Wars”. And, in a reunion of “13 Going on 30” castmates, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner play Adam’s parents.
No, “The Adam Project” is not as smart as “Free Guy”. He probably belonged to the direct broadcast slot he received, even though it was not a pandemic move. But the split between the older and younger Adams is fun.
Hey, quick wit saves the game every day!
And there are some really touching father and son moments here, too, especially when Ruffalo is on a loop.
(Netflix. Rated PG-13. Running time 1 hr 46 min. Stream on Netflix.)