Tag: john cusack

2012


2012 (2009)
★ / ★★★★

Although a portrait of the end of times, disaster flick “2012” is meant to be fun and entertaining. But what results is a work that is over reliant on CGI, coupled with wafer-thin characters with nothing of interest to say or do other than flail around when the occasion calls for it, to the point where it is impossible to believe—let alone emotionally connect—in whatever is unfolding on screen. The movie boasts a budget of 200 million dollars, but it proves unable to buy deep imagination, genuine excitement, and a wellspring of creativity. All it manages to offer is empty spectacle: giant crevices dividing grocery stores in half, massive tidal waves engulfing the Himalayas, state-of-the-art ships capable of housing a hundred thousand individuals. What makes the movie special?

The screenplay by Roland Emmerich (who directs) and Harald Kloser is not without potential. It requires sitting down, thinking about, and discussing which elements are worth delving into and which aspects should be excised altogether. An example: The material wishes to make a statement about how we as a society can so easily turn against one another in life-or-death situations. But notice the work’s failure in showing specific examples that make a lasting impression. In a movie with a running time of nearly a hundred and sixty minutes, it is not asking a lot to show regular folks fighting for resources. The camera is almost always on the powerful, the rich, and the brains working for the government. Worse, like clockwork, these people have the tendency to deliver tedious speeches about survival, heroism, and importance of coming together. It lacks a dramatic anchor.

Our anchor, I guess, is a work-obsessed author named Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) whose most recent novel tells the story of how humans deal with the apocalypse. His work was panned by critics for being too naive and optimistic. Jackson must now face a real-life apocalypse. If you think his naïveté and optimism are bound to be challenged by a dead screenplay, think again. Naturally, the way he perceives the world is solidified. The writers have failed to ask themselves how drama can be mined from a character whose ideals are not challenged.

You know it’s coming: Jackson is divorced, but he still loves his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and two young children (Liam James, Morgan Lilly); he would do anything to make sure they survive. Despite the Jackson character being provided a lengthy (and boring) exposition, Cusack is given nothing substantive to work with. This character’s trajectory is predictable from the beginning all the way up to the moment when the two former spouses lock eyes and fall in love again. And can you believe it? This is not the only romantic angle proposed by the script. The other one, between a geologist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the president’s daughter (Thandie Newton), is so undercooked that had it been removed completely, it wouldn’t impact the story in any way.

Back to what most viewers likely signed up for: the special and visual effects. Sure, they look expensive at first glance but look closer: when performers are placed amidst the destruction, there is a glaring disconnect because it is obvious they’re acting in front of a blue or green screen. Consider the scene where Jackson must escape Los Angeles with his family on a limo. Homes, small businesses, landmarks, and gargantuan skyscrapers collapse all around, the score is booming, and there is deafening yells and screams. It drags for so long that near fatalities are reduced to running gags eventually. Suspense and tension devolve into physical comedy. Control—of effects, of timing, of editing—could have turned the sequence around. It were as if everyone in charge of helming the picture fell asleep at the wheel. It’s depressing.

Although science is thrown out the window, I enjoyed how the filmmakers find the time to explain how solar flares (releasing particles called “neutrinos”) lead to the destabilization of the earth’s mantle. Yes, it’s ridiculous. That’s not a question. But I think those who have little or no knowledge of geology and physics can follow the movie’s logic because the animation is presented in a clear and precise manner. This short segment reminded of James Cameron’s “Titanic,” specifically the computer model that showed how water moved from one compartment to another which led to the sinking of the purportedly unsinkable ship.

Singularity


Singularity (2017)
★ / ★★★★

Here is yet another movie brazen enough to end without a third act, but that is the least of its problems. Robert Kouba’s “Singularity” tells a story that involves machines directly causing the eradication of humans with the help of an inventor (John Cusack) who wished “to solve all the world’s problems” using advanced artificial intelligence, but it is far from an engaging morality tale with the necessary highs and lows, twists and turns, and bitter ironies. Instead, we experience the once populated planet through the eyes of a bland young man named Andrew (Julian Schaffner) who miraculously wakes up 97 years after the A.I. takeover. In the middle is a deadly dull the romance between Andrew and Calia (Jeannine Michèle Wacker), a survivor in search of the last human outpost, but the couple is not at all interesting together or apart. We are introduced to the strong and independent Calia, only to soften and wilt once in the arms of Andrew. Prepare to roll your eyes and to check your watch constantly. The painfully slow pacing of their so-called courtship brings to mind movies designed for tweens which contrasts greatly against what should be an intelligent and urgent parable. Its emotions are as fake as the laughable computer generated explosions we encounter during the picture’s generic opening minutes. Written for the screen by Robert Kouba and Sebastian Cepeda.

The Prince


The Prince (2014)
★★ / ★★★★

Brian A. Miller’s “The Prince” is yet another action-thriller in which a desperate father must rescue his daughter from bad guys, but what makes it a tolerable experience is its insistence in providing background information so that viewers have an appreciation of why violence must occur—to a fault. The screenplay by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore is so heavy on expository and repetitive dialogue, the first half is a soporific bore, particularly when a character named Angela (Jessica Lowndes), the party-loving best friend of the missing college student, is placed alongside our central protagonist, Paul (Jason Patric), the mechanic with a mysterious past. The majority of their dialogue simply serves to explain the plot—unnecessary given the story’s familiar premise. More interesting is the lo-fi approach to shootouts. It makes the point that violence is ugly and painful, not beautiful or well-choreographed as often shown in polished and expensive action flicks. There is a hint of a superior story, however, when Paul crosses paths with old friend (John Cusack). The two reminisce days gone when they were young killers. There is a calm to their aged faces and bodies which helps to convince us of their once savage natures now suppressed. I would have preferred to experience that movie.

Never Grow Old


Never Grow Old (2019)
★★ / ★★★★

The thing about westerns is that many are revenge stories in their core. And so it is often a challenge to tell a story in a fresh way when ruffians (Josh Cusack, Sam Louwyck, Camille Pistone) arrive in a frontier town and decide to stay indefinitely. It is apparent about a quarter of the way through that “Never Grow Old,” written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh, lacks both originality and vision; at one point I wondered why the filmmaker felt this particular story needed to be told. Because if the viewer had seen at least five western pictures, it would be easy to determine its ultimate destination. Does it truly require eighty minutes to get there?

An argument can be made that it is not about the destination but the journey. However, the journey is not interesting either. Emile Hirsch plays Patrick Tate, Garlow’s carpenter and undertaker. He lives just outside of town with his pregnant wife (Déborah François) and two young children (Quinn Topper Marcus, Molly McCann). Soon Patrick meets Dutch (Cusack) in the dead of night, the latter having knocked on the former’s door, asking for directions regarding a man with a bounty on his head. It is made clear that Patrick cannot refuse—not only this favor but also future ones. Hirsch plays Patrick with a constant air of desperation. Despite the inconsistent Irish accent, he is able to meet Cusack’s calm intensity.

But the screenplay fails to do anything interesting with these two forces who must clash—morally and physically. It goes on autopilot as bodies pile up when Dutch decides to open a business—a whorehouse that serves alcohol, considered to be a mighty sin by the devout Christians (led by Preacher Pike portrayed by Danny Webb) of Garlow. Violence is paraded on screen—men being shot, a young girl getting raped by an old man, blood mixing with mud, a hanging, among others—and yet there is only minimal drama. The reason is because we do not care about these disposable characters. Most intrigue is generated when Patrick and Dutch are in a room simply exchanging words.

Patrick’s occupation involves building objects and putting corpses in the ground. There is poetry in lending a hand on creation and destruction yet the writer-director does not take advantage of it. Instead, Patrick is consistently shown reacting to situations—merely a tool in a plot so ridden with clichés—until the protagonist is no longer an enigma. Meanwhile, Dutch disappears for long periods in the middle of the film. He appears from time to time to do or say something would-be philosophical. I grew tired of the charade that the material forces upon us.

I enjoyed the look of the picture, particularly when it employs natural light. Scenes shot at night are appropriately dark and menacing. There is a convincing quiet in the darkness, like anything could step out from it. Not even lamps or torches could allay the danger. When the film is not so plot-driven but rather driven by feeling, one cannot help but wonder whether the work might have been better off as a sensory experience: strip away the heavy-handed plot and let the emotions flow, place us directly in a mindset of having to survive in an 1849 frontier town.

Blood Money


Blood Money (2017)
★ / ★★★★

There are not enough plot twists in Lucky McKee’s “Blood Money” to justify having to endure extremely irritating characters who come across four bags full of money, each containing two million dollars, while hiking in the wilderness. In the middle of it, I found myself rooting for the white collar villain, an embezzler, a man named Miller played with cool by John Cusack, because then the movie would have been over. Despite a running time of less than ninety minutes, the material is so generic, it feels closer to two hours.

Attempts at character development inspire epic eye rolls. Notice how it tells rather than shows. Three college friends—Victor (Ellar Coltrane), Lynn (Willa Fitzgerald), and Jeff (Jacob Artist)—sit around a campfire spewing expository dialogue that details their histories, current thoughts, and hopes for the future. None of the dialogue rings true; it is so superficial—like one feeling jealous that his former girlfriend is now with the other guy—that the whole charade feels like a teen soap opera. It does not help that not one of the performers is particularly compelling to watch or listen to. The awful dialogue is worsened by the constant, interminable whining. If I were around that campfire, I would have called it an early night by pretending to be unwell because staying would actually make me feel unwell. It is unbelievable that the trio have convinced themselves to remain friends with one another. Every one of them is vile. Maybe that is their commonality, their sick bond.

The manner in which the sound is put together is most irritating. Of particular struggle is when actors speak their lines while standing next to a river. Dialogue is barely audible. It is worsened by the fact that the score is almost always present during these exchanges. So no matter how passionate or angry a person becomes during an increasingly complex task of towing four heavy bags full of cash across a forest, the experience—their suffering, our catharsis—is muffled. At one point I wondered if it was the director’s intention to make a bad movie because some mistakes are so elementary. It is like reading an essay plagued with spelling errors.

Chase scenes are standard and edited haphazardly. It does not even bother to stop once in a while to show us the beauty or danger of the setting. It feels like amateur hour when at times you feel as though could take any old camera and capture more effective shots of predator attempting to catch its prey. Cue close-ups of performers not looking remotely tired, let alone breaking a sweat, for supposedly sprinting about half a mile. Time and again the picture fails to establish elements that make up a convincing survival thriller.

“Blood Money” is a near complete waste of time, but there is one fresh quirk about it. Miller does not wish to kill those who stumbled upon his money. He asks for them to simply hand the bags over. It is the students’ greed, one of them in particular, that allows an awkward situation to snowball. There is minimal entertainment to be had here despite the numerous unintentional humor. We should be laughing at their stupidity, but we are reminded time and again that the filmmakers do not even bother to make a passable movie.

Adult World


Adult World (2013)
★★ / ★★★★

Amy (Emma Roberts) is informed by her parents that they can no longer support her poetry career. She has over $90,000 in student loans and all she has ever done since graduating from college is enter literary contests—which require money to enter. Clearly, Amy needs to get a job but the interviews do not go well since she lacks practical experience. Eventually, the aspiring poet lands a position at a sex shop. Although she has never imagined ever working in one, she figures she must hang in there until her big break arrives.

Written by Andy Cochran and directed by Scott Coffey, “Adult World” is the kind of movie that, I guess, should speak to those who have some level of animosity toward the millennial generation because the protagonist reeks of self-entitlement despite lacking a key ingredient: experiences that, in theory, would allow her to write about something real or substantial. Although the material offers a handful of amusing scenes dispersed throughout, it is not an effective commentary of a self-aggrandizing character because it lacks a critical third act. We remain to wait for the punch in the gut but next thing we know the movie is over.

Roberts makes Amy almost unbearable—which is a compliment to the performer. It is the kind of role that Reese Witherspoon would probably have spearheaded back in the ‘90s and excelled at. Although Amy lacks Tracy Flick’s determination, the two share an annoying, over-the-top willingness to impress whoever is foolish enough to pay attention. Amy hopes to be taken under the tutelage of Rat Billings (John Cusack), her favorite author whose career has peaked in the late ‘80s.

Even though the picture deserves some credit when it comes to not going for the obvious parallels between the aspiring and washed-up poet, their interactions ought to have been more meaningful—at least to us. Perhaps the problem is the technique behind the acting. Cusack tones it down, his character always brooding, often wrapped in his toughness. Meanwhile, Roberts turns up the energy to ten, her character seemingly on amphetamines because everything is so dramatic. Hyperbole may be a part of Amy personality but there is a way to play exaggeration with subtlety.

Two interesting performers who get a healthy amount of screen time are Evan Peters, who plays the manager of the sex shop, and Armando Riesco, playing a transgender woman. However, their characters are underwritten. The screenplay does a good job showing that Alex and Rubia, respectively, are people of substance—the kind of people that Amy needs to be around so she can be inspired—but it fails to present specifics. Instead, we get to see how Alex and Rubia live and that is somehow supposed to communicate how hard they have it in life.

The story takes place during a bleak winter and the color palate consists of white, black, and grey outside. Of course it is supposed to symbolize the protagonist’s made-up state of calamity. At one point she wonders what she has done to deserve becoming an unpublished poet. She got good grades, was placed on the ninety-seventh percentile on the SATs, received awards, and stayed true to her art in college. We are amused somewhat because we know exactly why. And yet some of us may feel repelled. After all, such a sentiment has been tackled in other, better movies before. The picture offers nothing special to separate it from similar works that critique millennials.

The Sure Thing


The Sure Thing (1985)
★★★ / ★★★★

Gib (John Cusack) goes to school in a New England college while his best friend, Jason (Boyd Gaines), attends UCLA. Jason writes letters to Gib in an attempt to lure him to visit during Christmas break. He claims that there is a beautiful exchange student (Nicollette Sheridan) willing to meet Gib and that she is a “sure thing” if he so chooses to go there. But Gib does not have enough money for a plane ticket. So, he decides to hitch a ride and once he gets inside the car, he sees that a classmate from English class, Alison (Daphne Zuniga), is already sitting in the backseat. Both have the same destination. The problem is, they cannot stand to be in each other’s company.

Predictable is a word that many might summon to critique the film, but one can argue that “The Sure Thing,” directed by Rob Reiner, is meant to follow a familiar structure. By sticking to an arc that works, it puts in an extra effort to elevate other elements. What allows it stand above the rest are the performances, witty exchanges between the lead characters, and a lead character with something else on his mind other than procuring sex.

Without Cusack’s playful charm and understanding of how certain lines ought to be delivered, Gib might have ended up as a creep given his need to bed a woman. During conversations that touch upon insecurities of being young followed by short silent moments, Cusack allows his character to communicate wit and a bona fide sense of humor. Underneath it all, we recognize that Gib knows he has a lot of growing up to do but at the same time it does not mean that he will sacrifice youth for the sake of coming off more mature than he really is. In that way, there is an honesty and goodness to him that most of us can get behind.

The throwaway characters enter the frame, deliver the punchline, and are never seen again. This is a smart move given that they are almost always one dimensional. Take Gib’s roommate, for instance. Although the guy is often seen under the sheets, he is given a chance to shine when he is actually clothed. The pick-up line he shares with Gib is nothing short of uncomfortable and hilarious. The same can be applied to the couple (Tim Robbins, Lisa Jane Persky) who kindly give Alison and Gib a ride. Their penchant for singing show tunes during the road trip can leave one’s ear ringing for days.

The interactions between the college hitchhikers is the centerpiece. Unlike many films of its type, opposite personalities learning to recognize the good in each other and perhaps sharing something deeper later on, their arguments do not lean toward annoying. Instead, their exchanges are cute, awkward at times, and quite sincere. Alison’s willingness to stick by the rules and always thinking ahead is nicely balanced with Gib’s disregard for the rules and proclivity for living in the moment. We expect each of them to strike some sort of balance after being around each other for a couple of days. It does not unfold this way.

Written by Steven L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts, “The Sure Thing” is entertaining, intelligent, and aware of the wrong notes that others of its type cannot help but hit. It has some scenes, like the ones that take place in Los Angeles, that should have been tightened a little bit and given more originality. However, as a whole, it manages to take potentially corny material into a lovely full-course meal.

The Raven


The Raven (2012)
★★ / ★★★★

Set in 1849, the Baltimore police has a mystery on their hands. As a mother and daughter are gruesomely murdered in their own home, the perpetrator is nowhere to be found despite the fact that the cops can hear the killings in action seconds before they demolish the door. Except for the entrance, there appears to be no other exit other than a window which is nailed shut. Detective Fields (Luke Evans) is assigned to solve the case. Upon closer examination of the room, he realizes something: this murder is exactly like one of the stories published by Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack).

Although the concept of “The Raven,” based on the screenplay by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare, glistens with promise, its potential is mostly hindered by miscast performers and unearned fluctuations in tone that take viewers out of the experience and prevent them from completely buying into the requisite twists and turns of the mystery.

Cusack as Poe is at times a chore to watch. He excels in capturing Poe as a drunk, desperate to get another drop of alcohol from a bartender, because his affliction is given an air of light comedy. However, when the events turn deadly serious as the body count increases, Cusack does not seem conflicted enough as someone who feels indirectly responsible for the twisted killer replicating his art.

Perhaps it has something to do with the romantic angle of the picture. Poe and Emily (Alice Eve) are in love but the two cannot be together out in the open because her father (Brendan Gleeson) despises Poe. While it might have been interesting as a subplot, eventually, however, Emily becomes a pawn in the killer’s game—too predictable, very limp in that a man’s weakness is a woman.

Meanwhile, Evans as the head detective is a bore. He has two reactions: looking quiet, brows furrowed, very determined to solve the case and yelling when things turn for the worse. One may expect that Fields’ lack of sense of humor might somehow complement Poe’s lighter side. They would be wrong.

This is because the screenplay fails to provide scenes in which Poe and Fields relate to one another as passionate people of their chosen professions and, on the most basic level, as human beings. When they are in the same room, it is all about business. The essence of their relationship does not at all seem to permeate through scenes when they are not the focus. In other words, their connection feels limited only in scenes that we see.

Despite a lack of chemistry between an actor and his character in addition to the character’s lack of genuine connection with others, the film looks great. I was surprised that it actually shows us bloody corpses, severed body parts, and at times the actual murder. Its most memorable piece is perhaps the giant scythe swinging like a pendulum which moves closer and closer to a man’s body, threatening to cut him in half. The tunnels underneath the city is also visually striking. The setting is given appropriate lighting and awkward camera angles are employed to induce suspicion in us that something is bound to go wrong.

“The Raven,” directed by James McTeigue, is a prime example of a story, at least on paper, that pulses with enough creativity that it might be considered a good idea to create. But since the actors recruited are not quite fit for the role, when it inevitably hits some bad notes, the discordant elements are all the more amplified.

Grosse Pointe Blank


Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
★★★ / ★★★★

Martin Blank (John Cusack), a professional assassin, had been invited for a 10th year high school reunion in Grosse Pointe. He initially did not want to go for two main reasons: He did not want to talk about his career and he was reluctant to face his former flame (Minnie Driver) who he stood up during prom night. Coincidentally, Martin’s secretary (hilariously played by Joan Cusack) informed him of a job in Grosse Pointe so she advised him to attend anyway so that he could tie up some loose ends in his life. “Grosse Pointe Blank,” directed by George Armitage, is a comedy with an edge. While it did have its comedic scenes such as Martin’s interactions with his psychiatrist (Alan Arkin) who was reluctant to have him as a patient and a fellow assassin (Dan Aykroyd) who wanted Martin to join his union, it also worked as an exploration of a man having a pre-midlife crisis and the regret of having to leave his youth so soon. There was conflict inside Martin and happiness was something that he couldn’t quite reach to matter how hard he tried to claim it. For instance, there was a spice of sadness when he found out that his former home was now a grocery store and his mother had lost touch with reality. It also worked as an entertaining action flick especially toward the second half of the picture. However, it was still cheeky because the characters never seemed to run out of bullets. The overkills were very amusing but I thought it was appropriate considering the assassins’ enthusiasm (or obsession) with their jobs. Although I must say I did wish Hank Azaria was used a lot more instead of him simply cracking obvious jokes in the car as he tried to stalk Martin around town. The best element about the film was the romantic relationship between Cusack and Driver. A guy coming back for his former lover could easily have been cliché but the writers came up with ways to keep the tension fresh between them. At first I did not feel the connection between the two characters but as the movie went on, I wanted them to be together because they complemented each other’s personalities. “Grosse Pointe Blank” was more than an 80s nostalgia flick. I loved the selection of songs. Even though I grew up in the 90s, it was the kind of songs I listened to while growing up because my parents were adolescents in the 80s. Watching enthusiastic and cooky characters and listening to music that was very catchy which reminded me of my childhood made me feel good inside. Fans of quirky action-comedies with a great script like Shane Black’s “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” will most likely enjoy this offbeat but highly likable film.

Hot Tub Time Machine


Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
★★ / ★★★★

Three friends in their forties who weren’t happy with the way their lives turned out (John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry) and a twenty-year-old with no social life (Clark Duke) accidentally went back in time after getting into a hot tub with magical powers. As ridiculous as the premise was, after watching the trailers, I was open to what it was about to bring. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be. I think the picture was stuck in a rut for too long; when the four were transported back to 1986, the characters spent too much of their time trying to stick to what they did fourteen years ago so that they wouldn’t accidentally change the future. As a result, the film felt stagnant and boring because the characters knew exactly what they had to do. Fortunately, the script eventually rose above the formula and really let the characters do whatever they wanted with little disregard to the consequences of their actions. Out of the four actors, I thought Corddry was the most effective because of his histrionics. Cusack, Duke, and Robinson pretty much played themselves and they kind of blended among each other. While I thought the nostalgia was there (music, fashion, the way people spoke, the bad special effects–which I loved), the picture needed a lot of focus. There were times when I was very confused where the story was going and why the characters were doing certain things. Also, lessons like “friends always stick with each other” was too after school special for me. It was corny, unnecessary and, quite frankly, unfunny. Still, I enjoyed watching the supporting actors such as Crispin Glover, Lizzy Caplan and Chevy Chase. They didn’t have much screen time but their appearances were nice breaks from the randomness that were happening. I’ve heard a lot of people claiming that “Hot Tub Time Machine,” directed by Steve Pink, was like “The Hangover” or that it was as funny or funnier than that surprising box-office success. I very much disagree because I felt like “The Hangover” had more control of its material; it didn’t feel as convoluted as this film nor did it feel like it was trying too hard. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy “Hot Tub Time Machine” in parts but there were extended time periods when I wasn’t laughing. I love everything about the 80s (especially fashion and hair that were so out there) but I felt like this movie didn’t take advantage of that era. I felt like the characters were trapped in that ski resort instead of owning it since it was their second time living through that part of their lives. When you’ve got a ridiculous (but fun) premise, you have to deliver in a big way and make sure to rise above the title and avoid using it as a crutch.

Igor


Igor (2008)
★★ / ★★★★

I really got my hopes up after watching this animated flick’s trailer for the first time but after actually seeing the movie, I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Igor (John Cusack) wants to be more than a deformed lowly assistant so he figures that he can get the recognition he deserves by creating an evil monster for the Evil Science Fair. Instead, Igor ends up creating a harmless monster who was eventually brainwashed to be an aspiring actress (voiced by the lovely Molly Shannon). The conflict comes in when Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) decides to steal Igor’s invention and pass it as his own in order to be the king of Malaria. One of the many problems that this film has is its many references to “Frankenstein.” Since the filmmakers’ audiences are children, I don’t think they will be able to fully appreciate the references because most of them probably haven’t read the novel or seen any “Frankenstein” films. Sure, the obvious slapstick and winking at the camera are present but those elements won’t satisfy astute adults who want to experience something more rewarding like in “WALL-E” and “Ratatouille.” Another problem I had with the film is the way the story unfolded. I think it spent too much of its time preaching the importance of choosing good over evil (especially toward the end). Actions speak louder than words and the filmmakers could’ve been more efficient by showing the audiences why choosing good is better than evil instead of making big, somewhat meaningless (and cliché) speeches. My favorite part of the film was its most sensitive: when the monster decides to give Igor, Brain (Sean Hayes) and Scamper (Steve Buscemi) gifts. Scenes like that made me not dislike this animated movie as much. Another negative is that sometimes Brain and Scamper outshined Igor. Those two are way too hyper and loud which made them more interesting than the lead character. I did like the syle of animation because it reminded me of “Corpse Bride” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” However, it goes to show that without strong writing, colorful animation can only entertain so much.