The next week is looking pretty sparse as far as films go so I’ll be throwing up reviews of the new animated Netflix anthology series from producers David Fincher and Tim Miller Love, Death & Robots. The shorts themselves are only like 10-15 minutes in length so it’s probably best you watch before reading, I’ll try my best but will usually end up being pretty loose with spoilers. Enjoy.
This movie got delayed a lot. After the first one the whole series did. When the second instalment of the franchise as part two of a trilogy it was supposed to be releasing in 2013, we saw it in 2014. This one was supposed to drop in 2016. It’s a shame really, if it had come out then it might actually have felt relevant.
The LEGO Movie ended by blowing up its universe so completely that the biggest challenge faced by its (two!) 2017 spinoffs was finding something, anything to make those stories feel like they were worth telling. They had mixed success, neither fully managed to overcome the hurdle. It seemed that the LEGO movie brand had decided to survive on the more easily replicable parts of their progenitor’s success; the poppy aesthetic, the quick-fire comedy, the gonzo mashup sensibility.
See now, I remember back in 2013 I saw the trailer for The Lego Movie. I had seen Jump Street at that point, but not Cloudy and Lord and Miller weren’t really a directorial team that I was following. I didn’t know if the film was going to be any good, but I knew I had to see it on the big screen. There just wasn’t anything else ever made that looked like it. There was nothing that moved in the same way.
At university I wrote my dissertation on the similarities between postmodern theatre and video games. Sort of taking what Auslander wrote about in Liveness and reflecting it back; analysing how design is being increasingly influenced by the performative desire of players. As a part of that I looked at Alternate Reality Games, comparing their successes to the continued failure of the modernist design ideals inherent in virtual reality. In short, the gameplay of an ARG is only tangentially connected to the actual puzzle design work of its creator — the real play comes in the interaction between the community trying to solve it.
There’s little more that could be said about Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation that isn’t said in the first shot of the trailer below. One of the best shots of the year, and quite possibly all time. Like, I’ve gone back and watched it over five times while writing these opening sentences and I’ve laughed literally every time. Just thinking about it is enough to set me off giggling.
You expect children’s animated films to be a little sad don’t you? A little salt to balance out the sugar, enough melancholy to allow our spirits to be lifted later on. Nobody expects the death of Anna and Elsa’s parents to be the entire trade of Frozen, they’re just another dash of something in the stock before it’s reduced down to the actual plot.