written by David Steffen
Smallfoot is a 2018 computer-animated musical adventure children’s film about a town of yetis living in high mountains above the clouds, oblivious of the human world until plane crashes and a young yeti, Migo (Channing Tatum) sees a smallfoot (their name for humans). Everything about the yetis’ lives is defined by the laws written on ancient stones worn by their leader the Stonekeeper (Common). Migo is the son of Dorgle the gong-ringer (Danny DeVito) who rings the gong every morning to make the sun rise. Every day is spent with daily labors that don’t have a clear purpose but are prescribed by the stones. Migo and his young friends, including Meechee the Stonekeeper’s daughter (Zendaya), Gwangi (LeBron James), Kolka (Gina Rodriguez), and Fleem (Ely Henry) question the wisdom of the stones.
The pilot who survived the plane crash escapes and tells the humans down below about what he saw and unethical documentary filmmaker Percy Patterson (James Corden) decides to stage a hoax video with his assistant dressed in a yeti costume when he accidentally runs into Migo. Migo and his friends interact with Percy, trying to exchange information about their worlds, when they realize that they need to return Percy to the human world or he will freeze to death in the mountains.
This was a fun kid’s movie, with some catchy musical number, especially “Let It Lie” by Common in a very memorable reveal. Great cast, though the plot overall is a little predictable for an adult, there’s a lot of fun stuff in it for kids.
written by David Steffen
Hotel Transylvania is a 2012 computer-animated children’s comedy by Columbia Pictures. The legendary vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler), after the death of his wife at the hands of humans, raises his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) as a single parent. Frightened of violent and unpredictable humanity, he has made a life for them by founding a five-star hotel in Transylvania just for monsters, and telling Mavis constant horror stories about the human world so she won’t to go. But it’s her 118th birthday now, which means she can make her own decisions and for some reason she still wants to go out into the world. To make matters worse, a human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) somehow finds his way to the hotel and is not scared away by the monsters, and Jonathan and Mavis hit it off.
It’s a fun idea, and since there’s been three movies to date and a cartoon TV show, clearly the kids especially like it. There are some funny bits, particular from Jonathan as he is an oddball human to have made it so far into Transylvania without being scared off. The ensemble cast (Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, CeeLo Green, David Spade, Fran Drescher, among others)
Adam Sandler isn’t super Adam Sandler-ish in this one, so if you tend to hate Adam Sandler movies as much as I do (some notable exceptions exist), I didn’t get that vibe about it. But the main plot of the movie is based around a fragile scaffolding of transparent lies that Dracula has been building for a century–it was pretty clear it was going to crumble at the slightest touch and then most of the basis for Dracula’s relationship with his daughter would be revealed to be completely fabricated and so the relationship between the two most important characters in the movie would be almost entirely built of lies while her father tries to intimidate and force Jonathan out of the hotel so that she can’t get to know him. Especially since Mavis is an adult even by vampire reckoning at this point, this level of interference in her life was more annoying than endearing, and I thought she was remarkably chill about her dad being revealed to have been running a long-term con on his own daughter instead of trusting her.