The Real Neat Blog Award

Browsing through my blogging history, I came to notice that it had been a whopping five years – slightly more than that, actually – since I last replied to one of those tags that travel around the WordPress universe every once in a while. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I never appreciated the recognition or anything of the sort: I love it and I am quite grateful for it. It is just that I always ended up putting those posts on a pile of future pieces that I needed to get to, but then so much time went by without me sitting down to write them that I felt publishing a reply kind of lost its point. However, I guess that it is never too late to overcome a somewhat bad habit, and for that reason I decided to – for the first time in forever – answer the questions proposed by a fellow blogger who was kind enough to give this humble space a nod.

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Playing Miyamoto – Part III

With the arrival of Super Mario Maker 2 and its pretty spectacular level-making component, there also comes the opportunity for us fans to wear our Shigeru Miyamoto hats in order to try our hands at some level-design – an activity that ends up revealing itself to be not only rewarding, but also quite hard. So, like I did the last time around, I decided to gather the stages I have constructed so far in a post to share them with those who visit this space as well as to talk a little bit about what went into their creation.

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A Fond Farewell

As such, even if How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World could indeed have been a better film, it plays its role as the final chapter of the franchise very well. The arches that it started to build in its debut are concluded sweetly and in a satisfying manner; the themes and ideas it always relied on evolve alongside its likable cast of characters; and the enchanting universe that served as its home reaches the end of its finely developed cycle. The fact the movie’s brisk pace undermines the impact of some of its conflicts and threats, then, winds up being just a small – yet certainly disappointing – dent on an armor of scales that is still shiny enough to make How to Train Your Dragon be a very rare sight not just in the animation niche, but in the movie industry as a whole; that is, a trilogy that was able to maintain a high level of quality from its glorious beginning until its lovable ending.

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Partners In Life

The heavy focus on Ralph and Vanellope may cause new characters to become mere accessories to the central plot, and the movie’s dedication to the creation of gags that gravitate around signature elements of the Internet may lead its story to be blatantly inferior to that of the original film. Still, Ralph Breaks the Internet is an enormously enjoyable work that cements the link between its protagonists as one of the greatest partnerships Disney has ever put on a screen, a fact that makes the movie’s emotional highs be remarkably touching. And with that, once more, the studio proves it is perfectly capable of balancing its adherence to contemporary trends with its classic dosage of laughter, tears, and magic.

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Alone, Together

The Incredibles 2 was, in the end, a movie that had a whole lot to live up to. The original is still, justly, regarded as one of Pixar’s finest and, as a consequence, one of the best animation movies that have ever been produced, and the fourteen-year wait fans had to endure to get a sequel only elevated those expectations to an unforeseen degree. It is an absolute victory, then, that The Incredibles 2 feels – overall – not like a disappointment, but like a pleasant return that, despite not hitting the same high notes of its predecessor in terms of plot quality and originality, is a worthy successor to it. Sure, had it chosen to move on from the conflict between superheroes and society around which the first movie was built and had it opted to spend more of its time showing the Parrs act together, rather than separated onto two distinct fronts, it is arguable it could have benefited more effectively from the marvelous premise of the series and also presented a more considerable evolution. But, regardless of those missed opportunities, the movie delivers incredible amounts of humor, action, and conspiracy, all underlined by the lovable characters and family matters that make the franchise so likable and relatable.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

The only problem that plagues Coco is that it takes a while to get there. The moments that define it and make it stand out among the delightful myriad of masterful Pixar animations are all tucked away in its second half, making what comes before it feel like a long – yet very much enjoyable – buildup. When Coco takes off, it transforms into a Russian nesting doll of plot twists which instead of getting smaller and less significant as they appear, just seem to become bigger and heavier as they pop out. It is a rough journey, but one that – by revealing quite a lot about Miguel’s family’s past – brings them closer together rather than setting them further apart, which is just about the perfect ending for a movie inspired by a celebration where family union and legacies of love are in the spotlight.

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