Category Archives: Fantasy/Sci-Fi
WHEN I WAS A SMALL BOY, there were people in my life who I thought were heroes. They just were not superheroes like the ones I read about in the comic books. There was this man in the neighborhood who I thought was the strongest human. He used his backyard as a workshop, so I would see him lifting and carrying these large and heavy planks of wood. The fastest runner in the neighborhood I thought was a boy who had the grace of an animal when he ran. It was not until I was older before I encountered individuals who I would classify as superheroes. I met a retired nurse who had helped in the delivery of every baby born in the town she lived in. That also included the pregnancies that had complications. If that was not enough, she found the time to walk at least two miles a day, despite having two cracked vertebrae in her spine. Coincidently, I encountered an individual who spent a part of each day crocheting baby blankets, which she would donate to various establishments in low-income areas, like day care centers and clinics. These individuals I have described are more of a superhero than those who brag about their accomplishments. AT A COMPANY I USED TO work at, there was a senior executive who made a point of always mentioning his latest donations to charities. I did not fault him for sending funds to a charitable organization; but honestly, based on his personality I was not sure if he was telling the truth. He was a big braggart who liked to dress in a flashy style. The twisted part about all of this is the fact he was fired for stealing. I never knew if he was stealing from the company to make his donations; but based on my impressions of him, I would not have put it past him. Another employee at the company was someone who I highly respected. They were a survivor from both mental and physical abuse. Their journey led them to the job they had so they could save money to go back to school and become a counselor for people who had suffered a comparable situation to what she had experienced. To me, she was a superhero. We became friendly because we had something in common. It is people like her, who on the outside look unassuming, but inside they make or plan to make a difference in other people’s lives. Though, it seems like it is harder to find superheroes amongst us these days, you might see one in this dramatic, action fantasy. THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HIS NEIGHBOR that made Sam Clearly, played by Javon “Wanna” Walton (Euphoria-TV, Utopia-TV), think this man was a deceased superhero. There was only one way to find out. With Sylvester Stallone (The Expendables franchise, Daylight) as Joe, Pilou Asbaek (Ghost in the Shell, Game of Thrones-TV) as Cyrus, Dascha Polanco (In the Heights, Orange is the New Black-TV) as Tiffany Clearly and Sophia Tatum (F9: The Fast Sage, Riverdale-TV) as Sil; the fundamentals of this film were good, but they did not get freshened up to provide a better entertainment experience. I thought Sly did a particularly respectable job of acting. The script starts out trying to draw in the viewer; what gets me immediately is when a person is being picked on. However, the script rolled out in a predictable, generic way. Except for one plot twist, there was nothing else that was done in a new fresh way that could have surprised me. Despite these flaws, I was still able to pay attention for the most part due to the steady pace. If you have a couple of hours to kill and want something light to watch, then this movie can fit the bill. There were several violent, bloody scenes.
2 ½ stars
BY THE WAY THEY RESPONDED TO my question, I could tell there was something more they were not telling me. I was at a lunchtime event, where I met this couple. We were talking about the trips we have taken outside of our state, when they mentioned they recently had visited Washington, D.C. When I asked what sights they got to see, they said very few because they were there to visit their son. Being curious, I asked why their son was in DC; they replied he worked for the government. Since I knew several government workers out there, and being an inquisitive type of guy, I asked which agency. They told me he worked somewhere in the operations department. As far as I knew, there was no such department. Granted, most departments, I am sure, had staff that were responsible for the internal procedures of the department; but there was not a specific government department devoted to operations. I could see the husband was fidgeting with his napkin, while his wife avoided making direct eye contact with me. Though I was more curious now, I knew better than to pushback against two people that I had just met for the first time. LATER IN THE DAY, WHEN MY mind circled back to the exchange I had with that couple, it dawned on me that I encountered the same type of scenario a couple of times before; however, it was the parent who had a mysterious job. I had one friend whose dad was rarely seen in the neighborhood. When he was spotted, he was always dressed in a suit, hat and carrying a black briefcase. It did not matter if it was a weekday or weekend; he was always wearing the same type of clothing. My friend told me his dad said he worked in international trading, but my friend did not believe it. The reason being his dad sometimes left in the middle of the night with his briefcase and hat in tow, along with other times when he had to “go to the office” on a Saturday or Sunday. The two of us wished we knew how to drive so we could follow and see where his dad was going. One time we snuck upstairs to the dad’s office to see what we could find out; but the desk was locked as well as the briefcase that sat on top of it. We never found out, or at least I never found out about the father’s profession. I wondered how my friend would have been if he had known what his dad did for work; would it have scared or excited him. While watching the daughter in this action, comedy fantasy; I wondered about the same thing. NOT PULLING IN ENOUGH MONEY FROM his pool cleaning business, a divorced dad supplemented his income with a second, more lucrative profession. The only problem was that it could kill him. With Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy, Horrible Bosses franchises) as Bud Jablonski, Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist, 6 Underground) as Seth, Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Crazy About You, Hotel Mumbai) as Heather, Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Brick) as Jocelyn Jablonski and Karla Souza (We are the Nobles, How to Get Away with Murder-TV) as Audrey San Fernando; this story set in the San Fernando Valley had several fun moments provided predominantly by Dave and Jamie. I thought they worked well together; however, the script took the bite out of the story. It was predictable all the way through and never went over the top with emotions, humor, or fun. However, it did exceed with blood and violence. Through most of this film, I felt as if it was created more from a paint by number point of view; in other words, where the writers looked at what they perceived to make a successful film and randomly pulled it into their story, whether it made sense or not. Overall, this movie was a light distraction.
THROUGHOUT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I ONLY SAW my best friend’s father twice. I never knew what he did for a living, I just remembered he was wearing a tie and hat the two times I saw him. I do not know why I remember that fact; maybe because I do not recall seeing any other father wearing a hat, not including the hats one only wore in winter. Though come to think of it, I did not see that many fathers of schoolmates; the majority were the ones that lived on our block. There was one father that said he was a college professor, but my friends and I never believed him. He was quite different; his reactions to things like his son hitting a baseball or his daughter performing ballet were odd in my opinion. I did not know the word back then; but thinking about him now, I can say he always had this pensive look on his face, as he studied his children’s playing. It was as if he were studying every movement his child did, looking for a flaw or a better way they could have done something. He had these thick round glasses that made him look like some type of inspector; at least that is what some of us thought. AS FOR MY FRIEND, HE DID not seem to mind his father’s absence from the various school functions where parents were invited to participate. It was not uncommon for a student to have only one parent show up to school events. I always found it curious that the school would plan events during the school day, asking for our parents to attend when I knew many of them were working. It seemed odd to me, like the school was just being polite in inviting parents, knowing full well they would not be able to attend because of their job. The parents that intrigued me the most were the ones who had to travel for business. This was a foreign concept in my awareness. Where were these parents flying and why couldn’t they just make contact by phone, were a couple of things I wondered. There was one dad whose daughter could not tell us what he did for a living. He happened to be built like an athlete with defined muscles across his tall frame. I used to imagine him being in the CIA or FBI; he just had the look of an agent with his dark sunglasses. If I had seen this movie back when I was a kid, I could see me wondering about that father. AFTER SCHOOL, A GROUP OF FRIENDS met up with their friend, who was at his dad’s house. While hanging out, they discover a hidden location underneath the house, just before a group of villains arrive. With Owen Wilson (Marry Me, No Escape) as Jack, Michael Pena (Fantasy Island, 12 Strong) as Argon, Walker Scobell (The Adam Project) as Charlie, Jesse Williams (The Cabin in the Woods, Grey’s Anatomy-TV) as Irons and Keith L. Williams (Good Boys, The Last Man on Earth-TV) as Berger; this action, adventure comedy had the cast to elevate the story. However, the script was too generic and pedestrian. I think part of the issue was the writers did not know what group to market for, kids or tweens. The humor was lacking to the point I was able to see what the punchline would be before it happened. Too bad because I thought Walker did an admirable job in his role. Now I have said this before, but if there is going to be a villain, they really need to be a “bad” person. The villain in this movie was too much like a cartoon character. I have a feeling this film will have many absent viewers. There was an extra scene early in the ending credits.
1 ¾ stars
I DID NOT THINK IT WAS an extraordinary feat; one of the fastest runners in our class was a girl. Her speed was impressive but the fact she was a girl was not a big deal to me. Maybe because I grew up with strong females, I did not put much stock in comparing the differences between boys and girls. The way I looked at it was this: someone is going to be the smartest, fastest, friendliest, most creative, and best musician in class; none of these attributes are aligned with one sex over the other. I just remember I never wanted to play tag with that speedy girl because she could quickly tag out most of us. It is funny, it was not until I started delving into science and physiology classes where I learned between the sexes, men tend to have more upper body strength, and women usually have more lower body strength. There was a girl in one of my classes who was one of the toughest students in our class; she had no trouble with her upper body strength. In fact, I do not recall any boys getting in a fight with her because they were all afraid, they could lose their status if the student body witnessed them being beaten up by a girl. THE REASON I AM MENTIONING THIS is because it seems to me every announcement I read or hear about these days tends to include, “she is the first woman” or “he is the first ethnic man” and so on. Do not get me wrong, I understand many positions/companies did not have progressive policies in place to promote various minorities into the bigger roles. It is a great statement to make; but one of my concerns is the chance companies are just using it as a marketing ploy. They put someone in an authoritarian position, who has been disadvantaged, and tout them to the world as if they are saying, “Look who we promote.” But then there are no others to follow in that person’s footsteps; the company policy or can I say prejudices, never change. I wish we lived in a world where we did not need to announce such things because it is not an unusual circumstance. Employees get promoted based on their abilities, end of story. Their skin color, religion, ethnic background has no bearing on them getting a better job. I really wish we could get to such a point, but I understand the world still needs some work to do. This is not a new phenomenon, but I was thrilled to see what took place in this action prequel. HER INSTINCTS SERVED HER WELL AND she was convinced there was something hunting her tribe. The only way she could prove it was to get evidence and show the villagers. With Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water, Legion-TV) as Naru, newcomer Dakota Deavers as Taabe, Dane DiLiegro (American Horror Stories-TV, Sweet Home-TV) as Predator, relative newcomer Stormee Kipp as Wasape and Michelle Thrush (Pathfinder, Blackstone-TV) as Aruka; this dramatic adventure film took me off guard and surprised me. I thought the writers did a wonderful job of weaving the story within the Native American narrative. The scenery was beautiful, and I thought Amber was outstanding. Despite the several scenes with blood and violence, I loved this movie. For it being a prequel, it certainly can stand alone where I do not think the previous films need to be seen. Yes, they could be a reference for the viewer, but this film was so beautifully written and acted that I do not think it would be an issue. This picture had a solid story, great acting and in its own way showed what can get accomplished when one has the perfect individual for the task.
3 ½ stars
I WAS TOLD TO BE WARY of one of the guests that was attending the gathering, by a friend of mine. He said this guest was going to seek me out to ask about the training I went through to be a fitness/yoga instructor. I was confused, not understanding why my friend thought this could become an issue. The gist of the story is my friend warned me that this guest was going to try and use me to learn as much as he could without actually doing the training and certification process. It turned out my friend was 100% correct. This guest came off as a caring person who wanted to help people reach their fitness goals; but all they were interested in was to set up a fitness studio and make a lot of money. I would have figured it out even if my friend had not tipped me off, but it was good to get a snapshot of this individual. I use the term “snapshot” because that is how I take in other people’s opinions. You know the term, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, I try not to do it when meeting someone. If someone tells me about someone before I meet them, I consider their views are an imaginary snapshot that I put in my back pocket. It is only information from a different point of view that I may compare to the opinion I form after being with that person. THERE ARE PEOPLE, I KNOW, WHO do not go with their own opinion. Instead, they are easily swayed by other individuals’ opinions. Granted, if a friend tells me awful things about someone, I probably will be more cautious around that person if I see them; however, I understand there are at least two sides to every story. I have seen in recent years, more examples of people taking things at face value, believing whatever a person says without checking it our for themselves. I cannot explain it, nor do I understand it. During my school years is when I experienced this phenomenon the most. It would take one person to assign a derogatory label to another student before others would immediately shun them because they did not want to be considered like the victim of said vitriol. All it would take is for someone to say, “You smell funny,” before others would take that as true and act accordingly without every going near the person. Maybe it is easier to believe someone else’s opinion instead of investigating it for oneself? This animated, adventure comedy may have the key towards an answer. DURING A TIME WHEN THE OCEANS were filled with beasts, a little orphan girl wants to escape her orphanage and join the crew to one of the best hunting ships in the land. She just needs to convince them how serious she is about it. With Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Star Trek franchise) voicing Jacob Holland, Zaris-Angel Hator (Morbius, The Midnight Gang) voicing Maisie, Jared Harris (The Crown-TV, Morbius) voicing Captain Crow, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace-TV) voicing Sarah Sharpe and Xana Tang (Mulan, Filthy Rich-TV) voicing Lea the Lookout; this film was gorgeous to watch. The details in the animation made it hard for me sometimes to figure out if the scene was real or animated; that is how good the animation was in this picture. The story was filled with heart and sure, it was not hard to figure out what was going to happen; however, the story was so beautifully written that I honestly was enchanted by everything. The message was wonderful and relevant, in my opinion. I did not think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did; this easily ranks up there with some of the recent terrific, animated pictures that have come out the past years. Here, I myself was passing judgement before watching the film. I need to work on that.
3 ½ stars
I WAS DEFINITELY IN THE MINORITY at the concert. Gratefully the venue had stadium seating; otherwise, I would have been ticked off with all the phone screens blocking my view. The place was packed with fans, and I was there with a couple of friends. As the band was performing, it seemed as if every person around me was watching the group through the screen of their phone as they were snapping photos and videos. Everywhere I looked there were people with their arms up, pointing their phone cameras to the stage. I sat there and wondered how many photos did a person need of their favorite band? It was crazy; instead of sitting there and enjoying the music, everyone was focused on capturing the musicians with their phones. It could not have been comfortable to hold one’s arms up for such a long time. I found it distracting because I did not pay good money to have these phones waving in the air. If I had been sitting on the main floor, I would have had a fight with the people in front of me if they had been using their phones. Why couldn’t people just allow themselves to enjoy the show and let it settle into their minds, to become a fond memory? CAPTURING AN EVENT ON “FILM” IS not exclusive to concerts; everywhere I look, there is someone snapping a photo. Restaurants are a popular location for people to snap pix of their food; I am not sure why they do it. Sure, some dishes look great; but unless one is going to try and reproduce it, I am not clear why one would want to have a photo of it. I know I am more old school, but I do not see the fascination of posting things about myself on social media sites. I am astounded with the amount of people’s video clips that show up on my sites’ feeds. People dancing, pranking, posing, dressing up and so on; it is like a different world for me. There are many individuals who, I believe, see this as a way to earn income and fame. The more outrageous antics are done, I think, with the hope of acquiring a bigger following. And once there is a bigger following then the next step is to find a way to monetize one’s site. I know someone who has been focusing on making a living by getting corporate sponsors or products to promote while flying to various circuit events. So far it looks like they are succeeding. I am not sure I can say the same thing for the family in this dramatic, science fiction mystery. A BROTHER AND SISTER ARE TRYING to keep the family horse business going despite unusual things taking place around their ranch. With Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther) as OJ Haywood, Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) as Emerald Haywood, Brandon Perea (The OA-TV, Insurrection) as Angel Torres, Michael Wincott (Talk Radio, What Just Happened) as Antlers Holst and Steven Yeun (Minari, I Origins) as Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park; there were parts of this film that were bold and spectacular in a Hollywood way. I thought Daniel and Keke were outstanding, especially Keke; this was such a different role for her, and I was totally impressed. There was a lot going on in the story and to tell you the truth, if there was a lot of symbolism or meaning, it was lost on me. The first part of the movie dragged for me, taking some time before I felt I was engaging with the story. I still am not sure about the chimpanzee scenes and that is all I will say about that. Having some quality moments in this picture, I wished it connected more with me. Or maybe that is the point.
2 ¾ stars
I SAW HER STANDING ON THE stage above an auditorium of people. The music was loud, but not heart thumping loud and everyone was following her moves. Looking at the audience, I noticed there were people of all sizes and shapes. What impressed me the most was the fact that everyone had a smile on their face, despite sweating and moving continuously to the music. This was a foreign concept to me based on my experiences with exercise. A friend had asked me to come with her to this aerobics class and though I was hesitant, I decided to join her only if we could stay in the back of the room. The classes I had attended in school were less about exercise and more about domination and testosterone, which was the reason for me not being too thrilled to go back into a similar scenario. We walked over to the registration desk where a woman was standing in platform shoes. She was barely over five feet in height, but she had an abundance of personality. I felt welcomed and safe. After paying for the class, we found two open spaces close to the back of the auditorium. From this spot, I figured it would be easy to pickup the exercise routines; I would just need to watch the people in front of me. The music the instructor used was current and fun; it was easy to figure out the steps. I soon found myself having a fun time exercising; it was a feat! AT THE END OF THE CLASS, I was hooked. The two of us decided to sign up for the monthly pass. The instructor was amazing to me. She had this infectious personality that radiated throughout the room as she coaxed and encouraged us to keep moving. Her exercise moves were easy to follow for the most part. If there was something she thought might be a challenge for the class, she would demonstrate it first before asking us to try it. Up until this time, I had never given thought to becoming a fitness instructor; but, watching how she conducted her class did something to me. Seeing all these women and men, both skinny and large to old and young, enjoying themselves while exercising gave me the idea that I would like to teach. For months, I never missed a class, noticing a loss in my weight that I had not seen for some time. I idolized the instructor because I attributed this achievement to her skills and devotion to all of us succeeding. It was because of her that I moved forward and became a certified instructor. I realize my story is not unusual as you can see by happens to the young man in this animated, adventure comedy. BEING SUCH A HUGE FAN OF a super villainous group, a twelve-year-old decides to apply for a position when there is an opening. He would need to come with some pretty cool, evil weapons. With Steve Carell (Beautiful Day, Welcome to Marwen) voicing Gru, Alan Arkin (Love the Coopers, Grudge Match) voicing Wild Knuckles, writer and director Pierre Coffin voicing the Minions, Taraji P. Henson (Proud Mary, The Best of Enemies) voicing Belle Bottom and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Last Christmas) voicing Master Chow; this latest installment in the franchise followed its consistent formula for the most part. I will say this was a tight production, everything worked in synch to create an easy level of enjoyment. The cast did a wonderful job with their characters as they went through a steady stream of humorous and fun scenes. When one chooses to see a Minions movie, they already know what to expect so there were no surprises. However, with the excellent animation, cast and script; this was a light, entertaining viewing experience. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.
IT IS OKAY TO ACT SILLY sometimes, but there is a time and place for it. I remember the silly stuff I used to do with my friends when we were kids, like making funny noises in inappropriate surroundings. Just recently a friend and I were walking down the sidewalk in a vacation spot. A family of four was sitting on a bench ahead of us. As we neared, their 8–10-year-old girl ran up to my friend, pointed to the ground and said, “Sir, you dropped your pocket.” I immediately caught on that it was a joke, but my friend did not and asked her what dropped as he looked to the ground. Her family sat there and laughed as I told my friend to keep walking, it was a joke. Now if it had just been this girl and her friends, I could understand the appeal of playing a joke on a stranger; however, with her parents sitting there I had to wonder what they were thinking? Did they think it was a good thing to teach their kid to go up to strangers, to play a joke on them? In this day and age? If I had tried that at her age with my family around me, it would have been the last time I ever did it. WHERE ONE MAY EXPECT KIDS TO be silly, when an adult does it, it can be a surprise—hopefully in a fun way, but not always. I had a couple of older relatives who were always doing silly things to amuse the nieces and nephews. There was a family friend who was a doctor who tried to be funny in the same way; however, their version of humor did not match up as well. Though, they never stopped trying. When someone would ask them for medical advice, they would always make light of the situation. For example, if someone asked them about one of their limbs, they would examine the leg or arm carefully then tell them it would have to be amputated. Or they might be flippant with their advice to the point of disregarding the person’s concerns. Their silliness was always at the forefront to the point of frustration for those around them. I could understand their frustration since I had a friend who would never give a straight answer to any question posed to them. It would get to the point where I stopped caring what they had to say, which I know sounds bad; however, a constant barrage of silly jokes gets old quickly. Sadly, I was feeling the same way about this action, adventure comedy. WHEN AN EVIL PRESCENCE BEGINS TO seek out and kill every god, it would force Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth (12 Strong, Men in Black: International), to team up with someone from his past. With Natalie Portman (Lucy in the Sky, Jane Got a Gun) as Jane Foster, Christian Bale (The Big Short, Ford v Ferrari) as Gorr, Tessa Thompson (Passing, Creed franchise) as King Valkyrie and Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys, Winter’s Tale) as Zeus; this latest installment of the film franchise was the weakest. The humor in most Marvel films has a certain layer of sophistication that is fun for all age levels. There also is room for emotional growth in between the humor. With this film, there was too much silliness that chipped away at the heroics. It was not until close to the end where things started to gel for me. The acting would have been better if they had a better script; example being Russell Crowe’s character. I thought his scenes were ridiculous. And where I think Christian is an excellent actor, in this picture I thought he was a poor version of Lord Voldemort. I prefer not sitting and watching a movie while each joke feels as if it is being beaten into my head. At least the special effects and soundtrack were good. There were two extra scenes during the middle and end of the credits.
MANY YEARS AGO, I LEARNED THERE is one thing a person can do that will speak volumes about their character; it is the giving of their word. Something so simple yet says so much about them. I had a friend who would agree to get together; but when the time came, they would cancel on me. Once or twice would not have bothered me; however, they would do it quite often. Their excuses would run the gamut from a family crisis to double booking themselves. I found it irritating and disrespectful. It did not take me long to realize that their promising to do something meant nothing; I could not trust them when they would give me their word they would be there. I knew I would never want to put someone in that type of predicament; so, I made it a point to keep my commitments as if they were written in stone. Granted, I lost some of my ability to be spontaneous because before I would agree to do something, I needed to process all the factors of that decision before committing. Having experienced at an early age a person who does not keep their word, prepared me when I was old enough to immerse into the dating world. I went into every date and relationship with a cheerful outlook; but at the first sign of the person not committing to what they said they agreed to, I would prepare myself to change course and move on. AS I HAVE GROWN OLDER, I realized not everyone thinks alike. Where my word is ironclad, others are not of the same mind with their word. I have a relative who will tell me they will have me over to their place, but they never follow through with it. With my way of thinking, then why even say something to me if you are not fully committed to the idea. It is my biggest pet peeve outside of grabbing food from my plate; telling me something that never happens. Why even mention it, just do not say anything? It is not like I was fishing for an invite; they were the one to bring it up. Now do not get me wrong; they are a good person, so I adjust my behavior. When I get these pseudo invites, all I say is to let me know what dates they were thinking of getting together. If they respond fine; if not, then it is okay as well. I do not judge; I do not expect someone to act like me. But I MUST tell you, I did admire the conviction of the main character in this fantasy adventure drama. THE NEPHEW OF A MIGHTY KING wants to prove his worth to the family by giving his word. He did not realize all that it would involve when he made the agreement. With Dev Patel (Lion, The Wedding Guest) as Gawain, Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Tomb Raider) as Essel, Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased, It Comes at Night) as The Lord, Sarita Choudhury (Lady in the Water, A Hologram for the King) as Mother and relative newcomer Anais Rizzo; this was a beautiful film to watch. There were several scenes that looked as if they were book illustrations; they were perfectly blocked. I thought Dev did an outstanding job, where he had such a presence that conveyed his inner strength. My issue with the film was the uneven directing, more so for the first half of the movie. There were times where the story dragged for me. I wondered if this occurred because I was not familiar with this aspect of the famous King Arthur legends I have read and heard. Regardless, as a stand alone picture it was entertaining for part of the time; plus, I was fond of the message, and I give you my word on it.
2 ¼ stars
MY JOB WAS NAVIGATION ON THE ship; rarely did I ever take on the role of captain. We were traveling in uncharted space; so, we were under a yellow alert, which meant everyone had to be at their assigned places, ready to go into action. I wound up steering the ship because my commanders were impressed with my instincts and ability to outmaneuver alien spacecraft. Our ship looked like an arrow; it was built streamlined for maximum speed. The front half was a triangular shiny silver shape, and the back half was an oversized cylinder that housed our massive engines. The bridge was at the base of the triangle, slightly elevated above the front half. At the forefront, just under the tip of the front part of the triangle, were a series of weapons that were incorporated into the design of the ship. We as a crew always strived to come in peace; however, if we were threatened, we could quickly become assertive to protect ourselves. On one trip, we encountered an alien ship that was shaped like half a circular dome with two long engines jutting out on one side. The dome had a honeycomb pattern to it. Without warning they started shooting at us, but luckily are protective shields withstood the blasts. I quickly steered the ship to dive underneath the enemy and blast them with our aft laser cannons to disable their craft. It worked. I NOTICED IT WAS GETTING LATE, so I quickly got up from the floor and put my rocket ship back in the kitchen drawer that held serving utensils. My rocket ship was a pie server. The enemy spaceship was a strainer that I hung back up on its hook in the pantry. There was so much cookware that I was never at a loss for finding something that I could pretend was a rocket ship or alien headquarters. There was a hand mixer that was one of my favorite kitchen items to turn into a rocket ship because by turning the handle, the two beaters would spin and become the engines that would propel the converted ship forward in the air or submerge and propel it underwater. Our kitchen was a treasure trove of objects and things that would stimulate my imagination to create a multitude of outer space adventures. Even ballpoint pens would become rocket ships to help Flash Gordon defeat Ming the Merciless and any other character I had seen or created. The feelings I have attached to these memories were stirred up while watching this animated, action, adventure film. DESPITE BEING STRANDED ON A FOREIGN planet, the mission still needed to be completed according to Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans (Gifted, Captain America franchise), no matter what was taking place around him. With Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Joyful Noise) voicing Izzy Hawthorne, Peter Sohn (Luca, It Starts with Murder!) voicing SOX, Taika Waititi (The Suicide Squad, Free Guy) voicing Mo Morrison and Dale Soules (Aardvark, Orange is the New Black-TV) voicing Darby Steel; this science fiction movie was enjoyable. The animation was outstanding, with several incredible looking scenes. I thought the cast did an excellent job with their characters and was surprised by the emotional depth that was instilled in several of them. My concern with this picture comes down to the story line. The opening scene appeared to steer the story one way, but then there was no other reference to it the rest of the time. With the multiple story lines, I found they were distracting at times and lowered the connection between viewer and character. Granted, the story was not unusual or that exciting; however, the messages being conveyed were touching and the execution of events with its own unique humor made the time go pleasantly by. Though this Pixar movie might not reach the super status level of their previous works, I still found it stimulating and imaginative. There were two extra scenes during and at the end of the credits.