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.
THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME growing up where I wanted to be wallpaper. What that meant was I did not want to be noticed because being noticed could lead to harm. I thought I was content walking around like a shadow, more like an auxiliary person instead of a fully developed human. The interesting thing about this is the fact I was not alone. There were several other students I knew who tried to stay blended into the background. I knew one girl who had an infectious laugh with a curious mind; however, most of the student body had no idea. She had been picked on because of her size, something I could relate to easily. The only inkling a person would get that there was an emotional, kind and playful person inside of her was when she was in art class. It was the only class that she could not hide in because her love of art was so strong. Her intricate, colorful designs in a variety of mediums made the other students envious. She knew this was something that could come back to hurt her, because it had happened to her before at her previous school. The interesting thing about the two of us is we both felt we had no choice but to be in the background. FAST FORWARD DECADES AND NOW I find out that I lived part of my life as an NPC. It is a term I only learned of by watching this movie. I am not a gamer, so maybe that is the reason I had never heard this term before. For those of you who do not know either, NPC stands for nonplayer character. It is a character in a game that is not being controlled by the player. To me that means they are in the background a/k/a wallpaper. Having gained some wisdom on my journey of life, I wonder how much of my decision to be wallpaper was my choice. I know choices have consequences, but now I have been wondering if there was anything else I could have done to make my school experiences better and safer. In an odd way, I feel I could relate to the main character from today’s movie; I pretty much kept my same routine day after day once I figured out what was the safest path for me to make it through the school day. How weird is it that I am identifying with a made-up character from a video game? I wonder how you would react if you saw this action, adventure comedy. EVERY DAY WAS A GREAT DAY FOR Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool franchise, Red Notice), with everything in its place and everything going the same way. However, all of it was about to change after he saw the girl of his dreams. With Jodie Comer (The Last Dual, Killing Eve-TV) as Millie, Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, The Electrical Life of Louis Wan) as Antwan, Lil Rey Howery (Get Out, Uncle Drew) as Buddy and Joe Keery (Molly’s Game, Stranger Things-TV) as Keys; this film kept me interested due to its whimsical nature and Ryan doing what Ryan does best. There was nothing earthshattering or different here, but it was a couple of hours of fluffy entertainment. The cast was good in their roles, but I thought Taika’s character was too much. Maybe that is the way the writers and director wanted him to be. The special effects were fun to watch. If you are a fan of Ryan’s style of comedy, then I believe you will enjoy this film; just remember, do not expect to be digging in deep. My experience and feelings surprised me as I began to understand the concept of an NPC. I am glad I do not have to live my life like I did back then, anymore.
2 ½ stars
WITH THE RESTAURANT BEING SO CROWDED, I was wedged between two sets of diners. We were seated on a vinyl covered bench that spanned the length of the wall. Small wooden tables were barely spaced apart, all the way down, in front of the bench. Next to me sat a mother and her young daughter who happened to be standing in front of me in line, while we were waiting to be seated. A waiter walked up to them first to take their food order. I could not help but hear what they ordered. The mother ordered first and with everything she chose, she asked the waiter to make an alteration to the item. With one food item she did not want the sauce, another she did not want the pickles and so on. Normally I would not have paid attention; however, when it was time for the young daughter to order, the little girl did the same thing. Everything the girl ordered was almost identical to her mother’s orders. I thought how odd; both mother and daughter had identical taste buds? What made me think about this more was the fact when the mother ordered she did not just say, remove the item; she used the words, did not like it or hated it. This made me wonder if the daughter really did not like the items that were being removed or had she learned to dislike them from her mother. Hmmm. WHEN I WAS THAT DAUGHTER’S AGE, there were many foods I did not like. Many of them I had not even tasted before deciding I wasn’t going to eat them. I did not realize back then I was a visual and texture eater. If something did not look right, whatever right meant, I would not touch it. The same thing went for the texture of the food; I always preferred food that was crunchy instead of creamy. There are foods I eat now that back then I would never allow on my plate. In my case I had decided whether I wanted an item or not; no one influenced me. However, with this little girl I wasn’t sure if she had issues with texture and appearance or she was simply mimicking her mother. If her mother did not like something did the daughter choose not to like the same thing? I thought it would be sad if this little girl went through life missing out on different foods or things because she was taught to hate them. If you care to see how it can happen then feel free to watch this dramatic war comedy. JOJO, PLAYED BY NEWCOMER ROMAN GRIFFIN Davis, wanted to grow up and do his part for Nazi Germany. However, all his beliefs and dreams got shattered when he discovered his mother Rosie, played by Scarlett Johansson (Rough Night, Under the Skin), had been hiding a Jewish girl named Elsa, played by Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), in their attic. What would the Fuhrer think of him? With Taika Waititi (Green Lantern, Wat We Do in the Shadows) as Adolf and Sam Rockwell (Vice, Mr. Right) as Captain Klenzendorf; this story would appear to be another take on the horrors of World War II; however, it was not done the same. The script was both original and fun; I was impressed with the cleverness in which it conveyed its message. The ensemble of actors each provided a particular thread that woven together created an outrageous satire that was enjoyable and funny. For me, this was a bold experiment that zeroed in on the subject of hatred and put it directly in front of the viewer’s face. Truly different and original, I hope no one makes a snap judgement based solely on the movie trailer without experiencing for themselves the magic in this satire.
3 ¼ stars