An Extremely Goofy Movie Review

This post was previously posted on my column over at  I’d love if you guys took a look at the post and gave a comment or two.  Thanks!  Tomorrow my Family Movie Night pick will be last years Boxtrolls so that should be fun.  If you have any suggestions or ideas for Netflix picks I could use I would love it. Thanks!

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This week on my Facebook page I was delighted to see lots of back to school pictures from my friends with children starting off the school year.  Seeing these images and the smiling (and a little bit nervous) looks on kids’ faces made me want to come up with a family movie night pick they might like and that has a back to school element.  I also wanted to pick a movie which I thought boys would like since they are a little bit harder to come by on Netflix kids.  After much thought, I went with the fun but imperfect An Extremely Goofy Movie.

Made in 2000, An Extremely Goofy Movie is a sequel to the 1995 film A Goofy Movie (Netflix only has Extremely not the original).  Both films were made by the Disneytoons division which is the studio that makes the lesser-known, often straight to DVD films for Disney.  They are behind the terrible sequels in the 2000s like Bambi 2 and the horrifically bad Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 (that’s available on Netflix and I promise you it’s awful.  Don’t watch it!).   Honestly the Goofy, Tinker Bell and Winnie the Pooh franchises are the standouts over at Disneytoons.

I could see someone really eviscerating An Extremely Goofy Movie and it isn’t without its flaws.  First of all, it is dated and stuck in the year 2000.  Everything is extreme including extreme sports like skateboarding and BMX biking (even the name is Extreme!).  It also has a lot of lame jokes about coffee and Starbucks that feel very dated.

But if you can get beyond that junk there are things to like in An Extremely Goofy Movie.  The plot is Max is now 18 and going off to college (even though he looks exactly the same as in the previous film).  He is naturally very excited to be on his own and away from his overprotective but well-meaning Dad.  Unfortunately for him, Dad loses his job and has to go back to college for the year. This means Max has to put up with Goofy for the entire school year.

Things get further complicated when a rival fraternity (led by Bradley Uppercrust who is just as snobby as he sounds) challenges Max and friends to an XGames show-down.   Goofy also meets a love interest named Sylvia and they share a common infatuation with anything 1970s and are actually quite funny together.

Whether it is in the movies or on The Goof Troop TV show, I’ve always liked the relationship between Goofy and Max and can relate to that dichotomy of needing your parents but wanting them to be as far away as possible.  I think it’s good for kids to talk about their parents as real people with feelings that make mistakes and Goofy is such a character.  There is no doubt his heart is always in the right place.

They decided to not have any original songs like A Goofy Movie but I don’t really mind that because I’m not a huge fan of those songs.  Instead they have a bunch of classic rock songs from the 70s featuring Pat Benatar, Peaches and Herb, Carmen Carter, John Avila, The Specials, The Partridge Family and more.  I’m impressed for a direct to DVD movie they would pay so much for the copyright to songs like C’Mon Get Happy.  They can’t be cheap.

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Overall, I feel like they really tried to make a good movie.  The animation is solid (definitely much better than most of the Disney sequels from Disneytoons).  There is a cool sequence where Goofy is trying to take a test but is so focused on Max he has kind of a hallucinogenic dream. I like when Disney animators get nutty and weird for no apparent reason.  It’s like the animators creativity bursting through the screen! (Another example is the yodeling song in Home on the Range.  It’s like they couldn’t help themselves).

The voicecast they got also shows effort.  Bill Farmer is of course great as Goofy but we get James Marsden, Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Vicki Lewis, Bebe Neuwirth (my favorite as Sylvia), Pauly Shore and Rob Paulsen.

To see the rest of Rachel's reviews, click here.
To see the rest of Rachel’s reviews, click here.

Not all the humor works in this film but I still laughed.   Kids will like the slapstick jokes but I thought some of the writing was funny.  My favorite was when one of the boys says “And why are we always wearing these gloves?”! Hasn’t everyone been wondering that all these years?

The most important part of An Extremely Goofy Movie is its heart.  The relationship between Goofy and Max is one I think most families will be able to relate too and perhaps have some discussions about communication and accepting each other’s differences.  Movies don’t have to be perfect to be worth a watch, and An Extremely Goofy Movie is a film I’d certainly like to watch with my family at the beginning of the school year.

Pirate Fairy: A Review

pirate fairy5In 2014 20 films were submitted to the Oscars for consideration.  Of that 20 I have seen 17 (including the film reviewing right now).  Of the remaining 3, one should be coming up in the next week or so and two I have found impossible to find (Cheating and Giovanni’s Island. If anyone knows a way clue me in!).  Three I am not reviewing on this site because they are garbage and I try to only review movies I have at least one positive thing to say about aside from the Disney Canon which I reviewed all of them.  If people really want me too review them let me know.  The three garbage films are Nut Job, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return and The Hero of Color City.  If you want to read a review tearing apart three movies I will do it but only if by request (this is a hobby after all, so it should be something I enjoy). 🙂

But today I get to review the 6th installment in the Tinker bell series produced by Disney Toons, the mostly direct to video wing of Walt Disney. My blogging friend over at Animatedkid is reviewing the entire Disney Toons Canon (bless his heart…). The movies are terrible but his reviews are great so check it out.  The Tinker bell movies may seem like masterpieces by the time he gets to them!

I’m actually excited to talk about this movie because the entire Tinker Bell series are way better than you might at first think. They are pretty well animated, have decent stories and good voice performances.  Are they Oscar worthy?  No but they really are  entertaining, well made movies.

And I’d say The Pirate Fairy is the best of the series I have seen.  It’s a cute little  story which I think girls will love.

pirate fairy2The story for The Pirate Fairy is centered around a fairy named Zarina (voiced by Christina Hendricks of Madmen fame).  She is a curious fairy and is easily bored doing her job as a dust-keeper (in the Fairy world all the pixies have distinct roles like Animal Keeper, Spring Fairy etc).

The Dust Keepers make pixie dust for all the other pixies to use and they have an assembly line that follows time tested methods for making yellow dust that is magic out of concentrated blue stones.

dust keeper homeZarina wants to know why they do things the way they do and she begins experimenting with different combinations of dust causing different reactions.  Unfortunately one of those reactions causes a kind of explosion and Zarina is forbidden from being a dust keeper.

After Pixie Hollow celebrates the seasons, Zarina runs away and takes the blue dust with her. Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman), Silvermist (Lucy Liu), Iridessa (Raven-Symone), Rosetta (Megan Hilty), Fawn (Angela Bartys) and Vidia (Pamela Adion) go after her . It’s a fun collection of girls and personalities- kind of like the fairy world Avengers ;).

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When they find Zarina it turns out she has become a pirate (captain no less) on a ship with James Hook (voiced by Tom Hiddleston!). He is of course up to no good!

pirate fairy9The rest of the movie is a back and forth between the girls, Hook and the pirates.  Eventually Zarina realizes Hook is just using her to get the pixie dust so his ship will be able to fly. The girls have to defeat Hook, rescue Zarina and get back the blue stones.

pirate fairy4So yes The Pirate Fairy doesn’t reinvent the wheel but there are a lots of little winks to the original Peter Pan movie like showing the origin of the clock in the crocodile or how Hook met Mr Smee.  The girls have fun personalities and Zarina is very likable.  Hiddleston hams it up as Hook and overall it’s not a bad watch. It’s not quite special enough to be worthy of a B but still a strong recommendation especially for the target audience.

I think girls 5 and under will love it and it has a nice message about being curious, smart and valuing everyone’s unique gifts.

The animation is pretty good with the pixie dust sparkling all over the ship and characters.  As I said the voicework is good and Joel McNeely does a great job with the music.

If you have a young girl I think they will really enjoy The Pirate Fairy. For what it is trying to be it does it very well.

Overall Grade- C+  (Not every movie has to be a masterpiece for me to heartily recommend it).

Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue: A Review


I’ve been trying to get through the 2014 animated releases and I’m not going to post reviews on all of them (Sorry Nut Job and Legend’s of Oz aren’t worth my time) but occasionally I will.  Tonight I watched Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue.

This is a sequel to 2013’s Planes which didn’t get very good reviews but did well at the box office.  Both films were spin offs from the Pixar Cars films but are done by the Disney Toons Studio and I enjoyed both.  They aren’t masterpieces but I thought they were fun.  The sequel Fire and Rescue is actually better than the original.

The key to the Cars or Planes movies is accepting the world upfront because it is incredibly silly.  The idea of a world completely of mechanical items like cars and planes is a stretch and it does not hold up to any kind of thoughtful analysis.  For example, why are there no robots?  If a world can somehow procreate planes, cars and trains why not robots?  They have televisions?  Also we know there is death in the car/plane world because the old Paul Newman car died in the first Cars film but if a car is given a new engine, and retooled like a hot-rod is it somehow resurrected or does it have an entirely new personality?  See I’m already down the rabbit hole on this one…

So you have to make a logical leap and just go with the world presented.  Some people can’t do that but for whatever reason I can.  The same is true for the much maligned Cars 2.  The idea of cars being secret agents is so strange but in a world with only cars they probably would need secret agent cars. There probably would be car crime unless it is a world of only peace loving cars and planes.

Again, digging too deep on this one!   It’s just a world of cars and planes for kids that like cars and planes.  That’s it. So in this sequel Dusty has become a star on the racing circuit but at the outset his ‘gear box’ is giving him grief and unfortunately his gear box is no longer in production (another weird part of this world.  Who decides what cars are worthy of life saving organs and others are not…) so he can no longer race.


I love it in animated movies when characters fly and the flying sequences in this film are gorgeous.  It really has a sense of scope and majesty.  The scenery is beautiful although later it appeared to be a combination of Yellowstone and Yosemite but I guess in their made up world that can happen?

So Dusty causes a fire in the airport wing that threatens to close down their Corn Festival (I guess they need corn to turn into ethenol?) if they do not get a firefighter plane on site soon, so Dusty gets sent to the National Park to learn how to fight fires.

This again is beautifully drawn and felt like a national park.  The scenes of the firefighting training and the characters were a lot of fun.


There’s a helicopter named the Blade Ranger who is a former celebrity TV star that had to settle for fighting fires (isn’t that similar to the Paul Newman car?) and there is Dipper who falls in love with Dusty.  Again, best not to overthink that one. PLANES FIRE & RESCUEThere’s a fire that is encroaching upon a new lodge and the evil Cadillac car doesn’t want to evacuate and miss his grand opening (another greedy corporate villain but I didn’t mind it because he’s not in that much of the movie).

PLANES FIRE & RESCUEDusty is conflicted with his excitement over learning to fight fires and his love for racing that has just been taken from him.  The helicopter Blade Ranger can relate to that feeling and they have some nice dialogue together.


All the voice performances are pretty good with Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris and more.  And the music is very good with a score by Mark Mancina with songs from Brad Paisley (another carry-over from Cars).

But mostly the movie works pretty well because it jumps from one flying sequence to another.  They keep the action going and there is more than one fire which are all drawn quite vividly.  There isn’t many moments when you stop and say ‘wait a minute.  How would that work?’ and certainly a kid won’t worry about such things.  They will just enjoy a story about cars and planes zooming in and out of canyons and putting out fires.

This is kind of like my review of God’s Not Dead.  If you read my description of this movie and it sounds like you will hate it than you will probably hate it but if it doesn’t sound that bad than you will probably enjoy it.  It has good voice work, great flying sequences, beautiful animation of fire and non-fire settings and a briskly paced story.  I think boys will particularly enjoy it.

Of course it has problems and it is not a top tier Disney film but I don’t think it is really trying to be.  Within the limitations of the world they were given I think it is about as a good a movie as could be made.  I had a fine time watching it.

Overall Grade- C+