Posts Tagged ‘kids’

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#66: The Princess and the Frog

December 20, 2009

2004: A little movie called Home on the Range was released and managed to not only flop at the box office but end all traditional 2D animation coming from Disney’s doors… until now!

So what’s it about?: A New Orleans girl is working hard to start her own restaurant when she meets a talking frog.  Cue ensuing chaos!

The Good: Oh Disney, it’s good to have you back!  For years we’ve had to be content with the Meet the Robinsons and Bolts of the past five years, and even went so far as just relying on Pixar for our yearly Disney, but no more!  This film is every bit as charming and smart and fun-filled as the 90s were.  Yeah, okay, it’s no Beauty and the Beast (despite many similarities, especially between Belle and Tiana) or The Lion King, but it’s right up there with Pocahontas and The Little Mermaid.  It’s just an outrageously fun ride that the whole family can go on and hopefully will lead to more films just like it.

The Bad: Okay, there are a couple bothering plot holes in it (though maybe I was just so overjoyed with seeing a classic traditional animated film I missed something).  And the music is more 70s Disney memorable than 90s Disney magical, though undeniably New Orleans.

The Verdict: Go see it.  Please.  So that it may make lots of money and Disney can realize they need to make more movies like this in the future.

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#64: Bolt

December 20, 2009

Well, in probably the best year as a whole for animated movies of the decade, I decided to take a return trip to the dark ages of 2008 (oh Wall*E, how much better you would have enjoyed 2009).

So what’s it about?: A TV superdog thinks he’s a real superdog, and goes on a mission to rescue his person when they are seperated after filming a cliff-hanger.  With the help of his fellow talking animal friends, chaos ensues all the way to Hollywood.

The Good: It’s cute.  And, while not a fantastic family film, it’s still good enough to entertain the whole family and maintain my theory that kid movies don’t have to be stupid to please them.  And it has some classic moments.

The Bad: You have to listen to Miley Cyrus’s voice for a good third of the film, and that’s enough to drive some people over the edge.  And sadly it gets a little too sappy at times.

The Verdict: A great movie to rent with the kids a good enough addition to the okay collection of Disney 3D animated movies.  But not anything worth writing home about.

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#48: Fantastic Mr. Fox

November 17, 2009

So what’s it about?: A family of foxes move in to a new tree, piss off the neighbors and ensue further chaos.

The Good: OMG, coolest stop motion animation movie ever, and this is coming from a huge fan of Wallace & Gromit shorts.  But the stop-motion in Fox blew any previous attempts out of the water.  It is just so cool.  And if you’re a Wes Anderson film, well, he does not disappoint.  In fact, if Wallace & Gromit grew hair and remade The Royal Tenenbaums it would be this movie.  And the story is not too shabby itself, though a bit all over the place.

The Bad: Um… while I know I would have loved this movie as a child, I also read Jane EyreLittle Women and a biography of William Shakespeare all before my eleventh birthday, so I’m not really a good indicator of what kids like.  But I can tell you that most children will probably get bored.  It’s just a really smart, witty movie that might go unappreciated among the younger audience members, but, hey, in a era of fart jokes and bratty ingenues, this may be just the film children need!

The Verdict: A must see for any fan of Wes Anderson, cool animation, and just fun-to-watch films!

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#34: The Dark Crystal

October 28, 2009

thedarkcrystalThe 80s came out with some awesome family films, from The Labyrinth to The Neverending Story to The Goonies.  And since I’m a huge fan of those, I figured I might as well see the one that got away: The Dark Crystal.

So what’s it about?: In a land of a bunch of weird species with obscure names, a boy-like creature must return a crystal shard to the Dark Crystal to fulfill a prophecy and bring peace.  As he journeys through puppet land, chaos ensues.

The Good: As you may have been able to tell from my review of Where the Wild Things Are I’m a huge fan of puppetry.  Frankly, it’s really cool and in my opinion better than CGI (unless, of course, combined with CGI, which equals awesome).  And this film is made ENTIRELY of puppets.  Like 100% puppets.  Very, very cool.

The Bad: The plot is a jumbled mess.  I could only understand about half what was going on and the other half was just plain annoying.  I mean seriously, you only need to say a line once to get the point across.  And it played incredibly slow.  I can’t even imagine this being entertaining to the children it was intended for.  It just lacked the charm and intelligence found in the movies arriving later in the decade.

The Verdict: Unless you grew up with this film, don’t bother watching it now.

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#30: Where the Wild Things Are

October 19, 2009

wherethewildthingsareI’ve been looking forward to seeing this film since forever, so Saturday afternoon I head over to the fabulous Universal CityWalk and saw this baby in the IMAX.

So what’s it about?: Max is out of control but has a great imagination.  He finds himself in a world of Wild Things where he is king and where chaos ensues.

The Good: This film looks really cool.  The combination of good old-fashioned puppetry and CGI results in a very real looking Wild Thing.  And some of the sets are just jaw droppingly gorgeous!  And the adaptation is actually pretty good considering the writers had hardly any material to work with.  The acting is spot on, the situations are all highly realistic.  When they aren’t in the land of the Wild Things they might as well be shooting a documentary that’s how real it is.  And this is just a good film beginning to end.  And the soundtrack is so fun, so props to Karen O.

The Bad: Okay, not quite beginning to end.  About halfway through the film when the awesomeness of the Wild Things began to wear off, the movie began to drift around and lose the path.  And it became a little dull.  Thankfully it picked up in the end, but I couldn’t help but thinking that if this had been a short film it could have been PERFECT.

The Verdict: Yeah, despite a PG rating, this is not a kids film (but, hey, neither is Good Night, and Good Luck and that has a PG rating as well).  It’s long, it’s dark, it’s painfully realistic at times, and the comedy is, well, lacking.  But it’s a good film nonetheless.  Just be warned, if never quite crosses the line into being a great film.

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#26: Hatching Pete

October 19, 2009

hatchingpeteOkay, okay, I’ll admit it.  I have a total soft spot for Disney Channel Original Movies.  Yeah, most of them are really bad, but every once in a while you get a gem of cheesy, feel-good perfection.

So what’s it about?: Shy wallflower does a favor for a friend and secretly takes over the job of the school mascot.  Turns out he’s really good at it, but he can’t give away his real identity.  Chaos ensues.

The Good: This movie actually has some genuine laughs and genuine “Oh crap!” moments.

The Bad: I could go on about an overused “Be Yourself!” plot, the annoying over-the-top adult characters, the typical Disney ending, but hands down the worst thing in the movie was Mitchel Musso’s hair.  Jason Dolley can pull off the long hair but you seriously looked like a girl.  CUT IT!

The Verdict: Your typical DCOM.  If you like the others, you’ll like this one.

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#24: One Hundred and One Dalmatians

October 16, 2009

101dalmationsWhat better to follow Sleeping Beauty then the movie that actually followed Sleeping Beauty!

So what’s it about?: Two dogs have a lot of puppies and it turns out dalmatians make really great coats.  Chaos ensues.

The Good: This is the film that reinvented animation and while it’s not as stunning as the previous ink films, it’s still artistic and leagues better than most of the 3-D stuff of today.  And the film is more mystery than romance, which is really cool.

The Bad: Um… okay, something I will never understand is all the fuss about Cruella de Vil.  One, besides her being a old schoolmate of Anita, you never really even know why she’s there in the first place.  Second, for a Disney villain, she’s definitely not the scariest nor the best.

The Verdict: Definitely a ground-breaking Disney flick in more ways than one and a good film on its own.  And definitely a great children’s film still today (even with all the smoking).

And as a side note, as anybody ever noticed how this is the EXACT SAME movie as The Aristocats?  WTH?