Category Archives: Film

Puss In Boots – Review (DVD)

Miss it once, catch it second time around

Dreamworks Animation is known for many things. One is its ever popular Shrek series. When I heard the character, Puss In Boots, was getting his own movie, I rolled my eyes like everyone else not expecting much. But the reviews were generally positive and I thought I would try it out.

I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

The story goes like this: Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas, who else?) is seeking after the fabled golden eggs. In the chase, he runs into an old friend, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who manages, with the help of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to convince him to team up again to find the eggs. But first they must get the beans from the bandits Jack and Jill. (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris, respectively) Can they gain the beans and the eggs?

Now, I came in with a little bit of skepticism. Could the fan-favorite cat that stole everyone’s heart really stand on his own two boots? (See what I did there. Ohohoho) But this movie has a lot of charm. The humor is kept from the Shrek but it’s not the focus. Instead, we have a question of honor and brotherhood and doing the right thing that keeps the story rooted. The cast is sparkling, with the only oddball being Galifianakis but even he has a good time, and the visual effects are great. I’d recommend a rent and if you find yourself enjoying it go ahead and buy it.

Oh and uh…have a laugh:

Cars 2 vs Kung Fu Panda 2

So, everyone knows what season it is right now? Many people are confused now days with the weather and all but right now, we are in an important season.

Awards season!

Yes this is when our critically acclaimed movies/tv shows/music get credit where credit is due.  And while the debates range on about the necessity about these awards shows, I noticed one thing…

No Pixar in the Animated Film awards.

WHAT?! The company that gave us Toy Story and Wall*E isn’t on the list?! Why?

And then to my surprise, I found that BOTH of DreamWorks Animation films for the year, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots were both nominated in both the Academy Awards and the Oscars. Then I also remembered what Pixar’s movie was for the year.

Cars 2. The critically reviled sequel to Cars.

But while it has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 39%, Kung Fu Panda 2 however gets a rating of 80%. Why is this? Having not seen ether movies in theaters, I decided to rent both and see for myself.

Cars 2: The plot is this. A World Grand Prix is being hosted by a car that has developed a clean alternate fuel source. Lightning McQueen joins after getting support from Mater and takes him along. Hilarity Ensues and Mater is mistaken as a deep undercover American spy by an the Britian spies (an old vet and the techy newbie). Can Mater stop a diabolical plot crafted by the “lemons” of the world?

Kung Fu Panda 2: The plot is this. An evil peacock is stealing metal for a nefarious purpose. That purpose is revealed to be that he’s making cannons in order to take overChina by killing all those who would oppose him, namely kung fu warriors. And he seems to have ties to our lovable Dragon Warrior. CanPo stop him in time?

What’s similar between the two: Both are MUCH darker than their predecessors. Both have off screen deaths featured. (Cars 2 even begins with a car crushed into a cube! And it’s somehow still rated G.) And both have an obivious Ink Suit Actor, ie animated character based off of the actor playing it, as a protagonist. This is Cars 2’s determent, as Larry the Cable Guy just rubs people outside of the kids and the rednecks the wrong way. Kung Fu Panda 2’s Po however, while based off of Jack Black, still seems like he’s his own character and there were only two moments where Jack Black’s…Jack-Blackiness comes off as awkward. Also both are world builders. Cars 2 creates a world of vehicles for us to explore. Kung Fu Panda 2 introduces us to new masters and new cities.

Why one works and the other doesn’t: Kung Fu Panda 2 actually tied up lose ends from the previous movie and still left the groundwork ready for another movie. (And indeed, DreamWorks is planning on SIX movies for this franchise.) Cars was very self-contained though and it sequel didn’t prove well in this movie. I think part of that has to work with the “Be Yourself” message, which was done a lot better in (ironically) Kung Fu Panda. Basically, Mater shouldn’t change at all but it comes off horrible in the fact that he had no knowledge of other cultures. Isn’t that one of the things we Americans are accused of? And at the end of the movie, there is no change in the Status Quo. Spoilers! Mater could have used his skills of identifying parts and makes and models of cars to good use as an intelligence informant to the spies but noooo. He has to stay at home, where his hillbilly antics are welcome. Kung Fu Panda 2 has better moral that what happened to you before doesn’t make you who you are now. Instead it is what you choose to be now, that makes the difference. Not to mention a noticeable change inPo and Spoiler! the reveal that there are more pandas.

So…do I hope Kung Fu Panda 2 does well in the Oscars? Yes. Do I hope Pixar’s next film Brave makes up for Cars 2? Yes. Now if you’ll excuse me…I have a movie to re-watch!

Beauty and the Beast IN 3D! Review

Everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for Disney. Most of us were raised on the diet of Mickey and Pixar. Beauty and the Beast is not one of my personal favorites, even though Belle is probably the Princess I most resemble in personality. However, given the opportunity to watch a classic in the theater and give my thoughts on it before anyone else…kinda lured me in.

The 3D, as always, does take some time getting used to. especially a movie like this, where it isn’t made with 3D in mind. So for a while, I was focusing on what was at the foreground. Eventually, my eyes adjusted and allowed myself to observe what needed to be observed. I still caught a lot don’t normally catch, such as the director cameo and the skull-in-Gaston’s-eyes part. The story’s still the same though now, I actually managed to ponder a bit about the plot.

The original story had the Beast still be polite and gentle to the girl. The only grounds in which she refused to love him was because of his ugliness. Well, in this adaptation, the Beast is trapped in a more animal like body. Underneath the rage and hatred lies despair at his coming fate. He is the one most changed by this story and he is changed by love. While this may not always work like that in real life, it does show how simply caring for another can change a person. Ah, the morals that you don’t realize you’re getting when you’re a kid.

So yes, I enjoyed myself. Suddenly, I feel the urge to perform the reprise of Belle.

RIP Howard Ashman, the other half of the musician duo that worked on this film and whom the the movie is dedicated to.