The Rise of the Guardians, A Movie and DVD review

A few ideas have been tossed out from the book version to make Rise of the Guardians work, and it shows.

B00947N6D8.01.LZZZZZZZThe Rise of the Guardians (RotG) is an interesting legends to lore tale that turns characters like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny to superheroes. It’s not like Marvel Comic’s Avengers, but rather a stripped down version of X-Men. The CGI and cinematography are wonderful to behold, especially in high definition, but the story is all too familiar. It’s like watching a re-imagining of Peter Pan.

Jack Frost replaces the titular character of Pan, and Pitch Black aka the Boogeyman (or Nightmare King) is Hook. They have a relationship which can get forged if the two decide to mutually work together. While one story deals with eternal youth and all the irresponsibilities it can represent, the other looks at accepting the consequences of age and developing wisdom. These themes are loosely explored in RotG but the emphasis is on Frost and how well he can work in a team environment.

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Monsters vs Aliens, A Movie Review

As an action/comedy, all the elements required to make Monsters vs Aliens hilarious is here. But young children will not necessarily get all the jokes.

Monsters-vs-aliens-posterWatch out Shrek! Dreamworks’ Monsters vs Aliens is more than just another franchise in the making. It has now arrived on the boob tube and where the movie fits in is with a blu-ray/dvd video release that delivers a bunch of extra content. The upgrade to the higher-resolution format is worthwhile, and the 3D version on the smaller screen is just as good as the big-screen presentation. And in a combo set, the DVD has extras likes deleted scenes whereas the Blu-ray has an animated extra, B.O.B.’s Big Break in 3D.

While this film does not compare to PIXAR’s movies for depth or meaning, it does keep up with recent 3D trends. The animated short, Monsters vs. Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots became available first on the Nintendo 3DS first, and, of course in 3D, natch! The visuals in both products are very eye popping, and the visual experience is more enjoyable than grating. And the movie experience is a wonderful tribute to the B-movies of yesteryear with a dash of dyslexia mixed in. That is, sci-fi connoisseurs will find plenty of pop culture references of even some current films of the past century to snicker at, but as for Godzilla—he’s a fluffy bug!

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PIXAR’s Brave New Worlds

Brave is not very suitable to children who can get easily frightened and PG-13 rating is far more appropriate than its current one.

Brave_PosterAt the heart of PIXAR’s CGI film, Brave, is a look at the ties that bind and the threads that get broken along the way. This medieval parable can easily be retold within any cultural backdrop and that can make for a universally understood movie.

In this film, the Scottish setting is appropriate. The importance of bringing clans together does get noticed as the tale progresses and some viewers can easily shout, “Braveheart!” along the way. But this movie is hardly original. PIXAR may have taken a few ideas from an older product, namely Disney’s Brother Bear, and redesigned it for a newer generation. The concept of brotherhood is important, but this time the focus is on sisterhood, and the bonds that keeps families together.

This movie has the potential to play up some of Scotland’s mystique, and sadly it does not. Should the producers have gone further, a fanciful look into the mysticism of the Celtic pride and superstition could have made for a satisfying watch. MacBeth and Shakespeare must be feeling ashamed by now. This movie is hardly Arthurian in style either. With this film, the struggle comes from one strong-willed teenage redhead who is not willing to be a Juliet to all the Romeos who are brought to her attention.

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The Great Ghost Rescue, A Movie Review

Despite the hiccups that The Great Ghost Rescue has for pace, this product can be an enjoyable light-hearted Halloween treat for the entire family.

The Great Ghost RescueHumphrey was once an ordinary boy with an ordinary life. Well, that is, until he died—quite by accident, really. But just do not tell his best friend, Barnabas, that. His death literally sets in motion The Great Ghost Rescue, a tongue-in-cheek horror comedy from the UK about dislocated spirits looking for a new home.

This movie made a quiet releaseir?t=wiupgeatthmo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B005BO5OX8 on this side of the pond with very little fanfare during a Halloween season. Also, this film is by no means a faithful adaptation of Eva Ibbotson’s original novelir?t=wiupgeatthmo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=0525467696 of the same name, published 1975. And the message it makes about how one particular family can stay strong during a moment of crisis cannot go unnoticed.

While children may not get all of the jokes, older audiences can easily chuckle at the hilarious sight gags and crazy societal dysfunction going on. This production is a blend of the humour from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the grisly silliness from The Addams Family. Even though the laughs are cheap and the acting over the top, this film can be enjoyed when everyone is sharing that same sugar rush after trick or treating.

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How to Keep on Selling How to Train Your Dragon Beyond its Source Material.

Both the novels and animated series in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise can be enjoyed as its own separate entities.

How to Train your Dragon PosterDreamworks has a solid product with How to Train Your Dragon. Loosely based on the novel of the same name by Cressida Cowell, this movie version makes for a refreshing take in dragon folklore. With allusions to the tales of yore, the cartoony caricature driven CGI world created here does more than stir the imagination. It harkens to a potential saga in the making. With more books in this series, there is potential to adapt the later novels. And the altered storyline is something that writer Chris Sanders is not too worried about.

This veteran in the animation scene is better known for his work in the Lilo & Stitch series, and he repeats his winning formula for Dreamworks. If one looks carefully, Toothless the dragon looks a bit like the alien Stitch.

And instead of a girl meeting an extraterrestrial, the tale takes a spin in a world of fantasy where a young boy, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) encounters a dragon. His Viking village is at war with the entire dragon race and in order to train the next generation to fight against them, Hiccup goes to school. With this film, what he does is play hookey instead. Little do his classmates know, he is rehabilitating a serpentine beast behind everyone’s back. But it’s a question of who is training who, and those moments are particularly engaging. Just like Lilo and Stitch, there are a few adorable moments as the two bond.

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