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Movies

Lightning Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast in 3D

We all know the movie, especially if you have daughters (or were a kid when it first came out, admit it boys).  So I won’t bore you with a description of it, but I’m going to talk about the 3D conversion.  Honestly, it’s pretty useless, to me.  There were a few scenes where it looked cool, but not worth an extra three bucks.  Thankfully, we saw it at the AMC for an afternoon show, so we didn’t pay huge money…well, any more than usual for a movie.

There IS a new Tangled short in front of it, the wedding.  Which is mostly a slapstick bit for Maximus (the horse) and Pascal (the chameleon), and was funny enough.  Also worth a discounted matinee showing.

One thing that DID interest me was that there would be a re-release of Finding Nemo in 3D this summer…that’s one of my favorites, and I’d love to see that underwater world in 3D.  I would think a CGI animated movie would look better when converted, but we’ll see.

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Featured Review

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Sequels 101

I saw Kung Fu Panda 2 this weekend with the kids at the Movieland 8, and we enjoyed it immensely.  Even my 3 year old sat through most of it with rapt attention, except for the times when I let her little popcorn tray get empty. ;)  Kung Fu Panda 2 is an excellent example of a sequel – something I’ve thought a lot about if you’ve been reading along here.  Here’s a few things I thought Kung Fu Panda 2 did that should be an example to future sequel makers:

  • DO introduce a new character or two to shake things up…but don’t overdo it.  When I say character, I mean a main character.  KFP2 had a new, interesting villain and a couple of new masters to team up with.  It did not overshadow the core returning characters, however.
  • DO NOT undo or ignore the previous movie.  I truly hate when a movie takes a character that had finally achieved their goal, won the day, got the girl, settled down for a long life…and uproots them and destroys it all for the sake of not having to think up a new idea.  Many movies (especially animated ones) are set up well for sequels on purpose, which is fine.  But if the movie was not set up for it, you’d better make sure you have a good reason for these characters to go back at it.  I still hate Men In Black 2 for spending a whole subplot on getting Tommy Lee Jones back when the movie would’ve been fine following Will Smith and a new partner.
  • DO show that character growth can happen off-camera.  Unless your movie starts minutes after the previous entry in the series (Quantum of Solace style), time has passed.  Po and the Furious Five had obviously learned to work well together and had a true kinship now.  It really bugs me when a character that seemed to grow in a previous film (or episode of a TV show) is the same lackwit nutjub he was in the previous installment when the sequel rolls around.
  • DO NOT be a Disney direct to DVD sequel.  Seriously, not many of these are good.  If I see a direct to DVD Tangled 2 I will be kicking Mickey’s doors down to beat the snot out of  ’em.

Got any other sequel suggestions?  Just avoid them altogether?  Comment away!

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Featured Media

Movieline’s 10 Best Celeb Voiceovers in Animated Films

I saw this linked from IMDB today, and had to see who they had picked.  I don’t disagree with most of the choices, though my memories of things like Lady and the Tramp are kind of vague.  That is, until, I read some of the comments and started thinking about the names mentioned there.  There are a lot of choices here, some you may not have even realized, and definitely some that could make a case to be on the list.  In no particular order:

  • I prefer Eddie Murphy as Mu Shu in Mulan
  • Ellen DeGeneres as Dory in Finding Nemo.  Obviously a comedian is going to be able to handle the humorous aspects, but I was impressed more with her voice acting during the scene after she is apart from Marlin and before bumping into Nemo.
  • Peter O’Toole in Ratatouille.  Just close your eyes and listen.  The shift from vicious, jaded food critic to friend at the end is subtle, and O’Toole pulls it off oh so well.
  • Steve Carell in Despicable Me.  One of the few either on my list or Movieline’s that actually did a ‘voice’, affecting a sort of Eastern European-ish accent that just works for Gru.  Very expressive, making great use of Carell’s comic timing, and showing good heart as well.

There are other movies and famous voice acting roles that could fit on here, such as Mandy Moore and Donna Murphy (who may not be famous enough for the list) from Tangled, Ed Asner or Christopher Plummer in Up, and Tina Fey in Ponyo and Megamind.  Actually, speaking of Megamind, I’d like to give a special shoutout to Will Ferrell, he did a fantastic job, and I normally dislike him.  Easy to forget it is him.

So who else deserves a look at the list?  Any you vehemently disagree with?  Let me know!

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Featured Review

Lightning Movie Review – Tangled

We took the kids to see Tangled this weekend, and Mattie in particular LOVED IT.  As in, during the moving saying ‘Mommy I WUV DIS MOVIE!’, and having to come over and sit on my lap so she could tell me the same thing directly.  Okay, and get direct access to more popcorn.  I thought it was great, better than I expected.  The horse (Maximus) is hilarious, the action scenes are good, and the villainess dies in classic Disney fashion.

If you have a princess-obsessed daughter, you’ve probably already seen it.  Even without that, it’s still worth it.