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Posted on 7/08/14 05:58 PM
While the Ice Age franchise continues with a fourth film coming this year, I'm gonna look back at Blue Sky Studio's previous effort, "Rio".
Posted on 1/01/14 10:02 AM
In 2005, when the The Chronicles of Narnia book series still became one of the best-selling novels since the 1950s, Disney adapted the second book into a feature film titled "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. When it was first released in December, it received a critical acclaim from critics and fans approved of it for being faithful to the source material. Despite it's expensive budget, it became a huge hit at the box office with only 745 million worldwide and with that, the production for Prince Caspian began in 2007. Then, on May of 2008, when it was first released, it received positive reviews as well, but not as high as the LWW's score.
As a fan of the books, I was ashamed for not seeing the first Narnia movie in theaters, but seeing as how I now have, I had much anticipation to see this back at 2008. When I saw it with my brother, we apparently enjoyed it and while I prefer The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe to be the best of the film series, I think this is a pretty good adaption of the book that everyone thought to be the worst entry of the series.
Before I would see why I understood all the hatred it had, there are some good things that I liked about the film. The title character of the film, Prince Caspian, played by Ben Barnes, is a fine character in the movie even though he's much older compared to the book. The Pevensie kids are as likable as ever, the Narnia creatures are great, especially Reepicheep, who is a funny comic-relief while serious and even though Aslan appeared near the end of the film, it's great to see him in the dream sequence Lucy had. Now, the villain being turned to a Hispanic ruler may be the reason why this movie received the bashing in the first place, but I actually liked the portrayal. Sure, his accent may have disappointed others, but his motives are solid it started to make me like him.
The storyline, despite a few changes here and there, is true to the spirit and tone of the book while having a much darker & mature tone, which makes it very satisfying. The writing, however, is the strongest part of the story. It maintains the adventure elements from the book. Kudos to the screenwriters who made the script. :) The visuals are great, the scenery is beautiful to look at and the CGI effects on the Narnia creatures are awesome. Aside from it's sluggish pacing (I'm OK with two hours, but I nearly fell asleep), the direction from Andrew Adamson is solid and flows the story really well. The battle sequences are great and the music score from Harry Gregson Williams retains the same themes from the first Narnia film, but it has an epic tone to it.
Overall, Prince Caspian isn't as strong as LWW and I understood the hatred it had, but I personally think this is an underrated sequel to an epic film. Totally recommended to others who haven't seen it yet. I hope you Narnian fans out there won't hate me for saying this. I just think it's that good.
Posted on 12/31/13 06:06 PM
Seriously, why didn't this movie received better than the reception it had? I thought that this was a very underrated Disney flick next to Robin Hood and The Black Cauldron. Sure, it's not in the same depth as the later films including most of the Renaissance films, but it's still a good movie to watch for the whole family. Now that it celebrated it's 50th Anniversary, this is my final review for 2013 before 2014 starts.
It tells the story bout Arthur/Wart, a measly servant knave who dreams of becoming a knight but is barely certain he may act as squire to castle lord Sir Ector's son Kay. Then, the sorcerer Merlin and his grumpy, talking owl Archimedes invite themselves to the castle and move into its dilapidated north tower. Merlin, who can magically access the future, intends to prepare Wart for a grand future, so he gives the squirt dangerous lessons, transforming themselves into animals to learn the mental skills befitting a knight and a ruler.
With that said, there are a lot of good things about this film. The animation is beautiful and it's character animation is decent. The characters are likable and the voice acting is solid. The story has heart and comedy mixed perfectly, the writing is excellent, and there is a great moment where Merlin battles against Madam Mim in their animal forms which made the whole movie worth it. The songs, while not the best work from the Sherman brothers, are tolerable enough to listen to and the music score is solid.
Overall, The Sword in the Stone came this close to becoming a masterpiece, but with all of my heart, as a Disney fan, this is an extremely underrated movie that deserves a lot more recognition than the reception it received. Thumbs up! :)
Posted on 12/31/13 06:04 PM
After Walt Disney died in 1967 right before The Jungle Book was released, they other workers decided to continue making more films without him in honor of his memory. Later, in 1973, after The Aristocats received lukewarm reviews from critics, but found it's audience in 1970, they made an adaptation of a legendary hero who robs the rich and give to the poor known as "Robin Hood".
It tells the story about the title character and others in an anthropomorphism way about Robin Hood and his friend Little John as they attempt to bring the money back to the poor, but they must also bring peace to Nottingham from the evil tyrant Prince John.
Seeing this as a child, is it still a classic that holds up to this day in it's 30th Anniversary? Not exactly, but with all due respect, this is a very entertaining Disney family movie for kids and adults to enjoy. The animation, aside from some recycled bits from Snow White, Jungle Book, & Aristocats in the "Phony King of England" sequence, is very lovely with beautiful backgrounds and solid character animation.
The characters are likable and are helped by a solid voice cast. Brian Bedford as Robin Hood is charming enough and his line-delivery is solid! Phil Harris, the guy who voiced Baloo in The Jungle Book and Thomas O Malley is The Aristocats, is both funny and serious as Little John. Monica Evans is very lovely as Maid Marian and Peter Ustinov did a solid work as the hilarious villain Prince John. The other characters are great and so are the sidekicks especially Pat Buttram as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The music score is nice and while the songs may not be as memorable as the other Disney films, particularly Beauty and the Beast & The Lion King, but they're pleasant enough to listen to. The dialog is hilarious and smart it makes up for the overall episodic plot. There are a lot of great moments including the fight scene after the archery contest and the climax.
Overall, Disney's Robin Hood may not match the same depth as the more superior films, but it's still a fun-filled entertaining family film that everyone will watch again and again for all time. Recommended! :)
Posted on 12/31/13 05:17 PM
Last year, author Suzanne Collins sold her film rights to Lionsgate and with that, they made her first book of a trilogy into a feature film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, etc. Produced on a 78 million budget, it became a huge hit at the box office in it's spring break weekend in 2012, received a critical acclaim from both critics and audiences along with fans of the books. With that, the second entry of a new franchise was in the works.
As a complete fan of the books, I loved the first film. Even though it lacked some of the plot twists and the ending could've used some fixing, it was well-acted from a solid cast that portrayed the characters from the books perfectly, it had some great action sequences aside from some violent ones, it had some great visual scenery (not to mention some cool special effects), and it was well-paced. So, having repeatedly read the second book, I prepared myself to see it with my family two days ago and when we saw it, it really blew me away.
Not only did this sequel exceeded my expectations, but it managed to be much more compelling than the first movie. It has the same thing that made the previous entry so perfect. The same cast of actors did a great job with their roles and the two main leads played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, Katniss and Peeta, had some great chemistry together. Woody Harrelson is still as likable as Haymitch; Donald Sutherland's sinister presence as President Snow really amazed me and Phillip Seymour Hoffman did a good job as Plutarch Heavensbee. The side characters, including Gale Hawthorne, and the new tributes in the 75th Annual Hunger Games are very interesting and the actors including Sam Clafin, Liam Hemsworth, & others.
The storyline is faithful to the book and is also touching and engaging that has some heart in the right spot. The love story is also handled perfectly well and it shows that Peeta and Gale help Katniss instead of pining her love affections unlike in the Twilight series. The writing is very strong and has some humorous bits while the dialog is very amusing. The visual scenery is great, the CGI effects on the orangutans is solid and really scary-looking. The music score from James Newton Howard is much more effective while using the same themes from the first film, but the best part would have to go to the action sequences.
The fight sequences with Katniss and Peeta along with their allies fighting against other tributes who are trying to kill them are of sheer excellence, but the final part where Katniss shoots the arrow with an electric cord tied to it to blow up the Arena is surprisingly epic. Also, the ending is very good, but I won't spoil it to those who haven't seen the movie yet.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an epic sequel to a great movie. It left me totally excited for Mockingjay in two parts in the next two years. With that, I'll be willing to anticipate for those films. Recommended to others and fans of the book trilogy. :)
Posted on 12/31/13 05:07 PM
Having seen the previews for the movie, I've started to read the book it was based on. When I read it, it was very fascinating. It's kind of like a mixture of Harry Potter meets Star Wars (with a little bit of Hunger Games) and has a very complex story. It's characterizations are well-done, the characters are interesting, the action is superb, and the writing is fantastic. So, when I saw this movie, I said to myself, "This isn't so bad after all." But while I do think this is a decent interpretation of the novel, it's also pretty flawed, so before I can get to the good stuff, there are three problems I would like to point out.
1) The pacing. It started out OK in the first ten minutes, but the rest of the movie is very slow. Near the end of the film, it's also a bit rushed despite having a huge set up for a sequel should the movie do well at the box office in a matter of days.
2) The script. To be fair, it does follow the source material from the novel a bit closely, but it left out some of the important details in order to shorten the minute length. Also, it should've had scenes with Ender with his relationships with the other kids including Petra, Bean, and others.
and 3) The lack of characterizations. Aside from focusing on only Ender and his training while also handling all the hard tasks that he's been going through along with Colonel Graff, the side characters a bit undeveloped. I'm not blaming it on the actors, they did a really good job. It's just that they were underwritten quite a bit.
That's it for the flaws and now to the good stuff. The visuals are nice to look at especially the Battleroom scenes. The CGI effects aren't that bad and the action sequences are very entertaining they remind me of a video game inside a stadium, which is a good thing. The storyline, despite it's flawed script, follows the book a bit closely while staying true to the message about the way we might do to protect our people, but only at what the cost to do so. The music score from Steve Jablonsky (the guy who did the music for all three Transformers movies) is very effective and atmospheric.
The best part, however, would have to go to the acting. Aside from what I've said about the side characters not given much to do even though the actors themselves did a very good job, the two actors Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford did a great job as the two characters Ender and Colonel Graff. Asa captured Ender's intelligence and humanity from the book very well and it made me relate to him and while Harrison Ford isn't given much to do other than giving orders, he did a fine job as the gruff colonel.
Overall, Ender's Game isn't a terrific movie that I would recommend to fans of science fiction movies, but aside from the flaws that I've already started, this is a decent and a bit faithful interpretation of the novel from Orson Scott Card. It's worth for at least one ticket, but to fans of the novel will be pleased by how much effort Gavin Hood (director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) had in making a classic 1980s novel come to life on the big screen.
Posted on 12/31/13 05:04 PM
When I saw the trailers, I became very amused and read all five Mortal Instruments books with a sixth book coming next year. Then, as I watched it, it turned out to be a very interesting film. Although, I do understand the critical reception it had due to it's similarities of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight, but I don't think it's as bad as they say it is because what these critics don't know is that "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" is entirely different than those films and much better than Twilight in my opinion (heck, even better than the "Twilight-wannabe" Beautiful Creatures).
Before I can get to the good stuff, I would say that there are some flaws. The story is a lot more engaging than Twilight and Beautiful Creatures and the opening is well-done, but when it comes to young-adult film adaptations, it did left out some of the important stuff that have already caused an outrage to the fans, although they did give a lot of nice detail of the world created by Cassandra Clare. Also, the romance between Jace and Clary is poorly done because it transited some scenes a bit too fast and there wasn't enough chemistry.
With that said, everything else was great. The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful, the scenery is nice to look at, and the special effects are very cool (even the creepy demons look realistic). The music score, aside from a few out of place pop songs, is epic with a lot of atmospheric stuff in it. There are bits of funny moments and the action sequences are entertaining, but the best part would have to go to a decent cast of actors.
Lily Collins is very appealing as Clary and emotes very well with the supporting actors, Jamie Campbell as Jace is very witty, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is very sinister as Valentine Morgenstern. The script is fine with really smart dialog and the direction from Harold Zwart is solid.
Overall, TMI: COB isn't as excellent as the other fantasy films like "The Lord of the Rings", "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Harry Potter", but like I said before, it's a lot better than Twilight and I strongly suggest that anyone, especially those who haven't read the books, can go check it out! It is that good! :)
Posted on 12/02/13 04:28 PM
Having grown up watching Disney, I saw the previews for this upcoming film that was about to be released. So, I went with my sister and my other siblings to see if it would exceed my expectations before the end of Thanksgiving weekend. Later, it did and to my surprise, I've just witnessed a welcoming return to Disney's classic style since the Golden Age and the Renaissance.
Let me point out the positive aspects that made it so darn good. The story is solid; even the writing and dialog is also solid. It brings back the old formula that made many of the Disney classics. It brings back the princess, a handsome guy, the villain, a comical sidekick, and the musical numbers.
The characters are great and I related to them so much. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Glad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, and others did a great job with their voice work. Anna, a princess of Arendelle, is spirited and adventurous which makes her a strong character for the film. Elsa, Anna's sister, seems like a three dimensional villain, but her sympathy to the way she worries about her sister's safety and the way she's afraid of what she is made me felt sorry for her. The heart of the movie, however, is the sister relationship which makes it very touching.
The villain, Hans, is like a Prince Charming at first, but his motives are well-written and that makes him very convincing. The side characters are great. Kristoff does what he can to help Anna and he's a good second main character. The sidekicks are hilarious and a lot of fun. Kristoff's reindeer does have some comical moments and so does Olaf, the snowman, and their moments would never get old.
The animation is beyond incredible. I've never seen such great detail on the snow and how it surrounds Arendelle, which is very unique for a Disney animated feature. The character designs are solid and the look of the Ice Castle in the film is beautiful to look at.
The best part, however, would have to go to the songs including the score. While the song sequences may not be as memorable as Beauty and the Beast and others, they're very catchy and has a lot of energy to it. "For The First Time In Forever", "Let It Go", and others are great and I would hum those tunes until the end of Christmas this year. The music score from Christophe Beck is beautiful & touching that has a lot of emotion to it.
Overall, Disney's Frozen is an epic return to it's Disney Style since the Golden Age and the Renaissance. With all of my heart, this deserves a recommendation and to those out there should go and see it before the holidays start. It's that good. :)
Posted on 11/11/13 04:47 PM
After watching the weakest Shark Tale & Bee Movie, I heard about their newest movie that came out in the same year I saw it before I later saw The Dark Knight which was by far the most excellent movie of the year. When I saw it in late July of 2008, I had pretty low expectations and I was wondering if it would disappoint me. Later, when I walked out of the theater after I saw it, I had a smile on my face and saying to myself, "That was a fun-filled experience I've ever had in a movie theater for years".
That smile that I had explains why I like this movie that much seeing as how Dreamworks Animation did some great films including the first two Shrek films and Over The Hedge and later made other new good films including How To Train Your Dragon and Megamind. I was visually impressed by the stylized 2-D animation sequence in the beginning of the film it reminded me of Samurai Jack, my favorite Cartoon Network TV show. I was also amazed by the film's music from Hans Zimmer and John Powell (The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Madagascar) because it had a sense of emotion, drama, and suspense in all of the action (I'll get to that in a moment).
Anyway, what really surprised me is the beautiful computer animation. Never, and I mean, never have I seen such perfect visuals that resemble a china-esque palace/village and the look of the mountains, the bridge, and river are visually stylized. The best aspect of the animation is the character animation. They were so surreal and very realistic I became so attracted to them. Then, there's the characters and boy were they likable. Some of my favorites are Po, the clumsy fat panda who gave me some laughs, Master Shifu, the intimidating, yet lovable red panda who has suffered from his tragic past, the Furious Five, a group of 5 greatest warriors in the Jade Palace who, although undeveloped, really wowed me with their neatly choreographed kung fu action, Master Oogway, the wise and Yoda-like turtle who was really entertaining, and Tai Lung, a deadly and frightening snow leopard who was by far the most complex non-Disney villain who made me felt sorry for him for not getting what he deserved to be the Dragon Warrior.
The voice acting from a talented great cast fitted the characters quite well. Jack Black did great with his hilarious comedic moments as Po, Dustin Hoffman did excellent as the bad-a** Master Shifu, James Hong did very good as Po's goose father, and the voice actors for the Furious Five including the sexy Angelina Jolie, David Cross, Seth Rogen, the kick-a** Jackie Chan, and the attractive Lucy Liu did a perfect job with their roles, but arguably, I think that Ian McShane and Randall Duk Kim steal the show. Randall gave out his wisest role as the turtle and Ian McShane did great as the deadly snow leopard and his presence was really frightening.
The best aspect of the movie is the story. While it's original and fresh, it suffers from it's flat ending which is the reason why I'm giving this a 9/10. With the ending out of the way, it had some very emotional moments (Master Oogway disappearing and the story of Tai Lung really touched me as did the beautiful music) and some great action moments (with Tai Lung escaping Chor Ghom Prison, Po and Master Shifu trying to get the last dumpling, the showdown between the Furious Five and Tai Lung and the final showdown between Master Shifu, Po and Tai Lung as my favorites).
Overall, Kung Fu Panda may not be a masterpiece, but all-in-all, this movie is so epic with it's tradition to the Chinese culture and became quite a success at the box office upon it's release in 2008. Since a sequel came out a year ago, I think that we'll have a great franchise that we will never forget from such a great animation company. Thumbs up!
Posted on 8/22/13 08:06 AM
When I was 15 years old, I started reading the five Percy Jackson books from Rick Riordan and I think that they're wonderful. They have compelling stories, well-developed characters, witty humor, and excellent action. So, when I heard that 20th Century Fox was gonna make a film version of the first book, I became excited and was anticipated to see it the same day it came out two years ago after my 16th birthday. After I walked out of the theaters, I said to myself, "That was a good experience for me." and I think that this is a very entertaining adaptation of a great book, although there are some flaws that quite ruined this film.
First of all, this movie has an original concept and I liked how the writers decided to add some great Greek mythological references as opposed to the book, but they left out some of the important details from the book including the character ages and the entire storyline itself. The next problem is it's storytelling. It has some exciting moments like the scene in the museum, Medusa's lair, the fight with Hydra in another museum, the underworld, and the climax (even the fight between Percy and Luke was amazing to watch!), but there are some parts that are completely dragged and felt clunky and the scene with the casino would've been given a little bit longer amount of time.
With the flaws aside, everything turned out great. The movie looks incredible and the cinematography and special effects are the epitome excellence. The music from Christophe Beck is rousing and exciting and the dialog is also nice with some hilarious moments including the parts with Gabe talking about the disappearance of Percy on television and Grover's hoofs getting painted with red lip gloss. What stands out the most is the cast. I've know some people said that Percy, Annabeth, and Grover were much older compared to their 12-year old counterparts in the first book, but I think Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, and Alexandra Daddario played their roles with great spirit and enough energy to it. Jack Abel also did great as the villain Luke Castellan. Other actors like Pierce Brosnan as the enjoyable Mr. Brunner/Chiron, Uma Thurman and Rosario Dawson as the seductive Medusa and Persephone, Steve Coogan as a big surprise as Hades, and Sean Bean, although not given much to do, did OK as Zeus.
Overall, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief may not be a masterpiece due to it's flawed storytelling, but it's a wonderful adaptation of a great book and I will continue to read the books in order to see the sequel next year.