With Shawn Levy at the helm, you get a general crowd-pleaser, but a crowd-pleaser that doesn't realize the heights in which it can soar. Steve Carell and Tina Fey play their performances without flinching, but with a hint of holding back, like they're being kind, polite guests to the director, not really wanting to impose better ideas. This is a film that's worth it, but if captianed solely by it's leads, it would've rose to greatness.
A film that capitalizes on the independent ideas of the comic book world, even if it feels too cool for it's own good at times. The direction is pitch perfect and it's perfomances follow the same direction, giving us the greatest perfomance from Nicholas Cage we've ever seen. Between the humor and the action, it's worth the watch, especially to see McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) as a villain, in which he's fully capable of playing.
By the way, Hit-Girl's swearing feels tacked on no matter who you talk to. There, I said it. Let's move on.
The acting and occasionally humorous moment can't rise it's unoriginal plot line and lackluster attempts to place itself in the ranks of other stylized action films. However, if you 're a fifteen year-old boy, it'll be the greatest thing you ever see. That is, until you get older and witness that cinema has more and better to offer.
It wasn?t long after Pixar smacked us in the face with the wonderful Toy Story that other film companies stood up to take notice. The little animation company that could known as DreamWorks, has for quite some time been nipping at the heels of the Pixar dynasty, but it wasn?t until a couple of sleeper hits and the reinvention of 3-D that they launched themselves into the ranks of the big guns. Always being the class clown of computer animation, DreamWorks capitalized on the emotion behind the plot and they stamped their name in the territory of Pixar?s juggling act of humor and drama. In the same vein of accomplishment, consider How To Train Your Dragon the magnum opus of non-Pixar films.
Hiccup remains in the awkward place many of us find ourselves in, that being of wanting greatness, but not having the gifting to actually be great in the area we so desperately want to excel in. With each attempt to slay a dragon, Hiccup causes more trouble than what would?ve happened if he left well enough alone. His latest attempt actually captures himself a Nightfury, a species of dragon that no one yet in his village has caught. When he goes to find it, he learns that he doesn?t have what it takes to go through with actually killing a dragon. So, with the Nightfury he affectionately names Toothless trapped due to a limp wing, he learns the truth about dragons in which his secret leads him to excel in his dragon slaying training courses. It?s not long before his secret is revealed, causing uproar in the village that only leads to disaster for all persons involved.
Given that the boy-befriends-beast storyline has been done multiple times, the script does well at holding it?s own, without taking too many unnecessary risks that would deviate from the plot and ultimately would?ve been a mistake. It?s focus is more on than emotion and character arc, rather than looking for every opportunity to crack an extraneous, sophomoric joke for cheap laughs. It shows confidence in its material, especially being that this is almost uncharted territory for our little DreamWorks. The voice talent only lends itself more to what is already practically flawless. Jay Baruchel and the rest of the cast, most of them being current players in many of America?s comedic film adventures, adds to the lush character and scenery animation. Gerard Butler, who gives us the closest performance to his character in 300, and Craig Ferguson let their cautions flow with the wind and give some of my favorite moments, Scottish accents and all.
A film of sheer excellence, How To Train Your Dragon is the film you wouldn?t expect much from, but may be one of the highlights of the year so far.
The mythical, modern fairy-tale world of ?chick flicks? is one of repetition and formulaic plotline that unless a gem, usually in the form of a quirky, indie film, comes along you?ve seen it without seeing it. Most of them follow the career woman who meets the most unkempt and jerkish man they?ve ever met and by some, pay attention to the speech marks, ?unforeseeable circumstance? the two are forced to embark on a journey in which they are stuck together and you can pretty much count the minutes until career woman lets her guard down and throws caution to the wind. Certain aspects may be changed to make it feel different, but it?s all the same. The question is; is it the racy ?chick flick? or adorable ?chick flick?? Many come and go, some of them acceptable, some of them should be gone with their bad selves. To my recent memory, not many have done much to shake up the system and try something new and this film is no exception.
Sophie is a writer on honeymoon in Italy with her fiancÚ Victor, but when Victor?s idea of the trip becomes more about furthering his knowledge and experience to add to his new restaurant, Sophie wanders until she falls head first into a journey that leads her to helping an old woman named Claire to find her old teenage flame, Lorenzo. As they travel across country, Claire?s grandson Charlie completely disagreeing with the venture but still tagging along, Sophie?s eyes slowly opens to the experience that she?s vicariously lives out through Claire.
The acting is capable. The idea is intriguing. The scenery is amazing, practically smacking you in the face like a renegade sepia-toned photograph and being set in Italy and surrounding area, you?ll want Olive Garden as you leave the theater. (I want chicken alfredo just thinking about it.) These aspects keep the film from bombing completely, but it?s lack of original ideas, corny dialogue and consistent comparisons to Romeo and Juliet keep it from passing beyond any of its peer. Amanda Seyfried holds her own, but she could be mistaken for only being there for the free food. Vanessa Redgrave as Claire and Gael Garcia Bernal as Victor may be the standout performances and Christopher Egan, who apparently is actually from English roots even though you wouldn?t be able to tell from his accent, plays his part in a way that makes me want to jump through the screen and shake him by the shirt. Whether, he purposed that or that?s his normal demeanor could still be up for debate.
In summation, it?s mediocre. Not worth mentioning in conversation, but not mind-numbingly awful either. A great example of just barely passable, lukewarm cinema that is easy to stomach more than others.