Monday, November 26, 2012

Puss'n'Boots by Dreamworks

My kids chose this film to watch Saturday morning, picking it over John Carter, and they both enjoyed it.  Me, I was a bit less impressed.  It took a lot of the tropes from the Shrek films and used them to tell the story of the dashing swordsman, Puss In Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas.  We were treated to the cat's backstory, where it was revealed that he grew up as "brothers" with Humpty Dumpty.  He left Humpty crashed into a bunch of pieces, after the Egg betrayed his trust.  And when Humpty sends his feline thief to attract Puss to his lair, he's all about begging for forgiveness. 

But from there, it's one plot twist after another, as the trio unites to kidnap the goose that lays the golden eggs from that kingdom at the top of that famous beanstalk.  And for me, it was one or two plot twists too many.  I've read reviews that suggest that this is one of Dreamworks' best efforts, but I sort of felt it was little more than an attempt to capitalize on the Shrek franchise a bit more. 

I didn't hate it.  It was good and entertaining, but I think I've come to expect more from Dreamworks.  Like Pixar, they rarely lay an egg (no pun intended).  And recently, I think they've hit some real home runs.

This one was more like a double.  Doubles are good, but they don't score a run on their own, necessarily.  Just my opinion. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Disney Film: Wreck-It Ralph

Finally, I have something to post about, something that comes from me, instead of just being my take on some news or something pointed out on another blog.

I took my boys to see Wreck-It Ralph yesterday.  I can't say I had any burning desire to see it.  It just didn't excite me that much - a big video game bad guy who gets tired of being a bad guy and makes friends with a little girl.  Sounds forced.  Like they looked at the success of the Toy Story franchise, and thought, what can we do that's like THAT?  And came up with lovable video game characters - but then thought they'd give it a little twist and go the other way with the unlovable video game character instead.

And for the first part of the movie, that's exactly what I was thinking.  But, like a lot of stuff seems to go with me, at some point, maybe around the 1/3 finished point, it went from being mild entertainment to actually becoming engaging.  Sucking me in.  I started to like the way Ralph was thinking.  I started to feel sorry for him.  I was rooting for him.  It had me guessing as to what was the truth of the situation he found himself in when he sort of crashed into a racing game called Sugar Rush.  The little girl, Vanillope, voiced by Sarah Silverman, was funny and likable after a rough start, and I found myself laughing and caring about the character.  Ralph's game nemesis, Fix-it Felix, was also funny, and it was interesting to see him come to understanding about Ralph's existence. 

So I ended up liking the movie quite a bit.  No, it didn't quite have the heart of most Pixar releases, but I think it stacked up favorably to their latest, Brave.  But it was a fun, entertaining animated feature and I was glad I saw it.  And for the 10-12 year old set, my boys liked it from the beginning.

The short that preceded it, called Paperman, was also fun, and well done.  It involved a young man and a young woman's encounter over a piece of paper, and then he sees her again, and tries to get her attention by using paper airplanes.  Cute.  Maybe not Pixar-cute, but entertaining.

On another note, we did see a preview for the first of The Hobbit films, to be released in December.  Looks good.  I wanted to see a preview for Les Miserables, but that one was not among these coming attractions.  Both of those are MUST-SEE's for me.