Category Archives: Animated

Brave (2012)

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Pixar's Brave

Brave

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is a skilled archer and the impetuous daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late. — (C) Disney

I must confess I was predisposed to enjoy this movie. Adorable, feisty red-head making her mark in medieval Scotland — what’s not to like? As it turns out, not much. The story is intriguing, the animation is charming, the casting was spot-on.

Some bits were slightly over-the-top silly, like the appalling suitors who come to compete for her hand, but the kids will probably love it. The mix of fantasy & folklore makes for a richer background than some recent animated fare. It is fun, with a message or two. Quite enjoyable.

Since D enjoyed it, too, I can be confident scoring it higher on the Word of Mouth Scale. 4½

UPDATE: The Academy seems to approve of Brave, as well. It is nominated for Animated Feature Film


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 78%; Audience 79%

Despicable Me (2010)

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Despicable Me

When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds their love is profoundly changing him for the better.

This is a movie I have heard a lot about, but (not having kidlings) I had never really planned to watch it. I had expected, though, that on viewing I would find some hidden nods to adults – for instance, as they did in Enchanted – but, other than a slam of Lehman Brothers and a Saturday Night Fever reference, I don’t recall any.*

So, my thoughts…eh. Didn’t do much for me, doesn’t seem like the kind of movie the nephews & nieces would have wanted to watch repeatedly. Yes, I did spend unbearable weeks suffering through Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on a loop. D got his fill of The Lion King

I’m glad it was a free viewing (and I am glad it exposed the fact we were sold a floor model), doubt I’d watch it again. If you have kidlings, though, it would kill a few hours without destroying brain cells – theirs or yours.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood – but I thought it was just OK.

*We bought a new Blu-ray player at Fry’s Electronics Saturday. When we set it up, we found a disc in the drive. It was Despicable Me, clearly marked as “non-inventory demo”, so I’m guessing they sold us a floor model. Not sure whether it was the disc or the player, but the movie froze, jumped, and glitched repeatedly, making viewing less than optimal.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 81%; Audience 81%

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Up (2009)

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Up

By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

This gets a rare 5 of 5 rating for me, as there is something for everyone. Romance, adventure, comedy, drama…all well done and all palatable to young, old, male, female. You’ll remember that my ratings are based not only on the quality of the product, but on the likelihood of my recommending it to my family and friends. A perfect score of 5, therefore, doesn’t mean I think this is a perfect movie – just that I believe it will appeal to most everyone I know.

In tracking down the Rotten Tomatoes rating, I found this review by Ian Freer that tells you all you need to know. Here is an excerpt:

It’s a character study of a cantankerous old git. It’s a buddy movie where the buddies are separated by 70 years. It’s a love story where the love transcends death.

Verdict

If it had lived up to its golden first five minutes, Up would have been the film of the decade. As it is, it remains the best animated flick of 2009, a funny, moving, beautifully made argument that dreamers can move mountains.

In that golden beginning is one of the most touching montages, animated or otherwise, you are ever likely to see.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98% critics; 94% users

Happily N’Ever After (2006)

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Happily N'Ever After

Happily N’Ever After

Bad.

Bad, bad.

For those who couldn’t get enough of SHREK, HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER supplies a similar take on fairy-tale traditions.

Yeah, right. They wish it had anything in common with Shrek.

It gets one star because you could probably use it to keep your toddler distracted for a few minutes.


Rotten Tomatoes: critics 4%; users 21%;

Shrek 2 (2004)

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Shrek 2

Shrek 2

Princess Fiona’s parents invite her and Shrek to dinner to celebrate her marriage. If only they knew the newlyweds were both ogres.

A movie that survives as a sequel. Loved all the references to other films, love Mike Meyers and Eddie Murphy, love John Cleese and Julie Andrews. Don’t get why they needed Cameron Diaz in the part, let alone paying her $20 million to do it – she doesn’t bring anything extra to the role. We laughed straight through, I would definitely watch this one again. And again.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 89%; Audience 69%