Review Grab Bag (2-17-13)

Grab Bag 2 17 13


Hello again, everyone.  So far this year my movie watching has been pretty limited.  I’ve managed to catch a few grown-up titles.  Mostly, though, if I get to watch a movie, it’s a computer animated one that ends up not actually capturing my daughter’s attention in the least.  Here’s a grab bag of titles that I ended up finishing on my own, while Charlotte ran around looking for her pig hat, or blocks, or whatever.

Brave (2012)

Brave (2012)

Brave is Pixar’s first attempt at creating a Disney Princess.  It tells the story of a headstrong young woman who wants to live her own life, despite the unfair obligations of being royalty.  It eventually comes around to leaving us with the message that a family that mutually respects one another won’t fall apart at the seams, and therefore everything will work out in the end.  The message is fine and dandy, but the story is far from the best thing Pixar has put out.  The saving grace is that the movie is funny in some parts, and absolutely gorgeous throughout.  It’s probably the best animated movie that came out in 2012, but that isn’t saying much at all.  What I saw of 2012’s animated features did not impress me much on the whole.  4/5


Planet 51 (2009)

Planet 51 (2009)

Planet 51 is mediocrity at its mediocritest.  There’s this planet, see… that has aliens that are basically like us.  And when one of us with the Right Stuff lands on their planet, they lose their collective shit.  There’s some good reference humour here, but everything else is extremely bland.  The alien protagonist doesn’t really stand out.  The human protagonist is a douche that learns what it means to not be selfish.  There’s nothing particularly wrong here, but there’s nothing great happening either.  Overall, a decent kids movie with very few bones thrown to the adults that might have to sit through it as well.  It’s teetering on the edge of lower, but I’d have to give it a borderline 3/5.


Puss In Boots (2011)

Puss In Boots (2011)

Puss in Boots is Dreamworks’ spin-off of the Shrek franchise, featuring Antonio Banderas’ dashing character.  Story wise, you get an okay genre parody of Robert Rodriguez style westerns and generic Buddies-on-the-Road movies wrapped up in a kids movie.  Nothing special, unless you’re a big fan of the genres.  The animation is decent.  The humour is there, but I think it would help to be a cat person.  My daughter loved the action of the chases and dancing, but was completely uninterested in anything else.  This was the first Dreamworks animated movie I’ve seen since Shrek 2, so I was hoping for a bit more, but didn’t actually expect it.  It’s a solid 3/5.


Rio (2011)

Rio (2011)

I started up Rio with no expectations.  Out of the gate, it seemed like it was going to be something Charlotte was going to be drawn to.  Colourful birds dancing and singing… she was loving it.  At least she was until the birds all got poached in a sudden change of pace and theme that scared her a lot.  It’s not that the scene itself was graphic or terrifying, but it comes shockingly in the middle of the opening dance number.  The film makers  try and mend fences pretty quickly but Charlotte was buried in my chest for Blu’s whole coming-of-age sequence.  She went for her blocks when she was done, and didn’t pay any attention to the movie until there was some more singing, and a chase scene, later in the movie.  The movie as a whole, though was well animated, and while the story was a cardboard cut-out, everything certainly could have been a lot worse.  I got a couple laughs out of it, too.  So, once again, we have a 3/5.

15 comments on “Review Grab Bag (2-17-13)

  1. Definitley agree with your reviews here, although, from somoene who watched these without a little girl, I would’ve scored Rio a little lower and Puss ‘N Boots a little higher, mainly because I really liked the story. But I couldn’t agree more with your other two. Brave was beautiful, but a little bland story-wise, and Planet 51 was just, ‘okay’.

    • Yeah, these movies’ ratings all could’ve gone differently had Charlotte been more interested in them.

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m really missing the musical elements of the 90s era Disney movies. Its probably mostly because that’s what really draws Charlotte into movies at this point, though.

    • Probably so… it sure seemed like a rehash of classic Sci-Fi ideas that were then watered down even more for kids, anyway.

      It has that feeling of missed potential, but could easily be mind blowing, or eye opening, or whatever for a kid, depending on their age.

  2. I don’t know what it is but nearly every animated feature seems to have some kind of scary part in it. My daughter seems to be doing much better with it lately but it’s still kind of annoying. The only recent movie I can remember that doesn’t really have that is probably Cars.

    • You’re my 200th comment! Nice. I’m sure half of them are my own, but still… milestonetastic.

      I think it’s always just been that way, with the scary parts to kids movies. I remember they never bothered me in cartoons, or with the Muppets… but live action stuff like Gremlins… that blender scene terrified me.

      I know there were a lot of Sesame Street sketches retired over the years for being too scary. Bert and Ernie in the Pyramids comes to mind.

    • Thanks, Morgan. I think with Brave, I fell victim to the expectations formula. I’m a huge fan of almost everything Pixar has put out, and they raised their own bar on the environments here… and *that hair*… but the story itself, particularly the character of Merida before she learns her lesson, almost annoyed me in parts. Whereas I was hoping that the headstrong, independent female lead wouldn’t come off so whiny and selfish at first.

      For a while in the middle it was teetering on a 3, just for the technical aspects… but Momma Bear was hilarious, as were all the supporting characters… plus Merida did grow as a person, so it bumped back up to 4.

      I’m now realizing that I shoulda, coulda, woulda but didn’t make a full fledged review for Brave. I didn’t think I had enough to say about it, but obviously I was wrong. :p

      • I can understand the expectations game… that seemed to be a lot of it for a lot of people. I also know what you mean about Merida being a bit whiny… though this did at least make her a believable character as opposed to the “perfect princesses” that Disney tends to churn out.

      • I agree that her whiny attitude making her more believable. But I got the same feeling from every trouble-maker Princess I’ve seen… (which, I guess, is Ariel and Jasmine). I was hoping for more of a Nala, who was strong, smart and funny (and tragically underused) without being whiny, entitled or First-World-Problemy.

        If you’ve read all the Song of Ice and Fire stuff… I wanted to see Brienne. I got something that was arguably more realistic… but I wanted to see Brienne.

      • Fair. But I’m betting Brienne was a whiny brat when she was a teenager as well. I mean… consider Arya. (I think that’s her name, I may be misremembering; I haven’t read the most recent one, and it’s been a while.) She’s likely to grow up into a Brienne type personality, given her inclinations… but she’s definitely got the whiny brat component at her current age. Merida will likely grow into a Brienne type, but right now, she’s at the start of that journey.

      • Interesting… I honestly never considered Arya to be whiny… I always thought her fits were justified… as opposed to Sansa who was just whiny cluelessness for sooooo long.

        But take away Sansa for comparison, and yeah, Arya could be kinda whiny. Entitled… absolutley. About the same amount as Merida.

        Triple read that for spoilers… and… I think we’re good.

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