Virtual Tourist – Wolfenstein The New Order 12/3/17

 

Morning!

Mini Movie Review – Coco

Coco

This film was fabulous! It had a lot of layers and a lot of surprises. Bring some hankies! It truly encapsulates the meaning of the Day of the Dead. Filled with a lot of traditional Mexican songs as well. Go see it!!!!!!  My son-in-law mentioned that there’s some controversy with the Frozen short that comes before the film starts. My hubby and I had to look at each other because the Frozen short was adorable and heartfelt. Despite what some are saying, it does have a plot with consequences! Not sure how they can’t see that. Emotional damage is a consequence. Very weird…

 

Wolfenstein The New Order

Deathshead in the flesh. This is the point in the game where things actually start getting serious and also proves why it’s not for kids!

This is a nice view of the armored guards. These guys are tough and no longer entirely human. Deathshead is forcing me to choose between two friends. Nasty, nasty man!

To say I or Blazkowics are not conflicted is a significant error.

Got a shock as my remaining friend and I manage to escape. The game went into the beginning credits. Everything up to now was but the stage setting up the actual game. Gasp!

Yep… Very surprising! Lol.

I took shrapnel to the head, so time has progressed as I sit in a kind of limbo. 14 years elapse during a sequence of scene flashes.

I sit in a wheelchair staring out all that time. Being taken care of at this sanitorium. The caretakers there have problems of their own.

They’ve just about killed everyone, and Blazkowicz has come to his senses to take them down and try to rescue the girl!

Open hospital bedding area

Cool vehicle! Also shows the Nazi’s are still wrong. It looks like history has taken a left turn. (Which is true. Germany won the war in this reality!)

 Outside view of my home for the last 14 years.

Hope you’re having a great weekend! Until next time!

 

Movie Review – Storks

Storks

Starring: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Anton Starkman, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo, Stephen Kramer Glickman, and more.

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland Written by: Nicholas Stoller Cinematography by: Simon Dunsdon Music by: Jeff Dana and Mychael Danna

Premise: Storks used to deliver babies to expectant parents. But that is a function they’ve not provided for almost two decades. They now deliver packages worldwide. And Junior’s been told he’s about to be promoted to “Boss”. All he has to do is fire the human – Tulip. The storks are responsible for taking care of her ever since her failed baby delivery 18 years before. Now that she’s come of age, though, she’s no longer their problem and Hunter wants her out. Junior can’t bring himself to fire her outright though. And through a series of events, Tulip inadvertently activates the baby factory.  Due to a messed up wing, Junior must have Tulip’s help to deliver the produced baby before Hunter finds out about it and his chance to be the “Boss” is ruined. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Andy Samberg and Katie Crown play off each other well  as Junior and Tulip. Kelsey Grammer was awesome as the head stork, Hunter. (The whole “Bossssss” sequences are too funny!) Anton Starkman was adorable as the lonely and ignored Nate Gardner. Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell as Nate’s over achieving parents were a hoot. And I adored Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Alpha and Beta Wolf. (The wolves rocked!)

2)  Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Warner Brothers Animation did a great job on the film. The texture for the feathers, especially when ruffled, looked great. They also seemed to have had a lot of fun playing with Tulip’s hair. (Her bored scene and changes in hair to pretend to be other people was too funny!)

The baby at the crux of the problem is beyond adorable. And the babies later on are an overdose of cuteness!

The wolves were such a fun treat! Not only funny, but they have mad skillz! ROFL. Animating their antics and making them look believable definitely deserve some well earned kudos.

A lot of subtext in the art with regards to buildings and working environments. And the Titanic reference was priceless!

Loved all the cool inventions, too. The fully working baby factory was awesome! 🙂

The Ninjago short before the main film was darn funny and looked great. The Chicken vs. the Master. (Since hubby’s been killed by a chicken on an MMO, it made this even funnier! heh heh)

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: A simple premise filled with a lot of deep issues and themes. Storks are not the only way to get babies. They did mention this important detail for when we’re informed they stopped delivering kids – lol. Junior seems to be living the dream, rising quickly to the top. But as the story unfolds, we get bits and hints showing all is not as wonderful as everyone thinks they are.

The same is true for Nate. His parents are go getters. They run a successful house selling business from their home, but they’ve lost their way. They’ve forgotten that by only craving success they’ve left something even more precious behind.

Lots of interesting characters and bizarre personalities!  Pidgeon Toady is a little scary. 😛

Family, responsibility, denial, and allowing oneself to care for others than money – these are just a few of the themes explored. If you’ve ever been a parent, you’ll see a lot in there that will make you nod. You’ll know exactly what they’re experiencing because you’ve been there. lol.

Conclusion: Storks is an adorable and surprisingly deep film. Lots of unexpected and cute bits. And the power of the pack! Go Wolves!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Pay Full Price to See Again)

Movie Review – Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings

Starring: Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara, Brenda Vaccaro, and more.

Directed by: Travis Knight Screenplay by: Marc Haimes and Chris Butler Story by: Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes Cinematography by: Frank Passingham Music by: Dario Marianelli

Premise: Kubo enjoys telling stories. It lets him connect to others and also to his ailing mother. In her lucid moments, she’s warned him time and again never to be out after dark. That those who took his eye as a baby will be able to find him and take his other eye as well. Despite his intentions to do as he’s been told, Kubo doesn’t make it back in time one day. His mother’s otherworldly sisters catch his scent. Now he has no choice but to run and try to find the fabled mystic armor pieces in his stories to save try to himself. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Art Parkinson is adorable as Kubo. His emotions come across very well. Charlize Theron as the reserved Monkey was also a lot of fun. Matthew McConaughey does a great job as the cursed samurai Beetle. Brenda Vaccaro and George Takei add a nice, amusing backdrop for Kubo’s normal days at the village.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Laika does amazing stop motion films. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is another fine addition to their gorgeous repertoire of work. The use of paper and moving origami was inspired. A neat new tactile and visual realm to explore. Gorgeous!

Amazing visuals appear throughout the film. The giant waves at the beginning were amazing. And though he is but a bit of paper, the origami samurai is totally awesome. It adds a neat non-verbal character to the mix. (All the stories told via moving origami were so cool!)

Loved how Hanzo looked like Toshiro Mifune. (The Moon King looks like Peter Cushing! Nice choice! heh heh)

3) Plot/Story – Neutral: As amazing as the stop motion animation is, the plot overall was a major letdown. They do a lot of build up on the importance and power of the sword and armor. But when they get them, the three objects are actually pretty useless. Yet these pieces were supposedly the main driving force for two sets of events! As powerless as the objects turned out to be, the importance placed on them made no sense. 🙁

Some of Monkey’s attitudes don’t jyve later when we find out one of the reveals. Also, though the Japanese believe in spirits and magic, it seemed out of place that the villagers didn’t make more of Kubo’s super unusual skills. (Aside from loving his storytelling that is.)

Old Japanese stories are usually tragic. This one definitely continues the trend as well, but then they try to cheat and fool the audience into a supposed “happy ending”. But it isn’t… *sigh*

Several themes are explored – the meaning of humanity, of family, treasuring the little things, light and darkness, ying and yang. There are a few minor surprises. One of which made some of the earlier sections of the film not make sense. Oh well…

4) Music – Total Thumbs Up: Dario Marianelli’s score was lovely. Lots of string music with a marked oriental feel. Nice!

Conclusion: Kubo and the Two Strings is an amazing piece of animation. Unfortunately, the story itself wasn’t of the same caliber. Gorgeous work though.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets

Starring: Louis C. K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Chris Renaud, Steve Coogan, Michael Beattie, and more.

Directed by: Yarrow Cheney and Chris Renaud Written by: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, and Brian Lynch Art Direction by: Colin Stimpson Music by: Alexandre Desplat

Premise: Max loves his owner. She is everything to him. Then one day she brings home a huge dog named Duke. They don’t get along. Each tries to get rid of the other until they get in a situation they can’t escape, except by relying on one another. If they survive, maybe they will make it back home. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Illumination picked a great cast for the film. Louis C.K. does a great job as Max. His love for his master and resentment at the intruder Duke rings clear. Eric Stonestreet also does a good job as the new dog, Duke. His warring need to fit in and be top dog was well played.

Kevin Hart was a ton of fun as the rebellion leading bunny, Snowball. But it was Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, and Lake Bell that brought the most fun to the table as Gidget, Tiberius, and Chloe. Gidget totally rocked! Dana Carvey was a hoot as Pops.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Illumination did awesome work as usual. The Minions Mowing story short at the beginning will have Minion fans rolling. One bit that was too cute was how the lawn gnome in the short ends up also being used during the main feature.

They did several other cute segues to other Illumination films. The radio playing “Happy” which tied back to “Despicable Me 2”. The poster on the back of a city bus for their next film “Sing”. There are doubtless more of them to discover. 🙂

The film pays lovely homage to the city of New York. The lovely pan across Central Park and the amazing night views from Max’s apartment are but two of many amazing recreated sights.

Nice work on the textures as well. They dealt with fur, feathers, scales, long hair, short hair, and even hairless. And there were plenty of lovely visual gags. Several will catch you off guard and you will find yourself laughing out loud. As that’s normally rare for me, I was quite pleased. (The end of the viper sequence was a riot!)

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: Despite all the jillion commercials we’ve been pounded with for six months or more – they didn’t give everything away. In fact, the story takes some unexpected sharp turns several times. And they didn’t spoil the best jokes or moments. So there was a lot to still be discovered. Which was great!

Max and Duke are rather nasty to each other when they’re first forced to be together. So much so you almost don’t want to root for either one. Eventually we get to know more about their true selves and we get on board. Much more surprising though was how the big heroes of the film aren’t Max or Duke. The biggest hero is actually Gidget! Once she realizes Max has disappeared she is the driving force to finding a way to go look for him. Sweet puppy love! 🙂

The Flushed Pets Rebels were a fun bunch. So were the feral cat gang. There were a lot of elements from the streets, older films/musicals, and pet behavior. It’s amazing how it all came together so well.

The Wiener King nirvana sequence will touch older audience members with weird psychedelic nostalgia. Even the song was perfect for the scene.

Conclusion: The Secret Life of Pets is quirky, fun, and full of surprises. Lots of great laugh out loud moments for the kids and adults. There’s a extra bit of fun during the end credits. 😛

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Movie Review – Finding Dori

Finding Dori

Starring: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene, Levy, Sloane Murray, Idris Elba, and more.

Directed by: Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane Original Story by: Andrew Stanton Screenplay by: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse, and Bob Peterson Cinematography by: Jeremy Lasky Music by: Thomas Newman

Premise: Dori has issues with her short term memory. A small accident causes her to remember things she’d forgotten from her childhood – like her parents. For a brief moment, she actually remembers where she came from. And Nemo keeps the name for her. Dori helped Marlin find his son when he was lost. Now Marlin and Nemo will help Dori to find her forgotten family. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Though it’s been 13 years since “Finding Nemo” hit the theaters, you wouldn’t know it from watching the sequel. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks reprise their roles as Dori and Marlin as if they’d never been away. Some of the characters from the first film make an appearance, but we’re also introduced to a slew of new and memorable characters. Ed O’Neill was a ton of fun as the octopus named Hank. The kids will get a blast from his awesome chameleon powers. 🙂 (They can also try to spot him during the first part of the end credits!)

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: “Piper” is the name of the short film that plays before the main feature of “Finding Dori”. It is beyond adorable! And the animation for it was fantastic. The water, the bubbles, the sand and more were super detailed – the beach looked real. The birds, too. And Piper was so cute!

Here’s a taste!

“Finding Dori” itself also had superb animation. Some lovely transitions between the ocean and surface worlds. Some ‘jaw-dropping’ moments as well. The art was phenomenal in several places. Did some fabulous work with textures, too. From Hank’s pitted, semi-slimy skin to the hard tortoises shells, you could visually feel the textures. Great work!

The end credits (stay all the way to the end!) have the algae filled water in the middle section and it is populated with all manner of species of fish who swim lazily by as the names roll past. The variety of fish represented was amazing. It was like going to the aquarium without ever leaving your seat. Kudos guys!

And Becky was one weird, but fun bird. lol. (So was the third seal – even with those creepy, shifty eyes of his. Heh heh.)

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: When I heard they were doing a sequel to “Finding Nemo” and that it would center around Dori, I had my doubts as to what we would get. But my worry, much like Marlin’s, was unnecessary. By introducing flashes of Dori’s returning memories as events moved along, they got the audience invested in the quest and finding more about Dori. And we got a chance to see a side of Dori we’d not seen before. (She was also the cutest baby fish EVER!)

As in the original, the film dives to different depths to explore themes and emotions during the story. There were some quite poignant moments which get revealed during the tale without being heavy handed. It also gave us a true taste of what it would feel like to have Dori’s condition, and how strong and determined she truly is.

A range of themes are woven through the film as well. The meaning of family, of belonging, perseverance, trust, friendship, and more.

There are also all sorts of gags through the movie. Watching Hank moving through the MLI was a ton of fun. They even build on a few of the jokes in tiny bits – stay till the end of the credits for the final one. 🙂

Conclusion: “Finding Dori” is a great sequel to “Finding Nemo”. The animation is fabulous and there are lots of fun characters to fall in love with. You’ll probably also find yourself thinking: “What would Dori do?” 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Alan Rickman, Geraldine James, and more.

Directed by: James Bobin Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton Based on books by: Lewis Carroll Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh Music by: Danny Elfman

Premise: Alice comes home from China to find that things are not as she left them. Stepping through the looking glass, she learns matters aren’t any better on the other side. To help the Mad Hatter, she must go back in time and find out what happened to his family. Yet there’s more danger in her mission than she realizes. A lot more. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as the spunky Alice to good effect. She appears a lot more comfortable with her role than in the first film. Johnny Depp gets to explore some unexpected sides of the Mad Hatter. Leo Bill was fun as the extreme Hamish. Sacha Baron Cohen was fascinating, and fluid, as Time. Helena Bonham Carter was fun as always as chaotic Iracebeth.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: If you can manage it, try to see this one in 3D or IMAX if at all possible. The special effects will make it totally worth it. From the mad dash of the Wonder through shallow waters to the Chronos Orb eye popping voyage over the seas of time. Lots and lots of amazing sights await.

Especially cool were the Grand Clock and the Chronos Orb itself. The Mad Hatters’ transformations from his illness were lovely. Time was amazing! The actor moving here and there and the audience seeing the machinery sticking out from the back of his head. It truly looked like it was a piece of him. Fabulous!

The vegetable people and the clockwork people looked awesome. The upright fish people were also rather interesting.

And if you enjoy the neat, unfolding buildings in the beginning of Game of Thrones, you’ll like the cute unfolding little tales during the credits.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I enjoyed this second film a lot better than the first. The plot seemed more solid and fascinating. Life on both sides of the looking glass showed different facets of the same problems.

Friendship and family were the main recurring themes. And like the first film, it hints at how a small thing can begin a chain of events that end in unforeseen and even tragic results. Bits of darkness, than in and of themselves don’t seem like much, but can fester and grow until they are out of control.

They have some rather cute after moments that run through the credits, too. Like extra bits from after Alice’s visit.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of tumbles, crashing, jumping. A few of the landings from both the Chronos Orb and Time’s other machine looked like they hurt! 😛

5) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes were very nice. And I loved the female captain uniforms. I also thought that Alice’s oriental dress was gorgeous. The makeup work on the Mad Hatter was superb, especially as it kept changing. They even used the makeup for some subtext with regards to Iracebeth as well.

Conclusion: Alice Through The Looking Glass is a fun ride with lots of gorgeous special effects. Definitely put the Wonder in Wonderland. 🙂

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Movie Review – The Angry Birds Movie

The Angry Birds Movie

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, and more.

Directed by: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly Written by: Jon Vitti Music by: Heitor Pereira Art Direction by: Pete Oswald

Premise: An orphan and with unusually large eyebrows, Red has always had a hard time fitting in, all the kids making fun of him because he’s different. As an adult, things have not gotten easier, his streaks of bad luck not helping to keep him from getting angry.  Then the pigs arrive. Red tries to tell the village that there’s something not right about them, but the smooth talking Leonard has a rebuttal for everything. Do the pigs have an ulterior motive for coming to the island or is Red just being paranoid? (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Jason Sudeikis does a great job as the pragmatic and unlucky Red. Josh Gad is a blast as super fast Chuck. Danny McBride did a nice job as the awkward Bomb. Peter Dinklage as the Might Eagle was hoot. 🙂 Bill Hader had way too much fun as Leonard. Maya Rudolph added a lot cute bits as Matilda. Sean Penn doesn’t say much, but his character Terence brought some definite fun to the table.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Rovio Animation has taken the beloved little game of Angry Birds and made it into a fun film. The textures are nicely done, giving a different look and feel not only to make our feathered friends look fluffy, but even differentiating between the different feather types on their bodies. Nice work!

Bird Island and Piggy Island each have their own distinct look and feel. They even worked the loosey-goosey building style the pigs use in the different incarnations of the game on the pigs’ city.

This loosey-goosey style is also extended to their technology, which makes for a lot of fun. That they haven’t blown themselves up before this point is amazing! 😛

If you go see it in 3D, they have several cute gags they use the 3D on for good effect. 🙂 And Terence is awesome. Speaking volumes with but a look.

And they could not make the bird kids look any cuter! OMG! If they ever make plushies of the kids, I’m not going to be able to help myself. They are so CUTE!

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I have to give some definite praise to Jon Vitti for taking the premise of the Angry Birds game and actually building it out into a full plot for a movie. Thankfully animated films are expected to be ‘fantasy’ so that helped as well. Best not to look behind the curtain – as they say.

Red has anger issues, but he’s come by them honestly. Though the island purports to only bring happiness, the adults tends to ignore things they don’t like, and so poor Red was made fun of by his classmates for not knowing things and for looking different without anyone intervening on his behalf. Add his streaks of bad luck and I don’t blame him for being angry. Several themes revolve around Red and friends – community, social blindness, suppressing feelings, individuality, and several others.

They make sure we know the birds in this universe do not fly – that only the Mighty Eagle can – and most think him but a myth. I found it quite amusing that the pigs are the ones who introduce them the idea of the slingshots. Their hubris was also their undoing.

Some of the characters and who they represent in the Angry Bird game universe are obvious, some less so. Half the fun is watching them do their thing. And the pigs are a riot! lol.

Make sure to stay through part of the credits. Super cute scene with the triplets. 🙂

Conclusion: The Angry Birds Movie is a must for anyone who has ever enjoyed the Angry bird games. Prepare yourself for large dozes of cuteness, some crude humor, and fun.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Starring: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, and more.

Directed by: Jon Favreau Screenplay by: Justin Marks Based on the Novels by: Rudyard Kipling Cinematography by: Bill Pope Music by: John Debney

Premise: When the tiger, Shere Khan, finds out the wolves are protecting Mowgli, a man cub, he gives an ultimatum – give him the child to kill or he will kill other jungle denizens until his will is met. Trying to protect his jungle family, Mowbli leaves with his protector, the panther named Bagheera, who plans to take the boy to a man village where he can be safe from Shere Khan. The ruthless tiger, however, has other plans. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The film has a lot of well known actors doing the voices for the animals. All the choices fit quite well. Scarlett Johansson was fabulous as Kaa – she gave the boa constrictor just the right amounts of sexy-scary. Lovely voice during her song as well.

Bill Murray was a great choice for Baloo – he created a lovely impish tone for the character. 🙂 Another fun matchup was Christopher Walken as King Louie – especially when he breaks out in song! lol. Lovely performance.

2) Special Effects/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: The Disney-Pixar team did a great job on the look and feel of the film. The jungle and its different areas felt real and so did the animals. The creatures moved as their real counterparts would and even made their mouth movements look quite natural. Mowgli, the only real person in the film, was seamlessly woven into tapestry created for us with the CGI animation. Nice work!

While some of the animals represented were from familiar species, the animators also brought in many unfamiliar ones as well. Watching the movements and habits of those new species proved quite fascinating!

I totally loved what they did for Kaa and King Louie. Kaa was mesmerizing and the animators came up a lovely way to emulate and make sinister the snake’s hypnotic gaze. Loved how they then took it and swirled the reality of the red flower to show the audience a glimpse into Mowgli’s past. King Louie was huge! The detail on the orangutan was amazing. And wait till you see him move!

There’s a nice bit of fun during the closing credits. (And more Christopher Walker singing! lol.)

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the Disney’s original animated version of the Jungle Book. I don’t believe I ever read the series the film is based on – so definitely can’t add any opinions from that angle. But for those who grew up with the 1967 animated version, I think you’ll be quite pleased – especially as they actually redid several of the songs from the original.

The film starts you out with action to try to create a sense of urgency but since the audience doesn’t yet know any of the characters, it didn’t seem to come across exactly as intended. No real surprises in the beginning part of the film and despite several tense or dangerous situations, the film didn’t really take off for me until we meet Kaa. Totally adored the whole scene in that part of the jungle. And then matters picked up again once Baloo comes on the scene.

Multiple themes play during the film – family, belonging, being accepted for who you are (or despite what you are), the fact that despite each others’s differences some of them can also be strengths.

My only true complaint was the typical superfast return effect sometimes used in plots. Though it took days to get to where Mowgli ended up (and the fact he got there on ox back and river speed travel), when the time comes form him to come back – he made it in super record time. The something he decided to take along back with him, wouldn’t have lasted that long a trek. You’ll see. Still, overall it, the point is easy to overlook. The film was definitely enjoyable.

Conclusion: If you’re a fan of the old animated film, you’ll find plenty to like and lots to feel nostalgic about. (Bear necessities will follow you home!) Yes, they bring back several of the songs! For those who’ve never seen it, though, you’re in for a neat treat!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

 

Movie Review – Zootopia

Zootopia

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Della Saba, Maurice LeMarche, Raymond S. Persi, and many more.

Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush Screenplay by: Jared Bush and Phil Johnston Story by: Byron Howard, Jared bush, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, and Dan Fogelman Art Direction by: Matthias Lechner Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Judy’s dream since she was a little girl was to become a police officer. Everyone discouraged her, but she stubbornly clung to her dreams until she becomes the first bunny officer. Yet it’s when she starts to work in District 1 that she realizes the obstacles to her dream are far from over. If anything, they’ve become greater than before. Putting her job on the line to prove herself, she must place her trust in on a hustling fox to track down a missing otter. Yet this is but the beginning of the mystery of something very wrong going on in Zootopia. (Rated PG)

 

Review:
1) Acting – Toal Thumbs Up: Ginnifer Goodwin was perfect for the role of Judy Hopps. Her voice oozed with the bounciness and the speed you’d expect from a rabbit. Jason Bateman was a lot of fun as the voice of Nick Wilde and made for a good foil to Ginnifer’s Judy. Maurice LaMarche did wonderful work as Mr. Big. Loved Idris Elba’s portrayal of Chief Bogo.  Jenny Slate was adorable as the ever suffering Bellwether. Raymond S. Persi as Flash was a hoot. And Alan Tudyk as the Duke Weaselton? Priceless. 😛

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Walt Disney Animation Studios did a marvellous job with the film. The textures were amazing. The wool of Bellwether’s hair, the fluffy bunny fur, the thicker fox hair, you could tell at a glance how they would feel and which would be softer or bouncier than another. As the credits and the film itself will show, they spent a ton of time on research for the plethora of animals represented in the film. The attention to detail was riveting.

Just as fascinating as the different species of animals were to see, the city of Zootopia was a wonder to behold. I especially adored the palm tree building made out of what looked like Tiffany crystal. All one has to do is look at how the city is split to realize the large range of species that live there. It even has weather zones! Each zone (and some areas were zones within zones) was entirely unique, with District 1, the hub of the city, looking eerily familiar.

Lots of little jokes in the details. Especially the neon signs scattered everywhere. This one will be a fun film to see with the DVD player, so you can stop and take your time catching all the cute background additions and fabulous vistas. Too fun!

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: Though there is a lot to keep the younger kiddos entertained, this particular film’s plot was geared more for the tweens and adults. Lots of delicious layers and themes were explored. Following your dreams, being held back, dreams destroyed and dreams found. Prejudice (from both sides of the predator and non-predator sides), assumptions, the fact actions have consequences – even when you’re not aware of it, forgiveness, understanding, and the fact everyone has a part to play no matter their size or origins.

The mystery of the disappearances was fun and rather unique. Even as one facet of the mystery was solved, more answers remained to be found. There were several lovely twists. And just watching the society in general was a real treat.

4) Music – Total Thumbs Up: Not only is there a totally addicting song from Shakira, but there are several old favorites brought up for the soundtrack as well. Best of all are the BGM/OST tracks by Michael Giacchino as he gives each zone and the story itself some lovely, unique music.

Conclusion: Zootopia is visually and mentally fun! Gorgeous animation, likeable characters, and the complex story make this one a definite winner in my book!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Movie Review – Kung Fu Panda 3

Kung Fu Panda 3

Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, James Hong, Randal Duk Kim, Steele Gagnon, Liam Knight, Wayne Knight, Barbara Dirickson, Al Roker, Willie Geist, and many more.

Directed by: Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Written by: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger Art Direction by: Max Boas Music by: Hans Zimmer

Premise: Li gets a message about the location of his missing son. This sends him to Po’s village in the Valley of Peace. But the happy reunion is short lived as Kai, a battle comrade of the late Oogway, has gathered the chi of all the masters in the spirit world to come back to the land of the living. His objective? To destroy all Oogway once held dear, especially his prodigy, Po, and the pandas from the secret village. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The great cast from previous Kung Fu Panda films are back to give us a dish full of awesomeness! There are also a lot of new characters and great actors joining the fun as Po is finally reunited with his own kind.

J.K. Simmons was fun as Oogway’s frenemy Kai. Bryan Cranston shows a nice range of emotions as Po’s father Li. Kate Hudson plays Mei Mei, a panda who knows what she wants and how to get it – she cracked me up. There were no small parts in this film – everyone brought something amusing to this entertaining tale.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks has always shown extra effort on the Kung Fu Panda films, and number 3 is no exception. I really hadn’t thought they could top the awesome visuals of KFP2, but they did. For the audience to experience the maximum effect, this one must be seen in 3D. The spirit world scenes are spectacular in 3D. The film has some truly gorgeous graphics.

The textures of the animation were also very impressive. You almost believe you can run your fingers through the pandas’ fur. This makes for a wonderful contrast to the cold, sheen surface of the ‘jombies’ (jade zombies) Kai controls. When the two get brought together during the climax of the film, the differentiation is beautifully magnified.

Dreamworks also introduces some new visual story techniques to their repertoire as well as playing around, as they’re known to do in these films, with mixing arts styles to differentiate between flashbacks or stories from the real world.

Wait until you see the super fun dragon warrior sequence in the spirit world. It’s sweet! 🙂

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: The storyline tackles several themes at once. Themes like family and friendship, relying on others, inner strength, knowing who you are, allowing yourself to be changed by those around you, and being yourself. Within the themes themselves they play with the concepts of duality and ying and yang. Though light on the surface, they dive into deep waters ewith regards to emotional topics and do a good job as always.

I thought the film did a wonderfully at representing the feelings of both Li and Mr. Ping with regards to their roles as Po’s fathers. The solution the two eventually come up with on how to deal with their current positions was great. I also loved the little panda girl and how they used her with Tigress. It was a tale told about the two totally in the background of the main proceedings, but it made it no less poignant and definitely fun.

As the concepts of ying and yang are explored, the film also weaves all three of the KFP movies into a giant circle/wheel as we see Po become what he’d pictured himself as all along. And a fun treat awaits at the end for anyone from the 70’s. You’ll see. 🙂

Conclusion: Kung Fu Panda 3 delivers all the things we love about the previous KFP films –  gorgeous animation, heartwarming storytelling, and a touch of asian mysticism. Fun film for adults and kid of all ages. If you’re already a fan of KFP, you won’t be disappointed. And if you can at all manage it – see it in 3D! Well worth it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)