Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

I saw Finding Nemo in 3D this weekend (glorious I tell ya, glorious), and was treated to some lovely kiddie flicks comin’ your way. A couple of them seemed so awesome, I shall share:

Wreck-it Ralph (11.2.12)

This looks PRECIOUS AND AWESOME. Life lessons, hilarity, and video games! And a saaweet vocal cast. John C. Reilly, you are so money. And I’m sorry, “Some Nights” was MADE for a trailer montage. I think this movie looks so awesome, re-watching the trailer for this post had me giddy.

Monster’s Inc 3D (12.19.12)

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!!!!! Monster’s Inc. is in my top-5 favorite Pixar films, so to find that it’s being re-released in the third dimension was music to my ears. I love love love love this flick. I can’t wait to watch the door-flying sequence with the big goofy glasses on. I’m sure this is also a huge marketing ploy for the sequel, Monsters University, but with the quantity of joy it’s gonna bring me, I hardly care.

Rise of the Guardians (11.21.12)

I’ll admit, this one looks a tad goofy. All of the mythical childhood “legends” coming together to save the world, or something?? When they flashed “from the makers of How To Train Your Dragon” across the screen, they caught my attention, and then the RIDONKULOUSLY STUNNING ANIMATION held it there. It might not look like much on your computer screen, but the 3D trailer blew out my eyeballs.

Guess I’m gonna be seeing a lottt of movies this holiday season. 🙂

~Annie

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These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You

Anybody who even casually knows me is aware of the fact that I’m a huge, crazed, insane cat lover.  Hence, I loved the Puss in Boots character the moment he laid his huge, dilated, precious to-the-nth-degree eyeballs on me back in Shrek 2.  This all means that I was way pumped up to see the little guy get his own spin-off “origin story.”  And as usual, my expectations were probably too high, and were only sorta met.  Hmmppffff.

image from Wikipedia

The story centers around the suave feline and what happened in his life before he met Shrek.  Turns out he was a tiny, adorable, homeless kitten who was taken in by an orphanage, and became best friends/brothers (an egg and a cat?  Okaayyyyy…) with the pasty, dubious, juvenile delinquent Humpty Dumpty (voiced by the usually endearing Zach Galifianakis).  The boys get into their share of trouble and Humpty betrays Puss, who leaves town and becomes a fugitive, only to be roped into another of Humpty’s schemes later on, involving other nursery rhyme staples like Jack’s beanstalk, the goose that laid the golden egg, and Jack and Jill (a hillbilly married couple voiced by Amy Sedaris and Billy Bob Thornton – they did a great job but their characters just weren’t given enough screen time).

I found a lot of the nursery rhyme tie-in storylines (I know, I know, this is what the Shrek movies DO) to be kind of slapped together, as if they couldn’t really think of anything original for Puss to do.  So many things are thrown at you, and I felt like not a lot of it stuck.

The animation is flawless and breathtaking, succeeding in making me yet again regret not pursuing my girlhood pipe dream of becoming an animator… but I digress.  The Spanish countryside (I think they were in Spain?  Mexico?  I honestly have no idea) was dusty and golden and lovely, and once they get up that beanstalk, everything is green and lush and the clouds are effervescent and sparkly, and yeah, I thought it looked really damn great.

There’s a lot of “cat humor” that people who are obsessed with kitties will appreciate so much more than the average moviegoer (who probably hates cats because sadly, in my limited – i.e. ALL ENCOMPASSING experience, cats are like tomatoes:  Most people dislike them) – the dance move “the litter box” where the kitties shuffle their back legs like they’re burying their refuse, the lapping of “leche” from shot glasses they order at bars, the cute little kitty noises, the batting at things, the purring, the eyes, I could go on.  However, I honestly felt like they didn’t utilize enough of that humor.  Every time Puss fights with someone, he fights like a normal person; only once or twice did he bat at his opponent with a paw like a normal cat, or even hiss – this would have been HIGHlarious, but they only employ this trait once or twice, and Puss fights A LOT in this movie.  I guess this is a small complaint, and could only come from somebody obsessed with kittayyys. 😦

Overall, it’s a cute flick.  The vocal talent is solid (I literally don’t think anyone other than Antonio Banderas could pull off the sultry Spaniard), the visuals are gorgeous and the massive amount of children surrounding me at my screening (shudder) seemed entertained.  I guess the cat lover and magic-expecting How To Train Your Dragon-devotee in me wanted to be enthralled with kitties everywhere and lump-in-your-throat special lessons being learned.  I expect too much from a kid’s flick, but it’s only because I’ve been given all this and more many times before.  Puss In Boots, while a fair addition to the Shrek franchise, just didn’t give me what I wanted, but if you want to be mildly entertained or need to amuse a child for an hour and a half, this will fit the bill.

~Annie

Those Cats Were Fast As Lightning

Po, the schlubby, lovable, kung fu-fighting panda, returns to help kick off the summer movie season in the highly enjoyable Kung Fu Panda 2.  As far as sequels go (and Dreamworks looooves sequels), this was a solid effort.

First off, the animation is stunning.  Just astonishingly beautiful.  Vibrant colors, sweeping landscapes, and tons of fireworks.  I love fireworks.  I chose NOT to see this in 3D, which I started to regret about 3/4 of the way through.  I hadn’t heard one way or the other if it was worth it or not, and I always err on the side of NO 3D when it comes to blockbusters.  That being said, it might have been a mistake.

The plot centers around the maniac outcast Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) trying to take over China with his powerful new weapon, a cannon.  Surely kung fu is no match for massive gunfire, or is it?  (What do you think?)  Along the way, the fact that Po is a panda and his father is a GOOSE is addressed, and you find out where he really comes from.  You better brace yourself though, it is really, REALLY SAD (Baby Po is the cutest THING EVER).  No surprise then, that this one had more emotional heft than the first.

The cast is capable enough.  I don’t find the vocal talents of the “Furious Five” – Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, David Cross, and Seth Rogen (yucky voice) to be anything so remarkable that you couldn’t fill those roles with somebody else, however some characters are cast perfectly.  Jack Black’s manic goofball energy is well suited to an animated persona, especially somebody like Po.  Several of the more minor characters had voices that worked very well with their role – Dennis Haysbert as Master Ox, James Hong as Mr. Ping, Po’s father.  The award for most exciting, expressive, and generally awesome voice goes to  Gary Oldman (can he GET any cooler?), who is delicious as the evil villain, a peacock who has been denied his birthright and shunned by his parents.  His voice conveys unhinged regal authority with expert ease.

The score by John Powell (who did the killer score for How To Train Your Dragon) and Hans Zimmer (who has done amazing scores for shitloads of amazing movies) is lovely.  And scores matter.  (Future post to come)

I enjoyed this about as much as the original, although there’s a little less comedy this time around.  Who knows what the future holds for the third one (that’s right) because there’s a shocking final scene that pretty much guarantees a trilogy.  With a killer setup, more gorgeous animation, and (hopefully) another enchanting story, Dreamworks can breathe a sigh of relief, because I’m already looking forward to buying that ticket.

~Annie

Unexpected, What You Did To My Heart

Oy vey was this hard.  When I was a kid, my pipe dream job was to be an animator for Disney, so I love me some cartoons.  I couldn’t condense this list – these are my favorites, dammit.  In no particular order, because that would be fucking impossible:

Anastasia:  An overlooked gem.  Beautiful animation, a total princess fantasy, John Cusack’s sexy voice as one of the hottest hand-drawn men to grace the screen, and the MUSIC, oh how I love it. *cough*I still listen to this soundtrack in the car*cough

How to Train Your Dragon:  My favorite film of 2010, and also probably an all-time fave as well.  The 3D was stunning, the breathtaking flying sequences better than Avatar, and Toothless looks and acts like my cat.  Plus, the soundtrack is stellar.

Kung Fu Panda:  Didn’t expect to like this one, but was oh-so pleasantly surprised.  The celeb vocal talents were fine, but the spectacular animation is what blew me away.  In particular, the kung fu action sequences would give any live-action martial arts flick a run for its money.  The scene where Tai Lung escapes from prison was pretty awe-inducing.

Shrek 2:  Puss N Boots, giving his famous look.  And of course the wit and heart.  I find the other Shreks to be lacking in various departments, but this one got it just right, on all counts.

The Land Before Time:  My favorite childhood film.  Every time I watch it, there’s still a tiny chunk of my brain that thinks, “Maybe THIS time Littlefoot’s mom will make it!”  A wonderful story, fun characters, the happiest ending ever, and the best cheesy song plays over the credits.

Sleeping Beauty:  Old, OLD-ass Disney at its elegant best.  For many years I wanted to name a future daughter Aurora.  Malificent is one of the most exquisite villainesses to grace the screen, and the maternal trifecta of Flora, Fauna and Merriweather adds a level of comfort to this classic tale.

An American Tail:  Oh Fievel, you precious little mouse, you.  Another Don Bluth tour de force.  Seriously, “Somewhere Out There”??  I’ve got goosebumps.

Robin Hood:  This seriously underrated movie is funny, adorable, and has that funky 70s vibe going.

The Little Mermaid & Beauty and the Beast:  I fawn over both of these here.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  This gets forgotten about, but I thought it was beautiful and moving.

Finding Nemo & Monsters, Inc.:  My thoughts on these masterpieces here.

Bolt:  Any cat or dog lover needs to see this sweet tale…I cried, hard, of course.

~~Annie