Posts Tagged 'shrek'

Wick-Quoting #44: Kung Fu Panda 2

“My son saved China – you, too, can save! Buy one dumpling, get one free!”

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Kung Fu Panda 2 is the other sequel that came out on May 26 (along with The Hangover Part II).  The main difference between the two is that Kung Fu Panda 2 acts like a proper sequel – it builds from the previous movie and presents a new challenge while getting deeper into the development of the characters.  Through the conflict, Po (Jack Black) ends up learning about his past and his real family.

The panda returns!

While the story is a bit cliche (defeat the enemy who is jeopardizing lives and kung fu), the action makes up plenty for it.  Considering it is an animated movie based around kung fu, you can’t expect anything less.  Po and the Furious Five bust out some interesting and new moves.

The gang's all here

The film does have a touchy side to it when Po’s past is shown of how he came to be Mr. Ping’s (James Hong) son.  When Po as a baby panda was shown, a wave of “awww” traveled across the theater.  Along with James Hong, plenty of other famous actors took part in the making of Kung Fu Panda 2, including returning voice actors, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, and Seth Rogen, along with new additions such as Gary Oldman, who voices Shen, the evil Peacock.  Gary Oldman surprises me considering all the various roles he has taken, like Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series and Jim Gordon from the recent Batman trilogy.  He reminds me a bit of one of my favorite actors, Hugo Weaving, who has had unique roles in The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Transformer series as well as his performance as V.  Apparently he is The Red Skull in the new Captain America movie and is returning as Elrond in the new Hobbits movies.

Awww

Hugo Weaving aside, Kung Fu Panda 2 is as good as it gets when it comes to a family, action movie.  The ending of the film, however, is very similar to the whole idea of Shaolin Soccer, but I guess that comes with the kung fu territory.  Even though the movie has an obvious plot, it is still a good watch, especially for children and families.  My only concern for this series now is that DreamWorks will commit and overkill and release three more sequels later on (like how they did for Shrek).

7.8

Quoted by MWP

Sawazz – I thought the action and comedy were great, above average, but the ending feels like such a rip-off of Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer! – 7.6

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Wick-Quoting #42: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

“There should be a “Captain” in there somewhere.”

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Yoho yoho a pirate’s life for me!  No matter what, you got to love the Pirates franchise, even if the latest installment is a bit on the disappointing side of the plank.  But really, you can’t expect much – what could have been done has already been done in the first three movies.  Still, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is not something you should just glance over (like the forth Shrek movie).  Although the new Pirates lacks a compelling story, it still has the sparkle of excitement from Captain Jack Sparrow.  And everyone loves Jack… except hipsters, of course.

Don't be a hipster

Pirates 4 starts a completely different story from its prequels, which most people would find as a wonderful thing, considering how a majority of viewers were getting tired of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley (I, on the other hand, loved them).  Out with the old and in with the new: replacing them are Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz.  While I enjoyed watching McShane play his bad guy role, I did not like Cruz all that much (despite her physical appeal).  She seems a bit out of place in the series, too clean and not rough enough.

They be mermaids in these waters!

The movie is quite long and in some parts, quite slow as well, especially because there is a lot of attention shown on minor characters.  I found these minor characters (the mermaid and the religious guy) to be very tedious and annoying to watch – I just wanted them to die and get them off screen.  I didn’t pay $10 to watch a budding romance between two characters who I don’t give a shit about – I want to watch Captain Jack Sparrow for crying out loud!

This island looks familiar

The ending of the movie is not very satisfying; however, the action, one-liners, and scenery make up for what the film lacks.  Pirates 4 had a budget of $250 million and has already made well beyond that (over $806 million worldwide).  Making that much money, there will probably be another sequel?  I guess this goes to show that this is the movie that almost caught the end of Captain Jack…

7.9

Quoted by MWP

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Wick-Quoting #40: Rango

“I tip my hat to you… One legend to another.”

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Well, the trailer for the film delivered a bunch of heard-em-before oneliners and an iffy concept – an chameleon named Rango fools his way into becoming a town sheriff and then is faced with numerous comedic hardships upon realizing that being the sheriff actually comes with some dangerous work.  But since Johnny Depp is voicing Rango, I naturally assumed that there must be some kind of off-kilter, whimsical factor to the movie as well.  I mean, Johnny Depp!  The man doesn’t just do normal animated movies like that!

How goofy!

And, long story short, he really doesn’t.  Rango is basically a film about what I just briefly explained.  Except that there is a handful of strangeness – a mystery afoot involving water, Rango’s silly and light headed qualities that remind one of Jack Sparrow’s own method of don’t act serious and don’t get taken seriously, then find yourself in trouble later on yeah sure but bust your way out of it in a cool manner, and well… some other strange things that you can see for yourself.  The other characters as well as the villains and the fight scenes also deliver a taste of originality that proove to be funny and fairly exciting.  Not to mention the over-arching mystery of the plot – that one got to me, and it delivers an environmental message in a pretty interesting way.  Although those who don’t really know the background of what Rango is trying to tell audiences may not get the full impact of the message, as a Society and Environment major I appreciated what the filmmakers were trying to show young audiences.  And it is certainly nothing for older audiences to scoff at either – I don’t want to preach here, so lets just say, water is important and SCARCE folks.  Yes, in our real world too, not just the world of Rango.

Especially in a desert!

Now, if there are any problems with the film that I felt myself and gathered from friends who also saw the film, it is that as an animated movie – it is a bit difficult to concisely explain, but – I suppose there isn’t a lot of magic to it per say.  Rango is actually a pretty factual film despite the whimsy of a lot of what happens and the characters, and there is no rosy and teary moment of revelation and comraderie or whatever as audiences might expect from watching pretty much the only reliable House-of-Good-Animated-Movies these days, Pixar.  And there aren’t as many friendly laughs and oneliners for kids and feel goodness as a Dreamworks movie like Shrek or Kung Fu PandaRango doesn’t really do feelgood and has a more abstract comedic feel, but I did still appreciate it.  Although its appeal seems to be somewhat hit or miss, I’d recommend giving Rango a try.  I think the filmmakers did try to make a film that stands out a bit from the bumpercrop of other animated films out there, and they have succeeded.  Now it’s up to audiences to accept the film or not.

Rattlesnake Jake is a pretty cool character

7.1

Quoted by Sawazz

MWP: 7.8

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Wick-Quoting #37: Rio

“I have beautiful eyes.”

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Rio is an interesting case for me because I didn’t have a drive to see it, but I was greatly impressed by it overall.  At first, it may seem like your typical family-oriented animation, but it can still be entertaining for other audiences as well.  Even though the whole story is highly predictable, I would still give the film a passing grade (it is better than Hop and the later Shreks).

The voice actors match with their characters pretty well.  I was highly surprised by Anne Hathaway’s performance of Jewel, the love interest in the story, due to her singing.  It seems as though Hathaway is trying to get back into the spotlight, considering her big role as Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s next Batman movie is appearing soon.  George Lopez is included obviously just because his voice matches with the atmosphere and location of the film.  And Jesse Eisenberg brings his loser quality into his character as he always does.

They are both such geeks

During the first 15 mins, I thought Rio was going to follow a similar pattern as Rango – a pet animal  getting separated from its owner and being forced to live in the wild.  However, Rio has a much different style, considering it is rated only G.  It is surprising how adequately entertaining a G movie can be.  Of course, however, none of the characters die in the film, unlike Rango.  I felt I was robbed the satisfaction of watching some antagonists be killed for their evil deeds.

Blu Hawk

I am not the only one who is giving Rio a good rating.  Reviews everywhere are giving Rio at least a 7 out of 10.  And Rio shows some results with making over 370 million worldwide with only a 90 million budget (and the DVD/Blu-ray hasn’t even come out yet).  Even though Rio has some cliche jokes and camera angles, it is bright, colorful, and flashy, which allows it to take full advantage of being an animated feature.  While the film may not satisfy most adult viewers with its perfect ending, no loose-ties epilogue, kids will definitely enjoy this one.

7.2

Quoted by MWP

Sawazz: 7.4

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Wick-Quoting #34: Kung Fu Panda

This animated feature film did very well back in 2008, making over 630 million worldwide.  It’s no wonder a sequel will be released later this year.  What made this move so successful?  For starters, it has a collection of well known actors involved.

The voices of the characters match pretty well

The cast includes Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and Ian McShane.  Each voice actor matches his/her character fairly well.  It even seems like most of the characters were designed to resemble their respective voice actors (the similarity between Jack Black and Po the panda is striking).  Dustin Hoffman connects very well with his character, Shifu, mainly because just like Shifi, Hoffman is a master – a master at acting.  Therefore, his character commands a similar amount of respect.

The dragon scroll

Unlike other films from DreamWorks, Kung Fu Panda lacks in pop songs and celebrity references, which are common in media for children in order to draw in adult audiences (such as Katy Perry in Sesame Street).  Even though the movie is considered to be for children, it still can entertain adult audiences as well with its engaging characters and unique idea.  In fact, the inclusion of such outside references of songs and celebrities would have only hindered the movie as a spoof instead of an original comedy.

FOOD!

On December 2010, DreamWorks Animation announced that there will be a total of SIX films in the Kung Fu Panda series.  Are they fucking serious?  That’s more than Shrek (even considering the sequel starring Puss in Boots).  Of course, this is DreamWorks that we are talking about, so it is only natural for successful franchises to be dragged out a lot longer than they should be.  Hopefully this franchise won’t go past the third installment.

A duck making food? What does the tiger eat?

Enjoy the movie before DreamWorks overdoses in panda fever.

8.1

Quoted by MWP

Wick-Quoting #30: The Godfather Part III

“Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.”

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After watching the final installment to The Godfather series, one thing came to mind: Part III is substantially better than Part II.  While TG2 (The Godfather Part II) is entertaining to say the least, it lacks the obvious genius of the other two films.  TG3 (The Godfather Part III) is able to surpass TG2 by basically copying the original.  TG3 goes back to the original by including a retiring leader, ambitious new characters, and forbidden love.

1) a retiring leader

An aged Michael (played again by, of course, Al Pacino) is now highly respected, just like how his father was in the first movie.  Now, it is easy to say that the reason as to why the first movie was so successful is because of the compelling character of Don Vito Corleone.  His gestures, his accent, his personality are all very interesting to watch.  In TG3, Al Pacino is attempting to fill in the shoes of Marlon Brando.  Although he doesn’t quite pull it off, he does have his own respectable take on an old, ex-mob boss.  And with the fall of one, comes the rise of others.

2) ambitious new characters

In an attempt to hold up the family’s honor with Michael’s withdrawal, many characters all compete for the spotlight, including Connie, Mary, and Vincent.  While Connie isn’t exactly a new character, her role is drastically different than it was in the previous two movies.  In TG3, she does take action, which is positive in the view of the family.  Mary, Michael’s daughter, gets a lot more accomplished (story-wise) than her brother.  Finally, there is Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) who is almost like a combination of the two characters, Michael and Sonny when they were younger.  Fresh faces is exactly what sequels need in order to propel further.  Of course, too much “new” isn’t all that beneficial – just look at the third installments of Spider-Man and Shrek.

3) forbidden love

Like the first movie, TG3 contains flickering love; however, it is far more “messed.”  Vincent and Mary (cousins) end up growing feelings for one another, and it sort of gets out of hand.  Of course, if there’s anything we learned from the first, with all forbidden love comes consequence!

Building on from that, foreshadowing is huge in TG3, which I absolutely missed from TG2.  The way I see it, a film with good foreshadowing deserves great backlighting with its movie posters.  The other day I finally saw Black Swan, which also uses great foreshadowing – and I was blown away.  Foreshadowing – although can be cheesy at times – can really make a movie shine (alright, enough with the cheesy wordplay).

TG3 is not all light and glitter though, due to the fact of some out-of-place scenes and small, annoying details.  Examples of this include the helicopter shoot down and the fact that Michael becomes a saintlike character: both are not that believable.  One of the main problems I have with the movie is Sofia Coppola in general.  I do not enjoy watching her character making a mess of situations, and what I enjoy less is her big mouth.  Her mouth is pretty distracting to watch, and it reminds me of the bigmouth girl from Glee (a terrible show indeed).  I also do not like Lost in Translation, which was directed and written by Sophia Coppola.  No, I am not being biased based on a movie made by Sophia – in fact, I just learned that she is the one who directed Lost in Translation.

Lost in Translation had a budget of only 4 million, yet has made way more than it should have

TG3 has made 136 million, paying off quite reasonably well for itself.  With interesting foreshadowing, Al Pacino, and some nice scenes (especially the ending scene when Michael yells) TG3 is not a film you should miss, especially if you have already seen the first two.

8.5

(I didn’t quite plan for this post to be so long…)

Quoted by MWP

Wick-Quoting #23: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

I remember back in the day when I was ordering books in elementary school, I loved to order books about owls.  This is how I started to read Guardians of Ga’Hoole books.  It’s no wonder why I was unusually excited for this movie.  However, even though the story was great from what I remembered, the movie version just couldn’t deliver the same storytelling aspect.

After watching the trailer, it is very apparent that the film excels in one popular area – graphics.  The graphics and animation in this movie are just too much.  I’m surprised that they decided to put so much detail in what’s considered to be a “little kids” film.  Therefore, it is safe to say that Legend of the Guardians is great in two ways:

1) Stunning visuals

2) & the ability to attract a broad audience, besides just children.

This is definitely not one of those movies which parents take their kids to and not pay attention to what’s going on (like Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa).

I dodge them lightnings!!

Even though the movie looks amazing, there are a couple of negatives that get to be really annoying (and hilarious after a while).  First off, the film is like a child’s version of 300.  There are more slow-mo scenes in this movie than in Matrix Reloaded, no joke.  There is one part during a chase where almost every movement is a slow-mo.  Not to say that the over abundance of slow-mo scenes are terrible, but it’s quite obvious that the filmmakers wanted to emphasize the amazing graphics through slow movements.  The back-to-back matrix scenes make this film unique in an unexpected way.

ANOTHER SLOW-MO!!

A negative that got on my nerves were the voice acting.  The main character’s voice is super annoying.  Most of the time, he sounds like a loser whining about dreams (which his brother points out).  And what’s with the accent?  Is giving the protagonist an annoying accent really necessary?  While it is true that movies should develop certain characters so you like them and root for them, I just couldn’t bring myself to be a fan of Soren.

...

The last point which I’d like to bring up is the plot/character development.  Because the movie is based on books, it has the Harry Potter syndrome.  The Harry Potter syndrome is when movies don’t seem complete and skip around a lot because there’s too much to fit in a ~2 hr movie.  Legend of the Guardians reminded me of Harry Potter movies during the scenes when the owls were shown engaging briefly in different lessons.  This problem could have been easily avoided if the movie was just a bit longer – it is only 1 hr and 30 mins long.  But I guess the movie is intentionally short because it is targeted for young audiences.  Similarly, all the Shrek movies are around 1 hr and 30 mins long.  Omg, no wonder…

Watch the movie, or turn out like me.

With a budget of 80 million, the movie has made around 134 million so far, which isn’t that bad, but not that great either.  Thank goodness for foreign theaters which brought in 80 million of the total.  This only goes to show how much money can be made from audiences overseas.  Do not underestimate the power of the foreign side.

Unless sales stay strong, I don’t think we’ll be seeing anymore of these owls in the future.  But the film is still worth a watch, especially for its graphics.

7.6


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