Monday, July 12, 2010

no clue movie review: Toy Story 3

I have to admit that I was kind of excited for this movie. I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved the previous 2 films and Pixar had yet to disappoint me. These characters have always been top notch and last year when I saw the re-issue of the 1st two films in 3D, I fell in love with them all over again. I am normally skeptical of a 3rd film in a series, but this was an excellent movie overall.

The setup for this story is amazing. Growing up with these films as many of us have, you really feel for these characters. When you see all the characters coming on the screen for the first time, all those good feelings come rushing back. I expected at some point to be feeling like I've seen this all before and that I might grow tired of the toys. NOT AT ALL!!! The story is fantastic and packs an emotional wallop at the end. I teared up a bit, I admit it. We get introduced to many new characters, but my favorite voice of them all is Michael Keaton as Ken (of Ken & Barbie). He is absolutely a stand out. Everyone is good though. I know its hard to judge acting by a voice actor, but I definitely didn't feel like I was hearing an actor, these characters seemed alive to me yet again.

From a technical standpoint, this film is amazing looking. The animation is fantastic. Pixar is getting really good at people too. I remember that in the first Toy Story that people looked not quite that good, but you forgave it because it was such a good story. Well, they have really mastered their look. Plus, the movie is filled with honest to goodness action sequences and so many "blockbuster" movie shots that I was in heaven.

Now, I have seen this movie in both 3D and 2D. I will say that you don't need to see this in 3D. It definitely doesn't detract from the movie, in fact there are a couple of great 3D sequences, but the 2D version is just as good. Pixar's animation is all you need.

I would say that this is probably my favorite movie of the year so far. Great story, great characters, hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad at times too. It runs the gamut of emotions. It's great for kids of all ages. I've seen this now with a 8 year old, 7 year old, 17 year old, 60 year old, 36 year old and finally a 2 year old. EVERYONE LOVED IT!!! Truly amazing, since you don't see that very often. In fact, my nephew, the 2 year old - this was his first movie theater experience and he sat through the whole thing and didn't get up once.

I think I've said it a bunch of times, but this is a fantastic movie that deserves to be seen over and over again.

Official site

Thanks for checking this out and come back for more soon. Hopefully, I will have seen some more movies...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

no clue movie review: The Last Airbender

I didn't know anything about the Nickelodeon animated TV series before seeing this movie. I had a friend who was a fan. I had seen a really good trailer or 2 for this movie and it looked cool. It was directed by M. Night Shyamalan which piqued my interest. M. Night has had a spotty track record. I loved The Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable. I absolutely hated The Village & Lady in the Water and have yet to see The Happening. Thankfully there is no twist ending in this movie. I also believed that he would try to stay true to the story. In short, this movie is a big fat disappointment for me and filled with wasted opportunities.

I actually was hooked in the beginning of the flick. There is a mythology that is interesting and there are some pretty spectacular special effects not too far into the film. As the movie went on, it just got bad. The writing in the film just keeps hitting you over the head and I felt like many of the characters kept saying the same thing over and over again. There is far too much voiceover in this movie too. Many times, the voiceover talks about what I thought would be cool stuff to see. Perhaps there is just too much information to get across in one film, not sure. All I know is that when a movie starts telling me stuff and not showing me, that's never adding to my level of enjoyment.

The movie has a really dark tone. Not really one moment where I felt the mood lightened and I was feeling a sense of wonder. Which is odd, because the subject matter lends itself to that. Overall, it just feels like it is taking itself so serious and important. That lessened my enjoyment. I mean even The Dark Knight which was ultra-violent and ultra-serious at times, made me chuckle a few times.

The acting feels very robotic and at times just awful. I suspect that had a lot to do with the writing, but there are only a few bright spots. Anytime that Dev Patel (Prince Zuko) and Shaun Toub (Uncle Iroh) are on screen together, I felt a connection. They have a real father-son type bond.

The movie isn't a complete waste of time. There are some spectacular effects - especially the water bending effects. The pacing seems good, except for all the voiceovers which drag it down. Appa - Aang's pet or buddy, whatever you want to call him - looked very cool too.

After the movie - my friend Mike had me watch 2 episodes of the series. The tone is completely different. It has a fun and coming of age, exploring your powers kind of tone. Downright hilarious. Strong mythology and can get tense at times (granted I've seen 2 episodes), but overall whimsical really. This movie totally doesn't give you the same feeling. I would watch the series again, but probably not the movie.

Overall, a really big disappointment of a movie which seems to have a very rich mythology to pull from for a film franchise. Too bad. It's not an unwatchable bad movie. I was entertained. There are some cool moments to watch, but overall, it's just OK. I want to add that I saw this movie in 3D, which I generally enjoy, and this movie has horrible 3D. It's like a hatchet job in my opinion. It gives the technology a bad name. Don't waste your money - the glasses don't do anything to improve the movie.

Film's Trailer
Official Site

Thanks for reading, I hope to post more reviews soon. I haven't seen as many movies this summer as I normally do, but I have seen a few.

new blog design

I played around today with my blogger design. Using the new "design" tab within blogger. It's surprisingly great. I really like the new look and it wasn't difficult to use. Some great template designs that don't require any knowledge of html, css, etc. I guess it helps, but I literally didn't use anything except the tool. I used to customize my blog html/css code, but I don't think I'm going to bother for awhile. Anyway, if you haven't used it, you should check it out. Just log into Blogger and click on the Design tab. OK, I'm going to post some stuff today.