The Croods

Another shot, another miss.

‘From the makers of Ice Age’ the posters say, which seems to be the only thing drawing the crowds to cinemas for this movie. The Dreamworks logo on any movie practically guarantees a good watch, especially for kids, but they seem to be running on fumes after the last Ice Age.

The Croods takes the tried-and-tested father and daughter bonding story, changed the setting to the Stone Age and presented it as the Croods. Even the 3-D part is half-baked, because I took off my glasses after the first 15 minutes and watched just fine. If anything, the glasses hindered my watching simply because it made everything a lot darker.

In the same vein, the characters were completely forgettable and can be summed up in a few words, per person.

The only character with a little life in him was Guy’s pet sloth, Belt, and only because of scenes like this.

So, while Croods may become a box-office hit, please remember that this is so, only because:

  1. Of Dreamworks’ Ice Age, Shrek and Madagascar legacy
  2. It’s a movie for kids who aren’t exactly critics, and only watch a movie for the entertainment.

Real Steel

I’d been waiting to see thismovie since I saw a sneak preview of it on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now, having watched it, I can’t help but feel cheated. Robots beating the crap out of each other, hard to mess up right? Even so, Real Steel seems to be a less than a sum of its parts. Even Hugh Jackman couldn’t really save the movie.

So, the movie is set a couple of years in the future, where robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring, to give the audience ” no holds-barred brutality”. Charlie Kenton is a retired boxer, now robot trainer who is down on luck. Forced to travel from city to city, in search of new fights and to hide from his debt-collectors, he finds himself burdened with his annoying 11-year old son Max. What follows his two hours of emotional garbage, interspersed with a few awesome robot fight scenes.

Hugh Jackman is his normal, awesome best, Evangeline Lily and also delivers an OK performance as Bailey Tallet – Charlie’s friend, mechanic, and an important mother figure to Max. Dakota Goyo annoyed me as he played his semi-Justin Bieber character. The one redeeming fact was the fights, but these were few and far between.

The soundtrack was fantastic and perfectly suited to the the scenes in the movie, with songs by Eminem, and 50 Cent. Special mention must also be given to the Visual Effects team, which made the robots absolutely realistic.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

I have a feeling that if the ‘Ice Age’ franchise continues with the good work, geography teachers are going to find themselves out of a job. Blue Sky Studios have managed to turn even the most boring and routine geography lessons, like the formation of the continents into an entertaining, fun-filled, and downright enjoyable movie.

Continental Drift finds the Ice Age group approximately 15-16 years after the events of the previous film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Manny, Sid, Diego, and Ellie haven’t aged a day, while Peaches, Manny’s daughter has grown considerably – from a sweet little baby mammoth to a teenage mammoth, who is very much like the rest of us.

                     

The movie revolves around two groups – the threesome of Manny, Diego and Sid, with a few new additions and Ellie and Peaches, along with rest of their community; as they desperately try to reunite after the formation of the continents drives them apart.

Continental Drift takes an extremely Pirates of the Carribean-like feel, since most of the movie takes place on the sea, not to mention a motley bunch of pirates, led by the monkey Gutt, who serve as the bad guys in the plot. Gutt, who has more than a passing resemblance to Davy Jones, is one of the best animated villains I’ve seen in a long time and this movie doesn’t shy away from showing him off at all.

There are a few new additions to the crew, most notably:

  • Granny

This old sloth is dumped off onto Sid by his ungrateful family. Decidedly eccentric, this old sloth proves quite formidable, with lots of tricks up her sleeve, the least of which is her pet whale, Precious.

  • Shira

Diego finally find his love interest in a tough-talking sabretooth, named Shira. Originally part of Gutt’s crew, she eventually falls in with the threesome as the movie progresses.

The movie draws inspiration from other media as well, like Braveheart and surprisingly Homer’s Oydessy.All in all, good, clean, dumb fun, perfect for little kids and immature people alike; this movie caused me to ponder over questions like “When you drink water through your trunk, does it taste like boogers?” Whoah.

Brave

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I watched Disney-Pixar’s newest offering to the animated world today, and I’m sorry to say, wasn’t very impressed. ‘Brave’ is a story of a young Celtic girl, living in the highlands of ancient Scotland, having to deal with an overbearing mother and the prospect of getting married to uphold tradition.

Frustrated with her lot in life, Merida runs away and meets an old witch who gives her an enchanted tart, to ostensibly ‘change’ her mother (in more ways than one). What follows is Merida and her mother, Elinor bonding over the aftermath of the rather surprising effects of the spell.

I had few problems with ‘Brave’, one of which was the historical inaccuracies, but that’s just me nit-picking.  There are many colorful characters, especially Merida’s three younger brothers, who devise plan after plan to steal food from the kitchens, in between helping Merida and Elinor escape from the castle and getting transformed by the spell themselves, after inadvertantly eating the same (bewitched) tart themselves. Merida’s suitors and their respective clans are funny too.

All in all, ‘Brave’ is a sweet movie, good for entertainment with kids, but its nothing more than your run-of-the-mill Disney animated movie, good, but not at par with Disney’s best. Two things stood out, the voice acting which seemed spot-on, and a scene in which Merida’s father, Fergus and his warriors are locked on the top of a tower, with no way of getting down, forcing them to resort to using their kilts to make a rope to climb down on. This, unfortunately, exposes parts not generally displayed to the public, if you know what I mean.If you plan on watching the movie with your kids, go ahead, but be aware that some parts may be frightening to these little people’s minds.

Another thing which I enjoyed very much was the animated short film, ‘La Luna’ which was screened before  the actual movie, which explains the phases of the moon in its own charming manner.

TRIVIA: Brenda Chapman, who directed the film, is Pixar’s first female director.