Just starting to animate...nLibrary technician in a small town...nFanatical procrastinator...nAnd part-time Imperial Officer.
Cartooning, bicycling, camping, fantasy books, etc
Animation that I love:
Fruits Basket, Invader Zim, Excel Saga, Triplets of Bellville, Wallace & Gromit, Nightmre Befre Xmas
1. Bland, trite 'new' background story.
2. Travesties of the original work.
3. Just enough nostalgia to sell the turkey.
While Alvin and the Chipmunks is a little guilty of all these sins, there is so much fun and energy in the film that you really can't complain. Especially considering the quality of the source material. Okay, so I was never a fan of the cheesy cartoon.
As for the travesties--oops, trendy remakes--of the original Chipmunks music, it's not so bad. Disney slaughters their own classic tunes far worse every day. Hey, seriously-- nobody can be more sentimental about the Chipmunks' Christmas song than I am. (Wipes away a tear of nostalgia as she remembers her little brother at the school Christmas concert as a child, wearing Chipmunk ears and singing, "Me, I want a Hula Hoop" in a squeaky solo.) But it's truly well done, as is the remake of the Witch Doctor song. The music is all listenable, and instead of making you wince and long for the old music, you may find that the remakes actually improve on the original versions. (That's a trick some other musical performers should learn.)
The plot isn't anything you haven't seen before, though you have probably never seen the familiar story elements play out quite like this. Curmudgeon finds himself saddled with a trio of orphans, only to grow to love them. Chipmunks discover that the glamour of fame and wealth is no substitute for the love and discipline of a good home. Of course, most disillusioned performers don't get locked in cat carriers...
The film isn't intellectually challenging or ground-breaking. But it's warm, it's funny, and it's got a beat you can dance to. Thumbs up!
As you might expect from a Luc Besson picture, the film is visually spectacular, with lots of eye candy, from the blue merle border collie in the Real World to the bizarre creatures and costumes of the Minimoy land. The plot may retread over a lot of classic stories, but that doen't hurt it much, as Arthur is a likeable character. An amusing plus is the appearance of all the live actors as Minimoys during the final credits.
The main weak points I found were: main Minimoy characters looked revoltingly like 'Troll' dolls. A lot of the acting and character development was unconvincing. And in spite of the fact that I really liked it, it never really made me forget I was watching a movie. (That may be my own fault, as I saw it the day after my dog died.)
I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed highly visual films like Labyrinth, Legend and Mirrormask, and who won't get hung up on the fact that characters are played by Madonna and Snoop Dog.
Like in Labyrinth, Helena's adventure can be explained away as a dream, all its elements derived from the contents of her room and her life. Again like Labyrinth, there's more to the dream than just a dream. UNlike Labyrinth, Helena's dream isn't filled with whimsical, amusing muppets. It looks more like the dark end of the surrealism branch of the local grunge-art museum. The sense of not-rightness never lets up...one has to completely disengage ones mind from expecting things to make sense. Even the friendly creatures have a bit of 'ick' about them, and the unfriendly ones are chilling. (Those intense, feral, cat-beasts with human faces were scary,)
As a film, though, I don't think Mirrormask succeeded. Story...yeah, there was one. It was actually clever and intriguing. But my mind was too busy watching to see what appeared next, and then coping with it, to get too involved with the plot or characters. The whole otherworld sequence has an emotionless feel to it, and the emotional portion of the film occurrs all at the beginning. Given more time and a better budget, I'm sure they could have hammered out a film that had better timing and character development.
But even so, it's probably the weirdest thing you can see without taking anything illegal, and it's certainly worth seeing.
Jane and Michael have a cold, distant father and a cheery activist mother, both of whom are too busy to be involved with their childen. Worse yet, nannies keep quitting left and right. While Mr. Banks drafts a newspaper ad for a tough, no-nonsense, disciplinarian nanny, Jane and Michael make their own list of requirements. This falls into the hands of Mary Poppins, who shows up and blows away the competition, and proceeds to set right everything that's messed-up about the Banks household.
Mary Poppins has the power to take the children on magical adventures, some of which are animated in the height of the classic Disney style. But the songs--among Disney's most famous--are the real draw to Mary Poppins. It must have the greatest number of memorable songs of any Disney movie. It also stands up well to the test of time, as its setting is Edwardian England, and its themes are timeless.
Mary Poppins was based on a childrens' series of books, which were (and are) charming...but they would have been forgotten by now if not for the movie. In the scene where Bert the chimneysweep is playing his one-man-band, several members of the audience are actually minor characters from the books. Disney's Mary is more sympathetic and less vain than the book version, who is completely self-absorbed. All in all, the movie did a good enough job of sticking to the books, and in my opinion improved on them. (I might have felt differently if I had been devoted to the books before seeing the movie, though.)
There's not much that can be fairly criticized in this film. The clumsy animatronic robin was the best the special effects of the age could manage. Maybe one or two scenes got a tiny bit too silly...and one or two scenes could have been shorter or even dispensed with. (A Jolly Holiday with Mary--is it just me, or was that tedious?) And though I can't tell, I am reliably informed that Dick Van Dyke's phony cockney accent was execrated throughout the British Isles.
Still, this movie is a true classic. See it!
So, kids, if you're unhappy with your current life, talk to creepy strangers and try unknown psychedelic substances!
Um, where was I? James drops the bag, and all the pills squiggle into the ground, making a peach and a bunch of bugs grow big and cartoony. James joins the bugs on an adventure.
While the look of this film is interesting, none of the characters is particularly memorable. None of the songs is very exciting. And the plot...well, let's just say it sort of meanders. A lot. And there's not too much actual plot in the first place.
Still, it's very watchable, one time anyway.