Monday, December 23, 2013

Movie Review Animated 3-Pack: ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania, & Kung Fu Panda 2

A little dose of animation..for the kids.  Basically the only reason I would want kids right now is so I could say that I watch certain movies and TV shows because "my kids watch it."  I already use it for the GF and it works like gangbusters.

Movie: ParaNorman (2012)

Director(s): Chris Butler & Sam Fell

Writer(s): Chris Butler

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, & John Goodman

One-Line Plot Synopsis: A strange and misunderstood boy tries to save his cursed town from zombies.

I'm going to be honest, I don't really remember this movie very well.  I was watching it the week before Halloween and I could never really get into.  I do like this type of animation that is more in-line with the previous film that these team behind ParaNorman made, a very good film in Coraline.  It's almost to the effect of the clay-mation of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but just enough of an animation feel to it to not be so creepy...if that makes any sense whatsoever.  The bones of the story are similar to a lot of kids movies that you've seen before.  A young and misunderstood outsider gets treated like a a weirdo (he can see dead people after all) for believing in something until everyone else realizes that everything he's said is true.  Granted, you could break down most movies to a simplistic view like that and it's more the nuances of each film and the way that the story is told, so I don't want to be as underhanded as I might be coming across here.  I remember the liking the movie fine but the fact that I can't remember that much of it tells you a lot about it as well.  Just not that memorable.

Rating: 5.5/10

Movie: Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Director(s): Genndy Tartakovsky

Writer(s): Peter Baynham (screenplay), Robert Smigel (screenplay), Todd Durham (story), Dan Hageman (story), & Kevin Hageman (story)

Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Sandberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Jon Lovitz, Chris Parnell, & CeeLo Green

One-Line Plot Synopsis: A teenaged boy stumbles across hotel resort for monster, run by Dracula.

Was it just me or did Adam Sandler use his "do it for mama" voice from his old comedy CDs for this one?  Or is it the fact that he really only has one voice that he uses that isn't his own?  That could be it.  Low and behold, even though this movie was only pretty good, it's the best work Sandler's done since he was able to rope Judd Apatow into letting him be a part of another comedy of his that was a half hour too long.  Other than that, he hasn't been in anything even decent in over a decade.  The handful of smaller parts in the group of monsters were all pretty funny and everyone had their moments here and there.  So I guess, if you want your kids to see a Halloween movie that doesn't scare the crap out o them, this would be a good fit for that.  And if you want to see a movie with Sandler and Sandberg that doesn't have Rex Ryan in it...than this is good for that too.

Rating: 7/10

Movie: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Director: Jennifer Yuh

Writer(s): Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger

Cast: Jack Black, Seth Rogan, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Lucy Lui, Danny McBride, David Cross, Dennis Haysbert, JCVD, James Hong, & Michelle Yeoh

One-Line Plot Synopsis: Po and his Kung Fu friends must stop an evil peacock who has developed a new weapon to take over China with.

I get sort of sick of Jack Black's antics when he's in a comedy.  His shtick wears on you after a while during an hour and a half of movie.  I actually don't mind him at all in dramas that he does every once in a while and in small doses, I would definitely say I like his comedy...just more so when he reigns it in a little but like in something like School of Rock.  Having said that, I really enjoyed the first Kung Fu Panda, and although the sequel isn't as good as the first (how many ever actually are?), I really enjoyed this one as well.  Even though the peacock has a new weapon of destruction in this movie, he'll never be more of a bad ass bad guy than the tiger voice by God Damn Ian McShane in the first movie.  If you get a chance, check this out in a little back-to-back action with the first one.  They're both very good and appeal to that child/adult double-whammy demographic.


Rating: 7.75/10