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Short movie reviews - Peter Hentges

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November 17th, 2005


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10:53 pm - Short movie reviews
Saw a couple of movies in the last couple of days.

First was Stuck On You, a comedy about a pair of conjoined twins. Part of the funny here is that the twins are, from all appearances, fraternal. I didn't find much laugh-out-loud funny in this film. What I enjoyed was the physical acting. The very natural way the two actors moved together made you believe they'd been joined all their lives. The opening scene of them working together in the greasy spoon owned by the right-hand brother is amazing (though probably CGI for parts of it).

The second film was Madagascar. This offering from Dreamworks Animation, the people behind Shrek confirms something my friend revjohn noted to me a while back. These folks may have some technical skill, but they lack the storytelling chops of the folks at Disney. This is an animated film for adults packaged as a film for children, the result is a lack-luster mix of gags that don't hang together. The penguins, however, are a hoot.
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From:mizzlaurajean
Date:November 18th, 2005 05:13 am (UTC)

Penguins

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Em R always funny!
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From:cakmpls
Date:November 18th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
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I have to disagree about Madagascar. I found it laugh-out-loud funny, and I rushed out to buy it the day it came out so that I could watch it more. Disney's new Chicken Little has story, yes, but very little of it is funny, IMHO.
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From:cakmpls
Date:November 18th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC)
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Sorry about the italics.
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From:jbru
Date:November 26th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
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Haven't seen Chicken Little. I was thinking mostly of earlier Disney films like The Lion King. I guess what I disliked in Madagascar was that some of the funniest moments were so obviously aimed at adults and were completely outside the story line. The "darn you all to heck!" moment recalling Plant of the Apes and the "To Serve Lemur" bit, while funny, were completely out of context and unlikely to be understood by a younger audience. Which isn't to say it was a bad film, I just hoped for something better.
From:emyjo
Date:November 18th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
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To be fair, I haven't seen Madagascar.

But before Wallace and Gromit, there's a short featuring the penguins. And it's pretty funny. Wallace and Gromit was funnier, though.

Wallace and Gromit was also funnier than Chicken Little.

There were a lot of things about Chicken Little that bugged me. It was cute, and I laughed and enjoyed myself, but only on a surface level. There was no heart to the movie. You know how with Toy Story, even if you've seen it a hundred times, you're ACTUALLY worried and your stomach is in knots as you watch Buzz and Woody struggle to make their way back to Andy? That doesn't happen with Chicken Little. You're not emotionally invested in the characters at all.
Also, there was no reason for it to be 3D. A lot of 3D animated movies have really cool or complex visuals that would be absolutely impossible to do in classical animation, and you understand why they're 3D. Not so with Chicken Little. They went to the trouble of rendering each feather on the little chickens heads and then didn't do anything with them. There is ONE scene where they actually DO anything with the feathers, like make them wave in the wind. That's a lot of work to do for just one scene.
Also, there's no grown up humor in the movie. It's all for kids. So the gags that are funny are more sight gags. And they didn't go nearly as far with some of the things as they should've. The pig is into Streisand and sings disco tunes to calm his nerves. But they didn't push it like they could've. It's like Disney sat back and said "Well, this is our first 3D without Pixar, but we're Disney, so we'll make money no matter what, so let's not take any chances here. No need to try anything new just yet." And it was really frustrating. Disney used to be this storytelling powerhouse, you know? Not anymore!
The animation worked really well, but it wasn't spectacular... it looked like half-hour Jimmy Neutron-style animation, not feature animation. The Incredibles looked awesome. Chicken Little looked like TV.

I'm done ranting now. It was a really cute movie and I enjoyed myself and did laugh quite a bit. But a few times I was the only one laughing. Rent it, but don't go out and spend tons of money to see it with popcorn.
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From:jbru
Date:November 26th, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
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Haven't seen Chicken Little. My Disney comments are more aimed at things like The Lion King. One of the things that my friend revjohn points out is that Disney often puts out versions of the same kind of story (involving growing up, mostly) and that it's an important story so it's OK if it gets a re-tread every few years.

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