Currently browsing the "Animation" tag.

Trolls

I had one of those little plastic troll dolls. I recently trashed it in an effort to purge stuff from my childhood bedroom. The doll was short and naked and dirty and had wild hair shooting out of its scalp. Who knew that just a few months later, I’d be sorry I let it go? It could have been a collectors’ item! My hindsight (along with a twinge of nostalgia) was provoked by Dreamworks’ new animated movie, Trolls. It’s far from a classic-in-the-making, but it is entertaining, even if the premise is somewhat appalling (in a Hunger Games meets Shrek of way). The colors are bright, the music is infectious, the writing is witty, and it’s got a happy ending. Hot lunch! (inside joke)

Finding Dory

#JustKeepSwimming I don’t know why I’m suddenly obsessed with that Dory-inspired hashtag, but it’s my new favorite motto. Finding Dory is a worthy sequel to the 2003 Academy-Award winning animation blockbuster, Finding Nemo, about a neurotic clownfish named Marlin who traveled across the ocean to find his son Nemo, who’d gotten trapped in a dentist’s fish tank. In case you didn’t know – all’s well that ended well, with Marlin and Nemo reuniting, with the help of a host of creatures including a blue tang named Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss. Fast-forward a year (in movie time), and Dory, Nemo and Marlin are like family – living comfortably in their underwater corner of the world, respecting the boundaries of the open ocean to avoid becoming fish bait. It’s all going swimmingly until Dory suddenly remembers that she has a biological family – a mother and father, and a home that she’d forgotten about, but now must find. And so another cross-ocean adventure begins.

Norm of the North

I guess there’s a reason we don’t really hear about great animated movies from Lionsgate and Splash Entertainment. If Norm of the North is any indication, they don’t make them! This movie was simply boring, with some of the worst character development and weakest plot points I’ve ever seen in a movie about preserving the environment. Little kids who don’t know better may still enjoy watching Norm for the cute animals, occasional pop songs, and cartoonish style. But the adults – except for a few random lines that are tossed their way (i.e. over the kids’ heads) – will be yearning for a thousandth replay of Frozen or Inside Out.

For the kids: The Peanuts Movie; The Good Dinosaur

I’ll make this quick since The Peanuts Movie and The Good Dinosaur are the only options out there right now for the under-10 set. Neither movie blew me away, but both are fine choices to keep the kids occupied. Youngsters will generally enjoy the movies more than their adult chaperones – unless those adults have a built-in soft spot for a classic Peanuts cartoon. The characters and the endearing messages ring a familiar bell as the Peanuts gang created by Charles Schulz make their big-screen debut, in 3-D no less. But at 92 minutes, this G-rated film feels quite long. There’s something to be said for a half-hour (or maximum one-hour) Great Pumpkin or Christmas special, especially when the story is – as it should be – a very simple one.

Minions

Within the context of the Despicable Me movies, minions are a breath of fresh air – entertaining, silly, musical misfits. But give them a movie of their own, and the yellow thingamajigs obsessed with ‘bananas’ simply lose much of their appeal. Kids will still be moderately entertained by the gibberish-speaking blobs, but older kids and adults may find the Minions movie a bit of a bore.

Turbo

Gotta love a good underdog movie, especially when the underdog is a snail. Sure, Turbo is predictable and formulaic, but it’s also cute and sweet and fun, with a winning message: No dream is too big. No dreamer, too small. Aw shucks. What can I say? Turbo is a solid entry in the animated field of kid-friendly flicks for summer. Just ask our Special Guest Chicklet, 10-year-old Raquel Sklar. Here’s her two cents:

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania is a delightful little getaway — of the animated, cinematic variety. You can check in anytime you want, on one condition, you must be a monster. Humans are not welcome. This flick takes the usual monster movie plot and turns it on its head… at the Hotel Transylvania the humans are the scary ones. It’s a cute premise that results in lots of family friendly laughs.

Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the “five-stake resort” as a human-free haven for his monster friends and, more importantly, his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Every year, Drac throws his little girl a big birthday bash with all of his monster friends and this year is a very special one. She’s turning 118 — get it? The problem is Mavis wants to spread her wings and fly. She wants to experience the world outside the hotel’s grounds. But Drac is your typical blood-sucking, over-protective dad, and he does everything he can to keep her at home. Then all of his plans are jeopardized when a cute backpacker (of the human variety) named Jonathan (Adam Samberg) stumbles upon the hotel and, of course, captures Mavis’ heart.

The Adventures of Tintin

Isn’t Tintin supposed to be a dog? C’mon, I can’t be the only one who thought The Adventures of Tintin might be some new animated twist on the tales of a certain German Shepherd named Rin. My bad. The movie is actually based on a popular European series of comics created in 1929 by a Belgian artist known as Herge’. Tintin is not a german shepherd. He’s actually a curious young reporter-detective-adventurer who, along with his dog Snowy (a fox terrier), gets caught up in the wild and wacky world of criminals, villains, artifacts and treasure. He’s part “Brenda Starr”, part “Indiana Jones”.

From a purely visual standpoint, The Adventures of Tintin is rather stunning with its use of motion-capture technology. But the story itself falls a bit flat, even at the direction of the almighty Steven Spielberg.

Puss in Boots

Like a lot of people in the northeast, I got shut out of going to the movies Halloween weekend because of a freak October snowstorm. So what did I go to see this past weekend? Puss In Boots! That’s right, the cartoon cat seduced me, and I obviously wasn’t alone. Puss won the box office for the second week in a row even though Tower Heist was expected to take the top spot.

Cars 2

Cars 2 has plenty of action and adventure. What it doesn’t have enough of is heart. Unlike the first Cars movie where we got to know all of the residents of Radiator Springs, this one is all about Mater. And while the wisecracking tow truck was great as a supporting character, he just doesn’t cut it as a lead car.