Posts Tagged ‘Shrek’

Hoodwinked

December 17, 2009

What Is It?

A computer animated cross between a Shrek-style twisting of faerie tales and a Pulp Fiction-style story line. Each character tells their story completely, then, we start over from another perspective. Each story is different, but intersects with the other characters and their stories. It’s fun to see things that didn’t make sense before explained later.

The story line is simple. The cops show up to find a tied up grandmother, (Glenn Close) a wolf (one of my favorite voice actors, Patrick Warburton) dressed in her clothes, a little girl in a red hood (Anne Hathaway of the Princess Diaries) and a woodsman (James Belushi) who has recently burst on the sceen with ax in hand. The police think that this mess of fairytale endings will be the key to discover who has been stealing the secret recipe books from all the good ie shops in the wood. Chief Grizzly ( rapper Xzibit , in a part that has nothing to do with hip-hop) just wants to book the wolf, but the frog (David Ogden Stiers) wants to get the real story.

How Was It?

I expected to find this movie lame. The ads did it no favors. I don’t know if this was helped by my lowered expectations, but I found it entertaining. The animation is nothing special (especially with Pixar running around) but the story is creative. I really enjoyed the interacting story lines. The pop culture references were good but not so overwhelming that it bogs down the plot . They more use popular movie/tv short hand in ways you would not expect to see it in a faerie tales. The plot is predictable, but fun.

Is It Good For Kids?

It is made for kids to enjoy with enough other things going on that adults will be ok ay (or have fun), too. There is never a moment where the joke is such that you will just hope your child will “miss it”. There is no cussing and all violence is very much good vs.bad or accidental and very cartoony. (Spoiler) We do find out that the grandmother has lied to her granddaughter about parts of her life. This is shown to hurt the relationship, but they do work it out. Beyond that, Red seems to be a “teen” character. She is updated to be hip Still yet , her shirt MAKES IT ALL THE WAY TO HER PANTS !!! Not only that, she’s going for the ultra hip – and ultra modest – bell

bottom jeans with a denim skirt.(Hopefully Red will be a good influence on Jasmine, Ariel, and those “Bratz” dolls.)

You can get a complete breakdown of what is on the screen at Screenit.com.

How about Spiritual Issues?

The wolf makes the statement “With God as my witness, you will learn to speak ” to the fast talking chipmunk. There is also a character who claims a witch has put a spell on him, but he then does something that proves there is no spell, but pretends not to notice so he can continue with his funny quirk .

The real lesson is “don’t judge a book by its cover” wh ich can have a spiritual application, especially if you bring up verses like John 7:24 .

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you have kids who would want a fun, bright film, or teens who are up late with alot of soda, this would be a good one to rent.

Hey , I was looking at the credits and noticed that the soundtrack was done by John Mark Painter. He’s from the band Christian band Fleming and John. This made me pay more attention. The Goat is voiced by Benjy Gaither (son of gospel singer Bill Gaither ) and the brothers who wrote and directed this film also hosted and edited (respectively ) CCM-TV, the short lived Christian music video show based on the magazine. It’s always great to see Christians put out something that does not make you want to gag.

I have since bought the Sound Track. It’s a lot of fun. 

Fleming and John’s Myspace page says:

 You can download a bootleg of their Awesome “Hoodwinked” Soundtrack here

PS

Did you know that Hercules Goes Bananas was the original title for Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s first film where they dubbed his voice to take care of his accent . I never thought I would see a movie with a HGB joke!

Hoodwinked DVD

Hoodwinked CD

Delusions of Grandeur

by Fleming & John

I am Legend

April 21, 2009

What Is It?

Will Smith stars in this book adaption that seems to be, from the credits, more of a remake of the 1971 film adaptation, Omega Man, with Charlton Heston. This is a big budget thriller about a man who is the last living, healthy survivor of a world wide plague. He hunts deer and plays golf through the abandoned streets of New York that are starting to turn green with weeds and grass. Beyond the loss of all human companionship, the down side to this, is that the virus has turned the world’s population into zombie vampires who can only come out at night and feed on any blood they can get. While living in this frightening situation, with his dog, Robert Neville (Smith) is continuing his research to find a cure for this disease. When not studying his infected rats or protecting himself from zombie vampires, he goes to the video store to return one movie and rent another while having small talk with the mannequin patrons he has apparently set around the stores, as shoppers. Sort of a more thought out “Wilson” (Castaway).

How Was It?

This is what I call the “Thinking Man’s Shallow Movie”. Somewhere between the amusement park ride films like “Cellular” and “Collateral” and the spiritually deep “Exorcism of Emily Rose” lies “I Am Legend.” Right up front the movie lets you know that very often, something is going to jump out at you. By stealthily waiting for the moment after you though it would happen, even after you have figured out this formula, it continues to keep you tense and make you jump, however, this is not just a cheap walk through a scare house on film. Though the story is straight forward, the presentation of the information keeps you engaged and thinking… while waiting for the next thing to jump out at you. (Aerial shots become a welcome “breather”) There are also great touches like having the movie “Shrek” showing on Nevil’s TV, and the scene between Donkey and Shrek actually explains the scene you are watching.

I am not a Will Smith fan, but after “I Robot” and the excellent performance in this film I may be coming around. We see his family and quarantining of NY in flash backs, but Smith is able to be just as touching when saying good-bye to his wife (Salli Richardson) and daughter (Willow Smith) , as he is discussing his birthday with his dog.

My heart rate was still noticeably “up” after we had left the theater.

Is It Good For Kids?

Outside of one little freak out with the word “hell” used as an exclamatory and not a noun, there is no cussing, no sex, no inappropriately dressed people, and no messages you would need to shield your children from. There is a character who uses “God” as a cuss word, but the response to the line is an explanation about God, Himself.

What is concerning for children are the “hives” of sub human zombie vampires coming to kill the main character. Where this may not cause your children to have incorrect world views, it could keep them up with nightmares. (In the theater, I did see a boy, probably around 8-10 years old, and his mom leave after the first couple of scenes, seemingly at the boys request.) It does not contain overt amounts of gore, but the Zombie Vampires are gross to look at and there are a couple of disturbing scenes with the dog, including a Zombie attack, that would be upsetting for children to see.

For a complete break down of what is on the screen, check out Screenit.com.

-Under “ProfanityScreenit.com has more words than I caught. I’m guessing they occur during the flash backs of people trying to escape New York before the military quarantines the city. Thus, it would be in the background amongst confusion and noise and not said by a character we would find influential. They also say that it only had 3 “jump scenes”. I think they lost count.

What About Spiritual Issues?

In the beginning of the film you see Neville drive by a bunch of posters with the hands from the Cistene chapel and the words “God Still Cares.” Then on his refrigerator is a magazine cover with his picture and the word “Savior?” It seems he added the question mark himself. In the flash back scene Neville’s wife prays for him (specifically to God) with his daughter before they part. In one scene Neville points out that “God didn’t do this, we did.” A wonderful attitude about God versus our evil decisions. All of this sets you up too look for this “unseen character” to intervene throughout the film.

Neville does talk about “Bob Marlie” in one scene. The things he says about him fit into the film and help explain the main character. They play “Three Little Birds” through the movie and “Redemption Song” in the credits. The slight problem here is that the things they say about Marlie are true but they leave out that he was also an evangelist for a cult that believed in the Old Testament and that the then King of Ethiopia was the promised Messiah and not Jesus. The movie itself leaves no room for that interpretation of Messiah but I though it worth noting. Neville does hold up a Bob Marlie CD and proclaims it “The best album ever.” The CD is “Legend”.

(SPOILER!)

He meets another survivor (Alice Braga) who is going to a refuge that God told her is out there. She believes that God had orchestrated her meeting with Neville.

(Even MORE of a SPOILER)

The movie ends (seriously, don’t read this part if you are going to see it anyway.) Robert declares that he can now hear God, sends out a vile of blood that will “save” man kind and offers help to sick people who instead try to kill him. If all of this is not Christ like enough, Robert ends up giving up his own life to ensure that the blood will save humanity. (Making him a “Type of Christ” and “The Freedom Bringer” When the refuge is found, the doors of the compound are open to reveal a beautiful country town (in contrast to the urban jungle of NY) with the main street leading to a church. Ultimately this film offers many clear pictures of the Gospel.

What Is Your Recommendation?

If you can handle some tense action and enjoy a good thrill ride, this movie offers it all, without the immoral baggage.

Even more than that, if you bring a friend with you, this film brings up many opportunities to discuss the One who gave His blood for us to save us from only half living, in pain and evil

I Am Legend