Friday, June 23, 2006

Some movie reviews

I've been meaning to catch up on a few movie reviews. As always, I try to review movies for the purpose of letting parents know whether or not they are appropriate for small children. I'll avoid getting into the details of the story, but instead focus on whether or not you, as a parent, will survive the afternoon without being dragged from the theatre by a disturbed toddler. Two outta three ain't bad...

Pixar's latest flick is a lot of fun. Zero scary characters, lots of jokes both for kids and for adults (including a vast number of inside jokes), and astounding animation. It's educational, as well, teaching kids everything they need to know about Nascar, the history of Route 66, and cow tipping. If you go, make sure to stay through the credits (ALL the credits) for some extra treats.

Over The Hedge
This movie was a blast as well. It was totally unexpected how good it was. Since some of you may not know what the story is about, I will summarize by explaining that it focuses on a group of small forest animals who wake up after a long winter's nap to discover that their home has been surrounded by urban development. Discovering that there's no food left to gather because there's no woods, they are convinced by a visiting racoon that there is a virtual Xanadu just over the hedge and into one of the developments, where suburban dwellers throw out more than they actually use. The movie is incredibly well written, the animation is crisp and clear, the music and jokes are fabulous, and there's even a lesson to be learned about urban sprawl and waste.

I do have one complaint about Over The Hedge, however, which is that the racoon starts off the movie being threatened with death by a big mean grizzly bear. The bear, played by Nick Nolte, is unnecessarily scary for little kids, and its lines were badly chosen ("If you don't come back in a week, I will catch you and KILL you"). The writers could have achieved a better effect making him more comical, while still getting the same point across. And they would have avoided making parents have to hold their kids down to keep them from running out of the theatre. But if you kid starts to run, hold him down, the rest of the movie is more than worth it.

Skip this paragraph if you don't want one small spoiler. I have to say they stole one of my running jokes. At one point an animal asks his friends what this big new thing (the hedge) is in their forest. Another answers with, "I don't know, but I will call it 'Steve.'" That's my line. I call everything Steve. Steve's gonna be the name of our next dog. Our kids and the rest of the theatre had to hush my wife and me after that, as we were laughing way too hard and no one really knew why.

Chicken Little
We rented this yesterday and previewed it before deciding whether to show it to our 5-year-old. After viewing, we decided against it. This is a very amusing, goofy movie that adults (especially SCRUBS or Zach Braff fans) will find very funny. But there's a lot of scary stuff. Animals panicking, aliens with spinning razor blades chasing panicking animals, and screams of death and dispair (though no one dies). Too bad, it's got some really funny stuff in it. If your kid can handle some mild violence, then this movie shouldn't be a problem. But if they still can't handle that opening scene in Finding Nemo, forget it.

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