If you don’t love Aardman Animations, then you have a cold, dead soul. The latest Shaun the Sheep adventure sees our plasticine pal befriend ET in a wordless, silent clown tribute to every classic sci-fi from our childhoods.Continue Reading
Catching up with the first of the franchise: the remarkably simple character animation contrasts wildly with the over-cranked, bonkers action sequences to create a family adventure that is everything Ready Player One should have been. With a non-stop conveyor of genre-subverting satire, one-liners, sight-gags and pop-culture riffs, everything is indeed awesome. Continue Reading
Welcome to the futuristic San Fransokyo, where misfit robotics prodigy (aren’t they all) Hiro takes on his late brother’s project, a medical robot, Baymax. But soon Hiro and his band of misfit science geek friends (aren’t they all) are out to catch the evil genius (aren’t they all) who stole Hiro’s invention and caused his brother’s death.
Disney’s direct re-invention of How to Train Your Dragon is an manga-inspired mashup of The Incredibles and Wall-E; a comic-book romp that has eye-popping action and the now-obligatory flying sequence over a glorious San Fransokyo which steals the show. Drop me off in town to go exploring and pick me up when the super-heroics are over. I can guess the rest – it’s all about family, innit? Continue Reading
Five years on: the ‘vikings’ are still inexplicably Scottish, their kids remain, more inexplicably, irritating all-American teens; Jay Baruschel still sounds like Tom Hanks; but the dragons and the flying sequences are even more thrilling. Just as well, given some dodgy politics.
At times terrifyingly dark, intense and scary, the kinetic theme-park ride can’t conceal the broadest-brushed life lessons in a hackneyed script. But why does Kate Blanchett’s character look like a space alien, and what’s with the borderline racism? Continue Reading
Why, when they make a feature length movie, do producers want to take the very thing they presumably paid a lot of money for the movie rights, then turn it into something else?
Postman Pat The Movie is like a throwback to 70’s sit-com spin-offs; take a successful TV property, then take it on holiday; sacrifice the familiar elements that make it what it is, then ditch the characters, the setting and any of the plotting and turn it into… a shallow imitation of itself. Continue Reading
The greed of the Hollywood system dictates that any idea that makes a ton of money must be endlessly remade under diminishing returns until everyone is thoroughly sick of the pale shadow left at the end. Yes I know there’s four movies, but I have to draw a line.
Despite the usually repellent trope of anthropomorphised talking animals, I have a lot of time for the original Ice Age, an animated Longest Journey quest undertaken by three unlikely sub-zero heroes. Manny the mammoth (the dry Ray Romano), Diego the sabre-tooth (sardonic Dennis Leary) and Sid the sloth (endearing, lisping klutz, John Leguizamo) deliver a witty, inventive script as they flee the advancing glaciers and impending extinction, attempt to return a human baby to its’ tribe and bond together as their own unique herd.
And as a sideshow, silent clown Scrat (a pre-historic squirrel-rat) replays Wiley Coyote chasing a prize acorn. It’s funny, touching, and a fine life-lessons fable to the under-tens. Until Ice Age 2 and 3 when it all goes horribly wrong… Continue Reading
Hiccup, the laconic nerdy son of a Viking chief, befriends a juvenille dragon he’s supposed to kill, in the process discovering the secret of the dragon lair from which the beasts’ deadly raids are launched.
Dreamworks has done another stand-out job, a real visual treat. The quality of the animation is terrific – Viking beards, dragon scales, clouds, mountains, water, lots of fire and other textures – with superbly realised motion for the dragons. There are some marvellously realised dragons in all shapes and sizes and some great flying sequences (I know, I’m a sucker for a good flying sequence). Continue Reading