“Produced by Chinese animation studio Wolf Smoke, this three part adventure transports Catwoman, Bane and the Caped Crusader himself back to Shanghai in 1930 for an all-out battle of thievery and mystical kung fu, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re in luck. Check out all three parts after the cut!” (Via Comics Alliance)
You probably know the story from the trailer and you can tell the animation is great. The storytelling is awesome and the plot construction, voice acting, etc. – it’s all great. But what is the core? What is the lesson learned?
I had a chance to sit down with the infamous Mother Gothel and talk about how she sees the story and what the implications of this movie are. Continue reading
Superman/Shazam The Return of Black Adam is the latest incarnation of the DC Showcase line of animated features. This one however is a little deceiving since the main feature with Superman and Shazam is only a half hour long. This is the origins story of Captain Marvel and his first meeting with Superman. They are both drawn together to oppose Black Adam (the evil version of Captain Marvel). Because of the title, apparently Black Adam was returning from somewhere and is not very happy. There is very little story with the exception of the Shazam wizard imputing powers onto a young Billy Batson. The strongest part of animated short is the combat between the three. There are some great exchanges and the collateral damage is high. After a few of these DC Showcases, I am starting to wonder if it’s an asset or liability to have a hero live in your city. I can imagine there is special ‘superhero’ insurance clause just in case your vehicle gets flung into a building or something- but I digress. Overall this is a fun and polished looking short. Done in an japanese animation style, the detail is high and the animation is fluid. Two thumbs up for how it looks. Continue reading
Here comes Santa Claus… related movie reviews. We took the kids to the IMAX theater to see this movie created by Steve Oedekerk (“Thumb Wars”, “Bruce Almight”, “Ace Venture”, “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist”). I believe it was originally created for TV and then moved into 3D for IMAX (though it wasn’t as we saw it???).
Haven’t heard of it? Not surprised. It’s not that great, but it’s cute. The animation is along the lines of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys” – not high praise.
The story finds the Snowman having his flute accidentally broken so he steals one from Santa’s workshop. He loses it in the ensuing chase, but realizes how beloved Santa is and decides he’d like that gig. He proceeds to create an army of snowmen to do his yuletide bidding.
A Hoth-like battle follows with ‘walkers’ and abominable beasts… and hair-dryers. Ultimately, the two rivals become friends and the Snowman learns the flute was his all along… he just needed to wait one more day until Christmas.
It’s cute, fun and pretty short. The kids liked it and it was fun to see it on the giant screen.
I give it 2 and a half Babbles:
I really like this case: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross and several others in lesser roles. I felt it had Ferrell’s touch in some of the dialogue and David Cross’s personality came through. But in neither case did they over do it.
The animation was great end-to-end and the voice acting was right on. But I think the thing they did best in this movie was tell a fairly modern tale without just becoming adult and/or crude.
Too many animated movies these days try to appeal to everyone, in my opinion. Shrek is probably the worst – Pinocchio wearing a thong. Lame.
“The Incredibles” did it well and first by making a humorous, but ultimately an action movie that’s animated. It wasn’t talking animals or save-the-planet, enviro-friendly propaganda – it was a great action movie… that’s animated.
I think Megamind continued that, but also threw in some nice modern story-telling twists of the bad guy becomes the good guy (oops, spoiler!) unwillingly or at least unknowingly.
Through a nice step-by-step self-awareness and purpose-finding journey, he discovers that it’s not “being bad” that he loves, it’s the challenge, the competition, being pushed to exceed his own accomplishments over and over.
This is an accepted stance for the heroes – without villains, who needs heroes? But most of the time it’s assumed that without heroes, villains would be content. Not Megamind – it’s the thrill of the chase that he loves.
It’s not the funniest movie and I wouldn’t say I was completely engaged in the plot, but they didn’t drop the ball anywhere and it had some nice twists that other studios haven’t played with as much (e.g., the “Shrek” unlikely hero twist).
I give it 4 Babbles
I recently watched the DC animated movie Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. However, even as a huge JL fan I was very reluctant too see this. Mainly because I was so unimpressed with Grant Morrison’s book “JL: Earth 2″ that it is based off of. While I enjoy a good parallel universe story, Earth 2 did not live up to its potential and it has sat on my shelf collecting dust ever since. It was boring and frustrating- especially since the super trinity (Supes, Bats, & WW) barely interacted with their evil counterpart. What’s the point then?!?!
‘Crisis’ does not disappoint. While I was expecting a direct copy from the source book, I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh new story. Benevolent Lex Luthor travels across dimensions to implore the Justice League to help defeat their evil counter part back in Earth 2. The ‘Crime Syndicate’ was evil and menacing. Their character development was very well done, especially Batman’s counter part- The Owl. Packed with ample action, each of the JL have a chance to square off against their evil equal. It was fantastic and a fan boy dream come true. It’s what Morrison’s book so desperately needed. As another bonus, another evil plot emerges 3/4 through the adventure that really kept me invested and engaged. So often i lose steam (like recent New Frontier) but not in this one. I was gripped till the end and fully satisfied when the credits rolled. If you are a comic book or Justice League fan, I would highly recommend this movie. I think its one of if not the best DC animated features to come out that balances great action and great story telling. This story definitely does these heroes ‘justice’ and it stands in a ‘league’ of it’s own.
I give it a 4.5 Babbles out of 5
A post from guest Babbler Whitney Sanderlin
There are multiple reasons why you should watch “The Guild” and not the least of them is that it won’t take very long at all. Each webisode is about 3-8 minutes in length so the entire series will take you about 2 1/2 hours. I think even the committment-phobes out there can handle a series that long. For now, they are free/suggested donation online at their website The Guild or you can watch the first 3 seasons on Netflix. The Guild website gives more availability info as well.
Ok, onward through the fog of words! If you read my previous post, you know I’m a fan of Netflix, esp. InstaNetflix which allows me to not watch any commercials AT ALL be introduced to all the shows I didn’t watch when they were first on for free. I didn’t think I wanted to watch “The Guild” initially but I had a brief stint with Evony and thought I might get some of the inside jokes (I got SOME of them). Also, as unusual as it seemed to me upon examination, the whole series (at the time) was less than 1.5 hours. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and I think you will be too. The characters are people you know and most especially if you’ve ever been involved in the world of online gaming. The Guild seems to be more like World of Warcraft than anything else but I believe the way guilds/groups/gangs work is pretty much a universal truth in life and in online gaming. What impressed me about The Guild is the character development despite the fact that it has less than 10% of the screen play that normal-length shows contain. I think this is largely based on the main character Codex’s (played by Felicia Day) honest communications about herself, the guild and her life. The other characters are so honestly raw that it’s hard not to relate to some aspect of their lives or at least sympathize with those people who come in contact with these poor souls.
The show has been on since 2007 though it’s only about 1/3 of the way through season 4 right now. It’s strictly independent and was made, presumably by artists for artists. The series is very well done and leaves you wanting more of Codex, Zaboo, Vork, Bladezzz, Clara and especially Tinkerballa. (The more attitude the better!)
Interestingly enough, The Guild was at ComicCon2010 and I think Tony missed them. http://www.watchtheguild.com/the-guild/the-guild-at-comic-con-update/
Also, Wil Wheaton plays a charcter on The Guild and his character on the show makes me like him as a person more even though his character is – at times – a jerk.
I give it 4 Babbles out of 5
As anticipated, Toy Story 3 completely dominated the box office this past weekend. Not only did it easily dominate the box office, but made $109 million, making it Pixar’s highest grossing launch ever, is a triumph that the people at CGI-animation headquarters are undoubtedly celebrating in their ultra-colorful, creativity-fostering pseudo-cubicles. Its success also meant that ticket revenues were up 29 percent over the same time period last year. Karate Kid got kicked back in to second but was still able to cross over into 100 million dollar land. Everything else lost a lot of momentum as a result of Pixar’s cash magnet. The DC Jonah Hex got shot square between the eyes landing in 7th place with a measly $5 million. With nothing major opening soon, Toy Story will surely continue it’s domination till Twilight (July 16th).
||Toy Story 3
||Walt Disney Studios Distribution
||The Karate Kid
||Sony Pictures Releasing
||20th Century Fox Distribution
||Get Him to the Greek
||Shrek Forever After
High expectations. It was praised as a return to classic disney animated film.
Pros: Beautifully animated. Good music score. New characters.
Cons: Didn’t pierce hearts. Failed to escalate the drama and emotion. The reward of the ‘happy ending’ was not strong enough.
3 out of 5 babbles
Congratulations to Wes Anderson for winning the National Board of Review’s “Special Filmmaking Achievement” award for 2009!
Check out our own Jeff Jordan’s review on The Fantastic Mr Fox here, and check out Wes’s acceptance speech below.
Late Thanksgiving thurs. I went out excited to see ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ after persuading a friend not to see Twilight: New Moon. I am relieved that I succeeded. Not only did I avoid wasting money seeing the terrible phenom known as Twilight, I manage to see one of the best movies this year.
The story simply is about a retired fox eager to make one last ‘heist’ before old age renders him unable. There is a lot to be said about how clever the dialogue was written. It was very smart, funny, articulate, and a bit quirky.
Fantastic Mr. Fox had so many elements packed into the film to enjoy and appreciate. Strong music, detailed animation or ‘claymation’, dialogue, and excellent voice talent. The film is absolutely humorous, well paced, and visually fun to watch. Wes Anderson has artistically adapted Roald Dahl’s brilliant story into a visual masterpiece that many will enjoy.
I would highly recommend seeing Fantastic Mr. Fox and for the added difficulty of making this genre of film a success I must add half a babble.