With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time for movie studios to start teasing families with pre-packaged collections of kid-friendly features. Two of these are sequels to already established, music-oriented, CG-animated flicks. Another is the anticipated live-action movie from a highly-respected filmmaker. Finally, we have a stop-motion feature that’s sure to please when it hits theater screens early next year.
‘Happy Feet Two’
I never really cared for ‘Happy Feet‘, and this preview leaves me with even less interest to see what happens next. From what we can gather here, the sequel looks like a complete repeat of its predecessor, only with more annoying music and dance numbers. I know that there are some people who actually like and own the first movie on disc, but I just can’t see the appeal. The penguins are not cute and the song selection does nothing to excite or make me bust a move, let alone tap my feet. Apparently, it was enough of a success to justify a sequel. I’m sure that plenty of families with toddlers will likely give enough reason to make a third installment as well. I just won’t be one of them.
‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’
As with ‘The Smurfs’, ‘G.I. Joe’ or the ‘Transformers’ flicks, these remakes based on old cartoon series make me cry a little inside. It’s not so much that they get made into live-action motion pictures, as the fact that people actually pay money to see them, and turn such mediocre garbage into box-office hits which then warrant the creation of more mind-numbing nonsense. Even as a parent, I don’t see how a good chunk of film-lovers find this kind of movie-going experience acceptable. I wonder if there’s a larger cultural trend brewing, where the postmodern apathy so many philosophers have been in denial about has finally infected every area of creativity. As the Simon character in the trailer puts it, “I’m going to puke.”
Finally, something that looks much more appealing and worthwhile. Granted, it’s not an entirely original piece, since it’s an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s award-winning novel ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’. But it promises to be far more entertaining and inspiring than the previous two movies. Besides, the children’s fantasy drama comes from acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese, which already says that there will be a great deal to admire. It’s also the renowned director’s first feature to be filmed entirely in 3D with the use of James Cameron’s Fusion Camera System. In fact, this was the production that finally convinced me to give 3D a chance at home when I first read about it last year. Of all the family-oriented holiday pictures releasing this year, this is one I’m excited to see on the big screen.
‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’
Here is another promising family feature, but this one won’t be available until March of 2012. Again, the script is not entirely original. This time, it’s an adaptation of the first in a series of comedy books from Gideon Defoe. But coming from Aardman Animations, the same group that brought us ‘Chicken Run’, ‘Wallace & Gromit’ and ‘Flushed Away’, the film looks like loads of fun and full of belly-laughs. The preview alone already has me chuckling, and seems guaranteed to deliver more. Also, I wonder what the reaction will be once audiences discover that the plot involves Charles Darwin and evolution as key components of the story. Being a firm proponent of science, I see it as a charming and amusing anachronistic twist to history. I can’t wait to see this movie with my family, a rambunctious band of Darwin-loving misfits if ever there was one.
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