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Finding Nemo

Posted by Player under Animation

Finding NemoOn a Saturday afternoon, I decided to be brave and take both my 5 year old and my terrible 2 year old to see Pixar’s latest film on the big screen. After Monster’s Inc. let me down last time, Pixar actually surprised me this time. Not sure if the colors or fish themselves put people in a good mood, but pretty much all the adults and kids in the theater enjoyed Finding Nemo.


The film tells the story of a father clown fish who loses his son after an argument. On the pursuit of his son, Marlen, the father fish, meets up with Dory, a bluefish played by Ellen Degenerous. Meanwhile Nemo is learning about the world and the real struggles of other fish in an aquarium! Eventually life long lessons are learned by both father and son, all without getting too emotional or corny.

Effects & Acting:
Usually this is where I talk about how the special effects in a movie either thrilled me or let me down, but this is a complete CGI film, so technically the special effects are the acting and the voices. Degenerous does an excellent job of portraying a forgetful fish, and her voice is quite comical and appropriate for the Dory character. In reality what makes Finding Nemo a good movie is not the fish, but the human predicament and emotion being portrayed, and this is what good drama is all about.


Overall Finding Nemo was not as good as ToyStory2, but it was better than Monster’s Inc, because the story is simple and the characters are very expressive. It is also the first movie that my 2 year old watched almost completely in the theater, so in that alone I have to thank Pixar.

4 out 5 stars



Posted by Player under Animation

Shrek 2The original Shrek was a light hearted modern view of fairy tales and it appealed to both adults and children on many levels. This was also in large part due to the cast, and not just good writing, so it is no surprise that Dreamworks released a follow-up film, now known as Shrek2.

Shrek2 has so far excelled everyone’s expectations as it has been breaking records for most theatres played in. I even saw parents walking out of Shrek2 with their kids at midnight hours! It is that popular.

Like any parent, I took the kids to go see the green guy and what I got out of the film was a bit different.

Shrek2 starts right after the honeymoon, where Shrek and his new bride must travel to Far Away Land to visit his in-laws. Upon arriving, Shrek, Fiona, and their trusty Donkey are greeted by less than excited parents and so starts the stage for Shrek’s new adventure.

Dreamworks tried a little harder this time to push more jokes into the film and in some places, it simply hilarious, like Pinochio not admitting to wearing a thong, or of course the Puss’n’Boots character. In a few places, the jokes don’t work as well, but kids will hardly notice this.

The animation is even better this time around, and maybe that is what bothered me most, because at a point, the animation is so good, that Shrek stops looking like a cartoon, and more realistic, like an actual real life person.

Overall, Shrek2 is just as funny as Shrek 1, but seems less fairy tale-like than the original, which means, it seems like a meshing of different fairy tale jokes which seem to overtake the main plot at times.

4 out 5 stars


Monsters, Inc

Posted by Player under Animation

Monters, Inc.When I took my son to view this movie in the theatres, it was a bit disappointing. We had a lot of high hopes for the film and when it did not live up to our expectations, of say ToyStory2 (Pixar’s last animation film), the result was a less than enthusiastic review. However the 2-disc DVD is a different story.

First a review, the story in Monsters, Inc is the old “there’s a monster is in my room” story which little kids often tell their parents about. Except that in this movie, it is true, there are monsters in a different world that enter through portal doors and scare kids in order to get their screams, which they in turn use as energy to power their world. The movie depicts a blue-green furry giant known as Sully (played by John Goodman) and his green one-eyed friend known as Mike Wazowski (played by Billy Crystal) as they deal with Boo (a little girl who has sneaked into the monster world). Along the way Sully learns about children and why it is wrong to scare them. The film has some tender moments for both child and parent and the humor is mostly aimed at younger children.

Due to the plot and humor, Monsters, Inc. does not reach the popularity of ToyStory2 which is Pixar’s best film to date. However, the DVD brings a lot more to the home viewing experience than most films, if you have children that is. At home, both my 4 year old and his younger partner in crime of 17 months thoroughly enjoy the film (quietly), which is amazing to watch if you are a parent.

Unlike the theatre, the DVD manages to have brighter and more accurate color. The video image is nothing short of spectacular and in widescreen mode the 5.1 enhanced Dolby Digital soundtrack has a lot of depth. From the smooth jazz music to the crashing sound effects, to the flying fur, the DVD movie experience is much better than the theatre, and isn’t that why you bought a DVD player in the first place?

If you have younger kids, I highly recommend you get Monsters, Inc and ToyStory2. They are Pixar’s best films to date. Bug’s Life and ToyStory1, are also good films, but I for one don’t recommend those for adult viewing. Another animated movie that will quiet the kids is Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.

5 out 5 stars


Blood: The Last Vampire

Posted by Player under Animation

Blood: The Last VampireBlood is not a full feature film, it’s actually a 40 minute animation which is stunning to both watch and hear. It has been described as a proof of concept, a film concerned with setting the right mood through animation. The story is not fully elaborated on, but what is told is that Saya is a unique girl who kills vampire demons for some sort of secret agency. She has to hunt the demons out and then kill them with her sword. The entire story plays out in Japan, on an American military base.

The film has plenty of interesting animation effects and there are even 3D CGI backgrounds in some scenes. Each frame of the film was actually run through Adobe Photoshop and AfterEffects to produce shadows that set the entire mood of the scene.

Soundwise, Blood features an excellent score and soundeffects have plenty of depth and feel to them.

If you enjoy top-notch animation or vampire thrillers, you should check out Blood.

4 out 5 stars