Anomaly Appraisal

Things I have reviewed and posted about.

The Lorax: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Last night we went to see The Lorax. Unfortunately it was the only animated film at the cinema and all I can say is that I really did have to sleep on it before writing this post.

Let’s start with the good. We all know it’s based on the book by Dr. Seuss, and that’s grand. Having never read the book, I went into the film with a bit of naivety but an open mind as to how it would pan out.

The set designs and backgrounds are the best aspect of the film. Yes, they’re unremarkable in the grand scheme of things, but they do at least lend a cartoony feel to everything; much the same as that other Dr. Seuss film, Horton Hears a Who. The colours may be a bit saccharine for some (we certainly weren’t prepared for it), but they fit in well with the environment, and the team did a fine job of contrasting the different scenes and eras.

The other standout thing for me was the score. Not the soundtrack (we’ll get to that below), but the score by John Powell, which leads a kind of joviality to the whole thing. Again, it’s nothing remarkable, but it fits the mood well.

I suppose the other good thing was that the kids seemed to like it, especially the one girl behind us who made everyone else laugh with her giggles.

Onto the bad. All I can say is throughout the entirety of the film, I couldn’t help but feel that bits and pieces were missing. By the end, I reckoned there was 20 minutes that were somehow missing and had either hit cutting room floor or were never written to being with.

The entire film seemed like it was going around in a tumble dryer with jumps here and there, back and forth and characters starting in one place and instantly ending in another. In other words, the film didn’t so much run as it was playing hopscotch.

Besides the jumbly story, there were gags to be had in every, single, shot. Now a comedy should have a joke in most scenes, with a sprinkling of gags to sweeten things up. The Lorax on the other hand, didn’t seem to think that was enough and proceeded to have a gag in, quite literally, every single shot. Be it something happening offhand to a character or a spoken blooper, the result was the same. It was OK for the first couple of minutes, but after an hour and a half, things were wearing a bit thin.

Lastly, the ugly.

Hmmm, where to start, how about with the voice talent. The big names like Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift certainly promised a lot (if you believe the marketing department at Universal) but oh boy did they fail to deliver. They didn’t stumble over themselves and roll off a cliff, no, they weren’t that bad. But if you like wooden voice-acting from people who aren’t famous for their [speaking] voices, well, The Lorax is right up your street.

Taylor Swift, as good great* a singer as she is, just can’t deliver a good vocal performance. It was flat, it was unmemorable, it was a waste of a role! The rest of the cast is similar. Danny DeVito is at least seasoned enough and with a distinct voice that enabled him to carry the role, but only barely.

As for the characters they were voicing, well, they were all terribly boring. Comparing Ted and another young protagonist, Hiccup, there is no comparison. Hiccup at least has depth, he actually has some motivation to do the right thing, for the dragons’ sake. Ted just want to impress Taylor Swift, and the best he can muster is to find a tree, and even then that’s practically done for him!

We learn nothing about him. He’s an axiom of a character, in other words, he is what he is. As is everyone else. Character development is minimal, even for the Once-ler, who has apparently learned his lesson but is for some reason dependent on Ted to fix everything.

The supporting cast are pretty much your usual, American pseudo-stereotypes:

  • Mum who’s the boss – check
  • Granny whose surprisingly active but uses a cane and is voiced by Betty White – check
  • Greedy businessman who’ll stop at nothing to keep his empire – check
  • Cute girl next door who main character has a crush on – check
  • Creepy, disgruntled old-timer who’s going to have a change of heart by the film’s end – check
  • Southern yokels in a Winnebago – check

Let’s not forget the myriad of supporting characters who imbue all the usual quirky traits that are by now seemingly mandatory for any CGI film. From singing abilities to one-trick ponies, they’re all there.

As mentioned earlier, the score is decent, but the songs were even more saccharine than the sets. Lavishly animated, they were over the top to say the least. Coming at supposedly appropriate points in the film, they were nonetheless distractions that didn’t really add much. The film could have been non-musical and it would have been the same.

Lastly, the particulars of the story itself is where the film really fell down. Besides jumping all over the place in the pacing, the story itself made maddingly little sense. The Lorax himself plays a relatively minor character; being missing for almost half the film only to show up again at the very end. The Once-ler servers as the protagonist for half the film before focus shifts back to Ted. Taylor Swift’s character says all of three paragraphs and appears in just about as many scenes and O’Hare is a villain who, quite frankly, does nothing of consequence.

In the end, we go back and forth from past to present before jumping around all over Thneedsville to plant a tree before the whole town turns against the bad guy, Ted gets his kiss and The Lorax shows up to give the Once-ler a hug.

Honestly, by the end, it’s hard to figure out quite what the hell I was watching for the past hour and a half.

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Anomaly Appraisal: Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest

Via: The Internet Movie Poster Awards

Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest is one of those films that I must have seen when I was younger. I was smack in the middle of the target audience at the time and I definitely did see Aladdin when it came out mere months before/after.

Yet I had forgotten about it for years until last week when I was at Wal-Mart. Having picked up a bicycle seat (as you do), I strolled past the DVD section. Lo and behold! There was a $5 bin stuffed to the gills with DVDs.

Since I like animation in all shapes and forms, I have become accustomed to rummaging through such bins because you never know what you’ll find. Naturally I came across Fern Gully. For $5? How could I not! So I did, and the other night, I watched it.

What can I say? It’s a decent enough film that left me pleasantly surprised. The animation is superb with plenty of lovely traditional animation and hand-painted backgrounds. There’s also some 3-D CGI that is as good as anything Disney put out at the time. Hans Perk (of A. Film L.A.) did some animation, as did Ralph Eggleston. So it seems that at least a few famous folks were involved in making this film as beautiful as it is.

The plot is fine, if somewhat generic. Sure, it plays on the whole ‘environmentalism’ fad that was happening at the time (remember this was the early 90s) although it is quite believable in the context of the setting. The script itself is slow. A large portion of the movie is devoted to the main characters travelling around the world they live in. It may be a side effect of the short running time (80 mins) that leaves the actual plot to do with Hexus as something of an afterthought.

The music (as excellently composed by Alan Silvestri as it is) is now rather dated, as is the film itself. Besides the music, the big giveaway is the language. “Tubular” and “bodacious” are just two and are far from the only examples. Yes, this film is very much from the late 80s/early 90s.

Indeed, Fern Gully has company in this regard. Tangled walks the very same, fine line that divides a film between being timeless and being time-framed. I have no doubt that in ten years, Tangled will look much the same age as Fern Gully looks today, unfortunately.

As for the characters, they are certainly likeable. There’s nothing wrong with that except that their development is cut short by the running time. They are the usual motley crew that inhabited animated films before Pixar came along. I.e. the smart one, the good-looking dumb one. the hangers-on, the hero, the villain. Nothing makes most of them stand out from the crowd. Having said that, I did find two characters who did.

Crysta, our protagonist, is by far the most interesting of all the characters. There is a lot on her shoulders (as we learn throughout the film) that weighs upon her mind. She is strong character that is determined in her ways while at the same time caring for the bewildered human (Zak) who has literally fallen into her life.

She has that happy-go-lucky charm that imbues all the virtues of a good female character while being assertive enough in her ways to avoid being labelled a pushover. Look at the screencap below.

Now there’s a great shot. The crossed arms, the lip-bite and the dozens of eyes staring out just scream the inquisitive nature of our heroine. How about another one:

I’ve seen that face literally dozens of times. She does exactly that with my face as well and every time it makes me wonder whether I’ve missed my calling as a clown.

Crysta is the most developed of all the characters, so much so, that without her, the film would be indubitably more boring.

The second characteris given some criminally short screen time. That would be Hexus, voiced by the one and only Tim Curry, who manages to bring out so much of the sleaze and evilness in the character, it makes you wonder how awesome the film would be if he’d been given more screen time.

Tim Curry provides a superb balance to Robin Williams who hams it up as Batty. Hexus is effortlessly sublime to Robbin’s lunacy, which is far more abrasive than his other performance of the year as the Genie in Aladdin. Of note is something Brad Bird posted over on Cartoon Brew a few years ago (how I manage to find these things I do not know):

Very few people remember that Williams was also the voice of a key character in FERNGULLY that same year and it didn’t help the film’s boxoffice.

Sadly it didn’t, although the film is no worse for it. Williams is given a wild script but it is clear that he was not given the same freedom that he was for Aladdin, where the character of the Genie was so dependent on him being who he is.

Interestingly enough, Fern Gully is set in Australia and was partially produced there. As such, I asked Australia’s favourite son and my good chum, Elliot Cowan what he thought of it:

Fern Gully is an enormous pile of shit that is about as Australian as Abraham Lincoln.

So The Secret of Kells it isn’t. That should not detract you from seeking Fern Gully out though. You will be rewarded by a lovely looking film with some very 90s songs that may provide a bit of a respite from all the CGI that is being thrown your way these days. Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest is available at Wal-Mart and Target for the low, low price of $5 (plus tax).

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Anomaly Appraisal: Mary & Max

Via: My[confined]

When you think of claymation, the first thing that might pop into your head is probably not a feature film. A pre-school series such as Pingu perhaps, but not something that you intend to watch over the course of an hour and a half or more. For the record, claymation is a form of stop-motion animation, not a different type of animation altogether.

I know that this films has been out for a while, but it was only the other night that I finally got the chance to sit down and watch it, and I am pleased to report that it exceeded all my expectations and then some.

Admittedly, the idea of the story did not exactly speak volumes to me. A tale of a young Australian girl being pen-friends with a 50-something New Yorker does not exactly warm the cockles of the heart, especially at this time of year when there’s snow everywhere.

However, if you look past the superficial skin of the story, you will be amazed at how deep it really goes. For one, this is a story about character. Both main protagonists are clearly contorted, confused and seemingly alone in this world, and yet both find solace in each other in different ways.

The film begins in Australia with a background to Mary’s life; her alcoholic mother, her aloof father, her agoraphobic neighbour, her pet rooster and the boy next door with the terrible stutter. In the middle of all of this, we get a glimpse into the life of a little girl who is isolated and in in the extreme sense, sort of abused as an unwelcome intrusion into her parent’s lives.

On the other side of the world, Max is a loner who sees the world in a very literal sense. He is easily confused by the actions of others and as such, he often lets his anger get to him. He is emotionally fragile, and like Mary, had a similarly traumatic childhood.

Both seemingly disparate characters do share something in common, their love of chocolate and The Noblets, a TV show. With these two similarities, the two develop a friendship maintained only through letters (the film is set in the 1970s) through thick and thin.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but there are some dramatic twists and turns that have implications for both characters. What I can say though, is that the ending is carried out in a very suitable way that left me feeling empty at the time, like the directors skimped out, but after having thought about it for a while, I came to the conclusion that it is one of the better endings I have seen in a long time. It brings a definite conclusion to things and it is clear how much each character benefited from all the correspondence over the years.

The animation is superb, I cannot say any more. The limited use of colour means that you are much more focused on the animation rather than the look of things. There are plenty of visual gags that are in that subtle, British style, in other words you have to pay close attention to what’s going on in the background.

The direction is excellent, with every shot clearly having been thought through thoroughly (try saying that 10 times in a row!). The quirkiness of the film stands out in the actions of the characters and the way each shot is used to help explain a character’s emotions or thoughts.

Although I am averse to celebrity voice-actors, I will say that Philip Seymour Hoffman does an excellent job of portraying Max. You can hear the weariness in his voice and the way he dictates his letters to himself suggest that he is a man who has a lot on his mind. As for the other characters, they are all performed to perfection (lots of alliteration in this post today, eh?).

In the end, Mary & Max did not elicit an enormous amount of emotion from me, but it did leave me immensely satisfied that I had seen an excellent film that is clearly a cut above many other movies that are billed as emotional dramas. Looks are not everything and I am confident that if you can get past Max’s sour puss on the poster, you will be rewarded by a very good film indeed.

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Anomaly Appraisal: The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes

Via: The Cartoon Cave

We got some snow here in Baltimore last night, so today I get to work from home! Without having to engage in the usual race against time that I normally do to write a post, I became rather distracted by some Looney Tunes on YouTube. Having grown up with all of them, it was very hard not to watch just a few as they finally give me the impetus I needed to post my review of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.

Edited by Jerry Beck (whom you all should know as one half of Cartoon Brew and the guy who knows more about classic animation than anyone else), it does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. However, this is no mere directory of shorts, but a carefully curated collection of the ones that stand out, that are worth mentioning and, as Jerry notes in his introduction, are worthy of being ranked among the classics of American cinema from the same era.

The book is superbly laid out with each short getting a two-page spread with screenshots on one and the commentary opposite. There is the title, a quote, the production details, a short paragraph description and then there is the real gem of the book, the personal responses.

See, there are tons of books out there that detail Looney Tunes shorts and there are plenty of books out there that contain personal tales of people’s favourite ones, but rarely are the two brought together so wonderfully. The commentators includes a who’s who of animation folk, such as Linda Simensky, Michael Sporn, Greg Ford, Eric Goldberg, Mark Mayerson, J. J. Sadelmaier, the list goes on and on.

What makes all these personal responses so great is exactly that, they’re personal! Many remark about how much they learned from watching these shorts, and indeed how often they used to view them, mostly on TV re-runs. While reading through them, I found myself on more than one occasion mentally playing the film in my head, which only added to the enjoyment as I recalled all the gags and indeed, my own viewing experiences.

The Looney Tunes series of shorts are just one series that have had a profound effect on American culture. Their longevity is proof that they have managed to transcend the fickle nature of the entertainment industry, where fads rule and films can date quicker than the Chinese food in the fridge. The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes is a superb companion book that should bring back fond memories of these shorts, and may also inspire you to seek them out again. Highly recommended and can be bought on Amazon.

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Anomaly Appraisal: The Vault of Walt

Via: Mayerson on Animation

I suppose I’m kinda going backwards with these things, seeing as I’ve read this but no biographies of Walt. Nonetheless, I don’t think this will stand as a barrier to my enjoyment of either. I received The Vault of Walt as a Christmas present and was thoroughly surprised by what I read.

The first shock was it’s size, over 400 pages! I wasn’t expecting anything near that long, although that did not perturb me from racing through the entire tome in about 4 days such was the ease and eagerness at which I read it.

Jim Korkis, for those who do not know, wrote a blog over on the Mouse Planet website under a pseudonym before leaving the Disney Company and writing this book under his own name. Basically, it is a collection of stories that revolve around Walt Disney that Jim felt are not given adequate exposure in current biographies or even in any other literature.

The book is divided into four parts, each dealing with a different aspect of Walt’s life and work. They include such wide-ranging topics as: The Miniature World of Walt, the Gospel According to Walt, the Song of the South Premiere, Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, Khrushchev in Disneyland and Tinker Bell Tales.

All in all it the book is a smorgasbord of stories that I’d never heard of and that touch on aspect’s of Walt’s life that others either didn’t know about or chose to gloss over. A fine example is Walt’s religious beliefs and his apparent extreme religious tolerance of other faiths.

Some of the stories that revolve around Disneyland are almost as exciting as those surrounding the man himself. For instance there is a fascinating insight in the carousel at Walt Disney World, which is a genuine historical artefact and worth many millions of dollars. Yet park visitors ride it every day without even realising it!

Jim’s writing style is easy-going and easy to read as a result. The break-up of the stories also means that you can read it in a any order you wish, so it’s great for people (such as myself) who might only find time to read on story at a time.

Overall, I found that the Vault of Walt helped give me a more complete picture of the man known as Walt Disney. it helped fill in some blanks about how his childhood in Kansas and Missouri helped shape his work in Hollywood and beyond. As a purely entertainment piece alone I would recommend the book, but seeing as it is quite unique on its topic. As a pseudo-biographical collection of stories about one of the best-known people in the world, it is an essential place on my bookshelf.

You can order it here, but also please read the thoughts of Mark Mayerson and Michael Sporn who are much more knowledgeable on the subject than I.

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Anomaly Appraisal: Tales from Earthsea

I read the announcement a few days ago over on Cartoon Brew but having bought the DVD back in 2008, it doesn’t matter that much to me. Having said that, I’d thought I’d post my thoughts on a movie that while from the venerable Studio Ghibli, is not by it’s most famous director but rather his son, Goro.

The movie is based on the series of books by Ursula K. LeGuin but differs substantially from the original material. The protagonist is Arren, a young lad who has run away from home after murdering his father, who just happens to be the king. He meets a wizard by the name of Sparrowhawk who saves him from a pack of wolves. Arren follows Sparrowhawk into a bustling city, where he rescues a young girl named Tehru from a bunch of tough guys rounding up people and forcing them into slavery.

The story takes an interesting turn with the entrance of Lord Cob, an apparently powerful wizard who is in search of the source of eternal life. Strange things begin to happen to Arren and eventually, it is up to Sparrowhawk to help rescue him, along with Tehru.

The film is vastly different from those we have come to know and love from Hayao. The plot is more complex and at times bizarre. There are many subplots presented that the viewer must contemplate while watching the film. Not that any of this detracts from it, not in the least. If anything it rewards the viewer in a different way than Hayao’s works. The plot does tend to wander though, and I suspect that about 15 minutes could have easily been removed from the film in numerous places to stop it feeling as long as it does.

The characters are not as easy to sympathize with as you would expect, Arren is, after all, a murderer. He is somewhat flat, as are the rest of the cast, but that is a minor quibble. The voice-acting talents of Timothy Dalton and Willem DaFoe (in a very quirky role, even for him) help make up the difference.

The animation is superb, with detailed backgrounds, dramatic cities and foreboding castles. The character design is recognizably Ghibli but perhaps on a slightly more muted level. The use of digital enhancements does not hinder the enjoyment of the film.

Is it a film worth seeing? Well, that really does depend. If you go into this film expecting a carbon copy of Hayao you will be bitterly disappointed. It is not near the same. Instead, embrace it as the different movie that it is. If you can get past the hurdles of a twisty plot and pedestrian pacing, you will be rewarded by a surprising ending. Personally, it took me two viewings before I could say I enjoyed it.

Below is the trailor for your viewing pleasure:


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Review: Fantastic Mr. Fox


First of all, I like Wes Anderson; the Royal Tenenbaums being perhaps my favourite of all his work. He certainly is a unique fimmaker who makes makes movies that, at lest in this day and age, could be regarded as a bit off-beat.

Not that there is anything wrong with that of course. Variety is the spice of life and with all the usual bland fare and/or sequels that Hollywood is churning out these days, it is refreshing to know that there are still directors out there who believe in making great films.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of those rare films. In any given year, a stop-motion feature film would garner a lot of attention, mainly because there was a good chance it would be the only one! Not so for Fantastic Mr. Fox, who had to contend with the also excellent Coraline at the box office and the Academy Awards. Side note: Henry Sellick was attached to Fantastic Mr. Fox at the beginning but left to direct Coraline instead.

For starters, the animation is superb. Relying heavily on a colour palette of reds, yellows and browns, the landscape looks positively agricultural. An important aspect of a film set in the countryside. The use of stop motion was a risk that paid off handsomely. The style suits very well, much the same as it did in another Roald Dahl book, James and the Giant Peach.

In typical Wes Anderson style, the music isn’t quite what you would expect and although he does not have Quentin Tarantino levels of sound selection, it was nonetheless welcome to hear the Beach Boys pop up in the middle of the film.

As for the plot, having read the book and being very familiar with it as a result, my greatest fear was that Anderson would mess with the plot and turn it into something that is wasn’t. However, I made my mind up beforehand that I would forget about the book and concentrate on the plot as it was presented to me on screen.

Thankfully, things were not near as bad as I had anticipated. The extra bits that were added at the beginning and end of the movie tie in very well with the bit in the middle that comprises the actual book.

All is not perfect unfortunately. I cam away from Fantastic Mr. Fox feeling disappointed. It wasn’t the animation, or the plot or the music or even Wes Anderson’s unique directing style. Nope all of those were great. For me, it was the characters.

I identify very strongly with characters. I like to see characters that, while flawed in one way or another, are complete on the whole. Although I say above that I tried my best to forget the book in the course of watching the movie, it was hoe Wes Anderson interpreted the fox family and their cohort that did it for me.

Mr Fox is no longer the devoted husband and father, instead we see and egotistical, bitter middle-aged guy who goes back to steeling stuff for the sheer thrill and escape it brings him from his supposedly pathetic life. I find it very difficult to like a guy like that, even if he is voiced by George Clooney.

As for Mrs. Fox, she apparently regrets the whole ordeal! I mean c’mon, now she’s not likeable either. And don’t get me started on the kid, Ash. I know the kids don’t play much of a role in the book, but man, did I want to give that kid the spanking he deserved.

Ironically enough, the three farmers are as mean and nasty as you would expect from three men infatuated with killing a fox. It’s just that with a protagonist that is so close in character to them, it is hard to know who to root for.

So there you have it, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a film that was lauded by the critics (who I also don’t particularly like) and while technically brilliant in all respects, falls on the critical component that ties it all together.

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Review – Serious Business: The Art And Commerce Of Animation In America

I got this book for Christmas and although I read Googled first, I was excited to get into this immediately after. Covering the US animation scene from its beginnings to sometime in the late 1990s, I found Serious Business to be an interesting and enjoyable read.

Author Stefan Kanfer focuses more so on the Golden Age of animation than any other time. Perhaps because that was when animation was big business in Hollywood, when numerous major studios and Disney ran full-scale animation departments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how the Fleischer Brothers got up and running in New York, or how Walt Disney spent his last few dollars on a 1st class train ticket to Los Angeles.

The book tends to read rather quickly after around 1950 or so. Although this in understandable given the downturn in the industry at the time. It was nice to see attention paid to studios such as UPA and the Hubleys as well as the various independent animators who sprouted up throughout the 60s and beyond.

Once we reach the 90s, things pick up again with the advent of the Simpsons and the creation of the three original Nicktoons. The book then somewhat bumbles along to the end in 1998 or so. Not that this detracts from the book, indeed, I am far more familiar with recent developments than those in the 30s, so unless you’re Jerry Beck and have a thorough knowledge of old cartoons, you are unlikely to be worried either.

Kanfer writes with a writing style that can be at times a little long-winded, but the book is never boring and with so much material to cover, the book is indeed dancing the line between covering to much yet covering too little.  At 264 pages, it could easily have been a bit longer, although Kanfer may have intended it to be this way, so as not to descend into the kind of tome one would expect a serious historian to have.

Serious Business is well worth a read, especially if, like myself, you were not as familiar with the beginnings of the animation industry as you would like. In conjunction with the Giant 600 Cartoon DVD boxset I also received, it is fair to say that the book indeed sparked my interest in old, cartoons long forgotten by the general public.

You can buy Serious Business: The Art And Commerce Of Animation In America From Betty Boop To Toy Story on

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How to Train Your Dragon, in 3-D!!!!

Having read Gilligan’s advice over on the Retrospace blog yesterday, I’m going to try and up the ante over here, seeing as so far Fantazmigoriuh has been limping along. I update my tumblelog almost every day without fail but it’s more of an eclectic collection of stuff I come across as I “surf the net”…does that phrase seem stuck in 1995 or what, eh? So from now on, I will update this thing daily (except maybe Sundays, I do need a rest you know). Basically I’ll probably just grab one piece of animation news from the day before and comment on it, or indeed comment or review on movies that I have seen recently. Nothing to heavy of course, just a quick blurb with some nice photos. And should I ever score the winning goal, I will be sure to brag about it here!

So, last night we went to see Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon. I chose the 3-D version because I hadn’t gone to one before and I figured I’d give it a shot just for shits and giggles. Long story short, it ain’t worth it. And here’s why:

  • You have to buy the glasses. As for recycling them at the end, heck no. I paid $2 for these glasses, I’ll keep them thankyouverymuch.
  • They make the movie darker, well, darker and slightly yellower by my reckoning. Thumb down.
  • I counted a total of 2 (maybe 3) scenes where it was worth it. In other words, the rest of the movie it was barely noticeable.

At $13 a ticket, rest assured that was the last time I go to see a 3-D movie. There was a family of 8 in front of us. They must’ve been out nigh on $100 before snacks. If you have the choice, plump for the 2-D option and you’ll be much happier.

As for the movie itself, I was gobsmackingly shocked. For a Dreamwork’s picture, Dragon sets the gold standard. While it’s not PIXAR standard, it’s fairly darn close. The plot was certainly better than most DW picture’s have been (possibly because it is based on a book). So juts when I thought things were becoming predictable, the become unpredictable. I like  that.

Visuals were great, lovely design, plenty of colour. I love the character design. The Vikings have their charm while the kids look unique in the their own individual way. Notable is Asterid who dances the fine line between being a hard fighting tomboy and a girl with all the usual traits. On a related note, I’m glad they gave all the dragons a dose of intelligence. It really added to the movie and made me fall in love with them.

The only downside was the voice-acting, and when I say that, I mean Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel. He came off as a bit whiney and rather unsuited for the part. It didn’t ruin the film for me, but he did take some getting used to.

Overall, a fantastic movie that I would heartily recommend. I am sure they’re working on a  sequel already which will only cheapen this gem of an original, so enjoy it while you can!

PS: The music was fantastic as well and added to the experience a lot more than I had anticipated.

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