Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Week In Movies - Two 1's, One 2 and a 5

Every movie I saw last week is part of a multi-film franchise.

Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Double Feature in 3-D (1995,1999,2009) Nothing pops out of the screen at ya in this double billing on the classic animated movies, but it's still alot of fun to see Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the whole gang up on the big screen again. By donning 3-D glasses, the world of Andy's bedroom comes alive like nothing you could imagine. It's as if you were standing right there with the toys watching this all happen. The 3-D effect gives the movies a clarity so crisp you can make out every tiny little detail the filmmakers put into both of these wonderful movies. This new double feature is fun because 1) you get to see both of these great movies for the slightly-elevated price of one 3-D movie, 2) it's great to see any older movies get a re-release and 3) there's a really nifty intermission between the films. The intermission is filled with trivia, animation tests, a neat soundtrack that gives the illusion that the Toy Story gang is sitting in the theatre with you and other surprises. I was disappointed that we missed two minutes of the intermission while we did a bathroom break - but I would have been more upset if we missed any of the second film because my kid had to go potty! They should have included an intermission from the intermission.

The Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Double Feature in 3-D has been held over from it's initial two week run. If you haven't seen it yet, you've still got time! You'll also have a chance to see Buzz and Woody in 3-D again when Toy Story 3 opens next summer.

Bring It On: Fight To The Finish (2009) There's four main components to every Bring It On movie. (This is part 5, by the way!) It starts out with a dream sequence, there's some mention of the fabled "spirit stick", the characters use words like "cheer-tastrophe" and "cheer-tatorship", and they all end as some big giant Cheerleader competition. I've really enjoyed the goofy charm of the first four instalments in the Bring In On saga. Sadly, this fifth chapter trades the silliness for a slightly more serious tone. All the above elements are in place, but dragging out the almost identical story line for the fifth time is starting to show it's age. True, I'm not the target demographic for these films, but even a 13 year old is going to feel the storyline is old and tired. Christina Milian must switch schools and go from her championship Cheerleader squad to the new school's squad who doesn't know what they are doing. Within 5 minutes of seeing the new squad, she's voted team captain and then proceeds to bring the ramshackle team to National Victory. The team is made up of about 20-25 cheerleaders, but only 5 of them ever speak in the movie. That about sums up how "auto-pilot" this movie is. Maybe it's time to hang up the pom-poms Bring It On.

Balto (1995) The true-life story of the origin on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race is the basis of this hand-drawn animated feature. Having been flooded with computer animation for so long, it's nice to go back and watch one of the hand crafted cartoons from the previous decade. I really enjoyed this film when it came out in theatres and had always wanted to see it again. My kids love all things dogs, so they wanted to see it. There's quite a bit of childish slapstick, physical humor but over all it's a really well done movie. The "celebrity" voice cast dates the film a bit, with Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Bob Hoskins, and Phil Collins. (What ever happened to Bridget Fonda?)

Superman (1978) Every kid my age has at least caught bits and pieces of this movie on television back in the day. I don't think I've ever sat down and watched the whole thing from beginning to end. It's always referred to as Superman: The Movie, but it's opening titles just state Superman. Either way, I guess there's no need to guess who in my household wanted to watch this movie! Superman was the bee's knees when I was a young lad and it seems good ol' Superman has taken a fourth seat place these days to Batman, Spiderman and Wolverine (and maybe even Iron Man!?!) So it was nice to energize my superhero worshiping son with the epic Superman origin. This grand film, which pushes 2 1/2 hours, really shows off what a work of art film making used to be. There's no digital computer generated effects in this movie. They used old fashioned movie making tricks to make it look like a man was flying...and 30 years later the effects still look great. I picked up a copy of this movie in a 4-film, 2-disc set of all four Christopher Reeve Superman flicks for a mere $10 bucks! Good deal!

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