David Bowie will do as David Bowie does, and that means wearing a cod piece and singing!
A nice array of movies this week,
The Frog Prince (1986, Jackson Hunsicker, Israel/United States Of America) **
Every once in a while I get to watch a movie with my daughter that is a pleasant discovery, this is not one of those times. Looking past the shoddy craftsmanship of the film, the story is really piss-poor. I’m not familiar with the fairy tale that The Frog Prince is based on. But, if that fairy tale is about giving up your imagination and childlike wonder to be more of a lady then no thank you to that. If I want a great movie about a fairy tale frog I’m turning to The Princess And The Frog, not this boring, mess of a movie.
Harvie Krumpet (2003, Adam Elliot, Australia) ***
A quirky little short that shows off many of the ideas that would come to fruition in Mary And Max. The time we spend with the eponymous character is funny, charming, and sad at the same time. The animation is crude, yet it has a certain definition to it that I appreciated. I did feel that the short was a little long and that at a certain point it was more piling on the main character than anything else. Still, a quality short that was well worth watching.
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (2010, Michael Apted, United States Of America) ***
It’s a little rough around the edges, but The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is a pretty good fantasy romp. I’ve always gotten a kick out of this franchise and what may be the final entry isn’t any different. The story moves too fast at the onset, but once the pace cools down a bit the story improves. The characters are all cool and varied, the CGI is well done, and the battle scenes are some good action. If it is the last in the franchise, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is as good of a way as any for the franchise to end.
RoboCop 3 (1993, Fred Dekker, United States Of America) **
I’ll give this entry in the franchise credit, it has some balls. Not in the story department mind you, there it’s a mishmash of ideas from the first two films. However, in terms of crazy action sequences and throwing ideas about RoboCop against the wall, this film does not hold back. The film is also like a who’s who of cool actors before they were somebody. Jeff Garlin, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root, CCH Pounder, and so many others make appearances in this film. On the whole it’s a tired retread, but in certain moments RoboCop 3 is a cool science fiction film.
Labyrinth (1986, Jim Henson, United Kingdom/United States Of America) ***
A tremendous feat of puppetry and imagination, as well as a marked improvement over The Dark Crystal. The story is a tad slow, and the David Bowie singing parts feel really out of place. Otherwise, the blend of reality and puppet is very well done and I enjoyed the journey through such a fantastic world. The message isn’t a bad one either, but the main attraction are the fabulously constructed puppets. It shouldn’t surprise me with this being a Jim Henson production, but after the fake looking The Dark Crystal, well, this was a delight.
Alice Through The Looking Glass (1998, John Henderson, United Kingdom) **
Too scattershot and too all over the place, but that’s not really the problem. It’s too much like a TV film, it looks and feels cheap. I love the wild fantasy that is the story behind this film, the type of fantasy that could care less about form or structure. But, I do require a competent lead and a film that at the very least has great looking style. Alice Through The Looking Glass has neither of those, and thus it is nothing more than a curiosity to be quickly forgotten.
Shrek 4-D (2003, Simon J. Smith, United States Of America) *
A series of bad jokes, and characters who act so stupid and so pop culturally aware that I can’t award points for the decent animation. The further I get into the films of the Shrek franchise the more I hate said franchise for everything it is. This is stupid entertainment, it’s animation for those who don’t actually like animation, and characters for those who don’t actually want interesting characters. Sadly, there are more films in the Shrek franchise that I have to suffer through.
The Ant Bully (2006, John A. Davis, United States Of America) **1/2
It’s heart is in the right place, and The Ant Bully makes an admirable attempt as far as fresh ideas and the animation go. All the same, I felt the film was missing that extra something to keep me interested. The story felt empty in a way, like a great pie crust without any awesome pie filling. The animation was also too sleek for its own good at times. Still, the basic idea of the film is pretty cool and the film is fun at times.
No real stand out movies this week, but there were still a few good movies to balance out the not so good ones. Of the ones I enjoyed, Labyrinth stood out the most and that’s why it gets to take home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!