Pixar’s “UP” Soars at the Box Office!

How many animation studios do you know that can make a movie about love, loss, old age, talking dogs, a single parent childhood and the equivalent of a Doo-Doo bird and make it entertaining for both children and adults?  Only one that I know of, and that is Pixar.  In this their tenth feature film, Pixar keeps their long running history for quality animation, story and creativity and gives us one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Quite simply, “Up” soars!

One of the things I love most about Pixar films is the fact that they realize that these movies are not just for children.  They know that adults enjoy animated movies and their parents usually attend with their kids to go see them.  This is the reason that they write their films not only for kids, but also for adults.  A child’s perspective on a Pixar film will usually be completely different from an adult’s, but their enjoyment of the film can be equal.  This couldn’t be more true than with “Up”.

Adults will relate to and understand the themes of love, loss, how quickly time passes and getting older, stubbornness, home and family.  Kids will enjoy the gang of talking dogs, the spirit of adventure, the idea of flying your house using balloons and sheets, the crazy endangered bird and the bond formed between a child and a father-figure.  I would hate to say more about the plot and story of this film as I think that takes something away from it before first viewing.  I didn’t know anything about this movie before seeing it except that there was an old man, a boy scout, a house with balloons and a talking dog.
That’s it.  That’s all I knew and I’m glad for it.  Go in with an open mind and imagination and you will be amazed at what you see.

This review is a bit shorter than I usually write, but when you see a great film, the film speaks for itself.  Just know that this reviewer loved this film and looks forward to seeing it many times in the future.

Terminator Salvation: Going Back to its Roots

“There is no fate but what we make”.  This has been a mantra of the Terminator series from the beginning.  This phrase is taken quite literally in the new movie “Terminator Salvation”.  John Conner, played by Christian Bale, has always been told this motto by his mother ever since he could speak.  He has always known that his fate, as well as the fate of the human race, is dependent on his actions and decisions.  The choices he makes in this film directly affect what has happened before.

I decided to re-watch “The Terminator” after having gone to the theater to see the new film.  Honestly, I was a bit under whelmed by “Terminator Salvation” and wanted to think about it before writing my review.  I thought parts of it were a bit confusing and it took me a while to understand where they were going with this story.  The special effects looked great and there are some great performances, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about the movie as a whole.  After watching the first film again, my understanding of the new film increased.  We learned in the first film that John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Conner, John’s mother.  During his mission to protect her, Kyle and Sarah fall in love and conceive a child, John.  What we aren’t told is whether or not John told Kyle that he is his father before he sent him back in time and the events that lead up to this decision.  A little confusing, huh?  So, begins “Terminator Salvation”.

The basic premise of this film is that John comes to realize that he needs to find and protect his father because otherwise he will never be born and the machines will win the war against the humans.  John is in a race to try to locate Kyle and make certain that he is safe and once he finds him, Kyle can be sent back in time to meet Sarah.  Fortunately for Kyle and John, a mysterious man named Marcus Wright is also looking for Kyle to help him.  This is where I have trouble with this film.  Turns out, Marcus is a machine that was created by a scientist to prolong human life by installing parts of a human body into a machine.  This includes the brain, heart and any other organs that can be saved.  I get this concept, however why was he chosen to look for Kyle?  If the machines reprogrammed him to get Kyle, why not just program him to kill him?  I’m not sure what the overall purpose of this character was or why he needed to be included in this film.  I think it should have been a story strictly about John looking for his father and saving him from the machines.

Despite this issue, I did enjoy the film and hope that any future films are made with this much attention to detail and keeping the timeline of the series intact.  The action sequences were quite amazing and the pacing never let up and moved quickly.  You couldn’t have asked for any better performances from the leads including Christian Bale, Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin.  The director, McG, has made a more substantial movie than his previous efforts and could grow a director to really watch.

I would recommend that you watch the first two Terminator movies either before or after seeing this one.  It will remind you of the time line of this series as well as what you enjoy about these movies to begin with.  Keep an open mind, enjoy the ride and let’s hope that if another one is made, they maintain the level established in the first films and keep the best parts of this film going forward.

~J. Chandler

The Last Airbender: 2 Photos Revealed!

Two photos have surfaced online from M. Night Shyamalan’s new upcoming 2010 movie The Last Airbender; an adaptation of his Nickelodeon cartoon series “Avatar”.  The photos feature two latest cast members including 12-year-old Noah Ringer as Aang, who can manipulate air, water, earth and fire,  and “ Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel as the fire-bending villain Prince Zuko.   Interestingly enough, both actors have black belts in the martial arts.  The film has caught a lot of flack from its die-hard fans relating to its “suspect” casting, but these first two images are not too bad.   The Last Airbender will be the first in a trilogy of films.Aang, The Avatar from The Last Airbender

Prince Zuko, Firebender The Last Airbender

Prince Zuko, Firebender The Last Airbender

Marvel’s Choice for Thor!

Ok guys!  So the new word out on the street has to do with a recent casting of a particular member of the long-awaited Avenger movie.  As you know, they have been putting out movies of each Avenger character; to this point we’ve had the Hulk and Ironman.   The list is pretty extensive though.  The original five were Thor, Ironman, Ant-Man, The Wasp and the Hulk, but since the early sixties, there have been additions too extensive to list here.    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Avengers_members for a more in-depth look of the Avenger History.

As for the story at hand, Marvel Studios is announcing Australian actor Chris Hemsworth as ‘Thor’!  The exclusive report by Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily  say’s Hemsworth, who played George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk in JJ Abram’s recently released Star Trek movie read for the part, only to be nixed.  After an appeal by various members of the team convinced Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that “’he’s’ your guy.”  This is apparently quite a busy week for Chris, as he also snatched up the lead role in the re-make of Red Dawn.

Marvel has set the film’s release date as June 17th 2011.

~A. Renfro

All Things Comic are Cool!

Sure, comic suggest old school, but not true anymore.  There are tons of cool avenues out there that help bring out that inner superhero.  Since movies creators have started throwing out movie after movie of cool superheroes, whether based on comic characters or not, people want to see them.  People are obsessed with them!   I just saw the new X-Men Origins: Wolverine.   I had heard mixed reviews about it; most negative, but I didn’t think it was that bad.  I’m not particularly fond of some things creators changed, like Wolverine and Sabertooth being brothers?   Uh, I don’t think so.  I think that anyone partaking in the production of a superhero type movie should at least treat the origin of the characters and storyline as Gospel.   Jeeeze, I know America is all about making money, but do we have to rewrite a character history to accomplish it?

Ok, so the month of May is huge in the movie realm.  We had Wolverine on the 1st, Star Trek on the 7th, Terminator Salvation on the 21st and Walt Disney’s UP on the 29th.  I don’t know about you, but I will be thoroughly enjoying the new movies and will be writing reviews for my website.  I am always interested in finding people who are into all things geeky.  So please feel free to check it out and leave comments.

~A. Renfro