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Capsule Reviews: Animation (Tangled, Monsters vs. Aliens, etc.) Animation | My Reviews 22 APR 2014

I’m not really into watching television or movies any more to be quite honest, and my love of animated things has dwindled to the point where I can’t even be bothered to sit down and enjoy simply superhero-themed kids’ show at all.

That said, with a little 3 year old girl in the house, I certainly caught up on a lot of the big screen animated movie releases from the houses of Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks over the holiday period – from the comfort of my couch and with a little body tucked in tightly next me.

As for this litter of capsule reviews coming right up? Well, I kind of like coming back every now and then to check up as to how my enjoyment/appreciation of any given piece of entertainment may have changed over time…

Tangled (2010)

Rapunzel is a girl with insanely long, magical-imbued hair who just happens to be trapped in a tower thanks to a rather overprotective ‘mom’. Of course, as any rebellious teenager would do, when the charming thief on the run, Flynn Rider, ducks in to escape his pursuers, Rapunzel seizes the opportunity to join up with Flynn and break free from the confines of the tower – the result of which leads to one very epic adventure that just happens to end with the returning of joy to an entire island kingdom!

Long story short, I simply can’t fault this film on any level whatsoever. It is astoundingly pretty and well animated, it is truly funny, dives through a deep and drama filled story, has fantastic action sequences, features brilliant voice actors and a polished soundtrack, and at the end of it all, is just the perfect kids animated movie – pitched perfectly for both young and old to enjoy. Seriously love watching this with my little ones!

tangled backdrop

Bolt (2008)

A film star pup who is incredibly protective over his human girl, manages to get separated from the film studio and is now forced to travel back thousands of miles to reunite with his missing owner. Only problem is, this dog happens to think he is something of a super canine thanks to having been completely cocooned in his make believe world – something which definitely spells trouble for his new found travelling companions!

Bolt is a wonderfully animated kids movie that is impossible not to like. It is a great story of friendship and loyalty, and features some truly funny and touching moments. It is endearing, slickly animated, and well voiced, all backed up with a great soundtrack and a really fun character cast. I have to say, it is a hit with the kids, and it is certainly one of those animated movies that I don’t have any problem sitting down and enjoying with them.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

James Sullivan and Mike Wazowski are monsters, they earn their living scaring children (their fearful screams are what powers Monster City) and are the best in the business… even though they’re more afraid of the children than they are of them. When a child accidentally enters their world, James and Mike suddenly find that kids are not to be afraid of – and they uncover a conspiracy that could just threaten all children across the world.

Without a doubt, one of the classics to emerge from the powerhouse that is Pixar animation. It is a superbly well told and heartfelt story, that doubles down on the humour, drama and action all at once. Pleasingly, it holds up well more than ten years later, and quite frankly, remains a pleasure to watch for both young and old!

monsters, inc backdrop

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

When Susan Murphy is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall. Naturally, the military jumps into action and hauls her away to a covert government compound where she is renamed Ginormica and placed in confinement with a ragtag group of monsters… which is just as well because Aliens are about to knock on Earth’s door!

Monsters vs. Aliens is a surprisingly enjoyable romp that sees well, monsters going up against aliens. The story is funny and naturally includes tons of action sequences, making it particularly enjoyable for all the boys sitting at home. That said, there is enough there for adults to feed on as well, meaning that this isn’t the worse way you can spend your time watching television with the kids.

Brave (2012)

Brave is set in the mystical Scottish Highlands, where Mérida is the princess of a kingdom ruled by King Fergus and Queen Elinor. An unruly daughter and an accomplished archer, Mérida one day defies a sacred custom of the land (she doesn’t want to be married off) and inadvertently brings turmoil to the kingdom. In an attempt to smooth things over, Mérida seeks out an eccentric old woman (who happens to be a witch) and is granted an ill-fated wish. A very ill-fated (and bear-related) wish!

Brave is something very different when it comes to CG animated movies, but that in itself is refreshing. It is a story about learning to take responsibility for one’s actions, and along the way to teaching this lesson, the film enthralls with its marvelous backdrops, action sequences and enchanting musical score. I don’t think it works quite so well for the younger kids, but for the older guys as well as the folks – well let’s just say that both I and Chantelle quite enjoyed the experience. (Plus, it really wasn’t what we were expecting).

brave backdrop

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five – Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey. But Po’s new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. It is up to Po and The Furious Five to journey across China to face this threat and vanquish it. But how can Po stop a weapon that can stop kung fu?

I’m a big fan of the original Kung Fu Panda, and sadly, this second outing of everyone’s favourite Kung Fu Panda Bear isn’t quite as awesome as the first, primarily because (as with pretty much all sequels) it has now lost the original charm of the lovable and silly incompetent panda bear succeeding against great odds – this time around we kind of expect him to succeed because he has already proven that he can. Never the less, it is still an enjoyable action romp that is brimming with silliness and high octane adventure. The boys will definitely love this one, that’s for sure.

A Brave Fishy Weekend My Life 17 AUG 2012

It was a weekend of ups and downs I suppose one could say – after all, things certainly didn’t run as what we had planned, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable weekend in the end I reckon.

The public holiday followed by the school holiday meant that Jessica was staying over with Oupa and Ouma for Thursday and Friday night. This of course meant that after closing out work with an enjoyable four man game of table tennis between Tristan, Stephen, Simon and myself, I drove out to Somerset Mall to meet up with Chantelle for a date night, kicking off with Spur and then ending with a viewing of Disney/Pixar’s Brave in 3D, and enjoyable tale that capped a nice evening spent in each other’s company.

Having earlier decided to skip doing a market due to the heavy storm weather predicted for the weekend, Chantelle and I could sleep in on Saturday morning for a change, before eventually arising to a delicious and decadent breakfast of French Toast with Bacon prepared by wifey.

We packed for the overnight stay and headed out to Bellville, where we first popped in to Cabs for some baking supplies, followed by a trip to Willowbridge where we had a look for ourselves at how the market was going. Judging on how quiet it seemed, we ended up being pretty happy with our decision to can Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes market appearance for this one!

Our original plan for Saturday had been to either go to World of Birds in Hout Bay or the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront depending on the weather, but these were dashed when we arrived at the Montgomery Stronghold to a rather shaky and sick little Jessica, forcing us to instead spend the afternoon inside keeping warm, venturing out only for a quick (but expensive) trip to M-Kem in Bellville for a doctor’s once over on Jessica.

Western Province versus the Natal Sharks was the rugby game of the evening to take in, which was combined with a delicious supper of fillet done on the coals together with beer chicken prepared on the Weber. Mom and Dad joined us for this one (bring with them delicious pudding), and the result was an enjoyable evening of family and of course rugby and athletics. And one sick toddler lest we forget.

In fact, Jessica was feeling so icky that she simply refused to go to sleep, resulting in me sitting up with her until midnight (everyone had long since gone to sleep), only finally succumbing to exhaustion halfway through an episode of Shaun the Sheep: Championsheeps on DSTV. Managing to successfull transfer her to our bed, it was off to slumber for a brief, but fairly interrupted snooze.

We took our time getting started on Sunday, but pleasingly the weather was far less menacing than what had been predicted, meaning that with Jessica pumped full of meds and thus feeling fairly stable, it was off to the Two Oceans Aquarium plus a walkabout the Waterfront, an expedition which in the end all three of us ended up thoroughly enjoying.

And in case you were wondering, the aquarium turned out to be quite the big hit with young Jessica, despite the fact that her excitement is normally reserved only for those with feathers and wings! :)

Having eventually seen enough of our fishy friends, it was time to eat some for a late lunch at Fisherman’s Friend, before making our way back to the car park and then finally home, where we somehow managed to eventually get Jessica to bed and entertained ourselves with the always silly Leon Schuster in the chuckle-worthy slapstick that is There’s a Zulu On My Stoep.

And that, was that.