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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.

Day of Goodwill 2011 Jessica | My Life 28 DEC 2011

Here’s an interesting note. Despite the fact that almost everyone always talks about Boxing day as being the public holiday directly following Christmas, officially its name has been Day of Goodwill since 1980 already!

Anyway, moving right along, I did in fact enjoy a pretty awesome Day of Goodwill 2011, despite the fact that wifey was working. It kicked off in the morning, as I got on with the packing while Jessie finished her breakfast routine, before the two of us shot through to Bellville, with the little cupcake enjoying her morning snooze in the comfort of her baby seat. In Bellville I met up with my folks at the Bellville Methodist Church, where the hall was subsequently unlocked and the people streamed in for a morning of badminton in what can only be described as sweltering sauna conditions! It was very much a Montagu and Lotter clan event, and in total there were about six active players on the morning, which meant plenty of game time for the full 2 hour period that we played.

With Granny and plenty of others there to keep Jessica entertained, daddy got to thoroughly enjoy himself knocking the shuttlecock around the court, something he hasn’t done in what feels like years! (You should have seen the amount of dust I had to blow off my racquet cover when I finally found it at the back of the storage cupboard!)

Eventually it was time to head home to start the afternoon routine with Jess, and so Mom and I headed off to their pad while Dad went out to scrounge up some food for lunch. With Jessie seen to and ready for her nap, Mom, Dad and I sat down and enjoyed a light lunch together outside on what really was a beautiful Summer’s day.

Now Dad and I had already seen fit to get rid of all the sweat from the morning’s play by taking a quick dip in the pool before lunch, but because this had been my big plan for the day, there was definitely no way I wasn’t going back in – all I needed was Jessica to wake up, so that I could plonk her into her swimming gear and then lather her up with some sunblock!

It took a little while to get my pink munchkin used to the water temperature (she normally swims in a heated pool), but once she was ready, I got into the pool and Dad passed her to me, marking the very first time little Jessie has been in Grandpa and Gran’s pool! :)

I’m not sure how long we played in the water for, but it felt like absolute ages, as Grandpa joined in on the fun and games, after passing along the camera to Granny who happily snapped photos from a safe and dry distance!

Ryan eventually stopped by as well, though not in time to join us in the water, but definitely in time for the big presents reveal, as we (and it was probably more Mom than anyone else!) happily worked through opening up Jessie’s huge stash of presents she had received from everyone for Christmas for her!

With the presents exchanged and snack time out of the way, it was time to bundle Jess back into the car and head off home to Gordon’s Bay, with her again enjoying a nice long snooze in the baby seat while daddy drove the boring trip all on his lonesome! Back home we met up with Chantelle who had been on a cleaning drive, and after the whole bed time routine for Jess, we quickly whipped up some chicken burgers for supper, before falling back on the sofa and enjoying the thoroughly delightful Tangled which I had rented from Mr. Video a little bit earlier!

So yup, definitely a good Day of Goodwill then! :)

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