Thursday, 21 June 2012


Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld


In preparation for the taking the kids to see this, we watched the first two movies in the series on DVD. These two previous movies remain funny, endearing and innovative in their storyline but the special effects and action are starting to show their age. Could a third movie in the series capture the same offbeat humour and style of the first two but provide the non-stop fast-pace special effects that the kids expect today?
The answer is a resounding yes. After a really nasty alien, Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement), escapes from a maximum security prison in order to travel back in time to kill Agent K and change the course of history, Agent J (Will Smith) has to travel back in time as well to save his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones /Josh Brolin) and the universe. Josh Brolin steals the film as a young Agent K and the wry off-beat humour, zany aliens and fast pace delivers a great summer movie.

Fantastic Mr. Fox and UP 3D review (republished)

(This review for some reason has been lost from the website. I am republishing now but appreciate it is from late 2010. Both movies are still eligible for the 2014 Ripplestone Review Biennial Awards as they were originally reviewed after the 2008-2010 deadline and therefore fall into the 2010-2012 awards which were cancelled. There is also a review of Inception to follow. )

Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG)
Regency Enterprises/Indian Paintbox
20th Century Fox

UP 3D (U)

It is interesting to compare the two big animated films of this autumn, Fantastic Mr. Fox and UP 3D. While Disney Pixar's UP reaches for the sky with digital 3D dioramas of breathtaking beauty inhabited with the now familiar hyper-caricature3D cartoons, Wes Anderson's (The Royal Tenenbaums) Fantastic Mr. Fox opts for more traditional stop-motion animation, where models are photographed, moved, then photographed again to painstakingly build up a sequence of animation. Both movies have opted for quirky, low-key storylines which have added appeal to adult audiences and add sophistication to the genre.

UP 3D, written and directed by Pete Doctor (Wall-E) and Bob Peterson follows the adventures of a pensioner, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), trying to deal with old age and the loss of his wife by fulfilling a long-held promise to explore a lost land in South America. He does this by tying a huge amount of helium balloons to his house and a young boy-scout, Russel, manages to tag along too and very soon they are plunged into a dangerous adventure featuring a bird named Kevin, a really bad baddie voiced by Christopher Plummer and a pack of dogs which have all the funniest moments in the movie.

In Fantastic Mr. Fox, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray head up a cast of 'voices' for a storyline based loosely on a Roald Dahl book. Here the Fantastic Mr. Fox outwits three odious baddies while juggling a complicated family life. For me, the stop-frame technique hindered the storytelling in places, but there are plenty of awkward character interactions and 70's motifs to keep Wes Anderson fans happy.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Monday, 18 June 2012

Prometheus 3D

Prometheus 3D (15)
Director ~ Ridley Scott

Cast list on IMDB

This sci-fi/horror prequel squelches off to a leaky start with a hominoid ET disintegrating in a special effects spectacular that sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Each lingering close-up, panning, zooming, 3D visual shot turns this much-hyped prequel into a fashion shoot for cinematic techno-wizardry. H.R. Giger's gorgeous murals are the mainstay of the alien vision on a distant planet that mankind has been pointed to by ancient cave paintings. This is where the story echoes the first Alien movie in so much as a team is put together and sent out to find what is on this planet. They seek answers to human existence but find squidgy, wiggly, vicious alien bio-weapons instead.

At this point fans of the Alien series might want lots of screaming, running down Giger-inspired corridors and sweaty knuckle-biting scares but instead the plot plods off into the ego of the man behind the Prometheus mission and his very dysfunctional family. The last remaining 'hominoid behind the aliens' shows little intellectual enlightenment when awoken, so the questions posed by the expedition remain unanswered. Why humans? Why aliens? Well... why not? What we do get at the end of the movie is a reason for the signal in the first Alien movie but that's it. To sum up, three out five stars, visually stunning but dull.