Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Muppets review

The last Muppets film to hit the big screen was 1998's Muppets from Space, which flopped at the box office. Odds are the latest Muppet film from Jason Segal and Disney will do just the opposite. Almost everything about The Muppets is great. It's funny, heartwarming, and a film that can be loved be anybody of any age. It could not have been done any better.

The Muppets stars Gary (Jason Segal), a pretty normal guy, except he has Walter, a Muppet, as his "brother". Gary is going on a vacation with his girlfriend of ten years, Mary (Amy Adams) to California. Oh, by the way, all three are huge Muppet fans. Gary takes Walter along just so he can see the Muppet theater. The three take a tour of the studios and it's a run-down mess with one employee (Alan Arkin, in a cameo) and only a few visitors a day. Walter sneaks into Kermit's office and hears of a plan by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to tear down Muppet studios and drill for oil, unless the Muppets can raise $10 million dollars by the deadline to save their studios. So, the trio set out to find Kermit and the rest of the gang for a benefit telethon.

The Muppets is probably the funniest movie I've seen in theaters this year. Every single character is funny in some way and it's great. '80's robot is one of the funniest characters I've seen in a long time. The cameo appearances throughout the film are really good. The musical numbers are fantastic. Chris Cooper's rap is hilarious and so is Jason Segal, Jim Parsons, and Walter's song "Man or Muppet". But the best is the chickens rendition of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You". It's pure comic genius.

The only thing I couldn't get out of my head watching the film was the similarity of the film to a little-seen 2002 film, The Country Bears. It has a completely identical plot but it makes the film no less enjoyable to watch.

The film is downright hilarious and everybody with kids or even if they don't have kids should see this movie. It's cute, funny, heartwarming, and the perfect family film. It's one of the year's best. It also comes with a downright hilarious Toy Story short, Small Fry. It tells of Buzz's mix up at a fast food restaurant as he meets a bunch of  thrown away Happy-Meal toys. It's very, very funny. That can be said for both the short and the movie.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A+                                           (10/10)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Puss in Boots review

Puss in Boots is the latest attempt by Dreamworks to recharge the Shrek franchise. This spin off will probably make enough money to get another Shrek-related film out of Dreamworks, but any new film will never be better than the first two films. Puss in Boots is a spin off of the character voiced by Antonio Banderas in the last three Shrek films. The film stars Puss as an outlaw in Spain. He learns of magic beans that two other outlaws, Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) have. The beans have the power to grow a huge tree that leads to land where a Golden Goose poops golden eggs. He intends to steal the beans and get the eggs. He later teams up with Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifinakis) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to steal the eggs and get rich.

The animation is dazzling and that is probably the biggest plus of the film. The scenery is great and along with Cars 2, wins my award for best of the year. It also has a lot of fun action scenes. Those are a ton of fun and another big plus.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more bad things about the film than there are good things. Firstly, the movie is not that funny. The Shrek films are typically noted for keeping away from more kiddie humor and having humor that adults can enjoy too. It's more bathroom humor and crotch shots that make you roll your eyes. Secondly, the film's plot is stupid and paper-thin. There were a lot better ways to tell this story but instead they went for a more fairy tale route. The film takes a good amount of time to develop the story between Puss and Humpty, but we learn barely anything about both Kitty Softpaws and Jack and Jill. Characters would also pop in at weird moments and you'll go "hey, where did she come from?!".

Puss in Boots is an enjoyable film to watch but if you're looking for good, quality animation similar to Kung Fu Panda 2 or How To Train Your Dragon, you won't find it here. Kids will surely love the film, but adults won't really enjoy it that much. It's more like the last Shrek than the first two.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C-                                           (5.2/10)