Bizarre visuals, outdated humour and a needlessly abstract moral prevent this prehistoric offering from DreamWorks Animation from living up to its potential. The animation flows smoothly enough and the 3D doesn’t offend, but when it’s difficult to recognise the message, let alone the wildlife, it’s fair to say that something has missed the mark.
Ahh! Disney! The conglomerate with a heart. And let’s be fair, most of us have had a childhood filled with their kid-friendly creations designed to teach us what it means to be a good person. It’s been a few years since those days, with Disney taking on a preoccupation with the money-making blockbuster rather than the moral lecturing. That is, till now.
It’s been 18 years since Bryan Singer launched his career with the neo-noir The Usual Suspects. Nowadays, his name has come to be more synonymous with the comic-book conversion, having garnered success with two X-Men movies and the slightly less thrilling Superman Returns. Both blended the mechanics of live action with the art of CGI, so the man certainly has enough experience within this form. As such it would only be natural for him to turn those talents loose on the family-friendly fairy-tale.
The follow-up to A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, Sammy’s Great Escape once again unites long-time turtle pals Sammy and Ray – this time in an attempt to find their way home after they’re captured by poachers and shipped off to a fancy aquarium. Aimed at a very young audience, parents and those old enough to hold a decent conversation will struggle to find Sammy’s Great Escape anything but tedious. It’s a pleasant enough film if you’re 6 years old, but that’s literally it.
If you can get over the fact that Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly (and not distract yourself with an internal showreel of Step Brothers), then Disney’s new 3D animation will blow your visceral senses. Set in a variety of different arcade game worlds, Wreck-It Ralph is the epitome of imagination and ingenuity; a modern classic for any kid’s shelf, especially a nostalgic adult gamers, if they can get through the sticky fudge of Disney values…
Rise Of The Guardians is a technically impressive piece of work from the folks at DreamWorks who brought you the spectacular How To Train Your Dragon. It really is quite lovely to watch. Unfortunately, this is where we must get off the positivity train and enter the dark and rotting sled that is everything else about this film. The plot, the characters, the story – all must obey the cardinal rule of a kids film: Don’t be boring. It is a rule that Rise Of The Guardians breaks with aplomb.
It’s grim. It’s really, really grim. No amount of preparation or love for your child can prepare you for Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger, which has more in common with Invasion of the Body Snatchers than it does with any other Christmas film. One could make a cogent argument that this film is a secret military project to liquify the brains of the populace.
The world cried out for it, DreamWorks listened. Ben Stiller and co are back, and Madagascar 3 proves a surprisingly enjoyable trip during a stellar month for animated releases. Things get weird as the homesick animals’ journey back to New York takes a detour through the old continent…