Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

One of my most likable animated movie, Kung Fu Panda 2 brings back nearly the entire cast of characters from the first movie but, instead of recycling the original storyline, screenwriters Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Burger and first-time director Jennifer Yuh use this opportunity to expand the main character's back story and explore some dark corners and crevices of the world in which these talking animals exist. The production is still family-friendly and includes the kind of easily accessible humor for many kids and adults (including me) love about animated fare, but there's no getting away from some of the adult themes that crop up. 

A fantastic sequel with more pathos than expected with plenty of gorgeous animation. The massive amount of artistry that has gone into the cinematography, lighting and design makes this as sumptuous and pleasing a film to behold.  Furtheremore, this movie that upgrade to 3D is worth while, the story is a solid refinement of the best bits from before and the balance between light humour and darker drama is quite well maintained.

Jack Black once again shows his excellence as a versatile actor especially in voice dubbing.  There's some platonic (with possible future romantic implications) chemistry between Po and Angelina Jolie's Tigress who, like Po, enjoys the introduction of a back story. Gary Oldman's voice alone makes Shen a malevolent entity. Dustin Hoffman's Master Shifu barely sounds like the actor.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

"Dark of the Moon” is one of the few recent 3-D movies that justify the upcharge. Mr. Bay(movie director) clearly enjoys playing with the format, which is also to say that he takes it seriously. A lot of glass and metal comes flying at your head, and you feel surrounded, plunged into a universe governed by new and strange laws of physics. Nothing you see makes any sense at all, but the sensations are undeniable, and kind of fun in their vertiginous, supercaffeinated way.

Featuring Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) taking his first tenuous steps into adulthood while remaining a reluctant human ally of Optimus Prime. The film centers around the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet's most dangerous secrets. The villain in this third film is the Shockwave.  

The Autobots like freedom, the Decepticons do not, and mankind — or at least American mankind, which also likes freedom, as well as the cars and guns that symbolize it — is on the side of the Autobots. But there are traitors, both human and metallic, which makes things complicated in the sense that more exposition is required, and plot twists need to be handled with screaming instances of narrative torque.

The other new casts in the movie  includes Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly. She replaced the role of Megan Fox as the leading lady of Shia LaBeouf, John Malkovich as Bruce Brazos, Ken Weon as Jerry Wang and Patrick Dempsey as Dylan.