3D but not even 3 star

On a recent trip, I watched one of the new crop of 3D computer animated films on the plane. Since Chicken Little came out in 2005, there has been almost exponential growth in the number of 3D films in our cinemas. Today it seems that you can’t release a computer animation without making it 3D – even Pixar’s latest effort is a 3D extravaganza. That said, the film I watched was in 2D since planes aren’t yet fitted out with 3D screens.

Monsters vs Aliens

The title is more exciting than the film turned out to be

Now, if this was actually the aliens out of the movie Aliens fighting the monsters out of Monsters Inc, then we might have had something. However, this movie was about two things: 3D and Reese Witherspoon.

You can tell that we’re not yet mature about the use of 3D in films, because this one starts off with a guy playing with a paddle ball towards the camera. I would’ve thought that the point was to have a movie experience so immersive that you forget you’re in a cinema. Going out of your way to remind everyone that they’re watching a 3D movie defeats that.

Aside from the 3D, Witherspoon is the star of this show. It’s really a vehicle for her (is it her first animated feature?) and the rest is not particularly memorable. I got the impression that if Men in Black had been made by the people who made Sweet Home Alabama, then this is the movie we’ve had ended up with.

My rating: 2.5 stars

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Ev’rybody was Kung-fu fighting…

China is everywhere at the moment. Resources boom in the newspapers; Olympic games teasters on the TV; and Chinese animal martial arts films at the movies.

Kung Fu Panda

A light-hearted, animated film about violent animals

Jack Black plays an animated panda that practices martial arts. What more do I need to say? It’s a little bit frightening.

But it’s mostly good fun. Think of a mix between Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master and Disney’s Mulan – it belongs to the tradition of martial arts films where the hero has a great weakness that becomes a martial arts technique. However all the characters are animated animals.

And the animation is well done. In particular the fight sequences are great to watch and the Chinese landscapes are amazing.

My rating: 3.5 stars