Monday, July 4, 2011

Movie Monday: Disney Movies (Including Two Currently In Theaters)

This week's movie blog unintentionally turned into a themed one. I took my son to the drive-in the last weekend of June for a double feature of Disney movies. Then, a couple days ago, I was picking out a movie to watch and realized that, it too, was a Disney flick. By that point, I decided to keep the theme going and found one more Disney movie in my collection that had gone unwatched.

Now, to explore talking modes of transportation, Jack Sparrow, a movie adaptation of a C.S. Lewis novel, and a patriotic film sequel.

Cars 2

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) has been happily living in Radiator Springs and has just won his 4th Piston Cup, which was renamed in honor of Doc Hudson (who passed away). As he returns home, there is major news of an alternative fuel sources called Allinol and an international race has been announced to support the new product. Lightning enters himself into the race after Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) defends his friend against Italian race car Francesco Bernoulli (John Tuturro). However, Mater finds himself working with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer) as an American spy to uncover a very sinister plan that is putting all of the race cars in danger.

There is a reason why Disney/Pixar films are popular... they are always entertaining, have plenty of humor for kids and adult, and it is guaranteed to be an overall great film. This movie is a great way to introduce spy movies to a new generation (like my son). I loved that the movie focused more on Mater than Lightning. It was a breath of fresh air to see the shift in lead characters. The story was pretty easy to follow, but I can see how some younger kids may not quite understand everything that's going on with the espionage-related subplot. It was very cool to see many parts of Europe and Asia done in the world of cars.. especially Japan. I will always love and recommend Disney/Pixar films to people of all ages. This is one that I recommend you check out while it is still in theaters. Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has returned to save Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally) from execution. As they are reunited, Jack runs into Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a former flame and daughter to the notorious pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Both of them know Jack has a map that leads to the Fountain of Youth and force him onto Blackbeard's ship.

I will not be rating this film since I was not able to finish watching it. The movie was only halfway done by one in the morning (the night I saw it), and I needed to get my son home and put him to bed. From what I saw, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to seeing the rest. Fans of Jack Sparrow won't be disappointed but those who loved the Will and Elizabeth story may feel like something is missing from the film. I will leave this review as "TO BE CONTINUED..."

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

There is a war and the Pevensie children are sent away to the country to stay with a Professor (Jim Broadbent). As they explore the mansion, the children decide to play a game of hide-and-seek. Lucy (Georgie Henley) seeks shelter in a wardrobe, which leads to the land of Narnia. She befriends a creature named Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy) who tells her that a woman by the name of White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is trying to take over the land and has killed those who defy her. Lucy attempts to get her siblings to come with her, but they don't believe her until they find themselves hiding in the wardrobe. As the White Witch tries to kidnap the children, they seek the true ruler of Narnia, Aslan (Liam Neeson) and decide to fight with him.

I was not surprised that Disney wanted a piece of the "book series to movies" pie. As someone who only read about 1/3 of the first book as a child, I think they did a pretty good job depicting C.S. Lewis' fantasy book. I liked that Narnia and the creatures were very natural looking, compared to looking very CGI. The only trouble I had with the film was trying not to compare it to Epic Movie, which the main storyline of the parody revolved around this film. I will learn, from now on, to be sure to see the original movie before the parody. I recommend this movie to those that loved the books and to those who love epic battle movies that want to introduce their children to something that will be enjoyable for everyone. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets

Two years after helping discover a massive treasure, Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) is presenting pages from John Wilks Booth's diary. A man named Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) presents a missing page from the diary, which holds life-altering information about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin seeks out Riley (Justin Bartha) to help decipher the validity of this page, which leads to discovering more clues. Abigail (Diane Krueger) joins in on the investigation. Benjamin devises a plan to kidnap the President (Bruce Greenwood) to seek out The Presidents Book, which is rumored to hold the deepest secrets of the country's history... and possibly clues toward another hidden treasure.

I loved the first movie. It was a perfect blend of comedy, action, and full of historical facts about the United States... exactly what I would expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer film. However, the second one was not as good. I know that sequels try to duplicate what you love about the original and hype it up a bit. I did not see any of that with the sequel. The clues needed to find the treasure included breaking into Buckingham Palace, The Oval Office, and "kidnapping" the President to seek out the infamous book. It was on the ridiculous side. I'm definitely going to watch the original more often than this film. Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars

Happy 4th of July to my friends and family!!! Please, be smart and stay safe on this holiday! See you guys again next week for another Movie Monday blog! :-)

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