April 13, 2008

REVIEWS: A speck of dust and clover that's not so lucky (plus a dose of movie news)

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a WhoHorton Hears A Who
Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell
In a nutshell: It's a surprisingly effective and wonderfully animated Seuss adaptation.

I've a feeling you've already heard about Dr. Seuss (real name Theodor Seuss Geisel) and his beloved poetic literary treasures but if you haven't, you're living in quite a cave. But most of the movie adaptations of his stories don't really hit it off (esp. Cat in the Hat) and do you think an animated CG film is gonna change it all?

Well, yeah. I guess it does.

The latest of the pack is the adorable Horton who hears a speck of dust crying for help and catches it using a pink flower. Of course it's not because he's crazy or anything (because that's what the other animals think) but it's because he has significantly better ears. And what do you know? There's a civilization in that speck of dust complete with a mayor, his wife, his 96 kids and the civilians he governs. The place in that little speck of dust is called Who-ville, and as expected, the people in that thing are called Who's.

Rising action? Well, Horton catches it, right? And since he hears the mayor inside it, he socializes with him while the peers who pass by Horton thinks he's crazy as mentioned before. Same goes for the mayor, who interacts with the elephant through a horn in a pipe. Now, the mayor now knows that Who-ville is not all that safe, and it is definitely on the move. So he requests Horton to put the speck of dust in a safe spot and Horton does just that. In between, a lot of obstacles block his way of course, so the question is, will he be able to save the speck of dust that is Who-ville?

First off, I want to comment on the style on which the movie is animated. It just feels right, as in, the animators at Blue Sky nail the trademark Seussian cartoon look and gives it a bit more charm and that's what makes it work mostly.

More of the charm that it emanates is due also to its effective voice actors whose characterizations are spot-on as well especially with Jim Carrey as the eccentric elephant Horton and Steve Carell as the equally kooky mayor. Actually, Jesse McCartney's here too, but he only has, what? 2 lines and a song?

Well anyway, the retelling of the story is tweaked a little and tries to remain faithful. Only during one hand-drawn animated scene that obviously spoofs Japanese anime's over-the-topness does it diverge from its story. But it's a funny reference to be honest, and the divergence is not a bad thing either. But whatever, the movie still retains the spirit and its moral without preaching too much about it. And it just proves that a being no matter how small is a life form created by God to serve a purpose, and that we too are also just a speck of dust in this God-knows-how-large universe. So whatever life is around we must cherish it. Heck, it also keeps some rhymes that obviously come from the real story for the narrator to recite, and it doesn't feel old if that's what the kiddies are afraid of or something. I dunno.

It's highly recommendable, but if you want something with a little more maturity, then take a look at this next review:

Cloverfield
Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas
In a nutshell: It's fast-paced, filled with scares, and nauseating (as in II-1 DVD nauseating).

Something is not right with this picture. Can you tell me?

Oh wait, some fireballs flung something across the street a while ago.

Was that it?

OK, I am sounding like an asshole over here, being cornily sarcastic and everything, but whatever, it's the nausea, I swear.

Have I told you how I got it?

Oh right, no.

So here's the thing, a few people are in this farewell party and this guy is documenting it using his camera because the guy-who's-leaving's brother wanted him to. But suddenly, the lights go dark and there's a lot of noise. Everyone goes up the roof and sees all these fireballs destroying the Chrysler Building and everything around it. Soon, they discover that it's all caused by some monster... and it has minions too!

This sounds routine for your average disaster/monster flick, but it's got a different perspective- a first person perspective. Or maybe a YouTube perspective?

If you've watched all those home videos in YouTube or whatever video hosting site you go to, this is the kind of home video that will make you dizzy with the shaky camera and everything, only it's scary, and it feels so natural that you feel like one of the running refugees. Some of them, the initially 5-member ensemble, go and try to rescue a girl (who's of course the girlfriend of one of them) and try to escape the monstrosity that could kill you any second. Not just that, the aforementioned minions bite people and are just crawling everywhere: The subway, the streets, the ceiling...

You know what? The scares are just effective and made much more effective by the first person perspective. But it's not all scares, it's got a little heart, especially with its characters that you'll feel kind of emotionally attached with if you get immersed in the movie (which you probably will).

Ironically, it ends with "I had a good day.". I didn't because I gotta barf now. Before I leave you though, I gotta say that if you're looking for a worthwhile thriller to rent or buy on home video, it's gotta be Cloverfield. Excuse me.

Ratings: Horton - 8/10
Cloverfield - 8/10 (Would've given it a nine if it wasn't so nauseating, but it's just part of the "feel". you know?)

Movie News (courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes' Weekly Ketchup)
Pixar's line-up for the next 4-5 years
Wall-E is just the icing of the cake of Pixar's potentially gut-putching box-office wrenching hits for the following months and yet they are already revealing their movies that are in production and in release for the next 4 or 5 years.

There's Up which is about an old man in his 70's who meets a young naive trooper of sorts. Together, they sail the skies in an adventure (of course the storyline's gotta be vague!).

And then in 2011 there will be two movies. One of them is called Newt which is about two newts who have to reproduce because they are the last of their kind. However, they have contrasting personalities and the male newt has some twisted ideas about mating (partly because the diagram about it is blocked by a coffee maker). The other one is called The Bear and the Bow which is about a Scottish royal family and their involvement with a witch. There's already a voice cast for this and from what I hear, it's a good one.

Plus in 2012, there will be a sequel to the lukewarmly received Cars as well as a Toy Story 3 on June 8, 2010. And if you like to keep some goggles on at the theater, Toy Story 1 and 2 are being re-released in 3D.

Oh God, HSM 4 already?!
High School Musical 3 is still in pre-production and yet a fourth script is being written. Can you believe it? They got writers for this!

Bush movie gets larger cast
Oliver Stone's W now has a bigger cast.
"with Rob Corddry (The Daily Show) landing the role of press secretary Ari Fleischer, Fantastic Four star Ioan Gruffudd to play Tony Blair and Thandie Newton signing on to play (the much older) Condoleeza Rice."
Why am I curious about this movie? Well, the director of World Trade Center is the one in the helm.

Prince of Persia video game adaptation casting rumors
Initially, Orlando Bloom was slated to become the titular character based on a trilogy of Prince of Persia games called Sands of Time but now, Jake Gylenhaal is being considered for the role. I guess Disney has a bit more work to do though... just look at who they're casting for! Image 34

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