Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Mini Film Reviews

Had a chance to watch two whole new movies this past week, which is rather surprising given my self-imposed busy-ness. Here's my two cents on two family fantasy flicks.

Dragon Hunters (Chasseurs de dragons): My brother showed up with this dvd in his hand, saying I should check the thing out. At first glance, it looks like some failed computer animation that didn't garner enough pull to hit the theatres and instead went straight to dvd. And while I'm not sure if this is the case--as it was initially released in France--this direct-to-dvd-in-America release turned out to be a fun ride. Granted, the story is rather cliched, and the characters are archetypes that we've seen before: an adventurous princess, a kind-hearted "tough" guy, the comic relief/brains of the operation little buddy, and a dog-like creature with bad manners. What DH lacks in character originality, it more than makes up for in the design. Both the characters and--especially--the world in this film are simply amazing. So much style and imagination to go around that I'm not surprised the characters suffered as it's plain to see that much time and effort went into the creation of the world. And unlike most of the direct-to-dvd releases we get here in America, the animation for this one is quite good. Not to the level of Blue Sky or Pixar or even Dreamworks, but it is much better than the other "independant" animation studios. So check this out if you have a chance. It's short. It's fun. And it has plenty of style.

Inkheart: It hit me about two minutes into this that making a MOVIE about a book that is enamoured with books seems rather counter-productive. The only way the translation would've truly worked is if they'd replaced the book's books with films. Then it could be a film that is about being enamoured with films. Of course, this would've changed everything--though they've already done enough of that. While staying mostly true to the novel, Inkheart doesn't carry the weight and entertainment of its written counterpart. This falls mainly to some less-than-stellar direction and the utter crapfest of a score. Seriously, Javier Naverrete needs to write music for cheesy television specials. So many moments of this film were ruined by the obtrusive score. It still makes for a decent enough watch, even if you haven't read the book, but it just doesn't translate well. Plus, for fans of the book, it is rather bothersome to see a character like Mo played by Brendan Fraiser. He's just not old enough for the part. Watch this one if you like fantasy flicks and don't have the time to read the book.

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