Richard and CP24 anchor host Nneka Elliot have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the psychological thrills of “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the grown-up children’s tale “The Little Prince” and the elephant-ejaculating glory of “The Brothers Grimsby.”
Richard and “Canada AM” host Marci Ien have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the psychological thrills of “10 Cloverfield Lane,” the grown-up children’s tale “The Little Prince,” Ethan Hawke in the Chet Baker biopic “Born to be Blue” and the toilet-clogging glory of “The Brothers Grimsby.”
Children’s films don’t get much more magical, or grown up, than “The Little Prince.” A film about wonderment and tragedy, about belief and the importance of dreams, it has important messages for kids, no matter how old they are.
The story begins with an overprotective mother (voice of Rachel McAdams) buys a new house so her daughter (Mackenzie Foy) will be eligible to go to the Werth Academy, the best school in town. Mom is a Type A personality who has an intricate life plan for the little girl who she calls, “My Senior VP.” The house is perfect, trouble is, it’s next-door to a ramshackle home inhabited The Aviator (Jeff Bridges) an eccentric old man who introduces himself by revving up his backyard airplane and sending a propeller shooting through their living room wall.
This inauspicious intro doesn’t bode well for the new neighbours but soon, as The Aviator begins to tell The Little Girl the story of The Little Prince, a boy who lived on the planet scarcely bigger than himself and who is in need of a friend, she is won over and risks a visit with the old man in the mysterious house.
He continues the story of his encounter with The Little Prince until Mother forbids her daughter from spending any more time with the old man. When he is rushed to the hospital, however, the girl is inconsolable. Determined to reunite The Aviator with his old friend the Prince she goes on an adventure into the asteroids.
A mix of computer and otherworldly stop motion animation, “The Little Prince” is a work of art that brims with creativity and emotion. “Kung Fu Panda” director Mark Osborne has adapted Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novella for the screen without losing the magic that made the book so special.
It’s a gently told story that should spark young imaginations and remind older viewers of the importance of hanging on to childhood memories. “Growing up is not the problem,” says The Aviator, “forgetting is.” It’s a potent message when seen through the eyes of a young, unhappy girl being pushed by her Mother to grow up too quickly. As the metaphorical stories unfurl, she learns a new, fantastic way of looking at life.
“The Little Prince” would make a nice companion piece to “Inside Out.” They are very different kinds of films—“Inside Out” is more frenetic, less metaphorical—but both strike a chord in their unique becoming an adult.
The funniest movie animal is, of course, the chimp, followed by the talking dog and then the dancing pig. With the release of the new Jack Black animated film you can add to that list the Kung Fu Panda.
In this lush computer animated film Black portrays Po, an overweight kung fu crazy panda who dreams of becoming a master warrior. In his rich fantasy life his enemies would go blind from his “sheer awesomeness.” In reality he is the son of a noodle maker with no moves, no skill.
When he is accidentally crowned Dragon Warrior, a once-in-a-thousand-years-honor, he must look inside himself to conjure the skills to live up to the title and beat the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane).
Training with the Furious Five warriors and Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) he learns to leave his insecurities behind. “I’m not a fat Panda,” he says, “I’m the fat Panda.”
His self confidence may be at an all time high, but will it be enough to defeat Tai Lung and bring peace to his valley?
Directors Mark Osborne and John Stevenson use a mixed bag of techniques to tell the story. State of the art computer animation brings the characters to life, but the gorgeous hand drawn animation in the fantasy sequences is uncommonly sumptuous for a story like this and gives the movie real character. Imagine if Akira Kurosawa had directed a kid’s movie and you’ll get the idea.
Also strong is the voice work, particularly from old pros Hoffman and McShane, two nicely cast voices you don’t expect to hear in a movie aimed at kids.
Beautifully animated and cleverly written Kung Fun Panda should easily fill the space left on the Dreamworks slate until the next Shrek hits the screens. Packed with wit and action it is the rare kind of animated feature that should appeal to all members of the family, although it might not be quite silly enough for the nine and under crowd, but that’s a good thing for parents who will likely have to sit through this one many times over.