Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Movie Reviews Weeks 2 & 3

Our local movie theatre (like many of yours, I'm sure), offers free summer movies on Tuesdays and Thursdays for children. (Each week, two movies are run -- you go see one on Tuesdays and the other on Thursday) We missed the first week because I forgot about the program. We missed the second week due to VBS. We missed the third week's movie because of a punishment I doled out to my son and had to stick to (I hate that! The two movies showing last week were Monster House and Akeelah & the Bee. I was outvoted two-to-one, so we saw Monster House). This week, we saw Dreamer and Happy Feet.

I will be reviewing all three movies. Next week, I'll post a review on Tuesday and Thursday.


MONSTER HOUSE (PG) CGA -- DJ spends all of his free time staring out his bedroom window at the house across the street, home of grouchy Mr. Nubbercracker. Nubbercracker is so grouchy (how grouchy is he?) that he fusses at children who dare step on his lawn. As punishment, he confiscates their toys. When DJ goes across the street to retrieve his friend's basketball, Nubbercracker comes out, grabs DJ by the shirt and gives him a good what-for. Unfortunately, Nubbercracker dies and then things get really freaky. DJ, along with his friend, Chowder, and brainiac Jenny, believe that there is more the house than meets the eye.

I certainly don't want to give the whole movie away, but the plot was pretty transparent to a mom like me. (Hint: Misunderstood hero) The story kept the kids' attention, although there was quite a bit of adult-type humor that, luckily, went over the children's head. (There is reference to the uvula being a female body part as well as brief references to infidelity -- but you have to look closely.)

To the adult viewer, the story is one of true love and letting someone go. To the children, it's a funny movie with a happy/sad ending.

Mommy Review -- Thumbs up but I'd probably only sit through this once.

DJ/Lynne Review -- Thumbs up. They both said they would watch it regularly if we had the movie at home.


DREAMER (PG) Non-animated -- Stars Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Kris Kristofferson and Elisabeth Shue. Fanning, Russell and Kristofferson play three generations of horse lovers. Russell is a horse trainer who makes other men rich. He and his father don't get along so well and Fanning is the loving link between them. When Russell advises his boss that the prize horse, Sonya, not race, his boss ignores his pleas and commands him to get the horse ready. Sonya takes a terrible fall and breaks her leg. When the boss (played by David Morse) tells Russell to put the animal down, he refuses. He gets fired and makes a deal with the boss to take Sonya off his hands. What follows in this simple decision is a lesson about believing in those you love and making dreams come true.

The movie wasn't exactly action packed (save for the horse racing -- that's very exciting). Dreamer could best be described as a family drama -- but not so over-the-top that the littlest ones don't get it. (Fanning, for example, sneaks out of her room at night to feed Sonya Popsicles. All the kids in the theatre giggled as they saw the Popsicle sticks lined up.)

The movie, in my opinion, was excellent and not actually one I would have gotten at the movie store. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to see it. It was very good and I would recommend it to anyone. With the exception of a few mild curse words, there was nothing offensive in this movie to me. If you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing it.


HAPPY FEET (PG) CGA -- Mumble is a penguin who (literally) marches to the beat of his own drummer. In his world, the Emperor Penguins sing to one another to find a mate. Those who are compatible, start singing their 'heart song' together, in perfect harmony. Well, poor Mumble. He was dropped when he was just an egg and as a result, he can't sing -- at all! But, he can dance up a storm. His mother embraces his uniqueness and his father wants him to conform to the rest of the group. What's worse, the fish population is disappearing and the elder penguins are convinced that it's Mumble's fault. They are convinced that his dancing has upset the Great Guin. Mumble sets out to prove them wrong, convinced it is the work of the Aliens.
The movie is full of songs -- both newer and older. Several of the songs are suggestive but most of them are just plain fun. I didn't notice any cursing or any mock cursing. (ie in Hercules when Pain and Panic say "Oh my gods." Or in Madagascar when Marty says 'sugar, honey, iced tea"). Also, there is no death in the movie. The only questionable thing I would caution parents about is the group of rag-tag penguins (Adelie penguins) Mumble hangs out with once he's banished from the land (oh...I guess that was a spoiler, huh?) The Adelie penguins are portrayed as Hispanic and there is brief reference made by one of the elders about their character. Again, you have to really look to catch the various references.
I have to admit that I was very excited about seeing this movie -- especially after I had read a very unsavory review about it on a message board. There is no denying the global impact that the Aliens have on the penguins land. The mentor, Lovelace (a Rockhopper penguin), has a soda ring around his neck and through the whole movie, huge glaciers are constantly breaking into the water. They even come right out and talk about it toward the end of the movie when the Aliens (btw, the Aliens are humans) are discussing what should be done about the various projects destroying the penguins' food supply.
All in all, it was a fun movie. The music was great and it was fun to figure out which songs were being sung. It's definitely not a movie I would watch again unless forced (although, to be fair, I feel that way about most movies). DJ said he would watch it again while Lynne asked to go home in the middle of it.
Next week, I'll review Charlotte's Web and Zathura. I realize many of you have probably seen these a million times, but for those who are like me and don't get to the movies very often, I hope my reviews are helpful.

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