Catching up with the movies ...
Over the past couple of weeks we've had the chance to do some movie renting ... much more than usual. And we used it to catch up with some stuff we've been meaning to watch.
Polar Express - as reviewed here, but I liked it more than Cary. But perhaps that is because it is one of our family's favorite Christmas books, and we love sharing it each year. Some of the scenes just made the book pop out of the screen in a very moving way. But like so many films that build a 10 minute read into a 90 minute movie, there is much filler that is questionable. There were things that reminded me of how often these things look to 'improve' the original but end up making fundamental changes that mess with the original charm. Pretty good and enjoyable, but we don't have any desire to ever see it again ... stick with the book.
Because of Winn Dixie - the kids wanted Madagascar, but it was all rented out. So I saw this as I perused, and had heard it was a charming tale. It is - if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. Sappy - you bet. But really good - our boys loved it, and so did we.
Ella Enchanted - this one happened after the kids went to sleep, and we were just relaxing ... but there was nothing much on. I like having the 'Guide' for Comcast, as I can page through channels. This was just starting, so we watched it. Very charming and engaging, nice little fantasy movie with interesting characters. Too bad it started at 9PM because the kids would have liked it as well.
Madagascar - the GamerDad himself nailed this one - "Dreamworks Pictures makes pretty CGI animated features that are like cotton candy. They melt in your mouth in a sweet and sticky way, but when compared to rival Pixar, they're ultimately soulless and leave little after-taste. Or maybe a better way of thinking of it is: Dreamworks likes jokes. Pixar likes stories with jokes in them." We all liked it ... now *what* was it about? Oh yeah, penguins!
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - consider this: my 9.5 year old son who is 5 ft tall and starting to show some early 'bodily changes', and has always had ideas about what is for girls and for boys. (my almost 8 year old could give a flip, and we certainly don't care about it). Nonetheless, he liked this better than Madagascar, and snuggled up to us and had a good cry while it was on. Really just so much better than I could have imagined. If you think this is a chick flick, you aren't a real man ;)
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - OK, so it has been 25 years since I read the book, but I remember it being better and funnier. The better part I could accept - when my favorite character was Alan Rickman (aka Snape) as a manic depressive robot, and I occasionally thought about finishing up the dinner dishes, I knew this wasn't destined for my greatness list. But many of the jokes were pretty flat - Monty Python (shows, movies, whatever) hits me as solid as it did over 30 years ago when my Dad took me to see 'And now for something completely different ...' in a 'art movie' house in Boston ... but this feels dated and ... I don't know ... My wife took a nap. The kids liked it, but it was third of the recent set after 'Pants' and Madagascar.