Monday, April 02, 2007
Movie Reviews: BLADES OF GLORY & HAPPY FEET
BLADES OF GLORY
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder play two disgraced Olympic ice skaters who were banned from the sport because of drug usage but have found a way to sneak back into the competition.
Cast Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, Craig T. Nelson (more)
Director(s) Will Speck, Josh Gordon
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date March 30, 2007
MPAA Rating PG-13
Blades of Glory isn't Will Ferrell's best film. He's set a pretty high bar for himself with movies like Anchorman and Talladega Nights. Here he comes up a bit short, only if because he doesn't dominate the screen like he did in the aforementioned films. Ferrell still has some great moments and if you're a fan of his humor, like I am, you'll find plenty to enjoy. Chazz Michael Michaels isn't nearly the complete characters that either Ricky Bobby or Ron Burgundy were and it shows, if anything he's kind of an amalgam of both of those characters. Jon Heder's is decent even if he doesn't do much but look doe eyed and naïve, which works perfectly in one very awkward first kiss with Jenna Fischer, Pam from TV's The Office. Amy Poelher and Will Arnett, real life husband and wife, are great as the film's villainous brother sister skating combo. Arnett and Ferrell have one of the funniest moments in the film involving a chase on land in ice skates. Both Poelher and Arnett are excellent comedians and I wouldn't be surprised if we get a lot more of both in future films, Arnett is already cast in Ferrell's next project Semi Pro. In total, this is a fun farce that flings jokes at a fairly rapid rate killing a lot of possibly slow moments. Real skating fans will also get lots of love, as there are cameos galore from the skating world past and present. Also, keep an eye out for lots of other cameos from other comedians and actors.
In the great nation of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, you're nobody unless you can sing, which is bad news for Mumble (Elijah Wood), who is the worst singer in the world. But he sure can tap dance. Mumble's mom, Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman), thinks his dancing is cute, but his dad, Memphis (Hugh Jackman), says it "just ain't penguin." Besides, they both know that, without a "heartsong," Mumble may never find true love. His one friend, Gloria (Brittany Murphy), happens to be the best singer around, and the two have a connection from the moment they hatch, even though she has a tough time understanding her pal's eccentricities.
Cast Nicole Kidman, Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugo Weaving (more)
Director(s) George Miller
Writer(s) Warren Coleman, George Miller, Judy Morris
Status On DVD
Release Date Nov. 17, 2006
DVD Release Date March 27, 2007
Running Time 98 minutes
MPAA Rating G
Happy Feet is an interesting children's movie. Visually it gives you some of the best CGI I've seen in recent memory. The landscapes and character designs are both excellent. Story wise and tonally is a bit of different story. This movie changes on fly quite often. It starts off as a seemly carefree kiddy musical filled with slapstick humor then later on it veers into more heady and, at times, just plain trippy territory for a kids movie (There's a scene near the end where our main character goes crazy in a weird 2001 finale kind of situation). That is before we even get the non-animated humans and global warning message. Like I said it odd for a kid's movie. Also there are a handful of scenes, mostly dealing with predators, where some of the smaller children might be frightened. The voice acting is fairly solid even though I could have done with less Robin Williams; he does about 3 voices in the film. Elijah Wood is also pretty solid but for some reason his voice sounds strangely out of place as a penguin, it doesn't make sense to me either. Overall, this children's movie has a lot more going on than most might imagine going in. This isn't throwaway light kiddy fare; there are some big topics in this film like conformity vs. individuality, even some religious themes and of course the environmental themes. Heavy stuff to say the least and it succeeds to varying degrees.