I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Posts Tagged ‘talking animals’

Babe: Pig in the City

Monday, November 14th, 2016

tn_babe2“So, will this little pink lunchness fulfill his destiny, nourishmentally speaking?”
“We shall see.”

With BABE, writer-producer George Miller (and director Chris Noonan) created a warm little perfectly-told tale of a pig and a farmer finding happiness by violating social norms. (If that sounds gross to you, that’s not what I meant.) For the bigger, darker, weirder sequel, BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, Miller dropped the pure-hearted little pig into that world’s version of a noisy, chaotic metropolis, knowing he’d face the challenge with his head held high and make it out with his spirit intact, brightening lives along the way.

The Hoggett farm in BABE looks straight out of a storybook, but you figure that’s an anomaly. When the family comes over for Christmas, bringing modern attitude and technology, they seem to be visiting from the real world.

Maybe not, it turns out. Esme Hoggett (Magda Szubanski, who was only 37 at the time! Holy shit!) and “the wee pig” get stranded in a major city. They don’t say which one, but it’s whichever city that is where the skyline includes the Hollywood sign, the Sydney Opera House, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, among others. (No Space Needle, I’m afraid.) Garish billboards hang above picturesque canals and cobblestone roads. Most of the hotels don’t accept pigs, but they find one secretly housing a bunch of dogs, cats, chimps and an orangutan. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Jungle Book

Monday, April 18th, 2016

tn_junglebookDisney’s 1967 animated version of THE JUNGLE BOOK was pretty much a hangout movie. A bunch of animal dudes kickin it in the jungle, occasionally singing songs. Like HOUSE PARTY but with snakes and shit. The tiger Shere Khan plays the part of Full Force.

Now modern Disney and director Jon Favreau (executive producer, GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS) have brought in more of the world and narrative of Rudyard Kipling’s stories for an excellent live action(ish) version that captures plenty of the spirit of the old one while also being totally different. It uses versions of the original songs and even evokes Disney animation with a painted version of the castle logo, but never feels redundant. It’s like putting on glasses and seeing that version in more detail, from the visuals to the story.

I have to admit, after COWBOYS & ALIENS I kinda thought maybe we got too excited about Favreau as a director because of IRON MAN. Clearly I was wrong. This is a movie I can’t imagine many directors pulling off. Like with IRON MAN he finds a perfect balance between nerdy love for the source material and clear vision of how to tell the story in a dramatic way we haven’t quite seen on screen before.

And it can’t be easy competing with the memory of Stephen Sommers’ 1994 version.

(That might be unfair. I haven’t seen it.)

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Babe

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

tn_babe

RELEASE DATE: August 4th
RELEASE DATE: August 4th

Looking back at these movies from the summer of 1995 is really interesting to me, but it doesn’t seem like a very good summer for movies. I mean, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE was really good. That was at the very beginning.

Now all the sudden it’s August and this G-rated Australian talking animal movie comes out. There were signs that it might be interesting for that sort of thing: It had a nice storybook look to it, and a new idea of digitally animating mouth movements and expressions on animals instead of just feeding them peanut butter.

But you guys, BABE is more than just better than expected, and ended up being a phenomenon. Even though it’s seen as a kid’s movie, it’s one of such precise, economical storytelling, such unique vision and such sweet sincerity that it ended up with 7 well deserved Oscar noms (short for nominations): Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (James Cromwell supporting a bunch of farm animals!), Best Art Direction, Best Editing and Best Visual Effects (which it won – take that, only other nominee APOLLO 13).

And that was not just Oscar silliness, or the world getting swept up in some crazy 1995 shit. I just watched it again and 20 years later BABE is still a perfect movie.

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Aristocats

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

tn_aristocatsFor some reason I am reviewing THE ARISTOCATS. You gotta fuck around and try out different shit sometimes, as my dear grandmother used to say.

THE ARISTOCATS is not one of the better Walt Disney pictures in my opinion. It was the first one they made after Disney’s death, although he’d approved it before he died. It seems to rehash parts of LADY AND THE TRAMP and 101 DALMATIONS without being as good as either. At the beginning a nice old rich lady in Paris is drawing up her will and since she has no living relatives she wants to leave it all to her cat Duchess (Eva Gabor, the same voice as Miss Bianca in THE RESCUERS) and her three kittens. This is upsetting to her human butler, who responds by giving the cats date rape drugs and abandoning them out in the country.

For a second I was thinking I’d already seen this, it was so familiar, but then I realized I was thinking of GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES, which had almost the same plot. But great minds think alike, you know. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

When last I saw Garfield and friends, I was in a Bush-re-election-induced mania, the type that would cause a man to watch the movie GARFIELD. Now I decided to watch part 2 as part of our nation’s celebration of the comic strip going on in San Diego. That shows you how tolerant we, as a society, have grown toward Garfield. It’s like the whole thing about a lobster in a pot and the burner turns on and it gets slowly hotter and the fuckin thing doesn’t notice ’til it’s too late because it’s so gradual. Somehow I went from being horrified by the bizarre digital abomination that stars in this movie to not really being that bothered by it when I choose to watch part 2 of my own free will.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Howard the Duck

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

tn_howardtheduckWith THE AVENGERS still going around punching the shit out of every box office record stupid enough to make eye contact with it maybe it’s time to take a look at the other important Marvel Comics films. Obviously we’ve already gone over the most culturally and historically significant ones (BLADE, BLADE II, THE PUNISHER, THE PUNISHER, and THE PUNISHER’S WAR ZONE), but one that we have not addressed is 1986’s HOWARD THE DUCK, from the creators of STAR WARS and AMERICAN GRAFFITI. I don’t see how this one could wrong.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Family Friendly Trilogy Episode Two: Happy Feet Two

Monday, December 5th, 2011

tn_happyfeettwoThe most philosophically ambitious of the 3 PG-rated movies I watched is the one that’ll probly get the least credit for it, George Motherfuckin Two Men Enter One Man Leaves Miller’s HAPPY FEET TWO. And first of all I want to give them credit for spelling out the number in their sequel title and not misspelling it for a pun. I’m sure it’s not the first spelled out non-homonym sequel title in history, but I couldn’t name you another one.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Friday, October 1st, 2010

tn_jlseagullIn order to truly understand how OWL 300 is the talking bird movie for our times, one must also explore the quintessential talking bird movies of other eras. And the one that came to mind when I thought about that was the one from 1974, JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL. I don’t know if you guys remember this one, but it was a huge book at the time, but not a kids book like all movies are based on now. It was seen as this inspirational, philosophical type of deal. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

tn_gahooleThere’s this new movie about owls, directed by Zack Snyder. Turns out it’s based on a series of children’s books called “Guardians of Ga’Hoole.” Warner Brothers didn’t want to use that title because they were worried nobody would know what “Ga’Hoole” meant. And it’s true, because to me it sounds like Ga’Hoole must be either a) the place where these “Guardians” are from, or b) a place that they guard, and they’re from some other place. It’s definitely one of those two options, but I don’t know for sure which one, so obviously that’s a huge, huge communication problem there, I’d just get so confused I’d never be able to watch the movie.

So they came up with the title LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS. Completely generic and bland, not descriptive at all, almost sounds like a made up title. Perfect! But after the first trailer came out they must’ve got a call from the Weinsteins saying come on you pricks, you can’t use a generic title like that, we need that to rename a Jet Li movie. You can’t fuck us like this, do you know who we are? We own this fucking town! We did SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. You don’t know who you’re fucking with you little pissants! Also the Dragon Dynasty series of DVDs, we did those also! We will crush you and make somebody else wipe you up, and then we will pointedly undertip them for their efforts! FUCK YOU WARNER BROTHERS YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME.

So Warner Brothers is like oh shit, those guys did the SCARY MOVIE series, they mean business. So they added the subtitle “The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” so we know now Ga’Hoole must be a place where some owls live, at least according to legend. That makes the full title LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE: THE 3-D IMAX EXPERIENCE. Which is a mouthful of a title for a movie everybody is obviously gonna just call OWL 300. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.