Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Alice in Wonderland

March 22nd, 2010
Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Rating: ★★★★☆

Movie: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Studio : Paramount Pictures

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 108 min

Website : aliceinwonderland

Trailer :


Roger Ebert was the person who got me started reviewing movies for my middle school newspaper. In preparing for my reviews, I usually read his, and he came to an epiphany about Alice in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll didn’t write it for children. As I watched the film, I reflected back to when I was six years old, when I first saw the film. I remembered being completely confused throughout the film and somewhat frightened when Alice was being chased by the Queen and her mob of cards (I also thought back to why my friends and I were so fascinated by it during college). As I write this review, I realize Tim Burton was the perfect candidate to direct this version, which plays like a tripped-out nightmare (which Carroll’s story essentially is).

This version starts off with little Alice having just returned from Wonderland, being comforted by her father. We quickly cut to Alice at age 19 (likably played by Mia Wasikowska), who is about to enter an arranged marriage with Hamish Ascot, a total doofus (Leo Bill). Rightfully afraid of the monotonous life that awaits her, she flees in the middle of the ceremony and chases another white rabbit down a hole. Two seconds later, she’s back in Underland and off on a new adventure.

The visual elements here are amazing, as is characteristic of Burton. Bonham Carter has (literally) taken on a swelled head for the role of the vengeful, jealous Red Queen, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum are complete grotesques. Burton also gives this world a very dark-looking tone, which is actually even more fitting for the story than the generally pleasant-looking one of the 1951 animated version.

Burton mainstay Tim Burton gives the Mad Hatter (who turns out to be an instrumental ally in Alice’s quest) a third dimension. The story, while slow in spots, picks up when Alice is thrust into a war between the Red Queen and her sister, the benevolent White Queen (Anne Hathaway). There’s also one memorable exchange between Carter and Hathaway that allows us to peer into the mind of the evil Red Queen and infer how she came to be the creature that she is.

I enjoyed the movie, but I’ll warn parents of very young children that this is only for ages 8 and up. A very young child left the theater with his mother, in tears at one of the more violent sequences. However, in a few years, the kid probably will be enthralled by it, as will the parents.

-Craig Wynne

Adventure, Family, Fantasy , , , ,


August 26th, 2009


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Movie: Ponyo (2009)

Studio : Studio Ghibli

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 103min

Website :

Trailer :


Ponyo is the name of a fish that escapes to the world of men and befriends a young boy, Sosuke, who lives in a harbor town. Ponyo’s father disagrees with her interacting with the world of man and tries to stop her, and what results is a sort of modern fairy tale of young love.

It seems that after Studio Gibli mastered the use of integrating cgi into animation, Ponyo returns to an emphasis on hand-drawn cel animation. You can tell the difference from the unpolished feel of the art that makes it feel more homey and even enhances the storybook feel in certain parts.

I applaud the effort, but at the same time it feels like the animators have been out of touch with this medium for quite some time. While there are some amazing scenes that I am impressed at, a lot of the basic animation is, well… really basic! There is almost no consideration for integrating the characters with their backgrounds, and this difference becomes distracting. I may sound like I am being harsh on Miyazaki’s vision here, but compare this film to his earlier work like, say, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and you can tell that the same crack team that made such a detailed and interactive world is not there this time around.

For a story there really is not much of a tale here, either. There is a dramatic push in the film for some sort of climax, and it never really gets there. That’s fine that a film of this nature should have no sense of emergency, but the “danger” inherent in the story seems tacked on. Add this with an ending that feels rushed and you have one of the weaker films of the Miyazaki legacy.

Still, this may just be a stepping stone for him to return to those days in the past. His approach may have even been the encouragement behind Disney’s work on their newly anticipated film The Frog Princess, which touts a return to hand-drawn cel animation and so far looks visually stunning. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing Miyazaki’s next project in the hopes that he really pushes his vision back into this old medium.

-Donald Lee

Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy , , , , ,

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

August 9th, 2009
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 	Rating: Four stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceRating: Four stars

Rating: ★★★★☆

Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Studio : Warner Brothers Pictures

 Info : Click Here

Runtime : 153min

Website :

Trailer :



There’s a scene at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Professor McGonagall (always wonderfully played by Maggie Smith) says to Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, “Why is it whenever something happens, you three always seem to be in the center of it?”  Ron replies, “I’ve been wondering that myself.”  That’s basically the essence of the entire series, but these three kids (now teenagers) are so charismatic and likable that we accept everything and take the ride with them.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth installment in this huge franchise, and for those who haven’t read the books, I’ll give a brief plot summary: there’s strong sentiment going around the wizard world as to whether Harry Potter is the “Chosen One,” that is, the person who has been chosen to fight Lord Voldemort and save all of humanity.  Harry’s also found a book in his Potions class that belonged to the Half-Blood Prince, and this book is able to help him create potions.  Meanwhile, more ominous things are happening at Hogwarts, and Lord Voldemort may be working through Harry’s archenemy, Draco Malfoy, in order to wreak havoc.  We also learn more about the Dark Lord’s past, and see how Dumbledore inadvertently groomed him in order to become the force of mass destruction he is today. 
All of this stuff is fun and exciting, and we’re seeing a less whimsical and much darker Hogwarts than we have in the previous films.  The film seems to be mostly shot in neutral tones, which works very well given the secrets and histories we’re exposed to in this installment.  It does lag somewhat as we move towards the final sequence, but that’s only for about 15 minutes in a two-and-a-half hour film, and the conclusion left me stunned (even after I knew what was coming from having read the books).
Still, my favorite parts of the film had nothing to do with the suspense portion.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione have blossomed into teenagers, and they’re all experiencing true romance for the first time.  There are some well-observed moments here, as Hermione scowls while Ron becomes involved with another girl, and Ron’s sister Ginny grows increasingly infatuated with Harry.  I, along with several others, laughed out loud at some of their behavior, because watching it indeed reminded me of what it was like for me to be in love as a teenager. 

This is a good film.  It’s not my favorite of the series, but the action in this movie is as exciting as it was in the previous entries, and thus far, it’s the most human. 

-Craig Wynne

Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, In Theaters, Mystery, Reviews by Genre, Reviews by Status, Romance , , , , ,

Obsessed – Drama Thriller Movie

May 4th, 2009
Obsessed - Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles

Obsessed - Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles

Rating: ★★★★½

Movie: Obsessed(2009)

Studio: Screen Gems

Info: Click Here

Runtime: 108min



Review :

Obsessed was an excellent movie! As I always say, “In every movie there is a lesson to be learned.” In this particular movie the lesson was to trust your spouse. What I was most surprised about in this movie was how sync it was with its trailer. Lately a lot of movie trailers have been misleading the quality and purpose of the movie yet this movie really stayed on topic.

The movie was great with grabbing my attention by making every scene vital to the movie’s purpose. Beyonce does a great job creating the emotion in a lot of the scenes cracking tears and yelling at a high frequency. Idris (main character) is great with his confused looks and sad reactions as well as his emotional aspect. Meanwhile Ali (plays the obsessed female) dropped my jaw with her forceful actions and impressive acting.

On top of everything I was really sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. I was really impressed by the thrill this movie had in every scene. I couldn’t wait another minute to find out what was going to happen. Each stressful scene just edged me wanting to know more!

Overall I can’t really say much about this movie without spoiling a bit of it therefore I am going to stop before I ruin the movie for you potential viewers out there! See this movie!
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-Trent M.

Drama, Just left Theaters, Thriller , , , , , , , , , ,