John Collee

John Collee

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Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie Review


Weak

The filmmakers make a serious mistake by aiming this educational epic at very young children, because they've undermined the considerable skill and artistry that have gone into making it. An astoundingly trite script overflows with goofy slang and lame jokes that make the film virtually unwatchable for anyone over the age of 5. And the dialog tries so hard to be hip and cool that it already feels badly dated.

It opens on a rather awkward framing story about a palaeontologist (Urban) who takes his niece and nephew (Rice and Rowe) to look for dinosaur fossils in rural Alaska, at which point we are taken back in time to see what life was life in the Late Cretaceous Period. Enter Patchi (voiced by Long), a young pachyrhinosaurus whose best pal is a talkative bird named Alex (Leguizamo). Patchi also has an annoying big brother named Scowler (Stone) and a love-interest in Juniper (Sircar). As the young pachyrhinos grow up, they have a series of adventures along the path migrating north and south with the seasons. Vicious predators chase them, and both Patchi and Scowler take a shot at leading the herd.

The plot is fairly simplistic, but it's a decent tool to teach us about the various animals of the period. The dialog is another story altogether, packed with inane observations, stupid gags and lazy one-liners. By comparison, the required poo, vomit and snot jokes are genuinely witty. And a considerable amount of real information about the period and the creatures gets lost in all of the idiotic patter.

Continue reading: Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie Review

Creation Review


Excellent
In tackling the story of what's been called "the biggest single idea in the history of thought", the filmmakers offer a fresh angle on a controversial topic. And it's an imaginative, human approach that brings it vividly to life.

In the mid-1800s, Charles Darwin (Bettany) faces a huge crisis: struggling after the death of 10-year-old daughter Annie (West), he's at odds with his wife Emma (Connelly) and his own Christian beliefs due to the results of his study of variations in species over time. Paralysed by what this will do to his marriage and his faith, he locks his research into a box. But swirling memories of Annie, encouragement from his friends (Cumberbatch and Jones), physical illness and marital strain force him to confront something he can no longer deny.

Continue reading: Creation Review

Happy Feet Review


Good
Hollywood is led by followers, and whenever a studio comes up with an unexpected left-field hit, other studios tend to rush out imitations, following blindly like lemmings (or penguins) over a cliff.

So when the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins became a surprise hit and ahem, broke the ice, more penguin movies became a possibility. Luckily, one was already in the works, and even more luckily, Happy Feet is the project of Aussie auteur George Miller (best known for Babe), who does not follow anyone's lead. It takes only a few seconds -- the time it takes one of the penguins to sing the first verse of Prince's "Kiss," while another sings "Heartbreak Hotel" -- for Miller's film to qualify as the weirdest movie of the year. (Not having seen March of the Penguins, I wasn't aware coming into this film that each emperor penguin has its own "song." Knowing that fact could have helped me to grasp the concept sooner. Or not.)

Continue reading: Happy Feet Review

Happy Feet Review


Good
Hollywood is led by followers, and whenever a studio comes up with an unexpected left-field hit, other studios tend to rush out imitations, following blindly like lemmings (or penguins) over a cliff.

So when the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins became a surprise hit and ahem, broke the ice, more penguin movies became a possibility. Luckily, one was already in the works, and even more luckily, Happy Feet is the project of Aussie auteur George Miller (best known for Babe), who does not follow anyone's lead. It takes only a few seconds -- the time it takes one of the penguins to sing the first verse of Prince's "Kiss," while another sings "Heartbreak Hotel" -- for Miller's film to qualify as the weirdest movie of the year. (Not having seen March of the Penguins, I wasn't aware coming into this film that each emperor penguin has its own "song." Knowing that fact could have helped me to grasp the concept sooner. Or not.)

Continue reading: Happy Feet Review

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Review


Essential
After viewing the trailer for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, you might think the film is out of place for its November release. After all, giant epics like this fuel special-effects-thirsty summer moviegoers. Fall is usually reserved for smaller, higher quality films commanding the attention of Oscar voters. 20th Century Fox had originally scheduled Master and Commander for a June release - that is, (I'm sure) until they realized what an extraordinary and award-worthy film they had.

Master and Commander is based on Patrick O'Brian's series of novels called Aubrey/Maturin about the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The film takes place in 1805, when the French rule the high seas. An English vessel, the HMS Surprise, roams the same oceans looking to carry out the official order of intercepting any French ship they encounter. The captain of the Surprise, Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), refuses to accept defeat at the hands of the French and is willing to carry out his assignment at any cost.

Continue reading: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Review

John Collee

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