Monthly Archives: August 2012

Star Wars Galaxy at Disney Hollywood Studios

The Disney’s Star Wars Weekends page on Facebook posted this question about the possibility of getting a CarsLand at Disney’s Hollywood Studios like the one that just opened at Disney California Adventure.

First – I thought that was an official Disney page on Facebook, but it’s obviously not if they’re posting rumors. And then after I saw that, I saw a bunch of errors/typos in previous posts, which sealed that.

Part of me thinks that the CarsLand conjecture makes sense. Continue reading

Movie Review: Paranorman

Paranorman was the second movie my son and I saw this weekend, and we both liked The Odd Life of Timothy Green better. There are some similarities in the two films… both deal with children who are different from other kids and don’t fit in, both have some takes on bullies. In these themes, Timothy Green deals with them much better, because it seems to have more heart than Paranorman.

There is some heart in Paranorman, and it’s that of the filmmakers. There is amazing technical aptitude in the characters and the world of Paranorman, and you can sense the passion of the artists behind it. The special effects, too, especially in the final scenes are impressive. After the credits, there’s a stop-motion scene where they show an artist creating a Norman model, which is cool, and I think it supports the focus of the studio on the techniques more than the story.

The story is one you’ve seen before, kind of a mix between Monster Squad and Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. If you’re looking for a similar movie with more scare factor, go with The Frighteners, and if you’re looking for kids fighting supernatural creatures, go with Monster Squad.

Paranorman is a horror movie. My son said it was both creepy and scary. The scary parts are of the jump out and scare you variety. The film was released in 3D, but we opted for one less dimension when we saw it. I bet young kids would especially freak out over the jumping out. There’s also some pretty adult humor for a PG movie. An example: Norman’s uncle wants him to promise to do something and he says, “I want you to swear” and Norman says, “What? Like the F word?” While he doesn’t actually say it, the line seemed really inappropriate in a PG movie. Maybe not quite as bad as the usage of “penisbreath” in E.T., but it’s not the only questionable dialogue in the film.

Overall, the movie was good. It’s a good mix of funny and creepy, and if you enjoy stop motion animation, you’ll love the way they’ve brought it to life.

It will be interesting to see how Frankenweenie does in comparison.

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

I took my son to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green yesterday. It’s not the movie we planned on seeing – we were going to see Paranorman, but there was a bad thunderstorm, we hadn’t had lunch, and our plans were fraying at the ends, so we walked into the AMC Dine-In Theater at Pleasure Island, just before noon, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green was starting at 12.

We were both surprised with how much we liked the film – we ended up liking it much more than we thought we would.

For those of you who aren’t in the know, the movie is about a couple unable to have kids who are suddenly surprised with the magical appearance of a 10 year old boy from their garden. It feels like a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale, but not one you’ve seen before. But there are pieces of the film that are familiar, that maybe you’ve seen before in films like The Martian Child. There are heavy themes in the movie as it deals with topics of infertility, adoption, parenting, love, death, bullies, the economy, and much more. It seems very rich in subtext as you think about it, but it’s all tied together with this one boy. The imagery and symbolism, while sometimes heavy-handed, helps tie all these themes together.

Even with all the deep themes underlying the story, the film remains whimsical, and appropriate for kids. My son is 10 and he liked it a lot. At the beginning, he said “this is a sad movie” and he’s right. The beginning is sad, but not as sad as Pixar’s Up. And I would say the film is much more uplifting.

Ultimately, the film is about emotion, and that’s really what makes it shine – the film feels familiar not just because of familiar plot elements or characters, but because we’ve felt these emotions that are shared in the film and that we all share with each other, just as the characters share them.

And at the end, the emotions linger, reinforced by every leaf you find on the ground after.