Category Archives: shrek

A Thousand Words

A Thousand Words ~ Eddie Murphy doesn’t have much luck in the movies any more, Shrek and Dream Girls excepted. Whenever he releases a theatrical starring vehicle, even one like this that is actually pretty good, it fails. At least theatrically and critically. I, on the other hand, liked A Thousand Words, just as I’ve liked more than a few Murphy films of the last dozen or so years.

A Thousand Words is a fantasy flick with a simple premise. Eddie plays a publishing agent who is cursed by a client to only be able to speak 1000 words before he dies. This forces Eddie to be very selective in his words, and he must use other ways to communicate. It is fierce physical comedy, something Murphy loves and excels at, and he is a delight to watch here. He is supported by a wonderful cast, including in terrific parts – Clark Duke, Jack McBrayer, and John Witherspoon.

It doesn’t help the film that much like the infamous Pluto Nash that this movie was made a few years ago and was just released this spring. It’s sad that had this been forty or fifty years ago, this would have been a perfect vehicle for Jerry Lewis, one of Murphy’s idols. It’s also a matter of being out of favor with Hollywood – think about it, this would have been a hit if it starred Jim Carrey or Ben Stiller, right?

I liked it. It’s a good comedy with a happy ending, a good message, and an excellent flick for the family with humor for kids of all ages. Some scenes might be a bit risqué however. Recommended.

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Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots ~ Each time there has been a Shrek sequel, even when I’ve enjoyed it, I find myself hoping it’s the last one. With this Shrek spin-off film about the fairy tale cat portrayed by Antonio Banderas, I find myself hoping that the hardest.

A prequel to the Shrek movies, this details Puss’ life before meeting up with the famous ogre and his friend Donkey. Salam Hayak is on board as Puss’ rival/romantic interest but adds little as do the rest of the talented cast who bring to life other fairy tales like Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, and Jack and the Beanstalk in typical but unfunny manner. When you have Zach Gilafianakis, and he’s not funny, you’re doing something wrong.

The animation is good, as is the score, but everywhere else, it’s a fail. Aside from one of two chuckles, and an inside joke or two, and of course the few fleeting good seconds that we have all seen in the previews and commercials, this is a wash. It’s predictable, and where it tries to be an homage to other ‘real’ films, it fails.

Also, if you must see Puss in Boots, save yourself twenty bucks and see it in 2D as opposed to 3D, there’s nothing to see here. Wait for free TV. No matter how hard the kitty gives you the eyes.

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Monsters, Aliens and Other Animated Things that Go Bump in the Night

Monsters Vs. Aliens ~ What starts off as B-movie homage ends with superhero sensibility in this surprising 3-D entry this weekend. Using templates from Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Fly, The Blob and even Mothra, this flick espouses the idea that monsters have been kept top secret by the government for decades, and when aliens attack, they are unleashed to save the world.

DreamWorks does it again, keeping up with the technology and with Disney/Pixar here, and even presents a new form of 3-D that’s better than anything that’s come before – and if you see it in IMAX, it’s just that much better. The voice cast is terrific, Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Colbert especially. This was one of the more fun flicks I’ve seen this year, recommended.

Hoodwinked ~ This computer-animated twist on the Little Red Riding Hood story wants so badly to be Shrek it hurts, yes, it literally hurts the viewer. It tries far too hard to be different and irreverent when it could have simply told the tale with a few clever in-jokes and modern music, but they just went for trying to one-up the big green ogre instead. Good for free or if nothing else is on.

Coraline ~ A very interesting and creepy fantasy from ‘one of the directors of Nightmare Before Christmas’ (not the one you think), and a lot of fun – for adults, and even then it might be a little scary. Hollywood seriously needs to bring more of the work of Neil Gaiman to the big screen. And I will never understand these parents who bring their kids to a movie just because it’s animated or has a child in it thinking it’s okay. Read about films before you go. The idiots who brought their infant children to the theatre for this one probably would do the same thing with The Omen or Fritz the Cat. Recommended, but not for kids.

Summer Three-Quels II

In essence, the original Shrek was the new DreamWorks studio taking a slam at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s old employer Disney. It was full of bathroom humor, farts and belches, language and injokes the likes of which Disney would never dare touch. That unique almost offensive flavor in the face of what animation is usually thought of these days was refreshing.

The second film amped up the injokes and took a direct attack on Disney with their parody of a land called Far, Far Away, a place hauntingly similar to Disneyland. This time out there are new characters, more story, more injokes and an unfortunate reliance on cover songs rather than the original music that gave the first film charm.

The third time was unfortunately not a charm for the Shrek folks. This one has the odd feel of being in production before there was a script. What script there is has that weird feel of a guy standing up in a meeting going, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”

A lot of this movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and what ideas there are aren’t completed. The legend of Arthur, which I still have no idea why it’s here or what purpose it serves, does nothing for the story, and wastes the talents of Eric Idle and Justin Timberlake. Even the animation is sloppy in parts. All in all a disappointment.