Alvin and the Chipmunks

What Alvin and the Chipmunks, the adorable critters from the ’60s are doing in such a predictable, corny, two-bit movie, only big studio executives know. That’s the way I like it. Alvin and the Chipmunks is terrible because if you take you away the chipmunks, the movie amounts to nothing. Just a bunch of adults acting poorly and their characters acting like idiots.

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are three singing chipmunks in a tree. The tree is cut down, and the trio wind up in the care of failing songwriter Dave. Dave and the Chipmunks get to work, and the Chipmunks become a huge success. But their success is pushed by selfish record-producer Ian, and soon they leave Dave for Ian. But (shock!) they realize that Dave was best all along. Can Dave get the Chipmunks back? Yawn…

The chipmunks are the very reason I considered giving this a D. Their singing is cute, but their interaction with the human world is horrendous. And I walked in the theater with a little manuscript in my head how it would turn out. Guess what happened? The two-bit role with the girlfriend, the selfish producer, the hugging moments, the songs the ‘Munks would sing…

4-year olds, enjoy. People who enjoy cute little chipmuks acting like idiots, enjoy. People who appreciate a good, original movie? Stay away from this critter. D-

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I Am Legend

Have you ever wondered to yourself, what it would be like to have New York City to yourself? As lightly as you may imagine it, Will Smith experiences it throughout I Am Legend. It’s really, kind of fascinating to see a vision of a deserted New York, and Will Smith is phenomenal in this.

Now if only those zombies weren’t so fake!
A cancer vaccine-turned-virus wipes out 90% of the human race, and the other 10% turn cannibalistic zombies. But that .0001 percentage of the rest is scientist Robert Neville and his dog, immune to the virus. Alone in NYC for 3 years, with the exception of 20 million nocturnal zombies, Neville hunts through the abandoned city for deer daily, keeps good exercise. He even sets up mannequins throughout the city and names them. He’s half-insane. At one point in the movie, he shoots a mannequin just because it’s out of place.

He hunts the zombies at night, at day tries to find a cure for the disease that spread so quickly. But Neville is running out of time, and his sanity is slipping.

The CGI zombies are incredibly fake. They move with no realism. They dash at incredible speeds and breath incredibly fast. It’s really bad when a movie with only one real character has special effects this bad to interact with. But the $6 million scene where the Brooklyn Bridge is destroyed…It’s a marvel of acting, production, and for the only time in the movie, special effects.

Yes, it’s another fake-CGI monster movie, with a terrible ending to boot. But Will Smith saves the movie. B

The Golden Compass

The tough thing about reviewing The Golden Compass is that there are so many complex levels to it. The acting, the special effects, the script, the religious and philosophical undertones. When Eragon came out last year…I’m not known for my bad criticism, but Eragon was horrid in every imaginable way. Which is why it’s so odd as to why it’s so deep, so complex.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this movie, and the Catholic Church has even gone as far as to attempt to boycott it. I would like to leave a note, just to say, I’m not rating this movie based on it’s controversial religous or philosophical implications. I believe in God, and am a Christian, but am purely rating this film on it’s entertainment, production and acting values. Not to say I agree with the film’s implications.

The film is set in an alternate universe where human souls are not in their bodies, but in the form of an animal companion, called a daemon. Lyra is a 12-year old girl, beautiful, but very mischevious. She is good friends with a boy named Roger, but when Roger is kidnapped by Gobblers (child abductors) Lyra vows to save him. However, when a mysterious woman named Mrs. Coulter asks Lyra to go to the North with her, Lyra can’t pass up the oppurtunity. But Mrs. Coulter is not who she seems, and nor are the circumstances of Roger’s abduction…

The acting is excellent, especially with Nicole Kidman and young Dakota Richards, and the special effects are simply magnificent. However, the storytelling is murky and it feels very rushed. And seriously, did they HAVE to get the guy who did American Pie for this? I’m not asking for Steven Spielberg here, but they should have gotten someone with more experience.

I was entertained, occasionally awed by The Golden Compass. But the story is incoherent, and I wasn’t crazy about the religious references. C