Category Archives: movies

Alpha and Omega: Dingo Digs

AO-Dino-Digs_ocard_pack-shotDirected by Tim Maltby and written by Tom Kane, the wolf pack is back in action as a fun and entertaining story for young kids in Alpha and Omega: Dino Digs.

This is the sixth installment of the Alpha & Omega franchise, and some of the scenes are funny and cute with a wonderful musical score. The animation is poor quality and blurry at times. Still, the 47-minute movie will entertain the kids.

The movie starts with a “65 million years ago…” and we watch to cartoonish dinosaurs facing the destruction of their civilization.  We then cut to and follow Humphrey and Kate with their three pops when they are forced to find a new location for their den.

Their new place has kind of a unique name – wolf-burbia, a nice play on the word “suburbia.” While they are moving into their new grounds, they discover Amy, an affable dinosaur who is unfamiliar with the new world. The scene where they meet Amy is really cool to watch and each facial expression will engage your kids.

Amy is a friendly raptor that magically comes to life when she is uncovered during a big dig. The pups and their forest friends show Amy the wonders of their new world, and must work together and try to stop the diggers from unearthing the dangerous T-Rex before it is too late.

The movie is great for kids, teaching life lessons about being a good friend, helping your friends, and confronting and solving problems.

 

Hatched

hatchedDirected by Xu Kerr, Hatched is billed as an animated adventure featuring the voices of Jeff Foxworthy (The Smurfs) and Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings).  The movie is about farmyard animals that are crazy and silly for kids to truly enjoy. I have to say, the characters are out-of-this-world and just take a look at their names.

Hatched has many chickens in the movie, so the DVD can be pop in the player for Easter or Spring Break. The movie is part of a planned trilogy with playfully named characters like Cluck Norris, voiced by Astin, Charlie Horse, voiced by Foxworthy.

We follow Cluck Norris as he handles mishaps with young chicks destine to learn how to fly. Chickpea, Tiny SchwarzHENegger, Meryl Cheep and Angelina Poultrie are the crazy farmyard animals that help get the youngsters flying.

Everyone sees that the chickens really can fly, but when their tiny alien pal, Magic, is in danger, the young chicks join the efforts of their animal neighbors to save their home and their friend from the villains. The villains are not that scary, so the kids shouldn’t get too scared watching this silly animated movie. The chicks become heroes, and they learn a lesson about the meaning of friendship.

All in all, let the kids watch the movie because the parents might get bored with all the silly farm animals quirky situations. The clever names based on current movie stars will go over the kids’ heads, but at least the parents can have a chuckle or two when the hear them.

The Giant King

The Giant King 3D DVDDirected by Prapas Cholsaranont, The Giant King is pretty simple and easy story for kids to follow.  RAM is the creator of all robots, and thus controls them. Pinky, voiced by Bella Thorne, is sent by RAM to terminate the giant robot Zork, voiced by Russell Peters, given that he is broken. Zork doesn’t want to fight, so when Pinky seizes Zork, a huge explosion happens and buries them both for many years till a junk robot, voiced by Nathan Barnatt, unearths them.

A robot battle happens and a thousand years later, the two sworn enemies, Zork and Pinky, wake up chained together with no recollection of who they are or how they wound up together. They decide to search of answers and begin wandering the barren wasteland. They are in search of RAM, the creator of all robots, making new friends and a few enemies along the way. But when their memories are restored, and they discover they are true enemies and you RAM really is, their newfound friendship is tested by the deep rooted battle of long ago. RAM shows up and decides to destroy them both, but their wacky friends decide to help them stop RAM.

The Giant King is truly wonderful animated movie to watch with all its charm and silly characters. The robots teach worthwhile lessons about helping your friends, never forsake your dreams, never back down to peer pressure, and never buckle under adversity.

The movie originated from Thailand where it received seven various nominations, and was translated for American distribution with English voice casting.  It is a wholesome, family movie.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Friendship Games

My Little Pony Equestrian Girls Friendship GamesMy Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Friendship Games is a full-length movie as an adventure in itself. The Ponies come to life and share the magic of friendship with silly humor that kids can enjoy. There is a storyline, too, adding a little bit of drama, when the girls magically gain pony-like ears, tails, and wings.

Directed by Jayson Thiessen and Ishi Rudell, the story begins with Twilight Sparkle because she is only pony able to go from the human world to the pony world. It has been quite some time since she was in contact with any of her human friends.  When she does come in contact, it isn’t the Twilight they know.  At the same time, all the six human friends are getting in better control of their hidden magic powers. This is good because they need to learn how to control their powers for the friendship games at Canterlot High School – an athletic as well as an academic competition between rivalry schools.

What is really fun about this movie is it reinforces the idea of developing the positive reputation for the My Little Pony Friendship. The storyline keeps the characters in exciting circumstances along with twists and turns while learning important messages, such as when help arrives, it is best to accept it.

The animation looks very doable in 2-D. Thiessen and Rudell took a creative turn including 3-D camera shots. The voice talent for the characters works well. Tara Strong is the voice for Twilight Sparkle, and her voice really does sparkle while one can pity her flaws and intolerable actions.

A great scene that comes to mind is where they are on a dirt bike course, and two of the main characters are competing with the enemy high school. It includes Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. The race starts well, but Twilight Sparkle inadvertently casts a strange magic spell, and the whole race goes whacky.

If you follow the TV show, it will help you to understand the characters, but it is not truly necessary. The first movie, My Little Pony: Equestrian Girls, is quite popular, and you should watch that one first to help understand the overall story.

Zarafa

zarafaPeople told me about this film when it was shown at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, and they were blown away. They described the movie as one of the most beautiful animation, cinema experience in storytelling. Zarafa captures suffering at the hands of slave traders. Human beings treated as a property to the edge of monstrous fixation. Sincerely, I enjoyed this movie and hope everyone sees it as work of art.

Directed by both Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie, Zarafa is full of adventure as a charming animated story in French and English subtitles. We meet an orphaned African boy who starts a journey to find his place in the world. His other purpose for the journey is to protect a young giraffe that he deems himself responsible.

The movie is packed with cute and hilarious moments with offbeat and curious characters while the boy visits many exotic global locations.  It is also exciting with narrow escapes, rescues, and threat of capture.  The tear-jerking moments in the movie might be tough for some kids to watch.  The moments include deaths of fond characters that the audience grows to love.

The movie has its highs and lows and several scary, suspenseful scenes.  For example, the two children find themselves in danger with a ferocious dog and an evil villain. The villain is a slave trader who pursues them relentlessly. He even holds a dear, little girl in chains while he attacks the boy with the intent to shoot and kill. Another tragedy is when parents of a young child are captured, and their village is burned down to the ground.

The movie is fine for older kids, who understand the difference between imaginary and real violence and can put up with the English subtitles.

 

 

Pups United

PUPS UNITED_3d DVDDirected by Guy Distad, who is known for working in television, cut his teeth on Disney TV shows as first and second assistant director such as Wizards of Waverly Place and Hanna Montana, the movie is made for kids to enjoy. If you are up for a silly, non-committal adventure with puppies who talk, then Pups United on DVD is what you want your kids to watch. Awarded the Dove Seal of Approval means it is safe for kids to watch, stating the film is “a fun family movie that everyone will enjoy.”

In the manner of Air Bud, this live action movie features the voice talents of Rob Schneider (Grown Ups) in a familiar story of quest and the rescue of the World Cup. A rag-tag gang of international talking dog mascots must save the day and foil the plot of villains planning to sabotage the Youth World Cup soccer finals.

The laughter launches when the two villains try to cover up their identity because they want to find the trophy. The story will never get monotonous as Rex and his canine mascots unite to stop the thieves.  By helping to stop the thievery the canines also help Ryan and the coach return to the game and go for the win.

The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette with “The Making of Pups United” featurette and miniscule bonus episodes. It is something consider for your library to help keep your kids entertained with the wintry season coming up.

The Seventh Dwarf

Seventhdwarf1After appearing in select NY and LA theaters, The Seventh Dwarf is available on Blu-ray and DVD. The animated movie is an adventure story that unites all your favorite fairytale characters in one kingdom and stars the voices of Peyton List, Norm MacDonald, Nina Hagen and Joshua Graham. There are great messages for kids to learn like friendship, problem solving, accepting differences and working as a team. The humorous scenes are really fun to watch as well as action and suspense scenes.

The story begins with the characters celebrating Princess Rose’s (Sleeping Beauty) 18th birthday. Everyone in the kingdom has come to Fantabularasa Castle including Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. But just before the stroke of midnight Bobo, the youngest dwarf, accidentally pricks the finger on the cursed needle and sends the kingdom into a century-long slumber. Bobo decides to take the matter into his own hands by finding Rose’s true love Jack. Jack must save her with a kiss, Bobo and the other six dwarfs go on a treacherous journey. They face a fiery dragon and outwit the jealous, scheming and evil witch, Dellamorta.

The puns may go over the kid’s heads, but they are there for the adults to enjoy. The animation is well done even though this is not a big movie.

I am sure kids will want to re-watch the movie since it has some cute scenes with silly songs. The story features a mash-up of fairytales with a few obvious changes that add a bunch of fun. The writers are quite imaginative with the changes added to the stories, creating a bit of spark to the old fairytales.