Archive for June 11th, 2008

Kung-Fu Panda

June 11, 2008

Kung-Fu Panda

In recent years I’ve largely been disappointed by animated movies. Even Pixar’s Cars couldn’t draw me to the theatre. Finally Wall-E opens this summer, but before that, a surprise. And a surprise worth everyone’s 14 dollars. Kung-Fu Panda does what other animated films now forget to do. It tells it’s story without choosing a different aspect of pop culture to reference every 5 lines (even the puns that litter other movie posters were thankfully lacking during the marketing campaign, as were the annoying references to all the starts that lent their voices…who cares???), but the film also takes full advantage of the fact that…it’s…animated.

Drawing loads of inspiration from the Chinese Fantasy Martial Arts films in which Kung-Fu masters fight on mountain tops and forests; these animals balance, jump, dive, fly, roll and hurtle through the air like pieces of paper in a tornado. It’s beautiful and on occasions visually overwhelming in scope – almost scary. But never once is it not fun or thrilling. The first five minutes alone exceeds the level of visual/visceral film making and personality/humor than any other Dreamworks animated film I’ve ever seen (including Shrek — I enjoyed the second one a little…)

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: A second time round…

June 11, 2008

I love writing about things I enjoy, which should give you a clue as to how I feel about this current installment of Indiana Jones. And how I feel about movies. Thankfully everyone involved in the making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull seems to also love movies and thankfully Indiana Jones.

There’s more joy for the cinema captured in the first 5 minutes of the Crystal Skull than there has been in any movie I’ve seen this year. Admire how Spielberg effortlessly swings his cameras in and out of cars, catching reflections off hubcaps and side mirrors. And in the details, how extras playing Communist Infiltrators shake their heads at the crazy youths driving them down. The lighting separates the action and space inside and out [Janusz Kaminski] exquisitely giving details to every actor’s face. It’s beautiful. It’s fast, furious, free-flowing and fun to watch. You take in every aspect and every aspect is perfect. Anyone who’s said this movie is on auto-pilot isn’t watching. (more…)