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How to Train your Dragon: Visually Captivating for the Child at Heart
Throw on your 3D glasses and allow your imagination to soar with the latest animation film by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, the directing team that also worked side by side on Disney’s Mulan and Lilo & Stitch.
In their latest venture into the 3D animation world, How to Train your Dragon revolves around Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (Buruchel), a young and immensely sweet young boy who has the ultimate dream of joining the Viking ranks alongside his father, Stoic the Vast (Butler). In the eyes of the humongous and steaming-attitude Stoic, young and clumsy Hiccup is not good enough to gain the Viking horns, and is better left to wield swords and stay out of Stoic’s way.
Taking place in a Viking village called Berk, the film guides you through Hiccup’s fight against disenchantment, evil and the ironies of life experienced by the 10-year-old boy that can apply to anyone, no matter the age.
The small yet brave Hiccup sets out on a personal journey that takes his quest to become a dragon-fighting Viking down a completely different path. The illuminating discovery that Hiccup stumbles upon not only changes his perspective on the Viking vs. Dragon world but burdens him with the responsibility of enlightening his community, which is bound to never listen.
In the meanwhile, Hiccup’s love for Astrid (Ferrera), a female Viking-in-training, keeps a lighthearted twist on an otherwise tumultuous and heavy journey for little Hiccup.
From Hiccup’s fight against the village’s ignorance to his surprising friendship formed with the Night Fury dragon, who he names Toothless, Hiccup’s journey is bound to enthral you with the young boy’s determination and courage to bring peace between both sides of Hiccup’s new found world.
The cinematography is empowering at times, including the incredible flying scene where Hiccup is mounted on the back of Toothless, flying through beautiful landscapes of a lush valley and bouncy clouds. Intricate details and textures are used throughout the entire film, leaving you reaching out for a feel, from the single strands of hair woven into Astrid’s braids to the wrinkle lines revealing the intensity of Stoic’s life.
While the ending might possibly tug at your emotions, How to Train your Dragon is capable of pulling you into the absolute beauty of a child’s imagination, which is often times squelched. You’re left wanting to be engaged with your childlike self and noticing the creatures around that we often forget about; from the tiniest of bug to the most gargantuan of dragon. Allow yourself to be there and take part in Hiccup’s story that is bound to teach you one thing or another.
Given the reasonable star-power behind it, much was expected of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn – loosely adapted from a relatively unknown film titled, The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum.
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson – see Sum of All Fears – and written by Daniel Taplitz, the film is centred on Henry Altmann (Williams); a crabby family man and a real-estate broker who’s prone to raging outbursts which sadly, have resulted in estranged relationships with his wife, Bette (Leo) and son, Tommy (Linklater).
After a series of medical tests and examinations, Henry soon meets Dr. Sharon Gill (Kunis); a seemingly worn-out doctor who informs him that he has suffered an aneurism. She adds fire to the fuel by telling her unstable patient that he only has ninety-two minutes to live.
Henry rushes out of the hospital and quickly hits the road of redemption. In an attempt to mend broken relationships with Bette, his son, Tommy, and brother, Aaron (Dinklage), Henry needs to hurry before it is too late.
Undecided on what it wants to say, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is probably one of the most bewildering and cringe-inducing films of the year. Lost and with little structure behind its premise, the film – just like its main character – spirals out of control pretty quickly and one too many ideas, stories and subplots are thrown into the mix, without ever giving it enough room or time to explore them.
Nonetheless, watching Williams in action is always interesting, no matter how crazy and the late Oscar-winner is once again given free reign and even though, he does go a little overboard with the theatrics at times.
Draining, lazy and painfully sloppy, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is likely to throw viewers into fits of rage, too. An understandable reaction to sitting through eighty-three minutes of nonsensical and unfunny blabber.
Big Hero 6 marks the fifty-fourth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and in its very first collaboration with the folks over at Marvel Comics, this latest animated adaptation of the lesser-known superhero comic of the same name, has managed to breed something that is best described as both painfully adorable and marvellously ingenious.
Written and adapted to the screen by an army of writers, Big Hero 6 is set in the futuristic town of San Fransokyo and it revolves around Hiro Hamada (Potter); a fourteen-year old science wiz who spends most of his days creating and operating small robots.
Raised by his adoring Aunt Cass (Rudolph), Hiro –who graduated from high school at the tender age of thirteen – loves to use his creations to compete in underground ‘bot-battles’ for money, while his older brother Tadashi (voice of Henney) – a science geek himself who is currently attending the self-proclaimed Nerd School – enjoys creating robots for other, more sensible purposes. While visiting his brother during one of the classes with Professor Robert Callaghan (Cromwell), Hiro becomes instantly inspired and decides to enrol in the robotics university as well.
Naturally, his admittance project – mentally controlled micro-robots – is a big hit, however, after a tragic family incident occurs, Hiro’s future in the industry of robotic engineering is put on hold as his life becomes filled with sorrow and dread. Having pretty much given up on life, Hiro’s heavy heart is soon lifted when he accidentally activates his brother’s latest creation, Bymax (Adsit); an inflatable medical-assistance robot who soon begins to heal the hurting boy and help him get back on the right track.
Strip it away from all of its high-tech mechanisms and space-age super heroism, Big Hero 6 is at the end of the day, a story about a boy and his friend. Mixing the cultures of East and West, Big Hero 6 is told with plenty of heart, humour and visual flamboyance; the film engages, though its point of attraction will hit hardest with young teens. Correspondingly, the imagery is almost eye-popping – definitely worth seeing in 3D – and the action sequences are genuinely exciting.
On the downside, if you can really call it that, is that the film – especially in the second half – seems to go a bit crazy on the action, pushing the endearing relationship between Hiro and his almost house-broken robot to the back seat.
Nevertheless, this miniature flaw is easily overlooked thanks to Bymax; a dangerously adorable new character who, just like the film itself, is bubbly, charming and, most of all, extremely entertaining.