How to Train Your Dragon

I couldn’t get past the accents.

All the adult Vikings have Scottish accents, but Hiccup sounded plain, old American? Actually, ALL the Viking kids sounded American. DreamWorks, you puzzle me.

Wait a goddamned minute…shouldn’t all the Vikings have Scandinavian accents? Maybe I’m pissy because of my Scandinavian ancestry, or maybe it’s just because I like to shop at IKEA – but I feel personally betrayed by DreamWorks, and more specifically, by Gerard Butler. I’m not the only one who noticed this!

I came across a Toothless the Dragon Happy Meal Toy in my son’s room the other day and I immediately noticed that it had fins on both sides of its tail. McDonald’s, you puzzle me, too.

The only scene that made me laugh was when Hiccup received the helmet made from his mother’s breastplate. His mom must have had huge boobs…then again, my kid could probably wear my bra as a hat, too.

Obviously, it’s not fair to compare DreamWorks films to PIXAR films, so I’ll stick to comparing How to Train Your Dragon to just DreamWorks stuff. It’s not as shitty as Bee Movie or Over the Hedge…but not as good as Kung Fu Panda or Shrek. Not bad, but still pretty mediocre. A sequel is slated for Summer 2014…I feel pretty ambivalent about it.

Shrek Forever After

I felt so uncomfortable watching the beginning of this film with my kids…what if they knew that I feel like Shrek sometimes?

As far as I know, my son is no junior psychotherapist…he didn’t pick up any tension as I squirmed in my seat, commiserating with Shrek’s plight. What parent doesn’t reminisce about how cool they were before they had kids? Before responsibility, before potty training and homework, before mortgages and swimming lessons and time outs and smoochies…can’t forget about the slobbery, wet booger smoochies.

Shrek just wants to get away from the stresses of family life for a little while and ends up making some REALLY bad decisions that put him in jeopardy of losing not only his family, but his life. It’s like The Hangover for kindergartners, with a bit of It’s a Wonderful Life on the side. Notwithstanding the movies, I’ve seen people pull this shit in real life, too. The girl I know who decided her husband wasn’t letting her live her life, so she ditched him and her toddlers and shacked up with a 20-something still living with his parents. All of the fucking skeevy old men (and a few women) I work with that fuck anything that moves. Casey Anthony, for fuck’s sake. The planet is full of folks that ditch their familial responsibilities, for just a few hours or days…or forever in some recently shocking cases.

Several months ago, I had the chance to skip town for a ‘girls weekend.’ We could do ANYTHING we wanted – like Shrek, we were free to go scare the villagers. We could do a shitload of drugs and drive down Central Expressway naked, steal signs and traffic cones, go watch (probably gay) men dance naked, make movies about how much we love cigarettes and sea monkeys, dress like an Indian and chase frat boys with knives, or even go pick up underage dudes working at Taco Bell. (All totally hypothetical examples that I know NOTHING about. Maybe.) We could basically do all of the AWESOME things we used to do before we had kids. You know what we did? We ate fast food…a lot…and farted…a lot. We drank a few beers and talked about our kids…and talked shit about other peoples’ kids. We said the words “fuck” and “shit” with freedom…and that’s it. That’s all we did. It wasn’t even a fear of cops or car crashes or herpes or YouTube or husbands that kept us in check…that crazy shit just takes too much energy. Plus, we’ve already done a bunch of crazy ridiculous shit, so we would have to think of NEW crazy ridiculous shit to do…and if you have to plan it, it’s not all that crazy. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast…but we weren’t exactly scaring any villagers…maybe if we had encountered Rumpelstiltskin, our weekend would have been different. Then again, we probably would have kept our families and asked for unsaggy boobs or a house that cleaned itself.

Back to the film…Shrek has a tantrum and stomps out of his kids’ 1st birthday party. He is promptly roofied by Rumpelstiltskin and signs his old life away. He has a lot of fun at first, until he realizes that his old life doesn’t exist anymore.

Of course, by the end of the film, Shrek gets Fiona to fall in love with him again and things go back to normal. That’s the thing about magic…it’s an easy fix for problems in the land of Far, Far Away. If I got roofied by a midget and ditched my family, I’d be pretty fucked.

Is this supposed to be the last one? Isn’t a Puss in Boots about to come out? When is Mike Myers gonna do something not Shrek related?

  

Kung Fu Panda

Now that Jack Black is a daddy, he’s got to start churning out films that his kids can watch.

Kung Fu Panda is certainly watchable. I wasn’t sure that Jack Black could translate his trademark vulgar humor into kid friendly fare, but he picked the right vehicle and the right character. I mean come one, he looks like a big, fat cuddly panda! Jack Black stars as Po, a rabid martial arts fan, working in his dad’s noodle shop. (Side note: Why is Po’s father a duck? This is never addressed…) Po is anointed as the “chosen one” to receive the Dragon Scroll and save the village from the evil Tai Lung. Yeah, there’s nothing original about the storyline – an unlikely hero overcomes everyone’s expectations to save the day, but since when has originality been important in children’s films?

I’ll give Dustin Hoffman credit where credit is due – I didn’t recognize his voice as Shifu…he’s that good.

The Furious Five was a mixed bag. David Cross as Crane – yes! Seth Rogen as Mantis – oh yeah! Jackie Chan as Monkey – well, okay. Lucy Liu as Snake – hmmm, if you say so. Angelina Jolie as Tigress – seriously?

Angelina Jolie was completely underwhelming as Tigress. Her acting is not so much emoting with her voice, so maybe she should stick to the live action stuff. Is this the first film that she’s made that her kids can even watch? Well, I guess her kids can watch her in A Shark’s Tale, but then again they may want to avoid it – I heard it was pretty shitty.

During Po’s workout scene, am I the only one who thought, “COCK PUSH-UPS?!?!?!?!”

I really liked the opening sequence, stylized to look like traditional Chinese storybooks. It reminded me of the Monkey King storybooks that my grandmother gave me as a child.

Sequel is due out in 2011. Meh.

 

Bee Movie

Jerry Seinfeld brings children a movie about “bee-stiality.”

Oh, come on, it was funny! Don’t you appreciate puns?

Bee Movie is one of the worst films that I have been subjected to (recently) through my children. It’s simply horrible and full of misinformation about simple ecological processes. Plants don’t just die when they are not pollinated – they won’t produce viable seeds, but they won’t wither and die. I can overlook the talking bee, the romantic relationship between a human and an insect, the Ray Liotta Brand Honey – all fantastical elements for a kids cartoon, but the least Jerry could do was go to the library, check out a book on flowers and read up on how they reproduce. Also, maybe read a book on bees? (And Mosquitoes – the male ones don’t bite, unless of course it’s a MANSQUITO.) Maybe if I hadn’t watched Green Porno like a hundred times, I wouldn’t be so offended.

Maybe if I liked Jerry Seinfeld more, I would have been able to tolerate Bee Movie. I can’t quite put me finger on it – he just bugs. (Yes, another pun!) His show did nothing for me and these days, all he does is pimp himself out for the highest bidder. Since he just got fired from Microsoft, who is he going to shill for next?

The one scene I liked was Barry calling Sting to the stand during his court case against the human race. Poor Sting was subpoenaed and taken from his home, just as he was preparing for tantric sex – damn those bees!

My son has all the Bee Movie Happy Meal toys. I am going to sneak into his room while he’s asleep and throw them all away.

DreamWorks, please go away and stop making substandard computer animated feature films for our children! There can be only one – and that’s PIXAR.

 

Shrek the Third

“Willy Wonka” might be about to lose his place as my son’s favorite movie. “Shrek Babies” was the overwhelming favorite over the holidays.

My son was the fortunate recipient of all three Shrek movies, courtesy of Grandpa and Grandma. I tried to go the logical route and start him off watching Shrek, but he was having none of it. He demanded that I take it out of the DVD player immediately and put in “Shrek Babies.” As far as I know, he’s never seen Shrek the Third, but I guess there’s a chance he’s seen it at daycare. (Although every fucking time I walk in the door, they’re watching High School Musical, so I doubt it.) I’m not sure how to explain his obsession and preference for “Shrek Babies.” Has advertising gotten so laser focused that they have figured out how to penetrate the mind of a two year old? I know he’s seen about a jillion TV commercials for the DVD – the first time he saw one, he looked at me and said, “I want to see that.” I guess I should just brace myself for the onslaught of commercial induced begging and pleading now….

Although arguing the point with my son would do little good, I feel obligated to point out that “Shrek Babies” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to this film. The aforementioned “Shrek Babies” only appear for about 5 minutes – so disappointing! Personally, I am much more fond of the “Drongkey Babies” that appear much more often in the film. Partially because they are cuter, but mostly because every time they appear, my mind wanders to the astronomically confusing physics that must have been necessary for Donkey and Dragon to bump uglies. Or are they the result of some mad magician’s crazy IVF experiments? The mind boggles at the possibilities…

Justin Timberlake is meh…his performance is not even noticeable – they should’ve hired the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite. There’s only one thing he’s good for…dick in a box!

Although I enjoyed Shrek the Third as much as the first and second ones – they’re starting to get a bit formulaic. Is Dreamworks really going to keep spitting these out every three years?

   

Over the Hedge

The Bruce Willis Raccoon tries to steal food from the Nick Nolte Bear, but gets caught in the act and the food gets destroyed. Nick Nolte Bear demands replacement in a week or he’ll eat Bruce Willis Raccoon. Bruce Willis Raccoon encounters a family of forest critters led by the Garry Shandling Turtle. Bruce Willis Raccoon introduces the critters to suburbia and they invade homes to collect food. Garry Shandling Turtle has a bad feeling about this, but of course, no one listens to him – not even the William Shatner Possum. The Allison Janney President of the Homeowners’ Association is grossed out by the critter invasion, so she calls the Thomas Haden Church Exterminator. The critters go on one last mission to get food, which involves a reverse Pepe Le Pew type seduction by the Wanda Sykes Skunk. (Although this is purportedly a family film, be warned that she deposits a cork in her anus.) Hilarity ensues and all of the critters get captured – except for the Bruce Willis Raccoon. Fortunately, the Bruce Willis Raccoon has a change of heart and rescues the critter family, but the real hero is the Steve Carell Squirrel, all hopped up on an energy drink. They all live happily ever after in the forest, feasting on Steve Carell’s nuts. (I ask again – this is a family film?)

All of the actors are just playing animated critter versions of themselves, with the notable exception of Steve Carell. I wasn’t even wowed by Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. It’s possible that Avril Lavigne is illiterate and had to learn her lines phonetically. Voice-wise, the whole thing felt phoned in. The animation was the standard Dreamworks computer animation, nothing special. My expectations were not high for a movie based on a comic strip that I’ve never read…or never even heard of, yet Dreamworks still managed to disappoint me.

  

Shrek 2

How do a donkey and a dragon have sex? I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that one. Seriously, I cannot figure it out.

On to less disturbing subjects…Shrek 2 picks up immediately after the end of Shrek with Shrek and Fiona’s honeymoon. (Okay, maybe implied Ogre-sex on the beach isn’t less disturbing.) Just as Shrek is kicking Donkey to the curb in order to get some more hot Ogre lovin’, the newlyweds receive an invite to visit Fiona’s parents, the King and Queen of Far, Far Away. Disappointed in his new Son-in-Law and blackmailed by the Fairy Godmother, the King puts a hit out on Shrek. Instead of being rubbed out, Shrek joins forces with his would-be assassin, Puss-in-Boots and stages an armed robbery of the Fairy Godmother’s factory. Shrek uses some of the Fairy Godmother’s stash and wakes up in a barn with 3 chicks. Shrek then has to make his way back to Fiona, who has been fooled by Prince Charming. Why does this sound more like an episode of The Sopranos than a children’s movie?

This is the first kid appropriate movie that I’ve gotten my son to halfway pay attention to – and that was only the singing parts. He really liked the Fairy Godmother’s numbers. I think I’ll introduce him to Absolutely Fabulous next time I have the chance.

It’s not as good as the first one, although my sister disagrees. Shrek and Fiona’s inevitable happy ending just didn’t pack as much of an emotional punch the second time around. How could they not end up together? I was hoping that the third Shrek movie would involve a baby Shrek, but it seems to revolve around some King Arthur nonsense involving Justin Timberlake. Kill me now. Doesn’t Cameron know that starring in a film with your boyfriend is the kiss of death? Just ask J.Lo.

   

Shrek

I should have seen this sooner.

So I go to Lubbock for a couple days to visit Eringoddess, and we run out of things to do by day 3 – so we decide to go to the movies. We narrowed it down to either Boob Raider or Shrek, thankfully we chose Shrek. (Poor Erin had wanted to see Shrek for a long time, but she was seeing some lame-ass that refused to go see it because it was ‘immature’ – needless to say, his ass is history.)

The humor in Shrek is about on the level of The Simpsons or Futurama – it is suitable for children, but there are enough zippy little adult references to keep the adults entertained. Of course, that humor mostly revolves around poo-poo fart jokes, but hey – so does every other film involving Eddie Murphy these days – did you see The Klumps?

Shrek pretty much rips Disney a new asshole – deservedly so! Lord Farquaad’s kingdom is DisneyWorld, a commercialized land of non-substance, fairytale creatures are delegated to the swamp, much as Disney has forsaken it’s fairytale past and has begun to destroy heroes(?) of literature and mythology, such as Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Is it me, or does ‘Lord Farquaad’ sound a lot like ‘Lord Fuckwad’?