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|Lilo & Stitch came out of the Disney animation machine coincident with crippling back problems on our part which prevented a full length review -- the film had nothing to do our pain. L&S drops an alien creatureprogrammed to destroy everything in its path on to the the lovely Hawaiian island of Kauai. There, said creature learns that it is "fuzzy" and "cute," is adopted by adorable kidlet Lilo, who names it "Stitch" just before it proceeds to destroy everything in its path in a manner most fuzzy and cute. Cross the "id" of a 2 year old unleashed with the usual healthy dose of flat-out Disney adorable-ness, revisit a half a dozen songs by The King (that's Elvis Presley to those under 35) and take the family. In the meantime you can grab L&S wallpapers for the kidlets in your neck of the woods.|
The Country Bears comes from Disney, based upon one of the most popular audio-animatronic attractions at the Disney theme parks. Given that this site has always reported on family flicks from the grownup point of view, the pros of The Country Bears outweigh the cons. That was something we, honestly, didn't expect. Any three or four year old, new to movies to begin with, should sit with no problem for the reunion of a country-rock supergroup that hasn't played, or talked to each other, since their break-up in 1991. Kidlets who have done the ride at Disney world were, at times, cheering various plot points that went way above our heads. From the adult POV, The Country Bears is not hard to sit through. We were surprised that we "accepted" the Bears (all puppets) as real characters in scenes where they paired with humans. We didn't buy the music sequences for a second. They still look like animatronics, where none of the bear actions match up with proper playing of an instrument. That being said, props to the Disney exec who hired John Hiatt to do the music, and Hiatt for managing to team Bonnie Raitt and Don Henley for what will inevitably be a smash duet on country stations everywhere. You can't miss it, Raitt and Henley do cameos during the performance (and Henley delivers the best in-joke of 'em all). If you've got li'l kidlets, take 'em. If not, buy the soundtrack CD.
|Crocodile Hunteris the biggest surprise of this week's bunch of new releases. Stars Steve and TerriIrwin, hosts of a hit show on a cable net we've never heard of, go into the Australian wild to capture and relocate incredibly dangerous animals -- spiders and snakes and crocodiles, oh my. Unlike most nature documentaries, which this film is not, Irwin relishes telling the camera (ie. you) about how dangerous all the creatures he handles are; how one wrong move could have us watching the death throes of this talkative Aussie, too far from any medical help. In a sick way, we were almost waiting for the fatal bite or mauling, which never comes for the simple reason that Crocodile Hunter:Collision Course is a simple and entertaining story about mistaken identities and a downed American satellite. Said bird is a secret chunk of spy-tech, owned by the CIA. When it goes down in the Outback it is swallowed by a croc, which brings a whole mess of folk into the story. Sure, the thing looks like a badly shot made for teevee movie; sure, the Irwins never seem to share any part of the external story which feels like it's been pasted whole hog into something grabbed off the teevee net. So what? Irwin's personality rules the day. The kids at our screening, all the way down to the four year olds, were rockin' whole heartedly. We, as admitted above, got our thrills from the thought of what we knew would never happen. Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is the first flick this year that has come out of the teevee realm and not disappointed on the big screen. Take kids if you got 'em. Take a date if you've exhausted all possibilities or, at least, rent the tape when it becomes available. Recommended.|
|Like Mike stars kidlet rapstar Lil Bow Wow, who does his best to emulate the species he's named after as he and a pair of used sneakers with Michael Jackson's initials on 'em are elevated to the highest levels of pro play as a player for the woebegotten LA Knights . . . We're guessing that "MJ" means something more to basketball fans (and if you think we're writing with a straight face, you're even dumber than we're trying to make ourselves out to be) . The fifteen going on eleven years old looking Bow is unbearably cute, which is about the extent of his acting prowess as he hangs like a puppy at the heels of Tracey Reynolds (Morris Chestnut) who doesn't want him around / doesn't need him around / can't believe how much he's come to like the little fella. Bow's career(s) may or may not be over when puberty hits and this film is watchable, though absolutely second rate for grownups. If you've got a single digit boy who's into b-ball, you're stuck. Otherwise, Like Mike is a better than OK rental for the family.|
|Somehow we managed to keep still for the entirety of The PowerPuff Girls Movie, a 'toon so dreadful that we were seriously tempted to behave like the kidlets who think that having a homepage on AOL makes 'em pro critics and fill a review chock full of four letter words. Then we were struck by the horrifying thought that, twenty or thirty years from now, some still wet behind the ears film student will come out of grad school lugging a 1000 pages long dissertation intent on proving that The Powerpuff Girls Movie, a squeaky clean anima in the style of Jay Ward (Rocky and Bullwinkle) cartoons, is nothing less than a work of sheer animation genius rather than the worse than dreadful thing that it is. They will be as wrong then as are the film critics now who confuse the dropping of a number of current cultural references into a 'toon aimed at the 10 and under age group with sheer genius -- it's either that or a cheap trick to keep aging critics awake. We side with the latter. The Powerpuff Girls Movie treads water like a dead whale for 50 of its 85 (give or take) minutes while telling the origin of the teevee trio of superheroes. Its script is so bad that the film just about assumes that the viewer already knows almost everything about the bubble-eyed kidlets, their scientist creator and mad monkey supervillain they battle. While what passes for a bare explanation of these origins is present in the film script, the movie as a whole doesn't do a lot to enlighten the rest of us child-less, and therefore ignorant and/or clueless, adult gits. If you've got kidlets who are already fans of the show, they're probably too small to leave alone in the theater. Be prepared to be bored out of your minds. If you've got kidlets small enough, but not yet fans of, the show . . . let a neighbor pay to take 'em with their kids <vbg>|
|Scooby Doo was garbage. It was garbage as a cartoon and it is garbage as a big screen movie. Which explains why it's made a zillion dollars from all the parents who watched it as garbage in the 70s taking all their kidlets to the dump now that it's hot outside and cool in the movie theater. Don't bother telling us we're wrong about this thing. We won't read 'em.|