Daily Archives: January 1, 2011

Review: New Years Eve triple feature

In my last post I asked for some help coming up with films for my annual New Years Eve triple feature. I got some great responses (though very few actually on the blog, which I find kind of funny).

There was jockying and substitution all the way to the moment I paid the rental fee, but we ended up with the following list:

  • District 9
  • Knight and Day
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

It was touch-and-go whether my wife would make it through all three. She was starting to fall asleep during Knight and Day, but after some cajoling she pulled it together and we finished the marathon around 2am.

So, here’s my brief review:

District 9 was just about exactly what I expected. The documentary style got a bit old after a bit, but when it started easing up on that I liked it a bit more. By the end  there were some unanswered questions and a whole lot of room for a sequel, but that was okay. It felt more “real” than most sci-fi movies (once you accept the premise), which was of course the goal. Lots of gore and an overabundance of language (really just an impressive number of repetitions of the “F” word) could turn some off. It was well put together, though, and left me satisfied as well as wanting just a bit more. It did surprise me that I had such a hard time penetrating the South African accent. I was glad for the periodic subtitles.

Knight and Day was far less serious. I found myself laughing quite a bit with the “perfect spy” routine, which was played very well, I thought. This was a very self-conscious movie. They knew that the audience knew that Cruise’s character was going to succeed at everything and made very little pretense about that the entire time. He barely even let his smile fade the entire time. This was a light amusement park ride, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole was an incredibly visually realized world. Really impressive and pretty, without loosing a childhood fantasy appeal. And that pretty much describes the story as well. It’s a classical quest/hero story and one that delivers to its pre-teen/teen target audience while still appealing to the adults. The lessons are right out there in plain view – not a lot of subtlety – but that’s totally appropriate for the audience and lends an air of sweetness and innocence to a story that is really chock full of betrayal, danger, and violence. The term Parental Guidance really means something to me on this one. Younger kids will need plenty of guidance in navigating this one. I think my 6 year old will have to wait a couple of years before she can understand it.

What did you all do on New Year’s Eve?