Review: New Years Eve triple feature

By | January 1, 2011

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?

8 thoughts on “Review: New Years Eve triple feature

  1. Lee Sargent

    I really loved District 9 though found myself cringing as scenes echoed the racism and indifference in society more than once or twice. Wasn’t quite so taken with Knight and Day, I just found it all a bit hollow but I think that may be more to do with frame of mind whilst watching it.

    I haven’t seen Legend of the Guardians but the more I read about it or see the more I’m thinking of picking a copy up.

    We played SingStar at the Sargent residence for NYE and then watched the first half of TRON because Tracey hadn’t seen it (we watched the second half later that day). I was proud of myself for spotting the Mickey Mouse head that I hadn’t seen before :)

  2. Stacy

    I saw Knight and Day on New Year’s Eve as well. I did not have high hopes for this film because I’m growing weary of Mr. Cruise. He’s just a little too odd for me. I was pleasantly surprised. I like that it made fun of itself. It was a nice change from the first movie we watched, which was Salt. Happy 2011.

  3. Jeff Post author

    Great… now I’m going to have to go watch TRON again to look for that. Not sure I’d heard of the Mouse appearance before.

  4. Jeff Post author

    Hi Stacy,

    Yeah, I’ve got Cruise-fatigue too, but I try to separate him from his roles (to varying degrees of success).

    Salt was one of the alternates we considered. What did you think of that one? Worth the rental?

  5. Stacy

    Salt was good. Originally Salt was a male character & Jolie petitioned to make the character female. I think it would have been more believable with Salt being a man. Jolie did a fine job, but she just didn’t seem tough enough. I’m curious if anyone else feels the same about it.

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