Posts Tagged ‘Sony Animation’

Claus and Effect: Arthur Christmas 3-D

December 9, 2011

An Active3D Movie Review

Rating (out of 5 stars): ****

The story behind the scenes at Santa’s headquarters at the North Pole, provides the backdrop to a charming story of family politics. The current Santa Claus (voiced by Jim Broadbent) distributes presents in a spacecraft that looks like something out of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, while Grandsanta (Bill Nighy giving a hilarious vocal performance) bemoans the use of newfangled gadgetry, insisting that he could do the job just as well back in the good-ole sled-and-reindeer days.

But the focus of our story, of course, is Santa’s younger son, Arthur (James McAvoy). An awkward, if well-meaning, lad, his best intentions invariably fall victim to his clumsiness. He lives in the shadow of his older brother, Steve (Hugh Laurie); an imposing, square-jawed heir apparent who runs Santa’s gift-delivering operations with military precision.

One Christmas eve, after every present has apparently been delivered to children around the globe, Arthur discovers an oversight: a bicycle that should’ve been delivered to a little girl in England has been left behind. Teaming up with Grandsanta, he sets off to right matters, unaware that, in the process, he will unleash his inner hero.

It’s a funny, charming and emotionally stirring family film that never labours its point, and it will, no doubt, speak to kids who feel like also-rans within their family dynamic. The 3-D is beautifully realised, and entire show is a credit to Sony Animation and the British outfit Aardman, who are perhaps best known for their Wallace & Gromit films.

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (opens in SA on Friday October 16th 2009)

October 19, 2009
“Well, I’ll be burgered!”  Much as tasty grub descends from the skies in this entertaining family show, cash showered upon Sony/Columbia pictures, as the film stayed top of the US’s box office menu for two weeks.

“Well, I’ll be burgered!” Much as tasty grub descends from the skies in this entertaining family show, cash showered upon Sony/Columbia pictures, as the 3-D film topped the US’s box office menu for two weeks.

An Active3D Movie Review

Rating (out of 5 stars): * * * *

Disney and Dreamworks have already established themselves in the sphere of stereoscopic 3-D animation, and now, finally, Sony’s animation division joins that noble club – with a debut feature that looks set to establish Sony as a serious player. The film’s stereoscopic imagery is clean, crisp and impressive – while never overstaying its welcome by endlessly and gratuitously thrusting and tossing objects into our faces.

The film tells of a drab, grey island-town, the whole economy of which is based upon its sardine industry. Needless to say, these greasy little fish aren’t quite the thing upon which to build a robust and glamorous future for a community.

Meet then, a young boy called Flint who’s hell-bent on inventing devices that will improve humankind’s lot. Unfortunately, all he’s achieved thus far is to drive his long-suffering parents dotty. When he comes up with a machine that can turn water into food, he’s convinced that he’s found the mother lode. Said device zooms off unexpectedly into the heavens, however, and… well, it isn’t difficult to work out from there where the movie derives its quirky title…

Factor into the drama, perky Sam Sparks, an ambitious young TV weathergirl from the Big City who’s sent out – on her first big location assignment – to cover the island’s peculiar, edible meteorological phenomena. This is an interesting character from whose notebook young girls in the audience might constructively tear a page or two. You see, she’s actually an intelligent lass, but hides the fact behind a bimbo exterior, in order to be come across as cool and contemporary. Of course, she will learn the error of her ways before the closing credits roll.

Let’s also not forget the pompous mayor, who sees this wondrous airborne device not as a means to potentially end world starvation, but as a windfall that will increase his wealth and influence. Here in South Africa, we have no shortage of such self-serving politicians, so this power-drunk twit struck a very responsive chord.

Being that Hollywood scriptwriters had a hand in this tale, which was based upon a popular children’s book, there are probably “messages” tucked in here about runaway consumerism and messing with ecosystems. But I was already in too good a mood to be fussed by such politically correct considerations!

The script is a wry, dry, witty affair that adults will relish, while there is plenty of extraordinary and eccentric action on the screen to keep people of all ages utterly hooked. There is a remarkable scene in the film of an ice-cream landscape – yes, ice cream as far as the eye can three-dimensionally see – that held me in breathless awe; both on a ‘yum-yum’ as well as aesthetic level. Later, darker and more catastrophic scenes unfold, though there is nothing that keeps the film out of the reach of the entire familyTat Wolfen

[One of the Harry Potter movies (who can remember which of the many?) was the first film in South Africa to be released in three theatrical formats simultaneously (those being 35mm, IMAX, and Digital). And now this is the first time that a film’s opened in SA in 35mm, IMAX, and 3-D Digital simultaneously. Congratulations to the distributors, Ster-Kinekor. Will SA’s IMAX theatres ever go 3-D? Watch this space. We’re bound to be the first to know…]