Archive for January, 2016

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – An Epic Classic Now on Blu-Ray and Digital HD

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

SnowWhite2.jpgFrom the Walt Disney Signature Collection comes the enchanting and inspiring classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In this epic animated story of love and friendship, the kind and beautiful princess Snow White wins the hearts of the Seven Dwarfs and triumphs over the evil plans of a wicked Queen. Called “The Greatest Animated Film Of All Time,” it is available now on High Definition Blu-ray and for the first time ever on Digital HD, with special features the entire family will enjoy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Before Cinderella lost her slipper and before Aladdin met the Genie, Walt Disney did his most crazy and insane project ever – a feature animated movie, the first of its kind… This film was designed for all ages and I still agree.” See his full review below.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray, Digital HD)
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Before Cinderella lost her slipper and before Aladdin met the Genie, Walt Disney did his most crazy and insane project ever – a feature animated movie, the first of its kind. The title of the film is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Parents and kids loved this film decades ago and, a generation later, families can now enjoy this beautiful classic in Blu-Ray.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a musical with catchy, and beautiful singing done by Adriana Caselotti, (Snow White), Lucille La Verne (Queen) and others. There is also a sense of adventure, and a magical romance, between Snow White and the Prince.

SnowWhite.5.jpgThe story begins when the Queen discovers that she is not the fairest of them all, and that Snow White is. Out of jealousy, she orders the death of Snow White. However, Snow White gets away. She comes upon 7 dwarfs which she befriends. The Queen angrily learns about her failed death, and decides to poison the young princess!

Since this is the Blu-Ray/Digital HD Edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it is packed with extra features including a tour of the animation studios in the 1930s, actual interviews with Walt Disney, cool facts, (Did you know Snow White was originally designed to have gold hair? Who knew!) and so much more. My favorite part concentrates on how Walt Disney hired over 300 artists, how he spent so much money on making it perfect, and just how much speculation and hate he got for attempting to make (and being very successful as a result) a 90 minute animated film.

Even though this film was made almost a century ago, the quality of the animation is as good as films made today. SnowWhite.3.jpgHand-drawn animation has a quality of from the human touch that CGI can never achieve. In terms of the soundtrack, Walt Disney had a knack for making his animated films not only have background music, but he created it in such as way that the music becomes an integral part of the story. For example, when Snow White and the Prince first meet, they sing a song together and it represents almost, “Instant love,” better than words ever could. This story is based on a classic European fairy tale, and Walt Disney hired a few people who specifically made European-styled drawings, to make the film feel like the original fairy tale, which was perfect for the film. The voice-over sound quality is also top notch, amazingly so since again, it was made almost 100 years ago. I would easily compare it to the voice over acting and quality of the late 90s. This film was ambitious in terms of being the first animated feature film, but also was first feature film to have a female lead.

SnowWhite.4.jpgMy favorite scene is the meeting of The Prince and Snow White. In the scene, Snow White is cleaning outside and she explains to her bird friends what a wishing well is. A prince overhears her fantastic singing and is love-struck when he meets her. This scene is one of my favorites because the music is beautiful, the animation is spectacular and this scene specifically illustrates my point about European artists designing the backgrounds. It really looks like a European castle of sGerry_Orz.2014.LR.jpgome sort.

This film was designed for all ages and I still agree. I recommend it for ages 6 to 13 specifically. Younger kids will enjoy the bright colors, dancing and singing. Older kids can appreciate how difficult it was to make this film and the storyline itself. Adults who have happy memories of seeing this film years ago will also enjoy it. Overall, it’s a great film for the family. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars because of the spectacular animation, exciting story (typical of films made by Walt Disney) and clear voice acting. This film is available online on January 19 and in stores on Blu-ray on February 2, 2016. Don’t miss the change to add it to your family film collection.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
By Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

One of the hardships I encounter as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic is trying to objectively review older films. The difficulty is mostly because they are often better than many films today. Even more difficult is reviewing a film objectively that was a part of my childhood. It’s so easy for nostalgia to cloud my view. So, before I watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I told myself to review it without passion or prejudice, and tackle it like I would any other film. Then I started watching it and everything I had prepped myself for went out the window. I got caught up in the songs, the vintage style of animated filmmaking and the general feeling of classic, feel-good Disney. Then I realized that the nostalgia that befell me WAS the appeal of the movie. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is timeless because it transcends generations. Watching it now as I did ten years ago, took me back 10 years. It felt nice to return to an innocent state for 80 minutes.

The film hasn’t lost anything. The songs are still just as catchy, the story is still just as cute and the animation still puts a smile on your face. It’s interesting watching the first Disney animated feature today, because we’re all so taken with the Willie1.jpganimation and maturity of Pixar. Even the Disney Renaissance films which are now 20 years old aren’t as cute or innocent as Snow White is. Fortunately, that’s not a bad thing; it’s actually quite refreshing. It’s feel-good and puts a smile on your face. The simplicity of it all is a great contrast to the complex animated features of today and it’s quite affecting. It transports you to a different state of mind that allows you to let go and enjoy.

So many times parodied and adapted, watching where it all started gives you a great appreciation for all the other adaptations, and reminds you of which is best. I actually contend that Snow White is the best of the classic Disney princesses. It has the best collection of songs with “Heigh-Ho,” “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” and “I’m Wishing/One Song.” The band of dwarfs are still an entertaining, eclectic group of characters than compliment the more one-dimensional princess. I watched it with my younger sister and she was in love with it from start to finish. I was in love with it, all over again, from start to finish. I recommend this classic film for ages 3 to 18 as well as adults and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob – Fun, Exciting, Vibrant Animation, Bit of Suspense

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

TheLittlePrince.jpgThe universe is in grave danger of extinction! The evil Snake extinguishes the stars as he passes through the galaxy, causing chaos and plunging the planets into darkness. The Little Prince must leave his Asteroid home and beloved friend, Rose, in his quest to outsmart the Snake and save the universe from doom.  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. comments, “The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob, is a fun and creative movie that I enjoyed, especially because of the animation.” Benjamin P. adds, “I really like the modern characters the show adds because they have a lot of perseverance and they always want to create something new to help their planet.” See their full reviews below.

The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob is an imaginative, colorful film with great animation and takes some of my favorite characters from a classic story on a new exciting journey. I really like the modern characters the show adds because they have a lot of perseverance and they always want to create something new to help their planet.

The Little Prince: The Planet of the Bubble Gob is based on the characters from a famous French story by Antoine de St. Exupery published in 1943. Here, the Little Prince, alongside his best friend Fox, are sent around a futuristic universe saving planets from the evil clutches of the malevolent Snake. One day, the Little Prince and Fox discover a mysterious new planet and find out it is inhabited by a species called the Creatall who are always inventing new things to help their people and their planet, like a kooky machine that shoots toast. Soon, the Creatalls’ technology senses a wave coming to destroy their planet. The Little Prince finds out that a giant recycling machine called the Bubble Gob is causing these massive and dangerous waves. The Little Prince must find the Great Inventor who made the Bubble Gob to fix the glitch but he has gone into hiding and no one knows why. The Little Prince must find the inventor before the entire planet is wiped out so the Little Prince, some brave Creatalls and the goofy but loyal Fox set off to save it.Benjamin.jpg

My favorite character is Oddzn’end, the first Creatall the Little Prince meets, because no matter what others think of him, he always tries to come up with inventions to help them.

The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob made me think about what to do to help the environment and be more aware of how to help the planet. It also showed me how important it is to help others even if you won’t benefit yourself. The Little Prince helps people even when he knows he could get hurt and it’s not his planet that’s in trouble.

I really enjoyed the animation because it takes the story to a magical level with the creation of the planet and its oceans. It is rich and lush and made me wish the planet was real so I could go visit it.

I recommend The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob for ages 6 to 12. The Snake and the Bubble Gob are a little scary and may be alarming to younger children. I give The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob 4 out of 5 stars.

The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob
By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob, directed by Pierre-Alain Chartier, is a fun and creative movie that I enjoyed, especially because of the animation.

This version of The Little Prince is about the Little Prince going to The Planet of the Bubble Gob, a planet where the people are called Creatall’s because they create a lot of things.  Sadly, their ocean is completely full of the useless inventions.  The Master Creator creates a big trash collector (the Bubble Gob) to fix the problem, but it actually causes big waves.  The Little Prince has to help to fix the problem.

The characters, the Rose, Fox and Little Prince, are from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In this movie, the plot is different than the original book, but his friends the Rose and the Fox are included.  My favorite character is the Fox because he is the only animal.  He is a cute talking animal who is very feisty and just wants to get the job done so he can go eat a snack.

The animation brings a new twist and is as entertaining as the plot of the movie.  The colors are especially vibrant and repeatedly draw my attention to the Fox and the settings.  I found myself really wanting to look at each of the different inventions the Creatall’s have made.

The animation brings the settings in the movie to life!  The buildings are very unusual and are made with a lot of cool items that otherwise would have been junk.  The houses are very unique because they are on poles that rise up and doMia3.jpgwn to avoid the dangerously high waves of the littered ocean. Even the litter in the ocean is interesting to look at as you can see all the different colors even though you are looking down on it from the sky.

Young girls will like the character of Ilmus. She is a strong female character who is smart, works hard and doesn’t give up on people. The moral behind The Little Prince is that even if you make a mistake, people will forgive you.

I rank The Little Prince: The Planet of Bubble Gob 4.5 out 5 stars.  I recommend the ages 5 to 12 because there are fights in the dark with an evil snake and ghouls, which might be frightening to younger kids.

Kung Fu Panda 3 – Visually Stunning, Emotional Rollercoaster, Comedic Sequel

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

KungFuPanda3_1.jpgWho hasn’t fallen in love with the adorable Po, voiced by the versatile Jack Black, as he continues on his legendary adventures of awesomeness? In this third installment in this beloved animated franchise, Po is reunited with his estranged father, but the reunion isn’t all fun and games. When a new supernatural villain begins to sweep across China threatening all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible – learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Michelle C comments, “In the third installment of the popular family film series Kung Fu Panda, you will find yourself on an emotional roller coaster, with just enough action, comedy and love to go around.” Benjamin P. adds, “I liked this movie because it was a lot of fun and it still has a captivating plot even though it’s a sequel. I also really like the new villain. He was so evil and greedy, it made me want to SKIDOOSH! him so bad.” Abigail Zoe L. wraps it all up, “This film rocks! It holds nothing back as it is full of adventures that are fun and full of heart.” See their full reviews below.

Kung Fu Panda 3
By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Kung Fu Panda 3 is a great film with excellent animation, a great villain and hilarious humor. My favorite dumpling-loving panda is back. I liked this movie because it was a lot of fun and it still has a captivating plot even though it’s a sequel. I also really like the new villain. He was so evil and greedy, it made me want to SKIDOOSH! him so bad.

As you can see, I am a big fan of this franchise and I promise you this latest installment does not disappoint. Kung Fu Panda 3 is about Po figuring out who he wants to be and adapting to a lot of changes in his life. As the movie begins, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) tells Po that next to being the Dragon Warrior, it will be Po’s job to teach the Furikungfupanda3.2.jpgous Five. Before Po can learn how to be a teacher, he meets his long-lost father Li (Bryan Cranston). Their celebration is cut short by the arrival of Kai (J.K Simmons), the villain who is stealing the energy of Kung Fu masters from all over the land and who wants to destroy Po. To fight back, Po has to learn to master being a panda after he finds out pandas have special powers that might be able to help defeat Kai.

The lesson of this film is figure out who want you to be and then be your best self, even if you have to try new things you don’t know how to do. Po has to try to figure out how to live like a panda and become a teacher by trying things he’s not good at.

It’s nice to see the original characters back and it’s hard to pick a villain as a favorite character, but Kai is an excellent bad guy that I love to hate. He is surprisingly funny while being Po’s most formidable foe so far.kungfupanda3.4.jpg

I love the animation because it uses a lot of different styles. There is a lot of detail. It’s very colorful and the animators use Chinese calligraphy and other cultural symbols to give the movie’s setting an authentic feeling. I also really enjoyed the score by Hans Zimmer because it has a lot of energy that goes perfectly with the high-action scenes.

I recommend this film for ages 4 to 12 because there are some scary scenes that may upset younger viewers. Adults will also enjoy this film. I give Kung Fu Panda 3 four out of five stars.

Kung Fu Panda 3
By Michelle Contreras, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

In the third installment of the popular family film series Kung Fu Panda, you will find yourself on an emotional roller coaster, with just enough action, comedy and love to go around.

Large and adorable panda Po (Jack Black) realizes he has a lot to learn if he wants to surpass his next obstacle from his role-model instructor. During this long, adventurous process, he finds himself reunited with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston). Po must find a way to morph into the teacher he was always destined to be. With help from his new panda family, the martial-arts masters come together to fight the envious and malevolent Kai (J.K. Simmons), a warrior who came back from the spirit realm, in order to steal everyone’s chi.I have always been a kid at heart but watching this film truly made me feel like it was my first time ever watching Kung Fu Panda in the movie theater. Since it brought back a ton of kungfupanda3.6.jpgmemories, I couldn’t help but notice all of the fantastic, quality changes the film has gone through. This has always been a great series from the start, but this movie takes the gold when it comes down to storyline and visual effects. There is no doubt in my mind that the creative directors and graphic designers behind this film spent tons and tons of hours developing such amazing oriental scenes within this movie. Every single color, movement, saying or setting in this film truly embodies what Kung Fu Panda is all about, which makes the meaning and experience for an avid movie-goer all the more understanding and worthwhile. Because of the sincere storyline, it will hit home to lots of viewers and family members. One thing I do wish I had the opportunity to see more of are the famous and Furious Five (voiced by Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Angelina Jolie, David Cross, and Seth Rogen) and Master Sifu (Dustin Hoffman)  in action altogether, especially when attempting to defeat the evil Kai.

Ultimately, Kung Fu Panda 3 is a hilarious and charming film for everyone in the family to enjoy. Whether it’s moving you to tears from laughter or gloominess, you’ll find it hard not to smile with satisfaction when the credits begin rolling. This movie is rated PG for its martial arts action and some mild rude humor, so I think this will be just perfect for kids ages 5 to 18. I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 five stars.

Kung Fu Panda 3
By Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 8 years old

This film rocks! It holds nothing back as it is full of adventures that are fun and full of heart. This third film of the awesome Kung Fu Panda series has us once again rooting for the most loveable Panda, Po. Watching Po in this movie is like watching myself because of his endless enthusiasm and passion for life which is just like me! He’s silly, funny and clumsy and still able to save the day!

We find Po battling a villain, discovering his true father and discovering his true self. The villain, Kai, wants to take the chi from all the great Kung Fu masters so he can become the most powerful grand master of the world. Kai will stop at nothing and the only possible way to defeat him is Po. Po must channel his inner chi and confidence to stop Kai.

Part of Po’s adventure is set in Panda Village where the student must learn how to become the teacher. For the first time Po meets other pandas. He changes this panda community and they also change him. Also, with the help of his mentor Shifu and the Furious Five, Po learns what it is to overcome challenges and become his own hero. At the heart of the story is the lesson that what is important in life is to become the best you can be. Po finally realizes this.kungfupanda3.5.jpg

My favorite part of this film is when Po meets his real dad, Li.  This occurs in his adoptive father’s restaurant when Li breaks Po’s dumpling eating record. This is both a touching and yet hilarious scene as everyone in the restaurant realizes that they are father and son except them.

While all the voices are amazing and perfectly match the characters I really like Jack Black’s voice as Po. I really can’t think of any other actor’s voice better for this role than Jack’s. Po’s look, personality and most importantly his soul is just totally Jack Black. I also love J. K. Simmons who voices the villain, Kai. His voice is so perfectly evil yet it also has this lack of confidence in it that can make you giggle at times. For instance, Kai considers himself very special and famous but when he escapes the Spirit World and arrives on earth he finds that no one has ever even heard of him.

There are many wonderful and positive messages in this film. One of my favorites message is that you have to believe in yourself and never give up. Another beautiful message from the film is that you are not alone in this world and that family is important. However, the message that stands out in my mind is when Shifu tells Po: “If you only do what you can you will only be what you are.” This means a lot to me because I think everyone is special and we all have something very special to offer and bring to the world.

Kung Fu Panda 3 comes out in theaters Friday, January 29, 2016.  You definitely don’t want to miss this incredible animated film that is filled with adventure, humor and hear. I recommend this movie for all ages and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Finest Hours – Heroes Who Braved The Worst Conditions

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

TheFinestHours.jpgThis film tells about the heroes who braved one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England in 1952, damaging an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripping it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tre’ana H. comments, “This moved me because you have to be a thinker, organizer and strategist in order to achieve the obstacles that you will be encountering.” Clayton P. adds, “I had good expectations for The Finest Hours, especially in IMAX 3D…Unfortunately, the film is riddled with clichés…” See their full reviews below.

The Finest Hours
By Tre’ana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Finest Hours is a Walt Disney film that is filled with much determination that captivates your mind on a realistic approach of being in the ocean on a boat wondering if you will survive. This moved me because you have to be a thinker, organizer and strategist in order to achieve the obstacles that you will be encountering. I really loved this movie because it is in 3D which makes everything appear to be coming right at you and you feel like you are a part of the film, especially during the ocean scenes.  This film is based on a true story and it is filled with action, drama and history. The director, Craig Gillespie draws you into this film by his realistic portrayal of events.

One of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast struck New England in February 1952. It damaged an oil tanker off the coast of Cape Cod and literally ripped it in half. On a small lifeboat faced with frigid temperatures and 70-foot high waves, four members, Bernie Weber (Chris Pine), Ben Foster (Richard Livesey), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner) and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) of the Coast Guard set out to rescue the more than 30 stranded sailors trapped aboard the rapidly-sinking vessel. The captain gives the orders and sends them out to accomplish the goal.TheFinestHours4.jpg

My favorite part of this movie is when Bernie Weber and his fellow crew members set out to find the people on the sinking ship.  They lose connection with the captain and also lose their compass. The crew members want Bernie to turn back around, but he says, “no point”. Bernie just keeps on going to see if he can find any type of vessel. He becomes obstinate and passionate about his Coast Guard duty.

The setting is a 1950s snowy and cold day with distinguished vintage cars the town people drive. The women’s dress is classy and stylish and they definitely make a statement upon arrival to any event.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is action-packed with some romance and tense moments. Younger audiences may not understand and might be scared. This movie hits theaters Friday, January 29, 2016. Come and check it out. It is a must see!

The Finest Hours
By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I had good expectations for The Finest Hours, especially in IMAX 3D. It has a great, true-life story about a few men accomplishing the impossible on the high seas. It has a good cast, but no blockbuster stars.  And, it has a director, Craig Gillespie, with a great Indie pedigree (Lars and the Real Girl, Million Dollar Arm).  Unfortunately, the film is riddled with clichés, which points to the writer (Scott Silver) and the director. The Finest Hours is an epic rescue story but ultimately a let down.

The Finest Hours is a true story about a rescue mission to save an oil tanker that gets partially destroyed during a big winter storm off the coast of Cape Cod. The Wellfleet Coast Guard is expected to help in the rescue but most of their large craft are out helping other distressed tankers. So, it comes down to four Coast Guarders to go out in a small boat to save the sailors on the tanker. The Coast Guard rescue team is lead by Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and Richard Livesey (Ben TheFinestHours2.jpgFoster).  Bernie is a quiet, inarticulate man who plays by the rules. They have to get past the “bar” to get out on open seas and the first time, they get fully submerged by the waves and lose their compass. It’s like an ant trying to save a huge whale in the middle of a storm!  Meanwhile, the crew of the tanker is trying to ground themselves on a shoal. They are being led by the head mechanic, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck), who is an unlikely hero. He is an obsessed mechanic who is not part of the social fabric of the tanker. But because he knows the ship better than anyone, he takes control.  He doesn’t believe in luck, only hard work and ingenuity.

The beginning of the film is a preamble that sets up the love interest between Bernie and his girl, Miriam (Holliday Grainger) and the other characters in the town of Wellfleet. This part of the film feels rushed and cliché. Bernie is set up as a broken man for some reason, but you don’t know why. Other failed rescue missions are hinted at. I feel like I don’t know the characters’ personalities like I do in other films.  The rescue sequences are very exciting and intense, especially in IMAX 3D. The cinematography and graphics are great. The depiction of the roiling water is very realistic. I also liked the fact that both of the men leading each of their crews are unlikely heroes. There’s a point in the rescue where they meet and you can see Sybert size up Webber as a similar animal to himself.

I give The Finest Hours 3 out of 5 stars due to the stereotypical and confusing screenplay and direction.  It is appropriate for ages 10 through 18.

Norm Of The North – Laughs, Appealing Characters, Yet Represents Something Bigger

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

NormofNorth.jpgFrom our friends at Splash Entertainment comes the new animated feature, Norm of the North. This delightfully friendly story features a polar bear named Norm along with his three lemming friends who end up in New York City where Norm becomes the mascot of a corporation he soon learns is tied to the fate of his homeland, the Arctic. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. comments, “This feature film offers laughs and appealing characters for young audiences and I think it also represents something bigger that older audiences will also enjoy.” Ryan R. adds, “Norm of the North is a perfect film for younger kids and delivers a positive environmental message. This film shows that some places are better left untouched in order to maintain their natural beauty.”

Norm of the Norm
by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

In this abnormally ambitious first feature film from Splash Entertainment, Norm of the North is about Norm (Rob Schneider), a Polar Bear who is able to communicate with humans. When his home, the Arctic is threatened by the evil developer Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong), he must journey to the concrete jungle and convince people to save his home.

This feature film offers laughs and appealing characters for young audiences and I think it also represents something bigger that older audiences will also enjoy.  Splash Entertainment is an independent animation studio that has been given the chance, by its association with Lionsgate, to create a film for the big screen. That’s not an easy task especially with so much competition from other animation companies. Is it revolutionary? No, but it’s a nice start for Splash Entertainment’s movie making journey.

NormofNorth.3.jpgThe film’s delightful animation is colorful and fluent. I love how the characters move and dance. I particularly enjoyed watching Mr. Greene’s rubber legs. Much like his personality, his movements are snake like – always slithering from place to place. He is my favorite character because he’s so over the top. It also helps that he is voiced by the hilarious comedian Ken Jeong. Speaking of which, all the voice actors in this film portray their characters very well. I’m not particularly a Rob Schneider fan but, in this film he makes Norm a lovable and plush Polar Bear.

For me, the humor is hit and miss. But, I’m not really the audience for this film. A lot of the comedy is geared for younger kids and there is a lot of potty humor. Although there are some jokes for parents and older kids to chuckle at, it is best suited for the younger set. While the slapstick is fast paced, I have a problem with how the characters come in contact. What makes slapstick funny is cause and effect. Tom and Jerry are a perfect example. When Tom runs smack into a pole his whole body makes solid contact causing him pain. In this the film, the characters seem to be made of rubber. When they come in contact with each other it’s like silly putty being squished together. Now it does kind of work with Norm’s furry sidekicks, the Lemmings, because their running joke is that they feel no pain. However, it does not work when the other characters rNormofNorth4.jpgeact like rubber. With that said, while watching the film the kids in the theater went nuts and loved every moment of it. Just goes to show you that humor is diverse.

My favorite scene is the opening of the film when Norm tries to hunt. Not only does it reveal the status quo of the main character, it also provides a lovely introduction to the comedy that will follow. The Arctic landscape adds to the visual ambiance of the animation.

The moral of this film is “nature belongs to the animals.” Mr. Greene plans to build condominiums in the Arctic and that’s why Norm goes to New York and tries to convince them not to do that. I was glad to see this environmental message presented to young children.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 3 through 12-year-olds.  This film proves that just because you’re not a big Polar Bear does not mean you can’t make a big splash. I can’t wait to see more from Splash Entertainment.  This film is in theaters January 15 so mark your calendars now.

Norm of the North
By Ryan R. KIDS First Film Critic, Age 12

Norm of the North is a perfect film for younger kids and delivers a positive environmental message. This film shows that some places are better left untouched in order to maintain their natural beauty. It also has a great cast. The voice actors really put a lot of emotions into their characters. The soundtrack is also great!

The story is about Norm (Rob Schneider) who is a polar bear that can speak to humans. He never really has used that power until one fine day Mr. Greene (Ken Jeong) starts to build condos in the Arctic, where Norm lives. Norm has to stop the construction somehow! He sneaks his way into a demo house that is scheduled to be delivered to New York, where Mr. Greene lives. Will Norm be able to stop Mr. Greene or will the beauty of the Arctic be lost when all those condos are built?

Although it’s a good story, I found that at some points, the story just didn’t hold my interest. It felt predictable. You really knew what is going to happen next. Perhaps that’s because it’s better suited for a younger audience than me. I also found myself comparing the animation is this film to other mainstream films and it’s not quite there. But, again, perhaps I’m too NormofNOrth2.jpgold and picky. I think it is a perfect film for kids, who are 3 to maybe 8 or 9.

My favorite characters are Olympia and Norm. I love how brave Olympia is and independent. In the film, she wants to get into a better school and her mom thinks she needs a recommendation in order to get in. Olympia does her best and earns her place in the school without the recommendation. Also, she wants to help Norm succeed in his plan. I Norm because he is funny, compassionate with others and determined to save his homeland.

The lesson of this movie is we need to preserve our environment but we can still behave in a kind way.  For example, Norm goes to New York to stop Mr. Greene from building condos in the Arctic. We seem him acting very compassionate to others and he serves as a great role model to others.

I recommend this film for kids ages 3 to 10. People who like family and adventure movies will particularly enjoy it. I rate this movie 3 out of 5 stars. Norm of the North comes out January 15th so mark your calendars.

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