Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for October, 2012

‘Happily N’Ever After’ Gives Fun Twists to Classic Fairy Tales

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

HappilyNEverAfter.jpgSo you think you know your fairy tales? Happily N’Ever After, the 2006 animated movie airing in November on HDNet Movies kidScene, will teest your ability to keep them straight as it twists them into unexpected new relationships among the characters. Explains KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, “My favorite part of the movie is how the endings for each of the fairy tales could have changed. The twists and turns of each event could be different if the wizard [who watches over the fairy tales] is not there to monitor Fairy Tale Land.” While questioning whether the fairy tales will “ever have another happy ending again,” Morgan Bertsch, age 7, says, “From beginning to end, this is very funny.” Brianna Hope Beaton, age 13, gives the film four out of five stars “because of its humor and fantasy.”

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
(See her full review on video.)

So the real question is: Are you cheering for the villains or the princess? Who do you want to win?

Now is your big chance. This movie is about Cinderella, who has an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters. So you think you know this story and all the fairy tales? Well, guess again. This is not your ordinary Cinderella story. All the fairy tales are watched and taken care of by a wizard. But everyone needs a vacation, and when the wizard leaves, the fiasco begins.

Munk (Wallace Shawn) and Mombo (Andy Dick), his assistants, are left in charge. Mombo is bored of the same old fairy tale endings and wants to shake things up a bit. He gets his wish when the evil stepmother steals the wizard’s wand.

Cinderella’s evil stepmother Frieda wants to be Queen. She is taking over. She wants to give evil a fighting chance. All your fairy tales begin to fade and the villains start winning. Rumpelstiltskin gets to keep the baby. Sleeping beauty doesn’t wake up with a kiss. Jack gets stepped on by the giant. Rapunzel is not saved by her Prince Charming and Cinderella doesn’t last till midnight. The villains from all the fairy tales are running wild.

Cinderella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), now known as Ella, goes on a search for Prince Charming (Patrick Warburton), hoping that he can fight her evil stepmother and get the wizard’s wand back. Of course, she has help from Mombo and Munk, who also want to find it before their boss returns home. Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.), the servant for the prince, is jealous and tries to help Ella. They meet the seven dwarves, witches, all the big bad wolves, goblins, giants and more.

How will they save the day and will the fairy tales ever have another happy ending again?

When Ella and Rick find the seven dwarves, this is my favorite part. From beginning to end, this is very funny. I also enjoyed the Monster Mash dance.

The graphics are great and they do a super job with the fast-action scenes. There are new characters, and the old ones are all different from the original versions.

Will she get what she wants? Will she want what she gets? This was my favorite song in the movie.

Be careful what you wish for. Keep your eyes open because happiness could be right in front of you. You can change your destiny.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Cinderella) and Freddie Prinze Jr. are really married and they have a daughter and last month added a new baby boy to their family. See, fairy tales do come true.

I give this movie five ***** because it is cute, funny, original and has all my favorites in it.

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

(See her full review on video.)

Today, I am reviewing Happily N’Ever After. This movie combines a lot of fairy tales in one movie with a twisted ending.

This movie is about the wizard (George Carlin) who manages Fairy Tale Land. He has two helpers, Mambo (Andy Dick) and Munk (Wallace Shawn). There’s a book of fairy tales, and the wizard has to watch and see through the crystal ball to make sure the endings are exactly the same as the fairy tale stories. The wizard constantly has to check with the crystal ball to make sure the good and the bad are in balance so the stories will get their happy endings.

In Happily N’Ever After, all the characters are different from the fairy tales. Ella (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is like Cinderella, being bullied by her stepmother (Sigourney Weaver) and her ugly stepsisters. However, in this movie there is a kitchen helper name Rick. He secretly loves Ella.

My favorite part of movie is how the endings for each of the fairy tales could have changed. The twists and turns of each event could be different if the wizard is not there to monitor Fairy Tale Land.

I am confused at times because there are so many different fairy tales going on. It’s hard for kids my age keep up with the jokes that go with the different fairy tales. The adults seem to enjoy the jokes a lot more than the kids.

The message in this movie is happy endings come in many different forms.

The Fairy Tale Land visuals are above average. The characters’ design and the voice over make the characters come alive. The music is average; most of the songs are not very catchy.

The only part I did not like is there are too many stories going on in one movie.

My favorite character is Fairy Godmother. She is so forgetful but very funny. She reminds me of my grandmother.
I rank this movie four out of five stars  

I give this an age range of 5 and up.

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

Happily N’Ever After is a good family film that I enjoyed watching.

Ella (voice of Sarah Gellar) figures out that her stepmother (voice of Sigourney Weaver) wants to take over Fairy Tale Land and is out to crush her storybook existence. She is now fighting to get Fairy Tale Land back, and [get] who she thinks is supposed to be her true love, the prince.

I like this film because it’s a twist from the classic Cinderella story. The story plot is easy to understand and enjoyable. The animation is good. My favorite part is when the narrator pauses the film to give you information on a specific character and how he feels about the character. This is really cool.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 13. If you like Cinderella and fairy tales, you’ll love this film.

Overall, I give Happily N’Ever After four out of five stars because of its humor and fantasy.

Tune in to see Happily N’Ever After as it plays all month on HDNet Movies kidScene.

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‘Jumanji’ a Thrilling Ride on HDNet Movies kidScene

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Jumanji.jpgThe very intriguing desing and artwork of a board game they unearth tempt a young brother and sister to sit down with it and play the game – too late discovering the magic they’ve unleashed. The incidents depicted on the board become real and they must play through the dangers that include stampeding animals that threaten their very life. “… this adventure will give the entire family a ride,” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Raven Devanney, age 15, who says the film – airing throughout November on HDNet Movies kidScene – is a long-time favorite of hers. Julianna Noone, age 12, although warning the film might be a little scary for very young kids, says it “is absolutely hysterical and it’s just very entertaining.”

Robin Williams was much better known as a comedian before taking this role as the Indiana Jones-type adventurer who, with his counterpart Sarah, helps the kids survive the game’s dangers. Much of the film’s character comes from its special effects, for which it won the Saturn Award from the Academy of Sci Fi, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1996.

Reviewed by Raven Devanney
(See her full review on video.)

Jumanji tells the story of two children who encounter a mysterious board game that comes to life. Starring Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt and Jonathan Hyde, this adventure will give the entire family a ride.

I’ve loved Jumanji for a very long time, and it’s still a classic favorite for me. Even though this film came out in 1995, the cinematography is still wonderful. And even though a lot of the animals use animatronics, it’s still very real and thrilling. My favorite character would have to be Alan Parrish played by Robin Williams, because he gets sucked into the world of Jumanji, and when he is released 26 years later he has to come to the realization that times have changed. Plus, Robin Williams is hilarious in this film!

I have several favorite scenes. My first would have to be the very beginning of the film which was centuries ago. It’s very dark and it gives a taste of the horror and thrills that the movie has in store. I also like the scene when giant human-eating monster plants grow out of the fireplace. I just remember that part as being very suspenseful. And last but not least, I like the scene when Van Pelt manhunter came out of the game. Actually, I just like the character Van Pelt in general. He is played by Jonathan Hyde, who was also in Titanic.

Overall, I give Jumanji four out of five stars and recommend it for ages 6+ because it’s such a fun movie, but also has some suspenseful situations.

Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See her full review on video.)

Ready for Family Game Night to take you on a great adventure? Well, then, you have chosen the right film in Jumanji.

This film is about a boy named Alan Parrish (played by Robin Williams) and his friend Sarah Whittle (played by Bonnie Hunt), and how they find a mysterious board game called “Jumanji.” Follow along as this board game changes their lives and how, years later, they must play the game again with another set of kids named Judy (played by Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (played by Bradley Pierce), and how they try to outwit the game’s powerful forces.

My favorite character is Judy because she is brave and determined to make sure that everyone stays safe and alive from this game. My favorite scene is when Peter and Judy are petrified after they’ve released Alan and a lion from the game. It was absolutely hilarious – they started screaming and freaking out. They’re, like, “Oh my gosh, there’s this cave man who just came out from this random board game.” It was absolutely hysterical, because they got so scared they hid in the towel closet. Hilarious.

I thought the special effects in this movie were great. It was really funny. They did a great job. The animated animals were so cool; they looked actually real, but they weren’t.

I think that this movie is for ages 6 and up, because it might be a little frightening – stampeding animals coming at you, crushing your car while people are in it, and these crazy monkeys attacking you, but also this guy chasing people with a gun.

I think that this movie is rated five out of five stars because it is absolutely hysterical and it’s just very entertaining. I’ve loved it for years and years.

Look for this and other great films on HDNet Movies kidScene this month. And remember: In the jungle, you must wait until the dice reads five or eight.

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Fractured Fairy Tale ‘The Princess Bride’ with New Features on Newly Released Blu-ray

Monday, October 15th, 2012

PrincessBride.jpgA fairy tale with tongue firmly in cheek that adults can enjoy (and did; the film won the People’s Choice Award when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1987), PG-rated The Princess Bride has plenty of fun elements for young viewers, too. Pirate ships, magic, gore-free sword fights. Even some kissing, apologetically admits the kindly grandfather who narrates the fairy tale as a story within a story to entertain his convalescing grandson. Indeed, part of the charm of William Goldman’s screenplay is there are characters for all ages to relate to.

Newly released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Blu-ray for its 25th anniversary, The Princess Bride is one of the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search Competition Official Titles.

The titular princess is Buttercup, who is in danger of being forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck. Westley, her one true love, , returns after a long absence to scale the cliffs of insanity, battle rodents of unusual size and face torture in the pit of despair in order to save her. From celebrated director Rob Reiner (The Bucket List) and Oscar®-winning screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) The Princess Bride is “an enchanting fantasy” (Time) filled with adventure, romance and plenty of “good-hearted fun” (Roger Ebert).  Featuring a spectacular cast that includes Robin Wright (Forrest Gump), Cary Elwes (No Strings Attached), Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”) and Billy Crystal (Tooth Fairy), this wonderful fairy tale about a Princess named Buttercup and her beloved is “a real dream of a movie” (People).

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has released this 25th-anniversary edition in Blu-ray only (earlier versions on DVD are available), loading it with several special features. Exclusive to this edition is an all-new, two-part featurette, “True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon,” which includes brand new interviews with director Reiner; cast members Elwes, Wright, Christopher Guest (For Your Consideration) and Chris Sarandon (Fright Night); as well as writer Goldman and executive producer Norman Lear.

The KIDS FIRST! adult juror who reviewed the film calls it “a jewel” and describes it further: The beautiful Buttercup and her “one true love,” Westley, part and lose touch for many years. When an evil prince arranges to marry Buttercup, Westley returns to battle warriors, giants and wizards to rescue his true love. Humorous, slightly fractured fairy tale with a princess who stands up for herself. Charming sets and period costumes, well acted and seamlessly edited. Employs extensive vocabulary and a variety of literary devices.

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‘Here Comes the Boom’ Hits Its Mark

Monday, October 15th, 2012

HereComesTheBoom.jpgKIDS FIRST! youth film critic Julia Chestnut, age 12, not only got to attend a pre-release screening of Here Comes the Boom (which she reviews below) but attended the film’s red carpet event. Check out the video of her red carpet interviews with Bas Rutten (who plays Niko) sharing his long friendship with Kevin James, and with Kevin James, star of this film, who opens up about playing a fighter in this movie and working with friends who are fighters. “Here Comes the Boom is jam-packed in every scene with a funny part,” Julia says in her review, and gets Rutten and James to talk about that comedy in her interviews.

Here Comes the Boom
Reviewed by Julia Chestnut
(See her full review on video.)

I love this movie; it is so hilarious! It is the funniest movie I have ever seen. The lead in this movie is Kevin James, who plays Scott Voss, and of course he is what makes the film the comedy it is.

This film is about how an apathetic high school biology teacher, Scott Voss, decides to find a way to raise money for his school to keep the music program going. He quickly figures out that mixed-martial arts (MMA) fighters get large sums of money, even if they lose the fight. Even though everyone thinks he is crazy, Voss goes on the risky adventure of being an MMA fighter.

Scott is a bored biology teacher who turns the failing high school around as he becomes the tough and daring MMA fighter. Boy, does he take a beating! Yet he never gives up as he becomes inspired by the music teacher and his students.

Salma Hayek plays Bella Flores in this movie. Bella is the school nurse and is sweet and helpful, and always gives Scott a hard time. When Scott gets hurt in a fight, she is there for him, but in a not-so-nice way.

Henry Winkler plays Marty Streb in this film. He is also hilarious. Marty is the school music teacher who believes “without music … life would be a mistake.” Marty is there for every fight and nervously cheers Scott on.

Here Comes the Boom is jam-packed in every scene with a funny part. The one I like the most is at the end when Scott is fighting someone who does this move that is slow and can hurt his opponent really badly. Suddenly, the opponent is picked up by Scott, and his face is so funny. His face goes from fierce and competitive to terrified of Scott.

This movie is hilarious! I would give it five out of five stars because it inspires everyone to follow your dreams and never give up! I would recommend it for ages 9 all the way to adults because it can get violent on the fighting scenes.

Here Comes the Boom comes out in theaters Oct. 12 and is rated PG. You don’t want to miss this movie!

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‘Pitch Perfect’ Is a Perfect Blend of Humor and Music

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

PitchPerfect.jpgLaughs is what sets this “misfit saves the day” singing movie apart from other teen and/or singing movies. Laughs and a satiric wit ably presented by an engaging cast. KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Victoria Burns, age 14, calls it “surprisingly really funny” and says she intends to watch it over again – which is also surprisingly as she shares that this type of movie is not usually one that’s for her.

Pitch Perfect
Reviewed by Victoria Burns

I went to see Pitch Perfect and it is surprisingly really funny. I do not usually like musical types of movies, but this one was one of the best.

At first I thought that this movie would be one of the ones with random outbreaks of  song, but this movie has a nice storyline and it is funny. The singing is amazing. Plus, since the movie is about an a capella group, it is interesting and kind of impressive to see the actors make the track to the music with their voices.

This movie is about Beca (Anna Kendrick), a girl who wants more than anything to be a music producer but her dad makes her go to college first. Finally, her dad says that if she goes to college for a year, joins a club and really tries her best, he will let her drop out and go to California. This gives her some incentive to do well in school and join the Barden Bellas, the school’s all-girl a capella group.

The Bellas’ arch rival is the all-boys group, the Trebles. Beca starts to fall for a member of the Trebles, Jesse (Skylar Astin), which is forbidden by the Bellas’ uptight leader, Aubrey (played by Anna Camp). The Bellas are old-fashioned and Beca is tired of it so she quits, then she rejoins and makes the Bellas better than ever, new, and ready to win. Whether they win against the Trebles is a mystery that you’ll have to watch to find out.

I love this movie, and the characters are very eclectic to say the least. My favorite character is Fat Amy because she’s hilarious and says whatever is on her mind, and it shows because she calls herself “Fat” Amy. I absolutely love this movie and will definitely be watching it repeatedly.

I give it five out of five stars because I like that the actors can sing well, and the way that they make the music track with their voices is amazing. I recommend this movie for anyone who likes music and comedy, because together it is a great combination. I like that the movie is not just about the singing and that it has a good storyline as well. I recommend this movie for ages mature 12 and up because the movie has some foul language but overall is a good movie.

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