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Friday, May 27, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

Po is back and he is kicking ass. He is now the Dragon Warrior and the tension between him and Tigress is no longer evident, instead there is teamwork. The rest of China is at peace until a most ferocious, most uncanny, the fiercest foe comes, his name is Lord Shen and he is a.... PEACOCK?!!Yep, the villain is a Peacock (makes me think that the writer is a Katy Perry fan). 

Kung Fu is now threatened by an unknown weapon and even the greatest masters of Kung Fu is defeated by it. And so Master Shifu instructed Po and the others to destroy the weapon that would mean the end of Kung Fu.Po embarks on this journey not only to save Kung Fu but also to discover the answers to his questions: Where did he come from? Who are his parents? Why is it that he is the only Panda in the movie? Was he really adopted?

Kung Fu Panda 2 exceeds its predecessor. It is twice the fun and the meaning of LOL is the movie itself. There were "aaw" moments in the moments especially during the flashbacks. The colors in this movie is so vibrant and with the mix of 2D animation, this has just been a visual masterpiece. 

The actors who voiced in the previous returned and the cast is so stellar that I believe they were not given enough "voice time." The film's strength is the comical timing, story wise, it was a so-so. One thing that disturbs me is why on earth they have to choose a peacock as a villain. Dreamworks, any explanations?

GRADE: B+

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Question: Do we really need another Pirates movie?
Answer: Not really, but the studio knows that it will generate a lot of money, so why don't we make another movie. Its doing great!

Pirates ended At world's End. Although they have given an opening that there will be a possibility of making a 4th movie, i believe the franchise reached its end on the part where Will and Elizabeth bid goodbye. But ALAS! Here we have On Stranger Tides.

When Curse of the Black Pearl came out sometime in 2003, it was a breather. It was a fresh material and what makes it so successful is the witty combination of fantasy, comedy, action and romance in a very fast paced movie. When Dead Man's Chest came out, it showcased a very impressive special effects but somehow made a web of plots that is difficult to follow and then At World's End came in and everything was just blurry with all those story lines.

On Stranger Tides is a film that introduces us to what I assume as another Trilogy. We were introduced to new characters but with a simpler story. They are to find the Fountain of Youth. 3 teams are looking for it and Jack Sparrow is part of 2 teams. Jack is joined by Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and Blackbeard (Ian McShane) in the search for the Fountain. All they needed is a pair of Chalices and one drop of Mermaid's tear. How hard is that?

One of the weakness of the film is that it loses the magic of the sword fights that the previous 3 movies had. Its more like a clinking and clattering of metalic junks and somehow I am not amazed with the sword fights. The movie tries to mystify the audience but somehow lacks some spices.  I admire the simplicity of the plot and consistency of Johnny Depp's character. Jack Sparrow works well with Barbossa comically.

Even without Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom, Pirates can stand on its own. Jack Sparrow becomes the new Bond. I bet, this will continue up to Pirates 6.

GRADE: B+

Thor

I have known Thor since 2008. I know him as the God of Thunder, that he is part of the Avengers and that he carries a massive ax that when bolted up in the air it will summon a hefty amount of lightning that can kill you. Other than that, I am completely dumbfounded about the myth.

I am not really sure what to expect when I heard that there will be a movie about him. I thought, how interesting he could be? What possibly could outdone Spiderman and the X-Men in terms of coolness?

Thor is just a prequel to the most anticipated Avengers movie. The series of films made such as Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America are made to give Avengers a background so that writers doing the Avenger film will not bother doing a back story in all of its characters. Thor stands out as an introduction to the character.

Thor is arrogant and proud. It is his nature. Loki, his brother, is wise and cunning but lacks the masculinity and strength that Thor has and he is greatly jealous of that advantage. The movie follows like a Shakespearean drama while in Asgard and transforms into charming romantic comedy when Thor was banished and was sent to Earth. The old premise of the Sword in the Stone is seen in this movie where Thor has to prove himself worthy before he can get his ax from a stone. Familiar, eh? Loki sought to it that Thor will not bother him anymore and ultimately caused his demise, or so we thought... stay for the post credit scenes...

Thor does wonderfully in terms of humor which mostly plays on Thor's innocence while stuck on Earth. Natalie Portman plays well as the astrologist-type/love interest in this movie. And no, she is not doing the "Halle Berry post Oscar syndrome" in this one. The biggest surprise for me is knowing that Kenneth Branagh directed this movie. I expect him to be the heavy drama type of director and not this eye-candy type of movies but he did a good job nevertheless. He relied much on tilted shots and i loved it.

Thor is a great opening for this summer line up. Though the story is not as chiseled as Thor's body, I recommend you watching this one if you are curious enough to know the Thunder God's story.

GRADE: B