As promised last week, the movie reviews are going to keep on comin’ for a while.
Below are some flicks I’ve watched over the last few months with my girls. For an opinion on age appropriateness, etc, please visit commonsensemedia.org. I go there to read about movies before I let my kids watch them.
“The Muppets”: My kids are Muppets fiends. We have tons of old episodes of The Muppet Show on dvd laying around my house, and they’ve seen all of the old movies. This movie was a natural fit for them. And for me and Mr. Fresh Scratch! There was something for all of us to laugh at, just like in the old ones. A lot goes over the kids’ heads, which is kind of fun. I absolutely adore Amy Adams, and I was so happy she was in the movie. She can really be cheesy, and she did not disappoint. My girls like her, too. The basic premise is that there is a guy who was born a muppet into a human family. His only dream is to be on The Muppet Show alongside others like him. His brother, played by Jason Segel, is determined to make it happen. But first they have to actually bring back The Muppet Show. All kinds of hijinks are involved in trying to get the old cast together, let alone produce one last episode. They have to deal with imposter Muppets and bad dudes. Truly, it’s something for the whole family to laugh at together. The end, when the credits are rolling, is the best part!
“Hop”: I truly only rented this one for my kids to watch on Easter via the iPad while we were flying home from Hawaii. I felt badly that they were missing Easter, so this was a treat I gave them. It was pretty much a treat only for them, as I could’ve taken or left the movie. It’s about a bunny who grew up underground on Easter Island (in this movie, Easter Island is the home base for all things Easter related) as the heir to the Easter Bunny title. Only, he doesn’t want to be the Easter Bunny. He wants to play the drums in a rock band. He escapes to the US where, oddly, he befriends James Marsden’s character, who realizes he wants to be the first human Easter Bunny. Huh? My kids were not super-engaged, and the only thing holding my attention was the voice of Russel Brand. Meh.
“Yogi Bear”: You know the dollar movies they have at the theatres on the weekday mornings in the summer? This was one of those. It proved difficult to find a film in that whole summer-dollar-movie gaggle that was appropriate for both my seven-year-old and my three-year-old. When I read about this on commonsensemedia.org, it pretty much said the movie was brainless and harmless. That proved accurate. I almost fell asleep at parts, but my kids were laughing and giggling hysterically and non-stop! It baffled me! I loved “Yogi Bear” cartoons as a kid, so I was a little weirded-out by this CGI Yogi and Boo-Boo in a world of real human characters. But he still said “pic-a-nic” like the old Yogi, and he still said, “Hey, Boo Boo!” My girls were dying laughing over all of his schemes and inventions to get picnic baskets. The ranger was played by the guy from the tv show “Ed,” Tom Cavanagh. The storyline is that Jelly Stone National Park is having its timber cut down and sold because it’s not a profit-making park. The ranger gets some help in saving it from a documentary film maker played by Anna Farris, along with assistance from a turtle the world had thought was extinct. It’s silly, silly, silly, and when it was over my kids wanted to know when we’d watch it again. It was absolutely harmless, but once was enough for this mama.
“Rio”: This isn’t one I normally would’ve taken a three-year-old to see. But it was at the dollar movie while big sis was going to horse riding camp each day, and Teensy needed a little spoiling. Mainly, though, I knew she’d seen it at daycare already and loved it, and I was curious. She’s still going around and singing the title song. First of all, the bird’s name is not “Rio,” it’s “Blue.” It’s about a Blue Macaw who was stolen from the rainforest around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a baby bird and smuggled into the US to sell on the black market. He fell out of the delivery truck and was rescued and raised by a science geek who is voiced by the lovely Anne Hathaway. A bird biologist from Brazil approaches her years later and convinces her to bring Blue to Rio to mate with the only female Blue Macaw they have in order to save the species. Blue gets stolen again in Rio and must escape the bad dudes and get over his fear of flapping his wings. There were a lot of scary parts with the bad guys, and it strikes a chord with kids just learning about stranger-danger, for sure. It’s pretty hip, and there are lots of fun songs, thanks to will.i.am and Jamie Foxx being a part of the cast of voices – but it’s a little too sexed-up in parts. Blue is voiced by the ever-nerdy Jesse Eisenberg, which is perfect. I find more and more that I can enjoy an animated movie a lot based on who is voicing the characters, so this one is fun. It has a happy little ending, but I would say it’s too scary for the average three-year-old.