Updated: 08/19/2016 3:58 PM
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8/19 Movie Trip
Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul's Trip to the Movies, reviews three family friendly films you can see this weekend.
PETE’S DRAGON (theatrical release)
They say that a man’s best friend is his dog. For Pete, it’s his dragon, Elliot. When he was just a little boy, he was the lone survivor of a fatal car crash that claimed the lives of his parents. The big green dragon appeared at just the right time when Pete was walking away from the crash frightened, scared, and not sure of where he was. The dragon scooped Pete up in his big furry paws and took him deep in the woods. For the next six years Pete lived side by side next to his only friend Elliot the dragon without an adult in sight. Back in the small village of Milhaven, Robert Redford’s Mr. Meacham works as a wood carver and tells the story of the time he met this dragon, which happens to be an urban legend in the town. His daughter Grace works as a park ranger and doesn’t believe the tall tale as she has never once spotted Elliot in all her years of roaming around the forest. It’s Grace’s daughter, Natalie, who spots Pete one day in the woods. After a frightful accident, Grace is rescued by Pete, which also means he is caught and taken in by Grace and her husband Jack. Jack and his brother Gavin work as lumberjacks working to tear down the trees where Pete and Elliot live. As Grace and her family work to learn more about where Pete came from, the mystery surrounding the dragon comes to light and has everyone out looking for him, while he leaves the woods hoping to be reunited with Pete.
-Starring: Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence
-Disney has done another exceptional job at remaking one of their classic movies. Just like their newer versions of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, this is a big crowd-pleaser.
-No need to watch the 1977 original. Doesn’t set out to be direct remake as the writer/director keeps his version as original as possible.
-Feels more stripped down and pure instead of the huge overproduced Disney blockbusters. Lowery never loses sight that at the heart of this movie is the friendship between Pete and Elliot.
-The animation given to Elliot makes him playful and huggable that instantly creates that bond between them that only grows as the movie progresses. Any child in the audience that has a pet will hopefully connect to the relationship between Pete and Elliot.
-Full of that good old-fashioned Disney magic that warms the heart. It made me think of those old Disney adventure films I grew up on.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Disney’s done it again.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (theatrical release)
I’ve seen quite a few animated films this year, and Kubo and the Two Strings ranks as the very best of that list. A young boy named Kubo lives in a rocky cliff above town. He wears a patch over his eye, which was taken by his grandfather when he was a little boy. His fathered perished while trying to protect him, and now his mother keeps him in hiding from his grandfather and two aunts are out to claim the other eye. During the daytime, Kubo spends his day in the village as a street performer telling stories and using magic to bring his origami creatures to life. The only rule he has is to be back before sundown. One day he loses track of time as he is trying to use a lantern to reconnect with his father. The darkness brings out his wicked aunts who have now found him. His mother is able to save him by whisking him off to the far land but is killed herself in the process. Hope is not lost for Kubo in the far land as he finds himself under the protective watch of Monkey, which happens to be his toy charm that has come to life. She’s a no-nonsense mentor hoping to lead him in the right direction. Along their quest Beetle, a half man and half beetle samurai, joins them as they set out to find the armor that once belonged to Kubo’s father as that is the only thing that will protect him from Grandfather.
-Featuring the voices of: Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara. Every actor brings their A-game and easily plays into their strengths to make these characters as rich as possible.
-From Laika films, which also created Coraline, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman
-Kubo is a prime example of what the very best of animated movies can offer. The gorgeous stop motion animation excels at bringing a variety of landscapes, creatures, and culture to life. It can be breathtaking, funny, scary, adventurous, thrilling, and edge of your seat while telling a poignant story. It ranks up there with how we view the very best from Pixar movies.
-Constantly plays smart with its audience without falling into the standard childish sense of humor. At times it can be funny with the goofy cluelessness of Beetle without relying on potty humor or easy laughs.
-It tackles very strong subjects as Kubo learns how stories can get past down from generation to generation to shape our past and future. Death plays a big factor into it and can be a great teaching tool for parents on how we hold on to memories of those we have loved and lost along the way.
-Skews a bit older. Preferable for ages seven and up. It can be a bit scary for wee little ones.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Kubo is exceptional in every possible way.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE LITTLE PRINCE (home release)
The Little Girl and her mother move into a new home during her summer vacation. Instead of a having a relaxing and lazy summer, Mother has a strict academia-filled schedule for the Little Girl to adhere in order to prep for the new school year. It’s far too exhausting for her, so she takes an interest in the elderly man that lives next door. He’s a retired aviator, inventor, and hoarder and shares a story he has written about the Little Prince he met when he crashed in the desert. As the summer goes by, the Little Girl spends more time next-door learning about the Little Prince versus working on her studies. Their newfound friendship comes to a halt when he is hospitalized. She takes it upon herself to use his broken airplane to fly into space and find the Little Prince.
-Featuring the voices of: Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Albert Brooks
-New adaptation of the 1943 French novella
-Was originally supposed to be released in theaters last year after a successful showing at Cannes, but was randomly dropped by Paramount. Now it’s streaming exclusively on Netflix as its part of their original programming
-Gorgeous animation as it’s a mix of styles, textures using CG for the girl’s story and stop motion animation for the Little Prince’s storyline.
-Weaves between the story of the little prince and the little girl’s backyard adventures with the old man
-Will not only appeal to kids, but adults will be equally enchanted. Lessons to be learned about children growing up too fast, the loss of imagination and creativity that comes with growing up, and that “it’s only with the heart that we see rightly”.
-Really appeal to kids that have a big imagination, an interest in space, and love going on adventures
-Feels like a mix of Pixar’s Up and The NeverEnding Story
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? One of the most original and creative animated films I’ve seen recently.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS