Happy Feet Two

That’s not to say it didn’t make blockbuster dollars this weekend. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 did make its groove on several record charts. It had the third biggest opening day with $72m. It had the second biggest opening in November behind New Moon, the second film of the franchise. And it had the fifth largest opening in history. Those are some impressive placements in the grand scheme of things. But this is Twilight we’re talking about, and any way to shed a negative light on the subject is grounds for some back-patting. The fourth film of the series, and first of the two-part finale, still had a very impressive debut, another clear indicator the franchise is anything but losing steam. Summit Entertainment did just right for themselves when they bought the rights all those years ago. It was a risky gamble a la Warner Bros. committing to the seven-part Harry Potter series, but, like Harry Potter, this one has proven to be paying off in abundance. With an additional $144m in foreign markets, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is already nearing $300m worldwide, a three-fold return on the reportedly $110m film. With the final final movie of the series hitting November 2012, Summit is sure to be looking for their next big venture in long-term franchising. I’m not sure the Step Up series has it in it to make up for the Twilight movies ending, but, in a perfect world…

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in layers and layers of rain gear to brave the estrogen storm that comes with the showing of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I. After enduring that non-masterpiece, he dances down a few screening rooms to watch the new Happy Feet movie. Confounded by the gelatinous goop that masquerades as movies this weekend in American cinema, Kevin eventually curls up in a ball and softly weeps.

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The dancing, singing penguins of Happy Feet return for another dose of eco-themed animation in this sequel from George Miller, which proves two truisms. First, there’s still a lot of mileage in the spectacle of penguins tap, tap, tapping in unison and belting out cover songs. Second, this franchise is not the clarion call to action on climate change that it wants to be. The star of the first film, Mumble (Elijah Wood), is a father now, struggling to connect with his adolescent son Erik (Ava Acres), who feels misunderstood and marginalized because he can’t dance. For Erik, a surrogate role model of sorts emerges in The Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), a flying penguin who preaches messages of empowerment. After a shifting glacier traps their community of emperor penguins in a vast valley, little Erik will need all the confidence he can muster when he, his dad, and two of his friends are called upon to save the day.

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Whereas Pixar has dominated the category in recent years, the sense that Cars 2 isn’t a shoe-in for awards season is offering a spotlight to a wider field. In fact, it’s also a wider field that will beget more nominees – if there are 16 eligible in the given year, 5 nominees will make the short list. If the numbers stay steady, this would mark the third time since the Best Animated Feature‘s inception in 2001 that there are more than 3 films up for the big prize. According to The Wrap, the list of films that have been submitted for consideration include: The Adventures of Tintin, Alois Nebel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Gnomeo & Juliet, Happy Feet Two, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mars Needs Moms, Puss in Boots, Rango, Rio, The Smurfs, Winnie the Pooh, and Wrinkles. Just because they’ve been submitted doesn’t meant they’re all eligible. Several haven’t done qualifying runs in Los Angeles theaters, and many are questionable because of their use of motion capture or live-action blend. In the mo-cap cases of Tintin, Happy Feet Two and Mars Needs Moms, filmmakers have been asked to discuss their methods and intentions with the process in order to prove eligible. The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks are also animation/live-action hybrids, so their fate is unclear at this time. Without them, and without, say, the Czech Republic’s rotoscoped Alois Nebel, the […]

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published: 04.16.2014
C-
published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-

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