My crazy contest winning streak continues yet again...this time granting me (thank you Utah Film Center!) with the opportunity to give my readers not one..but TWO more Sundance reviews than I was planning on (with still more to come.) For the past two years, Sundance has included a special selection of films specifically chosen for children.. and the young at heart. This year, Sundance Kids included three films: The Games Maker,Operation Arctic, and Shaun the Sheep. I wish I could report on all three, but fate in the form of a contest did not step in to help me see The Games Maker... only the other two. So below are a couple mini-reviews for the two films I did see. We'll start with Operation Arctic.
But first here's the trailer for the one I didn't see: The Games Maker
Back to Operation Arctic. Watching this movie is kind of like watching a version of Jurassic Park without any adults to reign the stupid kids in. But instead you swap the dinosaurs for a polar bear, and a tropical island for the North Pole. But to be more precise, the film follows three siblings who stow away on a helicopter headed for an island of the North Pole and accidentally are left there (since no one ever realized the stowaways..) I did enjoy the movie, but good grief these kids made some frustratingly poor decisions (think Lex shining a flashlight in a dino's face stupid.) If kids in peril scenes make you lose your mind in tension, this might not be for you. When they put themselves in danger by their stupid actions it's even more frustrating. But still somehow, I managed to find this movie really enjoyable. This film rests on the shoulders of three kids, and they manage to pull it off effortlessly. But really my favorite part of the film was the breathtaking cinematography. They photographed things so beautifully...it was a lovely film to watch unfold before your eyes. Also, I'll add that a movie has really accomplished a feat when it makes me care about and root for a dog's safety because usually I'm rather heartless toward canines. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10
From the same people who brought you Wallis & Gromit and Chicken Run comes the feature length film for Shaun the Sheep. A few fart jokes and plumbers bums aside, I found the movie to be really intelligent, clever and witty (can humor be witty without words?) Definitely the type of film that a kid would love, but a parent wouldn't mind watching either. For a movie with mumbling and grumbling in place of dialogue, the film needs to be sharp and entertaining enough to keep their viewer's attention and thankfully the story is up to the task. In fact, the end resulting film is actually incredibly fun. Pretty well, every character gets a moment to shine from Shaun and his sheep entourage, the farmer and the bad guy: the animal control employee and everyone in between. As someone who never really likes movies from these creators or typically even gives them the chance to them, I have to say I enjoyed this movie. In the end, Shaun the Sheep is a solid, fun kids movie. EMILY RATING: 8/10