There is much to entertain these holidays. Here are a few films that Insights can recommend.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (M)
Peter Jackson has returned to Middle Earth once again to deliver the first in his three-part trilogy based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book. Forget the fact that this is the smallest book and that the first part is nearly three hours long.
Jackson has his detractors for this set of films, particularly in regards to him using technology that allowed him to shoot the film at a faster frame rate for clearer, high definition results.
Why? Well because he could and apparently for those of us who have aversion to 3D it is easier on the ocular nerve.
Although some have mentioned that it is too crisp, the journey of the reluctant Hobbit Bilbo to help a merry band of dwarves reclaim their home turf is a rollicking adventure, fraught with orc mucus and a truckload of angry trolls.
Like the original trilogy, this first outing could have been trimmed considerably but, as the old saying goes, it’s the journey not the destination that’s important.
All the better to line the coffers of the New Zealand tourism department — it is Middle Earth after all.
The Rise of the Guardians (PG)
This adaptation of a beloved children’s book about the Guardians of childhood — Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny — is a cleverly disguised coming of age story about Jack Frost.
Long maligned and not believed in, Frost is encouraged to join the Guardians to help them stamp out fear and the bogey man, who threatens to make children lose their awe, wonder and belief in something they can’t see.
Metaphorically speaking, the film has some excellent points to make about belief outside oneself and the reclaiming of children’s innocence and wonder.
With an excellent voice cast, which includes Hugh Jackman as the ocker Easter Bunny and Alec Baldwin as the heavily tattooed Santa (the “naughty” and “nice” tats are particularly good), this is a great family film.
Wreck It Ralph (PG)
What’s a bad guy to do when he’s sick and tired of toeing the line? Under the Disney banner, this is a decidedly Pixar-ish production. It draws its fish-out-of-water storyline from Toy Story and gives us the antithesis of good guy Buzz Lightyear in misunderstood Ralph.
While lampooning gaming sensibilities, the story follows Ralph, who for 30 years has been the bad guy in the arcade game Fix-It Felix. In short Ralph wrecks stuff and Felix fixes it up.
Ralph is in a rut and in between sessions at Bad-Anon, a group for arcade bad guys held at Pac Man’s place, he wishes he could break out and be the guy in charge for a change.
Voiced by John C. Reilly, Ralph’s story is an entertaining one, even if the story is a little one-dimensional.