For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Anyone who survived a K - 12 education system during Titanic's theatrical run in 1997 can attest, even without statistical evidence, that Celine Dion's hit single "My Heart Will Go On" had an influence in the movie's box office success. The movie became the number one highest grossing film of all time (displaced in 2010 by director James Cameron's own creation, Avatar), and part of the phenomenon was clearly Dion's sappy, infectious, unavoidably heart-warming end credits tune. After the movie's debut, "My Heart Will Go On" was on 24-hour radio rotation, spinning continuously on every Walkman, the go-to high school musical audition number and the top choice for any love song cover album.
Or, perhaps, any cover album. Since it hit the top of the pop charts over a decade ago, "My Heart Will Go On" has been reinterpreted by many of music's greats … and many of music's … somethings. There are few who could be labeled too afraid to tackle Dion's seminal work, helping keep the classic cinematic carol afloat. Here are a few of the covers that ensure "My Heart Will Go On" will never be let go (and prepare you for its return, when Titanic 3D hits theaters April 3):
Neil Diamond's Gritty "My Heart Will Go On"
The recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is one of the most successful recording artists if the Billboard charts are to be believed. So it's no surprise that Diamond took a soulful stab at Dion's late '90s classic, bringing his signature smokey voice to the lead vocals. After five decades in the business, Diamond's version is a reminder of the artists longevity, a way of lyrically telling listeners, "yeah, even though Will Ferrell tried to convince you I once hit a kid with my car, I'm still the man."
New Found Glory's Punked Out "My Heart Will Go On"
Either paying homage to the year of their formation (the pop punk band formed in '97) or admitting through song how much they frickin' love Titanic, New Found Glory covered the single for their album From the Screen to Your Stereo. The album was a definitive list of movie tunes, featuring tracks from That Thing You Do to The Goonies to The Neverending Story. But "My Heart Will Go On" shows the band's softer side — as opposed to their "hardcore" edge.
Vicky Leandros' Extremely German "My Heart Will Go On"
The Greek singer moved to Germany early in her career and found her biggest success to date with a cover of Dion's Titanic anthem. "Weil mein Herz dich nie mehr vergisst" may not have the sensual elegance Dion's well-known lyrics when attempted in English, but Leandros interpretation proves that not all German phrasing needs to remind us of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Blondie's '80s Alternative "My Heart Will Go On"
If there was anyone who was going to give Titanic's power ballad a swift kick in the butt, it was going to be Debbie Harry. Unlike Dion, the Blondie lead singer actually made the jump to the big screen during her music career, co-starring in films like Videodrome, Hairspray and Cop Land, giving her the right (see: unspoken Hollywood law) to take over any soundtrack song and cover it the way she'd like. In this case, rockin'.
The Lettermen's Even-More-Grandma-Appropriate "My Heart Will Go On"
Vocal trios were all the rage in 1959, but The Lettermen lasted long enough in the music biz to capitalize on Titanic fever with their own version of "My Heart Will Go On." The cover didn't break out on the radio, reserved mostly for The Lettermen's road show, but if the gals down at the malt shop heard this single, they'd be swooning up a storm!
Deja Vu and Tasmin's Eurodance Remix "My Heart Will Go On"
Those looking to get their humps on in da club to a James Horner penned song should look no further than this cover of "My Heart Will Go On." Deja Vu provide the beats while singer Tasmin soups up the vocals, in the only version appropriate for Titanic's famed 3rd class dance off.
Kenny G's Saxophoned In "My Heart Will Go On"
Elevators everywhere gained their own rendition of the Oscar-winning number courtesy of smoother-than-smooth jazz artist Kenny G. Celine Dion's original version has a lot of power and soul, but Kenny G trumps it on every level, thanks to the power of brass.
This Committed Little Girl's "My Heart Will Go On"
If there's any real sign that "My Heart Will Go On" isn't going anywhere, it's the world of YouTube covers. Like a pop song life support system, twelve-year-old girls with antsy stage mothers continue to fuel the nostalgic fire with theatrical, mildly-terrifying renditions of the infamous tune.
Find Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.