Sunday, January 31, 2016


Voices of:  Jack Black   Bryan Cranston   Dustin Hoffman   Angelina Jolie   J. K. Simmons   Jackie Chan   Seth Rogen   Lucy Liu   James Hong

        Kung Fu Panda 3 has the qualities we hope for in animated children’s movies:  A sense of adventure, good modeling by the adults, fine animation, humor, and a minimum of fart and pee jokes.  Many of the actors and crew have been involved in all three of the Kung Fu Panda films, which contributes to their quality.
         In this adventure, Po the Panda (Black) is being prepared by his guide Shifu (Hoffman) to take over his role as teacher, which seems incredulous to Po who frequently bumbles his action moves.  But the message from Shifu is not to be like him, Shifu, but to find and bring out the Po that is his potential.  In this episode two important events take place; Po encounters his real father (Cranston)—currently filling that role is a goose, Mr. Ping (Hong)—and is charged with saving all the Pandas who are threatened by the evil Kai (Simmons), who has stolen the Chi of most of the past Masters and changed them to be his jade fighters.
     The writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger weave together a story that contains elements of suspense and adventure, Po’s struggles to actualize himself, and warm family elements with Po coming to realize he has two fathers and a role in his extended family of pandas.  Directors Carloni and Yuh keep the action tight but make it easy for very young ones in the audience to follow.
        The gifted cast skillfully transforms the script into fine entertainment for children, helped along by the colorful and entertaining animation, the musical score of Hans Zimmer and the production design of Raymond Zebach.

The latest edition of Kung Fu Panda keeps up the fine pace of the previous two productions.

Grade:  A                               By Donna R. Copeland

Friday, January 29, 2016


            The Oscar nominated shorts are getting good reviews this year.  They cover current religious and cultural practices, family and tribal issues, and legal considerations across the world. 

Live Action    

Ave Maria – (France) By Basil Kahlil and Eric Dupont
          A quarreling Jewish family makes its way across Palestine territory, but their car breaks down when they run into something.  They’re at a cloister, and argue about whether to go inside to ask for help.  Inside, religious practices conflict—the nuns are in a period of silence, by now it’s Shabbat and the Jewish father is not supposed to dial a telephone, plus they have to avoid encounters with the Palestinians.  Chaos reigns until the abbess has everyone go into the chapel and pray.  During this time, she is inspired (by God, presumably). 
Observation:  Religious and family bickering gets nowhere; thoughtful problem solving is key.

Shok – (UK) By Jamie Donoughue.
      Two school chums get caught in the Albanian-Serbian conflict.  Their friendship develops around a bicycle, one helping the other out by making deliveries for which they get paid.  This involves some rule breaking, but the little “businessman” talks the bicycle owner into continuing.  Friendship is threatened by perceived betrayal, but the boys are working it out when the ultimate betrayal takes place. 
Observation:  Sometimes there are forces at work beyond the individual’s control, and at times, reminders of significant loss may evoke poignant memories.

Alles Wird Gut (Everything will be OK) – (Germany) By Patrick Vollrath.
          A divorced father comes to get his daughter for the day, but has bigger plans in mind.  After indulging his daughter at the toy store and fun rides, we find he has booked a flight to Manila through Dubai.  They are delayed by a cancelled flight, so must get a hotel for the night.  By this time, the child has figured out what her father has in mind and wants to go home to her mommie. 
Observation:  A parent’s infantile needs cannot be met by his/her children.

Stutterer – (UK) By Benjamin Cleary, Serena Armitage.
        A young man who stutters resorts to online dating, and has a six-month “relationship” with a woman.  When she suggests they meet in person, he’s in a dilemma because he hasn’t told her he stutters.  He postpones answering her, then when he’s afraid he’s going to lose her, he agrees to meet in person.  When he arrives at the designated place, he sees her across the street and pauses, during which time he sees something that gives him hope.
Observation:  Sometimes intervening forces work in a person’s favor.

Day One – (US) By Henry Hughes.
       It’s day one for a female translator arriving for her first job in Afghanistan.  She’s excited but intimidated by the situation.  She is told that she must accompany some soldiers going to investigate a bomb maker.  Before they reach the place a bomb is thrown at a passing cyclist just ahead of them.  When they go to the house nearby in which the bomb maker is presumed to live and to arrest him, the chaos and fear precipitate the birth of the man’s child.  The translator is then confronted with the biggest challenge of her life because she has to assist in the birth (no man—even a doctor—can be in the room), and it won’t be a routine one.
Observation:  It often takes major challenges to help a person grow and mature.


Sanjay’s Super Team – (US) By Sanjay Patel, Nicole Grindle and Pixar Animation Studios.
       Sanjay loves video games and action figures, and goes reluctantly when his Hindu father calls him for prayer.  As the father meditates beneath images of his gods, Sanjay surreptitiously picks up one of his action figures to play with; but strange, frightening things begin to happen, like his figure turning evil, and his father’s god figures battling with him.  After the gods subdue the action figure, Sanjay draws a picture, incorporating all the figures into it and calling it Sanjay’s Super Team.  When he shows it to his father, his father is pleased and they enjoy a quiet moment of togetherness.
Observation:  Sharing realities brings us closer together.

World of Tomorrow – (US) By Don Hertzfeldt
         A girl named Emily is taken on a fanciful tour by a surprise visitor who shows her what her future world will be like, with some troubling developments.
Observation:  It would be worth our while to consider carefully what we are choosing for our future on earth.

Bear Story – (Chile) By Gabriel Osorio, Pato Escala and Punkrobot Animation Studio
       A bear toy maker makes music boxes containing bear figures in a story to entertain children on the street for a coin.  One in particular shows a bad man putting a papa bear into captivity and forcing him to do pet tricks at a circus.  He manages to run away, but finds his house wrecked.  As he despairs, his wife and son reappear, and together they make it their home again.
Observation:  An animal’s plea for preserving its life in nature rather than in captivity as a showpiece.

We Can’t Live without Cosmos – (Russia) by Konstantin Bronzit and Melnitsa Animation Studio.
         Two astronauts have dreamed about going into space since they were children.  Now, they’ve made it to astronaut training. The danger of the mission is made clear by their watching two bodies being brought past them from a space capsule, although two other astronauts walked off the ship very proudly.  One of the trainee astronauts is chosen to go next, and the other is in reserve.  We’re curious as to what will transpire with these two figures.
Observation:  Weighing the cost/benefit ratio of space exploration.

Prologue – (UK) by Richard Williams, Imogen Sutton and Animation Masterclass.
       Nature seems serene as a little girl watches bees gathering pollen and a butterfly getting nectar from a flower.  Then suddenly, ugly men appear with shields, swords, and bow and arrows, and crows fly menacingly overhead.  After a fierce battle, the dead are lying on the ground and the little girl runs to her grandmother in fright.
Observation:  War as a spoiler in nature.


Chau:  Beyond the Lines – (US, Viet Nam) By Courtney Marsh, Jerry Franck Synopsis.
          Chau is one of the millions of victims of Agent Orange that was dropped on North Viet Nam between 1961 and 1971.  He is in a “camp” for such children, who are disfigured in all kinds of ways.  Chau’s limbs are affected, but he loves art and has aspirations of becoming an artist and designer of clothes.  Many around him think that is unrealistic, but he is unusually determined, and we see him manage to achieve his dreams.
Observation:  An inspiring tale of one person overcoming incredible odds to achieve his aspirations and independence.

Last Day of Freedom – (US) By Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman.
          Bill Babbit has a younger brother who served two terms as a U.S. Marine in Viet Nam.  Unfortunately, Manny returned with PTSD and possibly paranoid schizophrenia.  He ends up with Bill and his family providing him a home and looking out for him.  Then one day, Bill discovers incriminating evidence against Manny.  He considers carefully what to do, and seems to do exactly the right thing.  The problem comes when the legal system does exactly the opposite of what Bill was led to believe would happen by the Police Department.
Observation: An exasperating personal experience changes a man’s opinion about an important issue, the death penalty.

Body Team 12 – (Liberia) By David Darg, Bryn Mooser.
       The film is narrated by a dedicated health care worker in a team that picks up the bodies after death and takes them to be disposed of safely.  She is soft-spoken and sympathetic toward family members who are openly grieving and not wanting to let the body of their loved one go.  She counsels them gently, and shows a patriotic spirit in that she sees herself as helping to save her country.  Finally, she notes that although she is the only female on a team, she thinks women are better suited to the task compared to the men.
Observation:  A picture of the terrible aftermath of an Ebola outbreak.

Claude Lanzmann:  Spectres of the Shoah – (Canada) By Adam Benzine
         Claude Lanzman is a French journalist who made a film called Shoah about the murder of European Jews in World War II, and considered by some to be a masterpiece; but what kind of masterpiece is the question Benzine explores in this documentary short.      
         Lanzmann’s film was commissioned by the Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1973.  Lanzmann was intimidated by the proposal, and upon first hearing it, walked the streets of Paris all night wondering whether to say yes.  By morning, he had made his decision to do it.  It turned out that it took 12 years to complete—longer than anyone expected, and took its toll on Lanzmann himself.  It’s a report on the Holocaust told from the Jewish perspective, and is not about the survivors; it’s about death.  Lanzmann interviewed people like the Sonderkommandos (those who disposed of the bodies) a Nazi guard, and a Nazi officer. 
          For this documentary, Adam Benzine interviewed Lanzmann about his early life and his life-changing journey through the 12-year process of making the film, using outtake footage from the filming of Shoah to compose a brilliantly filmed account of a remarkable man’s dedication in showing the world a picture of the Holocaust as seen through Jewish eyes.
Observation:  A realistic account of a dedicated jounalist’s drive to elaborate on what the world knew about the Jewish Holocaust.

A Girl in the River:  The Price of Forgiveness – (Pakistan) By Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
        So-called “honor killings” are legal in Pakistan.  Over 1,000 Pakistani women are murdered every year by male relatives who believe the girl/woman dishonored their families.  Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy does an excellent job in helping westerners understand this centuries old tradition—not that we would agree, but we can see their thought processes.  It is related to their belief that God wishes for women to be under the control of men and to their concerns about preserving the community. If two families in the same neighborhood begin fighting the whole neighborhood could be threatened.  But if the victim and her family come to a place of forgiveness, community life can return to normal. 
          Young Saba, whose father and uncle shot her in the face and dumped her in the river to die, does publicly forgive them so they can be released from jail and support their families, but deep in her heart, she says she will never forgive them.
Observation:  One hopes the younger generation can effect change in this barbaric process.

Note:  Body Team 12, Claude Lanzmann:  Specters of the Shoah, and A Girl in the River are HBO documentaries.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Chris Pine     Casey Affleck     Ben Foster     Eric Bana

          The rescue boat for a sinking ocean liner ends up without a compass during the mission, and most of the audience could use a similar guide in order to understand what is going on in The Finest Hours.  Perhaps those with a Boston/New England accent will comprehend more, but unless they are familiar with nautical terms and have sharp ears for dialog over the cacophony of special effects sounds, I think they too will be mystified at least part of the time. 
         We get acquainted right away with Bernie Webber (Pine) and his friend Richard Livesay (Foster) as members of the Coast Guard in Massachusetts.  They’re easygoing and likeable, and Bernie has a reputation for going by the book.  He finds it easy to be polite and respectful of his elders and his superior, Captain Daniel Cluff (Bana), a man not well respected by the Coast Guard crew, who doubt his judgment.
           This is exemplified by his order for Webber to put together at great risk a rescue team on a 36-foot boat when a brutal nor’easter strikes and oilers at sea are sinking, one in particular being the Pendleton.  Chief Engineer Ray Sybert (Affleck) is on that ship, and since all the commanding officers were on the part of the ship broken off by hurricane strength winds and stormy seas, his knowledge of sailing makes him the effective leader.
          The Finest Hours is based on a true story written down by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman in a book with the same title.  Even a small sample of their clearly written prose pulls the reader in immediately and sustains his/her attention.  The movie, The Finest Hours suffers from the screenwriters (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson) and Director Craig Gillespie not realizing that a naïve audience is not going to understand the technical terms that are indistinctly shouted out, even if they could hear them over the din of the rushing sea, howling winds, clanking of huge chains, and motor sounds.  We do get some of the heroics of the Webber and Sybert characters—remarkable with the Doubting Thomases surrounding them—but not to the extent that makes it clear what is happening in a scene.  Inserting some explanations along the way—perhaps voiced by other characters—would have been helpful.
          Instead, the script calls for the insertion of a rather silly love story with the female character clearly being drawn from male concepts of what a “strong” woman would do (e.g., propose to a man, think that she could cheekily appeal to a captain on an emotional basis, and then flounce off in a huff, leaving her coat and gloves behind during a winter storm!).  Of course, this character (unfortunately for the actress, Holliday Grainger) ends up being rather unlikeable. 
          The Finest Hours is in 3D, but I couldn’t see that it made that much of a difference.  Carter Burwell’s music and Javier Aguirresarobe’s cinematography do elevate the presentation of this film.

A film primarily for northeastern sea lovers; for the rest of us, it’s mainly continuous howling winds and stormy seas.

Grade:  D+                                    By Donna R. Copeland

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Geza Rohrig     Levente Molnar     Urs Rechn

          Son of Saul gives us an inside view of what took place in Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of the German concentration camps during WWII.  Not previously known perhaps by many of us were work units called Sonderkommandos made up primarily of German Jews who were commanded on threat of death to dispose of bodies and clean up the gas chambers, only to postpone their own deaths.  Saul is in one of these units and has become rather inured to the ghastliness until he comes upon a boy who survived the gas chamber, but was put to death by a Nazi doctor and scheduled for an autopsy.  For some reason—Saul doesn’t actually have a son—Saul identifies the boy as his son and tries desperately throughout the film to find a rabbi and perform a proper burial for him. 
         The camp is much more chaotic than I had imagined it, with hundreds of people being herded to the chambers, or seemingly milling around, the Nazis barking out instructions, and the Sonderkommandos always on hand to do their bidding.  The kommandos have huge red X’s on their backs to identify them. 
        The plot of the film is not very well outlined, and although it is clear that some of the kommandos are planning some kind of uprising, the viewer is expected to infer the details.  Saul manages to earn their scorn and endanger them as well as himself in his mission to attend to a proper burial for his “son.”
         Geza Rohrig as Saul is commendable in his portrayal of a troubled soul who happens upon something that will assuage his guilt and hopelessness.   The camera remains focused on his image throughout, and his expressions convey to us what is going on in his mind.
       I can appreciate the single-mindedness of co-writer (with Clara Royer) and director Laszlo Nemes with which he approached this story.  It will be appreciated by those with a keen interest in the Holocaust, but may be too dense a slog for many viewers.

A film that gives a close-up picture of one of the Nazi death camps.

Grade:  C+                                                    By Donna R. Copeland


Chloe Grace Moretz   Nick Robinson  Alex Roe  Liev Schreiber  Maria Bello  Ron Livingston  Maggie Siff

          What are the waves, this being the fifth, you may ask.  The Fifth Wave refers to a series of attacks by an alien planet that needs earth’s resources.  Their invasion comes in waves, such as a gigantic power outage, an earthquake with tsunami, Asian flu, occupation (including occupation of individual humans), and finally full-on invasion with the purpose of killing all survivors.
           Cassie (Moretz) is the narrator who is in high school when the first wave hits.  She is living with her mother, father, and younger brother and interested in the usual teen preoccupations.  She has a crush on a classmate and is teased by her best friend.  With progressive waves of alien attacks, she anguishes about her losses, but is determined to rescue her brother who was taken away with other children in a school bus on orders of the U.S. military.  Cassie was supposed to go too, but missed it when she went to fetch her brother’s toy bear. 
         What follows is a chronicle of her experiences in trying to survive and rescue her brother and never knowing whether a person she meets is enemy or friend.  The aliens have taken to “occupying” human bodies as a control measure.  All this adds up to a pervasive paranoia in which no one knows whether a person is human or alien. 
          The first half of this drama is intriguing (although not really original in conception), but it eventually devolves into a morass of predictability and romantic kitsch, ending with the pronouncement that “love is not a trick; it’s real.”
         Moretz is at her usual fine skill in portraying a young woman with smarts, always ready to learn, and showing a nice range of emotional expression.  Her two co-stars, Robinson as Ben and Roe as Evan Walker, match her very well, and provide the opportunity to prove that females can be as strong and effective as males.  Further, the character of Ringer (Maika Monroe) is a sassy upstart who uses her brain and skill to figure out a situation and act decisively. 
      The portrayal of males and females is perhaps the only plus in The Fifth Wave.  Females are both nurturing/caring and skillful in fighting, and males are protective and strong while also giving females space to show what they can do. 
         Enrique Chediak’s cinematographic art comes through repeatedly, most strikingly when Cassie and her brother have climbed a tree to escape the tsunami.  He shows a bird’s eye view of them that quickly evolves into a palette of leaves, making the viewer wonder if they survived.
          While it’s not perhaps as original as desired, Director J. Blakeson has put together an interesting apocalyptic tale with talented actors.  I take a bit of a jaundiced eye toward it in its playing up the existence of a threat implying that everyone should be armed at all times.  Guns are highlighted so much I began to wonder if the NRA helped finance the movie. 

Gun advocates will love this movie; others, perhaps, not so much.

Grade:  D+           By Donna R. Copeland


Oscar Isaac     Garrett Hedlund     Mark Wahlberg     Walton Goggins

            Mojave suggests that the Mojave Desert is the go-to place for reflection and revelations about oneself and the world.  Thomas (Hedlund) embarks upon that journey, but encounters experiences he never dreamed of.  This happens because out there he encounters Jack (Isaac) who inserts himself into Thomas’s life after they engage in cryptic conversations about who they are, Jack being much more forthcoming than Thomas.  After a brutal encounter, Thomas walks away, assuming he will never see Jack again.  But then a man appears at the entrance of the cave where he is sleeping.  Nothing will be the same after that.
            Thomas is a successful screenwriter with all the accoutrements it offers (mansion, beautiful wife, child) in partnership with a studio executive.  But that doesn’t mean he is happy; he is filled with ennui and existential anxiety.  Hence, the trip to the desert.
            Thomas and his partner Norman (Wahlberg) embody America’s fantasies about the successful Hollywood stars and executives who are completely unaware of the disillusioned and broken “99%.”  This is shown by the cool confidence of both Thomas and Norman, who are preoccupied with mundane problems that confront them daily.  In contrast, Jack is bothered, very resentful, and determined to “make them pay” for his unhappiness (about which we never get details).  None of this happens quickly; it’s a slow slog through their encounters. 
            The basic point of this film is difficult to discern.  Jack is clearly sociopathic (well played by Isaac) and Thomas is troubled.  But the film never clues us in to the background trauma for either.  Thomas seems to have “everything”, but the film does not make clear what troubles him so much he is suicidal.  We would also need to hear something about Jack’s story that made him well read and possibly educated; but what has happened to him that made him outraged enough to commit criminal acts?
            As told, Mojave leaves us begging for more; as it stands, it doesn’t make much sense.

A film that tells you little about the three main protagonists.

Grade:  D+                             By Donna R. Copeland

Monday, January 18, 2016


Jacir Eid Al-Hwietal     Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen     Hassan Mutlag Al-araiyeh

           The Bedouin Desert has its own rules, and young Theeb (Al-Hwietal) has learned them well, although he also has a streak of the rebel and is eager to become a man.  His older brother Hussein (Al-Sweilhiyeen) steps in after they’ve lost their father, and shows patience with Theeb, dutifully teaching him adult responsibilities like hunting and caring for the camels.  Theeb is intensely curious, and when a sheikh and a British officer arrive for a visit, Theeb can’t keep his hands off the British man’s possessions—and the Brit has none of the patience of Hussein.  He really comes unglued when Theeb touches a mysterious wooden box rumored to contain gold.
          It turns out the visitors are headed to a certain well in the desert and a railroad depot farther on and want Hussein to be their guide as they travel through dangerous territory.  It’s agreed, and the three men set off into the desert on their camels.  They do not know that Theeb intends to join them, trying desperately to keep up on his donkey, and using their footsteps in the sand for guidance.  It is nightfall before he catches sight of them again at their camp.  It will be the first of several times that Theeb is urged to return home, but he is determined, and the trip turns out to be his own hero’s journey and coming-of-age venture.
         The plot is slow-paced, but fascinating in its tale of desert life during WWI when the English are fighting the Ottomans and are in the process of building a railroad through the Wadi Rum desert—to the dismay of many of the local Arabs.  Jordanian writer/director Naji Abu Nowar’s story and his production is impressive in its depth and scope, highlighting different points of view, cultural tensions, and the influence of moral codes and blood ties, with the central theme being the hopeful transition of a young naïve boy in the desert into a much wiser young man.
       The film is Jordan’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards, having previously won best director for Nowar at the Venice International Film Festival.  For his actors, Nowar drew from local Bedouins in southern Jordan.  Young Jacir Al-Hwietal seems to be a natural in his portrayal of a boy who must project strong emotional turmoil, pleasure, and satisfaction on his difficult, life-threatening and sometimes tragic journey. 

A fine, intricate coming-of-age tale in the Jordanian desert.

Grade:  A                                         By Donna R. Copeland

Friday, January 15, 2016


          Waves’98 is an animated short film by Ely Dagher from Lebanon that will be shown at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival after its previous win of the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes.  It is a wonderful depiction of an internal journey of an adolescent that culminates in insight.
         We first meet the subject when he is at home in Beirut, thoughtful, brooding, and filled with ennui.  He’s tired of everything, seeing the world as chaos and a mess, and convinced that nothing ever changes.  He looks at his parents, and like many adolescents thinks, “I don’t want to be like them.”  At night, he sits with legs hanging over the roof of his building and looks out at all the tenements around him and you wonder what he is contemplating, when an image of him swinging in his backyard seems to appear to him.  Immediately thereafter, a bright light appears in the distance and he stands up and stares at it, intrigued. 
         Other nights, he goes out and looks for the light, but it doesn’t reappear, so he decides to hop on his motorbike and investigate the area of the city from which it seems to emanate.  When he’s in the area he slams on his brakes because he suddenly comes across a gigantic metal sculpture in the form of an elephant.  He’s not the only one; there are two other guys and a girl who see it, and when an opening appears and they jump in, he goes after them. 
         When he gets blasted out of the elephant, he is lying face up on the pavement with the other three.  They strike up a friendship, spend time together, and soon, the world begins to look much different.  Back at home, he’s able to use the fanciful experiences he’s had to enable him to run away from the old scripts that try to surface and drag him back into the sump.
     Waves ’98 is short animated film at its best.  It manages to convey and illustrate substantive messages with finely drawn, sculptured figures and a tiny bit of dialog.  Ely Dagher, the writer, animator, and director clearly has a future in filmmaking.

A highly creative illustration of adolescent craving, insight, and resolution.

Grade:  A                                    By Donna R. Copeland


Voices of:     Rob Schneider     Heather Graham     Ken Jeong     Bill Nighy

          It’s disappointing that Norm of the North had a great opportunity to contribute to children’s understanding of climate change and its consequences; instead, it presents a simplistic and rather self-serving argument about preserving the Arctic and why humans should be concerned about it.  By focusing entirely on saving a few polar bears’ home, no mention is made of the Arctic’s importance to all animal and human kind.  It implies that if we can just keep the real estate moguls out of it, the area will remain pristine, e.g., no mention is made of global warming or the effects of cargo ships sailing through the melted ice.
          Dramatic elements are quite silly; it’s one thing to be fanciful and another to plug in whatever comes to mind without regard for cohesion or logical transitions.  Norm (Schneider) is a gentle bear who is next in line to be king of the Arctic, but he is awkward and a poor hunter.  He is shown to have too soft a heart to kill his prey and is ridiculed by all the other animals.  Instead, he likes to dance, as in a real human dance, which is one of the endless anthropomorphic twists that are thematic throughout the story. 
         Norm ends up in New York City, and his path crosses that of Vera (Graham) who works for Mr. Greene, a crooked and really evil real estate developer with plans to build houses “that no one needs” up in the Arctic.  Vera makes friends with Norm (and the three unexplained lemmings accompanying him) and introduces him to her genius daughter.  Intrigue sets in when Greene’s evil intentions begin to surface, and is further complicated by the need to rescue Norm’s grandfather who has been missing for a long time. 
       There is no cohesive story here and nothing to indicate how Norm matures and becomes a true hero.  It all seems to happen randomly and magically.  It does move along much like a cartoon strip, but without the cleverness and humor that usually goes with comics.  Humor is mostly of the hackneyed pratfall, farting and urinating variety. 

If you asked children who saw this movie what it is about, I doubt they could tell you.

Grade:  F                                    By Donna R. Copeland