Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Dreamworks Animation SKG has set high standards with its Shrek series, and follow ups like Shark Tale. Somehow this film falls short of expectations, and the best bits seemed to have been featured in the trailers.

Without going into the story details which you can piece together from promotions - this one has neither the zaniness nor a level of adult sophistication which we are spoilt with, and it seemed pretty back to basics.

Sure the spoofs are there - but not as rampant as the other animations (See? I'm comparing here! It's the standards that are set! I can't help it!). I've only managed to spot Zoolander, American Beauty, Cast Away, and given the premise, how can anyone not spoof the reality TV series Survivor? The lack of spoofs might not mean much, but dialogue without much wit doesn't cut out for me. Louis Armstrong's Born Free being played ad nausem also got to me.

Despite its flaws, the animation is still top notch. The animals are beautifully drawn, and as always, contain that hint of their real life actors in them, like caricatures. In the zebra, you see Chris Rock, the Lion, the cockiness and self-importance of most Ben Stiller's reel life characters, and David Schwimmer's prominent neck resulted in him being handed the role of the giraffe. Jada Pinkett Smith as the hippopotamus? Now that's something different!

Some of you might fall in love with the potential of the supporting characters, and at times, it seemed that they upstage the main leads. The pair of monkeys (one can read but can't speak, the other can't read but speaks with a stiff upper lip), the gang of penguins (they steal the show each scene they're in), a squirrel with rip-off Shrek's-puss-in-boots eyes (awww...), and my personal favourite - the crazed Lemur King, who speaks like an Indian chief (he sounds like one anyway!).

Perhaps with a little bit of direction and a more focussed script (for kids? Or for adults? Or having elements of both to entertain adults and kids alike? Kids were falling asleep in this film - a sin for animation!) this could turn out into a hit. Alas the Dark Side of the Force is strong, and I really don't see this scaling to the peak of the (US) movie charts and dethroning the Sith.

The saving grace for me - the madcap jungle banghra rave party! WOOHOO! Repeated again as the end credits roll, but nothing at the end except for a hippo who thinks its a Tinkerbell.

This review is brought to you by free preview tickets from Yahoo! Asia. I took part in one of their contest in which I had to explain why I deserve the tickets. My answer - I behave like a monkey and my room is like a pig-sty. The things I would say to get freebies...

Seemed like a lot of people saw the same preview, given the entire halls 1-5 of Cineleisure was block booked for this event. The freebie doorgift? One Bossini plastic bag containing writing pads, bookmarks, flyers, and a small box of cereal.

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