Brave vs. Madagascar 3

Something crazy happened this past week.  Somehow the universe aligned and, for the first time since before I had kids probably, I went to see three different movies.  Not from the Redbox, not on the television, but in an actual movie theater!  I feel so spoiled.  Two of the movies I took my whole family to, and the third was not for the kiddos, so we left them with Nini.  And let me tell you, I was surprised by those family movies.  Both of them actually.  Let’s start with:

It was extremely hot this past week, and so when we finally could not take it anymore and the temperature in our house hit 88, we decided that we needed to go somewhere cool and the movies fit the bill.  The only family movie that was out was Madagascar 3, and since we didn’t completely hate the first one (not sure if we saw the second one), our choice was made for us.

Now, I was not super excited about this movie, and if there hadn’t been a heat wave I probably never would have seen it, but I was pleasantly surprised by it.  It was completely ridiculous of course, but in a knowing, winking way.  It was almost as if the movie was saying to me, “Yes, I am aware that everything that is happening here is absurd, and I know that you know that, but the kids love it, so just go with it.”  And I have to tell you, I much prefer a movie like that than one that makes no sense but wants you to think that it does.  One of my favorite lines was when someone was explaining one of the more ludicrous circus acts and says “The audience loved it, because it was physically impossible!”  Thanks for acknowledging that, Madagascar 3.

There were enough grown-up jokes to keep the adults happy, and Ruby, who is 5, had a great time.  More importantly Edward, who is 2, also had a great time and actually sat through the entire thing without attacking any other movie-goers or trying to escape through the projection booth.  A good time was had by all, and we got to sit in the air conditioning for almost two hours.

Of course what we really wanted to see was the new Pixar movie, but it wasn’t out yet.  Luckily, when it did come out, even though we had people visiting for the weekend, it was agreed that everyone wanted to go see it.  So on Saturday afternoon, after hiking up and down Mt. Philo in the morning, we wandered over to the movie theater to see Brave.

I don’t want to give you too many spoilers here, because they have clearly done a great job of not telling you what the movie is actually about in all the previews, but I will say that every one of us in the group left the movie feeling…meh.  We had a guy in his 50’s, three of us in our 30’s, a teenager, and Ruby and Edward, and when it was all over, all any of us could say was “ummm…it was all right I guess.”  Well, Edward could not say that because he cannot talk, but you get the idea.

The worst thing about it for me was that the story was extremely predictable and generic, but that it felt like a Disney movie, not a Pixar movie, and not a good Disney movie either.  It was better than Cars 2, for sure, but it just didn’t measure up to what I had come to expect from Pixar.  At all.  And I really really really wanted to love it.  Although I may have been distracted by all of the screaming.

Did I mention that this movie is terrifying?  At least for my 5 year old it was.  She spent almost the entire movie in my lap or my wife’s lap looking away from the screen and shrieking.  It was very similar to what happened during the Mother Gothel scenes in Tangled, except this time it lasted for pretty much the whole thing.  Edward was not scared, but he also was not really interested in the movie for most of it.  Once his popcorn was gone he set his attention towards bothering the people around us.  At least he was bonking people quietly.  So as a warning to parents who are expecting a funny movie about Celtic people with some adventure thrown in (which is what we got from the previews), I must inform you that SPOILER ALERT, it is a fairly dark movie that includes spooky forest creatures, a witch, evil spells, a lot of angry bears, a lot of main characters trying to kill other main characters, and a big focus on a broken mother-daughter relationship, and even though it all works out in the end, I would say that tone of the film and the potentially scary elements earn this thing a very hard PG rating.  So it’s not for the little kids, which would have been fine if I hadn’t seen every cliche and plot point coming a mile away.  *sigh*

As a closing note, I want to take this time to tell you about a truly excellent film that we went to see last night on a double date with my wife’s sister and her husband, my co-BOBIL member, Uncle Tall Dave.  Safety Not Guaranteed is an independent film, which I guess explains why it was only playing in one theater, with only one showing per day, but boy was it a great movie.  A perfect date movie, it easily appeals to all ages and genders with its themes of regret, loss, seizing the moment, and time travel.   Seriously, go see it.

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Posted in Brave, Madagascar, Movies, Parenting, Pixar, Safety Not Guaranteed.

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