Angry Birds

At first, I was unsure how they could possibly make a feature length film form an addictive mobile game. Key points you may recognize from the game, such as the oversized slingshot, teetering towers, and birds with unusually destructive abilities are fit into the story without seeming anymore outlandish than you’d expect from an animated movie.

Angry Birds, while appearing to be aimed at kids, definitely has a great many thinly veiled adult jokes. Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) is amusing in his own cynical way that many people can probably relate to.

The entire movie, in the end, is really just a bunch of animated skitz layered over a pretty basic storyline. If you’re after a quick giggle that doesn’t require much thought or attention, give this a go.

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The Jungle Book

Forget about your worries and you strife with this new adaption of Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. Director Jon Favreau’s use of modern animation is truly mesmerizing as he builds this story and world around young Mowgli (Neel Sethi).

At times, it’s hard to believe the world laid out before you is, in fact, the product of computers. The beautiful scenery shows the diversity of the jungle and creates homes for the multitude of animals residing there. The amount of detail put into each individual tree and animal works toward building a decidedly realistic world.

Along his journey, Mowgli finds help in the form of Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), a by the rules, regal, black panther, and Baloo (Bill Murray), a big, lovable, lazy to a fault, bear. While Bagheera stands firm with the law of the jungle, Baloo mixes things up. While the panther seeks to instill in Mowgli the importance of knowing the rules and following them, our bear does this a little different. While singing about “The Bare Necessities” Baloo goes about his life aiming to do the least amount of work possible amount of work to achieve his desired outcome.

No story is complete without its villain. Idris Elba gives voice to Shere Khan, the tiger with a taste for man-cub. While attempting to avoid Shere Khan, Mowgli comes across none other than King Louie who, voiced by Christopher Walken, treats us to a new rendition of the classic song “I Wan’na Be Like You”.

While still following the story of the Disney movie many of us loved as children, the 2016 Jungle Book takes on a slightly darker style of adventure that is sure to enthrall you. 

Kung Fu Panda 3

Dragon warrior, Kung Fu fighter, total nerd. Jack Black is once again bringing to life the cuddly, and excitable Po as he and the Furious Five band together to save China from great evil. We rejoin our heroes as Po is tasked with a seemingly impossible challenge, one that anyone can see he surely must be doomed to fail.
With quick paced humour being thrown from every direction, there’s guaranteed to be something to make everyone laugh. As well as some well placed wisdom that some of us are sure to relate to. “We’re pandas. We don’t do stairs.”

But fun times and levity aside, there are some important pieces of wisdom being bestowed upon us by these great Kung Fu masters and their allies. Characters from Po’s past and present learn that sometimes, we do the wrong things for the right reasons. They learn about thinking outside the box to get the job done, about working together, and about self-sacrifice.

We are carried through this tale with soaring melodies and beautiful scenery, as we follow our unlikely hero on his quest to save his friends and family. Directors, Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh, team up with the voice talents of Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and David Cross to take us on their third epic adventure through China.

With all the wisdom that is bestowed in this Kung Fu adventure, one piece stands out. Master Shifu gifts us with this particular insight. “If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than you are.”

All of this combines to create a great movie for the whole family to enjoy.

Zootopia

Photo: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Classic cop drama meets zoological, family fun. Zootopia takes the dry witty humor of a good old fashioned cop movie and throws in the childlike wonder you get from seeing your favourite animals walking and talking and turns it into something you really shouldn’t miss!With beautifully designed scenery, Zootopia showcases the diversity of not only the animal kingdom, but human society, too. We see allowances made for creatures of different breeds, shapes, sizes and abilities that makes you want to chase your dreams while encouraging those around you to reach further, jump higher, run faster, and try harder.

The combined genius of story writers and directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush, takes us through an all too familiar tale of expectations and prejudices that are thrust upon our unlikely heroes, Officer Judy Hopps and the street-wise Nick Wilde. Hopps and Wilde, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, teach some important lessons about not letting other people’s negative opinions bring you down; or if you can’t do something the way you’re expected to, find a way that works for you.

Bringing together the crazy high-jinx of our overly optimistic bunny cop with the cynical foxy conman, topped with a few jokes for the parents and some peppy music from Shakira, we are left with a great movie for people of all ages. With all the ups, downs, round and rounds, Officer Hopps’ words really ring true. “Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”