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Movie Reviews: Kung-Fu Panda, Wall-E, & Space Chimps

I’m a science fiction fan and I have children. So it’s no surprise that I find myself, from time to time, watching children’s movies. Children’s movies have been influenced by the fantasy genre for so long, it does my heart good to see movies coming out that are actually being influenced by science fiction…

Space Chimps



I was expecting much more from this movie. The concept, a movie about chimpanzee astronauts, seemed like a slam-dunk. I like chimps. I like astronauts. Space Chimps just didn’t work for me. What looked like a solid hard-SF comedy quickly descended into cutesy fantasy. The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be Apollo 13 (with chimps) or Dr. Seuss. To be fair, the animation was good, but if I hadn’t been there with my children I would have walked out of the theater – something that I’ve never felt inclined to do before (and I’ve sat through Star Wars: The Phantom Menace).

Final opinion: wait for it to be broadcast on television, and then go watch something else.

Wall-E



I’ve been a huge fan of Pixar ever since Toy Story, the first 3D CGI feature length movie. They’ve produced well-crafted movies ever since. I keep waiting for them to slip-up, but they have yet to disappoint me. Wall-E was great, not as good as some of the other Pixar movies (Ratatouille being my personal favorite right now), but a solid performance none-the-less. Pixar excels at telling stories that don’t actually have a villain. Great animation with a good solid story, as expected.

Final opinion: worth seeing, even as an adult.

Kung-Fu Panda



To put it politely, I’m not a big fan of Jack Black. Much like Robin Williams, Jack Black always seems to descend into a parody of himself at some point during his movies. I’ve enjoyed Shallow Hal and School of Rock, but even in those movies at times Jack Black can be “too much.” Times when Jack Black is on screen that I just need to look away. I was dreading this movie, but, since it was a kung-fu movie featuring animals my son definitely had to go see it. I wasn’t expecting much from this movie going in, but I left pleasantly surprised. The overall plot has been compared to that of Star Wars, and the director has admitted to being a Star Wars fan. Even so, it never felt like a knock-off.

Final opinion: it’s a must see.

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N.E. Lilly is the editor of SpaceWesterns.com. When he isn't reading submissions or indulging his love of the Space Western sub-genre, he's developing websites for Science Fiction professionals and organizations through GreenTentacles..

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