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Kung-Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda film poster, with Po in the middle.

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Everybody’s favorite Kung-Fu fighting panda returns in this latest film! And although the film is the second highest grossing in the United States, the inevitable question must be asked: did DreamWorks make the cut in meeting fan’s expectations with this sequel, or did they fall short?

The film starts with a history of its primary antagonist – Lord Shen, heir to throne in Gongmen City, and a dastardly peacock with plans for world domination (or at least all of China). He has taken the beloved recreational firework and turned it into a destructive weapon of war, yet he does not stop with this apparently inexcusable act.. After learning of a prophecy told by his parent’s soothsayer that he will one day be thwarted by a black and white warrior, he ascertains a team of wolves and makes a mass genocide of the panda species – gaining the attention of his parents who banish him after learning of his evil deeds. Enraged, he takes over the royal palace (which has now come under the control of Kung Fu masters Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, and Croc) a short time later (once his parents have died of grief), using his firework cannon to defeat the legendary Kung-Fu masters – exterminating Rhino, and locking Ox and Croc in the dungeon.

After the brief introduction, we join Po, the Dragon Warrior, on a fairly usual day. After some training with Shifu (pay close attention, as the particular move he is taught will become a pivotal point in the film) Po joins the Furious Five on a mission to town where wolf bandits are stealing all the metal they can find in order to mass-produce cannons for Lord Shen. While fighting, Po sees a “vision of the past,” incurred from a symbol he spots on the head bandit’s sleeve – portraying his birth mother and father, and a great fire seeming to envelope them. While thus distracted, Po is knocked down and the bandits flee into the mountains with a fair amount of the metal. When the warriors arrive back home, Shifu briefly tells them of the attack on the Kung-Fu masters (shown at the beginning of the film), before sending them out on a mission to defeat Lord Shen. All the while, Po remains in great complexion over his past, at one time inquiring of his goose father, Mr. Ping, “where he came from.” When the warriors arrive at the city and encounter Lord Shen, they found themselves poorly equipped, and nearly defeated. The future seems dim for Gongmen City, but there is hope on the horizon if Po can master “inner peace,” and grow as the Dragon Warrior.

From a family perspective, the movie is quite enjoyable! Suitable for a variety of ages, with content fitting for each. The violence and images are about at par with the first movie, never displaying blood and gore, though with evident death. The movie is rated PG and should be reserved for kids beyond their toddler years, around 6-10+. From a Christian perspective, the movie is abounding with philosophy from Eastern religions, entailing inner peace and other such conceptions – Bhuddist philosophies which have been been pointed out by a recent Freshly Pressed post. The lessons within the movie must be taken with spiritual discernment – having confidence in oneself is a must, however, having foremost trust and confidence in God and His Son is vital. The world we live in now is not an illusion – we have been created and placed here for a purpose and given free will to choose. We have been made for love – to have passion for our God and passion for his work. We are not good in and of ourselves, we find righteousness in the process of sanctification – following God and defying self through the power of the Holy Spirit given us.

Films to Look Forward To: Up & Coming (Part I: Jan. – Jun. 2011)

2009 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch Potato C...

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The last few years have shown a variety of great movies, yet what of future films? In no particular order, here’s a few movies you may want to check out when they come around to theaters:

  1. Like Hoodwinked? It certainly brought about a fresh perspective to the old tale of Red Riding Hood – and an entirely redone plot to boot. While not at the same level of DreamWorks, it certainly passed as a successful animated film.  Coming to theaters April 29th, 2011 (my birthday as well) is its sequel: Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil [1].
  2. Thorarguably one of the greatest super heroes in the Marvel Universe (although I remain an advocate for the Green Arrow) comes to theaters May 6, 2011, let the epic war of the worlds begin [2].
  3. If you’re a fan of this Disney series, you’ll certainly want to watch its next installment! Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides comes to theaters May 20, 2011 [3].
  4. Now who could forget DreamWorks Kung-Fu Panda? Or miss its sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom? Watch Po face off against one of his greatest challenges yet… an Emperor Peacock! Skadoosh-ing into theaters May 26, 2011. Somehow I’m not shaking in my boots, though its certain to be one of this year’s best family-comedies [4].
  5. Did someone say X-Men? Marvel is  on a one-track, no-stops, back-to-back movie release agenda, and X-Men: First Class is next in its line-up! Can’t pass by an origins movie, now can we? Be sure to see all the action June 3, 2011 [5]!
  6. The green guardian sweeps into theaters June 17th, 2011 [6]. Green Lantern appears to take on the traditional role of recent super hero movies, with a modern plot and perception twist in order to expand its audience not only to comic lovers, but to the general movie-goers as well. Whether the series will meet up to the Iron Man trilogy however, is yet to be seen.
  7. Jim Carry takes on the role of Mr. Popper in theaters June 17, 2011 [7] on Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Watching how this fun children’s novel meets modern cinema will be something to behold indeed, and with Mr. Carry at the forefront of the show, we may have some laughs as well.

Here we’ll have to cut the list short until tomorrow, which will list movies from July 2011, to late 2012. Be sure not to miss it!


That’s one long list…

This weekend I’m compiling a fairly lengthy list of films, 2011-2012, that may just make that blockbuster status with an explosion of box office sales. Included are films generally related to what I typically review. Such as Kung-Fu Panda II, and many others.

If you’re looking for a good movie this year, or even planning ahead for next year – don’t miss it!

Next up…

Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

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As I compile reviews and whatnot, I’ll do a few brief “how-to’s” of various sorts, including Forum-making, basic graphic-making, and more reviews. Maybe the original Iron Man?

In addition, I will answer some of the prompts given at the Daily Post.

Look for it this week on the Adventure Writer Blog!

 

 

Book icon with the French flag.

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In the meantime, feel free to read some of our most popular articles and pages!

Kung-Fu Panda

Polls! {Updated}

The X-Structure

Disney’s: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Boredom by Snow: How to Stay Entertained

Iron Man II

Artemis Fowl & The Atlantis Complex

WordPress comes to Nintendo DSi

How to Train Your Dragon

Tron: Legacy 3-D

Double Review: National Treasure 1/2/(3)

Cover of "National Treasure (Widescreen E...

Cover of National Treasure (Widescreen Edition)

With a third installment on it’s way next Christmas (see “Recommendations” for details), I thought it’d be a good idea to reflect back on this terrific, action-packed, suspense-filled, adrenaline pumped series. The National Treasure franchise has been distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer – starring Nicholas Cage as the main character, Benjamin Franklin Gates.

Benjamin Gates is a sort of modern day Indiana Jones, without the James Bond attitude (with which Indy has become famous) – having a rather more fitting personality for the film’s environment. Gates is a history buff and a treasure hunter, one tying in with the other. His passion for history fuels his desire for discovery, leading him into exciting adventures and precarious situations…

Film poster for National Treasure: Book of Sec...

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In the first movie, Benjamin Gates is seeking The Charlotte, and old colonial ship which is said to contain that “secret” that will either contain or lead to the unimaginable treasure of the Knight’s Templar. He is accompanied by his tech-savvy friend Riley Poole, and a man with a bit of steel to his attitude – Ian Howe. After the discovery of the ship leads to a clue, indicating that there is a “map” at the back of the famous Declaration of Independence, the crew find themselves at a momentary standstill. Ian however, finds a speedy solution – why not “borrow” the Declaration of Independence for a bit? Appalled by Ian’s blunt malice, Gates refuses to take part, leading into a literal firefight between Ian’s gang and Gate’s party. Gates and Poole are left  trapped aboard an ignited Charlotte, filled gunpowder, and escape with their lives by cleverly locating a smuggler’s room beneath the ship.

In order to prevent Ian from stealing the Declaration of Independence and harming it, Benjamin Gates contacts the FBI, Homeland of Security, and eventually a woman by the name of Dr. Abigail Chase, who works for the National Archives, and finding failure in all situations (but not without “romantically” leaving Miss Chase a surprise gift: the last coin to her collection of historical artifacts… coated in a special residue that will make her fingerprints easy to copy from… say, a glass cup to a glove) he at last comes up with a final, desperate plan: to steal the Declaration of Independence.

With the aid of Riley Poole’s expert hacking abilities and the forging of a custodian’s ID, Benjamin Gates manages to enter the building where the Declaration of Independence is being held, taking advantage of a gala taking place that night. Bypassing security, and with the helpful hand of Dr. Abigail Chase’s fingerprints, Gates manages to secure the Declaration of Independence, but not before a firefight between Ian and his men – good thing the DOI’s (No, not DUI, my personal acronym for the Declaration of Independence) casing is bulletproof.

After a run-in with the FBI, a hostage situation with Ian, clever intellectual trickery, car chases, and all that you’d expect out of a action-packed adventure movie, Gates Jr. (Ben Gates), his new girlfriend Abigail Chase (how’d that happen!), Riley Poole, and Gates Sr. locate the treasure of the Knight’s Templar, give the location of Ian’s gang (who they’ve directed to a false clue elsewhere) to the FBI (along with connections with the chief that are briefly used in the sequel), take a humble 10% of the profits, and get of scot-free, living happily ever after! Till’ the sequel… when they kidnap the POTUS (President of the United States).

In the sequel, National Treasure II: Book of Secrets, Benjamin Gates finds his family name challenged by Mitch Wilkinson, a covert black market dealer who wishes to defile the Gates family name in order to motivate Ben to find the treasure hidden with Mount Rushmore (Ed. Comment: it was all a cover-up! The conspirators were right!). However, in order to find the treasure, Ben Gates must first kidnap the President of the United States (which he does by convincing the President of a secret area beneath the White House, and simply asking him a few questions, though not before showing him the exit with all due politeness and chivalry) so that he may locate the elusive presidential “Book of Secrets.” One clue after another, the treasure is located, Mitch Wilkinson, who took to kidnapping and other Ian-like tactics, was left behind in a last and first observed noble attempt to save the others by holding open a door which was the only way out in the flooded cavern within Rushmore. The treasure, which is a city of gold (built in the design of pyramids), is recovered and accredited to Ben & the Gates family, Abigail, Riley, and, as was his dying wish, Mitch Wilkinson.

Both movies are great for the whole family! Breath-taking, heart-race invoking, suspenseful – it’s certainly worth the while, and up there with some of my favorite films. The movie is suitable for kids around 11-12+ years, considering there is a deal of violence.

If you liked this movie, be sure to check out…

In order of relevance, recommendation, and other factors…

National Treasure III (Christmas 2011)

Adventure Writer Favorite: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [In Theaters]

Tron: Legacy [In Theaters]

How to Train Your Dragon II [Summer 2013]

Disney’s A Christmas Carol [Available on DVD]

Despicable Me [Available on DVD]

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom [May 27, 2011]

Kung-Fu Panda [Available on DVD]

How to Train Your Dragon [Available on DVD]

Iron Man II [Available on DVD]

Iron Man III [May 3rd, 2013]

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World [August 19, 2011]

Captain America: The First Avenger [July 22nd, 2011]

Green Lantern [June 17th 2011]

Sherlock Holmes II [December 16th, 2011]

Ice Age: Continental Drift [July 13th, 2012]

Gates Family Mystery (Book Series – which I have not read)

From Wikipedia: Movie Release Dates.

Favorite Quote:
Benjamin Gates:
A toast? Yeah. To high treason. That’s what these men were committing when they signed the Declaration. Had we lost the war, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and-Oh! Oh, my personal favorite-and had their entrails cut out and burned! [brief pause] So… Here’s to the men who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right… [nodding] what they knew was right. (Wiktionary)

Kung-Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda

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In response to Kung-Fu Panda’s sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom and the availability of the DVD for the holidays, we’ll track back to Kung-Fu Panda, the first movie.

Kung-Fu Panda was created by Dreamworks animation and features the voice talents of Jack Black, who plays the character Po, an overly large Panda who aspires Kung-Fu greatness! However, serving at a noodle shop with his father, a goose named Ping, isn’t getting him anywhere. On one particular day however, he learns of a tournament that is to take place – featuring the Furious Five! A group of Kung-Fu elites who Po admires greatly. With noodle-cart in tow, Po heads for the tournament, but finds he is too late – the doors are shut. Well that won’t stop this Panda! Strapping fireworks to his back, Po manages to ascend “from the heavens” into the arena, where he finds himself at the feet of Master Oogway, an ancient Kung-Fu master, who was in the process of picking the Dragon Warrior who would one day defeat Tai Lung (evil snow leopard), and it just so happens that Po landed right where he was pointing.

Determined to be the Dragon Warrior, Po has to undergo Kung-Fu training, much to the distaste of his mentor, Shifu – who plots to make such a grueling training process that Po will quit and Tigress, his favorite student, may be picked as the Dragon Warrior.

After the death of Master Oogway, however, Shifu changes his tactics. He focuses all his energy into training the panda, and finds that food is a terrific motivation. Soon Po becomes greater than even the Furious Five, finds the strength within himself, and defeats Tai Lung with a mere “Skadoosh!”

Kung-Fu Panda is a movie fit for the whole family – filled with action, adventure, and plenty of laughs.

If you liked this movie, be sure to check out…

In order of relevance, recommendation, and other factors…

Adventure Writer Favorite: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [In Theaters]

Tron: Legacy [In Theaters]

Disney’s A Christmas Carol [Available on DVD]

Despicable Me [Available on DVD]

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom [May 27, 2011]

How to Train Your Dragon [Available on DVD]

Iron Man II [Available on DVD]

Iron Man III [May 3rd, 2013]

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World [August 19, 2011]

X-Men: First Class [June 3rd, 2011]

Captain America: The First Avenger [July 22nd, 2011]

Transformers III: The Dark of the Moon [July 1st, 2011]

Green Lantern [June 17th 2011]

Sherlock Holmes II (December 16th, 2011]

Ice Age: Continental Drift [July 13th, 2012]

From Wikipedia: Movie Release Dates.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Da...

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third installment of the TCON (The Chronicles of Narnia) movies released by Disney, Walden Media, & 20th Century Fox. The first movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a hit, making way for it’s sequel, Prince Caspian, which received a fair amount of positive and critical feedback from it’s fans. The latest film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, seemed to promise much when I first came across the previews – a surge of excitement at finally being able to see the magic brought to life in another blockbuster film. However, was it successful?

Overview & Speculation:

Unlike my opinion with Prince Caspian, I believe The Dawn Treader is well accomplished. Although some areas of the movie differ from the book, I could recall a plethora of scenes that I remembered were in the book (when I read it sometime around 2004). The end even serves to make way for the next two books in the storyline, The Silver Chair and The Final Battle. Though the Final Battle will most likely be the only option, as it appears the Dawn Treader film has already taken many scenes from The Silver Chair.

The movie is filled with amazing effects, beautifully accomplished animation, all-around design, and a fitting cast. It returns with the same feel that was brought about by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, taking the audience back into the magic, wonder, adventure, and inspired genius that is the world of Narnia.

As for the basic storyline:

It has been a year since the events of Prince Caspian, and Edmond and Lucy find themselves in a terrible situation – as the war persists, they must live with their Aunt and Uncle… along with their cousin, Eustace Scrubb, who takes an immediate disliking to the Pevensie children and their Narnia non-sense, and finds no trouble, in his odious manner, in expressing his aversion. As in most stories as this, the boy is bound to become a believer. But how, one may ask? Why, being sucked into a painting! The room fills with the water, once a mere beauty to admire in the painting, now a torrent which violently tosses them back into a sudden reunion with Narnia, and onto one of their greatest adventures yet. Evil has shrouded the land of Narnia once again and Prince Caspian, accompanied by his royal castaways (Edmund and Lucy), must gather the Seven Swords of the Seven Lords (that’s a mouthful…) and set them on Aslan’s Table, which will vanquish the darkness if they succeed.

Many characters reappear from the previous movies, including one of my personal favorites: Reepicheep (beside my top favorite Aslan.)

It’s a terrific movie fit for the whole family – although there are some elements which may be unsuitable to younger audiences [Rated PG].

Religious Elements:

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader is rich in Christian elements and theology.

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there [in your world] I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

The name He speaks of is evident and beyond misconception, though some people may bring up controversy to attempt to establish otherwise. In the world of the Pevensie’s, and our world as well, His name is Jesus Christ – Savior of Humanity – The Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

If you liked this movie, be sure to check out…

In order of relevance, recomendation, and other factors…

Tron: Legacy [December 17, 2010]

Disney’s A Christmas Carol [Available on DVD]

Despicable Me [Available on DVD]

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom [May 27, 2011]

Kung-Fu Panda [Available on DVD]

How to Train Your Dragon [Available on DVD]

Iron Man II [Available on DVD]

Iron Man III [May 3rd, 2013]

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World [August 19, 2011]

X-Men: First Class [June 3rd, 2011]

Captain America: The First Avenger [July 22nd, 2011]

Transformers III: The Dark of the Moon [July 1st, 2011]

Green Lantern [June 17th 2011]

Sherlock Holmes II (December 16th, 2011]

Ice Age: Continental Drift [July 13th, 2012]

From Wikipedia: Movie Release Dates.

Despicable Me

Despicable Me

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Despicable Me is a new animated film produced by Universal Studios. It’s about a super villain named Gru who, due to being denied money from the Bank of Evil, must come up with a dastardly plan of mass-proportions… and he certainly has. With his heart set on stealing the moon and proving himself as the greatest evil villain of all time, will Gru achieve his goal? Or will three little orphan girls get in his way?

Despicable Me is certainly a movie for the whole family – filled with heart-warming moments, a dash of Shrek-level toilet humor, and loads of laughs. For those seeking a moralistic film, this movie has a little bit of that too. Teaching the importance of family, friendship, and achieving your dreams. It’s an imaginative adventure that will not fail to please.

The plot is simple, and follows the example of many of the family-films produced by Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and other such companies. It doesn’t have any deep psychological meaning, complex  characters, or intense action sequences. It’s made for kids and kids-at-heart.

If you liked this movie, be sure to check out…

Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom [May 27, 2011]

Kung-Fu Panda [Available on DVD]

Megamind [In Theaters as of 11/27/2010]

How to Train Your Dragon [Available on DVD]

Toy Story 3 [In Theaters {as of 11/27} & on DVD]

WALL-E [Available on DVD]

Ratatouille [Available on DVD]

Up [Available on DVD]

Tangled [In Theaters as of 11/27/2010]

From Wikipedia: Movie Release Dates.