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2 Stars Movies

Winnie-the-Pooh is a labor reformer in Disney’s Christopher Robin

Given its sluggish pace, depressive tone, and dramatization of the origin of Paid Time Off for postwar UK laborers, whom exactly was the intended audience for Christopher Robin? Kids with premature midlife crises and uncommonly long attention spans? Adults with low vocabularies and an acceptance of brain-bending metaphysics? Think about it too hard, and it’s the stuff of nightmares as Robin’s (Ewan McGregor) acid-flashbacks to his childhood fantasias come to life, not just for him but for the entire world.

There are no better models for the all-ages family film than Paddington and Paddington 2, full stop. It is possible to illuminate kids about immigration and judicial reform and yet still indulge in tasty pastries and runaway trains.

Categories
1 Star Movies

The dreadful Jack the Giant Slayer is soullessly engineered escapism

Director Bryan Singer‘s Jack the Giant Slayer is almost unbearably dreadful. It continues a recent trend in the fantasy genre: fairy tails used as raw material for soullessly engineered all-ages escapism. See also: Snow White and The Huntsman and Tim Burton’s appalling Alice in Wonderland.

It’s hard to understand how Singer could demonstrate the ability to turn pulpy material into smart movies (a la The Usual Suspects and X-Men), and yet also be so tone deaf to turn out the misconceived Superman Returns, and now this.

Replete with enough gruesome yet bloodless violence to earn a PG-13 rating (thrill to the sight of crushed heads, arrows through tongues, etc., all without the annoying little consequences that go with murder). All of this is absurd, as otherwise the movie is too dumb and simplistic to appeal to anyone over 12.

Worst of all, Jack the Giant Slayer is a pitiful waste of its vastly overqualified cast, including Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor, Stanly Tucci, Bill Nighy, and Eddie Marsan. Unfortunately and perhaps inevitably, whatever charisma these veterans are able to project through the CGI noise only reveals the two leads (Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson) as hopelessly outclassed, generic, bland, and boring.

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