Movie Review

Top 5 – 3D Bluray Family Movie

1) Hugo

Hugo is a 2011 3D historical adventure drama film based on Brian Selznick‘s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret about a boy who lives alone in theGare Montparnasse railway station in Paris. It is directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. It is a co-production between Viacom‘s Nickelodeon MoviesGraham King‘s GK Films and Johnny Depp‘s Infinitum Nihil. The film stars Asa ButterfieldChloë Grace MoretzBen KingsleySacha Baron CohenHelen McCroryRay WinstoneEmily MortimerJude Law, and Christopher Lee.

Hugo is Scorsese’s first film shot in 3D, of which the filmmaker remarked: “I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely.”[4] The film was distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in the U.S. on 23 November 2011.[5]

The film was received with critical acclaim, with many critics praising the visuals, acting, and direction. At the 84th Academy AwardsHugo won five Oscars—for Best CinematographyBest Art DirectionBest Visual EffectsBest Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing—and its 11 total nominations (including Best Picture) was the most for the evening.[6] Hugo also won two BAFTAs and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Plot

In 1931, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a 12-year-old boy living in the walls of the Paris Gare Montparnasse railway station, where he mends the station’s clocks. Previously, he was raised by his widowed father, a museum worker (Jude Law). His father had doted on Hugo, teaching him the art of repairing mechanical devices, taking him to movies, and showing him how he was repairing an automaton (mechanical man) that supposedly could write a message. After his father was killed in a museum fire Hugo was taken in by his alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone) who showed little sentiment for Hugo but taught the boy how to maintain the clocks at the station. When Claude disappears, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks while eking out a living by stealing food and supplies. All the while Hugo lives in fear that if the vigilant Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) were to discover him, he would be turned over to an orphanage.

Hugo continues the work on the automaton. Relying on his father’s notebook for insight, he steals the required parts wherever he can, including from the shop of a toymaker who makes and sells mechanical toys. One day, he is finally caught by the bitter toymaker, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley), who has long known that Hugo robs him. Georges looks through Hugo’s father’s notebook, is evidently strongly affected by it, and keeps it despite Hugo’s protests. Hugo trails Georges to his home to retrieve it. There, he meets Georges’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who promises to help.

At the station on the following day Georges gives some ashes to Hugo, referring to them as the remains of the notebook. Later, Isabelle tells him that the notebook was not burnt, adding that the notebook has somehow deeply disturbed her Papa Georges. Finally, Georges tells Hugo that he may earn his notebook back if he works in the toy store every day to pay for all the items Hugo stole. During his free time, Hugo continues to work on the automaton. When it is finished, however, it is still missing one part: a heart-shaped key that goes into the back of the automaton to make it work.

As the two grow close together, Hugo takes Isabelle to the movies, something that Georges would never let her do, while she introduces him to a bookstore owner (Christopher Lee) who has loaned her books in the past.

Georges Méliès drawing similar to the one drawn by the automaton in the film

Hugo is surprised to find that Isabelle wears a heart-shaped key as a necklace. He asks to borrow it, but Isabelle refuses to lend the key to him unless he tells her why he needs it. At first he declines, but his desire to see the automaton operate leads him to take Isabelle to see the automaton. They use the key to start the automaton, and watch as it draws out an iconic image from the film Voyage to the Moon by the film pioneer Georges Méliès. When the automaton writes a signature beneath the drawing, Isabelle recognizes the name as her godfather’s own. They take the drawing to Georges’ home for an explanation. They ask Isabelle’s godmother Mama Jeanne (Helen McCrory) but she will not tell them anything. As Georges arrives home, Jeanne forces the children into a back room, where they find a hidden compartment in an armoire. In the compartment is a small chest containing a copy of the automaton’s drawing, along with many other drawings. The noise of a collapsing chair draws Georges into the room, and he throws Hugo out, feeling betrayed.

Some time later, Hugo and Isabelle discuss Méliès with the bookstore owner; he directs them to the Film Academy section of the library, telling them just where they may find a book on the history of film. As they read the book, its author, Rene Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), appears and describes his love for Méliès’s work. The book asserts that Méliès died during World War I, but the children convince Tabard that the filmmaker is still alive. Tabard reveals he has the last known copy of Voyage, and he suggests that they go to the Georges’ house to watch it the next evening. That night, Hugo had a dream where he finds a golden heart-shaped key lying on a railbed in the station but is run over by an approaching train and his dream ends with images of the Gare Montparnasse accidentof 1895.

The next evening, Jeanne is hesitant about letting them show the film until Tabard recognizes her as Jeanne d’Alcy, a frequent and beautiful actress in many of Méliès’ films. When the film finishes, Georges comes out, and emotionally reveals himself to be Méliès, recalling his filmmaking career. He transformed his illusionist skills into the special effects he used for his movies to bring his vivid imagination to life. However, after the horrors of World War I, his films lost popularity with the jaded and disillusioned population, and he became ruined, selling the films to be melted down to chemicals, used to mold shoe heels, and quietly disappeared as a toy maker to sustain himself and Jeanne. Georges is despondent, believing all of his former film materials were otherwise destroyed in a museum fire, leading Hugo to recall the automaton.

Hugo races back to the station to get the automaton (intending to use it as a surprise for Georges), but before he can retrieve it, he is discovered by the Station Inspector who reveals that Claude’s body had been discovered in the River Seine. The Inspector now knows Hugo is an orphan. During the ensuing chase, Hugo climbs up the clock tower and is forced to climb onto the clock hands to hide from the Inspector. When he goes away, Hugo quickly climbs back in and gets the automaton but is quickly cornered again by the Inspector and the automaton is thrown onto the railway tracks. Despite the approach of an oncoming train, Hugo jumps onto the tracks to recover the automaton. With no time to climb back up onto the platform to save himself and the automaton, Hugo appears to face certain death from the oncoming train. However, the Inspector saves Hugo at the last moment. As the Inspector decides whether or not to arrest Hugo, Georges arrives and asserts that Hugo is now in his care. Hugo presents the automaton to Georges.

Sometime later, a film festival is held showcasing over eighty recovered and restored Méliès films. Georges tearfully takes the stage, and thanks Hugo for his dedication and to the other attendees for sharing his imagination with him. After the festival, in the Georges’ house, Hugo has acclimated as Georges’ son, while Isabelle begins writing a book on the recent events. The film ends on a shot of the automaton sitting at a writing desk in a pleasant room, posed as though prepared to resume drawing.

Cast

Michael PittMartin Scorsese and Brian Selznick have cameo roles.

Production

GK Films acquired the screen rights to The Invention of Hugo Cabret shortly after the book was published in 2007. Initially, Chris Wedge was signed in to direct the adaptation and John Loganwas contracted to write the screenplay.[7] The film was initially titled Hugo Cabret. Several actors were hired, including Ben KingsleySacha Baron CohenAsa ButterfieldChloë Grace Moretzand Helen McCroryJude LawRay WinstoneChristopher LeeFrances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths later joined the project. The venture was officially launched into production in London on June 29, 2010. The first shooting location was at the Shepperton Studios in London along with other places in London and Paris.[8] The Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough, also loaned their original Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits rolling stock to the studio.[9][10] The film’s soundtrack includes an Oscar-nominated original score composed by Howard Shore, and also makes prominent use of the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and the first Gnossienne by Erik Satie.

Hugo was originally budgeted at $100 million but overran with a final budget of between $156 million and $170 million.[11] In February 2012, Graham King summed up his experience of producingHugo: “Let’s just say that it hasn’t been an easy few months for me — there’s been a lot of Ambien involved”.

Historical references

The Jaquet-Droz automaton “the writer”, an inspiration for the design of the automaton in the film

The overall backstory and primary features of Georges Méliès‘ life as depicted in the film are largely accurate: he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers‘ camera,[12] he was a magician and toymaker, he experimented with automata, he owned a theatre (Theatre Robert-Houdin), he was forced into bankruptcy, his film stock was reportedly melted down for its cellulose, he became a toy salesman at theMontparnasse station, and he was eventually awarded the Légion d’honneur medal after a period of terrible neglect. Many of the early silent films shown in the movie are Méliès’s actual works, such as Le voyage dans la lune (1902). However, the film does not mention Méliès’ two children, his brother Gaston (who worked with Méliès during his film making career), or his first wife Eugènie, who was married to Méliès during the time he made films (Eugènie died in 1913). The film shows Méliès as having been married to Jeanne d’Alcy during their film making period, when in reality, they did not marry until 1925.

The design for the automaton was inspired by one made by the Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet, which Selznick had seen in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia,[13] as well as the Jaquet-Droz automaton “the writer”.[14]

Several viewings of the film L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat are portrayed, depicting the shocked reaction of the audience – although this view is in doubt.[15]

Emil Lager, Ben Addis, and Robert Gill make cameo appearances as Django Reinhardt, the father of Gypsy jazz guitar, Salvador Dalí, the Spanishsurrealist painter, and James Joyce, the Irish writer, respectively. The names of all three characters appear towards the end of the film’s cast credit list.[16]

The book that Monsieur Labisse gives Hugo as a gift, Robin Hood le proscrit, was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1864 as a French translation of an 1838 work by Pierce Egan the Younger in England. The book is symbolic, as Hugo must avoid the “righteous” law enforcement (represented by Inspector Gustave) to live in the station and later to restore the automaton both to a functioning status and to its rightful owner.

Box office performance

Hugo has earned $73,864,507 domestically and $111,905,653 internationally for a worldwide gross of $185,770,160.[17]

Hugo was cited as one of the year’s notable box office flops despite garnering praise from critics. The film gained $15.4 million over the Thanksgiving weekend and almost $74 million domestically, barely half of its $170 million budget, even though it made strength overseas. Hugo’s perceived failure was due to competition with Disney’s The Muppets and Summit’s Breaking Dawn Part 1[18]The film is set to cost its studio $100 million because of its box office performance.[19]

Producer Graham King expressed that the film’s box office results has been painful. “There’s no finger pointing — I’m the producer and I take the responsibility,” he said glumly. “Budget wise, there just wasn’t enough prep time and no one really realized how complicated doing a 3-D film was going to be. I went through three line producers because no one knew exactly what was going on. Do I still think it’s a masterpiece that will be talked about in 20 years? Yes. But once the schedule started getting out of whack, things just spiraled and spiraled and that’s when the avalanche began.”[20]

Critical reception

Hugo received near universal critical acclaim. The film holds a 94% “Fresh” rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes based on 224 reviews, with an average score of 8.4. The site’s main consensus reads “Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids’ movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema.” Similarly,Metacritic gave the film an average score of 83 based on 41 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”.[21]

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars saying “Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about – movies.”[22] Peter Rainer of the Christian Science Monitor gave it a “B+” grade and termed it as an “an odd mixture: a deeply personal impersonal movie” and concluded that “Hugo is a mixed bag but one well worth rummaging through.”[23] Christy Lemire of the U-T San Diego said that it had an “abundant love of the power of film; being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn’t a prerequisite for walking in the door” besides being “slightly repetitive and overlong”.[24] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune rated it 3 stars and described it as “Rich and stimulating even when it wanders” explaining “every locale in Scorsese’s vision of 1931 Paris looks and feels like another planet. The filmmaker embraces storybook artifice as wholeheartedly as he relays the tale’s lessons in the importance of film preservation.”[25] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave a negative review, saying “visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it’s a clockwork lemon.[26]

Hugo was selected for the Royal Film Performance 2011 with a screening at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London on 28 November 2011 in the presence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in support of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.[27]

Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011, saying “Scorsese’s love poem, rendered gorgeously in 3-D, restores both the reputation of an early pioneer and the glory of movie history – the birth of a popular art form given new life through a master’s application of the coolest new techniques”.[28]

James Cameron called Hugo “a masterpiece” and that the film had the best use of 3D he had seen, surpassing even his own acclaimed films.[29]

2) How To Train Your Dragon

How to Train Your Dragon is a series of twelve children’s books written by British author Cressida Cowell. The books are set in a fictional Vikingworld and focus on the experiences of protagonist Hiccup and his tribe as they train Dragons as pets. The books were published by Hodder Children’s Books in the UK and by Little, Brown and Company in the US. The first book was published in 2003 and the latest book in the series was published in 2012.

The books have subsequently been made into a franchise consisting of a feature film of the same name, several short stories and an animated television series created by DreamWorks Animation.

How to Train Your Dragon is a 2010 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film by DreamWorks Animation loosely based on the English book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell. The film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the duo who directed Disney’s Lilo & Stitch. It stars the voices of Jay BaruchelGerard ButlerCraig FergusonAmerica FerreraJonah HillT.J. MillerKristen WiigChristopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant.

The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at finally gaining the tribe’s acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it.

The film was released March 26, 2010 and was a critical and commercial success, garnering a positive response from film critics and audiences and earning nearly $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards, but lost to Toy Story 3 and The Social Network, respectively. The movie also won ten Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

Two sequels are currently in development, both to be written and directed by Dean DeBlois; they are scheduled to be released on June 13, 2014, and June 17, 2016.[2][3] The film’s success has also inspired other merchandise, including a video game and a TV series.

Plot

The island of Berk is a Viking village that is plagued by attacks from dragons that steal its livestock. Hiccup, the awkward son of the village chieftain Stoick the Vast, is unable to weld the usual weapons to fight dragons, but has fashioned mechanical devices under his apprenticeship with Gobber the blacksmith to aid in defense. During one attack, Hiccup believes he has shot down a Night Fury, a extremely dangerous dragon that no one has ever seen, and later finds it in the nearby forest, trapped in a net. Hiccup tries to kill it, but instead cuts it free; the Night Fury roars and disappears into the forest.

Stoick assembles a fleet to seek out the dragons’ nest, placing Hiccup into a dragon fighting class taught by Gobber along with other children of the village, including Astrid, a girl whom Hiccup has a crush. One day, while searching the forest, Hiccup finds the dragon trapped in a shallow glade; the dragon’s tail was injured, preventing it from flying normally. Hiccup earns the dragon’s trust and begins to care for it. He names the Night Fury “Toothless”, for its retractable teeth. Later, Hiccup fashions a makeshift harness and prosthetic tail that allows him to guide the dragon in free flight. Hiccup is able to transfer his knowledge of Toothless’s behavior to the other species of dragons at dragon-fighting class, appearing to conquer each one in battle and becoming the star pupil, much to Astrid’s dismay. Eventually Hiccup completes the class and gets the chance to kill a dragon in front of the entire village. Meanwhile, the unsuccessful battered Viking fleet arrives home.

Astrid discovers Hiccup training with Toothless, but before she can tell the village, Hiccup takes her for a ride on Toothless. At first, Astrid is terrified, but then begins to enjoy the excursion. However, Toothless unexpectedly joins a flock of dragons and takes the pair straight into the dragon’s nest, where they discover the presence of a gigantic dragon named the Red Death.[note 1] The Red Death depends on the food the other dragons bring back, or otherwise feed on the dragons themselves. Astrid wants to tell the village of the nest, but Hiccup asks her to keep it a secret to protect Toothless.

Hiccup is put to his final exam the next day by fighting a Monstrous Nightmare, but when he tries to show the village the dragon’s true nature, Stoick stops the fight, inadvertently angering the dragon and endangering Hiccup. Toothless hears Hiccup’s scream and flies in to save him, but is captured himself. Hiccup, attempting to explain his actions, reveals how to find the dragons’ nest. He tries to warn his father of the danger, but Stoick refuses to listen to his son. Though shaken, Stoick demotes Hiccup from being a Viking, disowns him, and leaves with another fleet, using a restrained Toothless as their guide. After a heart-to-heart talk with Astrid, Hiccup then concocts a plan to save the Vikings with the help of the other children and the training dragons from their class.

Hiccup and his friends arrive just as the Red Death emerges from the nest. Hiccup’s classmates distract it while Hiccup attempts to free Toothless. Hiccup and Toothless almost drown, but both are saved by Stoick. Hiccup and Toothless succeed in luring the Red Death into flight, ultimately damaging its wings and then forcing it into an inescapable dive back to earth, killing it in a massive explosion. While attempting to flee from the crashing dragon, Hiccup falls and Toothless dives into the flames after him. Stoick finds Toothless, who reveals an injured and unconscious Hiccup safely wrapped in his wings.

Hiccup wakes up back on Berk, discovering his leg has been amputated and replaced with a prosthesis made by Gobber. He is elated as he steps outside to find the Vikings and dragons working together to rebuild their village, and Astrid rushes to kiss him. The film ends with the war between Vikings and Dragons finally over with Hiccup and his friends racing their dragons.

Cast

  • Jay Baruchel as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. The clever and brilliant yet awkward teenage son of the Viking chief, Hiccup plans to become a Viking warrior. Unfortunately, in the crude world of the Vikings, Hiccup’s slight build, rebellious determination, and sarcastic sense of humor make him a social outcast. His best friend and dragon is Toothless, a Night Fury.
  • Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast, the chieftain of the Viking tribe and Hiccup’s father. Immensely strong, utterly fearless, and a fierce warrior, he embodies the traditional Viking virtues. He does not understand his child, having little in common with him, but eventually realizes that Hiccup is an impressively powerful and resourceful warrior in his own way.
  • Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch, a close friend of Stoick’s and the seasoned warrior appointed to drill the new recruits. He runs a blacksmith shop where Hiccup is his apprentice. Gobber believes in “learning on the job” and dispenses questionable advice. He also acts as the bridge between Hiccup and Stoick. He is missing his right foot and his left hand, the latter of which he has replaced with a variety of specialized prosthetics.[5]
  • America Ferrera as Astrid Hofferson. Striking, energetic, and tough, Astrid is a teenage embodiment of the Viking way. Her competitive, determined personality makes her hard to impress.
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs Ingerman. Fishlegs normally acts nervous and frightened, but has an inexhaustible arsenal of facts and expresses his knowledge in role-playing gameterms. He has memorized the manual of dragons, saying he has read it seven times.[6]
  • Jonah Hill as Snotlout Jorgenson, one of Hiccup’s dragon-training classmate. Snotlout is brash, overconfident, and fairly unintelligent. He also has an interest in Astrid and makes several (unsuccessful) attempts to impress her.
  • T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut Thorston. The fraternal twins are thugs with ferocious intents and foul tempers, especially regarding each other.
  • David Tennant as Spitelout. A Viking who is not named in the film, he appears to be Stoick’s second-in-command and is also Snotlout’s father. Tennant has previously narrated a series of Hiccup adventures on audio book.[7]
  • Robin Atkin Downes as Ack
  • Philip McGrade as Starkard
  • Kieron Elliot as Hoark the Haggard
  • Ashley Jensen as Phlegma the Fierce

Production

The book series by Cressida Cowell began coming to attention to the executives at Dreamworks Animation in 2004. Coming off her success in Over the Hedge, producer Bonnie Arnold shortly became interested in the newly acquired property. She kept focusing on the project as time went on, and when DreamWorks Animation co-president of production Bill Damaschke asked her what she wanted to work on next, she chose “How to Train Your Dragon”.[8]

In initial development, the plot followed the original novel closely, but about halfway through production Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the writer-directors of Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, took over as co-directors and it was altered. The original plot was described as, “heavily loyal to the book”, but was regarded as being too “sweet” and “whimsical” as well as geared towards a too-young demographic, according to Baruchel.[9] In the novel, Hiccup’s dragon, Toothless, is a Common or Garden Dragon, a small breed. In the film, Toothless is a Night Fury, the rarest of all dragons, and is large enough to serve as a flying mount for both Hiccup and Astrid. The filmmakers hired cinematographer Roger Deakins (known for frequently collaborating with the Coen brothers) as a visual consultant to help them with lighting and overall look of the film and to “add a live-action feel”.

Music

John Powell returned to DreamWorks Animation to score How to Train Your Dragon, making it his sixth collaboration with the studio, following his previous score for Kung Fu Panda (which he scored with Hans Zimmer). Powell composed a very orchestral score, combining bombastic brass with loud percussion and soothing strings, while also using exotic, Scottish and Irish tones with instruments like the penny whistle and bagpipes. Additionally, Icelandic singer Jónsi wrote and performed the song “Sticks & Stones” for the film. The score was released by Varèse Sarabande on March 23, 2010.

Overall, the score was very well received by film score critics. Powell earned his very first Academy Award nomination for his work on the film, ultimately losing to Trent Reznor and Atticus Rossfor their score for The Social Network.

Release

Competition for 3D screens

The film was released March 26, 2010.[10] The month before, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg protested Warner Bros.’ decision to convert Clash of the Titans from 2D to 3D, then to release it one week after How to Train Your Dragon.[11] Entertainment reporter Kim Masters described the 3D release schedule around March 2010 as a “traffic jam”, and speculated that the lack of 3D screen availability could hurt Katzenberg’s prospects despite his support of the 3D format.[12]

In March 2010, theater industry executives accused Paramount of using high-pressure tactics to coerce theaters to screen How to Train Your Dragon rather than the competing 3D releases, Clash of the Titans and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As theater multiplexes often had just one 3D screen, theaters were unable to accommodate more than one 3D presentation at a time.[13]

Box-office

How to Train Your Dragon topped the North American box office with $43.7 million in its first weekend of release.[14] The film grossed $217,581,231 in the United States and Canada and $277,297,528 in foreign countries with a worldwide total of $494,878,759.[1] How to Train Your Dragon is Dreamworks Animation‘s highest-grossing film in the American and Canadian box office other than the Shrek films.[15] It is the fifth highest-grossing animated film of 2010 with $494.8 million, behind Toy Story 3 with $1,063.2 million, Shrek Forever After with $752.6 million, Tangledwith $576.6 million, and Despicable Me with $543.1 million and the 10th highest-grossing movie of 2010.[16]

Critical reception

How To Train Your Dragon has received universal acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 98% based on 173 reviews from professional critics, with an overall rating average of 7.9 out of 10.[17] The site’s general consensus is that “Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragonsoars.”[17] By “Tomatometer” score, the film is DreamWorks Animation’s most critically successful film ever. On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 0–100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 74 based on 33 reviews, indicating ‘Generally favorable reviews.’ [18] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave How to Train Your Dragon was A on an A+ to F scale.[19]

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3 stars out of 4, stating that: “It devotes a great deal of time to aerial battles between tamed dragons and evil ones, and not much to character or story development. But it’s bright, good-looking, and has high energy”.[20] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying “It’s a thrilling action-adventure saga with exhilarating 3-D animation, a clever comedy with witty dialogue, a coming-of-age tale with surprising depth and a sweetly poignant tale of friendship between man and animal.”[21] Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers praised the film, giving it three out of four stars and in his print review wrote, “[The film] works enough miracles of 3-D animation to charm your socks off.”[22] Roger Moore of The Orlando Sentinel, who gave the film 2½ stars out of 4, wrote a mixed review describing the film as a “more coming-of-age dramedy or ‘everything about your world view is wrong’ message movie than it is a comedy. And that seems like a waste of a funny book, some very funny actors and some darned witty animation.”[23] Kyle Smith of The New York Post gave the film 2/4 stars labeling the film as “Avatar for simpletons. But that title is already taken, by Avatar“.[24] A. O. Scott of At The Movies felt the characters and the story were not strong points, but loved the cinematography and said, “that swooping and soaring, they are worth the price of a ticket, so go see it.”[25] Village Voice film critic Ella Taylor panned the film describing it as an “adequate but unremarkable animated tale”.[26] Film critic James Berardinelli of ReelViews praised the film and its story, giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars he wrote, “Technically proficient and featuring a witty, intelligent, surprisingly insightful script, How to Train Your Dragon comes close to the level of Pixar’s recent output while easily exceeding the juvenilia Dreamworks has released in the last nine years.”[27] Entertainment Weeklyfilm critic Owen Gleiberman praised the film giving it an A- and wrote, “How to Train Your Dragon rouses you in conventional ways, but it’s also the rare animated film that uses 3-D for its breathtaking spatial and emotional possibilities.”[28]

3) Rise Of The Guardians

Rise of the Guardians is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film based on William Joyce‘s The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film by Joyce and Reel FXPeter Ramsey directed the film, while Joyce and Guillermo del Toro were executive producers. Produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was released on November 21, 2012 and received mixed reviews, but was disappointing financially, contributing to a studio writedown of $83 million for the quarter and the layoffs of 350 employees.

Set about 300 years after the book series, the film tells a story about Guardians Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman, who enlist Jack Frost to stop Pitch Black from engulfing the world in darkness. It features the voices of Chris Pine (Jack Frost), Alec Baldwin (Santa Claus), Hugh Jackman (the Easter Bunny), Isla Fisher (the Tooth Fairy) and Jude Law (Pitch). The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.[6] This is the last film by DreamWorks Animation to be distributed by Paramount Pictures.[7]

 

4) The Croods

The Croods is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It features the voices of Nicolas CageEmma StoneRyan ReynoldsCatherine KeenerClark Duke, and Cloris Leachman. The film is set in a fictional prehistoric Pliocene era known as The Croodaceous, a period which contains fantastical creatures, when a man’s position as a “Leader of the Hunt” is threatened by the arrival of a prehistoric genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions, like fire, as they trek through a dangerous but exotic land in search of a new home.

The Croods was written and directed by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders, and produced by Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell.[5] The film premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 15, 2013,[6] and was released in the United States on March 22, 2013.[7] As part of the distribution deal, this film is the first from DreamWorks Animation to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, since the end of their distribution deal withParamount Pictures.[8]

The Croods received generally positive reviews, and proved to be a box office success, earning more than $585 million on a budget of $135 million,[4]and launching a new franchise, with a sequel and TV series already put in development.[9]

5) Monster University

Monsters University is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.[5] It was directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae. It is the fourteenth feature film produced by Pixar and is a prequel to 2001’sMonsters, Inc., marking the first time Pixar has made a prequel film.[6]

Disney, as the rights holder, had plans for a second Monsters, Inc. film since 2005. Following disagreements with Pixar, Disney tasked its Circle 7 Animation unit to make the sequel.[7] An early draft of the film was developed, however, Disney’s purchase of Pixar in late 2005 led to the cancellation of the Circle 7’s version of the film.[8] A Pixar-made sequel was confirmed in 2010,[5] and in 2011, it was confirmed that the film would instead be a prequel titled Monsters University.

Monsters University tells the story of two monsters, Mike and Sulley, and their time studying at college, where they start off as rivals, but slowly become best friends. Billy CrystalJohn GoodmanSteve BuscemiBob Peterson, and John Ratzenberger reprise their roles as Mike Wazowski, James P. Sullivan, Randall Boggs, Roz, and the Abominable Snowman, respectively. Bonnie Hunt, who played Ms. Flint in the first film, voices Mike’s grade school teacher, Ms. Karen Graves. The music for the film is composed by Randy Newman, marking his seventh collaboration with Pixar.

Monsters University premiered on June 5, 2013 at the BFI Southbank in London, United Kingdom and was released on June 21, 2013, in the United States. It was accompanied in theaters by a short film, The Blue Umbrella, directed by Saschka Unseld.[9] The film received positive reviews and was a box office success, grossing $743 million against its estimated budget of $200 million.[3][4]

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