Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +3

3D animated family adventure. Voices: Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Steven Tyler, Christoph Waltz. Directed by Chris Wedge and written by Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, James V. Hart and several others.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and evil is taking place. She bands together with the Leafmen, a rag-tag group, in order to save their world from the Boggans, who live to bring decay to the forest.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Not sure it qualifies as an epic, but there are positive role models and messages, and the action entranced young and old. That said, I overheard two boys leaving the theater say, “It wasn’t as good as Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Missing is the magic that Pixar and Disney and DreamWorks summon for nearly every attempt. Except for Emma Kenney as little Marigold, the voice talents seem too subdued, almost lifeless in some places. Evidently, big names were chosen over lesser knowns who add real dimension to cartoons. The art work is well done, but lifeless compared to true animated epics like Beauty and the Beast or Wall-E, Bolt, Brave, etc. It lacks the artistic vision found in truly grand-scale animated imagery.

As for the green ecology themes, well, it seems as one dimensional as the characters who tell the tale. Rot and decay are a part of the eco-system. Without the death of foliage, the soil will have no nutrients. So, making the Boggans just as sinister as the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz is numbly thought out.

During the drive home I found it difficult to remember anything outstanding about the picture. For unsophisticated tastes who are just as taken with their kids’ snack packs, it’s a time passer. But does it contain magic moments as in Finding Nemo or even Furngully: Secret of the Rainforest? No. It won’t be a highpoint of the summer day. Just a fleeting part of it.

Rated PG, it contains some jolting action sequences that may frighten very little ones. Other than that, I found nothing objectionable.

DVD Alternatives: Tinker Bell and The Secret of the Wings and the other three Tinker Bell movies. I have a 7-year-old niece who loves Tinker Bell. So a couple of years ago when the first in a series of Tinker Bell movies found its way to DVD, I showed it to her. This first episode and the subsequent sequels are beautifully made, engaging and charming. Even to an old guy like me.

I was captivated (I’m a critic, I can say things like that) with the newest installment. The color, the design, the voices, even the story are Disney at its finest. The tales are of friendship and self-discovery. As the film is gentle, sweet natured, and will cause little ones to use their imagination, it is a perfect picture for parents to share with their little girls – and for uncles to watch with their beloved nieces. Got boys? Well, they’d probably prefer Star Trek Into Darkness – no matter their age.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Rated PG, it contains some jolting action sequences that may frighten very little ones; other than that, I found nothing objectionable.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 102 minutes
Intended Audience: Families

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