Carlos Saldanha Reviews

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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Review In a world populated entirely by robots, a young, idealist inventor sets off for Robot City to make his mark on the world. Once he arrives, he is confronted with a reality that is nothing like his dreams and aspirations.
Robots

Review The delightful designs of William Joyce (writer/illustrator of such popular children's books as George Shrinks and Bently & Egg) make Robots a joy to behold. The round, bouncy, and ramshackle forms of hero Rodney Copperbottom and his computer-animated friends are part of an ornate and daffy

Fender providing assistance.
Rube-Goldberg universe of elaborate contraptions and gleaming metallic surfaces. Rodney (voiced with a hint-of-Scottish lilt by Ewan McGregor) is a young inventor who sets off for Robot City to work for Big Weld (Mel Brooks), the supreme inventor of the mechanical world. But upon his arrival, Rodney discovers that Big Weld has disappeared, and the slick, shiny Ratchet (Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets) is phasing out the spare parts that lumpen robots need to function and replacing them with "upgrades"--expensive and glistening new exoskeletons. Unfortunately, from this suitable beginning, the story degenerates into a series of action sequences that make very little sense, though some are kinetic and fun (though others are only there to serve the inevitable Robots video game). Most kids will enjoy the sheer visual pleasure of the movie, but compared to the narrative richness of Pixar movies like The Incredibles and Toy Story, that pleasure is pretty short-lived. Also featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, and many, many more. --Bret Fetzer

DVD Features

Jennifer Coolidge returns as the voice of Aunt Fanny in a mildly amusing new short, "Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty," which allows her to again be the butt of the joke. Fans of the characters will enjoy both a 17-minute discussion of the robots' creation as well as profiles of 11 of the bots, including early, almost unrecognizable conceptual sketches and brief interviews with the voice cast. The original short is fairly dull, and of the three deleted scenes, the most finished is an extended version of Rodney's initial meeting with Tim at the gate. One other is in sketch form only but does preserve another performance by Robin Williams. The kids' games are pretty good. There's a dancing robot that will perform eight routines on command or in random order. A memory game has a bit of replay value, and the build-a-bot segment takes some thought and investigation. The Xbox demo is a nifty little diversion that transforms one element (the transport-pod race) of the full-length, single-player Xbox game into a frenetic one- to four-player free-for-all.

In their commentary track, director Chris Wedge and producer-inspiration William Joyce have to remind each other to stop patting themselves on the back, but it is interesting to hear them talk about old games such as Mousetrap that played a part in developing the film. (Wedge's frequent references to a possible "director's cut" might not seem like a joke to DVD buyers who have gotten tired of DVD rereleases.) The commentary track by the Blue Sky technical team might be better, offering insights into the characters and the creation of the film without lapsing into too much techie-speak. --David Horiuchi

Stills from Robots (click for larger image)









The World of Robots

The Art of Robots

Robots soundtrack

Robots score

Robots for Xbox

Robots for PS2

Robots for GBA


Ice Age: The Meltdown

Review Just when you thought they couldn’t get any cooler...your favorite prehistoric pals from Ice Age and Ice Age The Meltdown are back in an all-new, ginormous animated adventure for ALL ages.

This time around, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T-Rex who’s got a score to settle with Sid. Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart—or steal his acorn?

Featuring an all-star voice cast, including Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah, Ice Age Dawn Of The Dinosaurs delivers more thrills, more chills, and more mammoth-sized laughs for everyone!
Ice Age

Review Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opens with the stitched-together prehistoric family about to become a biological one: Manny (voiced by Ray Romano) and his mate Ellie (Queen Latifah) are expecting a baby mammoth. Unfortunately, this makes Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) feel left out. Diego, who worries he’s losing his edge, decides to head out on his own, while Sid adopts three suspiciously large eggs that he’s found through a crack in the ice. Up to this point, the movie is perilously sappy--does anyone, particularly a kid, want to watch a kid’s movie about parenthood and impending middle age? Fortunately, the eggs turn out to be dinosaur eggs from a pre-mammalian underworld, and when the mama T-Rex comes to rescue her rambunctious little ones, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs transforms into a delightful comic adventure. The emotional side of the Ice Age movies has always been a tad mawkish, so it’s smart that Dawn of the Dinosaurs emphasizes physical comedy. Clearly, the animators have been inspired by a wild fusion of Road Runner cartoons and Buster Keaton. The character of Scratte, with his non-verbal, monomaniacal efforts to get that last acorn (doubled in this movie with the addition of a female counterpart), is only the most obvious reflection of this sensibility. The animators have great fun with the differences in scale between the mammals and the dinosaurs, and the introduction of a deranged Australian weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead) pushes everything into Loony-Tune territory. Let Pixar tug at our heartstrings; Ice Age aims to tickle the funny bone and does a fine job of it. --Bret Fetzer
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: In Character with John Leguizamo

Review This comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a flightless macaw who acts more human than bird. When Blu, the last of his kind, discovers there’s another – and that she’s a she – he embarks on an adventure to magical Rio. There, he meets Jewel and a menagerie of vivid characters who help Blu fulfill his dream and learn to fly.
Rio

Review A classic tale of self-discovery, romance, and adventure, Rio is the story of Blu, a flightless macaw who was taken from the forests of Rio de Janeiro as a young bird and raised by a kind girl in a small Minnesota town. When an ornithologist comes to town and informs Blu's now-grown owner Linda that Blu is the last male of his species, Blu and Linda return to Rio so that Blu can mate with a feisty female named Jewel. Thus begins an adventure in which Blu encounters everything from the complexities of courtship and love, to thugs involved in an exotic animal theft ring, strange new friendships--including one with an overly friendly slobbering bulldog--and a crazy ride through a Carnaval parade. Blu and Linda both mature as a result of their journey in Rio, and love ensures that life will never be quite the same for either ever again. The animation in Rio is quite impressive, the characters are endearing, the Brazilian music is very appealing, and the star-studded voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will i Am, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, George Lopez, and Jamie Foxx. While the story doesn't really offer anything new--instead playing much like a rehashing of some of the major plot points from movies like Madagascar, Finding Nemo, and Babe--that doesn't mean the film isn't perfectly entertaining for both kids and adults. (Ages 6 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
Robots (Widescreen Edition)

Review In a world populated entirely by robots, a young, idealist inventor sets off for Robot City to make his mark on the world. Once he arrives, he is confronted with a reality that is nothing like his dreams and aspirations.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Review The delightful designs of William Joyce (writer/illustrator of such popular children's books as George Shrinks and Bently & Egg) make Robots a joy to behold. The round, bouncy, and ramshackle forms of hero Rodney Copperbottom and his computer-animated friends are part of an ornate and daffy

Fender providing assistance.
Rube-Goldberg universe of elaborate contraptions and gleaming metallic surfaces. Rodney (voiced with a hint-of-Scottish lilt by Ewan McGregor) is a young inventor who sets off for Robot City to work for Big Weld (Mel Brooks), the supreme inventor of the mechanical world. But upon his arrival, Rodney discovers that Big Weld has disappeared, and the slick, shiny Ratchet (Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets) is phasing out the spare parts that lumpen robots need to function and replacing them with "upgrades"--expensive and glistening new exoskeletons. Unfortunately, from this suitable beginning, the story degenerates into a series of action sequences that make very little sense, though some are kinetic and fun (though others are only there to serve the inevitable Robots video game). Most kids will enjoy the sheer visual pleasure of the movie, but compared to the narrative richness of Pixar movies like The Incredibles and Toy Story, that pleasure is pretty short-lived. Also featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, and many, many more. --Bret Fetzer

DVD Features

Jennifer Coolidge returns as the voice of Aunt Fanny in a mildly amusing new short, "Aunt Fanny's Tour of Booty," which allows her to again be the butt of the joke. Fans of the characters will enjoy both a 17-minute discussion of the robots' creation as well as profiles of 11 of the bots, including early, almost unrecognizable conceptual sketches and brief interviews with the voice cast. The original short is fairly dull, and of the three deleted scenes, the most finished is an extended version of Rodney's initial meeting with Tim at the gate. One other is in sketch form only but does preserve another performance by Robin Williams. The kids' games are pretty good. There's a dancing robot that will perform eight routines on command or in random order. A memory game has a bit of replay value, and the build-a-bot segment takes some thought and investigation. The Xbox demo is a nifty little diversion that transforms one element (the transport-pod race) of the full-length, single-player Xbox game into a frenetic one- to four-player free-for-all.

In their commentary track, director Chris Wedge and producer-inspiration William Joyce have to remind each other to stop patting themselves on the back, but it is interesting to hear them talk about old games such as Mousetrap that played a part in developing the film. (Wedge's frequent references to a possible "director's cut" might not seem like a joke to DVD buyers who have gotten tired of DVD rereleases.) The commentary track by the Blue Sky technical team might be better, offering insights into the characters and the creation of the film without lapsing into too much techie-speak. --David Horiuchi

Stills from Robots (click for larger image)









The World of Robots

The Art of Robots

Robots soundtrack

Robots score

Robots for Xbox

Robots for PS2

Robots for GBA


Ferdinand 

Review Just when you thought they couldn’t get any cooler...your favorite prehistoric pals from Ice Age and Ice Age The Meltdown are back in an all-new, ginormous animated adventure for ALL ages.

This time around, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T-Rex who’s got a score to settle with Sid. Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart—or steal his acorn?

Featuring an all-star voice cast, including Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah, Ice Age Dawn Of The Dinosaurs delivers more thrills, more chills, and more mammoth-sized laughs for everyone!
Rio

Review Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opens with the stitched-together prehistoric family about to become a biological one: Manny (voiced by Ray Romano) and his mate Ellie (Queen Latifah) are expecting a baby mammoth. Unfortunately, this makes Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary) feel left out. Diego, who worries he’s losing his edge, decides to head out on his own, while Sid adopts three suspiciously large eggs that he’s found through a crack in the ice. Up to this point, the movie is perilously sappy--does anyone, particularly a kid, want to watch a kid’s movie about parenthood and impending middle age? Fortunately, the eggs turn out to be dinosaur eggs from a pre-mammalian underworld, and when the mama T-Rex comes to rescue her rambunctious little ones, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs transforms into a delightful comic adventure. The emotional side of the Ice Age movies has always been a tad mawkish, so it’s smart that Dawn of the Dinosaurs emphasizes physical comedy. Clearly, the animators have been inspired by a wild fusion of Road Runner cartoons and Buster Keaton. The character of Scratte, with his non-verbal, monomaniacal efforts to get that last acorn (doubled in this movie with the addition of a female counterpart), is only the most obvious reflection of this sensibility. The animators have great fun with the differences in scale between the mammals and the dinosaurs, and the introduction of a deranged Australian weasel named Buck (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead) pushes everything into Loony-Tune territory. Let Pixar tug at our heartstrings; Ice Age aims to tickle the funny bone and does a fine job of it. --Bret Fetzer
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Review This comedy-adventure centers on Blu, a flightless macaw who acts more human than bird. When Blu, the last of his kind, discovers there’s another – and that she’s a she – he embarks on an adventure to magical Rio. There, he meets Jewel and a menagerie of vivid characters who help Blu fulfill his dream and learn to fly.
Ice Age: The Meltdown

Review A classic tale of self-discovery, romance, and adventure, Rio is the story of Blu, a flightless macaw who was taken from the forests of Rio de Janeiro as a young bird and raised by a kind girl in a small Minnesota town. When an ornithologist comes to town and informs Blu's now-grown owner Linda that Blu is the last male of his species, Blu and Linda return to Rio so that Blu can mate with a feisty female named Jewel. Thus begins an adventure in which Blu encounters everything from the complexities of courtship and love, to thugs involved in an exotic animal theft ring, strange new friendships--including one with an overly friendly slobbering bulldog--and a crazy ride through a Carnaval parade. Blu and Linda both mature as a result of their journey in Rio, and love ensures that life will never be quite the same for either ever again. The animation in Rio is quite impressive, the characters are endearing, the Brazilian music is very appealing, and the star-studded voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Will i Am, Wanda Sykes, Jane Lynch, George Lopez, and Jamie Foxx. While the story doesn't really offer anything new--instead playing much like a rehashing of some of the major plot points from movies like Madagascar, Finding Nemo, and Babe--that doesn't mean the film isn't perfectly entertaining for both kids and adults. (Ages 6 and older) --Tami Horiuchi

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