Sunday, April 29, 2007

Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple

This is easily one of the most upsetting movies I have every seen. For those that don't know the story, it is a documentary of the "church" led by Jim Jones, which resulted in the deaths of 909 of his followers. From the very beginning this movie is depressing, and it only gets darker up to the very end.

Jim Jones is the charismatic founder of the Peoples Temple. From the beginning, his ideals attracted a mass following. He preached equality, creating the countries first interracial church. Somewhere along the line, however, he slowly began to descend into what can only be described as insanity. His followers gave up all of their possessions, donating all their money to the church, and moving into his commune. It is important that this commune moved from Indiana, to California, then finally out of the country to Guyana, with hundreds of people following him. The end result, was the suicide/murder of almost all of his followers.

It's difficult to review a movie- especially a documentary, based on the merit of the film itself and not the content. This movie, however, beautifully portrays the disturbing, and truly horrifying nature of these events. During the opening title sequence it clearly reveals the end of the story. The first half of the movie spends time investigating how Jones was able to amass such a following. Testimonies from members who survived, or left early on, describe him as an incredibly powerful and influential speaker.

The movie then delves into his madness, featuring clips with him saying "I am the only heterosexual on Earth, everyone else is homosexual," and perhaps most frighteningly "If you want me to be your friend, I will be your friend. I you want me to be your father, I will be your father. If you want me to be your God, I will be your God." Unfortunately the completely devoted trust people put in him was not returned.

In one truly frightening scene, he passed around Kool-aid for his congregation to drink. After they finished he stated that it was poison. In the midst of the chaos that ensued Jones then revealed that it was not true, and that it had simply been a test of their devotion. These tests continued in keeping people awake and working for a week at a time, and promoting his political agendas.

After the move to Guyana, it fell into a state of near captivity. It was literally a big brother society. Nobody was allowed to communicate with the outside world, and all news was filtered through him. Jones even went so far as to institute speakers playing his speeches twenty-four hours a day. People were encouraged to report any dissent, or anybody wishing to leave. Finally, Senator Theo Ryan from Texas began investigating the church, which resulted in his death, and the deaths of several of his assistants and journalists. After this, Jones felt that there was nothing left to do but end it all. This included the forced suicide of nearly all of his followers.

The movie is entirely narrated by those close to the church. The interviewees are primarily the few that escaped, and one of Ryan's aids who miraculously survived the murders. Each of these people were affected, and lost family members to the church- some losing their entire family. These interviews were truly heartbreaking.

It's not often that I write a review simply conveying the movie, but this movie is so powerful that I had no other way of doing it. I am still genuinely upset by it. Jonestown is not a film I will soon forget.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Film Fest

I know I've had kind of dry spell for good movies lately. But no fears. This week is the Athens Film Fest. Slated for my viewing pleasure this week is The Host, Copying Beethoven, The Lives of Others, Inland Empire, Jonestown, The Television Set, Relative Obscurity, and others. Expect reviews on all of these.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Black Christmas

This movie is bad. My god, it's just wretched. This is probably one of the worst of the horror movie remakes, at least on par with House of Wax. The original, though not a brilliant piece of film-making by any stretch, was at least able to take the concept of Christmas, and create a seriously dark twist- long before Tim Burton did that with Edward Scissor Hands. This remake, however, takes all of that dark wit, and ignores it, in favor of an attractive cast that's simply put on screen to get butchered.

I'm not going to lie: I was actually attracted to this movie from the cast. Lacey Chabert, Michelle Trachtenberg, and recent horror movie stars Kristen Cloke and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Final Destinations, Death Proof). This almost promised to be the makings of a fun horror movie in the same vein as Scream. Unfortunately, none of this panned out. It's fairly clear where writer/director Glen Morgan's talent lies. This is his second directorial feature (the first being the underwhelming Willow- starring Crispin Glover). He also penned the first and third Final Destinations, as well as several X-Files episodes. I think this covers the breadth of his ability. It's a shame his work early on in his career with the X-Files was his best.

For those of you who care, the plot is as follows: sorority girls are celebrating Christmas and they start getting killed one by one by Billy, a serial killer who lived in their house as a child. The truly astounding part about this movie is that there are many more characters than it seems at the beginning. Supposedly all but a few of the sorority sisters have gone home for break, yet more and more keep popping up just in time to get killed. A movie like this should not be hard to follow, but I honestly did not know who half of the characters were. It's a little hard to care about someone getting killed when you didn't even know they were in the movie.

A movie like this actually has potential to be fun. Slasher movies can be done very creatively, albeit cheesy, but still creative. There are many flicks that feature utterly unique and creative murders. The only potential that Black Christmas had in this regard was quickly quelled. All of the deaths were exactly the same. Maybe this is me simply being desensitized, but these scenes were boring. Although, there were several sequences that made me very squeamish, and I couldn't watch. These were a tad too graphic for me. If you don't like things with eye-balls, stay clear of this movie.

I wish there was something good to say about Black Christmas, but there's not. Even the twist ending was boring. In summation, there are no words strong enough to describe how truly wretched this movie is. If I had not been watching it online, there's no way I would have ever even taken the time. The acting is bad, the characters are pointless, the story isn't even there, and except for a few gut wrenching scenes of grotesque violence, it's just boring. Very boring.


Saturday, April 21, 2007


I had planned to go see the opening of Hot Fuzz this weekend, but unfortunately, the nearest theater that was showing it is two hours away. Instead I had to settle for this suburban horror flick. As many have probably noted, it's essentially a cross between Rear Window and the Burbs. It takes the tension of isolation from Rear Window, and the comedy of a truly dysfunctional, and bizarre neighborhood from the Burbs. I wasn't anticipated very much going into it, but I must say, it was not terrible.

A rather lengthy exposition results in Kale (played by Shia LeBeouf) being paced under house arrest. He is not allowed to leave his property for three months. At first it's great, but eventually he begins to go stir-crazy. To alleviate his boredom he starts spying on the neighbors. Among them, the family that moved in next to him, including daughter, Ashley (played by Sarah Roemer). The two of them develop an odd little relationship that revolves around spying on yet another neighbor, Mr. Turner (David Morse), whom they suspect of murder. This is where a bulk of the movie is centered.

The movie features an interesting blend of horror, while still focusing on character development. The relationship between Kale and Ashley grows along with their suspicion of Turner. There are some genuinely scary scenes when Ashley and their other friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) are doing Kale's dirty work, while he watches on helplessly. These scenes are more or less taken directly from Rear Window, and updated. The tension grows as Kale leaves his house, and the police are called several times. Of course, him being a criminal himself, nobody believes him.

Kale's mother, Julie (Carrie Ann-Moss), was my favorite character. Kale literally seems to be destroying her with his activities. As the movie progresses, she gets more and more desperate and unhappy, eventually turning to Turner for companionship. The relationship between Kale and his mom provides some of the best drama in the movie, while the chemistry between Kale and Ashley, is never all that believable.

This movie doesn't offer very many surprises, but it does do a fine job of building tension. you genuinely feel apprehension with the characters, and David Morse plays a pretty creepy character. As I said earlier, this movie takes the effort and time to develop the characters, but unfortunately, these scenes are not that interesting. There is an almost excruciatingly long exposition, and many extraneous scenes.

Disturbia is certainly not the best movie I have seen recently, but it's not the worst either. Some parts were a bit dull, but it still gets credit for bringing depth to the characters in a genre that normally does not. Shia LeBeouf and Carrie Ann-Moss sculpt engaging characters, proving that she can do much more than the Matrix, and that he has a long promising career. In the end, this movie isn't fascinating, but it has its moments.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Reaping

If anything, this lukewarm thriller did one thing for me- cement my opinion that I do not like Hilary Swank. I know, she won best actress for Million Dollar Baby, and I don't get it. I didn't care for that movie, and I didn't care for her in it. The Reaping is no different. It's a mediocre movie with cool special, and unfortunately for me- one of the best trailers and marketing campaigns I've seen in a while. I should have figured that was simply to make up for a dud of a movie.

The premise is promising enough. Hilary Swank plays a college professor, Katherine Winter, who investigates supposedly religious miracles, and debunks them. She gets called to a small town in Louisiana that is supposedly under siege from biblical plagues. Water into blood, frogs, fire from the sky, the works. This idea drew me in especially with their aggressive marketing campaign. Generally, biblical ideas in modern settings always seems like an interesting premise, and I had never seen one such as this. I wish it had lived up to my expectations.

This first bit of the film is not terrible. If you overlook the acting not only by Swank, but by David Morrisey (who plays Doug, the man who recruits Winter), and Idris Elba (Ben, Winter's colleague). The first plagues are interesting to behold and genuinely a little scary. The conflict between Winter and the religious zealots of the town, especially the mayor (John McConnell). This is interesting to watch, even though the acting a bit overblown, and the idea gets rehashed over and over again. They are blaming the plagues on a little girl, and in every other scene there is a fight between Winter and someone about it. The basic structure follows: Plague, Winter and someone argue about blaming girl, Plague, Winter and another person argue about girl, Plague, etc. It goes on like this through the whole movie.

I'm not saying it's all banality like this. There is actually development of Swank's character as she struggles with her lost faith. None of this is ever really believable, however. Throughout the movie they drop little clues that I felt led to an obvious conclusion. Surprisingly, they managed to twist all of it around, and actually create a completely surprising conclusion. Unfortunately, the ending just wasn't very good. The ending I was expecting (as obvious as it would have been) would have also just been better. I guess a surprising ending doesn't necessarily make it good.

Visually it's a pretty good movie. The effects of plagues are fascinating to watch, but there's not very much of it. The plagues go by very quickly, and they movie doesn't linger on each one very long. I would liked to have seen more of a study of the plagues and what they are, instead just as fuel for more arguing.

Looking back on what I've written, it sounds like I've been really hash on this movie. It really wasn't terrible, just not very good. This was made worse by the high expectations I had going into it. The idea is there, just the substance to back it up is lacking. The acting falls flat, the ending falls flat, and the movie in general is just kind of a dud.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters

Right off the bat, I must say that I have been a really big fan of the Aqua Teens for years. I love their fifteen minute episodes of limited animation and pure randomness. Despite, or maybe because of this, I was very skeptical of the movie. I wasn't sure how they were going to make an hour and a half feature, so I went in with very low expectations. In the end it slightly exceeded my expectations, but only slightly.

If you're not familiar with the show, it focuses on three main characters- Frylock (a flying box of french fries played by Carey Means), Master Shake (a milkshake played by Dana Snyder), and Meatwad ( of meat played by one of the directors and writers Dave Willis). They are somewhat a dysfunctional crime fighting team with Frylock being their intelligent leader, Shake being dumb, loud, offensive, egotistical, obnoxious, etc (the list goes on), and Meatwad being equally dumb, but adorably innocent. There is also a slew of other characters that make appearances in the show and in the movie.

The plot of the movie (if you can call it that) involves their neighbor, Carl. He gets trapped in an exercise machine that is going around the city destroying everything. The Aqua Teens have to rescue him, and it quickly turns into a story about their origin. The plot dissolves at every turn and is simply a showcase for terribly bizarre characters and gross out humor. This was not surprising at all, because that's how the show is created. Essentially the creators Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro say "This would be funny", then a completely unrelated "Oh, this would be funny", and so on. There is generally little to no coherent plot, which is a big part of what makes the show so funny.

Movies, unfortunately don't work that way. The show is great, because it's a barrage of really funny situations, then it's over. In the movie, they had about fifteen minutes of material, and stretched it out for an hour and a half. The usually write themselves into a corner and end the episode, whereas here, they wrote themselves into a corner, and kept going for another hour. Don't get me wrong, there were some genuinely funny moments. But in complete honesty, I was actually getting really bored towards the end.

The best part of the movie, the part that kept the audience laughing long after, was actually the opening sequence. It was a dark, twisted, heavy metal version take on the "Please no talking, no phones, etc" sequences that proceed movies. It was hysterically funny. I just wish the rest of the movie could have lived up to it. I think it would have been much better if they had created three or so half hour episodes. I think they could keep up a strong episode for that long, then have a different one. That I would have been happy to pay for.

There were certainly funny moments, and I found myself laughing through most of it. In the end it suffered the fate as most Saturday Night Life sketches turned movies. There just wasn't enough material for an entire feature. Aqua Teens is great for fifteen minutes, then end it. If you like Aqua Teens, you'll laugh at this movie, but it won't impress you. If you don't know the show, the movie will make no sense.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
November 11, 1922- April 11, 2007

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

La Science des Rêves

La Science des rêves, or the Science of Sleep, was a fantastic blend of whimsy and depression. It is very reminiscent of a Charlie Kaufman script (Being John Malkovitch, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), in that there is a fine line between what's real and what's not that is being continuously crossed. This should come as no surprise coming from writer/director Michele Gondry, who co-wrote and directed Eternal Sunshine. I say this a lot, but this movie cements him as a powerful force in film-making. He manages somehow to blend the charming and the heartbreaking.

The movie centers on Stéphane Miroux (Gael Garcia Bernal), as he moves in with his mother and starts a dead-end job at a calender design company. The movie flips back and forth between his daily life, and his dreams. Much of the movie is even narrated by himself- in his own head set up to resemble a television studio. His dreams are generally marked as clearly fantasy, but sometimes he gets them mixed up. This bleeds over into his waking life as he does things he is unaware of while sleeping, and frequently thinks he is sleeping when he is indeed awake.

Miroux is fascinating character. He is obviously very creative, but also has a hard time keeping his sense of reality. This makes it very difficult for him to relate to other people- resulting in conflicts with his co-workers, and a bizarre non-existent relationship with his neighbor, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). This is the truly sad part of the movie. They are clearly interested in each other, but Miroux throws it away at every turn, realizing his love only when he is asleep.

The movie is almost plays out as a tragic study of our own inhibitions. It plays our consciousness, and our desires as two conflicting forces. They fight each other at great pain to ourselves. Miroux is this conflict personified, and even explained through his narrated thoughts. Some amusing realizations are reached when he sleepwalks, and when he influences his dreams (listening to recordings, falling asleep with his feet in a fridge, etc). The dream sequences themselves are where Gondry really shines. They feature some fantastic stop motion animation as Miroux lives out his dreams.

The movie was obviously a little difficult to follow, accented by the characters switching between French, Italian, Spanish, and English. The pacing was also a little off. It started out a little slow, and took a while to build up momentum into a truly interesting story (instead of just an experimental curiosity). It also lost some momentum towards the end. I was not disappointed with how it ended, it just fizzled a little bit arriving at that conclusion. This is being really nit-picky, since I did not find much else wrong with it.

The Science of Sleep is an interesting movie on several levels. The story is genuinely powerful, and you feel for each of the characters, almost crying along with them. The fairly simple story is enhanced by the visuals. It was the animation that initially drew me to the movie, but in the end, it was the story that truly captivated me.



This film is a little difficult to review without giving too much of it away. Surprise is the only thing this movie has going for it, and there aren't even many of those. Premonition is dull, and for a potentially twisted thriller- kind of obvious. Both the acting and the cinematography were mediocre at best.

The movie follows Linda Hanson (Sandra Bullock) as she learns her husband was killed in a car accident. The catch is, that she waked up the next day and finds that he's still alive. She keeps bouncing back and forth between these different states of mind and time, trying to figure what is real and what isn't. The interesting route this movie takes presents the story non-linearly not only to the audience (which has been done a thousand and one times before), but to the main character as well. She is just as confused as we are. Unfortunately, the audience figures it out long before she does- about half way through the movie to be exact. After this point, the movie doesn't offer much surprise.

The plot itself features numerous glaring plot-holes. Normally I can overlook inconsistencies, but these are so integral to the plot, that they genuinely ruined the movie for me. I won't go into any of them here, because I don't want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say that the entire premise of the movie renders some scenes meaningless, and conflicting. The climax is fairly obvious. Director Mennan Yalo tries to direct the audience's attention away from the clearly obvious conclusion. He doesn't succeed.

The acting troubled me. It seemed almost as if Bullock was acting to herself, and not actually interacting with anyone else. Potentially powerful scenes between her and her husband (Julian McMahon just fall flat. In fact, the best roles in the movie were their two daughters, played by Shyann McLure, and Courtney Taylor Burness. They were both darling, and the most emotional of any of them. McMahon especially seemed limp the entire movie. Maybe this is a little harsh, but I really expect more from Sandra Bullock.

The plot was not the only inconsistent aspect of the movie. I think they genuinely tried to incorporate lighting into the plot elements. I didn't quite follow how they all correlated, but I think upon a second viewing it may be more evident. I think this is a powerful atmospheric tool if done well. Unfortunately, even within scenes, the lighting was sporadic. Color schemes seemed to change between shots within the same scene- drastically. So much so that it actually took me out of the movie. It amazed me how these errors made it through to the final cut.

The plot was interesting, and I feel it had potential. There's certainly a deeper meaning in it, that I feel they did get across. The movie on whole, however, fell well short of its potential. The acting and cinematography were spotty, and the plot itself was filled with holes. Perhaps this could have all been overlooked in an entertaining psychological thriller. Unfortunately, however, Premonition was just dull.


Saturday, April 7, 2007


grind house –noun Slang.
1.a burlesque house, esp. one providing continuous entertainment at reduced prices.
2.a movie theater that shows films throughout the day and all or most of the night.

Both of those definitions sum up Quentin Tarantino's and Robert Rodriguez's double feature very well. Grind Houses were theaters that were big back in the seventies playing low budget B movies, blaxsploitation, and horror movies. They were named after the studios that would grind out these films, releasing dozens a year (many from the same directors over and over again). Rodriguez and Tarantino capture this spirit wonderfully, and each one uniquely visits his inspiration. Both films feature jarring cuts and scratchy film (all features of those low budget movie house days). Each of them even features a missing reel. I honestly hope those were actually filmed, and may be featured as a bonus feature upon release on DVD. Though experiencing this on DVD would almost ruin the atmosphere of watching it in a movie house. They go about it in entirely different ways, but each does a fine job of reminiscing about those days.

Before I get into each of the movies, I need to discuss my favorite (and judging from the reaction in the sold out show- the audience favorite as well). Between the two movies they had fake movie trailers for upcoming horror movies directed by prominent directors. Rodriguez provided one of the trailers for a movie he actually wrote and planned on shooting. Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, ad Edgar Wright (Director of Shaun of the Dead) provide three other hilarious trailers.

Planet Terror
Robert Rodriguez's zombie flick started off the night. This movie is nonstop action, with sprinklings of scares, and heavy dose of hilarity. He pays homage to the movies of George Romero's Dead series, and the Italian zombie movies of the day. Planet Terror is overblown, ridiculous, and rivals Peter Jackson's Dead Alive for the bloodiest movie I have ever seen. I get the impression that he wants the audience to have as much fun watching the movie as it probably was to write it.

The cast is actually delightful. Rose McGowan plays the lead heroin- Cherry Darling. She loses her leg early on in a zombie attack, and eventually gets a machine gun to replace it. This is just an example of the absurd and downright silly nature of the movie. Freddy Rodriguez plays Wray, the hero, and in a hilarious twist, the missing reel happens to contain the segment where we find out who he is. The cast for Planet Terror is rounded out with Mary Shelton, Michael Beihn, and Bruce Willis. They all do a fantastic job, and look like they're just having fun.

There were a few spots that were just a little too bizarre for me. Most of these included testicles, and one featured an appearance by Tarantino- who I think has to be in every movie he's involved with even though he'd not that great of an actor. There were spots like these where Rodriguez seemed to let the gross-out nature of the movie get away from him, and it almost seemed like the zombies were writing it themselves. These spots were only a few, and went by fairly quickly.

The plot (if that's what you can call it) revolves around a gas that was produced for the military. It gets released on a small town, and creates zombies. There's nothing original about this movie. But it's how he accomplishes it that makes this movie so good. While poking fun at the genre, he shows an undying love for it. It's comparable to Wes Craven's turn in Scream. Rodriguez is one of the best filmmakers of current. He directs, DPs, edits, writes, and even does the music for most of his movies. He has to be one of the most versatile directors out there, not only doing this, but Sin City, El Mariachi and sequels, even the Spy Kids series. He does it all, and he does it all very well.

Death Proof
This was Quentin Tarantino's contribution to Grindhouse. This one slowed down the continuous action of Planet Terror considerably. It's a fine film, but takes such a different approach. This one features Kurt Russel who stalks and kills women with his car. If Planet Terror paid tribute to the obnoxiously overblown action movies of the day, Death Proof plays homage to the gritty, and dirty movies of the seventies. He blatantly shows his inspirations, even featuring a conversation about the genius of Vanishing Point. This movie may not have been as fun as Rodriguez's, but it was still quite good in its own right.

I feel that Zoe Bell (playing herself) was without a doubt the star of this movie. This is despite standout performances by Rosario Dawson and and Tracie Thoms (who could be described as the female Samuel L. Jackson. Bell, a veteran stunt person, plays a fantastic role on the hood of a car in one of the most exciting chase scenes I have seen in a long time. Uma Therman (Tarantino's muse) was absent from Death Proof, but Bell had played her stunt double in Kill Bill, so in a way, she was still there. I was happy to see the stunt person getting the spotlight this time.

Death Proof is clearly Tarantino. Unlike Rodriguez, who does not have any specific style to his movies, every Tarantino film is obviously one of his. This is no exception. It is very dialog heavy, most of it random and meandering- but always very witty. The dialog is saturated with carefully placed profanity that seems to be a trademark of his scripts. Despite the seemingly shallowness of the characters, you really start to feel for them. Rarely have I been to a movie where the audience is cheering at the end.

The problem with Death Proof is that Tarantino could not quite get himself out of his own style and immerse the film in that 70's action gear head flick. He tried to add too many layers to the dialog, and didn't let the cars do the speaking quite enough. I really liked the movie, but I didn't think it quite got what they were looking for with the Grindhouse idea. Rodriguez, on the other hand, completely let the genre do the thinking, and let that shape the movie. Tarantino was still a little too deliberate in the script. I can't really fault him for this, though, because he did craft a really good script.

On a whole, the movies were fantastic. Each one had a few flaws, but they were supposed to be bad movies in the first place. I don't think either director was able to completely get out of their own skin and produce a truly deliciously B movie (I think Rodriguez came the closest out of the two to accomplishing the Grind house spirit). I wonder how different of an experience it would have been to have Death Proof first, and Planet Terror second. Planet Terror was a thrill ride, and Death Proof just seemed to lose momentum. However, Planet Terror did not have the crowd pleasing ending, so I guess it could have gone either way. One thing is certain, these two movies have to be seen together, and they have to be seen in the theater. They were made for fans of movies, and specifically fans of horror movies. If you go in with the excited mentality of just having a good time, trust me, you will.


Monday, April 2, 2007

Flushed Away

This movie cements my opinion that Oscar blew it this year in the animation category. Flushed Away is a close second place behind Over the Hedge (another Dreamworks picture), and neither was even nominated. This is Aardman Entertainment's first fully CG film. You may recognize some of their past stop-motion animation with Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run. They make the transition into CG animation flawlessly. Flushed Away has a good story, strong characters, and brilliant animation.

The plot follows Roddy, a domesticated mouse (played by Hugh Jackman), who through a series of mishaps, gets flushed down the toilet. He finds himself lost in the sewer, and stumbles upon an entire city of sewer rats- a sort of Venice under the street. He meets up with Rita (played by Kate Winslet), and their chemistry is vibrant. They truly go back and forth between falling for each other, and hating each other. They must tolerate each other, however, to stop the villain of the movie- the Toad (played by Ian McKellen). Andy Serkis (yeah, he does more than Gollum and King Kong) and Jean Reno also provide fantastic voices to complete the main cast.

Of course, the primary aspect to talk about is the animation. The reason they decided to go CG was because of the amount of water and its important role in the film. It would have been too difficult to do fluid effects for every shot of a claymation picture. This is fine with me because they pulled it off spectacularly. This is truly evident in my favorite scene. a boat chase through the rat city involving boats, electric mixers (acting as jet skis), and an ill conceived toaster. This was a fantastically directed action sequence.

The only downfall in the movie was that the humor ran a little thin at times. Similar to the complaint I had with Shrek II, a bulk of the jokes were just parodies of other movies. There were references left and right- so many that I could not even begin to count them. Some of the better ones were homages to Finding Nemo, Mission Impossible, and James Bond. And I did appreciate the fact that the character Le Frog (Reno), and all of his followers were French. It was jokes like these that bumped this above being simply a children's cartoon, and created a movie all ages could enjoy.

One of the funniest parts of the movie revolved around the slugs. These little creatures popped up in almost every scene, and almost functioned as silent narrators, providing much of the soundtrack (when they weren't just screaming and fleeing in terror that is). I laughed almost every time at those buggers. They started to wear thin a little bit, along with the jokes, and an overextended fight sequence towards the end. But like I said, it was towards the end, so there wasn't much time for me to grow weary.

At an hour and twenty minutes it is certainly manageable for children, and never overstays its welcome. In a time where it's rare to see a movie under one and a half hours, Flushed Away is the perfect length. It's generally funny and engaging right up to the end. I just wish there had been a little more attempt at original content, instead of parodies. Despite this, it was a fantastic movie.