Backtrack reviews 2009

Elephant Sunset

Reviews generally rave about DisneyNature’s Earth as “beautiful” and “breathtaking.” Top critics commended its visually stunning portrayal of Mother Earth and her constituents, while audiences appreciate its matter-of-fact statement against climate change. The James Earl Jones-narrated film is a feature length adaptation of TV documentary series Planet Earth that follows three animal families of bears, whales and elephants in seasonal migration.

Boston Globe’s Janet Page, however, sees Earth as a picture without anything new to say, even though it presents “some newly entertaining ways of saying it.” Former journalist and blogger David Etlin also feels it is some quite old film hyped up as a novel spectacle. He writes, “the script and editing let the (photographers) down.”

Even with Darth Vader’s voice commenting on live animals in their natural habitats treated anthropomorphically in description, Earth broke new ground in visual storytelling and in effectively presenting an environmental advocacy known to all but envisaged by only a few.

Photo by DisneyNature

Jason Chatwin in Dragonball

Newcomer Justin Chatwin stars as Goku, a young martial artist, in a quest for the seven dragonballs that possess the ultimate power of the universe. He teams up with master Roshi (Chow Yun Fat) and friends to save the world from evil Piccolo who is also in search for the legendary dragonballs to destroy Earth. Adapted from iconic Japanese animation franchise Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama, Dragonball Evolution fails fans outright, even months before its theatrical release, with the exception of a handful of people who hoped for its faithfulness.

Sarah Cada, a blogger, gives it some credit in saying it is actually more enjoyable and comedic than it is a terrific movie. Too comedic maybe, that even the serious parts are funny, she says. Another blogger writes, “At least the kids in the theater enjoyed."

But it still sounds as if it never really satisfies. Zac Berthschy of highlighted its “cheesy” dialogue (calling it an “absolute, unmitigated disaster”) and “nonsensical” storyline (“Kids aren’t dumb enough to fall for this.”).

Those outside the circle of followers of the original series also say that even if the audience knows nothing about the original material, it still “stinks” as a movie, “in pretty much all areas." #

Photo by 20th Century Fox