Reviews – New movies opening December 20th 2013

We review this week’s new cinema releases, including WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE 3D MOVIE, and ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

Directed by Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale. Starring the voices of Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban, Angourie Rice, John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Skyler Stone, Tiya Sircar, Clay Savage.
THE PLOT: We jump back 70 million years to join nervous young Pachyrhinosaurus Patchi (Long) as he’s coached into adulthood by feisty little parrot Alex (Leguizamo), the latter also acting as our story narrator. Along the way, Patchi will find himself banging heads with his older brother, Scowler (Stone), and falling in love with the beautiful Juniper (Sircar). Unfortunately for Patchi, he will also have to endure some really corny dialogue…
THE VERDICT: The original BBC TV series first aired in 1999, and it inspired a touring live event – thanks to a viewer rating that hit 700 million worldwide. Just why we’re getting a big-screen off-shoot now can be explained by the BBC recent drive to exploit their big brands, and the fact that James Cameron’s top-of-the-range 3D Fusion Camera System is perfectly suited to bringing these, eh, larger-than-life creatures back to life. What lets the whole venture down is that corny dialogue – bland enough to suggest it was an 11th hour addition to the production.
Review by Paul Byrne

Directed by Adam McKay. Starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, Harrison Ford
THE PLOT: Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) have moved their partnership to New York, where Veronica is promoted and Ron is not. Faced with an existential crisis, Ron panics until he is given a chance to anchor a show on GNN – the first 24 hour news network – and he gets the old gang back together.
THE VERDICT: Will Ferrell is back on fantastic form as one of his most beloved characters, and he certainly ramps up the absurdity, not only in his wonderful sartorial choices, but his dialogue and exclamations – “By the hymen of Olivia Newton-John!” – are still top notch. The same goes for the rest of the news team; David Koechner is just as inappropriate and loudmouthed as before, Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana is just as promiscuous and clueless as ever, and Steve Carell is a joy to watch as Brick Tamland, especially since he has a love interest – Chani L’astnamé (Kristen Wiig) – to bounce off. As well as the recurring cast, there are some fantastic cameos from very familiar faces, that are as brilliant as they are ridiculous.
Writers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay obviously relished the chance to return to San Diego’s top-rated news team, and even though the story is not too dissimilar to the first film, there is enough that is different, enough absurdity and enough background silliness to make the film feel fresh and new. The trouble is, it seems that Ferrell and McKay were all too aware of the legacy of the first film and, at times, it feels as though this sequel is trying a little too hard. That said, the call backs to the original are fantastic, the film still pokes fun – this time at racial stereotypes and the news media – and there is plenty to laugh at.
Adam McKay obviously allowed the actors to improvise a fair portion of the film, which makes for some genuinely ridiculous off the cuff jokes, and an air of joviality about the film; it is easy to imagine that these actors genuinely enjoyed going to work every morning. As well as this the tone and spirit of the first film are intact, and the new characters fit easily into Ron’s over the top world.
In all, ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES is a great follow up to a fantastic film. The laughs are there, the songs are there, and even though the film sometimes feels as though it is trying a little too hard, that is sort of the point. Fans of the original will not be disappointed, and happily, there is plenty of scope for a return to Ron Burgundy’s world.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Directed by Wip Vernooij, Morgan Francis. Starring the voices of Keith Wickham, Emma Tate, Ashley Slater, Tom Clarke Hill, Boris Hiestand, Phillipa Alexander.
THE PLOT: Taking just two of the main six Moshi Monsters on their own adventure, we follow karate bunny Katsuma (voiced by Tate) and his trusty pink
sidekick Poppy (Alexander) as they try and retrieve the stolen Great Mosling Egg from the headless, heartless baddie Dr. Strangelove (Slater). Otherwise, you
know, Monstro City is going under. First though, there’s a few sideshows to enjoy, and a hell of a lot of songs…
THE VERDICT: With over 80 million subscribers since its launch in 2007, it’s hardly surprising that the Moshi Monsters are now hitting the big screen. Given the taser-happy nature of their only origins, it hardly comes as a surprise either that this big screen outing is highly colourful, dizzyingly plotted, and is packed with overly-catchy tunes. It’s like Pokemon all over again. Only with a bigger budget. And not so much of the bonkers manga madness. No alarm, and no surprises, but, if you’re under 10, this might just be the movie of the year.
Review by Paul Byrne