Space Chimps

When Ham III, the slacker grandson of NASA's legendary chimpanzee astronaut, is recruited to help retrieve a lost space probe, he has a close encounter of the hilarious kind as he teams up with the lovely Lieutenant Luna and their by-the-book commander, Titan. But when the ship crash-lands on a strange planet, can this mismatched chimp crew work together to save the mission without driving one another bananas? Rated G

Featuring the voice talents of Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels, Stanley Tucci, Andy Samburg and (my favourite) Patrick Warbuton etc..... Apparently created by "one" of the primates that brought us Shrek.

This movie was alright. The graphics were great and the story was new and refreshing. My children found this movie interesting but I didn't hear one argument when I turned it off half way through (because we needed to go out). They were happy to return to the movie later but I don't think it really would have mattered to them one way or the other and they probably would have just forgotten about it.

Having said that, it probably is a movie well worth renting for something different. For older children than mine, it can lead to great talks about astronauts and NASA etc. I am sure, living in the USA, this movie is more of a hit because the whole space program is more real there than it is to this Western Canadian who is so far removed from rockets and the like.

I did have a few qualms about letting the children watch this as there is one particularly bad alien who dunks his enemies into cold lava and freezes them and is determined to take over the world er planet, plus NASA put the chimps through all sorts of rigorous tests etc to prepare the chimps for space which can appear almost tortuous. I find myself yet again having to explain to E why some people are mean and guess at why they want to put other people down. Then on the other hand it's no worse than any of the Barbie movies or even many Disney movies.

What the blurb on the back of the DVD leaves out is that Hami III is descendant from the first chimp who went into space. He's disillusioned and is more interested on getting back to his life in the circus than going into space and his antics causes the crew to be put into danger.

All in all, it's not a bad movie and since everything always works out typical movie style, I am sure your kids will enjoy this space tale.



Kung Fu Panda


It's the story about a lazy panda named Po, who dreams of becoming a Kung Fu warrior. Unfortunately, broth runs in his veins. (his family owns a noodle shop). Through some comedic mis-steps, Po is chose as the "one" who will fulfill an ancient prophecy and becomes the Dragon Warrior. Po leaves his home to join the world of Kung Fu and trains alongside his idols the Legendary Furious Five - Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey. Po, along with the legendary Five, does not believe that he belongs which is even more apparent when he learns that the vengeful and evil snow leopard Tai Lung has escaped from his prison and is on his way to exact his revenge on the valley. Can Po rise to the challenge and become the Kung Fu warrior he has always dreamed about? Po puts his heart - and his stomach - into the task and the unlikely hero learns that his greatest weaknesses turns out to be his biggest assets.

Featuring the voice talents of: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, James Hong and many others.

Rating: PG

What a star studded cast. I just love watching movies where you can recognize the voices of some of your favourite actors. My husband and I both enjoyed this film. We both enjoy the humour of Jack Black and this movie has typical Jack Black style written all over it. I love that Dustin Hoffman is in this film. You just don't get enough of Dustin Hoffman these days.

The graphics were great, the storyline was well written. It is rated PG (which typically means 8 and up) and parents, I definitely recommend that you follow the guideline. While this movie was clean in it's jokes; i.e. no over the kids head kinda humour meant to draw in the adults, it does have several dark scenes. Tai Lung, the villain in this movie, is held prisoner in a dark prison drawn in black and reds. The guards have glowing red eyes and and when Tai Lung does his thing, it is violent and very evident that he's fighting to the death. They do actually mention at one point "why didn't he kill them?" So for very young children, this is not appropriate and I was glad that we did not allow our 5 year old to watch it.

On the other hand, if your child is older and has already watched these types of movies in the past, there is nothing else in this film that should prevent you from allowing them to watch it.

What I particularly liked about this film was that they took a person (in this case an animal) that normally would not be the first pick for a kung fu warrior. Through the story everyone learns that it's not about your size or who you are but what's inside and sometimes you can surprise even yourself as to what you can do.


A Mom's Movie Review

Barbie Diamond Castle

Barbie and Teresa tells us the storey of Alexa and Liana, best friends who share everything including their love of music. One day their lives change when they are given an enchanted mirror and befriend the girl trapped inside. It is up to Alexa and Liana to help their new friend and embark on a dangerous journey to the hidden Diamond Castle. This puts their friendship to the test but through the power of song and the companionship of two adorable puppies, the girls face their challenges together and learn the true value of friendship.

Starring the voice talents of Kelly Sheridan, Melissa Lyons, Cassidy Ladden, Chantal Strand, Maryke Hendrickse and Lara Janine and featuring Katherine McPhee singing Connected. (to name just a few) Rated: G

My daughters were absolutely delighted with this movie. Even my 18 month old son found plenty to interest him with the bright colours and catchy music. Of course, I think what he really loved about the movie was the flying dragon. My youngest daughter (3) asks for this movie at least once a day.

I have to admit that this was a delightful movie. The story was well done and it managed to keep all of us interested throughout the entire movie. I have to really say this is a good gauge to me as to how entertaining this movie is... if my kids sit through it then it MUST be entertaining.

The bonus features include a music video with Katherine McPhee singing the Connected song. Warning... this song will begin to drive you crazy. It's lovely but it's catchy, a little too catch. I work in my video store evenings and we play one of those DVD loops promoting the latest movies and boy I think I heard that song waaaaaaaaaaay too much.

This movie does follow along the typical Mattel format in that there is someone evil trying to take over the world to make everyone miserable without really explaining why. Usually this person possesses some kind of magic which they use against the heroines.

In this case Lydia, a muse, decides she doesn't want to be a good muse anymore and wants to have all the power so she turns against her fellow muses, turns them into stone by a magic recorder and sets off the storyline. What isn't told is why Lydia decides to turn to evil or what has given her this thirsty lust for power.

So it does make it difficult answering my daughter's questions on the who what why and where of it but then on the other hand I don't want to get into big heavy discussions every time we watch a movie either.

So if you have any issues with witchcraft, I would not suggest this movie to you. It is by far one of the more milder magic movies of Barbie's to date but if you have concerns regarding that then this movie is not for your family.

As well there are some action fighting scenes, the dragon burns down their house and Lydia does attempt to do away with the girls multiple times through out the film. Most of it was pretty mild and subtle enough to go over the children's heads. They found the movie suspenseful but not to the point where they were hiding behind a cushion. Of course, the introduction of the darling puppies helps to keep most scenes on the light side.

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Up next: Kung Fu Panda



Kit Kitteridge: An American Girl

Kit Kitteridge is a young girl growing up in the 30's depression era. The realities of the depression hit home when Kit's father loses his business and decides to leave town to look for work. Her mother then decides to take boarders in the family home to make ends meet. Kit has a passion for writing and longs to see her work in print. The fascinating lives of her mother's boarders give her plenty of material. However, when the mother's lock box is stolen with all of their money inside, all of Kit's reporting skills are needed when her new hobo friend, Will, becomes the prime suspect. If Will, didn't do it who did?

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Julia Ormond, Chris O'Donnell, Jane Krakowski, Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack, Max Thierot. Just to name a few.

I thought this was a wonderful movie. You can certainly see that Abigail Breslin is headed for bright things in her future. I found her acting in this movie to be more sincere and "real" than that of her work in Nim's Island. It is no wonder that this young girl has already been up for Oscars.

For me, the story was well told and the pacing was perfect. My interest was caught immediately and I never found a dull moment (you know one of those moments you're wish they'd just get on with it). It gave a very informative look into the realities of the depression era.

As for viewing with the family, this movie is rated G. However, for younger children this movie just did not hold their interest. My 5 year old watched about half of it and while she said she was enjoying it that didn't stop her from getting down and playing something else. I, on the other hand, stayed to finish the movie.

It was a refreshingly entertaining movie. The villains in the piece were likeable and yet plausible in their roles. The only possible concern that parents may have is when everyone is chasing after the villains and the villains are trying to get the children so they don't blow their cover. However, whatever "violence" there was could be more accurately termed as "action" and was more slapstick in nature and I had no qualms at all in letting my younger children view it. There were no threats of doing away with the children or anything even remotely close to foul language.

While my 5 year did not watch the entire film it did promote discussions regarding "poor" people, how there are many people without enough to eat, what are the reasons for this and what we can do to help.

Overall, you can rest assured in showing this film to your children. I would assess that 6 and up are the most likely to show the most interest. However, every child is unique and your 5 year old might be more mature than mine.

Up Next: Barbie Diamond Castle


A Mom's Movie Review

Barbie in a Christmas Carol

Feeling a little Christmassy already? Then Check out Barbie in A Christmas Carol.
Barbie in a Christmas Carol is an adaptation of a Dickens classic. The tale stars as Eden Starling, a glamourous diva in a Victorian London Theatre. Full of herself, Eden plans to make all her employees stay and rehearse on Christmas Day. Not even her closest childhood friend, Catherine, can convince her otherwise. So it's up to three delightful spirits to show her the error of her ways.

This was a delightful adaption of Charles Dickens' classic tale. It has been wonderfully adapted in such a way as that a younger child can watch it without getting scared while still relaying the original message.

The music is wonderfully done with Christmas classics such as O Christmas Tree, We Wish You a Merry Christmas etc. The bonus features on the disc include a Carol Oke Party, several trailers as well as a humorous behind the scenes music video with the pups from Barbie Diamond Castle and the song I feel Connected.

My 5 and my 3 year year old daughters absolutely loved this movie. Even my 18 month old son was charmed with this story. The graphics were vivid and beautiful and the fashions were amazing. (I wish I had a Christmas dress like Eden)

Again, this movie left us all feeling cheerful and christmassy. We literally watched it the day after Halloween and suddenly we were in full Christmas mode. My daughter has been decorating everything in sight as a Christmas tree since.

Given that many of Mattel's Barbie movies can be fairly dark in spots, I was pleasantly surprised at the light tone of this movie. The movie still provides plenty of opportunities for family discussion regarding selfishness and the true reasons for Christmas.

I have to say that this is a must have for your holiday movie collection. I believe this movie will have real longevity with your child and is not one even the grown ups will tire of quickly.

The only downside: our kids are totally hyped up for Christmas and boy do they have a long wait!

UP NEXT, Kitt Kitteridge, An American Girl

Merry Christmas,

Please let me know if this review was helpful to you or just let me hear your thoughts on this movie.

Tinker Bell

Meet the fairies of Pixie Hollow. This enchanting movie allows us to see how Tinker Bell came to be and how she got her name. Each fairy has his or her own very special talent but Tinker Bell isn't so sure about hers so she sets about to change it. With the help of some very special fairy friends Tink learns the key to solving her problems lies within her own very unique abilities and discovers that when she is true to herself, magical things can happen. Rated: G

Featuring the voice talents of Mae Whitman, Raven Symone, Lucy Liu, America Ferrera, Jane Horrocks and Anjelica Huston to name just a few.

This was overall a delightful movie from start to finish. The imagery and graphics were simply stunning. The story line was simple and sweet. I was thoroughly charmed by this tale of a young fairy on a voyage of self-discovery and assure you that it was well worth the wait for it to come out on video. My girls were delighted as well and played fairies for days afterwards.

Much lighter than the Peter Pan movies, have no fear of letting your young children watch this film. I do not have a single reservation on recommending this film. The dialogue is well written and thought out. There are no scary parts to take you by surprise and other than some wild antics of some thistles there is no violence. Afraid you might fall asleep from the lack of action? Have no fear, the story line is well paced and the storyline is captivating enough to keep even an adult's interest.

What most impressed me with this movie is that unlike many other Walt Disney movies it does not contain violence or witch craft. There is no evil persona trying to take over the world by force. While I recognize that the triumph of good over evil is essential movie formula, I do get tired of trying to explain to my 5 year old why that lady was so mean and why she wants to take over the world. They at that age just do not understand that level of selfishness. While movies that promote discussions are always good and have their place, at some point you need to bring things back down to the children's understanding level.

Tinker Bell does this. We were able to talk about how everyone comes in different shapes and different sizes with different talents and how we should be content with who we are. We talked about the consequences of being mean to others. And, of course, we talked about whether fairies were real or not and if they weren't how does spring arrive?

The bonus features on this disc were fun too. If your child can't get enough of the movie try "exploring" Pixie Hollow. Tinker Bell takes you on a delightful and interactive tour of the Hollow.

As you can tell, I am not a professional reviewer but I hope that this has been helpful and feel free to post any questions you may have if you'd like more detailed information.

Up Next: A Barbie Christmas Carol