When you’re waiting for a bus it’s almost always the case that nothing will appear for ages and then three will lurch up all at once. In the chaos of hissing air-brakes and diesel fumes you wonder why this happens. But there’s no real explanation for it… it just happens that way. It might be a bit of a cliché – but it’s also an unwritten law of human existence.
For me it’s the same thing with the cinema. I don’t go for absolutely ages, then I end up going to see three films in rapid succession. . Last week it happened again – but this time there was an unusual and quite exciting twist… this time one of the films was for grown ups!
I don’t know about you, but since the children have been old enough to go to the cinema, the only films we tend to go and see are kids films. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose: they’re adorable, cute and often highly entertaining. It’s just that sometimes you crave something a little bit darker, more edgy… just plain more grown up. The trio of cinematic diversions that I got to watch this time around delivered on all fronts.
First of all lets talk about the kids’ films: Kung-fu Panda and WALL-E. I loved Kung fu Panda, a tale of how the unlikely hero – a bungling, overweight panda with delusions of Kung-fu grandeur – perseveres and eventually triumphs where the most highly trained and talented Kung-fu acolytes failed.
The animation is great; the voice talents of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu, among others, are excellent and the action packed Kung fu fight scenes, unconstrained by the usual laws of human anatomy, physics or anything else, work particularly well.
The twins were in stitches, and even the little one, who gets bored easily, was transfixed. It’s a really well put together movie.
WALL-E was a completely different kind of film. The human race has left earth to live on giant space-going cruise liners, leaving behind vast mountains of rubbish and an army of robots to clean up the planet. WALL-E (an acronym of Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class) , by now the only surviving clean-up bot, goes about the daily task of gathering, crushing and stacking our rubbish, picking up useful bits and pieces along the way… including a bit of personality.
Wall-E’s mundane existence is shattered by the arrival of EVE (an acronym of Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a probe from the flagship space-cruise-liner Axiom, whose directive is to scan earth for plant life. What follows is an trans-galactic adventure that whisks WALL-E across space and eventually brings the human race back to Earth.
Quite how Pixar have managed to make a robot “cute and cuddly” I don’t know, but they certainly have with WALL-E. The computer animation is jaw-droppingly effective, and the romance that blossoms between the lonely little clean-up droid and the sleek, sophisticated EVE is adorable. Of course, the environmental backdrop that pervades the film is particularly topical. Lets hope that delivering it in this way can help to get the message across to children and adults alike.
While both of the children’s films were excellent, for me the highlight of this cinematic extravaganza was The Dark Knight. I’m not a huge fan of the earlier bat-man films, but this one is different. The late Heath Ledger is absolutely outstanding as the maniacal Joker, and Christian Bale’s batman is suitably dark, and brooding. It’s fast paced, action packed, dark, edgy and ticks all of the grown-up boxes that the kiddies films miss: all in all it was the perfect conclusion to an excellent trio of films.