Ballerina

Vampire Owl: I thought that this movie was called Leap!.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the original name of the flick is Ballerina.

Vampire Owl: It was the cooler name – they should have kept it. Leap could be part of rather too many things.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Ballerina is the name that suits the flick, considering the content too.

Vampire Owl: I wonder why it is that animated dance movies prove to be better than simple and usual dance movies these days.

Vampire Bat: Because animated is cute and safer option.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I had participated in a dance programme once?

Vampire Bat: And you won something, at least a small prize?

Vampire Owl: They made sure that I would never dance again.

Vampire Bat: For some reason, I am not really surprised about that. You are going need a cure for wellness.

[Gets three cups of elaichi tea with a piece of tea cake].

What is the movie about? :: In this story set in the 1880s, a young girl who lives at an orphange, Felicie (Elle Fanning) wants to do nothing other than to dance all the time – it is more like her only love, but her future is rather bleak, considering the situation. Her best friend in the orphanage is a smart young boy named Victor (Dane DeHaan) who wants to be an inventor, and also creates a few memorable inventions by himself there. Their plan is to escape from the orphanage and reach Paris, where Felicie plans to be a ballerina and Victor wants to be an inventor. There they separate their ways, and Felecie joins Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), the cleaner of the Paris Opera who also works for Regine Le Haut (Julie Khaner), an extremely rich lady who owns the city’s most popular restaurant. There she meets Regine’s daughter Camillle (Maddie Ziegler) who is practicing for ballet.

So, what happens next? :: Camille finds Felicie to be a good for nothing girl, who will never be anything other than a cleaner. As she insults her and throws Felicie’s favourite item, her music box out through the windown, breaking it. An angry and depressed Felicie, while going out, is given a letter which was intended for Camille, admitting her to the Paris Opera Ballet. She decides not to show it to Camille, and take her position in the opera, posing as her. She is successful in doing the same, but struggles as she has no experience. Meanwhile, Victor become an office assistant at Gustave Eiffel who is building both the Eiffel Tower, the big landmark of the city, as well as the Statue of Liberty to be gifted to the United States of America. Both struggle in their work, not really able to make the impact that they thought they could make when they left the orphanage.

And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Merante (Terrence Scammell), the teacher and choreographer at the opera tells the girls that one of them would be chosen to dance as Clara in The Nutcracker, and promises to make the selection quick by eliminating the worst performer of the group every day. Felicie is expected to be eliminated on the very first day, but escapes when someone else is injured and eliminated. Realizing that Odette used to be a ballerina during her time before getting injured, Felicie gets training from her, and hopes that she could improve herself well enough to keep surviving the elimination. But with so many things in her mind, it seems rather too difficult for her to keep focus, and her lie is also so close to being discovered. She realizes that she stands no chance if her identity is revealed, as she might be sent back to the orphanage, and also if she has to face someone as disciplined like Camille, there is not much chance. Against all odds, can she do it?

The defence of Ballerina :: The movie is more about achieving one’s dreams, none being too small. It calls for hard work, and not backing out, no matter how difficult or impossible the situation seems to be – it calls to do what we love, and keep loving the same. There are a few moments which bring the laughter, and the dance steps make one feel very good. The visuals of the city are also amazing. The movie also shows the usual attitude of the rich towards the poor, and how much the rich and the powerful tries to get their people all the opportunities, and talent don’t matter for them; there will always be the common people who do better. Still the attitude of the rich remains the same, as it has been shown in too many tales. It is strange that even after so many years, nothing has changed – the rich gets all the opportunities by birth, and the poor who gets rich becomes the oppressor at some other point. It is a strange world, but we should never stop trying to get to our dreams.

The claws of flaw :: One would have a feeling that achieving dreams of a higher level is only getting difficult these days, as only foul is fair in an evil world – every time we try to achieve something, there is more than one rich lady in front of us; there are thousands or millions of obstacles in the same place, and happy ending or happy continuation is more than just difficult in our world. We keep feeling that there could have been more of some stunning scenes of dance around here, as the scope was always there to make it bigger. It also takes some time to get itself to the ballet and serious dancing, and it is only balanced by the shorter run-time of the movie which leaves it with no dull moments – how can one find such a thing looking at such cute and wonderful animation? The boy’s tale could have also got a little bit more attention though, at least related to how far he has gone with his objective.

How it finishes :: Ballerina or The Leap! as it is known more, is another animated movie that you would love to add to that long list of interesting movies which ask you to go after your dreams without worrying about what would happen otherwise. It is the kind of inspiration that we have always wanted, and this movie gets to that fine list of animated movies, even though not that much there compared to those bigger flicks like Frozen, Moana, Zootopia, How to Train Your Dragon, Epic, Kung Fu Panda and many others which have gone on to become bigger names among all kinds of audience – Ballerina is also a movie which will work for everyone, and it is certain to appeal to children, as it is that cute. There are movies like Sing and Rock Dog which deals with the singing side, and Ballerina meets the dancing one – we see that all things get the needed inspiration. Well, no dream is to be left unattended.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Eric Summer, Eric Warin
Starring: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen, Terrence Scammell, Julie Khaner, Mel Brooks, Kate McKinnon, Elana Dunkelman, Shoshana Sperling, Joe Sheridan, Bronwen Mantel, Jamie Watson, Tamir Kapelian

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

mrpeabody&sherman

Every dog has its day :: Mr. Peabody needs a day for himself, just like any other dog (but surely with specs and a bow tie) without that day being called “a dog’s day”. Yes, the other person without the title is the human character who is obviously less intelligent. As the cats have nine lives and continues to dodge death (with the exceptions of our favourite cats who successfully tested the speed of those faster cars on the highway, may be not knowing that eight of the nine lives have ended and it is nearing game over – they should come up with a life bar on the top right corner of the eye or something), the dogs also need a day on which they can use their awesomeness to good use without taking any physical risk that could permanently place them outside the material realm to be devoured by the soul reaver. This is that day for Peabody, a white dog which could have easily been the ruler of the planet on another parallel Earth. As an intelligent creature who doesn’t ask for the nine lives for himself or claim his right to a possible return from the dead in the name of equality, this dog takes us into an adventure which has already been highly rated by the critics and is indeed splendid.

What is it about? :: Mr. Peabody might be not only the smartest dog in the world, but also the most intelligent creature on Earth surpassing all humans with ease. He proved that he was different from the other dogs in the childhood itself, due to which he was never adopted and never had a home as a puppy. So later, he adopted a boy named Sherman instead, only after he gets rich and popular. As Sherman gets into conflict with his classmate, Penny Peterson who tried to the be the “mean girl”, the adoption agency blames it on the behaviour of Peabody who is an animal and they threaten to cancel the adoption. As Penny is invited to their home with her parents to make sure that nothing worse happens, the kids end up in the time machine invented by Peabody which is usually used to teach Sherman history. As Penny gets caught in Ancient Egypt, Peabody and Sherman has to make things right before the space-time continuum is completely destroyed. But for the same, just a random journey to Egypt won’t be enough, that is for sure.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Ancient Egypt :: Chronologically the first place to be visited, but otherwise the second, the Little King Tut a.k.a Tutankhamun wants force Penny into child marriage to which she has no objection (even with the revelation that his name rhymes with butt) until she comes to know about the wonderful customs of the land from the Vizier. This is a nice little episode (the movie is so short, so it had to be little) which involves them wandering around through the tombs inside The Sphinx and using the statue of Anubis, the god of death to their advantage. There are some nice jokes involving plague, the underworld and the god-kings. This place is the answer to where, when and how the adventures of Peabody and Sherman actually begins. Well, what is the use of a time machine if you haven’t seen the Pyramids in the zenith of its glory? We don’t have the Roman or the Persian Empire at its zenith, at least we got Egypt. Still, there could have been more of the place, and the same can be felt about what is to be mentioned next.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Greek-Troy War :: The trio lands in the middle of the Greek Trojan war as the result of a crash making it chronologically the second place to be visited, otherwise the final one. The Greeks are ready to avenge the death of Achilles and bring the fight into the city of Troy as they have carefully placed themselves inside the Wooden Horse. Sherman joins King Agamemnon, Odysseus and team in their battle against Troy, but is saved by Peabody before Trojans get to him. One has to admit that Agamemnon is the funniest character of the movie, and as the good guys beating up the enemies, they are lots of fun. From the location map, I was of the impression that this was going to be the Dracula Castle which was not to be. Well, there should be a sequel, we can hope for that. The father-son relationship reaches its climax during this visit and right after that, as a good number of historical figures make a visit to the future.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @Italian Renaissance :: The trio catches up with Leonardo da Vinci during his attempt to paint Mona Lisa and even manages to make the lady smile or rather laugh in the process. Chronologically the third place to be visited and otherwise the second, this visit to Florence is when Sherman finds himself capable of something and he also gets along with Penny even managing to fly the prototype of a flying machine made by da Vinci together. The city of Florence as well as the Florence cathedral looks beautifully created, and the painting scene as well as the flying scene are nicely done. It is obvious that there were so many people in the theatre who knew nothing about Renaissance, it was a cultural movement of the thirteenth and fourteenth century beginning in the Italian states, especially the city of Florence. We were not taught about it in detail in the school history books, but Mr. Peabody will make sure that you won’t forget it that easily.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman @French Revolution :: Being at the French Revolution was more of a study trip for Sherman until things get serious. Thus it was the first time travel event to be shown even as it should come last in a chronological order. Caught between the cakes of Marie Antoinette and the call for assassination by Maximilien de Robespierre, Sherman avoids some advice for having cake as Peabody is almost executed in the guillotine before he finds a way out. As he mistakes Reign of Terror which comes with the French Revolution to be just another rain – they seem to struggle to escape, but Peabody does the escape act with ease. Nobody seems to be a match for the talking dog. The significant role which history would play in this movie is evident from this. I would say no history lover can dare to miss this movie, and it can also serve as a very interesting history class for kids, even as the movie might seem to lack logic like any other animated movie along with lacking in total content.

How it finishes :: Mr. Peabody & Sherman is that movie which has prevented Non-Stop from releasing here, and it might not be a good news for many, as it was a much awaited movie especially with Liam Neeson coming back to that path and into that avatar which the fans would like him to follow. Still, it has only lesser shows here at selected multiplexes just like The Lego Movie had if not slightly better. But as it is such a wonderful movie, why would someone ask for anything else? To add to it, this movie releases here a week before it releases in the United States, and that is a twist of fate. Let’s not be fooled by the name of the movie, as it is indeed not good enough to bring people to the big screen. The first impression that came to my mind when I heard the title was not good either. But do not just a movie by its name, especially an animated movie, as they never cease to surprise you, like this one which is the best movie of the year so far – yes better than The Lego Movie too.

Release date: 28th February 2014 (India); 7th March 2014 (US)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Rob Minkoff
Starring (voice): Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Leslie Mann, Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Zach Callison, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Dennis Haysbert

Mr Peabody & Sherman copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.