This week’s film reviews

This week’s film reviews

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The original 'Anchorman' gave us Ron Burgundy - a chauvinistic, self-absorbed television newsman, who became an icon of the media-saturated modern age. But you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Will Ferrell’s buffoonish alter-ego staggers bleary-eyed into the 1980s in Adam McKay’s overlong but sporadically hilarious sequel.

‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ is more miss than hit, allowing a number of running jokes to wheeze far beyond a point of comfort.

Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Ron’s treatment of his new African American boss, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). His initial reaction – to scream “black!” to her face – continues ad nauseum and kindles a pointless scene in which Ron merrily peddles racial stereotypes around the dinner table with Linda’s horrified relatives.

At almost two hours, McKay’s film is overstuffed with gags that will delight only ardent fans of the 2004 film.

Like its naive and socially inept protagonist, ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ has no clear idea where it’s going and stumbles from mishap to misstep. Ferrell and co seem to be having a blast, always one giggle away from corpsing, while Carell and Wiig are an adorable pairing.

As in the first film, the sequel reaches a crescendo with a battle royale involving rival news crews that briefly flings a pompous BBC reporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) into the melee.

In terms of quotable one-liners, pickings are slimmer, but co-writers Ferrell and McKay hit gold with Brick’s stalker and a biting aside about Ron’s night on the town with his ladykiller pals.

Star Rating: 2½ Rating: 77%

Walking With Dinosaurs – the 3D Movie

This week’s film reviews

In October 1999, six years after Steven Spielberg restored Tyrannosaurus Rex to the top of the food chain in Jurassic Park, the BBC unveiled its ground-breaking series, ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’.

The six-part journey into a lost world populated captivated viewers and won numerous awards.

Shot on location in Alaska, ‘Walking With Dinosaurs – The 3D Movie’ is the next evolution, employing dazzling visuals to explore a familiar story of triumph against adversity in the Late Cretaceous period.

Screenwriter John Collee roasts a hoary narrative chestnut – the journey of a runt of the litter – for a simplistic script. It emphasises the educational aspects by repeatedly freeze-framing the action to provide us with the genus, English translation and feeding classification of each dinosaur.

Humour is pitched at younger audiences – the opening sequence is a feast of dino-poop – with occasional concessions to parents, like when the film’s hero stares dreamily at a picturesque landscape and gushes, “This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!”.

“It’s a future oilfield, so don’t get too attached,” replies his feathered sidekick tartly.

‘Walking With Dinosaurs – The 3D Movie’ is visually arresting edutainment that makes fleeting use of the eye-popping format. Thus, a Pterosaur almost pokes our eye out with its beak and moths flutter inches from our face.

Vocal performances are solid, with Leguizamo stealing the best lines as the little bird who professes: “If you want to know where the food is, follow the fat guys”.

Scenes that might be a tad scary for the very young are preceded by a verbal warning from Alex, giving parents sufficient time to create a cuddle cage from the necessary bloodshed.

Star Rating: 3/5 Rating: 22%

Moshi Monsters: The Movie

This week’s film reviews

JK Rowling famously started writing the bestselling Harry Potter books with her baby daughter at her side while enjoying a hot brew. Five years ago, inspiration also struck Michael Acton Smith in a South London coffee shop.

While sketching creatures on a scrap of paper, the designer stumbled upon the idea of a game, which allowed players to adopt, play with and nurture their own monster, expanding the idea of virtual pet ownership from the Tamagotchi craze that swept the globe in the late 1990s.

The success of the Moshis has been phenomenal, sowing the seeds of a dizzying array of spin-offs.

‘Moshi Monsters: The Movie’ brings to life the six virtual monsters from the game – Diavlo, Katsuma, Furi, Luvli, Poppet and Zommer – as they venture far from the safety of Monstro City.

Enforcing the Moshi Monsters brand with its cheerful, upbeat tone and a well-worn mantra (“if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything”) Wip Vernooij and Morgan Francis’s film should entertain youngsters, who have already been bitten by the virtual pet bug.

Slater camps it up as the boo-hiss villain of the piece, while the animators cram as much retina-searing colour into each frame. Pacing is brisk and action set-pieces include a stomach-churching mine cart roller-coaster ride.

Given that I’m more than 30 years older than the film’s target demographic, I cheerfully spent 81 minutes with Katsuma and co, and smiled through most of it.

Star Rating: 3/5 Rating: N/A

Also Released This Weekend…

The Harry Hill Movie

The award-winning presenter of ‘TV Burp’ and ‘You’ve Been Framed’ gatecrashes the big screen in this madcap road movie directed by Steve Bendelack (‘The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse’).

Separated at birth from his nefarious twin brother Otto (Matt Lucas), who has been raised by dogs, Harry (playing himself) has enjoyed a haphazard life in the company of his petrol-guzzling Nan (Julie Walters) and beloved pet hamster Abu (voiced by Johnny Vegas).

When Harry learns that the plucky rodent has just one week to live and mistranslates the creature’s dying wish, the eponymous hero takes to the road with Nan bound for the bright lights of Blackpool.

En route, they encounter doggy superstars The Dachsund Five, a deranged vet (Simon Bird) and an undersea shell person (Sheridan Smith), who snags Harry’s heart.

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