A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
Thankfully, A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas really does deliver in spades. Yes, the two title characters don’t really have the same kind of on-screen chemistry that they once did, but that’s almost the point. After all, Harold has gone to be a successful corporate time with a family and Kumar is still a pothead who was kicked out of medical school. They couldn’t be more different.
The plot couldn’t be more contrived. Kumar receives a package in the mail addressed to Harold, so he goes to deliver it. The dominoes fall, the Christmas tree lights on fire, and they spark a series of events that leads to a coked-up baby, brushes with the Russian mafia, and genitalia being abused. And let’s not forget that this is all in three-dimensions. But somehow… it works.
The 3D effects, particularly with the smoke, are blatantly included as sight gags, but they are very well done. Similarly, the smaller roles played by Bobby Lee (as Harold’s assistant) and Danny Trejo (as Harold’s father-in-law) really add to the precious pothead comedy. This film is clearly not going to win any awards, but if you liked the brand of comedy of the first movie, this holiday flick will have you in stitches.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
One of my favorite series growing up had to be Winnie the Pooh, both in book and animated form. To this day, I still adore the characters of Eeyore, Piglet, and the other citizens of the Hundred Acre Wood. I was even enthralled by the Tao of Pooh.
So, my initial response to the new Winnie The Pooh movie was a hope that they wouldn’t butcher this childhood treasure. And they didn’t. The irresistibly sickly sweet charm is certainly in place here, including a mostly hand-drawn kind of style that hearkens back to A.A. Milne. There are many sections where the characters physically interact with the text too, giving the kind of feel that someone (the narrator) is reading you (the audience) a bedtime story. It’s all wonderfully done, immediately melting my heart.
The current tale (no pun intended) surrounds the unexpected loss of Eeyore’s tail and a quest to replace it. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. The usual antics ensue with Owl claiming to be smarter than he is and Piglet looking more terrified than timid. The voice acting, with the exception of Pooh, felt a little off and the musical numbers are forgettable. Maybe nostalgia is getting the best of me, but I had a good time with this film. It’s too short at just over an hour (including lengthy credits), but it’s definitely worth watching for any fan of Pooh. Silly old bear.
Disneynature: African Cats (2011)
I thought Disney’s Earth has some fantastic footage (courtesy of the BBC) to go along with a half-decent narrative, but I can’t feel the same about this entry in the expanding Disneynature brand of “documentary” nature films.
To be fair, I understand why they would position Disneynature: African Cats as a movie primarily for the younger set and that’s why they loosely wrapped documentary footage around a Disney-like plotline, but it didn’t really work for me here. The expansive footage of the cheetah and lion families wasn’t as impressive as the first Earth movie either. Yes, the babies are cute, but you’ll get a better nature documentary elsewhere.