|Begone. You have no power here!|
Having kids is expensive.
Do they teach in school?
Well, let this be your lesson for the day.
Clothes, food, shelter, and endless supply of shoes with the toes worn through. (But why the toes?) More food, school supplies, field trips, more food.
And then there’s the entertainment. In the early days, it’s easy, because their eyes don’t see well, they don’t have an opinion, and you can veto their vote. Plus, you probably already have stuff in your collection—provided you have a soul—that will appease most kids of various ages.
Then they get older. The punks.
|Strong, smart, clever female protagonist? Yes please!|
They start seeing ads for movies, and those ads are cunning, clever, downright evil. Sometimes, that works out pretty good. Moana is an excellent film, and probably deserved a much wider audience and more accolades than it received.
But it’s damned, damned expensive to take three or four or even five people to the movie theater and have it be an enjoyable experience. The youngest one never sits still. The oldest one always pouts that he didn’t get something.
They all want treats and snacks and desserts.
Staying home and renting has suddenly made a reappearance for us. That’s how we watched Trolls and Storks. These two movies had decent premises but mediocre executions.
|Pretty much how I watched the film.|
Straight-up about storks who used to deliver babies, but don’t anymore. Now they deliver packages, like some kind of Amazon-gone-wild. The defining moment was when a stork, Jasper (voiced by Danny Trejo) went rogue, and wanted to keep one of the babies. That baby, Tulip (Katie Crown) now 18 is old enough to be cut free, and it’s Junior’s (Andy Samberg) job to do it. If you think that’s enough plot to go with, there’s a young boy who wants a baby brother (with ninja skills!), his career-driven parents who mostly ignore him, an accidental baby produced by Tulip who has to be delivered, Tulips “missing” family, and a pack of wolves who can form anything (Keegan-Michael Keyand Jordan Peele). There are some real shining moments, clever dialogue, and so forth, but with so much going on, the movie just never really takes off.
|Prehensile hair is totally a thing!|
By comparison to Storks, Trolls is incredibly straight-forward. The titular Trolls live in a state of perpetual bliss, with hugging on the hour. Twenty years previously, they fled to their current home from the giant Bergens who would eat the Trolls in order to feel happy (no subtext here at all). Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) leads the Trolls in singing, dancing, scrapbooking, hourly hugging and evening parties. Branch (Justin Timberlake) is constantly doom-and-gloom about the return of the Bergens. Spoiler-alert: Branch is right. A Bergen, Chef (the excellent Christine Baranski) stomps in and captures a dozen of the Trolls to win back her position and somehow make herself queen. Meanwhile, the Bergen scullery-maid Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) pines for Bergen Prince Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who pretty much doesn’t notice her at all. Poppy and Branch go on a quest to save the captured Trolls, and there are a lot of song-and-dance numbers, most of which parents will know some if not all the words. The movie has some clever bits of dialogue, and the voice actors are always fun to listen to, but the plot doesn’t even start to get complicated.
In both cases, my boys were very entertained, and we made an evening of it. Each time, I’ve been very glad that we didn’t shell out to see these movies in the theater. The 24-48 hour rental window is nice, and since these are digital rentals, I don’t have to worry about returning them at 11:59 PM in the middle of a winter storm.