Hugo / The Muppets / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows / The Adventures of Tintin / Red Tails

So, all these movies came out quite a while ago, so these reviews are kind of out of date.  By this point, however, they are all out on DVD/Bluray, so talking about them is still somewhat worthwhile.  Some of them were really good!


Hugo was a really marvellous movie about, well, movies.  Actually, it kind of felt like two movies mashed together back-to-back, and I was more interested in the first one than the second, but it was a virtually perfect experience overall.

The superb execution of this movie is perhaps not surprising seeing as the director is Martin Scorsese.  He even managed to make the 3D interesting to watch!  The quality of the cast was also stellar, including the two child actors who were the leads (Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz, who was also excellent as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass).

As you might have gathered, I liked this one a lot.

The Muppets

Finally!  A new Muppets movie.  Thankfully, Jason Segel managed to pull it off and created a story that was a worthy return to form for a franchise that had seen some questionable TV outings in the last decade or so.  He and Amy Adams were entertaining as the human “stars” of the movie, but it was the Muppets themselves that it was a pleasure to see on the big screen once again.

It was like this movie was aimed squarely at me and my demographic, hitting all the right triggers of nostalgia from my youthful Muppety memories while still managing to be an enjoyable story itself.  About my only complaint was a bit too much time was spent with the story of the human characters when really what I wanted was wall-to-wall Muppet insanity.  That said, I am eagerly looking forward to a follow-up.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

The second Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law was entertaining, but failed to live up to its predecessor.  While this version of Holmes is action-oriented, this second outing was too actiony and less thoughtful and clever.  It tried to outdo the first in terms of spectacle—and it succeeded—but at the cost of what makes Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes.

I sound down about this, but it was enjoyable enough.  I just wouldn’t rate it as a “must-see” like the first.

The Adventures of Tintin

Whee!  This CG-animated adaptation the classic Belgian comic was a really well-executed movie that captures a sense of fun and adventure that is reminiscent of Indiana Jones.  There were a ton of highly entertaining and over-the-top moments in this movie, and the voice acting was great.  This movie just made me happy.

Red Tails

This movie is an effort from George Lucas to celebrate the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American pilots in World War 2.  While it is very celebratory, the movie has all the subtlety one might have expected from George Lucas based on the quality of the Star Wars prequels.

I’m sure you can see the problem.

This movie as it was made now had the unsubtle patriotism and painfully obvious character arcs and storylines that might have been common in the 1950s or ’60s.  It was pretty much entirely predictable and simplistic.  I have heard that Lucas claims this was a deliberate effort to channel and earlier era of filmmaking, but I think this means the film will largely fail to resonate with a modern audience.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the aerial dogfights were well done and enjoyable.  And I did learn some history stuff I didn’t know before.  But when I came out of this movie, most of what I was thinking about was how it failed to live up to its potential.