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Despicable Me Blu-ray 3D | Blu Ray | (21/02/2011)
from £7.69 | Saving you £22.30 (74.40%) | RRP
Despicable Me is a compelling animated comedy about an aging supervillain's falling popularity at the hands of a younger supervillain and three young orphan girls. Gru is a true, bad-to-the-core evildoer who's earned the title of the world's No. 1 supervillain. But when young upstart Vector steals the Pyramid of Giza, Gru's status suddenly sinks to No. 2. Gru counters his fall by speeding up his plan to shrink and steal the moon, enlisting the help of his army of minions and the elderly Dr. Nefario, but a lack of funding and the difficulties involved in stealing the needed shrink-ray gun threaten to derail everything. Adopting three young orphan girls is an unlikely, but seemingly effective means to further Gru's evil mission, but Gru quickly discovers that caring for three young girls is more work, and distraction, than he could ever have anticipated. What unfolds is an unexpected shift in attitude that will forever change the lives of Gru, Vector, and all three young girls. A visually appealing film produced by Chris Meledandri (Ice Age, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, and Horton Hears a Who), Despicable Me is full of weirdly shaped characters and settings that are somehow a perfect fit for Sergio Pablos's story. What's especially refreshing is that in this film, 3-D effects are used skillfully and effectively: even when the effects are exploited for comic reasons, they don't become a distraction, as is all too common in many recent movies. The film is full of corny banter and silly antics that inspire plenty of spontaneous laughter, and the minions, while not the best-developed characters, sure are comical. Ultimately, there's also a wholesome message about following one's heart. Steve Carell is the perfect villain-gone-soft in his role as Gru, Jason Segal is quite funny as Vector, and Julie Andrews makes a surprising appearance as Gru's very un-motherly mom. The story isn't new, the humour is relatively juvenile and somewhat forgettable, and it's no Toy Story 3, but Despicable Me celebrates silliness in a way that's satisfying and highly entertaining. (Ages 6 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (Blu-ray 3D) | Blu Ray | (10/09/2012)
from £5.31 | Saving you £24.50 (81.70%) | RRP
Set sail for a fun-filled voyage of hilarious pirate antics with the biggest Band of Misfits on the seven seas! When the infamous Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is shunned once again by his rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Liz Cutlass (Salma Hayek), he sets his sights to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award! With his trusted “parrot” Polly and rag-tag crew at his side, Pirate Captain will need to battle Queen Victoria, save a young Charles Darwin and never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: Adventure!
Animals United 3d | Blu Ray | (25/04/2011)
from £5.39 | Saving you £19.60 (78.40%) | RRP
A group of animals waiting for the annual flood they rely on for food and water discover that the humans who have been destroying their habitats have built a dam for a leisure resort. The animals endeavour to save the delta and send a message to the humans not to interfere with nature.
Epic (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UV Copy) | Blu Ray | (07/10/2013)
from £6.29 | Saving you £23.70 (79.00%) | RRP
Epic is a computer-animated adventure fantasy filled with gorgeous scenery, nice animated effects, plenty of action, and a somewhat familiar plot about the existence of a society of tiny people. Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried), or M.K. as she likes to be called, has recently come to live with her dad Bomba (Jason Sudeikis) in a ramshackle house in the middle of nowhere. Obsessed with proving the existence of a society of tiny guardians of the forest called Leafmen, who are responsible for maintaining balance by keeping the Boggans from spreading blight throughout the forest, M.K.'s dad has little time for a daughter or the realities of everyday life. A chance event lands M.K. right in the middle of the Leafmen's society, where she quickly develops a whole new appreciation for her father's eccentricities. She finds herself charged by the Leafmen's queen (Beyoncé Knowles) with a difficult task that will mean the difference between preservation and destruction for the forest. M.K. joins forces with an assortment of unlikely heroes, including slug and snail duo Mub and Grub (Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd), overzealous Leafmen commander General Ronin (Colin Farrell), and Nod (Josh Hutcherson), a soldier with a bad habit of questioning authority. Their perilous journey introduces M.K. to a strange new breed of enemy and a whole new way of thinking. Loosely based on William Joyce's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, the film shares its premise--a society of tiny people tries to thrive without drawing the attention of the larger humans--with films like the Tinker Bell movies and Arrietty. What's unique about Epic is that it's just as much action film as fantasy. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
A Monster in Paris (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD) | Blu Ray | (04/06/2012)
from £5.89 | Saving you £12.10 (67.30%) | RRP
A 3D-animated movie set in Paris in the year 1910 and centered on a monster who lives in a garden and his love for a beautiful, young singer. Paris.
Dr Seuss' The Lorax (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD) | Blu Ray | (19/11/2012)
from £4.01 | Saving you £24.00 (80.00%) | RRP
An animated rendition of Dr. Seuss's classic book about the threat of industrialization to nature, The Lorax opens in Thneedville--a town never depicted in the original book. Thneedville is an artificial place, made primarily from plastic. It sports inflatable trees, fast cars, and air quality so poor that the residents are forced to purchase bottled fresh air. In another new twist to the story, 12-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) discovers that his crush Audrey (Taylor Swift) wants nothing more than to see a long-extinct Truffula Tree, so he sets out to impress her by finding one. Since there are no real trees in Thneedville, Ted acts on the crazy stories of his grandmother (Betty White), venturing beyond the city's walls into the desolate wasteland to locate a mysterious creature called the Once-ler (Ed Helms). Here the story and animation begin to more closely follow the book. Ted discovers the grumpy recluse, who reluctantly begins to tell him a tale about a once-perfect landscape filled with beautiful Truffula Trees and cute frolicking animals--a landscape now decimated by one greedy young man's insatiable appetite for profit. The beauty and wonder of the Truffula forest and its creatures are right out of Dr. Seuss's illustrations. While the forest creatures may not be directly referred to as Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee-Swans, and Humming-Fish, the cute little bears, funny-looking ducks, and especially charming trio of singing fish are instantly recognizable. They serve, as they do in Dr. Seuss's book, to add just the right amount of humor and levity to what would otherwise be a pretty heavy-handed message from the Lorax (Danny DeVito) about environmental preservation. Ted's hormonal instincts to impress Audrey slowly begin to take a back seat to the plight of the lost trees and animals, and the Once-ler's assertion that "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better" rings true by the end of the film. The abundance of original music is a nice and unexpected addition to the story, though why neither Efron nor Swift actually gets to sing is perplexing. (Ages 5 and older) Tami Horiuchi
Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) | Blu Ray | (10/12/2012)
from £7.59 | Saving you £22.40 (74.70%) | RRP
The revisionist version of natural history offered up in the Ice Age movies gets yet another twist in the fourth instalment, 10 years after Manny the woolly mammoth, Diego the sabre-toothed tiger, Sid the sloth, and Scrat the squirrel made their chilly debut to hot box-office receipts. The lessons of family and loyalty in Continental Drift may seem a little warmed over, but the creatively constructed laughs, amusing voice characterisations, and inventive CGI animation are reason enough to keep the series viable for kids to giggle about and grown-ups to belly laugh over--sometimes for exactly the same reasons. Once again, acorn-addicted Scrat is the cause of some pretty important behind-the-scenes machinations. His dialogue-free antics also serve as a stand-alone subplot that could easily be a very clever short film of its own. This time the weasely rodent's addled obsession with the fruit of the oak is revealed as the cause of the formation of the world's continents as we now know them. He sets the story--and planet Earth--in motion while pursuing a little nut in a hyperactive prologue that causes underground rifts that in turn form the famous shapes of Australia, Africa, North America, and the outline of Italy (which it turns out is shaped like a boot for a very good reason). Above ground this means more global chaos for the herd of animals we've come to know so well. All the familiar voices reprise their wonderful roles as fissures in earth and ice separate Manny (Ray Romano) from his woolly wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) and boy-crazy teenager Peaches (Keke Palmer). With a killer continental shelf bearing down on them, mother and daughter lead the madcap pack of animal characters toward a safe meeting place while Manny, Diego (Denis Leary), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Sid's crazy granny (Wanda Sykes) drift away on an iceberg schooner into a newly vast open ocean. While floating into oblivion, the mismatched pack encounters a band of animal pirates piloting another slab of ship-shaped ice, captained by a crazed baboon named Gutt (Peter Dinklage), who's bent on resentment-based revenge. The motley crew provides a plethora of comic encounters and a new raft of excellent voice actors. Running a close second to Dinklage in ingenious casting is Jennifer Lopez as Shira, a sultry tiger who, don't cha know, ends up on the good ship and falling for Diego in the end. The adventures of both the land- and sea-based creatures are full of clever gags and densely constructed set pieces that may not be quite up to Pixar story standards, but are certainly always on the ball and executed with computer-animation acumen that is astonishingly lifelike for such an unreal-looking world. Scrat's misadventures act as interstitial connectors to the parallel heroes' journey stories until they ultimately intersect in a massively scaled finale. Even after all the melting and refreezing, the Ice Age world is still a hot commodity in the animated-franchise business and remains a good investment despite the constancy of global rifts in entertaining family fare. --Ted Fry