A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!
Directed by Savage Steve Holland
Written by Butch Hartman & Scott Fellows
When A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! was first announced as a live-action feature film, it sounded like it would be terrible. Who needed yet another live action film for a cartoon? Haven’t we suffered enough? But, Grow up, Timmy Turner! instead turned out to be a good surprise, keeping the tone of the cartoon while delving into raging manchild territory with a plot so off the walls that it is brilliant. And yes, that means I liked it very much. I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you! Who knew that I would end up enjoying what appeared to be a terrible Disney Channel-type film? But Grow Up, Timmy Turner is much more than that, it’s fun, and sort of has a message about the need to grow up and move on with your life buried beneath the wacky antics of the hijinks that ensue.
For those of you out of the loop, The Fairly Oddparents is a cartoon series about a child named Timmy Turner’s fairly godparents who grant him wishes, and all the adventures that entails. The series’ bizarro humor helped earn it a cult following among more than little kids, with viewers of all ages tuning in. There has been sporadic tv-movie specials for The Fairly Oddparents, though this is the first live-action special.
Grow Up, Timmy Turner continues the same basic plot, except Timmy is now 23 years old, still in the same grade at school, still living at home, and still not grown up, because being grown up loses you your fairy godparents. It’s in the rules, trust us, they break out the rules to read during the movie!
Cameos from the cartoon show up all over the place. Jorgen Von Strangle (Mark Gibbon), the strongest fairy and the boss of all fairies, appears repeatedly throughout the film to threaten Timmy. He’s an obvious Arnold Schwarzenegger parody. Timmy’s childhood friend Chester McBadBat and A.J. (Chris Anderson and Jesse Reid) appear sporadically as adults assuming the still-childlike Timmy is jealous of their “successes”, though the successes are never elaborated on.
Director Savage Steve Holland was an 80s genius with such classic films as Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer, and How I Got Into College. He got into tv with The New Adventures of Beans Baxter and the Encyclopedia Brown series on HBO, but his greatest television creation was Eek! the Cat (and accompanying cartoons.) He’s since been making a living directing episodes of family fare tv series, making him perfect for this film packed with Nickelodeon teens.
Directed by Raja Gosnell
As someone who grew up with The Smurfs on tv and in comic books, I can say that I enjoyed them very much. I fondly remember watching the smurf cartoons over the years, and reading the various comics (favorite one – Astronaut Smurf, where all the other smurfs became Swoofs and it was a big wish fulfillment fantasy to help some random Smurf.) So like most young adults, I looked at the upcoming live-action Smurfs movie with trepidation – would yet another thing from my youth be turned into an embarrassment? Maybe even make me feel blue? (Sorry, was forced by law to add that joke!)
Thanks to the fact I’m awesome as smurf, the wife and I got to go to a free advanced screening of The Smurfs in 3D! But I’m not going to let a little thing like free tickets turn my review to a positive, any positive remarks are earned by the film the hard way: entertaining me. So sit back and enjoy TarsTarkas.NET’s first foray into reviewing a mainstream film that isn’t even out yet! Next up: Reviewing a film that doesn’t even exist yet (It Stinks!)
The Smurfs first appeared in Johan and Peewit stories from the Belgian cartoonist Peyo (Pierre Culliford) in 1959, and they proved popular enough they were headlining their own stories and soon an industry. Smurfs are called Schtroumpfs in their native Belgium, so keep that in mind. The Smurfs are usually hunted by their main adversaries Gargamel and Azrael, Gargamel is a wizard who is after them for reasons that don’t remain consistent (originally it was to create the philosopher’s stone from them, then it became to eat them, then to turn them to gold, and then just pure revenge for the years of failure.)
The best parts of The Smurfs are when there are a whole pack of Smurfs. The opening sequence (also one of the few instances where the 3D is worth it) is awesome enough you want a whole movie set in the magical Smurf village and ancient kingdom. The village feels alive and like you could easily stmble across it in the woods one day and have magical adventures with your new three-apple-high blue friends. But soon enough we are sucked to modern New York City with only six Smurfs keeping us company.
Like the Masters of the Universe film, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, and Aliens vs. Predators, budget restraints forces the film to bring the action to modern day USA. This concept has happened enough it’s been lampooned (in Disney’s great Enchanted), but it also disappoints those expecting a sweeping story set in the world of the Smurfs. And though Smurfs is a kids movie, there will be plenty of adults in the audience bringing those kids, many who grew up watching those same Smurfs Tra-la-la-la-la-la they’re way across their tv screens. Raja Gosnell has experience bringing cartoons to the silver screen, having directed the first two Scooby-Doo films (along with Beverly Hills Chihuahua!)
The main focus of The Smurfs is a bit muddled. Besides the Fish Out of Water story, he script tries to graft a Hero Arc into the film (with Clumsy), but it’s also competing with a Coming of Age Story, Proving Yourself to your Jerk Boss, and Realizing You Should Spend Time With Family and Not Work stories. So it’s sort of all over the place.
Despite the mish-mash, the film isn’t a total loss, and I ended up liking it. Neil Patrick Harris is still charming despite some of his character’s bad writing, and Gargamel and Azrael help save large stretches of the film with both scenery chewing and cartoon antics (this is a cartoon-turned live-action film, after all!) The kids in the audience were paying enough attention at the end that they were really invested in the final battle.
Categories: Movies, Ugly Tags: Alan Cumming, Anton Yelchin, B.J. Novak, cartoons to film, Frank Welker, Fred Armisen, Gary Basaraba, George Lopez, Hank Azaria, In Glorious 3D!, Jayma Mays, Jeff Foxworthy, Joan Rivers, Joel McCrary, John Kassir, John Oliver, Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Kenan Thompson, Mr. Krinkle, Neil Patrick Harris, Paul Reubens, Raja Gosnell, Sofía Vergara, Tars sells out!, Tom Kane, Wolfgang Puck
Directed by James Wong
Written by Ben Ramsey
Dragonball is a famous manga and anime series from Japan that has fans all over the world. I am not one of those fans so I don’t give a crap how they deviated from the source material. If you just want to read a review that complains about that stuff, then I am sorry, this is not the review for you. If you want to read a review that complains about other stupid stuff and yet still gives the film a fairly positive review, then you have hit the jackpot. Also, there is a monkeyman in this movie, and a CGI dragon. Just saying.
Dragonball the anime is about some dudes who spend 99% of the show charging up for the 1% where they fight and someone gets blasted only for them to fight next week after more charging up. It is the most popular show that has ever existed in the world. The movie decided to ignore the charging up and instead do some sort of “Find the Dragonballs!” plot. Fine with me. The film then basically becomes a low-rent Star Wars ripoff, or at least that same stupid farmboy mythology that everyone does. Sure, that legend has been around forever and Star Wars is known for borrowing elements wholesale from other myths itself, but all of those stories now just end up being compared to Star Wars, like it or not.
And where were the fistcams we were told about? I don’t remember any fistcams in the film. Maybe they realized it looked stupid.
Justin Chatwin does a good job with the normal teenager parts, but the sections where he is vowing revenge, questioning people about stuff in the dragonball mythology, or calling upon dragons to resurrect his master all come off as very badly acted. He just isn’t a good genre actor at this point, but he would be find chatting up some girl on 90210 or something.