Real Parent Review of The Croods, Oz the Great and Powerful, GI Joe and Olympus has Fallen

This month has been filled with new movies for us. Movies are a great way to get the family out of the house.  Even better when we have free passes to go to an early screening of said movie.  Most of this month’s new movies were awesome too!  Here is a quick rundown of the last four movies our family watched.
The Croods in 3D
We attended a screening of this movie and we were surprised at how empty the theater was.  This does not bode well for this cute animated movie.  I brought my 5 year old daughter and her four year old best friend and Mom with us.  The movie felt a bit long towards the middle and my daughter got restless and a bit scared at parts.  I think the 3D part made this movie quite difficult. The two little girls took off their glasses five minutes into the movie and never really put them back on.  Without the glasses the movie was very blurry and I cannot believe the girls enjoyed it that way.  The 3D effects were really cool. The first scene with different flying items had the girls reaching out and trying to touch the objects.  It was so much fun to watch their reactions.  The story of the Croods, a typical family was cute.  Nothing earth shattering happened but many of the voices, (Nic Cage and Cloris Leachman) were fantastic.  I laughed a lot and enjoyed the strong girl character who loved to show her Dad she was the boss.  If your kids will keep their glasses on, I think your family will really enjoy this movie. I will add though, that my little girl, who does not go to many movies, did have 2 nightmares last night, even though she did not seem scared during the movie.  Our feeling was that this movie is good for kids 3 and up who will keep their 3D glasses ON! 
You can watch the trailer for the Croods here:

The next real parents review we have for you is Oz the Great and Powerful.
Our family gives this a 5 star, instant classic rating.  The 3d was the best in ANY movie we have ever seen.  The opening credits alone, are so visually stunning, that you cannot imagine how the movie will get any better, but somehow it does!
James Franco plays this movie as “old timey” with all the mannerisms and acting and he is awesome!  The movie was very true to the original Wizard of Oz. It begins in black and white and switches to color when he lands in Oz.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a new movie from Disney which is a prequel to the classic tale of Dorothy’s trip, The Wizard of Oz.  Growing up I remember watching the Wizard of Oz every year and how fantastic the story was with the Wicked Witch, the flying monkeys, the Munchkins and all of the
characters from Dorothy’s home in Kansas who showed up to help her out.
 Trying to make a movie that would could compare in any way to that
ultimate classic would be a tall task indeed, and nearly impossible.  In
this case, they succeeded.
The story starts off by following Oscar Diggs (Oz)
as he works his magic at a carny show in Kansas.  He is a charlatan in
every way.  He tricks girls into working with him and being with him and
is inconsiderate to all around him as he lets his selfish ways run his
life.  As he is escaping in his balloon from someone he has wronged, he
gets sucked into a tornado and brought to the Land of Oz.  As the screen goes from black and white to full color you see the beauty that is the Land of Oz.  I don’t want to reveal too much more than this about the plot since I think the story is wonderful (and try to avoid any reviews which give away too much).  I will tell you that many elements of the original movie show up in this prequel such as his friends in Kansas show up in Oz only slightly different than he remembered them.  We also learn why he is the man behind the curtain and how the witches became so bad.

I would recommend seeing this in 3d (and/or IMAX) since this was the best use of this feature in ANY movie I have ever seen.  I have read a few
reviews which pan James Franco and his acting.  My analysis couldn’t be
more divergent.  James Franco plays this role as “old timey” and intentionally overacts with the mannerisms of a vaudevillian star and to me it worked perfectly.

While we have seen some reviews that have been less than stellar, we have to tell you that when we left the theater both my son and I agreed that the movie was incredible.  There was no sex or sexual scenes at all and the violence was minimal.  There were a few scary parts when the flying monkeys appeared out of nowhere, but we both thought this was not as scary as many of the
villians we have seen in animated Disney movies.  We highly
recommend this movie to anyone with children or anyone who enjoys
classic movies.  We suggest this movie for kids 6 and up.  You can watch the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful Here:
 Olympus has Fallen VS GI JOE Retaliation:
Last week we were able to preview two new action movies which were
different in almost every aspect aside from the expected action and
violence.  We enjoyed both movies, but their intended audiences and how
they portrayed their stories were far different. 

Olympus Has Fallen is an action movie in the vein of Die
Hard and Under Siege, in which they follow the path of a lone hero who
has to fight superior numbers to save something they care deeply about.
 In this case its Gerard Butler who is a Secret Service agent who is
relegated to desk duty after serving for the President for many years.
 His new position means he is not actually in the White House when the
terrorists begin their attack and he eventually finds himself in the
thick of the action saving the President and the entire country with his
The action in this movie is spectacular, but
completely inappropriate for younger children (depending on your child
probably 13 or older).  There are multiple killings as Butler’s
character works his way through the White House and there are also
multiple scenes of civilians and military people being killed on screen.
 The opening scenes of the movie (after the prologue in Camp David)
where the terrorists take down the White House are exciting and
thrilling.  The action is non-stop for a good 20 min…… and then it
gets exciting.  
We really enjoyed this movie, but it is as far from a
chick flick as you can possibly get and it has a well deserved R rating
for the violence. I felt comfortable watching this movie with my teens, but you will
probably want to take the younger ones to see the Croods or something
else more in their range.You can see the trailer for Olympus has Fallen here:

GI Joe Retaliation is the second in a series of
comic book turned into a movie starring The Rock, Dwayne Johnson (who
I will refer to from now on only as the Rock).  This was originally
slated to be released last summer, but was pushed back to turn it into
3D (which apparently helps with the overseas box office).  The premise
for this one, is that Cobra has infiltrated our government at its highest
levels and use that, to destroy the GI Joes (the MOST elite fighting
force we have). With the Joes out of the way, Cobra can destroy the USA
and take over the world.  
Again, the action is this movie is exceptional and
there are far fewer “killings” that you witness compared to Olympus
(which allowed GI Joe to have a more kid-friendly PG-13 rating).  Much of
the fighting is done hand to hand and those sequences are really well
done and very exciting.  The extra time they took to work on the
graphics clearly pays off and you see this in many scenes (including the
destruction of a major city and a chase along a mountain cliff).  The
story itself is very much a comic book story, where the plot is over the
top and oftentimes unbelievable.  If you see this movie you should be
prepared to let those plot issues go, and just enjoy the ride that The
Rock and team are going to take you on.  Bruce Willis even shows up at one
point, but he doesn’t put in a great performance, just his usual squinting,
looking tough routine.  
Overall, we enjoyed both action movies, but Olympus was
definitely a much better movie all around. If you want to see a movie with your older kids (ages 10 and up) we can recommend GI Joe.  Just realize that the story is
weak, but the action strong.  I would not recommend Olympus for young
children due to the very graphic violence and R rating (which is well
deserved) even though there is absolutely no sex or nudity at all.  If you would like to watch the GI Joe trailer, here it is:
Hope you have a great time at the movies with your family! There is definitely something out there for everyone.


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