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Don't worry. If the North Koreans ever attack, we will all be saved by the hottest high schoolers with the best abs.
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The struggle between the good-guy "Guardians" and the evil "Pitch" often feels more like a film made for adults.
It doesn't help that Santa, here called "North," is a big bully who won't fit the image many youngsters have of jolly ol' Saint Nick. Same goes for the Easter Bunny, who defies childhood expectations and does battle with a boomerang in his paw.
Better is the story of Jack Frost, a young boy who finds that fun and joy is the center that will help him battle evil. But even that is soured somewhat (especially for little ones) by the fact that he's a boy who drowned trying to save his sister while ice skating.
It all feels more grown-up and tinged with evil than necessary for a movie aimed at the young crowd, but it does help that the actors doing the voices include Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, Alex Baldwin and Chris Pine.
Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. 97 min. [MC, RA, RF]
"RED DAWN" (PG-13)
CHRIS HEMSWORTH, ISABEL LUCAS, JOSH HUTCHERSON
Get 10 minutes into this tale of American occupation by the North Koreans and you'll all be asking the same question: "Why remake this film if it's this lame?"
Especially given the fact that this time out, it's the North Koreans who invade the West Coast, forcing a bunch of high school kids and an older brother into a guerilla war against the invading force.
Many moons ago, this film got made with a much better cast and the advantage of a timely, fresh idea: Could a bunch of high school kids fight back if our country was invaded?
In that first film, with a cast that included Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson, things were more rustic and, if not believable, at least not laughable.
In this remake, the young "Wolverines," led by military-trained older brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth), are immediate experts at blowing up buildings, tanks and anything that gets in their way.
It's as ridiculous as the invasion that comes with no warning but a sky suddenly full of paratroopers.
Equally silly are the car chase where the high schoolers escape and the ending where everyone suddenly has cars and trucks with missiles and machine guns mounted on them.
My rule for remakes is simple: If you can't add something significant in the filming, the story or the cast, don't do it.
This movie fails on all three counts, though Hemsworth manages not to embarrass himself.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense war violence and action, and language. 93 min. [MC, PV, RA]
HOW WE RATE 'EM
H Don't waste your time.
HH Nothing special
HHHH A must-see