How to Train your Hurt Locker... Movies released today, SA!

Six new films open in South Africa today. One of these is the Academy Award-nominated Leo Tolstoy biopic The Last Station (70% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Another two are B-grade, borderline straight-to-DVD action thrillers - Armored (43% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and The Tournament (unreviewed).

That then leaves my top 2 movie picks for the weekend.

1) How to Train Your Dragon: There's no doubt that this CGI-animated family from DreamWorks Animation is going to be the big hit at the South African (and American) box office this weekend. It's releasing just as local schools close for the Easter break after all.

How to Train Your Dragon, however, is not just any mediocre animated film benefiting from excellent release timing. The film, loosely based on the children's book of the same name by Cressida Cowell, is currently sitting with a stunning 94% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

I've blogged before
about How to Train Your Dragon, which centres on Hiccup, the son of a viking chieftan who has been blessed with brains instead of brawn. Desperate to prove himself an asset to his bloodthirsty community, Hiccup invents a weapon to combat the plague of dragons that has been attacking his village for decades. In the process Hiccup comes into contact with a small black dragon he names Toothless, and discovers that the creatures aren't the vicious monsters he's been always been led to believe. How to Train Your Dragon features the voices of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler and America Ferrera.

I loved the film's trailer the first time I saw it, but I remained wary. Trailers can be horribly misleading and DreamWorks' animated films tend to be more wacky and pop culture-saturated than anything meaningful or memorable. Refreshingly though, if the reviews are to be believed, How to Train Your Dragon offers the perfect combination of laughter, heart and exhilarating action - for children and adults alike.

Along with IMAX screenings, How to Train Your Dragon is releasing in traditional 2D, as well as 3D. Personally I'm going for the 3D experience because if Avatar has taught moviegoers anything it's that dragon riding is so much cooler in multiple dimensions.

2) The Hurt Locker - The second film to prioritise watching this weekend is the big winner at this year's Academy Awards, The Hurt Locker. Winner of 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, The Hurt Locker is an indie action-drama looking at a military bomb disposal unit stationed in Iraq. Thematically, the film is a war movie with a difference - instead of dwelling on the horrors of war; it looks at how addictive military combat can be, as soldiers continually walk on the adrenaline-spiked line between life and death. I've blogged a bit before about The Hurt Locker, and you can watch the film's trailer at that same link as well.

The Hurt Locker is 97% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. That is a scarily high rating and immediately suggests that the film could suffer from over-hype. Certainly a few blog commentators here were not that impressed. This said, the mutterings and insane hype certainly haven't dampened my desire to see the film, which has been praised for its outstanding performances (leading man Jeremy Renner especially) and general intensity.

I personally am a bit peeved though that The Hurt Locker in South Africa, like in the United States, is not receiving an especially wide release. This is despite the fact that it is supposed to be the Best Movie of 2009. Durbanites, for example, will only be able to watch the film at Sun Coast Nu Metro or Gateway Ster Kinekor Classic. If you live in the inland city suburbs and towns, you have a 45 minute trek to get to either of these cinemas. I just think there would be more demand by cinema patrons to see this film (and hence produce more profit for distributors), as opposed to some practically unknown Matt Dillon crime caper that is screening EVERYWHERE as of tomorrow.


Riaan said…
Yeah really looking forward to How to Train your Dragon, will probably go watch it on Sat with my lil'sis and the cousins. Just hope Menlyn isn't too crazy busy with pesky holiday kids! Will have to make it an eeeeearly show.

Hurt Locker was also pretty good, really enjoyed it, but I'm a warmovienut, so I was very surprised at all the attention and awards it got.
Pfangirl said…
Hey Riaan, thanks for commenting. I hope you enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon if you got to see it. Also, I completely agree with you about The Hurt Locker - it's a very solid war movie, but then again I think war movies generally seem to be consistently better than films in a lot of other genres.

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