Gullivers Travels/ Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treade -Night at the Museum DVD

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Gullivers TravelsGullivers Travels is about as marginal as the trailers suggest; its a tepidly entertaining, irreverent, and sometimes crass comedy starring Jack Black that takes some gigantic liberties with Jonathan Swifts classic story about the land of Lilliput and its tiny inhabitants. Mailroom loser Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) is stuck in a dead-end job and living a dead-end life until the promotion of a fellow employee spurs him to speak up and take action. While a trip to the Bermuda Triangle may not be the date with crush Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet) that Gulliver had envisioned, the voyage promises to take his career in a new direction, and it eventually delivers him to a kingdom known as Lilliput, which is populated by miniature people. After initially being captured and locked away in a dungeon, Gulliver wins the hearts of the Lilliputian people by saving their princess (Emily Blunt) from being kidnapped and rescuing their king (Billy Connolly) from a fire in a most unorthodox and unsavoury way, and he quickly finds himself in a position of gigantic influence. Problem is, Gulliver is completely unprepared and unqualified for his new leadership roles, both on the personal and professional levels, and his ineptitude puts himself and all of Lilliput in extreme danger. Grade-school humour abounds in this fairly mindless film, something Jack Black always excels at, but viewers will find that the chuckles and the message about the power of believing in oneself fade equally as fast as the credits roll. (Ages 9 and older) --Tami Horiuchi The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe third film based on C.S. Lewiss fantasy books, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader opens three years after the Pevensie children return from battling to restore peace to Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are still staying with Eustace (Will Poulter), while Peter and Susan have gotten older and moved on to school and America, respectively. Still as surly and unbelieving as ever, Eustace continues to mock his cousins for their Narnian fantasies. But when water begins spilling into their room from a painting hanging on the wall, all three young people are swept onto the decks of the sailing ship known as the Dawn Treader, which is afloat in the waters of Narnia. This time, there are no wars to be fought in Narnia. But it soon becomes evident that the trio is destined to help King Caspian (Ben Barnes) solve the mystery of the disappearance of the seven lords of Telmar, and prevent the ongoing sacrifices of large groups of Narnian people to the evil green mist. So begins a quest through uncharted waters that will require each of the children to resist temptations like beauty and power, and to conquer the darkness within themselves in order to defeat the threat to Narnias people. The battle promises to yield unexpected heroes, and through their journey, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, and even King Caspian and Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg) each grow and mature. Eventually, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) will ask each adventurer to make an important choice that will forever influence his or her future. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader features plenty of high adventure, sword-fighting action, and personal peril, and while it fails to fully capitalise on the characters motivations or to earn viewers full emotional investment, it is still a solid addition to the Narnia film series. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi Night at the MuseumAn irresistible concept meets computer-generated wonders in Night at the Museum, inspired by a 1993 childrens book by Milan Trenc. Ben Stiller stars as Larry Daley, an underachieving inventor waiting for his ship to come in while getting evicted from one apartment after another for lack of funds. Larrys son needs some stability, so the well-meaning neer-do-well takes a job as night watchman at New York Citys Museum of Natural History. What the soon-to-retire guards (Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs) dont tell him is that an ancient pharaohs tablet in the museum causes everything on display to come to life at night. Thus, Larry meets representations of Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, fire-worshipping cavemen, and Roman Empire soldiers, and learns to cope with an excitable T-Rex and man-eating, ancient animals. The film might have left things at that, but an added story element gives Night at the Museum some extra urgency and excitement, especially for kids: Larry becomes responsible for keeping this nightly miracle going and preventing anything in the museum from dying due to exposure to sunrise. Computer effects, as well as wildly imaginative costumes and makeup, help make the film appeal to the 8-year-old in everyone. Director Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther) works with a hugely talented cast, including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Carla Gugino, and Steve Coogan.

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