Movies

Perry’s Previews: Best G/PG-rated Films of 2010, from Tangled to Toy Story 3

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I know a lot of my friends and fans have been waiting for my best list of 2010 films for a while.  The year 2010 has been a “Perrific!” year for G/PG-rated films, especially animation and thought-provoking documentary.  Mom (Zhu Shen) & I saw not only impressive major studio releases, but also amazing indie films at film festivals.

The list of top 10 films below includes films with 2010 US theatrical releases.  Most of the films received 5 or 4.5 starfish from me!  I’ve provided links to my reviews and interviews below.  Enjoy & tell me what your own favorites are!

Perrys Previews Best G/PG-rated Films of 2010

Dragon co-director Dean DeBlois with Perry Chen and his drawing of Dean at Comic-Con (photo by Zhu Shen)

How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks 3D, my favorite film of 2010, I interviewed co-directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, voice talents Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, and Craig Ferguson at the Press Junket. Got autographed Blu-ray DVD from the directors!)

How could a wimpy kid who is so different form everyone else defy others’ expectation and become a true hero and leader?

“How to Train Your Dragon” is an epic tale packed with adventure, action, humor, stunning 3D visuals and beautiful music.  It is a film that I think every child and parent will love to experience.  The movie is about friendship, connection, redemption, and the hidden power of “being different.” The film is not only a thrilling action adventure, but also a tale with deep emotion and strong morale: Friends are more powerful than foes.  Being different empowers you to see what others cannot see.

Perry Chen climbing Toy Story 3 (photo by Zhu Shen)

Toy Story 3

Many teens may look forward to college.  Without their parents caring for them, they have total freedom finally!  But what about things that need their tender loving care (TLC)?  What about the toys they leave behind?

Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” is the best of the series with few flaws.  It is about the connection between toys, their owners, and each other.  It is also about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and moving on with one’s life.  One lesson learned is that the past can affect the future in a major way.  You may leave your toys, but DO NOT leave behind the innocence and imagination of childhood!

Tangled

Can a 70-ft tower imprison a feisty princess forever?  In Disney’s 3D animation “Tangled,” its 50th animation feature, Rapunzel, a stolen princess with 70 feet of magical golden hair, is planning on getting the heck out of the tall tower that the evil Mother Gothel imprisoned her in!  Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, the wanted thief who stole a precious crown from the royal palace, formed an unlikely duo.  They find themselves dodging palace guards, the spirited palace horse Maximus, and Mother Gothel, in search of the floating lanterns that appear on Rapunzel’s birthday every year.

Perrry Chen getting Tangled (photo by Zhu Shen)

“Tangled” is a spectacular film filled with rich and colorful characters, each with different personality. The movie is full of action, comedy, and romance.  “Tangled” is about freedom, friendship, and love.  Although the tower is a symbol of imprisonment, the spirit can never be locked up forever.  Mother Gothel, blinded by her vanity and desire for eternal youth, doesn’t understand that, which leads to her downfall.  The free spirit can never be imprisoned.  Follow your dream no matter how many challenges on your way!

Alice in Wonderland

What would the young Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” be like…13 years later?  Faced with the challenges and issues of adult life, will she have time to retreat into the fantasy world of Wonderland? Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” directed by Tim Burton adds a unique twist to the classic story.  It is about love, courage, sacrifice, dreams, and reality.

I enjoyed the many unexpected yet believable scenes related to the character development.  I loved the stunning visuals and 3D effects that made the characters jump out of the screen in a riot of colors!  Meeting Tim Burton and Johnny Depp at the Disney D23 Fan Expo last September was a real treat.  The film has a powerful moral: Imagination makes you discover who you truly are.

Perry with The Secret of Kells poster (photo by Zhu Shen)

The Secret of Kells (2009 Oscar-nominated Irish animation from director Tomm Moore whom I interviewed.  Director Moore sent me DVD & original painting of Brother Aiden in the film!)

The Oscar-nominated animation “The Secret of Kells” is a story about a young orphaned boy, Brendan, who lives in the Abby of Kells, under siege of the raiding Vikings.  Brendan’s only family is his strict uncle, the powerful Abbott Cellach of Kells.  Although the Abbott loves his nephew, he doesn’t show it very well.  Soon, Brother Aidan, a master illuminator from a foreign land, took Brendan under his wings and sent him on a journey to go into the forest to seek a special kind of berry, so that they can finish writing “The Book of Kells,” a book overflowing with wisdom and brilliant artistry, to be completed by Brendan!

“The Secret of Kells” is an “illuminating” tale about friendship, wisdom, overcoming fear, and discovering your own creativity.  It has splendid visual, haunting music, and amazing storyline built upon historical facts.

Despicable Me (Universal Studio’s first animation about super-villains and minions.  Saw it at its world premiere at LA Film Festival, interviewed director Chris Renaud)

Perry Chen & director Chris Renaud @ LAFF Despicable Me premiere party (photo by Zhu Shen)

Many people battle for world dominance, but what about villains?  Gru is the anti-hero with a long, pointy nose and a grey and black scarf that he wears all seasons, in Universal’s first animation feature premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Gru used to be the world’s number-one-super villain, until Vector, a loud-mouthed, orange jumpsuit-clad, nerd son of Mr. Perkins, the head of the Bank of Evil (formerly Lehman Brothers) steals the great pyramid of Giza!  Gru is now #2, but he doesn’t give up, and plans to top the “crime of the century” by stealing the moon!

The film is about dominance, family, redemption, and the transformative power of love.  I think that how Gru became a criminal probably had a lot to do with his mom, a cold-hearted woman who was different from most mothers because she didn’t nurture him, but degraded and mocked him.  When young Gru made a prototype of a rocket, his mother didn’t care.  But the love of children can even melt the heart of a super villain.

Perry Chen with Little League champions Park View@ Perfect Game press screening (photo by Zhu Shen)

The Perfect Game (about inspiring Mexican Little League baseball champions, 1st 5-starfish live action film. Interviewed director William Dear.)

Have you ever had a dream or vision that is almost impossible to achieve?  In the film “The Perfect Game,” a rag tag gang of boys from a rural poor area of Monterey, Mexico had a dream of playing Little League Baseball in America.  Under their circumstances, you could call that dream impossible, but it is based on a true story in the 1950’s.

“The Perfect Game” is absolutely Perrific!  It is flawless with all the right ingredients that make a “Perfect” movie:  It grabs your attention right away with rich characters, awesome storyline, and unexpected twists and turns.  It even has some light-hearted romance mixed in, and sprinkles of humor throughout.  “The Perfect Game” is about faith, perseverance, teamwork, overcoming racial prejudice, and the power of dreams: If you believe, you can achieve!

Perry Chen with John Crowley (inspiration for Extraordinary Measures @ San Diego event (photo by Zhu Shen)

Extraordinary Measures (about a medical miracle because of a father’s love. Inspired by John Crowley’s real life story. I met Crowley himself at a San Diego event!)

What if your children have a deadly disorder without any effective treatment?  What extraordinary measures are you willing to take to save their lives?  The debut movie from CBS Films based on a true story called “Extraordinary Measures” tell about John Crowley, a pharmaceutical executive who is desperate to save the lives of his two young children who suffer from a deadly and rare genetic disease called “Pompe disease.”  Young patients with Pompe lack an enzyme that breaks down sugars, causing organ enlargement and eventual death usually by age 9.

It has a compelling, emotional, and inspiring story.  The key actors’ performances are realistic and thoroughly engaging.  The movie made me truly care for the characters and their fate.  The many twists and turns almost turn the film into a thriller.  The movie has a powerful moral: Don’t wait for miracles to happen to you.  Instead, create your own miracle!

“Waiting for ‘Superman’(by Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim who made “An Inconvenient Truth.” I interviewed the director twice, at LA Film Festival and San Diego Film Festival.  Powerful film about our broken educational system.)

Perry Chen thumb up on Waiting for "Superman" @ San Diego Film Festival (photo by Zhu Shen)

Do you think high quality private school is too expensive?  Apparently not as expensive as prison!  Do you know that the same amount of taxpayer’s money we’re spending to send criminals (many are high-school dropouts) to prison could have paid for their private school tuition and leave over $20,000 for their college scholarship?

The United States use to lead children’s education decades ago, now it’s lagging FAR behind other developed countries.  Many people don’t realize this, but the shocking truth and the reasons behind the failing public education system are revealed in “Waiting for ‘Superman'”, a powerful, thought-provoking new documentary from the Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim who made “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The film is about fear, struggle, and hope for a better education for American children.  I feel connected to the characters and their stories. I can’t help but root for them as I watch their daily struggle.  There is nobody else to save us from our public education crisis, not some mystical force, not Superman, but OURSELVES.  If we don’t take action NOW, many children will no doubt be left behind.

Perry Chen in astronaut's suit at Hubble advanced screening (photo by Zhu Shen)

Hubble (I attended a special advanced screening & reception at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park and the astronaut’s ice cream was “Perrific!” too.)

Have you ever wondered how big our universe actually is and how astronauts get all the stunning images of the universe?  In the IMAX film “Hubble”, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, you will enter a world so different from our daily life.  “Hubble” is about a brave group of astronauts, the crew aboard Atlantis with the impossibly challenging mission of one final service for the ailing Hubble space telescope.  Once you watch it, you leave with the feeling of profound appreciation for the safe haven and oasis of life here on earth.

The film is about persistence, team work, the love of space and exploration, the mystery and wonder of the universe.  Against the backdrop of the infinite universe, we humans are both insignificant yet significant at the same time.

At 10, Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning entertainment critic, TV personality, Annie Awards presenter, filmmaker/animator, and radio host, reviewing movies and entertainment with his trademark kids-friendly starfish from a child’s perspective. Perry became a national sensation on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and National Public Radio (NPR) with Liane Hansen, and a frequent star on the red carpet at film festivals and premiers. He is the youngest columnist for the San Diego Entertainer Magazine and recently won the San Diego Press Club 2010 Excellence in Journalism Awards. “The Young Icons,” a nationally syndicated TV show featured Perry on Nov 20, 2010. He recently joined Amazing Kids online magazine over 800,000 readers as its first resident film critic, and was also featured on Variety for being one of the leading young film critics.

Read all of Perry’s reviews and upcoming events on his website http://www.perryspreviews.com
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