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How to Train Your Jonah Hex

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | October 12, 2010 |


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Jonah Hex: "Yippie-kai-lame, motherfucker. I'm not sure what the fuck Jonah Hex was supposed to be. Rather than a tight-fisted western popcorn flick about a vigilante bounty hunter trying to track down the outlaw who murdered his family and scarred his face, we're left with a cowboyed-up mash-up of pseudo-westerns, as gazed through a heady dose of peyote. Not a single frame doesn't feel derived from something else, whether it's Wild Wild West, Sherlock Holmes, Back to the Future III, or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The titular character growls and snarls his way through a rammy, stilted Ramboner, gunning through the flimsiest sketches of characters until the film abruptly skids to a whinnying cliff-edged halt. At a paltry 81-minute run time, you don't have time to enjoy yourself. It's like the studio gave up halfway through, which was about a half-hour past when the cast stopped caring. It's a terrible cowpat minefield of a film, but what do you really expect when you get a flick scribbled haphazardly by the verbal equivalent of 5-hour Energy Drink, Neveldine and Taylor. The script reads like someone tried to make a movie out of the lyrics to Kid Rock and Big & Rich songs. If this were a horse, you'd shoot it." - Brian Prisco

How to Train Your Dragon: "Visually, How to Train Your Dragon is an ace in the 2D or 3D hole, although the latter may be too powerful for those who experience motion sickness. The film's flying sequences (which rival last year's Up of Pixar notoriety), as rumoured, are indeed rather breathtaking but truly spectacular when Toothless soars above the ocean and alongside the Aurora Borealis. The screenplay, thankfully, doesn't anthropomorphize the dragons -- a definite plus here -- so that each species is appropriately differentiated with "pantomimed" attributes, whether they are fairly vicious or totally fucking cute. Unsurprisingly, Toothless, who looks a bit catlike but acts like a puppy, is the main attraction and displays the most accurate rendering of emotions and expressions. Where the animation falters is in its rendering of humans, who seem much less lifelike than their dragon companions. Astrid's facial structure even seems to change from a squishy, undefined blob at the beginning of the movie to a round-cheeked, blushing beauty towards the end. Perhaps this was intentional to reflect the characters' internal growth, especially when Hiccup teaches his cohorts that the dragons are not violent by choice but merely reacting out of their own fear of the humans. And vice versa. You see, there have been countless battles that resulted in hundreds of dead humans and thousands of slain dragons, but it's all just one big misunderstanding. Somehow, How to Train Your Dragon manages to pass on this message without sounding preachy, and there is the lovely hidden irony that the boy who was considered the least brave of all the Viking progeny ends up being braver than the Vikings themselves." - Agent Bedhead

Also released this week: I Am Love, Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones, Leaves of Grass, Lost Boys: The Thirst, Older Than America



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