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Jake and the Neverland Pirates: It’s a Winter Never Land! / Hook on Ice! (2011) Movie Review

Jake and the Neverland Pirates: It’s a Winter Never Land! / Hook on Ice! (2011)

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Starring: David Arquette, Colin Ford, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Loren Hoskins, Madison Pettis
Director: Kelly Ward, Howy Parkins, Mickey Corcoran
Series: Jake and the Never Land Pirates Season 1, Episode 24
Release Date: 2 December 2011
Language: English
Length: 25 minutes
Movie Rating: TV-G
View Format: TV
My Rating: image_thumb82_thumb1_thumb1

Synopsis:

“It’s a Winter Never Land” – Hook and his pirates don’t want to go to all of the work to decorate a tree and get presents for Merry Winter Treasure Day so they steal everything from the Lost Boys.  Jake and his pals track the pirates through icy conditions, but are unable to recover all of their decorations and gifts.  Can they all remember what is really important about Winter Treasure Day?  Will the pirates learn the true meaning of Winter Treasure Day?

“Hook on Ice!” – In the spirit of the holiday, Captain Hook asks Jake and the Lost Boys to join the pirates on the hunt for the Snow Day Treasure.  Bring your slippery, slidey things (sleds, skis and more!) and get ready for adventure!  With Jake and his team helping out, can the pirates travel down the snowy slope, trick their way past the ice ogre, and save Hook (multiple times) so they can claim the treasure?

Review:

This is a popular and fun Disney Jr. show for toddlers and preschoolers.  It is a learning show and they teach counting, critical thinking skills and other lessons in a fun and interactive way.  I typically find something in the Disney shows that entertains me as an adult and I have tried to watch this show a few times, but it is solidly made for young children and does not really have anything in it for older kids or adults.  That said, it is beautifully made and my little nephews look forward to watching it every morning.  My favorite characters are the two real-Bones and Sharkeylife pirates (Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson) who sing all of the songs for the show.  If there is anything for adults in this series, it is these two and the funny songs they sing.  Typically the songs are at the beginning and end of the episodes, however, so there is dead space in between.  If you have little boys or girls at home, this is a great show for them to enjoy watching in the mornings before they go to school.  The main character is Jake, a little devil-may-care boy who is a lot like Peter Pan, but his crew has girls, boys and animals so everyone is covered and has someone to root for.  The adult pirates are bumblers and never seem to do anything right so it is easy for the children to defeat them all the time.  Good times for kids.

This particular episode is as close to Christmas as you get with this series.  Disney has been trying really hard to make some of their children’s shows non-Hook on Icedenominational holiday celebrations and this one is no exception.  The “c” word (Christmas) is not mentioned, it is all about treasure days.  Now, children who celebrate Christmas will recognize the decorated Christmas tree and presents that Hook stole from the kids, but for those who celebrate another holiday, it is just a decoration in the series.  The spirit of the holidays is found in this show, however, and I think that it offers a great lesson about valuing friends and family and being a better person around the holidays.  Captain Hook in particular did a great job illustrating this point as he is never willing to share with anyone and is much more likely to steal.  In “It’s a Winter Never Land!,” Hook regrets stealing the presents and cannot It's a Winter Never Landeven enjoy his ill-gotten gains.  Instead, he gives them back and then Jake and his crew invite the pirates to celebrate with them.  In “Hook on Ice!,” Captain Hook asks Jake if they can help him find the treasure so that they can borrow all of their snow gear (snowboard, sled, etc.).  Then he shares the treasure with the kids at the end.  Even though it seems like every Christmas show talks about sharing and the value of giving, I don’t think that you can show your children too many examples of this in action, especially for little kids who focus so much on the getting around this time of year.

With bright, friendly colors and simple storylines, Jake and the Never Land Pirates is definitely a show that is welcome in my home for young children.  They speak slowly and clearly and have some fun, piratey songs that kids will 122428_0026enjoy.  The characters try to encourage the children watching to participate by doing motions and cheering/talking in appropriate places.  I always encourage the kids watching to follow along (usually by doing it myself) as I love that they are trying to make shows interactive.  This is a great choice to watch around the holidays, especially if you are looking for something without Santa in it (Peter Pan sent the gifts).

Content:

Appropriate for children of ages, recommended for ages 2 and up.

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Filed under Animated Movies, Children & Family Movies, Christmas, Disney

Tom and Jerry Shiver Me Whiskers (2006) Movie Review

Tom and Jerry Shiver Me Whiskers

Movie Review by Debbie Winkler

Series: a Tom and Jerry movie
Starring: Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, Wallace Shawn, Kathy Najimy, Charles Nelson Reilly
Director: Scott Jeralds
Release Date: 22 August 2006
Language: English
Length: 74 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: image_thumb82_thumb1_thumb1

Synopsis:

Three rival pirate brothers have been trying to find the treasure of the Spanish “Mane” for years.  When Tom finds a treasure map in a bottle, he has no idea that he has located what the brothers have been searching for.  Red Pirate Ron soon discovers that Tom has the map and he doesn’t hesitate to snatch it from his cat’s grasp.  Meanwhile, Jerry has bargained for his life with Blue Pirate Bob by promising to steal the map from Tom.  Of course, everyone really wants the treasure map for themselves and spend the entire movie trying to double cross and get ahead of everyone else and find the treasure!

Review:

This is one of the earlier feature-length animated films that star Tom and Jerry and I enjoyed it, but I did not think that it was as cute or clever as some of the later films are.  The story is pretty basic, double cross, steal, lie, cheat, whatever it takes to get the treasure and throw off everyone else from following you.  I know, I know, pirates.  What Unhappy Pirateselse was I expecting?  Something more.  This movie was clearly inspired by the very successful Pirates of the Caribbean movies (skeleton pirates, a cursed treasure, a talking skull, etc) and I cannot blame the animators for trying to capitalize on the popularity of the pirate genre afterwards.  Unfortunately, they decided to make a really long version of one of the older Tom and Jerry cartoons where they chase and fight each other for the entire time.  I found that most of the skits were pretty predictable and not very imaginative.  They also did not manage to capture the sly and sneaky aspects of Tom and Jerry’s personalities and they were just a bit bland for some reason.

What made the movie tolerable for me and the other older children was the humor found in several scenes.  Tom and Jerry spend a long time at the beginning stealing the map from each other while trying to dodge an attack dog, parrots, pirates, pirate captains, monkeys, a giant octopus and more.  Jerry is smarter, but Tom is bigger and not afraid to go after what he wants.  The talking skull (voice by Mark Hamill) is not the brightest bulb, but he provides some unwitting comedy as he challenges the treasure seekers with tests they have to pass before they can get to the treasure.  But my favorite characters were the parrots and their owners.  The blue pirate and the red pirate only say “yar!” and their parrot mascots translate for them.  The purple pirate speaks perfectly well and has a parrot that will only say “yar!”.  There is a lot of slapstick, non-verbal comedy and Tom and Jerry do not speak, as is traditional so you have to actually pay attention to what you are watching rather than what you are hearing or you will miss some very funny moments!

The music is a treat, as always.  It plays pretty much continuously through the entire film and really added to the quality of the movie.  The animation is a bit too slick to match the old-fashioned Tom and Jerry Shiver Me Whiskersanimation I am used to seeing, but I quickly got used to it.  If you rent the DVD or buy the movie, make sure that you watch the bonus feature that shows you what happened after the main story ends (a kind of “where are they now” recap) as it is very entertaining.  I enjoyed this movie and it reminded me of how much I loved Tom and Jerry as a child, but it also made me realize that I have moved beyond these cartoons and don’t enjoy all of them as much as I used to.  Still, this movie will be sure to appeal to younger viewers who are looking for a lot of action and obvious laughs.  The story is super easy to follow and Tom and Jerry are quite entertaining with the way that they bait each other.  I still say that there are better, more appealing Tom and Jerry movies out there, though, so shop around to make sure you purchase the best movies for your family.

Content:

This movie contains a lot of slapstick violence and punching, kicking, biting, blowing up, setting on fire, etc. is shown in a funny, comedic way.  The characters never really get injured and do not have any long-term effects from the violence.   The talking skull and skeleton pirates may be a little scary for younger viewers.  Recommended for ages 2 and up.

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Filed under Adventure Movies, Animated Movies, Children & Family Movies