Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Giant King DVD Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Bella Thorne (The Duff), YouTube sensation Meg “May Baby” DeAngelis (TV’s “Royal Crush”), and comedian Russell Peters (Chef, New Year’s Eve) bring life to a futuristic world as two enemies who find lifelong friendship after the adventure of a lifetime! One thousand years after an epic robot battle, sworn enemies Zork (Peters) and Pinky (Thorne) wake up with no memory of who they are or how they wound up chained together. In search of answers, they begin wandering the barren wasteland, looking for RAM, the creator of all robots – and making new friends, as well as a few enemies, along the way. But when they remember their past, will their newfound friendship prove to be stronger than an unbreakable chain?

Film (2 out of 5 stars)
I’ve let this movie and review sit in my head for a few days, hoping that it might grow on me, but unfortunately, I like it no more than I did when I first watched it three days ago.  The Giant King is a kid movie that, like all kid movies, has a moral and a lesson to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of kid movies, but this one just seemed a little too “young.” The story definitely played to a young crowd and at times, it seemed like it talked down to the audience.

Zork, a robot who once fought in a big robot war, wakes up chained to Pinky, a robot who was after him because he was “broken.” It’s one thousand years after the battle and the two of them wake up unsure of whom and where they are. As they travel through the desert, they slowly begin remembering, and Pinky remembers why she’s attached to Zork, but doesn’t tell him.

When Zork and Pinky happen upon a town, their awkwardness and attempts to remove the chain results in them becoming heroes. They rescue a bullied child robot, Rusty, resulting in  Zork and Pinky’s friendship becoming stronger, even though Pinky has an ulterior motive – return Zork to RAM, the head robot, who has deemed Zork broken.

Pinky, Zork and Rusty make their way across the desert, meeting new friends along the way and avoiding the enemies who are trying to hurt them. As RAM powers back up, Pinky and Zork finally remove the chain connecting them, but one of their enemies gets to Pinky, which threatens to end her. Knowing the Pinky intends to turn him into RAM, Zork overlooks the issue and does his best to save her anyway.

The theme of friendship and never leaving someone behind is prevalent in The Giant King, though it plays to a much younger crowd that I anticipated. However, it does get the point across and children will enjoy it. At times the actors voicing the roles sounded like they were just reading from the script, and I was surprised to learn that the movie was originally a Thai movie, so maybe that’s where the script disconnect was.

This wasn’t a terrible movie, the story was sweet, but it also jumped around a bit. The synopsis alluded to the characters having lost their memories, but that was quickly solved in the first few minutes of the movie. The only thing that remained a mystery was how they became attached with the chain and why they couldn’t get it off. But that too was answered in short order.  For a young child, I am sure the movie would be a favorite, as it’s got robots, and funny little jokes, and a sweet lesson to learn.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The Giant King’s widescreen 16x9 (1.78.1 aspect ratio) is good for DVD quality. The animation is smooth and everything blended together well. I thought the use of the color palette was smart and each color used was appropriate for the scene in which it was used. Because of the good animation, the scenes transitioned well and there were no visible issues with the picture.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio with English and Spanish subtitles is good. While at times it seemed like the voice actors were phoning it in and just reading from the script, the audio was clear and concise and easily heard. Background sounds blended well and were not overpowering to the rest of the movie. It’s a good soundtrack and along with the video, was one of the best parts of the DVD.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The special features included on the DVD were okay. I wasn’t impressed with what was included; they just weren’t for me.
  • Bringing the Characters to Life: At the Recording Studio (10:05) – a behind the scenes look at the movie with interviews by the cast and a look at them all in the studio voicing their parts.
  • Minuscule Bonus Episodes – Four less than six minute shorts. Cute, but definitely for the young viewers.
  • United we stand (5:25)
  • A cruel world (5:47)
  • No luck (5:41)
  • Come Christmas (5:37)
  • The Giant King Trailer (2:26) -- makes the movie look better than it actually is.
  • Also from Lions Gate (approx 12 minutes) -- the previews from the beginning of the disc.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
While The Giant King isn’t for me, it is definitely for small children who would enjoy the colors and the lessons given. It’s not a movie I would watch again and would probably be driven crazy if my child wanted to watch it over and over again. I’ll pass it on to my seven-year-old Godson, but in my opinion, he’s too old for this type of movie and would likely be bored with it. 

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