- SKU: 3953445
- Release Date: 10/14/2014
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Promoted as a family musical by Paramount Pictures, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is more of a black comedy, perversely faithful to the spirit of Roald Dahl's original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather (Jack Albertson). In the course of the tour, Willy Wonka punishes the four nastier children in various diabolical methods -- one kid is inflated and covered with blueberry dye, another ends up as a principal ingredient of the chocolate, and so on -- because these kids have violated the ethics of Wonka's factory. In the end, only Charlie and his grandfather are left. Ostensibly set in England, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was lensed in Germany (as revealed by the film's final overhead shot). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi
Warner Bros. attempted to revitalize its animation division with this family adventure that blended live action and animation in the style of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), reportedly coming in with a price tag of $100 million. Basketball legend Michael Jordan stars as himself, a retired sports hero trying his hand at baseball and failing miserably. Meanwhile, the Looney Tunes gang, led by Bugs Bunny, are kidnapped by aliens called the Nerdlucks. It seems that the Nerdlucks' theme park, Moron Mountain (a barely-veiled dig at Disney) is failing to attract customers. The space invaders are convinced that the appearance of Bugs and his pals Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzalez will beef up business. Bugs makes his captors a deal -- they'll play a game of basketball for their freedom. When the Nerdlucks stack the deck by pilfering the talent of NBA superstars Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, the Warner Bros. heroes enlist the aid of Jordan, who returns to the court to help the classic characters. While he prepares to play, Jordan is aided by fellow celebrity Bill Murray. Director Joe Pytka previously created many of the television commercials that featured Jordan as a paid endorser. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi, Rovi
The Ant Bully
A kid who hates ants finds himself living among the six-legged critters in this computer-animated comedy-adventure. Lucas Nickle (voice of Zach Tyler Eisen) is a ten-year-old boy whose family has just moved to a new town, and Lucas isn't enjoying it much -- he hasn't made any friends yet, his big sister ignores him, his parents (voices of Larry Miller and Cheri Oteri) are occupied with their upcoming vacation in Mexico, and his loving but slightly crazy grandmother (voice of Lily Tomlin) is convinced space aliens are casing out the neighborhood. To make matters worse, the local bully has found Lucas and is making his life miserable, so the boy looks for someone he can push around -- and he soon finds a large colony of ants in his yard. Lucas takes out his frustrations by stomping, drowning, and burying the bugs, little realizing the ants see him as a threat to their safety and aren't about take his attacks lying down. Zoc (voice of Nicolas Cage) is a "wizard ant" who creates a formula that shrinks Lucas to the size of an insect, and the tiny boy is brought before the leader of the Ant Council (voice of Ricardo Montalban) and the Queen of the Colony (voice of Meryl Streep) to answer for his crimes against the ants. Showing compassion, the queen sentences Lucas not to death, but to live among them and see how difficult their circumstances can be. Nurse Ant Hova (voice of Julia Roberts) is put in charge of looking after Lucas, and with the help of Scout Fugax (voice of Bruce Campbell) and Forager Kreela (voice of Regina King), Lucas gets an eye-opening picture of how the other half lives -- just in time for Lucas to help the ants in an all-out battle against Stan (voice of Paul Giamatti), a pest-control man brought in to get rid of the bugs. Produced by Tom Hanks, The Ant Bully was written and directed by John A. Davis, who handled the same chores on the film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi, Rovi
Hanna-Barbera's beloved picnic-basket-stealing bear makes his big-screen debut in this live-action/animation mix children's flick from Journey to the Center of the Earth director Eric Brevig. The tourists just aren't flocking to Jellystone Park like they used to, and when the budget starts to get tight, Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) brings down the axe. But while the mayor can certainly make a quick buck by selling the land, what about the families who like to spend their summers in the great outdoors? When Yogi (Dan Aykroyd) and Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake) discover they're about to become homeless, they realize that their only hope for keeping Jellystone open is to team up with their old enemy Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and wage wildlife warfare against greedy Mayor Brown. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi, Rovi