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Man against Nature, Man against Self, Man against Man
At first blush, "Lost" seems like an impossible concept: a bunch of people stranded on a mysterious island. How many story lines can you POSSIBLY take from that before the idea's been sapped completely dry?
It's a legitimate concern, but in the case of "Lost," totally unwarranted. "Lost," unlike many shows today where the plot drives the characters, is in fact the opposite: the characters drive the plot. This isn't "CSI" or "Law and Order," where each week is a variation on the same theme. On "Lost," you have a group of fascinatingly different, tragically flawed characters who must somehow learn to survive together, while at the same time trying to keep their secrets hidden. That's a method for disaster. After living together for a long time, the characters are going to find out it's impossible to keep their pasts a secret.
Yes, there's a monster on the island. Yes, there are mysterious happenings.
Yes, a sense of dread often hangs thick in the air. But to me, the exterior problems presented by the island itself are NOTHING compared to the INTERNAL problems the characters must face, both with themselves and with each other. That's where the REAL drama lies. And it's fascinating to watch.
King Arthur (2004)
Choppy but Worth the Ticket
If you go into "King Arthur" expecting grandiose language and billowy clothing, a la "Camelot," you will be very, VERY disappointed with this movie. If you go into this film expecting a gritty period piece, you may also be disappointed. If you go into this film with no preconceived notions and just let it unfold, you'll enjoy yourself. "King Arthur" is a good enough movie, certainly worth the price of a ticket (especially a matinée), despite a choppy plot and underdeveloped characters.
Setting the Arthurian legend against a historical backdrop, "King Arthur" portrays the legendary king as a brilliant, devoutly religious, utterly devoted Roman general. He is the commander of a squad of gifted Sarmatian knights, who are indentured servants of the Empire. As the movie starts, the knights are preparing to receive their walking papers from a Roman Catholic bishop, following fifteen years of required servitude. But before they're allowed to leave their service to the empire, they have to complete one more mission: rescue a boy from the wilds of northern Britain, in the lands north of Hadrian's Wall. Arthur and the knights know the trip is virtually a suicide mission, but if they don't go they will be considered deserters by the Roman legions, and will be hunted down and killed. Making things worse, the blood-thirsty Saxons have begun to invade Brittania - hence Rome's departure from the island country, and the reason for the entire mission.
Sounds pretty good, right? It would be, if they'd stuck to this plot. Instead, the filmmakers let themselves get distracted by too many themes (freedom, religion, destiny, heritage, etc), and lose the thread of what would have made this movie one of the year's best. Rather than focusing on the legend and weaving the elements of that legend into a tight plot - namely the rescue of the boy and the eventual climactic battle of Badon Hill - the story meanders from place to place, both thematically and contextually. There's no subtlety in the major themes of the movie: Romans are bad; Roman Catholicism (as it was practiced at the time) is bad; the wild life of the native Britons is good; Saxons are evil.
The only subtle touches in the film are the interactions between the characters, which is another failing point of the movie: there is virtually no character development. Each character is introduced with an obvious prominent characteristic - one's a pacifist, one's a womanizer, one's brash, one's steadfast, etc - and from then on, you might as well have tacked a sign to each character's chest that says, "I am the loud one/quiet one/mysterious one/etc." There's no development beyond those initial introductions. The audience is left to depend on their knowledge of the legend to fill in the gaps; if you aren't familiar with these characters in their literary context, you're just left to blink and wonder who the heck they are.
But like I said, this movie IS worth the ticket, because there are moments when you can see the unrealized potential behind the flawed final product. For instance, the few (and I do mean FEW) moments shared between Lancelot (Ioan Gruffud) and Guinevere (Keira Knightley). The Lancelot/Guinevere love affair is never openly discussed in the course of the movie, but it is hinted at through looks and body language. If there is any part of the legend that I mourn the loss of, it is this storyline, because the chemistry that sparks between Ioan and Keira in these brief moments is electric. I would have loved to see it fleshed out, and see these two characters - both torn by their loyalty and love for Arthur - struggle with their affection for each other.
In the end, that is the central problem with "King Arthur." The legend of Arthur is composed of wonderful, beautiful stories, but in the end, it isn't the STORIES that matter. It's the way the people IN the stories are affected by what happens to them. When people think of the downfall of Camelot, they don't immediately think of the Battle of Camlan - they think of Arthur's betrayal by Lancelot and Guinevere. Gawain's encounter with the Green Knight is a moral lesson about honesty, fidelity and honor. Even the quest for the Holy Grail is in turn dominated by the humanity of the story: only the purest knight can see the Grail. Even Lancelot - greatest of all Arthur's knights, and a good, kind man - cannot view the Cup of Christ, because of his elicit affair with the queen. "King Arthur," on the other hand, focuses too much on plot, and not enough of how the characters function WITHIN that plot. So much so that, come the end, the audience has been led down so many different plot pathways, they can't even count the loose ends. At the same time, you're left mystified by what makes the characters tick.
Go see this movie. If you're disappointed, see it again. Count the moments of unrealized potential, then cross your fingers and pray the DVD extras contain a LOT of deleted scenes. I can't wait to see what landed on the cutting room floor. I have to blame the lackluster final product on poor direction, scriptwriting, and/or editing, because with a cast this good, there's no other excuse. But I'll go see it again anyway, because something about it - some nugget of real value under the Fool's gold exterior - is drawing me back. I think it will do the same for you, too.
Palatable summer fare
Comic book movies seem to be all the rage in Hollywood, from the "X-Men" franchise to "Spider-Man." This is hardly a new craze - "Superman" and "Batman" are well-established franchises - but there certainly seems to be a glut of them at the moment. I mean, "The Punisher?" The hell are they doing bringing that old chestnut to the big screen.
Ah well. C'est la vie. For those who thrive on comics and graphic novels, it's a good time to be alive. I'm not one of those people, but its amazing to see the range of such material available for adaptation. "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," based on the work of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, is such a fascinating concept, I'm surprised it wasn't made into a film sooner. The story unites some of the 19th century's most famous - and infamous - literary characters in a fight to save the world from the nefarious plans of an evil mastermind. While it's not on a par with "Spider-Man," and nowhere near the league of "X2," "LXG" packs enough of a whollop to be worth the price of a matinee ticket. If you're going to an evening show, I suggest you take a lot of friends and try to get a group discount, because it's just not worth $8.
The leader of the League is Alan Quatermain ("King Solomon's Mines"), played by the indomitable Sean Connery, who does a wonderful job as a crotchety old Great White Hunter. Joining him on the quest is Dorian Gray ("The Portrait of Dorian Gray," Stuart Townsend), an immortal, laissez faire aristocrat; Mina Harker ("Dracula," Peta Wilson), a vampire; Rodney Skinner (taking the place of Claude Raines, "The Invisible Man," played by Tony Curran); Dr. Jekyll (and his infamous alter ego, Mr. Hyde), from Robert Louis Stevenson's book of the same name, played by Jason Flemyng; Captain Nemo ("20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," Naseeruddin Shah), a pirate; and Tom Sawyer ("The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Shane West), a spy and all-American good ole boy. Recruited by a mysterious figure called M, the League is instructed to stop a wicked villain - known as the Phantom (of "of the Opera" fame) - from starting a world war. On top of that small order, they have to wrap it up in four days.
Well. That doesn't leave much time for a breather for our heroes, nor does it leave the movie much chance to establish any kind of character development. Each figure is introduced in whirlwind fashion, and their backgrounds are forcefed to the audience in blink-and-you'll-miss-it soundbytes. Mina's story of being bitten by the man himself, Count Dracula, is told so quickly, you almost don't realize it's been mentioned at all. They're thrown together over the course of fifteen minutes, and begin functioning like a well-oiled machine soon after. I find it a bit hard to believe that these disparate figures of questionable morality would gel so quickly, but since this is the movies, I'll suspend my disbelief.
Most of the screentime is dominated by Connery (let's face it, it's his movie), West (with Connery), and Townsend (who proves to the world that he can play a smarmy b***ard, but would have been AWFUL as Aragorn in "LotR"). Interesting characters, yes, but more time needed to be given to the others! Tantalizing hints of a Mina/Dorian/Jekyll love triangle remain just that - hints. I especially mourn this loss because I would have loved to see this triangle come to fruition: the three characters with the most moral and spiritual corruption, interacting on such a personal level. The possibilities for drama and character development are staggering. A slightly more prominent Mina/Dorian/Tom triangle bears a bit more fruit, but the fruit is runty and not worth eating. Nemo is enigmatic by the end of the film - how good can a man be who worships Kali, Hindu goddess of death? And honestly, I forgot Curran was even in the movie - he disappears (literally and figuratively) for at least three-quarters of the film.
The effects were good, but not great. Nemo's "Nautilus" was beautiful, inside and out, and his "automobile" was fantastic. Mina's ability to morph into a flock of vampire bats was impressive as well. Mr. Hyde - a primarily CGI character - was believable enough, but in a world where Gollum rules supreme, the big brute just didn't live up to standard. The fight scenes were okay, but not memorable. The only exception is a knockdown match between Hyde and an uber-Hyde wannabe.
You'll hear people complain that there was too much modern technology (eg, machine guns, cars, tanks, etc) in the movie. Tell them to suck it up and pay attention - that was the whole frelling POINT.
In the end, I'll say that most of this movie's ills could have been cured by a few script changes and an extra hour's running time. Quatermain's father-complex towards Sawyer was written so bluntly, it was almost painful, and many moments that are meant to be climactic and shocking were obvious to me five minutes into the movie. Flemyng, Curran and Wilson were so underused, it's criminal. How can you sideline Dr. Jekyll, an invisible man, and a vampire? It boggles the mind.
But perhaps I'm just being picky. This is a summer movie, after all, and it gives the audience everything they're expecting: explosions, fight scenes, a few humorous quips, and plenty of moody lighting. If nothing else, perhaps this movie will prompt audiences to go out and pick up the books from which the characters are derived. I, for one, intend to finally dust off a copy of Oscar Wilde's "The Portrait of Dorian Gray." I suggest you do the same.
"King Solomon's Mines" - H.R. Haggard
"Dracula" - Bram Stoker
"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" - Mark Twain
"The Invisible Man" - HG Wells
"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" - Jules Verne
"Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" - Robert Louis Stevenson
Awe. SOME. This is a MUST SEE MOVIE
Yesterday, my friend and I were discussing how bad "T3" was going to be. "Just a shameless chance to make money off a dead franchise," we said. "One more cog in Hollywood's sucky-sequel routine." Of course, being "Terminator" fans, we knew we were going to go see it anyway, good or bad. So tonight, I sat down, leaned back, and waited to be bored.
Instead, I was totally blown away.
"T3: Rise of the Machines" picks up the story of John Connor (Nick Stahl), the protagonist of "T2" and the future savior of mankind. Immediately, from the first words of the film, I knew I was in for something more than just another action movie; another "shameless" plug for a "dead franchise." Rather than taking the usual Hollywood route and placing John in a high profile career - lawyer, doctor, car salesman - "T3" reveals that John is a drifter, aware of his destiny and unconvinced that he is really as safe as we were all led to believe at the end of "T2." Naturally, since this is the third movie and we're only two minutes into the film, we know that he's correct - he isn't safe. Something is going to happen to make John Connor realize his destiny, or else put it to rest entirely.
That something is the T-X (Kristanna Loken)- aka the Terminatrix - a state-of-the-art Terminator sent from the future (once again) to destroy John Connor, but with an added twist: she's there to kill his lieutenants as well. All and any who are an aid to John in his future battle against the machines have become targets, including Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), a girl John knew as a child. Helping to protect John and Kate from the T-X is the inimitable T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a carbon copy of the Terminators that tried to murder Sarah Connor in the original film, and then went on to save her and John in "T2."
Nick Stahl turns in a touching and nuanced performance as John Connor. He doesn't want to accept his destiny, but when it rears its ugly head, he falls into the role of hero with ease and aplomb - you can see the emerging leader he will become. Claire Danes, as always, is believable as the spunky but flustered Kate, who spends half the movie believing she's been kidnapped. Arnold Schwarzenegger brings the T-800 to life with the same complexity as in "T2," giving touches of humor throughout the film that sound perfectly natural coming from the unemotional machine. Kristanna Loken is the only weak part of the film - she tries too hard to be a carbon copy of Robert Patrick's menacing T1000 from "T2," and ends up looking like a bad Lara Croft impersonator, scowling under her eyebrows throughout most of her scenes. Whereas Patrick was gifted with a lean body, chiseled features, and bone-chilling, serial killer eyes that made you BELIEVE he could kick Arnold around like a rag doll, it's difficult to imagine this slip of a girl even being able to give him a papercut.
Luckily for us, the T-X seems almost an afterthought throughout the film. Most of the storyline is focused around the trio of Stahl, Danes and Schwarzenegger, as they struggle to stop Skynet from becoming self-aware and destroying the planet. But before you start thinking this movie is too cerebral, rest assured, the pacing is fast and furious, full of enough gunfire, explosions and insane car chases to make your eyes boggle. One particular chase scene close to the beginning of the movie - which appears to leave half of Los Angeles in a pile of rubble - is breathtaking in its intensity. It's like the world's worst early morning rush hour traffic, where every other car on the road is LITERALLY out to get you.
This movie is rated R for a reason, and that reason is BLOOD. But the violence is given a Hitchcockian twist - a spatter of blood across a picture frame while the sound of a dentist's drill whirs in the background. Your imagination is enough to make you shudder or jump in your seat - director Jonathan Mostow doesn't feel the need to swamp the screen with wanton violence. So while the body count is on a par with the first two films, it doesn't FEEL so violent.
I also appreciated the fact that they didn't feel the need to indulge in unnecessary "cheese cake" when the T-X first arrived on the scene. Yes, this film has an R-rating, and yes, the primary audience is going to be young men, ages 18-34, so I was expecting full frontal nudity. But the entrance of T-X is tastefully done, with strategically positioned shadows hiding the "naughty bits." I think Arnold gets to flash more skin than Ms. Loken!
Most fun of all, this movie isn't afraid to poke fun at itself and its predecessors. There are moments throughout the film that hint back to events in the previous movies with a tongue-in-cheek playfulness, such as a recurring gag involving the T-800's sunglasses, made so famous in "T2." These humorous moments don't detract from the film - they add to it, by reminding the audience of just why they love the series so much. More than once, the entire theater was laughing or clapping at what was going on onscreen, and you can't ask for better response than that at a movie like this.
"T3" is just... phenomenal. It's hard to put into words just what is so GOOD about it. All I can say is, if you'd asked me yesterday if I wanted to see a "T4," I would have given you an uncategorical, "NO!" But today, as I sit here, if you were to ask me the exact same question, I'd stare at you and say, "What, you mean you DON'T?" It's THAT good, folks. It turned this cynic into a believer, and it didn't even break a sweat.
Fluffy Summer Fun - Don't Expect "Hamlet"
"Charlie's Angels II: Full Throttle" is exactly what the trailers make it out to be: mindless summer fun, full of eye candy and vibrant color. If you go into this film expecting a sequel of "X2" or "Empire Strikes Back" quality, you're going to go home crying and shaken to the core. But if you go into the theater expecting to take your mind off the hook for a few hours as you watch beautiful people frolic in the sun, you're going to walk out a happy, satisfied camper. This movie would never make it if it were autumn, sandwiched amongst the heavy handed dramas that cluster at that time of year as they vie for the Best Picture Oscar. But shuffled into the summer deck, it makes a welcome change from the "thinking man's" action films, like "Matrix" and "The Hulk." It's fun - really. That's what I'm stressing here. LOL!
The performances are on a par with the first film, so if you liked Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz in the original, you're not going to be disappointed here. Robert Patrick falls easily into his small role as a US Marshall, obviously drawing on his experience from the "X-Files" (and, on a personal side note, looking doggone sexy as he does it - he's the reason I saw the movie!). Demi Moore is deserving of all the attention she's received as the devilish Madison Lee; she makes a great foil to the Perfect-as-Punch neo-Angels. Though having seen the movie, you're left to ask, "How does anyone do that much fighting in spiked heels?"
The only characters who stuck out at me as uncomfortable or unnecessary were Justin Theroux as the vicious Seamus O'Grady, and Bernie Mac as the eternally befuddled Bosley. Theroux is suitably cruel, but I went through the whole movie wanting to throttle him for trying so hard to sound like William Wallace, when his character is supposed to be IRISH, not Scottish. And Bernie Mac... Bernie, I love you. You're a comic treasure. Please, if you're called on to reprise this character in the future, tell McG that you want to spend less time looking like a lost Saint Bernard and more time looking like a slightly goofy but otherwise with-it... administrative assistant (for lack of a better description).
The plot is obviously coddled together around some truly awesome action sequences, which are a visual spectacle that you can't help but respect. The sexual under- (and over-) tones are even more prevalent in this film than the original, so parents might want to hold off on taking their kids until they've screened it first. Don't try to focus too much on the plot, because you'll get a headache. Just trust that the characters know what the hell is going on, and you'll do fine.
The best part of the movie, in this reviewer's opinion, is Crispin Glover, returning as the Creepy Thin Man from the first film. Instead of playing a wickedly evil villain this time, the Thin Man is now a wickedly evil good guy, who uses his assassin skills to help the Angels in their quest to stop Madison. A little of his back story is revealed - just enough to be tantalizing, and leave audiences with hope for a return of the character in a third movie, should one be made. He also has a very sweet, slightly creepy infatuation with Dylan (Barrymore) that is just adorable, in a strange kind of way. His part is nowhere near big enough - if I'd been writing the script, I'd have titled the movie "Charlie's Angels II: Return of the Thin Man," and gotten rid of Seamus entirely. Crispin Glover is one of those amazing actors who can make even the most depraved characters sympathetic, without stripping them of their inherent creepiness. Only Christopher Walken and Steve Buscemi equal him in that regard. So more Thin Man, I cry! More Thin Man!
My final word: fun. This movie is fun. Silly, mindless fun. Women, if you think only guys will like this movie, take it from me, a fellow female: you'll like it too. Everyone can find something in this movie to appreciate, from the visuals to the fashions to the storyline (for the brave). Go, see it, and come out a little more cheerful than when you went in. Ebert and Roeper hated it - what more incentive do you need?
Brilliant in all respects
When I saw the original "X-Men" film, I thought it was a great action movie. I still say it's better than "Spider-Man," and a heck of a lot better than "Daredevil" or "The Hulk." It had everything necessary to make the world of Marvel's mutant heroes come to life. It was a perfect comic book movie.
"X2" isn't like that at all. "X2" isn't a great comic book movie. It's a great movie, PERIOD.
"X2" is one of those sequel films that comes along every blue moon and surpasses its predecessor. "Empire Strikes Back" did it; so did "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." And like those two, not only does it outdo the original, it sends the first film shuffling home in a potato sack with a stern lecture that it had better not come back until it's gotten its shoes shined and a haircut. What, you think "X-Men 1.5" was released just because the first film was POPULAR?
"X2" reteams the original core cast, and Hugh Jackman leads the pack with a stellar performance as the gruff, tortured Logan (Wolverine). Patrick Stewart proves once again that no one else in the universe could ever have played Professor Xavier, and Famke Janssen takes her much underused character, Jean Gray, from the first film to (quite literally) a whole new level. Sir Ian McKellan traded in his "LotR" wizard robes to reprise the role of Magneto, and infused it once again with all the nuance necessary to make the character a sympathetic villain . Anna Paquin returns as Rogue, and there are even some moments in the movie when she *gasp* HAS A SOUTHERN ACCENT. Much of her screentime is shared with the adorable Shawn Ashmore as Bobby (Iceman) Drake, whose blue eyes are enough to rivet even the most hardcore bad-boy lover to the screen. Rebecca Romjin-Stamos as the spookily sexy Mystique is even more prevalent in this film than the first, which will give the men in the audience a thrill, and James Marsden pops his head in to blow a few things up with his laser vision as well. I'm telling you, I've always hated Cyclops in the comics and cartoons, but Marsden makes me like him. Power to you, James. Power to you.
Of the new mutants making their debut in the second movie, the most riveting is Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, played flawlessly by Alan Cumming. He looks like a blue demon covered in ritualistic scars with hooves and vampire teeth, but after two minutes of hearing him talk, I DARE you not to fall madly in love with him. DOUBLE dare you. And I know I'll win the bet.
Aaron Stanford does an admirable job as John Allerdyce (Pyro), but he never quite fulfills his potential; though the scene where he blows up close to a dozen police cars with his manipulated fire is just awesome. Anyone out there expecting him to be Australian, get ready for disappointment - Johnny boy is 100% American in this one. Kelly Hu is underused as the venomous Lady Deathstrike, but her climactic battle with Wolverine left me wincing hours after leaving the theater. Other honorable mentions go out to Kitty Pryde, Siryn, and Colussus, all of whom make guest appearances in the film. And Colussus? Yep, he's American, too. No Russian accent here.
Brian Cox - who officially had himself cloned so he could make this movie, as well as the six hundred million other films he's contracted to star in over the next week - plays a great villain (Stryker), but there's something cliched about the character. He's evil, but his reasons for turning evil - while clearly explained - don't seem to justify what he's planning to do. But hey - perhaps I'm just not evil enough to understand the way his sick mind works. I guess I should count myself lucky.
The only character I DIDN'T enjoy in this movie was Halle Berry as Ororo (Storm) Munro, for the simple fact that you can just TELL she isn't happy in the role. Her spats with director Bryan Singer are well-documented, and hard to hide onscreen. If there's a third movie (and oh yes, there will be a third movie - they can't NOT make one, unless they want to be crucified by legions of fans) I don't see Ms. Berry returning. Not by a long shot. Not if you pushed her with a ten foot pole.
The story is, like the first movie, one of social stigma and bigotry, taken to Hitlerian scale by Stryker and his squad of anti-mutant militia. What I find most interesting about this movie, though, is that you really don't know what side to agree with: Magneto or Xavier. One is struck by the similarities of the two to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, respectively. Who do you listen to? Who has the strongest case? Who is right? It's the age old question, and "X2" doesn't try to make you choose. It trusts you to draw your own conclusions.
Really, I can't praise this movie enough. If we danced around it wearing gauzy garments and sipping wine from gilded goblets, a la ancient Greek Bacchanals, I might say that'd be going too far. But I went to see it five times, and each time I loved it more than the last. That has to say something, right? Only one thing was missing that would have made the whole thing a total gem. One simple thing - a man, actually. A tall, slender man with an extendable bo staff and red-on-black demon eyes, who's absolutely KILLER at cards. But hey, that's what sequels are for, right? I'll bide my time till the next movie, and pray that Gambit makes more than a cameo appearance. Hell, I'll even hope he gets to be a main character. I just have one ultimatum to issue first:
Please, for the love of all that is good and holy,
Reign of Fire (2002)
A Monster Movie With Heart!
I went to see "Reign of Fire" for three simple reasons: dragons, post-apocalyptica, and Christian Bale. I knew that, even if the rest of the movie was terrible, Christian would make it great. And luckily, the rest of the movie WASN'T terrible. In fact, it was very good! Most "monster movies" focus too much on the monster, and not enough on the people who surround it. This film doesn't make that mistake. Rather than being a film about evil dragons who kill people and burn things, it's a movie about a man (Quinn, played by Christian Bale), and the life that man has known. We see him go from a young boy who's been doing badly in school, and grow into a strong man and leader, who is willing to die to keep his enclave of survivors alive and safe from the dragons. When Van Zan (McConaughey) arrives, Quinn sees the fragile grip he's had on these people's lives slipping away. For a while, it drives him a little mad. Then, it gives him new purpose. Christian Bale is an amazing actor, and he gives the character depth that ISN'T just written into the script - it's the kind of thing that a lesser actor would have failed with, but which Christian Bale does marvelously.
Lest you think Christian is the only fine actor of the bunch, let me assure you, he's not! Matthew McConaughey also does a fantastic job as Van Zan, the rough American dragonslayer who shakes up Quinn's tremulous existence in Northumberland. The character could have been a violent warmongerer, but McConaughey gives him enough emotion that you can believe there's a man inside that hard-as-steel physique. Izabella Scorupco (Alex) does a wonderful job - she's not the damsel in distress, but she's also not the hard as nails ice queen so many of these movies like to foist on the audience.
Another added bonus: there's no swearing, no sex, and, to be honest, very little bloodshed, at least for a movie of this type. You only see a few people get eaten. The rest is all implied. So while it's certainly not a kiddie film, you don't have to worry about the gore you might tend to associate with this type of movie.
If you want a monster movie with heart, you could certainly do worse than "Reign of Fire."