Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Chicken Run” (2000)


The first feature film to come out of the British studio Aardman Animations, Chicken Run tells the story of a farm full of chickens who will do anything to escape from the evil Mrs. Tweedy and her bumbling husband. After repeated attempts to go under the fence line, a cocky rooster (get it?), Rocky Rhodes, flies into the coop and seems to be their ticket out. Mrs. Tweedy, angered by the decline in egg production, decides to switch the farm over to chicken pie production instead, forcing the chickens to fast-track their escape plan in order to avoid going through the pie-making machine. Trouble for the chickens is Rocky is actually a circus rooster and can’t actually fly! How will they ever make it out before they join the ranks of Banquet and Mrs. Callender’s in the frozen food aisle?! Continue reading “Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Chicken Run” (2000)”

Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (2014)

This review was first published in the Holyoke Enterprise 2/25/16


How to Train Your Dragon is still my favorite 3D movie experience to date. Not knowing anything about it going into the theater, I was very pleasantly surprised. I loved it! Shortly thereafter, an animated series Dragons showed up on Cartoon Network in 2012, running two seasons and having a third picked up by Netflix. I sat down to watch the show, but found myself out of the loop on a few things. So I put on How to Train Your Dragon 2, but as it turns out, that was released in 2014, after the events of the television series.


Well, regardless, HtTYD2 was just as much fun as the first, with all the thrills and chills of the first, with even a little more gravitas. Continue reading “Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (2014)”

Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Penguins of Madagascar” (2014)


First published in the Holyoke Enterprise 2/11/16

I saw Madagascar as a double feature at the drive-in in Fort Collins along with Batman Begins. Strange double-bill, I know, but I was certainly tickled by the the animated flick and knew it would be a big hit with kids. What I didn’t expect was the huge success of the secondary characters, the Penguins. They were so funny in fact, that they spawned their own spin-off TV show in 2008. I’m always weary of spin-offs because they’re usually just low-rent, “can’t afford the stars from the the movie so we’ll find someone who sounds like them”, toy-selling half hour-excuses to make a little extra scratch from the success of the movie (I’m not a bit cynical, promise). But everything I heard about the cartoon was positive, even glowing in the reviews. So when the movie version popped up in Netflix, I thought I’d give it a shot. Continue reading “Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Penguins of Madagascar” (2014)”

Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Anastasia” (1997)


First published in the Holyoke Enterprise February 2, 2016

Many people think All Dogs Go to Heaven is a Disney movie. Same with The Secret of Nimh. Well, they’re not. They’re actually from the animation studio of Don Bluth, who did work for Disney for a time (Robin Hood and The Rescuers were two films he worked on), but Bluth’s films are in a league of their own. The animation is crisp and real, often blending computer animation with old-school hand-drawn cells. This is further illustrated (pardon the pun) in his 1997 film Anastasia. Continue reading “Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Anastasia” (1997)”

Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-present)



First published in the Holyoke Enterprise January 21, 2016

If you don’t have Star Wars fever by now, I applaud you. It’s inescapable! I saw Star Wars clementines in the grocery story the other day. CLEMENTINES. Calm down, Disney…

For those who remember my previous review of The Clone Wars series, Rebels is another brilliant animated series that premiered last fall on Disney XD. And believe you me, if you liked Clone Wars, you will LOVE Rebels. Continue reading “Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Star Wars Rebels” (2014-present)”

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