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Puss In Boots: Music from the Motion Picture (a J!-ENT World Groove Album Review)

November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

From composer Henry Jackman (“The Dark Knight Returns”, X-Men: First Class”) comes the vibrant, upbeat and energetic “Puss in Boots: Music from the Motion Picture” soundtrack.   Featuring Spanish-themed acoustic guitar music in combination with orchestral adventure-themed compositions, this soundtrack is definitely catch and addictive.  Also, featuring two tracks from the sensational duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela,  fans of the film and the awesome music of  ”Puss in Boots” will definitely want to check out “Puss in Boots: Music from the Motion Picture”!

TITLE: Puss In Boots: Music from the Motion Picture

LABEL: Sony Classical/Dreamworks

DURATION: 1:05:51

RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2011

  1. A Bad Kitty
  2. One Leche
  3. Jack and Jill
  4. Holy Frijoles
  5. Chasing Tail
  6. Diablo Rojo
  7. Humpty Dumpty & Kitty Softpaws
  8. The Orphanage
  9. Honor and Justice
  10. That Fateful Night
  11. The Wagon Chase
  12. Team Effort
  13. Planting the Beans
  14. The Magic Beanstalk
  15. Castle in the Clouds
  16. Golden Goose of Legend
  17. Hanuman
  18. Confronting the Past
  19. I Was Always There
  20. Kitty-Cat Break-Out
  21. The Great Terror
  22. Farewell to San Ricardo
  23. The Puss Suite
  24. The Giant’s Castle

“Puss in Boots” is a CG animated film from 2011 featuring the popular swashbuckling feline character that made his appearance in “Shrek 2″.   The storyline takes place before “Shrek 2″ and features Puss, along with sidekicks Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws taking on the outlaws,  Jack and Jill.

With the popularity of these Dreamworks animated films, the studio chose composer Henry Jackman (“The Dark Knight”, “X-Men: First Class”, “Monsters vs. Aliens”) to create the music soundtrack for the film.

Which leads us to “Puss In Boots: Music from the Motion Picture” featuring a total of 24 tracks, 22 of the tracks composed by Jackman, while “Diablo Rojo” and “Hanuman” was composed by the Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela (Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero).

While listening to the soundtrack, I have to admit that the first thing that came to mind was “The Mask of Zorro” soundtrack composed by James Horner. Granted, the main character Puss has that similar action style, I’m not surprised that the film utilizes acoustic guitar ala flamenco style, whistling and just that upbeat style.

“A Bad Kitty”, “One Leche”, “Farewell to San Ricardo” are reminiscent to the music of Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone films, you are also treated with the beautiful guitar playing of Rodrigo Y Gabriela.  ”Diablo Rojo”  and “Hanuman” are both fast and guitar playing and you wish there are more tracks by the duo!  While “Kitty-Cat Break-Out” tends to blend acoustic guitar with percussion and correlates quite well with what happens on the big screen.

While the Spanish-style of music playing is quite evident throughout the soundtrack, you are treated with instrumental/orchestral music with tracks such as the sneaky “Humpty Dumpty & Kitty Southpaws”, the adventurous track of “The Orphanage”, the darker-themed brass horn and strings infused track of “That Fateful Night” and the beautiful conclusion in “The Giant’s Castle”.

You also have hybrid orchestral/Spanish-themes adventure tracks such as “Honor and Justice”, “I Was Always There” and “The Wagon Chase”.  Definitely tracks that captivate you with strings, percussion and guitar that continue to build upon a darker theme to even hope.

As for the CD insert, you get images from the film and also production reedits.

Overall, the music featured in “Puss in Boots” compliments the overall theme of the film and its characters.  Henry Jackman has been one of the go to composers in Hollywood, known for composing action films with tremendous efficacy.  This time around, the overall theme is much different than what he has done in previous films by taking that Zorro/Spaghetti Western style and building upon the music and creating something new for “Puss in Boots”.

These soundtracks that utilize a more adventurous Spanish, flamenco/acoustic guitar theme comes along once in awhile in Hollywood.  And it is actually quite refreshing to have a soundtrack such as “Puss in Boots” which manages to incorporate that style of music but also including orchestral tracks that feature a more darker and adventurous mood but also to bring those styles together.

If you were a big fan of James Horner’s “The Mask of Zorro” or even Ennio Morricone’s music for the “Dollars” trilogy,  you’ll definitely love Henry Jackman’s music, especially Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s music for this soundtrack.

Definitely an upbeat, vibrant and delightful soundtrack worth recommending!

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SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“’Kung Fu Panda’ returns with a new animated story on DVD for the whole entire  family.  Featuring bonus features on learning how to draw the characters, learning about the various Kung-Fu styles, learning the panda dance, video games and more!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE

DURATION: 24 Minutes for Feature

DVD INFORMATION: Languages: English, French Subtitled, Spanish Subtitled, Audio: 2.0 Surround, 5.1 Surround

COMPANY: DreamWorks Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE:  March 24, 2009

Starring:

Jack Black as Po

Dustin Hoffman as Shifu

Shadooshi!  It’s Po’s next adventure from the filmmakers that brought you KUNG FU PANDA!  He may have defeated Tai Lung, but our Dragon Warrior (Jack Black) must now face Shifu’s (Dustin Hoffman) biggest challenge with the help of Viper, Tigress, Monkey, Crane and Mantis.  THE SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE are finally revealed as we discover it takes a lot more than fast feet and fists to become a master of Kung Fu.

A family fun DVD for the fans of “KUNG FU PANDA” comes “SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE”, a DVD that features a new animated short film and various special features that will teach your children to draw a major character from the film, teach you how to do the Panda dance and feature games, learning various Kung Fu moves and more!

For the 24-minute animated short, Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) has “Kung Fu Panda” hero Po (Jack Black) train a group of youngsters about Kung Fu.  A lot of the kids just are antsy and want to fight immediately and some who lack confidence. Of course, teaching these youngsters is not going to be easy but Po’s up to the task.

What better way to train the children but by Po telling the children the history of each of the Furious Five and how at the beginning, they had their issues before becoming the heroes that they are now.

Mantis’s storyline is how he was always thinking ahead and thus, he wasn’t focusing on what he was being told and this got him into a few troubles but how he managed to overcome his personal obstacle.

Viper’s storyline is about how she was born without any fangs or venom and her father felt bad because he would have to continue to protect the family and for Viper, she can excel in her dancing.  But one day, an enemy has found a way to prevent from Viper’s father from using his fangs and thus leaving Viper to defend her father using her techniques.

Tigress’s storyline was about a tiger who lived in an orphanage, many parents didn’t want to adopt her because she was too strong and had a temper.  But how Shifu used patience and trained Tigress to become a warrior.

Monkey’s storyline is how he was hurt in the past and thus started out hurting others with his mischief.  Given a second chance, Monkey eventually started helping people and becoming a hero.

Crane’s storyline focuses how he was a janitor and never taken seriously to undergo Kung Fu training but eventually had the confidence to show that he can be a great Kung Fu fighter.

Overall, the animated film was a fun and the short story manages to keep the fun and enjoyability from the film intact.  Despite the DVD running time being at 24 minutes long, the numerous special features add to the running time considerably.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE” is featured in Widescreen 1:78:1 for the animated feature.  With some parts being CG animated, the main storyline of Po talking about each of the furious five are featured in animated format with a painting visual style. The colors are quite vibrant and colorful.

As for audio, audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Surround.  Most of the audio is primarily dialogue and music which comes clearly through your front channel speakers.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Although the main feature on the DVD is 24-minutes long, there are a good number of features that are quite lengthy.   Included are:

  • Learn to Draw - This featurette features how the storyboard artists and artists teaching the viewer how to draw Po and each member of the Furious Five via sketching the characters one-by-one.  For example, with Po, the artist would start off with two circles and explain by detail of drawing the rest of the body and features.  Each segment varies in time but most are around 6 minutes long.  Very informative.
  • Dumpling Shuffle -  This game is your typical shuffle game with three cups and one item is inside one of those cups.  Using your remote to choose which cup has the item.
  • Pandamonium Activity Kit - This segment requires a DVD drive on your PC as you can install demos for the “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar 2″ video games.
  • Learn the Panda Dance -  A short segment for your children to get into the groove and learn the Panda dance.
  • Do You Kung Fu? - A short segment on various Kung Fu movements and showcasing children quickly demonstrating various Kung Fu moves.
  • Inside the Chinese Zodiac - Not sure what animal you were born under in the Chinese Zodiac, select this featurette to learn about your animal, what kind of people to hang out with and not hang out with and more.
  • Animals of Kung Fu Panda - A featurette that showcases the animals of Kung Fu Panda and it’s significance in Kung Fu about how certain moves were developed by watching how these insects and animals would defend and fight and humans adapting the moves to Kung Fu.
  • What Fighting Style Are You? - For those not familiar with Kung Fu, this featurette shows the various Kung Fu moves courtesy of children who have practiced Kung Fu and showcasing the Panda, Snake, Tiger, Monkey, Mantis and Crane Kung Fu movements.

For parents with children, especially those who loved “KUNG FU PANDA”, “SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE” is a fun, family DVD that features the animated story but also plenty of special features.   It was great to see the various Kung Fu styles and also to see how various characters were drawn and it was great the artist is drawing in real time and explaining the sketches while drawing.

Again, although listed at 24 minutes (for the animated story), the numerous special features are around 3-6 minutes each, so children will definitely be kept busy trying to learn to draw, learning to dance or even playing the video games included on the DVD.

Overall, “SECRETS OF THE FURIOUS FIVE” is enjoyable, fun and definitely packed with a good amount of special features for the whole family to enjoy.  Check it out!

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