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Reel Critics: Animated film may go over kids’ heads

With the legendary DreamWorks studio behind “Megamind,” you know this animated offering will have first-rate special effects and production values. The studio fully delivers this film’s expected technical quality. The movie won the weekend with almost $50 million in box office receipts and the promise of family-friendly entertainment.

The plot features silly super heroes at odds with each other. They have common human flaws that interfere with their ability to have successful relationships. This film combines major elements of “The Incredibles” and several other offbeat super hero films. But the sly sarcastic tone involves mostly adult problems. It’s well done, but will leave younger children bored and restless.

Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Brad Pitt do a great job doing voice-overs for the main players. They add some real entertainment value for older kids and parents. But it won’t appeal to children in the audience looking for another “Toy Story” or “Shrek” film. In the end, this is a good effort, just not the great one it might have been.

JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator for the Orange County public defender’s office.


Triology’s closer a worthy addition

Finally, the movie sequel we’ve been waiting for.

Not the one about boy wizards. It’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the terrific finale of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy that ties up all the loose ends while tying its audience up in knots.

Lisbeth Salander, the tiny girl with the dragon tattoo, must surely be one of the most fascinating fictional characters in recent history. A victim of horrific abuse and betrayal, she is still a brilliant, tough heroine.


“Hornet’s Nest” picks up right from where “The Girl Who Played with Fire” left off. Salander (Noomi Rapace) is recovering from a bullet wound to the head. Much of this film has her in the hospital, and without her gothic makeup, piercings and black leather she is at her most vulnerable, if aloof, self.

Her enemies, including a secret government section, have also survived and are more determined than ever to destroy her — physically, psychologically, and legally. Her steadfast champion remains journalist Mikael Blomkvist (wonderfully weary Michael Nyqvist) who’s about to publish an expose of the conspiracies that threaten Salander’s life and his own.

The final showdowns, with Salander in full “warrior woman” regalia, crackle with suspense and trademark dark humor. Noomi Rapace has made this character so cryptic, so compelling, one is left wanting to see more of her. The films in the trilogy are some of the best of the year.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a financial services company.