I have to admit that when I saw the previews for Kung Fu Panda, I was not at all inspired to see it. Hey, I dig the animated/CGI children’s movie genre, but this one just didn’t do anything for me. Then, in a moment of boredom while being unable to locate anything decent on Netflix, I added it to the queue. Let’s just say it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.

I nearly turned it off about 20 minutes in because it was too corny, too lame and too immature. I actually sorta zoned out while watching it and working on something else and was surprised a few minutes later to realize that I was pausing my work and finally stopping it altogether as I watched the storyline unfold. Somehow, it sunk in that these characters were interesting to me.

In the end, the story ended up being rich enough to hold my attention and I was glad to have seen it. I think I came around because Jack Black (Po) wasn’t over-the-top and when combined with great animation, was a very empathetic panda. Was it one of my top CGI films? Not even close. Was it one I will watch over and over? Again, not even close. Would I recommend it? Sure, why not?

Not exactly a ringing endorsement – but much better than I expected to rate it.

RATING 6 out of 10

Monsters vs Aliens is another recent CGI film that left me a little underwhelmed. I went to see it in 3D and while the new technology in 3D film is nothing short of amazing, MvA was nothing special.

It may have fallen short for me simply because of the animation style. I just didn’t like the monsters or the aliens. The comedy in MvA was very good – you can’t go wrong with giving Seth Rogan a boatload of great lines and just letting him go.

The story certainly held up and although nearly every single scene was pinched from other movies, it was put together well. The action was top-notch with several tense moments intercut brilliantly with comic lines. The characters were certainly likable. As an action-packed fun flick for the kids, MvA scores big.

If I had liked the animation style, it would certainly have earned a couple more stars.

RATING 7 out of 10