Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 parent and family review

One of our all time favorite cartoon movies was Kung Fu Panda, so we were super excited to win passes to see a preview of the next one in the series Kung Fu Panda 2 (and, Yes, there will definitely be a Kung Fu Panda 3 based on how this one ends)

Our family rated it like this:
Parents  -  A-
12 year old boy  -  A
7 year old boy  -  A++

Po (Jack Black) is still the Dragon Warrior and now the head of the Furious Five (including the voices of Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogan and Lucy Liu), fighting crime and protecting people.  They are all good friends and have fun together being the leaders of Kung Fu.  Things are good for Po and friends.

Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) finds Inner Peace and teaches Po a new move that he needs inner peace to do correctly.   Po will need to master this move and find his own inner peace to meet the new challenges he will soon encounter.  New enemies in far off lands create a weapon which is more powerful than Kung Fu and they need metal to make more of these new weapons to overtake all of China.  When Po first battles these new foes he has a flashback which he cannot explain.  He goes to visit his Father at the Noodle Shop and Po begins to realize that his father may not be his real father (since he is a panda and his father is a stork).  Po now realizes that he does not have inner peace and needs to learn about who he is.  His father tells him the story of how he came to be with Po, but does not know about Po's real parents.  His journey to defeat this new (but actually an old) foe and to learn about his origins takes us through the entire movie.

Parent warnings for small children:  I can't really think of anything.  There is no bad language, a little kung fu violence, some cannons shooting things (Po gets shot at one point) and NO sex/love scenes at all.   There are some sad moments when Po is remembering his parents and what happened to them.  The only thing I thought might be "3rd grade" humorish which people might not like is a scene where the team is trying to make their way through the city incognito and choose to use a large dragon.   - video of scene - click on "Dragon"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Parent Review of the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Our family went to a sneak preview last night to see the new movie, Pirates of the Caribbean : On Stranger Tides.
Our family rated it like this:

Parents  -  B
12 year old boy  -  A-
15 year old boy  -  A+
9 year old boy  -  A-
7 year old boy  -  A

We saw the movie in Digital 3D and we did not feel like the 3D was really worth the extra money for this movie. There were only a few scenes where they used it effectively.  Most of the time I was wondering why I had to wear these uncomfortable 3D glasses.  If you do not need to spend extra money, then enjoy the movie without the 3D experience. A few of the sword scenes were cool in 3D but otherwise, not so much.

A few warnings for those parents who have little kids!
1. This movie is LONG, almost 2 and a half hours long! Your kids will get antsy halfway through the movie and will be bored and want to go home.
2.  There are two scary parts.  Skip the rest of this warning below if you do not want a spoiler alert!
  1. The first scene of the movie has a guy getting lifted up in a net, and when they open the net up the guy screams and my kids jumped!
  2. The mermaid scene is very scary.  You know it is coming when the pirates reach the bay and they turn on the search lights and take out the nets and try to catch the mermaids.  I know, mermaids are not usually scary, but this scene is!!
3. There is very little if any bad language! They mostly use Pirate language.  There are also no inappropriate scenes of sex or nudity.  There is some violence and lots of guns and swords and people do get shot.

Whatever you do, do not get to the movie late! The first 45 minutes are amazing! Tons of chase scenes, exciting escapes from jail, we were all on the edge of our seats.  The premise of the movie is that three different groups are all trying to get first to the Fountain of Youth.  The three groups are Captain Jack and Blackbeard, an English Boat with Jack's old nemesis and the Spaniards.  Blackbeard has a prophecy that he will be killed by a man with one leg.  In order to save his life, Blackbeard needs to get to the Fountain of Youth first.  Most of the movie centers on who will get to the Fountain first?  Overall the acting and excitement is A+ throughout.  I think if they had cut a little of the middle part, and made it just 2 hours it would have been perfect.  Leave me a comment if you see the movie and tell me what your kids think of it! You can read my 7 year old sons review here,
and stay tuned for our review of Kung Fu Panda 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Awesome lunch, seitan stir-fry!

So what do you make yourself for lunch everyday? Is it boring tuna or turkey sandwich? This is my new favorite lunch or dinner and it is soooo healthy!!
I like to buy the costco size broccoli, mushrooms and onions so that I have the ingredients I need on hand for a whole week.
First heat up some EVOO in a saute pan, I use about a tsp or so.  Heat it nice and hot then add in your favorite veggies
sliced zucchini
sliced peppers
sliced mushroooms
chopped onions
sliced or shredded carrots
I usually put the onions in alone for the first 2-3 minutes and then add in the rest of the veggies. Once these are cooked (about 2-3 more minutes) I add in chopped up seitan.
Seitan is amazing. I use Westsoy Seitan. It is amazing how much it tastes like a chunk of beef. Seitan is vegan and is good for you! 21 grams of protein and 2 gms of fat per serving.  I use about 1/3 of the package for each stir fry.  I sometimes add in a touch of soy sauce and just keep moving everything around the pan. If I am not making a vegan version I will add in one egg and cook it up quickly on the side of the pan and it easily incorporates itself into the whole dish.
This lunch is filling, nutritious, and most importantly delicious!