Who's In It: The voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly
The Basics: Into the grimmest of all post-human, bombed-out, destroyed-world scenarios emerges a small band of sock puppets with goggles for eyes, zippers down their bellies, numbers for names and extremely worried expressions on their fabric faces. They were created by a scientist and infused with his soul just before people became extinct, but they don't know why. Now they have to battle giant killer machines and they don't know why they have to do that either. As they fight and get chased and fight and get chased it'll kind of remind you of that recurring gag in Clerks where Dante says, "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"
What's The Deal: I've always loved end-of-the-world movies and now that we live in an era when everyone thinks that's really about to happen, we're getting more and more of those films all the time. It's gotten so that you know exactly what the world is going to look like after we're all burned to a crisp by a meteor or giant terrorist bomb or just the sun gone super-angry. Unfortunately, that means post-apocalypse movies have to step up their game when depicting our demise. This one succeeds with its atmosphere of totally mournful gloom and darkness in which innocently adorable little scraps of burlap burdened with desperately panicked hearts and minds have to create a meaningful life for themselves while avoiding the evil, spider-like monsterbots. I actually found myself anxiety-ridden over their futile existence.
Get A Babysitter: I know we live in a time when irresponsible parenting is the norm and you can witness--and I did, the following is not a made-up example--people bringing 7-year-old kids to midnight screenings of Halloween II. But you should know that although this is an animated feature, it's the kind you don't want to bring the little ones to see. Anybody under five or so is going to be freaked out by the scary monsters and the overall tone of despair. YOU should go because it's great, but if you bring the kids then nightmares will ensue, I promise. Let them watch WALL-E instead. That's a much cuter End Of Days entertainment.
Now NOT In 3-D: As a fan of 3-D, I would also like to beg Hollywood for mercy right about now. Every few weeks a new 3-D feature requiring me to wear glasses comes along. Or a horror movie where guts are going to fly at my face. And they're just getting lazier and lazier. That last Ice Age piece of junk? It didn't need the 3-D. The Final Destination? They didn't even use the sex scene to their advantage. (And contrast that with the 1953 Jane Russell film The French Line that was advertised with the following lowbrow come-on: "She'll knock BOTH your eyes out!") All of that to say that this movie is in plain old digital animation and is darkly beautiful to watch. Do that on a big screen. Your TV isn't going to cut it.