Operation: Nussknacker 2 – Voll auf die Nüsse (2017)

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Operation: Nussknacker 2 – Voll auf die Nüsse: Directed by Cal Brunker. With Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Bobby Cannavale, Bobby Moynihan. Following the events of the first movie, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City’s Mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park.

“In Season 4, Episode 11 of comedian Jerry Seinfeldu0026#39;s eponymous sitcom, he tells his mother, u0026quot;I like kidsu0026#39; shows. They have a very innocent, wholesome quality.u0026quot; Some kidsu0026#39; movies hold the same appeal for adults, not based on any double-entendres the writers insert into the script to keep adults entertained, but simply because of the good, clean fun inherent in the film. u0026quot;The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Natureu0026quot; (PG, 1:31) is such a movie. But it wasnu0026#39;t always this way with the franchiseu0026#39;s characters. The genesis of this movie goes back to a 2005 animated short called u0026quot;Surly Squirrelu0026quot;. The title character was more than surly. He was downright mean. You might even call him evil. That animated short (which is available on YouTube) also included enough adult language and violence that it couldu0026#39;ve received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA. Yet, it proved to be a good starting point for its writer/director, Peter Lepeniotis.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003e2014 saw the release of the animated feature u0026quot;The Nut Jobu0026quot;, which Lepeniotis co-wrote and directed. He made his squirrel friend the protagonist this time (not quite as mean, but still pretty surly) and made the plot more kid-friendly. In spite of low ratings from critics, enough kids and adults saw the film that it earned nearly $120 million worldwide (almost three times what it cost to make) and quickly earned a greenlight for the sequel. Originally, Lepeniotis was set to write and Carl Brunker (u0026quot;Escape from Planet Earthu0026quot;) to direct, but Lepeniotis left the project. Brunker did direct – and also co-wrote – with Bob Barlen and Scott Bindley, all three of whom were already working on the 3rd film in the franchise (for a 2019 release), even before the 2nd hit theaters. But never fear, u0026quot;Nut Jobu0026quot; fans. (I didnu0026#39;t mean that the way it sounded.) The sequel does well in the continuity department, with most of the main characters returning (voiced mostly by the original actors) and a plot that picks up where its predecessor left off.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe animals of Liberty Park are thoroughly enjoying access to the abandoned neighborhood nut shop. Surly Squirrel (again voiced by Will Arnett) is the hero who made it all happen and he, along with most of his furry friends, have practically moved into the basement, which has become a combination 24-hour buffet, night club and amusement park. The animals are eating, drinking and making merry like the good times will never end, but one of their own is sounding the alarm. Surlyu0026#39;s friend and fellow squirrel, Andie (Katherine Heigl), is complaining that the animals are forgetting how to get food for themselves and that the way they are living is unnatural. She also warns that this situation canu0026#39;t continue forever. When it turns out that she was right, everyone looks to Surly for guidance. He assures them he can find food and takes his practically mute and none-too- bright partner-in-crime, Buddy (Tom Kenny), with him. Not only do none of Surlyu0026#39;s ideas pan out, but he and Buddy run afoul of a tiny white city mouse named Mr. Feng (Jackie Chan) who absolutely hates being called u0026quot;cuteu0026quot; and sicks his many mousy minions on the pair.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBut soon, Surly and company have bigger problems than a cute (yeah, I said it), angry Kung Fu mouse, or a food shortage. Theyu0026#39;re about to become homeless! An overweight, egotistical, entitled and greedy politician (this cartoon is a mayor) simply called u0026quot;Mayoru0026quot; (SNLu0026#39;s Bobby Moynihan) is making plans to monetize the only place in the city that doesnu0026#39;t help fill his coffers – Liberty Park. Heu0026#39;s decided to bulldoze it and use the land for an amusement park (one that looks to be as dangerous to the cityu0026#39;s residents as he is). Meanwhile, the female pug (and friendly, but annoying face licker) named Precious (Maya Rudolph) is snatched out of the park by the Mayoru0026#39;s spoiled little girl (Isabela Moner). She brings Precious home and stuffs her in a cage with her male bulldog named Frankie (Bobby Cannavale) who takes an immediate liking to Precious. Back in the park, Surly has to learn a few things about teamwork and getting along with others if the animals are going to have any chance of saving their home.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Natureu0026quot; has everything an audience member can ask for in an animated feature, regardless of the Movie Fanu0026#39;s age. There are fun characters, an engaging story and unusually good action sequences (for an animated movie). There are also plenty of laughs (very good jokes, puns and sight gags), movie homages (u0026quot;Toy Storyu0026quot;, u0026quot;Mad Maxu0026quot;, u0026quot;Back to the Futureu0026quot; and u0026quot;300u0026quot;) and lessons for all (including selflessness, teamwork and the importance of working for what you need). Some of the adults in the advanced screening I attended commented that this movie was better than the first one and the kids around me seemed to be having a good time too. Transitions between story elements were a little awkward, but this sequel is still terrifically entertaining family fun and is one of the best animated sequels since u0026quot;Toy Story 2u0026quot;. u0026quot;A-u0026quot;”


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