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Movie Website Reviews for Weekend of June 6, 2008

June 8th, 2008

Two wide releases this week, and both had strong sites. This is good news as so far this summer I've been disappointed with the selection of sites more often than not. However, while both were strong, Kung Fu Panda's Official Site was in a class by itself and it easily wins the Weekly Website Award.

Dreams With Sharp Teeth - No Official Site
The first of three movies that opened this week that did not have an official site.

Kung Fu Panda - Official Site
A simply amazing site that is loaded with features. It goes without saying that the usual features are here (synopsis, cast & crew bios, image gallery, and trailer), but the site if focused more on extras. Extras include text-based extras, like character bios or information on fighting styles; video-based extras like the clips or interviews; and interactive extras like the activities and games. Most of the games are rather simple, but addictive, and should please the target audience, as should the activities. The videos, on the other hand, are mostly made up of interviews and featurettes, which are aimed more at adult aficionados of the animation form. In fact, if the DVD had nothing but these featurettes, and an audio commentary track or two, I would be happy. Enough features to work as a DVD release is more than enough to qualify as this week's endangered Weekly Website Award.

Mongol - Official Site
One of the better sites in terms of style, but it is below average when it comes to the regular features. The synopsis is here, as are some production notes and the director's bio. There are several image galleries focusing on costume designs, locations, and behind the scenes, and five songs you can listen to. Finally, there's the teaser trailer and the full trailer. The site sells the movie well, but it is not up to the level of an award worthy site.

On the Rumba River - No Official Site
No official site, and even the distributor's site only has the synopsis.

Operation Filmmaker - Official Site
Typical documentary site with a lot of information, but not a lot of flash.

Polar Opposites - Official Site
All of the usual features are here, but no extras. Disappointingly, the image gallery is a slideshow that you can't control. I hate not being able to control these parts of the site. On a side note, the trailer made the movie look like an End of the World TV Movie of the Week, with a gay twist, and it will likely have to wait till the home market to find an audience.

The Promotion - Official Site
Just a re-direct to the distributor site, which only has the synopsis and the trailer.

Solar Flare - Official Site
See Polar Opposites above. The film is being released by the same company and the website has the same setup, right down to the slideshow image gallery, and the TV Movie of the Week quality trailer.

The Wedding Director - No Official Site
No site for the North American release, but here's one in French.

When Did You Last See Your Father - Official Site
All the usual features are here: synopsis, production notes, cast & crew bios, image gallery and trailer. There's not much in the way of style, and what there is is very subdued. However, that fits with the movie and I won't complain.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan - Official Site
A big list of features on the site, however, it is a case of quantity over quality. The usual features are here, mostly. (There are only cast and crew lists, with no bios). And there are a few extras, including a game, but the game is not that good. It's a fighting game, but all you need to do to win is dodge the first couple of shots, and then hold up the up key. Chances are you will be able to get in a rhythm and take out the Phantom without hitting another key. In fact, I strongly suggest not hitting another key. I really do like the style, which adds to the overall effectiveness of the site. Had the content been as strong as the style, this could have been an award-winning site.


Filed under: Kung Fu Panda, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Mongol, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, The Promotion