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A Note from the General Manager about Excursions

A Is For August And Animation. 3 Animated Movies Debut This Month

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In these waning days and weeks of summer, there are still a few movies coming to a theater near you that say vacation. We're going to hear now about two of them for kids and another, an animated movie definitely not for kids. Crystal Bell covers entertainment for MTV News. Good morning.

CRYSTAL BELL: Good morning. How are you?

MONTAGNE: Fine. Thank you. Let's start with "Pete's Dragon," which is in theaters today. The original musical came out in the 1970s and did not become a Disney classic. "The Jungle Book" it was not, so why the remake?

BELL: You know what? I think it's interesting. Disney has had great success with their live-action remakes. We saw it with "Cinderella." One of the year's great surprises was "The Jungle Book" remake, and I think "Pete's Dragon" was so ripe for this remake treatment because no one quite remembered it, you know - sort of covered in dust. It was one of those properties that Disney had and why not try to make some extra money off of it?

MONTAGNE: Well, interesting, though, because Disney's last offering which has just been in the theaters, "The BFG." They had great hopes, I gather, and it did not do particularly well. So think possibly a dragon will play better than a giant with kids?

BELL: Yeah. I think so. You know, some of the best moments in "Pete's Dragon" are unspoken moments. And what David Lowery does really well as a director is he captures those with such tenderness, and, for me that's, what's sort of grounded this film.

MONTAGNE: You know, the other movie for kids that we want to talk about - and this one is an animation - it's "Kubo And The Two Strings." And I've seen the trailer. It's exquisite, sumptuous to look at. It's a Japanese historical fantasy. So how do you think this one is going to do?

BELL: The studio who actually produced the film - they're known as the bad boys of animation. They're a studio called Laika, and "Kubo" is their most ambitious film. I would recommend seeing it on the largest screen possible because it is so beautiful. It's obviously a mix of what they do very well which is stop-motion animation as well as some CG animation. This story, you know - it's obviously, as with a lot of Laika films, they're not blockbusters, but they're just beautifully animated. They're heartwarming, and they're truly, truly made for children and adults to enjoy.

MONTAGNE: Which brings us to a movie that is absolutely not for kids, although its title "Sausage Party" could be mistaken for one, but we're really talking here about the adult version brought to you by Seth Rogen of sausages and buns and a lot of other food products that are the stars of this rather risque animation.

BELL: Yes. I repeat not for children. Please don't take your children to see this movie. It is definitely a hard-R-rated film. It's crude humor. It's equal opportunity offensive, but at its heart, it also addresses something more philosophical and a little bit bigger. I went into "Sausage Party" kind of expecting just this glorious R-rated romp, and it very much is. But it's also deeply human in a way that I was not expecting. Obviously these are food products, but it's all about seeing all these different food products from all the different aisles in the supermarket come together to sort of defeat their common enemy. And in this case, it is humans who want to consume them.

MONTAGNE: So pretty inspiring in its way. Crystal, thanks very much.

BELL: Thank you so much for having me.

MONTAGNE: Crystal Bell covers entertainment for MTV.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'D DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE")

MEAT LOAF: (Singing) I would do anything for love. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.