Tolkien (2019) Movie Review

Director: Dome Karukoski

Writer: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Tom Glynn-Carney, Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle

Plot: The formative years of the orphaned author J.R.R. Tolkien as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school.

Tagline – A Life of Love, Courage, and Fellowship

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Biopic 101

Story: Tolkien starts as we see J.R.R Tolkien (Hoult) on the war field in World War I, suffering the effects of an attack, he starts to reflect on his early life, his troubled childhood before getting placed into a high society school, where his imagination ran wild, with his friends pushing the arts to come to life in them all.

As Tolkien starts to reach the crucial years of his life, his work was just starting to get looked at by the universities, while he was left to decide between love or education, just as the war was going to split everything open for him.

Thoughts on Tolkien

Characters – J.R.R. Tolkien does go through two main timelines, one is his search for his friends during the war, searching through the trenches, while the second seems to follow him from early school life, right up to the university, where he was looking to make his way in the writing field. Edith is the love interest that grow up with Tolkien, they both come from the same background and want to make the most of their lives, pushing them to expose their creative sides. We do the meet the group of friends that grew up together and learnt how to express their artistic sides.

PerformancesNicholas Hoult is strong in the leading role in the film, even though he doesn’t seem to have to do that much challenging, we have a cast that doesn’t put a foot wrong through the film, even if it is mostly easy to perform.

StoryThe story here follows J.R.R. Tolkien as he went through the education process right up to and including his time in World War I, which gave him the motivation to write the Lord of the Rings books. When it comes to breaking down the story, it is based on his real-life, this would be harder to over criticise because it is a lot of high society boys looking to break traditions of education and become artistic minds, instead of following the typical male career paths. This is about the bond of friendship which has been pushed to the limits once the war starts. We see plenty of glimpses of hints to what is coming with his Lord of the Rings material, which is something you just want to look out for.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of the film shows us just how important his friends become to him, which would improve his creative mind unlike anyone else, with the romance side of the film falling short for the most part, as it is just in here.

SettingsThe film uses the high society lifestyle Tolkien was part of, it doesn’t give us enough hope that we could follow in his footsteps.

Scene of the Movie – First tea time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too much high society.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic that shows how important having the right people in life can inspire you to achieve more, we have strong performances only it doesn’t give us too much hope we could follow his story.

Overall: By the Book Biopic.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – D – The Darkest Minds (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Writer: Chad Hodge (Screenplay) Alexandra Bracken (Novel)

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks, Miya Cech, Gwendoline Christie

Plot: Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.

Tagline – Together they will change everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Potential That Misses

Story: The Darkest Minds starts with a mysterious disease that swept across the country killing most of the young population, the survivors seemed to change too, with Ruby (Stenberg) being one of the children taken to the camps, separated by colours depending on the skills in the minds.

After a test shows that Ruby is an Orange, meaning she is more dangerous than the rest, Cate (Moore) breaks her out of the prison, with her powers being mind control. Learning Cate might not have her best interest in mind, Ruby escape a joins three fellow children Liam (Dickinson), Chubs (Brooks) and Zu (Cech) as they search for safety.

Thoughts on The Darkest Minds

Characters – Ruby was a normal child until the event happens, she spends 6-years in a prison camp, where she hides her true abilities, which does make her more dangerous than the rest of the children. She gets discovered, which sees her escape, joining another group of children on the run, her powers will make her a useful for avoiding trouble, but any touch can make her see the truth about people and make them follow her instruction. Cate is the doctor that helps Ruby escape, she has been looking to help children, though she might not be helping in the way Ruby believes. President Gray is the man that commission the prison camps for the children, his son is the poster child for the cure too in Clancy. Liam is one of the children on the run, he has a reputation as a hero for the number of children saved. Liam leads Chubs and Zu to safety, as they both have their own stories of survival.

PerformancesAmandla Stenberg is strong in the leading role, she has had a great couple of years, this might end up being one of her weaker films, but she doesn’t disappoint. Mandy Moore and Bradley Whitford are barely used, which is disappointing, though you feel their parts would have been bigger in a sequel. Harrison Dickinson, Skylan Brooks and Miya Cech do have good chemistry between the four kids on the run.

StoryThe story here follows Ruby who is in a world where children are kept in prison camps, because of a sudden new set of abilities they have gained, she gets broken out goes on the run and learns of a bigger battle going on in the world, where she needs to decide which side of the war she wants to be on. This is a story that falls into the young adult world which wants to build up to franchise, that we most likely will never get, this is just the first chapter where we learn as Ruby does about what is happening in the world, who she can trust or not. The world created is interesting though it is never truly explained, what happened or why, most of which would probably be filled in later in the franchise.

Action/Romance/Sci-FiThe action in the film is filled with an odd looking car chase, a mostly just the powers doing anything to make them control the situation, the romance shows us how the two young adults fall in love for no actual reason. The sci-fi world does show us the world we are in, though we don’t learn the complete truth to everything.

SettingsThe film doesn’t have any distinctively locations, which doesn’t help us understand the scale of the situation.

Special EffectsThe effects do look like they are part of a low budget television show for the most part.

Scene of the Movie – The mall.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The fact that this film is arrogant enough to believe it will be a franchise.

Final Thoughts This is a film that has potential to be massive, it gets caught up in trying to show how big the world could be by only creating first chapter to something much bigger.

Overall: First Chapter of franchise.