Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writer: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Madison Iseman, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Awkwafina

Plot: In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown from arid deserts to snowy mountains, to escape the world’s most dangerous game.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Popcorn Fun

Story: Jumanji: The Next Level starts a couple of years after the first adventure, Martha, Bethany, Fridge and Spencer have moved onto the next stage of their lives, heading home for the Christmas holiday, Spencer however has started to become distant from the rest, he finds his room being shared with Grampa Ed (DeVito) and decides to try and fix Jumanji.

After Spencer doesn’t arrive for the meet up with the old gang, the friends find themselves sucked into the game, along with Grampa Ed and his old business partner Mile (Glover) as they must complete a new challenge in the world of Jumanji.

Thoughts on Jumanji: The Next Level

Characters – Outside the game Spencer has found himself alone in New York for university, he has a job in a shop which has seen him starting to wonder what is life is actually going to be about, broken up with Martha, he doesn’t know where what to do next, ignore his friends and home just to see his family. He decides to try and rebuild the game, so he could return to being Dr Smolder Bravestone to regain his confidence. Bethany has continued to travel the world, Martha has found popularity in college, despite still being incredibly insecure and Fridge has continued to build his sports career. These three are still close and want to keep Spencer in their circle, only they have continued to be positive in life. Grampa Ed is now living in with Spencer’s mum, in his room after a hip operation, he has fallen out with his old business partner Milo, Milo has come to try and make up with Ed after their lifelong friendship ended suddenly. Inside the game we get the same characters Smolder Bravestone, Franklin Finbar, Dr Shelly Oberon and Ruby Roundhouse, they are the same basic character with a few new additions, much like any video game sequel, with that we get new additions in Ming who has a whole new set of skills and a horse. There are some mix ups to who are each of the characters in the game.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are strangely two of the weaker points in the movie, this is because this time around they have to almost be parodies of well-known actors instead of reacting to traits characters are meant to have, while Hart is more restrained, Johnson does crack his role on this side of the film enough. Jack Black and Karen Gillan have excellent comic chemistry which shines through in the film, while the addition of Awkwafina is great for laughs, coming off stronger in the second half do the film than the first.

StoryThe story here follows the friends return into the game of Jumanji joined with a couple of new characters, where they need to travel their way through the game one more time to save Jumanji from a new enemy. While the adventure inside the game side of the story is bigger and the entertaining part of the story, where we try to put a big emphasis on the story is on friendship, we see how people can become more distant, how you should always try to make time, no matter where you are in life and even see the consequences of not always being there for somebody. The story really doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, nor did it need to.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film does give us a brand-new adventure within the game, new dangers, new locations, it feels like we are getting a brand-new video game with the same loved characters. The comedy here is a mix, because a lot of the old people jokes get tiresome quickly, but once the statue quo is returned to normal the comedy is back to its best, just takes too long getting there.

SettingsThe film uses the new locations within the game, including the desert, mountain range and amazing bridge crossing location.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film can be mixed too, it doesn’t help with the pure ambition behind the set pieces which are needed for the CGI moments.


Scene of the Movie – The bridge crossing, such a unique creation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain body swaps.

Final Thoughts This is a fun sequel that once again gets stolen by the supporting cast of Karen Gillan, Jack Black and newcomer Awkwafina that get most of the laughs.

Overall: Fun Sequel.

The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows (2019) Movie Review

Director: Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Writer: Isabella Blake-Thomas, Jonathan Brayley, Bob Nevens Jr (Screenplay)

Starring: Richard Tyson, Jake Brennan, Isabella Blake-Thomas, Britt Flatmo, Abigail Titmuss, Ethan Munck, Victoria Lopez, Michael Piccirilli

Plot: A horror film for children. A family of archaeologists find the fifth pendant that has been missing for centuries. Unfortunately a spirit has also been searching for this pendant. Once all pendants are brought together the shadows from the past are released. Will Sophie be able to save her town from the shadows?

Runtime: 1 Hour 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Family Adventure

Story: The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows starts as the Carson family, Edward (Piccirilli), Katie (Titmuss), Sophie (Blake-Thomas) and Emma (Jellen) are starting their next adventure in California, where Edward’s work has taken them next. Sophie must get used to a new school, with her making friends with the bullied neighbour Edison (Eggerling).

When Edward makes the discovery, which is one of the biggest legends around in California history, the pendants bring to life the shadow people under the control of Ohanzee (Tubert) that have been searching for them, forcing Sophie to figure out how to save the people.

Thoughts on The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows

Characters – Sophie is the teenager daughter of a famous explorer, she has grown up around the world getting the sense of adventure along the way, she has always been fascinated by different stories from around the world including the one surrounding Ohanzee. She is immune to bully’s behaviour and will prove herself in the field by being the one that must battle Ohanzee. Edward is the archaeologist father that has taken his family around the world, his latest job sees them finding themselves in trouble needing to learn about the secret group that have been protecting the world. Travis is the man that recruit Edward on this latest exploration and he knows even more about the legend they might be disturbing. Edison is the science fanatic who lives next door to the Carson’s he becomes friends with Sophie and learns to start standing up for himself.

PerformancesIsabella Blake-Thomas in the leading role does stand head and shoulders above the rest of the cast, bringing the modern fearless teenager to life. Richard Tyson, Michael Piccirilli and Gabe Eggerling complete the main cast without every putting a foot role and letting Isabella take centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows a family of explorers that will face need to fight an evil the helped discover in the world before it is too late. This does feel like it is one story that would easily work to make the audience entertained, it gives us a legend that could be real that needs to be explored that would create peril, but not be the darkest one they could face, being almost an introduction to characters we could follow for years to come. This is a story that everyone could follow and does have a couple of real-life school issues that Sophie deals with through her adventure in the film.

FamilyThis is a film that the whole family could enjoy, it will have a couple of more adult laughs, while turning the adventure into a family affair.

SettingsThe film takes us to California which while looking great, it just doesn’t seem like a location you would be discovering legends.


Scene of the Movie – Facing the evil.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The League of Legend Keepers introduction.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family film that can be enjoyed by all the family, it brings us an adventure a family must go through together to save the day.

Overall: Fun Throughout.

Franchise Weekend – Mythica: The Godslayer (2016)

Director: John Lyde

Writer: Jason Faller, Kynan Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Christopher Robin Miller

 

Plot: As the Lich King’s zombie legions ravage the world, Marek, a cursed young sorceress, embarks on a quest to obtain a weapon from the gods, with her friend Dagen, a self-serving half-elf rogue. But when she joins her sworn enemy in a desperate attempt to save the world, she must recover the good in herself before her friends are all dead, and defeat the Lich King before the gods are destroyed and the world forever enslaved.


Tagline – When there’s nothing left, there’s nothing to lose.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion

 

Story: Mythica: The Godslayer starts with Szorlok (Mercer) reign of terror sweeping through the land, bringing the dead back to life with his undead army, Teela (Posener) and Thane (Johnson) are trying to halt the bloodshed which is becoming too much of a challenge in time. Marek (Stone) is searching for a weapon of the gods with Dagen (Stormoen) where we get to see how she is questioning her decision to give Szorlok the last Darkspore, as they now face the undead army too.

Marek must learn about her past if she is going to defeat Szorlok once and for all, this will take her down a road of uncertainty about who is rather than her powers, with only Dagen to guide her, while Szorlok is trying to turn her to the dark side.

 

Thoughts on Mythica: The Godslayer

 

Characters – Marek after making the decision to give Szorlok the last Darkspore is left questioning whether it was the right thing, being drawn to the dark side and power he possesses, Marek will put together her own plan to fight the gods who want to stop the death coming to the world, she wants to do this alone. Dagen is with Marek fighting of the hordes of the undead, he helps fill in the blanks from his past, which paints him in a very different light, he keeps Marek’s motives going straight to the best of his ability. Thane is working with Teela to help fight off the undead, showing his pure strength and commitment to the cause. Szorlok has the power now, he has been bringing the dead back to life now causing terror over the world, he wants Marek to join him to gain complete control being able to defeat gods in this world.

PerformancesMelanie Stone continues to balance the emotional levels of her character in the film, she shows the uncertainty that could be her downfall or her strength. Jake Stormoen has constantly improved through the film series, with this being his best performance so far. Matthew Mercer continues to be powerful in his villainous role, while Adam Johnson gets to give his best performance to date here.

StoryThe story here brings the epic saga of Marek and her friends to a conclusion as they look to stop Szorlok from taking control of the world, learning their own destiny along the way. This is the type of story that has earnt this kind of ending, we have seen a lot of the work from the previous stories, which has shown the characters grow along the way, change and become better warriors. We need to have seen the previous films to understand what has been happening though, which can be an easy weakness of this film, but it is unlikely you will be watching this one without seeing the previous one. when it comes to finishing a franchise, this does draw back the comedy that made the last one fun, but it does become the serious levels required with the new peril involved in the film.

Action/FantasyThe action is bigger, more impressive and in new locations. The fantasy side of the film once again builds on the world we are in and just like we are used to seeing, we find ourselves in a new set of locations that fantasy can offer us.

SettingsThe film uses the new settings to help us see the world potential when it comes to people who are willing to risk their lives to save the world.

Special EffectsThe effects do continue to be the weakest part, but by now we are used to this style which hasn’t gotten better or worse through the series.


Scene of the Movie –
The hammer fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough undead fighting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fitting conclusion to the franchise, it has the highest stakes and shows what everything has meant in the previous films.

 

Overall: Franchise finishing in style.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Spectre (2015)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Jez Butterworth (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Characters)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista

 

Plot: A cryptic message from 007’s past sends him pitted against a mysterious terrorist organization called Spectre, and learns of its involvement in previous events of his most dangerous missions.


Tagline – The dead are alive

Runtime: 2 Hours 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tries Too Hard to be an Espionage Movie

 

Story: Spectre starts as James Bond (Craig) heads to Mexico in search for his own reasons where he learns about a mysterious terrorist known as the Pale King, he doesn’t leave without causing damage, which forces M (Fiennes) to ground him from active duty.

James goes against orders, going in search of the terrorist group which after his actions in having one of its first meetings in years, to appoint a replacement to the table, where the leader (Waltz) and M have now made James their number one target, forcing James to turn to an old enemy for help.

 

Thoughts on Spectre

 

Characters – James Bond has reached the peak of his experience, he will still break the rules when it comes to tracking down a lead, only now he will need to learn to overcome modern technology placed on him to elude his superiors. James will need to take on Spectre the very group which has been involved in trying to cause chaos in all his mission. Blofeld is the leader of Spectre, the man that has been pulling all the strings, a man that has faked his own death to rise to the position of power, where his ultimate control will see him seek the power to watch the world. Madeleine is the daughter of an old enemy, she has become a target for Spectre, which means she must come out of hiding to work with James, not willing to be one of the women in James’s love life though. M is trying to keep James in line, while also dealing with the ideas that somebody C is trying to push through a new surveillance that would see the 00 branch closed. Hinx is the main hitman that is tracking down James, his is the silent type, that is bigger, more powerful and even smart, a pure brute of a hitman.

PerformancesDaniel Craig continues to not put a foot wrong in this role, handling the action and giving the cold responses to anything asked of him. Christoph Waltz just doesn’t reach the levels we know he can, it is partly because the character isn’t given the deserved time though. Lea Seydoux does well in her role, but often takes second fiddle to the scenes with Daniel in surrounding the action moments. Ralph Fiennes does step into this role well, while Dave Bautista does make for one of the more memorable hitmen in the Craig era of Bond.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission, which sees him coming face to face with one of the most famous villains in the franchise history Blofeld who has had hand in each of the missions he has been involved in. The base of this James Bond mission is everything we have seen before, seeing him travelling the world to fight the villain of the piece, the problem with the storytelling comes from focusing too heavily on the side part of the film which sees M needing to prove the worth of the 00 branch which is connected to the bigger picture, but takes away the reason we enjoy these films about an all out action spy star. The fact the story does continue to operate in a universe where each film is connected is also a big plus because the consequences of the actions in the previous films are being felt throughout this one.

Action/AdventureThe action in this outing does once again give us a brilliant opening sequence, which slowly turns into enhanced versions of what we have seen before through the franchise, though we do get more of a feel of an adventure here, with the locations James visits.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the unique moments in the film, be it the opening in Mexico, the Austrian mountain range or the Italian meeting place, they all give the film a unique look at how everything unfolds.


Scene of the Movie –
Mexico City.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Monica Bellucci is criminally underused.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining Bond movie, when it comes to the spy side of everything nothing feels out of place, but as soon as we start looking at side stories, things start to fizzle out.

 

Overall: Entertaining Bond Outing.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mythica: The Necromancer (2015)

Director: A Todd Smith

Writer: Jason Faller, Liska Ostojic, Justin Partridge (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Philip Brodie, Matthew Mercer, Robert Jayne

 

Plot: Mallister takes Thane prisoner and forces Marek and her team on a quest.


Tagline – Myth & legend come to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Continues to Build Nicely

 

Story: Mythica: The Necromancer starts with Marek (Stone) continuing her training from Gojun Pye (Sorbo) as she final discovers a name for her team, Thane (Johnson), Dagen (Stormoen) and Teela (Posener) as they look to head off on their next quest.

Thane gets taken prisoner, which sees Marek needing to lead the rest of her team in search for a missing person for the man holding Thane, which will see Marek putting her life in danger, when she needs to stay out of the light to stop Szorlok (Mercer) knowing her whereabouts.

 

Thoughts on Mythica: The Necromancer

 

Characters – Marek continues to learn more about her powers, she is now a target for the evil in the world, which sees her needing to hide, until her friend gets taken prisoner, she must reluctantly go on the next adventure exposing herself to the very person that is after her. Thane is taken prisoner in this outing, he isn’t going to let himself look like a victim, willing to fight until the end. Dagen is starting to like the life of adventure, which sees him going on the quest proving he is changing from his selfish ways. Teela has accepted her lost faith now, forcing Marek to go on the quest to help Thane, hoping her actions will one day redeem her to the Gods.

PerformancesMelanie Stone does continue to impress in the leading role, showing larger scale emotions with the balance of power going on within her. Adam Johnson does have a small role not getting anything wrong with his limited time, Jake Stormoen and Nicola Posener both give strong support performance too.

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Marek an her friends as they must go on their latest adventure to rescue one of their own which could get Marek exposed to the evil that is hunting for her. We are not half way through the franchise, with the story being able to give us yet another adventure, while bringing us a bigger story going on in the world. we do keep everything simple once again which is all we need and you can see how the story is starting to borrow from the bigger fantasy films.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does continue to get bigger even if it does feel very safe and easy to watch. It is the fantasy side of the film that continues to improve as everything gets bigger through the film.

SettingsThe film does keep taking us to new locations with different enemies within them, continuing to showing us just how big the world is getting.

Special EffectsThe effects are simple television level of effects, they don’t get used that often, with most coming from Marek’s power.


Scene of the Movie –
The beetle talks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does start to get similar to what we have seen already.

Final ThoughtsNice continuing story that is prepared us for the next chapter, while having an own adventure.

 

Overall: Continue to prepare us for more.

Rating