Hugh Jackman Weekend – Pan (2015)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Jason Fuchs (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Characters)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Nonso Anozie, Amanda Seyfried

 

Plot: Twelve-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be for ever known as Peter Pan.


Tagline – Every legend has a beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That True Spark

 

Story: Pan starts when young Peter (Miller) is in an orphanage in London during World War II, he notices that the other orphans have been disappearing, when he final abduction occurs Peter is taken by Blackbeard’s (Jackman) men and taken to Neverland. Blackbeard is mining for fairy dust and using the orphans to make this happen.

When Peter breaks the rules he is sentenced to death which only unlocks his own powers to fly, where a fellow prisoner James Hook (Hedlund) helps him escape and search the land for answers about his mother with the help of the tribal people led by Tiger Lily (Mara) who have been at war with the pirates, Peter must unlock his own destiny to save the land.

 

Thoughts on Pan

 

Characters – Peter is an orphan during World War II, stuck in a boys home, he believes something is happening and wants to be reunited with his mother, taken to Neverland, he learns that he has an ability unlike anyone else, he just needs to learn to believe in himself. Blackbeard has been taking orphans to help him mine for fairy dust in Neverland, he runs a strict ship which Peter upsets, however this will put Blackbeard closer than ever to getting what he wants. Hook is one of the miners that helps Peter escape, he wants to be free with his own tragic backstory. Tiger Lily has been leading the war against Blackbeard for years now, she knows the secrets to the fairies and now must protect them at all costs.

PerformancesLevi Miller as the young Peter is good because he shows us the innocence needed for this film while dealing with the emotional impact his life is having. Hugh Jackman does seem to be having a lot of fun in this role even if he is overacting at times. Garrett Hedlund just can’t catch a break, his performance is solid enough, though it does feel like he just wanted to be the next Han Solo. Rooney Mara again is solid, it looks like a role which meant something to her and will help her take on the bigger roles.

StoryThe story is an origin story for Peter Pan and Hook, well it seems to be, Peter is in the human world where he is an orphan taken to Neverland to help fight in a war between the two sides who want control of the fairy dust, he works with Hook which is strange because he is a good guy. The film shows us why Peter never wanted to leave Neverland and just what is meant to him once he learns about his parent’s identity. When we look deeper at the story it does feel like a pretty safe story and by having Peter needing to learn his own identity before going on to be the character we know now. The problem comes from any moment of peril he is in or Hook we know they will make it out of there because we know their story is only just beginning. The additional problem comes from just how Hook is a good guy and doesn’t get given any moments to tease his villainous ways.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film is good because it shows a new life Peter could have away from the war his own reality is involved in, this does take us to the fantasy world of Neverland which only seems to have one unique animal in, but it has magic.

SettingsThe film uses the colour tones well, we see the darkness which shows us how bleak Peter’s real-life is, while giving us the bright open world of Neverland to show the hope of a future.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid enough without looking as flawless as they should, though the overly ambitious nature to it all doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Hook’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not filling enough of the blanks between the time period.

Final ThoughtsThis is another cash-in on a franchise which feels overly done, it doesn’t capture the rue magic and only ends up confusing the time between the movies.

 

Overall: Magicless fantasy film.

Rating

 

 

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Hugh Jackman Weekend – Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Director: Peter Ramsey

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) William Joyce (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin

 

Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


Tagline – The Sandman Is More Than A Dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Animation

 

Story: Rise of the Guardians starts when Pitch or the boogeyman decides he wants to take back his role as the one children feared, the guardians of childhood memories, North (Santa), Tooth (tooth fairy), Bunny (Easter Bunny) and Sandy (Sandman) must bring in the newest guardians Jack Frost, the one that is being ignored as never believed in by children.

When Pitch starts to gain more power, the guardians must use all their abilities to fight back to keep the childhood hopes and happiness alive as Jack will find his place along side the guardians.

 

Thoughts on Rise of the Guardians

 

Characters – Jack Frost is the spiritual figure that nobody believes in, he keeps children happy everyday, but no one will remember him for his work, now he gets given a chance to become a guardian giving him the chance to be the hero the world needs. North is the leader of the guardians the first selected to help to replace Pitch giving the children of the world hope, even if he does feel like colossus from Deadpool. Pitch was once the one that struck fear into children, he wants his crown back and will look to take the belief out of any children in the world. Tooth, Bunny and Sandy make up the rest of the guardians that have mixed feelings towards Jack being chosen as their newest member. Using the iconic fantasy characters does make us understand what they thieve for, but is often used for a pun throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a reckless potential new guardian that must prove his place in the guardians with the much more experienced and famous icons of fantasy. While this does follow a generic idea, it is fun throughout and does play into the idea of childhood innocence keeping legends alive. The idea of Jack Frost needing to find his place in the battle is the strongest part of the film and is easily the one part of the film you want to see most of.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure that Jack Frost must go on brings him to the next moment of his stage of immortality, being on a level with a Santa or Tooth Fairy, this is him finding himself in this world that is full of fantasy icons that children will always be believing in.

SettingsThe film takes us to different lands which would be the ones you would imagine finding the fantasy icons, the north pole being the most iconic.

AnimationThe animation standard is top notch just like we are expecting from a major study involvement in a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of the jokes are aimed at how people would imagine talking to each of the guardians.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy family animation that can be enjoyed by all, it doesn’t over test the audience and comes off fun throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family animation that will give you a smile.

Rating

 

 

Boonie Bears: to the Rescue (2019) Movie Review

Director: Leon Ding

Writer: Brian Bullock, Leon Ding (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rick Jay Glen, Siobhan Lumsden Paul ‘Maxx’ Rinehart, Justin J Wheeler, Toni Thompson

Plot: Make way, all-the forest has an unexpected visitor. The Bear Brothers and Logger Vick are shocked to discover a tiny baby girl in their sprawling territory among the pines. But the long-time enemies instantly warm to this lost little angel and in order to care for her, agree to the unthinkable: They establish a truce. Yet even as these rough-and-tumble outdoor hombres undergo an uproarious crash-course in infant care, danger lurks on the edge of their paradise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Monsters Inc Meets Yogi Bear

Story: Boonie Bears: To the Rescue starts as Logger Vick clashes once again with the bear brothers Briar and Bramble, who manage to steal his new tool case, leaving Vick with another case, which happens to contain a baby girl, one that has been missing for a week.

When Vick tries to do the right thing for the baby, he only finds himself on the run from the law and the original kidnappers, before he reluctantly teams up with his enemies Briar and Bramble to return the baby.

Thoughts on Boonie Bears: To the Rescue

Characters – Logger Vick has been working on cutting down the trees in the forest, which has seen him become rivals with a couple of bears, his rivalry has seen him spending more time trying to allude the bears, than dealing with his actual job, when his latest equipment is take by the bears, he learns a new responsibility when he must take care of a baby who has become lost in the forest. Briar is the smarter of the two bears, he always has a plan in mind and lets Bramble learn his correct place in the couple’s plans. Bramble does focus on getting most the laughs between the bears, he is meant to be the dumber of the two which comes off clear, with how he deals with keep Lola happy. Lola is the baby that ends up under the care of the unlikely partnerships between bitter rivals.

StoryThe story here follows the unlikely union of the television show character Logger Vick and the brother bears Briar and Bramble as they want to protect a little baby girl they find in the forest, who is being tracked down by criminals. If you have seen the TV show, you will enjoy seeing the unlikely union, think Bugs Bunny working with Elma Fudd. If you haven’t seen the TV show you will see how characters similar to Yogi Bear and Ranger Smith clash over certain things. Having this mixed together we do get a Monsters Inc environment, with the baby being thrown into the hands of people and animals with no idea how to raise them and them finding comical ways to make her happy. This is clearly marketed for a younger audience and you can see why they would be happy to sit and enjoy the characters adventures.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of this film shows us just how far the unlikely group will go to save a baby, it has plenty of references to other adventure films too, while this might be one that is targeted more for the younger members of the family, parents could enjoy watching with their single figured aged children.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to get an extra laugh here and there, as it shows us just how the three characters live with their own rivalry.

AnimationThe animation in the film does look like it has come from a TV show, which still makes it look fantastic throughout.


Scene of the Movie – The bonding between the three.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Being unsure what the rivalry between Logger Vick and the bears really is.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family comedy that will keep the younger audience happy throughout the film, it does have a big heart at the centre and could be compared to Monsters Inc and Yogi Bear with ease.

Overall: Fun family animation.

Kate Winslet Weekend – The Mountain Between Us (2017)

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Writer: Chris Weitz, J Mills Goodloe (Screenplay) Charles Martin (Book)

Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney, Linda Sorensen, Vincent Gale

 

Plot: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.


Tagline – What if your life depended on a stranger?

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Performances, Over Dramatic Story

 

Story: The Mountain Between Us starts when Ben (Elba) and Alex (Winslet) are trying desperately to get home, but a storm has put a hold on those plans with the planes delayed for the day. The two make a deal to let pilot Walter (Bridges) fly them home, but mid-flight he suffers a stroke and the plane crash lands in the snow-covered mountain range.

Ben and Alex survive the crash and must learn to work together to survive against the harsh weather conditions and nature hidden in the mountains or face certain death.

 

Thoughts on The Mountain Between Us

 

Characters – Ben Bass is a surgeon, he needs to get back to New York to perform an operation, when the crash happens, he focuses on aiming to stay at the crash site believing he will get rescued, reluctant to follow Alex’s idea to find their own way out. His skills as a doctor are key to survive this one. Alex is a photographer heading home for her wedding, she does get hurt in the crash and wants to go in search of help rather than wait. These two are professionals that make decisions based on logic over panic which is why even if they are opposite, their discussions make sense.

PerformancesIdris Elba and Kate Winslet are the only ones that get any major screen time, they are both great in this film as we see them both playing to their strengths.

StoryThe story here follows two strangers who are involved in a plane crash in a mountain range and must put their differences a side to survive while searching and hoping for rescue. This is a survival movie at heart with a weak romance movie on the side, we go through the normal can they survive situations, each one becoming deadlier as they go along and leaving us guessing how rather than if they will get rescued, it seems to clear to say that they won’t make it because of it only being a two person. The fact that the dog is the most interesting character doesn’t help us out here and the timing we go through just seems weak when it comes to telling us how long they have been there, we get the odd scene, but learn nothing about moments inbetween.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action comes from the scene in which the plane crashed, it is shot well but is the only one we see. The adventure side of the film shows us just what the two must go through to survive their ordeal. The romance between them seems to just get tagged in for no particular reasons.

SettingsThe film puts us in the middle of nowhere in a mountain range, it looks stunning with views from the top, the biggest problem with the setting is we just don’t get the full scale of the situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The crash scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not explaining the time period there are lost for.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard movie with a simple story that gets everything it needs to in the film without being anything overly memorable.

 

Overall: Standard and safe.

Rating

 

 

Naomi Watts Weekend – King Kong (2005)

Director: Peter Jackson

Writer: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (Screenplay) Merian C Cooper, Edgar Wallace (Story)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell

 

Plot: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to the mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with leading lady Ann Darrow.


Tagline – The eighth wonder of the world.

Runtime: 3 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Epic Remake

 

Story: King Kong starts when struggling actress Ann Darrow (Watts) loses her latest job in the packed city of New York, she gets lucky when she meets disgraced director Carl Denham (Black) who is rushing to find a leading lady, taking Ann for his latest film, with his screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), the every man Ann wants to work with.

Escaping New York before Carl gets arrested, he sets out searching for the mysterious Skull Island, which he wants as his backdrop for his movie, a place nobody has ever set foot on. Once on the island the crew get attacked by a tribe who take Ann to feed to their feared leader King Kong.

With the crew going in search of Ann, they discover the island is crawling with animals they have never seen, with Carl continue to shoot his picture, the desire to hunt down Kong for display being the biggest attraction in New York.

 

 

Thoughts on King Kong

 

Characters – Ann Darrow is a stage actress who has ben performing in an unsuccessful show for years until her theatre gets closed down, she is getting desperate to work with famous play write, only to find herself meeting a film director working with him. Ann jumps at the chance to have a paid gig, only this becomes more than she ever bargained for, when she becomes the object of King Kong affections on Skull Island. Carl Denham is a film director whose latest film isn’t impressing his investors, he decides to run before having the whole projects plug pulled, taking his crew to an unknown island and even after the danger starts, he continues to film his evolving story. Jack Driscoll is the screenwriter that is trying to get back to his stage work, only to find that Carl has tricked him into remaining on the boat, forcing him to work on the screenplay, he starts to fall in love with Ann along the way too, willing to risk his own life to save hers. Kong is the feared ruler of Skull Island, he takes Ann as a sacrifice falling in love with the human on his island, he can fight any threat, including T-Rexes. He is the icon that we know from previous films bought to life once again.

PerformancesNaomi Watts in the role made famous by Fay Wray, brings her own stamp to the role, handling the small comic moments very well through the film too. Jack Black might not have been many people’s first choice for the director role, but he proves a lot of people wrong with his performance, which still remains one of his best. Adrien Brody proves to be a great choice too because he gets to poke fun at the Hollywood stereotypes.

StoryThe story here follows an ambitious director who takes his crew including a desperate young actress to Skull Island, a mysterious uncharted location only to find a land filled with unseen monsters including the king of the island Kong, who becomes friends with Ann the actress. This is the remake of the one of the classic films of the 1930s, it does tell the same story, only builds on everything to new levels, because back then, nobody knew how big movies were going to be, so this time we can look back at the movie building era, showing more of the conflicts between movies and theatre. The island is also much larger in scale with plenty of creatures which add to the story. we do even have small side stories which do work to fill the films lengthy 3 hour plus run time. We do get to see just how destructive the human can be to new worlds too.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is massive, edge of the seat and most importantly brilliant to watch, be it the fights between creatures, monsters and humans, right down to the New York showdown with Kong. The adventure does take us to a new world, where we haven’t seen the creatures before, or at least not this size. It shows the most dangerous side of the explorer’s journeys in the world.

SettingsThe film does use two main settings, first New York which is re-created for the time period perfectly, the second is the island which is filled with the beauty and terror you would have come to expect from an unknown location

Special EffectsThe effects are one of the biggest talking points of this film, first of all Kong looks fantastic, large amounts of the film looks brilliant, but that one chase scene will drag this down because it is such a weak point for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Kong versus the T-Rex.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The canyon chase the CGI looks awful.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the remakes that works because of the improvement in technology, it is epic in scale and manages to capture the true feeling behind what made the original such a memorable movie.

 

Overall: Stunning remake that lives up to the scale of the movie.

Rating