Space Dogs: Return to Earth (2020) Movie Review

Director: Inna Evlannikova

Starring: (Voice Talents) Mauriett Chayeb, Maria Anonieta Monge

Plot: When a mysterious and dangerous whirlpool phenomenon appears in the tropics of the Atlantic Ocean, Belka and Strelka, the first astronauts on their way back from a mission to Saturn, are sent to investigate. As they venture down into the swirling ocean depths, they discover a mysterious UFO attempting to steal all of Earth’s water. With the help of their good friends, Belka and Strelka once again perform a heroic mission to save both our planet and the distant home of their new alien friends.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Space Dogs: Return to Earth starts when space dogs Strekla and Belka are called back from their mission on a Saturn moon, to investigate a series of cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile there rat best friend Lenny is looking to get to the cyclones too, traveling to Cuba in an attempt to solve the mystery.

The three will look to meet up and try and save the world from an unknown threat while dealing with their own weaknesses.

Thoughts on Space Dogs: Return to Earth

Thoughts – Space Dogs: Return to Earth is a family friendly animal animation that will put different animals from the lead dogs, a rat, cockroach, jellyfish, elephant and many more into an adventure to save the planet from a new invader that wants the water from the ocean. This is one movie that will play into the family audience with ease, you will get some laughs, deal with the teamwork, as both Belka and Strelka will both have weaknesses the other will cover up and help them through. We do have a small message about the importance of the world’s water sources are, but it isn’t thrown down our throats. The musical numbers work well through the film, while the animation looks great for the world created.

Final Thoughts Space Dogs: Return of Earth is an enjoyable family film that will get laughs along the way.

Signature Entertainment presents Space Dogs: Return to Earth in Cinemas 11th December

The Red Turtle (2016) Movie Review

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit

Writer: Michael Dudok de Wit, Pascale Ferran (Screenplay) Michael Dudok de Wit (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Emmanuel Garijo, Tom Hudson, Baptiste Goy, Axel Devillers, Barbara Beretta

Plot: A man is shipwrecked on a deserted island and encounters a red turtle, which changes his life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful

Story: The Red Turtle starts when a man gets washed up on a desert island, alone he looks for the essentials, water and food, before trying to figure out how he can get off the island. First, he builds a raft, which only fails his escape plans.

Once the man learns that he is being followed by a mysterious red turtle his whole life on the island changes in a way her would never have imagined.

Thoughts on The Red Turtle

Characters – This is a film where the characters have no names, only roles, the man is the one that gets trapped on the island, looking for a way to find rescue, shelter and survival, something he can manages, before setting off on his own voyage of self-discovery on the island. The Red Turtle seems to be holding the man on the island before giving him a gift which will change his life.

StoryThe story here follows a man that becomes stranded on a desert island where he searches for a way off, looks to survive, only to clash with a mysterious creature that seems to be holding him to the island. This is a story that is all about the visuals we see, it could easily be reflected into the garden of Eden that the man has been given with different aspects of survival involved, be it from needing food, drink or shelter or one’s own mental ability of being alone. This is a story that could also be look at in different ways by different people, which only enhances this to new levels.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film shows just how one man makes a life out of his time on the island, this does get mixed with the fantasy elements of the film too.

SettingsThe film is set on one desert island which does have a lot to survive with, only it has no escape from. It looks beautiful while feeling empty.

AnimationThe animation is amazing too, with the different lighting to show different times of day, weather conditions and environment changes.

Scene of the Movie – The Full Life.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful animation that shows the importance of life, happiness and survival.

Overall: One of the most beautiful animations ever.

The Legend of Santa (2021) Short Movie Review

Director: Andrew de Burgh

Writer: Daniel Colyer (Screenplay)

Plot: When a compassionate bishop sees that his woodcarving hobby has the ability to brighten a poor girl’s life, he sets out on a journey to see that children everywhere have the same opportunity.

Runtime: 6 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Legend of Santa starts as we see how a kind-hearted Bishop Saint Nicholas used his woodcarving hobby to help put a smile on a young girls face, seeing the delight on her face, he decides to help his whole city, before going on his own journey to help children around the world.

Thoughts on The Legend of Santa

Final Thoughts The Legend of Santa is a short animated movie that does rely on the music to move the story along, we get to see one man who wanted to make a difference with a good gesture rather than for their own benefit. The animation technique is different to most you would have seen, which helps make what looks like a tale told through generations that would slowly start to lose part of its reality helping with the faded animation vision. Like I always do with short movie, is ask the question, could this be a full feature and the simple answer is yes, this could tell the same story with a bigger emotional impact. We could easily watch this before a full feature too, with the calming presence before the big story.

Wolfwalkers (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart

Writer: Jericca Cleland, Will Collins (Screenplay) Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Sean Bean, Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Simon McBurney

Plot: A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Wolfwalkers starts as a hunter Bill and his daughter Robyn have moved from England to an Irish town that is surrounded by wolves, Bill is hired to help eradicate this problem, with Robyn desperate to help him in this work.

After Robyn gets caught outside the wall, she finds herself coming face to face with a pack of wolves, with the leader being a Wolfwalkers Mebh a young girl that transform into a wolf, looking to protect the forest from destruction.

Thoughts on Wolfwalkers

Characters – Bill is Robyn’s father, he has moved her to help a city with a wolf problem outside the walls, his hunters skills are considered the best in the land, only he wants to work alone and the wolves seem to be staying ahead of him, as he never wants to believe any of Robyn’s stories. Robyn is the daughter of Bill’s who along with her bird Merlin hasn’t settled in the new city, she wants to help her father hunt, which sees her meeting a young girl roaming the forest, here she learns more about the world outside of the walls and that nature can live next to the civilization. Mebh is a young girl living in the forest, she has the ability of a Wolfwalker, being about to transform into a wolf while sleeping, she leads the wolves in defending the forest, while waiting for her mother to return, she shows Robyn the way, when she becomes one and will do anything to bring her mother back, while deep down being so alone in the world. Lord Protector runs the city, he expects everyone to follow his orders and will kill any wolf that gets in his way, a truly cold-hearted figure.

StoryThe story here follows a city believing they have a problem with wolves outside of the walls, when a young girl that wants to explore the world finds herself in the middle of the battle between the two sides, one which could be kept in peace, showing that nature is innocent in what it wants in the world. The story here has clear messages about living together with nature, while not blindly destroying it around you, while having the heart of a family trying to rediscover themselves after losing a loved one, add in the need for friendship and it coming from a place you wouldn’t expect, we have a nearly perfect movie her with a story that can be enjoyed by all and is the closest you will find to anything that could ever compare to the heart of a Pixar film and the beauty of a Studio Ghibli Film.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film takes Robyn out of her trapped life in the city, to the open world which could offer her so much more than she ever expected, once she opens her eyes to it, filled with peril along the way.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, the dark city, which is filled with the depressing colours, playing perfectly off the pure beauty of the outside nature world.

AnimationThe animation style is absolutely beautiful to see, with the different style used for the human form or the wolf form, each colour plays into the nature theme throughout the film.

Scene of the Movie – Running with the wolves.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is flawless.

Final Thoughts Wolfwalkers is easily going to walk away with the best animated movie this year, the pure beauty of every scene brings animation to a new level, we haven’t seen before, simply stunning.

The Elfkins (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ute von Munchow-Pohl

Writer: Jan Strathmann (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jella Haase, Louis Hofmann, Leon Seidel, Detlef Bierstedt, Elke Heidenreich

Plot: The legendary Elfkins (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne were gnomes secretly helping craftsmen at night until they were ousted by a tailor’s malevolent wife 200 years ago. This is the story of their return.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Elfkins starts as we meet the Elfkins, a society of gnomes secretly living under the city, where they once help humans secretly, now they hide from them, Helvi wants to prove herself as a craftsperson, only her inventions always fail causing trouble with her people, which sees her turning to her best friend Butz, to escape and discover a human to learn a craft.

When Helvi, Butz and Kipp find themselves in a bakery, Helvi decides she wants to help the baker Theo who is about to lose his bakery, learning her true skill here once and for all.

Thoughts on The Elfkins

Characters – The Elfkins, Helvi is the one that has always wanted to fit in, have her own craft, but she is ends up causing trouble more than helping her people, she leaves up the community in search for her skill, wanting to break the traditions and learn of a human, which sees her looking to do the right thing, helping a down on his luck baker. Kipp is the smartest of the Elfkins, he will always invent thing to help them, one that Helvi will turn to for help. Butz is the best friend of Helvi, he will follow her on her adventures. Theo is the down on his luck baker, that is about to lose his bakery, he is the man that the Elfkin are drawn towards to help, with his brother Bruno being the one that wants to take his bakery.

StoryThis story follows a group of Elfkins that go against what they are expected to do, by staying away from humans, by visiting the surface and doing what they always thought they were meant to do, help people. This is a feel good movie showing us that you need to believe in myths and legends, despite the modern world wanting us to ignore the important parts of life. Regardless of the species, the idea that someone will want to fit in, is still strong in this story and the biggest message looking to be sent to the audience.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does rely on how the Elfkins need to try and escape trouble, or make things happen in the bakery, with the fantasy elements of the film coming from seeing how the Elfkins are part of this world.

SettingsThe film is set in a German city, which you can tell from certain architecture we see around the city.

AnimationThe animation in the movie looks beautiful, bringing to life the different colours, where we see the bright positive side of Helvi, contrast with the darker side of the world where Theo is.

Scene of the Movie – The grand opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Butz character, he seems to be caught between best friend and comic relief and not completely either.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family animation that has a big heart that will get the biggest message across.

The Elfkins is in Cinemas from 2nd October