Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

Writer: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler (Screenplay) Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talens) Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Lee, Spencer Locke, Mitchel Musso, Catherine O’Hara

 

Plot: Three teens discover that their neighbor’s house is really a living, breathing, scary monster.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great but Dark Family Film

 

Story: Monster House starts as we meet DJ a boy who lives opposite the neighbourhood crazy old man Nebbercracker who terrorizes anyone who comes into his yard. When his parents go away for the weekend, DJ and his best friend Chowder find themselves trying to retrieve a lost ball only for Nebbercracker to have a heart attack.

With Nebbercracker away from the house DJ, Chowder and local girl Jenny start seeing the house coming to life but with no adult believing them, the three start to investigate. The three find themselves inside the house learning the truth about the house and the monster that is inside it.

 

Thoughts on Monster House

 

Characters DJ and Chowder are you typical best friends that are reaching the age where they need to look to grow up, DJ is ready to take that step while Chowder isn’t, the two work well as a team. Jenny plays into the idea that a girl can come between best friends and is the brains of the trio. Nebbercracker represents the neighbourhood crazy that once you get to know has a good reason for being like they are. The adults are always looking down on the children which is fine as for the story the children need to learn to grow up. The characters here, while not special all help tell the story well.

StoryThe story that plays into children’s imaginations to a new level, we all know children can create stories of the crazy person in their town and this takes that story and runs with it. It shows that the stories could be real but also have a reason for the stories that you should learn about a person’s past. There is also a story about children reaching the age to grow up which is greatly told for the kids.

Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have plenty of laughs from how the children see the adults, the family side works because we can see the whole family can enjoy with the fantasy side of the story coming from the idea that a house can come to life.

SettingsThe film is set all within a small town with it coming off as all in one day within one street as kids can come and play. This works for the house’s reputation within the neighbourhood.

Animation The animation is very impressive having it’s own style compared to other animated films around the same time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good family film that can be enjoyed by all, it does have moments of darkness but comes off original which is very important.

 

Overall: Good film to be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

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Strange Magic (2015)

Director: Gary Rydstrom

Writer: David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi, Gary Rydstrom (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Anne Bull, Sam Palladio, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Strange Magic starts as we see the difference between the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest, the two kingdoms are side by side but both live different lives. When one of the fairies, Marianne accidently steps into the dark forest, angering the Bog King.

Marianne is about to marry the handsome fairy Roland but learns of his true nature, finding herself crushed. Swearing off love, Marianne sets out to protect her sister Dawn and friend Sunny from danger and the dark forest.

When Roland wants to become king, he must find a way to make Marianne take him back which leads him to trick Sunny into going into the dark forest to find a love potion so they can both get the one they want by finding the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This brings the Bog King into the Fairy Kingdom to retrieve the love potion giving the fairies one day to retrieve the potion or he will keep Dawn prisoner forever, with Marianne going out to rescue her.

 

Thoughts on Strange Magic

 

Characters Marianne is the typical strong female character who doesn’t want to follow the traditional trends and be extra independent, she fights for family while hating love. Bog King rules the darkness, hating the world because of his failures in love, he is a strict ruler but also sums up what it is like to have loved and lost becoming bitter to the world. Sunny the comic relief and we see him give us the most laughs as he tries to find a way to show his love for Dawn. Dawn is the annoying princess who is very shallow. Roland is the arrogant wanna be king who is completely annoying throughout.

StoryThe story is the old forbidden love story about two different sides of the fence falling in love against the wishes of everyone. We touch on the elements of trying to force someone to fall in love with you and the consequences it will have on them. It focuses a lot of the people’s individual mistakes when it comes to love.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have a big adventure into the world forbidden, with elements of comedy going on throughout. We also have the fantasy elements of the film which is one the whole family could enjoy with catchy songs throughout.

SettingsThe creation of the worlds looks fantastic seeing how both sides live giving us a beautiful selection of settings.

AnimationThe animation does work well bring it into a different style to the normal, that all looks great.

Final ThoughtsThis does have a very big judgmental statement being made about treating people equally but this doesn’t over shadow the fun music side of the film.

 

Overall: This has a poor rating overall but this is enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Balto (1995)

Director: Simon Wells

Writer: Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, David Steven Cohen, Roger S H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cumming, Phil Collins, Jack Angel, Danny Mann

 

Plot: An outcast half-wolf risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Hero Story

 

Story: Balto starts as we see the sledge racing in Nome Alaska, Steele is the most famous lead dog in all the races, he breaks the rules as well as being feared by the other dogs, Balto a stray half breed roams the streets trying to impress the female husky Jenna with his bumbling sidekick goose Boris.

When Nome is struck down with diphtheria the town is running low on antidote they have no way of getting the antidote to the town directly, the only option is to put together a team of the fastest sledge dogs to pick up medicine with Balto showing the town he is fastest in town, but still not welcome to the town’s team.

When Steele’s team goes missing in the snowstorm, Balto goes out with Boris, Jenna and polar bears Muk and Luk to collect the medicine to save the town making himself the hero.

 

Thoughts on Balto

 

CharactersBalto is the outsider of the town, never fitting in but given the chance to prove himself to the whole town by returning the medicine, he is the reluctant hero type. Boris is the sidekick here for extra laughs in the story, with Jenna being the love interest needed for the story. Steele is the typical arrogant villain that doesn’t want anyone to take his place. All of the character blend together to make this a pleasant viewing experience.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the true events of the sledge team that saves a small town from a medical disaster, we get to see this from the dogs side of the events which does take away from the true story of heroism the real dogs went through.

Adventure/Family/HistoryThe adventure is great to see unfold keeping us on edge, it does have a couple of dark scenes going on through the film which could be slightly too much for the younger members of the family. I don’t think this story does enough justice to the true history story though.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic showing just how peril filled the journey would have been for the dogs as well as the people stuck with no chance of rescue unless they get the medicine.

AnimationThe animation all looks great with the darker characters including the bear feeling terrifying and the heroes all looking pure.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great adventure movie but does forget the true story involved too much to make a family friendly movie.

 

Overall: Great fun animated movie that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)

Director: Takanori Tsujimoto

Writer: Makoto Fukami (Screenplay) Joe McClean (Adaptation)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Erin Cahill, Kevin Dorman, Jason Faunt, Matthew Mercer, Arnie Pantoja, Alexander Polinsky

 

Plot: Chris Redfield enlists the help of Leon S. Kennedy and Rebecca Chambers to stop a death merchant, with a vengeance, from spreading a deadly virus in New York.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Addition to the Animated Resident Evils

 

Story: Resident Evil: Vendetta starts as we see our soldier Chris Redfield searching a mansion for missing persons but the mission goes terribly wrong when the mansion is filled with the infected led by mercenary Glenn Arias who has a grudge with the system.

Chris teams up with Rebecca Chambers a scientist that has found a cure for the new virus being released in different areas of the world. The pair turn to Leon Kennedy to join in the battle against Arias, giving him a chance to finish everything once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil: Vendetta

 

Characters Chris Redfield has been fighting the infected for years, he always has a trick up his sleeve when it comes into battling them and now his leadership skills put the team into battle. Leon Kennedy returns once more to put an end to the infection spreading around the world, the same infection he has been battling for years. Rebecca Chambers is a scientist that has discovered a cure for the infection but she doesn’t know everything. Glenn Arias is a man looking for vengeance for the death of his wife to be and now he has all the cards on the table to take down the people that ruined his life. I believe these four characters placed together make this feel like the game more than the live action films.

StoryThe story does feel like it could be part of the video game world created, we have three different good characters looking to battle one big bad with obstacles along the way. This story is a good watch and easily more entertaining and complete than the live action films (which I do have a soft spot for). One glaring story problem is the smart scientist is just a damsel in distress which disappoints in a game world that has created strong female characters.

Action/Horror/MysteryThe action is all good, not quite as big as Damnation but a lot closer quarters. The motorbike sequences are both strange and delicious to watch though. I would say this film hits many of the horror marks needed but does try very hard with the opening sequence. The mystery is easier to solve too but it doesn’t feel like a problem here.

SettingsMoving the biggest action sequence to New York City instead of the fantasy worlds shows us how the infection is starting to become a bigger threat.

AnimationThe animation does look great and does feel like a series of cut scenes from the games.

Final ThoughtsIf you are a fan of the Resident Evil games and or the animated films you will enjoy this outing but I would suggest not starting here.

 

Overall: Enjoyable animated movie well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)

iceDirector: Mike Thurmeier, Galen T Chu

Writer: Michael J Wilson, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner (Screenplay) Aubrey Solomon (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Devine, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott

 

Plot: Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thank God it Ends Now

 

Story: Ice Age: Collision Course starts with the adventures of Scrat and his acorn because the main story clearly isn’t enough for the film, this time he ends up in space because all franchise go to space when they run out of ideas and he causes a meteor to head towards Earth because science.

Meanwhile on Earth Manny and his daughter Peaches are playing ice hockey because why not this film has jump to ridiculous a few films ago. Manny, Sid and Diego are all still best friends having their own problems with their mates so we get a bar for them all to go too because this is an animated nonsense film I guess.

Why am I watching this film? We have you forgot the anniversary between Manny (typical Ray Romano character) and Ellie. Parenting issues between Diego and Shira while Sid just can’t get a sloth of his own.

The story actually starts happening when the first signs of the meteor start impacting Earth bring back Buck rom the underground to lead the family to safety giving the animals a chance to deal with their personal issues and family problems.

Ice Age: Collision Course has only one good feature and that is the look of the animation which is always flawless. The story is beyond ridiculous this time around that puts horrendous science into the film that makes you forget what should be an easy subject to understand. The family issues all come off tiresome as we have seen Manny deal with his issues for 5 films now.

The voice acting is also becoming questionable here with each character almost now written to be stand up routine for the additional characters with Adam Levine doing his thing, Wanda Sykes doing her thing and Ray Romano bring back his Everybody Loves Raymond character. Thankfully this is the end of the franchise because this is just not acceptable from them anymore.

 

Overall: Awful addition to the franchise.

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