Original v Remake – Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Director: David Lowery

Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, SS. Field (Story)

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.


Tagline – Some secrets are too big to keep.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Huge Improvement

 

Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when Pete (Fegley) loses his family in a car accident, he ends living the next six years in the woods with his pet dragon Elliot, this changes when he sees a local park ranger Grace (Howard) who is watching over a logging company chopping down the woods, when Grace’s daughter Natalie (Laurence) discovers him.

Grace takes Pete into her family to learn the truth about what happened to Pete’s family, all while Elliot watches over him, which grabs the attention of the local hunters that want to try and capture a dragon.

 

Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon

 

Characters – Pete is the young boy that loses his family in a car crash, he ends up hiding out in the woods for six years with Elliot the dragon, he isn’t interested in returning to the modern world, even after being offered a way back to live a normal. He wants to protect his dragon, which will see him going through a much darker story than the original film. Grace is the park ranger that discovers Pete, offers him a home with her family as they look to figure out who he is, she ha always listened to her father’s stories about the dragon in the woods and doesn’t know what to believe before she sees him. Meacham is the old member of the town, he has seen the dragon before, but unlike the original, he has been turned into a character that brings knowledge, rather than just a drunk. Natalie is the daughter of Grace, she brings Pete a friend that he hasn’t had in years, being somebody that wants to enjoy the legend too.

PerformancesOakes Fegley in the leading role is the highlight of the film, he shows how emotional trauma his character has been through. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford both give us the strong supporting performances with Wes Bentley and Karl Urban complete the main cast well too.

StoryThe story here follows an orphaned young boy that befriends a dragon in the woods before getting found and offered a chance of a normal life. This is a remake and it does take a much better direction for the story telling side of the film. we have darker moment with the ideas how Pete is dealing with his own trauma, the hunting for the dragon is different, while it might still be for money, it isn’t a scammer like the original film. each new theme does add a lot of realism to what Pete is going through, with the exception of the dragon of course. We do get moments that do feel slightly preachy though, with the villainous figures being lumberjacks taking too much of the local woods away. The grounded realism in this story is what does improve it.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure in this film shows how Pete has been living in own adventure to deal with his own trauma. The comedy does seem to have been taken out of this film for the most part.

SettingsThe film is set in a small town of hard working people, they have a legend of a dragon, this helps the settings show how together the people will be.

Special EffectsThe dragon is the effects in this film, which is always looking amazing for film.


Scene of the Movie –
Fly Elliot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It would have been nice to have more of Meacham

Final ThoughtsThis is a hugely improved remake that builds on the original concept which grounds the story in realism for young Pete.

 

Overall: Remake that works well.

Rating

 

Original v Remake Weekend – Pete’s Dragon (1977)

Director: Don Chaffey

Writer: Malcolm Marmorstein (Screenplay) Seton I Miller, S.S. Field (Story)

Starring: Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Sean Marshall

 

Plot: An orphan boy and his magical dragon come to town with his abusive adoptive parents in pursuit.


Tagline – Featuring Elliott, the fearsome, frolicking, fun-loving dragon!

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Family Film

 

Story: Pete’s Dragon starts when orphaned boy Pete (Marshall) is trying to escape from his abusive family along with his dragon Elliot, who just so happens to be able to become invisible. Pete finds himself in a new fishing town, where Nora (Reddy) and her drunk father Lampie (Rooney) take him in, with Nora letting Pete believe the dragon is real, while Lampie has seen it for himself.

When a stranger and con-man Dr Terminus (Dale) arrives in town, he learns about Elliot and wants to dragon for his own reasons, which will see Elliot suffer, can the town and Pete come together for the better.

 

Thoughts on Pete’s Dragon

 

Characters – Pete is an orphaned young boy, he is in an abusive family that makes him to work he isn’t old enough to be doing, he manages to escape with the help of his magical dragon that guides him to freedom, he gets a chance with a new family and town where his stories about the dragon turn the heads of the people. Nora is the kind lady that takes Pete into her home, she lives and operates the lighthouse with her father, while hoping to see her partner return from the ocean. Dr Terminus is a con-man that goes from town to town taking people’s money for false promises of his medicine, he wants the dragon to help him improve his own profits.

PerformancesSean Marshall as the young boy which works without being annoying which his character could easily become. Helen Reddy gives us on of the purest nice woman performances in film. Jim Dale does make for an entertaining villain through the film. Mickey Rooney does bring us the extra comedy though it doesn’t always hit.

StoryThe story follows a young boy with a magical dragon escaping from an abusive family finding a kinder family while escape the clutches of people that want him or the dragon. The idea of the story is delightful because it shows that the magical dragon is here for a reason, to help a young child in need, it does show how people can look at people that could fear change instead of accepting change, only it does feel like certain elements have dated in cultural story. We do get everything needed to hit the emotional factor showing the different nature of humans in the era this is set.

Adventure/Comedy The adventure side of the film shows how Pete has made a friend that most don’t know even exist. The comedy does come from Elliot which can get laughs, while the rest of the humour does come from mishaps going on.

SettingsThe film is set in a small fishing town which sees everyone that lives there knows each other and what is going on in town.

AnimationThe animation comes from seeing Elliot on screen and for the time this made everything looks brilliant.


Scene of the Movie –
Apples.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain jokes feel dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful 70’s Disney movie that showed us just how life can be difficult until something magical could change it for one young boy.

 

Overall: Charming adventure.

Rating

 

 

Nicholas Hoult Weekend – Kill Your Friends (2015)

Director: Owen Harris

Writer: John Niven (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Georgia King, Craig Roberts, Jim Piddock

 

Plot: An A&R man working at the height of the Britpop music craze goes to extremes in order to find his next hit.

Tagline – Lies. Betrayal. Murder. Just another day in the music industry.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not For Me

 

Story: Kill Your Friends starts in 1997 the heights of the Britpop movement, where we follow and A&R man Steven Stelfox (Hoult) who knows how to play the system to stay in power with the cocaine binges. He looks to stay on step ahead of his co-workers by pushing limits to what risks can be taken and even killing one that gets in his way.

When Steven hears the potential next hottest band, he goes to extreme lengths to make the deal happen racing against the fellow producers looking to get the next biggest catch in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Kill your Friends

 

Characters – Steven Stelfox is the music producer that tells us the story of how he was riding high in the industry during the Britpop era of music, how they spent more time on drugs than making music happen and how they will do anything to push another member of office under the bus to stay in their high life. The rest of the characters we meet are fellow producers, the bands and a cop trying to get to them bottom of a murder.

PerformancesNicholas Hoult takes the leading role in the film and is easily the most interesting part of this film, his breaking the fourth wall gets the laughs needed and by the end he is the only part of the film I enjoyed.

StoryThe story takes us into the world of the Britpop where we follow one man who is clearly out of his comfort zone with his job, where he has been blagging to job over knowing the role he should be performing. It isn’t the most interesting because you do feel like it is mostly fictional instead of trying to be a fact-based look at the world.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy used in the film shows us just how far Steven will go to make things happen, while the crime side also show sus where he will go to keep his job.

SettingsThe films settings show us the party life the characters will be entering while trying to find the next hit band, it also shows how the characters are self-centred.


Scene of the Movie –
Steven goes too far.

That Moment That Annoyed Me it paints how bad the industry is.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t the most interesting of films, it is a subject matter I personally don’t care for and it doesn’t paint anybody in the industry to be remotely nice.

 

Overall: Just one that doesn’t work for me.

Rating

 

 

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.

Marriage Story (2019) Movie Review

Director: Noah Baumbach

Writer: Noah Baumbach (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Merritt Wever, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, Alan Alda

Plot: Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Powerful

Story: Marriage Story starts as we meet theatre director Charlie (Driver) and his wife actress Nicole (Johansson) they are about to go through a separation, with Nicole starting a new life in LA where she is trying to return to the television or film, moving away from the New York theatre lifestyle.

With the lives going on completely different directions, Nicole is pushed into getting a lawyer in Nora Fanshaw (Dern) which sees the two looking at a divorce, something neither thought would come their way, where they end up seeing the darker side of a break up even if they want to remain friends for their son.

Thoughts on Marriage Story

Characters – Nicole is an actress, mother and wife, she is given a chance to leave the theatre and return to television, while the couple are going through a separation and her moving to LA. She has given up a lot of her dreams for her marriage in the past, which is one of the reasons why she wants to get a divorce. Charlie is the theatre director, father and husband in New York, he wants to stay in New York running his theatre company. He is more stubborn that he wants to admit. Nora Fanshaw and Jay are both the lawyers hired to represent the divorcing couple, they show their ruthless sides whenever the two are trying to get the upper hand.

PerformancesAdam Driver gives us one of the best performances of the year, where he shows one that suddenly sees his whole life come crashing around him, showing the signs of his anger of everything happening. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic too where we see how she is escaping from a trapped life showing her character start a new life. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta are both great in the supporting roles usually getting the bigger and louder scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that are going through a separation that turns into a messy divorce as they expose the problems, they both had through the years. The best way to describe this story is brilliant, when we break it down, it shows how relationships can break down and how two people want to end things calmly and for the right reasons, remaining friends for their son. It shows us how things can get out of hand when lawyers get involved and how everybody seems to know best apart from the two who are going through the breakup. We see how lives can change, people can move on and how holding on can be heart breaking. It is watching how both Nicole and Charlie are reacting to how everything is spirally out of hand which is easy for the highlight of the storytelling.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film is brilliant, it does get a perfectly laugh when needed, while staying straight when it doesn’t, the romance does show us how love can go from the heights to the end.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings of cities, New York and LA, the locations are used to show how the lives will need to be changed, not just for Nicole and Charlie, but their son too.


Scene of the Movie – Let’s try and talk this through without a lawyer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The timeline isn’t the best.

Final Thoughts This is easily one of the best films of the year, it shows us how love can end and how a divorce can spirally out of control, the two lead performances are easily within the best of the year too.

Overall: Awards Guaranteed.