A Doggone Adventure (2018)

Director: Tony Randel

Writer: Jim Wynorski (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Yaeger, John Henry Richardson, Walker Mintz, Jayden Hedden, Jonathan Tysor, Sydne Thackray, Dilan Patton

 

Plot: A telepathic dog enlists a group of fun loving kids to help him solve a mystery. The K-9 detective leads the children down a road filled with action and adventure.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: A Doggone Adventure starts as four children David (Mintz), Ricky (Hedden), Jeremy (Tysor) and Jenny (Thackray) are looking to follow in David and Ricky’s father Steven (Yaeger) footsteps as a unsolved mystery hunter, role in Murphy the Jack Russell whose owner has gone missing, now he is looking to locate Steven to help solve the mystery.

Murphy meets the children and joins thm on investigating their haunted house with his telepathic ability, only for the real owner Masters (Richardson) to arrive after leaving him and with an evil organisation after Murphy the mystery turns into an adventure.

 

Thoughts on A Doggone Adventure

 

Characters – Steven Hill is the father of the family who has just seen his show cancelled on television, his show has given his kids the inspiration to follow in his footsteps one day, but now he must be the responsible father. Masters is the former owner of Murphy that had to let him go free instead of getting captured, he puts the plan together to save Murphy. Murphy is the Jack Russell with telepathic powers, he talks to the people and soon shows his intelligence while trying to stay ahead of anyone that is after him.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good throughout, we have our adults that show the experience, which gives us a mix of the serious levels and comedic levels the film needs, while the child stars are good too, as they seem like they have been friends for a while now.

StoryThe story here is about a telepathic dog which befriends children to stay ahead of an evil organisation that wants to use him for their own benefits. The story is targeted to a young audience and does deliver on this, but if filled with Easter Eggs for the older audience to look out for. The film does keep everything simple to follow and does sprinkle comedy in the story which will get you chuckling through the film.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure we see unfold here is everything the children want from their own lives which is what we like seeing from an adventure film, the family side of the film is how the film is targeted to a young family member but does have references the older family members will understand.

SettingsThe film uses the idea of a haunted house and government cover ups, the settings do however show us the level of budget which is lower and makes this feel like a television series over a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The kids are given one too many lines when it comes to puns or one liners to commentate on what is happening.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that animal lovers can enjoy, it has a nice amount of comedy which hits more than it misses and gives us a good sense of adventure.

 

Overall: Grab the family and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

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To The Beat! (2018)

Director: Jillian Clare

Writer: Susan Bernhardt, Jillian Clare (Screenplay)

Starring: Laura Krystine, Brisa Lalich, Jayden Bartels, Veronica St Clair, Marie Wilson, Lilly Melger, Martha Madison

 

Plot: To The Beat follows 14 year old twins Mia and Mackie Castillo – dancers since they were toddlers. Beginning at just three years old, that’s been their one true passion. They support each other through competitions and rehearsals, even though they dance different styles. Mia loves tap and Mackie loves jazz. When their favorite pop star launches an online contest to find the most unique dance group for his next music video, the twins each form their own team to compete for the chance to dance in the video – enlisting their friends and family to help gain online votes. Meanwhile, their arch rival and neighbor, Avery, the best dancer of all (who knows it too) uses her charm and resources to get the upper hand in the competition.


Tagline – Dance for Love or Dance to Win

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feel Good Family Film

 

Story: To the Beat starts when popstar Chris Trousdale (a real singer that I have never heard off) announces he is holding a contest for his latest video, teenage twins Mackie (Kystrine) and Mia (Lalich) believe they can make an impact, while rival neighbour and spoilt girl Avery (Bartels) goes full Veronica Salt (Yes, this is a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Reference) to get her chance.

With the twins having different dance techniques they compete in a friendly rivalry, while Avery is pushing people around like always, as the teenage girls battle for their dream.

 

Thoughts on To the Beat!

 

Characters – Mackie is one half of the twins, her dance style is jazz based, Mia the other half of the twins with her dance style of choice being tap. The two support each other in this contest and their own personal struggles of dealing with life after their father’s death, with their older sister and mother being their examples when it comes to chasing dreams. The two girls are perfect match without showing us any individual strengths or weaknesses. Avery is the Veronica Salt figure, she has always got what she wants, bossy and demanding throughout the film, she does get the funniest reactions with her behaviour.

PerformancesThe performances from the cast are good, Laura Krystine and Brisa Lalich as the twins get to show off dance techniques with both having different styles, they do have to handle moments of seriousness which they do handle well. Jayden Bartels will make you never want to have teenage daughters, this is because of the performance, she handles the character you are meant to hate with ease, that does need praising. It has to be said the girls in the groups are great performers and the actors playing the parents and families are good too.

StoryThe story follows 3 young teenage girls that love dance, that create teams to compete to be the dancers in a pop star’s latest video. This does show how competition can bring sisters closer and drive a rival into the selfish way. It shows us how coming together through struggles can bring light to life for the family that always got pushed to follow the dreams. There would be flaws here, we have teams, but we don’t learn about the rest of the teams, which should be just as important to what they are achieving.

Comedy/FamilyThe film will get you laughing throughout, mostly for how Avery reacts to anything happening to her, this does have all the feelings of a family film and the idea of coming together when needed.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how the families are together in their support, the dance studios and the stage for the final battle is what you expect to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning about the rest of the team, even the names of the characters would have been nice, as they are chasing the same dream.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that you can see your teenage daughter loving, it does have wonderful dance routines and a coming together when one family needed it, encourages the idea of enjoying yourself while chasing your dreams and doing everything to take that one chance which comes your way.

 

Overall: Family dance film that will make you smile.

Rating

 

 

Alaska (1996)

Director: Fraser C Heston

Writer: Andy Burg, Scott Myers (Screenplay)

Starring: Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser, Dirk Benedict, Charlton Heston, Duncan Fraser

 

Plot: While searching for their missing father in the mountains of Alaska, two siblings come across a baby polar bear on the run from a pair of poachers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Adventure Family Film

 

Story: Alaska starts as we meet the Barnes family, father Jake (Benedict) a small plane pilot and his kids Jessie (Birch) and Sean (Kartheiser), the family has started a new life in Alaska after their death of Jake’s wife and mother of Jessie and Sean. While Jessie has embraced this new life enjoying the beautiful sites, Sean is struggling with new life. We also get to meet to poachers Perry (Heston) and Koontz (Fraser) who have been hunting polar bears.

When their father goes missing, Jessie and Sean aim to go in search of him through the Alaskan wilderness discovering a captured baby polar bear cub that they release who joins them on their adventure, which only attracts the poachers attention as they find themselves chased through the wilderness by the poachers too in a race against time to find their father.

 

Thoughts on Alaska

 

Characters/PerformanceJessie is the sister of the siblings, she has embraced the change to Alaska learning to be part of the team with her father, while they both want to search for their father, she is the most prepared of the two. Sean hates his new life in Alaska and wants to move back to Chicago but you can clearly see he is grieving his mother with his behaviour, but with his father missing he will do everything he can to find him, learning to love the beautiful landscape they are part of now. Jake is the father of the family that has given up his 747-pilot job to start a new life in the small town in Alaska, he does spend most of the film trapped in his plane but his character gives Jessie and Sean the reason for going on their adventure. Perry and Koontz are two poachers hunting polar bears, they cross paths with the kids as they menacingly try to recapture the polar bear cub that they had released.

Performance wise, Thora Birch and Vincent Kartheiser are both great in the lead roles as the children in search of their father. Dirk doesn’t have much to do but does what he needs to well. Charlton Heston as the menacing poacher does seem to enjoy the role he plays in the movie.

StoryThe story of two young teenagers going into the wilderness to find their missing father is a nice tried and tested formula, this style of film seemed to be the rave for family films around the time too, so to stand out you had to do something different. We get the moments of peril which are good and well-paced but we also get the moments of discovery which are just as important. Obviously, there are negatives here which include the idea the adults are clueless when searching for people in crashes and poachers being just evil people. I would also like to point out, that it is very unlikely a polar bear mother is just going to accept another cub, well that is what David Attenborough has taught me.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure the kids get to go on is one I remember watching as a kid going, I wanna do that and I still would like to. The family side of this film is about the unity between a broken family doing everything to stay together and of course having a cute little polar bear helping them out.

SettingsAlaska as a setting, beautiful, stunning, peril filled and perfect for the story being told.

EffectsWe only have a few effects in use here, most feels practical with the stunt work and working with a potential deadly animal in a polar bear.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the better kids work with animal films of the 90s, one that gives you hope in humanity and a wonderful setting.

 

Overall: Family night sorted.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Director: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

Writer: Linda Woolverton (Screenplay) Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (Original Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Robby Benson, Jesse Corti, Rex Everhart, Angela Lansbury, Paige O’Hara, Jerry Orbach

 

Plot: A young woman whose father has been imprisoned by a terrifying beast offers herself in his place, unaware that her captor is actually a prince, physically altered by a magic spell.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Classic Disney

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn the curse placed upon the Beast, who must wait until love can be felt before he can return to human form. In the small French town Belle is different to all the other girls, she enjoys reading and thinking for herself and lives with her inventor father. Belle has caught the attention of the town stud Gaston, the self-centred man that other woman dive at the feet off, but Belle is just not interested.

When Belle’s father goes missing she goes in search of him finding the Beast castle and being kept captive by the Beast and his living furniture. To escape the castle Belle must fall in love with the Beast but back home Gaston leads an attempted rescue for her. Can the fairy tale be cured and love found in an unlikely place?

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters Belle is the typical strong lead female that wants to be independent unlike most of the other women she knows but only to find herself falling in love with the man kept her hostage. The Beast finds himself transformed in this form after not being accepting to other people, he is aggressive, grumpy and short tempered but once he opens up to Belle he could lift the curse. Gaston is the man all the women love and he believes he can have anything he wants and isn’t used to women rejecting him like Belle does, he is always planning to make it happen.

StoryThe story is about love, it is about love coming from a place you least expect it in fairy tale form. It would be fair to say there is a huge questionable flaw in this story because keeping a woman captive who then falls in love with you is creepy to say the least, but for the younger audience the story is perfect about finding a happy ending while being the strong independent woman.

Family/Musical/RomanceThe family can all enjoy this together because of the catchy musical numbers and the simple romance story.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds Belle came from to be with the Beast showing the small-town girl could end up in a castle.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic which adds to the fantasy animation you saw in the Disney films during the 90s.

Final ThoughtsThis is one film that the princess lovers will always love because it is about a normal girl that gets to be treated like a princess.

 

Overall: Wonderful fantasy romance film.

Rating

 

 

Coco (2017)

Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

Writers: Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich (Screenplay) Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, Adrian Molina (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil

 

Plot: Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.


Tagline – The celebration of a lifetime

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magnificently Magical

 

Story: Coco starts as we meet Miguel a young boy who dreams of becoming a musician, his family in Mexico have forbidden any music with his grandmother Abuelita refusing to let Miguel even hold an instrument. When Miguel learns that he is related to the greatest musician in all of Mexico Ernesto de la Cruz, he wants to follow his dream and follow in his great-great grandfather’s footsteps.

On the day of the dead, Miguel tries performing music using Ernesto’s guitar, but only finds himself transformed to the land of the dead, where he meets his dead relatives, but he refuses to give up on his dreams of music until he gets the blessings of his ancestors, with the help of Hector who is desperate to visit the land of the living as no one remembers him.

 

Thoughts on Coco

 

Characters – Miguel is a young Mexican boy that dreams of becoming a musician, but his family forbid it, when Miguel refuses to give up on his dream he must travel through the land of the dead to learn why his family isn’t letting him play music, an adventure he will never forget, that will define his life. Hector is the hustler skeleton that helps Miguel try to find Ernesto, he uses his know how to guide Miguel through the city of the dead. He is trying to find a way to be remembered by the living so, he doesn’t fade away forever. Ernesto de la Cruz is Miguel great-great grandfather who is one of the most famous musicians Mexico ever produced. We have the family in both the land of the living and the dead that love and want to support Miguel.

StoryThe story follows a young boy with dreams of being a musician against his family’s wishes. He wants to break the family tradition, but a trip to the land of the dead will show him why his family is against him ever being a musician. The story dives into Mexican culture, playing on the ideas of the spiritual beliefs and family traditions and teaches you to never forget family whatever they might have done to hurt you.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/Fantasy/MusicThe adventure that Miguel goes on is unlike any Pixar character as he goes through the land of the dead. The comedy seems to mostly come from Dante the dog who will make you laugh in every scene. The whole story revolves around family and can be related to by anyone. The fantasy world of the land of the dead look fantastic and plays into the idea of never knowing what is on the other side. The music has a couple of memorable songs which drive the story and even play on the emotions.

SettingsThe settings show is visual beautiful as we see the land of the dead looking something special to visit.

AnimationPixar is always going to get you seeing wonderful animation style that we know they can do.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening 30 minutes is run of the mile animation.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical movie that teaches us the meaning of the family and remembering the importance of them all. This will make you smile and even cry at times.

 

Overall: Wonderfully animation movie.

Rating