A Wrinkle in Time (2018)

Director: Ava DuVernay

Writer: Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell (Screenplay) Madeleine L’Engle (Novel)

Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Chris Pine, Guge Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis

 

Plot: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.


Tagline – Be a warrior

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dragging Adventure

 

Story: A Wrinkle in Time starts when a trouble high school student Meg (Reid) hasn’t given up hope on being reunited with her father Mr Murry (Pine) after his sudden disappearance. Meg has become closed off from the world with her adopted brother Charles Wallace (McCabe) noticing the change in her. Meg, Charles and Calvin (Miller) get visited by Mrs Whatsit (Witherspoon) that opens up the possibilities for answers.

Mrs Whatsit takes the three children on an adventure through the universe with Mrs Which (Winfrey) and Mrs Who (Kaling), who believe they can locate Mr Murry after his research has taken him across the universe unlike anyone in human history.

 

Thoughts on A Wrinkle in Time

 

Characters – Meg is an outsider teenage girl, daughter of two brilliant scientists, with her father disappeared for four years now. She went from the popular out going girl to the shy closed off one. she has never given up hope of finding her father, which does leave questions about her relationship with her mother, she gets a chance to find her father with the will she shows in her heart. Mrs Which leads the three light entities that can help Meg travel the universe to find her father, she isn’t just guiding Meg, but the newest member of the team Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit is the bubbly member of the light entities, she is on her first mission of guidance which does see her make mistakes along the way. Mrs Who is the third member of the team, she is always positive like the rest only she gets the least amount of time to do anything of the three. Mr Murry is the father that has gone missing, he is a brilliant scientist that has always believed in travel through the universe to be possible and has been searching for a way to achieve. Calvin is the high school friend of Meg that ends up on the journey, he wants to support her even when it shows his own weakness in the world.

PerformancesStorm Reid is the highlight of the film which sees her going on the adventure to find her father, this is a disappointing as we do have a talent cast, only they just don’t seem to shine on the levels you would expect them to reach.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that gets to do on an adventure across the universe in search for her father through the powers of light entities. This is a story that has come from a popular novel and is meant to show the science behind potential travel through the universe and how the power is within us all. This is a story that just drags along, it doesn’t offer anything to the world we are entering. This story could have so much potential and ends up just glossing over too much, making it a hard watch.

Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that takes the children across the universe to see just where one’s father has gone, this does show us the fantasy elements of the film in the sci-fi universe we end up going along.

SettingsThe film is set in a fictional land where the people can travel to unknown planets in the universe, each one has its own unique look.

Special EffectsThe visual effects used to create the different worlds look beautiful, only they don’t seem to make anything feel as important to the story.


Scene of the Movie –
Understand other people’s problems from behind closed doors.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This story just doesn’t become interesting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that had so much potential only to fall so short, it has an amazing cast that just don’t get a chance to shine, the story just doesn’t get us going like it should do.

 

Overall: Disappointing.

Rating

 

 

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating

 

 

Morgan Freeman Weekend – Dolphin Tale (2011)

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Writer: Karen Janszen, Noam Dromi (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson

 

Plot: A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.


Tagline – Inspired by the amazing true story of Winter

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pulls on the Heart Strings

 

Story: Dolphin Tale starts when young boy Sawyer Nelson (Gamble) who doesn’t interact with the world, struggles with studies at school finds a tangled-up dolphin in a crab trap, helping with the rescue he becomes invested in helping the recovery for the dolphin, helping Dr Clay Haskett (Connick Jr) and his family at their aquamarine hospital.

When Sawyer’s only friend and cousin Kyle is injured in the forces, he wants to show him how he has gone from not caring about anything to devoting all his time to help the injured dolphin, which brings in Dr Cameron McCarthy (Freeman) who has been working on prosthetics for injured soldiers.

 

Thoughts on Dolphin Tale

 

Characters – Sawyer is the young boy struggling with his education, has become isolated from kids his age, the one person that gets through to him is his cousin after his father left. This summer Sawyer will find his purpose in life as he becomes interested in helping the recovery of the dolphin and over injured animals, this brings him out of his shell. Dr Clay Haskett is the man who runs the aquamarine hospital, he has been committed to helping animals even when people get in his way. Lorraine is the Sawyer’s mother, that is happy that he is becoming encouraged with the next chapter in his life. Dr Cameron McCarthy is the man that is tasked with figuring out how the help Winter swim again.

PerformancesThe performances in this film a great throughout, Nathan Gamble as the young boy shines against the bigger stars with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman making great choices in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young boy that finds his place in the world after helping an injured dolphin, it shows how people can find inspiration in the most unlikely locations. This is based on the real rescue efforts put on Winter, while I am unsure just how much of the rest of the story is true, I don’t want to doubt or question any of it either. The inspiration Winter gave people and the show of community helps make this a family film you can all enjoy together because the story is a successful one, no this isn’t a spoiler because the film stars Winter herself.

Family The family could all enjoy this one and it does have an important message about how to treat the animals of the world too.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of locations, we spend most time at the hospital seeing how the treatment is helping Winter get better.


Scene of the Movie –
Save Winter Day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say it is slightly too long.

Final Thoughts – This is one of those movies you can sit and enjoyed without being tested, it has a heart warming story being told and can teach people about the effects we have on the ocean animals.

 

Overall: Heart warming.

Rating

 

 

Monster Trucks (2016)

Director: Chris Wedge

Writer: Derek Connolly (Screenplay) Matthew Robinson, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger (Story)

Starring: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Holt McCallany

 

Plot: A young man working at a small town junkyard discovers and befriends a creature which feeds on oil being sought by a fracking company.


Tagline – On January 13, meet Creech

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Monster Trucks starts as we see how the oil company run by Reece Tenneson (Lowe) has an accident on one of their sites which see three creatures discovered underground, where one escapes. We meet Tripp (Till) a high school student that struggles to concentrate, who works at the local scrapyard to stay away from his step-father Sheriff Rick (Pepper).

When Tripp finds the creature in the scrapyard the two become friends as it hides in his truck, with fellow student Meredith (Levy) trying to explain the biological side to the creature, while Reece is trying to figure out how to solve a potential problem to the eco-system and his oil drilling.

 

Thoughts on Monster Trucks

 

Characters – Tripp is a high school student, living with his mother and step-father, he comes off like a slacker with dreams of leaving the small town. He works at the scrapyard working on his escape with the truck he has been building, when he befriends the unknown creature he gets to go on an adventure to save the new species. Meredith is a fellow student that works with Tripp to understand the creature but her character plays out with the idea of being a damsel in distress.  Jim works for the oil company, he learns of the intelligence the creatures have and wants to help make them free not destroying their environment. Sheriff Rick is the step-father of Tripp who must try to keep up with Tripp without letting him get in trouble, he isn’t a direct enemy of Tripp’s though. Reece Tenneson is the oil tycoon that is losing money with the creatures being alive and now he will do anything to get rid of them.

PerformancesLucas Till is good in this leading role even though himself and Jane Levy both feel too old for the high school role as we have seen both in more adult roles. Thomas Lennon makes good for the extra comic relief even though most of his jokes miss, Rob Lowe is a good businessman villain too.

StoryThe story follows an undiscovered creature being found in an oil drilling location, making it a battle to see whether the oil company can be bought down before destroying the creatures home. This works for the story, it may not be the most original idea but it brings us the character we can relate too who want to do right and the ones that don’t with their greed. We get good moments of unlikely friendships coming through different locations too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/Sci-FiWe hit a lot of genres here, the action comes from the chase sequences that are pure fun once you switch your brain off, the adventure takes Tripp on a journey he never imagined he would be going on. The comedy is hit or miss though but the fantasy elements are part fantasy and part a potential reality because you never know about new species. This is designed well for a family film though.

SettingsThe film takes part in and around a small town in North Dakota, this idea is that you might not make it out of this town and this shows what could happen for the characters.

Special EffectsThe effects work well enough for the film without being the absolute best because with the budget the film has you would expect better.


Scene of the Movie –
The final chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Meredith could have been written stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun film, don’t expect greatness but just something you could enjoy with ease.

 

Overall: Enjoyable family film.

Rating

 

 

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Director: Frank Oz

Writer: Tom Patchett, Frank Oz, Jay Tarses (Screenplay) Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses (Story)

Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price, Louis Zorich

 

Plot: Kermit and his friends go to New York City to get their musical on Broadway only to find it’s a more difficult task than they anticipated.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Muppet Madness Delight

 

Story: The Muppets Take Manhattan starts when Kermit and the gang graduate college and decide to head off to New York City and Broadway to get their show put on there. In New York they learn the harsh reality that they will not get an easy option, this leads to them going their separate ways, leaving Kermit to try and get the show put together.

With Kermit doing his best to sell the musical, when he finally does, he brings the gang back together, only to lose his memory and the gang must locate him before the musical debuts.

 

Thoughts on The Muppets Takes Manhattan

 

Characters – Kermit the frog is the leader of the muppets, he is the one they all turn to and pushes them to achieve their dreams, when the gang struggle to make it in New York, he is the one that must stay in the city to follow the dream while the rest return to their normal lives. He does lose his memory and starts a new life in the big city. Miss Piggy is jealous of Kermit’s friendship with Jenny and is as controlling as we know. The rest of the muppets go on their own adventures while waiting for the show to come about. Jenny is the student waitress waiting to get her big shot in the fashion industry, she helps Kermit follow his dreams. Ronnie Crawford is the one that takes a chance on Kermit, he sees potential in the group even if he isn’t telling the full truth.

PerformancesWe know the muppet characters and the masterminds behind them, they are all great, the additional characters or the real actors, Juliana Donald, Lonny Price and Louis Zorich are all good too knowing how to be part of a muppet movie without looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the Muppets as they look to make their names on Broadway, the idea that dreams don’t come true over night works very well because it plays into the reality that many people would have seen as achievable in time. The important side of the story does show us that there is a life away from dreams where jobs can be a back up. The story puts our characters through the usual problems as we see the gang grow as they expand to a wider audience, we know we are going to get a song and dance or two along the way which gives us plenty to work with and can just enjoy ourselves.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure side of this film takes us to a new city for our muppets, we also see them in a life away from the group, the comedy comes from a mix of different reactions along the way to how the muppets act, we get jokes for all ages in here too. This helps give the whole family the entertainment required in this film.

SettingsNew York City, one of the best settings for any movie, this shows us how big dreams can come from going to this city.


Scene of the Movie –
The show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain guest appearances aren’t as big as they once thought they would be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fine addition to the Muppet franchise, it has plenty of humour, a strong story and is the one that fits in the middle of the quality of the films, behind Christmas Carol.

 

Overall: Muppet fans will always enjoy this.

Rating