Hugh Jackman Weekend – Pan (2015)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Jason Fuchs (Screenplay) J.M. Barrie (Characters)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Nonso Anozie, Amanda Seyfried

 

Plot: Twelve-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and danger, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be for ever known as Peter Pan.


Tagline – Every legend has a beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That True Spark

 

Story: Pan starts when young Peter (Miller) is in an orphanage in London during World War II, he notices that the other orphans have been disappearing, when he final abduction occurs Peter is taken by Blackbeard’s (Jackman) men and taken to Neverland. Blackbeard is mining for fairy dust and using the orphans to make this happen.

When Peter breaks the rules he is sentenced to death which only unlocks his own powers to fly, where a fellow prisoner James Hook (Hedlund) helps him escape and search the land for answers about his mother with the help of the tribal people led by Tiger Lily (Mara) who have been at war with the pirates, Peter must unlock his own destiny to save the land.

 

Thoughts on Pan

 

Characters – Peter is an orphan during World War II, stuck in a boys home, he believes something is happening and wants to be reunited with his mother, taken to Neverland, he learns that he has an ability unlike anyone else, he just needs to learn to believe in himself. Blackbeard has been taking orphans to help him mine for fairy dust in Neverland, he runs a strict ship which Peter upsets, however this will put Blackbeard closer than ever to getting what he wants. Hook is one of the miners that helps Peter escape, he wants to be free with his own tragic backstory. Tiger Lily has been leading the war against Blackbeard for years now, she knows the secrets to the fairies and now must protect them at all costs.

PerformancesLevi Miller as the young Peter is good because he shows us the innocence needed for this film while dealing with the emotional impact his life is having. Hugh Jackman does seem to be having a lot of fun in this role even if he is overacting at times. Garrett Hedlund just can’t catch a break, his performance is solid enough, though it does feel like he just wanted to be the next Han Solo. Rooney Mara again is solid, it looks like a role which meant something to her and will help her take on the bigger roles.

StoryThe story is an origin story for Peter Pan and Hook, well it seems to be, Peter is in the human world where he is an orphan taken to Neverland to help fight in a war between the two sides who want control of the fairy dust, he works with Hook which is strange because he is a good guy. The film shows us why Peter never wanted to leave Neverland and just what is meant to him once he learns about his parent’s identity. When we look deeper at the story it does feel like a pretty safe story and by having Peter needing to learn his own identity before going on to be the character we know now. The problem comes from any moment of peril he is in or Hook we know they will make it out of there because we know their story is only just beginning. The additional problem comes from just how Hook is a good guy and doesn’t get given any moments to tease his villainous ways.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film is good because it shows a new life Peter could have away from the war his own reality is involved in, this does take us to the fantasy world of Neverland which only seems to have one unique animal in, but it has magic.

SettingsThe film uses the colour tones well, we see the darkness which shows us how bleak Peter’s real-life is, while giving us the bright open world of Neverland to show the hope of a future.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are solid enough without looking as flawless as they should, though the overly ambitious nature to it all doesn’t help.


Scene of the Movie –
Hook’s escape plan.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not filling enough of the blanks between the time period.

Final ThoughtsThis is another cash-in on a franchise which feels overly done, it doesn’t capture the rue magic and only ends up confusing the time between the movies.

 

Overall: Magicless fantasy film.

Rating

 

 

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Hugh Jackman Weekend – Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Director: Peter Ramsey

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) William Joyce (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin

 

Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


Tagline – The Sandman Is More Than A Dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Animation

 

Story: Rise of the Guardians starts when Pitch or the boogeyman decides he wants to take back his role as the one children feared, the guardians of childhood memories, North (Santa), Tooth (tooth fairy), Bunny (Easter Bunny) and Sandy (Sandman) must bring in the newest guardians Jack Frost, the one that is being ignored as never believed in by children.

When Pitch starts to gain more power, the guardians must use all their abilities to fight back to keep the childhood hopes and happiness alive as Jack will find his place along side the guardians.

 

Thoughts on Rise of the Guardians

 

Characters – Jack Frost is the spiritual figure that nobody believes in, he keeps children happy everyday, but no one will remember him for his work, now he gets given a chance to become a guardian giving him the chance to be the hero the world needs. North is the leader of the guardians the first selected to help to replace Pitch giving the children of the world hope, even if he does feel like colossus from Deadpool. Pitch was once the one that struck fear into children, he wants his crown back and will look to take the belief out of any children in the world. Tooth, Bunny and Sandy make up the rest of the guardians that have mixed feelings towards Jack being chosen as their newest member. Using the iconic fantasy characters does make us understand what they thieve for, but is often used for a pun throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a reckless potential new guardian that must prove his place in the guardians with the much more experienced and famous icons of fantasy. While this does follow a generic idea, it is fun throughout and does play into the idea of childhood innocence keeping legends alive. The idea of Jack Frost needing to find his place in the battle is the strongest part of the film and is easily the one part of the film you want to see most of.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure that Jack Frost must go on brings him to the next moment of his stage of immortality, being on a level with a Santa or Tooth Fairy, this is him finding himself in this world that is full of fantasy icons that children will always be believing in.

SettingsThe film takes us to different lands which would be the ones you would imagine finding the fantasy icons, the north pole being the most iconic.

AnimationThe animation standard is top notch just like we are expecting from a major study involvement in a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of the jokes are aimed at how people would imagine talking to each of the guardians.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy family animation that can be enjoyed by all, it doesn’t over test the audience and comes off fun throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family animation that will give you a smile.

Rating

 

 

Boonie Bears: to the Rescue (2019) Movie Review

Director: Leon Ding

Writer: Brian Bullock, Leon Ding (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Rick Jay Glen, Siobhan Lumsden Paul ‘Maxx’ Rinehart, Justin J Wheeler, Toni Thompson

Plot: Make way, all-the forest has an unexpected visitor. The Bear Brothers and Logger Vick are shocked to discover a tiny baby girl in their sprawling territory among the pines. But the long-time enemies instantly warm to this lost little angel and in order to care for her, agree to the unthinkable: They establish a truce. Yet even as these rough-and-tumble outdoor hombres undergo an uproarious crash-course in infant care, danger lurks on the edge of their paradise.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Monsters Inc Meets Yogi Bear

Story: Boonie Bears: To the Rescue starts as Logger Vick clashes once again with the bear brothers Briar and Bramble, who manage to steal his new tool case, leaving Vick with another case, which happens to contain a baby girl, one that has been missing for a week.

When Vick tries to do the right thing for the baby, he only finds himself on the run from the law and the original kidnappers, before he reluctantly teams up with his enemies Briar and Bramble to return the baby.

Thoughts on Boonie Bears: To the Rescue

Characters – Logger Vick has been working on cutting down the trees in the forest, which has seen him become rivals with a couple of bears, his rivalry has seen him spending more time trying to allude the bears, than dealing with his actual job, when his latest equipment is take by the bears, he learns a new responsibility when he must take care of a baby who has become lost in the forest. Briar is the smarter of the two bears, he always has a plan in mind and lets Bramble learn his correct place in the couple’s plans. Bramble does focus on getting most the laughs between the bears, he is meant to be the dumber of the two which comes off clear, with how he deals with keep Lola happy. Lola is the baby that ends up under the care of the unlikely partnerships between bitter rivals.

StoryThe story here follows the unlikely union of the television show character Logger Vick and the brother bears Briar and Bramble as they want to protect a little baby girl they find in the forest, who is being tracked down by criminals. If you have seen the TV show, you will enjoy seeing the unlikely union, think Bugs Bunny working with Elma Fudd. If you haven’t seen the TV show you will see how characters similar to Yogi Bear and Ranger Smith clash over certain things. Having this mixed together we do get a Monsters Inc environment, with the baby being thrown into the hands of people and animals with no idea how to raise them and them finding comical ways to make her happy. This is clearly marketed for a younger audience and you can see why they would be happy to sit and enjoy the characters adventures.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of this film shows us just how far the unlikely group will go to save a baby, it has plenty of references to other adventure films too, while this might be one that is targeted more for the younger members of the family, parents could enjoy watching with their single figured aged children.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to get an extra laugh here and there, as it shows us just how the three characters live with their own rivalry.

AnimationThe animation in the film does look like it has come from a TV show, which still makes it look fantastic throughout.


Scene of the Movie – The bonding between the three.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Being unsure what the rivalry between Logger Vick and the bears really is.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family comedy that will keep the younger audience happy throughout the film, it does have a big heart at the centre and could be compared to Monsters Inc and Yogi Bear with ease.

Overall: Fun family animation.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

Director: Mark Waters

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum, John Sayles (Screenplay) Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black (Book)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn

 

Plot: Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.


Tagline – Experience Their World In IMAX

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

 

Story: The Spiderwick Chronicles starts when a family mother Helen (Parker) and children, Mallory (Bolger), twins Jared & Simon (Both played by Highmore) move to a remote Spiderwick estate. Not long after arriving in the home Jared to rebellious of the twins starts investigating the home only to discovery a mysterious book from the former owner.

Once Jared reads the book, he unleashes a goblin army that has been after the book for years and Mulgarath (Nolte) will do anything to get his hands on the book.

 

Thoughts on The Spiderwick Chronicles

 

Characters – Jared is the out going of the twins, he is the one that reads the book and must convince the rest to fight back against goblins, his nature means people are less likely to believe him through any of his decisions though. Simon is the quieter and smarter brother that must look for the solution to the problems being caused. Helen is the mother that is dealing with raising the three children after her marriage has fallen apart and she needs to start a new life, one she isn’t prepared for. Mallory is the older sister that must be the warrior for the twins. Mulgarath is the goblin king that wants the book to kill any species in the surrounding area.

PerformancesFreddie Highmore takes twin roles here and handles them both very well showing how he can be the smarter kid and the adventurous one too. Mary Louise Parker in the parental role works well as we need her to bring the serious side to the story now. Sarah Bolger is strong too needing to be the strongest member of the children.

StoryThe story takes three siblings into a battle with goblins with fantasy creatures being used to guide the way in this battle. This will bring the broken family back together, well back to the level they are going to need to get used too. The scale of the book doesn’t give the story enough credit because it feels like this book has created a massive world only for us to get a snippet into everything. this story doesn’t re-invent the wheel because we can see the formula unfold without needing to guess to much on just how thing go on. We do deal with a big family change which should be the focal point through the film too.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes the family into battle against the creatures of the forest which are invisible to most of the world, this plays into the fantasy side too because of the creatures we see at war.

SettingsThe film takes the family to a new house that is in the middle of the forest, which shows us the finical change the family must take, as well as the adventures waiting in the forest for people to experience.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong for the most part because we get to see the different creation looking like they would fit in the normal world.


Scene of the Movie –
Come with me.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting a full grasp of the scale of the fantasy world.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy adventure that brings the characters into a world which will unite them as they deal with the biggest change of the children’s life.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Director: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Writer: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington (Screenplay) Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jackie Chan, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Abbi Jacobson

 

Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.


Tagline – Find Your Inner Piece

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Kids

 

Story: The Lego Ninjago Movie starts in the city of Ninjago, where evil genius Garmadon is always putting the city through terror as he is looking to rule the city with his attacks, stopping him are a group of mysterious ninja, whose identity is revealed early on to be Lloyd, the son of Garmadon and his school friends, looking to keep the peace in the city.

With the guidance of Master Yu, Lloyd must learn his place in the world after Garmadon’s latest attack leaves the city in ruin because Lloyd was planning to make a move against his own father Garmadon, now Lloyd must make up for his own mistake and save the city.

 

Thoughts on The Lego Ninjago Movie

 

Characters – Master Yu is the leader of the ninjas trying to protect the city, he has trained them for years because of his own connection to the evil Garmadon. Lloyd is the teenager trying to fit in the world, he wants to get to know his father Garmadon whose action cause him to get hated in the land, he is fighting back with his close friends trying to teach him how he needs his father. Garmadon is the evil villain that wants control of the city, he always thinks of new ideas and always seems to fail, he is Lloyd’s father though he has never been around for him. Lloyd has a group of friends which are fellow ninjas that help defend the city.

StoryThe story here takes us to a new Lego world, one with ninjas, as we follow a son seeking acceptance from his father who is trying to conquer the city his son lives in. this does have a message about a father son relationship, getting over the regrets of the past and learn about people’s flaws. This does feel like a safe with a villain trying to conquer a city and the reluctant heroes trying to stop him. It does have glimpses of Megamind and just lacks the magic of the original Lego movie.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action is large scale battles between the Lego figure which is simple and works for each location our characters find themselves on this adventure to save their world. the comedy is basic at best which disappoints through the film and it wouldn’t be appealing to the whole family, with the younger audience getting much more than the older out of this.

SettingsThe film puts us in another Lego setting with the outskirts being any location we have seen in most Asian cinema of forests of the unknown perils.

AnimationThe animation is good for the most part, though it does struggle the mix the animation between the real life cat involved in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The true purpose of life discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cat reminds me too much of the South Park guinea pig episode.

Final ThoughtsThis is one that the kids could enjoy easily even though it doesn’t come close to the levels of the Lego Movie.

 

Overall: Kids will be entertained.

Rating