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

 

 

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Night Crossing (1982)

Director: Delbert Mann

Writer: John McGreevey (Screenplay)

Starring: John Hurt, Jane Alxeander, Doug McKeon, Keith McKeon, Beau Bridges, Glynnis O’Connor

 

Plot: Two men want to escape from East Germany, but they will only go if they can take their families with them.


Tagline – The East German border: 836 miles of barbed wire walls, automated machine guns, armed guards, and deadly land mines. On September 15, 1979 two families tried to cross it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brave Story

 

Story: Night Crossing starts as we go to East Germany in 1979, The Strelzyk family, Peter (Hurt), Doris (Alexander), Frank (D.McKeon) and Fitscher (K.McKeon) who are getting tired of not being able to go to the west side of Germany, one they see as fairer. The friendship between this family and the Wetzel’s Gunter (Bridges) and Petra (O’Connor) keeps them strong, while they see the friends trying to escape getting killed.

When Peter comes up with up the idea to build a balloon with Gunter to escape, it will mean working in secret because getting caught will only see him killed. When Gunter leaves for family reasons, Peter must keep the idea within the family for the hope for their future.

 

Thoughts on Night Crossing

 

Characters – Peter is a father that has been living with his family in Eastern Germany, he is getting tired of the lack of change or unity with the Western side and decides he wants to risk his family’s life to escape, he plans to build a balloon which would fly over the borders in place. Doris is the wife of Peter, she is reluctant to help at first, but soon sees this being the only option. Gunter is the friend that wants to help build the balloon, only for his wife to push him into staying behind because of the young age of their children. Petra is Gunter’s wife that doesn’t want to risk their infant children with an escape plan so dangerous.

PerformancesJohn Hurt in the leading role is the strongest member of the cast, he shows that even a common man can have the hope required for his character. Jane Alexander and Glynnis O’Connor are both fitting the wife type of role which doesn’t get much else to do. Beau Bridges completes the cast with a performance that shows just how young men would have been affected in this world.

StoryThe story follows two families that work together to find a way to escape East Germany and get into West Germany in the late 70s, they must risk everything for this, which is failing would see them face certain death. this is a story of inspiration that showed us just how much people were willing to risk escaping a land they couldn’t live their natural life without being dictated too, it shows the patience to make it happen and how family can inspire you to risk everything.

Family/HistoryThis might be classed as a family film that is because of the families involved in trying to make this high risk situation happen, the history of their escape is one that could inspire many who were trapped in the land.

SettingsThe film is set in the harsh living conditions the families would have been living in and how secretive their plan would have been to make happen.


Scene of the Movie –
Are we in the West?

That Moment That Annoyed Me It could have been a lot darker.

Final ThoughtsThis is an inspiration story of two family’s determination to make it out of a life which didn’t offer them a true future.

 

Overall: True story that shows bravery and inspiration.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

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