Balto (1995)

Director: Simon Wells

Writer: Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, David Steven Cohen, Roger S H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridget Fonda, Jim Cumming, Phil Collins, Jack Angel, Danny Mann

 

Plot: An outcast half-wolf risks his life to prevent a deadly epidemic from ravaging Nome, Alaska.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Hero Story

 

Story: Balto starts as we see the sledge racing in Nome Alaska, Steele is the most famous lead dog in all the races, he breaks the rules as well as being feared by the other dogs, Balto a stray half breed roams the streets trying to impress the female husky Jenna with his bumbling sidekick goose Boris.

When Nome is struck down with diphtheria the town is running low on antidote they have no way of getting the antidote to the town directly, the only option is to put together a team of the fastest sledge dogs to pick up medicine with Balto showing the town he is fastest in town, but still not welcome to the town’s team.

When Steele’s team goes missing in the snowstorm, Balto goes out with Boris, Jenna and polar bears Muk and Luk to collect the medicine to save the town making himself the hero.

 

Thoughts on Balto

 

CharactersBalto is the outsider of the town, never fitting in but given the chance to prove himself to the whole town by returning the medicine, he is the reluctant hero type. Boris is the sidekick here for extra laughs in the story, with Jenna being the love interest needed for the story. Steele is the typical arrogant villain that doesn’t want anyone to take his place. All of the character blend together to make this a pleasant viewing experience.

StoryThe story is loosely based on the true events of the sledge team that saves a small town from a medical disaster, we get to see this from the dogs side of the events which does take away from the true story of heroism the real dogs went through.

Adventure/Family/HistoryThe adventure is great to see unfold keeping us on edge, it does have a couple of dark scenes going on through the film which could be slightly too much for the younger members of the family. I don’t think this story does enough justice to the true history story though.

SettingsThe settings all look fantastic showing just how peril filled the journey would have been for the dogs as well as the people stuck with no chance of rescue unless they get the medicine.

AnimationThe animation all looks great with the darker characters including the bear feeling terrifying and the heroes all looking pure.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great adventure movie but does forget the true story involved too much to make a family friendly movie.

 

Overall: Great fun animated movie that can be enjoyed by all.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Novel)

Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage

 

Plot: The Pevensie siblings return to Narnia, where they are enlisted to once again help ward off an evil king and restore the rightful heir to the land’s throne, Prince Caspian.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magic Lost

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian starts in Narnia where Prince Caspian (Barnes) is taken away from the kingdom for his own safety when his Uncle Miraz (Castellitto) has a son. We move to London, post-war now as we meet the Pevensie children, Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) who find themselves magically transported back to Narnia, a different Narnia to the one they left though.

With Narnia on the verge of another war the children must lead the resistance against Miraz as they all wait in hope of Aslan’s return, but with a battle from within as Prince Caspian clashes with Peter as the children must answer questions to why they abandoned Narnia all those years ago.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

 

Characters/PerformanceThe children are now all back in London, they get called back to be the leaders Narnia thought they were going to be. The children all seem to have smaller parts in this film and just doing less of the more we saw first time around. Prince Caspian is a solid character but nothing too important in this battle with the villain just being human makes the threat not are scary as the first time around.

Performance wise, it would be fair to say we have nothing but average at best performances here, the kids are all fine coming off slightly too posh with the rest all feeling like no bigger name actors wanted to get involved in the film.

StoryI feel the story just doesn’t seem to have the magic we had first time around, first the idea the kids just go back after the war seems out of place because the first story seems to be about escaping the war. The battle within Narnia is just a power struggle again but the animals don’t talk as much and it is mostly a human battle losing all the fantasy elements which made the first fun.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of the film does feel lost here, as does the family and fantasy side which showed how Harry Potter was the dominate force at the time.

SettingsThe settings also don’t seem to be as well created as first time, nothing comes off memorable through this one.

Special EffectsWith this seeming to be a human battle the special effects are no as needed in what should be a big fantasy battle film.

Final ThoughtsThis was a huge step back, with a huge budget I just don’t get how it came off as dull as it did.

 

Overall: Poor sequel that should have continued what was created.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Book)

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent

 

Plot: Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start to a Franchise

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starts as the Pevensie children Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) are evacuated to the country during World War II.

When the youngest Lucy discovers a wardrobe in the house she finds the magical world of Narnia and Mr Tumnus (McAvoy) who teaches her all about this winter ravished land with the evil White Witch controlling. With Edmund finding his way into Narnia he meets the White Witch (Swinton) who asks him to bring the rest of the children to her kingdom.

When the four children are reunited, they learn they must fight alongside Aslan the lion in a battle against the evil Witch in an adventure they could never imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

Characters/PerformanceLucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan are thee four children, they all have their difference but most of all they work together to succeed on their mission. They must look after each other through the human war and the fantasy war they find themselves fighting in. thee White Witch is a character that works on the villainous side of the story and with her deceiving white image we can get misled to her true nature. With any extra characters being the different fantasy creatures the children meet along the way we know the world we find ourselves in.

Performances now, the four children all do a good job in their roles showing each of the character’s strengths and weakness. Tilda Swinton always makes for a great villain with McAvoy giving us a good supporting performance.

StoryStory wise this plays into the idea of what children could find themselves doing when they have escaped from a war-torn country. I do understand that this is meant to be a real adventure they find themselves on but the reality is it can be looked at as an escape. The idea of a battle between good and evil is all fine and needed for this film as it is the start of a bigger set of stories to come.

Adventure/Fantasy/FamilyThe adventure is massive for these children as they find themselves in a fantasy world they could never imagine, this is one the whole family could find themselves enjoying.

SettingsThe settings all come off very well for this film as we see the bleakness of the world the children find themselves escaping from and the wonder of the fantasy world they find themselves entering.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects here are brilliant, we do have a lot of CGI which in the most part in flawless it would only be the voice acting for some of the creatures that I would question.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good starter for a franchise, it does go generic with the male children doing the fighting and the female being considered for magic and curing style but this franchise came at the wrong time getting buried by the Harry Potter one.

 

Overall: This is how you start a franchise correctly.

Rating

 

 

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016)

iceDirector: Mike Thurmeier, Galen T Chu

Writer: Michael J Wilson, Michael Berg, Yoni Brenner (Screenplay) Aubrey Solomon (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Ray Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Devine, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg, Josh Peck, Seann William Scott

 

Plot: Manny, Diego, and Sid join up with Buck to fend off a meteor strike that would destroy the world.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Thank God it Ends Now

 

Story: Ice Age: Collision Course starts with the adventures of Scrat and his acorn because the main story clearly isn’t enough for the film, this time he ends up in space because all franchise go to space when they run out of ideas and he causes a meteor to head towards Earth because science.

Meanwhile on Earth Manny and his daughter Peaches are playing ice hockey because why not this film has jump to ridiculous a few films ago. Manny, Sid and Diego are all still best friends having their own problems with their mates so we get a bar for them all to go too because this is an animated nonsense film I guess.

Why am I watching this film? We have you forgot the anniversary between Manny (typical Ray Romano character) and Ellie. Parenting issues between Diego and Shira while Sid just can’t get a sloth of his own.

The story actually starts happening when the first signs of the meteor start impacting Earth bring back Buck rom the underground to lead the family to safety giving the animals a chance to deal with their personal issues and family problems.

Ice Age: Collision Course has only one good feature and that is the look of the animation which is always flawless. The story is beyond ridiculous this time around that puts horrendous science into the film that makes you forget what should be an easy subject to understand. The family issues all come off tiresome as we have seen Manny deal with his issues for 5 films now.

The voice acting is also becoming questionable here with each character almost now written to be stand up routine for the additional characters with Adam Levine doing his thing, Wanda Sykes doing her thing and Ray Romano bring back his Everybody Loves Raymond character. Thankfully this is the end of the franchise because this is just not acceptable from them anymore.

 

Overall: Awful addition to the franchise.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Boss Baby (2017)

Director: Tom McGrath

Writer: Michael McCullers (Screenplay) Marla Frazee (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Mike Bakshi

 

Plot: A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Family Film

 

Story: The Boss Baby starts as we meet seven-year old Tim, he has an overactive imagination living the perfect world growing up with his successful parents who work for Puppy Co. When they have another baby, The Boss Baby, Tim finds himself incredible jealous and questions everything about him.

After the two find themselves against each other, the two put their differences aside to go on the Boss’s mission to expose they puppies are stealing all love babies should be getting.

 

Thoughts on The Boss Baby

 

Characters Tim is the typical kid before technology era took over, he makes his own stories using his imagination. He becomes jealous of his little brother but overcomes that to become best friends. The Boss Baby is set to uncover the truth about a puppy company where puppies are become more popular than babies. He is super smart and has never had a normal childhood. Francis Francis owns Puppy Co and has an evil plan to get rid of all the babies in the world. Looking at the character’s you can see some greatly created truths that have been pushed to the next level when it comes to the brother’s bonding.

StoryThe story does play out like how a solo child must deal with a new baby, sure there is a farfetched idea that babies can work in undercover to solve issues. The difference between the two are clear and you can see how siblings can be effected by changes like this happening.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy works very well with Alec Baldwin seemingly having the best voice possible for this role which helps add to the comedy. The whole family could enjoy this film with jokes hitting for all to enjoy.

SettingsThe settings we find the characters in are all enjoyable and add to the comedy the characters find themselves in.

AnimationThe animation all looks fantastic like you would expect from a big budget animated movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does impress more than I was thinking and I feel the comedy does hit on the levels required.

 

Overall: One of the highlights of the animated films this year.

Rating