ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – K – The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Movie Review

Director: Joe Cornish

Writer: Joe Cornish (Screenplay)

Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Patrick Stewart, Rhianna Dorris

Plot: A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.


Tagline – For kids who rule

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable

Story: The Kid Who Would Be King starts as we meet bullied school kid Alex (Serkis) along with his best friend Bedders (Chaumoo), they get bullied by Lance (Taylor) and Kaye (Dorris), with one of the latest escapes leading Alex to find Excalibur Arthur’s sword.

Alex learns that he must follow in Arthur’s footsteps in the battle against the evil Morgana (Ferguson) that is looking to reign darkness on the world once again.

Thoughts on The Kid Who Would Be King

Characters – Alex is raised by just his mum, he gets bullied at school and is struggling through life with his best friend, this changes when he finds Excalibur and learns he is the true king that must build an army to fight the forces of evil. He must bring together his enemies and learn his destiny to fight. Bedders is Alex’s best friend, he gets bullied just as much as Alex and is interested in learning magic. Lance is one of the bullies, he likes to pick on the smaller classmates, which sees him targeting the pair, until he joins them becoming on of the nights. Kaye is the other bully, one that does seem to follow more than enjoy the bullying. Morgana is the evil that is looking to bring her reign of terror to the surface world once again, sending her armies out to get the kids. Merlin does guide the kids along the way, showing them what they could achieve and how they will achieve it.

PerformancesFor a film carried by the young cast of Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris, none of them let the film down like they could have, all being strong through the film. We do get a couple of big names that shine in the supporting roles too.

StoryThe story here follows a young boy that learns that he is meant to be the next King of England, taking up the war of King Arthur against Morgana who wants to bring her reign of terror back to England. This is a nice spin on the King Arthur legend bringing everything to the modern world, showing how people can come together for the greater good, with the choice to make sure they bring a diverse cast, to prove this point even more. We do have a deeper story which shows how Alex is always trying to fill the void left by his absent father, trying to make something bigger of his absence. This story does feel very fun for the most part, which is the important ingredients required for this film.

Action/AdventureThe action is the fights against the evil, each one becomes bigger even if it doesn’t truly put the kids in the danger a real battle would. The adventure does take our kids on a journey they could never imagine across the UK.

SettingsThe film uses the historical settings to show us where the legends of King Arthur would have happened, using them for the quest.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are great, they never look out of place, however big the events in the film are meant to be.


Scene of the Movie – The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel about 15-20 minutes too long.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family adventure film, it breaths new life into the King Arthur legend, life other films have failed too often with.

Overall: Fun and Enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – D – Dumbo (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay) Helen Aberson, Harold Pearl (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker

Plot: A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.


Tagline – In 2019, a beloved tale will take you to new heights.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: Dumbo starts when Holt Farrier (Farrell) returns from war, to re-join the circus run by Max Medici (DeVito) where his kids Milly (Parker) and Joe (Hobbins) have been living and working for years, Holt has come back injured, with the only job offered to him, being cleaning up after the elephants, one of which is pregnant giving birth to an elephant with giant ears, which only causes chaos on his debut in the circus.

After Dumbo’s mother is taken away, he is left alone, while the children learn about his flying skills, which turns Max’s circus into the talk of the country, attracting V. A. Vandevere (Keaton) who wants to offer Max the world for Dumbo.

Thoughts on Dumbo

Characters – Holt Farrier is a war veteran widow that has returned to his children in a circus. He has been suffering with his time away, this has seen him not show as much affection as his wife would have, he takes the only job he can get which sees him training and cleaning up the elephants, his time back in the circus does bring him back to his kids, where he learns how important life still can be. V. A. Vandevere is the operator of Dreamland, he sales the idea of a better life for the whole troop, even if he has his own ideas to just make himself rich. Max Medici runs the small circus that discovers Dumbo’s talent, he has always been in the game for the money and can’t resist the idea of money when Vandevere arrives but must learn there is more to his life than money. Colette Marchant is the star performer in Vandevere show, she has been for years though she is just the hottest thing he has going for a while, she doe solve to perform. Dumbo is the baby elephant with giant eyes, who loses his mother, but has the incredible ability to fly, drawing crowds from miles.

PerformancesColin Farrell gives us a wonderful performance as the caring veteran who has been struggling with his own problems once returning from war. Michael Keaton enjoy the villainous role, while Danny DeVito is shows the desperation while still bringing the heart needing for the role, Eva Green shines to as the beautiful performer too.

StoryThe story here shows how a small circus that finds themselves with a star attraction in Dumbo, which sees them become a success that the whole country wants to see. The story might focus on Dumbo being forced into performing after having his mother taken away, while deeper down we get to see a family that has been broken from death and war, needing to come back together. We see themes of greed with the circus masters at times, but all together the ideas behind everything all shine through to show that people who do good will get what they deserve in life.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure shows the how Dumbo comes into the world and put through traumas at a young age before finding his feet and learn that some people are good in life, with the fantasy of an elephant that can fly being the highlight of what makes Dumbo so special.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different sizes of circus that we see Dumbo being part of.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant bringing Dumbo to life like nothing we could have imagined.


Scene of the Movie – The Dumbo flight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does spend too much time telling Milly she can’t follow her scientist dreams.

Final Thoughts This is the best live action Disney film of 2019, it brings the scale of the idea to life, which looks wonderful and has great performances too.

Overall: Beautiful Fantasy Film.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Director: Frank Capra

Writer: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra (Screenplay) Philip Van Doren Stern (Story)

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi

 

Plot: An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.


Tagline – They’re going steady…straight to your heart!

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best

 

Story: It’s a Wonderful Life starts as an angel Clarence (Travers) is chosen to head to Earth to help George Bailey (Stewart), first we learn what left George in the state he needs rescuing from, the hardworking young man that doesn’t want to just have a basic job.

As the years pass George finds himself never leaving the town, marrying the girl of his dreams Mary (Reed), but not everything goes as smoothly as he had planned as he clashes with Mr Potter (Barrymore) on all business dealings.

 

Thoughts on It’s a Wonderful Life

 

Characters – George Bailey is a businessman that had always dreamed of getting out of his small town, he was destine for something big, but got overshadowed by his brother while staying and taking care of his family business. He has always been good to the people in the town over the ruthless Mr Potter, but he has reached his final straw, as we see how things lead to this moment of needing a guardian angel. Mary is the wife of George’s that stands by George through the differences they face during the time, knowing he is good man. Mr Potter is the ruthless businessman that has been after George’s family business for decades now, he tries all the tricks in the book to ruin them.

PerformancesJames Stewart was fantastic in this leading role, where he shows the calmness even with the frustration his character is feeling through the story unfold. Donna Reed is great too in the supporting role, while Lionel Barrymore is great as the villainous role.

StoryThe story shows how one man’s good nature can stop him living the life he had planned, but things do go in a good direction, to the level where he doesn’t enjoy. It shows how you could have someone constantly tries to put you down and you can’t give up on your own beliefs. It shows the meaning of doing the right thing in life, because it will reward you in the future.

Family/FantasyThe family could enjoy this every Christmas, it does take its time before getting into the fantasy elements of the film though, which only happens in the final quarter of the film.

SettingsThe town setting shows us the life George has found himself stuck in believing he could have done more. It shows us who knows who and how close the community is.


Scene of the Movie –
If he hadn’t been born.

That Moment That Annoyed Me George does seem to just snap on one night, there doesn’t seem to be a slow enough build up.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the Christmas movies that everyone will have heard of, it is one everyone should see at some point in their life too.

 

Overall: Must watch Christmas movie.

Rating

 

 

Samuel L Jackson Weekend – The Spirit (2008) Movie Review

Director: Frank Miller

Writer: Frank Miller (Screenplay) Will Eisner (Comic Book)

Starring: Gabriel Macht, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson

Plot: Rookie cop Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces in Central City.


Tagline – I’m gonna kill you all kinds of dead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Style Over Substance

Story: The Spirit starts as former cop who survived against death’s will, The Spirit (Macht) continues to chase crime against the ruthless crime lord known as Octopus (Jackson) where the two fight against each other for years, Sand Saref (Mendes) is also interested in becoming rich, which sees her cross paths with both.

With both Spirit and Octopus chasing down Sand, she continues to try and improve her riches, even if the two are just waiting for the battle which will end the war between the two men once and for all.

Thoughts on The Spirit

Characters – The Spirit fights crime around his city, he has cheated death, who is waiting for a chance to take his life, he has been fighting Octopus for years now and is trying to find a way to get rid of him once and for all. He is trying to solve why Sand is committing crimes and what the Octopus is up to this time. Octopus is the crime lord of the city, he wants full dominance and enjoys the battle against Spirit, he has a big plan for the city that only Spirit can stop. Sand is the former childhood friend of Spirit’s, she has turned to a life a crime, where she steals whatever she wants to build her riches, she doesn’t kill cops though, which makes her different type of enemy for Spirit to face. Silken Floss the sexy assistant to Octopus that has been working with him to create something new and isn’t afraid to use her looks to get an advantage.

PerformancesGabriel Macht is an actor you must feel bad for, he took a shot at something different, only for the film to be received so badly, his performance isn’t bad in anyway, much like most of the performances from the men, they just seem bland characters. Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson ooze sex appeal with the comic character bought to life here.

StoryThe story follows the town’s vigilante Spirit as he goes up against his arch nemesis before he gets to release a new deadly threat on the world, all while the wild card of a thief is getting in the way of both of their plans. This is a comic book adaptation which is why the story does have a unique style to everything going on. The main story does seem to fill the idea of a hero needing to fight against a villain who wants power without it being anything we haven’t seen before. It just doesn’t work however much the story wants to try to be different to anything else out there.

Action/Crime/FantasyThe action side of the film is very simple stuff despite being a comic book, it never becomes style it wants to be, with the fantasy side of the film showing us just strong both Spirit and Octopus are.

SettingsThe film keeps us in this fictional city where everything is happening, it does feel like a comic book city for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are used to try and add the style to everything we are seeing, most don’t work as well as they could.


Scene of the Movie – All kinds of Dead.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The style just doesn’t work on the levels of Sin City.

Final Thoughts This is a comic book movie that just doesn’t hit the style it wants to by the end of the film, we can’t complain because it is different to the usual films we are seeing in the comic book genre.

Overall: Style is different.

Franchise Weekend – Mythica: The Godslayer (2016)

Director: John Lyde

Writer: Jason Faller, Kynan Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Stone, Adam Johnson, Matthew Mercer, Jake Stormoen, Nicola Posener, Christopher Robin Miller

 

Plot: As the Lich King’s zombie legions ravage the world, Marek, a cursed young sorceress, embarks on a quest to obtain a weapon from the gods, with her friend Dagen, a self-serving half-elf rogue. But when she joins her sworn enemy in a desperate attempt to save the world, she must recover the good in herself before her friends are all dead, and defeat the Lich King before the gods are destroyed and the world forever enslaved.


Tagline – When there’s nothing left, there’s nothing to lose.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion

 

Story: Mythica: The Godslayer starts with Szorlok (Mercer) reign of terror sweeping through the land, bringing the dead back to life with his undead army, Teela (Posener) and Thane (Johnson) are trying to halt the bloodshed which is becoming too much of a challenge in time. Marek (Stone) is searching for a weapon of the gods with Dagen (Stormoen) where we get to see how she is questioning her decision to give Szorlok the last Darkspore, as they now face the undead army too.

Marek must learn about her past if she is going to defeat Szorlok once and for all, this will take her down a road of uncertainty about who is rather than her powers, with only Dagen to guide her, while Szorlok is trying to turn her to the dark side.

 

Thoughts on Mythica: The Godslayer

 

Characters – Marek after making the decision to give Szorlok the last Darkspore is left questioning whether it was the right thing, being drawn to the dark side and power he possesses, Marek will put together her own plan to fight the gods who want to stop the death coming to the world, she wants to do this alone. Dagen is with Marek fighting of the hordes of the undead, he helps fill in the blanks from his past, which paints him in a very different light, he keeps Marek’s motives going straight to the best of his ability. Thane is working with Teela to help fight off the undead, showing his pure strength and commitment to the cause. Szorlok has the power now, he has been bringing the dead back to life now causing terror over the world, he wants Marek to join him to gain complete control being able to defeat gods in this world.

PerformancesMelanie Stone continues to balance the emotional levels of her character in the film, she shows the uncertainty that could be her downfall or her strength. Jake Stormoen has constantly improved through the film series, with this being his best performance so far. Matthew Mercer continues to be powerful in his villainous role, while Adam Johnson gets to give his best performance to date here.

StoryThe story here brings the epic saga of Marek and her friends to a conclusion as they look to stop Szorlok from taking control of the world, learning their own destiny along the way. This is the type of story that has earnt this kind of ending, we have seen a lot of the work from the previous stories, which has shown the characters grow along the way, change and become better warriors. We need to have seen the previous films to understand what has been happening though, which can be an easy weakness of this film, but it is unlikely you will be watching this one without seeing the previous one. when it comes to finishing a franchise, this does draw back the comedy that made the last one fun, but it does become the serious levels required with the new peril involved in the film.

Action/FantasyThe action is bigger, more impressive and in new locations. The fantasy side of the film once again builds on the world we are in and just like we are used to seeing, we find ourselves in a new set of locations that fantasy can offer us.

SettingsThe film uses the new settings to help us see the world potential when it comes to people who are willing to risk their lives to save the world.

Special EffectsThe effects do continue to be the weakest part, but by now we are used to this style which hasn’t gotten better or worse through the series.


Scene of the Movie –
The hammer fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough undead fighting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fitting conclusion to the franchise, it has the highest stakes and shows what everything has meant in the previous films.

 

Overall: Franchise finishing in style.

Rating