ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – B – The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Shota Sometani, Koji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Suzu Hirose

 

Plot: When a young orphaned boy living on the streets of Shibuya stumbles upon a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by a gruff warrior beast looking for an apprentice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Animated Movie

 

Story: The Boy and the Beast starts as we learn that Kumatetsu a bear like creature and Iozen will be fighting to become the new Lord of the beast world, Iozen is the favourite to replace the previous Lord because of his ability to teach others while Kumatetsu need to find an apprentice, which takes him to the human world to search for one.

Ren is an orphan boy that has lost his mother leading him to running away from home living on the streets of Shibuya. When Ren has a chance meeting with Kumatetsu he takes him back to the beast world where he renames him Kyuta making him the apprentice, hoping to give him that upper hand in the battle to become the Lord of the beast world.

While the two find themselves constantly arguing the two go around the world to learn, well Kyuta does as Kumatetsu believes he knows everything already making the teaching becoming difficult. Kyuta learns the skills becoming an equal to Kumatetsu but when he finds himself back in the real world where he meets Kaede a young woman that teaches him things he should have been learning in school but his visits to the real world show him the threat coming towards both worlds that he must work with Kumatetsu to defend them both.

 

Thoughts on The Boy and the Beast

 

Characters – Ren runs away after his mother dies finding himself in the Beast world. In the Beast world he is renamed Kyuta and becomes the apprentice to Kumatetsu where he becomes a warrior unlike anything his master, when he grows up he becomes conflicted into which world he would like to be part off. Kumatetsu is the warrior that wants to become the new lord, he has trained himself but it makes him an unpopular figure in the world but once he takes Kyuta in he cleans up his act before the battle to hopefully become the lord the world wants. Kaede gives Ren a reason to stay in the real-world, she is a lonely figure with her age but the light Ren shows her in people gives her a reason to stay strong.

StoryThe story starts off being a mentor and apprentice storyline where the two clash through the training and teach each other life lesson along the way. These lessons will be used in their final showdowns to show how far the two orphans have come. This is a very culture filled idea that we don’t always see in the Western world but the message is simple, learn to prepare because the battle will come from the people you least expect it to.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes our lead character Ren into a new world, a fantasy world of beasts, it blends the two ideas together perfectly to create the world we enter into.

SettingsThe visual looks of both worlds come of fantastic, we have the Japanese city which is what we know well and the beast world which shows us how the training is completed.

AnimationThe animation is looking flawless again with everything looking and feeling like we are part of this world.

Scene of the Movie – The final battle

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is one film that didn’t annoy me at all.

Final ThoughtsYet another fantastic Japanese animated movie that can be watched, learned from and most of be something to give you an experience unlike any other film.

 

Overall: Must watch for animated fans.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia (1994)

Director: Peter MacDonald

Writer: Jeff Lieberman (Screenplay) Michael Ende (Characters)

Starring: Jason James Richter, Melody Kay, Jack Black, Carole Finn, Ryan Bollman, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A young boy must restore order when a group of bullies steal the magical book that acts as a portal between Earth and the imaginary world of Fantasia.


Tagline –  It’s a brand new beginning in the adventure that never end
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What the Hell Happened?

 

Story: Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia starts as Bastian (Richter) is moving in with his new step mum and sister Nicole (Kay), with a new school which also has new bullies known as the Nasties lead by Slip (Black). While escaping from the bullies Bastian jumps to Fantasia only to leave the book in the hands of Slip who starts causing havoc in the world.

Bastian must return to the human world to get the book back and save Fantasia once again and tackle the bullies in the real world.

 

Thoughts on Never-Ending Story III: Return to Fantasia

 

Characters – Bastian is older, but seemingly less wise, he must learn to adapt to a new school where he must once again save Fantasia from the human world this time. Nicole is the new step-sister of Bastian who doesn’t want him in her life ruining her social circles at school, she doesn’t believe him along the way of helping the residents of Fantasia. Slip is the leader of the Nasties, the school bullies that target Bastian and use the book to try and bring down Fantasia.

PerformancesThe performances from the kids are acceptable for the film, Jack Black is wildly over the top for a bully character, but this is largely terrible for performances when it comes to the voice over characters.

StoryThe story shows Bastian in a new home, new school facing a new problem with Fantasia when the creatures come into the real-world. This does make for an interesting twist, but is completely doesn’t work, first of all the attempted humour thrown into the movie misses so often. When Nicole gets the necklace she just uses it to go shopping, come on really is this the best writing we could come up with. The real world references don’t work either.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure throws us to the real world which doesn’t seem to work for where the film has gone before, the family might get more of the jokes, but won’t enjoy the adventure side because the fantasy world just doesn’t work for the film.

SettingsHaving the film set in the real world takes away the beauty in the landscapes that were created.

Special EffectsThe effects take a huge step back here because they all look terrible now.


Scene of the Movie –
There really isn’t one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The awful attempt to make this a comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis was awful, what happened is the only question I have left for this movie because it takes so many steps back to become beyond awful viewing.

 

Overall: Terrible throughout.

Rating

 

 

Dorian Gray (2009)

Director: Oliver Parker

Writer: Toby Finlay (Screenplay) Oscar Wilde (Novel)

Starring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Fiona Shaw, Emilia Fox

 

Plot: A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.


Tagline – Forever Young. Forever Cursed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre

 

Story: Dorian Gray starts as Dorian Gray (Barnes) himself arrives in CGI London, I mean London around the 1800s to return to his childhood home. Dorian gets to mingle with the high society members including Lord Henry Wotton (Firth) as he learns his place in London.

Henry takes Dorian under his wing and with a portrayed showing his youthful looks offering him the desire to remain that way we see the world Dorian has been guided into by Henry. Dorian becoming his own man uses the painting to keep his aging while he remains young and becomes the womanising machine around town, but there is always a consequence to this.

 

Thoughts on Dorian Gray

 

Characters – Dorian Gray is the young man bought back into London, he starts full of innocence but after being guided down certain paths he changes becoming a man that has his youth preserved in a painting that has swapped with his physical body. Lord Henry Wotton is the high society man that takes Dorian down the darker paths, first for his own entertainment but soon fuelling his own jealously.

PerformancesBen Barnes is good as Dorian Gray the forever youthful looking and enjoying life forever. Colin Firth is the gentleman figure here being the mentor and easily being the highlight of the film.

StoryThe Dorian Gray story is a well-known story of the man that never ages while his painting showed the age and harm his body has taken as it slowly starts to consume him. The origin of this does lack the fantasy you would imagine it having and does just feel like a simple look at how high society believed they controlled London. While the story may well follow the original material well it does need some evolution to make the story compelling to the modern audience.

Fantasy/ThrillerThis should be a fantasy filled moment film but we lack anything past the concept of what is happening to Dorian.

SettingsThe settings are old London which look completely fake through the whole sucking us out of the location for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are a let-down in the most part disappointing on nearly every occasion through the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The Deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lacks the final punch.

Final ThoughtsThis should be one of the greatest gothic stories you will ever see, but it lacks all the effects, twists and storytelling to make it.

 

Overall: Disappointing all around.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – Z – Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)

Director: Hiroshi Aoyama, Kazumi Fukushima, Jim Stenstrum

Writer: Davis Boi, Glenn Leopold (Screenplay) William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Scott Innes, Billy West, Mary Kay Bergman, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward, Adrienne Barbeau Tara Strong, Cam Clarke, Jim Cummings, Mark Hamill

 

Plot: The Mystery Gang reunite and visit Moonscar Island, a remote island with a dark secret. Daphne wants more than just a villain in a costume, and they get more than they ever expected.


Tagline – This time, the monsters are real!

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun as Always

 

Story: Scooby Doo on Zombie Island starts as the gang as gone their separate ways, Daphne has become a reporter along with Fred as her producer and is setting out to discover real ghosts, Velma now working in a book story and Shaggy and Scooby work in airport security.

To celebrate Daphne’s birthday the gang come back together to investigate New Orleans, first unsuccessful before they meet Lena a chef on Moonscar Island who brings the gang to Simon Lenoir’s mansion which has a haunted history and it isn’t long before the gang find themselves facing a brand new mystery.

 

Thoughts on Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

 

Characters – We know the gang from before, but this is one of the few animated movies that addresses any sort of career away from the mystery solving antics and a romantic angle between Fred and Daphne. Scooby and Shaggy always getting haunting and searching for their next meal. The suspect list is interesting because we get the home owner Simone who has a mysterious past when it comes to being able to keep the house in a certain style. We have Lena the sexy chef that has a seductive way about her. The gardener Beau that is only ever seen alone or in the aftermath of an incident and Snakebite Scruggs who has been hunting a legendary catfish and hates tourists.

StoryThe story follows the Mystery Inc gang as they have gone into the real world with jobs and careers, they end up coming back together in search for real ghosts with the new mystery being one of the realest they have ever faced. The story does have hints a more adult themes than the television show had ever given us, the mystery being real does seem different and works for a feature film, it does feel like one of the scarier of the stories too.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/MysteryThe adventure the gang find themselves on does feel like one of the scariest in their history, even though the comedy does lighten the mood for the most part, this one will not be for the younger audience though, the horror side will be too much for them to handle, solving the mystery is what we love to do with the gang and what we get to do here.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action on Moonscar Island in New Orleans, a location known for his mysterious sightings and beliefs, this adds to the horror side of the adventure because elements could be based on real stories.

AnimationThe animation standard is what we have come to expect from the Scooby-Doo franchise, everything works well and we get good moments throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
The on running ‘Dog where’ line.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does actually feel like a Daphne movie over the rest of the gang.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the animated Scooby-Doo franchise, while slightly scarier than the rest it does hit the marks needed.

 

Overall: Scooby-Doo fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Never-Ending Story Part II: The Next Chapter (1990)

Director: George Miller

Writer: Karin Howard (Screenplay) Michael Ende (Novel)

Starring: Jonathan Brandis, Kenny Morrison, Clarissa Burt, John Wesley Shipp, Martin Umbach, Alexandra Johnes

 

Plot: A young boy with a distant father enters a world of make-believe and magic through a portal within an antique book.


Tagline – Begin an all new adventure as a young boy returns to a world of wonder on the wings of his imagination.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Addition to the World

 

Story: The Never-Ending Story Part II: The Next Chapter starts as Bastian (Brandis) is back in the real world and struggle to overcome his fears while his father remains distant from him. He returns to the book story where he learns that books are different second time around, which leads him to borrow the Neverending Story again, this time he gets taken into the book, where they need his help in Fantasia again.

With Xayide (Burt) taking over the world, the Childlike Empress (Johnes) is imprisoned and now Atreyu (Morrison) joins Bastian on the quest to save Fantasia and free the Childlike Empress.

 

Thoughts on The Never-Ending Story Part II: The Next Chapter

 

Characters – Bastian still feeling isolated in the real world, resorts back to the Neverending Story, this time he gets taken into the world where he must complete the quest to save the world, his wishes could bring an end to both worlds though. Atreyu is the warrior that joins Bastian, this time he doesn’t seem as strong as last time almost taking second fiddle to Bastian. Xayide is the evil ruler looking to take control of Fantasia by letting Bastian use the wishes to be his undoing.

PerformancesJonathan Brandis does a better job as Bastian this time, this is partly because he is part of the world this time too instead of the character just reading the tale. Kenny Morrison does well with his version of Atreyu, even though he doesn’t get the strong moments the last actor had the chance too. Clarissa Burt fits the beautiful villain eager to rule the land.

StoryThe story plays into the idea that books can be different on the second reading, which shows us how Bastian can go on a second adventure that is different than the last, it might have the same consequences if he doesn’t succeed, but it does show us just where an imagination can go. There is a deeper meaning about needing to not take wishes for granted and is a good continuation to the neverending story world.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure continues this time with Bastian entering the world and the fantasy world needs saving once again, which is why Bastian goes on the adventure.

SettingsThe world looks great again, showing us how the busy lives can be changed once you enter into a book to escape the world you live in.

Special EffectsThe effects are fine, for the time they would have bee considered good, but sadly they have dated in places.


Scene of the Movie –
Giants entrance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Atreyu does seem weaker this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good addition to the world of the Neverending story, it has an important message about wish making, eve if the film ends up following a similar formula.

 

Overall: Good addition to the saga.

Rating