Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

Rating

 

 

Trolls (2016)

trollsDirector: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell

Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Erica Rivinoja (Screenplay) Thomas Dam (Good Luck Trolls)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooe Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani

 

Plot: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Animated Story

 

Story: Trolls starts with the Trolls living a happy life but the Bergens discover them and learn that eating a troll will make them happy. On the grand day of Prince Gristle is to be feed his first troll the Trolls escape to rebuild their society.

20 years later Princess Poppy continues the stories of how they escaped and continue to be positive with single and dancing but on troll Branch doesn’t believe they will ever be safe from the Bergens.

When the Bergens find the trolls Princess Poppy must team up with Branch to save the taken trolls from the Bergen and save the day.

 

Thoughts on Trolls

 

StoryThe story feels like it could just be another episode of the Smurfs really because it is about a small group of creatures Trolls that get taken by bigger creatures Bergens that want to eat them. Everything that goes on through the is generic with the reluctant hero having to work with the overly cheerful character to beat a villain that is using the royal figure to get what they want. This all works for keeping things simple without being anything overly original.

Animation/Comedy/Family/MusicalThe animation is all good and works for the world of toy trolls but the comedy misses on most levels but would work for the young audience. I don’t feel this has enough for all ages but the musical songs used will bring back memories for the fans of the music of people’ youths.

Characters/PerformancePoppy is your typical heroine for this style of film plucky and over ambitious while Branch is your reluctant hero. The villains all come off like Gargamel from Smurfs while the others feel like mis-lead over the years. The choice of Kendrick and Timberlake in the lead singer characters does work because know they are great singers.

SettingsThe settings all would be what you would expect from the world of Trolls with nothing else coming off too exceptional.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good film to stick on for the kids to enjoy but otherwise it will be hard to get through.

 

Overall: Easy to watch kids distraction film.

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La La Land (2016)

lalaDirector: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

 

Plot: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Fairy Tale of the Big City

 

Story: La La Land starts as we see aspiring actress Mia (Stone) dreaming off getting out of her coffee job and becoming a star, even if she keeps getting rejected in her audition. We also meet Sebastian (Gosling) a jazz musician who is one of the final lovers of the original art in a world that is modernising the style forgetting the magic jazz had on people.

When the two keep clashing it starts with a case of try to get one over each other between the two before it turned into flirting and sparks fly. Both searching for a way to make their dream come true they both take different paths to find it motivating each other two rise to the occasion. This is all singing, all dancing road to following your own dreams.

 

Thoughts on La La Land

 

StoryThe story here shines through as it pushes you to follow your dreams and not want to let them become compromised for anything. We see how both motivate to chase the dreams which are both old fashioned in the modern world of both Hollywood and Jazz. I did like the style of the story telling going over the four seasons showing how times in the relationship are changing. The story will leave you with a smile on your face.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy going on in this movie is placed just when you need it without taking over the film. The main attraction of this film is the romantic angle which feels fresh and modern with everything that happens. The musical side isn’t as heavy as I was expecting but has all the elements of beautiful songs fitting each situation.

Characters/PerformanceMia represents all the aspiring actresses that struggle to get that first role that could make them, Sebastian is a musician that dreams of being able to listen and play the purest form of jazz, both these characters could easily be relatable if you are a fan of the subjects the way they are. Emma Stone gives what is easily her best performance of her career and I feel is also above Gosling who again is also brilliant. When you consider the supporting cast we don’t get enough from them to reach the levels of these two.

SettingsThe backdrop of Hollywood makes this film feel like the fairy tale Hollywood can be for anybody dreaming of making it in the city of dreams.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the films of the year, original, feel good and charming, one that everyone can enjoy.

 

Overall: The true film of the year contender.

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August Rush (2007)

august-rushDirector: Kirsten Sheridan

Writer: Nick Castle, James V Hart (Screenplay) Paul Castro, Nick Castle (Story)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler, Marian Seldes

 

Plot: A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Fantasy Drama

 

Story: August Rush starts as we meet Evan Taylor (Highmore) a young boy at an orphanage who believes in the music to life as he dreams of finding his long lost parents. We flashback to the night Evan’s parents Lyla (Russell) a member of an orchestra and Louis (Meyers) a rocker from England.

Evan is determined to find out about his parents and sets out on an adventure with music guiding him to learn just who his parents really were. On his adventure Evan meets Wizard (Williams) who has been guarding other orphans in the big city who all have dreams of becoming musicians on their own and it is here where Evan learns to play the music he has only ever heard before.

August Rush plays into the idea music can bring everyone together regardless of the style it is always about just how it is played. We get to see how you can regret moments in life but the ones that are most important are were always meant to be. We get a story that shows us all how you can believe in your own dreams no matter who stands in your way. We also get a great performance from Freddie Highmore along with great performances from the supporting cast. This a film that went right under the radar and does deserve the time to go out and watch.

 

Overall: Delightful story that can be watched by all the dreamers out there.

Rating75

 

 

Moana (2016)

moanaDirector: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams

Writer: Jared Bush (Screenplay) Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Auli’I Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

 

Plot: In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of Their Best

 

Story: Moana starts with the ancient tale of Chieftain’s heart that could give life and who Maui stole the heart with the ability to transform with his magical fishhook but when others leave Maui defeat and both the heart and fishhook lost forever. This is a story for Moana and her people where she is destiny to follow in her father’s footsteps and become the Chief of their people.

Desperate to help her people Moana risks her own life to search for a new fishing location but only finds the dark side of the ocean before her grandmother also known as the crazy lady on the island shows Moana the final secret of her people and that is Moana’s destiny, to restore the heart of Chieftain to restore the peace within the waters with the help of the one that disturbed the peace in the first place the demi-god Maui.

Moana is an adventure family comedy that brings us the next Disney leading female character that is part princess but not in the love angle. This is huge plus because we are tired of the princess stories now. The story focuses on believing in yourself be it for your people or that the stories about yourself are not what are going to define you. The fallen hero side to Maui is excellently done to go opposite the soon to be chief character makes for an unusual partnership but one that works on the levels needed.

It wouldn’t be a Disney animation without wonderful songs and this is now different but I can’t help but find myself not getting them stuck in my head like others (Let it Go, for example) and I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. ‘I Am Moana’ is easily the headline song from the film and captures the character perfectly though.

Going into the characters with the voices behind them now Auli’I gives an amazing performance as Moana with her beautiful singing voice and of course we need to talk about the biggest name in the film Dwayne Johnson and Maui who again is brilliant in his role where he nails the singing and charisma the character needs. We do get great comic relief from a mix of Heihei the chicken and Pua the piglet but otherwise this is a very grounded film that doesn’t introduce too many characters.

Disney could have restored the magic it has been losing with certain recent releases and this sure as hell gets back to what once made them great enjoy the songs, the story, the adventure for it will be special.

 

Overall: Disney is back and with a boom, move over lazy Pixar sequels the original masterminds are back.

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