ABC Film Challenge – Animation – W – Watership Down (1978)

Director: Martin Rosen

Writer: Martin Rosen (Screenplay) Richard Adams (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox, John Bennett, Ralph Richardson, Simon Cadell

 

Plot: A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home.


Tagline – All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you… but first they must catch you.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disturbing Animation

 

Story: Watership Down starts when young rabbits Hazel and Fiver start to believe something is wrong with their warren a danger coming that will kill them all. Wanting to warm the warren, they see the chief rabbit, who dismisses their claims, forcing the rabbits to abandon the warren going against the traditions.

Hazel leads a group of rabbits across the English countryside in search for a new warren, where they must face enemies in nearly every turn in their journey.

 

Thoughts on Watership Down

 

Characters – Hazel is our brave leader rabbit, he knows how to handle the different rabbits in the warren and will always look after his little brother and follow his belief danger is coming to the warren. He is our reluctant hero of the story. Fiver is the rut of the litter, he sees danger coming to the warren wanting to leave and guide his fellow rabbits to safety. He is a nervous member of the group, with his belief guiding the rabbits to safety. Bigwig is the only authority in the rabbit council that will listen to Hazel, risking his own life to help them escape.

StoryThe story here has a couple of meanings, we can tackle the simple idea of a group of rabbits needing to find a new home because they are in fear of their current one, the journey side of everything it what you would expect and works wonderfully. The second side of this story looks and plays as a warning to humans that are taking wildlife’s homes away from them forcing them into the hostel nature towards each other.

Adventure/Family/ThrillerThe adventure does take our rabbits across the countryside, needing to take on and avoid new enemies waiting to make a meal out of them. The biggest weakness is seeing this as a family film, it is way to violent for the younger kids. It does however leave you on edge of your seats through the peril moments.

SettingsThe settings look at the English countryside which looks beautiful, we do go into the warrens too which shows the lives the rabbits live underground.

AnimationThe animation through the film adds to everything, it looks brilliant for the late 70s and while certain moment are slightly trippy, it is an achievement in film making.


Scene of the Movie –
Bright Eyes

That Moment That Annoyed Me The television version is edited way too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that gave me nightmares as a child, it does have an important message to mankind while also having an adventure story that is filled with perils around nearly every corner.

 

Overall: Dark animated movie.

Rating

 

 

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Willow (1988)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Bob Dolman (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach

 

Plot: A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.


Tagline – A world where heroes come in all sizes and adventure is the greatest magic of all

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

 

Story: Willow starts as Queen Bavmorda (Marsh) whose evil rule has been hunting for a baby that will one day kill her and end her reign. When the baby is snuck out of her kingdom she ends up floating down the river the dwarf village where Willow (Davis) reluctantly takes her in, but only ends up needing to leave his village to delivery her to a rightful owner.

Willow must team up with lone warrior Madmartigan (Kilmer) to get the baby to safety, with half the kingdom seemingly after them, the true power of the magic inside is about to be released.

 

Thoughts on Willow

 

Characters – Willow is a dwarf farmer that reluctantly agrees to help a baby get to safety, he must go on an adventure unlike anything he has been on before, he will finally get to see if his years of training will unlock his sorcerer ability. Madmartigan claims to be the greatest swordsman in the land, but has been trapped escaping enemies while reluctantly joining Willow on the mission to save the baby. Sorsha is the daughter of the Queen, leading the party to capture the baby, which soon changes when she meets Madmartigan. Queen Bavmorda is the evil ruler of the land and knows the only way to stay in control is to make sure her prophecy doesn’t come true.

PerformancesWarwick Davis is the star of the movie, he must keep his innocence while showing strength through the film. Val Kilmer gets plenty of laughs showing that he could handle both the action and comedy through this film, this showed us just what sort of career we could have seen from him. Joanne Whalley does a good job with what she has but doesn’t get too much time to show u her skills, the same goes for Jean Marsh because we don’t get enough screen time for the evil queen.

StoryThe story is an unlikely hero needing to go on a quest to save the kingdom he lives in from the reign of terror it could fall into under the Queen and her armies. The story does put our hero needing to overcome his own fears, become the strong figure he has been trying to become. It does have moment of fairy tale behaviour but doesn’t reach the levels of the previous years film, ‘The Princess Bride’. This is one that can be enjoyed by all the fantasy fans out there.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy The action is battle sequences which are fun and play out for the characters to get their moments to redeem themselves. The adventure takes Willow on the unlikely adventure for the good of the kingdom while also using his desired magic abilities in the fantasy world.

SettingsThe settings take us to a land of wizard, witches and creatures that could be a threat. It is basic, but it works for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Snow time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Would have liked more of the Sorsha character.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun adventure movie, it sums up the 80’s style with how it unfolds. This is one to enjoy the ride.

 

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

Wheelman (2017)

Director: Jeremy Rush

Writer: Jeremy Rush (Screenplay)

Starring: Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, Garret Dillahunt, Wendy Moniz, Shea Whigman

 

Plot: A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.


Tagline – Think Fast. Drive Faster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Real-Time Action Film

 

Story: Wheelman starts when the latest job for the man only known as Wheelman (Grillo), he gets to and from the robberies and is one of the best in the business. When the job is being done, Wheelman gets a phone call warning him that the crew will kill him after the job, forcing him to make the decision on whether to leave the crew or not.

Leaving the crew Wheelman is stuck in the middle of trying to figure out who he should trust, who to give the money to and how to stay alive this night.

 

Thoughts on Wheelman

 

Characters – Wheelman is our central character, he is every scene, we know he is an ex-con trying to keep some custody for his daughter, he is on his latest job, which doesn’t go as planned, leaving him needing to figure out what he has gotten himself into. Most of the characters come through phone calls, one being his connection, another being his daughter and two being either side of the arguments.

PerformancesFrank Grillo in the leading role carries the film, if he gave us a bad performance we would be seeing a very different movie, he feels like he could be a lead in any action crime film. the rest of the cast are mostly on the phone with the odd scene, so it is hard to judge their work.

StoryThe story is simple, a driver finds himself in the middle of a mob war when he is involved in a bank robbery, he must use his driving skills to keep ahead of the game as he looks to figure out who is the side to trust. This does keep us guessing along the way which does keep us invested in where things will go.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is good car chases, we watch them unfold from the lead car which we stay in through the whole film, the shows us where the crime has taken place and the mystery surrounding who to trust.

SettingsThe film is set from with the car around the city, most views are car views of the city which is nice, we see what the driver sees.


Scene of the Movie –
Losing the tail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can feel like the same after seeing the first chase.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good action film to watch if you have the time, it won’t challenge you much, but will keep you entertained throughout.

 

Overall: Action film fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – W – Welcome to the Jungle (2003)

Director: Peter Berg

Writer: R.J. Stewart, James Vanderbilt (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries

 

Plot: A tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster’s son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure.


Tagline – Bulls, guns, whips, gold and one sacred cat

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Blast!

 

Story: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we meet debt collecting enforcer Beck (Johnson) that is working to get buy his own restaurant. Getting pushed to his limits he gets offered one last job, he must travel to the Amazon to bring back his bosses son Travis (Scott) and his dream of chasing El Dorado.

In Brazil Beck finds Travis and believes this job is going to be easy until the owner of the land Hatcher (Walken) that wants the information Travis has in his head, which leads Travis and Beck needing to put their differences a side to make it out alive.

 

Thoughts on Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – Beck is a debt collector, he can find anyone and handles himself in a fight, being able to take on multiple enemies, he does want out of this world and dreams of having his own restaurant, he must do one final job which will put his outside his comfort zone and taking on an army forcing him to resort to guns, the weapon he doesn’t want to be using. Travis is the son of the boss that employees Beck, he has been treasure hunting in Brazil in the middle of a battle between ruler Hatcher and the rebels looking for freedom, he is wise cracking which has lead to him finding himself in trouble more often than not. Beck and Travis work well as they are different on many levels with their bickering offering the laughs, but they are both dreamers in their own way too. Mariana is the bar tender in the town, she keeps both sides in peace while watching as her town gets pushed around. Hatcher is the owner of the town, well he claims to be, he is working the residents into slavery searching for gold that he can make money, he will do anything to make his fortune.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson was still making his first few steps in movies with this role and you can see all the potential he had in the action genre, he shines like always in the fight sequences and while moments of his performance were still in need of work, you can see what he was working towards. Seann William Scott was fresh off the American Pie franchise and one of the hottest comical actors, this showed us that he knew the moments to go that little bit crazy and the moments to hold back, he does have great chemistry with Johnson too. Rosario Dawson is good in her role, but it does end up not being as strong of a character as it should have been while Christopher Walken enjoys his role as the villain, where he gets to break loose and have some fun.

StoryThe story here plays out like one we have seen before, an enforcer for a criminal wants to do one last job before leaving the business behind, only this time it will be the most dangerous one of his career. This is a by the book story it works and plays into the comedy needed between the lead two characters while also offering us the fish out of water routine for the organised professional. We have elements of a treasure hunt which are fun to watch too. It would be fair to say this story is an easy to follow film that gets the kicks it needs without being anything too complicated.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action plays into the hands of Dwayne Johnson’s talents, plenty of combat sequences and the use of weapons to increase the peril level, the adventure takes Beck out of his comfort zone to deal with the battle he is about to face. The comedy for the film comes from the bickering between Travis and Beck.

SettingsThe film takes place in Brazil for the most part, the Amazon to be more exact, this proves to be uncomfortable for Beck that is used to being in the cities, this adds comedy and unexpected moments to the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well, not needed often but the team creates good moments when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts are not subtitled, which is annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fun action blast that puts Dwayne Johnson in the position of action hero, a position he will carry for years to come, it had good laughs throughout and action sequences that are fun to watch.

 

Overall: Action movie fans will enjoy this one.

Rating

 

 

Wishmaster (1997)

Director: Robert Kurtzman

Writer: Peter Atkins (Screenplay)

Starring: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund, Chris Lemmon, Wendy Benson-Landes

 

Plot: A demonic djinn attempts to grant its owner three wishes, which will allow him to summon his brethren to earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Horror Fantasy

 

Story: Wishmaster starts when artefact collector Raymond Beaumont’s (Englund) latest piece arrives but is damaged with a gem finding itself way into the trade markets. When expert Alexandra Amberson (Lauren) learns that something isn’t right about the gem, she finds herself receiving whisper like messages about releasing something from the stone.

When the Djinn (Divoff) starts lurking in the shadows waiting for people to give them his wishes so he can grant them, anything including murder, but Alex feels all of these deaths as the power the Djinn has grows. Alex must learn the power of the stone while Djinn powers himself up as he searches for the one who freedom Alex.

 

Thoughts on Wishmaster

 

Characters – Alexandra is an expert in the analysing of gems but when she releases the Djinn and must gain the knowledge to prevent him from gaining the power to take over the world, we don’t learn too much about what he job is but it does give her connection that can help her along the way. The Djinn is the Wishmaster that once released listens for people’s wishes or desires and makes them happen but not in the way the people would imagine. He does like to play on the words people say to have creative ways of getting rid of the people. Raymond Beaumont is a collector that has been building a collection of all the ancient Gods, he is the one that brings the statue that contains the gem to America.

PerformanceTammy Lauren is a good lead but you do see stronger performance in the similar created characters. Andrew Divoff makes for a menacing villain through the film controlling when needed too. Robert Englund is good in what is a different role for him where he isn’t a villainous character in a horror film.

StoryThe idea that an ancient God can come back granting wishes to release his own power of the Earth is a nice touch, on the three wishes idea how the Djinn can re-word what you say into the nightmare is very clever trying to teach people to be careful what they ask for. This does follow a formula but does disappoint as we only seem to meet a lot of characters just to be victims of the wishes showing the weakness the human spirit can have.

Fantasy/HorrorThe idea of a mystical figure that can create wishes that only turn into nightmares is a very good use of the horror fantasy genres.

SettingsThe settings are not the most important or noticeable part of this film, which disappoints in places.

Special EffectsThe effects do look good for a film that is 20 plus years old, the film did become creative with some of the kills too.

Scene of the Movie – You would have to go through me.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many disposable characters we don’t learn enough about.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good film that does seem to grow in quality as the film unfolds to being something you just want to watch until the end.

 

Overall: Good little horror fantasy

Rating