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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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Dawn of the Dead (1978)

dawnDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H Reinigner, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France

 

Plot: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Ultimate Classic Zombie Movie

 

Story: Dawn of the Dead starts as we see the panic of the original outbreak of the zombies where Stephen (Emge) trying to arrange Francine (Ross) to join him in getting out of the town. While they plan their escape police units are planning a bust on building where Roger (Reiniger) and Peter (Foree) form an alliance to escape the undead waves.

The four head off in a helicopter as they get to witness the destruction going on across America. Searching for safety the survivors find themselves coming across a new shopping mall, all locked up with few zombies inside.

Finding the mall has everything they need to survive the four survivors plan to clean out the mall before making it their safety zone as they see the number of zombies grow each day outside the mall.

Dawn of the Dead takes a look at the wave of consumers that took over America with the shopping malls being built which drove people to these malls over the small town business. Think of it like them all acting like zombies being pushed in one direction. This is the big political message behind this film which gets see loud and clear now. I do think this is one of the most interesting and best zombie movies ever made with the fact the group find what is an actual safe place and continue to make it safer for their survival. The special effects as terrifying for the time where we see the zombies take literally bites out of the people like they are pieces of cake.

 

Overall: Easily the greatest zombie film ever put to film.

Rating95

 

 

Superman (1978)

supermanDirector: Richard Donner

Writer: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton (Screenplay) Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster (Creator)

Starring: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, New Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Margot Kidder

 

Plot: An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home’s first and greatest superhero.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Best Early Comic Book Film

 

Story: Superman starts when Jor-El (Brando) fears for this species future on Krypton goes against the wishes of the race and sends his baby son to Earth with preparation to understand the reasons in time. Just in time is appears as Krypton is destroyed.

Arriving on Earth the baby, named Clark is adopted by the Kent family who teach him how to hide his talents from the world, but a growing boy only wants to use his skills to impress. When his Earth father dies, Clark goes on his on quest to find himself only to learn the truth about his past.

Now a man Clark (Reeve) works as a journalist for Perry White (Cooper) where he meets Lois Lane (Kidder). With Clark finding his steps in his daily grind we also meet Lex Luthor (Hackman) living below the city planning his crime of the century and the police are not succeeding in stopping him.

By night Clark Kent becomes Superman keeping the city safe from criminals and accidents becomes a hero for the people. When Lex’s gets a strange a strong dislike towards Superman he targets him searching for the one weakness that will kill him so he can complete his master plan.

 

Thoughts on Superman

 

Characters/PerformanceClark Kent is the social awkward journalist but as soon as he becomes Superman he is strong, confident savoir of the American people. Lex Luthor is always considered one of the best villains in superhero films and having a smart human villain against a powered up hero always makes for interesting reading. Lois doesn’t get the full screen time you would like from her character, the support character add comedy to the film but otherwise not too important to the main story.

Performance wise the Reeve’s was really the best Superman we have had to date with Hackman enjoying the villainous role slightly too much. The rest of the performances are all good for the film we are seeing.stars

StoryWe have seen plenty of origin stories in the superhero genre and even though this one is very long, we don’t meet the actual Superman until about an hour into the film, it pulls you in to understand the conflict Clark must face to become the hero the word needs, he starts with the need to help only for his innocent good nature to become his biggest weakness against Lex Luthor. I do feel like this shows how to do an origin story and it should be looked at by all the directors out there who try too hard to make us want to cheer for their new heroes.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is all fine through the film without being over the top with the biggest piece of action being through the final moments which is good, the adventure shows off the way Superman starts to learn about his destiny.

SettingsEach setting is good without being overused for any moment in the film, we get the traditional big city attempted destruction because we would all care slightly more if we knew what was getting destroyed.

Special EffectsIf you look at the special effects now they look bad but for what they were back then they would have been brilliant.genre

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at how many origin stories we get now, we rarely get to see any that meet this level.

 

Overall: Long but truly one of the best superhero films out there.

Ratingrating

 

 

Summer of Fear (1978)

summerDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Glenn M Benest, Max A Keller (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: Linda Blair, Lee Purcell, Jeremy Slate, Jeff McCracken, Jeff East, Carol Lawrence

 

Plot: A teenage girl’s life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Summer of Fear starts when the Bryant family Peter (East), Leslie (Lawrence), Tom (Slate) and Rachel (Blair) taking in Julia (Purcell) a cousin whose family is killed in a car crash. Rachel tries to be open to helping her cousin feel welcome but for unknown reason Rachel’s horse has taken a dislike to become a danger towards Julia as we start to see things becoming difficult for Rachel.

Rachel becomes obsessed that Julia is trying to take over her life, with first the horse being moved away and then when her boyfriend starts having a fling with her while she is coincidentally sick at the same time. Rachel believes Julia is using witchcraft to make things go her way and must uncover the truth before it is too late.

Summer of Fear brings us into the world where a perfect little world slow gets bought down by a new member to the family, we have seen this before with the likes of Step-Father. It all unfolds slowly and just doesn’t pull you in as much as it should do. You don’t really believe most of what is going on and you really don’t see any of the powers until the final act which only really disappoints.

 

Actor Review

 

Linda Blair: Rachel has the perfect life, boyfriend and champion horse, everything changes when her cousin Julia comes to stay though. Rachel loses her perfect life along with her beloved horse as she becomes the victim of the witchcraft being performed by Julia. Linda disappoints in this role and never really comes off as believable.

Lee Purcell: Julia is the cousin of Rachel whose family got killed in a car crash, she moves in the Bryant family where she starts taking over Rachel’s life with her witchcraft. Lee comes off well without really doing too much until the end.

Jeremy Slate: Tom is the brother of Rachel who takes an attraction to his cousin which soon turns into protection as he becomes mesmerized by her spell. Jeremy gives us a solid but basic supporting performance.

Jeff McCracken: Mike is Rachel’s boyfriend to start with as well as the horse trainer, when Julia ends up coming into the lives he takes a shine to her getting caught under her spell. Jeff also only gives a basic supporting performance with nothing memorable happening.

Support Cast: Summer of Fear has a basic supporting cast that really doesn’t do enough to help the final story.

Director Review: Wes CravenWes shows he was going onto bigger things but this isn’t one of his highlights.

 

Horror: Summer of Fear has basic use of horror but not enough for the direction of this film.

Thriller: Summer of Fear tries to keep us guessing to where the film will go but never drags us in enough.

Settings: Summer of Fear uses basic settings with only the driving location being the main highlight.
Special Effects
: Summer of Fear uses very basic effects when we finally see them in the final act.

Suggestion: Summer of Fear is one to watch to complete the Craven collection but otherwise it is one that is avoidable. (Craven Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Horse scene looks great.

Worst Part: Too slow.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Step-father

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Tonight, the world premiere of a chilling story of witchcraft, demons and the supernatural!

 

Overall: Slow thriller that forgets to use the horror side of the story

Ratingcard

Magic (1978)

logoDirector: Richard Attenborough

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) William Goldman (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. Andre, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers

 

Plot: A ventriloquist is at the mercy of his vicious dummy while he tries to renew a romance with his high school sweetheart.

 

Verdict: Killer Dummy?

 

Story: We start by seeing how a young wanna be magician recounts his tale of how his first attempt at performing goes completely wrong leading him to snap at the audience. One year later everything has changed, he has worked on his act to include a dummy and now he is on the verge of becoming a major sensation. After the network want him to have a medical he decides to spend some time away from the limelight and tries to rekindle a romance with an old love. All this is happening as the dummy starts to take over his life.

This shows how fame could end up breaking someone as we see our hero slowly start to break with his multiple personalities coming through as his dummy. The dummy ends up being his dark side that is almost tired of everything not going his way next to his mild calm good guy. It uses the idea of a creepy dummy really well because even though you know who the voice and who is controlling him it still has that high level or pure creepiness. In the end it comes off as a very interesting look psychological horror that keeps you guessing. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Anthony Hopkins: Corky Withers our young magician turned ventriloquist who is going to hit it big time, but when his dummy starts to take over his life things start to take a sour turn. Anthony shows why he is one of the best in the business by shining from start to finish. (9/10)

 hopkins

Ann-Margret: Peggy Ann Snow the object of Corky’s affection who he wants to run away but her commitments to her husband could stand in his way. Ann-Margret gives a good performance opposite Hopkins. (7/10)

 

Burgess Meredith: Ben Greene Corky’s agent who is trying to give him a deal of a lifetime and finds him after he runs away, he is the first person to see how Corky is changing and offers help. Burgess gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough time to shine. (6/10)

 

Ed Lauter: Duke Peggy’s husband who questions both after he returns from a business trip, he gets very suspicious but his curiosity will get the best off him. Ed gives a solid performance but never pulls of anything stand out. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: We only see any support cast early in the film who are mainly other people in the entertainment business or hecklers.

 

Director Review: Richard Attenborough – Richard does a great job directing a truly creepy film starring a pre-Hannibal Lecter Hopkins and he gets the dark side out of him perfectly. (9/10)

 

Horror: It is creepy but never reaches any real horror levels. (7/10)

Settings: After Corky runs away he ends up in an isolated location with no easy escape where he starts to break as the film unfolds. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, Hopkins gives a brilliant performance but it might not show enough horror for the true horror fans. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hopkins is brilliant

Worst Part: Lack of real horror.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA.

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto chango, and now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun; we’re dead.

Trivia: Upon seeing Fats for the first time, Anthony Hopkins was allowed to take the doll home to work with it. However, he wound up being so unnerved by it that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw Fats into the canyon if someone didn’t come and get the doll immediately. Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins’ house to calm him down.

 

Overall: Creepy Horror Questioning One Man’s Mind

Rating 71