ABC Film Challenge – Animation – B – The Black Cauldron (1985)

Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich

Writer: David Jonas, Vance Gerry, Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Al Wilson, Roy Morita, Peter Young, Art Stevens, Joe Hale (Screenplay) Lloyd Alexander (Novel)

Starring: (voice talents) Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Arthur Malet, John Byner

 

Plot: A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.


Tagline – Magic twelve years in the making. Magic that will live forever.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dark Fantasy Animation

 

Story: The Black Cauldron starts as we meet young pig farmer Taran, who has been getting trained to take over the care of Hen Wen a pig that is the only creature on Earth that knows the location of the Black Cauldron, the place where the evil Horned King can regain his power.

When the King learns that Hen Wen knows the locations he goes in search of the pig, which leads Taran to go on an adventure across the fantasy world to stop the Horned King regaining his power and bringing a new era of terror across the land.

 

Thoughts on The Black Cauldron

 

Characters – Taran is the traditional Disney reluctantly hero, he was a small pig farmer that goes on an adventure to fulfil his destiny by stopping the evil and bringing together a group off unlikely characters. Eilonwy is the princess that joins the adventure, her care free attitude helps along the way and makes for a strong character than we think. The Horned King is the ruler trying to gain his power to take over the land and will do anything to make sure he has this power. These characters are the by the book for this genre and don’t becoming anything overly memorable.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely hero that goes on an adventure to hopeful save the fantasy world from an evil ruler. This does follow the idea of bringing unlikely friends together on the adventure and does become very dark for a Disney movie, but does follow the whole traditional ideas we have come to know.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/HorrorThe action goes hand in hand with the adventure as we see how the characters must work together to win and battles with the use of the fantasy world, there are elements of horror too because of certain chase sequences and events that happen around the Cauldron.

SettingsThe settings take us on the adventure fantasy world that you could see in any of these movies, which is fine for me.

AnimationThe time this movie was made, you would think this is good high standard for the time.


Scene of the Movie –
Final moments.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too dark for a Disney animation.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good fantasy adventure that follows everything you need it to, but will be too dark for the younger audience.

 

Overall: Very dark animation from the Disney brand.

Rating

 

 

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Chorus Line (1985)

This is a movie I got to watch from a special Park Circus Cinema showing in my local theatre.

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: Arnold Schulman (Screenplay) James Kirkwood Jr, Nicholas Dante (Book)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Terrence Mann, Michael Blevins

 

Plot: Hopefuls try out before a demanding director for a part in a new musical.


Tagline – One singular sensation

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Musical

 

Story: Chorus Line starts as the latest Broadway musical is casting the chorus line, director Zach (Douglas) and his choreographer Larry (Mann) have 100s of hopefuls that want this big break. We see scores of auditions going on with the numbers whittled down to 16 hopefuls, 8 women and 8 men, with former star of the show Cassie (Reed) trying to get Zach to give her a chance to audition.

We watch how the hopefuls must prove their quality to Zach so they can be in this latest show, we see how they have come from different backgrounds with their own motives for going into this field.

 

Thoughts on Chorus Line

 

Characters – Zach is the director of the show, he needs perfection and knows what he is looking for, he pushes the auditions to the limits, but gives them the motivation they need to improve for their next audition. Larry plays the nice guy, he will put his arm around anyone that needs help, to deal with the short tempered Zach, he has worked with people like this for years and knows the weakness they can hold. Cassie was once Zack’s top dancer, when things have changed she wants to return to be just one of the chorus line, a direction Zack doesn’t believe she should go in.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is now the biggest name in this movie, he does stand out because of his role as the director showing the calmness when looking out for the dancers, but the strictness while putting them back in their place. Terrence Mann is strong in this role too, we see just how important this is to his character. When it comes to the dancers they are all great through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us the routine a group of dancers must go through to try and make an impact on Broadway, we see how they have come from different background with a common dream to break the moulds of what is the normal. The whole film takes place over the one day of auditions which show how the process must go through to be selected and we are left to feel their stories and desperation to make an impact.

MusicalThe musical numbers are enjoyable through the film, with a number of the performers having their own song to make them stand out.

SettingsThe film takes place on just the Broadway location, where we see the performers on the stage, this is nice because we clearly see how this could be a live performance too.


Scene of the Movie –
Paul’s story.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We have slightly too many performers to whittle down for duration.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good musical, that translates well to screen and to the stage, we have good performance and good songs too.

 

Overall: Musical for all the fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Cocoon (1985)

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Tom Benedek (Screenplay) David Saperstein (Story)

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton

 

Plot: When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigour.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Cocoon starts as we enter the retirement home where Art (Ameche), Ben (Brimley), Joe (Cronyn) and Bernie (Gilford) like to sneak off to the neighbouring abandoned property for swimming, but when Walter (Dennehy) and his cousins rent the property they lose their hide away.

When it turns out Walter and his family are aliens, the guys from the retirement home get to continue using the swimming pool which seems to cure their illness and making them young once again giving them a new lease for life but how long can this last.

 

Thoughts on Cocoon

 

Characters – Art, Ben and Joe are the three retirement home guests that enjoy breaking the rules swimming in the neighbour’s pool but when new neighbours rent the place they start to become younger again leading to their friendship being tested as they need to learn to keep the secret. Walter is the leader of the aliens that is trying to save the few that we left behind all those years ago, he wants peace and quiet but is willing to let the guys use the pool.

PerformanceThe performances from the whole cast are great, be it the retirement home guys, the aliens or younger folk. The whole cast comes together to make this a film about uniting as one.

StoryThe story here shows us how elderly people in retirement homes do want to continue their lives like how they used too, we also see how not all aliens are bad they just come in peace. We do get to see how people can get affected by being given a chance at the fountain of youth and how this gives people the wrong idea of how to act if they were given this chance. overall the story shows us that people are going to take advantage of a chance to youth or death they will get carried away.

Sci-FiThe sci-fi side of this film brings us the into the world where aliens do exist but in peace which is a nice swap for what we are used too.

SettingsThe retirement home setting takes us to a location we don’t see often in this genre, it shows us the unity between the residents as they take their risks to remain young.

Special EffectsThe effects for the time were fantastic and to be honest they have barely aged a day while watching for the first time in 2017.

Scene of the Movie – The full breakout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The carers are a bit shit.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time classic sci-fi films, it has heart, aliens and a story that shows how people should be treating each other.

 

Overall: Wonderful sci-fi experience.

Rating

 

 

Weird Science (1985)

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson, Robert Downey Jr

 

Plot: Two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 80’s Teen Comedy Fun

 

Story: Weird Science starts as we meet our two social outcasts high school students Gary Wallace (Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Mitchell-Smith) who tired of being shunned by the girls at school, decide to build their perfect woman on a computer. This creates their perfect woman, Lisa (LeBrock) who they gave intelligence to go with her sexiness.

Lisa shows the boys a good time as well as teaching them to stand up for themselves be it Wyatt over his military school brother Chet (Paxton) or Gary when it comes to talking to woman. The two boys learn so much from Lisa so they will be ready for the real world.

 

Thoughts on Weird Science

 

Characters/PerformanceGary is the slightly more confident of the two boys, he stays positive through all the bad things that have happened to the two, but he can get them in trouble too. Wyatt is the constantly worrying of the two, he is the computer whiz that does the technical side of creating Lisa. Lisa is the created woman that finds a way to bring out the best in the boys as she is a free spirit that will let the boys see the new vision on life.

Performance wise, Hall was one of the go to teen stars of the time and this shows why he was great in these geek like roles, Mitchel-Smith was also good through the film too showing he could handle the teen comedy genre. Kelly LeBrock fits the role perfectly looking the part needed for the sexy woman the boys couldn’t understand.

StoryThe story does follow two nerds that don’t fit in getting shown the way to fit in by just being themselves rather than trying to impress others. This story fits into the 80 style of storytelling with an over the top idea into a fantasy film.

Comedy/Romance/Sci-FiThe comedy clicks for the time even if some moments do come off dated in places with the romance being teen romance which is all fine and the sci-fi comes from being able to create your own woman.

SettingsThe settings show us the different environment Gary and Wyatt must go into to fit in as well as keeping the home comfortable for them.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to 80s film this will must go down as one of the best, parts have dated now but this still does what teen comedies should do throughout.

 

Overall: Classic 80s teen comedy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Day of the Dead (1985)

dayDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr, Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar

 

Plot: A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion to Trilogy

 

Story: Day of the Dead starts by taking us to the world now completely over run with zombies as we follow a group of survivors including Sarah (Cardille), John (Alexander), Miguel (Dileo Jr) and Rhodes (Pilato) who are hiding out in an underground military bunker.

We see the tensions rising early on between the military side and the scientific side within the bunker as Dr ‘Frankenstein’ Logan (Liberty) has been working finding out more about the zombies. When the tensions reach boiling point we see the base breakdown much like how we have become familiar with through the series of films.

Day of the Dead was set to be the final part of the original trilogy and it continues to bring us further into the world overrun by zombies. This time we don’t get any build up to who these characters are but we know the relationship between the two different minds has been strained to the limits, this is a huge plus because too often we spend time having to meet characters and work out their relationships. Another interesting plus to this film is the concept behind trying to teach the zombies as we look into the idea they will be learning from what has been happening. This might well be the weakest of the three films but it does have one of the most iconic scenes with Bud the zombie using the gun.

 

Overall: This is the weakest off the three but still a classic in it own right.

Rating80