ABC Film Challenge – Animation – E – The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)

Director: Mark Dindal

Writer: David Reynolds (Screenplay) Chris Williams, Mark Dindal (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Patrick Warburton, Wendie Malick

 

Plot: Emperor Kuzco is turned into a llama by his ex-administrator Yzma, and must now regain his throne with the help of Pacha, the gentle llama herder.


Tagline – Mingin’!

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: There is a Deeper Story Here

 

Story: The Emperor’s New Groove starts as we meet Emperor Kuzco who has been turned into a llama by Yzma who is trying to take over the Emperor’s jobs, which leads him to fire her, as he looks to demolish a local village where Pachu the llama farmer lives.

When Kuzco is left to go with Pachu, he must find a way to return to his human form, reclaim his thrown and learn the true message of being an Emperor.

 

Thoughts on The Emperor’s New Groove

 

Characters – Kuzco is the young Emperor that gets turned into a llama, he craves power and popularity, leaving him to not care about who he steps on to get what he wants. He must learn to treat his people with respect and become the emperor for his land. Pacha is the quiet llama farmer, head to the village, that wants to stop his village being destroyed and reluctantly agrees to help Kuzco to return to his throne. Yzma is the evil adviser that wants to power and will kill Kuzco to get this.

StoryThe story focuses on an Emperor that needs to learn that he doesn’t need to be selfish to be a strong leader to his people by growing up. We get the usual ideas being used here where nothing comes off overly original and more of the story plays into the stand-up comics routines over telling a story. you do feel like there should have been a deeper story being used more often through the film over the jokes.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure put two unlikely people needing to get through a jungle back to safety, which is told through jokes too often, the family could get certain laughs but he adults will not enjoy them as much.

SettingsThe settings don’t seem to show us which country Kuzco is the ruler off, with the random jungle having random animals in.

AnimationThe animation works well for the time it was made, but doesn’t feel as strong as possible.


Scene of the Movie –
Bridge breaking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animated film that could keep the kids happy for an hour, it isn’t on the highest levels of animation or storytelling.

 

Overall: Basic animation.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – P – Perfect Storm (2000)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: William D Wittliff (Screenplay) Sebastian Junger (Book)

Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C Reilly, Diane Lane, William Fichtner, John Hawkes, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Allen Payne

 

Plot: An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sea Worthy Disaster Adventure

 

Story: The Perfect Storm starts as Captain Billy Tyne (Clooney) has been hitting a dry patch when it comes to his boats fishing quota. Determined to turn this around Billy takes his crew Bobby (Wahlberg), Murph (Reilly), Sully (Fichtner), Bugsy (Hawkes) and Alfred (Payne) out again further than normal but also to a location which should have larger number of fish.

As the crew hit the ocean get go further than before, but they catch more than they could imagine, the problem they now face is getting home, which includes going through a hurricane the size no one has seen before.

 

Thoughts on The Perfect Storm

 

Characters/PerformanceCaptain Billy Tyne is a once successful fisherman but his luck has dried up, determined to turn it around he takes his crew out further than normal risking their lives. Bobby is the younger member of the crew who loves the adventure at sea but his girlfriend wants him to start a less risky job, this could be his last mission to sea. Murph is the divorced father that is dealing with the idea is son isn’t going to be seeing him as often as he would like to. Sully is the newest crew member, he seems difficult to work with but also loyal to the end and one of the best fishermen in own. We do also have the remaining crew who are loyal, other boats that get trapped in the storm, Linda Greenlaw a fellow fisherwoman that knows how capable Billy is and finally Christina, Bobby’s girl that waits for him back home.

Performance wise, Clooney shows here that he was ready to start being taken seriously by Hollywood here, we also get a good performance from Wahlberg here too, we also have a supporting cast we can always rely on to give us brilliant performance and they know their importance to the film.

StoryThe story is based on the true events of the 1991 hurricanes that hit off the coast of America, we follow the fishing boat primary but we do also have the coastguards being followed as they look to rescue other boats which at times does take away from the characters we get to have a good time meeting in the opening sequence of the film. away from that we get to see how the main boat must decide whether to stay safe or risk it all be going through the storm.

Action/AdventureThe action sequences through the storm are brilliant, they put us in complete location with the crew dealing with every single up and down they must face. The adventure shows us what the men must overcome to return home.

SettingsThe film is set all at sea which is fine because it is about the fishing boat that needs to battle the storm to make it home, but this makes us feel like we are in the middle of this adventure through the whole film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to make each and every scene look realistic and still do till this day.

Final ThoughtsOne of the films that shows us just how people will fight through storms to make money and how mother nature will not always be one your side.

 

Overall: Edge of your seat action thriller.

Rating

 

 

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

crouchingDirector: Ang Lee

Writer: Hi-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Kuo Jung Tsai (Screenplay) Du Lu Wang (Book)

Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Sihung Lung, Pei-Lei Cheng

 

Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Visual Experience

 

Story: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon starts when Master Li Mu Bai (Chow) a warrior turned devoted monk medicates great sorrow leading him to ask Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh) to give up him sword to a trusted friend Sir Te (Lung). Putting the sword in safety Shu Lien meets a young governor’s daughter Jen Yu (Zhang) who dreams of being a warrior like Li Mu Bai and Shun Lien.

When the sword is stolen, it appears the Jade Fox (Cheng) has returned and this bring Master Li Mu Bai out of retirement to avenge his master’s murder at the hands of the Jade Fox. Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien go in search for the sword as the two get to face an enemy they didn’t see coming with powers unlike anything they have fought before, one that can be trained to continue their art of combat in Jen Yu who for now has been led astray by the Jade Fox.

 

Thoughts on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Characters/PerformanceMaster Li Mu Bai is a character that we have come to identify in martial arts films for years, the one who has complete calmness in his action and always in control during combat. It is the two female lead characters Yu Shin Lien and Jen Yu that all reach the next level for the characters in a world that is often male dominated having these two character in a mix of good versus potential evil on Jen Yu is a character that could go either way through the film.

The performances from Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang are both brilliant as they both show their skills in the arts along with the men in this film. Yun-Fat Chow is also great through the film is the male lead at a time when we all wanted a new leading man for the martial arts film.stars

StoryWith the story we dive back into ancient China to see how the beliefs between the people with honour and training could create the moment you needed for peace. We do have an action story in here about how easy it could be to be led astray by the darker side of these abilities as we watch the two heroes of the story try to show the young soon to be master the right path to follow while she is being led astray by the villainous Jade Fox. The story is easy to follow and you can full understand how important it is to have both sides of the story being told to teach Jen Yu the right path.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is unlike anything you would have seen before which is great to see because too many films just copy and paste action together. The romance side of the story is also strong because it tests the characters to push their honour for love with the fantasy coming from how the action is constructed.

SettingsThe breath-taking ancient China setting makes this one of the most visual treats you will see in any film.

Special EffectsWhile mostly practical effects with wires the effects captured between the character’s fight sequences are brilliant through the whole film.genre

Final ThoughtsEasily one of the best martial arts films you will see, based on more than just the fight sequences but the training to make it happen.

 

Overall: Nominated for Best Picture and you can see why it was.

Ratingrating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – E – Erin Brockovich (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Susannah Grant (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart, Marg Helgenberger, Cherry Jones, David Brisbin

 

Plot: An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.


Tagline –  She brought a small town to its feet and a huge corporation to its knees.

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Performance Biopic

 

Story: Erin Brockovich starts as we meet Erin (Roberts), a single mother of three trying to find herself a job but only finds herself involved in a car accident. This forces Erin to get herself a lawyer in Ed Masry (Finney) to get her compensation. When the claim goes badly Erin decides to push for a job there where she gets to work on her own small project.

The case she starts investigating for Ed involved a city power company that has been infecting the water around the planet, causing the people to get sick. Erin strikes a nerve and with Ed go on to take on the power company.

 

Thoughts on Erin Brockovich

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, Erin Brockovich is a single mother of three children with two ex-husbands to her name and next to no money to her name either. Erin’s strength is a fighter and when she takes a job at a law firm she ends up getting involved in a case which could become the biggest in American history. Erin doesn’t come off as the nicest person who does seem to want to walk over people to get to the position she finds herself in. Ed Masry is a good lawyer who has been working his whole career doing the right thing on every decision he has made. George is the neighbour that sparks up a relationship with Erin but also shows how difficult it is for Erin to make a professional career happen with a personal one.

PerformancesJulia Roberts won an Oscar for her performance in this movie, you can see why because she does carry the film. Albert Finney and Aaron Eckhart are both good strong supporting performances throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows our driven Erin Brockovich who while just trying to make ends meet with her family ends up being involved in one of the biggest legal cases in history of America. The film shows what she had to sacrifice to make this case happen with the relationships she built to make the case go through to the courts to give her clients the biggest settlements.

BiopicWe get to see the work Erin put into the case while trying to balance being a single mother of three kids, this shows how hard she would work to achieve everything.

SettingsThe settings are used to show most of where Erin lives, works, her clients live and the company she is trying to takedown. This all works well without being the most important of things in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The results.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I couldn’t help but find Erin slightly selfish at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great biopic that shows that hard work can achieve great results even without the training others might have in the same film.

 

Overall: This is a great film with a powerhouse performance.

Rating

 

 

The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller

 

Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.

 

Thoughts on The Contender

 

Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.

 

Overall: Political masterclass of a film.

Rating