ABC Film Challenge – Animation – V – Valiant (2005)

Director: Gary Chapman

Writer: Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod (Screenplay) George Webster (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt

 

Plot: Set in 1944, Valiant is a woodland pigeon who wants to become a great hero someday. When he hears they are hiring recruits for the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, he immediately sets out for London. On the way, he meets a smelly but friendly pigeon named Bugsy, who joins him, mainly to get away from clients he cheated in a game of find-the pebble, and helps him sign up for the war.


Tagline –  Some pigeons eat crumbs, others make history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Film

 

Story: Valiant starts as small young pigeon Valiant wants to help out during World War II by joining the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, taking his chance a heading to London he meets hustler pigeon Bugsy as the pair con their way into the recruitment process.

Going through the recruitment process the pigeons are sent on their first mission with the danger of the falcons with the evil Von Talon waiting for any pigeons that try to cross the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Valiant

 

Characters – Valiant is a plucky young pigeon that wants to be a hero of war by becoming a carrier pigeon for the royal homing pigeon service, he has the guts even if he doesn’t have the build for it, he will risk his life to save his country. Bugsy is a cowardly con artist pigeon that uses joining the service to escape magpies, only to try to get out of it on a constant basis. Von Talon is the evil falcon that has been hunting the pigeons trying to return home, he is the typical foreign villain for this film.

StoryThe story follows an unlikely group of homing pigeons that must deliver secrets back to the soldiers in England during World War II. This gives you everything you want to enjoy in an animated story, the idea of a character overcoming his weaknesses to become the strongest part of a team, even if this does make light of the war itself, even when it is trying to tell the importance of the animals in the war.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure out pigeons go on is life or death and a real one pigeons would have gone on during the war, the comedy does hit well for the British audience which is nice to see with a string of British comedies offering the laughs. This will be one the whole family could enjoy too, having moments that all ages will understand.

SettingsThe settings play into the idea that the animals will be involved in the war and just how they will be seeing the biggest moments too, while also decreasing the scale of everything.

AnimationThe animation looks great in the foreground, while the backgrounds have been scaled down, which is fine, but doesn’t show the busyness around the big cities.


Scene of the Movie –
The crossing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I personally didn’t like how small London seemed to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that can be enjoyed by everyone, though it does have a very British core, certain jokes might miss for a more international audience.

 

Overall: Enjoyable and fun.

Rating

 

 

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Jessica Alba Weekend – Fantastic Four (2005)

fanDirector: Tim Story

Writer: Mark Frost, Michael France (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Hamish Linklater, Kerry Washington

 

Plot: A group of astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Superhero Film

 

Story: Fantastic Four starts as Reed Richards (Gruffudd) and Ben Grimm (Chiklis) trying to negotiate a deal with Victor Von Doom (McMahon) a business man who runs the city as the two plan their mission in space. With the mission lined up the three are joined by Sue (Alba) and Johnny Storm (Evans) but when the solar storm heads to them earlier disaster strikes the space station with the whole crew getting exposed to the solar winds.

Put in quarantine the astronauts soon start seeing side effects and almost extra abilities they have gained, Johnny is literally a human torch, Ben turns into a rock man, Reed can stretch, Sue can turn invisible and Victor is dealing with telepathic powers. While the Fantastic Four are born, Victor Doom sees his empire crumble as his evil side comes out.

With Victor becoming a danger to the Earth the Fantastic Four must embrace their powers to save the world and become the heroes the world comes to love and accept.

Fantastic Four is a superhero film straight off the back of the X-Men and Spiderman success. The origin story works well and the battle is all good enough for what we expect for the first battle they face.  The negatives are clear here and that is with the special effects that have dated badly. The settings also don’t leave too much to the imagination as they are just the standard superhero fight locations.

The cast are all picked perfectly really with each one of the characters suiting the actor’s abilities. Chris Evans stands out as the cocky Human Torch character but it is his chemistry with Michael Chiklis that gets most of the laughs in the film. Julian McMahon as the villain works because he always looks like the powerful business man.

 

Overall: For the time this was a great addition to the genre but now it feels slightly out of place.

Ratingcard

 

 

Derailed (2005)

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Writer: Stuart Beattie (Screenplay) James Siegel (Novel)

Starring: Vincent Cassel, Clive Owen, Addison Timlin, Melissa George, Jennifer Aniston, RZA

 

Plot: When two married business executives having an affair are blackmailed by a violent criminal, the two must turn the tables on him to save their families.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Twist Filled Thriller

 

Story: Derailed starts as Charles Schine (Owen) is recounting the events of what happened, this starts the flashback as we see happily married Charles to Deanna (George) and their sick child Amy (Timlim) but he is tired of the routine. When running late Charles forgets his ticket for the train where beautiful banker Lucinda Harris (Aniston) pays for his ticket.

When the two look to engage in an affair they get attacked by LaRoche (Cassel) who knocks Charles out before raping Lucinda. Paying LaRoche off, Charles believes he is out but LaRoche isn’t finished with Charles yet, blackmailing him into giving him money to keep quiet about the affair and things continue to get worse from her for Charles.

 

Thoughts on Derailed

 

Characters/PerformanceCharles is a banker with a perfect little life, married with a child who is sick. He gets engaged in a potential affair only to find himself being blackmailed by the criminal who makes him risk his personal life, his career and even his own freedom. LaRoche is the criminal that blackmails Charles, he even gets personally involved in his life to make this happen. Lucinda is the woman that Charles tries to have an affair. Deanna is the wife Charles has back home, who spends as much of her time looking after their sick daughter.

Performance wise, Clive Owen is good in this leading role as the desperate man pushed to the limits, Vincent Cassel is always a good villain in any movie and this is no different. Jennifer Aniston does a good job in her role which goes in directions you wouldn’t have expect her to go too.

StoryThe story is a good watch as we see how one man must face consequences for action that he finds himself in after nearly getting involved in an affair. This is a good watch and flows nicely even if you don’t agree with everything that Charles is going the story has enough twists to keep you wanting to see more.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side is all blackmail based as the Charles must find a way to keep the blackmailer quiet and this keeps us on the edge of our seats to see where things will be going.

SettingsWe see the quiet home life Charles has to the busy life for the work. We see how the criminals can work in the shadow too.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that is enjoyable and a good watch from start to finish.

 

Overall: Good thriller that keeps us on the edge.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Land of the Dead (2005)

landDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter

 

Plot: The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Franchise

 

Story: Land of the Dead starts us to a world where the zombies now control as we meet Riley (Baker), Charlie (Joy) and Cholo (Leguizamo) who go out at night to find supplies for the rich in the safely guarded city. On their nights out collecting supplies the humans uses Sky Flowers (fireworks) to distract zombies but one Big Daddy (Clark) has stopped being distracted and has started to lead the zombies in a new life with fragments of their previous one.

Riley has kept his nose to the ground to get his freedom from the runs while Cholo is always looking for a way to buy his freedom which means putting others at risk. The man they are both looking to for attention is Kaufman (Hopper) leader of the rich in the highest tower in the island.

When Cholo go goes rogue the city is torn apart by the smarter zombies who don’t get distracted that easily and it is Riley’s chance to be free of the city after making a deal with Kaufman to bring back Cholo and the weapons he has taken.

Land of the Dead is yet another great addition to the series, while it isn’t going to break any boundaries like the original trilogy did but solid action related zombie film. While it does follow the same formula, group of survivors are safe but soon their safe heaven is overrun by zombies leaving few alive we get to see it in a different light when it comes to number involved. The special effects have become a lot more realistic which I find takes away from the horror because the original was terrifying to see. The idea the zombies have continued to evolve is a huge plus because this seems to be the only franchise that accepts the idea that this could happen. On the negative we see the first film without the strong leading lady which has to be consider a step back for a franchise which has always had very strong leading characters both male and female.

 

Overall: Fun action horror film that is easy to watch

Rating70

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Ann Peacock, Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Screenplay) C.S. Lewis (Book)

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Williams Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent

 

Plot: Four kids travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and learn of their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Start to a Franchise

 

Story: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starts as the Pevensie children Lucy (Henley), Edmund (Keynes), Peter (Moseley) and Susan (Popplewell) are evacuated to the country during World War II.

When the youngest Lucy discovers a wardrobe in the house she finds the magical world of Narnia and Mr Tumnus (McAvoy) who teaches her all about this winter ravished land with the evil White Witch controlling. With Edmund finding his way into Narnia he meets the White Witch (Swinton) who asks him to bring the rest of the children to her kingdom.

When the four children are reunited, they learn they must fight alongside Aslan the lion in a battle against the evil Witch in an adventure they could never imagine.

 

Thoughts on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

Characters/PerformanceLucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan are thee four children, they all have their difference but most of all they work together to succeed on their mission. They must look after each other through the human war and the fantasy war they find themselves fighting in. thee White Witch is a character that works on the villainous side of the story and with her deceiving white image we can get misled to her true nature. With any extra characters being the different fantasy creatures the children meet along the way we know the world we find ourselves in.

Performances now, the four children all do a good job in their roles showing each of the character’s strengths and weakness. Tilda Swinton always makes for a great villain with McAvoy giving us a good supporting performance.

StoryStory wise this plays into the idea of what children could find themselves doing when they have escaped from a war-torn country. I do understand that this is meant to be a real adventure they find themselves on but the reality is it can be looked at as an escape. The idea of a battle between good and evil is all fine and needed for this film as it is the start of a bigger set of stories to come.

Adventure/Fantasy/FamilyThe adventure is massive for these children as they find themselves in a fantasy world they could never imagine, this is one the whole family could find themselves enjoying.

SettingsThe settings all come off very well for this film as we see the bleakness of the world the children find themselves escaping from and the wonder of the fantasy world they find themselves entering.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects here are brilliant, we do have a lot of CGI which in the most part in flawless it would only be the voice acting for some of the creatures that I would question.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good starter for a franchise, it does go generic with the male children doing the fighting and the female being considered for magic and curing style but this franchise came at the wrong time getting buried by the Harry Potter one.

 

Overall: This is how you start a franchise correctly.

Rating