The Elfkins (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ute von Munchow-Pohl

Writer: Jan Strathmann (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jella Haase, Louis Hofmann, Leon Seidel, Detlef Bierstedt, Elke Heidenreich

Plot: The legendary Elfkins (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne were gnomes secretly helping craftsmen at night until they were ousted by a tailor’s malevolent wife 200 years ago. This is the story of their return.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Elfkins starts as we meet the Elfkins, a society of gnomes secretly living under the city, where they once help humans secretly, now they hide from them, Helvi wants to prove herself as a craftsperson, only her inventions always fail causing trouble with her people, which sees her turning to her best friend Butz, to escape and discover a human to learn a craft.

When Helvi, Butz and Kipp find themselves in a bakery, Helvi decides she wants to help the baker Theo who is about to lose his bakery, learning her true skill here once and for all.

Thoughts on The Elfkins

Characters – The Elfkins, Helvi is the one that has always wanted to fit in, have her own craft, but she is ends up causing trouble more than helping her people, she leaves up the community in search for her skill, wanting to break the traditions and learn of a human, which sees her looking to do the right thing, helping a down on his luck baker. Kipp is the smartest of the Elfkins, he will always invent thing to help them, one that Helvi will turn to for help. Butz is the best friend of Helvi, he will follow her on her adventures. Theo is the down on his luck baker, that is about to lose his bakery, he is the man that the Elfkin are drawn towards to help, with his brother Bruno being the one that wants to take his bakery.

StoryThis story follows a group of Elfkins that go against what they are expected to do, by staying away from humans, by visiting the surface and doing what they always thought they were meant to do, help people. This is a feel good movie showing us that you need to believe in myths and legends, despite the modern world wanting us to ignore the important parts of life. Regardless of the species, the idea that someone will want to fit in, is still strong in this story and the biggest message looking to be sent to the audience.

Action/FantasyThe action in the film does rely on how the Elfkins need to try and escape trouble, or make things happen in the bakery, with the fantasy elements of the film coming from seeing how the Elfkins are part of this world.

SettingsThe film is set in a German city, which you can tell from certain architecture we see around the city.

AnimationThe animation in the movie looks beautiful, bringing to life the different colours, where we see the bright positive side of Helvi, contrast with the darker side of the world where Theo is.

Scene of the Movie – The grand opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have seen more from the Butz character, he seems to be caught between best friend and comic relief and not completely either.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family animation that has a big heart that will get the biggest message across.

The Elfkins is in Cinemas from 2nd October

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – # – The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) Movie Review

Director: Chris Renaud, Jonathan del Val

Writer: Brian Lynch (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell

Plot: Continuing the story of Max and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

Tagline – They still have their secrets.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Sequel

Story: The Secret Life of Pets 2 starts as we see how Max and Duke are adjusting to having a kid in their lives, with Max feeling the stress of protecting him, which sees the whole family have a weekend away in the country, Snowball and Daisy end up trying to release a tiger from a circus, giving Snowball a chance to be the hero he wants to be.

Back in New York Gidget gets involved in her own adventure, trying to recover the lost toy from an apartment filled with cats all before Max returns and learns his friend has lost his prized toy.

Thoughts on The Secret Life of Pets 2

Final Thoughts When it came to the first Secret Life of Pets, we got to see the adventures of the pets in New York as they deal with changes in their lives, this story does take everything to the next level for Max, shows Snowball on yet another wild adventure and puts the rest of the characters in a position where they must do the right thing for the animals. This is one that the kids will get the enjoyment out of, though the more adult audience will struggle to get behind the bland characters that are mostly forgettable by the end of the film. The animation still looks incredible, though certain actions are very worrying to see, even if this is only added for slapstick.

Overall: Basic Animation.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – Z – Zombillenium (2017) Movie Review

Director: Arthur de Pins, Alexis Ducord

Writer: Arthur de Pins, Alexis Ducord (Screenplay) Arthur de Pins (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Emmanuel Curtil, Alain Choquet, Kelly Marot, Alexis Tomassian, Mat Bastard, Emmanuel Jacomy

Plot: Zombillenium, the Halloween theme park, happens to be the one place on earth where real monsters can hide in plain sight. When Hector, a human, threatens to disclose the true identity of his employees, the Vampire Park Manager has no other choice but to hire him. To see his daughter, Hector must escape from his Zombies and Werewolves coworkers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Animation

Story: Zombillenium starts when city inspector Hector looks to investigate the local theme part Zombillenium, only to learn the big secret about the park, the employees are real monsters, forced to work there, with Hector finding himself forced into the becoming the latest employee, with his daughter Lucie being forced into boarding school.

As Hector needs to learn to deal with the fact he is now dead and in fact one of the new monsters, he finds himself breaking more of the rules of the park, putting everyone else in danger, including his own daughter.

Thoughts on Zombillenium

Characters – Hector is a city inspector that hasn’t been the best father, putting his career ahead of his daughter, he does strike fear into the businesses in his city, with his latest inspection being on a horror theme park, where he ends up being turned into one of the employees, here he must help the park survive the changes in demand, which sees his ideas bring the love back to the park. Francis runs the park, needing to find a way to keep the business flying and the staff employed. Gretchen is the intern that is meant to be watching Hector around the park, teaching him about the rules, with her own desire to become one of the main attractions in the park, with her own powers. Steven is the star attraction in the park, the vampire who gets frustrated with the attention spiral out of control, looking to regain his fame.

StoryThe story here follows a city inspector that gets forced into working in the horror theme park as the latest attraction, with his ideas helping the park become stronger even if it does unsettle the system left in place with years of experience in the park. This is a nice spin to how the animated stories are created, with have a horror theme park filled with different creatures looking to remain employed, each monster has the trait that you would expect to see from the era, with plenty of messages about treating people equal in life.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in this film comes from the different monsters following or going against the known traits which have surrounding them for years, with the horror shows us how the monsters would look to make more of their abilities without being killers.

SettingsThe film creates a fully functional theme park for the main setting, it shows us how different monsters would run their own rides through the film.

Animation The animation brings us a style that feels fresh and unseen, with it following the style used by Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse.

Scene of the Movie – The concert.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The vampires are not interesting.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining and enjoyable animation that brings to life a whole new selection of monsters in a modern point of view.

Overall: Enjoyable Animation.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – Y – Batman: Year One (2011) Movie Review

Director: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery

Writer: Tab Murphy (Screenplay) Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis (Graphic Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Alex Rocco, Katee Sackhoff

Plot: A wealthy playboy and a Chicago cop both return to Gotham City where their lives will intersect in unexpected ways.

Tagline – A merciless crime – turns a man into an outlaw.

Runtime: 1 Hour 4 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautifully Dark

Story: Batman: Year One starts when Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne arrive in Gotham, one to start a new career, the other returning for the first time in years. Jim joins the force and sees just how corrupt the force is in this city, where he must wait for his time to bring them down, while Bruce is taking his first steps into fighting crime him own way.

When Batman starts building his vigilante reputation, Gordon is assigned to track him down and stop him from taking control of the city. Gordon must face him and learn that the two might want the same thing for the city.

Thoughts on Batman: Year One

Characters – Jim Gordon is the new lieutenant in Gotham City, he is here to start a new career with his pregnant wife, with his previous life showing him to have been the one to expose corrupt police officers, now in the middle of a corrupt department, he must wait for his time to bring them down, no matter who comes for him. He must decide whether Batman is going to be a threat or not. Bruce Wayne has returned home after years his parents death and wanting to start fighting crime, he has started small before evolving into the Batman, taking on the biggest crime boss in the city, he might be seen as the enemy, but shows his true colours. Selina is a small time criminal that has been waiting for her chance to make the most of the criminal uprising, seeing that Batman could be doing the right thing. Commissioner Loeb is the man who has been accused of being corrupt and now he has it covered up until Jim arrives to try and make the most of everything before losing everything he has worked for.

StoryThe story here follows one year in Gotham city as we see how the rise of the Batman and Jim Gordon through the police force dealing with the criminals both in the police force and the criminal underworld. The story does highlight how they both want to do the right thing in different ways, but both don’t want to turn to murder. They do also see enemies come from different directions in their lives too. The strange way this film plays out is when we see just how the time flies, we do have a couple of scenes which are literally one line and jump to the next week, which does make this feel rush, making you think it could have had a lot more in the story.

Action/CrimeThe action does mix with the crime, because it shows how both sides are fighting for what is right with bodies flying around the scenes.

SettingsThe film takes us to Gotham city which we all know is the iconic location that is known for the Batman to be set in.

AnimationThe animation style is great to see and will always work for the darker Batman stories.

Scene of the Movie – Batman escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The certain random scenes to show a sentence.

Final Thoughts This is a great dark Batman story which does show the origin of both Batman and Jim Gordon in there one year after returning and arriving in Gotham.

Overall: Great Origin Story.

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – X – FernGully the Last Rainforest (1992) Movie Review

We are going under X because of Hexxus, the villainous character.

Director: Bill Kroyer

Writer: Jim Cox (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tim Curry, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Jonathan Ward, Robin Williams, Grace Zabriskie

Plot: The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.

Tagline – They live in a secret world touched by magic and surrounded by nature, and the only human who has ever been there, must now fight to save it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark and Important Message

Story: FernGully: The Last Rainforest starts as we meet the fairies in the rainforest, Crysta is a young fairy learning from the wise Magi Lune who defeated the evil Hexxus that would bring devastation to the rainforest if released, spreading the poison to the land.

When Crysta discovers smoke in the distance, she wants to explore, with Magi Lune knowing the threat the return of the humans could bring to the rainforest, with Hexxus being given something to feed and grow on, so it can consume the rainforest once again. Crysta must work with the other fairies and the human she accidentally shrunk Zak to save the rainforest.

Thoughts on FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Characters – Crysta is a young fairy that is still learning how to control her magic like the elders, she is curious about what she could discover in the world, where she brings a human back to the village, where she must learn the harsh reality of humans involvement in the world as well as stop an evil coming to the land. Magi Lune is the mentor of Crysta, she has fought the battles for years and is ready to pass on her experience to Crysta to fight for the next generation of fairies. Zak is the human that gets shrunk, he is a city boy that is just working mostly as a slacker, only he learns the magic of the rainforest with his time with the fairies. Hexxus is the evil toxic poison that was defeated from consuming the rainforest, now he has been freed and looks to bring his devastation on the fairies and other creatures in the rainforest.

StoryThe story here shows how an evil toxic poison created by humans will destroy a rainforest unless the fairies can come together to look for a way to defeat it before they lose their homes. This is a story that seems like it is way before its time, with the message about deforestation coming through clearly, we might well have a fantasy element involved, but the idea that humans will destroy different species homes unless they can learn is clear here. We have the musical numbers and the side of the story that is about someone learning their own potential coming through strong too. The message is clear, the importance is relevant, this is a great story for all to understand.

FantasyThe fantasy side of this film is about the idea that fairies and toxic poisons are real in the fight for nature, rather than just the battle between humans and nature.

SettingsThe film uses the rainforest setting to show the beauty that was once there, the destruction caused and how we can have beauty once again in the world.

AnimationThe animation is on the top level for the early 1990s, we see the brightness of the beauty and the darkness that could consume the world.

Scene of the Movie – Hexxus growing into the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It isn’t long enough.

Final Thoughts This is an important animation that has a clear message that should be told to all, it has beauty and darkness through the film and is one that could become one of the most important for years to come.

Overall: Important Animation.