ABC Film Challenge – Romance – J – Aladdin (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because it is about Aladdin trying to win Jasmine’s heart.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, John August (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnuessen

Plot: A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.


Tagline – Choose wisely.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Magic

Story: Aladdin starts as we meet the street urchin Aladdin (Massoud) who is always looking to make his meal ticket with his quick hands, saving Jasmine (Scott) who is pretending to be a local, escaping from her strict father’s (Negahban) rules, experience the thrill of the city. Jafar (Kenzari) is scheming to make his own plans for when the Sultan is gone, waiting for make his own move on Princess Jasmine, against her own mother’s kingdom.

After being caught in the act by Jafar forces Aladdin on his own search for treasure, in search of the lamp with will give him power, only Aladdin keeps the lamp for himself, where he meets the Genie (Smith) who grants him wishes, where he must master the power behind it.

Thoughts on Aladdin

Characters – Aladdin is a street urchin that has quick hands which keeps food available for him, he gets a chance meeting with the rebellious princess, falling in love, showing his honest ways, only he is too poor to be considered anybody that could be with her. He gets forced to steal the magic lamp only to be betrayed and left for dead. Once he learns the power of the lamp, he tries to use it to win Jasmine’s heart, whatever the cost, not being like the other princes that try to win her heart. Princess Jasmine has been held away from the world by her strict father who is scared for her life until she marries a prince, she doesn’t want to just marry royalty, she wants to become her own leader to the people of her city. Genie is who comes out of the lamp to offer Aladdin the three wishes, he does explain how the wishes unfold and wants to help Aladdin create the best wishes, using her natural charisma. Jafar is the second in command of the city, he is planning his own rise to rule the city, with or without Jasmine on his arm.

PerformancesThis movie does have a string of performances that have glimpses from Naomi Scott and Will Smith, only we don’t see everything we could about them, while Mena Massoud lacks the spark for the Aladdin we have known, while Marwan Kenzari just doesn’t come off as evil as he should.

StoryThe story here follows a street urchin who finds a magical lamp and uses it to hopefully win the heart of the princess of the kingdom, where he must learn his own responsibility about life isn’t just about the power of three wishes. Being a remake of the animation, we know where the story will go and it doesn’t differ to any major levels and does continue to show the important message, power and money won’t by you happiness, while showing strict rules that could be broken for somebody to have their own happiness when it comes to position in power.

Fantasy/RomanceWe do get the fantasy side of this film follows the idea of a genie granting wishes, which is interesting, only not fully expressed, while the romance is there and is more about breaking down the walls over anything.

SettingsThe film does us the settings to show us the different world that Aladdin and Jasmine are from, with the cave being such a wonderful location too, only we don’t spend enough time there.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have moments looking amazing, only for them to not look that great all the way through.


Scene of the Movie – The cave.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Aladdin and Jafar just aren’t interesting enough.

Final Thoughts This just is just like a glossy remake that just doesn’t have the magic it should leaving us feel like we have missed out on something bigger and better.

Overall: Simple and not enjoyable.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – Woochi (2009) Movie Review

Director: Dong-hoon Choi

Writer: Dong-hoon Choi (Screenplay) Ho-min Ju, Park Myeong-Chan (Comic)

Starring: Dong-won Gang, Soo-jung Lim, Yook-seok Kim, Hae-jin Yoo, Young-chang Song, Sang-ho Kim

Plot: Jeon Woo-chi, an undisciplined womanizing Taoist from the Joseon era, ends up in present day Korea causing mayhem with his knack for magic.


Tagline – World beware. The wizard is coming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

Story: Woochi starts as we enter a world of goblins which become life sized animals like rats or rabbits and wizard of ancient times, where Woochi (Gang) a mischievous wizard that has great power to calmly take over the king if he needs to, he is wanted amongst the world with his trusted sidekick Chorangyi (Yoo) who could be transformed into any animal.

On Woochi’s latest quest he comes to save a widow Seo IN-kyeong (Lim) only to find himself in the middle of a battle between the goblins and the pipe that would give them control of the world, with Master Hwa-dam (Kim) the most powerful wizard in the land trying to take the pipe.

When Woochi is trapped within a painting for five centuries, he is summoned back after the goblins have returned for the pipe, now in the modern day Woochi must continue to master his skills to save the world from destruction from the Archgod.

Thoughts on Woochi

Characters – Woochi is a young wizard, he likes to cause trouble with his powers, he believes he is the most powerful wizard in the land, even though he isn’t and wants to use his powers to do the odd criminal action against bad people, he does get put in his place by his master, and trapped in a world that he isn’t prepared for needing to fight for the right thing once again. Seo In-kyeong was the widow in the ancient times, the woman Woochi falls for, in the modern era she is an assistant to an actress who finds herself caught in the middle of the battle, having no knowledge of what could come her way. Hwa-dam is a master wizard, the most powerful in the land, he does become consumed by the power the goblins could give him, wanting the pipe for himself, it is against him Woochi must prove his own power. Chorangyi is the sidekick to Woochi, he is a dog that has been turned into a human, with the ability to turn into other animals too, including the trust horse.

PerformancesDong-won Gang as Woochi is great to watch, he embraces the cocky side to his character which only is meant to make him look foolish, without being a fool and makes us see that the confidence he brings to the role helps his character overcome the odds. Soo-jung Lim gets to play two different characters both from different eras which does make her show off the change in how the woman was perceived between the eras. Yoon-seok Kim does well through the film as the evil master wizard, showing his ability to adapt to both worlds too, while Hae-hin Yoo will bring us the most laughs through the film as the dog figure.

StoryThe story follows a cocky young wizard that gets caught up in the middle of a battle between humans and goblins for control in the world, where he gets frozen in time to continue the battle five centuries later. This is a story that is based in fantasy and does established early on and is one we can take into what we are getting into. The idea of moving to different era does help add something to the story because of the fish out of water idea and with the lack of belief in the former traditions or mythical enemies that could come towards the modern day. We do have a character that needs to learn his place in the world and learn to use his power for good instead of just being cocky about what he could do.

Action/Comedy/FantasyThe action in this film is entertaining, it is big just like you would expect it to be, using the fighting techniques to increase everything, while using elements of the comedy to lighten the mood and the fantasy to show us the world we are in.

SettingsThe film does use to eras for the settings, first the ancient world before hitting the modern era which helps show how out of place the Woochi looks in it.

Special EffectsThe effects are wonderful to see, we get to see just how many are used for the fights which do include the elements being used, transformation through flat services too.


Scene of the Movie – The first goblin fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does have a moment of confusion in the final battle.

Final Thoughts This is a fun adventure that embraces the fantasy world we are entering and with make you laugh along the way.

Overall: Entertaining from start to finish.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – D – Dumbo (2019) Movie Review

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay) Helen Aberson, Harold Pearl (Novel)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker

Plot: A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.


Tagline – In 2019, a beloved tale will take you to new heights.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming

Story: Dumbo starts when Holt Farrier (Farrell) returns from war, to re-join the circus run by Max Medici (DeVito) where his kids Milly (Parker) and Joe (Hobbins) have been living and working for years, Holt has come back injured, with the only job offered to him, being cleaning up after the elephants, one of which is pregnant giving birth to an elephant with giant ears, which only causes chaos on his debut in the circus.

After Dumbo’s mother is taken away, he is left alone, while the children learn about his flying skills, which turns Max’s circus into the talk of the country, attracting V. A. Vandevere (Keaton) who wants to offer Max the world for Dumbo.

Thoughts on Dumbo

Characters – Holt Farrier is a war veteran widow that has returned to his children in a circus. He has been suffering with his time away, this has seen him not show as much affection as his wife would have, he takes the only job he can get which sees him training and cleaning up the elephants, his time back in the circus does bring him back to his kids, where he learns how important life still can be. V. A. Vandevere is the operator of Dreamland, he sales the idea of a better life for the whole troop, even if he has his own ideas to just make himself rich. Max Medici runs the small circus that discovers Dumbo’s talent, he has always been in the game for the money and can’t resist the idea of money when Vandevere arrives but must learn there is more to his life than money. Colette Marchant is the star performer in Vandevere show, she has been for years though she is just the hottest thing he has going for a while, she doe solve to perform. Dumbo is the baby elephant with giant eyes, who loses his mother, but has the incredible ability to fly, drawing crowds from miles.

PerformancesColin Farrell gives us a wonderful performance as the caring veteran who has been struggling with his own problems once returning from war. Michael Keaton enjoy the villainous role, while Danny DeVito is shows the desperation while still bringing the heart needing for the role, Eva Green shines to as the beautiful performer too.

StoryThe story here shows how a small circus that finds themselves with a star attraction in Dumbo, which sees them become a success that the whole country wants to see. The story might focus on Dumbo being forced into performing after having his mother taken away, while deeper down we get to see a family that has been broken from death and war, needing to come back together. We see themes of greed with the circus masters at times, but all together the ideas behind everything all shine through to show that people who do good will get what they deserve in life.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure shows the how Dumbo comes into the world and put through traumas at a young age before finding his feet and learn that some people are good in life, with the fantasy of an elephant that can fly being the highlight of what makes Dumbo so special.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different sizes of circus that we see Dumbo being part of.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant bringing Dumbo to life like nothing we could have imagined.


Scene of the Movie – The Dumbo flight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does spend too much time telling Milly she can’t follow her scientist dreams.

Final Thoughts This is the best live action Disney film of 2019, it brings the scale of the idea to life, which looks wonderful and has great performances too.

Overall: Beautiful Fantasy Film.

Legend (1985) Movie Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Hjortsberg (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert

Plot: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.


Tagline – “No Good without Evil. No Love without Hate. No Innocence without Lust. I am Darkness.” 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Fantasy Film

Story: Legend starts when a young beautiful princess Lili (Sara) spends her time into woods with the handsome Jack (Cruise) she gets too close to the unicorns, touching them, breaking the rules of the land. Lili is taken by the lord of darkness to become his bride, while Jack must go on an adventure in a land that has changed because of the events to save his love Lili.

Thoughts on Legend

Characters – Jack is the handsome young man that thrives in the woods, he knows every creature and how to communicate to them, he has been teaching Lili, only he won’t give up every secret. When we see what happens he will do everything he can to try and save her from the darkness that is looking to consume her. Lili is a princess who doesn’t want to be part of the royal life, she enjoys the woodland area only her curiosity only gets her in trouble when she touches a unicorn bringing darkness to the land, being taken by the dark lord to be his wife, she is torn between being seduced by this new world and escape to the world she enjoys being part of. Darkness has been waiting for somebody to make the mistake, now he has a chance to rule by marrying Lili bringing the darkness to the world forever.

PerformancesTom Cruise does show the world that he was going to be as an actor with this role that showed his skills to the world. Mia Sara does show us that she was one of the best actresses of the 80s. Tim Curry does add the class to the role as the villain.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that must travel across a mystical land in hopes of saving his love from the darkness which has taken her. This is typical fantasy styled story that does show us how the different levels of status within the people and creatures and how the legends of the area, must be obeyed or it could affect everyone. We see how one will put a group together to risk everything to get what they want from life, with most being escape from a different situation before a showdown with the big evil.

Adventure/Fantasy/RomanceThe adventure side of the film takes Jack and other creatures on the journey to save Lili, overcoming the difficulties coming their way, in this full-blown fantasy world, showing what will be done for love.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different challenges that face Jack along the way, each one will become an obstacle for him to overcome.


Scene of the Movie – Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel to 80s.

Final Thoughts This is an 80s filled adventure that does everything it can to fit the era of release, showing just how much somebody will do for love.

Overall: Pure 80s adventure.