The Rocketeer (1991)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, William Dear (Screenplay) Dave Stevens (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O’Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy


Plot: A young pilot stumbles onto a prototype jetpack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.

Tagline – Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America’s first battle against the Nazis.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Adventure Film


Story: The Rocketeer starts in 1938 as young pilot Cliff (Campbell) and his engineer Peevy (Arkin) find a mysterious jetpack in one of their planes after a group of mobsters crash in their airstrip. Neville Sinclair (Dalton) wants the rocket and has Eddie Valentine (Sorvino) and his men try to retrieve it.

With Neville turning out to be one of the biggest stars in an emerging Hollywood, Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Connelly) has a part in his latest movie, which brings him to the attention of Neville and his goons, once he uses the jetpack to save a friend.


Thoughts on The Rocketeer


Characters – Cliff is a quiet, shy and clumsy pilot, well clumsy on land, he has a blossoming romance with aspiring actress, he is always trying to prove he is the best in the sky and when he gets his hands on a jetpack he becomes the Rocketeer. Jenny is the aspiring actress that has only been getting small roles and only wishes Cliff would support her dreams more. Peevy is the engineer that can fix anything for Cliff, he watches him risk his life and knows he can handle himself. Neville Sinclair is a big-name actor in Hollywood, he wants to get his hands on the jetpack and will use his goons to get his hands on it.

PerformancesBilly Campbell is good in this leading role, you can see the innocent reactions in his eyes. Jennifer Connelly is good even if she is just mainly the damsel to Cliff’s character. Alan Arkin does get to have fun in his role, while Timothy Dalton works well as the primary villain in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a young man that suddenly gets the equipment to make him superhuman with the addition of the jetpack, though the mob are also after the jetpack and he must protect his friends from his secret. This is adapted from a graphic novel and you can see this as it is mostly an origin story about how Cliff became the Rocketeer. When it comes to the villains we get cliched mob figures throughout which is fine, but soon becomes tiresome with their reactions to everything going on. This is however a fun story that can be enjoyed throughout.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the film is a lot of fun because it is wildly over the top and fits the comic book ideas we are now used too. The adventure takes Cliff from a small time role of a pilot to one of the most wanted men in Hollywood and not for the good reasons. The sci-fi elements from the film come from the inclusion of the jetpack and how it comes from the mind of Howard Hughes.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood where we have the rise of mobsters in the corrupt on the early stages of Hollywood are shown through the use of the settings.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good for the most part, the flying sequences are a step forward from the old school Superman films and have dated when it comes to modern film stylings.

Scene of the Movie –
First time with the Rocket.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The mobsters feel too cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a nice fun film that can be enjoyed, it has dated in places but for a time when comic book movies didn’t come along that often this shows you can make them fun without them being connected.


Overall: Fun from start to finish.





ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Jumanji (1995)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth


Plot: When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Tagline – Roll the dice and unleash the excitement!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun Family Adventure


Story: Jumanji starts when a bullied young Alan Parrish finds a mysterious game called Jumanji he joins Sarah to play the game, he gets sucked into the game where he must wait for someone to rolls a 5 or 8 to release him.

26 years later orphaned children Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce) move into the same house with their Aunt Nora (Neuwirth), the two discover the game and start playing, releasing Alan (Williams) from the game. Realizing there is only one way to fix the problems they have created, they must finish the game and bring Sarah (Hunt) back from her once nightmare.


Thoughts on Jumanji


Characters – Alan Parrish was a bullied school boy, trapped in the jungle for 26 years, he returns to him home town to finish the game he started. He is the best line of defence against everything that comes out of the game. He does have daddy issues because of how his father felt distant to him, he will learn to be the father figure he wants as the film continues. Sarah was the friend that joined Alan in the game, she has spent years in therapy to learn that it wasn’t real, forced to face the truth and play the game. Judy and Peter are the orphans forced to move town that just so happen to move into the old Parrish house, they have different ways to deal with the grief of losing their parents.

PerformancesRobin Williams was the star of this movie, he was at his peak of family films and gets to have plenty of fun in this role as a character that never grew up. Bonnie Hunt is good as the traumatised character facing her fears. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce do a good job in the children roles

StoryThe story follows one young man that gets sucked into a board game only to be released as an adult, which will see him need to guide the rest of the players to finish the game. The story plays out like you need an adventure movie, as each enemy becomes deadlier for players and has a large variety of different potential effects. It is easy to follow and does touch on personal problems the characters have, Alan with his father problems, Sarah dealing with what she saw and the children dealing with the grief of losing their own parents.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action we see fits in hand in hand with adventure side of the movie as we have chase sequences and battles against the enemies. This does play into the family themes well too which is to see an unlikely family dynamic working together after their own personal problems.

SettingsThe film takes place in New England town, it works for the film because of how the random creatures coming out of the game would never be seen there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the movie because most of them have dated in a bad way.

Scene of the Movie –
Realizing he is becoming his father.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tasteless gun shop scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun movie that will keep you entertained from start to finish, it is one that is a must for the fans of the genre and Robin Williams.


Overall: Watch and enjoy with the family.




Captain America The First Avenger (2011)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugh Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Richard Armitage, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones


Story Steve Rogers (Evans) a small man who is trying his hardest to join the army so he can help in the war efforts. Steve is constantly getting reject because of his size, while his best friend James Barnes (Stan) joins the efforts. Going for another attempt Steve meets Dr. Abraham Erskins (Tucci) who gives him a chance. Colonel Chester Phillips (Lee Jones) is unsure of Rogers and wants a more built solider for the experiment. The doctor gets his way and showing how much he wants to be the best.


Howard Stark (Cooper) has created a way to make a man stronger and a better solider Steve is the choice for this. After the experiment a German spy kills Erskins, Steve captures the spy but the spy takes his own life before questions can be asked. The spy is from the German group HYDRA led by Johann Schmidt (Weaving) and he is out to destroy the world with the power of the Gods.


Steve has now become a sideshow hero performing in shows to collect money for the war. On a trip to the front line he learns of Barnes unit getting capture and with Stark and Peggy Carter (Atwell) he goes on a solo mission to save the soldiers. This mission will turn Steve Rogers into Captain America but can he save the day?


Verdict Superhero movies were a plenty this year with X-Men First Class, Thor and Green Lantern. X-men and Thor were two of the best superhero movies around so this one had a lot to live up too, and honestly this is a good overall movie but not to the same level as the other two. The thing that makes this movie not meet that level is the fact there isn’t an original villain and not happens that makes you really go wow, like the boat and anchor scene in X-Men does. The level of action is good for the casual viewer looking for a movie you don’t have to think about. Another year this could have been the best superhero film and it would have been if it were up against The Green Lantern. Superhero fans should enjoy this origin story of Captain America.


Story Mark 8/10 Routine superhero story


Action Mark 8/10 some good action scenes but nothing really special


Character Development Mark 9/10 Learn a lot about Steve Rogers becoming Captain America


Romantic Chemistry Mark 4/10 Steve and Peggy’s chemistry is just poor


Special Effects Mark 8/10 A look at future weapons with big effects, nice effects to make Chris Evans looks smaller and hiding his muscles before transformation and good realism on Red Skull


Star Performances Chris Evans shines in a role made for him.


Dominic Cooper plays the Stark role perfectly can see how Tony turned out how he did.


Favourite Character Howard Stark hard role to play after what Robert Downey created in Ironman as his son Ton Stark but this guy is just as mad and full of wise cracking one liners.


Poor Performance Hugo Weaving this guy was Agent Smith in the Matrix and it looked like he never got out of that emotionless persona in a role that need some.


Hayley Atwell she was unconvincing in this role, which seemed key to the story.


Least Favourite Character Peggy dull boring needless


Best Part Red Skull being revealed.


Worst Part There could have been a lot more fight scenes instead of montages.


Best Quote Johann Schmidt ‘ Captain America! How exciting! I’m a great fan of you films!’


Fun Trivia This is Chris Evans sixth comic book adaptation Fantastic Four 1,2, Push, The Loser and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.


Similar Too – Ironman, X-Men


My Rating 81%