ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – Why Him? (2016)

Director: John Hamburg

Writer: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Screenplay) Jonah Hill, John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Story)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Cedric the Entertainer, Megan Mullally, Zack Pearlman

 

Plot: A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter’s Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question.


Tagline – Of all the guys his daughter could have chosen…

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wasted Talent

 

Story: Why Him? Starts when Stephanie (Deutch) arranges to let her Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend Laird (Franco) to her family, with her hard-working businessman father Ned (Cranston), accepting mother Bard (Mullally) and teenage brother Scotty (Gluck).

When they meet, Ned takes an instant dislike towards Laird as he must spend the Christmas holiday trying to spin him around while the hate towards him only grows.

 

Thoughts on Why Him?

 

Characters – Ned has worked his whole career to in the printing business, raised two children with his wife and hasn’t been able to fully embrace the modern technology world. He has always wanted to protect his daughter and now he takes an instant dislike to her new boyfriend, who is from a new technology heavy world. Laird is the Silicon Valley millionaire that has made his fortune on technology living in a mansion, he is loud and constantly swearing and never coming off as a likeable person. Stephanie is the daughter that has been dating Laird and now she must finally let her family meet him, she wants the best for her future dealing with a future that is wide open and following her father’s guidance. Sadly, the characters in this film focus solely on how Ned and Laird relationship goes, making the daughter/girlfriend and wife just the ones dealing with he men having their own battles.

PerformancesBryan Cranston is completely wasted in this film, we know he can nail old man comedy with his Malcolm in the Middle father character which was brilliant, this just puts him in a terrible position to react over anything he needs to. James Franco can play the weird character with ease, there is no doubt about this, this felt like an old routine which does get old quickly though. The female stars are basically wasted with their own acting being reacting to the guys behaviour.

StoryThe story follows the old favourite of a father not liking his daughter’s boyfriend, this is one of the easiest forms of comedy and the story has always worked, for the heart of the story things are solid enough, the idea that we have old school verses technology works too, the weaknesses come from just going too far with the joke which mostly become lazy extended scenes which take away from the heart. If the story had stayed on focus with the heart that could have been important because of character development for the Laird character.

ComedyMost of the jokes in the film are lazy sex driven ones that would never come up in a conversation, this does have couple of clever moments of humour which do work though.

SettingsThe film is set in the Silicon Valley which does show us clash of cultures the two generations come from.


Scene of the Movie –
Evasive Parkour

That Moment That Annoyed Me 10 Minutes of Bryan Cranston on a toilet trying to figure out how to wipe his arse.

Final ThoughtsThis is a grossed-out comedy that misses most of the jokes and wasted the talent by missing the heart of the story which should have been more front and centre.

 

Overall: Lazy comedy that doesn’t reach it’s potential.

Rating

 

 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.


Tagline – Their Final Quest.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Third Installment

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World starts where Valka teaching her son Hiccup along with Toothless to free more dragons from the captors that keep collecting them, the whole team works almost together, with the population of dragons in his home becoming difficult to contain.

When the dragon hunters are getting tired of losing their dragons, they call in Grimmel, a man that has been known to capture the most dangerous dragons, the night furies, only Toothless is still alive, making it seem like unfinished business, he uses an female night fury, one that Toothless falls in love with, can Hiccup finally become the leader he was always meant to be?

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

 

Characters – Hiccup is now the chief of the island, he is learning from his mother about rescuing more dragons, only to see more dragons meaning less space and a bigger target on his people for the dragon hunters. Once again Hiccup must learn about leadership, showing he will have to lead his own way instead of just following in his father’s footsteps. Toothless is the loyal dragon to Hiccup, he is meant to be the last of his species, only here he learns about a female night fury that offers him a love interest that will make him want his freedom from protecting the village, he is caught between his nature and his loyalty. Astrid is the partner of Hiccup, she is the one that can get through to him, as they are destined to rule together one day. Grimmel is most feared dragon hunter, he claims to have been the one that killed all the night furies and he won’t stop till he gets this right, he is used to the hunt and knows more tricks than Hiccup could ever imagine. When it comes to the villainous side to his character, he isn’t that much different to what we have seen before and does get overshadowed by moments revolving around Hiccup and Toothless relationship. Valka is Hiccup’s mother, she is watching her son learn to be a leader, seeing his errors, pushing people in the right direction to help him become the strongest possible leader. The Light Fury is a female version of the Toothless, one that is still wild and scared of humans, she offers Toothless a life away from the humans, one that brings love.

StoryThe story continues to the adventures of Hiccup and his people that live with dragons, they have continued to grow to help the dragons, but the new threat could bring an end to this world. in this story we get to focus on Hiccup needing to learn how to be a leader, accepting the next step for his people, while understanding the dragons can’t be kept as pets, they should become free with Toothless caught in the middle of staying loyal to the person that rescued him or his own love. Where the story does fall slightly short comes from the villain, who is meant to be smarter than before, only he just becomes like what we saw last time out. The story does give us a conclusion which will give us chance to be happy with the direction the characters go.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FantasyWhen we look at the action, we get massive dragon and human battles which is filled with carnage with the pure scale of the numbers involved, the adventure takes our village to a new home, where they need to find safety, taking the village on their biggest adventure to date. We do get plenty of comedy from the supporting cast through the film in this beautiful fantasy world.

SettingsThe film continues to bring us to new set of stunning locations that are just breath-taking that can grab your attention with the beauty.

AnimationThe animation in this film continues to be on the top levels, be it each different design for the dragons, the worlds created or the battle sequences that all look beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The Hidden World.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is nothing new.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the best animated film trilogies out there, one that doesn’t always get the praise of others, but it does continue real heart that will completely make the film like it matters to the audience.

 

Overall: The heart of a franchise, the beauty of the animation.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sequel

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts a couple of years after the events of the last film, the Vikings and dragons now live side by side, with Hiccup and Toothless exploring the open water searching for new land and opportunity. With Stoick is wanting Hiccup to take over a chief, Hiccup isn’t ready for this responsibility.

When Hiccup goes exploring he learns of a new threat, Drago a man that has a dragon army, wanting to create peace, Hiccup meets another dragon rider, his long-lost mother Valka.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Characters – Hiccup is now exploring the surrounding world with Toothless, he goes far and wide, his discovery this time around will bring a new threat to his homeland and the dragons, while giving him a shocking discovery about his past. Hiccup is on the verge of become chief a responsibility he isn’t ready for too. Stoick is still the chief, he keeps the community together, though he is reaching the age of retirement, trying to prepare Hiccup to take over, he will be just as shocked as Hiccup when it comes to dealing with an old face returning to his life. Valka is the mysterious dragon rider, she has a vast friendly army that is only out to protect the dragon community, she is Hiccup’s mother who was long thought to be dead, she had always thought the same as Hiccup. Drago is the evil tyrant who has a dragon army, he wants complete control of the dragons killing anyone who doesn’t follow him.

StoryThe story here puts our character Hiccup in a new dilemma, one where he must face a future responsibility while trying to learn more about the world, using the dragons to see the world. as this is a sequel we get a surprise appearance from a character we thought was dead, the battles will become bigger much like how the world is becoming bigger for the Vikings. We get to see even more wonderful dragon designs. The more dragons we discover, the bigger the threat can become to the people of the world, it shows how people will need to fight for their people in an attempt to save their people.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in this film is bigger than last time, the large scale dragon battle is breath taking to watch. The adventure in the film takes Hiccup to bigger and further locations than the original showing us how Hiccup is learning about the world. the comedy does take a step back this time, which is fine because we don’t need it with a more serious storyline.

SettingsThe film creates more beautiful locations that could only come from the world filled with dragons, each location has a unique look too.

AnimationThe animation as always is wonderful to see and will be remembered by the end of the film, the scale of the battles is special to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Alpha versus Alpha battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ruffnet’s obsession with Eret.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant sequel that is better than the original, it keeps us full engrossed in the next adventure of Hiccup.

 

Overall: Must watch sequel.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Director: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Writer: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders, William Davies (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

 

Plot: A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns there may be more to the creatures than he assumed.


Tagline – One adventure will change two worlds

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining Animation

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon starts as we meet young Viking Hiccup, he isn’t like the rest of his village including his all powerful father Stoick, the village has been getting attack by dragons for centuries and Hiccup is being forced to follow in his father’s footsteps.

When Hiccup’s form of defence is creating inventions, which could aid in defence, he wounds a young dragon known as a Night Fury, Toothless. Hiccup goes through dragon training he becomes top of his class from learning from Toothless and truing to stop the war between the Vikings and the dragons.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon

 

Characters – Hiccup is the outsider of the community of Vikings, he is smarter than the rest and want to fight dragons using ideas which could change everything for the people of his village, he can’t match the rest of the villages strength and his dragon training sees him learn how to control and work side by side with them, can he help the village change. Stoick is the all powerful leading for the community and father to Hiccup, he will be first in line when it comes to fighting the dragons only he doesn’t know the anything other than fighting, he relationship with his son is being put on the line because of the difference in opinions. Toothless is the young dragon which Hiccup wounds, he is raised back to health and becomes friends with Hiccup showing the Vikings can be in peace with the dragons. Gobber is the dragon trainer, he trains the next generation of dragon killers and believes learning the hard way. We do get plenty of support characters which mostly add the laughs to the film.

StoryThe story follows the ideas of a son not living up to his father expectation with the world of Vikings and dragons. This is the simple version of the story and will be related by parents and children alike because we now parents would like their kids to follow in their footsteps, while the child will look up to follow and have their own dreams. Away from the morale side of the story we get a world filled with different dragons which have their own strengths and weakness with terrify the Vikings and the Viking community which is just doing what it can to survive. This might well be a simple story, but the world created is near perfect, it is a story people can relate to without even being part of the Viking community.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in the film is big, this has battles on mass scales against the dragons which edge of the seat with peril. The adventure takes Hiccup into a world along side the dragons, one he never thought he could be a part of. We get comedy along the way too which only lightens to mood at times. The whole family can relate to the events of the film here which is important too.

SettingsThe film creates a world of Vikings which are at war with dragons, each element looks and feel authentic for the lighter version of the world.

AnimationDreamworks gives us a brilliant animation that could easily go toe-to-toe with Pixar for quality levels.


Scene of the Movie –
The flight with the nest.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best animations of recent years, it brings us a unique spin on the proving yourself to a father storyline we know so well.

 

Overall: Must watch animation.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – War Dogs (2016)

Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic (Screenplay) Guy Lawson (Article)

Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas

 

Plot: Loosely based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a three hundred million dollar contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan.


Tagline – Money, corruption and the American dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Crime Comedy

 

Story: War Dogs starts as we follow David Packouz’s (Teller) story, he was a massage therapist and lost his money in a bad investment, with his girlfriend Iz (Armas) pregnant, he is left with little ideas for money until his old friend Efraim (Hill) returns to town. Efraim is an arms dealer that has been finding a way to sell weapons in the war.

We follow the two young men as they find a way to get one of the biggest deals done, but is this going to take a toll on their personal lives.

 

Thoughts on War Dogs

 

Characters – David is a young man, he works hard with his massage therapist job while trying to make a business of his own. When this goes wrong he is saved by his old childhood friend that introduces him to the world of arms dealing, he is telling the story to us too. Efraim is the old school friend of David’s that brings him in as a partner, showing him the ropes and just how much money could be getting made in this industry. He has a reputation that doesn’t make him one to trust at the times, which could ruin deals and friendships.

PerformancesMiles Teller and Jonah Hill are both great in these roles, they have great chemistry between them and it shows in their moments together and gives them both the time in solo scenes to be their own characters.

StoryThe story shows the rise of two unlikely young men that became one of the biggest international arms dealers in recent American history and how the greed can take over even the strongest friendships. We are told this story through one of the two men involved, so we do only get to see their own point of view of everything, when you feel there might be more to certain moments in the film. This is an easy to watch film and plays out just like Lord of War which does feel slightly more entertaining though.

Comedy/Crime/WarThe comedy comes mostly from the idea of this feeling completely out of place watching these young men enter this world of crime during the war time of selling weapons.

SettingsThe settings show how the characters go from comfortable America to countries with less money that offer these men a chance of something massive, this is good for the clash of cultures idea.


Scene of the Movie –
The first deal.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Only seeing it from one point of view.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good Todd Phillips style comedy that we all know how his style comes through, it does have good moments throughout and strong performances too.

 

Overall: Good crime comedy well worth watching.

Rating