ABC Film Challenge – Biopics – U – A United Kingdom (2016)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert (Screenplay) Susan Williams (Book)

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto

 

Plot: The story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.


Tagline – The true story of a love that shook an empire.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

 

Story: A Untied Kingdom starts in 1947 England where Prince Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) of Bechuanaland (known today as Botswana) is in England studying law, he meets file clerk Ruth Williams (Pike) and the two fall in love.

With tension between Bechuanaland and South Africa high the idea of the soon to be King marrying a white woman would be unheard off. The British government doesn’t want him to become king and Seretse own family don’t want him to become king if he stays with Ruth. With the racial divide still going strong, Seretse pushed for equality over anything else, so he can unite his kingdom when he becomes king.

 

Thoughts on A United Kingdom

 

Characters – Seretse Khama is the prince of Bechuanaland he has been studying law in England to prepare for his time as king, he falls in love a white woman in Ruth Williams which throws tensions from his family, government in the air and to prove his love is more important than his traditions and bring the equality between the races together. Ruth Williams is an English clerk whose family has been working to teach Christianity to Africans, she meets and falls in love with Seretse and goes against everyone else’s desires and marries him. Rufus Lancaster is the British liaison in Bechuanaland who leads the opposition from the land, which only shows us just how the English were over controlling.

PerformancesDavid Oyelowo is wonderful in the leading role, showing us once again that he can lead any movie he wants too. Rosamund Pike shines to showing everyone that she can handle to calm roles after the psycho ones in Gone Girl. The rest of the cast are wonderful even if the British characters are as stuck up as you would imagine them to be.

StoryThe story follows the lives of King Seretse who marries an English white woman which puts the balance between the racial tension in his home land and British rule. We learn a lot from this movie, because we see how the country was being controlled from outside forces that only saw them as a piece of land. There is a lot to take in and the history lesson about this union that created a chance in the land.

Biopic/RomanceWhat King Seretse and his wife Ruth achieved for Botswana was incredible and this shows us how their love drove them to achieve this change.

SettingsThe settings show us the high society British look at an African country that was following its own traditions to become the independent from this style of rule.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech to the ‘tribe’ as the British called them.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Knowing the English were this shallow.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how the world was once ruled by people who believe they are in the right to control countries affairs and how their union would change everything.

 

Overall: History is always worth learning.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – B – Belle (2013)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Misan Sagay (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Tom Felton, Miranda Richardson, Sam Reid, Penelope Wilton

 

Plot: The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Look a Historical Change

 

Story: Belle starts in 1769 when Captain Sir John Lindsay (Goode) father’s a child with a slave girl who has died. He begs his Uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and Lady Mansfield (Watson) to care for Dido Elizabeth Belle. Facing the difficult decision Lord Mansfield accepts Belle into the household as a new friend for their other niece Elizabeth, but for the social order they must wait and see.

Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) grown up to their 20’s as Belle learns of her father’s death and potential suitors for Elizabeth with Dido staying away from visitors because of her skin colour. When Lord Mansfield agrees to take vicar’s son John Davinier (Reid) under his wing to defend the rights of the slaves after a tragic event led to the death of them on board a transport ship by the captain.

With the case running in the background Belle uses this to work with Davinier to bring down the slavery industry running through Britain while dealing with the society marriages she has found herself involved with.

 

Thoughts on Belle

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is the black woman in higher society England, only she isn’t accepted in all the ways the white high society people are. She lives in the rich homes but not welcome to the dinners but doesn’t understand the difference until she comes of age, she is a strong minded woman whose short memories of her father motivate her into wanting to make a change to rid England of slavery. Lord Mansfield is drawn into how society is meant to be but also wants the best for his adopted daughter. John Davinier is the idealistic young man who is in search for the change in slavery who sees how Belle also wants to change.

Performance wise I do feel Mbatha-Raw gives her best performance of her career to date here with Tom Wilkinson always showing us his acting class. Sam Reid is also great throughout with the rest of the cast all performing their roles just how you need them to be.

StoryThe story is showing an important part of history as we see how England had it’s first case that could bring down slavery in the country. The story unfolds showing how difficult it was for Belle in this time because of her blood line, skin colour and social standing. I think this is an unknow and important part of history that should be known.

Biography/RomanceLooking into this woman’s history was fascinating because we get to see how her choice in love help change a nation look at slavery.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for time the film is set showing how the upper class looked at the life they had.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I wasn’t sure about but found myself enjoying from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is a good film for all history buffs to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Domhnall Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall

 

Plot: Harry, Ron and Hermione search for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: It ends with a bang

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two starts by reminding us of the closing scene in Part One with Voldemort taking Dumbledore’s wand from his grave. Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) continue in the quest to stop Lord Voldemort (Fiennes). The plan to find the final item of the three Deathly Hallows items takes our heroes down to Bellatrix Lestrange vault. After which they must sneak back into Hogwarts to meet up with the former classmates as they have to work together to uncover the next Horcruxes that Lord Voldemort is searching for to make him stronger.

Hogwarts is under a new head master Severus Snape (Rickman) who threatens the whole school both students and staff only to finally get confronted by Harry and taken out of the picture at Hogwarts. Voldemort tries to get the students to turn Harry over but united they stand ready for the final battle against Voldemort and anyone who stands with him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two complete the saga we have seen for a grand total of ten years. We FINALLY get to see a proper battle instead of a small five minute one which most of the films have had. We do get more causalities and a conclusion that any saga would be happy with, we get some twists we don’t see coming that will bring our opinions on certain characters around. We get rewarded for sitting through the other films that developed the characters so we don’t have to waste time with anymore preparation. In the end all the fans will be rewarded with a conclusion that we deserved. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter going through his final preparation to face Lord Voldemort in a battle that will define him. Daniel gives a great performance in his final outing as the wizard hero. (9/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione along with Ron work on their own plan to stop Voldemort. Hermione helps in the battle by letting Harry focus on the main one ahead of him.  Emma gives a good performance. (8/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron along with Hermione work on a plan to stop Voldemort and final show each other how they feel about one another. Rupert gives a good performance in the supporting role. (8/10)

 ron

Ralph Fiennes: Lord Voldemort along with his army is out to take down Hogwarts and kill Harry once and for all. Ralph makes for a great villain through the last couple of films and finally gets a chance to be the full force villain we have been waiting to see. (9/10)

 voldemort

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two has a huge supporting cast for the battle which sees old friends return, enemies exposed and true alliances revealed. They all help in the final battle with each offering something we didn’t expect from them.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job directing the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga. (9/10)

 

Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two remains one for the growing family to enjoy but this one would be too much for the younger audience. (8/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two keeps its fantasy elements going with the magical battles. (8/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two doesn’t have much mystery about it anymore as we solved most of the mystery in the previous film. (5/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two cuts its setting down but that works because we don’t need many as the battle takes place at Hogwarts. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two has great special effects throughout that keep everything looking very real. (10/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two should only be watched by the fans who have seen the previous films, if you don’t you won’t get the full reward with this one. (Watch After the Rest)

 

Best Part: Hogwarts battle.

Worst Part: 19 years later doesn’t fit in at all.

Action Scene Of The Film: Hogwarts battle

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: The end for now

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Box Office: $1.3 Billion

Budget: $125 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Tagline: It All Ends

Trivia: Daniel Radcliffe reportedly broke 80 wands throughout the series because he used them as drumsticks.

 

Overall: Great Conclusion to the Saga

Rating 90

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bill Nighy, Richard Griffiths, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, John Hurt, David Thewlis, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Harry Potter and the Fellowship of the Wands

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One starts by showing the wizard council preparing for anything making the people away they are still going to be safe. To be sure Hermione (Watson) erases her memory from here mortal parents. We see Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) and his followers planning to find and kill Harry Potter (Radcliffe). To help protect Harry the defence arranges for a select through the turn into a Harry Potter to confuse the dark lord, with the real Harry heading off with Hagrid (Coltrane). Upon their escape the order is attacked having causalities including a very trusty friend of Harry’s.

Even through the dark times we have a wedding for the Weasley brother and at this wedding Harry learns more about his old friend Dumbledore. Darkness falls on the wedding leaving Harry, Ron (Grint) and Hermione escaping to London. Each step leading to a new danger the three friends most choose their steps wisely. Harry must go back into his past to find the answers to the questions which will help him defeat Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One enters into the world that we have been into for years now. We go to the darkest levels we have had since the series started and we take away the school element of the film. Even though this film relies on yet more building and focuses on the friendship a lot more that we have had in previous years. On the negatives we do lack the amount of villain activity as we only see an opening scheming and a few attacks my goons. It might be part spoiler here but it was good to finally see the villains have the opener hand at the end of the film. This is good build and does take the film into a different direction than we have been going with the adventure the three go on. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter with everyone after him Harry has to watch his own friends sacrifice and risk their own lives so he can complete his mission and stop Lord Voldemort. Daniel gives a good performance showing the power that is needed in the character. (9/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione long-time friend of Harry’s who joins in the quest even if it strains the relationship with Ron. Emma does a good job and finally gets a bigger role and shines in it. (8/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron worried about all his loved ones he questions his place in the quest leaving the other two alone but he does make his return when it is most needed. Rupert gives a good performance and shows a much serious side to his character. (8/10)

 ron

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One has a large supporting cast but in the end they don’t come along or get involved as much as previous times.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job showing the good guys preparing for a final battle with the dark lord. (8/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One shows a good sense of adventure throughout for our heroes. (9/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One this would be harder to suggest watching with younger family members but can be enjoyed by the old children. (9/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps its elements of fantasy high level which works for the whole story. (9/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps us guessing on who is the ones they can trust and who they can’t. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One uses new settings by not including Hogwarts also doesn’t seem missed. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One fails to use the extra special effects which works because the ones being used work well. (9/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One would be one to watch as long as you have seen the rest, this may not be one that can be picked up without seeing the rest. (Series Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The adventure between the friends comes off well.

Worst Part: Not enough of what the villains are up too.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 7 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Box Office: $960 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: The Hunts Begins

 

Overall: Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings

Rating 80

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as “the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lowering The Levels Here

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince starts by the dark master Lord Voldemort’s (Fiennes) and his wizards attacking London. Harry (Radcliffe) has spent his summer enjoy himself away from the abusive family, when a visit from Dumbledore (Gambon) opens up the next adventure. Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) are having second thoughts about returning to Hogwarts for their sixth year. We see Severus Snape (Rickman) conspiring with Bellatrix Lestrange (Carter) and the Malfoy family along with us hearing about a plan for Draco (Felton) to complete the dark lords work.

Upon returning to Hogwarts the students learn how it might not be safe there anymore and the defences have been increased to try and protect the students from the evil outside the walls. We learn more about Voldemort’s time as a student as Hogwarts where he went by the name Thomas Riddle and the interaction he had with Dumbledore. We continue to see Draco planning something as he seems to have cut out the bullying side of his character, while our three leads all deal with relationship issues.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is bar far the most boring of all of the films so far, it deals with way too much relationship issue when the bigger picture seems to be swept under the rug especially after what we saw in the last one. It is sad because the final moments of this film are also some of the most important of the whole series, but as I have said for the last couple it is all build to one big battle that we will not see until next time I hope. I really feel if this one had been a better all-round story it could have been the most emotional impactful so far but because of the lame relationship stuff we just lose interest here. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter known as the chosen one now, he wants to continue his studies so he will be ready to fulfil his destiny and be the one to stop Voldemort. Daniel gives an ok performance but in the end it isn’t the level you have come to expect. (7/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione she was a strong power leading witch but now all she wants to know is why Ron is taking notice of her. Emma does a solid job but less screen time then it kind of ruins the quality of the friendship. (6/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron stuck in a teenage relationship and new star of the Quidditch team. Rupert is also getting less screen time that pulls it all down for him. (6/10)

 rupert

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has a huge supporting cast but this time not enough of them make an impact on everything that is going.

 

Director Review: David Yates – Pulls the standard of franchise down because we are expecting such a larger level of directing. (5/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pulls away from the adventure side to give us all the teen romance rubbish. (2/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is does continue to be one for the family but this could be missed in the most part. (5/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince keeps the fantasy level up high. (8/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince offers plenty of mystery and continues to leave some of the open for a later film. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince all come off great throughout the film. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince cuts down on the effects but in the end when it is used looks too much CGI used. (4/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the first one of the series I could say miss too, but the final moments make it import to what happens for the next one. (Watch if you have seen the rest)

 

Best Part: Final moments.

Worst Part: Teen romance crap

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 5 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Box Office: $934 Million

Budget: $250 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 33 Minutes

Tagline: Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry

Trivia: The only ‘Harry Potter’ movie to be Oscar nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award.

 

Overall: Worst in the Series

Rating 66