Archive for the ‘Children/Family’ Category

Four kids get detention and have to spend it in a basement room, where they find a video game. They decide to play it, but get sucked into the game. The only way to get out of the game is by finishing all the levels together. They are not playing the game as themselves, but as their avatars, who look very different from their normal selves.

It’s a classic adventure movie for kids. Sure, the special effects are very 2010ish, but this could have been made in the eighties as well. Nothing really bad happens to the characters and they succeed in the challenge at the end. It even has a positive message: Four kids, two nerds and two popular teenagers, have to overcome their differences and work together as a team! Hooray!

When you’re looking for brainless entertaining fun this is quite good. The action is great. The humor is good. The acting is okay.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2283362

 

Aladdin – **

Posted: July 24, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Visually a blast, this is quite an entertaining movie.

However. This live adaption of the animation classic is very flawed.

First there’s the setting. This is supposed to be an Arab folktale. Yet, it feels like the movie is made in Punjab or so. The market kinda looks middle eastern maybe. But the whole atmosphere is more Bollywood than anything else.

Also, why on earth would a Scandinavian-like prince speak with a German accent and look for an Arab princess to marry back in whatever era this tale is supposed to take place? Sure, it’s a fairytale, but even fairytales should make sense.

Then there’s the acting. It’s not good.

And finally, the music sucks. There are way too many songs and they all sound dull. About from that one hit maybe (A Whole New World).

However, as mentioned before. It’s an entertaining movie that doesn’t bore a bit. It baffles and annoys.

Makes you want to watch the animation movie though.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6139732

Dumbo (2019) – **

Posted: April 2, 2019 in 2019, Children/Family, Fantasy, USA, XX

Whatever happened with Tim Burton? The last good film he made was Big Fish from 2003.

This isn’t really bad. It’s just not exciting or original or funny.

It’s interesting to see how they adapted the animation story from 1941. In fact, the original movie is told in maybe 30 minutes or so. And it’s clear that the makers changed whatever felt wrong in that version. The references to some of the main characters in the original are subtle. The mother elephant is brought to the circus, already pregnant. There’s a stork flying by, but he’s not ‘bringing the baby’. There’s a mouse dressed as a ringmaster as well, but it’s only briefly on screen. They did a great job making Dumbo look like a clown. The pink elephant parade is well re-interpreted. When the mother is locked up in train carriage, it looks exactly the same as in the Disney classic. But where are the crows? Was Disney afraid for ‘racial’ controversy ?

But once the original story is told there’s more drama and action coming. The original ends with Dumbo realizing he can fly… This movie focuses on whatever happens next. It starts with two children being reunited with their father who returned from the war in Europe (missing an arm). He’s appointed to be in charge of the elephant show, but already has trouble when the new animal gives birth to a ‘freak’. Once the freak becomes the star of the show, the whole circus moves to some kind of amusement park and that’s where more trouble starts.

They managed to make a decent live action movie of a pretty sad children’s story. But it’s not enchanting or charming. No matter how cute Dumbo looks. None of the new (human) characters excite.

www.imdb.com/title/tt3861390

Dumbo (1941) – **

Posted: April 1, 2019 in 1941, Animation, Children/Family, USA, XX

Watching this with a smart ass kid in 2019 is great!

  • Why are storks bringing the babies ? Are the animal babies orphans?
  • Why are the animals happy going into their cages?
  • How can the mouse speak the same language as the elephant and the ringmaster and the crows?
  • Why are the elephants afraid of the mouse?
  • Elephants don’t drink water with their trunk, they suck it up and then spout it into their mouths
  • Crows don’t wear glasses and don’t smoke cigars!

Hm. Hopefully the live action remake will make a bit more sense. This one hour Disney ‘classic’ is only good for three year olds and younger.

It’s harmless nostalgic charm. It just doesn’t make any sense.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0033563

Somewhere in rural Malawi, an intelligent young kid can’t continue with school because his farming parents can’t afford the fee. They have financial troubles because of a failed harvest and the future isn’t looking bright. People are leaving the village and the government isn’t helping at all. The kid is able to sneak into the school library though and finds a book about creating energy by using wind. It takes a while before he can convince his illiterate dad that his ideas can actually help the farming. But he perseveres.

This is a very interesting story. We need more of these. It’s in the same vibe as A United Kingdom. The African continent has so many great stories to be told. It’s time movie makers take some risks. It’s time to watch these as well. It can’t always be fiction like Black Panther. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor is an underrated actor. He has starred in quite a lot of movies and carries them every time. This is his directorial debut and yes, it’s very formulaic and conventional, but it’s also entertaining and educational. It’s well done. He’s acting in it as well and as mentioned before, he delivers. His emotional scenes look the same in every single movie (that man can cry!), but he’s very believable as the illiterate farmer. The main star of the movie is young Maxwell Simba, a debutant from Kenya, who charms you the entire movie long. He’s extremely well cast. This is based on a true story, which is always tricky. But it all feels very authentic. Especially the fact that they learned the local language to communicate in. Hooray for that.

Worth watching.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7533152/

Christopher Robin, the kid from the Winnie De Pooh stories, is a grown man now. He has lost the ability to get lost in his fantasy world. All that matters is his job. And there’s a crisis going on at work, making him cancel the travel plans he had made with his family.

In the fantasy world of Christopher’s childhood Winnie De Pooh has lost his friends. He’s waiting for Christopher Robin to come help him find his friends, but he hasn’t seen Christopher in such a long time and decides to look for him as well. Via a magical door in a tree, the bear arrives in post world war London…

What follows is 90 minutes of boring characters in boring scenes. Maybe it’s a nostalgic trip for those who were fan of the Pooh stories as a kid. And maybe really young kids will like it. But in general, it’s obvious why this wasn’t a huge blockbuster: boring, sad and humorless! The visuals are great though. So that’s something.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4575576

Isle Of Dogs – *(*)

Posted: January 2, 2019 in 2018, Animation, Children/Family, USA, X1/2

Overrated 2018 movie #1

The trailer is promising. The mayor of a fictional Japanese city expels all dogs to an island full of waste. They are carrying a virus that is threatening humans and need to be quarantined. Preferably exterminated. A little boy decides to venture out to the island and look for his dog and encounters a pack of canines that will help him in his quest.

The actual movie is a bore. The stop motion technique is fascinating. But the story is just lame. It’s set in Japan. Yet the only person resisting successfully against the Japanese ruler is a foreign exchange student. Really? The Japanese speak Japanese, but the dogs speak English. Really? It’s a mess.

But it’s well liked by critics all over the world. So, give it a shot.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5104604