Incredibles 2

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Well I’m back, got my release dates wrong so it’s actually Incredibles 2 up for review this week and while I have been away a little while our cartoon superhero family have been away a lot longer, 14 years ago in fact and they don’t seem to have aged a day a la The Simpsons.

So what are the family up to now? Well not unlike the X Men universe, this family and all the other superheroes are no longer flavour of the month and are hiding in the shadows and a bit of positive PR is called for. Mr Incredible has now stepped into the role of full time parent while Elastigirl has now stepped forward when ever danger comes calling.

Well how can I put this kindly, Mr Incredible is not really doing all that well when it comes to bringing up the kids – his efforts to help Dash with his Maths homework are probably going just about as well as his fumbling attempts to help Violet with her romantic love life and Jack – Jack well that’s another story and a good one at that and this is where this film’s particular strenght is and where the greatest comedic scenes are.

There is of course a villain to be defeated, but this is really Jack – Jack’s coming of age movie even though he does not seem to have aged all that much. He doesn’t just have one power – he has many and all played for full comic effect.

It’s great to have this comic family back in our lives and this movie builds on what made the first one so enjoyable and should this morph into a trilogy – Disney / Pixar don’t leave it so long next time!!

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Let’s All Sing Along!!

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Ah, the musical – loved by some hated and detested by others. Let’s be honest here it’s now a genre where they are now few and far between. What’s even more rare is the original musical with original songs. ‘ The Greatest Showman ‘ – Hugh Jackman’s pet project is the only recent one that pops into my head.

How can I be kind, critics did not like it but surprise, surprise the audience loved it – so maybe the musical is not quite put out to pasture just yet. Another Aussie Baz Luhrmann seems to be quite a fan of them too and has created more than a few in his time.

However the golden age of musicals has certainly passed both in terms of content and of the amount of them being released. The multiplex cinema model does not really sit well with the musical genre. In the golden era everything was 70mm and on the biggest screen possible and the cinema was probably a one screen cathedral to the moving image and going to the movies was more akin to going to the theatre – it was a much rarer event. Also to add to this the cinema also most likely had it’s own purpose built restaurant that could rival the type of service you could expect at the best and most expensive of hotels.

With me, the musical has all been on the small screen and there’s pretty much no experience to that at all. I suppose I have been inspired to write this as I got to see a musical on the big screen recently and at the very end the audience clapped, who even might do that for any of the crop of the most recent releases!!

Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom

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It didn’t end all that well at the end of the last movie for the Jurassic World theme park for the human visitors at least. The dinosaurs however were left to their own devices and that should have been that, but Isla Nublar is a volcanic island and yes you guessed it, there is rumbling from beneath the ground. The island only has a limited time before it all goes kaboom and makes the dinosaurs extinct for a second time.

This sets up a race between Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who want to protect and move the dinosaurs to a safer place.
There is of course another group who just want to exploit and sell on these prehistoric creatures to the highest bidder and are not really too concerned about what happens to them after that.

The boffins at the park of course couldn’t help themselves and have been mixing up the genetic soup and again have created a new horror to scare us all witless. This is not going to end well!!

J.A Bayona, the Spanish director sits in the directors chair this time around. His previous movies have included those in the horror genre and this influence can be seen as the movie progresses.

We are on No.5 in the Jurassic franchise, so how does this one compare. Well this is certainly a step up from the previous movie, but as always the first one is the one by which all the other ones are measured. It is always a harder sell now that we have been here before and that sense child-like wonder and the ‘oooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’ have disappeared but as always once the dinosaurs are centre stage, that is when the movie is at it’s strongest.

So while not quite the best of the bunch, it is enjoyable and fun watch and probably all your brain wants to cope with in a Summer blockbuster. A great film for all ages and as always the youngest ones might be peaking under their beds before settling down to sleep.

Is There A Disturbance In The Force?

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It can’t of escaped your notice or maybe it has as the promotion for the newest Star Wars movie – Solo: A Star Wars Story has been rather subdued compared to the normal fanfare that might accompany such a release. But there is probably a pretty good chance that you will go and seek it out anyway. Now of course I could review this movie but those who are regular readers know that I tend not to do this for that very reason.

This current movie and also the other stand alone story from the Star Wars universe Rogue One have both had a troubled history in getting to the cinema screen. In both cases the director/s who started the project were not those who finished them and one is left to ponder what those movies may have turned out like. but we will never know that now.

Maybe others might disagree with me, but normally that might mean that the finished product would end up being less than stellar – to coin a space phrase so to speak.
But I am finding that I am much more engaged with these two tales than I am with the current trilogy. Is it because it is filling in gaps in the story timeline? I am not sure about that either as even a certain Mr Lucas has not always managed to get it right on that score.

Should the original trilogy have stayed just that, well the spaceship has sailed on that one for sure now. So as a particular fan of this universe I hope that the force remains strong in the storytelling of these continuing tales, both stand alone and also an improvement in the current trilogy as to do otherwise would do a disservice to both true and casual fan alike. I am watching, waiting and hoping for this to come to pass.

Deadpool 2

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Following on from the success of Deadpool, it was pretty much certain that Deadpool 2 would not be far behind. This movie however comes just a number of weeks after the most recent film from the Marvel universe. This may ultimately decide how well this movie does at the box office. Unlike that movie however this is squarely aimed at the older younger people in the audience if that makes sense, a casual look at it’s rating quickly tells you that.

This movie is not afraid to poke fun at many things including itself and it’s main star Ryan Reynolds. Sometimes scenes work and work well, other times not so well. I think in essence if you liked the last movie you will like this one. I have to admit here however that I am a little more on the fence here. For each time that I laughed along there were moments that the movie dragged, became disjointed storywise and became a bit too smart and knowing for it’s own good.

There is a storyline of sorts but I feel that the movie suffers from the fact that the darker characters in the movie do not remain consistantly that way throughout the movie. You need a strong bad one to balance out the hero of sorts in this tale.

I suppose to finish up this movie knows what crowd it is playing to and is not afraid to give them what they want, just don’t forget the rest of the audience too.
We need to be entertained as well.

Entebbe

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I am not sure intentionally or not considering the subject matter of this movie, what has happened here is that the filmmakers have taken the terror out of a movie about terrorists who hijack a plane. Also I feel this movie tries to tell this story from too many points of view and seeks to be evenhanded to all and in that it has missed an opportunity to tell a more engaging story.

Now to move on a bit of background to this movie and probably this is why you would be interested to go and see this story being told in the first place.

The 1970’s were punctuated by a number of significant terrorist acts including the attack at the Munich Olympics of 1972 where a number of Israeli athletes were killed. This put Israel on a heightened state of alert. It was a nervous time to be a citizen of the state of Israel. Another significant one would be the hijacking of an Air France plane mid way through a flight to Tel Aviv in 1976. The crew are forced to divert and land at Entebbe in Uganda. During this time Uganda was ruled ruthlessly by General Idi Amin. To say that this was a man you would not wish to cross paths with would be an understatement, he ruled by terror and fear. He sought to involve himself with this event and act as a honest broker to solve this terrorist crisis, thus seeking to change the world’s image of him.

Along with this the Israeli goverment decided that to protect the significant number of it’s people who had been taken hostage. It would take a twin track approach. The first would be to go down the diplomatic route to solve the crisis, the second would be to set up a daring raid to free the hostages which became known as Operation Thunderbolt.

Now I suppose part of my reason for telling you the background to this story and which I outlined earlier is that this movie should have been more engaging than it turns out to be by it’s final frame. Did the studio who greenlit this movie hope that it would be in the same mold as say Steven Spielberg’s Munich perhaps they did, which is a shame as this could have been so much more. A chance to tell a much stronger story lost I feel.

Mary and The Witch’s Flower

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There was a time not so very long ago when Japanese animation was not really seen in this part of the world, you really had to seek out it out. But of late while still quite niche in where it is shown it has become a lot more popular and now do at least get released here on the larger screen. I myself discovered this hitherto hidden world of film with a movie called ‘When Marnie Was There’, and this movie that I am going to mention today is also based around an original English children’s book, this one is called ‘The Little Broomstick’ by Mary Stewart. Some of the people involved with the animation at better known Studio Ghibli have now set up Studio Ponoc and this is their first release.

A young girl called Mary decides to follow a cat close to where she lives and comes upon a broomstick hiding within a tree. Within the forest she also encounters a follows a Fly-by-Night flower, which flowers only every 7 years. Upon touching the flower she is whisked away to a place called Endor College — a magical school above the clouds. There she meets Madam Mumblechook & Doctor Dee. At one time they were caring people but they have been overtaken in their pursuit of this rare flower and it’s magical powers and Mary finds herself on a quest to thwart their nefarious plans to obtain the flower.

I saw this in it’s dubbed version thought the subtitled version was also showing. As a general rule I prefer the latter but which you prefer is a debate for another day between fans and those who are coming to this for the first time.

It is fairly obvious that the filmmakers time at their previous studio has rubbed off on them and their first effort, it matters not as it happens as this current movie is as equally magical as what came before.

If you are a fan of Japanese animation you are sure to enjoy this, if this is your introduction, well I am sure that this will light the spark that will make you want to seek out more.