BumbleBee Did Not Stumble For Me

Bumblebee Poster

 

Hollywood touches everything it can, finding topics that can potentially be turned into a new movie franchises until every inch of profit is squeezed out.  A toy series turned cartoon, that soon became a live action motion picture series that at one time blew our minds and soon blew our wallets.  After many hardships, the series was about to crash and burn, until the Bay era was handed over to a new team to try and bring it back to life.  Tonight, the full world release is upon us and given the trailers, can this film succeed where the others have failed?  That’s where my review comes in, so here we go as I review:

 

Movie: Bumblebee (2018)

 

Director:

Travis Knight

Writers:

Christina Hodson (screenplay by), Christina Hodson(story by)

Stars:

Hailee SteinfeldDylan O’BrienMegyn Price

 

 

LIKES:

 

Character Development: Bumblebee starts off on the right foot by bringing some character development the film sorely needed.  The titular characters get a gross dive into the psyche, finding new ways to expand the quiet hero’s role outside of new weapons to shoot. In addition, Steinfeld’s character is much more realistic than the mess we had in the other five installments.  Her history, her outlook on life, and social dynamics are covered extraordinarily well, making sure to connect the points and actually give some growth.  The relationship between the robot and girl is heartwarming and an appealing dynamic to invest your time into.

 

The Story:  The movie succeeds again where the others had trouble. While not the most in depth, this prequel, and potential reboot, does make a much more connected plot that wasn’t too cheesy or stuffed in comic craziness.  It bridges the Cybertron to Earth transition well, while setting up the plot for potential sequels, while also standing on its own with the previously mentioned character development.  Dropping the convoluted tangled subplots opened the movie to more fun in both comedy and action.  Speaking of which.

 

Comedy: Ever since number one Transformers has had a special spot for overdone comedy antics and ridiculous levels of meme worthy gags.  Noticing the declining trend in quality of the jokes, Bumblebee’s writers did a fantastic job of integrating some fresh laughs into the mix without going too far into the stale territory.  The 80s nostalgic references and pop culture power with Bee is sensational and by avoiding the tacky toilet humor, it doesn’t lose its stride. Even more impressive is how the comedy flows into the story, working with it and not trying to overtake it as has been seen in the past.  A few tangential scenes did occur mind you, but limited their time limit to get back on track in the short time limit.

 

Pacing:  The last two films proved that the writing struggled to fill the nearly 3 hour run times with engaging material, leading to a sluggish rambling with little value.  Bumblebee shines here as well, not only by shortening the run time by nearly an hour, but also with a pace that kept moving and in time with the other antics. As such, don’t expect too much boredom in this installment.

 

The Action:  Hands down the aspect I was watching for the most, Bumblebee again manages to achieve the goal of improving upon the action that it sold for so long.  The yellow bug had much more epic and fluid moves, with improve choreography and some dynamic sequences that were captured beautifully and not lost too sketchy camera work.  Throw in the fact that the special effects weren’t too overdone, nor the focus of the film, and it led to cleaner action moments that hooked me into the get go.  By not forcing the action too much, I think it made the moments shine a little brighter, and kept the theater quality up.

 

The Soundtrack:  When it comes to the 80s, you know the music was legendary in its synthesizers and emotional rantings.  Well, Bumblebee seems to have a good ear for some legendary tracks and while comically integrated well, the selection was just wonderful to listen too throughout the film.  Be ready to tap your toes to the beats my friend, or at least get set for lip syncing.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Action:  A small dislike, but an action junkie like me wanted more of the epic display of battling between robotic factions. Cybertron was a great introduction, but why could we not get more of it throughout the film.  Perhaps another prequel about the war for Cybertron will be in the future, but a little more of the fighting on Earth could have helped relieve this want.

 

Attention To Detail: Again, a small dislike, but Bumblebee’s writers may have missed some of the story elements from the previous film. The way this is set up suggests that this film will be reboot of the series, a good thing in terms of story. Yet if it is going to continue on and serve as the first film in the Michael Bay Series, then it loses points for trying to ignore the details they once cherished.

 

John Cena:  His character isn’t bad, and his acting fits the character, but I was disappointed with the way to took the character given the previous history of human agents.  Cena’s character goes through the usual ringers, but misses the target in terms of being a little too silly, not getting the full integrative procedures, and not having the same bite that others have had.  As such, I kind of felt it was a wasted character for me, and could have been an added character bonus and story plot for whatever the plans for this series are.  Not utilizing this actor to the mix… was a wasted opportunity.

 

The Decepticons:  The antagonist robots have got some more flare and sass than a few of the other portrayals, but something that still blows my mind is that the studio struggles to maximize on some of the heavy hitters the show once had .  Don’t get me wrong, the two in this film were still deadly rivals for Bee to fight, but they just lacked depth, and investment again when once more they had the potential to start out on the right foot.  Perhaps if there had been more Cybertron, or they had chosen a historical legend to be the main head this would have helped this area, but for now the record of still choosing some nameless borgs rings true ad they need to get a better handle for the next movie.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Okay, the cinematic Transformers is still not perfect, but this movie is definitely a fun installment that greatly improved on the weaknesses the original 5 were holding.  With greater character development, a wonderful relationship investment, comedy that worked with the story, and action that was miles better given they used better camera work and coordination, this series could finally get the upgrade it needed.  However, the film still needs to find some investment into the other characters for me, and choose the route it wants to take from here as either reboot (my preferred option) or continuation, as this will help make up for a few details and choices that didn’t quite work for me.  One thing for certain though is this:  the balance of story, character development, and action was miles above the Bay quintology, and proves that special effects is not the answer to Transformers.  Definitely worth a trip to theater for the special effects though.  My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5

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Aquamantastic! Swimming In The Right Direction

Aquaman Poster

 

 

Revving Up Your Mortal Engines, Watch The Visuals Howl And Roar!

Mortal Engines Poster

 

Another Friday night, another visit to the theater to get set for the latest movie craze to hit the silver screen.  Tonight’s spectacle is all about another book brought to Hollywood with the glorious director of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Peter Jackson plastered all over the trailers to get people into the theaters to check it out.  Can the master of the epic trilogies bring more magic to the cinema, or has the handing of the torch led to a breakdown that will leave us stranded for hours.  Let’s get started as Robbie K reviews:

 

Film: Mortal Engines (2018)

 

Director:

Christian Rivers

Writers:

Fran Walsh (screenplay by), Philippa Boyens (screenplay by)

Stars:

Hera HilmarRobert SheehanHugo Weaving

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Perhaps not the most known cast, Mortal Engines crew has assembled to bring some decent performances to the mix.  Sheehan and Hilmar has the emotional spectrum covered across the board, bringing more dynamic performances and some decent chemistry. Meanwhile Weaving, Jihae, and Leila Georgehave a more limited approach, though do it well enough.  Chemistry flows between the characters well enough, and establishes an awkward family that works well into the world.

 

The Genre Mixing:  It’s difficult to blend obscure genres together in a manner that doesn’t overpower or underwhelm each other.  Mortal Engines fortunately works well to mix these elements together and bring with it a medium that has a little something for everyone.  If one is a fan of these series, then I have no doubt there will be some alluring piece to grasp your attention.

 

The World Building: The balanced blending of the genres allows for a wonderful world to design, animate, and bring to life. Jackson’s imagination with his resources has accomplished the mission of building the world and crafting a spectacular display for your eyes to feast on.  The various buildings mixed with vehicles are stunning to say the least, and as more colonies appear and different elements unfold with them, I certainly appreciated the attention to detail and seeing the various architecture mixed into the works.

 

Costumes and Makeup:  Books work hard to described their characters and pain the picture, leaving the movies to study and design their work to mirror those details.  Again, the team succeeds in bringing the characters to life with an amazing wardrobe and visual effects to the table.  Whether you are a secondary character or a leading star, Mortal Engines costumes reflect the culture to which these characters were established in.. From the fabric choices to the colors themselves, one will become immersed into the setting perhaps desiring their own modern meeting traditional styles.  Needless to say, this film inspired a number of costume plays in the future.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Story:  The Lore is there, the basics are there, and the truth is there is enough balance to set the stage for potential sequels.  Yet this first installment lacks quality to really expand upon the characters they promoted in the trailers.  Mortal Engines gets enough of the engines warmed up to at least lay out the track, giving pieces of each story to connect all the points, and try to give all the background information to complete the tale. Yet, the piece meal presentation, rushed details, and hasty wrap ups is where they dropped the ball.  I believe the lore is there, but it’s just missing that finesse that I believe it needed.

 

Shrike’s Roar:  A small dislike, the supposed creepy automaton looks the part and has fantastic structure, but is a bit too flat for the envisioned role.  Shrike’s call for Ester is more humorous, a fallacy of voice work that sounds like Smiegel from LOTR meeting the Terminator.  The overuse of the yell was more comical than menacing, and as such was a tactic that did not meet it’s intended mark of terror.

 

More Action: Yes, I’m a broken record into his category, but the trailers painted some promising action sequences to help bring the adventure to this film.  The opening was very shiny and alluring, with the hopes of action soaring to new heights, and then the momentum was dropped.  Much of Mortal Engines fights are gritty, but not quite as suspenseful as I had hoped.  While keeping in time with the rhythm and feel of the movie, this particular film still could have spiced up its action factor to add that needed suspense to the mix.  The ending showed the momentum building once more, only to have the brakes slammed on for the grand finale. Perhaps a little more development into the mix could have taken this film to new heights, but at least there are visuals to handle.

 

Suspense-less:  Mortal Engines other main area of improvement for me is the lack of suspense in the film.  Some of this comes from the dislikes mentioned above, but one other major scrap point is the predictability of the film and scrapping of other films to decorate this vehicular town adventure.  These two aspects combined make for obvious foreshadowing, as the director takes you on an obvious pathway that quickly sheds its intensity like the various pieces of discarded equipment.  Sure, the references are fun to pick out and quite comical in their application to this film, however, there was only so much leading down this direction before it soon got out of hand, leading to well the anticlimactic finale.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Jackson’s resources have brought the world to life, as steampunk and fantasy mix together to make an amazing world to ride into.  With a fantastic visual support and imagination supporting the actors, Mortal Engines is truly the theater worthy visual spectacle to behold.  Yet, the movie’s nonvisual elements are needing a little repair, helping to iron out details and pump some suspense into the engine to fuel this film.  A second installment could be waiting in the garage, but if so, we could use some of this integration and repair to bring these limitations to the next level.  Still, the visuals alone should hopefully be worth a trip to the theater, but definitely worth checking out at home if you are waiting for something better. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

Slinging In Style: SpiderMan Webbing A New Image

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Poster

 

In the modern era, the superhero movies reign supreme in the world of the cinematic, blockbuster films.  While Marvel studios universe continues to reign in dollars, there are many who state they could be getting burnt out given the 4-6 movies that release a year.  As lines blur, and franchises continue to blend together to the modern public, the series needs some extra oomph to help them stand out.  Welcome to another Robbie movie reviews and we are down for another review as we get set to review a massive movie week to come.  Let get cracking on:

 

Movie: Spiderman Into the Spiderverse (20180

 

Directors:

Bob PersichettiPeter Ramsey

Writers:

Phil Lord (screenplay by), Brian Michael Bendis (Miles Morales created by)

Stars:

Shameik MooreJake JohnsonHailee Steinfeld

 

 

LIKES:

 

Animation/Design:  The rest of the reviewers are correct in saying that the animation of this movie is superb to say the least.  Design wise the movie nods to a number of art styles and comic book references to please many eyes of the comic book lover.  It’s a living comic book that has all the edge, frames, and references, but yet has vibrant color and clever use of contrast and color to stand out from the typical live action film.  This dynamic only continues to evolve over the course of the film, adding more styles to the mix and integrating them into a true piece of work.

 

Story:  The movie is certainly geared towards the comedy route, doing its best to make it a slap happy, geeky trendy, kid friendly comic movie for the holiday season.  While zany and certainly silly, the movie surprisingly has a deeper lore to it then I was expecting.  A predictable plot, this movie dives deeper into the darker dynamics of the hero, the important lessons of self-belief, and the character development that many superheroes lack.  Into the Spider-Verse’s compelling story makes for a solid foundation to build much off and the writing helps integrate comedy with story in a wonderful equilibrium.

 

Voice Acting:  Not much to expand upon here, but the film’s characters really thrive in this film with the acting contributing much toe the part. Sure the design and animation brings a piece of them to life, but the voice work adds that extra level to fully bring their inner workings to life.  As the voices further integrate and play off of one another, the characters evolution begins to soar to new heights and somehow further develop the relationships between each other.

 

Clever Wit:  Perhaps the biggest like of all, is how the movie just works to please a variety of fans both comic loving and general.  It’s got well integrated slap-stick that is simple and yet layered, mixed with a nod to a number of references and gimmicks comic fans are used to.  The use of sarcasm is tactfully wielded to help add that aspect our spider heroes often wield, alongside the fantastic one-liners to be printed on T-shirts.  Spider-Verse is a plethora of witty banter and it works when balanced with the rest of the likes mentioned.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Jokes a Little Too Far: The movie has a number of gimmicks into the mix, and while many of them are well-timed, they ran with one a little too far for my taste.  A constant origin story beating you over the head was a nice ace up the sleeve, but that tactic got a little stale for me and my colleague as well.

 

Blurred Lines: I’m not sure if part of the art style, a reference to a style, or perhaps just editing to not smooth out the parts meant for 3-D.  Whatever the case, the outline was a little messy for me, and perhaps a poor attention to detail if not purposefully crafted to have a point.  If so, then kudos, but if you see this one in 3-D, I don’t think this will be much of an issue.

 

More Integration of bad Guys:  Understanding this was meant to be about Miles Morales origin story and the integration with the other spider-verses, I appreciate the work done for this team. Yet, the bad guys ready to face off against the team were a little bit of wasted characters for me, mostly just oddly shaped punching bags for our webslingers.  One villain got the royal treatment, but the others needed some character overhaul to help them stand further out.  I’ll admit there is potential for a sequel to expand upon them, but for this film, a little more diving into them could have helped spruce things up and again give us characters we cared bout.

 

The Action:  The action is there, don’t chew my head off, and in truth it works well with the theme and atmosphere of the movie as it caters to the family atmosphere.  However, being an action junkie I would have liked a little more choreography, integration of heroes, and traditional battles that this odd adventure helped. Yet, the biggest thing I wanted with the action, was a less dynamic camera angle so I could actually enjoy the animation at hand.  I again admit that it felt like a comic, with action taking place off screen, but tidying up the spastic camera could have gone well.  And just as the battles found its stride, the movie was over.

 

 

The VERDICT: 

 

Overall, Into the Spiderverse, is the breath of fresh air that the superhero industry needed to help regain interest.  With surprisingly deep lore, well themed comedy, and a design that is flashy, stylized and dynamic, it’s certainly going to appeal to many viewers.  Yet, it’s not the traditional Marvel movie and some limitations in regards to jokes, lack of hot actors, and nonlinear presentation may not ring well with the normal super hero audience.  Throw in a little unorthodox action and you’ll see mixed reviews coming in depending on who attends the showing with you.  My scores for this movie are;

 

Animation/Action/Adventure: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Will This Movie Wreck Your Memories

Ralph Breaks the Internet Poster

 

Popular culture is here to say, but it is also ever changing, much in part to the internet.  Tonight’s movie decides to journey to the center of the internet looking into the world of cyberspace through the eyes of Disney.  Yes, tonight the sequel many never thought would come to bear given the current movements by Disney (Pixar sequels, live animation, and Marvel).  That’s right! Out of Walt Disney Animation Studios is Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet, which based on the massive advertising, holds the potential to be another hilarious adventure.  Robbie K here to review:

 

Movie: Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Wrecks The Internet (2018)

 

Directors:

Phil JohnstonRich Moore

Writers:

Phil Johnston (screenplay by), Pamela Ribon (screenplay by)

Stars:

John C. ReillySarah SilvermanGal Gadot

 

 

LIKES:

Animation: No surprise, Disney knows how to design and animate in the world of children’s animation. Ralph’s newest adventure proves this once more as the cyberworld comes to life in rich textures and colors, as the wonderful world of Disney’s lens reveals a cleverly detailed world.  All ages should appreciate the mood and characterization of each popular app and part of the cyber world, that adds the characteristic this series is famous for. Characters move smoothly in all sequences, and it still holds the personality of a video game.

 

Comedy:  Ralph’s series is always known for the comedy and the dive into the internet immersed the group into new depths of comedy.  This film broadens its horizons in terms of laugh factors and allows more people to laugh at the antics at hand.  The same slapstick remains from the first film, while jabs at our popular culture, alongside quote worthy one-liners ring through the whole film.  Many avenues are not safe from the ridicule of the movie, that will hopefully have you laughing in good fun like I did.  Nevertheless, the film’s laugh fest is still reminiscent of the first film, but bringing a new twist to the mix.

 

Pace:  A Disney movie is often paced quite well and this film is no exception.  Ralph and company will be surfing at the speed of information exchange, having no problems with being deterred or hindered in its ability to bring the entertainment and story we so crave.  With this faster pace, comes an energy that Ralph is famous for, which will captivate the attention of all the intended audience members.

 

Cleverness:  The movie works so well with managing to have geekiness imbued into the film, showing off the whit of the famous studio as they pay tribute to the nerds and nerd alike.  Random cameos, details of buildings, and other popular culture references are well-established into the comedy and seldom forced upon you like some of the films they have made. Still, Disney’s shrewd creativity and imagination continue to shine forth in their ability to make animated films.

 

The Moral:  The movie wouldn’t be a Disney film if there wasn’t a tried and true trail to remain at the center of it all.  Ralph’s first lesson was about self-identity and discovering yourself.  This film expands the already deep characters to new levels as their relationship evolves into the next levels of growth.  As both start to fan out into the cyber world and establish new adventures, Ralph and Venelope will go through their own trials as well.  It’s sweet, it’s strong, and it jam packed with emotion that will have many getting sentimental, especially if it is relevant. Wreck It Ralph’s moral driven plot may not be original, but it certainly is jam packed with the usual Disney magic.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not The First Movie:  Sequels have to be themselves and soar with open wings to establish its only flow.  Still, the sequel lacked some of the creativity, uniqueness, target themes that it had established those years ago.  I missed the video game focused references, and cameos of dad jokes with parodies to those games.  In addition, it still lacked some other things I’ll be mentioning to result in a still good sequel, but maybe not quite as strong as the original to me.

 

The Other characters: it was brilliant to allow other characters and gimmicks to unfold for this film, but a few other characters could have certainly had more involvement given how much a part they were of the main character’s lives.  Why the original characters didn’t go on a journey more, I don’t know, but I missed them in this film very much.

 

New Characters Quite Not living To Full potential:  Shank and the new crew might have been beautiful and bold in the film, but they were not nearly as integrated into the film as the previous installment.  Disney has included them enough to give us future merchandising, but the cyber characters didn’t quite have the adventurous involvement the previous one had.  It would have been nice to pull them multiple times to help with facing the internet and I quite missed the sense of adventure the first film specialized in.

 

Comedy In Your Face Moments: There are times where Disney still feels the need to force an idea or comedy style on them.  Sometimes they work and other times are a little too intense for me to really appreciate it.  The Disney princess moment is one of those moments that I felt was a little in your face, pushing too hard to get the point across for the sake of a laugh towards a certain subset of audience members.  I get there is a place for a lot of comedy in this film, the goal of the producers, but perhaps working to integrate characters a little bit might have been the way to go instead of another princess service announcement.

 

The Villain:  Turbo was a great central antagonist that held many tricks in  his arsenal to remain relevant and immortal.  He was deadly enough to threaten people with darker tones, while still a force to brecken with.  However, this one was missing a lot, often much due to underutilization of characters and a gimmick that seemed nothing more than a plot device trying to justify the inclusion of another big bad character.  It’s age appropriate, but not quite the full incredible splendor that the first one did, and I missed that challenge to their never-ending quest for fun, adventure and the truth.

 

The Trailer Ruined Much: Hate when Disney over shows the trailers, making sure to show you so much of the movie without giving away the whole thing.  Ralph has had a lot ruined, not everything mind you, but many powerful laughs and jokes could have held more life to it if they had been introduced in the film, instead of the billions of minutes on television.  As such, some of the more popular jokes were stale to my viewing group.

 

The Verdict:

 

            The sequel had a lot to live up for me, but Ralph’s second film held plenty of the same magic that I fell in love with in the first film.  Still a dazzling delight to watch with fantastic animation and design combined with the usual comedic references we’ve come to expect with this series.  Still, the dive back into pop culture references still needed some software updates to maximize old and new characters, and design the film with the same standards the first held.  Still the film is worth a trip to theater for many reasons and an enjoyable one at that. 

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5-8.0

Worth donning the Hood? A Review On Robin Hood 2018

Robin Hood Poster

            The classic tale of Robin Hood is a legend among countries, continents, and media franchises alike.  Various iterations have been forged from the fires of Hollywood’s studios some epic portrayals of the English hero and others that some think should remain lost in the mists of stories.  Nevertheless, Lionsgate is attempting to revive the story again, in hopes that it will be a box office success and potentially lead to another trilogy.  What’s in store?  Robbie K here to help you out with that as we do another review on:

 

Movie” Robin Hood (2018)

 

Director:

Otto Bathurst

Writers:

Ben Chandler (screenplay by), David James Kelly (screenplay by)  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Taron EgertonJamie FoxxBen Mendelsohn

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Actors:  A great movie relies on many things, but most fans go for their favorite actors.  In this film the casting was spot on with Taron Egerton being a prime choice for many given his popularity at the moment.  The English Actor interjects some modern edge to the role, that holds some class, spunk, and as my friends reported a new hot look to the mix. His portrayal certainly has a new sense of honor, but a little more rebellion behind it than the previous renditions.  Jamie Foxx on the other hand certainly has the disciplinary edge of the Little John, dropping his whimsical, clumsy nature for one with more fire and vigor.  Their chemistry is sensational, leading the rest of the cast to craft the next band of warriors for a new generation.

 

Costumes:  If actors are not pretty enough for you, then the costumes may be the ticket to pull you into the film further.  The new Robin Hood is like an Abercrombie designer combining modern flare with old English battle war apparel, to make some impressive looking outfits.  Perhaps in time for the next season Halloween, or maybe a winter coat for the holidays, the new style is certainly appealing in the long run.

 

The Action Flare:  This Robin Hood is certainly the type to take the flashy and flaunt it.  The trailers portrayed the action sensationally well, with graphics that have a certain element and angle that is unique, but also in that cheesy, artificial manner that Hollywood has been a fan of capitalizing on.  Robin’s hood’s flashy effects are probably a large reason for a theater visit, but it’s high energy and speed are certain to entertain younger audience members in their rather loud, visually intense moments.

 

Simplistic: In a sense, the movie at least has a finite presentation that doesn’t fall victim to the convoluted, artistic approaches some choose to do.  As such it brings cheap thrills and simplistic enjoyment in the grand scheme of things.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Sheriff Of Nottingham: No surprise, the bad guy isn’t my favorite character and that is okay However, the movie I don’t think took the character in a direction I thoroughly enjoyed.  This sheriff was a little to political and not enough strategy/action. His slimy nature and story design is lackluster and his inclusion in the film is only focusing on the political game that wasn’t the most entertaining twist on the story. This brings me to the next dislike

 

The Political Game: Robin Hood always had a political message and statement in it, the tale of the ragtag band of mercenaries standing up to rich in the name of the poor.  However, the 2018 remake gets a little too heavy in this aspect, focusing more on the discussions between all authoritarian power honors and the leaders of the rebellion.  This leads to dry dialogue, bloated speeches between the parties, and a small strategic strike at the powers that be.  Political enough for the strongly opinionated, and certainly a smarter approach in terms of dialogue.  Yet, it’s not the most entertaining, which leads to the next dislike.

 

Action:  The special effects are ready to go, with enough explosions and CGI to make Michael Bay proud.  Robin Hood though does not execute the action to the full extent the trailers hinted at for me.  Bouts are short, often reduced to mere minutes where the combination of random shots, CGI arrows, and extras flopping take point.  Sword fights are practically nil, and instead of a tense/engaging action sequence that other installments made famous, the movie is all about flash in the pan effects to get you from one political scene to the next.  It was a valiant attempt to kick the series off, but for this reviewer there are still other versions (namely the Disney version) whose action is much more involved and finessed than this modern rendition.

 

The Pace:  While the actions scenes help break up the monotony of the film, it still didn’t help with the pace of the movie.  Thanks to the political approach of the film, many may find it a bit sluggish in movement as they characters fall into heavy debates of how to handle all the funds.  It gets points for realism, but for me I was hoping for that same epic adventure the tale has been in the past.  After all, with stunts and arrow shots that defy reality, why would one not try to unleash the full potential of the pace and action with it.

 

Rushed Ending:  Maybe all the slowness means and epic finale to wrap everything up. Sorry, not the case for me.  Robin Hood’s bout with the Sherriff and his elite squad is much more lackluster than most of the films I’ve seen.  The final “battle” is more so a mob riot with only glimpses of actual combat occurring.  A semi impressive the plan, the finale had three errors that took away from the film. It starts with a rather boring fight, throw in a plan that was a little too easy and with little suspense, and then rapidly executed to the point of blink and you’ll miss a few things.  After all the waiting, how could they not end this with a bullseye we had been wanting.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            This rendition is not the complete picture I think Lionsgate was going for, and there is so much more to comment on in areas to improve.  While the casting is good and effects are ready to support the guerilla warfare motif, Robin Hood need some more editing and finesse to bring the most out of the film’s action.  Yet, if you are looking for a more realistic, representation of the political aspect of the days of yore, perhaps this is the hot ticket you have been looking for, and the slower, dryer pace will make you feel right at home.  Nevertheless, I’ll recommend holding out for this film, given everything coming out. 

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Nuts On Visuals, Cracked On The Story: A Nutcracker And The Four Realms Review

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Poster

 

The holiday season has begun and with it comes a number of specials and big budget movies to cover the anticipation.  Tonight marks the first of a long list of big films to grace the silver screen, with Disney attempting to go strong with a retelling of a legendary, immortal piece of the Nutcracker.  Will it be the light hearted, poetic fantasy that the ballet has captivated audiences for years on, or will it be the dark, foreboding tale of war?  Robbie K back with a written review to help determine what tale lies in store.  Let’s get started.

 

Film: The Nutcracker and The Four Realms (2018)

 

Directors:

Lasse HallströmJoe Johnston

Writers:

Ashleigh Powell (screen story by), Ashleigh Powell(screenplay by)  | 2 more credits »

Stars:

Mackenzie FoyKeira KnightleyMorgan Freeman

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Foy is the center of the Four Realms universe and blows the part out of the water.  A model example of the girl power, modern woman role, she has grown much past her cinematic days of Twilight.  Graceful, fierce, creative, and more importantly human, Foy played the balanced character well and made the most of the dialogue. Knightley hits her part on the mark as well, using that lighter pitch to bring the sensational sweetness of the fairy in her attempts to capture the hearts of the younger group.

 

The Ballet:  Paying tribute to the most famous form of this story, Four Realms makes time to portray the art at the nexus of the four areas. A beautiful display of the dance form, the ballet Misty Copeland’s form was splendid to watch as she pirouetted and leaped amidst a wonderful stage that felt much like attending the ballet.  For aspiring dancers of this form, this will be the favorite part.

 

The Music:  Classic and modern meet together in this wonderful soundtrack, utilizing the theater technology to blast your ears with a symphony of sweetness.  All the famous pieces are there for you to enjoy, whether it be the classical Nutcracker Suite to the wonderful balance of the Rat King’s theme.  Fans of the music should be fulfilled with Disney’s use of these tracks and how it supports the visuals.

 

The Visuals:  To save room, I’ll combine everything together in this like. The Four Realms is gorgeous, a true feast for the eyes at seeing everything come to life in a bountiful display of color, texture, detail, and magic of the world.  Settings were dynamic representing high rich culture of the real world, and the whimsical wonder of Clara’s own world as each realm utilized a different countries architecture as a basis.  Once the world was built, the computer animation came in and cleaned up the designs, bringing smooth transitions, realistic looking creatures, and that same Disney magic we love to be wrapped up in.  Finally, the costumes and makeup are stunning themselves, crafting some of the most unique, fun, and curious characters to come out of the Disney woodwork. Expect lots of copying of their designs in future Halloween costumes my friends, because Four Realms deserves big praise and awards for makeup and wardrobe combining into this magical display.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Mice Design Choice:  Okay, this is a small dislike, but one nonetheless. The mouse king and his subjects have a creative utilization, and are cute as a button when the field mouse design comes into play (in fact he is the most humorous and adorable part of the film). However, the letdown is that the mice are almost a carbon copy of the ones from Cinderella and quite simplistic compared to the rest of the visuals this movie held.  Disney’s got the money and the imagination so I would like to see them use it more than this.

 

Under Utilization of Characters:  This one is pretty self-explanatory, but after going through the motions to design all the wonderful characters, the studio did a lackluster job of using them.  The denizens of the Four Reams disappear in the background, stifling their potential to tell a fantastic story, remain involved in the full movie, and really bring characters that we can grip on to. So while they sine bright in their 15 minutes on screen, there was so much more for them to bring to the table.

 

Story Presentation: The Nutcracker’s complex plots and multiple portrayals mean rich lore to dive into and immerse oneself in.  Shame that Disney could not deliver on that story in this movie.  While geared towards the target audience, Four Realms splendor is skin deep as much of the tale is lost like the fourth realm.  Backstories are incomplete, questions are left unanswered, character development is surprisingly weak for most groups, and even worse those characters left out feel even flatter.  The major saving grace is Clara whose girl power, dream big princess that will inspire the key demographic, but outside of that, the preachy morals cannot save the skimming and predictability this story focuses on, so can’t say I was impressed in this aspect.

 

The Action:  No surprise, the action has been diluted for the key demographic in this group.  Four Realms battles are really small skirmishes, that are cute, simplistic dances of choreography that lack any real bite to them.  While this might be good for younger members, Four Realms needed more suspense to break through the predictability of the film.  Some of the battles are also difficult to follow, due to dark settings, odd angles, and the speed of the film.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Four Realms continues to prove why Disney reigns high on the imagination train of visual perfection.  Costumes, setting, ballet, and characters shine bright in this film, helping to bring one into the realms and root for Clara to succeed. Sadly, the movie’s focus on visuals and effects means that the story took hits, with only one story really holding any spark to net my interest.  Disney didn’t utilize their characters to the full effect, and sort of robbed us of the complete experience that they were going for.  Worth a trip for aspiring princesses, ballet artists, and the target audience of girls, but otherwise outside of visuals you can hold off on this one.

 

 

MY SCORES:

 

Adventure/Family/Fantasy: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6..0