The King Is Moving To Improved Aspect, But Still Not Finding Balance

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Poster

 

The start of summer is the start of big movies and this weekend opens up with the “king” of blockbusters in the form of big monsters. Over many years, the giant monster movies have intrigued many and disgusted others, but they exist nonetheless to unleash their own brand of big budget chaos to the world.  Yet with mixed results, can this genre find the right audiences or are we still plagued by the modern era of too much bang and not enough buck?  Robbie K here to share some words on the latest movie to hit the silver screen.

 

Movie: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)

 

Director:

Michael Dougherty

Writers:

Michael Dougherty (screenplay by), Zach Shields (screenplay by)  | 3 more credits »

Stars:

Kyle ChandlerVera FarmigaMillie Bobby Brown

 

 

LIKES:

  • Character Design
  • Pacing After The first 30 minutes or So
  • The Animation
  • The Action
  • The Climactic Ending sort of
  • The Sound Track/Special Effects

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace Of the Movie’s Opening
  • The Story
  • The Focus On Humans…again
  • Action Scenes Were sometimes short lived
  • The Shaky Camera Work
  • The Imbalance Of Monsters… kind of

 

Fans Who Like These May Like This Movie:

Kong Skull island

Godzilla like movies

Pacific Rim Series

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Big budget films about monsters require a lot of things to appeal to the mass audiences and much of it has to with special effects and action.  The King Of The Monsters manages to focus much on this, becoming a special effects extravaganza that did not yield to the limitations of speakers and screens.  The animation is on point, and many of the creatures look stellar in their design, throwing away the prosthetics and papier Mache for stellar high definition CGI graphics.  Smooth monster animation that looks to stick to anatomical movements are beautifully unleashed and it helps bring these monsters one step closer to being real.  Eventually the monsters start battling and the action scenes have a number of special effects in both sound effects and visual styles to unleash Armageddon on the big screen.  Those who love seeing chaos unleashed with little else binding them, and getting a little more human involvement as well, should be pleased with the destruction at hand in that fastest way possible.  This is especially true in the final battle, where the behemoths battlegrounds hold much to be destroyed, assisted by theater shaking sound editing, an epic symphony score to add edge, flashy blasts from the atomic driven beasts, and plenty artificially generated beasts to fill your eyes.  It’s climactic and satisfying, and something I was hoping to see since the trailers showed.

With special effects focus though, the movie sort of stumbles on other categories that still need some work for this reviewer. The opening of the film is rather boring, a jumbled mess of convoluted introductions, explanations about what is going on and the human focus that will lead to all the mess.  For a movie about monsters, much of the screen time still focuses on the terrors of humanity, focusing on how much we suck in our attempts to control everything.  Unlike Kong, Godzilla’s second arc still has trouble grounding its size to a deeper plot, that involves interacting with these creatures more than from the safeties of the bunkers.  Even if you don’t care about the story, the action scenes are also in need of some work, even the climactic ending.  For one thing, many of the fights are very short lived, over in mere minutes after buildups of more talking from humans.  The Fight with Rodan might have been my favorite, having the most integration of human and beast combination that brought me into the zone, but other times it was a jumbled mess of quick shots of stuff blowing up before panning back to humans.  Other times, there were shaky bouts of camera work of close up monsters and falling buildings.  This improved at the end, but it took a long time to discover something other films have already mastered.  Finally, the number of monsters represented was not awful, but again trying to put too many in for them doing very little is a component that annoys me.  Mothra and Rodon were kind of there, hitting there moments at the right times, but not maximized.  Other creatures we get to see passing shots of, but they were unnecessary when we could have had more epic monster battles.

As you can see, the King Of Monsters is certainly going to hold the special effect event of the summer, or at least pretty close to it. It’s problem is, that it’s imbalance issues continue to mix the movie up in a messy sorts that some will love and others won’t.  The monster aspect gets points for chaos, destruction, and special effects that these movies thrive on so monster fans should be stoked by these aspects.  The action again is mixed for me, part awesome with the special effects and yet part disappointing because of the fast pace, focus on humans more than monsters, and shaky camera work that could have been expanded upon.  Perhaps the next installment can figure out the chemistry to the monster movie balance and bring back the magic of the dying genre. Still with all the special effects and monsters in this film, despite how imbalanced they are, the movie is worth the visit to the theater. So check it out when you can.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

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A Carpet Ride Into Familiar, Rushed, World

Aladdin Poster

            Disney cartoons in the 90s were the stuff of magic, and the foundation of my love for their movies. The animated adventures and their accompanying soundtracks were able to permanently embed themselves in my mind, heart and soul defining what Walt’s imagination established years ago.  Then came the live action versions and things started getting mixed up in the modern day of representation, realism, and trying to spin these tales in a way of being new/yet familiar.  There have been plenty of ups and downs, but they have found their place and tonight they try another milestone with big shoes, or in this case sandals/moccasins to fill.  Can it work?  That’s where I come in to give my insights as we check out:

 

Movie:  Aladdin (2019)

Director:

Guy Ritchie

Writers:

John August (screenplay by), Guy Ritchie (screenplay by)

Stars:

Will SmithMena MassoudNaomi Scott

 

LIKES:

Nostalgic

  • Core Story Present
  • Funny
  • Cute
  • Recreated World
  • Nice Visual Effects
  • Acting
  • Take On Genie
  • Some Of The Songs

 

  • DISLIKES:
  • Not Enough Exploration Of The World
  • Rushed At times
  • Missing Some Of The Character Charm
  • Jafar’s Take
  • The Anticlimactic Jafar Fight
  • The political Messages
  • Some of the Other Songs

People Who Likes These May Like This One:

Beauty and The Beast Live Action Remake

Prince Of Persia

Dumbo

Fresh Prince Of Bel Air

Disney Channel Original Movies

SUMMARY:

Let’s put it out there, Aladdin cartoons have set much up for quality in many ways, and yours truly is a big fan of it.  Yet this spin on it managed in a way to accomplish the goal of appeasing many audience members.  Guy Ritchie’s take on it holds the core story with the nostalgia nicely baked in making sure to hit the highlights of each moment with a new visual style.  The reimagined world holds nice visual effects and some beautiful attention to detail in the infusion of cultures bringing the beloved cartoon to life and making it semi realistic. Yet, when some people recreated these wonders, the magic of the film is lost to the darker tale and grittier atmosphere, sort of draining the enchantments the cartoon films held.  Fortunately, Ritchie and his crew succeeded in keeping the funny and cute moments in tact primarily in the form of clever one liners, Will Smith’s take on the genie, and relationship of Abu and Carpet, the former of which you want to adopt.  Yet the film also succeeds in bringing those relationships we love to life and somehow putting some new charms to it, to help them stand out.  Mena Massoud has the charm, naivety and wonder that Aladdin held to be the adventurous lad.  Naomi Scott’s voice and strong attitude pave a new Jasmine that will speak to the modern female audience, yet also enchant others. As for Will Smith, he makes the Genie his own character familiar yet also different to not attempt to copy the late William’s work.  His take was fun, almost like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air meeting Disney and it worked beautifully for me, primarily in the chemistry between him and Massoud (very touching at times).  And as for the music, while not quite the same as the 90’s songs in terms of energy, some of the tracks have their new spin work out well that is a blend of old and new and having charisma, my favorite being a Whole New World and Friend Like Me. New Songs by Jasmine though might be my favorite though, a new addition that fits well, delivers the messages, and showcases the Scott’s wonderful voice.

Yet for all the good there are some things still lacking for me.  First the world that they made was not explored enough like the original version, reduced to feeling like a close set instead of the epic kingdom of Agrabah and the Arabian desert. In fact, the movie feels very rushed at times, with the opening ran very quickly, that in no time we are at the cave of wonders instead of the buildup I was expecting.  This pace sort of robs the charm of the world and characters, sometimes getting lost in the all the new political moves and new gimmicks in place of the story telling. For me this was especially true for the take on Jafar.  In terms of looks, it get realism, and ambitions it is there, but this Jafar did not quite have the devious nature of the traditional villain.  That suave, sophisticated and cunning air, was lost to grandiosity and whining rather than that meticulous planning of the wise wizard.  And when it came time to fight him, well the anticlimactic moments were lost again to new themes and takes, including the design of his genie form.  Much of these limitations came from shoving the political components into the mix that were both endearing and then forced/beaten over the head.  The Dream Big Princess movement is alive and while respectable did not feel like it should have been as large a focus. As for the other songs, many of the tracks did not have the same flow, energy, and agreement with the scene like the movie, the new take changing the pace and energy of the scene that did not fit as well with the scene.

Overall, Aladdin’s live remake is one of the better ones for me because it tried to accomplish blending nostalgia and yet being different to not compete with the classics.  I had fun with this film, loved the relationships and acting between groups, the dynamics with CGI and some of those songs that took me to a whole new world.  Yet, the movie just did not explore the Agrabah as much as I wanted, rushing through various moments to not be quite as complete or suspenseful of an adventures that the 90s version held.  It’s that lack of scenes, songs, and acting all working together that is probably the biggest miss for me, and while not awful, was not to the full extent it could have been.  Still, the film is worth a visit and appropriate for most little ones given much of the fear inducing scenes have been removed. Overall my scores are:

 

Adventure/Comedy/Family: 8

Movie Overall 7.0

 

There Is Hellboy To Pay

Hellboy Poster

 

Comic book movies remain the big fashion of the era, utilizing big budgets to bring the world of literature to life in ways the fanbase never imagined.  With DC and Marvel combatting for supremacy, the independent studios are still trying to work their way in and get some publicity themselves.  The first two installments of this movie held their own charms, but are a little outdated and thus comes this weekend’s flick in the form of a modern update of the dark, mercenary comic.  Robbie K back with another review as we look at:

 

Movie: Hellboy (2019)

 

Director:

Neil Marshall

Writers:

Andrew Cosby (screenplay by), Mike Mignola (based on the Dark Horse Comic Book “Hellboy” created by)

Stars:

David HarbourMilla JovovichIan McShane

 

 

LIKES:

Most of the Acting

Comedy

Action

Pace

Costumes

Music

 

SUMMARY:

 

Hellboy requires some people ready to go in the darker parts of the superhero world, and the cast did a good job for the most part.  David Harbour brings some new life to the role, bringing the sarcasm of Hellboy with some broader emotion than Perlman did a while back. Ian McShane does his work in the executive director role, playing that tough father figure that is always the guiding light to the demon’s moral compass quite well.  My favorite though was Sasha Lane, who took the complex role of Alice and unleashed it to its full potential of the awkward time in awkward circumstances.  The chemistry between Harbour and the group is astounding, fun and much of the light in this wave of darkness.

Other factors that I enjoyed include comedy that is fun, well delivered lines and some semi-slapstick that left me impressed with the wit that was behind it.  The laughs were used well, balanced in the grand scheme of the story without becoming the central focus, which I applaud.  The action components also use the comedy to make for some more engaging fights, and Hellboy makes the effort to help keep action scenes dynamic and different.  My favorite fight was the end battle, which held more of the adrenaline-fueled insanity that makes me fist pump in excitement. This action leads to a pace that works well in comic book movies, and Hellboy does not drag too long like some of the other super flicks have hit sometimes.  In addition, the musical score manages to support and life to the mix as well, with both orchestral and regular songs to spice things up in their high energy fashion.

Yet, the biggest positive for me is the costumes and settings of the world.  The makeup artists and CGI guys accomplished the goals of bringing 2-D images to life, crafting devilish monsters, nightmare inducing creatures, and savage creations that fit quite well in the hellion universe.  Hellboy’s cast of interesting characters are equipped to look the part, and while not consistent, they for the most part hold the attributes needed to make the world of Hellboy come to life.  The various organizations and fortresses are crafted to represent the world as well, props, uniforms, and various other components that mirror the worlds crafted by the Dark Horse Comics authors and illustrators.

 

DISLIKES:

Mila Jovovich’s character

Overdramatic Flair

The Story

The Lack of Focus

The Loudness

The Aggressive Graphicness

 

Summary:

The acting was fine for the most part and Jovovich does a fine job acting as she always does.  However, this character they crafted was not quite the same denizen of darkness I love in this series.  This blood queen had some scarring moments, but she was not quite the threatening image I wanted to see unleashed in the film.  Her direction was more overdramatic delivery and singular speeches rather than a well-built character for us to either love or hate.  The result was a weaker antagonist to stand against for the nearly 2 hour run time.  It’s that overdramatic flair at other components that takes precipice, which takes away from the overall movie rather than add, the grandiose nature a little annoying at times.

In regards to the story, Hellboy is trying to cram a lot of arcs into a small run time, trying to take the mini-series approach without the mini-series time table.  This rendition holds a lot of introductions into the world of the big armed demon, including father introduction, friend introductions, prophecies, rivalry establishment, and more.  All these factors are rapidly developed, giving little time, obstacles, or suspense that these stories requires, leading to flat storytelling that held such promise. It’s the lack of focus in these things that makes the movie okay, but not truly great.

  Finally, the aggressive visuals and sounds may also be quite overwhelming given the preference of the audience.  In regards to sounds, this movie is very loud, and those with sensitive ears will need to brings some barriers to reduce the impact of the cacophony of sounds that rush in to avoid ears ringing.  Visual wise, again the movie’s CGI group has applied their skills in the way fitting of a dark comic book series like this.  However, they may have done too good of a job as the blood, gore, and sinew dribbles like rain in this movie.  Hellboy’s focus is very much geared towards filling the silver screen with as much maiming as possible, bringing some disturbing imagery to embed itself into your memory.  Sometimes, this worked for me very well, but other times it was unnecessary, merely blatant attempts to raise the shock factor another few notches.  If that’s the kind of visuals you want in this kind of film, then you will want to flock to the theaters and catch it in high definition goodness. 

 

The VERDICT:

            Overall, Hellboy is not a bad movie as many have said, but it didn’t deliver on the potential crafted in the trailers.  Some good visuals, comedy, and fast paced action were good starts in terms of getting the comic vibe up, but the movie itself just doesn’t have all the finesse it needed like the bigger studios have done in the past.  We needed some focus on the story, some bigger suspense added to the mix, and more importantly finding that balance to extend the movie into a series rather than in one movie.  Perhaps a series would be the next step to better presentations, but for now, this movie has a lot of special effects to make a theater visit worthy, but with other super hero films coming or still in theaters, you are best left to waiting or attending these. 

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 6.5

Movie Overall:: 5.5

Lots Of Fun In Little Time

Little Poster

 

Remixes and twists on classics, Hollywood’s bread and butter to drop lots of movies with each weekend that passes. This weekend that trend continues, as Tom Hanks beloved Big gets reversed to a smaller proportion.  With lots of advertising and the hopes that it will do extremely well this weekend, this comedy looks to be cute and fun for a movie adventure.  So what is in store?  Well Robbie K is back again with yet another review and it is time to see if the latest comedy will keep you laughing or leave you scoffing.  Let’s get started as we review;

 

Movie:  Little (2019)

 

Director:

Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Writers:

Tracy Oliver (story by), Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Stars:

Regina HallIssa RaeMarsai Martin

 

 

LIKES:

 

Fun

Cute

Acting

Soundtrack

Morals

 

SUMMARY: The name of the game is fun in this installment.  Little finds a way to relive the magic of Big and help gain a second childhood in the modern-day world.  My friend and I had a blast with the little adventure at hand as both characters tackle the new challenges put before them in the worlds they are forced to face.  The jokes were on point and well timed, keeping in theme with the energy of the movie. Part of this comes from the cute atmosphere established with the writing of this movie, mature enough to hit the older audience, yet still young enough to hit the teenagers and young adult crowd.

 

The acting helps to make this movie pop, Issa Rae works the assistant scene quite well, sass and innocence building together quite well to make a likeable character.  She helps balance out the silliness, yet still add to it in her own manner that breaks up some of the monotony this film chooses to approach.  As for young actress Marsai Martin, she’s got quite a start to the acting career and I look forward to seeing the young girl in future installments.  She’s got the attitude of an adult down pat, sass blending with some comedic relief and childish moments that are quite balanced for a movie like this.  Nevertheless, the chemistry between all cast both primary and secondary groups work well and I quite enjoyed seeing the teamwork bring the characters to life.

 

Yet, part of the fun comes from a killer soundtrack, new and old tracks coming together to capture the feelings of the scenes.  The cultural representation the sound editor picked was extremely awesome, and had me dancing in my seat while also wanting to break out my phone to look up the songs. Even smarter, is that much of the movie’s song sort of emphasize the other part I like of this movie, the morals that are embedded in this film.  Yes, like many movies the morals are preachy and baked right in, but Little finds a way to mesh those lessons into some fun moments that help you enjoy what you are learning. Finding some lessons that are relevant, Little gets props for helping the audience dig deep and look into themselves to find their own abilities.

 

Dislikes:

 

Predictable

Fast

Missed opportunities

Some pointless character introductions

Story points that are limited

Trailers give away much

 

SUMMARY:  Predictable thy name is comedy and Little tries hard to defy the expected jokes and plot lines this movie sets up a mile away. Little’s focus on having fun means using the same tricks to get a laugh and the same means to get to the end of the story.  Rather than leading to a build up, with areas that require intense focus, discovery, and a major push to get better, Little takes the fast approach to getting through the film.  It’s okay, but the movie had a lot of hinted opportunities that showed promise, but then dropped the ball leading to some disappointing moments.  This was especially true with the teacher scenes that the trailers loved to highlight, characters that held potential with their introduction, but reduced to comedic props that didn’t quite pack the kick I think they wanted. Some of the story points as well had the same issues going the same way, hints of fun adventures and the growth of characters that quickly fizzled out.  Finally, the trailers are good at revealing much of the movie and there isn’t too much one needs to see past the highlights they showed.  Little falls victim to showing off too much, leaving little to the imagination outside of some of more engaging dialogue and a few romance scenes.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Little is fun, simple as that, but the movie needs some refining to be the classic that Big was presenting long ago.  This new spin is cute, hits the target audience members well, and does the job of teaching you the important lessons with baked in, heartwarming goodness.  While the movie is funny to so many levels, it is still very predictable and had so many avenues to go down for comedy that they left unfulfilled.  Thus, the potential for going to see in the theaters is lessened by the trailers and lack of finesse that they were going for, and I recommend waiting on this one for home viewing.  Still, check this one out eventually if you are looking for the means to have a good laugh fest for simplistic fun.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

Isn’t it Actually Clever!

Isn't It Romantic Poster

 

Rom Com’s, the genre that is all about establishing the hopes and dreams that love can be perfect, establishing the hope of a true happy ending. Yet, we all know that love is hard work, and that while a positive force, these movies can sometimes establish unrealistic dreams that can be distracting.  Last night, the movie of the holiday season hopes to put a little more realism into the love genre and bring with it some laughs to brighten up a potentially depressing season. Robbie K back with another review, this time on:

 

 

Movie:  Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

 

Director:

Todd Strauss-Schulson

Writers:

Erin Cardillo (screenplay by), Dana Fox (screenplay by)

Stars:

Rebel WilsonLiam HemsworthAdam Devine

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

– Short Run Time

– Fun Atmosphere

– Funny

– Clever Writing

– Good Message

 

Summary:  In a movie like this, length is not necessary, and I think that Isn’t it Romantic did a nice job of getting the holiday laughs out without taking away too much time from life.  It establishes a fun environment that is mindless humor, practically ripping apart the false themes of Valentine’s Day and romantic comedies to show you don’t have to be dating/in a relationship to have fun.  The fast-paced laughs, upbeat pace, and lack of care for telling a serious story, accomplishes the goal that the movies can do, which is to go out there and lose yourself into a fun movie, and I think it worked well.

For being a comedy though, you want laughs, and surprisingly this movie accomplished it by being able to make fun of itself and genre. While certainly ludicrous, Isn’t It Romantic has some clever design to the approach of making fun of love movies. Some of the things we either love or take for granted, such as the stereotypical montages and linear plot, they find a way to poke at as Rebel Wilson experiences them.  Off the side comments about how the locations change, the magical timing of a character appearing, even the time warp factor from those random scenes of transit are prey for the writing of this film.  In addition, Rebel Wilson’s usual style has been curbed to not be so raunchy and it works for me in allowing her comedic delivery/timing taking the load instead of just the random banter she is famous for.  That balance is what helped open up the fun factor for me and throw in the dance number(s) as well and you actually seal the deal.

Yet, the movie does manage to have a serious side, bring a few key messages alongside the comedic slew of one-liners.  Surprisingly, they are deeper than expected, managing to teach he audience some personality building traits, but keeping in tune with the fun atmosphere of the film.  Preachy at times?  Yes, but again it works in terms of not taking the movie seriously.

 

DISLIKES:

 

– Not original

– Corny at times

– The Hemsworth curse

– Trailer Syndrome, sort of

– Overdone at times

– Plot progressed a little too fast

 

Summary:  Despite how much fun I had at the film though, as a reviewer there are elements of the movie overall to comment on.  First off, the originality is not really there.  True, it was low expectations that it would be super original, but like the films it makes fun of, Isn’t it romantic does not have that dynamic originality that some scream for.  It’s predictable tale is very generic, with obvious plot components being set up minutes into the film, which could have used some deviation. And even funnier, I think that parts of the plot were pushed a little too hasty, which I get is the point of its movie, but still could have had a few extra minutes to offer some of the character building.

  In regards to the comedy, well as clever as it turned out to be there were still times where the usual, modern approach of trying too hard for a laugh came out.  For some of these moments it was the blatant corniness that was too much, less frequently than expected, but capitalizing on that cheese factor when it came out.  Like any Rebel Wilson comedy, there were also times where going too far with a joke or letting a running joke go too long happened again.  This was mainly in regards to the gay sidekick or the new rival (a plot point not really mapped out), which while still funny did at times go stale. Yet, the biggest aspect of the comedy was the Hemsworth curse as I call it, which involves taking the charming, eye candy for the population and turning him into a brainless idiot.  I get it, the genre can do this to people, recognizing again that’s the point of this film, but the Hemsworth character could have actually utilized the charm to have better comedic development than the blatant babbling that came from him. Most probably won’t have this dislike, but for me I would have liked the better character use of him like they did a few other of the counterparts.  And of course, the trailers have hit some key moments and bludgeoned them to death, so… don’t be surprised to remember a third of the movie depending on how much you watched it. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Despite all the predictability, cheesiness, and over the top acting though, Isn’t it Romantic may have been the movie I had the most fun with this week.  The movie makes fun of a series that is sometimes taken too seriously, and the fact that it has some respectable wit to it just proves that you can find some balance in the comedy genre.  That fun atmosphere was perfectly timed with the holiday, and really is a film that friends, couples, even singles can enjoy in the approach they took.  I’d say that while it lacks a lot of the theater quality effects (e.g. special effects, a booming soundtrack, and thunderous sound effect), it still accomplishes being able to get lost into the film and make for a fun time worthy of hitting the theater.  Therefore, I’d say to hit this one up in the week and have some fun like I did. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

A Kid’s Quest For Family, Friendly Fun

The Kid Who Would Be King Poster

 

Kid’s movies are a mixed bag of tricks depending on the studio behind it.  Without major studios, the films often take a stray to gimmicks that parents roll their eyes at, while kids squeal in delight.  Today, another studio tries to hit the box office big time before the big budget films take reign.  As such, I’m here to give thought once more on the latest film to hit the silver screen. Robbie K here reviewing;

 

Movie: The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

 

Director:

Joe Cornish

Writer:

Joe Cornish

Stars:

Louis Ashbourne SerkisDenise GoughDean Chaumoo

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting

Merlin

Funny

Blending

Action

Balance

 

SUMMARY: Kids movies with a young cast sometimes lose balance, but this cast does a nice job reigning in the antics, but capturing the magic of being a kid.  The young band of modern nights have a direction of portraying bullying, helping to bring relevant issues to light and bringing the suffering to realistic levels.  And while these characters are rather well curtailed, it is the young Merlin accompanying them that impressed me the most.  This new take on Merlin brings comedy, nobility, teaching, and a new flair to the legendary figure that works well for the feel of this movie.  Utilizing the magic of Patrick Stewartfor the adult figurehead, the merlin role’s direction was quite fun to watch in his integration.

Yet, the true success of this film comes from the blending of the attributes that the trailers portrayed for so many commercials. The Kid Who Would Be King is funny a blend of kid humor with some wit that makes it fun for both young and old. Blending the modern and the archaic worlds together is an interesting spin that really worked for me.  Seeing the various medieval references transitioned to modern Britain was an entertaining craftmanship that should again appeal to many. The adventure crafted ran at a good pace and managed to make an age appropriate tale.  For the action scenes, this king’s adventure surprisingly does this well, finding again the balance to make exciting sequences against the CGI figures, but not crossing into super violent or dark skirmishes that can lead to parents complaining of inappropriate scenes.  If you’ve read this you know this, the movie has surprising balance to it, making a rather good go for a non-Disney film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Morgana’s under utilization

A few antics overdone

The Suspense of Reality

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

The movie may have creativity, balance, and decent acting, but it still struggles with surprises. This quest for Camelot has a predictable tale, foreshadowing the surprises far down the road and bringing with it lackluster twists they tried so hard to do.  While kids will be wowed and potentially fooled, older adults don’t have much to be shocked by, and can instead be gauging if the scene will scare their little ones.

Even sadder is the main villain’s semi-integration to the film.  While she had her say in things, I felt more could have been done to bring the witch to full glory and malice.  It could have been better inclusion into the battles, or more watching and development during her exile, but Morgana’s a villain could have used some more magic to become the central antagonist, as opposed to who took that center stage.

Instead the kid friendly elements of funny antics took center stage for much of the movie.  While I agree there is balance, this quest still succumbs to some antics being used too much for the older audiences.  The fun hand antics and running jokes are cute and well timed, but it’s a little overdone and susceptible to being the next focus of the meme revolution. Small dislike as it is, this slight limitation added some unnecessary length and turned away from some of the storytelling elements they were starting to pick up on.

Yet the biggest thing that was distracting for an older reviewer like me was the suspense of reality.  In fantasy, I get that rules don’t always apply, but this journey established realistic physics into the mix and started breaking its own rules. It’s mainly in the final moments of the movie, but this particular physics defying roles get a little cheesy for the older audience, though it can all be written off by use of magic allowing this to happen and kids won’t care.  Yet, while this is picky, it’s this component that sort of takes away from the suspense of the fight for me, but again I’m not the key audience.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

The Kid Who Would Be King is truly a fun film, that holds magic and wonder for those interested in the modernization of King Arthur’s tale.  The quest contains fun, action, and heart that can touch a lot of members in the audience in surprising ways.  Yet, it’s not the most original tale, doesn’t follow its own rules, can’t shake the predictability, and doesn’t quite have the full magic that Merlin wanted to conjure up.  Still, the film succeeded in being fun, is age appropriate across most fields, and contains enough movie magic to warrant a trip to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Family/Fantasy: 7.5-8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5

Returning In A Style For Both Old and New. Mary Poppins For The Family Feature Win

Mary Poppins Returns Poster

 

Years ago, the nanny that changed everything charmed her way into the theaters, bringing song and dance to her teachings as he helped sculpt family lives.  It was a wonderful movie that shed so much joy and wonder to the families who gave it a try. Decades later, the mystical nanny has decided to return once more, in hopes of bringing the same magic to the mix. Will her resurgence bring the same joy and whimsy, or has her relevance blown over too many generations to warrant the same quality?  Welcome to Robbie’s movie reviews as I take on:

 

Movie: Marry Poppins Returns (2018)

 

 

Director:

Rob Marshall

Writers:

David Magee (screenplay by), David Magee (screen story by)

Stars:

Emily BluntLin-Manuel MirandaBen Whishaw

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting: While no one can replace the lovely Julie Andrews, it does not mean that Blunt has not done wonders with the character.  Still holding the same nostalgic quality, the new Mary Poppins has a little more edge, sass, and a wonderful balance of love that is quite endearing to see with her cast mates.  Lin-Manuel as well adds his own fun to the crew, bringing his theatrical qualities to the character of Bert. Nostalgic enough to have that same childish demeanor, but different to stand out, his musical skills were quite welcome to the mix. And as for the rest of the crew, they all do a bang-up job of adding to the film, and the young cast of the Banks kids are well directed to avoid being the annoying twerps these roles can be.

 

The Numbers:  Mary Poppins was all about bringing the energetic numbers that would forever ingrain themselves in the music hall of fame.  With her return, Mary once more brought the energy back to the screen, utilizing Miranda’s talents well to once more bring the showmanship of the theater.  This film is filled with the magical song and dance routines made famous in the first film and will have the young and young at heart dancing in their seats.  Each of these numbers accomplished the goal of being resident, and in true musical fashion was able to portray their inner feelings and lessons.  A wonderful ensemble of songs awaits the audience members, and holds great potential to become that new song to be repeated a thousand times.

 

The Story:  Thank the idea of nostalgia, or thank the director because the return of Mary Poppins brings with it a charming delight that holds both old and new motifs in its well-timed shots.  Lessons for all generations lie the nanny’s wisdom, utilizing a variety of worlds and settings to help the Banks family find their way in the harsh London streets  Much of the story contains nods to the original plot, while others hold something new and exciting in their powerful sequences. In addition, there is enough nod to other characters to establish the fate of the various characters, while also being original to stand on its own.  Regardless, there is so much delight and balance to the story to help rope many into the plot.

 

The Classic Animation:  Think back to the classic version and one might recall the dive into the 2-D cartoon land and the epic scenes and songs that came with it.  Over 50 years later, and Disney was not afraid to return to the cartoon theatrics again.  I thoroughly enjoyed the return to Disney’s origins, seeing the classic art style fill the screen and integrate with our live action friends.  Again, the memories of youth rush back in with it and bring perhaps my favorite number that held so much pep and vibrant enthusiasm.  A wonderful nod to the old, while making sure to balance the new style into the mix as well.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Of the Older Banks Children:  The trailers painted heavy integration of Michael and Jane as they fall under the care of the nanny to relearn things left behind.  While they have a decently strong integration into the mix, it’s not quite the same level I was expecting and as such wanted them to go on the journey a little more with their kids.  Again, nothing remotely weak, but perhaps a little more integration could have taken the element farther.

 

 

More Time In the Animation: The classic horse racing scene had plenty of time in the 2-D world, making sure to really give the audience the full fun of the scene.  This movie did a fantastic job in the short time they were there, but I was hoping for more time or at least another visit to an animated world where the two styles could meet.  Poppins may do a great job balancing a lot of components, but yours truly wanted another masterpiece in 2-D/live integration that could bring with it the same memory etching greatness it did.

 

The Meryl Streep Number: Is it cute?  Yes!  Does it serve a musical number with catchy lyrics and beats?  Yes.  Does Meryl Streep do a good job?  Yes. So why a dislike?  Well, this number as fun as it is, is very irrelevant to the story.  The dive into the workshop held some potential, but stuck out like the sore thumb at its inclusion into the whole plot, dropping it after the nearly 10 minutes of inclusion.  I just wished that they had continued the story, and perhaps brought another number in, again relevant tot eh story.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the second visit to Mary Poppins’ lessons still has plenty of charm, love, and energy that will bring so much joy to the audience.  Get ready to have your family film of the holidays, ready to bridge generation gaps, and help one learn old lessons in the new age.  With relevant, energetic song and dance numbers, a fantastic cast with great chemistry, and whimsy from a number of sources, this reviewer encourages hitting the the theater for this one. And while it is not the same as the first movie, it holds its own charm and wonder that was long overdue for the cinema. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Family/Fantasy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5