Monday, 5 October 2015

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart Review

Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
My Rating: 8/10

This will only be a short review. Mostly because I'd like to recommend you go and read my friends one which is... better.

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that all of my thoughts reflect the English Dub of the film and not the original French release. 

I thought it was wonderful! It reminded me of Mood Indigo in some ways, just the fact that the characters would be doing normal everyday situations but the world around them would be insane. Or their emotions would seem exagerated by animation, like floating into the sky when feeling love. Or growing thorny vines when feeling insecure. 

All of the characters were likable, even the quite two dimensional villain at times.

Plus I'm a sucker for romance. The story of Jack's journey to find the girl he fell in love with after one musical meeting was highly enjoyable. And even with the english dub, the dialogue between their developing relationship was believable.

Visually everything was beautiful and always creative. The accordian type train was excellent! And the interesting characters that filled the carnival always gave me something to look at. 

I have only three issues with the film. Why did the mother leave Jack with that woman so quickly? Was there any point to that? She did not even seem sad.
Also why did Miss Acacia (The female lead) go against Jack so fast after speaking with the villain towards the end? 
Her anger seemed to be fueled by selfishness. It felt kind of like she was angry because SHE would be upset if she'd caused him to die. 
Maybe it was just me that got that impression.  
Those, and the quite random Jack the Ripper moment (Mentioned in JJTNG's Review) are my only problems with it really. 

Animation wise.. hey, it's not Pixar. But unlike something like Monster in Paris, the bad animation is less noticable with such a style. It pulls it off.

Other than that, it's beautiful and sad and wonderful.
It also leaves you thinking.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:70%
IMDB Rating:7.0/10

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pan Movie Review

Peter Pan Fan Rating: 8.5/10
Movie Critic Rating: 6.5/10

Wow, what a confusing introduction. I've given the film TWO ratings! 'Is
he a CRAZY PERSON?' you may be asking yourself. Well, yep. 
I'm a huge Peter Pan fan, as I am with a few other source materials. I'll most likely be giving the Peanuts Movie the same two rating treatment.

I want to seperate my fandom with the quality of the film. As a huge fan of the story of Peter Pan, for me, the film will either get it right or wrong. But as a general movie goer, it takes a lot more than a twinkle of fairy dust to impress.
The Fan Review will contain spoilers and the General Review will not. 

Fan Review (Contains Some Spoilers)

Let's get that fan rating out of the way shall we?

I'm not really the biggest fan of the Peter Pan prequels of the past. I could hardly sit through the Neverland TV series (2011). It felt very fake, broken, confusing and boring.... Of course I will give it another go later... But something that takes me 3 goes can't be that great.
The Peter and the Starcatchers Prequel books are not all that bad really. But I'd say not film worthy. So I was quite scared by the prospect of another picture to ruin the name of Peter Pan.
Why not just make a film based on the official sequel book, Peter Pan in Scarlet? That would make a wonderfully creepy film. 
But hey, let's give Pan a go. 
Marvellous! Best adaptation since Hook (1991). 
In this fan review, I have to say I enjoyed it quite a lot. There were so many brilliant ideas to make it stand up as it's own story and a loving tribute to Peter Pan. It just got more magical as it went on and although subtle, the characters stayed true to their original personalities.

The idea of the nun selling the kids to pirates is such an amazing idea and the visuals of the kidnapping scenes compliment that.  This followed by the pirate ship soaring through london in war time (A brilliant recreation of the introduction to Disney's Return to Neverland) and the travelling through space was just so exciting.

I wanted to sit back and enjoy the magic, but it kept bugging me... this feeling. In my mind, Neverland has always been that place in between being awake and asleep. It's where kids escape, it's a dream world. I think this is referenced in the original novel. 
But you don't need to think too much into it for this theory to work for Pan as well. Pan, abandoned by his mother to live in a horrible place like that? Of course he would dream of the most wonderful escapes at bed time. Or even when awake.
Whether the film was trying to portray this or not (Although BlackBeard does mention Neverland being a dream briefly) this ticked a box for me. 

Now here are my negative points as part of the Fan review. 

The very end of the film is uplifting as Peter is finally able to fly. This idea has been built up through the story so we're all expecting an astonishing moment of flight. It WAS!!! Kind of... Where were Pan's leafy green clothes? I know that was the excellent ending of Hook as well but come on! For a moment, when the fairies were surrounding Peter in flight, I thought they may have been making it for him... Which may have been odd but still. Certainly missed his famous look for the finale scenes.
But we did get Pan in a cool hat towards the very end of the film... so that is something. Just needed a Robin Williams moment though! (I did appreciate the scene where Pan is trying to fly but lands flat on his face reminiscent of Hook.).

Oh by the way, I've not mentioned the 2003 Peter Pan film. This might be because... I didn't really like it. Pan is way better, even with it's problems. I even preferred the live NBC play to the 2003 film. Hey, Allison Williams was a great Peter, really brought the Robin Williams spark to the show. 

Sorry, got distracted there. Why was Tigerlily old? (Rooney Mara) ....Well not old, but you know, she's a lot older than Peter. It's not the biggest thing, but I kind of like the idea that it would connect up to the other material where she is a child. I did really like Tigerlily though, but... maybe would have preferred her to have a different name. 
OR maybe Hook and her have a child they name Tigerlily........... that would make the original Peter Pan very interesting....
Also why was Hook american? You know, that bothered me when I first saw the trailer but no more! The actor (Garrett Hedlund) made it his own! I'd have it no other way. 

Oh completely forgot about SMEEE! What a brilliant casting choice (Adeel Akhtar) and I was overjoyed to see him working alongside Hook in the early days. 

Another big move in the Peter Pan story is the new idea that (BIG SPOILER ALERT) Pan's father was a fairy and mother a Neverland warrior. 
It's weird, considering all of the other versions run off the fact that his mother closed the window or lost him. But I really don't mind, to be honest it explains his power of flight better than he's just more special than everyone else in Neverland. I know he is meant to be able to fly because he thinks the happiest of thoughts but I did always think that was a bit unfair on the other characters. 

A complaint about this idea though, why didn't Peter care about his father? He learnt he has a father and yet he was only interested in meeting his mother. I understand, she is the one he has been thinking about all of this time. But you got a father as well! Mention him.
I didn't really like how the vision of his mother came to life at the end. I would have preferred her image remain a mystery to him. Making further stories plausible with his feeling of being lost. 
Lastly for the fan review... I hope there is a sequel planned because it's going to really annoy me not seeing why Hook goes the way he goes. But then again, can't make a sequel about a boy that never grows up with a boy that has grown up.

General Review (No Spoilers) 

Phew, now for me to step back and acknowledge the film as a film. Firstly, let's get this out of the way... Hugh Jackman was amazing. Every line performed by his character was fantastic. We already knew he was good with Wolverine and Les Miserables but this role definitely showed off a new side to him.
Also that musical moment Blackbeard uses earlier on in the picture calls for both a 'What the??' and a 'Whooooaaa'. Hey, it works! You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.

Unfortunately this film suffers from some big problems. Fast editing, a rushed ending and.. kind of bad direction. 
Now, when I say bad direction, that can't possibly be the whole film. Of course not! This film looks and feels beautiful, with very nice visuals throughout. But every now and then there would be a moment where I felt confused about where characters were in the location. Perhaps the visuals were not clear enough, back to the animatic!

This is not helped by the very fast editing that hits in certain scenes. Scenes of note are the trampoline scenes with the natives and the two ships side by side in the climax. I could hardly tell what was going on half of the time and it really took me out of the moment.
I have started to notice this with some newer films out there. I guess kids could just be better at processing information in shorter times than.. me? Probably.

The other issue is the ending is not really that strong. This is awkward because I said I would not put spoilers in this part... hmm. 
Oh whatever, I'll just say this... No one needed Peter for anything. He was... kind of there just to wake up some other characters so they could save the day.
What's even weirder about that is these other characters just witnessed their own kind get massacred so you'd think that would wake them up... nope... 
That's a bit silly. 

Another issue with the film is during an emotional scene with Peter and Blackbeard, the music feels unnecessary. Sticking in driving music like that just turns it into a video game cutscene or something.That could have hit a lot harder. Saying that, I did enjoy the rest of the music throughout.

Also.. I didn't like how the mermaids all had the same face. Bit of a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Oompa Loompa thing going on there. 

I didn't mean for my Fan review to be super positive and my Regular review to be just negative... That really should not be the case...

Because this film is a joy. Almost all of the ideas are so creative and wonderful for the world of Peter Pan. The characters dialogue is all very good and so are the performances. I really liked everyone! 
Also, referring to some complaining on the web that the natives were not real native american actors or did not feel like a proper tribe because of their various nationalities. Don't mind at all! Worked really well for me. If this were all a dream world then why not have a bunch of different aboriginal cultures as part of an islands tribe, these are the original owners after all. 

I'd really like to see a sequel, though I doubt that will happen with the aging of the kid actor and whatever other reasons.
I am really keen to see Hook develop more and Pan finally in green.

I will be getting Pan on DVD. 

"To die would be an awfully great adventure"
*Puff of smoke*

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:45%
IMDB Rating:6.1/10

Now some clips in tribute to Pan