When a twist in a kids movie is obvious and someone points it out the inevitable response they get is “Well it’s a kids movie. What did you expect?”. Now that sounds like condescending bullshit and from most people it is. A lot of people use the “kids won’t get it” defense when you ask for a more complicated twist and that’s pretty shitty. Kids are smart and can handle a lot if you let them. Or more importantly if you challenge them. But you have to do it in the right ways. That’s what this article is for. Finding and discussing the right ways to create twists in kids films. I’m going to restrict myself to talking about films that came out in the last five years or so as I think there is a higher chance all of you will have seen them and there is a plentiful pile of examples to choose from. Warning: This article presumes that the reader has seen and has a reasonably high level of familiarity with Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Frozen, ParaNorman and The Lego Movie. There will be major spoilers for all of the films mentioned above throughout the article. With that out of the way, let’s get going.
I’m going to say right off the bat that See No Evil, Hear No Evil is not the best work of either Gene Wilder‘s or Richard Pryor‘s careers. It’s good. Sometimes it’s very good, other times it’s not so good. But I think this is the best way I can pay tribute to the recently deceased Gene Wilder and also to the not-so-recently deceased Richard Pryor because of my relationship to the film. You see my dad was, and still is, super big into comedy films and when I was a child there were several different films that if they came on the TV we would pretty much abandon all other plans to watch them. Things like The Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers, The Naked Gun with Leslie Nielsen, The Blues Brothers with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and, as it happens, See No Evil, Hear No Evil. These films basically laid the foundation for my interest in film comedy so I hope this review can serve as both a thank you and a goodbye to one of the great film comedians. So without further ado, let’s get on with the review.
Hello, everyone! First off apologies for the long absence. It was due to a combination of having a Masters Thesis to complete and getting more hours at work than I could manage. But now I’m back and I’ll be posting a new review this Thursday. However, I have decided to make a few changes to the format of this blog. From here on out, this blog will only be doing Special Interest Reviews, which will now be released on Thursdays. This Thursday’s article will be a belated tribute to the late, great Gene Wilder where I take a trip down memory lane and discuss the film I first saw him in, See No Evil, Hear No Evil. On Monday I’ll release the first in a series of opinion articles where I may talk about any random film-related news or issues that pop into my head. As for new releases… they will be getting a special new home in the weeks to come but as a last hurrah for their time spent on this blog, I’d like to take the opportunity to, in 100 words or less, give my thoughts on some recent releases that I missed in my absence. So let’s start with…
2016 has been a mixed bag for superhero movies hasn’t it? We started off with the witch’s brew of vulgarity, violence and fourth-wall breaking that was Deadpool. Hurray! Then we had Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice which was, to put it bluntly, a flaming shit-show of self-importance. Boo. Then we had Captain America: Civil War, where Marvel once again taught a class in how to pull off a shared cinematic universe. Hurray! Then X-Men: Apocalypse came out and the world sighed with indifference, muttering that the Quicksilver scene was kind of cool. Boo. So with a pattern of “Hurray, Boo, Hurray, Boo” what does Suicide Squad get? Anger. Such anger that I hadn’t felt in so long. And it’s only when you stop to think about the film that you attain this level of anger. It’s worse than just being badly made, but it certainly is that. What really separates it out is its lack of respect for the audience. We’ll get to that later. For the moment, warnings for there will be spoilers for Suicide Squad throughout the review and some colourful language. Oh and a spoiler warning for Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice which is relevant almost immediately because…
Finding Dory is a perfect example of a film that is greater than the some of its parts. Please don’t misunderstand, none of it is bad but none of the individual parts are gold standard either. But the way they interact with one another is what raises this film up. It really is a question of how they position everything for it to have maximum impact. Watching this movie was like watching a chess master play a novice. For most of the game, the chess master doesn’t seem to be doing anything special. That is until he reveals that he was just after spending the whole game arranging his pieces, luring the novice into a false sense of security before absolutely decimating him and making cry like a baby. I didn’t cry though. I swear. I was too busy lifting weights and chopping trees with my face. Seriously I was. Shut up. Also, spoiler warning.
The BFG is like an incontinent labradoodle. It keeps pissing itself but it’s so cute I can’t stay mad. This isn’t Spielberg’s best effort but by God he is still the master of whimsy. I just couldn’t stop smiling. The BFG is a wonderfully retro, silly jaunt and a pretty poorly made movie at the same time. This somewhat undermines the position of the critic, so out of spite, I’m going to give you a detailed analysis of why this good movie isn’t a great one. What I’m saying is, kids will love it and if your heart hasn’t been turned to stone by the ravages of age you will enjoy it. If it has turned to stone, then sit back and enjoy me tearing it apart for the rest of this article.
Have to say at the beginning of this, that I am not the biggest Star Trek fan. I’ve never seen a full episode of any series but I have seen several of the original run of films. Combine this with a few random pieces of trivia, the impression I’ve gotten from photos and the film Galaxy Quest and you get a rough idea of my pool of knowledge. Needless to say, I am not an expert. That being said, I feel confident in saying that Star Trek Beyond is the best film in the current series by some distance. And it’s because it has finally moved on from being obsessed with the original series and its details without forgetting its roots entirely. A tough balancing act to say the least but director Justin Lin does it with style.