How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

This animation is great! It’s fun, adventurous, throw in a bit of action and comedy and it hits a full all-round family film. ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ tells the story of a Viking village, and what these Vikings pride most of all is the killing of dragons, as they are the pests of their village. Taking all sheep and food, the dragons hunt the Viking village and the way these Vikings retaliate is to kill them or keep them for training purposes. But the one dragon no Viking has ever seen, the one dragon no Viking has ever killed, is the Night Fury. One dragon that becomes our sole reason for the film, a Night Fury and a young boy who struggles to be the Viking his father wishes.

How to Train Your Dragon 1 - Hiccup and Toothless

There are some recognisable voices in this film if you want this film to be one of stardom. Jay Baruchel voices the main character, Hiccup, the young boy whose clumsiness and cowardice ruins hunting dragons, and as everyone keeps telling him he needs to stay out of the way as the whole of him just messes things up, much to his father’s dislike. This father, the king of killing dragons, whose whole body just screams kill dragons, kill kill kill. This father, Stoick, is voiced by the fab Gerard Butler. Stoick’s right hand man, Gobber (Craig Ferguson) is hilarious in his brutal honesty and his wild stories, he’s a source of comedy for sure. While Stoick and the others head to find the dragon’s nest, Gobber stays behind to train the next potential dragon killers, a group of six kids determined to kill dragons and uphold their parents’ legacy, in this mixture Hiccup is lost in between. Then there’s Astrid, voiced by America Ferrera (‘The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants’), whose determination and competitiveness to beat everyone is at the forefront, but she’s a character who grows and becomes more understanding as the film progresses. Then there’s Snotlout, voiced by the great Jonah Hill, and Fishlegs (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), whose strength lies in memorising everything about dragons. And finally, Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) and Tuffnut (T.J. Miller), whose twin competitiveness between the two becomes a constant hilarity throughout the film.

How to Train Your Dragon 1 - Stoick and Hiccup

Meanwhile, Hiccup manages to hit the one and only Night Fury, however when coming to kill the dragon, he discovers he does not have the instincts his father so wishes him to have. Instead he frees the dragon and creates a bond like man and dog, although boy and dragon. Toothless is a great dragon, adorable and loved, he becomes protective and sensitive. His expressions can be brilliantly read, and his attitude is hilarious for the audience. It’s extremely clever how a silent dragon can be so understood and become a source of comedy in itself. Also, of course the animation is amazing, it’s always brilliant, as it is in this film, bringing this Viking way of life of dragons to life on our screen.

How to Train Your Dragon 1 - Toothless

 

I would recommend this film, it’s a great animation and shouldn’t be lost amongst the mass of others. There is a second, and will be a third, happily. I would encourage you to embark on this adventure where no other Viking has gone with small Hiccup as he becomes the first to ride a dragon and the first to not want to kill one. I promise you will not be disappointed by the great Toothless, with his smile of no teeth and his anger with many. Watch as Hiccup recognises that dragons may not be what the Vikings have believed for hundreds of years.

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Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997)

For some reason, I always had in my head that the other two Jurassic Park films after the classic first were rubbish. I don’t exactly know why since I hadn’t seen them. Although after watching this second Jurassic Park, I realise how wrong I was! It was a great film! Thrilling, straight in with the action adventure and exciting. I really enjoyed it! So if you had the same mindset as me and expected this sequel as a bit of a let-down, I will explain why I now disagree. To be begin with, you do need to watch the first ‘Jurassic Park’ as it explains the main protagonist Dr Ian Malcolm and why he is so negative about the whole situation.

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I actually thought this one was more thrilling that the first. It’s straight into the plot, throws you in immediately into this new island, Isla Sorna this time, site B, the site where the dinosaurs were bred. This island holds dinosaurs who are not bred into captivity, but in their own natural habitats. John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) plan is to send an exhibition to this island, to observe how these extinct creatures are reacting to a new world. Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) returns are he begrudgingly goes to the island, only when he’s told his girlfriend, Sarah (Julianne Moore), has already gone. Malcolm is haunted by his horrible memories of Isla Nublar, he is devastated at the cover up from four years before and is still trembling at the sight of dinosaurs, but again he goes to where they are situated, this time with no fences, no protection, just a jungle and many many dinosaurs. With them is the tech and weapons guy, Eddie (Richard Schiff) and finally a great character in Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn). The actors are of course great, with names such as these! Dr Ian Malcolm again was a great return of a character, as we got to know even more about him. I was surprised that it was Julianne Moore, she looks so different now! Vince Vaughn was fab, to be honest, usually I’m not the biggest fan of his characters, but he was probably my favourite in this one.

Jurassic Park 2 (3)

We’re on the island pretty quick and as the others are amazed by the dinosaurs, Malcolm carries a ‘been there done that’ attitude. Soon, unexpected guests arrive on the island, hunting down the dinosaurs which takes a twist on how you see them, just as vulnerable animals. This is the introduction of InGen and we use discover what they are plotting. However, things take a turn of events when they take a T-Rex baby, something the mother and father T-Rex’s are not so forgiving about. The film then becomes very dramatic, however has a brilliant ability to build tension extremely well.

Jurassic Park 2 (1)

Again, the graphics weren’t amazing, this was 1997. So not up to the standards of ‘Jurassic World’ clearly. However, I did think the graphics were better than the first ‘Jurassic Park’. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I thought it was a good sequel to the classic first. It had action and thrilling moments and a good understandable plot from the first film. A lot actually happens in this film. There was familiarity in characters and new ones to get to know. If you thought this was a crap sequel to a classic first movie, I would beg to differ with Steven Spielberg coming back, why wouldn’t this one be great too?

Incredibles 2 (2018)

After 14 years, the Incredible family greet us again on screen in a sequel standing strong with it’s original. We are happily reunited with the similarities of the Parr’s: Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash and Jack Jack. With most voices back, and the same director and writer, Brad Bird, the familiarities are perfect in nostalgia and reminiscing. I was a bit worried, it being 14 years passed, that it might have been a bit of a let-down, as each year passes, your hope naturally gets higher. Then further worried when I saw the trailer and no time had passed, regardless of the real 14 years between films. However, I was wrong to worry with the brilliance of this film, I was thrown back to the first time I watched ‘The Incredibles’, remembering the great Parr family once again. If you haven’t seen the first ‘Incredibles’ film, then I recommend that first off, the link can be found to my review here.

Incredibles 2 - family

‘The Incredibles’ ended with the Underminer exploding through the city ground, announcing himself as a new villain, we saw the Incredible family get ready to fight him, then we were surprised with the credits. But fret not! Guess where ‘Incredibles 2’ starts? We finally witness what happens to the Underminer. And this leads nicely onto the new problem of the sequel.

Incredibles 2 - Elastigirl

‘Incredibles 2’ has quite a few stems to it, it’s not a straight forward film, I mean it’s not complicated, it is a children’s animation film still. I just mean all characters had their own problem, which all embedded into the normality of a family, however this family is super. A new tech company has risen and announces they are firm supporters of superheroes, regardless of the law against them; this brings in a rebellion against this law, a determination to legalise superheroes once again. Therefore, they band together Mr Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone, with some new superheroes, who are fun and exciting, Void in particular has a great power! In a mission, they reveal the one who needs to bring back support to the community is Elastigirl, to Mr Incredible’s dismay. Desperate to be a supportive husband, he encourages his wife to proceed with the mission so he may eventually return to what he knows best: using his strength to fight crime. So as Elastigirl gets her time in the spotlight, Bob Parr is in need to gain a new superpower: parenthood.

Incredibles 2 - Bob and Jack Jack

Along the tired way, Bob discovers new powers occurring in the household, powers of being able to multiply, turn into a devil, set fire and shoot lasers from eyes, yes these powers are from the one and only baby Jack Jack. Jack Jack is brilliantly hilarious in this film, as he surprises himself with new powers from sneezes and laughs, he giggles and protests, runs away and returns for cookies. There is a necessity for at least one looking after the baby, although it’s not that easy, especially a super baby able to walk through walls. In the chaos of a baby discovering many new powers, Dash struggles with homework and Violet’s life is dominated by boy troubles. It’s brilliant that this superpower unrealistic family, can make an audience understand with day-to-day similar humour to their own.

Incredibles 2 - Jack Jack

I would 100% recommend this film, it’s just as good as the first! We also happily get a flash of the famous Edna returning. You do need to watch the first film to understand a few things, and honestly there is no reason you shouldn’t. ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Incredibles 2’ are both amazing films, enjoyable in action and comedy. This sequel does have a scene which some young children might find a bit scary, in a cinema I could feel myself tensing, so for younger children this part may be a bit frightening. All in all, I think it was a great film, we all remember the Incredible family, so why wouldn’t you return to them after 14 years?

Jurassic Park (1993)

A Steven Spielberg classic, this one has to be remembered as one of his top films. Obviously, with the likes of ‘Jaws’, ‘E.T’, and ‘Indiana Jones’. Actually, I feel ‘Jurassic Park’ has a few similarities with ‘Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark’, the costume and archaeological exploring have links throughout both films. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

I reckon most will know the famous plot line of the horrors of an experimental amusement park gone wrong: a dinosaur escapes. But actually there is a lot more to it in this original ‘Jurassic Park’. The incident happens quite far into the film; there is a build-up of characters and the potential of a phenomenon of a park such as this one opening. The reality of these extinct creatures bought back into human life, the dangers, the wonders, the fascination, the destruction. And whether it would be possible to bring this dinosaur park into human entertainment. Like a zoo, but with historic, extinct animals, ones potentially dangerous, ones beautiful, grand and harmless. All on one island, Isla Nublar. It is all about the spectacle.

Jurassic Park - ill dino

A year before John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) declares Jurassic Park open, he’s advised to get the guidance of those familiar in the particular topic of dinosaurs. Introducing archaeologists, Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who spend their creative lives digging up dinosaur bones and learning all about them. And mathematician Dr of the Chaos Theory, Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is the most negative about the whole idea of bringing animals which were wiped out back. The characters are all quite loveable, especially the development of Grant and his opinion on hating children to Sattler’s discomfort. Hammond is actually quite a complicated character, determined to make a spectacle of his new amusement park, to give people what they’ve never experienced before, but also conflicted by the agony of the dinosaurs’ dangers. We learn along with these specialists at what has been going on in Jurassic Park, so as they are bewildered by the spectacle, as are we, it’s very clever, how the whole park eventually comes to life.

Jurassic Park - trex

You have to keep your imagination open with a film from the 1990s. The graphics are never going to be what they are now, especially nowhere near the amazing graphics of ‘Jurassic World’. So the dinosaurs are not the most amazing looking, but that was always going to happen with technology not at the stages it is now. So please do keep that in mind. However, with what they’ve got, I think they have done it quite well. There are definite moments of not bad graphics and pretty bad, so just keep your imagination open to that. Another thing, I can’t say that tension is built up massively in this film, although there were definite moments where I was thinking ‘anyone could die, I’m not even sure who will survive’ etc etc. Although, tension wasn’t bombarded all the way through the film, ‘Jurassic Park’ is broken down into a lot of talking and understanding of this new park so it’s not as a thrilling film. Of course this isn’t a bad thing, just something I noticed rather different to ‘Jurassic World’. However, saying this, it makes sense to have these break ups in the original as technology wasn’t as good, so still now it doesn’t take too much away from the film.

Jurassic Park - Grant and kids

All in all, I do believe this to be one of the classic films of the 1990s and definitely one of Steven Spielberg’s classics. It is a long film, but it is a well done film. You have to watch the first dinosaur escape before the others right? They all have some connotations to each other, so why not start from the beginning!

Tag (2018)

A comedy inspired by a true story – as they’ve highly advertised. Even at the start of the film, ‘Tag’ is dominant is portraying that it is a film inspired off one true and real-life. Although, this doesn’t mean it follows the tales of the same people’s lives or that the facts are set in stone from reality; the whole essence of this film, is based off the fact that the same group of friends have been playing the same game of tag for decades. And please don’t miss the end, it’s got a beautiful part where they actually show video recordings of these real friends playing their magnificent game, surprising each other unannounced.

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Introducing the characters of ‘Tag’. Five friends since they were nine have been playing the same game of tag, every May it starts up again and the game can start again. Hoagie, who claims himself as the heart and soul of the game is the one determined to bring them all together. In a surprise visit to his mate’s work, he tags Bob Callahan mid important meeting. Next is to collect Chilli, the weed-headed one, with a cigarette always in his mouth. Finally, Sable, mid therapist meeting. All come together as they are told this could be the year they can finally tag Jerry, the one and only tag-player who has never been tagged. However, only this year Jerry has announced he will be retiring. Along the way, Hoagie’s over-aggressive and over-competitive wife, Anna (Isla Fisher), joins in on the vacation. And reporter, Rebecca, is also determined to follow Callahan to discover what just interrupted their important meeting and why they insist on running around tagging each other.

Tag 2

The actors and actresses are truly great. It’s nice to see Jeremy Renner in a different sort of film, although this film does still contain a bit of action usually because of him. Renner plays the only one never tagged, Jerry. His competitive ways are hilarious and creative, he truly shows the limits he goes to just to not get tagged. Although, his bride-to-be, Susan (Leslie Bibb), I wasn’t a fan, to be honest just a bit psycho and didn’t quite have the charm Jerry did and more really just made me dislike her competitive rude nature. Hoagie played by Ed Helms, was brilliant, he was the over-excitable determined character, nothing would please him more, especially to get all his friends together. Callahan was played by Jon Hamm, also great, and Sable by Hannibal Buress who was hilarious with some of his comments. But Chilli, ‘New Girl’ Jake Johnson, who I love so much, he could literally play any character and I would still love him. He was comical with his pessimistic nature in his divorce and broke state. Comical when he doesn’t really know the right way to say things. Finally, the reporter who ‘tagged’ along, sorry (not sorry), Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), was a great addition as she didn’t understand what was happening, all the things explained to her were therefore being explained to us as we were thrown in quite quickly with the plot. She got told the background of the game, the rules and amendments that could be made etc etc etc. This led to great flashbacks, comical and fun.

Tag 3

I would definitely recommend ‘Tag’, I thought it was a great, hilarious film and I would watch it again, over and over. It also has quite a bit of emotion and background story-telling to it, but it all works and combines with action moments of trying to tag Jerry. The whole film is revolved around Jerry’s wedding and the plotting and scheming to catch him. There were also a variety of camera adventures, for example attached to Chilli as he was running away, which just added to his peril of being caught and desperate need to run away. Or another creative element was hearing Jerry’s thoughts as he figured out where his friends were hiding and explaining how he will fool them and escape as he has so many times before. This all added to the creativity of the whole film. Hilarious film, really enjoyable!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.