Dumbo (2019)

Fall into a new fantasy adventure of the Disney Classic ‘Dumbo’. From 1941 to 2019, Tim Burton reimagines this emotional tale of a circus and an elephant whose looks are different from others. Ridiculed and misunderstood by its large ears, the baby elephant has to perform for laughs. But soon, they discover this calf is only one that has a secret talent: it can fly!

Dumbo - 2019 (3)

As we all know, Disney Classics are coming out as live-action films quicker than anything – maybe not as quick as Marvel at the minute, but you get my point. From ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to the waiting of the new ‘Lion King’; ‘Dumbo’ has been released as a live-action film to reminisce all the way back to 1941. I don’t know about anyone else, but ‘Dumbo’ hasn’t been one that I always jump too when I watch Disney Classics, but after watching this remake, it only intrigues me to re-watch the film I’ve seen so many years ago! As it’s been a while, I can’t comment on the similarities between the two, but I do believe, as you would always assume, Tim Burton has put his magical twist to reinvent this wonderful tale.

This is truly a beautiful tale; it is so emotional! The graphics are phenomenal in bringing in the life of the circus, you become invested in this adorable little elephant. An elephant whose emotions are felt by the whole audience, and you can’t not have a little tear up when he’s feeling down. And understandably so! This elephant goes through a lot!

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Furthermore, I thought the addition of these excellent actors who pave the way for Dumbo’s journey is also magnificent. The two children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) Farrier have an adorable love for the elephant as we watch them teach him how to fly. And I cannot forget the flawed character of the circus leader, Max Medici, whose want for greed and money, transfers into him discovering the need of a family. I only mention this character due to the brilliance of its actor, Danny DeVito, bringing this character to life in the forefront of the circus. But also, he has the comical unwanted duo sketch with the rebellious monkey. All the personalities in this film have deeper real-life challenges, which only brings the characters to life in a more realistic way on screen. This is not only a film of an elephant, but one of a family in a circus altogether.

DUMBO

This remake definitely has a deeper emotional moral embedded into the film. It feels real to watch, making it become even more hard-hitting of how animals can be treated. It’s a film that paints a moral of looking after our animals and ending animal cruelty. Don’t be expecting a film to have a good laugh, instead it becomes one of drama and chaos, but brilliance and satisfying to the end. Watch as all the characters develop in spirit and personality throughout the film, as new enemies rise and old challenges have to be faced. If that doesn’t make you want to watch this magical film, just watch the sheer spirit in little Dumbo and his feather.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

This is one of the most heart-breaking films of my childhood. ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ deals with extremely real-life struggles in a school for children. The whole film is littered with real-life situations but underlining it all it’s a beautiful film about friendship and delving into a fantasy dreamworld with the great imagination of children.

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Welcome to the life of young Jess (Josh Hutcherson – Peeta from ‘The Hunger Games’), whose school life involves being bullied by various boys and eighth grade girls, and his home life involves being lost amongst a mass of children and unable to connect with his parents, particularly his father. Then introducing the new girl, Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), who on her first day beat all the boys in a race and stands up for who she is, creating a ripple in the school dimension for only good reasons. Both bullied and seen as outsiders, they soon become friends as new next-door neighbours. Down in a forest, across a rope swing, they find the adventures of what they call the Kingdom of Terabithia. A place of imagination they dive into a world of just their own, where they fight creatures and trolls in the trees.

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‘Bridge to Terabithia’ is such a beautiful, yet soul-destroying film. It’s full of adventure-filled fantasy with such real-life problems. The children struggle through but find a place of mercy and solitude for themselves where they are the King and Queen. A place where they can run and save the world. If you haven’t seen this film, it is great, although be warned for a good old cry! ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ isn’t just revolved around this fantasy world, there’s so much more to it than that!

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

The original Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie. The baddass archaeologist, who just wants to fulfil her father’s wishes after he died. The story does play on the fantasy/sci-fi genre, just a pre-warning, as it is not a full-on believable action film (if there are any?). The plot: every 5,000 years the planets align. When this happens, the two halves of the triangle can be united to control time. So overall, this is a ‘save the world’ kind of film, since the clock to get the first half of the triangle has fallen into the wrong hands.

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What is with the accents in this film? Ok, so Angelina Jolie pretends to be British, which I wasn’t a huge fan of her accent, but I soon got over it and after the initial ‘ugh why’, I didn’t even notice it anymore. But that was because Daniel Craig came in, looking all a bit too rough, and with some sort of American accent! Whhhyyyy? This accent was not great… it was baaad. Every time he spoke it irritated me. Didn’t really understand why he had to be American, if that’s what the accent was supposed to be? Angelina Jolie being British was so much better than Daniel Craig’s accent. Happily, he didn’t talk much anyway.

‘Tomb Raider’ is full of action and explosive scenes. For a film that came out in the early 2000s, the graphics were not as bad as I thought they would be (since we’ve got used to the brilliant graphics now). I mean they weren’t amazing, but they definitely weren’t terrible and didn’t take anything away from the film in a distracting way! The action scenes are fun and enjoyable, who doesn’t love a good action scene from a well-known action star? And Angelina Jolie is definitely one! The scenes were good to get lost in and escape from real-life for a while.

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I enjoyed this film, it’s a good escapism film. I don’t believe there’s much wrong with it, other than some bad fake accents… It’s a fun, action-filled film. There are some small giggle moments, but mostly you’re lost in this adventure, two teams racing against each other. Did I mention the baddy is a young Mormont from ‘Game of Thrones’? It’s not life-changing, it is what it is. It’s a traditional fantasy action film with the fab Angelina Jolie, what’s not to like?

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)

This wonderful film is one of my favourite family fantasy films. I remember going to see it in the cinema and quoting the “Nanny McPhee, little c, big P” all the way home. Please ignore the occasional OTT magic of this film and enjoy it for what it is, because there is so much more than what is just on the surface. I really do think this is a heart-warming, comical film, which brings both films in a fill circle. I’m definitely a fan of the first and I don’t think this one is worse, but instead stands on the same ground as the classic introductory of the famous Nanny McPhee, turned “Army Nanny”.

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang - children

Nanny McPhee (happily still brilliantly played by Emma Thompson) finds a new family, the Green family, to take under her wing. A mother in distress, dedicated to her family but desperately trying to earn enough money to keep the food on the table and the farm they live on still running. Meanwhile, the father is in the army fighting for their country. Her three young children, Norman, Megsie and the adorable Vincent help when they can on the farm but are in constant arguing with each other. Towards the beginning, their cousins from London come to visit having been evacuated due to the war. To say the least, these cousins have never experienced doing things for themselves or living in a “land of poo”. Celia comes across spoilt rotten and Cyril is rude from the start. However, again there is so much more to them than just that. Nevertheless, this is a perfect family for Nanny McPhee to introduce herself into and that is exactly what she does.

We cannot forget an additional character of Maggie Smith playing the hilarious Mrs Docherty. There are actually many other well-known actors, for example Ralph Fiennes, Bill Bailey and Ewan McGregor. Brilliant people and the children are all stars played amazingly well too, just like the first film. It’s wonderfully starred.

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‘Nanny McPhee’ brings back more magic and more wonder in a second film. Banging the magical stick on the ground brings animals to human-life-like characteristics, including synchronized swimming pigs and a cuddle-buddle of a goat. Cannot forget the bird which follows Nanny McPhee around, no matter her rejection. The whole film is full of comical and heart-warming moments. Every time I watch it, I will cry… Everything becomes extremely magical in a fantasy of harvest fireworks, as the Green family try to come together when their farm is threatened. Because the person they needed was Nanny McPhee.

Christopher Robin (2018)

Disney has recreated the famous Winnie the Pooh, a story which I hope would never end and will be remembered. Some may recognise that there has just been a Winnie the Pooh film, ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ however they are not connected and instead tell rather a different story. This ‘Christopher Robin’ embeds our beautiful Hundred Acre Wood characters in a story of adventure and takes us on a journey of growing up and remembering to smile and enjoy life along the way. Of course with Winnie the Pooh at the forefront and a grown-up Christopher Robin believing Pooh to be something of his past.

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Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is all grown-up, with a wife, Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and a daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael). And with an all-very serious job, with his important papers and missing time away from his family to dedicate everything to his work. But who else to appear than a “silly old bear” to help Christopher Robin find his way to the important things in life. With a fascination in a red balloon and the need to be polite to everyone, Winnie the Pooh crawls his way through the tree door Christopher Robin used to appear from. And into his old best friend’s life he crashes after decades. And this is where our beautiful little adventurous journey begins. Winnie the Pooh is in London, not in Hundred Acre Wood, and he is smiley and saying ‘hello’ to everyone that passes to their astonishment of a talking bear in a little red top.

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I truly loved this film, it was beautiful, emotional and full of nostalgia. It was funny and played on the heart strings at the same time. All very clever in a simple plot (it didn’t need to be anything complicated), something for the whole family to enjoy. The voice of Winnie the Pooh is so perfect, the reminiscing of the Pooh we remember in childhood as Jim Cummings once again voices this excellent bear.

Pooh is actually an extremely comical character, he got me laughing a few times with his whispered games or his confusion to people’s reaction to him. Eeyore is also an hilarious character, a character riddled with sadness but comical in the way he becomes to dull and gloom about every little thing, for example as he sadly says goodbye to the bucket he landed in head first. We go on an adventure of Christopher Robin learning what it’s like to be young again, to not be so serious about every little thing, the importance of smiling and laughing, of imagination and playing. So just alike to this stunning moral, you don’t have to be a child to watch this film, actually most in the cinema with me were adults. It also goes without saying that the animation was phenomenal. I would recommend this film if you believe it would be one you would enjoy, it certainly wasn’t a let-down! 

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Christopher Robin: “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something”.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film and I’m happy to announce there is a glimpse, sadly not enough, but a glimpse of the cursed Will Turner! But most of it is revolved around Will’s son, Henry, played by Brenton Thwaites, who they couldn’t have chosen a better actor because I’m completely sold that Henry could be Will and Elizabeth’s son… Obviously, it wouldn’t be a Pirates of the Caribbean film if Johnny Depp wasn’t back as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he’s back as fabulous as ever with his classic comedy which got me laughing throughout the film.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 - Jack and Henry

‘Salazar’s Revenge’ or ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ as the original title brings in a new enemy. If you hadn’t guessed… Salazar (Javier Bardem). An undead Spanish Captain trapped in the Devil’s Triangle determined once free to get his revenge on the one and only Jack Sparrow. And of course, he is set free pretty damn quickly with the rest of his undead crew and his skeleton ship which tore the sea bleeding pirates. Salazar has one rule, in every kill he does, he leaves one man alive to tell the tale.

Also introducing another new character, Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who declared a witch but just in fact a woman of science is sentenced to be hung. Of course, Jack Sparrow is also sentenced to death and Henry Turner is also sentenced to death for being a ‘apparent’ traitor. And this is how they meet, off they go to find another ocean myth, the trident of Poseidon. Joining the crew is Jack’s trusty side-man Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and all the others. The trident is supposedly told to be the only answer to destroy all of the sea’s curses. A new adventure but being careful of the Salazar’s ship at every wave because he’s swallowing ships whole.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 - Salazar

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’ is an excellent fifth film. It has brilliant special effects, apart from the extremely edited young Johnny Depp. But anyway, the film is brought to life on the sea once again, amazing as all the other films. Happily, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is back as he stands strong in his pirate beliefs and loving himself. His story is particularly great in this one. There are also some enjoyable flashbacks which just bring more depth to the characters and create the whole feel of the Pirates coming back to our beloved screens. Once again, it is a long film, but as are all the other Pirates of the Caribbean’s. I also loved the occasional hints and reoccurring’s of old Pirates of the Caribbean films as it brings a familiarity to the screen, rather than a recycled one, I think it works brilliantly and makes the film that more amazing.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 - Jack

Jack Sparrow is back as clumsy and drunk as usual, as he stumbles through life with two new allies, Henry and Carina. Henry determined by this love for his father, Carina motivated by her passion in science and astronomy. This film is an excellent addition to the well-loved Pirate films. It’s action-packed, comedy full and with nail-biting suspense with Salazar on everyone’s tail. I would definitely recommend this film especially if you love all the others, because happily this is one that is not a let-down. Besides, it’s Captain Jack Sparrow!!

What Happened to Monday? (2017)

Scrolling through Netflix and this one intrigued my flat and I. Never heard of it before and a new film of 2017. With an interesting different plot, we decided it was the film to watch. An action, futuristic, pessimistic, sci-fi life. A world of 2073, where overpopulation is at it’s most extreme.

When grandfather Terrence Settman (Willem Dafoe), takes in his seven identical grandchildren, it’s more of a problem than just a large number of children to look after on your own. The city has adopted a new scheme to reduce the mass problem of overpopulation, one harsh and brutal. The Child Allocation Act. Any siblings are to be taken away from their families, and sent asleep, to be awoken in a life much later on, one less populated. There must only be one child to every family. This is monitored through bracelets that must be worn and scanned when going into any other sector of the city. An extremely controlled city. Crime is brutal when a sibling is taken and snatched away by the Child Allocation Bureau.

What Happened to Monday - Saturday

So Terrence comes up with an idea to save his seven grandchildren, they all become one identity, the identity of Karen Settman, who looks the same and acts the same. With seven children and seven days of the week, they all can only leave the house one per day, on the day of their name. Monday goes out on Monday, Tuesday on Tuesday, etc etc etc. And this works all the way up to them being 30 years old, but things escalate when Monday disappears. This is where the action speeds up, tensions rise and it becomes very violent. Probably a good place to mention that this is a film for older ages, it is quite graphic and explicit, also it swears a lot.

What Happened to Monday - Wednesday

All seven Karen Settmans are played by the same actress, Noomi Rapace. I’ve personally never seen her in a film before, but she is brilliant in this. All seven siblings are of course all different as they are all different people pretending to be one. In the home we know them as their true selves. Monday is Miss Perfect or the one who disappears. Tuesday’s life is dominated on drugs. Wednesday is sporty, constantly punching or working out. Thursday is the rebellious one, hating the life she has been dealt. Friday is the technological mind. Saturday, the party girl. And finally, Sunday the believer. Quite stereotypical in roles, but that is how it is portrayed, they are the main characteristics that shine through. But they are characters that are brilliant and appreciated amongst the film.

What Happened to Monday - Saturday, Thursday and Friday

Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to their childhood, building their characteristics and their life as secret and hidden. As “what happens to one of you, happens to all…”, they all must look the same, never be found out. This is done through end of day meetings, where they tell each other what they have experienced. The extremes they go to is impressive, but routine is destroyed when one sibling goes missing, then quickly another.

I really enjoyed ‘What Happened to Monday’. It is such a different plot to many other films I’ve seen before. Pre-warning it is very pessimistic, nothing seems like it’s going to get better. It is tense and you route for the sisters as they struggle through this controlled society. I would definitely watch it again. It was confusing in some places, but that just brings the audience in more to understand the mystery of where Monday has actually disappeared to. Are you not a little intrigued anyway?