One of our KiA Dads, Tim, is a huge movie buff so we’ve put him on the job and he’ll be reviewing as many kid friendly movies as he can manage every school holidays. It’s sometimes hard to judge from just a movie trailer or movie rating if something is suitable for your kids so Tim will not only be reviewing each film but also recommending which kids might enjoy or not enjoy it.
Runtime: 124 mins
Short version – Did you know Clueless was based on Jane Austen’s Emma? Well now you do.
So. Not my standard genre this one. Me seeing a Jane Austen movie is the movie equivalent of a bull in a china shop. Nobody quite knows how he got there but he is probably going to make a lot of noise and upset those around him. The last 40 or so movies I have seen have usually involved a talking animal of some kind or someone wearing a cape or flinging around a lightsaber. I had no idea how I would take to pretty much the complete opposite to my standard fare, a gentle stroll through 18th (ish) century England. Well it turns out I actually like Jane Austen! Who knew.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect. For one its quiet. Like so quiet. All the humour is so subtle (but still really funny), the music so soft and general movie sounds so low, that it legitimately took me about 20 minutes to eat my choc top because every crunch reverberated through the cinema like a jackhammer. I felt like I was in the Birds Eye Golden Crunch chips ad where they crunch insanely loud with every bite. That was me, but with choc tops.
So join Emma Woodhouse, a rich (Downton Abbey sort of rich) 21 year old who does a bit of match making when she isn’t sitting quite proper and speaking very deliberately about things. The cast is superb, with a few familiar faces popping up (If you have watched the most recent season of The Crown…you are in luck) and by the end you will be wishing you lived 300 years ago except for the lack of wifi and antibiotics.
This isn’t a kids movie obviously, but as a date night movie its a pretty good choice. Normal rom coms are sometimes a special kind of torture, and although this does maybe drag a bit longer than it should time wise, it is probably a pretty good choice for your Valentine date night. Or go Bad Boys for Life. Toss a coin. I dare you.
4 out of 5 fancy hats. They all wear fancy hats. I wish hats were still a thing outside of Melbourne Cup day.
Runtime: 101 minutes
Short version – Mr 5 gave this movie a zero. From a kid who loves Iron Man.
I love Robert Downey Jr. I mean I saw the trash reviews for this and thought ‘nope, it can’t be that bad. Iron Man cannot be that bad’. Iron Man was indeed, that bad. It hurts when someone you love hurts you so bad. You have such high expectations for them and hold them on a pedestal, that when it all comes crashing down the fall seems all that much harder. Kind of reminds me of how I felt after the 2017 AFL Grand Final. Still haven’t recovered from that thanks Crows.
This really should have been the perfect kids school holiday movie. Likeable and popular lead, with big budget talking animals with a bunch of celebrity voices. Boom. Licence to print money. Sadly, they sort of forgot to make it funny. Or interesting. Or exciting. Or anything really. Coupled with a weird Welsh accent from Iron Man and it was just kind of annoying in the end.
So what’s it all about then? Well Dolittle is a vet that talks to animals. Sort of like Dr Chris Brown but less attractive, and I’m not actually sure Dr Chris can talk to the animals either. But anyway. For some reason the Queen of England, while being sick, calls a vet to help her get better. Seems an odd choice. Would have thought a people Doctor would have been a better choice but what do I know. I am not a fancy Hollywood script writing person.
So because of this weird plot choice, Doctor Chris Dolittle has to solve the mystery of why the Queen is sick or something, then go on an adventure to find the cure which is apparently yet to be discovered but they seem to know a lot about it? Made no sense but whatever. The animals do a bunch of stuff, none of which is very funny, then the movie ends.
None of the crap plot, lack of funniness and weird accents matter as long as the kids liked it right? Sadly, everyone thought it was a steaming pile of 2017 AFL Grand Final. Mr 5 gave it zero. Zero! And I gave him snacks like the whole way through so he should have been primed for a good score. I thought it may have been him being spiteful for me eating most of his popcorn, but he was adamant. Zero. So the score stands. There wasn’t anything for the kids to be scared about, apart from a scary lack of coherent plot and Iron Man’s Welsh accent.
The rest of us were slightly more generous with our scores. Slightly.
1.5 out of 5 dogs wearing glasses. Watch this at home on Netflix while scrolling insta on your phone.
Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Runtime: 87 minutes
Short version – There is no talking. At all. In the entire movie.
So I remember Shaun the Sheep. Mainly the annoying theme song which kind of sticks in your brain like Gangnam Style, but I don’t actually remember watching a whole episode. Had I remembered, I probably would have realised nobody actually talks. So as the movie rolled on for a few minutes, I realised that not one character speaks. I mean they make noises, sort of like the noises I make when I try and get out of a chair. Thats pretty much it. Middle aged man trying to get off the lounge noises. For 87 minutes.
Not that the plot is hard to follow or anything. Its no Da Vinci Code. Alien lands on farm. Shaun the Sheep meets alien. Nobody speaks. The end. This is one of those movies that are pretty much aimed at the 5 year olds or younger, then gives minimal enjoyment to those older than 5 who have to watch it. I was actually surprised it was listed at only 87 minutes. Felt like an eternity.
Look it wasn’t that bad. The kids in the packed cinema seemed to love it. Hard to tell with kids though sometimes isn’t it. You could take them to Dreamworld for the day, but if you refuse to get them a balloon on the way out, its like you ruined their life and the lives of their children’s children. Mr 5 followed the plot well enough and seemed happy enough, but he had 2 killer pythons as snacks so he probably would have been happy watching movie ads. I had zero chance of dragging my older 2 girls to this one. I know when to pick my battles. So let you older kids walk the mall while you go see this one. They will be fine. Probably.
Lastly, this is made by the Wallace and Gromit claymation studio. I love that style, but if you don’t? Bad luck. Your kid will make you see this anyway. Sucker.
2.5 out of 5 Sheep. Did you know the plural of sheep is sheep? There you go. Education and movie reviews.
Spies in Disguise
Runtime: 115 minutes
Short version – If the cackling squeals of a 5yo mean a movie is good, then this was good. Or maybe he just likes pigeons?
I love Will Smith. I love Tom Holland. Add them together in a movie and it should be like adding Maltesers to popcorn (Try it. Seriously. Chuck the bag in there and just grab a mixed handful of chocolate salty goodness. Thank me later). I watched precisely zero trailers for this movie and apart from the title, knew nothing about what it was about. Spies wearing disguises I assumed. I cracked that code pretty quick.
So I sat down with the squids for a few hours to watch Will Smith playing himself, but in cartoon form, and Tom Holland pretty much doing the same thing. Add in a lot of pigeons, pigeon jokes and pigeon facts, then you kind of have this movie down pat. I actually learnt a lot about pigeons from this movie. Did you know pigeons can fly at 92 miles per hour! I mean I could convert that to metric but that seems like a lot of work. Anyway I was impressed. Seemed fast. Not sure if that is what the makers of this movie intended audiences to take away from it, but there you go. Entertainment plus learning. Don’t say that to the kids otherwise they won’t go.
In case the title code was a tad complex to break, Will Smith plays a spy who through a bunch of plot devices takes on a disguise in order to save the world or his career or something. That disguise comes from when he is turned into a pigeon. Not really a spoiler as it was in the trailer, but certainly took me by surprise. There are a couple of funny bits. I can’t remember them the same way I can quote most of Step Brothers (so much room for activities. Did we just become best friends?) but you should at least laugh out loud twice.
My clan enjoyed this. Mr 5 loved it more than I think he should have. Seems he really like pigeons. Miss 11 gave the usual one word answer whenever I ask if she enjoyed something….”good”. I feel the school system is letting down the kids these days. They just don’t use words good like I do.
2.5 out of 5 Pigeons. There are so many pigeons.
Jumanji: The Next Level
Runtime: 123 minutes
Short Version – I smelled what the Rock was cooking. It was sensational!
So I will just note before this review that The Rock is my man crush. I have loved him since his days as a wrestler and love all his movies (except Doom. That was rubbish). Essentially, he gets a 3 out of 5 before I even see it. For those interested, my other man crush is Chris Hemsworth. Anyway moving on…
The Jumanji sequels with The Rock have somehow managed to improve on something that was already brilliant. Its like when you get KFC chips and dip them in potato and gravy. It becomes this incredible potato on potato inception-style snack bonanza that is just heavenly. If you haven’t seen the first Jumanji with The Rock, give it a go. You will love it. Also, watch it while eating KFC chips and potato and gravy. You can thank me later.
So the new Jumanji moved away from the board game of the original to a video game setting, with a bunch of kids transported into the game and having to ‘play’ the game as different characters. This new instalment has the kids thrown back into the game for another adventure where they do stuff. It is seriously one of the funniest and best family movies I have seen in ages. The only downside is that I saw this movie a few days after gorging myself stupid at Christmas, so every time I laughed my body jiggled, reminding me that I ate way too many mince pies.
The Rock and all the cast are just insanely funny. My clan, ranging from 5 to 15, all absolutely loved it. Mr 5 gave it a thousand out of 10, which is quite a good score but also gave an insight into his grasp of basic mathematics. It is a bit of an action type movie and there are some scenes where Mr 5 used my hand as a human helmet to block a few little bits here and there, but there was nothing too bad. This is a school holiday must see.
5 out of 5 People’s Elbows (little WWE throwback reference for those playing at home) – An absolute corker this one.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Runtime: 142 minutes
Short version – Fear not. It isn’t crap. Not amazing either but not crap.
Do you know when you love something, like really really love something, then it hurts you a lot. But you love it anyway? Like me when I have soft cheese. God I love me some cheese but it just doesn’t love me back as much. Well Star Wars is like that. The soft cheese of movies. I am still recovering from the shemozzle that was The Last Jedi. That sucked so bad.
Since Disney acquired the Star Wars infinity stone to add to their entertainment gauntlet (extra points for those who get the Marvel reference) a few years back, they have been churning out a new Star Wars movie every year, with no real care as to whether they are any good or not. So again, this year like clockwork, I went along to eat the soft cheese which is Star Wars. Will it hurt me again this year or will it hark back to the glory days of awesomeness.
Well for me, the answer is somewhere in the middle. If you haven’t seen the newest bunch of Star Wars movies, and only know the old ones, there is enough here that you will recognise. Chewbacca, C3PO, R2D2 and those weird aliens with the long noses. But you may get a bit lost with what is actually going on. Who cares though, because its Star Wars and nobody really watches Star Wars for the in depth plots and character developments.
Spoiling a Star Wars movie in a review is a crime punishable by having to watch the Emoji Movie on repeat 10 times in a row, so that isn’t going to happen! But you should leave somewhat satisfied, especially if you choose Fruchocs…..can’t ever be disappointed if you choose Fruchocs.
Kids love Star Wars and although there is no swearing and bad gory things in this one, it is fairly loud and there are a heap of fighting scenes. Nothing out of the ordinary for Star Wars here so if your kids like the others, they will be fine with this one. My kids think Star Wars is boring so if anyone wants a few kids, I have some for sale. Going cheap.
3 out of 5 Droids. It isn’t the Star Wars movie you are looking for but it is at least a heap better than the last one.
The Addams Family
Runtime: 105 minutes
In Theatres: 5 December 2019 Short version – It should have sucked but it actually kind of didn’t.
If you have zero expectations for something, then not only will you never be disappointed but you will often be really surprised when things aren’t as shite as you expect them to be. I take this attitude to a lot of things in life, from my expectations for how my beloved Adelaide Crows will perform (or not perform) to Netflix Christmas movies (always shite except The Knight Before Christmas….that was really bad in the best possible way!). So this was me heading in to see The Addams Family.
I didn’t realise there was a demand for an animated Addams Family movie. I mean the live action movies in the 90s were kind of good, but you know, sort of forgot they were even a thing since then. So walking in to see this I was honestly just looking forward to having popcorn and a choc top before midday. The movie just legitimised my binge snacking issue. Eating half a kilo of popcorn before noon is totally fine as long as a movie is playing on a screen in front of you. Do it in your car and apparently you have a problem.
Shock horror this movie was actually good! With a Coraline/Corpse Bride style of animation (you know that Nightmare Before Christmas vibe) and a real homage to the original Addams Family series, coupled with lots and lots of jokes to keep the parents entertained, you will actually like this a lot. I actually think the parents will like this more than the kids. They also threw in a wholesome message about always being true to yourself or something. I think that was the message, or it might have been to always have a frankenstein monster as a butler. Dunno. I was eating a lot of snacks so it was hard to hear.
It takes a brave kids movie to release as direct competition to the Frozen juggernaut, but if ever a movie was the complete opposite of Frozen, it is the Addams Family. The kids didn’t laugh half as much as the parents to be honest but they won’t be too bored. The general vibe of the Addams Family is Halloween-style horror, but nothing is too terrifying apart from price of Fruchocs at the candy bar. All ages will get something out of this to pass a few hours on a rainy or 45 degree day (With Adelaide weather either could happen in the same week). Give it a shot if you have already seen Frozen once or 7 times.
3 out of 5 Spiders. There are a lot of spiders in this movie. And frogs. Public service announcement for those scared of spiders and frogs.
Runtime: 103 minutes
In Theatres: 28 November Short version – Don’t bother fighting it. You will see this movie. Probably many many times.
If you have a child, know a child or were once a child yourself, you would have seen the first Frozen movie. Since it was released 6 years ago, odds are you saw it so many times that you have developed an unhealthy hatred of snow, singing, Kristen Bell and singing. One thing for sure is, you still love Olaf. God I love that little guy. Just want to give him a big warm hug.
You don’t need to rewatch the first one before seeing number 2. Your brain will remember it as vividly as the time you slipped over in front of that girl you liked from high school when you took her ten pin bowling and split your pants. Moving on….
All your faves are here. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, Sven and all the townsfolk of Arendal who have learnt to just live with the fact their Queen could freeze the water supply through nothing more than a bad dream. Must be sort of terrifying really but they seem to like her so good for them. They smile a lot but that could be out of fear I guess. I wonder if Elsa cheats during water balloon fights? You know, just freeze the balloons mid flight. I feel like she would. Seems rather the competitive type.
In this instalment they go on a quest because, well there doesn’t seem to be a lot more to do in Arendal to be honest. I guess rock climbing or kayaking but hard to build a plot around that, so off they go on an adventure and meet new friends, break into song every 7 or 8 minutes and discover that Elsa is actually a founding member of the X-Men. That part isn’t true but can’t wait for the cross over! My clan, from Mr 5 to Miss 15 all absolutely loved it and we sang a brand new brain crushing song all the way home. I won’t spoil which song it is. You will know it when you hear it.
Take all the kids. They will love it so much you will watch it for the next 5 years on repeat.
5 out of 5 Songs that will get stuck in your head until you develop insomnia.
Runtime: 103 minutes
Short version – Prepare to have George Michael songs stuck in your brain.
So here we are. The first Christmas movie of the season hits the cinema with yet another attempt at a rom-com classic to rival Love Actually. I think the same guy made it actually…there you go trivia buffs, you can throw out that little tid bit of movie trivia without having to lose a tooth on a fantail. It wasn’t really romantic though and wasn’t really a comedy. More of a non-rom non-com. But it still works.
Join Daenerys of the House Tagaryen as she somehow manages to keep her job, despite pretty much being an unreliable alcoholic, as a sales rep at a Christmas Shop run by the rich mum from Crazy Rich Asians. There she meets the son from Crazy Rich Asians who just seems like a really nice dude in real life I reckon. Kind of like Chris Hemsworth. You want to hate them for being so bloody good looking but you just can’t. I won’t give away the plot because unlike every rom-com ever made, this one is actually half interesting, but Crazy Rich Chris Hemsworth sort of stalks Daenerys in a ‘it would be creepy if I did it but it is cute because the guy who did it is Zoolander level attractive’. Stuff happens and then the movie ends. Can’t say any more because that would be a spoiler, which is bad.
I will be the first to admit I am probably not the target market for this movie. They probably didn’t have ‘middle aged dude who currently has annoying hay fever’ in mind when they wrote this one. So if you tend to like these sort of things, or anything starring Jennifer Aniston or Matthew McConaughey, then pack your bags as you are in for a treat. For what its worth I didn’t hate it.
Now probably a tad more of a date night kind of movie than a kids sort of movie, the tweens and teens still got a kick out of this and apart from the usual emotions these sort of movies try and jerk at (damn onions!), there is nothing here that will be unsuitable.
3 out of 5 Dragons (Game of thrones reference for those playing at home). It isn’t Love Actually but its actually not bad.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Runtime: 118 minutes
Short version – The movie version of the drunk business idea you and your friends think of. Crazy but it works!
You know when you walk into a conversation that has been going a while, don’t really know what they are talking about so you just smile like a weirdo and laugh with them to pretend you know what on Earth they are on about? That was me in the first 15 minutes of Maleficent, because I had either not seen the first one or my brain had erased it. Thankfully it didn’t take long to catch up because this Disney flick had quite frankly, cut and pasted the plot of about a dozen movies before. Legit. I don’t usually do the spoiler thing but bugga it, this is a cracker.
The plot of Avatar, you know the mega successful blue people movie. Peaceful (but powerful) forest people at one with nature fight against the evil humans who want their land for mining or herbs or whatever. Watch Maleficent and through some incredible use of trickery, the screenwriters have cut and pasted that script here! It is bonkers. But its good fun so who cares.
Join Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (no relation to Fiddy Cent) as she tries to convince everyone that she isn’t the big scary evil flying dragon thing that she kind of actually is, who has the power to pretty much kill everyone with a single thought. For some reason she has a god daughter (Aurora – Sleeping Beauty) who is human but lives with all the elves and fairies, rather than the humans on the other side of the river. If that was me, a large clumsy dude, I would be petrified of tripping and crushing my forest friends. But that’s just me. Maybe she isn’t clumsy?
As weird as this movie is, given its basically the characters from Sleeping Beauty thrust into Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest, its actually pretty good fun. The special effects are epic and make you forget all the weird plot shenanigans going on. Jolie is awesome as the misunderstood magical sky demon and it has the best ‘meet the in-laws dinner party’ scene since Meet the Parents. Kids under 10 might be scared by some of the darker bits and I its a tad sad at times (I am Groot. Will leave it at that) but apart from the little ones, the whole clan will get a kick out of this one. At around 2hrs, if you have the bladder the size of a thimble you will need 2 toilet breaks. Just a heads up thimble friends.
3.5 out of 5 winged sky demons with amazing cheekbones. You will have a blast.
Paw Patrol: Ready Race Rescue
Runtime: 44 minutes
Short version – Its only 44 minutes. You got this. I believe in you.
Every parent has had those times where you are sitting watching Hannah Montana for 3 hours and then you look around and realise the kids left the room ages ago. Surely that isn’t just me right? You just kind of zonk out in a sleep deprived state of semi-consciousness, not really sure what time it is but happy that the kids are alive and that means you are doing your job. Paw Patrol is kind of like that. There is nothing in it for the adults but after long enough, you really just hope Marshall wins the bloody race. He has to beat the corrupt Mayor Humdinger! How do they not see how corrupt he is!
If you haven’t heard of the Paw Patrol, they are a bunch of dogs who are sort of like a mix of the SES, Police, Firies and Ambos all rolled into one. Everyone just calls them direct to help when they get stuck and stuff. They have some awesome tech. I don’t know who is funding them but they have all the good stuff. I spent most of the time wondering how they grip the steering wheels with their paws. I couldn’t see any gripping pads or any sort of pup handles. One of many plot holes I suppose.
This one is for the really small kids. Like if they have never been to the cinema before, at 44 minutes this one is perfect. The story doesn’t matter. The pups race. Save their friends. Something about believing in yourself or something. All good wholesome stuff. My 5yo ate it up like fairy floss at the show. Out of his seat half the time cheering, so for that I guess it was spot on and it didn’t drag on so that’s a win for me.
4 out of 5 pups. Not sure how long this one will last in the cinema so get onto it this school holidays!
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Runtime: 102 minutes
Short version – In hindsight, Dora’s parents weren’t really that attentive were they.
I have teen daughters which for me, meant that a vast majority of the last decade of my life has been in that twilight zone of time in between Dora asking a question to the audience and Dora answering the question. Time seemed to stand still in those mere seconds, as I watched her frozen eyes and wondered if I had accidentally paused the remote. Then, usually about 10 seconds later, she would answer that she would indeed take the path to the forest and not the mountains as I had guessed.
The Dora cartoon was soul destroying for a parent and I expected something similar of this movie. But with Michael Pena (one of the funniest dudes around) and Eva Longoria on board, it had some chance of not being terrible. This ended up falling in between as some sort of Lara Croft Jr/Jumanji for kids hybrid that wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but doesn’t mean it was good. Like a service station hot dog that didn’t give you gastro. I mean it wasn’t bad, but that doesn’t mean it was good. The best bits were then it took the piss out of the cartoon, like Dora staring for ages after asking a question. Or why Swiper the fox wore a mask. Was there a lot of fox related crime in the jungle and he needed to keep his identity a secret? Alas those moments were few and far between.
My daughters, 14 and 11yrs, thought it was OK. Probably in the service station hot dog range like me. My 5year old actually really liked it and he sat still during the whole thing. He didn’t get scared at all and there is nothing that will put anyone off, but I think out of all of us I actually like this the most. I think that means Dora has totally destroyed my brain. Like some sort of cruel torture.
3 out of 5 because Swiper swiped the other 2 stars.
Runtime: 97 minutes
Short version – Will make you want a Yeti as a pet
You know how there are some words that you just really struggle to say. Squirrel. Worcestershire Sauce (not the sauce bit…I have that down pat), sixth. Well add Abominable to that list for me. I just can’t get it out. I just end up saying Abommable. As a result I hereby rename this movie “The Magic Snow Beast”.
I will set the scene. Magic snow beast is magic and also rare. Evil rich dude who collects rare things catches him for reasons. Probably to make a rug out of him or something. Magic snow beast escapes, finds plucky kids and bingo. Hilarity ensues. Well when I say hilarity, its not quite that scene in bridesmaids where the chick is trying on wedding dresses after a dodgy lunch and collapses in the middle of the road, but there is enough to give you a bit of an actual lol. Not where you type lol but don’t actually make any sounds, an actual laugh out loud. Thats where this movie fits.
The kids will really like this one. All of mine did, except my 5 year old was a little scared of the magic snow beast at the start, but eventually I was able to regain use of my hand soon enough from it duty as “5yo eye coverer during sort of scary bits”. Miss 14 and 11 both loved it, but I did buy them a frozen coke on the way to the movies so they were in good moods which helped. Parenting hack – Frozen coke makes car rides so much quieter and more pleasant. Didn’t think you would get parenting tips as well as a movie review did you! The plot revolves around friendship, family, working together and all that jazz, which my 5yo found really easy to follow and keep track of what was going on. And if anyone cares I liked it too. A winner all round.
4 out of 5 magic snow beasts
Angry Birds 2
Runtime: 97 minutes
Short version – Like the Royal Show. Kids will love it. Adults not so much.
in 2009, a young Tim with slightly less lower back pain than now, was sitting on the toilet playing Angry Birds, a new whiz bang phone game that was all the rage. How could I possibly foresee that fast forward a decade and I would be writing a review of not only a movie about that game, but a sequel! A sequel to a phone time wasting toilet game where you throw birds into pigs. What a time to be alive.
Didn’t see the first one? Don’t stress I will catch you up. The red bird is the angry one. In the first one he saved the island from the pigs or something and now all the other birds like him. The birds now spend their days playing pranks on the pigs, who live on a nearby island. They are mortal enemies, these birds and pigs. Don’t ask why. I did and it melted my brain. Anyway they have to join forces to fight a threat from a mysterious third island. Those 5 lines essentially sum up the entire movie. I can’t believe someone presented that as an idea for a movie and then someone actually said “yeah here’s $50m, go knock yourself out”.
What is most worrying is my kids bloody loved it. I think they are broken. I don’t think I laughed once. Maybe a burp turned into a giggle, but that’s as close as I got. In a worrying sign for our future movie industry, my 5yo gave it 5 out of 5, my 11yo a solid 4 and my 14yo, who is the most sane of the group, a lowly 2. I will give it a 1. I am more disappointed with myself that I expected more from the Angry Birds 2 movie.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 birds. Sadly your kids will actually really like it.
A Dog’s Journey
Runtime: 108 minutes
Short version – We don’t deserve dogs.
Dogs are the best. Any movie involving a dog is great. Turner and Hooch. Milo and Otis. Beethoven. Beethoven’s 2nd. Not Beethoven’s 3rd. That was crap. All in all, whack a cute dog and some sort of loveable humans around it and its a sure fire recipe for movie magic!
This one however, was tough. If you don’t know the premise for this sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, basically Olaf from Frozen is a dog that gets reincarnated a bunch of times as it follows the lives of the various hoomans in his life. Essentially what that means is that a dog dies like every half an hour. It is brutal. I cried. Both my daughters cried. Then repeat every half hour when the dog dies again. It is like watching Marley and Me 4 or 5 times in a row.
After the 2nd dog died I sort of ran out of tears so was able to pay some sort of attention to the plot. You know it will end well, but if the success of a movie is judged by the amount of dogs that die in heartbreaking fashion whilst somehow managing to piece together your broken dog loving heart in an awesome conclusion, then this one ticks all the boxes.
We all loved this one. Even my middle daughter who ‘hates movies’. So for that alone this one rises above the pack. Get it. Pack. See what I did there. Pack. Dog pack. Anyway…..Everyone will find the dog deaths sad but there is nothing too scary along the way so most ages will love it.
4 out of 5 pups. At least I know I won’t cry in Angry Birds 2. Probably.
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Runtime: 86 minutes
Short version – I saw it 3hrs ago and have already kind of forgotten it.
Any parent will know that for every Toy Story, there is an Emoji Movie. This is one of those in between ones where it isn’t exactly painful to sit through, but when you walk out you wonder what exactly you did for the last 90 minutes. Sort of like when you drive home when a bit tired and then forget how you drove the last 5km, sitting there at at the traffic lights in a daze. Thats The Secret Life of Pets 2. Sitting at the traffic lights in a daze, not entirely sure where the last bit of your life went but knowing it wasn’t bad. You could also call it July. As in “oh my god its already July where has the year gone and what have I done with my life”
Join Max, Duke and some other pets whose names I have already forgotten, as they get up to mischief in New York whilst their owners are unconscious somewhere I assume. I mean they snuck a tiger into an apartment. Not really a spoiler alert because, does it really matter what the plot is? I spent most of my time trying to work out which pet best described me. Turns out I am Duke, the big scruffy one. He is clumsy, eats all the food and doesn’t really know what is happening most of the time.
The kids ate it all up like lollies from a showbag though, so for that it gets full marks. My 3, ranging from 5 years through 14, all thought it was the bees knees and to that end, it is great family viewing. There are no scary bits and the humour is very much aimed at the kids, so no awkward convos to have later. The older teens may (will) get a tad bored however.
Thankfully at 86 minutes it is shorter than a Kardashian marriage and will be over before you know it.
3 out of 5 dogs. A point for each of my kids that liked it. No points from me.
The Lion King
Runtime: 118 minutes
Short version – Relive the most traumatic death of your childhood. In stunning High Definition.
I would pay to listen to James Earl Jones reading the back of a detergent label. There is something about that voice which soothes the soul. Which is probably part of the reason why the death of Mufasa in the 1994 original hit so hard. You are on such a high watching the father-son relationship between Mufasa and Simba and then bam, somebody starts cutting onions again.
In this new instalment, which I had to explain to my daughter isn’t a live action update like Aladdin (or were the lions just really well trained?), what is arguably Disney’s finest work is faithfully recreated practically scene for scene. The visuals are just insane. I mean what’s next? Will I be able to smell the lions next? For a moment you feel like you are watching a David Attenborough doco, until Pumba tells a fart joke which kind of reminds you this isn’t real.
The voice actors are incredible. Thankfully Jones was able to perform again as Mufasa because quite frankly, he is irreplaceable. Timon and Pumba are outstanding and a young up and comer named Beyonce (Think its pronounced Bee-Yon-Say) is great as Nala. Big things are in store for her I am sure.
The little ones are a bit young for this version. It is so life like that most of the Scar and Hyena scenes even scared me and I am 38. So my 5 year old will have to wait for this one, so will my 11 year old who got her bravery from me. The Mufasa death is obviously a tough watch too which may be upsetting for kids or 38 year old men.
Maybe try out the cartoon version and gauge their reaction, the scenes are almost identical.
For the adults, take your tissues. I have now cried 3 times in movies. Twice involve The Lion King.
5 out of 5 Beyonces. Outstanding. Better than the original.
Runtime: 128 minutes
Short version: Disney ruined my childhood.
Jokes. This is incredible. I was 11 when Aladdin was released with the incomparable Robin Williams. Since then I have seen it in excess of 6000 times. Probably. It certainly feels like that many. Even saw the musical a few years back. It is a tale as old as time….wait sorry, wrong movie. Anyway Aladdin is a classic and a remake will struggle to top the original. So I thought.
You know the story. Street rat Aladdin on the streets of Agrabah, fooled by the evil Jafar yada yada yada Genie yada yada yada Princess and happily ever after.
Every single fave moment from the original is here and they nailed it. Not going to say I cried during the magic carpet ride but someone had some onions near me I swear. The cast is perfection and Will Smith. The Fresh Prince nailed this. Bravo.
Parents will love the nostalgia, the laughs and the visuals. So colourful and fantastic music. Kids of nearly all ages will love it too. Some of the little ones under 8 might find some of the mild action and fighting scenes a little much, especially nearing towards the end with….you know how it ends. Jafar. Evil genie. Do you do spoiler alerts for remakes of movies 27 years ago? Anyway for me, my 5yo is a little way off this one but my 11yo and 14yo were all over this.
Loved it! 4 lamps out of 5 for this one.
Toy Story 4
Short version – You can indeed improve on perfection.
Dear Pixar, Please just make Toy Story movies forever. Kind regards, Tim. Its hard to believe the first Toy Story was released in the mid 90s. Those were the days. I was rocking an undercut then from memory whilst navigating year 10. Thankfully there was no facebook to record that fashion travesty. Anyway I digress, since that first release, Pixar created probably the perfect trilogy of movies with the release of Toy Story 2 and 3 over the next 15 years or so. So did they stuff it up by going for number 4? I mean what 4th instalment of anything was any good. Police Academy 4? Nope. Sharknado 4? Nope again. Although Sharknado is truly awesome in its own way. Looking at you Iain Ziering.
Somehow they nailed it. With number 3 ending on a perfect note, the story picks up with Buzz, Woody and co. travelling across country with Bonnie and their new friend Forky. Spoiler alert, Forky is a plastic fork. I can imagine the round table meeting at Pixar where some hung over writer was asked on the spot for an idea for a new character. Then, hazily staring down at his empty lunch container he piped up with ‘uh how about a plastic fork’. Genius. Hilarious too. The scenes with Woody and Forky will remind parents of trying to drag a toddler through a shopping centre at Christmas.
The whole thing is just insanely good. You know those people that are annoyingly good at everything? ‘Oh you are a Doctor and also play the piano. Cool’. Thats Toy Story. It just shouldn’t be this good but it just is perfect.
This is the peak movie for the whole fam. The little kids will love it, the teen kids will love it and unless you have a small and undiscovered fear of those creepy old school dolls ala Annabelle, then adults will love it too.
And lastly, the person who doesn’t like those creepy dolls is me. Go see Annabelle yourself. Wont get a review from me though.
5 out of 5 forky’s. Bring on Toy Story 5!
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Runtime: 130 minutes
Short version – Stop what you are doing and go see this movie now.
I mean it. With Avengers: Endgame grossing almost $3 billion earlier this year, chances are you either Saw it several times Saw it once Didn’t see it but have a general idea what its all about because your kids won’t stop talking about it As someone who falls into category a), I will start by saying this review of Spider-man: Far from home, is entirely spoiler free. In fact I have probably already said too much. Far from home is the first movie in the Marvel cinematic universe since the events of Endgame, with details about plot kept very closely guarded. What I can say without fear of punishment, is all your favourite Spider-man faves return, as everyone’s favourite neighbourhood hero travels to Europe to try and win the heart of his crush MJ. Of course from there, adventures follow which leads to a brilliant conclusion and applause (I may have been the only one clapping I must add). Oh my god so good. For those very familiar with the current crop of superhero movies, this will tick all your boxes. In fact, don’t even take the kids. Just go on your own when the cinema is empty and enjoy this majestic period in cinematic history. If you don’t like superhero movies and the kids are dragging you along? Will I like it I hear you say?
Of course you will. You don’t need to have seen all 22 Marvel movies to enjoy this one. They touch briefly at the start on previous events to quickly catch everyone up and then grab your popcorn and enjoy the show. At a nudge over 2 hours, it won’t feel overly long and will be a great way to spend an afternoon. It has been given an M rating which seems fair. There are a lot of action scenes which could be a bit scary in parts and very loud in the cinema. There is also one short scene in particular (you will know it when you see it) which would probably scare the pants off the little ones. So for me and my kids, the 6yo gets a miss for this one and my 11yo is a little jumpy so probably not either. My 14yo is tougher than me and she love love loved it! Oh and another thing. Always stay til the end of the credits. Totally worth the wait.
4.5 webs out of 5 for me and that will probably increase after a 2nd viewing.