The Greatest Showman – Review

And so we come to the end of the year. I’ve seen 73 of this year’s films and 40 of those were thanks to my Odeon Limitless membership (and that’s only counting the films from this year, adding the delayed 2016 films and my rewatch of The Last Jedi I’ve been to the Odeon 43 times this year). It’s been a fun year and interestingly both the first (La La Land) and last films I saw in the cinema this year were musicals.

My opinion on this film is divided but overall I enjoyed it. The musical stuff is fun with plenty of catchy music and impressive choreography performed by a talented cast. This is obvious Oscar bait but honestly regardless of quality Oscar bait movies do a good job of being a showcase of talented acting.

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Unfortunately the film’s weaknesses are in being an adaptation of a true story. While my knowledge of P. T. Barnum is limited it’s very clear a lot of his story is being romanticized here including that scene a lot of these based on a true story movies have where someone tells the lead about the impact they’ve have and how important that is in a conversation that clearly never happened. The performers themselves also have very limited screentime too. Sure Keala Settle’s bearded lady gets one of the big songs and Zendaya’s character has the romance subplot with Zac Efron but that’s about it.

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It’s enjoyable but I think Sarah had a good point in the Midnight Screenings review about how she probably won’t rewatch it but will definitely listen to the soundtrack multiple times. With this being my last review of the year I’d like to say thank you to the staff at the Exeter Odeon, my Limitless membership made me a familiar face over there and it was always nice talking to the staff when buying my tickets and coming out of the screening. As for my top 10 I’m going to delay it until I see Coco and The Shape of Water, I just don’t feel comfortable posting said top 10 without seeing these movies I’m really excited about that have already gotten a very positive response. But first I have a couple of new DVDs I got for Christmas to watch…

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Ferdinand – Review

So I guess this is technically a Disney movie now (or should I say Disney moovie?), which is funny because there was a Disney short based on the same book released in 1838. In fact that’s the main reason I decided to pick this as the next trip to the cinema before my rewatch of The Last Jedi on Tuesday over the new Jumanji movie (which I do still plan to watch). None of the trailers really interested me but because Disney own Blue Sky now and I still have to wait until next month to see Coco I decided I should see one new animated Disney movie in the cinema before the year ends.

It’s better that I figured it would be. Sure for the most part it’s your average animated movie you tend to get a few of each year (complete with the obligatory dance scene) but it has enough of its own charm and good jokes to help it be more enjoyable. The cast are mostly fine but nothing special with the only standouts being Kate McKinnon and David Tennant who are both great as usual.

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It actually gets dark at times, especially when highlighting the genuine animal cruelty in bull fighting, but weirdly that actually leads into the biggest weakness of the film. There are two scenes where characters are implied to be killed off and turned into meat but of course they turn out to be fine and get rescued. I do get why they did this and my issue isn’t that they didn’t kill these characters off, it’s the fact the scenes where you think they dead were handled really well and the reveal that they’re ok ruins those scenes. And I don’t think I need to worry about this being considered a spoiler because the trailers show clips of the escape which include these two characters.

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But death cop outs aside I found this to be an enjoyable movie. Who knows what the future holds for Blue Sky now that Disney own them, probably more Ice Age sequels.

Bright – Review

I’ve seen a few of Netflix’s films from this year and most have just been average with the exception of Okja which was pretty good. This will probably be the last one I watch this year but considering this is the one Netflix really wants people to watch that makes sense. I saw a trailer for this a few times in the cinema including before The Last Jedi so it’s clear Netflix has a lot of faith in this film.

It’s alright but I feel like the main reason it got the advertising hype that it did was to show off the fact they made a movie starring Will Smith. The modern day fantasy setting is neat but they don’t do enough with it and it suffers from a common fantasy/sci-fi problem of humans being boring yet being one of the species with the most attention.

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I do like the main character lineup being a human, an orc and an elf with the characters themselves and the actors playing them being fun enough that I am interested in seeing what the sequel they’re going to make will be like. The issues are in the story itself, it’s mostly just one long chase scene. It’s made worse that the main threats are also humans, orcs and elves with any other races only really getting cameos.

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It’s a neat world and the idea of depicting the racial conflicts in fantasy like regular racism is a good setup but it doesn’t do as good a job with that setup as something like Zootopia. Overall its just an average cop movie mixed in with an average fantasy movie.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Review

So this review has had a bit of a delay. Figuring out exactly how to phrase this review was tricky, it’s such a huge release and a lot of the things I’d want to talk about I can’t without going into spoilers (and don’t worry this review will be spoiler free). Then there’s the fact I wanted to end this review with my ranking of the entire series but I can’t decide which I like more out of this and The Force Awakens and would need to rewatch it be sure. But I’d like to start watching some more films before Christmas so here’s the review.

It’s really good. A big part of why it’s so hard to decide which is better out of this and Force Awakens is just how good the story they tell together is. Also much like Force Awakens reading the really nitpicky complaints people have about it only makes it better.

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One thing that fans are divided on is Luke. I thought he was great, not just the way his character and arc were written but Mark Hamill’s performance. You can really see how much he’s improved since the original trilogy thanks to years of voice acting, especially when you marathon the entire Star Wars saga.

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If you liked Force Awakens you’ve probably either already seen it or don’t need me to convince you to see it but know that I still can’t decide which is better out of the two. In fact since I said I’d include my ranking for the entire series here’s two different versions of it

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I’ll be sure to say if my rewatch next week and discussions with my friends on Thursday effect this ranking when I post my top 10 films of the year list, but I might delay that until I see Coco.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Review

While I’ve seen most of the films in this marathon before this was my first time seeing this one. I never really got into this particular Clone Wars series, I was more of a fan of the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars (especially the stuff with General Grievous in season 2).

It’s ok but I’d say it’s the weakest of the Star Wars movies. Jabba the Hutt’s son being kidnapped isn’t exactly the most interesting story for a Star Wars movie, even a TV show pilot movie. Really the only thing to happen in that is worth noting is Anakin getting an apprentice but the main story arc for that setup ends pretty early in the film at what I expect was intended as the end of the episode.

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On that note the main strength of this film is the introduction of new character who became fan favourites as the show aired. I already liked Ahsoka from what I’d seen of her in Rebels and playing as her in Disney Infinity (she’s one of the best characters to play as in that game) and it’s interesting seeing what her character was like before 6 seasons of character development. Captain Rex is also in this but if I didn’t already know he was a fan favourite I would just see him as another named Clone Trooper.

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From what I’ve heard the later seasons of the show are pretty good including the return of Darth Maul, Ahsoka duel wielding lightsabers and the first appearance of Saw Gerrera from Rogue One. I might consider giving the rest of the show a watch at some point but for now I’m focusing on the movies.

A Christmas Story – Review

I was originally going to watch this last year but didn’t get around to it. This is considered a Christmas classic in America and I remember the Nostalgia Critic calling it his #1 Christmas special and talking about how predictable an answer it was.

I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m not American, maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up watching it but I just found the film to be mediocre. It’s not a bad movie but I wouldn’t call it good either, some jokes are funny while others really haven’t aged well.

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The time period makes for a decent setting and one of the more interesting elements of the film is that the children get excited to listen to a radio show. But the problem is most of the positive things to say about the film are just moments or things in the background, the actual subplots that make up the movie are just average.

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I guess a big part of why this film underwhelmed me is the idea of people ranking this above much better Christmas movies. I’ll be sure to look up a few more Christmas movies I’ve missed to watch this month but first I have another plan for the next two weeks. A rewatch marathon of all the canon Star Wars movies in chronological order leading up to The Last Jedi.

A Christmas Prince – Review

While scrolling through Twitter I saw a recommendation for Neflix’s new Christmas movie starring iZombie’s Rose McIver. So I made sure to add it to my list but of course being a Christmas movie I had to wait until December to watch it.

It’s a cheesy, cliche filled typical Christmas love story but it’s very good at being a cheesy, cliche typical Christmas love story so I liked it. While not as good as Okja this is still one of the better Netflix Original movies I’ve seen this year.

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One of this film’s biggest strengths is how well the main cast interact with each other. Outside of the romance I actually think many of the best interactions are between McIver’s character Amber and the prince’s sister Emily played by Honor Kneafsey. Then when you do get to the romance sure it’s predictable but the two leads just make it work.

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This movie isn’t going to be for everyone but if you want to watch a cheesy Christmas romance this is a good one to go with. Next up I think it’s time to watch another iconic Christmas film I’ve not seen yet…