Author Archives: jambareeqi
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 22nd May, 2019
“Team Sonic Racing: Overdrive”, is a two part cartoon web series, designed to promote the new video game Team Sonic Racing, it has a simple plot that follows a race between Team Sonic, Team Rose, and Team Dark.
Now, I’ve not played “Team Sonic Racing”, heck I’m actually not that acquainted with the Sonic games in general, having only a played a few in my lifetime, plus most of those games were on the Sega Master System many years ago. It’s also been long time since I watched any of the Sonic cartoons, so I barely remember them either, although I did enjoy them when younger.
Despite my lack of attachment to the Sonic franchise, I totally followed these cartoons pretty fine, getting the gist of each characters’ personality or a racing gadget’s purpose very easily, so I wouldn’t say that you need to be a Sonic fan to have fun watching it; but I’m certain it’ll help you get more into it.
There’s no dialogue at all, so the animators have to rely entirely on visuals for the storytelling, with characters giving clear gestures or expressions to communicate team play or taunt a racetrack rival, it’s impressive how vivid it all is; especially when the budget is clearly quite low for a video game promo. By the looks of it, flash animation was the tool used, but it’s stylistically shaded flash, the kind of hip aesthetic needed for a Sonic cartoon.
The race itself is at a constant momentum, but don’t expect it to be a straight forward race, because the main selling point is teamwork, so camaraderie drives this race’s dynamic, and it’s the power of friendship that’ll help teams win. It’s a refreshing change of pace for a racing cartoon, when we’re used to characters only being out for themselves, and the sentiment adds some heart to the race.
While Sonic may be the star, fans may want to cheer on the other teams, which isn’t a bad thing, heck I know that players will have their own team of choice when they get the actual game, and that can make each fan’s experience watching this short different! Who will they want to win? Personally, I was supporting Team Sonic, because they demonstrated teamwork the best, and it’s great seeing stone faced Knuckles being a helpful dude.
The cartoons are also have a brilliant sense of humour, with wacky ways for racers to get distracted or knocked out of the race, I counted myself laughing more times than once, the gags are very funny here. From Big the Cat being drawn away from the race by cute merchandise, to Rouge the bat trying to get help after her car is busted, there’s a gag a minute to spice up the race with comedy.
Robotnik does take part in the race as a comic foil, not because he has world domination motivations in mind, but he seems to be just having fun causing trouble, and it is revealed that he has a secret plan to steal the trophy. It’s kind of funny seeing Robotnik, a character who usually has wide scale tyrannical intentions, just being a bit of a dick haha!
“Team Sonic Racing: Overdrive” is targeted towards selling a game to Sonic fans, Team Sonic don’t shy away from that fact, but it’s still a very entertaining sports comedy cartoon that anyone can enjoy. It’s only two 4 – 5 minute shorts, yet the animators put in their A game, giving viewers a fun little ride to serve as a bonus feature for this new hyped up game.
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Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 29th April, 2019
The Smurfs are a village of little blue people, who are being hunted down for their magical essence by the evil wizard Gargamel, but try their best to live in peace during the blue moon festival. When Gargamel begins chasing down the Smurfs after finding their village, a group of them lead by Papa Smurf end up jumping through a portal to escape, said portal takes them to New York city, where they meet marketing executive Patrick Winslow.
When filmmakers don’t know how to adapt a source material into a feature film, they tend to use this uninspired formula: Send them to an American city (always usually New York), where they must avoid or escape a villain, and make them interact with humans in an excuse to come up with a safer cheaper story. Rather than being about the Smurf’s imaginative world, this film focuses more on the cliche joke of “Haha these alien creatures don’t understand human culture, they’re so silly”, while splicing in a run of the mill workaholic story involving human characters.
As usual too, the film guilts Patrick for not putting his family or the fantastical characters before his job, when really, he NEEDS his job to support his loved ones, it’s the very problem with this type of story. Yes, your family is special, but without an income, you can’t exactly feed and shelter them, so this message comes off as naive. His own wife, who may show concern for husband’s job, actually says that the smurfs are “The Bigger Picture” when he is stressing over possibly being fired, as if the little blue people are a bigger concern than their livelihood.
Yes, the film is clearly trying make the Smurfs be an analogy for Patrick’s baby, but it’s an unfair comparison, as the Smurfs have invaded his life and are making him to put their dilemma before his career, while a baby is something Patrick has planned out with his family in advance. Patrick’s baby WILL be important, but he shouldn’t be expected to drop his work duties for the infant (unless it’s an extreme medical emergency, of course), he still has to commit to his job, ESPECIALLY during this very important stage in his career, or he’ll end up raising a child on the streets.
The Smurfs themselves are very aggravating, constantly moving or talking, having the energy of a Cheetah on Red Bull, always using “Smurf” as a pun for EVERYTHING (a joke that lasts for one microsecond), I never felt enamored by them, because they are more than annoying than charming. It doesn’t help that they all have the limit of being stuck in one trait personalities, their names defining their ONLY identity as characters, such a lack of dimension doesn’t make for creatures I can enjoy watching for almost 2 hours.
Even Papa Smurf, the most laid back of the Smurfs, is hard to like, why? At the start of the film, he learns of a prophecy that involves all the Smurfs ending up in Gargamel’s cages, but he hides this information under the belief that he’s protecting them. This makes the Smurfs WAY too confident and relaxed about their predicament, assured that things will pan out fine, when they should be taking things much more seriously.
The film does attempt to make Clumsy Smurf have an arc, trying to prove that the other smurfs shouldn’t undermine him due to his accident prone nature, but he makes no effort to learn self coordination throughout the film, he just whines that he’s never included, then suddenly he gets to do something right in the finale.
Why couldn’t he have learned a sport from Patrick? Or Maybe someone could have built him a mini gymnastics stage? He’s not allowed to join the action anyway, why not help him improve in this time? Without practice, I can’t blame the other Smurfs for not letting him help them, when his track record of accidents outmatch his efforts to grow.
Gargamel isn’t much of a fun villain… Most of his humour is based on gross out jokes, he is easily distracted, he rambles unfunny monologues, and he isn’t even scary or menacing once he has power. Kids might laugh at him getting hurt, or giggle at him making pee jokes, but he’s far from a well written antagonist, and parents being forced to watch the film will just roll their eyes at him. Although, fairplay to Hank Azaria for trying his best to bring Gargamel into live action, he is attempting to recreate the character, even if he is hamming it up too much.
Don’t get me started on all the product placement in this film, there’s constant excuses to advertise things in this movie, which is disgustingly crude when the target audience is so young. From an excuse to film a scene in a toy store to a whole scene dedicated to the Guitar Hero, it’s utterly shameless how this film puts commercial opportunities before telling a story with good faith.
I wanted to be fair, by finding at least something about this film that’s good, but it’s a real challenge, when there’s not enough sincerity behind the film to compliment. I guess that the voice actors are well cast, each one doing decent jobs portraying their assigned personality, even if their characters have as much depth as a puddle in a dry dessert. Neil Patrick Harris, who is obviously on here for a cheque, does try to bring his trademark charm to Patrick, despite what little there is to deliver his magic to.
Patrick’s wife Grace does have a sweet girl to girl bond with Smurfette too, I can imagine little girls in the audience resonating with their relationship, mainly those who feel like they struggle to find other girls to befriend, maybe because they’re surrounded by boys or lack the confidence. That’s the thing too, I may dislike Grace’s insistence that the Smurfs are more important than anything, but she is a nice lady, she has a maternal kindness that children will like.
This movie is as cynical as they come, putting 5% effort into it’s bland script, and depending too much on easy pandering to get butts in seats. I heard it was bad, but I think I underestimated HOW bad it would be, maybe because I had a small glimmer of hope. Children deserve so much more than this movie, way much more, it’s all a ruse to advertise toys & candy to them, under the guise that they are paying tribute to a beloved comic strip by Peyo, without actually faithfully adapting it.
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Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 21st April, 2019
When Stan begins questioning the purpose of painting eggs at Easter, he ends up uncovering the truth that his father is part of an underground following, a cult who believe Saint Peter was a rabbit. Stan is invited to this cult, only for the Pope to kidnap and cage the followers, so it’s up to Stan to rescue his dad with help from Kyle and Jesus.
With South Park already having satirised Christmas many times, Easter seemed like the next step, and this plot is exactly what I’d expect from the show when it started doing it’s “Secret Conspiracy” story formula. I think this maybe one of my favourites for this type of episode, because the story is really strong, as you can tell that Trey & Matt thought hard about an Easter conspiracy.
I can’t argue that maybe some Christians believe Saint Peter was a rabbit, so while this theory is made up, it’s actually easy to take in, being far less far fetched than other conspiracy episodes, and I think that realism is what engages me in the story. I mean, if this cult did exist, I’d totally buy that they’d be an enemy of the Catholic church, considering that they are denouncing the integrity of the pope, so it makes narrative sense to make him the antagonist.
While this is one of the more grounded conspiracy theory episodes, it still has a sense of humour, it is South Park after all, jokes are a plenty here. Seeing the cult dressed as bunnies, while taking their beliefs very seriously, is a gag that manages to last the whole episode, maybe because rabbit ears are inherently funny. As always, it’s also funny seeing Stan being caught up in adult pettiness, while he simply wants answers to questions, because he’s a growing boy who wants to better understand the world.
South Park is renowned for it’s attacks on corrupt authorities, this episode is no exception, taking a huge bite out of hypocrisy within Religious communities, mainly targeting the Catholic church (who have been often accused of hiding dirty secrets, while preaching for people to be good). In this episode, even though the Catholic church are open Christians, they go to violent and sadistic lengths to keep power, bending the rules to justify their crimes, even when Jesus himself steps in to defend the cult’s claims.
Speaking of Jesus, he was an awesome addition to this episode, being soft voiced and kind, but also not afraid to make sacrifices and look like a badass. It’s also really funny, when he asks Kyle to kill him to trigger his resurrection power, so that they can escape a prison cell, the way that the scene exaggerates Jesus’ death to guilt Kyle is laugh out loud black comedy.
Before he faded from relevance in “South Park”, Jesus was one of the only adults who actually made sense, he also had a super hero appeal to his character, plus his plot lines often developed him into a relatable self reflective character. It’s a shame that Matt and Trey forgot about him as time passed on, but I guess Satan took over his role in newer seasons, which I can’t complain about as I love Satan’s character.
To Conclude, the title of this episode really fits, it IS a fantastic Easter special, a must watch for South Park fans on this Easter Sunday, I really recommend it. While you’re here, feel free to subscribe to my website to be informed about all my new text reviews and blogs! Jambareeqi.com contains lots of reviews in the writing tab above.
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 10th April, 2019
Only a week or so after releasing their “Dumbo” remake, which is underperforming at the box office, Disney have randomly released a brand new official trailer for their new live action remake of “The Lion King”, surprising fans everywhere with an expanded vision of what Jon Favreau has gone for.
Much like with the teaser though, there doesn’t seem to be much to the film that’ll separate it from the original movie? There’s a lot of shot for shot reenactments, with the only changes being photo-realistic looking animals this time, begging the question why the film is even necessary.
However, Disney’s Live Action Studio Chief Sean Bailey has insisted that this won’t be an exact clone, telling The Hollywood Reporter “The Lion King is a revered and beloved movie, so you’d better revere and love those parts that the audience wants. But there are things in the movie that are going to be new.”
It’s just hard to 100% believe Sean though, when a huge majority of the clips in this trailer, are trying to directly replicate classic images or shots from the 1994 film, in a sneaky attempt to draw audiences in through Nostalgic triggers, maybe even more so than previous Disney Remakes.
The emotional manipulation is most evident in the re-use of Hans Zimmer’s beloved music score, a soundtrack that will get Disney fans excited no matter what, you can put his music to anything and it’ll tug at audience’s heart strings. This is a score that audiences associate with sentimental iconic scenes that made their childhoods special, it’s an easy tool for making the trailer’s viewers feel something strong.
The photorealistic animals are impressive to look at, I won’t deny that, but I can’t really see much emotion in these character’s faces, this is due to the extreme efforts to wow audiences with Disney’s CGI technology. Yes, animals are inherently less emotive than humans, so this is realistic, but it’s not exactly a wise creative choice when attempting to recreate a very dramatic and emotional animated movie.
I remember Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” using hyper-realistic looking animals, but you could at least read some subtle emotion in the faces, they could look expressive through simple nuances, without ever looking too eerie or uncanny. So it confuses me why this remake seems to lack those details? Maybe Disney are being more insistent on authenticity than soul? Or perhaps the trailer isn’t showing these animals at their most characteristic.
Scar at least looks and sounds great, seeming way more menacing than Aladdin’s fluffy soft voiced Jafar, but fans are cross that he doesn’t have a black mane, which is something I’m not THAT bothered about, as Scar’s only real important physical feature is his… well… scar haha.
If you’re excited for this Lion King remake based on the new trailer, then all power to you, but there’s not much here for me to get enthralled about, besides the shallow gimmick of seeing “The Lion King” with more photorealistic animals – a novelty that can’t hold an entire film together. While you’re here, feel free to explore this website, it features lots of articles & Film/TV Reviews! Also, consider subscribing by clicking the “Subscribe” button on the right hand side.
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 3rd April, 2019
3 months ago, Aardman provided us all with a very ambiguous teaser for a new Shaun the Sheep movie called “Farmageddon”, with it’s only clue being a suggestion that the film would involve aliens. Yesterday, a brand new longer trailer was released for Farmageddon, detailing more of the story, while also introducing the extraterrestrial character Lu-La.
Based on this new trailer, I can’t say that I’m intrigued all that much, as the whole “Protecting an alien and getting them home” story has been repeatedly done since E.T., and this movie doesn’t seem to be going beyond the template that E.T. set. It seems that the only twist here, is that it’s up to a young sheep to help the alien return home, but that’s not much of a stretch really, not exactly something that will open new doors for this formula.
These feelings aren’t helped by my lukewarm reaction to Aardman’s last cinema production “Early Man”, a film that was just okay on the quality scale, could Farmageddon be in the same line? I really hope not, as Aardman is a fantastic studio that is keeping stop motion alive, I’d hate if they started losing their magic, it’d be a sad turn of events for claymation cinema.
“Early Man” (2018), Aardman’s last theatrically released stop motion film
I say all this, but I wasn’t that impressed with the trailer for the first Shaun the Sheep movie upon release, it looked like a generic fish out of water movie, yet it was so much more than what was suggested, and maybe “Farmageddon” will surprise me too.
Heck, Aardman has given fun takes on simple ideas before, from turning a chicken farm escape into an exciting thriller in “Chicken Run”, to exploring generational conflict in a Santa Claus adventure for “Arthur Christmas”, so why should we doubt Farmageddon’s ability to spice up it’s basic template? They have a track record of finding humour and drama in the most traditional of ideas. The Farmageddon trailer does feature a reference joke to E.T., so perhaps there will be some elements of parody here and there.
One thing that I do like about Farmageddon at this point, is the colourful design for Lu-La, she has this interesting mix of dog and jellyfish to her! Plus she seems quite adorable, I can imagine myself maybe becoming attached to her, which will be vital to a story like this. Although, I hope that the film doesn’t go overboard with it’s culture shock gags or Lu-La’s apparent habit of repeating whatever she hears, these aspects could potentially ruin her character if not careful.
For now, I’m feeling lukewarm about “Farmageddon”, this trailer didn’t really get me excited or eager, but my faith in Aardman is keeping me from fully doubting the movie’s success. Farmageddon comes out UK Cinemas on 18th October, and will arrive in the US on 13th December.
Written by Jambareeqi
28th March, 2019
When Fern’s father almost kills a runt piglet, she volunteers to become it’s carer, naming the little piggy “Wilbur”, but her fostering comes to a close when she has to sell the piglet to her Uncle Homer, who plans on eating him for Christmas. While living in Farmer Homer’s barn, Wilbur befriends a gentle spider called Charlotte, the eight legged critter promises to save the piglet, by using her web weaving skills to highlight Wilbur’s worth to humans.
I did read the original “Charlotte’s Web” book, back when this film was released in fact, but it’s been more than a decade since then, meaning that my memories of the book’s content have faded, so I can’t give any verdict on this film’s merits as an adaptation. There might be criticisms in this review that also apply to the book, I obviously won’t know, but it’s important to remember that a book isn’t a sacred text that filmmakers HAVE to copy & paste, improvements can be made during adaptation.
Anyway, this a cute movie, one that doesn’t exactly stick out from all the other talking animal movies of the 2000’s, but it’s a decent effort regardless, a sweet well meaning film that does seem sincere about introducing young audiences to the grim side of farm culture. The smokehouse, for example, is always framed as this sinister haunting little shed with black burn marks, never letting us inside, it’s this nuance that adds to the building pressure, that ever present fear that Wilbur will possibly go there.
Without spoiling too much, there’s also a tragic death scene, which is done with grace and sincerity, introducing young audiences to the topic of death with subdued care, never copping out or sugarcoating this complex dark subject. If you’re going to address death in a kids’ film, you can’t act like it’s easy to fix, because that’s not a tangible message for audiences, but you can give children the hope to overcome losing a loved one; this is where “Charlotte’s Web” excels.
The relationship between Fern and Wilbur is beautifully done too, we get so many scenes detailing her attachment to the piglet, making us feel for their eventual separation, especially when Fern is like a mother to poor Wilbur. I felt sad seeing them both saying goodbye to each other or when Fern wasn’t allowed to visit him at bedtime, but that made every reunion all the more lovely.
Wilbur is a great example of a child character written well, he’s easily excited and eager to play, but he’s also got a loving wholesome innocence that stole my heart. Unlike a lot of child characters, his youthful traits that we expect from kids are toned down, which I did appreciate. While children can be annoying, that’s not all there is to them, they can be more than that, and great films know where to draw the line for the sake of the audience’s tolerance levels.
The barnyard animals are mainly made up of one joke caricatures, like the sheep who are easily led or the cows that fart on cue, with most of them arguing or fighting very frequently, making it hard for me to enjoy their company or appreciate them as a community.
That being said, Templeton the rat is a strong character, being a wisecracking slime ball that plays a big part in story, as both hero and villain. Plus Charlotte, the title character herself, is this adorable arachnid with a soothing maternal kindness. The geese are okay too, even if they are doing the same back and fourth “I didn’t mean it like that” shtick, as they are the more sympathetic of Homer’s livestock.
But there are aspects of the film that did distract me, things that didn’t add up or served no point. For example, out of the blue, it’s revealed that Fern can talk to the barnyard animals and has closely bonded with them, even though we NEVER see this happening? She just suddenly admits that she can understand them, it’s really confusing, as if we skipped a bunch of scenes.
Fern’s mother also becomes strangely concerned by this, like it’s some kind of illness, as if kids never play make believe, even going to the doctor about it? The doctor doesn’t even have much medical advice to give, not really talking like a professional, but rather acting like some kind of whimsical guide for Fern’s mother, it’s really baffling.
Her mother seems really worried about her daughter being more attached to animals than humans, as well as her refusal to embrace her femininity, yet even though the doctor says it’s fine for Fern to be like this, the film pushes Fern to be the daughter that her mother desires her to be (mainly because she grows a crush on a boy), like her mother was in the right to judge her daughter like this? Weird conflicting ideals here. Why wasn’t this plot line about Fern’s mum learning to accept her daughter for who she is? So that her mum becomes more passionate about helping Wilbur?
There’s also a scene where Templeton goes to a garbage dump, to find inspiring words to best describe Wilbur, but his mission is challenged by two crows, both of which have had no purpose until this scene (they’ve mainly been milking the one joke about them being afraid of a scarecrow), deciding to randomly attack the rodent ” just because”.
I know that the filmmakers wanted to add some tension to Templeton’s task, but this all just came off forced, with the antagonists’ weak motives and their lack of agency before this conflict. To be fair though, the scene’s ending does give the crows a reason to avenge themselves, providing them with a more solid reason to attack him again later.
Fern and her family also don’t exactly do much to convince Homer to not slaughter Wilbur too, relying on sneaky tactics and Charlotte’s miracles to do most of the work. Surely, Homer would realise that this pig is special to his niece? That killing it could create family tension or cause trauma for the little girl? It’s never really addressed, kind of brushed aside, even though it’s super obvious to everyone that killing Wilbur WILL have huge consequences on Fern.
I understand that Charlotte is meant to be the star hero, proving her love to Wilbur as a friend, but could we have at least seen Fern and her parents TRYING to talk to Homer? Sat Homer down, explained Fern’s friendship with Wilbur, asking him to make an exception for the piglet? It’s not like Homer can’t just buy pork or ham from the store instead. Even if he declined, I would at least be content in knowing that they tried, because that would make me understand why everyone seems so helpless about it all.
No, everyone just accepts that Fern’s pet is going to be her uncle’s dinner in the festive season, refusing to do anything about it or even bring it up in conversation, it’s a really odd contrivance. I’m all for Charlotte putting her webbing to great use, that’s fantastic, but her efforts never seem like a desperate measure, because I was constantly aware that Fern and her family could be doing more.
Homer doesn’t even develop mercy for Wilbur through sympathy, but rather because the piglet’s fame results in success for his farm, meaning that he only appreciates Wilbur as a prize grabber or promotional gimmick, so I can’t even say that Homer saves Wilbur’s life out of his own compassion.
Charlotte’s Web’s strength comes from it’s central characters and their endearing relationships, as well as it’s responsible and tasteful handling of it’s darker elements, these are the things that make the film good.
There’s just too many head scratching details or unnecessary scenes, that stopped me from fully enjoying this film, because they distracted my engagement. I do wish that certain aspects were addressed or taken out, as you must remember that when making a film, you always have to be picky about what to explore and what to ignore.
Before anyone asks in the comments, I’ve not seen any of the animated adaptations of “Charlotte’s Web”, so I can’t comment on them or fairly compare them to this movie, sorry.
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Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 19th March, 2019
No more vague teasers, Toy Story 4 finally has a brand new full length trailer out now, it introduces a plot in which Bonnie’s new favourite toy Sporky ends up leaving, so Woody chases after the little fella, only to discover the new whereabouts of Bo Beep.
I’ve been defending this film for a while, insisting that it COULD justify it’s existence, because I believe that Toy Story movies have unlimited possibilities for storytelling, there’s still so many things that could be done with the right level of imagination (I mean, just look at the TV Specials “Toy Story of Terror” and “Toy Story that Time Forgot” to see great examples of the franchise expansion actually working pretty decently), but after seeing the trailer? I’m on the fence, I really am, it’s hard for me to fully support this film’s potential with huge confidence anymore.
Why is this? Well, the film seems to be dominated with the same themes we’ve seen before: a toy not believing in who they really are and Woody having to convince them otherwise, Woody discovering a new part of the world that might draw him away from his child, Buzz leading the gang on a rescue mission for missing toys, and the challenge of facing change. We seem to be getting more of the same things, a film that treads over-familiar waters, perhaps for the sake of nostalgia bait or profitable safety measures, which is saddening.
I was very excited when this trailer’s premiere was announced yesterday, eager to see the full scope of what’s been teased for so long, only to mainly feel a slight sense of disappointment, accepting that maybe this sequel really didn’t need to be made, and Pixar let me down after I stuck up for their ambitions.
I say all this though, but the movie also seems to be entering new territories too, like how Bonnie can create her very her toy that’ll come to life, that’s a pretty huge aspect for a Toy Story film that’s never been done before! It’s the closest we’ve ever come to the birth of these sentient toys, but that might possibly open up a can of worms regarding the franchise’s fantasy, we’ll see.
Heck, there’s also a brand new environment for the toys to explore, a fun fair! This carnival setting looks vibrantly colourful and might be inspiring some interesting set pieces involving rides & game stalls. This story backdrop seems to be a big selling point for the movie’s marketing, so perhaps the fun fair will be narratively utilized to the film’s advantage.
At the same time, Bo Peep seems to have totally adapted to her new home, she’s maybe even happier here than when she was with Andy, and this does excitingly pop the question “Can toys REALLY move on?”. The Toy Story films have often stuck firmly to their happy endings, never letting characters truly face the prospect of leaving a child entirely.
Yes, they had to say goodbye to Andy, but they comfortably moved into the arms of Bonnie straight after, so it wasn’t a change drastic enough to shift their whole dynamic, they’d still be playing games with a child in a safe cosy home. So, maybe, just maybe, Toy Story 4 will be the film that pushes our protagonists away from their comfort zones, giving us a film where Woody & Co. start living a life outside the norm for them, which would break the pattern of endings that these films have had so far.
For now, I’m cautious and skeptical, unlike before, when I was one of the less pessimistic people, vouching for this sequel’s right to exist. With that being said, I still have a glimmer of hope left, as the movie is still showing signs of new concepts that seem exciting, plus this is still a movie that’ll give us closure for Bo Peep’s arc (who was vacant from the last Toy Story movie). Bo & Woody’s romance, which the previous films only flirted with for the most part, maybe meatier for this fourth film too, as Bo has her biggest role yet and will be sharing A LOT of screen time with Woody.
Oh and to anyone wondering, I have no strong opinions on Sporky yet, he doesn’t seem that funny in these clips, but he also isn’t annoying, he’s only a small focus in the start of the trailer before everything centres on Bo Peep. Anyway, feel free to explore my website while you’re here, there’s lots of other written articles & movie reviews to read, just click the “writings” tab on the above menu.
Toy Story 4 hits US cinemas on 21st June.
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 1st March 2019
When a little boy is feeling sick, his grandfather offers to read him a story called “The Princess Bride”, the boy isn’t interested at first, but the more he hears, the more engaged he becomes.
This book centres on a commoner woman called Buttercup and a farmboy named Wesley, who are madly in love, but they can’t afford to marry, so Wesley goes off an adventure to seek fortune. When Buttercup sadly assumes that Wesley has been killed by an infamous pirate Dread Roberts, she reluctantly agrees to wed the smarmy Prince Humperdinck; who only wants to marry her to contrive a conspiracy.
When a group of outlaws kidnap Buttercup, they are tracked down by a man in black and the prince. While the prince is far behind, the man in black comes face to face with the kidnappers, taking down each one single handedly through wit or strength. At first, we assume that this masked man is Dread Roberts, but when Buttercup knocks the man in black down a hill, he’s revealed to be Westley!
Wesley is unfortunately captured by the prince though, who sends our brave hero to the torture pit of despair, where he is made to suffer. Luckily, two of the bandits from before, Fezzik the giant and Inigo the Spaniard, have become charmed by Westley, they want to work with him to break into the prince’s castle, so that Westley can save Buttercup and Inigo can avenge his father.
I remember the first time that I saw this film, it was at my Auntie Helen’s, all the grown ups got excited to put it on, I was curious why all the adults were so giddy about a fairytale movie, but then I saw the film, and it became a favourite in my house. This is the magic of “The Princess Bride”, a fine example of doing family entertainment right, it speaks to everyone, no matter how old they are, because it has such a universal appeal, and I still love it to this day.
It’s a film that exemplifies the term “Sometimes simple is all you need”, because it embraces it’s basic formulas for all they’re worth, with so much unapologetic devotion, celebrating love and condemning evil. While most films do attempt to rely on the bare essentials of storytelling to charm audiences, they end up becoming boringly average, but what sets “The Princess Bride” apart is it’s sophisticated execution, unique sense of humour, and sheer passion.
The screenplay was written by the book’s original author, William Goldman, which could be a red flag for most, because authors tend to struggle to transition from text to screen as writers, but Goldman really excels. The dialogue is heavy, a driving force for most scenes even, but it’s not a bunch of monotonous exposition dumping, it’s all natural banter that helps develop characters or move the story forward.
There’s a remarkable wit to the way characters talk, it’s smart and sassy, but never pretentiously smug. Whether it’s being delivered by a hero or villain, a line can kill the audience with it’s self aware irony; using smart vocabulary and rhythmic conversation to give us belly laughs. This is what makes the movie so quotable to this day, there’s so many iconic catchphrases and quips that can be easily used in everyday context for fun.
But the film isn’t all talk, it can really bite when it comes to it’s action, providing a variety of confrontations, ranging from fantastically strange to physical combat; both of which are as exciting as each other to watch. The fencing scenes are swiftly energetic, but easy to follow, with genuine swordplay skills helping us believe in action, and director Rob Reiner always takes advantage of the sets to add gymnastics or danger to a duel.
Our characters are straight forward in principle, but dimension is given to each one thanks to the genius writing, we love the good guys and despise the baddies; which is all audiences really need emotionally. Westley is noble but cheeky as our leading hero, Princess Buttercup is a strong defiant woman who fights her overpowering oppressors with her stubborn spirit, Inigo is charmingly enthusiastic about his revenge, Fezzik makes up for his lack of smarts with his big heart, while Humperdinck and his partner in crime Count Rugen are so much to loathe.
The ensemble cast is perfectly chosen, maybe one of the best put together in history, as no one seems out of place, every actor seems like they were born to play their character, it’s amazing how well everyone fits their part. If you asked me to recast this film, I’d have so much trouble deciding, it’s just too finely chosen, you can’t alter such perfect casting, and you’d be bonkers if you tried interfering with that kind of magic. Even the damn minor cameos have been picked with the best person in mind haha!
It’s the dry absurdist comedy that also gives the film a silly logic that surprisingly works, the film can get really goofy when it comes to how things tick haha! I never questioned the science behind anything, as I knew that this was set in a world with it’s own old fashioned crackpot ideas of the human body or technology, and it’s actually very funny. The film doesn’t use fairytale logic as a storytelling crutch, but rather satirizes it’s old fashioned quirkiness, it’s completely conscious of it’s nonsense for the sake of humour.
Oh man, the romance in this film, I freaking adore it, never has a film been so spot on about the feeling of being in love, I totally buy that Buttercup and Westley are mad over heels for each other. The two of them are so adorable together, that it helps us to care about them reuniting, but it also makes us hate the villains for breaking them apart, especially Humperdinck. If you hate love stories, then you might not be into the romance, which I understand, but I personally love how this film celebrates true love.
Lastly, let’s address the framing device for the film, a grandfather reading the book to his grandson, a plotline that serves as a host for the fairytale. These scenes are just as charming as the actual story being told, because they reflect a real situation that we can all immediately connect with, a parent or grandparent reading to their kid is something we can all resonate with. The framing device does interrupt the main story, but never inconveniently or pointlessly, because it gives us characters to share the tale’s most dramatic moments with, and there’s an arc of growth for the Grandson’s interest in the book.
To Conclude, I really suggest that you see this movie, it has all the ingredients for a great film, including romance, action, comedy, history, adventure, and fantasy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like one aspect of the film, there WILL be an element or plotline that’s for you, just be prepared to unlock your inner child in the process. My suggestion? Get together with your family and friends, grab some popcorn, put this film on, and get ready to have the most delightful fun you’ll ever experience.
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Written by Jambareeqi
The upcoming Elton John biopic “Rocketman” has been given a new trailer that expands on the film. It shows off Taron Egerton’s take on John, his relationship with lyricist Bernie Taupin, the singer/musician’s fabulous stage shows, and his childhood in Middlesex.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Elton John, not just his terrific songs, but also his wildly colourful stage persona (I wish I could have a wardrobe like his), so I’ve been interested in this biopic since it’s teaser. This new trailer gives me even more hype in the film, because it seems to be faithfully resembling the charisma of Elton, warts and all, not shying away from the man’s diva tantrums.
Taron Egerton may not be a perfectly exact replica of John, but that doesn’t matter when the actor seems to be nailing the spirit of the rockstar, he’s really sinking his teeth into the role in the clips we’re granted to see. Jamie Bell seems to be bringing some down to earth sensitivity to his Bernie Taupin too, a great contrast to the loud boisterousness of Egerton’s Elton, I look forward to seeing how both actors will bounce off each other.
More than anything, I’m super excited to see how the film pulls off the stage shows, that’s when Elton really shined as a character, this trailer gives us lots of clips from this aspect of the film, letting us see the campy glittery costumes in all their glory, as well as Elton’s love for putting on a performance even when he looks ill.
Many folks have been comparing this film to last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, the biography of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, but I can’t support this comparison as someone who hasn’t seen that film. It’s natural for both rockstars to have similar style biopics though, as not only are they both British, but they also share the same kind of magnetic stage presences (which one stole the audience the most is up for debate), and interestingly they happened to be good friends back in the day.
Rocketman hits theatres on May 31st, here’s the trailer itself:
Written by Jambareeqi
Warner Bros. is adapting Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book “Green Eggs and Ham” into a NETFLIX series, it’ll be executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, with an all star cast including Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Adam Devine, Tracy Morgan, Eddie Izzard, John Turturro, Keegan-Michael Key, plus many others.
I personally have no idea how this will even work? “Green Eggs and Ham” is a super basic setup for a very very short Children’s Book, it’s simply about a guy called Sam I Am pestering an unnamed character to try Green Eggs and Ham, so how can you turn this little material into a show worth marathoning?
“Green Eggs and Ham” was already adapted into animation for the TV Special “Dr. Seuss on the Loose”, it was a really funny and funky translation of the short story, I wouldn’t say that it needed improving or expanding on at all, it was great as an 8 minute cartoon. Is every episode just going to be about Sam I Am annoying people to try Green Eggs and Ham? How many episodes can that even last before it becomes stale?
The “Dr. Seuss on the Loose” animated TV adaptation of Green Eggs and Ham
As you may know, lots of Dr. Seuss books have been turned into feature films, many of which failed to work as movies, as they were using extremely simple premises to tell cinematic narratives. So, if feature adaptions have struggled to hold themselves together, what chance does a whole NETFLIX show have? Something that’ll be the length of 10 movies!
The live action feature adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat”
I guess that these previous feature film translations mainly failed due to poor execution though, so it’s maybe unfair to say that Seuss’ books are inherently impossible to adapt into hours of content, it’s hard to say when I’ve never seen a Dr. Seuss movie that impressed me.
Could Warner Bros. actually pull this off? Well, I think that it will take lots of expansive development, which is possible, it will just require some creative licencing with the source material that doesn’t sacrifice Seuss’ spirit. With so little to work with, so much will need to be added in or developed to flesh out the simple premise into a season’s worth of content, so a concern I have is that this product will end up losing the point of being an adaptation, because it has become so occupied trying to extend the book into the NETFLIX format.
I did find a poster of all the characters, which admittedly grabbed my interest, I am LOVING the modernized Seussian handdrawn art style, it looks so damn charming! Plus all the characters seem to have well defined designs, I can read their personalities right away. It’s hard to say how the formula will play out as a NETFLIX show this early, but I can confirm that the visuals alone have caught my intrigue, so I am curious to see the end product, even though a big part of me is reluctant to believe in it’s high storytelling potential.