Spark

A royal monkey prince saves the world from a Gaddafi style dictatorship; yes this is apparently the world we now live in.

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After years of believing he’s an orphan, Spark discovers a secret like no other as he sets off on a mission to save his planet from it’s currently fascist reign.

Though not distributed by a particularly well-known film studio, this animated adventure showcases brilliance on a seemingly low budget. From the animation itself, to the character compositions, the film surprises with its originality and plot commitment.

Whilst the film only has the voice-acting name of Jessica Biel to slap on its promotional posters, the lack of critically acclaimed actors and production team adds to it’s surprisingly successful execution.

The film is not in anyway perfect, but it does provide a stable footing on which to sell itself to audiences young and old, even if it doesn’t have the financial backing needed to make it into the box office charts.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

With the general reading age of the book being for ages 8-14, the page to screen adaptation was never destining for cinematic greatness.

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Essentially, a boy named Greg, accompanied by his family, go on a summer road trip together and disaster ensues. 

Yes, you would be right to think this is basically a PG version of We Are The Millers.

As you might expect with a film predominantly aimed at children, the acting is painstakingly awful and at times you could probably have a goat stand-in and it’d have more talent. 

The story is somewhat interesting at best, and the main comedy aspect is best seen from a parental perspective, which showcases how truly terrible and irritating children can be. 

The Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin is a baby with big dreams and a full nappy.

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A sibling rivalry like no other occurs when Tim, the first born, is forced to welcome his new baby brother with open arms. But this isn’t just any baby, it’s a boss baby, who arrives in a mysterious taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a brief case.

Though the animation is full of life and a colour pallet that is sure to capture any young audience member, it is hard not to question the likeness of character animations between this film and that of Sony Entertainments ‘Storks’; a film that graced our screens in late 2016. The similarity between the characteristics is simply uncanny and in some sense questions the originality of the Dreamworks animators.

The humour throughout the film does however bring comic relief to both adults and children alike, with some jokes only recognisable to an older audience, with a big focus upon where babies come from, a tender subject for even the most adept of parents.

Despite the copious amounts of advertising that has encapsulated this films release, the film itself, unfortunately, does not stand up to its expectations.

 

Smurfs: The Lost Village

The little blue guys are back. No, the cast of avatar haven’t borrowed Alice’s shrinking potion, it’s just the smurfs.

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Established in the 1980s, the Smurf’s are still going strong, though admittedly they’ve had a bit of animator makeover in recent years.

This new tale finds Smurf village in a little bit of a rut, as their only girl smurf is coming to terms with her lack of female company.

In Smurfette’s attempt to find purpose in an all boy village, she happens upon the location of a new smurf village, where all the smurf inhabitants are girls. However, the euphoria of this find is soon disturbed by the Smurfs greatest enemy; the wizard, Gargamel.

As with many family animations, this film fills the screen with eye popping colours and fantastical characters, with a fire-breathing dragon fly being one of the most notable inclusions.

Despite, fundamentally, being a  family-orientated adventure, the film manages to incorporate a more mature element of humour, to keep the adults from thinking they’re in an LSD induced coma. It is, therefore, a film to be enjoyed by the whole family.

The Lego Batman Movie

A narcissistic Batman made out of Lego; need I say more.

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Since the original Lego Movie was released in 2014, we’ve all found ourselves pining for more. Well look no further, because Warner Bros. and Lego have once again joined forces to create the most hilariously enticing version of Batman since the 1960s tights fiasco.

But this is no ordinary Batman film, this is a Lego production, and we all know what that means; nothing, and I meaning nothing, is to be taken even remotely seriously. This is Batman as we’ve never seen him before and he’s as unpleasantly self-centred as one could have hoped for; begrudgingly fighting the joker to save Gotham by night and accidentally adopting children by day.

Whether it’s the perfectly timed comedic chemistry between characters or the visually impairing puns that fill the screen, this film never fails to entertain from start to finish.

Prehistoric references to past Batman films are a feature of the film that the creators revel in, with flashbacks that cross the animation boundary becoming a recurring event throughout.

Though the imagery and hilarity both excel expectations, this is not what makes the film a cinematic marvel; it is instead the film’s remarkable accessibility in its ability to please audiences of all ages that proves its excellence.

Sing

Show business isn’t just for humans, turns out that animals have just as much talent to show off. 

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The Simon Cowell of the animal kingdom takes the form of a koala bear named Buster Moon and is appropriately voiced by Matthew Mcconaughey.

Mr. Moon owns his own theatre, but with funds running low and no shows to perform, his last hope is to hold a singing competition in a bid to raise funds and keep his beloved theatre going. 

With a variety of animals traipsing their way on and off screen, the animating required cannot have been anything but a logistical hell.  But if Dreamworks did have any trouble conveying this, it certainly didn’t show. From the porcupine spikes to the koala fur, the details were achieved with enviable skill. 

With a title like ‘Sing’ you’d be nothing but disappointed if the soundtrack was anything but irritably catchy. Gratefully, the soundtrack fulfils the prophecy we have come to expect from such films and delights with well-known hits that will keep you twitching all the way home.

Monster Trucks

This film gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘monster truck’, mainly because in this case it is literally referring to monsters who reside within trucks.

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Admittedly not the best premise on which to build a film upon, but given the fact that the director responsible for Ice Age, Chris Wedge, was behind this cinematic marvel, it was only right to give it a chance.

What a mistake that was. It is as you may expect, directed at a younger and less critically discerning audience. Which at the very least explains the cataclysmic disaster of the plot, that essentially revolves around a teenage boys angst for being unable to drive, and what better way to solve such resolute teenage unfairness than to use a giant oil eating octopus-like creature as a mode of transportation?!

As, apparently, this is every adolescent boys dream film, the creators clearly decided that just using trucks and monsters wasn’t enough, so decided to entice their target audience even more by throwing in some attractive teenage girls, just for extra measure.

Just when you thought this film couldn’t possibly get any more ridiculous, then along come the actors; a term to be used very loosely indeed.  There truly is zero acting talent throughout the entirety of the 104 minutes of onscreen‘entertainment’ that must be endured. The only relief comes when we are introduced to the monsters themselves, which quite frankly are the best thing about the whole film, even if they are CGI generated.