Wonder Woman

A woman with whirlwind talent for heroics bursts her way into the DC film franchise.

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Born and raised by the Amazons on an island invisible to man, a young woman, Diana, learns of her talents and origins as she develops into a courageous woman ready to stand up for a world who is seemingly undeserving of her powers.

Gal Gadot heads up the casting as Wonder Woman and does an exceptionally elegant job of showcasing the characters uncompromising strength, coupled with her emotional fragility throughout the film. It is with a breath of fresh air that Gadot injects the modern woman into a formally token female superhero.

The resilience of the character throughout the plot enables the film to keep a pace with which an audience becomes absorbed; from the origins of the character to the break-out of her instinctive heroics, DC have finally managed to successfully adapt a character from page to screen without too much devastation.

Whilst the film is by no means perfect, I’m looking at you special effects team, it is certainly a step in the right direction for DC and gives fans hope for the forthcoming films expected later this year.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

The pirates return for the fifth time, with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his not so loyal crew setting sail for a new voyage.

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Admittedly, the past few releases have been well below expectations, but this new addition to the franchise has given the pirate themed films a new lease of life.

With Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) making an unexpected return to the plot, his son, now 18 years of age, tracks down Jack in an attempt to save his father from his seemingly permanent cursed life aboard the Flying Dutchman. Needless to say, with the infamous Captain Jack involved, things don’t exactly go swimmingly, as he literally finds himself being chased across the seas by death. 

There is little to say about the acting; Depp, is, as usual, spectacularly brilliant as the lead role of Jack Sparrow, which is to be expected given the amount of times he has played the character. With the likes of Bloom, Rush and Bardem, it’s not surprising that the acting is elaborately wonderful throughout this production.

The special effects, too, have complimented the films overall aesthetic, without over-complicating the intricacies of the plot.

It is though, despite all the new characters and technology included, still the same old Pirates of the Caribbean formula and sooner or later fans will become disappointed with the lack of change this franchise delivers to the big screen.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

A classic tale is turned into an epic adventure as Guy Ritchie sprinkles it with a little magic.

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Though born into royalty, Arthur is brought up in poverty following his parents demise at the hands of his uncle, which leaves him unknowingly carrying greatness upon his shoulders.

Guy Ritchie does what he does best, casting his unique style into the direction of this film; as the plot builds, so does the speed of the action, exhilarating with such vigour, you leave the cinema feeling slightly windswept. But to counteract this feeling of excitement, Ritchie slows down scenes to highlight his classic slow-motion angles, creating stand-out moments at the heart of the action.

The soundtrack, too, is unnervingly accurate, keeping the audiences’ emotions in check throughout the action and into the emotion; as if you’d expect anything but brilliance from the director behind the Sherlock Holmes films.

Though having to withstand David Beckham’s attempt at ‘acting’ for  potentially the longest three minutes of our lives, the rest of the cast exceeds all expectations, showing of their numerous talents and living up to their household names.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Star-Lord and his troop are back to guard the galaxy against the most unlikely of predators.

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Since saving the planet and relinquishing their criminal reputations, the guardians have been busy freelancing their skills around the galaxy. But when Quill’s father makes an unexpected appearance, the team must put their business plans on hold.

Despite having a lot to live up to, as sequels go, this film truly does match expectations. The characters have been further developed and the special effects have been given a revamp. Rather than lagging behind, the story has been turbo-boosted with vigour, allowing for the characters to pursue their paths and continue their bond with the audience.

The acting, as is to be expected with such a star-studded cast, is beyond impressive, especially when taking into account the vast majority of it would have been done using green screen; they are in space after all.

What continues to amaze me the most about this franchise is the very fact that the creative team have been able make an audience fall in love with a CGI tree that says just three words: I am Groot.

 

 

 

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.

Power Rangers

Go Go Power Rangers. More like No No Power Rangers.

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Original content seems to be a thing of the past for filmmakers today. Dredging up past concepts has become a trend within the cinematic world.

Rather than leaving the Power Rangers in their ever so glorious past, instead the story has been warped and conveniently adapted upon breaching the surface for a second round.

The acting is just as you’d expect from a film that drenches itself in teenage adolescence; awful. The cast seem to have a consistent default setting of mild frustration throughout the film, a characteristic that is undeterred regardless of circumstance.

If the acting wasn’t enough to make you nauseous, than the astonishingly shocking use of CGI certainly will. With a film as full of stunt orientated action, one would have thought that a little more effort could have been injected into the post-production aspect of the special effects. But, alas, the audience is left contemplating why the creators even bothered to remove the green screen, for the painful lack of realism that the final cut displays.

What is more, is the very fact that the vast majority of the film doesn’t even show the Power Rangers as, well, Power Rangers, until the last twenty minutes of the film; a climax that is of no satisfaction after enduring a storyline lacking both substance and originality.

Beauty and the Beast

Full of beauty, but not at all beastly.

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A classic Disney tale gets a revamp in this live action extravaganza, which excels all expectations.

To even attempt to explain the magical sense of belonging this film has encompassed is simply an impossibility. 

From the phenomenal casting that brings some of the greatest actors of our time to the screen, to special effects that are beyond beautiful, this film truly brings an aesthetic and musical appeal that is hard to find in today’s modern cinematic exploits. 

Dan Stevens as the beast and Emma Watson as Belle couldn’t be a more perfect fit; not to mention they both surprise in their singing ability. Both, however, are just two of the stars in an outlandishly gifted cast.

What is so pleasantly unexpected about this retelling is the subtle changes to a tale as old as time.

Disney has always been at the forefront of change, with daringly bold choices and regardless of the consequences that may unfold, they have never wavered their morals, and this film is no exception. 

The introduction of LeFou, Gaston’s faithful accomplish, as a gay character, was a powerful reminder of political remission and a wonderfully warming encouragement for the LGBT community. 

Beauty and Beast is the perfect accompaniment to any family cinema excursion, showing audiences both young and old the importance of love through adversity.