Diary Of A Wimpy Kid :The Long Haul

Watching Wimpy Kid movies is probably an opportunity for adults to have a snooze whilst younger kids are watching the films, but I actually enjoyed this enough to pay attention throughout. 

This road trip movie plays like the Lampoons road disasters and it’s the usual Collection of individual scenes which are able to be cobbled together to make a feature length running time. Rodrick the annoying older brother is still one of the most entertainment factors. Alicia Silverstone as the mum who wants to go back to a time before smart phones pulls the family through this trip to grandmas which has many many things go wrong. 

Very basic entertainment but easy to watch.  

The Lego Batman Movie 

Too good for adults and too good for kids- is what I thought at the opening of this movie. The Lego Movie was also top class for any age. Batman was arguably the best character in that movie and so him getting his own film was a no brainer. 

Lord and Miller seem to have the golden touch with their releases and as I expressed, this Batman outing is first class. 
Sooo many Injokes and background visual gags that one viewing only scratches the surface. Oh the humour at batman’s gloominess and lonely existence in his billionaires cave is hilarious. There is a wealth of extra characters from other franchises too which take a ribbing. It’s a visual feast which is almost too much as is the slightly long running time, especially for the little ones. But it’s such fun. And yes there’s a catchy earworm of a song at the end. 

The Midas touch has worked again. 

Pete’s Dragon (2016) a film review. 

Director: David Lowery

Running time: 1 hour 42mins. 

Cast : Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban. 

Young Pete is orphaned as a 5 year old while on a woodland trip and he is brought up Tarzan style by a dragon. Disney’s live action version update is well cast and I was a little shocked to see Robert Redford acting in this, when it’s already got Bryce Dallas Howard as a woodland ranger called Grace. Grace discovers Pete as he’s been living in the woodland for many years. A child couldn’t have survived so long alone so who helped him? 

We know it’s a dragon but the adult in me was often questioning the logic how he would have survived even with a dragon, even one who could fly, breathe fire and turn invisible. 

The dragon is more of a hairy green puppy but that said it’s pretty seamless as it blends into the live action. I was impressed with how I couldn’t notice a jarring join. Oakes Fegley is Pete and he himself handles the role just fine it’s just that he’s written to not know what a balloon is after not having seen one for six years, or Windows for that matter. 

There were a bunch of moments like that where my logic struggled with the plausibility. But then I only had to look at my sons face as we rooted for Karl Urban not to locate ‘Elliot’ the large furry pal. 

The way that Pete seems to imprint on Elliot is never fully explained and yet there’s an undeniable bond. Which made it all the more surprising when Pete too easily adopts a human family life for a spell mid movie and seems to have moved on from his winged friend. 

Naturally the movie has a varnish of schmaltz and family lessons of unity to teach. But it kept me guessing as to the outcome. Would Pete choose returning to humanity or believe Elliot to be his family now? 

Would he ever get a haircut? What did Elliot eat? 

There are pulls at the heartstrings and moments of elation which make for a gentle journey for all the family to enjoy. A magical tale for those of us who still know what it is to want to own our own Falkor from THE NEVERENDING STORY. 

Speaking of similar films, the feral boy motif flys too close to Tarzan and The Jungle Book plus How To Train Your Dragon is still up and running. So it’s not exactly fresh ground. But I preferred this to The BFG. 

Family values in a family film, Disney playing to their strengths. 

C Whitehouse 2016. 

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) film review 

Director: Galen T. Chu

Running time: 1 hour 34

Cast: Queen Latifa, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Jennifer Lopez, Simon Pegg, Jessie J. 

The odd Ice Age family continue to evolve and work through human family problems in animal form . The normal formula of getting from A to B in order to stay alive is still followed here but this time it’s to avoid the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs. 

But also as usual, the plot is secondary to the bickering cast and the sight gags which are the true life of this series. Just when you think the animators would have wiped the well of invention dry, especially where Scrat is concerned, we see that’s just not the case. If you’ve seen any of the films up to now you’ll know what to expect on the whole. While that should be dull and tired in reality, it just keeps working. The kids will be happy for the full running time and the adults won’t be annoyed by any of the goofy characters. It’s just such a comfy slipper of a movie, it’s hard to find a problem with it. Cancel the apocalypse, Buck is back to help the furry gang save the world. 

C Whitehouse 2016