Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Going back to a simpler time …

Emmy says:
I was not prepared for the comedy of this movie but I found it very enjoyable. Odd premise executed well. The time travel does appear to be a cost saving mechanism and still manages to work. 8/10.

Jeff says:
The fun of friends (both the cast to each other, and the characters to us) being together and getting the job done. The set-up doesn’t really matter, they’re just a delight to watch. As it so happens, this IS a a good set-up and the environmental message is sadly still relevant over 30 years later. Continuing to use ideas and solutions that existed in the series, while making it fresh and interesting. No more “nuclear wessels” though, please? 9/10.

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

The journey continues …

Emmy says:
This movie delivers a highly emotional story with action packed in. The small cast allows us to follow the characters intimately, feeling very much like a TOS episode. I do like watching the evolution of effects used for Star Trek. 8/10.

Jeff says:
While it is popularly believed that the odd number Star Trek movies are worse than the even, I have always liked this one. Some interested ideas, interesting development of Vulcan practices, and finally a great Klingon character … admirably performed by Christopher Lloyd. It’s a shame it is so hard to not hear “Doc Brown” in his voice, he deserves better. Next: my favourite of the original movies. 8/10.

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The continuing voyage of discovery through the canon of Star Trek …

Emmy says:
Much more dialogue than the first movie, which made it feel faster paced. Awkwardly, Khan’s hair and outfit kept making me think of Jareth from Labyrinth. It was nice to have a follow-up to a series story. Effective and emotional ending still packs a punch even when you know what’s coming next. 9/10.

Jeff says:
Returning villain; recurring motifs; new locations and situations. This, more than Star Trek: The Motion Picture, is why Star Trek has continued. Without this film being as good as it is, I doubt there would have been another film … let alone all the series that followed. A classic in ever sense of the word. 9/10.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Where can one go in isolation? Into space, of course. Watching all Star Trek in order. We’ve watched the Original Series, and the Animated Series, now onto the movies …

Emmy says:
This film is extremely self indulgent with so many long shots of the Enterprise and space. A light story delivered at a slow pace that seems to be reliant on nostalgia. Pretty and enjoyable. 8/10.

Jeff says:
It is hard to believe this film would ever be made today. In fairness, it wasn’t – the ‘Kelvin’ timeline took a different approach. Quite breathtaking how a soapy action science fiction series led to this action-less exploration of the human condition via a non-human intelligence. So much left unsaid. So many long takes devoid of dialogue but rich in reaction. An extremely weird movie, but sort of fitting for the first. 7/10.

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The Addams Family (2019)

Emmy says:
Great light entertainment with a wonderful underlying message. The animation is well done with good contrast between the Addams and the town. 7/10.

Jeff says:
I was excited when I first heard about this … the animation harking back to the style of the original Charles Addams cartoons. Following the fairly standard story of “these people living their own life are suddenly confronted with the outside world”, this movie doesn’t do much that’s new – but what it does, it does well. 9/10.

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Dune

Emmy says:
I found this movie very slow and not really engaging. The costumes are spectacular. The special effects have aged and the rubble of damaged sets looks weightless and paper mache like. Even with a huge amount of world building from the books being left out (I have not read these) I was able to follow easily enough. 6/10.

Jeff says:
I have always loved this movie. It made me want to read the books … and I did, and went on to read ALL the books including the prequels and pre-prequels. David Lynch considers it his one failure, and fans of the books (mostly) seem to hate it for having too little of the story in it. Interestingly, this time around I found it a little slow – I don’t remember feeling that way before (perhaps I was sensing the mood described above). There is so much here that I love and remember fondly, I guess I forgot about the slow bits in between. A good example of telling instead of showing, but there’s so much in the source material that’s internal it’s hard not to. It will be interesting to see what Villeneuve does with the remake. 7/10.

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Brightburn

Emmy says:
Well this movie is committed. The effects are not the best and the plot points are obvious before they turn up. Definitely indulges in the gore and a few jump scares. Fun with the wrong song for the credits (might seduce your dad type?). 6/10.

Jeff says:
This is a nasty film with an interesting premise. Having said that, horror but with super-powers isn’t especially new. The characters aren’t likeable; bad decisions abound; and ‘born this way’ is a cheap cop out. The effects are C-grade at best. On the other hand, moments that I thought were definitely leading to a jump ‘scare’ didn’t … and I give them credit for the restraint. Could have been a lot better, though. 5/10.

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Hidden Figures

Emmy says:
A powerful movie showing the drive and dedication of these wonderful women. Emotionally charged and beautifully acted. 10/10.

Jeff says:
A compelling tale of three incredible women during the birth of the space race and the death throws of overt segregation in America. A seamless blend of maths, science, action, drama and social politics. Deftly and sensitively told, this movie is a delight as well as thought provoking. You know the movie is doing well when we know what happens but still feel tension at the moments of risk. 10/10.

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Emmy says:
A pretty fantasy that’s fairly predictable. Fun to watch. 6/10.

Jeff says:
Snow White and the Huntsman was part of a Hollywood fever dream in the early 2010’s that involved remaking classic fairy tales into something else (a couple of years later Maleficent would do a much better job of it). Somehow, a sequel – that became a spin-off that wrapped around the first movie – got made. It went through various creative types and took a while to make up its mind what it was. I’m not sure it ever really sorted itself out. This was a by-the-numbers, wholly predictable, uninspired spin-off to a movie that wasn’t that spectacular to begin with. 4/10.

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Jumanji

Emmy says:
Although the CG has dated the story holds strong. A wonderful disaster of a game with spectacular consequences. Very enjoyable 7/10.

Jeff says:
Sometimes a movie calls for a remake – not because it was bad, but because it deserved better. This movie deserved better than the CGI used to create the animals. Even for the mid-90s the effects were bad. Sadly, any remake would mean losing Robin Williams, and that isn’t worth it. There’s a reason why this movie took so long to get a sequel … and was considered such a risk when it did, this movie is a gem. 9/10.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Emmy says:
Surprisingly entertaining for someone who has never watched the cartoon. Great casting, wonderful settings, fun humour. 7/10.

Jeff says:
What on earth was that? I am too old to have seen the cartoon, but I am aware of it and it’s place in the cultural zeitgeist of youngsters. This … both leveraged off that and went in a new direction at the same time. Entertaining and outright funny in places, other parts were cringe-worthy as I struggled with the reality-breaking call-backs. Still, an engaging film with a lot to offer. 7/10.

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The Lion King (2019)

Emmy says:
My reaction after watching: what was the point? It’s almost a shot for shot recreation of the original with some lines changed. Timon and Pumba delivered laughs again, most notably as bait, but this does not make up for the butchering of ‘Be Prepared’ that was done. 6/10.

Jeff says:
From a technical standpoint, this is an impressive film. It looks gritty and real … why does it have to look gritty and real? It’s a Disney movie with singing animals! There’s the problem: this makes sense as an animated feature, but less as a ‘real’ animal movie. Some of the changes just make you want the old movie back, although some of the new gags were actually very good. Sadly, they almost felt like they were the voice actor’s improvisations that miraculously made it in, rather than a deliberate scripted choice.  I also can’t forgive them for butchering ‘Be Prepared’ when ‘Hakuna Matata’ is essentially unchanged. 6/10.

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