Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Cinema Review)

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12A – 133mins – 2016 – 3D


SUPER TROOPERS

Ostensibly an orphan, Jyn Erso (Felicity Inferno Jones) has had a less than rosy upbringing after her mother was gunned down and her science officer father, Galen (Mads Doctor Strange Mikkelsen), kidnapped by the Galactic Empire to assist them in completing their “planet killing” orbital monstrosity, the Death Star. Rescued from an Imperial camp, Jyn is recruited by Mon Mothma (Revenge of the Sith’s Genevieve O’Reilly) and the Rebel Alliance to join Cassian Andor’s (Diego Luna) ragtag team of Rebels on a mission to track down Galen and seize the plans to the super-weapon in order to locate a weakness.

… Keep Scuttling!

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The Land Before Time (Netflix Review)

U – 69mins – 1988


 

A LESSON IN DINO-VERSITY

“Some things you see with your eyes, others with your heart.”

After a busy weekend, I was ready to collapse on Sunday evening but aware it was far too early to sleep. Eyes aching and just after something nice and simple, I trusted myself to a scroll through Netflix to see if anything fit the bill…

I watched The Land Before Time – as well as another 80s Don Bluth classic, An American Tail  – repeatedly on VHS as a child, completely unaware it was produced and “presented” by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. My curiosity over the involvement of such legends, coupled with the chance for some warm reminiscences (not to mention the stubby runtime!) sold me on this cute dinosaur animation as I drifted off to sleep.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure, it sees a herd of passive ‘long necks’ (AKA. Brontosaurs) escaping devastation and migrating towards the Great Valley in search of edible vegetation, only for the herd to be divided by a “clash of the continents” (an earthquake) and attacked by a carnivorous ‘sharp tooth’ (AKA. T-Rex), leaving youngster Littlefoot (Gabriel Damon) all alone.

“I’ll be with you, even if you can’t see me.”

As the mourning orphan strives to overcome his depression, flee famine and complete his departed mother’s (Helen Shaver) quest of hope, he befriends four diverse companions in stubborn ‘three horn’ Triceratops Cera (Candy Hutson), cute Saurolophus Ducky (Judith Barsi), mute Stegosaurus Spike and plucky Pteranodon Petrie (Will Ryan), who join Littlefoot on his journey.

“At least we wouldn’t be alone!”

Mixing The Lion King’s inspirational coming of age story with Zootopia’s morality and Bambi’s touching sentimentality, The Land Before Time is a far deeper and more rounded experience than my memory recalled, successfully managing to be cute, careful, comical and cultured in its short-but-sharpshooting duration.

Through such likeable, defined and relatable characters, the film delivers crucial and pertinent life lessons on mature social issues such as racism (“Flathead” is used as a derogatory term for the long necks), prejudice (“three horns never play with long necks,” “Well, why?!”) and bonding through the tragedies the great circle of life throws at even the most innocent of individuals.

The pace is surprisingly tempered given the film’s length (taking away the sumptuous slow underwater opening crawl and the closing credits played to Diana Ross’ theme song it weighs in at under an hour), but nearly 20 years on The Land Before Time remains as colourful, engaging and timeless as the dinosaurs themselves. Am I tempted to now binge-watch the gazillion straight-to-video sequels? Yep, yep, yep!

CR@B Verdict: 5 stars

Strange Magic (DVD Review)

PG – 99mins – 2015


CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE

Palmed off onto their smaller Touchstone division and quietly released onto minimal screens Stateside in the doldrums of last January, this colourful Lucasfilm fairytale musical – part of the lucrative package which Disney paid $4billion for back in 2012 – was plainly earmarked to fail. I was determined to show my support for George Lucas’ first post-“retirement” gig, but this left UK screens in the blink of an eye following a delayed release a couple of months ago.

… Keep Scuttling!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Cinema Review)


12A – 136mins – 2015 – 3D


THE SAGA STRIKES BACK

Mild Spoiler Alert: I will not give away any of the STUPENDOUS story spoilers here – mainly because a vindictive twitter troll ruined them for me and I would not wish such needless twattery upon any other fan – but there may be a few tidbits I allude to or touch upon which you may prefer not to know, pre-viewing.

You have been warned.

… Keep Scuttling!