Friday, December 10, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Well, at the last minute I found out that the nearby theatre was having a midnight showing of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Quickly we bought the tickets and then anxiously awaited the moment to see this movie. Now I will insert a caveat. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my least favorite Narnia book. I wasn't really concerned about what would change.

That was a good thing. If you are going to see an adaptation of your favorite book, this is not the movie for you.

Now for the proper review from
"Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship the Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world."

~Edmund really is a protective older brother
~The lessons that they learn on their journey are applicable to more than just those on the Dawn Treader

~There were really no cons. Or at least ones that stand out. More about the movie overall later on.
~However, there are a few scary parts. Near the end of a movie a Sea Serpent attacks the ship, but it is not your "normal" sea serpent. It is very scary. As someone commented, it is very likely to scare little children. Also the Dark Island is much darker than in the books or BBC versions. It is intense and there a nightmares that manifest into different forms and could be very scary if you were young and didn't understand what was happening.

~I don't remember any language

~The closest thing is a scene with Ramandu's daughter. She is a beautiful lady and Caspian and Edmund are obviously taken with her. They are having difficulty answering her questions. She offers to change form. They both shout, "No!"
~Some of the Pirate's in the Lone Islands might make inappropriate comments

PG for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action. (These really make me laugh)

Overall the movie was good. I really enjoyed the 2 hours in the theatre. It was a story with good messages (Lucy wants to be someone she's not, and finds the consequences, Edmund deals with greed as does Caspian, Reepicheep demonstrates gallantness, Eustace learns to think of others).

But, just as in Prince Caspian, the story doesn't follow the book and therefore loses some of the necessary parts that pulls everything together.

Some of the obstacles are:
All the islands are not there and a couple are mushed together or the sequence changed. For instance, the island where Eustace becomes a dragon and the Gold Island are made into one. I felt that the importance of Eustace becoming a dragon and what that truly meant was downplayed because it was sharing time with Edmund and Caspian dealing with their greed.

Another obstacle also involved Eustace. Eustace is not made human again on the same island. They sail away with him as a dragon. Because he doesn't become a dragon on the same island, he doesn't have much time to show his growth as a boy. His dragon-self grows, but we don't really associate the dragon's growth with the boy's growth. So the end of his story seemed very rushed.

Some of the changes just weren't necessary. They added a second story line that really detracted from the story Lewis wrote.

Although there are many changes to the story, I really do like the movie as a separate entity from the book. I would like to go see it again in 2D.

What did you think?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Like Dandelion Dust

Like Dandelion Dust weaves the lives of two families brought together by a little boy Joey. Seven years earlier, Rip Porter was sent to prison for abusing his wife. While serving his time in jail, his wife, Wendy, discovers she's pregnant and releases the baby for adoption. For six years now, the Campbells have raised Joey and become his parents in the true sense of the word. However, on Rip's release from jail, Wendy tells him of the boy she let go. Having given up alcoholism and gone to anger management classes in jail, Rip feels ready to be a dad. So, using a loophole in the adoption paperwork, they receive custody of Joey. He has two visits with them and the third time he goes will be to live there. The Campbells feel ripped apart at the prospect of losing their son and will do anything it takes to get him back.

Wow! Where to begin with the pros.
~The idea of family is so lovingly portrayed. Even as each family fights to get custody, you never feel like Joey is just property, but realize that each couple loves him.
~Wendy is a wonderful wife to Rip, even, and especially, as he begins to fall back into old bad habits.
~The Campbells really work through as a couple the hard time of losing their son, even though it threatens to tear them apart.
~The social worker assigned to this heartrending case shows great love and understanding for these couples.
~Joey is shown to have no different feelings toward his parents when he finds out he was adopted.
There are so many more, but I'd have to write down the script to portray them all.

Honestly, I can't think of one. Maybe I'll take this to be more of a warning of some hard scenes to watch.
~Rip does drink and does hit Wendy, but it is shown to be a bad thing.
~On his second visit, Joey refuses to take a shower. Rip takes him into the shower with his clothes on in a misguided attempt to show him its okay, but ends up terrifying Joey and leaving a nasty bruise on his arm.
~Jack Campbell goes to offer Rip money to leave Joey alone and they get into a pretty violent fight.

I have been thinking over the movie and can't remember any bad language. Take that with a grain of salt....I may be missing something in my thinking. ;)

There are no scenes that need a caution here. Rip does sometimes wear his shirt open. Some of the necklines are a bit low.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including domestic violence and alcolhol abuse.

My mom and I went to see this film together. What a wonderful choice it was! We commented as we were leaving that you really didn't know how the story was going to end. It did such an incredible job showing both sides of the equation that it made it hard to know who would "win". It also made clear that someone was going to lose.

I told Mom before we went that it wasn't a "popcorn" movie, ie. a movie where it's has some slow, light moments to eat popcorn. This was an intense movie, but appropriate for the intense subject it was covering.

The message and situation really spoke to my mom and me. I was adopted when I was a baby and there was some legal snafoos that prevented the adopt from being final until I was 2 1/2. Watching the characters on screen struggle through such a hard place had us grabbing for tissues at the end.

But what an uplifting end it was!

For anyone in the Pensacola area, Like Dandelion Dust is playing at the Rave theatre off of West Street at 11:20 am, 1:50 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 10:20 pm.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm Having a Thought Here

One thing that really bothered me when I would watch movies was when at the end of a "Coming of Age" film, the scene would go something like this:

Parent: "I'm sorry for being a parent and not letting you do whatever you want."
Child: "That's okay, I forgive you because we just spent approximately the last 90 minutes seeing that you are completely unreasonable in your expectations and now you know exactly why you were wrong."
PARENT and CHILD hug and possibly walk down the beach arm in arm as the sun sets.

It always bugged me to death. That's a very blanket statement. It ALWAYS bugged me to death.

Until the other night, that is. I was watching a movie. It was a "Coming of Age" movie and had the typical ending. Except, to my amazement, the child was right!

I said to myself, "Wait! That can't be. I had this blanket statement and everything!"

So I examined my verdict very carefully. And I came to he same conclusion.

The father in the movie was excessively pushing his daughter to be the youngest female national soccer team member. He coached her from EARLY morning until LATE evening. He had her join the college team he coached to get more experience. Now she didn't fight him. She just tried to do other things. She loved photography and dancing and just having friends. Again, her attitude was never horrible or rebellious, she just started realizing she wanted to do other things besides soccer. Her father was pushing her so hard to fulfill HIS dream, he literally made her sick. At the end of the movie, the girl told her father that she wanted to take a break from soccer and focus on some other things in school. He saw what she was saying and agreed and apologized for pushing her to make his dream come true.

And as I thought about it again, I realized he was right to apologize. God has given each person their own gifts. I believe that as a parent, I will be responsible for helping my child find the gifts that God has given them. To force our child to have the talents God has given us can cause resentment and "provoke children to wrath".

So, this whole shocking event made me think about some other "Coming of Age" movies where I had dismissed the children as just being brats. And I found another shocking conclusion. Most of the movies had this same theme of parents pushing their children into what they, the parents, think they should be, not what God has given them. Now, hardly any of the movies had children that handled it the right way. Their responses to their parents were, for the most part, rude and condescending and not God (or parent) honoring.

So either, this is truly a problem that young people are dealing with or it's a convenient conflict to write about.

Either way, I really believe that in order to write a screenplay or watch a movie that avoids this attitude you have to examine the motives behind each person in the script, that they have a godly attitude.

I'm writing a screenplay right now that could be classified as a "Coming of Age". This whole thing made me re-examined my characters and make sure they were not crossing the new line I had found.

So, while this isn't a movie review per-say, it was a good reminder to me to watch movies and look beyond just the first, second, and even third layers to see the true heart of the characters.

What do yo think?


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Blind Side

From the IMDB website: Based on the true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African American, Michael "Big Mike" Oher. Michael has no idea who his father is and his mother is a crack head. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge, however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.


~ The most obvious pro to this movie is the way the Tuohy family so openly welcomes Michael into the family.

~ Mr. Tuohy gets his name on the emergency contact list at school making him responsible for Michael.


~ Leigh Anne does not portray a submissive wife. She is very much the one in charge in the home. SHE's the one who brings Michael in...Without asking her husband. SHE's the one who gets him a driver's license. SHE's the one who helps him in football. SHE's the one who gets him in the family picture. SHE's the one who gets a tutor to get his grades up.


~Now for the confession part: I didn't watch this movie to review, so I didn't actually count the language. But I will say that there was much more than I was comfortable with.


~ Leigh Anne is a former cheerleader and wears very low necked shirts.

~ Nothing is shown on camera, but there is an intimate moment between Leigh Anne and Sean.

~ When they visit Michael's home neighborhood, MANY of the conversations have sexual overtones.


PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual reference.

I was so excited about watching this movie. We don't usually watch the Academy Awards, but we happened to turn it one just before Sandra Bullock won the Best Actress Award for this movie. It was so moving, I couldn't wait to see the movie. But I have to admit I was disappointed. The amount of language and adult situations and the attitude of Leigh Anne to her husband in this movie really made it distasteful to me.

What about you? What did you think?


Saturday, April 17, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon

Watching this movie was really just a "chance" encounter. My parents were attending a conference and Mom suggested I see if any movies were playing at the theatre near the conference center. I called the theatre and the only PG and under movies that were playing were "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and "How To Train Your Dragon". I KNEW I didn't want to see "Wimpy Kid", so I decided to go to "How To Train Your Dragon".

At first, I thought I was in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." The movie is set in a viking town. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) is expected to kill the dragons that regularly attack the village. The village's chief, Stoick, is the leader of the viking and a well-accomplished dragon killer himself. His son, Hiccup, on the other hand is skinny and little. Hiccup would love to kill dragons, but because of his size, no one allows him to train. He uses his spare time to build inventions, especially dragon killing ones.

One attack on the village leaves Hiccup unguarded and he pulls out his newest invention and shoots at a deadly Night Fury, a dragon so dangerous, no one has been able to engage it in battle and lived to tell about them. To his own amazement, Hiccup manages to trap the Night Fury. When he tries to tell his dad and mentor about it, they just laugh at him.

Upset, he leaves (without his father's permission) to go find the Night Fury. When he finds it, he pulls his knife to kill it. But is unable to kill the dragon. Instead he frees it.

The rest of the film focuses on Hiccup learning the true reason for the dragons' attacks and joining the warring vikings and misunderstood dragons.

~In the end, Stoick and Hiccup become a good father/son team. The Hiccup learns to respect his father. And Stoick realizes that sometimes, Hiccup has good ideas. Usually movies accomplish this through backtalk and the father realizing he's been wrong his whole life and of course his son has been absolutely right and he should have listened to him in the first place. Thankfully, this movie does not approach it that way. Stoick is a Viking and vikings fight and there is no apology for that. However, Stoick does realize that his son has learned the dragons' true reason for attacking and listens to him.
~During their journey to understanding, it is always known that Stoick love his son and truly cares for him.
~The village learns to work together for something, rather than fight for themselves
~Toothless, the dragon Hiccup captures and lets go, is as loyal a friend as you can ask for. He is kind and sharing (even if it is half a fish he's swallowed and brought back up again). He is also willing to sacrifice his life for Hiccup. And he is quite endearing on top of that!

~There are no ladies in this film. Just male vikings and female vikings. The women fight alongside the men and are not treated as ladies to be protected.
~Hiccup lies to his father and his mentor and other viking apprentices in order to keep Toothless a secret. However, he later admits that he was wrong.
~After a big fight with his father, Hiccups thinks about running away.
~As Hiccup learns more about dragons and what they're afraid of and what pleases them, he uses that knowledge to trick those in Dragon Training school into thinking he can kill dragons. It all backfires when he's chosen to kill a dragon in front of the village.

~There are five uses of words I would consider bad language.
~There are no uses of the Lord's name in vain. However, being vikings, they call on the names of Norse gods quite a bit.
~Stoick gives Hiccup a viking helmut which he describes as half of Hiccup's mother's breastplate.

~Hiccup has a crush on one of the viking girls in his class causing some comments from others in the class and well as a couple of kissses between the two.

PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images and brief mild language.

And there you have it. The Top 3rd movie playing in the box office now.

Have you seen it?


Saturday, June 6, 2009

A hidden review

I have reviewed the movie "The Prestige" here. I archived it because of the VERY disturbing nature of this film. If you're interested, please read. But please do realize that this is a very dark, disturbing, thought provoking movie.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Last weekend, my mom, sister, her fiance, and I attended the opening weekend of Pixar's new movie "Up". I know I said I wasn't going to give an opinion, but I think I might be justified in saying, "What a great movie!"

Without giving the story away (I think that's one of the best thing's Pixar does: keep the story closely under wraps until it's opened) it's about an older man and a young man (boy) who are raised (literally!) together.

But it's about so much more than that. It's about learning to let go of those you love. It's about learning to deal with the hurt that's around you. It's about learning to let go of the idols you've raised. It's about learning to care for what's really important. It's about learning to understand dogs. It's about learning.

And it's all done with Pixar wonderful storytelling abilities. This is a true story in the sense that they makers haven't just thrown together something that will please an audience and make them go out and buy the newest merchandise. But this is a true story in that you learn to care about the characters (cartoons though they may be).

We watched the film in 3D which was supremely fun. It's the first 3D film I've seen and I really enjoyed it. We're trying to go back and see it with my dad (he was sick the day we went).

Again, I know I said I wasn't going to recommend any movies, but this one might just be a "must see".

~learning to work with those you might not be drawn to at first
~learning to decide what's important and act on it
~learning to care for those around you more than yourself
~learning so much more than can even be written down here

~the villian, but then again, he's not supposed to be good and he is dealt with in an appropriate manner
~the little boy's parents are divorced, but this is handled in a gentle way while still showing the harmful effects of divorce on children.
~the story somewhat is focused on saving a bird that has been thought to be extinct and therefore has a slight "save the animals" flavor



PG for some peril and action

I hope this gives you a little insight into this movie! Let me know what you think!