Monday, February 13, 2017

Dearest… 2016: Family Matters


 

The 2016 movies for the whole family (mostly).


The Jungle Book:
Kipling knows we didn’t need yet another version of this classic story but then, what do you know, it turns out to be pretty darn terrific. Iron Man director Jon Favreau makes it all fresh and fun, and even manages to squeeze in some of the famous songs from Disney’s 1967 animated fave. Amid an all-star voice cast that boasts Bill Murray as Baloo and no less than three Oscar winners, youngster Neel Sethi shines as “man cub” Mowgli, the one flesh and blood character on screen. But the real star of this show is the eye-popping photorealistic visual effects and scenery, which completely transport you to the land where the “bear necessities of life” rule. (8/10)

The Wrath of Khan

Pete’s Dragon:
Disney raided their vault for another remake last year with this non-musical retelling of their 1977 favorite. This one is grounded more in reality, that is as much as a movie about a boy and his fire-breathing best friend can be. So we get a downer back story on how Pete became an orphan and instead of belting out power ballads from atop a Maine lighthouse, the female lead (here a dewy-eyed Bryce Dallas Howard) is a forest ranger in the Pacific Northwest. Like Mowgli, Pete is a “wild child” raised by, not wolves, but Clifford the Big Red Dog Elliot the Big Green Dragon. Seriously, does every animated critter have to act like a pokey little puppy? Bonus eye candy if you’re into lumberjacks. (6/10)

How Not to Train Your Dragon

The BFG:
Like Rudyard Kipling, author Roald Dahl has had quite a few of his works translated for the big screen, but it took this long for his beloved “Big Friendly Giant” to make that big leap. Steven Spielberg makes his most kid friendly live action flick since 1991’s Hook, but it blessedly turns out a lot better than that disaster. A CGI-enhanced Mark Rylance stars as the title character, who befriends an orphan girl and the Queen of England (Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton) to thwart his fellow giants, who are a lot less friendly and a lot more giant. There’s a definite Harry Potter vibe, for better or worse, but where else can you see Spielberg do fart jokes? (7/10)

Make that "whizzpopper" jokes.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople:
Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is a would-be juvenile delinquent taken in by the loving Bella and her much-less enthusiastic husband Hector (Sam Neill), who live on a remote farm in New Zealand. After an unexpected loss, Hector and Ricky (along with his pet dog Tupac) trek off into the bush, which prompts a nationwide manhunt when the authorities wrongly assume it’s a kidnapping. This scruffy adventure is a lot of fun and even sweet, a scrappy tale of unlikely male bonding. Marred slightly by its cartoonish villains and their assumption that Hector is a pedophile, it is a little less family friendly then it really should be. Also features the best alternative to “Happy Birthday to You” like ever. (8/10)

Take that, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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