Showing posts with label Animation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animation. Show all posts

Friday, 7 March 2014

Khumba Movie Review

Khumba movie review

Director: Anthony Silverston

UK Release Date: 11th April 2014

Running Time: 85 minutes 

Starring: Liam Neeson, Catherine Tate, Laurence Fishburne, Jake T. Austin, Steve Buscemi, Richard E. Grant.

"Khumba" - a film that's storyline is centered around zebras is one that you will feel you have seen before. Unfortunately the film lacks in originality and fails to impress even with a voice-over cast that includes Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne. In 3D the film did look very good.

Movie review, trailer and rating of Khumba
Khumba (Jake T. Austin) a new born zebra, is born with half his stripes which to the rest of the herd is considered as bad luck. As rains fail to fall and the water holes dry up, Khumba's popularity dwells and the blame is forced upon him. Following a map provided by legendary green mantis, Khumba's adventures start outside of the Zebras own proclaimed enclosure as he meets an ostrich called Bradley (Richard E. Grant) and Mama V - a wildebeest (Loretta Devine) as he searches for his stripes while being followed and hunted by Phango (Neeson).

From the outset the film has a sense of familiarity about it. With the main character being a zebra we immediately think of Marty from "Madagascar" (2005)  yet Khumba is totally different. Similarities can be seen throughout the film with there being a mixed feeling of The Lion King (1994), Happy Feet (2006) and Finding Nemo (2003) amongst others as the story line and plot comes to a conclusion. The problem is that "Khumba", while having a sense of these films does not bring anything of it's own that can match these films individually.  One could go as far to criticize the actual characters themselves. While at times they are fun and amusing generally they are difficult to relate to. The characters just feel out of place and rarely reflect well on screen together as a good well rounded animated cast. 
Movie review of Khumba

However considering that "Khumba" is a children's film these observations may be out of context. The film has a range of characters that children can enjoy and the storyline is very laid back and  enjoyable for that target audience. What child would not find for example football playing zebras amusing?  This being said though other animated films including those mentioned can appeal to multiple audiences both young and old. 

"Khumba" is an okay film at best. It is helped by the well known cast of voice-overs that will help stem interest in the movie as well as carry the film in parts. Ultimately "Khumba" falls into the trap of being too much alike to other animated movies and this lack of originality really hinders the films progress. The movie is based for children though and should be one that they enjoy. 

M+F Rating: 5/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

WALL-E Movie Review

WALL-E Movie Review

Director: Andrew Stanton

UK Release Date: 18th July 2008

Running Time: 98 minutes

Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Sigourney Weaver

We are generally big Disney and Pixar fans but it dawned on us the other day that we had not yet watched "WALL-E" which was released back in 2008.  We had heard a few things about the film itself, one being that there is next to no spoken script or dialect.  This intrigued us a lot and also worried us.  Pixar's other hits such as the Toy Story franchise and "Finding Nemo" (2003) both rely heavily on the script used however "WALL-E" is able to overcome this with a heart warming story that is both creative and one that the audience can relate to.

WALL-E (Ben Burtt) is a robot that is left on Earth to tidy up all the mess and rubbish left by the humans who have moved into space on a spaceship called Axiom.  A loveable and cute character he is soon not the only living robot on Earth as another, EVE (Elissa Knight), arrives.  WALL-E falls in love and ends up heading off into space on an adventure that will change the course of the human race, Earth and his own life.  


"WALL-E" is a film that anyone can watch.  It reaches the audience on multiple levels.  From being a nice story for children to follow to also conveying a message to the adult audience.  It really is a story about friendship, love, and making a difference.  It portrays Earth and the human race in a way that is not so farfetched.  It tackles topical issues in regards to technology, waste management, recycling and obesity.

WALL-E as a character is great.  Innocent, adventurous and looking for companionship in a world where he is all alone.  It really draws the audience in from the beginning. He rarely speaks and when he does it is limited but automatically you feel a connection to his character which is really great.  Throughout the film you are hoping he is okay and eventually finds what he is looking for. 


The film also addresses topical issues but does so in a way that it does not ruin or affect the film in a negative way.  These issues are portrayed so the audience can either choose to accept them and think about them or totally ignore them and just enjoy the film.  "WALL-E" shows what could happen to our planet.  Yes, this is woven into a story about love and friendship but it is clear that this representation of the future is a possible one.  The world has known for a long time that we need to recycle more and look after the planet which is still not happening - so much so that in the film the human population had to leave.  It also addresses issues in regards to obesity and technology.  The population is getting lazy and this is shown in the film - albeit to the extreme.  

"WALL-E" is a superb film and is one that every person should watch and will enjoy. It is a really nice story that is a pleasure to watch and for us it is definitely one of the Pixar greats.  Not only this, but it attempts at tackling different topical issues as well in an innocent but blatant way. An excellent movie that shows again why Pixar have been so good at producing these sorts of films over and over again. "WALL-E" will make you laugh, cry and will also make you wish you had your own little robot friend.

M+F Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Lion King Review: An Over the Top Dissection

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
UK Release Date: 7th October 1994
Running Time: 89 minutes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane

General Overview

If you have not heard of or watched The Lion King then you are certainly missing out.  It is an American animated Disney film set in Africa. All of the characters are animals that are naturally found on the vast continent.  We have watched this film many times and grew up with it; it is one of the only films we have watched on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray and at the cinema in 3D.  The film features an impressive soundtrack complete with songs composed by Tim Rice, Elton John and Hans Zimmer. The general consensus is that The Lion King is a children's film but we disagree with this film. Cleverly,  The Lion King conveys humour, life morals and emotions for multiple audiences; children and adults.

Film Structure 

The films structure is typical Disney.  Following the same base storyline that most Disney films have embedded within their scripts. The best way to describe this is with a flow diagram:

It is quite easy to fit this template to other Disney films such as Aladdin (1992). What is interesting is that they share the same base plot and both films were very successful. Now there are two ways to interpret this information. The first is that it is the holy grail of script writing. This storyline works and can be repeated from movie to movie with only minor details changing (setting, small parts of the plots, characters). The second is that other contributing factors made these films good and the base structure is only a small part of this, for example the soundtrack.  In our opinion we believe it is a mix of both interpretations.  Due to the success that these early 1990's Disney films achieved, it proves that the base structure worked and combining this with an excellent soundtrack made them hugely popular. Traces of this structure can be seen in movies everywhere and we do not claim that this is where this film structure originated at all but we are just applying it and analysing it for this film.

Life Lessons

The Lion King is primarily known as a children's film. It provides a great story with loveable characters that children can relate to.  Entwined within this are morals that can be learnt from the film.  One theme is friendship shown when Simba meets Timon and Pumbaa.  Simba, an outcast now, is alone and vulnerable but Timon and Pumba take him with them - looking after him as he grows into a young adult.  This is  a great notion for children to learn and understand.
"Hakuna Matata. It means no worries." - Timon and Pumbaa.

It also teaches any young viewers that family are important. You can withdraw inspiration from others including those close to you.  This is evident when Simba sees his father, Mufasa, in the clouds and also in a reflection of himself.  This gives him the self-confidence and belief needed to go back to where he belongs and face his enemy, Scar.  This is also a great lesson for children to learn. To stand up to adversity, to believe in themselves and others around them. The Lion King is an excellent example to children while also providing great entertainment.



Multiple Audiences

The film does not just convey messages for children.  In an earlier part of the film, Mufusa (Simba's father and mentor), is killed.  This is something that the majority of children would not understand to the extent that the older audience would.  We watched The Lion King throughout our childhood and it is only when we have viewed it more recently that we feel sad and emotional while watching this scene.  We believe this is because now we are older, we can relate to it in a way where it means something to us.  We were astonished at how this scene makes us feel considering when we were younger we would happily sit through the whole film without thinking any more of it.  This makes The Lion King a film that can be understood by both a young audience and an older one.


One aspect that makes this film even more appealing is the comedy that flows throughout.  The jokes mainly come from characters Timon and Pumbaa but also the hyenas - one of which is voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.  While the younger audience can relate to many of the jokes made, slipped in along the way are a few other jokes/dialect that are directed more at the older audience.  Here is the transcript of our favourite from the film:
Pumbaa: Hey, Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?
Timon: Pumbaa, I don't wonder; I know.
Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?
Timon: They're fireflies. Fireflies that, uh... got stuck up on that big bluish-black thing.
Pumbaa: Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.
Timon: Pumbaa, with you, everything's gas.
It does not seem that funny on face value but it did tickle us here at M+F Reviews.  We found it quite clever and shows the contrast from how a young person could understand the stars at night to an older person who knows what they are. It is a representation of what we have been aiming to explain in the earlier parts of this review - the film caters for two audiences.

Soundtrack Overview:

That's enough talk  about film structure and what audience the film is projected at.  The soundtrack of The Lion King is a masterpiece.  Tim Rice and Elton John composed the majority of the soundtrack while Hans Zimmer did the same with the film score. There are a range of songs, from high upbeat ones, to love songs that have become classics.  The soundtrack is without doubt one of the first things that comes to mind when anyone mentions The Lion King.  If you have not heard any of the songs here is our top three:
  1. Hakuna Matata - Elton John, Tim Rice (performed by others)
  2. Circle of Life - Elton John, Tim Rice (performed by others)
  3. This Land - Hans Zimmer


We recommend The Lion King to anyone who has not seen it and also for those of you who have seen it to watch it again.  A great animation, with amusing characters and script. Not only that but it offers deeper meanings for those who watch, whether you are young or old.
M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.