Pete’s Dragon

It’s school holidays at the moment so I took my two youngest kids to the movies this week.  Sometimes kids movies can have the grown ups in the theatre bored and hanging out for the film to end.  Not so Pete’s Dragon.

We’ve seen stories before that have kids lost in the jungle or forest raised by wild animals, but in this case a child orphaned in the forest when his parent’s are killed in a car crash is raised by a dragon.  Not just any old dragon either, this is a magic flying dragon.

This is a Disney movie, so it is very well made.  The CGI animation that brings this green hairy dragon to life is very believable, even when it’s splashing around in a river.  The story is missing an explanation on how a tranquilised sleeping mega tonne dragon is moved from the middle of the forest onto a semi-trailer, but otherwise this movie has a believable fantasy storyline.  If you’re the emotional type, you might even shed a tear (not that I’d know anything about that).

I give Pete’s Dragon a thumbs up as a family movie, suitable for all ages.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Movie Poster - Hunt for the Wilderpeople

I took my 13 year old son, Brad, to the movies today and let him choose what we saw.  Brad said he had seen the trailer for Hunt for the Wilderpeople and he’d really like to see it.  I’d never heard of this movie and didn’t know anything about it, but I’m really glad Brad chose it.  This isn’t a Hollywood flick, so it’s very different to many mainstream movies, but that can be refreshing.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople was filmed in New Zealand, with some actors having a strong Kiwi accent.  (My wife is from NZ, so that twang is nothing new…eh bro!)  The story centres around an orphan kid, called Ricky, who is placed with foster parents living on a remote property.  He forms a good relationship with his foster Mum, but when she dies Ricky runs away into the bush.  His foster Dad gets injured trying to bring him home and they end spending weeks in the bush.

When they see a “Missing / Wanted” poster for themselves, the old man thinks he’s in trouble and Ricky doesn’t want to go back into government care, so they spend months evading those looking for them, and form an amazing relationship.
Ricky calls themselves the “Wilderpeople”, roaming for thousands of miles like the wilderbeast of the jungle.

Even though I said this isn’t a Hollywood style movie, this climax is a giant car chase, reminiscent of many blockbusters, as our heroes try to escape in and old ute borrowed from a hermit they met called “Crazy Sam”.

Brad and I both enjoyed Hunt for the Wilderpeople and recommend it to all but the youngest audience (it’s rated PG).
It’s also got good reviews online; an IMDb review calls it “Hugely enjoyable comedy adventure with serious undertones” and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a “100% fresh” rating.  At 101 minutes, this movie could have been a little shorter, but we loved it.

Million Dollar Arm

Our family movie night was Million Dollar Arm on blu-ray

Movie Night Blu-Ray, Million Dollar Arm

It was another family movie night last night to round off our long weekend.  My wife, Mandy, chose the Disney film Million Dollar Arm to watch on Blu-ray.

The movie was really easy to watch, despite being a story about US baseball, which none of us have an interest in.  This is based on the true story of a sports promoter, struggling to make ends meet, running a competition to find a major league baseball pitcher in cricket mad India.  After initial failure, the competition is a success, and the promoter finds love along the way.

As long as you don’t mind reading a few sub-titles, I recommend Million Dollar Arm as a feel good family movie for all ages.

Saving Mr.Banks and Mary Poppins

2014-11-29 003 (1280x1116)We’ve been having a few family movie nights lately.  Last week we watched “Saving Mr. Banks“, which is about the work Disney put into securing the rights to make the Mary Poppins movie.  Saving Mr. Banks inspired us last night to watch “Mary Poppins“.

I don’t recall ever watching Marry Poppins before, but most of the songs from this 50 year old movie were familiar – I remember as a child being taught by my Mum how to pronounce and sing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“.   I was really surprised at how good the special-effects were, for a movie made before modern computer generated graphics, especially combining live action with animation.  I’m not normally a big fan of musicals (chick-flicks!), but watching Saving Mr. Banks the week before put Mary Poppins into context and made it more interesting.

Both movies are family friendly, with all three kids watching them with us.  Only 5 year old Karla falling asleep towards the end and 11 year old Brad showing some boredom with the music in Mary Poppins.  We had no complaints from 14 year old Josh.