THURSDAY – November 26, 2015 — (Gephardt Daily) — three new films open for Thanksgiving Day, including “Creed,” starring Sylvester Stallone, “The Good Dinosaur,” Disney * Pixar’s newest animated film and “Victor Frankenstein,” starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy.
The Good Dinosaur
Starring the voices of: Sam Elliott, Jeffery Wright and Anna Paquin
Directed by: Peter Sohn
The film asks the question, ‘What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?’
In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.
“The Good Dinosaur” deals with overcoming fear as its central theme. The main character, Arlo, takes a journey; not unlike Simba’s journey in “Lion King.” There’s a tragic death, a separation from family, meeting and understanding new cultures and growing from the experience.
The film does suffer from a couple of problems, first being the film never explores the evolution of the dinosaur species at all. Disney * Pixar didn’t even try to attempt to give us creatures who have evolved into something new 65 million years after the asteroid misses Earth. The ‘plot device’ is disappointing.
According to one of my best friends, Patrick Gibbs‘ review; “Instead of exploring the idea of these creatures evolving, or speculating as to how dinosaurs and humans could co-exist, this is merely a lazily inserted excuse to justify the lead character having a pet human kid”
And I agree.
The film’s other problem is it just doesn’t seem to be invested enough in its characters to make them truly memorable.
But that’s not saying the film isn’t worthwhile, I found it to be rather fun and in some places very touching and the animation is crisp and fresh. And I think most audiences will walk away from the film happy.
Overall “The Good Dinosaur” is a good family film and well worth the ticket in.
It gets a B and is rated PG.
Starring: James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.
This is one of those films where the story is weak but everything else seems to work.
The relationship between Victor and Igor is forged as Victor finds Igor working in a circus freak show. When an accident occurs Igor, who acts as the circus’ doctor, saves the life of a fallen trapeze artist. Although self taught, Igor’s skill and knowledge are equal to Victor’s, which prompts Frankenstein to save the hunchback and put him to better use.
The two embark on the scientific journey to reanimate the dead. As they proceed, Victor becomes more and more eccentric and irrational.
The acting in the film, especially McAvoy is very much on point. Both Radcliffe and McAvoy have great chemistry (pardon the pun) on screen. Part of the fun of watching the duo is never quite nailing down what kind of relationship they have.
The film’s direction by Paul McGuigan is well-paced and offers some pretty good moments, both practical and GCI.
In the end, however, we are left with another Gothic horror story which overextended itself.
“Victor Frankenstein” gets a C and is rated R.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Adonis Johnson is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV. Adonis wasn’t born before his fathers death and wants to follow his fathers footsteps in boxing.
He seeks out former heavyweight boxing champion and friend his father’s, Rocky Balboa who is now in retirement. This might be the opportunity Rocky needs to overcome his personal demons while helping Adonis follow in Apollo’s footsteps.
Simply put “Creed” is one of the best films of the year. It successfully reboots the “Rocky” franchise and gives the series more relevance with today’s millenniums. The story is solid, believable and heartfelt as two athletes, one rising and one descending come together.
Michael B. Jordan, who was last seen as ‘Johnny Storm’ in the re-boot of “Fantastic Four, does an impeccable job as Adonis Creed, who is trying to get away from his father’s shadow but slowly begins to realize the power of embracing who he is.
But it is Sylvester Stallone who breathes life into this film. ‘Rocky’ was slowly becoming a parody of itself, but director Ryan Coogler pushed passed all the caricatures and gave us a ‘Rocky’ beaten, but not broken.
In the end, “Creed” is one of the most inspiring and best films of the year.
It gets an A and is rated PG-13.