Blu-Ray And DVD Reviews: ‘The Peanuts Movie,’ ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ and ‘Victor Frankenstein’

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“The Peanuts Movie”
Starring the Vocal Talents of Noah Schnapp and Bill Melendez
Rated PG

Based on Charles Schulz’ “Peanuts,” Charlie Brown is that guy who, in the face of repeated failure, picks himself back up and tries again and again, and this film portrays the heroism in that. This is the first theatrical Peanuts movie in 35 years and the heart of the comic strip has been recaptured in the new film.

Of course you’ll find classic Charlie Brown moments, like the football gag, Charlie Brown’s kite flying and Snoopy’s thrilling dogfight with the Red Baron.

There is a real innocence and love for childhood that Schulz had, which is why “Peanuts” has endured generation after generation.

The producers have taken the legacy of these characters very seriously, and the result is a gentle, charming movie that is far less frantic than much of what is created for young audiences these days. It’s a kind of memory of what it was like to be a kid on warm summer afternoons.

It’s definitely geared towards children, but may be too mild-mannered to win over brand new audiences.  It’s going to please people who grew up with “Peanuts” and who want to go back to a simpler time.

It has a great life message, and it shows the qualities that every person must have.

“The Peanuts Movie” gets a B and is rated PG.

“In the Heart of the Sea”
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Benjamin Walker
Rated PG-13

Based on the 1820 event that inspired the book “Moby Dick,” a whaling ship is preyed upon by a giant whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.

Ron Howard directs this adventure at sea, starring Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker and Brendan Gleeson.

For the most part, the special effects are very good and work wonderfully in creating the ocean’s vastness and how small we are in comparison. But after a while,  the computer-generated scenery becomes mundane. The best effect is the whale, a technical achievement, but as with all technology it is only as good as the people surrounding and upholding it.

Chris Hemsworth and cast only but in a meager effort and overall it only ends up “OK.”

“In the Heart of the Sea” is an inconsistent movie which never can overcome its flaws.

The film deserves a C and is rated PG-13.

“Victor Frankenstein”
Starring: James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Rated R

Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins and his redemptive friendship with the young medical student, Viktor Von Frankenstein. We 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.


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