Monday, 26 August 2013

About Time (2013) - review

Running Time: 123 mins
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Joshua McGuire, Lydia Wilson
UK release date: 4th September 2013.

It's been a while since Richard Curtis directed a feature film. In the time he's taken off, he hasn't lost the sweet romanticised, everyday life narrative he's famous for. In fact, this time round he's gone just ever so slightly sci-fi with it.

Domhnall Gleeson is Tim, a 21 year old guy who can't wait to fall in love. On his birthday, he learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that all the men in his family are time travellers, so what better way for Tim to use his new found gift than to help his love life. Falling head over heels in love for Mary (Rachel McAdams), Tim begins to use his time travel simply to improve tiny mistakes he has made so that their moments feel perfect, however as life continues Tim’s caring nature takes control as he tries to change the way life has gone for others by travelling in time.

Curtis also wrote the screenplay for About Time, so there’s no surprise that the character dialogue is exceptionally delightful and plausible at the same time. Not only that, but the character development and story progression is engaging, making it no trouble to follow along because it’s so easy to be captivated by the story. An extra feel good element about About Time is that it is very funny both in the sweet, everyday dialogue scenes and when Tim uses his time travelling for specific reasons. Bill Nighy is especially a joy in every one of his scenes.

Tim is an extremely likable, relatable leading man with an ever so charming allure about him and Gleeson is simply superb portraying him. Similarly, Rachel McAdams is charming and delightful, like always, and her chemistry and comedic timing with Gleeson is so matched that their relationship reflects the most adorable moments on screen. However, the winners of the film for best chemistry goes to Nighy and Gleeson as father and son, while it might not be the selling point for About Time, their relationship is undoubtedly the highlight.

Some of the secondary characters, Tim’s younger sister Kit-Kat in particular, are crafted as likable or at least interesting characters, so it’s a shame when their input to the darker points of the narrative feel wrapped up too quickly. But despite it being two hours long, About Time isn’t a long, draining drama and if it were to be any longer, or to explore more characters, it would lose its likability.

The heart touching messages of love, being a parent and spending time with family are poignant and will stay with you after watching About Time. These emotional themes are enough to get your heart aching as well as jumping for the love that’s on the screen. Richard Curtis has smashed the expectations people will have about this film; a likable leading man, charming love interest and lots of romance and meanings.

The word lovely seems a lazy way to describe About Time, but it really is the definition of lovely. It’s exquisitely beautiful in theme, a wonderful screenplay and characters that are so lovable, Richard Curtis’ story about a man who can travel in time feels very relatable.

Pin It Now!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Planes (2013) review

This review first appeared on A113 Animation.

Planes is DisneyToon Studios’ first US theatrical release since Bambi II in 2006. The film follows crop duster, tractor plane Dusty, who dreams of being a racing plane in the high-flying air competition.

Within the clouds, Planes opens 'in the world of Cars' - as if to gently remind viewers 'this is not Cars' and the films are only connected by existing in the same universe - but it feels like the message is saying ‘if you thought this was a Cars sequel, you’re right to feel confused but you are wrong.’ This problematic detail will affect the older viewers, but, for little ones, it will be the sole reason for wanting to see Planes: it looks just like Cars. Furthermore, Brent Mustangburger, the race commentator from Cars 2, reprises his role, as well as a cameo appearance from a beloved Pixar name.

Maybe it's some sort of psychological effect, knowing Planes wasn't first intended for a theatrical release, but the film feels very much like a direct-to-DVD film. The story is actually very basic: an underdog farm plane, who dreams of racing in the big league, gets the chance and, well... so on. It's an average-length family film, which isn't a negative in any sense, if anything the film rarely feels slow. But the actual main event of the race begins within the first ten or fifteen minutes, and then the rest of the story is that race. The characters don't have a build-up or a history because they don't need one for the uncomplicated story; it’s simply about Dusty going from being a plane that isn’t built to compete in races, to living his dream.

The voice talent is quite a delight - considering this is one of Disney's lesser-known films of 2013, there are still some big-name stars there. The great Brad Garrett is Chug, Dusty’s buddy; and John Cleese as British Bulldog, though underused, is superb (a few British stereotypes are highlighted as a funny gag). The best character, and the one children will adore, is Mexican plane El Chupacabra, a passionate lover and flyer who Dusty becomes good pals with. Despite the characters not having any real characterization - in some cases being very 2D - they're not a fault with Planes.

The progression of the race engages the audience well; it’s not a little 10 lap race, but a race across the globe with nightly check-in points, so the entire race is Dusty’s story. Dusty slowly becomes more confident, El Chupacabra gets determined to woo Rochelle, and the film’s bad guy, Ripslinger, feels worried that Dusty may get in the way of his winning streak. It's pretty standard storytelling, but the development of the story is still entertaining for a while.

Another Cars similarity is the calm rock anthem style music played during races and over the credits, making it constantly feel like a feel-good movie- the good feeling just won’t last too long for the mind. The animation itself, though more or less exactly like Cars, is pretty and colourful, making it another Disney treat for the eyes. There are no experiments with the animation, but Planes plays it safe.

Planes isn’t something that is going to be a highlight of 2013 - neither is it going to be a memorable Disney film - but it works. There are likable characters, some very Disney-cutesty lines and jokes, and the 3D (mostly in the sky scenes) is bold, so it’s not something you should dismiss right away.

Of course, being Disney, Planes has a lot of heart but it doesn't elevate to the heights Dusty aims to go to. It’s worth getting around to watch, but it doesn't make for a must-see theatrical release but rather something you’d pick up cheap in a shop for a lazy afternoon.

Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...