Double Feature: Pete’s Dragon (2016) & Peter Rabbit (2018)

double feature

Its been a while since we’ve done a double feature, right? Things are back on track and as much as I wanted to start this whole all same year movies get full reviews. Meaning Peter Rabbit should have its own full review, I just decided to keep with this formula. I guess that kind of hints on how I feel about Peter Rabbit but oh well, we’ll see, right? A nice little pairing that worked out because of my procrastination, may I add? An animated double feature seems like its a rarity around here nowadays plus it has similar names, Pete and Peter. Let’s put it out there right now that I really like watching movies that blend animation with live action, like Mary Poppins. Obviously, these two are more CG and live action but it still counts just in a modernized way.

Let’s check it out!

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon

Director: David Lowery

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oakes Fegley, Oona Laurence, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban

The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. – IMDB

I only watched the original Pete’s Dragon recently. You can see the review HERE. This remake or reboot (whatever you want to call it) is still good for what it is. It had adventure and the acting was good. The atmosphere was nice and a lot of the key elements were there while replacing it with a more environmental sort of idea. It creates a lot of drama and less of a musical like the original. Some of the differences are really the point here which truly depends on how much the audience buys into and how it all works out. Like I mentioned, one of the main elements is the more drama and less musical. To me, that kind of takes away from the charm of the original. I’m into adventure and drama and they work well in family movies and that part does work well but it gives off a different vibe from the original. Of course, we should look at this film as how it stands on its own and there is still a lot of magic in Elliot. Without its pink tuff of hair and more alive thanks to computer graphics and less hand drawn animation gives him a more real feeling but still has its magical moments and he is still very cute with his little movements but Elliot is huge and massive compared to Pete, which is also normal.

I watched Pete’s Dragon a good while ago so if you asked me the details, I probably won’t remember a lot of it but I do remember the emphasis on environment which is a nice theme along with the family and just how to not touch the differences in nature and let them be. At the same time, the film’s charm goes to bringing Elliot to life. I still think the original is more fun to watch and its more colorful and all that happy stuff but this one is a different vibe and beast and has its charm. Shame is that its a reboot and not an original property because its hard to not compare the two which makes it feel less of the original concept but each has its strengths.

Peter Rabbit (2018)

peter rabbit

Director: Will Gluck

Cast & Voice Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden, Colin Moody, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley, Sia, Fayssal Bazzi

Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer’s vegetable garden. – IMDB

Peter Rabbit is pretty much the expected route of things. For myself, I don’t have a whole lot of nostalgia in regards of Peter Rabbit and honestly, it was so long ago that I read it that I don’t even remember any part of it. My knowledge of it is so little of the source material that this is something of an adventure. Rose Byrne is always a pleasure to watch. Seeing as I just saw Domhnall Gleeson in Goodbye Christopher Robin, there is this odd feeling that he keeps getting into these adaptation projects. He is a pretty good actor in the sense that he nails these roles down really well. While I wasn’t totally buying the romance between these two, it worked in a fun way as he silently fought with the rabbits over their affection of Rose Byrne.

I have fairly mixed feelings. On one hand, I don’t think that the material was as memorable as it could have been. But its harmless fun. There’s a bit of music and dancing bits. There’s some over the top comedy. There is some silly humor. There is also family themes and drama but I can’t help but think that for myself, some of the comedy didn’t land so much but then its not exactly for my age group especially without the nostalgia factor.

Valentine’s Marathon: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

If you missed the previous review of New Moon, you can find it HERE.

Moving right along in our time crunch before February ends to check out the rest of the Twilight saga, we are at the third movie, Eclipse. After New Moon’s somewhat lackluster viewing, my expectations have never been lower on where it has gone but then, I also feel like once you hit bottom, the only way is up. As long Jacob hangs around, there is still hope. Watching a franchise after its been completely released has that downfall where its already all out as to what will happen so don’t be surprised when we get to Breaking Dawn that I would already have an idea where the story is headed.

Lets stop the rambling and check this one out!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)

twilight eclipse

Director: David Slade

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Gil Birmingham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peter Facinelli, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Dakota Fanning

As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob. – IMDB

Eclipse is definitely a colossal step up from New Moon and much better than Twilight. I do maintain that Twilight is one of those movie franchises that have to be watched in sequence as the sequels by itself will not stand well alone. The main reason is its characters and how the decisions usually end on some cliffhanger and it carries to the next one. While the stories aren’t complex in itself and has its flaws (which I’ll talk about more later), it still relies heavily on how you feel about its main and supporting characters and the relationship map that has been developed over the last 2 films. With that said, Eclipse does deliver more this time. It has more action and shows other people’s stories rather than just the love triangle and Bella’s crazy intense love for Edward. The supporting characters have a bit more back story as to the pros and cons of Bella becoming a vampire and the central part is still convincing her to consider her options. Its nice that other than the triangle, there is still a little more to learn about the werewolves and vampire histories along with a how things work sort of thing going on on both the werewolf and vampire front. Its something I have criticized about the Twilight saga’s previous two films which seems to be slightly remedied in Eclipse.

twilight eclipse

Bella is slightly more bearable in this one. Although there is this sense of lack of continuation from her character in the New Moon. I say that because in New Moon, she spent a good part of it whining about not caring about her soul and wanting to be changed regardless of the consequences and Edward offers her a condition for him to change her (other than the fact that there is kind of a Volturi high order that it has to happen and everyone acts like she has a choice). Lets say she has a choice and the Cullens can bamboozle the Volturi forever, or else the logic falls apart (unless you’ve read the series, then please do share your knowledge), why would she not accept the condition if she’s willing to do anything, right? But this one she resists with some silly responses and whatnot. My point here is not that the story lacks continuity and logic especially on the love triangle front. But love is subjective and I get that there are a lot of fans out there that do support this story. Perhaps, reading the book will unlock a lot of these answers but its something I’ve never managed to get through because I’m not a big fan of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style. For myself, just watching this film, the story is quite weak.

Its funny because if we take a look at Bella’s love triangle in Eclipse, which is probably at its strongest, I’d probably start seeing Edward in a different light because he’s overrun by strong jealousy for starters which acts a lot out of possessiveness. The scene above not only highlights one of the best scenes since I’m apparently Team Jacob and looking forward to actual kiss but the beginning part highlights that Edward is masked by a lot of bad calls where he uses Bella’s emotions to move a situation the way he likes. Whereas, in this situation, Bella didn’t want to tell Jacob for a particular life and death reason, which was legitimate. Obviously, this is just an example to show how I don’t think that Edward is a perfect character which is fine, because he’s supposed to be perfect to Bella and I guess it does show that as flawed as I find his character to be, the discussion of Edward and Jacob is what shows that I’m becoming more invested into the storyline. I still think Edward’s character lacks depth and consistency while Jacob’s character is written much stronger, probably because he needs to fight harder for Bella and his werewolf story gets a little more attention because of that. On a side note, as I was watching Eclipse, I started seeing how Fifty Shades of Grey was a fan fiction of Edward and Bella, and I’m not sure thats a compliment or not on either/or. We’re not here to discuss that so I’ll leave it at that.

twilight eclipse

Overall, Eclipse suffers from a weak storyline and a lack of consistency in its character’s behaviors and decisions plus loses out by being not very self-contained. However, for fans of the franchise, this third movie definitely is a step up from the previous two. It has as much romance as it has mystery and action. There’s a deeper look at some of the side characters that have been neglected like Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) which I don’t talk about because they never have enough story but this time it focuses a little more on the werewolf tribe and the vampire Cullens, and the history of it all gets a nice emphasis. It has nice training and in turn, a great fight. It has a great score to accompany it all. There are some fantastic moments with Jacob and Bella (as always). I’ve always like the supporting male character more in love triangles so its not too weird that I’m more into their story.

Despite its flaws, Eclipse is entertaining and rather well-paced, even with a 2 hour run time. My first thumbs up on Netflix for a Twilight saga film. I’m pretty happy about that and in a pretty positive feeling going into Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

Jurassic World (2015)

Its taken me a LONG time to get back to the theatres.  I missed Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland. But, I absolute was NOT going to miss out on Jurassic World because it just looks fantastic.  I love dinosaurs and Jurassic Park is an awesome movie that just transcends time.  I can enjoy the trilogy well enough but Chris Pratt has been a promising actor and the dinosaurs in the trailer looks fantastic so this one is just a must-see on my list for summer blockbusters. I’m hoping it’ll meet my expectations. I don’t expect for it to rise above Jurassic Park but I do hope it will be a great popcorn flick/summer blockbuster.

By the way, do you guys have TimePlay? I finally got 1st for this time! Yay! 🙂

Let’s check it out!!

Jurassic World (2015)

jurassic world

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly. – IMDB

Jurassic World

 Jurassic World is an immersive summer blockbuster experience full of entertaining and intense sequences.  The story itself isn’t very unique and can sometimes be predictable in how the plot flows however, it can be overseen by the quality of the visuals and just the environment this fictional revival of Isla Nublar has brought.   What I truly enjoyed was that the story was paced perfectly to generally understand our characters and their nature and motives along with the management and essence of what Jurassic World is based on. The structure will seem very similar to the first Jurassic Park but just on a bigger, badder and meaner scale especially with the introduction of the giant sea dinosaur (that I can’t remember the name of) and the whole genetically modified mysterious one named Indominus Rex (I think that’s how you spell it).  Still, Jurassic World is a fun world.  When the movie entered into the park, I felt like the first time I was watching Jurassic Park.  Just feeling mesmerized and completely in awe with where this is, even if you know things are going to go bad really quick.

Jurassic World

How I see Jurassic World is a bit like a two part thing.  On one hand, the first part is pretty much showing us around Jurassic World and whats happening in front and behind the scenes on both fronts.  There are some mysteries and then some more tense moments, some exciting and fun ones depending on whether we’re looking at the grown-ups and their dinosaur “training” and the facilities or whether its the kids here, Zach and Gray as they explore the park.  The second half is pure intense. Once the our feature dinosaur is loose and its a salvage/protect/escape plot, its full one hold your breath exciting, entertaining, immersive fun summer blockbuster.  Its been a while I haven’t felt so into a movie.  One of the parts actually made me yelp out loud because I was so nervous, totally knowing that the character would be safe but buying into that situation completely.  Thats what a movie needs to do for me, especially a summer blockbuster.  Its really as simple as that.  I didn’t expect it to be perfect and I’m sure the majority of us would not expect that it would rise above the original because Jurassic Park holds a place in our hearts (if you’re a fan) but this one was one fun ride.  Plus, they gave it a few jokes/witty remarks here and there to help ease the intensity here and there and it works really well with the story.

Jurassic World

 I’ve raved on about the movie for pretty much two paragraphs but I think one of the most impressive parts is realizing how Chris Pratt has grown as an actor.  He has found a sort of movie that works for him: action-adventure definitely works because he can pull off the action and he can pull off the witty remarks to create a balance.  His character in this one was great and I enjoyed a good bunch of it.  The charisma the brings to the screen (something I never thought I’d say) is just fantastic.

Aside from him, I always get a little worried when I see kids in these sorts of movies.  Why? Because kids make dumb decisions or they are incredibly annoying and whiny.  These kids are actually pretty decent and smart.  While the older brother Zach doesn’t seem really into this thing and he doesn’t care much in the beginning, the bond between him and his younger brother is an angle of character development that I liked.  That always helps 🙂

While I’m talking about characters, I really liked the supporting characters here from Jake Johnson to Vincent D’Onofrio and Omar Sy.  I’m only naming a few roles that I felt did well.

Jurassic World

Overall, Jurassic World is a fantastic summer blockbuster. Sure, it has a few predictable plot flaws but the story itself is paced really well.  Two hours in that theatre doesn’t feel that way because there is constant action and adventure.  The dinosaurs and the Jurassic World park itself is mesmerizing and visually appealing.  Its not going to rise above Jurassic Park, just as I expected, but it doesn’t need to.  However, what it does deserve is a round of applause for working hard to incorporate and remain respectful to Jurassic Park from memorable scenes to some of the gear from the old park.  With a compelling leads to complement everything, Jurassic World is definitely a summer blockbuster you should try to catch in theatres! 🙂

Have you seen Jurassic World? Are you a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise? What do you think of Chris Pratt as an actor?