TV Binge: Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1, 2020)

Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1, 2020)

Creators: Dan Cross & David Hoge

Cast: Madison Reyes, Charlie Gillespie, Owen Joyner, Jeremy Shada, Jadah Marie, Sacha Carlson, Savannah Lee May, Carlos Ponce, Booboo Stewart, Sonny Bustamante, Cheyenne Jackson

Julie is a teenage girl who finds her passion for music and life with the help of a high -concept band of teen boys (The Phantoms) who have been dead for 25 years. Julie, in turn, helps them become the band they were never able to be. – IMDB

Based on the Brazilian TV series Julie e os Fantasmas, Julie and the Phantoms is a musical comedy drama that tells the story of a girl who is able to make 3 teenage ghosts that died 25 years ago visible to everyone whenever they play music together and hence brought about the their band, Julie and the Phantoms. Running at 9 episodes, there’s a lot to love about Julie and the Phantoms whether from the teenage content or the ghost element and especially the musical and band elements. There’s a little bit of romance, family and friendship and talks about loss and dreams and finding the courage to face it all. All in all, Julie and the Phantoms might have some plot points that seem a tad far-fetched but overall, its feel-good element really lands on such positive notes making it quite a binge-worthy experience.

Looking at the young cast, they are all fairly new to acting. With a lot of musical sort of shows or movies, it has a little overacting element however, the band when with each other feels mostly like the characters do fit themselves. The main actress is Madison Reyes who plays Julie, a girl trying to embrace music again after her mother’s passing. Trying to balance being okay for her family and  having the courage to follow her dreams with the help of the band, Madison Reyes does a really good job capturing the role and also showing her musical talents of singing. Playing opposite her are the 3 ghost boys from the Sunset Curve: Luke (Charlie Gillespie), Alex (Owen Joyner) and Reggie (Jeremy Shada),who have personalities that balance each other which makes each of them stand out and each having their own issues although this season was mostly focused on Luke and building up the chemistry he has with Julie. An overall success for the two as they have some great moments together which is not physical but just through looks and conversation.

The story and the narrative does a good layout for the first season. It gives a good foundation and lays out the scene for both the key characters of Julie and her high school scene along with her family and also, gives a look at the ghost side of things and how this world’s ghosts work (which takes a twist at the finale and gives a set up for the second season). In terms of the songs, every episode has at least one musical offering which aligns with the plot and mostly is fun and positive sort of songs especially with its lyrics. They each have their own fun and are pretty catchy overall.

Overall, Julie and the Phantoms for the first season is a fun show. As a teen show, its pretty good. There are some issues probably in terms of over the top acting in certain parts but its feel-good elements and the fun and catchy songs does cover over a lot of its flaws. It does help that I’m a big fan of these types of shows plus its well-paced and the episodes are relatively short so the first season is definitely a breeze to binge. Definitely one that comes highly recommended for myself (seeing as I’ve rewatched the season a few times at this point since its launch and enjoy it equally as much every time) especially for fans of teen shows and musicals. With that said, I can’t wait for the second season whenever it will be released.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #11: What’s Up 2021 Week 18

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast as we cover What’s Up 2021 Week 18. It’s a really quick one as this lands on the last week of April and coincidentally, the last week of work rush, meaning not a whole lot was done. Every section had a quick overview of the one or two things that that I managed to check out or currently doing. Nothing too special to discuss but some potential plans for some of the sections to talk about and an update on the binging situation. Hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Freaks – Film Review

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

Double Feature: Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (2021) & Don’t F*ck With Cats (2019)

Welcome to the next double feature! This time is a little different as I get the reviews for documentary mini-series out of the way. Being mini-series, it technically should be in its own segment as TV binges but Letterboxd categorized them as movies so here we are! The first is Crime Scene: The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel which is rather new as its a 2021 Netflix documentary and the other is Don’t F*ck With Cats: Hunting Down an Internet Killer from 2019, also a Netflix documentary. Let’s check it out!

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at The Cecil Hotel (Mini-series, 2021)

College student and tourist Elisa Lam vanishes, leaving behind all of her possessions in her hotel room. The Cecil Hotel grows in infamy. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Friday Film Club on Movies and Tea*

Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel is a 2021 American docu-series about the vanishing and death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel. Separated into 4 episodes, it takes a look at the beginning, progression and finale of Elisa Lam’s vanishing and what happens. At the same time, its not only about the mystery but also about the investigation process and the involvement of web sleuths after the elevator surveillance tape was released online as well as the history of the Cecil Hotel from its early days until the present.

The documentary itself definitely has some good and bad elements. On one hand, the history of the Cecil Hotel and the area that it resides it adds a lot of knowledge. As the case builds from the one event, it digs up the horrors of the hotel and the dangerous people that lived there and how the hotel ended up with these residents. Through the interviews of the past manager, the past residents and the investigators of the case, it adds in a lot of perspective that feels like tangents to the mystery the the documentary focuses around but actually gives it a lot of foundation.

The mystery itself is done well enough. In some ways, it actually feels like the historical information about the hotel actually sometimes outshines the case itself mostly because the case itself uses a narrator as a voice-over reading Elisa Lam’s online entries and thoughts and plays it out in a blurry image while also adding in some of the real footage from the news and the investigation. The case is rather mysterious especially with the elevator surveillance tape that gets released and web sleuths who try to decipher this footage and all the questions that it raises. Ever since Don’t F*ck With Cats docu-series was released, web sleuths seems to be a hot commodity to add into mysteries, perhaps more pushed forward by the fact that Unsolved Mysteries have been revived on Netflix as well.

For this docu-series, where it does falls short is that it never really pinpoints a solid direction in execution and sometimes feels like it wants to touch on too many different issues from online bullying, mental illness, Cecil Hotel, who is at fault, etc. All these issues are big things to talk about and yet, the big points of mental illness, which should have been the focus didn’t have as much time to dive into, since that should have been the big takeaway from this one. However, at the end of the day, for those unfamiliar with Elisa Lam’s case and the Cecil Hotel, it is a rather fascinating one in terms of the information that it offers.

Don’t F*ck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer (Mini-series, 2019)

A group of online justice seekers track down a guy who posted a video of himself killing kittens. – IMDB

Don’t F*ck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer is a 4 episode mini docu-series on Netflix that highlights the trek of web sleuths tracing down a kitten killer after releasing a brutal video which leads to a bigger case which involved the killing of young man filmed and released to the public as well. Its hard to talk about Don’t F*ck With Cats being the main reason that it follows a case that is tracked down to a killer located in Montreal, a city that I personally grew up in. The places this killer frequented and lived are areas familiar to myself and for that, its one of the reasons that makes this documentary probably one that hits a lot harder especially the unsettling feeling that unspeakable things could be happening all around us and no one ever really knows. I’m not naive to believe that that isn’t that case, but watching something like this definitely brings that out.

With that said, Don’t F*ck With Cats on one hand is well-executed as a documentary. It starts off focusing heavily on web sleuths and the power of the Internet that pretty much using the right avenues, you can probably track down anything. Other than the very disturbing video of the kitten killings, the web sleuths part actually is an entertaining and intriguing as the community comes together but also leads up to a conclusive thought at the end that gives the viewers a final question to ponder on whether they were the push that caused the killer to elevate to bigger crimes. I’m getting ahead of myself but the idea of this hunt moving between the Internet killers and how it tracks from a single video to eventually being able to pinpoint a location by the end and eventually provide information to the police to hopefully help with their investigation is a fascinating sort of journey as it also parallels with the inevitable focus on the crimes of Luka Magnotta. There are also uses of videos from when the investigation was going on and such which always adds to documentaries.

To be honest, Don’t F*ck With Cats is a really good documentary. On one hand, its one to definitely watch as its focus on web sleuths and the power of Internet is quite intriguing and triumphant for the most part for what they were able to discover however, on the other hand, its also a disturbing case and one that should be highlighted but then as Luka Magnotta is still alive, it almost seems unfair to bring him that spotlight given the information even though the show does make a good point to give space for friends of his human victim to talk about this person whose life was ended so young. In some ways, while the case revolves around the killer and proves how the Internet is a powerful tool when used correctly. The biggest takeaway is that the Internet is great in some ways and also horrible in other ways. The openness of it brings on its own consequences and in the end, that message is shown clearly giving the documentary a good amount to ponder on.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #10: What’s Up 2021 Week 17

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast! This week’s What’s Up 2021 is covering Week 17. We are officially back to weekly format.

In this episode, I take a look at what I’ve been reading, watching, playing and binging on Week 17 of 2021. Reading is a little uneventful however among the many things talked about in the other sections, some of the highlights are talking about what makes Dumplin’ a worthy rewatch, a capsule review of Oscar-nominated Chinese film Better Days as well a dive into the wrap-up of Chinese idol survival competition Produce Camp 2021 and their new temporary boy group INTO1. I also share some upcoming plans on new discussion topics on my mind lately to add some variety.

Hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Room – Game Review
Dumplin’ – Film Review
Paradise Hills – Film Review
Paradise Hills – Movies and Tea Podcast
Better Days – Film Review

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

My April 2021 Adventures!

Welcome to the April 2021 Adventures! Its a tad later than usual. I have a pretty good reason is that: nothing really happened in April except work and a lot of work and then overtime and….a whole lot of nothing else. So I was debating whether to release the post. But you know what, I did get back on track with something and whatnot so I’m going to just do quick one and share some updates.

Workout

Apr.9: Run 4.35km
Apr.10: Walk 15mins.
Apr. 11: Abs Workout
Apr. 14: 34 mins/3.09km walk
Apr. 17: 30 mins/2.41km walk
Apr. 18: 53 mins/4.39 km walk
Apr. 24: 28 mins/2.58km walk
Apr. 25: 13 mins/1.22 km walk

The biggest change in April was that, despite the busy work schedule, I tried really hard to get more active. I only did one run and workout but overall, I tried to force myself to go out deliberately on walks outside of the normal routine. I put on a lot of weight in the last few months due to work and stress and the whole nine yards so its been making me feel a little unhappy about the whole thing so the best way to get active again. It was pretty good since it not only was getting me more active but also the walks helped me de-stress and refresh between work and overtime and actually made everything a little more efficient.

April is over so I’ll probably be doing more runs than walks in May as the weather steadies and I hopefully will have more time.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast

As of the last episode, Tranquil Dreams Podcast has gotten back to a weekly format covering one week of What’s Up. You can check out the last episode HERE.

In terms of schedule, I’m still posting a few days later than I would like but I’m hoping to slowly move it back to a fixed release day of the week. Plus, I have some ideas for other content lately so I’m going to see how to structure those in. Still, one step at a time and things will get back on track by the summer.

New Buys and Bubble Tea

I have some shopping therapy issue that I thought I had gotten rid of but apparently not. Although I’m not doing big buys but I was pretty interested in these Ooly stationary. I got these pastel liners and waiting for the pens to be delivered. I’m organizing stuff lately with a big notebook so its rather useful.

Other than that, we’ve been looking for a new controller for our PC since the husband and I have both gotten into streaming so its good to not have to move the controller between out two computers. Luckily, Costco sells these wireless Xbox controllers which are compatible with Steam. I’ve tested it out a few times on some games so far and really liking it. I haven’t had time to stream in April but planning to get back to it in May to play some of the games released on Xbox Game Pass in the past while. I have no set schedule yet but probably will have one set in the next month. If you watch Twitch, you can head over and give me a follow and get notifications to know when I go live HERE.

I feel like I haven’t talked about the new PresoTea opened over the last month or 2. I can’t remember but the Mango Green Tea with Mango Bubbles with less ice and lite sugar. The blend of that drink is awesome! Not sure if you all have PresoTea but if you do and like mango or iced tea, this one is so good. I don’t drink it a lot but I like to get one as a reward.

Streaming with Friend Update: Resident Evil Village on launch day

On the note of streaming and somewhat of an announcement!

For some of you who don’t know, I stream on Friday evenings with my friend playing horror games. The coming week is release of Resident Evil Village on May 7th (this coming Friday) and we’ll be playing that on release day! Its super rare that it happens and we’re going in completely blind (other than knowing that there’s the tall vampire lady) as we both haven’t played the demos or watched any videos of it or the trailer either.

If you want to come check it out, the stream starts at 8pm EST so you can head over to my friend Brandel Savage’s Twitch channel HERE.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for the April Adventures!
I really stretched this one out and its not exactly exciting but pandemic protocols also doesn’t allow for a lot of variety.
At least, we can sign up for the first vaccine appointment soon so that’s progress, right?

Music Obsessions – May 2021

Welcome to the next Music Obsessions! May is already here! I honestly can’t believe me. This first 4 months of the year went by so fast mostly because I was so busy and just working a whole lot. Either way, music has been a lot in my life especially since I’m watching survival idol competitions and stuff so it gave me a chance to look up the original songs and there’s been some good ones. I’d say there’s some decent variety this time so hope you find something that you like as well!

Let’s go!

Stop Sugar – Gen Neo

I’m not sure if finding Gen Neo was more worth mentioning than finding Stop Sugar in general. I still think its a great song but Gen Neo has a fantastic voice and I had never even heard of him before watching Youth With You 3. His style and his voice is absolutely fitting to the music genre that he chooses to do. He has some other experimental ones of covers and collabs that are also pretty good especially worth mentioning is the one for Leehom Wang’s You’re Not There, a song that I love a lot and his version is different but really good and catchy as well.

A Kind World – 2Night夜里

I’m not sure how I ended up finding this song but 2Night was on the Chinese Rap Competition show last year and I really liked his rap style even though he didn’t make it very far. Finding this is pretty cool since its a rather fun song. I haven’t been able to find the lyrics since some of the faster rap bits are a little hard to catch but overall, I do like the writing and the rhythm of the whole thing. Its feels so lighthearted and feel good to listen to.

超能力 Superpower – G.E.M.鄧紫棋

A lot of people who listen to Chinese pop music knows G.E.M. at this point. She’s known to have a powerful voice and so young with so much success. I have to say that the last few years has really made me see a lot more of her music as her success allowed her to expand into other music genres and make more unique and/or meaningful music. Superpower definitely is unique especially when you look at the dance. Its super catchy overall and its been revolving in my head non-stop.

As a side note, her performance on Youth With You 3 for the Collab Stage was pretty fun as well. You can look it up if you want or ask me to share the link in the comments if you want to check it out

念想 Better Us – Jackson Yee易烊千玺 (‘Better Days’ OST)

I haven’t been watching a ton of movies this past month but I think the most memorable has to be Better Days, a movie that I had bought before it was nominated as Best International Feature at the Oscar’s but it did encourage me to watch it sooner. You can find my review HERE. The soundtrack is pretty good. I was deciding whether to share the main theme of the movie by JJ Lin or this one for this post. This one won out mostly because I think this song’s lyrics is pretty well-written and fits the movie so well. At the same time, I think Jackson Yee doing such a good acting job in this movie and then performing this type of song was a bit surprising. To be honest though, I only know Jackson Yee from 3 places before this: his early boy group TF Boys, a few episode of Season 2 of Street Dance of China and the variety show Welcome Back to Sound which kind of all shows his diversity. Either way, this is very quiet but I think its pretty good.

閉嘴跳舞 Shut Up and Dance – Chris Lee 李宇春

I don’t usually share performances from Youth With You 3 BUT this one is unique because its a fresh new music video for a new song from Chris Lee which had its first reveal or public performance or something on the show. Its also a very catchy song and the whole performance and dancing. They wanted to make it with an brainwashing effect for its dance routine. I think its pretty fun overall plus these are all top trainees in the show so the quality is definitely there. Plus, Chris Lee did put together a well done music video with a lot of style not to mention, I love this type of funky music style.

That’s it for this music obsessions!
Hope you enjoyed it!

Better Days (少年的你, 2019)

Better Days (少年的你, 2019)

Director: Derek Tsang

Cast: Dongyu Zhou, Jackson Yee, Fang Yin, Ye Zhou, Yue Wu, Jue Huang, Yifan Zhang, Xinyi Zhang, Xuanming Gao, Xintong Xie

A bullied teenage girl forms an unlikely friendship with a mysterious young man who protects her from her assailants, all while she copes with the pressures of her final examinations. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Movies and Tea for Friday Film Club*

Perhaps one of the more surprising titles to be nominated in the best International feature category at the upcoming Oscars is 2019’s Chinese romantic crime film, Better Days. Better Days is based on a Chinese YA novel called In His Youth, In Her Beauty. Faced with difficulty to release due to censorship in China, Better Days focuses on school bullying while looking at the stressful and demanding environment of preparing for the National Exam which determines the future of a student and where they end up in university while also looking at the reality of family situations in China. It takes a snapshot of Chinese society, call it a social commentary if you will but the movie does end with a discussion of the progress that’s been made with the different ministry departments of creating laws to protect against school bullying. With that said, the movie rather lengthy running at 2 hours 15 minutes, which is structured fairly well as it starts off right away highlighting the school issue and building up those tensions while moving to a second act which is focused on the relationship between Chen Nian and Xiao Bei as he protects her in the shadows. A lot of their relationship is built through actions more than words which thanks to a good direction of director Derek Tsang makes it work. Making the third act one that tugs at heartstrings despite all that’s happening and question the morals of who is right and wrong as well as bringing up how much teens believe in the adults surrounding them and how much they can help.

Talking about the director, Derek Tsang brings in some interesting direction choices whether its how he uses the lighting or moving through a montage of how time passes or just how he chooses to use the cinematography and camera pans to structure the scene to create a great effect and capture what he wants and leaving some mystery, its done pretty well. Of course, the other surprise for most familiar with Chinese pop culture is seeing Jackson Yee do rather well in his role as Xiao Bei especially since he started out at a young age in a youth boy band TF Boys. Taking up this powerful role and delivering on a decent level and especially being able to act at the pace of Dongyu Zhou who is a much more seasoned actress with a lot of great and diverse roles under her belt, a few of them previously Friday Film Club picks, Us and Them and This Is Not What I Expected. Being the central role here, Chen Nian under Dongyu Zhou is done incredibly well. She is able to bring it to a good level of tension and connection especially with a character that doesn’t say a lot and the ability to play a high school senior while being in her mid-20s and making it believable to follow her devastating experience but still in all the bad still wanting to “protect the world” and points out how no one’s taught them about how to be an adult. The most touching line in the movie between Chen Nian and Xiao Bei when he says: “It’s a deal. You protect the world. I’ll protect you.”

Sure, Better Days has its issues especially for those not too familiar with Chinese films, it might bring in the elements of losing traction and shifting focus of the film and having some melodramatic moments as it loves to bring romance in any type of film. However, what Better Days does remind me a lot of is a 2004 Taiwanese series called The Outsiders (currently on Netflix if you want to check it out) which has a similar romantic arc. While it might not be for everyone, Better Days has its heart at the right place, shares an important topic of teen bullying in China and what has been done so far while also having a decent crime story to wrap up the whole thing. Definitely one to check out if you get a chance!

A Week Away (2021)

A Week Away (2021)

Director: Roman White

Cast: Kevin Quinn, Bailee Madison, Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling, Sherri Shepherd, David Koechner, Iain Tucker

Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home. – IMDB

It sure seems like Netflix has been getting in on the musicals sort of film and TV. Whether we talk about The Prom (review) or Julie and the Phantoms, its been releasing some decent ones. A Week Away is a Christian musical which sets its story a week away at church camp for a runaway guy who has landed in his latest foster home after stealing a police car and faces with possibly juvenile prison if it doesn’t pan out. As he finds more friends and a sense of belonging and guidance, he starts to reconnect with himself and with his faith.

Having not known beforehand that this is considered a Christian musical and not exactly the religious type myself, A Week Away actually was better than I expected as the addition of its religion and faith wasn’t pushing too hard and the story and music does blend into the scenario, making it feel more like a coming of age teen story very similar to High School Musical right down to the music. Plus, the story gets right down to the plot and kicking off both the camp and the characters with an musical number. The music and the choreography is pretty good overall. The story is a tad predictable and very basic and straightforwars but still acceptable.

Where A Week Away starts to have most of its issues are with the script and acting. While musicals do tend to have a level of overacting, the script here sometimes feels a tad choppy. It focuses a lot on the different activities at this camp and the different teams as well as the different friendships and relationships which is unfolding over the course of one week only. On one side, its fun because of the different activities but it sometimes feels like its missing some depth as well. The younger cast definitely is missing a little something in their roles where sometimes it seems to fit with their character and sometimes, its still not quite there.

Overall, A Week Away is an okay musical. There are some fun moments and the whole musical elements are done well enough however the story itself is a little lacking and familiar. The story itself falls into formulaic territory even though the story does have a heartwarming message in the end especially when it doesn’t push the religion and faith part too hard and actually does have a decent flow.

Despite all this, on a personal level, this worked probably better because it reminded myself of a summer when I did join church fellowship with my cousin when I was younger and that was pretty fun. It was able to bring the themes of friendships and sense of belonging alive which is something that I do like about the film.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #8: What’s Up 2021 Week 14 & 15

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast! We’re technically supposed to be back to a weekly recap but a change in my schddule and setting a routine has causes it to be a little delayed! So, here we are! One more biweekly and then we will be back on track completely instead of the am entire week behind. I think it actually works better. Isn’t that great? Plus, I realized that it landed on a week that I pretty much was focusing so much on catch up and other things that I didn’t do a whole lot of things in each category so these two weeks has actually quite a bit to offer combined together.

With that said, this week, I may go a little deeper in what I’ve done from what I’ve finished to new additions on what I’ve been playing, watching and binging! And you know what? All segments are back in action. Pretty much…kind of…

Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy!

Related links:

Toronto Comics: Yonge at Heart – Book Review
Toronto Comics: Osgoode as Gold – Book Review
Ted Talks: Cornelia Geppert
Searching (2018) – Film review
Run (2020) – Film review
An Inspector Calls (2015) – Film review
A Home With A View (2019) – Film review
Nailed It! – TV Binge
Put Your Head On My Shoulder – TV Binge

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

Double Feature: Bigfoot Family (2020) & Flushed Away (2006)

Time for the next double feature! This time its an animated film double with a 2020 sequel Bigfoot Family and a 2006’s Flushed Away! Let’s check it out!

Bigfoot Family (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Jeremy Degruson & Ben Stassen

Voice Cast: Jules Wojciechowski, Roger Craig Smith, Grant George, David Lodge, Lindsey Alena, Sandy Fox, Joey Lotsko

Follow up to Son of Bigfoot: Father uses his new fame to fight against an Alaska oil company but when he disappears the son, the mother, a raccoon and a bear head North to rescue him. – IMDB

Having no idea that it was a sequel when started up Bigfoot Family, the good thing is that it didn’t really need the first movie to understand what was going on however, I also never heard of the first film so I guess that’s why I didn’t draw the connection. With that said, Bigfoot Family is rather straightforward and fun type of animated adventure film. It is a bit wild and imaginative especially since it starts off with Bigfoot being quite the man of fame and in the spotlight and decides in his busy schedule to use his popularity to do some good and decides to head to Alaska to protest against some oil company for doing harm to the environment leading him to get caught. His family finds it odd and heads up on a road trip with the two of the animals, a raccoon and a bear to go with them. Like I said, imaginative and fun.

The premise is pretty fun and definitely geared towards a younger audience however, the sense of adventure is there as it jumps between the different members of the family and what’s going on. The only issue with it probably would be that the beginning is more exciting to watching than the ending which felt a little predictable but then this is a family film and most of the time, it is pretty easy to figure out which is I’d expect is great for kids as its more straight-forward in plot. The ending is pretty fast-paced and action-packed but the plot feels a little empty even if it does highlight family and environment messages.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this one. Overall, the voice acting and premise is pretty good. It also delivers a decent message. I’m going to look out to see whether the first film, Son of Bigfoot gets added on Netflix at some point so that I can check it out.

Flushed Away (2006)

Directors: David Bowers & Sam Fell

Voice Cast: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellan, Jean Reno, Bill Nighy, Andy Serkis, Shane Richie

The story of an uptown rat that gets flushed down the toilet from his penthouse apartment, ending in the sewers of London, where he has to learn a whole new and different way of life. – IMDB

*Originally posted on Movies and Tea for Friday Film Club*

Following two stop-motion projects for Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit between Aardman Animations and Dreamworks Animations, their third and final project together was Flushed Away, an all-CGI animated film due to the story being focused around water which would affect the stop-motion elements.

Flushed Away tells the story of a pet rat, Roddy St-James (Hugh Jackman) living in a high-end Kensington home when he gets flushed down the toilet by a sewer rat Sid who decides to live his luxurious life especially with the World Cup Finals around the corner. Following the sewers and pipes, he ends up at Ratropolis which resembles a sewer version of the city of London where he meets Rita (Kate Winslet), a rat being chased down by Toad (Ian McKellan) for stealing a ruby and in the getaway runs off with an important cable which leads Toad and his French cousin Le Frog (Jean Reno) to go in a chase to retrieve it before the World Cup Finals in order to undergo a plan. Between going back to his luxurious life and protecting these new friends that he’s made, Roddy has to make a decision about whether being on the surface is better than the sewers while also trying to save Ratropolis for Toad’s plans.

Flushed Away is a charming film. Very much so when it was first released and still manages to keep its charm in this rewatch especially as it has a lot of pun jokes and movie puns added into the script which makes for quite an entertaining viewing. At the same time, there’s also a decent soundtrack which cues up in certain scenarios with the slugs that are all over the place singing which is both cute and very fitting. Plus, the art is really nice even if it does resemble the design of Wallace & Gromit character styling but the story keeps these characters in check especially with the actors involved doing the voices.

With that said, the cast is pretty good. Probably not as famous for some as they are now since they’ve moved on bigger projects since 2006 which gained them a lot more fame however, they are deliver pretty great voice acting. With Hugh Jackman as Roddy and Kate Winslet as Rita, two actor and actress that are really great in their own regard especially Kate Winslet which makes such a wonderful Rita (but then I do like Kate Winslet a lot). Toad and Le Frog, as the villains are voiced by Ian McKellan and Jean Reno respectively which are also veteran actors while Toad’s henchmen are voiced by Andy Serkis and Bill Nighy also two known names. Its a great cast of actors put together for this animated film that makes these characters so dynamic and fun to watch come to life even if some of the moments are both ridiculous but still very entertaining to watch.

In some ways, Flushed Away almost feels like a hidden gem. Not a lot of talk about it in general and yet there’s a lot of greatness to it both in cast and the animation as a whole. The story is pretty simple and straightforward and rather suitable for kids especially with the cute slugs and their singing however the dialogue is pretty clever overall. Lots of things done right in this one that makes it worth a watch!