Tag Archives: Jonathan Evans

IT Review

 

“I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify I’ll go for gross-out. I’m not proud.”

-Stephen King

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Stephen King is author that has one of the most loyal and enthusiastic followings of nearly any writer in history. His fans obsess and devour his books, so no wonder why he is also regularly adapted to the screen. There are many shoddy productions of Stephen King material. This is well produced at the least. You can tell that from the clear images and the visuals and detailed production value. But does it succeed in and kind of engaging horror?

IT tells the story of a small town called Derry in the eighties where it seems Norman Rockwell’esque, however people are going missing, mostly children. Only a handful of children are catching onto the pattern that there always seen the same demented clown appears and they unite in solving the mystery.

The children are Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) who has a stutter and is very determined to solve the mystery because a year ago he lost his brother Georgie to the clown. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is the new kid in school as well as being overweight so he spends time in the library. Richie (Finn Wolfhard) is the wisecracking comedy relief who’s jokes don’t always land but he keeps trying. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) is the timid, germaphobe who is the one to suggest that they don’t go into the scary places. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) the only black youth in the whole town and has suffered hardships of being an outsider. Stan (Wyatt Oleff) who is the most logical one, believing in facts and rational and second guesses all the supernatural elements. Finally there is Bev played by Sophia Lillis, who is by far the best talent in the movie. She is able to encapsulate all the fear, confidence and insecurities within this one character. I hope to see her go onto more things.

Until now our only personification of Pennywise the clown was Tim Curry in the miniseries. That was a fun performance but only in the sense that it was an actor going all out with not restrictions. Watching it now as a fully grown adult, you’ll probably be entertained but doubtful be scared. Now Bill Skarsgard is under the makeup, he also goes all out in his performance, however there are delicate touches of control here, adding glimpses of his sinister intentions through bouncy clowning. Also aiding in the overall terror of his performance are some genuinely creepy ideas of what to do with him (none I shall spoil). Finally he comes with much more convincing special effects this time around.

King is a writer who has developed many reoccurring cliches within his work (IT has more than a few). But the one I want to focus on is the way too mean and soulless portrayal of bullies. The bully here is a boy names Henry (Nicholas Hamilton), a complete psychopath that must be a bully, it is his desperate role in life. This is over-the-top and quite frankly unbelievable,

Just like in A Cure for Wellness, Benjamine Walfisch delivers a melodic score that starts as whimsical childhood and then drifts into demented screams. Much like Bernard Herman in Psycho for the main moments of fright he cuts out all other instruments and just uses the strings, creating high-pitched shrieks.

As of this point of writing this review I have never read a Stephen King novel. However from what I understand of his prose they have great ideas and are engaging page turners. However they also are very wild and don’t lend themselves to being put to screen because of an idea that would work while reading it might not be so brilliant when is actually visualised. As for what the book is like I do not know, but they seem to have run with the idea and added and changed elements to make them better suited for the medium.

Whilst there are moments of genuine frightening material in here there are other moments when it goes too far and it’s just the movie yelling at you. Though for the moments of the children being children and the moments of fright they are very much worth it.

 

Review The Dark Tower by Jonathan Evans

 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

There are many, many stories like The Dark Tower. A child that exists in the mundane world that we know and then stumbles into a world unlike our own where they must manoeuvre it as well as see many interesting things along the way. One of the first examples of this is Alice in Wonderland, then The Wizard of Oz and many more. But while concept is one thing what truly matters is execution.

Our lead is a boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), he is mostly a loner and has dark dreams of another world where monsters dwell and there is a large black tower that stands. He goes to therapy to talk about how he believes that the earthquakes that happen in the real world are related to what is happening in his dream. Of course the world is real and he eventually finds a way there. Taylor handles the role well, displaying all the panic, fear and confusion clearly and convincingly.

In the other world Idris Elba plays Roland who’s a Gunslinger, basically a knight that roams the land and rights wrongs. But he is the last of the Gunslingers and has become disillusioned with helping people. It is also established that he is a little stronger and faster that the average human, so he can heal faster, do more impressive feats and take more of a pounding and not die. I must give the movie credit for not being on tracks with the stereotypical stern mentor figure. There is a moment in the movie (I wont spoil it) where something traumatic happens to Jake, he says that they have to move but he speaks calmly to him and isn’t above giving him a hug.

The antagonist is a magician of some kind and mostly referred to as “The Man in Black.” He is essentially a very powerful being of pure evil. He is used to getting his way and can treat anyone how he wants. Mathew McConaughey is clearly having fun with the role, this is an excuse to be devilish and swaggering. As a characters there’s no real depth, but as a scary threat, he does the job.

Movies these days seem to be very franchise orientated. Wanting to adapt books is nothing new but now studios really want books that are part of a series, so that they can not just get one but many movies out of them. This probably stated with Harry Potter, kept on going with Hunger Games and is still common now. As of writing this I have never read the book by Stephen King that the movie is based one, but this is fine, audience members shouldn’t have to read the book in order to enjoy the movie, they should buy their ticket and enjoy it regardless. This movie is fine to understand, there are things that go unexplained but you don’t always need exposition for every single thing that happens in a world. I heard from one source that a movie could never do the source material justice because the books go so weird and high concept, well that may be, but as a movie it’s fine.

As stated earlier the concept is not original. The best examples of movies that use this concept would be The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth. On the opposite scale, the weakest movie I’ve seen with this idea is Percy Jackson & The Olympians  The Lightning Thief. This movie isn’t the pinnacle of this genre but it is also far superior to Percy.

When the movie ends the story that kicked everything off is wrapped up nicely as well as leaves itself open for other scenarios to happen. Being that there are many books in the series if the film is a success this will happen and if not then it will simply be as it is.

 

Review Atomic Blonde by Jonathan Evans

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

There are many movies like Atomic Blonde. A sensitive, political situation where a top agent is called in to handle it and what follows is a chase, gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and some sharply worded moments over a bar. Many movies follow the same form, what matters is the effort and result. This decided new film from director David Leitch decided to use a more vibrant colour pallet and attempts to really make you feel the fights going on.

What is the plot? Who cares. Seriously though the movies premise is as simple as I previously described but in order to be professional I’ll elaborate. In 1989 the Berlin wall came down, the city was complicated in terms of it’s politics (to put it simply), spy’s are everywhere, one spy is taken down who has a list of the names of all the active spy’s, there is another man that wants to defect and has committed all the names to memory. So Lorraine Broughton is called in cause she’s the best at all secret agent skills. Honestly this doesn’t matter, the plot is a thin clothing line to take us from one set-piece and character after another.

Charlize Theron has established herself as one of our greatest living actors. Able to handle intense emotional material and be the grand star of a blockbuster. This is a role where she is the Fe-male equivalent of James Bond, stylish, a drinker and very dangerous. She is beautifully shot however the filmmakers don’t just make her a something beautiful, she is a fighter and they give her bruises and cuts.

In Berlin her contact is David Percival (James McAvoy), a British agent that has allowed the corruption and brutality of Berlin to envelop him. McAvoy can handle this kind of role with ease, he is the kind of actor that believes in giving it all or go home. He gives it all.

During the day Berlin is a city of black and white, but at night it comes alive with dark shadows and turquoises and fuchia. The colors are in-keeping with the time and feel of the movie, disco and dance.

The extra layer of style in the movie is the soundtrack. Banging dance tracks that add a spicy tone to the movie as well as make the feel rather tongue-in-cheek. This works, it allows you to get into the rhythmic nature of the movie and know that it’s about the style and experience.

Not every movie needs to stir your soul. Others don’t even have to be that original in terms of their premise, but they do need to properly convey their goal. Atomic Blonde seeks to entertain you showing a dank, sexy ride. It does this very well, you are seduced by the aesthetic and engaged by the visceral action.

 

Review Dunkirk by Jonathan Evans

 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

There is the location, the situation, the characters and the deadline. All are set, wound up and then the ticking begins.

Dunkirk is not so much of a war movie as we traditionally expect one to be. We see soldiers, it is set in World War Two and there are moments of gunfire but its closer to Grave of The Fireflies because of it’s tone and more about the effect of war.

Our backdrop is the beach of Dunkirk where French and British soldiers were pushed back to and the Nazi’s have surrounded them and are going to move in for the kill. Some ships are coming to pick them up but they often get shot down by planes.

We have about three situations going on. One follows a young private named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who just wants to get on a ship and get out alive. Another follows Mr Dawson a man who owns his own boat and is taking it upon himself to rescue all the soldiers he can. Another is Farrier (Tom Hardy) a British pilot that has to defend what ships he can but a shot has rendered his fuel gauge broken so he has no idea how long he has left.

Seeing the movie is like seeing Hitchcock’s Notorious. Christopher Nolan has reduced this movie to as few spoken lines as he could and focused on sharply telling the story through visuals.

Throughout the movie it is all about choice. The characters are all facing death and how they decide to go about it. The young private doing all he can to stay alive, the pilot that is remaining in the fight to defend the troops as much as he can,  even though his plane could give out any minute, the old man that has a boat so is going to pick up some soldiers even though he will most likely get shot down and die for nothing.

Over the course of watching the movie you will grasp that it is told out of order. Each characters narratives starts and you then learn that they intersect with the others. I tell you this because it isn’t really important, there is no twist involved with it, just a refreshing way to tell a plot with multiple characters from different perspectives. The kind of thing I expect and appreciate from Nolan.

This is Christopher Nolan striping himself back. His movies have become increasingly more dense and complicated, not in a bad way, though he has gotten pretty close to over-packing his movies. This is a simple concept with minimal dialog and more about clearly telling a gripping experience.

 

Review Shin Godzilla by Jonathan Evans

 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

Godzilla was first conceived as personification of the destruction caused by the nuclear attack on Japan with an anti war message behind the whole thing. Though through other more child friendly interpretations and marketing gimmicks the king of the monsters has been made into a joke. Though there are limitations on how seriously the image of a man in a rubber suit as well as the concept of a giant lizard destroying a city can be taken there is no doubts that the first movie meant it to tackle serious subject matters.

In 2014 we got the Hollywood version of Godzilla by Gareth Edwards, which is one of the most unhappy times I have ever had in a movie theatre. We hardly ever got to see Godzilla, the human characters were un-engaging and the image was so dark that hardly anything could be seen.

Now for whatever reason Toho has decided to make their own movie. Reintroducing the character for a new audience. It opens on a day like any other, only this day there are movements coming from the sea, first just ripples, then things start poking out, eventually it moves into the city and nothing stops it. So now the people in-charge must make decisions on how to deal with this creature.

Though we still live in a world where the threat of nuclear annihilation is possible, it’s not the prime concern. This movie’s focus is in dealing with a colossal threat that seemingly comes out of nowhere. It layers itself with seeing Godzilla on the move and the devastation he is raining down and the officials running around trying to understand the creature and make decisions.

In the directing chair is Hideaki Anno, legendary anime director who will probably always be closely associated with Neon Genesis Evangelion (which also includes the earth dealing with giant monsters attacking them) one of the most legendary titles in anime. This is his first work in live action and he adapts well. He knows how to visually convey information with a few or even a single image.

This design of Godzilla is probably the most threatening and horrifying version that’s ever been conceived. They stay true to the mentality of a man in a rubber suit, having his movements be slow and limited. His skin looks like glowing, burning scabs, tiny and focused eyes like that of a shark a mouth filled with razor sharp teeth.

Along with the new look is also the classic powers that he’s known for and some new ones that are explained by adding something to the mythology. I wont tell you what it is but its a satisfying one that allows the legend to adapt and grow in this new time.

Though the sharpness of special effects is not everything, not even the most important thing in movies it is still important. This is because if we don’t believe that monster, spacecraft, laser-blasts, castle are really there then we are taken out of the experience. The rendering of Godzilla is shoddy to be frank, especially in the early stages, other things like trains look rather fake too, however such things are forgiven if they are in a story and situation that has grabbed you.

There are many human characters in the movie that all run around the rooms and spout their opinions and facts that are coming in. There are definitely over twenty characters that are introduced through a gauntlet of a passe. They talk very fast and their credentials pop on-screen at the same time, never stopping. There is a part in the movie where they all wake-up from working all night and decide to take a break and eat, then they reflect on how hard everyone has been working. This moment alone lets you connect and feel for these characters more than any complicated speech or feat of heroism. However I’d still be lying if I said you walked away really having gotten to know anyone.

This is not the great reinvention of the character or the monster. But I have seen how bad a movie like this can get. It is not boring and the image is clear and the sense of panic and destruction are effective.

 

Review War for The Planet of The Apes by Jonathan Evans

 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

Back in 2011, if you would have told me, or anyone that a prequel series to The Planet of the Apes would be one of most consistent movie trilogies with one of the most engaging movie characters in a while, hardly anyone would have believed you.

Yet here we are, the third movie where we see how we get the to the status of Apes being the rulers of the planet. Along the way we’ve had the development of of very engaging character, seen the mastery of a special effects art-form and been dealt engaging scenarios. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed this.

Our status is that Caesar and his group of apes are on the move and looking for a new place to call home. They need to move because of the war which was ignited in the last movie. They seem to have found an ideal place but the night before they move-out a human platoon invades and kills Caesars wife and eldest son. The one who killed them and the leader of the humans is a man simply referred to as The Colonel (Woody Harelson). Now Caesar sends his apes off to their home but he cannot go with them, he must have his revenge.

The digital effects in producing these apes continues to impress beyond measure. We are able to see (roughly a hundred) apes onscreen at the same time, of all different species (gorilla, orangutan, chimp etc.) and each of them has something distinctive about them (a scar, different colour eyes etc.) so we can recognise them. As well as that they take the texturing of the fur and present all kinds of different variables. Dry and windy, raining and damp and others with flakes of snow resting on them. All of these are rendered in razor sharp detail that pushes the line of what we can distinguish between an effect and live action.

But beyond the surface level of these apes it’s the motion-capture technology and the actors within it that are truly bringing these characters to life. The most notable is of course Andy Serkis as Caesar who has mastered the art of motion capture, he is able to figure out the mentality of a character, even a species and match them with their walk and movement. But he goes a step deeper than that, he gets deep into the characters mentality and allows it to shine through little moments of shrugs or facial movements.

Even though this movie is about conflict and has “War” in the title there are many scenes that are quiet and some even that go by without any spoken words of dialog. This movie understands that in order for the action to matter you must first have moments of calm and build a connection with the characters that doesn’t come through them screaming and shooting a gun constantly.

Throughout the story there’s quite a few heavy servings of Christ symbolism. Not something I’m a fan of. The symbolism can work, however only sparingly and with a light touch. This doesn’t and because of that it comes off heavy handed. We see it, know exactly what they are doing and are taken out of the moment.

All three of these movies have never forgotten one thing, that there is good an evil on both sides.  There are the greedy, the righteous and the hateful and they all populate either side. These movies understand humanity better than most movies that have come out to portray any conflict.

These movies have shown the birth and establishment of a new species that have had to struggle to survive and other moments where peace might have been a possibility but others couldn’t let it happen and how that war comes with server cost to all. These movie are surprisingly some of the most engaging cinema to come out in the last decade.

 

Review Spider-Man: Homecoming by Jonathan Evans

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

For the past decade (roughly) Spider-Man has been the legal property of Sony, within the movies. MARVEL nearly went bankrupt back then so sold the character to make some money. Since then MARVEL movies have become the biggest and consistently high-quality movie series in history. However they’ve had an arm tied behind they’re backs with not having the rights to all their characters. Now an agreement has been reached that Sony will allow Spider-Man to be used in their cinematic universe.

This movie opens after the devastation caused at the end of Avengers and a clean-up crew is clearing debris and packing up alien technology. They are then halted in doing so by higher officials saying that they are taking over. This means that a bunch of them are loosing their jobs. They have already taken some of the technology so instead of turning it over they keep it for themselves for their own ventures.

Cut then to a few years later when Spider-Man first appeared in Civil War, he’s vlogging the whole thing. So now after all the events Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man must now wait until he’s needed for another mission with the Avengers. He waits, stops burglaries and other little crimes and waits for the call.

Tom Holland plays Peter and Spider-Man as someone who is in awe with most of the amazing things he gets to see and experience. When he sees another Superhero he falls to pieces and talks all about them. He’s simply an energetic, well meaning kid.

Being that getting this movie made already came with it’s share of legal baggage, two different companies have to have their say on the character, as well as a total of six people on the screenplay, the odds seemed good that this movie would have been a mess.

Soon we see that the men that took the alien technology has created their own heist operation, where they steal and sell weapons to local thugs. Their leader is a man Adrian Toomes, who is playing The Vulture, even though he is never referred to that by name. Michael Keaton brings him to life with a kind of subtle malice. He’s not a complete, raging psychopath, you can see though and control, but also that there is clearly danger lurking below the surface level. He has equipped himself with robotic wings that come with a few gadgets and blades so he provides more than a threat.

The other supporting cast comes in the form of Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) that proved a fresh no-nonsense support for Peter. Being that he recruited him in Civil War Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) returns for this movie and plays the mentor/father figure, giving pieces of advice and plenty of criticism. His best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) that provides extra elements of comedy and allows Peter to spell things out for him because he knows so little about the Superhero world. Then there’s Michelle (Zendaya) a wonderfully confusing contradiction that says she doesn’t care about any of the social events or trends but is still apart of all of them.

Donald Glover makes an appearance as Aaron Davies, a low level crook that actually cooperates with Spidey. Glover made some political waves when he put himself forward for Spider-Man a few years ago and asked the question why couldnt an African American man play the Wall-Crawler. He did voice the Miles Morales Spider-Man (alternative version) in an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man and here he still gets to be a part of the world he clearly loves.

In 2002 Sam Rami made his version and then 2012 it got rebooted with Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man, which ended with it’s sequel in 2014. A criticism for this movie and even putting the character into Civil War was that the public is tired of starting this character over AGAIN. The concern is fair, how many times can we see the same story repeated exactly? Well a lot if human history is anything to go by. But what they do is make the decision to forego the origin and tell Peter’s story after-the-fact.

Spider-Man has always been about all the little things getting in the way. This movies plot is bogged with all kinds of commitments ans scheduling conflicts that wouldn’t be a big deal to Captain America or Thor but Peter is tethered to such menial links in his life. It has always been the most humbling and connectable element to the character.

This movie is refreshing from some of the other MARVEL movies because of it’s lower scale. Like with Ant-Man this follows what came before and acknowledges that this is a world where giant aliens can descend from the sky and cause mass destruction, but tells its story from a lower scale perspective. It’s a good way to refocus these movies and not make every movie about a city or continent being smashed to pieces.

This movie is fun. It has bright, vivid colors, a plot that is simple to understand, characters that poke fun at each-other and some story details and along for the ride are a few energetic, creative action sequences.

 

Review Baby Driver by Jonathan Evans

 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

In a movie there is the image, the score, the sound effects, the performances, the camera movement and, if so chosen, the colour. Usually one element shines or we can say that two were in great harmony, but almost never can they all be brought together, layered and baked to create one infusion of all creating a great experience.

Like what Damien Chazelle did with La La Land, Edgar Wright takes the elements, aesthetics and sensibilities of the old and create something modern with them. With that movie it was the Hollywood musicals, here it’s the pulpy heist movie.

The car pulls up outside a bank three of the people in the car get out, go to the trunk and take out guns then they slip on masks and enter. Another remains in the car, a young man that decides to lip sync along to the tune playing on his iPod. When they come back he drives.  The young man behind the wheel goes by Baby.

Baby is a fresh faced young man that’s constantly plugged into his iPod listening to music with a pair of sunglasses on. He listens to music because he suffered an accident at a young age so he plays music to drown it out. Ansel Elgort plays him with swaying interest. At times wanders through life being much more interested with the music playing in his ears and others completely focused on his situation.

Baby’s employer and the one who setups these heists is Doc (Kevin Spacey) a controlling, nonsense man that goes by the mentality that it’s either his way or the highway. There’s also Buddy (John Hamm) and Darling (Eliza Gonzalez) a married couple that are like Bonnie & Clyde, happiest to be in each-others company while pulling these jobs. Then there’s Bats (Jamie Foxx) who seems more than a little unhinged, crime seems to come almost too easy to him. Naturally these are just code-names so none of the members can turn in the other as well as making the characters more easy to remember, like in Reservoir Dogs.

A an extra storytelling layer the ringing in his ear serves as so much more. We as mammals have learned to be fearful of high-frequency sounds because we used that to predict earthquakes. So that noise is cutting to a deep base instinct within us as human beings. We feel that either the situation is untrustworthy or that something bad is coming.

If you decide to make your movie in colour then you must use the colour. Most times filmmakers have a colour movie because that’s what expected of them and put no extra thought into the extra layer of storytelling they have. Not here. The movie has an appealing colour pallet of minty colours with a few deeper ones in harsher scenes. Every character has their colour which they either wear of expresses itself on the setting.

The editing, like all Wright movies, is a sleek, succinct experience with no frames gone to waste. He uses his regular tricks of panning’s combined with wipe cuts to create a seamless momentum that takes from inside, to outside, from one setting to another in within thirty seconds that would take others much longer. Other times he incorporates long shots that play like a skilful ballet between the actor and the camera. Within the moments of snappy cutting it never becomes confusing or disorientating because a) whats in the shot is simple and clear b) the colour helps to further register who it is doing what.

The soundtrack is composed with the greatest care. Edgar Wright is clearly a music enthusiast but it goes beyond that. We’ve had soundtrack’s with plenty of catchy songs in them (example Guardians of the Galaxy) but this goes deeper. This picks a song and completely dissects it in terms of it meaning, the lyrics, the rhythm and tone and infuses it into the scene. Sometimes it obviously fits the context of the scenes it picked for other times it ironically plays over a contrasting one.

One day, while getting coffee at his regular diner he becomes enchanted by the humming of a waitress Debora (Lily James). They both clearly have a love for songs and being on the road.

I have gone this far in the review without talking about what will probably be the main talking point for other critics, the car chases. They are well executed with fluid camera movements and impressive stunt driving as well as setups that are original, so much so that it’s almost like watching a martial arts fight scene with a car.

Baby Driver is a movie made by a man that loves nearly every aspect of cinema and is talented enough to draw as much as he can from every bit of footage he’s able to show you. Nothing goes to waste and is all entertaining. If you want to have fun you will be, if you wish to have an efficient, well crafted piece of cinema, you will also have that. Either way, take the ride.

 

Review My Cousin Rachel by Jonathan Evans


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

 

From the opening we have questions, through the watching of the movie we gain context on those questions and will probably form our own opinion, but no answers. Few can have the gut to attempt such a feat let alone tell their story successfully.

My Cousin Rachel is a Gothic mystery, though not like many, due to it’s ambiguity. It is a tale of treachery, love and how there are secrets that people carry and sometimes you will never know them.

The movie opens with voice over from our main character Philip (Sam Claflin) asking the questions that will drive the movie and establishing his backstory. He grew-up being adopted by his cousin Ambrose and living a very happy life. When he grows up he leaves for Italy, leaving Philip alone. He writes to him, telling him that he’s met a woman named Rachel and have gotten married, through time he also writes that he’s getting ill. One letter arrives though, saying that she is the cause of his illness and he needs help. Philip goes to Italy but when he arrives Ambrose is dead and Rachel has left the estate. Philip is certain that Rachel killed him and vows revenge, however it is said and confirmed in the death certificate that he died of a brain tumour which caused delirium. Philip doesn’t accept it and prepares his home to be a trap for Rachel.

However when she does arrive it is followed by Philips plans not quite going as he intended and her melting away of all expectations. She is pretty, charming and humorous. Philip, who has spent such little company with women before, is no match for such charm. Suddenly he is telling his godfather (Ian Glen) and God-sister (Holiday Grainger) of all her fine qualities.

Rachel Weiz as Rachel is able to display this character as so many things. Instantly full of life and likeable, sad and grieving, but also flash hints of possible sinister intentions. It is in these little moments, that amount to a glance here and there and certain notes in her voice that make you guess that there might indeed be something else.

The movie is all about details, the binding of legal contracts, a phrase a character says, a precious possession that is worth so much. The words and phrases crystallize throughout and after the watching, becoming symbols of the story itself.

If you like you movies to be simple and at the end wrapped up in a nice bow then this is not the movie for you. If you like to be challenged, even a little bit then I believe you’ll be intrigued and drawn into this world of doubt and misconception.

 

Review The Red Turtle by Jonathan Evans

Young Critic Jonathan Evans used Spice Time Credits to access this performance at Chapter cinema. He earned the Time Credits reviewing for Get the Chance.

“What is a man? If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
The Red Turtle is the kind of movie that doesn’t get made often. A movie that exists, sure of what it is and never attempts to explain itself.

I couldn’t even tell you what the “target demographic” for the movie is. It’s an animated movie, typically for children, but there’s nothing cute or funny happening, nothing scary or brutal either so not specifically for adults. Could this just be a movie for people?

The plot for this movie is so minimal. Man wakes on a shore and finds that he is stranded on an island. What does he do then? Survive and try to get back to civilisation. He tries building a raft but it keeps getting destroyed by a large red turtle (hence the title). This leads to other things and eventually he is joined by a woman and then a son comes along.

This movie exists without any spoken words of dialogue, only movements and images. The lead gives off the occasional huff and puff and a scream here and there, but no full words. This means that the visuals have to ring with absolute clarity, whatever the Man is doing or where he is has to be immediately obvious. Without the dialogue it must fall on the sound and music to keep us engaged on the audio level. Every swish of the waves, footsteps on sand or rock is perfectly clear and adjusted to the right level. Laurent Perez Del Mar delivers an emotional and at other times ethereal score that infuses itself so well with the images onscreen that the two harmonise in the most beautiful way.

The drawing style, particularly with the people, is more European. Like the works of Herge, thick, clear lines with black dots for eyes and vivid colours. The animation is constantly smooth and on-model. It is the backgrounds that have sharpest rendering to them, we are able to see every leaf on the trees and plants that grow on the ground as well as seeing way into the background.

This movie, I admit, a challenge to write for. It is so simple, to experience the product is the most thrilling part but to deeply describe it is indeed the challenge. It simply operates at such a minimal, smooth passe.

Who is this movie for? What was it’s purpose? Well it was beautiful and technically very impressive. But who exactly do I think the marked for it is and how to promote it? But maybe we don’t always need that from this medium that can deliver us so much. Maybe sometimes we are allowed to sit back and see and hear a journey and simply be moved by it.