The Polar Express (2004) Review

polar-express-onesheetThe Polar Express is a 2004 animated Christmas movie that stars Tom Hanks and is based on a children’s book from 1985, the film was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis who is known for directing classic films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Back to the Future trilogy, Cast Away and Forrest Gump.

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On Christmas Eve night a train pulls up outside of a young boys house and the conductor offers him a free full round trip to the North Pole, the boy was chosen especially to take the train ride as he had become skeptical of the existence of Father Christmas, like most people would he at first declines the offer to ride the train with the strange man but quickly changes his mind when the train starts leaving without him and he quickly boards the train before it is too late, on the train are many other children who have also been chosen to take the trip.
the-polar-express-586393lYou could say that there are four main children in the film, our lead child is not named at all through out the movie and the same goes for our only female lead they are both listed as Hero Boy and Hero Girl in the cast the other two male children who get a lot of screen time are Billy a poor boy who lacks trust in other people and a know it all kid who is named Know it all, the reason I believe for the lead male and female characters not being named is so that the viewer can identify better with the characters, children can watch the movie and can see themselves in the role of these children.

The only other character that I would say is worth mentioning is the Train Conductor who is voiced by Tom Hanks, the conductor seems to be a magical being that has planned everything that has happened on the trip, he even knows what lesson each child needs to learn on the journey to the North Pole causing many to believe that the children were all chosen especially by the conductor as a means of teaching them life lessons and to help guide them in the best directions for once the journey is over.

00000004There are a lot of moments in the film that may leave you asking a lot questions one of the most asked is what was up with the hobo on top of the train?

Many have speculated that this strange character who helps the lead male in various unusual ways is Jack Frost due to his endurance to the cold and his various ice and snow related powers and abilities, this makes a lot of sense and I tend to agree that it is the most logical theory for the character.

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The film could be classed as a musical as it does have a few original songs which in my opinion are nothing special however they are charming and suit the film nicely, if I was to pick a favorite it would have to be the simple yet fun hot chocolate song.

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The Polar Express is a wonderful Christmas film, it has good morales and it doesn’t rely much on Father Christmas as a character which I think is over done in a lot of Christmas films, it will leave you scratching your head after watching it but the the things that are left to speculation make a fun debate and some theories people have come up with for un-answered questions are really interesting, the animation is very good however it mostly shines on smaller details such as the snow and details of the trains architecture than it does the characters but all of the animation is very well done, with a great voice cast and a very creative premise for a Christmas movie the Polar Express is a film that is a must watch around the holiday season.

I hope you enjoyed this holiday review of The Polar Express (2004) if you respect my opinion I will respect yours.

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Trading Places (1983) Review

IMG_6811-482x707Trading Places is a Christmas comedy directed by John Landis who directed classics such as an American Werewolf in London, Animal House and the Blues Brothers before this popular flick.

Trading Places Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy ©Paramount PicturesThe film stars Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche as the lead actors in the film who work along side a supporting cast consisting of Denholm Elliot and Jamie Lee Curtis.

09132013_Trading_PlacesA homeless man and a rich stock broker have their lives switched due to cruel one dollar bet set up by two sleezy rich business men Randolph and Mortimer Duke, the two comedy legends Murphy and Aykroyd give of some hilarious performances while the rest of the cast do an excellent job portraying their characters.

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I particularly enjoyed Jamie Lee Curtis in her role as Orphelia the prostitute that offers to help aykroyds character seek revenge on the Duke brothers and to get his fortune and dignity back, but the entire cast did a great job none the less.

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There are a lot of jokes and references in the film that wouldn’t sit well with some viewers including a lot of racial slangs, racist jokes and a scene with a gorilla that would leave some people very unimpressed however if you are not offended by anything like this then I am sure you will love the film.

Its one of my favorite movies to watch around the holidays and I am sure it could become a favorite for some of you guys too.

I hope you enjoyed this holiday review of Trading Places (1983) if you respect my opinion I will respect yours.

If you enjoyed this review please consider donating by using the donate button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome and much appreciated.

 

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Bayonetta 2 (2014) Review

The Witch is back !!!

After the success of the first game a sequel to Bayonetta was inevitable but unfortunately it never happened and Sega soon lost focus on the franchise that is until Nintendo of all companies bought the rights and made the series their own and released a trailer for a new game exclusive to their systems, of course this upset a lot of people who don’t play Nintendo but from the companies point of view this was a brilliant marketing stunt forcing people who desperately wanted to play the new Bayonetta game to buy their systems and it worked so good for them Bayonetta 2 was released on the Wii U in 2014 along side the original game before it was re-released in a similar package this year for the Switch.

Thankfully the plot this time around is fairly straight foward, Bayonetta and Jeanne are out doing some Christmas shopping with the pathetic Enzo carrying all of their new stuff, Angels attack an aeroplane stunt show so Bayonetta and Jeanne suit up to take them out and with a new set of guns from the merchant Rodin this should be easy but unfortunately during the fight one of Bayonettas monsters escapes from its master and knocks Jeannes soul from her body which then gets dragged into Inferno, Bayonetta kills the monster but now has to get to the Gates of Hell to rescue Jeanne before her soul is completely consumed.

The game play is essentially the same as the original with a few changes, for those who don’t know Bayonetta is a hack and slash game series inspired by the Devil May Cry games, the first game follows the adventure of an Umbra Witch who kills Angels by shooting them with guns she holds in her hands and the heels of her shoes, she can use multiple weapons and items to help her survive and upgrades can be bought from Rodin through out the games, some supple changes in this game compared to the original is Bayonettas slightly different fashion choice in both Witch and Panther form, local multiplayer and a much easier gameplay experience which is still challenging and fun.

There is only one thing I hate about this game and that’s the character Loki, he has an extremely important role in the game but he is just so annoying, he wines a lot, he has an annoying voice and some of his dialogue is straight up cringe worthy

The soundtrack is just as great as the first game, it has a lot of orchestral and vocal tracks which are all a lot of fun to listen too, use the link above to check it out

 

Bayonetta 2 is an epic game, it controls perfectly, it has a great sound track, beautiful graphics and plenty of extra content to keep you busy many would agree that it’s better the original and even though I hate Loki I have too agree, Bayonetta 2 is an excellent sequel and hopefully it’s influence will effect future games in the series 9.7/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch

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Not so Christmas Review: Chicken Run

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Chicken Run is a very unusual movie to say the least, Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman teamed up with Dreamworks animation to make an animated version of the Great Escape starring chickens and its fantastic.

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In a slightly kinder interpretation of a Nazi Concentration Camp Chickens are forced to produce eggs for their farmers and if they dont produce enough eggs for the week then its off to the chopping block, all of the chickens are miserable and want to escape but with the farmers Mr and Mrs Tweedy only living only a few feet away from the pen and their sadistic dogs killing any chickens that get out of the pen escape looks near impossible, that is until one day a rooster lands into the pen and Ginger (One of the chickens) sees this rooster as their saving Grace possibly giving them a chance to escape their captivity.

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The Voice Acting in Chicken Run is really great but to be honest I don’t recognize much of the cast except for two people, the first is Miranda Richardson who plays Mrs Tweedy and of course Mel Gibson who plays Rocky the Rooster.

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The Animation is done using stop motion, but like many of the past Aardman productions which have used this method the stop motion in Chicken Runs animation is so smooth that it may fool you into thinking it was made using CGI, due to the nature of the the film most of imagery is dark and depressing most likely to match the atmosphere of the film, I did notice that happier characters were decorated with brighter colours but I’m not sure if these colours were to help empathise their good spirits.

Chicken Run is one of greatest British animated films of all time and it needs to be seen by everyone, I’m not sure if it was released outside of Europe but if you haven’t seen it then you can stream it on Netflix or you can purchase the film if you would like to support Aardman to make more great movies.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Chicken Run

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Not so Christmas film Review: Bridget Jones Diary

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Hugh Grant returns to play a cynical prick in the hit film  Bridget Jones Diary which is based on a book of the same name.

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Hugh Grant isn’t the only recognisable star in this British Classic as he is joined by co star Colin Firth and¬†Ren√©e Zellweger who plays the lead character Bridget Jones.

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Bridget Jones is a lonely, single, chain smoking 32 year old woman whos never had a boyfriend and is fed up with her life so she starts a diary to try and get control of her life.

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Bridget Jones Diary is a comedy and therefore the jokes really need to hit for the film to work and thankfully they do, its not by any means the funniest film ever made but it does pack a lot of laughs especially due to the way Bridget looks at the world and how she portrays those views into her diary, the diary is really the star of the film maybe even more than Bridget herself, its due to the diary that we had so many iconic moments in the first film including blue soup, tarts and vicars and of course the Bridget’s many drunken moments

Bridget Jones Diary is an iconic British romcom and with its massive legacy, great cast and lots of memorable moments its become a Christmas Classic too.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Bridget Jones Diary

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Book Review: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Please sir can I have some more?

1402754256So I have always wanted to read a classic Christmas story around this time of year and since the many Oliver Twist films always air near the end of December the original novel seemed to be the perfect choice but honestly after reading it I don’t think this is a Christmas story at all or at least I don’t recall the book ever referring to Christmas so it makes we wonder why so many people associate it with the holiday but unfortunately I read the entire thing so……. Merry Christmas?

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This beautiful man is none other than Charles Dickens the world beloved author of such classics as A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations and well Oliver Twist

yhobpdnesiupuajk5pjrOliver Twist was released in 1838 and it follows the adventures of a young Orphan called Oliver who is sent to a private juvenile home after his mother dies in child birth, any one who has seen one of the many films based on the novel knows that Oliver is met with a lot of bad luck throughout his adventure and a lot of this bad luck causes him to seem like a bad kid which results in him being sent to live with many different characters throughout the book since each one of his new masters eventually dumps him on someone else but none of these people are as manipulative and genuinely cruel as the homeless man Fagin who has taken on homeless children to steal goods for him to sell for profit, one of these children is none other than the Artful Dodger who is fan favorite character of the many renditions of the classic tale, the book does have some very graphic scenes, one scene where the character Sikes Murders his prostitute girlfriend Nancy is very grizzly and I have been told that it is one of the most terrifying scenes that Charles Dickens ever wrote.

To be honest apart from two characters Oliver and an old man he gets caught stealing from, I didn’t care for any of the other characters in the book, now just because these two are some of the only nice people in the story that is not the reason why I didn’t care for the others, every one else I found to be boring and not very interesting which is a shame because I love a good villain and I just couldn’t bring myself to¬†love any of the sadistic or more horrible characters in the book and before anyone goes nuts in the comments I am aware that a lot of people love Fagin and Sikes and I do like them in the made for TV movies I just found that they work better on TV than they do on paper but that is only my opinion so take it with a pinch of salt and please take this next opinion with that in mind, I dont like this book very much, I was really bored throughout my entire reading and honestly I think it might have been Charles Dickens writing style that didn’t work for me but I wont really know that until I read another one of his books so until then, Merry Christmas¬†and I hope that you have an amazing day, remember to think of those less fortunate than yourselves when you are opening all of your presents and eating your home made Christmas Dinners because just like Oliver there are children out in their in world who have nothing to live for and would give anything to have just a bed to sleep on and someone to love¬†them so this year lets make a toast to all of those amazing people who are making the most out of their lives even though they they have suffered such hard times.

Thanks for reading this review of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

By the way my two favorite versions of this story are Oliver and Company and the 1968 musical Oliver so if you get the chance this year I highly recommend you check them out also in Oliver in Company instead of an orphan its a kitten which is just adorable and its Disney so you know its gonna be good

Happy Holidays from Raggle Fraggle

Walt Disney’s Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas (1999) Review

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Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas was a massive deal when it came out in 1999 and I fondly remember my mother fighting her way through our local Tesco’s (Our version of Target for you Americans) to get it for me so we could watch it together on Christmas Eve that very year.

By the way this is not the Christmas Carol with Disney Characters, that movie came out in 1983, this is an anthology of three Disney cartoons which all share a similar Christmas theme and have slightly altered morals for the kids to learn from

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The first cartoon titled Donald Duck stuck on Christmas is a holiday classic. Huey, Dewey and Louie wake up on Christmas morning and act like little dirt bags throughout the day, they open their presents before the family arrive, they go outside on their new sleds without reading the card from Uncle Donald and Aunt Daisy and when the family sings Christmas carols they play with their toys instead, later on that night the boys wish upon a star that it could be Christmas every day, their wish is granted and a massive time loop begins where they are repeating the same Christmas over and over again until they eventually learn to stop being so selfish.

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A Very Goofy Christmas is the next cartoon to be shown and whats particularly cool about this one is that its actually a cartoon which takes place¬†in the Goof Troop universe but the catch is that Goofy’s son Max is still a young child here so its actually a prequel¬†to Goof Troops first episode, in the cartoon Goofy and Max are having relationship problems after their neighbor Pete tells Max that Santa doesn’t exist and its up to Goofy to prove to his Son that Santa is real, but Max is so torn up about what Pete told him that he manages to convince Goofy that Santa being real is an impossibility¬†which leads Goofy down a path of pretty major depression and its up to Max to cheer his Dad up, about mid way through the cartoon Goofy makes Christmas dinner for a poor family who could never afford to do it themselves so this segment actually has two messages the first is to always respect and be charitable to those less fortunate than yourself and the other is to quite simply not be a complete arse by telling an eight year old that Santa doesn’t exist, honestly I don’t why Goofy didn’t just pelt Pete in the nose.

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The final segment Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi is based on the classic short story by William Sydney Porter where a couple go to extreme lengths to get Christmas gifts for each other and both of them even go as far as selling their prized possessions just so they can afford the perfect gift, this cartoon follows that same idea and also has a very similar ending, this may sound like the most boring cartoon out of the three of them but to be honest its probably the best one, its short, simple and it has the most Christmas themed message of them all which is that the greatest gift you can give on Christmas is yourself and you can give that by simply spending time with your family and loved ones.

So is Mickeys Once Upon a Christmas the greatest Christmas movie to be based on classic Disney¬†characters? no its not even close but its still pretty good, ¬†I can’t consider any of the cartoons to be bad¬†but at the same time apart from the last one the first two are not great but they are still entertaining and with voice talents such as Jim Cummings and Bill Farmer involved its definitely worth a watch, even Kelsey Grammer is in this movie voicing the narrator and that in itself makes it worth your time to sit by the fireplace and watch these silly but wonderful Disney cartoons.

Thanks for reading

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