Monday, July 21, 2014

Movie Review: The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure 

Recommended For: Ages 6-12

Rating: PG (mild violence)

Unraveling a series of clues left behind by his grandfather, Mickey Matson and his friends embark on a magical journey in search of a mythical ancient device. With the future of the country hanging in the balance, they will have to outsmart and outrun an evil conspiracy that dates back to the civil war. Chock full of exciting twists and turns, The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure is a fun adventure for the whole family!

Mickey Matson was an interesting movie that is family friendly and will likely be enjoyed by children. However, while there wasn't anything that would make me hesitate to show it to children, there are many things about it that prevented full enjoyment for me.

Technical: 3/5

As far as filming, acting, and CGI work goes, this film was well done. The special effects were believable, and the actors knew how to act. There were some well known actors in the cast, such as Christopher Lloyd, though he didn't actually appear much. Where Mickey Matson suffered was the writing. I'll get into the plot side of the writing later. The dialogue seemed kind of cliche. Many times I could predict what they were going to say even though I had never really heard anything about the movie before watching it. Sully, the girl, seemed to be supposed to have good comebacks and humorous comments, yet they lacked the effect they seemed to be intending to make. It wasn't the actress's fault, she, like the others, did the best she could, but it just wasn't written as well as it should have been. And some of the scenes themselves were awkwardly written. This was pretty typical of the writing throughout. The actors did an amazing job with the script, it's just the script itself held it back from what it could have been.

Setting: 4/5

Mickey Matson was set in a small town in Michigan next to one of the Great Lakes. It appeared to be filmed mostly, if not entirely, on location, which gave the setting a feeling of accuracy. Nothing spectacular, but it was pretty good.

Plot 2/5

It wasn't a bad premise, and young children most likely won't see the plot holes and poor story development, but the plot could have been so much better developed. It was full of cliche, and was very predictable. After Mickey's grandfather dies, he and Sully begin searching for three magical objects that will power an "alchemy machine" that was supposedly started during the Civil War. Descendants of Confederates are the bad guys trying to use a rebuilt alchemy machine to be able to rule the world. I'm not a big fan of alchemy being presented as real in fantasy, but I still would have liked them to get the definition right. In this film, alchemy is turning anything into silver, when really it was an attempt to turn base metals into gold. That definition threw me out of the story for a moment, one moment of many. (Of course, I was tired and would rather have been watching Doctor Who, but still.)

Maybe it was just a bad Netflix description, but I felt like the Civil War part of the story should have played a larger role. All it seemed to do was serve as a starting point for the alchemy machine controversy and provide a reason for some of the bad guys to have Confederate beards. Now, I'm not sure why Mickey had to find all the elements. The bad guys didn't have them and weren't really finding them, and since the good guys weren't trying to use the alchemy machine, there didn't really seem to be a point. Also, I'm not sure why, if Mickey's grandfather was trying to keep the elements safe, they were all hidden so close to one another. One would think it would be better to hide them at least in different parts of the state, rather than around a small rural town. It seemed kind of pointless. Yes, it is a children's movie, and not even a big budget one, but surely it doesn't require a big budget to have a decently developed story line.

Character Development: 3/5

The characters were decently developed, if awkwardly written. I applaud the actors for being able to pull off characters written like these without seeming at all like bad actors. They were rather cliche, but they weren't by any means the worst developed characters I've encountered. I did find it odd for Mickey to so quickly go back and forth between mourning his grandfather and readying for an adventure. When he wasn't mourning his grandfather, he acted as if he had lost him years ago. I didn't really like how it portrayed Confederates as crazy coots, who all have evil intent. There was good and bad on both sides of the Civil War, but a movie review isn't really the proper place to get into that.

The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure is a family friendly adventure that young kids will likely enjoy, though older children and adults will likely be frustrated by its flaws. I can't recommend it as film literature, but it would be decent for a family movie night.

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