Thursday, September 29, 2016

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Rating: PG (violence)

Recommended for: Ages 7 and up

A boy and his robot join with a band of nerds to save the world.

I had been wanting to see this movie, especially since I had drawn one of the characters at Disney World, and when it was shown in the park, we got to go see it.
Technical: 4/5

As an animated movie, the characters weren't completely realistic looking, but it was better than some of the animation that Disney has done. The plot was easy to follow and didn't drag, it was also sad and funny and entertaining.

Setting: 3.5/5

This movie takes place in the city of San Fran-Tokyo, which ended up being a mixture of the two cities. I mostly noticed the San Francisco elements, mostly from watching a lot of Monk. Since at the beginning of the movie I got the impression that they were in San Francisco, and I got a little confused about it. While no such city actually exists, it was an interesting blend of the two cities.

Plot: 4/5

The plot was a little bit cliche and somehow I didn't guess the plot twist because I thought something else was going on. It had a sad beginning and because it is a Disney movie, it had a happy ending. It is a super hero movie but instead of having super powers, the characters are nerds and create all of their equipment. It was a little complex for a kid's movie, but still easy to follow.

Characters: 4/5

The main character was pretty well developed but there wasn't a lot of time to spend developing the secondary characters, and I can only remember one of their names. Baymax is funny and and even though he doesn't have many emotions as a robot, he is still an interesting character. The main character is not perfect and he grows throughout the story.

While not the best movie in the world, it is a good movie and worth watching, especially if you like Disney movies.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Movie Review:Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur (1959)

Rating: PG (violence and injuries)

Recommended for: Ages 14 and up

A member of the Jewish nobility living in Jerusalem, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) lives a religious life and peacefully opposes the tyrannical occupation of Judea by Rome.

After months of waiting to watch this movie (we recorded it the week of Christmas) I finally got to see it. It wasn't nearly as good as the book, but it was still good.

Technical: 4/5

This is an old movie, so the acting was a little stiff and awkward at times. There was some good acting too. The film score would get dramatic at strange times and was also a little weird. The chariot race was pretty realistic (and a little horrifying) and left us wondering how they would have done it. The pacing was good and I wasn't confused about things, even when they changed things.

Setting: 4.5/5

The setting was true to the book, from what I can remember. Things didn't seem to be historically out of place. I don't know a ton about the area, but nothing was obviously out of place.

Plot: 3.5/4

There was a lot that was changed from the book and in my opinion, it was not for the better. They cut a major character, killed a major character that didn't die, and changed a very major event. The basic plot line is still the same and they keep some of the most major things. Some of the things they cut probably would have taken the focus away from Ben-Hur.

Characters: 4.5/5

For the most part, the characters are the same as they were in the book. They also let you see two characters' good friendship before it went bad. Ben-Hur wants to protect his family and to get revenge. The actor was a little too old for Ben-Hur and didn't exactly look the part but since he is on the cover of the book I read, I think of him as Ben-Hur.

This movie is semi-faithful to the book. It is an old movie but it is still good. I would recommend it. and if you like the book, it is still worth watching (just be prepared for major changes) and it is a good movie despite its differences from the book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Rating: PG

Recommended for: Ages 13 and up (interest level)

 Jules Verne's perennially popular Journey to the Center of the Earth begins when irascible but dedicated mineralogy professor Otto Lidenbrock finds a centuries-old parchment inside an even older book. His nephew Axel decodes it, and discovers instructions on how to get to the center of the Earth: "Go down into the crater of Snaefells Yocul," an extinct Icelandic volcano. As they descend, the explorers also travel backwards to the past, through layers of human history and geologic time, encountering prehistoric plants and animals and ultimately coming to understand the origins of humanity itself.

I have been wanting to read this book for several years,  since I liked Around the World in 80 Days, and about a year after finding it at a library book sale, I finally read it.

Technical: 4/5

The book is mostly from Axel's point of view as if he is telling the story afterwards, except for the random part where it switches to the author's narrative without any break. The story was easy to follow but it dragged a little when they talked about scientific things and some of their journeying. Overall, it was an interesting read. This is a translation, so different editions will have some differences.

Plot: 5/5

The plot was pretty simple, all they did was go on a journey to the center of the earth, there was no villain. It was just an adventure story, and that was about it. It was very simple, so there were no plot holes. The reason they decided to go on the adventure, while not the best reason, was due to a character's personality while another character thought he was crazy but was still dragged along.

Setting: 3/5

While the setting makes for an interesting story, it is not very realistic. It doesn't get incredibly hot as they go down towards the center of the earth and there probably is not an ocean, or extinct animals living in the earth. There were also mentions of evolution in the story and in the notes. The notes would also mention when Jules Verne got geographical or other facts wrong or confused. The characters are from Hamburg, Germany, and they also travel to Iceland while above ground.

Characters: 4/5

There are three main characters: Hans, Professor Lidenbrock, and Axel. Hans is an Icelandic guide who is hired to take them to the crater of Snaefells and to help them along the way. Hans does whatever the Professor tells him to do. He is resourceful but is mostly there. Professor Lidenbrock is eccentric and impatient and is determined to go on the journey, He can sometimes be nice but gets very worked up over things. Axel is the one who tells the story. He has his moments of despair and of enthusiasm. He is realistic and since he narrates the story, you get into his head.

While this book is not perfect, it was still an interesting read and a good classic and I would recommend it.