Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brings the epic tale of China’s legendary warrior to life in Disney’s Mulan, in which a fearless young woman risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.
Mulan features a celebrated international cast that includes: Yifei Liu as Mulan; Donnie Yen as Commander Tung; Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan; Yoson An as Cheng Honghui; with Gong Li as Xianniang and Jet Li as the Emperor. The film is directed by Niki Caro from a screenplay by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin, suggested by the narrative poem “The Ballad of Mulan.” The producers are Chris Bender, Jake Weiner and Jason Reed, with Bill Kong, Barrie M. Osborne, Tim Coddington and Mario Iscovich serving as executive producers.
Mulan will be released in Australian cinemas on March 26, 2020.
Jurassic World sees John Hammond’s dream from Jurassic Park finally come true. Owned by the world’s eighth richest man, Masraini (Irrfan Khan) Jurassic World is a fully functional theme park (that looks alarmingly like Sea World from the air) where people of all ages can come and see all kinds of dinosaurs up close and in more importantly… alive.
The park is kept operational by the hard work of marketing manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Navy man turned dinosaur whisperer Owen (Chris Pratt) who have been able to find a medium that allows the park to be financially stable and also a lot safer for those visiting the Park.
However as is the case with all movies in the Jurassic franchise something has to go wrong. And here in Jurassic World we learn that the park has genetically invented their own new specie of dinosaur by mixing and matching DNA from various other kinds of dinosaur. While Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) sees this creation as a massive step-forward for science and Claire sees it as a great way to attract more sponsorship and people to the Park, only Owen seems to realise the dangerous situation that this has put them in – there is now a genetically modified dinosaur around that nobody has any idea what is capable of. That of course is something that impresses the gruff Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who plans on turning dinosaurs into weapons for the military, but sadly soon places the lives of all at the park, including Claire’s nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), in real danger.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th June, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Screenwriter: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Michael Crichton (characters)
Cast: Andy Buckley (Scott), Tom Bui (Austin), Matthew Burke (Jim Drucker), Heather Ashley Chase (Emily), Vincent D’Onofrio (Hoskins), James DuMont (Hal Osterly), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Judy Greer (Karen), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire), Bomber Hurley-Smith (O’Hara), Jake Johnson (Lowery), Brent Kappel (Dr. Ryan Crest), Irrfan Khan (Masrani), Christian LaBella (Joey), Lauren Lapkas (Vivian), Rebecca Maltby (Charlotte), Katie McGrath (Zara), Moses Munoz (Charlie), Chris Pratt (Owen), Emilio Reynoso (Doctor Sanchez), Brandon Richardson (Christopher), Nick Robinson (Zach), Ty Simpkins (Gray), Omar Sy (Barry), Anna Talakkattour (Erica Brand), Brian Tee (Hamada), Colin Trevorrow (Mr. DNA), Yvonne Welch (Gabriella), BD Wong (Dr. Henry Wu)
Runtime: 124 mins
OUR JURASSIC WORLD REVIEWS & RATINGS:
22 years ago this week we were all walking into cinemas expecting to be wowed by the fact that visionary director Steven Spielberg had brought dinosaurs to life on the screen in a way that nobody would have predicted. Here we are two decades later and once again the expectation of getting to see dinosaurs on the big screen has our cinematic pulses beating in a mammoth way.
The big question you ask yourself when heading into Jurassic World is what can we expect this time around? To be honest this is the fourth installment in a franchise, that let’s be honest peaked with the first film, so we shouldn’t be expecting much, right? Wrong!!! Maybe it is the fact that I’m one of the those people that can spend hours staring at dinosaur bones in a museum and feel like a little kid again but Jurassic World has breathed some life back into this franchise in such a way that I’m now eager to see where they will go next time around.
There are positives and negatives with Jurassic World but first let’s kick off the big plus – the director. Handing Colin Trevorrow the keys to one of the biggest franchises in the world was a massive risk for Steven Spielberg to make. We knew Trevorrow was a great director, that was very, very clear with his feature debut Safety Not Guaranteed, but at the end of the day that was a small indie sci-fi so it was a real unknown how Trevorrow would react working on a film that cost $100s of millions more to make.
The answer to be brutally honest is that Trevorrow is exactly what this franchise needed. Okay so maybe he doesn’t make this film ‘family friendly’ like the ‘political trendys’ would want him to do, but what he does deliver is some truly memorable scenes. The pterodactyl attack on the park visitors is one of the best feathered creature aerial attacks that we have seen since Hitchcock’s iconic The Birds, while Trevorrow will please serious movie fans with some pretty gruesome dinosaur attacks on humans and dinosaurs alike. And while I don’t want to spoil the great finale let’s just say that is a battle scene that will please dinosaur fans and monster movie geeks to the core… suck it up Godzilla you just got owned. Trevorrow takes some massive risks and to his credit they really pay off.
Sadly though there is also a downside to Jurassic World and it lies right at the feet at the screenwriters. Sure this screenplay got the tick of approval from Steven Spielberg but like so many of his recent films Jurassic World falls into the trap of having clichéd characters. Movie lovers see the too-busy-for-children-or-a-partner business woman like Claire in every second film these days, while on the other hand it seems like Owen may have been based on one of Spielberg’s other great creations, Indiana Jones. From his wardrobe down Owen is a screaming Indy clone… not that that is a bad thing because he is still one of the most likable characters in the film.
The other big weakness is the fact that even though Trevorrow sets up pretty early on that he is not afraid to allow his dinosaurs to be a little full-on with their attacks there is a real feel that aside from the clichéd bad guys nobody that the audience really likes amongst the characters are going to meet their deaths today and that sadly takes away from some of the suspense that Trevorrow worked so hard to build up.
Having pointed out those two things though the pluesses of Jurassic World do outweigh the negatives. There are small things all throughout this film that are going to impress fans of this franchise to no end. First of all the filmmakers have chosen to celebrate and pay tribute to the film that kicked this all off rather than ignore it. There is nothing more annoying about a reboot then when you are told as an audience you are supposed to ignore that films have been set in this world before. In Jurassic World you are quickly shown that this isn’th the case here. From a well placed Hammond statue at the park to a employee showing Claire his Jurassic Park T-Shirt he found online and the old park itself playing an important part later on it is easy to see that Jurassic World embraces its predecessor rather than ignoring it.
This might be really film geeky but the other thing that I really enjoyed about Jurassic World was the fact that the film didn’t mind making fun of itself. Lines such as ‘I can’t wait to tell Mum about this’ being responded to with ‘Don’t you DARE tell your Mum about this’ actually make characters like Claire likable, while a character turning to their co-worker for a kiss during a stressed situation only to be told ‘umm…I have a boyfriend’ show that the filmmakers were more than aware that they were making a popcorn action movie and this wink to the audience shows that they were perfectly happy to do that.
While the clichéd characters do make it hard for the actors to really stand out Jurassic World does once again show us what Guardians Of The Galaxy already screamed from the rooftops – Chris Pratt is the your perfect leading man. He can be funny, the ladies seem to like him, he’s blokey enough for guys to love as well and he is a more than capable action hero. At the moment if you want to put bums on seats than Pratt is your go to guy. The people responsible for casting also need to be congratulated for putting ‘serious’ actors into even some of the smaller roles because it is a lot more refreshing to watch talented actors like Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan and Vincent D’Onofrio in roles that many may feel is beneath them than it is to watch blow-ins deliver bad performances. Also Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson also reveal themselves as young stars to watch in the future.
The key to enjoying Jurassic Park is to go into the cinema just expecting your normal popcorn action movie. There is nothing in Jurassic Park that is going to make it one of the best action movies of all time but it is still enjoyable and does more than enough to keep its audience interested one hundred per cent of the time. The nods to Jurassic Park will keep fans of the franchise happy while Trevorrow’s eagerness to bring in some more dinosaur brutality does more than enough to please the monster movie fans out there. Not high art but still the best Jurassic movie since the original.
Summary: Survivors of the simian plague trigger an all-out war between humanity and Caesar’s growing forces.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 10rd July, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Matt Reeves
Screenwriter: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle (novel)
Cast: Kirk Acevedo (Carver), Lombardo Boyar (Terry), Jason Clarke (Malcolm), Jon Eyez (Foster), Judy Greer (Cornelia), Toby Kebbell (Koba), Richard King (Stone), Karin Konoval (Maurice), Scott Lang (Luca), Enrique Murciano (Kemp), Douglas Murray (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket), Keir O’Donnell (Finney), Gary Oldman (Dreyfus), Kevin Rankin (McVeigh), Lee Ross (Grey), Keri Russell (Ellie), Andy Serkis (Caesar), Larramie Doc Shaw (Ash), Jocko Sims (Werner), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Alexander), Nick Thurston (Blue Eyes)
Runtime: 130 mins
OUR DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES REVIEWS & RATINGS:
When you scan over the list of blockbusters due in the cinemas in 2014 Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably one that most would skim over. The first film in this re-booted franchise, Rise of The Planet Of The Apes, was a good film but never seemed to quite gain the traction that its producers obviously hoped that it would. But it only takes watching Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes for a few minutes to see that there is something pretty special about this film.
Seta decade after the events of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads a group of genetically evolved apes as they have formed a colony of their own on the outskirts of the old San Francisco.
With most humans eradicated by the virus that spread right around the world the Apes now feel completly safe, but they feeling is eroded when a group of humans including Malcolm (Jason Clarke), Ellie (Keri Russell) and Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) venture into the colony in a bid to restore electricity to San Francisco.
Their arrival causes the Apes to wonder about the true intentions of the human leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and makes Koba (Toby Kebbell) decide that it is time to question Caesar’s authority due to his closeness to humans.
Surprisingly early on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes seems to go against everything that Hollywood wants from a film these days. It’s been long known that American cinema audience have an aversion to subtitles yet here we are with a mega-blockbuster film that opens with discussions between a group of apes which of course have to be portrayed to the audience with only the use of subtitles. It almost seems eerie to be watching these scenes with no humans in sight, but boy as a film lover I loved it.
It almost seems like director Matt Reeves (who has brought as genre classics such as Cloverfield and Let Me In in the past) wants the audience to side with the Apes from Day One, a surprise move but one that is pulled off with absolute brilliance. The fact that it seems that the screenwriters have worked harder on giving characterisation to apes such as Caesar, Koba and Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) rather than to any of the human characters only seems to push this point any further.
In fact that is the biggest weakness of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the lack of characterisation for most of the human characters. One Ape snarls at one point “humans are all the same, how can you tell them apart?” and sadly that is also the case when it comes to the audience trying to separate the human characters portrayed in the film. Some work has been done giving the character of Malcolm some characterisation, he’s caring and lost his wife amid the mayhem a decade earlier but that is about all the audience is told. His son, Alexander and girlfriend Ellie and treated in the same way by the screenplay while Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus almost becomes your stereotypical clichéd bad guy.
As a film Dawn Of The Planet OF The Apes works best when the relationships between the Apes and Humans is first beginning and then tested. This brings an element of suspense and drama to the film and that point the film remains a ‘thinking persons’ film, but that quickly evaporates when the guns come out and the last quarter of this film becomes dangerously close to becoming just another shoot-at-each-other action film. It even has its own sky-high battle on a building site which almost seems to be mandatory in the modern day action film. To be honest it almost feels like this is a film that has been directed in two parts.
Still the early parts of this film is what makes the film so memorable and it also becomes a visual delight for any film fan that likes good CGI. For the most part Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a visual delight, the Apes themselves look eerily realistic, as does their colony, although it does seem like some dodgy last minute CGI work was done especially in some scenes that involve the Apes swinging on the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge. Still that is a very little gripe to have when you consider how good other parts of this look – it seems to even go a step further than anything even Peter Jackson has even done.
This is a film where CGI is the big winner. Often CGI generated characters are hard for the audience to develop feelings for, but here it seems that the audience ends up loving Caesar and co but struggling to identify with some dangerously underwritten human characters. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes does have some weak moments but for the most part it keeps afloat the tradition of most of 2014’s blockbusters being fairly decent films.