This month saw Ellon Cinema celebrate its first birthday with a time travelling turkey and an Orc-bashing adventure across Middle Earth.
Many of the children arrived in fancy dress to join in with the celebrations and some were lucky enough to win a free raffle.
Brought to audiences by the makers of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, “Free Birds” offers a similar ridiculous story line and a pretty rubbish plot. Reg the Turkey gets caught up in a US time machine trial with fellow turkey, Jake and they aim to head back to the time of the Pilgrim Fathers to stop turkeys being on the menu for Thanksgiving Day. The story sees the turkeys escaping various traps set out by the evil, hungry settlers and a final showdown where Steve, the time machine, saves the day. Eventually the settlers decide pizza is a much tastier dish to celebrate Thanksgiving than turkey and everyone lives happily ever after.
It did make me wonder if this film had been made by vegetarians with a bit of anti-meat propaganda aimed at the young. With the release date for the film being around Thanksgiving (and Christmas), I had visions of kids watching the film and then sitting down to the celebratory feasts refusing to eat the bird and demanding a margarita instead. Not much more to say about this film I’m afraid.
The kids seemed to love it but the grown-ups I spoke to thought it was rubbish. I’m sorry to all those parents who will now have to endure it on DVD a second time!
Don’t bother – 3/10
The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug
For me, last year’s “The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey” was a disaster. It was boring, dragged on for too long and gradually started to become a parody of itself. At one point I’m certain the main characters were actually embarrassed to be there themselves and I’m amazed actors such as Ian McKellan allowed such silliness to continue. But it did, unfortunately, for another 2 hours. So, after waiting a whole year to see how much more Jackson could squeeze out of the text, I finally sat down to watch “The Desolation of Smaug” and waited to be disappointed further.
The start of the film is a recap, seeing would-be king-dwarf Thorin in the local tavern talking to wizard Gandalf who warns him he now has a price on his head as the power of the evil Necromancer grows. Gandalf urges him to make haste on his quest to restore his throne by reclaiming his mountain kingdom and defeating the evil dragon Smuag who has taken residence in there. Thorin must obtain the Arkenstone from Smaug to reunite all dwarves and needs Bilbo to help. We are then brought back to the present and led on an action-packed adventure as Thorin, his dwarf friends, the wizard Gandalf and of course, Bilbo the hobbit, continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain, fleeing spiders, really ugly Orcs with their hounds and anything else in their way. On their journey they are imprisoned (and escape) the elves and we meet up once more with the lovely Orlando Bloom as Legolas with new side-kick Tauriel who does a lot for girl-power in the film. The band of dwarves and Bilbo manage to get into the mountain, Bilbo steals the Arkenstone but after a failed attempt by the dwarves to defeat Smaug, the furious dragon flies out of his lair, heading for the local town and hungry for revenge. In the final scene we see Bilbo wondering what evil he and the dwarves have released as the dragon flies towards the town.
I was so happy not to be disappointed with this film. The pace was a lot faster than it’s predecessor and I really got caught up in the story, rather than sit being bored as I did with the last one. As with all Jackson’s Tolkien films, the director makes full use of the stunning New Zealand scenery and the film sets, costumes and cgi effects were a great basis for the great acting, script and storyline. Thank goodness! Martin Freeman is a perfect, believable Bilbo now and there were several familiar faces who made an appearance such as Stephen Fry as Master of the Lake and Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown. Sherlock Holmes fans might have identified Benedict Cumberbatch’s as the voices of Smaug and the evil Necromancer. It must have been strange for Martin Freeman to be dealing with Cumberbatch as a villain rather than sharing a pot of tea in Baker Street. You may even have spotted Peter Jackson himself as a man eating a carrot in Bree at the start of the film.
Jackson had a lot of making up to do with Hobbit fans after last years disaster and he’s succeeded in making things better with this years offering. I believed we were in Middle Earth and I believed in the characters. The scenes with the dragon sat on his treasure in the Lonely Mountain were exactly how I imagined as I read the book at school and it was joy to watch. My bum was still numb through sitting so long once the film had finished but I didn’t mind this time as it was worth it. I’m now looking forward to the final film next year.
Close your eyes at the spider battle – 8/10.
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