Fly Away Home (1996)

Rating: U
Length: 1h 47
Release: 7.2.1997
Dir: Carroll Ballard
About: Amy moves to Ontario to live with her father after the death of her mother. Her father, an aviation expert, helps Amy lead a flock of orphaned geese south for the winters.


First Thoughts

This was one of those rare films I got to see in the cinema growing up. A cinema outing was primarily just for my birthday until this point. However, 1996 marked a change. Labour came into power here in the UK and both my parents became almost immediately employed. This meant there was a little more disposable income and my mum added in this spring half-term trip to the cinema.
This also became the first film I ever bought myself on VHS, having been bought Jurassic Park by a family friend and a number of Disney VHS from my Gran for Christmas. It was a hard decision; Fly Away Home or The Santa Clause (the Tim Allen one). I’d loved both films so much I’d even read the books. I think it was the all-year-round appeal that saw Fly Away Home win out. However, that was perhaps mum’s logic than my own; I was the girl who would watch Santa Claus: The Movie all year round. Perhaps mum didn’t want a repeat.
It’s also thanks to this film (and Jurassic Park) that I really wanted to see the Piano. Anna Paquin was someone I felt was ‘like me’. So I wanted to see everything she was in. The VHS was set up to record. I was very disappointed when I came down the next day to be informed that mum had stopped it and that it was not a film I should watch. Safe to say, I’ve still not watched it to this day and from that point, I was a little more reserved in watching her films.

The Good

  • It’s a story about adorable animals and their relationship with a kid that ‘could be you’. What is not to love about that? Oh and they go on this great adventure with a parent, when you (as kid) totally know your parents would NEVER be that cool.
  • While it opens on a sad note, this film actually is uplifting and what I would call a ‘cathartic’ tearjerker. The viewer gets to see Amy express and embrace her grief.
  • While there’s no attempt to give each and every one of the geese a distinct personality, you don’t have a heart if you don’t immediately love Igor. His narrative gives you all the feels and there are some giggles to be had when he tries to keep up with his siblings.
  • As always, Jeff Daniels gives a brilliant performance. These are the sort of roles he’s made to do and can balance the eccentric and paternal really well.

The Bad

  • Anna Paquin screams way too much in this movie. That high pitch just really starts to grate after the millionth time. As a kid I don’t remember this being something that bothered me, but this time it was a massive irritation.
  • It does feel a little slow in parts with it trying to introduce us to all of the characters without being overwhelmed.

The Ugly

  • It is based upon a true story and as I said before there is a book out there. However, the book is a novelisation of the film so I think my point going forward is fair. The wildlife guy who comes to the house to clip the wings and proceeds to play the antagonist just doesn’t sit quite right. It feels as if he’s given this persona just to have something to fight against and make the film more dramatic.
  • THAT SONG! If the song that opens the film doesn’t make you ugly cry, either at the start or at it’s reprisal, you need to warm up that cold cold heart of yours.

Final Thoughts

It’s such a heartwarming film and I really am surprised I’ve not watched it more.

Unlikely Hero (2009)

AKA: Paper Man
Rating: 15
Length: 1h 50
Release: 14.4.2014 (UK DVD)
Dir: Kieran & Michele Mulroney
About: A frustrated novelist (Jeff Daniels) begins to depend less on his imaginary friend (Ryan Reynolds) when he forms a unique bond with a Long Island teenager (Emma Stone).



The Good

  • Ryan Reynolds is just incredible as this larger than life, colourful superhero imaginary friend. This sort of crazy is where he shines. His character is just delightfully absurd and is the saving grace of the movie. He works so well alongside Jeff Daniels. I really wanted more. In fact, it could have just been the two of them for the entire time, and i still would have wanted more.
  • There’s a scene in a bar in which Richard is befriending the locals. The way in which he has them all hanging on to every word is something I would have loved to have seen more of.
  • Emma Stone’s character is just as complex as Richard’s. Everything about her individually I love; her background, her anger, her outlook. The only thing I don’t like is her relationship and interaction with Richard. It being the basis of the movie, therefore, becomes a problem.

The Bad

  • Some of the film’s choices are massively problematic and, on the whole, the film leaves too much unresolved. What happens to Abby’s friend as a result of the film is quite horrific and the relationship between Richard and his wife is so toxic, but its played out in such a bias way that I don’t know how any viewer can be satisfied.

The Ugly

  • There’s an uncomfortable line that this film dances with, and it stops it being the uplifting film I certainly wanted it to be. The issue is the establishment of what the relationship between Daniel’s Richard and Stone’s Abby. It takes way too long to suggest that what both are missing the father/daughter bond. By the time its suggested (not established) the creepy/ grooming seeds have been sown. It’s further compacted by the final act; the post party snuggle and her kissing him on the mouth during their farewell. It completely ruins the entire tone of the movie and for at least the first half, I had my finger on the remote ready to turn it off.

Final Thoughts

There’s a charming indie film hidden under a gloss of grooming and misery. It stops you engaging with the more important, meaningful, aspects.

Arachnophobia (1990)

Rating: PG
Length: 1h 49
Release: 4.1.1991
Dir: Frank Marshall
About: Dr James Atherton moves to a small town and witnesses a series of unexplainable deaths of the locals. Upon investigating, he discovers that a flock of spiders are responsible for it.


First Thoughts

I remember watching this as a kid and being scared. I remember watching it a few times. I’m not sure it was one we recorded onto a tape, but we’d watch it if it came on tv. There are certain scenes that have stuck in my memory (the shower) and have been replaying in my head ever since I decided it was time for a rewatch. I’d never watched this film alone, so that was… fun!

The Good

  • The story is actually really cool and I totally didn’t remember. New doctor comes to small town to replace older doctor. As with small town politics, Ross Jennings struggles to win over the confidence of the residence. It’s not very helpful, then, when the other newcomer (South American spider) starts killing the only people on the good Doc’s side. I love that there are elements that make Ross even doubt himself, but also that he is able to stand his ground.
  • John Goodman’s character is a brilliant addition and brings some levity to this very scary film. His presence is accompanied by this jovial music that is a complete contrast to the rest of the movie. As someone who is on edge, I am so grateful for this.
  • If you want a scary movie, this is the big daddy of them all. If you’re afraid of spiders that is. No cartoonish Freddie, no man in a painted up Shatner mask. Just something that most of us are afraid of just as they are. This one has a killer bite too. It has everything; jump scares, those slow builds the viewer sees coming but the victim doesn’t and even the fake out. It’s the biggest roller-coaster in the genre.
  • Chekhov’s gun is a bottle of wine. Okay, so it might be that I had a vague memory of the final act, but I do enjoy putting the pieces together and making predictions.

The Bad

  • Not really this film’s fault, but I’m getting really sick of animal POV in these creature features. However, this one gets the added mention because of how messy it actually is. As it happens when the bird picks it up, it’s actually unclear as to which animal the pov is coming from.
    Just stop with the POV. It doesn’t add anything to the film and it feels a little like reading homework that’s been copied from wikipedia.

The Ugly

  • I’m not a fan of the 20 minutes it takes to get to the small town. It’s a little too much of a ball ache set up and based upon how the spiders are collected, I feel bad for the first victim. You have these dicks who kill all these insects in the name of ‘discovery’, but its the man who doesn’t seem to really want to be there that gets it in the neck. With this sort of beginning, I feel like it should have developed more into a ‘creature from the black lagoon’ sort of plot. Or, tighten up that opening completely; five minutes tops and have that spider rushing for the airport, so to speak.

Final Thoughts

I’ve never been so scared watching a film in my entire life. During one scene I actually pulled off my glasses to stop myself from seeing the screen. However, I am proud of myself for watching it and I have to admit, it’s a well made film.

101 Dalmatians (1996)

Rating: U
Length: 1hr 43
Release: 13.12.1996
Dir: Stephen Herek
About: Anita, a fashion designer, and Roger, a computer game writer, have to rescue the puppies of their dalmatians from Cruella De Vil, an insane woman, who wants to use their fur to make a coat.


The Good

  • In a world where Disney are churning out ‘live action remakes’ in much the same fashion the 90s gave us direct-to-VHS sequels, its hard to recall this as the Mouse House’s first attempt. Given the public’s outcry if casting is deemed ‘wrong’, we must talk about how perfect Jeff, Joey and Glenn are as the live action counterparts to a classic animation. To a fault almost, they do at times keep the outdated views too. However, for the most part, they are perfect. I certainly couldn’t think of anyone better now, or then.
  • I love the direction they went with the animals of the film and how they communicate. Babe had paved the way for talking animals in a live action, but thankfully Disney didn’t see the benefit of this frightening approach. Instead the film uses barks and other audible cues from other animals to imply a conversation. It’s best seen at the stable and the result is rather charming. It’s something that people of all ages can gain a level of understanding from and I love it.

The Bad

  • While I do like the change of careers for our leads, I do wish they had committed a little more to Roger’s computer game designer. It’s implied that he’s freelance and works from home. Yet nothing is really seen of him working outside showing less than 30 seconds of game play.
  • While I find the pairing of Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams delightful, the trouble they find themselves in does stray a little visually into Home Alone territory; it’s a little too big and the response feels a little trademarked to the Wet Bandits.
  • Some of the CGI puppies are showing their age. It’s a shame because it’s only used in odd scenes, but it shows way too much.

The Ugly

  • As an adult, the last 10 minutes or so bug the fuck out of me. At the value of up to £2,000 per pup, there is no way on earth that you’re getting that fairytale ending where:
    1. No one else has reported stolen dogs.
    2. Even if the officer believes they *know* that no other reports have come in, they would not be able to just hand over what is essentially ‘evidence’.
    3. It’s 101 growing DALMATIANS, not handbag sized chihuahuas. There is no way you have the room to humanely keep the pups for even a day.
    4. All the puppies, and subsequent litters, are kept.
    5. I’d say that they couldn’t afford the property they end up in, however that’s moot given the property they *magically* own anyway. Seriously, was one of them a secret billionaire?!
    Essentially, my ageing ass has lived in London and now has an understanding of money. I’m calling bullshit on this ending.

Final Thoughts

Speed (1994)

Rating: 15
Length: 1h 56
Release: 30.9.1994
Dir: Jan de Bont
About: A disgruntled, dangerous man plants a bomb in an elevator. When his mission fails, he plants a bomb in a local bus and threatens to set it off unless his demand is met.


The Good

  • I love the music. While it doesn’t have the iconic status of Jaws, Jurassic Park or … anything by John Williams, it still packs punch and pulls the audience into a scene. And it starts with those impeccably 90’s opening titles. You know you’re going into something. There will be no easing into a situation, the audience hits the ground running and that score makes sure that your body knows that.
  • As I said, the audience go straight in and meet the bad guy before anyone else. No holding back. Well, except for who he actually is and what he wants. Dennis Hopper has everything you need for this sort of villain, the main thing being a distinctive voice. While the audience do get to see him a lot of his communication is done solely through audio, so the voice has to be right.
  • The film has so many instances and dialogue that may not seem like much, but do have call backs either almost instantly, or later in the film. It helps develop the thread running through the film.
  • The cast is awesome. There’s not a single person I’d replace. It goes without saying that Reeves and Bullock are perfect in their lead roles so I’m going to gush about two others.
    Firstly, there’s Alan Ruck. Its not the biggest of parts, but he has some excellent interactions within the main act. My favourite moment comes when he’s relaying Jack’s description of the bomb. He can’t bring himself to say what Jack had, so instead utters “oh, darn.” which gives us quite a lot about the character.
  • There is also my favourite character, Harry. Played by the wonderful Jeff Daniels. The chemistry he has with Reeves equates to what we would now call a bromance and I’m sold. There’s a moment in the first act when both Jack and Harry need to descend to the access point of the lift and its in that moment one takes to the cables like they’re a fireman’s pole, the other uses the ladder. This indication that Harry doesn’t jump in and, as a result, isn’t as reckless as Jack has a rather sad payoff towards the end of the film. None of which I think is possible without Jeff Daniels in the role.
    While he isn’t as prominent after the first act, he is crucial to the plot and the mindset of the character of Jack. You do feel his absence from Jack’s side, but he’s still very much working with him. Right up until the point Harry doesn’t look at where he’s going. That close up we’re given gets me every single time.
  • The film does gauge how long its focus should be on the bus. Just as I find myself drifting, the stakes are changed and the goalpost is moved; giving the audience a bit of an adrenaline jolt.

The Bad

  • The ‘Annie reveal’ in the final act doesn’t sit right with me. It’s edited in a way that makes me think I’m meant to, even for a spilt second, think that she is in some way involved. However, there needs to be some more editing for that to work, given that we see her interaction with Payne and therefore know she’d never met him before. I know there was original plans to have it revealed that Harry was working with Payne, perhaps this edit is what remains of a plan to have *someone* double cross Jack.

The Ugly

  • The final act Vs the bus jump. For me, one of them has to go. While the bus jump gives us that great visual, I’m not sure what else you can put in the final act that would give us the resolution we need. Perhaps have it that there’s another set of cars on the track at the next station?! Doesn’t seem as good as “the track’s not finished yet.”
    As it stands its two overly identical situations and it almost gives the audience fatigue. The set up is the same, the way out of the situation is the same and the success only varies slightly.

Final Thoughts

I love this movie. I only watched it a few days ago and I already want to watch it again. Boiling it down to “Die Hard on a bus” doesn’t do this film nearly enough justice as it’s execution goes beyond that.

Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

Rating: 15
Length: 1h 29
Release: 24.5.2001
Dir: Joel Gallen
About: A jock bets that he can convert a girl in his high school into a prom queen. But his wicked sister and a devious cheerleader endeavour to thwart him.


The Good

  • Both Chyler Leigh and Chris Evans are brilliant in these lead roles; they are able to bring characteristics of the multitude of teen leads referenced throughout and make the characters they play their own.
  • The cameos are dotted throughout and become their own little reference to films the star has been in. Well, except for Mr T, I’m not sure about the connection there. But, hell, its Mr T!
  • The number of films this film sends up in unbelievable and its done in a way that is a nod to the audience, but not totally at the expense of the plot. Nothing feels overly shoe-horned in or out of place. Which is certainly something that cannot be said for others in this ‘franchise’.
  • My absolute favourite part of this movie is the send up of the 10 Things I Hate About You scene where Heath sings “You’re too good to be true”. Essentially the same set up, but Evan’s Jake is told that girls like it when their name is in the song. Her name is Janey…

The Bad

  • I’m not sure how I feel about the commentary of PoC in this movie. While I understand the character of Malik explaining his stereotype within this particular genre, I feel uncomfortable with the fact that its done just for that purpose. Especially when the character is self aware and has that ‘I’m tired of this shit’ attitude, but then goes on to demonstrate the stereotype and shrug as if ‘oh I guess that is me.’
    What I perhaps would have liked to have seen is the character act against the type in much the same way the actor, Deon Richmond, later does in Scream 3. It didn’t need to be massive, but a few nods here or there would have really changed it up for me.

The Ugly

  • Another film that plays on brother/sister incest. Yak! While I’m aware it’s playing on the step-sibling lust from Cruel Intentions and the lines “We’re related!”/ “Only by blood.” is *slightly* funny, it’s just too much of a pet hate of mine to not call it out.
  • The toilet humour is just not my thing. It’s understandable that these types of films go there when considering it’s inspiration filmography.

Final Thoughts

I’ve watched this film way too many times for a film I know I don’t like. What can I say, it’s the film geek in me that likes the film references. It’s also one of the better spoof films that followed this ‘named genre’ send up. Never again though because some of the jabs are way too cheap.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad (1949)

Rating: U/A
Length: 1h 8
Release: 15.12.1949
Dir:  Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, James Algar
About: Two animated adaptations of classic literature make up this Disney film. In “The Wind in the Willows,” wealthy Mr. Toad (Eric Blore) yearns for all the newest fads. When he wants an automobile, Mr. Toad sets out to get one any way he can. In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” gangly schoolmaster Ichabod Crane falls for the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel. Caught in a love triangle with Katrina and Brom Bones, Ichabod fears a local legend called the Headless Horseman.


The Good

  • The first story, looking at the characters from Wind in the Willows, is adorable. Mole is so so cute, both as a character and as an animation.
  • The music elements of ‘Mr Toad’ is brilliant, especially the horse. In typical fashion, the horse is very Disney. I love how he sings, I love how he talks.
  • The weasels look and act exactly like the ones we’ll see in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • The animation of both is very similar to Alice in Wonderland and I really enjoyed that.
  • The pumpkin going through the tunnel during the tale of Ichabod was amazing, especially considering the time in which it was made.

The Bad

  • Toad reminds me too much of the Crazy Frog and once I saw it, I couldn’t enjoy it.
  • Ichabod: “Gets around like no one else can.” The next scene then basically shows us that Ichabod is banging all his student’s mums in order to be fed. Okay, so it’s only implied, but it is HEAVILY implied.

The Ugly

  • I went into this unaware that it was two separate tales and it really threw me, once I discovered this, that the tale of Mr Toad came before that of Ichabod.
  • Ichabod is basically portrayed as a Snape character, yet all the women of the town going nuts. There are women who are having a lesson with him, that literally have their eyes rolling to the back of their heads. WHAT. THE. FUCK?
  • There’s not enough Headless Horseman in this tale. It’s more about Ichabod having a hard on for Katrina and fighting Braum for her.

Final Thoughts

I wrote ‘what the fuck?’ way too many times in my notes. Give me Sleepy Hollow (1999) any day.

The Fog (1980)

Rating: 15/A
Length: 1h 29
Release: 6.11.1980
Dir: John Carpenter
About:Folks get ready to celebrate the centenary of Antonio Bay. But, many had suffered due to crimes that founded this town. Now, they rise from the sea, under the cover of the fog, to claim retribution.


The Good

  • The strength of this film is the atmosphere that’s cultivated with the opening campfire ghost story and built upon throughout the film.
  • I love the character of Stevie. She’d won me over in her first scene when she informs her caller “I’m never lonely”. At no point is she a damsel and I like that. She is a strong character who helps us learn more about the fog and its plans for the town.
  • I love the ending. While ‘old hat’ and not something I would accept from a film today, it was an excellent ‘gotcha’ and makes for an absolute resolution to the narrative.
  • Some of the effects work really well. Namely the plank of wood seeping water scene. I can imagine working with water is difficult at the best of times, but what they achieve there is chilling and entertaining.

The Bad

  • There’s a massive disconnect between the characters. There’s three distinct groups that have no connection with each other until the final act. The town, for me, it too small for this plot element to work. I also wish they’d made the connection between Kathy Williams and one of the men on the ship. I have no emotional attachment to their relationship so her loss has no weight.

The Ugly

  • Jamie-Lee’s Elizabeth feels shoe-horned in just to give her a role. That’s not to say she doesn’t do a good job with what she’s given. It’s just that there are hints to her character being more than she appears, but it ends up going nowhere. Had she have been in the town for a while and leaving as the film starts, I may have bought into her relationship with Nick a little more.
    I don’t buy into her following Nick around the way she does after one shag. I don’t get the build up of mystery for it to lead nowhere.
  • For a small town, I don’t buy into people not knowing each other. Nick is a decedent of the founders and Stevie is an established disc jockey in town. How is that they don’t know each other, even in passing?!
  • The more we see of the ghosts, the less impact they have. In one the final scenes, we really do get too close a look at one of them and it undoes a lot of the tension built.

Final Thoughts

Brilliant premise, with a great leading lady in Adrienne Barbeau, however, the final product feels very disconnected and as a viewer, I struggled to invest in anyone in the town.

Escape From L.A (1996)

Rating: 15
Length: 1h 41
Release: 20.9.1996
Dir: John Carpenter
About: A terrorist brainwashes Utopia, daughter of the U.S. President into stealing a detonation device. Snake, a mercenary, is assigned the task to find the device and the girl.


The Good

  • While there are a lot of plot similarities to Snake’s mission in New York, the ending is the edge that L.A needed to allow it to stand out. The last few minutes in change the landscape of this filmic world has completely changed. It really sparks my imagination about what Snake’s actions mean for the franchise.
  • The basketball scene is brilliant. I prefer it to the boxing match from EFNY. It’s so simple in set up, but the result is a scene in which the biggest enemy is himself.
  • Steve Buscemi’s quadruple-crossing Map to the Stars Eddie is an interesting addition to the film, although there where one too many crossing of sides for my personal liking.

The Bad

  • The reuse of the ticking-clock by way of a deadly infection (Okay, it was a bomb inside a pill last time) was a little eye-rolling. The two time fake-out was unnecessary though. Plot-wise, I find this one of the weaker aspects.

The Ugly

  • The CGI is dog shit, even in isolation. Then consider that it’s three years after the bar-setting Jurassic Park and you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s a 16 year-old’s media project.
  • Not sure how I feel about Pam Grier. Not so much that she plays a trans character. Given the time and it’s place in the plot I can understand the casting. It’s snake feeling Hershe up that makes me a little uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts

Its the Desperado to Snake’s El Mariachi. While the beats are the same, it still offers something different. It might not work for everyone, but for me I really enjoyed this outing a little bit more.

The Prophecy (1995)

Rating: 18
Length: 1h 38
Release: 8.1.1996
Dir: Gregory Widen
About: The story revolves around a little girl and a priest, who try to prevent Gabriel, an angel from collecting souls from earth to end the stalemated war in Heaven.


The Good

  • The premise of angels versus humans is an interesting one. While it may not have been executed in a way that would warrant a cinematic release, it still holds strong against others that are similar.
  • Eric Stoltz is pretty decent as Simon. He’s able to give a performance that gives the audience a hint doubt as to whose side he is on.
  • Christopher Walken gives a otherworldly performance that you buy into the second he comes on screen. The contempt Gabriel feels for humans comes off Walken in waves and the fear that manifests is something I’ve long associated with his roles.
  • The combination of Christianity and Native American mysticism is really refreshing. There’s no clash between the two when the Native Americans are needed to help the young girl in trouble. There was no narrative over which one was right and I liked that there was no comments by the angels disavowing the culture and faith of the Native Americans.
  • Viggo Mortesen embodies Lucifer in a similar way viewers will later see in Tom Ellis. I can totally see him as the fallen angel from the bible, who attempts to charm Jesus into betraying G-d.

The Bad

  • Some character introductions were unclear. While it adds mystery to the angels and adds a barrier between the viewer and the heavenly characters, it does also make the narrative much harder than it needs to be.

The Ugly

  • Simon kissing the young girl. I understand its the method of transference but it really changes the tone of the scene. It really makes Simon’s interaction leading to that moment really rapey!

Final Thoughts

This was an entertaining watch akin to End of Days, Stigmata and Priest. It certainly is an interesting concept, and I do wonder how the other two will add to the franchise.

The Truman Show (1998)

Rating: PG
Length: 1hr 43
Release: 9.10.1998
Dir: Peter Weir
About: An insurance salesman is oblivious of the fact that his entire life is a TV show and his family members are mere actors. As he starts noticing things and uncovers the truth, he decides to escape.


The Good

  • Jim Carrey gives one of his best, most levelled and charming performances as Truman Burbank, the focus of this film. While there’s still the flourish of crazy, its not too brash.
  • The plot has aged so well in the time since it was first released. The satire element is only more prominent today and it leads to some very deep questions about the society we live in and the entertainment we accept on TV.
  • The effects used on the cameras to distinguish between certain views is a nice touch. It also stands as a reminder that Truman is on a show.

The Bad

  • Laura Linney. I can’t quite tell if its just her character, or the actress herself that bugs me. I don’t understand the method of engineering a love interest in the way the director did and I also don’t understand why they would pick such a BAD ACTRESS (Linney’s character, not Linney herself) with no ability to improvise. At the height of Truman’s mania, she makes the situation so much worse.
  • The extreme gaslighting of everyone on set does make it a little bit of an uncomfortable watch. The lengths taken are a commentary about the tv studio, but it gives me a feeling akin to a horror movie and I’m not sure that’s the film’s intent.

The Ugly

  • Ed Harris’ Christof and the ‘creator’ as God metaphor. I mean the guy was a dick anyway, did it really have to go that far?!

Final Thoughts

Charming and thoughtful look into the world of reality TV, long before it was a format that became a reality to us.

Jaws the Revenge (1987)

Rating: PG
Length: 1h 29
Release: 21.8.1987
Dir: Joseph Sargent
About: The island community of Amity is terrorised by shark attacks when a vengeful shark returns to avenge the death of her progeny.


The Good

  • I really loved the conversation between Ellen and her daughter-in-law after kissing Hoagie for the first time. In a film bogged down with shit, it was quite refreshing to have this honest interaction about something real.
  • I really enjoyed Michael Caine’s performance as Hoagie. While we get very little about the character other than mystery and stories, he’s charming enough for me to be pissed off at Michael’s attempts at cock-blocking his mother. The Caine-ness of it all can be summed up in the final act where he is talking, only to cut himself off mid-sentence to utter “shit” in a way only Michael Caine can.
  • I really loved the casting of Sean Brody. He was a lovely bright and bubbly character that I took to immediately. Then that bastard shark went and did its thing.

The Bad

  • Much like the second film, everyone seems miserable. Even the majority of the conversations that are had seem rooted in negativity. Even the dialogue between Michael and his chipper friend, Jake becomes snippy when we get half way. Yes, I know its about a “vengeful” shark however, its success (the film’s, not the shark) relies on the human relationships and interactions. Yes, it also opens with the death of a character we’ve seen in all previous films, but the negative exchanges are nothing as cathartic as dealing with grief.
  • The continuity between movies is shit. Sean is younger than he was four years previous, Michael has a kid that would have been one year old during the events of SeaWorld and he’s now a Marine Biologist. Okay, so I guess we can ignore Jaws 3 and things work out. But I can’t, I watched that bastard yesterday. Yes, I’m getting pissy about characters in a film about a shark that goes to the Bahamas for Christmas to seek out, and presumably, kill the remaining Brody family.
  • Was there a need to recreate the opening of the Little Mermaid with Michael and the shark?!

The Ugly

  • Is Ellen psychically connected to the shark? What the fuck is with the editing when Michael is attacked?! At first it looked like she was witnessing the attack. Nope, she was having a vision or some shit.
  • The character of Ellen as a whole was just off. More an embodiment of her husband than anything reminiscent of Lorraine Grey’s initial performances. From her fear of the water to her bickering with her son. It all seemed out of character, even considering what she’d been through. While I was happy with her heading out to sea, I’d have liked to see her go out a little more prepared.
  • The fucking shark! Jesus, that shark all but tap danced. Gone is the tension from the first film. Just because the bar is placed so high and you can’t reach it, doesn’t mean you have to reach for new lows! There was no attempt to try and make what I can only guess was a man in a fish suit, act like an actual shark. Instead, what we get is a grey rubber mass going for the solo ‘participation award’ in synchronised swimming.
  • Slow-mo death scenes are bad. Yet we get a fair few in this. Including the death of the fucking shark itself. After its weird jiggles from the ‘bomb’ come electric shock thingy, the film goes for Sharky like he’s Ursula.

Final Thoughts

Actually floats in the ‘its so bad, its a bit funny’ category. That said, I spent most of my life treating Jaws as a singular movie and I think I’ll be going back to that way of thinking.