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.

Detective Pikachu

Length: 1Hr 45

Rating: PG

Release: 10th May 2019

About:

Ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son, Tim, to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth Detective Pikachu. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.

Forethought

I’ve not seen a single episode of Pokemon. I once had a dream about owning a Pokemon, called squirtle. I looked it up, and it was real. As in it WAS the Pokemon called Squirtle. I’ve played Pokemon Go… until it updated and lost all my progress. Then I waited until the Jurassic World one was up and running!

So I pretty much into this with no knowledge of the franchise and just to hear Ryan Reynolds.

The Good

• The story was quite clever and was able to give us a world that embraced what came before and give the audience something unique.

• Jurassic Park alumni Justice Smith holds his own as the human protagonist in the film. While Tim perhaps doesn’t have the character development you’d expect, he really does charm and endear himself to the viewer. I’m hoping if we get a sequel, we get to see his confidence grow.

• Pikachu has the perfect voice with Reynolds. Not going to lie; I wanted more Deadpool in a cute outfit, but I’m happy he wasn’t completely PG’d. There were a few quips that will go over the little one’s heads and give the adults a giggle.

• Having a London/USA/Tokyo mashup city was a brilliant touch and they blended it all really well. The CGI was on point, although time will tell if it stands up to repeated viewing.

The Bad

• The casting of Chris Geere actually reveals more of the plot that it should have. It’s a shame because if they’d cast someone else, someone like Raffe Spall for example, I think the impact they were going for would have been achieved. As it stands, I saw the ‘twist’ a mile off.

• There’s slightly too much slight of hand and throwing the viewer off the ‘truth’. Which is fine if you don’t make it so obvious that’s what you’re doing.

The Ugly

• Kathryn Newton’s introduction as Lucy was appallingly clunky and does the actress, or the character, little justice. The visual set up of her being a femme fatale is awesome: and then she opens her mouth. I’ve seen the actress in other things and she’s good, so I’m not entirely sure how this made the cut.

Final Thoughts

It’s viewer newbie friendly, funny and with a lot of heart. It’s certainly worth a watch but dude to its ‘go big or go home’ approach, I’m not sure it’s going to give us another instalment.