Aladdin: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #21

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

We all have movies or TV shows that we associate with our childhood. For those who grew up in the 80’s, it may have been ALF. 90’s kids had the Lion King and Toy Story. For me, a 2000’s born child, my childhood was full of amazing movies. The Incredibles, Madagascar, Finding Nemo, all amazing films that I grew watching and loving. Then there was Aladdin. The 1992 film was one of my favourites, and I could binge it over and over again for days on end. I even won a World Book Day character competition dressed as Aladdin when I was 6. So, I recently won a NowTV voucher off a KitKat wrapper. There are thousands of flicks on there, but there was one that stood out to me and brought back great memories. I rewatched Aladdin and had to review it for this week’s edition.

Featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Brad Kane, Scott Weinger and Lea Salonga, Aladdin is the classic story of a poor thief who meets a princess and longs to be with her. He steals a magic lamp and meets Genie, a magical being who can grant Aladdin three wishes of his choice. Aladdin uses his wishes to get the girl but must battle the evil Jafar along the way.

Without a doubt, Aladdin is one of the best kids films out there. It has humour, heart, and beautiful animation. Brad Kane and Scott Weinger voiced Aladdin or Prince Ali, and because of this, I thought Aladdin sounded a quite American even though Aladdin is an Arabian character. Aladdin is an orphan in the streets of Agrabah, an Arabian city. He steals his food with the help of his pet monkey, Abu. For a kids film, the way Aladdin was portrayed as a likeable character was actually pretty well done. The villain of Jafar was quite good, and his voice by Jonathan Freeman was actually pretty spot on. One thing that did annoy me a little was how obvious it was that Jafar was a villain. Dark colours, a sinister voice, all obvious signs that Jafar is evil. I understand it’s a kids film and it’s easy for studios to just tell the audience what’s going on, but they’re children. No need to exposit everything and lay it out on a silver platter for them. It would’ve been nice to have a bit more to Jafar’s character, as it just seemed he was an evil guy who wanted a lamp. Not much else to his character. Princess Jasmine was voiced by Lea Salonga, and her voice was less American-sounding but could’ve had more of an Asian accent to it. Her character was fun, but nothing compared to Genie. Genie was voiced by the wickedly-talented, Robin Williams. Williams as Genie made the film far more enjoyable and funnier, which makes him easily one of the best parts of this film.

You can’t review a Disney film without mentioning music, and for me, the music in Aladdin was amazing. The songs served as exposition machines in some places (which annoyed me), and as time fillers in others. The best song has to be ‘A New Whole World’, it’s just so damn catchy and has been stuck in my head for days on end.

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I think the storyline and plot were great. It captured a classic from the Arabian nights and brought it to life in a way that was entertaining for both kids and adults alike. It teaches children many lessons like being honest and being yourself, as well as asking the age-old question: if you had a genie, what three wishes would you wish for?

Admittedly, there were parts of Aladdin that I didn’t like. I would have liked a bit more diversity in the voices of characters. When bringing an Arabian story to life, I think it’s important to have an Arabian character to sound Arabian! I found that Aladdin was also full of unnecessary time fillers, especially that montage with the Prince Ali song.

But now only to the brighter side of my Aladdin review, the best moments. I liked the scene of Aladdin and Jasmine meeting for the first time in the marketplace. It was a meet-cute that showed us some good chemistry between the characters. The scene where Aladdin gets the lamp from the cave then escapes with the help of the carpet was wonderfully animated and good fun to watch. The introduction of Genie was fantastic, and basically, any scene with Genie was awesome. The scene with A Whole New World is one of my favourite Disney scenes, as it brought back so many great memories and was just so fun to watch. The ending was sweet and did put a smile on my face too, so points for Aladdin there.

Overall, Aladdin gets a 7.6/10 from Ryan’s Movie Reviews. It’s a great film that brought back great memories and I cannot wait to see the live-action remake that comes out next year. It stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Will Smith as Genie, so it should be pretty awesome.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Sorry it’s out a little late, but it’s here! Next week’s review will be something summer related, so vote here (https://www.strawpoll.me/15995804) to choose what I should review. Then, follow @Ryans.Movie.Reviews on Instagram as the top two most voted for movies will be pitted against each other. Voting closes Sunday 1st July at 8pm GMT. Comment below what your three wishes would be if you had three wishes!

See you next week for a summer related movie review!

Se7en: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #20

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! Just as a heads up, some of this review describes some gory details from Se7en and WILL spoil the film for you. You have been warned.

When asking people what I should review next, I received a wide range of suggestions. From ‘The Incredible Bulk’ to ‘Skyfall’, I’ve had a fair few suggestions. I decided to watch and review Se7en, as I’ve heard so much about it, and thought I’d give it a watch.

From David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey, Se7en tells the story of Detective Mills and Detective Somerset who are investigating a series of murders that Somerset believes are connected to the Seven Deadly Sins. The murderer, John Doe, comes forward and the detectives must follow his instructions in order to find his motivations behind the murders that lead to what has to be one of the most shocking and honestly, amazing, endings in cinema history.

I’ll be honest here. People had told me to watch Se7en but I avoided it for some time, mainly because it didn’t seem that interesting. And honestly, the film wasn’t as I expected. It didn’t really live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong, there were great moments in the films, especially the ending, but the film itself was dull (literally!) and I found myself losing interesting, just waiting for the next discovery of the next murder. Brad Pitt played Detective Mills, a young detective who is new in town to help solve the murders. Pitt was pretty good and had some great moments, but lacked in a few areas for me. Morgan Freeman as Detective Somerset was great too and I actually liked his character over Pitt’s Detective Mills, but the best character for me easily goes to Kevin Spacey’s John Doe. Though John Doe doesn’t really appear until the last quarter of the film, Spacey steals the show with the ending. In my opinion, he’s one of the best cinema villains, as he had the monotonous tone combined with the sick acts that he carried out that made him so awesome. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Tracy Mills, Detective Mills wife. She was a good character but seemed liked she was just there for her head to be chopped off by John Doe and put in the box. The characters all have amazing chemistry with each other, which actually kind of makes up for where the film disappointed me. The scene that springs to mind is when Mills, Somerset and Tracy are all having dinner at the Mills’,  where everyone bursts into laughter. That scene shows just how well the cast and characters get on. The relationship between Mills and Somerset, where Mills is the young and fiery detective while Somerset was a more of a rational and calm detective who served as more of a voice of reason. The way that Pitt and Freeman act out this is honestly so incredible. It shows off their talents as their characters have a companionship that shows them being forced to work together and yet getting on in some ways.

I have to talk about the best scenes in the film, which actually make it better in my view. First, every scene of uncovering a new murder is amazing. The first death of gluttony perfectly sets the tone for just how weird the film is going to get and sets the audience up for what to they’re about to watch. The other murders are interesting, but from the sloth, lust, envy, wrath and gluttony are my favourites. The sloth murder was done perfectly. It had a man being chained and tied down to a bed for a year, allowing their body to rot. This was so fantastically down but it was set up beautifully and the little jump scare of the victim not being dead was awesome. The lust murder had a prostitute being knifed to death by a client who was wearing a strap-on but instead of a prosthetic penis is a knife that the client uses during sexual intercourse to kill the prostitute as there is a gun to his head. You don’t see anything, but I love this scene so much because just when you think that John Doe as a villain cannot anymore psychotic or twisted, he pulls off this. The ending, as previously mentioned, is one of the greatest in cinema history. John Doe turns himself into the police, and his lawyer tells Mills and Somerset that he has two more bodies out in the desert. Mills and Somerset, accompanied by John Doe drive out to the desert to find the bodies. The three walk into the middle of the desert, then a delivery van pulls up on near to the desert. Somerset is ordered by John Doe to go see what the delivery man has delivered. While Somerset opens the box, John Doe tells Mills that he admires the life Mills leads, with a pretty wife, describing how he visited Mills home that morning after he left and how he tried to play husband and that it didn’t work out. John Doe says that he took a souvenir (dramatic pause) ‘her pretty head’. During all this, Somerset has been running back to Mills and John Doe telling Mills to put his gun down. When he arrives back, he asks Mills for his gun, leading Mills to ask ‘what’s in the box?’. John Doe explains that he envies Mills’ normal life and that his sin is envy. John Doe then tells Mills that he just told him what was in the box, leading Mills to have an internal struggle of whether or not to kill John Doe. John Doe wants Mills to shoot him so that Mills kills him out of wrath and the Seven Deadly Sin murders are complete. John Doe wants Mills to shoot him and explains that Tracy begged for her life and the life of her baby inside of her, which Mills learns about then and there. After an admittedly amazing inner struggle from Pitt’s Mills, John Doe is shot dead by Mills. The Seven Deadly Sins murders are complete, with John Doe’s killing of Tracy being the envy murder and Mills killing John Doe being the wrath murder, the final in the series.

Overall, Se7en gets a 7.8/10 from me. Despite not being as amazing as the hype that I was given, it is still an awesome film. The ending and all the murders in between make up for some of it in my opinion, and it was a great film to watch.

Thanks for reading week 20 of Ryan’s Movie Reviews. Follow me on Instagram @Ryans.Movie.Reviews and follow my WordPress to be the first to read my reviews.

Join me next week as I review something. I don’t know what. But something. Probably something good. Maybe recent, maybe not. Who knows? See you then!

Django Unchained: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #19

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Confession time. I love Quentin Tarantino. The man is a genius. Everything and anything he does is pure cinematic gold. Django was the second ever Tarantino film I saw and I loved it. From the intriguing storyline to the gory yet lovable massacre at Calvin Candie’s mansion, this cemented Tarantino as one of the best directors for me.

From director Quentin Tarantino comes Django Unchained, the story of a slave named Django (played by Jamie Foxx) who is freed by Dr King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz), who is also a bounty hunter. King trains Django to be a bounty hunter, and they meet with Calvin Candie, a notorious plantation owner who is in possession of Broomhilda, Django’s wife who Django was separated from.

First, off the bat, Django was incredibly good fun to watch. From beautiful shots (my favourite being the blood splattered cotton) to memorable and awesome dialogue, as well as thrilling and gory action and violence that will have you squealing with delight. That’s what you get from a Tarantino movie; endless memorable scenes and wanting more from him. Django was played by Jamie Foxx, and he killed it. He was so badass and fun and was great for the role. Foxx has a way of acting which really suited the tone of the movie, and it’s evident that he really got into the role of Django and enjoyed playing him throughout the film. His mentor of Doctor King Schultz was played by one of my all-time favourite actors, Christoph Waltz. This is Waltz’s second Tarantino movie, and clearly enjoys being part of the TarantinoVerse. The best thing about Waltz as an actor is that no matter what role he plays, his dictation in his lines is undeniably awesome and he brings a hint of fun and playfulness to every character he plays, and King Schultz is no exception from this. One of the biggest names that attracted people so seeing Django is Leonardo DiCaprio. He took in the role of Calvin Candie, a plantation owner who owns Django’s wife. DiCaprio was pretty great as Candie, but I felt he lacked a little something, that I can’t quite exactly put my finger on. His accent for Calvin Candie was fantastic though, so points there. Calvin’s trusty servant, Stephen, was played by none other than Samuel L Jackson. His voice and accent were amazing, and he portrayed an old loyal servant remarkably well, but I think we should have seen maybe a little less of him in some places. Django’s wife, Broomhilda, is played by Kerry Washington, and she does a good job in the role but felt that she too lacked a little something. Her emotional complexity in Broomhilda’s character was portrayed brilliantly though. My favourite character was King Schultz. Waltz won the Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in 2013 for his role in Django and it’s evident why throughout the film.

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King Schultz (Waltz, left) watches his apprentice Django (Foxx, right) use his bounty hunting training.

As with most Tarantino movies, the music was fantastic. It suited the tone of the film perfectly and in places actually made the film more enjoyable. One thing that Django does with music that’s really good is its timing. The music that went with the massacre at the Candyland Mansion was amazing, and the training snow montage had good music accompanying it too. The best music moment for me though was having the title ‘Django: Unchained’ come on the screen in time with the music with whip-cracking sound effects; truly a memorable moment that set up the tone of the film at the same time.

The storyline and plot were great, I like the idea of taking a well-known historical event and telling a good story from it. We saw it in Inglourious Basterds (where Waltz won another Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actor’) and Tarantino pulled it off again with Django. No issues for me there.

The best moments for me were hunting the Brittle Brothers, particularly the blood-splattered cotton plants, as it was just such an amazing scene, and it was also so symbolic. I liked the scene with the Ku Klux Klan as it was pretty funny and entertaining. The scene/montage of where Django was shooting in the snow was pretty badass and awesome. The massacre at the Candyland Mansion was arguably the best part of the film. Gory, bloody and pure movie gold. Lastly, the ending of blowing up the Candyland Mansion with ‘Trinity: Titoli’ playing filled me with joy, it emphasises how amazing of an actor Jamie Foxx is and brings us a good, happy ending to a fantastic story. However, it was quite a forgettable movie and I found myself losing interest at points through the film. Nonetheless, the film was a blast and I had a great time watching it.

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The blood-splattered cotton; the most memorable shot from the movie.

Django: Unchained gets an 8.5/10 from me. With awesome action, some good humour and great gory scenes, Django was a fantastic film that may not be my favourite Tarantino movie but certainly one that is hugely entertaining. It’s currently on Netflix, so go give it a watch if you’re looking for a good film to watch. If it’s your first time watching it, I guarantee you that you will love this film.

Thanks for reading week 19 of Ryan’s Movie Reviews. Sorry its up late, but I’ve had big exams on at school. For those interested, they went as well as I could do and now it’s just the waiting game. Follow @Ryans.Movie.Reviews on Instagram for the latest movie news, and follow my blog with your email to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. Join me next week when I review a crime/thriller film from the 1990’s. See you then!