Film Reviews by SW

Welcome to SW's film reviews page. SW has written 3 reviews and rated 172 films.

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Swallows and Amazons

An Unwelcome Disappointment

(Edit) 20/12/2016

I have to admit the following; I grew up reading the Swallows and Amazons adventures by Arthur Ransome, and having re-read them recently (long story) I was looking forward to the film. The Seventies film of the same name was a disappointment; wooden and stilted, but it did remain mostly faithful to the book given the restrictions of time etc.

This offering started with the book obviously, and then apparently began to remove any possible spoken areas of offence that could have been caused by the age of the material and its (now) unenlightened prose. This was inevitable and I paid it no real heed. However, a further editorial process took place that forced upon the story an anachronistic and rather preachy series of messages regarding 'safety'.

This was demonstrated repeatedly but especially by a contrived near drowning of Roger that never took place in the book, because Roger wasn't stupid to the point of imbecility in the book. The 'stranger danger' in the form of a frankly ridiculous scene with the charcoal burners left my wife and I aghast; their meeting is delightful in the book and leeringly threatening here. This coupled with the dreadful personalities of most of the Swallows and half of the Amazons that to me was simply inexplicable as they displayed nothing of the kind in the book.

The spirit of the book, teamwork, adventure and enjoyment of simple pleasures and imagination was replaced by sulky teens being destructive, incompetent, argumentative liars. The Swallows were bad enough, but the worst for my Wife and I was undoubtedly Nancy Blackett, the leader of the Amazon Pirates. How one of the most positive portrayals of a cheerful, capable, strong and independent young girl in print anywhere could be allowed to have been reduced to this spoilt nonentity is beyond me. I shall take the nightmare vision of a petulant, sulky Nancy to my grave. As her character was wont to say in the book, "Barbecued Billygoats!" And to think that Ransome was accused of being a sexist Edwardian misogynist; the irony is almost painful.

This was supposed to be a children's film about children experiencing the joy and excitement of exploring and simply being children, a 'war' between Explorers and Pirates being the central narrative. Adults had a secondary part in the book, not here; SPIES for heaven's sake were most of the story. Watch this by all means and then read the book if you wish, but under no circumstances reverse the procedure.

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SkyHook

Poor

(Edit) 07/11/2014

Science fiction in cinema needs believeability above all. The viewer needs to feel that the world portrayed is a realistic one, or at least realistically possible. I cite Avatar as a fine example of this. Failing this there is no need of multi-million pound CGI budgets if the story and the characters are engaging, and I cite Metropolis by Fritz Lang, The Time Machine etc,etc. This film fails in both categories, for the sets were worthy of Plan Nine from Outer Space, and the story was to say the least predictable, and the acting as wooden as the sets. This film is dire, pure plain and simple. Avoid.

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Battle: Earth

The worst film I have seen in recent times.

(Edit) 19/01/2014

This was utterly dreadful. First, the script. To say the storyline was childish and predictable was an understatement. This was apparently written by a fourteen year old desperately pasting a bad old Vietnam movie script into his school essay and then it being misdirected to Hollywood.There was no character development, but as they were all whiny stereotypes maybe that was not a bad thing, for what speech there was made Stallone in First Blood look like Shakespeare. The good thing was that the 'movie' was extremely short, the less in this case the better. Secondly, the special effects were minimal and poor, apparently the film budget not running to the hire of an old Huey helicopter and a tin of green paint. The 'aliens' were extras running around in Mad Max suits with rubber snakes hanging over their faces. 1960's Dr. Who did better. The camera work was 'shaky' to presumably inject tension. it did not; it injected a sense of unoriginality and irritation. In short, it was an unentertaining, boring, whine-fest with an inexplicable ending, with characters so excruciating that I was cheering for the aliens. At least 'Pearl Harbour' looked like it had been made by professionals.

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