Movies, School Holidays

July School Holiday Movie Reviews with KiA Dad Tim

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One of our KiA Dads, Tim, is a huge movie buff so we’ve put him on the job and he’ll be reviewing as many kid friendly movies as he can manage every school holidays. It’s sometimes hard to judge from just a movie trailer or movie rating if something is suitable for your kids so Tim will not only be reviewing each film but also recommending which kids might enjoy or not enjoy it.

The Lion King

Runtime: 118 minutes
In Theatres: July 17
Rating: PG
Short version – Relive the most traumatic death of your childhood. In stunning High Definition.
I would pay to listen to James Earl Jones reading the back of a detergent label. There is something about that voice which soothes the soul. Which is probably part of the reason why the death of Mufasa in the 1994 original hit so hard. You are on such a high watching the father-son relationship between Mufasa and Simba and then bam, somebody starts cutting onions again. 
In this new instalment, which I had to explain to my daughter isn’t a live action update like Aladdin (or were the lions just really well trained?), what is arguably Disney’s finest work is faithfully recreated practically scene for scene. The visuals are just insane. I mean what’s next? Will I be able to smell the lions next? For a moment you feel like you are watching a David Attenborough doco, until Pumba tells a fart joke which kind of reminds you this isn’t real.
The voice actors are incredible. Thankfully Jones was able to perform again as Mufasa because quite frankly, he is irreplaceable. Timon and Pumba are outstanding and a young up and comer named Beyonce (Think its pronounced Bee-Yon-Say) is great as Nala. Big things are in store for her I am sure. 
The little ones are a bit young for this version. It is so life like that most of the Scar and Hyena scenes even scared me and I am 38. So my 5 year old will have to wait for this one, so will my 11 year old who got her bravery from me. The Mufasa death is obviously a tough watch too which may be upsetting for kids or 38 year old men. 
Maybe try out the cartoon version and gauge their reaction, the scenes are almost identical.
For the adults, take your tissues. I have now cried 3 times in movies. Twice involve The Lion King.
5 out of 5 Beyonces. Outstanding. Better than the original. 

Aladdin

Runtime: 128 minutes
In Theatres: Now
Rating: PG
Short version: Disney ruined my childhood.

Jokes. This is incredible. I was 11 when Aladdin was released with the incomparable Robin Williams. Since then I have seen it in excess of 6000 times. Probably. It certainly feels like that many. Even saw the musical a few years back. It is a tale as old as time….wait sorry, wrong movie. Anyway Aladdin is a classic and a remake will struggle to top the original. So I thought.
You know the story. Street rat Aladdin on the streets of Agrabah, fooled by the evil Jafar yada yada yada Genie yada yada yada Princess and happily ever after.
Every single fave moment from the original is here and they nailed it. Not going to say I cried during the magic carpet ride but someone had some onions near me I swear. The cast is perfection and Will Smith. The Fresh Prince nailed this. Bravo.
Parents will love the nostalgia, the laughs and the visuals. So colourful and fantastic music. Kids of nearly all ages will love it too. Some of the little ones under 8 might find some of the mild action and fighting scenes a little much, especially nearing towards the end with….you know how it ends. Jafar. Evil genie. Do you do spoiler alerts for remakes of movies 27 years ago? Anyway for me, my 5yo is a little way off this one but my 11yo and 14yo were all over this.
Loved it! 4 lamps out of 5 for this one.

Toy Story 4

Runtime: 100mins
In Theatres: Now
Rating: G
Short version – You can indeed improve on perfection.
Dear Pixar, Please just make Toy Story movies forever. Kind regards, Tim. Its hard to believe the first Toy Story was released in the mid 90s. Those were the days. I was rocking an undercut then from memory whilst navigating year 10. Thankfully there was no facebook to record that fashion travesty. Anyway I digress, since that first release, Pixar created probably the perfect trilogy of movies with the release of Toy Story 2 and 3 over the next 15 years or so. So did they stuff it up by going for number 4? I mean what 4th instalment of anything was any good. Police Academy 4? Nope. Sharknado 4? Nope again. Although Sharknado is truly awesome in its own way. Looking at you Iain Ziering.
Somehow they nailed it. With number 3 ending on a perfect note, the story picks up with Buzz, Woody and co. travelling across country with Bonnie and their new friend Forky. Spoiler alert, Forky is a plastic fork. I can imagine the round table meeting at Pixar where some hung over writer was asked on the spot for an idea for a new character. Then, hazily staring down at his empty lunch container he piped up with ‘uh how about a plastic fork’. Genius. Hilarious too. The scenes with Woody and Forky will remind parents of trying to drag a toddler through a shopping centre at Christmas.
The whole thing is just insanely good. You know those people that are annoyingly good at everything? ‘Oh you are a Doctor and also play the piano. Cool’. Thats Toy Story. It just shouldn’t be this good but it just is perfect.
This is the peak movie for the whole fam. The little kids will love it, the teen kids will love it and unless you have a small and undiscovered fear of those creepy old school dolls ala Annabelle, then adults will love it too.
And lastly, the person who doesn’t like those creepy dolls is me. Go see Annabelle yourself. Wont get a review from me though.
5 out of 5 forky’s. Bring on Toy Story 5!

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Runtime: 130 minutes
In Theatres: Now
Rating: M
Short version – Stop what you are doing and go see this movie now.

I mean it. With Avengers: Endgame grossing almost $3 billion earlier this year, chances are you either Saw it several times Saw it once Didn’t see it but have a general idea what its all about because your kids won’t stop talking about it As someone who falls into category a), I will start by saying this review of Spider-man: Far from home, is entirely spoiler free. In fact I have probably already said too much. Far from home is the first movie in the Marvel cinematic universe since the events of Endgame, with details about plot kept very closely guarded. What I can say without fear of punishment, is all your favourite Spider-man faves return, as everyone’s favourite neighbourhood hero travels to Europe to try and win the heart of his crush MJ. Of course from there, adventures follow which leads to a brilliant conclusion and applause (I may have been the only one clapping I must add). Oh my god so good. For those very familiar with the current crop of superhero movies, this will tick all your boxes. In fact, don’t even take the kids. Just go on your own when the cinema is empty and enjoy this majestic period in cinematic history. If you don’t like superhero movies and the kids are dragging you along? Will I like it I hear you say?

Of course you will. You don’t need to have seen all 22 Marvel movies to enjoy this one. They touch briefly at the start on previous events to quickly catch everyone up and then grab your popcorn and enjoy the show. At a nudge over 2 hours, it won’t feel overly long and will be a great way to spend an afternoon. It has been given an M rating which seems fair. There are a lot of action scenes which could be a bit scary in parts and very loud in the cinema. There is also one short scene in particular (you will know it when you see it) which would probably scare the pants off the little ones. So for me and my kids, the 6yo gets a miss for this one and my 11yo is a little jumpy so probably not either. My 14yo is tougher than me and she love love loved it! Oh and another thing. Always stay til the end of the credits. Totally worth the wait.
4.5 webs out of 5 for me and that will probably increase after a 2nd viewing.

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Tim

A dad to teen and tween girls, plus an adventurous little boy, I finally found something more expensive than kids. Our French Bulldog named George

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