CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Sergio Casellitto (In Treatment)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Warwick Davis (Star Wars – Episode VI)

1,300  Narnian years after the Pevensie siblings left, Caspian, a Telmarine prince and heir to the throne, is informed by mentor Doctor Cornelius that his uncle, Miraz, is plotting to kill him and seize the throne for himself and his newborn heir. Cornelius gives him Queen Susan’s ancient magical horn, instructing him to blow it only at his greatest need. Caspian flees into the woods where he encounters two Narnian dwarfs, Trumpkin and Nikabrik, and a talking badger named Trufflehunter, and blows the horn to summon help.
 Only one year in England has passed since the Pevensie children returned from Narnia. The children are waiting for a tube train when the station suddenly starts collapsing and they are magically transported to Narnia. At first they are overjoyed, but soon realize that much time has passed since their last visit, and their castle at Cair Paravel is in ruin.  In the Telmarine castle, the lords of the council learn that Prince Caspian is gone, and Miraz, using Trumpkin, who has been captured, persuades them to attack the Narnians to retrieve Caspian while secretly plotting to kill him instead. Lord Sopespian suspects Miraz’s motives, and discusses his treasonous thoughts with his ally, General Glozelle.
 The Pevensies save Trumpkin from being drowned by two Telmarines; he realizes that the four children are the Kings and Queens of Old and they continue on together. Lucy glimpses Aslan and tries convincing the others that she has seen him; only Edmund believes her. Nikabrik and Trufflehunter lead Caspian to a gathering of the old Narnians, where he convinces them to help him win his throne so he can return their land. They meet the Pevensies and Trumpkin, and all journey to Aslan’s How. Peter decides they will attack Miraz’s castle, rejecting Lucy’s advice that they wait for Aslan to return.
The Narnians raid Miraz’s castle, but Caspian ruins the plan by freeing Cornelius instead of opening the gate. He learns that Miraz killed his father, and confronts Miraz but is wounded. Overwhelmed, Peter calls for a retreat. Peter, Susan, Edmund, Caspian and the Narnians escape with heavy losses. Upon returning to Aslan’s How, Peter and Caspian argue, while back at the castle, Miraz is crowned King.
Nikabrik, with the aid of a hag and a werewolf, offers Caspian his help to guarantee victory. The hag uses black sorcery to summon Jadis, the White Witch. From inside a wall of ice, the White Witch tries convincing Caspian to free her, when Peter, Edmund, Lucy and Trumpkin arrive. Peter kills the hag, Edmund kills the werewolf, and Trumpkin stabs Nikabrik when he attacks Lucy. Peter knocks Caspian aside to face the Witch himself, but begins to be entranced, until Edmund shatters the ice, destroying the Witch’s apparition.
As Miraz and his army arrive at Aslan’s How, Caspian suggests Peter and Miraz duel to the death, with the loser’s army to surrender, to buy Lucy and Susan time to find Aslan. Miraz agrees to the duel, not wanting to look like a coward in front of his men. The girls are attacked by Telmarine soldiers, so Susan remains behind to fight them while Lucy continues alone. Peter defeats Miraz, and gives Caspian his sword to finish him off, but Caspian spares Miraz’s life. Sopespian kills Miraz with one of Susan’s arrows and accuses the Narnians, leading to a battle, with the Telmarines gradually winning. Lucy finds Aslan in the woods and he awakens the trees, turning the battle in the Narnians’ favor. Sopespian orders retreat to a bridge, where they are confronted by Lucy and Aslan. Aslan summons the river god, who destroys the bridge, killing many of the soldiers, swallowing Sopespian and winning the battle.  Caspian invites the Telmarines to remain in Narnia if they will coexist peacefully with the Narnians; but if they wish, they can return to the human world from which they originally came to Narnia. Some, including General Glozelle, agree to do so, and Aslan creates a portal for them and the four Pevensies. Susan kisses Caspian, knowing they will never meet again, as Aslan told her and Peter that they will never return to Narnia. The Pevensies return to England, leaving Caspian as King.Prince Caspian drops the children’s fantasy feeling, in favor of a darker, more militaristic story. But despite its darker overtones, it never forgets the light side.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: BBC’S THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

 

CAST
Richard Dempsey (Dracula)
Sophie Cook (The Worst Witch 1986)
Jonathan R. Scott (The Bill)
Sophie Wilcox (Dark Blue World)
Barbara Kellerman (Monsignor Renard)
Kerry Shale (Narcopolis)
Lesley Nicol (Downton Abbey)
Ailsa Berk (The 10th Kingdom)
Ronald Pickup (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Warwick Davis (Willow)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
David Thwaites (The Lodge)
Camilla Power (Waterloo Road)
Tom Baker (Dungeons & Dragons)
Richard Henders (Children of the New Forest)
Geoffrey Russell (Les Miserables 1978)
Aired in the form of three, six episode miniseries, running around 30-minutes an episode, the series condensed the second and third  novels together, while giving the first and the fourth nearly three hours each to bring Lewis’ world of Narnia to life.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are siblings who are evacuated from London and sent to the countryside to stay with Professor Digory Kirke because of World War II. While exploring a spare room in the house, Lucy enters a wardrobe and finds herself in the middle of a snowy wood. She meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus, who explains that she is in the land of Narnia. He takes her back to his cave for tea. He then plays his flute and Lucy goes to sleep, but when she wakes up Tumnus is crying and he confesses that he had intended to hand her over to the cruel White Witch, who rules over Narnia and makes it “always winter and never Christmas”. She had ordered him and all the other Narnians that if they ever saw a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve in Narnia, they were to catch them and hand them over to her, but Tumnus realises that he cannot go through with it and he walks back to the lamp-post with Lucy to make sure she returns safely to her own world.
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When Lucy returns to her siblings, they do not believe her story about Narnia, especially because Lucy claims to have been gone for hours, while for her siblings no time has passed. Edmund is particularly cruel to her and taunts her with comments like “found any new countries in the cupboard lately?”. Later, during a game of hide and seek, Lucy again enters the wardrobe and Edmund follows her into it, and manages to find his way into Narnia, but he cannot find Lucy. After walking some distance into the snow-covered forest, he hears a jingling of bells and a woman in a horse-drawn sleigh draws up. The lady introduces herself as the Queen of Narnia, and demands to know “what” Edmund is. He is confused by her question, and she is running out of patience before she finally asks him if he is human. He tells her that he is human and that he got into Narnia through a wardrobe door.Chroniken_narnia_003She is kind to Edmund, giving him warm drink and his favourite food: Turkish delight and magically makes a tent appear which they enter before talking. She is eager to know all about him and he tells her that he has a brother and two sisters – she seems particularly interested in the fact that there are four of them. He also tells her that his sister Lucy has already been in Narnia and has met a faun. The Queen tells Edmund that she would like to see his brother and sisters and that next time he comes to Narnia he should bring them with him to meet her. She also tells him that she has no children, and that she would love a boy she could bring up as a prince; who would be King of Narnia when she died. She eventually bids farewell to Edmund and reminds him to come and see her soon.
Edmund returns to the lamp-post, where he comes across Lucy, who tells him that she saw Tumnus again, and that the White Witch has done nothing to him for letting her go. When she describes the White Witch, Edmund realises that she is the lady he has just met, but he does not let on that he has seen her. When they return to the Professor’s house and meet Peter and Susan, and Lucy tells them about Edmund’s visit to Narnia, he refuses to back up Lucy’s story, claiming that Lucy had only been “imagining”. Peter is furious with Edmund for encouraging Lucy about her “lies”. A few days later, the children have to get out of the way when visitors are in the house. They enter the wardrobe and all four find themselves in Narnia. Lucy takes them to Tumnus’s cave, but they find him gone and the cave ransacked. A letter signed by “Maugrim, Captain of the Secret Police” has been left behind, stating that Tumnus is under arrest and awaiting trial on a charge of high treason against the Queen of Narnia for “comforting her majesty’s enemies, harbouring spies and, above all, of fraternising with humans”.
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The four children then make their way from the cave and encounter a beaver, who appears friendly. Mr Beaver takes them to his home, and explains that Aslan – the great lion and king of beasts – will save Tumnus and end the White Witch’s reign. He reveals that Tumnus was seen being taken away by the Secret Police to the White Witch’s castle, and that there was no certainty of his fate, but according to the few people to have been taken in the castle and come out again it is likely that he has been turned to stone. The children have to meet Aslan, because they are part of a prophecy that when “two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve” sit on the thrones at Cair Paravel, it will end the White Witch’s reign. Mr Beaver explains that this prophecy is why they all had to be so cautious as they came along, as the White Witch would be more dangerous still if she knew that there were four humans in Narnia.
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 Suddenly, they notice that Edmund has disappeared, and they rush outside in hope that he will hear them calling for him, but he is nowhere to be seen. Mr Beaver then tells them that Edmund has gone to the White Witch, as he had the look of someone who had been with the Witch. He is even more sure of this when he hears that Edmund has been in Narnia before, by himself, and had not told the others what he had done or whom he had met. Edmund arrives at the White Witch’s house, and she is furious with him for coming alone. She is even more furious when she hears that Aslan has come to Narnia, and decides that they are to travel to the Stone Table. The beavers and the three children prepare for their own journey to the Stone Table. The White Witch had ordered Maugrim and another wolf to go to the Beavers’ house, but when they got there they had already gone and there was no scent or tracks, so he headed for the Stone Table. After going some distance, the children and the beavers rest in a cave.
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They soon fall asleep but are awakened hours later by the sound of jingling bells. Mr Beaver is convinced that it is the White Witch and heads outside to watch in secret. However, when he returns to tell the others what he has seen, he assures them that it is a nasty knock for the Witch and a sign that her power is crumbling. It is Father Christmas, who presents the children with gifts: Peter gets a sword and shield, Susan gets a bow, quiver of arrows and a horn, and Lucy gets a bottle of magical healing cordial. As they continue their journey, the snow around them melts, making way for spring. Arriving at the Stone Table, the children and the beavers are welcomed by Aslan. However, Maugrim appears soon afterwards and terrifies the crowd, only to be slain by Peter. Knowing that the White Witch is nearby, Aslan sends his creatures to rescue Edmund, succeeding just as the White Witch is preparing to kill him.
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 Later, the White Witch herself arrives at the Stone Table, demanding that Edmund be given to her, as all traitors in Narnia belong to her. Aslan discusses the matter in private with the Witch, then announces to all that Edmund will be spared, but the camp has to be moved away from the Stone Table before nightfall. That night, Susan and Lucy follow Aslan as he leaves the encampment. Aslan allows them to follow, but makes them promise to stay hidden. They watch as Aslan walks to the Stone Table, where the White Witch and her followers are waiting for him. They bind and shave Aslan, with the White Witch revealing that Aslan traded his life for Edmund’s. The White Witch kills Aslan with a knife. When the ceremony is over, the White Witch and her company leave to prepare for the oncoming battle with Peter and his forces. Susan and Lucy spend the night at the Stone Table with Aslan’s body. At dawn, the Stone Table cracks in half and Aslan comes back to life. He explains that there is a deeper magic that states that if a “willing victim who has committed no treachery is killed in a traitor’s stead, the Stone Table will crack and death itself will be denied”. The two girls jump on Aslan’s back and they fly to the White Witch’s house, where Aslan’s restores all the Witch’s victims – including Tumnus – back to life from their stone forms.
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By the time Aslan and the restored statues return to the battlefield, the fight is in full swing and the Witch has already turned a number of Aslan’s followers into stone. Edmund brings his sword down on the Witch’s wand, breaking it, and the Witch herself is chased to the top of a ravine by Peter. Aslan appears and roars so loudly that the Witch loses her balance and falls off the edge, killing her upon impact with the ground below. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are later crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia in Cair Paravel. They rule Narnia for many years, bringing peace and prosperity to the land. As adults, the four monarchs are passing through the forest when they come across the old lamp-post that marks the border of Narnia. They walk deeper, passing through the wardrobe door and find themselves back in the professor’s house, and once again children.
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Prince Caspian / The Voyage of The Dawn Treader

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The four Pevensie children are waiting at a train station when a magical force pulls them into Narnia. They land at an overgrown castle which they recognise as Cair Paravel. Susan saves the life of a dwarf named Trumpkin who is about to be drowned by two soldiers on a boat. The children tell him that they are the old Kings and Queens of Narnia, of which Trumpkin has heard of in the Narnian legends.Trumpkin tells the children the story of Prince Caspian, nephew of the current monarch, King Miraz. Caspian lived in a great castle with King Miraz and his wife Queen Prunaprismia. He has a tutor called Dr. Cornelius who one night woke him up because the Queen had given birth to a baby; with a direct heir, Miraz no longer needs Caspian, and planned to kill him. Caspian escaped on a horse but fell from it in the woods and was taken in by Trumpkin, a badger called Trufflehunter and a black dwarf called Nikabrik. These are people who live in hiding, because King Miraz hates the Old Narnians; his ancestors defeated them in their invasion of Narnia hundreds of years earlier. The children travel through the woods with Trumpkin to meet Caspian.
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That night, Lucy wakes up from sleep, hearing someone calling her name. She realises that it is Aslan, who instructs the others to follow him. The children meet Aslan the next morning at the Stone Table, and he takes them to meet the Old Narnians and Prince Caspian. Peter sends a letter of challenge to King Miraz and the guard who gave it to him is Glozelle, one of the King’s courtiers who along with Sopespian has been conspiring against the King. Miraz then has an argument with his two courtiers and had intended to refuse the challenge, but changes his mind at the last minute and accepts the offer. Peter eventually fights Miraz and in the struggle he stabs Miraz in the back. Miraz lies wounded on the floor and Glozelle finishes him off with a spear. A battle is bought briefly. A brave mouse called Reepicheep has his tail cut off but Aslan restores it in recognition of his bravery. Aslan also names Caspian as the King of Narnia, and peace is restored between all Narnians. The four Pevensies return home, with Aslan telling them that Peter and Susan will not return, but Edmund and Lucy will. The Voyage of The Dawn Treader: When the story opens, it is explained that Peter is working at Professor Kirke’s house, Susan has been invited to America for a holiday, and the younger two, Edmund and Lucy, are staying at their cousin Eustace Scrubb’s home. Sitting in their temporary room, they both comment on a picture on the wall, how it resembles a Narnian ship. Eustace enters the room, and all three are sucked into the painting. On board the ship the Dawn Treader, Edmund and Lucy are reunited with Prince Caspian who has grown into a young man since they last saw him. He explains that he is on a quest to find seven lords who were friends of his father’s. The quest requires them to sail through dangerous waters, encountering new islands where things are not what they seem and finally to sail to the end of the world, hoping to reach Aslan’s Land.
The first island they encounter is one of the Lone Islands, where they are captured by slave traders, but are rescued the next day when Caspian and his army arrive at the market (having already deposed Governor Gumpus) and announce the abolition of slavery in Narnia. Caspian had already been bought by a man who introduced himself as Lord Bern (one of the missing lords). They later find an isolated island which appears to be uninhabited. Eustace wanders off and finds a cave where a dragon has died. The cave is full of gold and jewellery, and Eustace finds a bracelet which he puts on. He is tired and soon falls asleep, but when he wakes up he soon realises that he has metamorphosised into a dragon. He flies back to the beach where the others confront him, and they soon figure out who he is. He is soon turned back into a human by Aslan. Caspian establishes that the bracelet was a possession of Lord Octesian, who must have perished on that island. The third island (Caspian declares it “Goldwater Island,” but Reepicheep proposes the more apt name of “Deathwater Island”) where they find a cavern in which there is a pool. Edmund places his sword in the water to measure its depth, only for it to become heavy and fall in the water – causing it to splash over his shoes and produce splashes of gold. There is a body in the water, and they establish that anyone or anything that ends up in the water turns into gold. Caspian later realises that the body in the water is that of Lord Restimar.
On the fourth island, they encounter some invisible creatures who give them dinner at a large house. A magician called Coriakin appears after Lucy reads from a magic book, and the creatures are soon made visible again. The fifth and final island is at the end of the world. Before they ascend the island, they find a man in the water who introduced himself as Lord Rhoop. On the island they meet Ramandu and his daughter, and also find the three remaining Lords who are in an enchanted sleep.The three children eventually return home, and before leaving they know that Caspian will marry the daughter of Ramandu, who lives on an island at the end of the world, and that the four lords who were in a deep sleep on Ramandu’s island will awaken. Aslan also told Edmund and Lucy that they will not return to Narnia since they are getting too old.

The Silver Chair

Eustace Scrubb, cousin of the Pevensies, is at a boarding school with a girl named Jill Pole. The two children are targeted by bullies because of their surnames. Eustace tells Jill about Narnia, and while running away from bullies, they pass through a doorway into Aslan’s country. Eustace accidentally falls off a cliff, but is blown to Narnia.
Alone, Jill encounters Aslan, who tells her of the task she and Eustace have been given to do. Aslan explains that in Narnia, the elderly king’s only son and heir, Prince Rilian, disappeared some years earlier. Jill is told to memorise four signs that will lead her and Eustace to Rilian. Aslan sends Jill to Narnia, where she is reunited with Eustace near the castle of Cair Paravel. Jill quickly tells Eustace that he has to greet “an old and dear friend”, which is the first sign given by Aslan. Eustace says that he cannot recognize anyone, and the two watch as a boat with the elderly king leaves the castle dock. The two meet an owl named Glimfeather, who tells them that the king who just left is King Caspian X. Eustace realises that King Caspian is his friend from the Dawn Treader, and Jill is upset that they’ve missed the first sign.
The pair meet Trumpkin the dwarf, who is King Caspian’s trusted advisor. They are allowed to stay in the castle, and that night they are brought by Glimfeather to the Parliament of Owls where they are told the full story of Prince Rilian’s disappearance. Rillian’s mother, the Queen of Narnia, had been killed by a serpent in the woods. Rilian returned to the woods many times to hunt the serpent, but failed. One day Lord Drinian, one of Caspian’s friends, noticed a change in Rilian, and was invited by the prince to enter the woods. Lord Drinian witnessed Rilian approach a beautiful lady with red hair in such a way to imply that Rilian was infatuated with her. The next time Rillian went out, he failed to return. The owls then speak of their belief that the woman in the forest and the deadly serpent are one and the same. Jill explains that according to Aslan’s second sign, they have to go north beyond Narnia to the Ruined City of the Giants. The owls take Eustace and Jill to a marshwiggle named Puddleglum, who will be their guide. The trio travel north, eventually encountering a lady riding on horseback alongside an unspeaking knight in black armour. The lady introduces herself as the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and advises them to pay a visit to the Giants of Harfang, where they will get good food and lodging.
Soon the group are caught in a snowstorm, and Jill falls into a trench that leads nowhere. Although Puddleglum is reluctant to detour from their quest, the children insist they go to Harfang. They are welcomed warmly by the giants, and given good food and a warm place to sleep. The next day, the trio look out the window of Jill’s room and see the Ruined City of the Giants on a nearby hillside, with the words “UNDER ME” inscribed on the ground. Jill realised that she fell into the “E” of the message the day before. As the third sign was to find a “writing” at the ruins and follow their instructions, they deduce that they have to go under the Ruined City to find Rilian. They explore the castle, learning that the Harfang Giants intend to cook them for their Autumn Feast. They escape through a cat door, and get away from the Giants’ hounds by crawling through a hole under a rock. In the darkness, they fall down a slope deep into the ground. There, they are captured by Earthmen to be taken to the Queen of the Underworld. Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum are taken to the Queen’s living quarters. They are greeted by a knight wearing a silver mask. He reveals that he has met them before: he was the knight on horseback they’d encountered, and the Queen of the Deep Realm is also the Lady of Green Kirtle. The knight claims that the Lady is his saviour, as only she can break the curse that is on him.
The knight explains that because of the curse, for a short time every day he becomes “unlike himself”, so he has to be restrained in the Silver Chair. He makes the group promise not to listen to whatever he says when he is under that condition. Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum hide while two Earthmen take the knight, bind him in the Silver Chair and then leave. After a moment, the knight’s demeanor changes and he begs the trio to set him free “in the name of Aslan”. The children are shocked, as the fourth and final sign was that the first person to ask them to do something in Aslan’s name would be Prince Rilian. Puddleglum is the one who undoes the binds, and the knight is freed, upon which he destroys the Silver Chair. The group are stopped when the Lady of the Green Kirtle arrives. She uses her magic to convince Eustace and Jill that all “other worlds” (Narnia and Earth) do not exist, and that the underworld is the only world. Puddleglum retains enough of himself despite her spells to defy the Lady. Angered, the Lady turns into a giant serpent, but she is killed by Rilian, who also realises that the Lady of the Green Kirtle was the serpent who killed his mother. The group flee just as everything suddenly starts to rumble and rocks cave in. The Lady had ordered the Earthmen to dig through the roof of the underworld for an invasion of the overworld. The group manages to climb high enough to break through the surface, and they realise that they have emerged in the heart of Narnia.
Rilian returns to Cair Paravel, where he is reunited with his father just before the old king dies. Rilian is hailed as the new king. Aslan appears, congratulating Eustace and Jill for their success. They detour briefly to Aslan’s country, where they see a vision of Caspian as a 13-year-old again. Caspian greets Eustace warmly, and tells Aslan that he has always wanted a glimpse of Eustace’s world. Aslan agrees to the request, taking them to the outer walls of Eustace and Jill’s school. Aslan forces a crack in the wall and the bullies appear at the other side, only to be chased away by the three children in knight’s armour. They then say their goodbyes, with Eustace and Jill returning to their own world.
This is an excellent set with all episodes in very good condition. The special features are also a good addition. I watched this series when it first came out on tv as a child so I have good memories of it. People considering purchasing this having never seen this series before, but having seen the Narnia film, may find the effects disappointing. It was the late 1980s, however, and brings back a lot of memories. It is a most faithful adaptation of the 4 books by Lewis.

REVIEW: JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

CAST

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class)
Eleanor Tomlinson (The White Queen)
Stanley Tucci (The LVoely Bones)
Ian McShane (Hercules)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Ewan McGregor (Big Fish)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)

In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle’s farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and becomes enamored with her after defending her honor from a group of hooligans. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack’s horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father King Brahmwell as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground. Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant Wicke volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont and his second in-command, Crawe, and climb the beanstalk in search of Isabelle. As they climb, Roderick and Wicke cut the safety rope, intentionally killing some of the knights. At the top, they discover the giants’ realm and decide to split into two groups: one with Jack, Elmont, and Crawe, and the other including Roderick and Wicke, but not before Roderick forcibly takes the remaining beans from Jack (although Jack manages to save one for himself).Jack’s group is trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner except Jack. Meanwhile, Roderick’s group encounters two other giants; one eats Wicke, but before the other can do the same to Roderick, Roderick dons the magic crown. Jack follows the giant to their stronghold, where the two-headed giant leader, Fallon, has killed Crawe. Jack finds Isabelle and Elmont imprisoned there. As the giants prepare to kill their remaining prisoners, Roderick walks in and enslaves the giants with the crown. He tells the giants they will attack Cloister at dawn and gives them permission to eat Isabelle and Elmont. Jack rescues Isabelle and Elmont as one of the giants prepares to cook Elmont as a pig-in-a-blanket. The trio makes for the beanstalk, where Jack causes the giant guarding the beanstalk to fall off the realm’s edge. Seeing the giant’s body, Brahmwell orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants.Jack and Isabelle head down the beanstalk, while Elmont stays to confront Roderick. Elmont kills Roderick, but Fallon takes the crown before Elmont can claim it, and Elmont is forced to escape down the beanstalk. Jack, Isabelle, and Elmont all survive the fall after the beanstalk is cut down. As everyone returns home, Jack warns that the giants are using Roderick’s beans to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister. The giants chase Jack, Isabelle, and Brahmwell into the castle, where Elmont fills the moat with oil and sets it on fire. Fallon falls in the moat and breaks into the castle from below. As the siege continues, Fallon captures Jack and Isabelle, but Jack throws the final bean down Fallon’s throat, causing a beanstalk to rip apart his body. Jack takes the crown and sends the giants back to their realm. Jack and Isabelle marry and tell the story of the giants to their children. As time passes, the magic crown is crafted into St Edward’s Crown and is secured in the Tower of London.This was a lot better than I was expecting, so that was quite a pleasant surprise.  I was prepared to make an early exit from watching the retelling of another favourite fairy tale. But it was actually done very well, with a wonderfully impressive CGI beanstalk and superb giants. All in all, it was a very enjoyable film to watch.

 

REVIEW: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

CAST

Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Diego luna (Milk)
Alan Tudyk (Powerless)
Donnie Yen (Highlander: Endgame)
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)
Forest Whitaker (Arrival)
Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue)
Wen Jiang (Devils on The Doorstep)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises)
Guy Henry (V For Vendetta)
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions)
Genevieve O’Reilly (The Legend of Tarzan)
Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Ingvild Deila (This Is Not Happening)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)

Research scientist Galen Erso and his family are in hiding on the planet Lah’mu. Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic arrives to press him into completing the Death Star, a space station-based superweapon capable of destroying planets. Galen’s wife Lyra is killed in the confrontation while their daughter Jyn escapes and is taken to safety by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera.
Fifteen years later, cargo pilot Bodhi Rook defects from the Empire, smuggling a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the desert moon Jedha. Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor frees Jyn from an Imperial labor camp at Wobani before bringing her to the Rebel leader Mon Mothma, who convinces her to find and rescue Galen so the Alliance can learn more about the Death Star. Cassian is covertly ordered by General Draven, an Alliance military officer, to kill Galen rather than extract him.
Jyn, Cassian, and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO travel to Jedha, where the Empire is removing kyber crystals from the holy city to power the Death Star while Gerrera and his partisans are engaged in an armed insurgency against them. With the aid of blind spiritual warrior Chirrut Îmwe and his mercenary friend Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera, who has been holding Rook captive. Gerrera shows her the message, in which Galen reveals he has secretly built a vulnerability into the Death Star and directs them to retrieve the schematics from a high-security Imperial data bank on the planet Scarif.
On the Death Star, Krennic orders a low-powered shot from the superlaser to destroy Jedha’s capital. Jyn and her group take Rook and flee the planet, but Gerrera remains to die with the city. Grand Moff Tarkin congratulates Krennic before using Rook’s defection and security leak as a pretext to take control of the project.
Rook leads the group to Galen’s Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu, where Cassian chooses not to kill Galen. When Krennic orders Galen’s team killed for causing the security leak, Galen confesses that he is responsible. The research team is executed anyway. Jyn makes her presence known moments before Rebel bombers attack the facility. Galen is wounded and dies in his daughter’s arms, before she escapes with her group on board a stolen Imperial cargo shuttle. Krennic is summoned by Darth Vader, to answer for the attack on Eadu. Krennic seeks his support for an audience with the Emperor, Vader ignores it and orders him instead to ensure no further leaks about the Death Star occur.
Jyn proposes a plan to steal the Death Star schematics using the Rebel fleet but fails to get approval from the Alliance Council, who feel victory against the Empire is now impossible. Frustrated at their inaction, Jyn’s group is supported by a small squad of Rebel volunteers intent on raiding the databank themselves. Arriving at Scarif via the stolen Imperial ship, which Rook dubs “Rogue One”, a disguised Jyn and Cassian enter the base with K-2SO while the other Rebels attack the resident Imperial garrison as a distraction. The Rebel fleet learns about the raid from intercepted Imperial communications and deploy in support. K-2SO sacrifices himself so Jyn and Cassian can retrieve the data. Îmwe is killed after activating the master switch to allow communication with the Rebel fleet. Rook is killed by a grenade after informing the Rebel fleet that it must deactivate the shield surrounding the planet to allow the transmission of the schematics. Malbus dies in battle shortly after. Jyn and Cassian seize the schematics, but they are ambushed by Krennic, who shoots Cassian.
Krennic corners Jyn, declaring the Empire’s victory, but Cassian, who has survived, shoots and wounds Krennic. Jyn transmits the schematics to the Rebel command ship. The Death Star enters orbit above Scarif, where Tarkin uses another low-power shot from the superlaser to destroy the Empire’s base. Krennic is killed instantly, while Jyn and Cassian embrace on a beach before dying in the blastwave. The Rebel fleet prepares to jump to hyperspace but are intercepted by Vader’s flagship. Vader invades the command ship and kills many rebels in his pursuit of the schematics, but a small starship escapes with them on board. Aboard the fleeing ship, Princess Leia declares that the schematics will provide hope for the Rebellion.I would find it hard to believe anyone would not be impressed by this movie, if you are a serious Star Wars fan. Perhaps if you don’t take Star Wars seriously but prefer films that are all action and special effects you might find the slow build hard to take. But for me, and a large number of other Star Wars fans this is the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back. It may be a dark time for the Rebellion, but its a great time to be a fan of Star Wars.

REVIEW: WILLOW

 

CAST

Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Joanne Whalley (The Secret Rapture)
Jean Marsh (Return to Oz)
Patricia Hayes (Reach for Glory)
Billy Barty (Masters of The Universe)
Pat Roach (Kull The Conqueror)
Gavan O’Herlihy (Superman III)
Kevin Pollak (End of Days)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Phil Fondacaro (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)

A prophecy states that a female child with a special birthmark will herald the downfall of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Bavmorda imprisons all pregnant women in her realm to prevent fulfilment of the prophecy. When the prophesied child Elora Danan is born, the mother begs the midwife to hide the infant and smuggle her to safety. The midwife reluctantly accepts and leaves Nockmaar castle unnoticed. The mother is executed, the midwife is hunted down and eventually found. Knowing she cannot escape, she sets the baby on a makeshift raft of grass and sends her down the river hoping for fate to run its course. The midwife is killed by Nockmaar hounds. Bavmorda, furious about the escape, summons her daughter Sorsha and her army’s commander, General Kael to find the baby.The baby drifts downriver to a village of the Nelwyn(Dwarves). She comes into the care of Willow Ufgood, a kind farmer and conjurer who hopes to become a real sorcerer; his wife Kiaya and his children fall in love with the baby immediately, and Willow too soon grows to love her as one of his own. During a town festival, the village is attacked by a Nockmaar hound which is quickly killed by the village warriors. The High Aldwin, the village sorcerer, learns about the baby and selects Willow, due to his devotion to the child, to accompany a party of volunteers returning the baby to the Daikini (Man) people. At a crossroads, they find a human warrior named Madmartigan trapped in a crow’s cage. The rest of the party want to give the baby to Madmartigan and go home immediately, but Willow and his friend Meegosh refuse, so the others leave. After spending the night at the crossroads, and meeting an army led by Airk Thaughbaer, an old friend of Madmartigan’s, marching against Bavmorda, Willow reluctantly decides to free Madmartigan so that he can take care of the baby for them.Later on, the baby is stolen by a group of brownies. While chasing them, Willow and Meegosh are trapped, but rescued by Cherlindrea, a Fairy Queen, who identifies the baby as Elora Danan, the future princess of Tir Asleen and Bavmorda’s bane, and assigns Willow the task of helping the baby fulfill her destiny. Willow sends Meegosh home, and two of the brownies, Franjean and Rool, are instructed to guide Willow to the sorceress Fin Raziel. The three of them later encounter Madmartigan at a tavern, where he is disguised as a woman to hide from Lug, a cuckolded husband, who then flirts with the disguised Madmartigan. Sorsha arrives and reveals his identity, and in the ensuing brawl started by the furious Lug upon the realisation that Madmartigan is not a woman, Willow, Madmartigan and the brownies escape. Madmartigan guides them to a lake where Raziel lives, but departs again as they cross it.Raziel has been transformed into a possum by Bavmorda, and Willow and his party return with her to shore. They are captured by Sorsha, who already has Madmartigan in custody, and are taken to a snowbound mountain camp of the Nockmaar army. Willow tries to restore Raziel, but turns her into a rook instead. Madmartigan is dosed with love dust by the brownies and declares his undying love for Sorsha. The prisoners escape and reach a village at the foot of a mountain, where they again encounter Airk and the remains of his army, recently defeated by Bavmorda’s forces. Madmartigan proclaims his loyalty to the Nelwyn and promises to protect Willow and Elora.With Sorsha as their temporary hostage, they escape to the castle of Tir Asleen, but discover that its inhabitants have all been frozen by Bavmorda and the castle is overrun by trolls. The castle is stormed by Kael’s army. During Kael’s assault on the castle, Sorsha realizes she also loves Madmartigan and decides to join him and Willow in opposing her mother’s army. Willow accidentally turns a troll into a massive, fire-breathing, two-headed monster that turns the tide of the battle, and Airk arrives with his army to assist. However, Kael captures Elora and returns to Nockmaar, where he reports Sorsha’s betrayal to Bavmorda.Airk’s army, Willow, and the others arrive at Nockmaar to lay siege, but Bavmorda turns the soldiers into pigs. Instructed by Raziel, Willow protects himself with a spell and avoids transformation. He succeeds in turning Raziel into a human again, and she restores the others to their original forms. Willow’s group tricks their way into the castle and start a battle. Airk is killed by Kael, who is in turn slain by Madmartigan after a lengthy sword duel. Sorsha leads Willow and Raziel to the ritual chamber where they interrupt Elora’s sacrifice. Bavmorda and Raziel have a magical duel, during the course of which Raziel is incapacitated. Willow uses a “disappearing pig trick” he had performed as a conjurer to fool Bavmorda into thinking that Elora was sent out of her reach. Lunging at Willow, Bavmorda accidentally triggers the ritual’s final part to send Elora’s soul to oblivion, and banishes her own soul instead.Willow is rewarded with a magic book to aid him in becoming a sorcerer, and Sorsha and Madmartigan remain in Tir Asleen to raise Elora together. Willow returns home to a hero’s welcome and is happily reunited with his family.Critics panned it for being unoriginal, but being original wasn’t the point of this movie. The point was to entertain, to make us thrill to a tale of high adventure of dragons, of far away lands, of swords and sorcery. On this account, no other fantasy film (with the possible exception of Conan the Barbarian) has ever done this so exceedingly well.

 

REVIEW: LEPRECHAUN 6: BACK 2 DA HOOD

CAST

Warwick Davis (Harry Potter)
Tangi Miller (The Other Brother)
Laz Alonso (One on One)
Page Kennedy (S.W.A.T.)
Sherrie Jackson (3 Wise Women)
Sticky Fingaz (Blade: The Series)

Image result for leprechaun back 2 da hoodThe film opens with an animated prologue revealing the origins of leprechauns, stating that they were summoned by a king to protect his gold. After the death of the king the Leprechauns returned to their places of origin, all except one (Warwick Davis) who through the ages slowly became corrupted and obsessed with the gold he still guarded. In the present, Father Jacob (Willie C. Carpenter) finds the leprechaun’s gold and intends to build a youth center. Jacob manages to banish Lubdan the Leprechaun, summoning demonic hands which drag him underground, but soon after dies of injuries inflicted by the leprechaun during the fight.
Image result for leprechaun back 2 da hoodOne year later, two friends Emily Woodrow (Tangi Miller) and Lisa Duncan (Sherrie Jackson), have their fortune told when the clairvoyant Esmeralda (Donzaleigh Abernathy) who warns them that they will attain great wealth soon, but it must be denied as it will come at a great price and summon a terrible evil. While having a barbecue at the abandoned youth center construction site with Lisa, their stoner friend Jamie Davis (Page Kennedy) and her ex-boyfriend-turned-drug dealer Rory Jackson (Laz Alonso), Emily falls through a hole and discovers the Leprechaun’s gold in a tunnel where it was hidden by Father Jacob. Evenly splitting up the gold, the quartet of friends use it to fulfill their fantasies, unaware that by taking the gold they have released Lubdan the Leprechaun, who begins stalking the group (killing a guest by impaling his chest with a bong, taking one of his coins at a party held by Jamie, prompting the police to temporarily arrest him). At the salon where Emily works the Leprechaun sneaks in and, after killing a regular customer, Doria, on the massage table by breaking her neck, attacks Emily, who barely escapes and warns Rory and the recently released Jamie, who rush to get to Lisa’s. In her house, Lisa is attacked by the Leprechaun and manages to fight him off for a short while, but is killed when the Leprechaun claws her in the stomach, with her friends finding her body.
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While Emily and Jamie want to return the gold, Rory does not and takes off with it; shortly after realizing Rory is gone, Emily is attacked and chased outside by the Leprechaun, but is saved when Rory has a change of heart and comes back for her. Searching for Rory, Lubdan stops by his house and kills Rory’s profligate girlfriend Chanel (Keesha Sharp) by tearing out her jaw, reclaiming the gold she used to make a tooth while Rory and Emily are stopped and harassed by Officers Thompson (Beau Billingslea) and Whitaker (Chris Murray). After the Leprechaun appears and kills the two officers, Emily and Rory escape and regroup with Jamie, only to be confronted by a machine gun wielding group of Rory’s drug-dealing rivals, led by Watson (Shiek Mahmud-Bey) and Cedric (Sticky Fingaz). Planning on killing Rory for infringing on their territory, Watson and his gang are all disposed of by Lubdan, while Emily, Rory and Jamie drive off in Watson’s car (which Lubdan latches to the bottom of for a short while) and go looking for help from Esmeralda.
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Told to use four-leaf clovers against the Leprechaun by Esmeralda, Rory laces the hollow-point bullets of his gun with clovers Jamie finds in the marijuana Rory had earlier sold him. When the Leprechaun arrives, Rory shoots him several times with the clover bullets, only for his gun to jam before he can finish the Leprechaun off. Rory and Emily are given the chance to run with the gold when the Leprechaun is distracted by Jamie, who is quickly wounded with a baseball bat to the leg, and Esmeralda dies in a magical duel with the Leprechaun. Followed to the roof of the building, Rory tries fighting Lubdan and is knocked out, though before the Leprechaun can kill him, Emily taunts him by throwing some of his gold into nearby wet cement and lures him into the ruins of the youth center, where she tosses his gold into a furnace before knocking the Leprechaun in with it.
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Believing the Leprechaun is dead, Emily returns to Rory, only for Lubdan to renew his attack on them. Knocking Emily off the roof and leaving her barely holding on, Lubdan taunts her, but is shot several times in the middle of his speech by Rory, who had fixed his gun. Shooting the Leprechaun repeatedly, Rory runs out of bullets, but distracts him long enough for Emily to hit Lubdan with the chest of coins, sending him off the rooftop and into the wet cement below, where the Leprechaun sinks and becomes trapped with his gold. The film then cuts back to the animated prologue like the one at the beginning, and Lubdan digs himself out of the ground, leaving on a cliffhanger.Image result for leprechaun back 2 da hoodLeprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood is silly, but funny in some moments. The problem is that the pothead and drug-dealer characters are non-likable and extremely ambitious, with the exception of Emily and Lisa; therefore the devilish Leprechaun becomes not as bad as he should be. The scene with the leg of the policeman is hilarious. This was the final time Warwick Davis would play the Leprechaun.

REVIEW: LEPRECHAUN 5: LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD

 

 

CAST

Warwick Davis (Harry Potter)
Ice-T (Tank Girl)
Anthony Montgomery (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Rashaan Nall (Social Studies)
Dan Martin (Burn Notice)
Coolio (Stealing Candy)

Image result for leprechaun in the hoodLos Angeles rap artists Postmaster P. (Anthony Montgomery), Stray Bullet (Rashaan Nall) and Butch (Red Grant) accidentally free a Leprechaun that was imprisoned by record producer Mac Daddy O’Nassas (Ice-T) 20 years earlier. The Leprechaun hunts the friends in order to recover his magic flute, which places listeners of its tune in a euphoric trance. After killing some people, such as a reverend, DJ artists, and a hot girl, the Leprechaun reaches the three friends at Postmaster P.’s home. When the rap artists and the Leprechaun engage in a fight, the Leprechaun kills Stray Bullet by making him shoot himself in the mouth with his own pistol while Postmaster P. and Butch stare in horror. Butch visits Postmaster P. at his grandma’s house and convinces him to use a joint laced with four-leaf clovers to strip the Leprechaun of his powers in order to steal back the flute.
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Postmaster P. and Butch then visit the club in which the Leprechaun has taken up residence. In order to gain entry they dress in drag. Postmaster P then disenchants the Zombie Fly Girls[clarification needed] by having them smoke one of the joints laced with clovers. The duo then goes upstairs to find the Leprechaun who wants the dragged up Postmaster P. to give him a blowjob. Before proceeding any further, the Leprechaun smokes the clover laced joint and passes out. The rap artists take the flute and head downstairs where Mac Daddy shoots Butch, killing him. Postmaster P. retaliates by shooting Mac Daddy three times. No longer under the effects of clover, the Leprechaun comes downstairs and uses magic to pin Postmaster P. against a girder. Postmaster P. then distracts the Leprechaun, allowing the bullet-ridden Mac Daddy to hit the Leprechaun with a wooden chair. Immediately, the Leprechaun uses magic to explode Mac Daddy’s torso, but with the last of his strength, Mac Daddy throws the magic amulet in the air.
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Cut to a dark stage with much fog and a silhouetted Postmaster P. rapping about how he’s finally made it. He moves to the forefront where his eyes are hidden behind sunglasses. He removes the sunglasses to show that his irises glow a neon green, which indicates that he is under the Leprechaun’s spell. The camera pans to the front row, in which the Leprechaun sits wearing the same glasses as Postmaster P. The film ends with the Leprechaun rapping about being an evil Irish leprechaun.Image result for leprechaun in the hoodSo, at sequel number five, I think it’s safe to say fans know what they’re getting into with these films and whether or not they’ll find it enjoyable. Leprechaun still has enough moments to get my viewing.