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Archive for the ‘Films – Kids’ Category

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Bigfoot and the Hendersons

Posted by Big Boo on December 2nd, 2008

Bigfoot and the Hendersons is a 1987 film about an American family who encounter the legendary Bigfoot whilst returning from a family holiday in the wilderness.  It was released in the UK under this title, but in the US it was known as Harry and the Hendersons.

The Henderson family are driving home from their holiday when they come across a large hairy creature lying in the road.  Unsure what to do, they strap it to the top of their car and return home to there house in the Seattle suburbs.

The creature turns out to be a Sasquatch, better known as Bigfoot, and when it finally regains consciousness it sets to exploring its new environment, the Henderson’s house.  After investigating a stuffed deer head hanging on the wall (and making a huge hole in the wall whilst trying to discover where the back half of the deer could be) the head of the family, George Henderson (John Lithgow) attempts to calm the confused beast.

Before long the Sasquatch has become a member of the family, and is named Harry by them.  Despite his initial clumsiness Harry is actually a very kind and gentle creature, but he soon becomes intrigued by his new surroundings and sets off to explore the area, leaving a trail of panic and mayhem unintentionally behind him.

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Short Circuit 2

Posted by Big Boo on September 17th, 2008

Short Circuit 2 was made in 1988 and is an interesting sequel to the original 1986 movie.  I remembered it as being not as good as the original, like most sequels, but having watched it again the other day I must admit it was much better than I thought it was.

The film provides further adventures for Number 5, now called Johnny 5, the self aware robot.  Whilst the two main human characters, Stephanie and Newton do not return for this film, the hilarious Ben Jahrvi does return.  At this point I should say it is probably a little wrong of me to enjoy Ben so much, seeing as he is an Indian character played by a made up white actor, but Fisher Stevens delivery of Ben’s mixed up attempt at the English language is rather funny.

The film opens with Ben trying to make a living for himself by building toy versions of Number 5, which he tries to sell on a street corner, with little success.  One of the toys escapes his stall, and ends up in the hands of Sandy Banatoni, a toy buyer for a department store.  She asks Ben if he can deliver 1000 of the toy robots to her for the Christmas market, a task which Ben will find impossible on his own.  However, Fred, the hawker of fake Rolex watches stood next to him gets involved, seeing the opportunity to make a quick buck.

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The NeverEnding Story

Posted by Big Boo on August 6th, 2008

The NeverEnding StoryThe NeverEnding Story is a 1984 fantasy movie, based on the book of the same name written by Michael Ende. The film spawned two sequels, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter in 1990, and The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia in 1994. Due to the time gaps between the films different actors obviously had to play the parts of the child characters, although each of the films centres around main character Bastian.

Bastian is a young daydreamer who’s mother died when he was very young. He is picked on at school, and it is whilst running away from the bullies that he comes across an old book shop. The owner of the book shop is reading a large, old looking book entitled The NeverEnding Story. Bastian asks if he may read the book, but the owner tells him it is not safe. This just makes Bastian even more curious, and when the owner leaves to answer a phone call he borrows the book, intending to bring it back when he has read it.

Bastian sits down to read the book, which is about the land of Fantasia and its inhabitants. Unfortunately for Fantasia, it is under attack by a strange force called The Nothing which is gradually erasing parts of Fantasia from existence. The horrified occupants journey to the Ivory Tower to speak with the childlike Empress about the situation, but the childlike Empress is also under attack by The Nothing and has fallen into illness. She has however summoned a great warrior named Atreyu, who turns out to be a child too. He is given an amulet called Auryn to help him on his quest to save Fantasia.

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An American Tail

Posted by Big Boo on June 30th, 2008

An American TailFor a film aimed at kids, An American Tail is surprisingly full of historical references, human prejudices and the pain and suffering of those less fortunate. Released in 1986 it was produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Don Bluth, the well known animator who outside of the efforts of the Walt Disney company is probably the most successful name in traditional animation alive today.

The film tells the story of young Jewish mouse Fievel Mousekewitz, whose family have fled their home town after it was invaded by Cossack soliders during the Serbo-Bulgarian war in 1885, which leaves them easy prey for the cats in the area. They board a ship headed for America, which at that time was seen as a place of great hope to the poor people of Eastern Europe and Russia. The mice wrongly believe that America is free of cats, and that the streets are paved with cheese, which isn’t far from what humans in a similar predicament thought at the time – just substitute cheese for gold and your probably a bit closer.

All seems good until the ship is approaching America, when a storm causes Fievel to be separated from the rest of his family. Fievel finally arrives in New York City lost and confused, and is taken in by a rat named Warren, who says he will help him out. Warren’s help is anything but, and Fievel ends up working in a sweatshop. Eventually, accompanied by his new friends Tony and Bridget he manages to escape, but things aren’t much better with his new found freedom.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Posted by Big Boo on March 25th, 2008

Who Framed Roger RabbitReleased in 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was an immediate box office success due to it’s appeal to all ages. Kids loved it for featuring all their favourite cartoon characters whilst grown ups enjoyed it for the smattering of more adult humour it contained. It went on to win 4 Oscars, including ones for it’s sound effects and visual effects, that latter of which still look believable today (well, as believable as cartoon characters mingling with humans can).

The film is based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit, the story revolving around the titular Roger Rabbit and is set in 1947 Los Angeles. The premise is that cartoon characters (collectively known as Toons) are actually alive, and cartoons are filmed on sets in exactly the same way a film starring humans would be. Roger Rabbit is a slapstick comedy Toon star who ends up being framed for the murder of Marvin Acme, owner of the Acme company (presumably the place where Wile E. Coyote always got his gadgets from). The planted evidence against Roger shows his wife Jessica Rabbit (a beautiful human Toon) playing pattycake with Marvin, which to a Toon is considered as having an affair.

Roger ends up recruiting Eddie Valiant, a human detective played by Bob Hoskins, to help clear his name. Eddie is a bit of a drunk and doesn’t much care for Toons after his brother was killed by an unknown Toon who dropped a piano on his head, but he ends up helping Roger out after he hides away in Eddie’s home.

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D.A.R.Y.L

Posted by Big Boo on January 2nd, 2008

D.A.R.Y.LI have to confess that I never ever saw D.A.R.Y.L when it was released in 1985. In fact, I only watched it last week when I happened to notice it was on Sky Movies. When I was at university several friends had mentioned that they had enjoyed this film as a kid, so I finally took the chance to see what I had been missing.

The film opens with a car being chased by a helicopter through some mountain roads. The car stops whilst out of sight of the helicopter and a young boy gets out and runs into the trees. The car starts off again at high speed, forcing an elderly couple of the road in it’s haste. The elderly couple then come across the boy, who doesn’t know what he is doing there, only that his name is Daryl.

The elderly couple take the boy into town, but since they are unable to look after him, he is sent to a child welfare hostel. From here he is fostered by construction manager Andy and his wife Joyce, a piano instructor. It soon becomes apparent that whilst Daryl may be suffering from memory loss, he is also an extremely fast learner and more than capable of looking after himself. Daryl makes friends with Turtle, the boy from across the road, and also becomes Andy’s secret weapon in the little league baseball team he coaches.

Eventually though, Daryl’s real parents track him down, and they come to collect him. We soon find out however that they are not really his parents, but two scientists from a military research base. They fly Daryl to the base, but after returning from a quick lesson in how to fly a plane from the pilot, he overhears the two scientists, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Lamb, and realises they are not his parents after all.

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Digby The Biggest Dog In The World

Posted by Big Boo on December 28th, 2007

Digby The Biggest Dog In The WorldThe period between Christmas and New Year has always been a strange one for TV schedules. The TV stations have not yet bothered to go back to the normal TV schedules, which makes sense since we’re only talking about a couple of days here. However, since many people have returned to work or have other things to do, it’s also not worth putting on any blockbuster films or Christmas specials during this time, so instead the TV schedules get filled with things you’ve probably seen many times before.

Digby The Biggest Dog In The World is a great example of the kind of filler material that the TV stations would show during this TV lapse period during the 1980’s. The film was made in 1973 so it was both old enough and of the right kind of quality to slot perfectly into the schedules. That’s not to say it’s a bad film, just that it’s not exactly a blockbuster. It stars both the late Spike Milligan and Jim Dale, who was in many of the later Carry On films.

The plot centres around the titular Digby, an Old English Sheepdog, who starts off the regular size for a dog, and his young owner Billy. Billy’s Mum Janine and her colleague Jeff both work as scientists at the nearby top secret military base. Funny isn’t it how these military bases are always top secret? Anyway, Janine and Jeff are working on the originally named Project X, which turns out to be a growth serum. No prizes for guessing what happens next…

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Labyrinth

Posted by Big Boo on October 9th, 2007

LabyrinthOne of the best films to come from The Muppets creator Jim Henson, and sadly the last film he directed before he died, was the 1986 film Labyrinth. It’s a film with many big names behind it, as it was also produced by George Lucas and Monty Python Terry Jones was involved in the screenplay. It also starred David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King, the films baddie.

The film follows the adventures of Sarah Williams (a young Jennifer Connelly) who must brave the titular Labyrinth to rescue her baby brother Toby, a problem of her own doing! Sarah is a daydreamer who loves fantasy stories, which gets her into trouble one evening as she is supposed to be babysitting Toby for her parents. She returns late and is told off, so is in a bit of a bad mood already when Toby starts crying and won’t shut up. She tries reciting some lines from the play (called Labyrinth) that she is learning, which is a story about a girl who is given special powers by the Goblin King. When this fails to calm Toby, she shouts out loud that she wishes The Goblin King would take Toby away.

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