Sunday 21 December 2014

At the movies this Christmas

We've recently been spending a fair bit of time at the cinema, so I thought it was worth reviewing the current offerings for kids at your local multiplex.  Stand by for me to go all Claudia Winkleman on you.

Here's our thoughts on the new Tinkerbell movie, Paddington and Get Santa.

Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

Whilst not especially Christmassy, this is a thought-provoking movie and the latest in the Tinkerbell series and is well worth a watch.

The main character this time is the feisty but caring Fawn the animal fairy who has a special affinity with all beasts.  Venturing into the dark cave she discovers the injured Neverbeast, and after fixing his wound, slowly but surely builds his trust and gains his friendship.

The rest of Pixie Hollow fear for their safety, but only Fawn can see past the scary face, and see what's in Neverbeast's heart.

It has the potential to be a hugely uplifting movie with morals of never judging a book by it's cover, the importance of understanding when to listen to your head or your heart, when to admit you're wrong, and most of all, the importance of doing the right thing.

Younger viewers may find it difficult to follow in places - I found myself having to give a quick science lesson about lightning and conductivity - and those of a sensitive disposition will more than likely shed a tear at the end.  Not wishing to give the game away, it's not exactly a bereavement, but near as, and incredibly sad.

Overall, we found this a fun and action-packed movie, with gentle laughs and big messages.

We rate it 4/5.


The much anticipated Paddington movie will appeal to adults of my generation who remember the 2D cartoon drawings and the unmistakable narration of Micheal Horden, as well as a whole new generation of younger viewers.

Yes, Paddington Bear has had a makeover, he's been CGI'd and his face is altogether more 'beary' but it doesn't take long to acclimatise yourself.

From the opening scenes in deepest darkest Peru where we see his pre-London life with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo, there's an almost Jungle Book feel to the frivolity and some of the bizarre Heath Robinson contraptions they've rigged up to make a bear's life easier.

Be prepared to shed a tear or two as natural disaster befalls the bears and sets Paddington off on his journey to London.

Once arrived on our shores, much adventure awaits once he's taken in by the Brown family - reluctantly on Mr Brown's part, but the kooky Mrs Brown is keen to show the famous welcoming British characteristics Paddington's long heard about.

This is a film full of belly laughs, slapstick comedy which will have kids (and pretty much most adults in our cinema) screaming with delight and exclaiming with disgust.

There's been much debate about whether it warrants it's PG rating, and I personally don't believe it does.  It's been suggested that Nicole Kidman's taxidermist character is too scary for little minds, but frankly I don't see her as any different to Cruella De Ville or Captain Du Bois from the Madagascar movie.  You need an 'evil' for good to conquer anyway but in fact, I found Kidman's portrayal of the character pretty lame.

She was outshone by Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown, who plays an excellently uptight Englishman, Sally Hawkins as the bohemian Mrs Brown whose entire wardrobe I coveted, and the inimitable  Julie Walters as all-knowing Mrs Bird.

As much as this was a story about the loveable bear and the nation's acceptance of foreign visitors it was an unfolding love-story of Mr and Mrs Brown who've slipped into the inevitable married life rut.  As Mr Brown shakes off his over-cautious personality and re-discovers his sense of adventure, so the flame is rekindled.

Showing a dysfunctional family, the typical teenage angsts of parental embarrassments and the need for acceptance from peers, it's simply a delightful tale of Britishness.

We absolutely loved this movie, it's the first time in longer than I can remember where the whole audience erupted into applause at the end and we rate it 5/5.

Get Santa

Definitely the most Christmassy of the showings at the flicks this year, this is another heart-warming and thoroughly British film.

Starring the wonderful Jim Broadbent as Santa who has accidentally crash-landed while testing his new sleigh, he needs the help of young Tom and his dad Steve who's freshly released from Her Majesty's pleasure.

The poignant story of the estranged dad and his determination to prove himself a reliable and worthy father takes them on an action-packed race against the clock to save Christmas.

But will he believe he's the real Santa?  Will anyone?

More tears, this time when Santa is wrongly banged up in prison for trying to rescue his reindeer, and proves he's the real deal to hardened inmates by revealing their childhood secrets and opening up long forgotten memories.

There's no getting away from the farting reindeer, and let's face it what child doesn't find farting highly hysterical?

Excellent performances by Jim Broadbent who makes a very convincing Santa and Rafe Spall as the desperate dad, but also from Kit Connor who plays 9 year old Tom trying to rebuild his life while his dad's been inside for 2 years and his mum's life has moved on.

There's real magic in the film, and we finally get explanations for how the reindeer fly, what the Northern Lights really are and how all the letters get to the North Pole. In my opinion the only thing spoiling it is the rather Benny Hill stlye antics of the police and the probation officer.

Definitely one to get you in the mood for Christmas, and where else can you see farting reindeer?  We rate it 4/5.

Have you seen anything at the flicks lately?  Got any recommendations for us?

Disclosure: We attended a gala screening of the Tinkerbell movie but the others were at our own expense.  All opinions are my own.


  1. We went to see Penguins of Madagascar yesterday - Max LOVED it - and made me giggle too! Smile and wave boys.... We saw the trailer for Tinkerbell and The Neverbeast and I am sure you can imagine the response of an 11 year old boy to it - I dont think he is the target audience! Also saw the trailer for Big Hero 6 - which looks like ti is going to be fab!

    1. Penguins in next on our list, we're hoping to squeeze it in before Christmas!

      And yes, Big Hero 6 looks amazing, can't wait for that one.

  2. Ooo Kitty has been asking to see Paddington but I've been holding back as I loved him as a child and don't want to spoil the magic by seeing the film if it's naff - but now you have said it's a good un we'll go!

    1. It is very different to the TV version Annie, but we adored it. It's a hugely funny film, I think you'll love it.

  3. We have all three of these on are must watch list. We caught a trailer for Paddington Bear and Tigger thought it was hilarious so curious to see what the rest of the film is like.

  4. If you are going all Claudia on us I might have to lick your face.

    I cant wait to see Paddington, I grew up with the books.

  5. I cannot wait for Paddington! THanks for the "reviews"!

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