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Life's a Breeze (2013)
Enjoyable Irish film although it runs far too long
I saw a screening of this film in the Irish Film Institute and the only actor I knew in it was Fionnuala Flanagan who played Mrs Mills in The Others. However it was supposed to be good so I went anyway.
The film's story is that Flanagan plays the elderly mother to a group of grown-up children that are utterly horrible human beings one way or another. They actually decide to do something nice for their mother and remodel her house while she's out. Unfortunately she reveals that her old mattress that they threw out contained all her life savings - nearly a million. Thus the hunt for the lost mattress begins. Things escalate even further when the youngest son (Pat Shortt) makes an announcement on the radio and it turns into a nationwide sensation.
The film's main bad points are that it runs far too long. It's clear that there are several scenes in the film that are there just to pad out the running time. They have nothing really to do with the main plot and if you removed them, they wouldn't affect the film at all. Among these are an extended sequence where the youngest son believes he has won the lottery only to discover the grandmother and granddaughter have fooled him with Sky plus TV. Also a scene where they throw the mother an 80th birthday party complete with a stripper. The scenes are funny but do nothing for the film and they're obvious filler so watching them becomes tiring. You want them to be over so you can go back to the actual plot.
The film does have good points, notably in its cast. Flanagan and Shortt work well together as the two main draws. Flanagan is a breath of fresh air from the traditional cranky yet sassy stereotypical Irish old lady. However the best performance from the film is the actress who plays the teenage granddaughter. The girl had very good comic timing and seemed very natural on camera. She's definitely one to watch out for, though hopefully Fair City is out of the question. The rest of the cast were all nice and witty too.
The film was well written and well made. I was surprised to find out that some scenes were filmed in Sweden. You'd never be able to tell though. The film's music was also very nice. It really complimented the whole thing and made it an enjoyable experience.
So in short it was a nice little well-made film. However it was let down by the obvious padding which came across as lazy writing.
It's usually the case that movies adapted from video games tend to suck (think Doom, Street Fighter, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) but thankfully this one is one of the good movies.
I'm a big fan of the Tekken games and the first thing most fans will have to accept is that changes have to be made and not all characters will be in. Check the board where the majority of people are whining about their favourite character not making it in, thus declaring it a bad movie.
This is pretty much a typical action movie and it starts off like that, pretty rushed and straight to the point, but it becomes a lot better paced and well fleshed out once we get to the tournament. The fight scenes are pretty well done, if a little short and it's a nice feeling for Tekken fans to see their characters in live action fights. Of course they annoyingly have the "designated girl fight" between Christie and Nina and there's no other women fighting in the tournament.
The cast is pretty good for this film with Jon Foo doing an excellent job as Jin Kazama as well as good performances from Kelly Overton and Luke Goss as Christie and Steve. I liked Ian Anthony Dale's performance as Kazuya though the game crazies will complain that he doesn't act the way Kazuya should be. Other "one scene wonders" would be the actors playing Raven, Brian and Eddie (who all look spot-on) as well as Jun Kazama (looks nothing like her game counterpart but it works because she's twenty years older). The guy playing Heihachi was fine too.
The best part of the film was the way it was made. Special care and attention went into designing the arenas and sets, and that really made the film stand out with its own unique look. It has excellent cinematography too.
So in short, if you're an unbiased fan who won't bitch about changes etc then you probably will like this film for what it is
WWE Night of Champions (2010)
decent enough show
1) IC title - Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler*: Kaitlyn and Vickie Guerrero came down to the ring with Ziggler and sadly the announcers spent most of the match talking about them than about the actual wrestling. Kaitlyn got sent to the back early on but the announcers still talked about Vickie. the match was decent but a bit too long and much of the same stuff we've seen before. Ziggler won cleanly, ducking Trouble in Paradise and hitting the Zig Zag. decent but we've seen most of it all before. 6/10
2) CM Punk vs Big Show: so they rushed the women's unification so they could have this on the card instead of a second diva match? Punk cut an OK promo to trash the Chicago crowd and stop them cheering for him. the match was slow and plodding but thankfully it was quite short. Big Show won with that ridiculous KO punch of his. 4/10
3) US Championship - The Miz vs Daniel Bryan: someone needs to tell Cole that less is more or just cut out his tongue because his commentary nearly ruined this match. seriously watch it on mute and you'll enjoy it a lot more without Cole verbally licking Miz's ass for the whole match. this told a great story with Bryan going for his LeBell Lock several times and some cool spots on the outside and a great moment when Miz crotched Bryan on the middle rope and clotheslined him. Alex Riley interfered quite a bit but ended up getting vaulted into the ring post. Bryan got the LeBell Lock in and Miz tapped to give him the US title. motn? i think so. 9/10
4) Lumberjill title Unification match - Melina (Divas Champ) vs Michelle McCool (Women's Champ): i don't agree with unifying the titles especially when the divas are already restricted enough as it is but here we go. in a brilliant callback to last year's match McCool tried to dropkick Melina while she was doing the splits but Melina was ready for her this time and moved out of the way. the Lumberjills strangely didn't attack Melina on the outside but immediately ganged up on McCool whenever she left the ring. Layla ran inside and attacked Melina which allowed McCool to boot her in the face and pick up the win. such a relief that Melina didn't win this match as she could not carry the division with the state she was in after her ACL injury. 7/10
5) WH title match - Kane* vs The Undertaker: well typically you've seen one Kane/Taker match and you've seen em all but this one was still pretty entertaining. it was a glorified brawl and they did it with style. they brawled on the entrance ramp and around the ring. Kane actually controlled most of it which was surprising. Taker mounted a comeback towards the end but Kane got the win by reversing a Tombstone Piledriver. quite impressive given their sizes and ages and i love it when Kane gets to beat Undertaker. 7/10
6) Tag Team Turmoil Match For the WWE Tag Team titles: this was randomly added to the card at the last minute and must have been a foreshadowing for what direction the tag division was heading in. The champions the Hart Dynasty started off against the Usos (interesting note: Natalya was in street clothes for the Lumberjill match but she changed into her ring gear for this, very strange). Their interaction was solid and the Usos shocked the world by beating the Harts and signaling there would be new champions. the Usos quickly dispatched Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov with help from Tamina. the random pairing of Evan Bourne and Mark Henry managed to beat the Usos and they in turn were beaten by the pairing of Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre. this was very chaotic and pretty disrespectful to the tag division to not even build the match up a little. decent but not good enough. 5/10
7) Six Pack Challenge for WWE title: they've changed their minds about the rules for this match again - you have to tag in and out as well as it being elimination. Randy Orton sent Jericho to the showers with an RKO meaning Jericho would have to leave the company. Cena got rid of Edge with an AA and the Nexus caused a distraction that allowed Wade Barrett to eliminate Cena. Orton then eliminated Barrett and ducked a Sheamus bicycle kick to hit an RKO and win the WWE title. Highly entertaining and good to shake things up. 7/10
The Ruins (2008)
surprisingly good modern horror piece
I went into this film not knowing what the main plot would be, all I knew was that it was horror and involved a set of Mayan ruins but it was definitely one of the best horror films I've seen recently.
The plot follows four American tourists - Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy on holiday in Mexico who go with Mathias - a German tourist whose brother is missing - to an old Mayan ruin covered in vines. the locals in the jungle don't want them to leave and they end up trapped in the ruins. it's eventually revealed the vines covering the ruin are a carnivorous plant that spreads fast, hence the natives trying to contain it. the plant can mimic a sound and it can grow on anything. this leads to a truly unnerving scene where Stacy starts screaming in hysteria only to calm down and the plants then mimic the sounds of her screaming so the group are forced to listen to it.
The characters are pretty well developed and likable enough (except for Amy who's a bit of a bitch) and outside the usual horror stereotypes. for example Jeff assumes control of the situation and tries to make most of the decisions for the group and they are realistic couples (ie not one slutty girl with a jerky guy and two nicer ones).
the movie has its share of gore but does have some restraint and avoids going down the Saw, Hostel, Chucky route and having senseless gore everywhere. it only reserves the gore for when it's needed. the movie relies a lot on atmosphere to create tension and is more about how the characters deal with their situation. it avoids being the predictable horror film as it waits for a good while before characters start dying so you end up hoping a few of them might make it out.
the movie does have some really powerful and freaky scenes, most notably where the Mayans shoot a little boy who touched the vines (Amy threw it at him) and another one where they find that the vines can start growing inside people which leads to Stacy becoming paranoid that the vines are inside her so she starts cutting herself up to try and get the vines out.
overall, a good horror flick and don't be put off by the fact that plants are the main villains. it's done pretty well and should be fun to watch.
WrestleMania XXVI (2010)
good card but let down by a couple of stinkers
well this was the first Mania i've watched live and i was impressed but thanks to a couple of stinkers that some people should be slapped for putting on the card, it can't beat 19 for best Mania ever.
1) Unified Tag Team titles - ShowMiz* vs R-Truth and Morrison: last year you bump them for Kid Rock, now you restrict them to only 3 whole minutes? if this was a sign the divas were going to have no hope i don't know what else is. it starts to get good with a lot of nice double team moves from Truth and Morrison but Big Show clocks Morrison with a sucker punch to retain. it should have been given at least four more minutes. that was a TV quality match on PPV. 5/10
2) Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase: well nothing to wow technical wrestling buffs but some good storytelling that i enjoyed as Randy has to fight off his former team mates. Rhodes and DiBiase finally turn on each other before Randy punt kicks Rhodes and lands an RKO on DiBiase to get the pin. i think he is most definitely face now. 6/10
backstage Josh Matthews interviews Vickie Guerrero and the other heel divas who bring Jillian to sing "You're Simply the Best". Santino pimps Slim Jim and Jillian turns into Mae Young, who turns into Mean Gene who turns in MELINA!! she smiles and says "anything's possible"
3) Money in the Bank - Kofi Kingston, MVP, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Kane, Drew McIntyre, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Dolph Ziggler, Christian: wow first 10 man money in the bank match and pretty good once it got going. Evan landed Air Bourne off the ladder to get a chant, McIntyre gets crotched on the ropes when Kane pushes him off. Swagger gets caught under one ladder while Christian and Matt Hardy shove other ladders at him from both sides. Kane tore a ladder in two and Kofi used it as stilts but didn't get the briefcase. in the end Swagger knocks Christian off to grab the briefcase after an eternity. 8/10
the hall of fame inductees come out with Stu Hart represented by his family, Gorgeous George by his 97-year-old widow and Wendi Richter looks stunning, saying "girls just wanna have fun" again
4) Triple H vs Sheamus: another great match that i was really into. it first seemed like a squash but once Sheamus got offence in i really warmed to it and was thinking he might pull this off but HHH finally lays him out with a pedigree. Sheamus was made to look good and this match could help his career. 6/10
5) CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio: if Rey loses he joins Punk's faction but he fights back immediately with his whole array of high flying moves. the match is brilliant and fast paced from the get go and ends great. Serena blocks a 619, Rey counters a Go-to-Sleep to knock Luke Gallows off the apron and splashes Punk to get the win. 7/10
6) Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon: well this was historic anyway but it just dragged out. Vince brings out the Hart family as lumberjacks and Bruce Hart is the ref. Bret turns the tables and says he knew all about it. he pounds on Vince for about ten minutes, allowing the Hart Dynasty to do stuff (Striker has the best line when Natalya slaps Vince, "best of luck in your future endeavors, Natalya"). Bret teases the sharpshooter three times before finally locking it in and Vince taps out. the extra time not needed for this could have been added onto the tag match or the diva match. 2/10
7) World Heavyweight title match - Edge vs Chris Jericho*:
the Royal Rumble winner is this early? oh well it was still bloody brilliant with the crowd backing both men despite Jericho's unlikeable heel character. plenty of near falls and excellent moves but Jericho gets the win with a codebreaker. afterwards Edge spears him off the announce table through the crowd barrier, getting a mixed reaction. 7/10
8) 10 diva tag match - Vickie Guerrero, Team LayCool, Maryse, Alicia Fox vs Beth Phoenix, Eve, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, Mickie James: basically all divas hit their finishers until Gail botches hers slightly and Eve doesn't even do her finisher. Vickie lands a horrendous frog splash and pins Kelly, having to do it twice after the first awful pin. first we get Ashley and Melina stinking up the ring, then a match revolving around a Playboy cover, then Santino dressing in drag and now this. the year you induct Wendi Richter in the HOF you pull a stunt like this. someone needs to be fired over this. 3/10
9) WWE title match - John Cena vs Batista*: Cena has an Air Force guard to help him with his entrance but last year's was so much better. decent action for about fifteen minutes with some nice back and forth action. in the end after several reversals Cena plants Batista with the FU to give us a feel good moment at Mania. 6/10
10) Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels: epic match from start to finish but Undertaker lands a hard tombstone to pin HBK and end his career. he celebrates with the fans first before leaving for good. 9/10
Survivor Series (2000)
while it isn't the best PPV of all time, Survivor Series is always my favourite PPV of the year and this one is a personal favourite of mine. plus it is from the best era of WWF ever.
1) 6-PERSON INTERGENDER TAG MATCH - T&A and Trish Stratus Vs Crash, Steve Blackman and Molly Holly: a fun opening match and it's good how Test and Albert's brute strength contrast with Crash and Molly's speedy style. then there's Trish's non existent wrestling ability. who knew that next year she'd be a great wrestler and win the title? Molly gets the win with a sunset flip on Trish (her first televised victory). 6/10 2) SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH - The Radicalz Vs Road Dogg, K-Kwik, Billy Gunn and Chyna: one of my favourite matches to watch, we have a mini DX reunion here with some impressive moves from Chyna and Billy Gunn. too bad that the Radicalz win when they have only two decent wrestlers on their team. however those two decent wrestlers (Benoit and Saturn) are the only two who survived this match. special props to Billy Gunn for pwning Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko.8/10 3) Kane Vs Chris Jericho: longer than i expected but quite impressive. Y2J does put in a lot of effort here and god i miss masked Kane. the match gets really good when it moves to ringside. Jericho keeps pounding on Kane who just takes it and eventually gets the win like it's no trouble at all. 6/10 4) The Rock Vs Rikishi: sadly this is really out of place. i never liked Rikishi being a villain, he just didn't fit. if he ain't the fun dancing Rikishi he ain't worth watching. these two put up a decent fight with The Rock coming out on top as usual. it was a bit too long for my liking. 5/10 5) WWF European TITLE - Hardcore Holly vs William Regal (c): sadly the worst match of the night. i have never liked Hardcore Holly, his style has always seemed off to me and he would have been better off teaming with his cousins to face T&A. Regal starts working on Holly's injured knee and Holly hits him with the belt to get a DQ. 4/10 6) WWF WOMEN'S TITLE - Lita Vs Ivory (c): fantastic. two of the top female athletes in the company in one match together. Ivory is very underrated in my opinion and she proves she's just as tough as Lita who puts up a good fight. Steven Richards buts in to help Ivory pick up the win. overall, solid match. 7/10 7) WWF TITLE - Kurt Angle (c) Vs Undertaker: although Kane came out victorious, his bro wasn't as lucky. i can never really see Taker with the title but he does work hard here. Kurt is brilliant as always standing up to the American Badass but things look tough so he hides under the ring. Taker pulls him out and pins him but the ref notices it isn't Kurt. the real Kurt comes back in and rolls up Taker for the win and gets out of there with his brother. 7/10 8) SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH - Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather, Edge, Christian Vs Hardy Boys and Dudley Boyz: i really love these matches and Team X-Treme get one back for Lita since she didn't win the title. Matt is first eliminated then the Goodfather thanks to Val Venis (oops). the action is quite fast paced but good overall and Jeff is the only one to survive. afterwards the Dudleys put their enemies through a table, as you do. 8/10 9) Stone Cold Vs Triple H: it's supposed to be a no DQ match but that is to be expected. the action doesn't stay confined to the ring for long and the two move backstage with the Radicalz interfering but Stone Cold gets rid of them. they wind up in the parking lot, Triple H gets in a car but Stone Cold gets into a forklift and drops the car from a height in the air to make a really confusing ending. 7/10
Royal Rumble (2001)
2001 definitely was the best year for WWF and its first PPV starts things off nicely.
TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Dudleys against Edge and Christian a pretty good opener, the Dudleys are always great to watch but there wasn't much coming from Edge and Christian. there didn't seem to be any real threat but it was still pretty solid. lol when the two canucks try to hit D-Von on either side of the head with two steel chairs, he ducks and they bash off each other. Dudleys get a 3-D for the win. 7/10 INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH - LADDER: Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit most action packed match of the night with both men using the ladder and other weapons. i think it was the longest match, Benoit tried a suicide dive but got whacked with a chair from Y2J, Jericho put him in the walls of Jericho while they were both on top of the ladder. Benoit tried a diving headbutt but missed and bounced his head off the mat. Jericho hit him in the back with a steel chair and caused him to flop out of the ring. Jericho climbs the ladder and gets the title belt. 9/10 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Ivory vs Chyna this goes to prove that Chyna shouldn't wrestle women. it's a pretty one sided match with Chyna tossing Ivory around the ring like a rag doll and having fun with her outside the ring. she goes back inside and tries a handspring back elbow but injures her neck, allowing Ivory to climb on top of her and get the pin. 5/10 WWF CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Kurt Angle w/Trish Stratus vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley pretty good bout between two good wrestlers. Triple H of course can't stick to the rules for long and has Stephanie distract the referee so he can hit Kurt's ankle with a steel chair. Kurt gets the upper hand in the middle of the match and Stephanie's voice as she cheers on her husband is like nails on a blackboard. The game cheats again by using the ropes for leverage as he puts Kurt in an Indian deathlock. Trish breaks the hold and Stephanie slaps her. the two have a catfight and Vince comes down to separate them and has to carry Trish over his shoulder while Stephanie chases after them. the ref gets knocked out so he can't count to 3 when Triple H lands the pedigree. Stone Cold comes out and attacks Triple H. Kurt and the referee come round and Kurt gets the pin. 8/10 ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH: It started with the Hardy Boyz double teaming Bull Buchanan and Farooq but eliminating each other with a surprise appearance from Drew Carey. Kane dominates the match but it becomes hardcore as Raven, Al Snow and Steve Blackman bring weapons. The Honky Tonk Man shows up, sings his song and gets whacked over the head with his guitar by Kane. The Rock shows up and so does Big Show and gets eliminated early, he chokeslams Rock through the announce table in revenge. Undertaker comes in and him and Kane clear house. poor Scotty 2 Hotty has to enter alone with both of them. Stone Cold arrives but gets ambushed by Triple H before he can enter the ring. The One Billy Gunn, Haku and Rikishi enter and the final 4 is Stone Cold, Rock, Billy and Kane. Stone Cold wins and celebrates with beer. it would have been better if Billy or the Rock had won because Stone Cold was way overrated at this time. 8/10
WWE Judgment Day (2002)
i didn't see Judgment Day live but i have the DVD and have watched it many times. it had some good matches
Eddie Guerrero vs RVD (Intercontinental Championship): it was a pretty good opener and i was rooting for RVD the whole time. both of them gave it their all and it kept surprising you. 8/10
Trish Stratus w/Bubba Ray Dudley vs Stacy Keibler w/D-Von and Batista (Women's Championship): like in all her matches, Trish was great. it was a bit annoying to see Stacy trying to pin her every 10 seconds and slapping the ring when Trish kicked out. she even slapped Bubba when he laughed at her. there wasn't much else to see unless you count Trish kicking Batista in the face before picking up the win. after wards D-Von put Bubba through a table. 6/10
Hardy Boyz vs Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman: the Hardys were pretty solid in this match which was really a handicap although Heyman took a bit of a bashing. Lesnar did all the work and the brothers just seemed to keep coming at him with all they had. it wasn't enough though and Heyman got the pin. 7/10
Edge vs Kurt Angle (Hair vs Hair): judging by Kurt Angle's appearance in 2003 it wasn't hard to guess who would win this match. this match really did bring out the best in Kurt who put up a good fight against Edge. i was hoping he would win but of course he didn't. he ran away after the match and then Edge locked him in a sleeper hold and shaved his head. poor Kurt woke up looking at his bald head in a mirror and fled while the crowd chanted "you're bald". 7/10
Stone Cold vs Ric Flair and the Big Show: yawn. another handicap match. I'm glad Flair has finally stopped thinking he can still wrestle and retired. this match was nothing special. while the Big Show was a bit interesting, it was obvious that Stone Cold would win. naturally he beats both of them and celebrates with a few beers. 4/10
Triple H vs Chris Jericho (Hell in a Cell): i was surprised that this wasn't the main event but i never thought Jericho was main event material. as most Hell in a Cell matches there was the classic chaos and carnage. the two guys got to the top of the cell and Jericho tried to bring in the equalizer (sledgehammer) but he couldn't stop the game who knocked him with a pedigree and picked up the win. 6/10
Billy and Chuck vs Rikishi and Rico (WWE Tag Team Championship): I'm wondering what Billy did to deserve this storyline. since Rico's name was on the back of the DVD i knew he would be Rikishi's mystery partner. Rikishi of course did all the work but handled himself pretty well. Billy and Chuck both put on a good show and in the end Rico kicked Chuck in the face by accident and Rikishi got the win. after wards he did a little dance for the defeated and Rico sneakily picked up the belt as he followed Billy and Chuck up the aisle (pardon the pun). 7/10
Undertaker vs Hulk Hogan (WWE Championship): i cant believe the Undertaker was heel here. then again i also cant believe that geriatric Hogan was the champion going into this match. it seemed his arthritis and rheumatism could not be kept at bay although i was like wtf when he started shaking like a caffeine addict. like that would discourage taker. anyway the American badass got the win and put the geriatric in his place. 8/10
a step forwards
OK i'll review the two stories separately since they're both, well, separate
well, the last BBC version was slow moving and drawn out so this one came across as really rushed and crammed. of course Prince Caspian is the weakest of the four books i've read and it doesn't look like much here.
the acting is very divided. the children are all a little older and more comfortable here. Peter's voice has finally broke so it helps improve how his lines sound anyway. Lucy and Susan are both better in this. Edmund's voice is a little weird and hard to take. now the kid playing Caspian is just...omfg. i can see why Disney went with an older actor for their Caspian since this kid is so bad. and there is no extra E in dwarfs, mate. i didn't realise Barbara Kellerman was back in this but it looks like she's calmed down a bit, playing the hag and actually coming across as creepy. its interesting that Trufflehunter was played by a woman, i liked that idea and 'Big Mick' as Trumpkin was good too. i hated Warwick Davis as Reepicheep simply because you cant think of him as a mouse, he stays a midget in a bad mouse costume. the actors playing Nikabrick and Miraz were decent.
the effects are meh. yet again they use hand drawn animation mingled in with live action but its not used as much here so it works.
the setting is very dull looking. i always thought of Narnia as being exotic but we just have a lot of plain English countrysides here. i do like the claustrophobic element of Aslan's How.
the fight between Miraz and Peter is just bad. no suspense and too quick. they are also missing the other huge battles that happened at the end of the book. and no river god either. when i first saw the end i was surprised how it set up the next one.
in short Prince Caspian comes bottom in the ranking of the BBC versions of the Chronicles of Narnia
VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER:
need i say "wow!"? this is excellent, best of all of them. it was the best book and they put tonnes of effort into this and it shows
the acting is great. Lucy has improved well and Edmund is decent. the boy playing Eustace does a good job too and the older Caspian knocks the younger one out of the water completely. too bad we have annoying life size Reepicheep again. the acting is terrible when Edmund and Caspian fight on the Deathwater island. i love this exchange: Edmund: "it's all quite plain. he came here on a hot day, took off his clothes, dived in--" Lucy: "Don't!" (her delivery is excellent)
the design for the ship is lovely and very detailed. each of the different places they visit look unique and interesting. another thing that makes this version great is that they only have one brief scene of cartoon animation.
the effects are strange. i was surprised they actually made a sea serpent and dragon to use. they didn't look real but they look better than the puppet Aslan. the scene in the dark island was excellently done.
one of the main reasons i think this worked is because Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a very episodic book and so works as a TV series. i was disappointed that they left out the bit with the mermaids though
follows the tradition of most 80s stuff
by tradition, most things made in the 80s i've seen have been pretty bad for this thing here bad acting, bad effects and a bad script all combine together to make an OK piece of film let's start with the acting. first of all the children are all completely miscast. Sophie Wilcox is far too old to play Lucy (she was 13/14 at the time and Lucy is meant to be 8 years old) and Richard Dempsey looked way too young (he looked almost younger than Lucy and Edmund). Jonathan Scott and Sophie Cook are passable as the other children. since these guys are children you expect the acting to be a little off but Richard Dempsey is easily the weakest of them. however poor the children might be they are blown out of the water by Barbara Kellerman playing the White Witch. if anyone has heard of the expression ham acting they will agree that she is the walking definition of it in this. not only does she overact to the point of being too bad to be funny she acts like her character has friggin bipolar disorder. the voice of Aslan speaks too slow and isn't nearly ferocious enough for a lion. the man playing Mr Beaver is just terrible too. i even hated him when i saw this as a six year old kid. don't worry, there are good actors in this. The Professor, the dwarf, Mrs MacReady, Mr Tumnus and a handful of extra characters are quite solid in their performances.
there are a number of shots you see in this which make you wonder what the editors were smoking when they kept them in. like when Mr Beaver tells them Aslan has come, there is a slow shot which shows all the children looking up at the sky; Mr Beaver laughs at a comment Edmund makes and he turns away and makes an incredibly stupid sulky folded arms look and when the stone table cracks Lucy shouts "they're doing something worse to him" and then she says "come on" but she hops on the spot for a good few seconds before saying this.
for effects, well this is the BBC so i'll be generous. they aren't as bad as you think aside from the fact that they have hand drawn animation mixed in with the live action. i guess it sort of works but it just adds to the silliness of the whole thing. of course one thing that CS Lewis himself hated was that all the animals are played by actors in costumes. as a result we have life sized beavers and ridiculous looking wolves. Aslan is played by a puppet and the effect for this is OK but you can still see the creases in the costume. one effect that does work is when Aslan turns the creatures back from stone. another is when they find a giant in the witch's castle, it looks very authentic.
the script probably is what makes the acting look worse than it really is. they keep much of the old fashioned dialogue used in the book, perhaps realising too late that it just looks silly and cheesy. it really should have been updated like both the Disney and cartoon versions did. you hear Peter saying expressions like "by golly" and "by Jove" mingled with his high pitched posh voice and it makes you cringe every time.
now let's move on to what's good about this series. first of all it is the most faithful of all the adaptations of the books. many scenes are done word for word from the book which can be good or bad, decide for yourself. second, as god awful as the White Witch's acting is, she has an excellent design and looks the part. the costume is very detailed. the battle scene is not as good as the cartoon and Disney versions but its still OK.