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The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
Classic "Biggles Opera" - Redford at his most handsome!
This is a well shot film (the light in the Prarie scenes are beautiful) about why people love flying and how it gets into their bones to the point where they will take great risks with their lives as well as other people's!
Redford looks heroic and every bit the Ladies Man especially in uniform.
The aerial sequences are terrific with some really risky stunts and shots. Made in 1975, there are no CGI effects - everything is real and raw.
I felt the film to be a little slow at times but it's a film for grown ups so we can take that speed, can't we?
Scott A. Frisina's review on the main page is as good a synopsis as anyone can give - that's how it is - read it then see this excellent film.
A wee gem of a film
Let me say at the outset that this is a wee gem of a film. Put all the nit picking you may have heard about locations and breeds aside - they fade in the bright shiny faced light of John Henderson's lovely family film. It is a film trivia buff's dream in that there are incongruities in the story but this is not a film for obsessives and grown ups - it' s for kids and their parents. O.K.? And dog lovers. It delivers an hour and a half of perfectly paced entertainment and I really enjoyed it. My four year old daughter did too. A lot.
The key to the film is that the dog is the star - humans play big parts but the dog is the centre of the story. There are several excellent human performances, notably James Cosmo as the gravedigger, Ardal O'Hanlon, who has the best lines and the two "baddies". Steady work from Gina McKee and Greg Wise keeps the story plausible. Beautiful cinematography, a good music score, outstanding costumes and location dressing top up the whole and the result is a film which could become a modern classic.
Greyfriars Bobby isn't a clever dick film either - it's simple and understood by kids under 12. However, it holds everyone's attention and deals with some difficult issues really well.
What is the story? You don't know? O.K. Clever wee dog works with his master, a policemen, and is a general boon to his owner. Sadly, owner dies, but dog sits on his Master's grave "guarding" it. Villains try to get rid of said dog, but dog is gutsy and tenacious. Dog wins friends, becomes well known and has many adventures.
It's nice to see a film that's not full of egos and cgi inserts too - the cast are chosen, I guess, for their ability to play the role well enough and not steal the dog's thunder. John Henderson's comment to the audience was to the effect "If you don't like it, stuff you" but John, we do like it. It's nice and doesn't try to be anything else. Take as many kids to this film as you can - they'll love and you'll enjoy seeing that.
The Land Before Time (1988)
Cute and enjoyable
While it's a bit clunky in animation terms, the LBT series is undeniably appealing and easy to watch. The characters are idealised and stereotypical - basically, they're anthropomorphosised children and adults. The plot is usually a moral tale showing good intention winning out over the bad guys who are always played by animalistic characters or creatures lacking the wee dinosaurs' wisdom and power to reason.
My daughter (3.5) loves the whole series and has a strangely deep appreciation of dinosaurs and their world! Not a bad film to cuddle up with your children to just before bed either. I think it's because there's a genuine desire to tell a good story here and that sets them apart from the rest. And there's a whole series of the of course you wont be driven mad watching the same one over and over.
The standard Mickey Christmas offering
Computer graphics are used to shorten production times. In an ideal world they don't shorten artistic content but this is not an ideal world. The Christmas 2004 Mickey mouse "film" is not ideal either. It's simply trying to rerun old glory and just doesn't do it for me.
Sure there's all the competency one would expect from Disney. It's cute, and the CGI animation is very good but it just doesn't say or show anything new. I don't expect anything amazing from what is in effect a film annual, you understand, just a little bit of freshness would make it good for me.... but it ain't there. I can see Walt sleeping in the front row on this one. If you just want a Mickey Mouse film, choose something else - this isn't a good example.