Thursday, May 29, 2014

Movie Review: Pete’s Dragon

The Story: After being adopted by a family who wants to use him as a servant, a boy is befriended by a dragon. He runs away with the dragon to try to start a new life somewhere else, and winds up in a small seaside town, where he is taken in by the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Meanwhile, his cruel adoptive family wants him back, and they team up with a con man who wants the dragon.

My Thoughts: I was a bit skeptical of the idea of having an animated dragon in a live-action film, since it seemed like the animation would feel out of place and not be believable. Amazingly, the film makes the concept easy to accept and enjoy. It’s entertaining to watch the antics of the mischievous dragon and the boy as they go on a variety of adventures together and try to outwit their villainous pursuers.

As if putting an animated dragon into an otherwise live-action movie didn’t make this film unusual enough already, it’s also a musical. Fortunately, most of the songs are good, and none are tedious. Amusing characters and situations fill the story, and the story itself is solid enough to help this film soar like its dragon star. This unique, colorful, and song-filled movie will likely delight imaginative children and provide light-hearted fun for older fantasy fans.

Content Overview: The only content of concern is some brief and subtle innuendo. The violence is mild and goofy.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: For the Temple by G. A. Henty

The Story: A Jewish youth, after his miraculous survival through a deadly storm, seems chosen by God to do great things. As Roman conquerers come to Israel to crush a Jewish revolt, the young man becomes the greatest hero of the fractured Israelite nation, standing for justice in a land dominated by ruthless criminals. In his quest to protect the temple in Jerusalem from being destroyed by the Romans, he will face many dangers, including coming face to face with Rome’s prince.

My Thoughts: This is the first G. A. Henty book I’ve read. I'd heard a lot of good things about him, and he mostly lives up to the hype. What might seem to be a mere historical adventure for children is truly an excellent historical epic for all ages. His writing style is sometimes stiff or archaic to modern tastes, but on the whole, I found the story to move at a faster pace than many novels written in the same time period. A variety of small and large scale action sequences are vividly described, making this already compelling tale even more exciting, and well worth reading for fans of historical adventure novels. It will be interesting to find out if his other novels are as good as this one.

Content Overview: There is pervasive mild violence due to the brutal warfare that goes on during the story. Some questionable morality and theology arises on a few occasions, such as a heretical sect that is seemingly portrayed as Christian, but these instances are generally vague and brief.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I Won A Short Story Contest!

Yesterday, I learned that a short story of mine won first place in its category in Your Story Central’s short story contest.

The story, “Mr. Turtle,” was inspired by some real life encounters with turtles.

When the story goes up on the Your Story Central website next week, I’ll post a link!

(Here's the link: Read "Mr. Turtle")

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Double Movie Review: The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under

The Story: In The Rescuers, two brave mice are sent from a secret society of mice rescuers to help a girl who’s held captive in a creepy swamp by a crazed woman obsessed with finding the world’s biggest diamond. In The Rescuers Down Under, the two mice from the first film head to Australia to help a boy held captive by a poacher who’s after a giant eagle.

My Thoughts: I am happy to report that these two films, which I loved as a child, hold up to adult viewing. While they cannot quite match the best Disney animated movies, the charming characters, colorful animation, and heart-warming stories are likely to be please anyone who enjoys animation and animal fantasy.

The settings of both films add a lot, from the creepy swamp and dangerous pirate cave in the first film to the lush forests and crocodile-infested river in the second film. The side characters also contribute greatly, from a noble dragonfly and two evil alligators in the first film to the antics of two very different lizards and a guide mouse in the second film.

The Rescuers is the stronger of the two films, due to being a bit better written, but The Rescuers Down Under is still a good movie and has better music. If you like The Rescuers, you are pretty much certain to like its sequel, which gives those of us who appreciate classic animation a charming pair of movies to watch for years to come.

Content Overview: The Rescuers has a villainess who dresses immodestly. Some viewers may be bothered by a female character getting sent on dangerous missions. There is also some mild violence and a few mild scary scenes.