rannynm

IMDb member since July 2001
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Reviews

The Farewell
(2019)

A Story That Millions of American Families Can Relate To
The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, played tug-of-war with my emotions as I felt a constant push and pull between crying and smiling! I became a part of Billi's family, empathizing with the family members because they reminded me of my own.

Based on an actual lie, The Farewell tells the story of Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant in America, and the relationship with her grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), who lives in China. When Billi finds out that her grandmother only has a few months left to live, Billi must grapple with the fact that her family doesn't wish to tell Nai Nai. Along with dealing with Nai Nai's imminent death, Billi struggles with her Chinese and American roots.

The power of The Farewell comes from its simplicity. The most powerful scenes are those without music or dialogue, just Billi alone with her emotions. These scenes last several seconds and act as a window into Billi's heart. Awkwafina fully transforms into her character, letting her eyes convey Billi's indescribable pain to the audience. The cinematography by Anna Franquesa and Solano assists in amplifying the effect of the actors' emotions. The camera often frames Billi in the center of the screen, whether she is amongst a sea of people or alone in her room. Each time the camera does so, I felt how the sorrow forms a small bubble around her that is only visible to the audience, especially if she is pretending to smile or laugh. Once again, there is a simplicity in the cinematography that carries power. This simplicity even extends to the music by Alex Weston. The music is comprised of only a few string instruments and a simple melody. However, every time it plays it reflects the emotions of Billi, giving me goosebumps.

My favorite part is how this movie depicts immigrant families and their struggles. Being Indian, but born and brought up in America, I found several similarities between Nai Nai and my own mother and grandmother. At certain moments, I was laughing out loud because Nai Nai says something that I have heard countless times in my own family. In this way, The Farewell brings a story that millions of American families can relate to, that is not often found in Hollywood movies.

The message is that family is precious. I give The Farewell 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Be sure to check out The Farewell which opened in theatres nationwide July 12, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Men in Black: International
(2019)

Bolstered by its talented leads and visuals, but remains somewhat underwhelming
Men in Black is bolstered by its talented two leads and visuals, but ultimately it remains an occasionally underwhelming installment in the franchise. Still, there are enough entertaining action sequences and humor to satisfy general moviegoers. Fans of the MIB franchise must check this out, but preferably on a matinee.

The film follows Men in Black 3 as London has a branch of Men in Black. After investigating and finding the MIB base, Molly (Tessa Thompson) joins them. The head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), pairs her up with the dashing hot-shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Molly, now Agent M, and Agent H become involved in a series of alien attacks that send them traveling around the globe, while a mole lurks among the MIB.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, as Agents M and H, are the main highlights here as their chemistry still impresses ever since their collaborations in Thor: Ragnarok. This really is just a big excuse to watch another Thor and Valkyrie buddy cop, and it's honestly a great one. I quite enjoyed Agent M's deadpan reactions to anything Agent H does. They really do fill the void that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones left behind from the previous three films. Liam Neeson, as High T, has some interesting contributions to the plot and, as always, brings out the veteran actor in himself. Kumail Nanjiani, as Pawny, is another highlight, being the new alien sidekick here. He has some of the funniest lines, and even serves as a good replacement for Frank the Pug. As always, it is nice to see Emma Thompson reprise her role as Agent O.

Director F. Gary Gray brings new life to the franchise taking over for Barry Sonnenfeld who directed the previous three. This marks the first director departure, and Gray's hipster influences reach out to a broader audience. He really haBolstered by s a grasp on style and elegance. My favorite scene is when Agent M and H first discover Pawny, because it's just one gag after another with all sticking the landing. Pawny's dry humor adds to the overall vibe, and at this point, I wouldn't mind getting a MIB spinoff about Pawny. While the comedy delivers, the overall story does not. It runs around in circles, and the only redeeming quality to this is the density of the characters and settings. It is rather directionless at times and, after a while, it becomes like every other globe-trotting movie. Also, the mole subplot goes nowhere, and resolves itself quickly. This a huge disappointment, as someone who really admires insider plots.

The message of this film is that teamwork is essential. This is shown in the partnership of Agent M and H as they fight and try to peacefully resolve with the aliens. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some intense action, suggestive references and language.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Men in Black: International
(2019)

Bolstered by its talented leads and visuals, but remains somewhat underwhelming
Men in Black is bolstered by its talented two leads and visuals, but ultimately it remains an occasionally underwhelming installment in the franchise. Still, there are enough entertaining action sequences and humor to satisfy general moviegoers. Fans of the MIB franchise must check this out, but preferably on a matinee.

The film follows Men in Black 3 as London has a branch of Men in Black. After investigating and finding the MIB base, Molly (Tessa Thompson) joins them. The head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), pairs her up with the dashing hot-shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Molly, now Agent M, and Agent H become involved in a series of alien attacks that send them traveling around the globe, while a mole lurks among the MIB.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, as Agents M and H, are the main highlights here as their chemistry still impresses ever since their collaborations in Thor: Ragnarok. This really is just a big excuse to watch another Thor and Valkyrie buddy cop, and it's honestly a great one. I quite enjoyed Agent M's deadpan reactions to anything Agent H does. They really do fill the void that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones left behind from the previous three films. Liam Neeson, as High T, has some interesting contributions to the plot and, as always, brings out the veteran actor in himself. Kumail Nanjiani, as Pawny, is another highlight, being the new alien sidekick here. He has some of the funniest lines, and even serves as a good replacement for Frank the Pug. As always, it is nice to see Emma Thompson reprise her role as Agent O.

Director F. Gary Gray brings new life to the franchise taking over for Barry Sonnenfeld who directed the previous three. This marks the first director departure, and Gray's hipster influences reach out to a broader audience. He really haBolstered by s a grasp on style and elegance. My favorite scene is when Agent M and H first discover Pawny, because it's just one gag after another with all sticking the landing. Pawny's dry humor adds to the overall vibe, and at this point, I wouldn't mind getting a MIB spinoff about Pawny. While the comedy delivers, the overall story does not. It runs around in circles, and the only redeeming quality to this is the density of the characters and settings. It is rather directionless at times and, after a while, it becomes like every other globe-trotting movie. Also, the mole subplot goes nowhere, and resolves itself quickly. This a huge disappointment, as someone who really admires insider plots.

The message of this film is that teamwork is essential. This is shown in the partnership of Agent M and H as they fight and try to peacefully resolve with the aliens. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some intense action, suggestive references and language.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Tolkien
(2019)

Heartwarming film showing how eents of Tolkien's life fueled his imagination
Tolkien is an incredibly heartwarming film telling the story of John Ronald Tolkien's life and how he drew inspiration for his books. This film is extremely entertaining for a biopic. It tells his life story in a way that shows how events throughout his life fueled his imagination to create his incredible fantasy stories. It brilliantly represents how people make connections with other people and events that inspire creativity.

Tolkien begins with J.R.R. Tolkien in a small camp in a WWI trench, where he is having visions of mythical creatures battling. It then cuts to him as a child and shows how he always loved these mythical creatures that he wrote about. Suddenly, due to a lack of money, his family is forced to move to the city where he has no friends. He and his brother are admitted to a prestigious school on scholarships where he makes some lifelong friends.

The use of imagery in this film is incredible. Lots of normal things are transformed by John's imagination into incredible creatures from myths and legends. Many of the things that John experiences over the course of his life are mirrored by the events in his books. The film excels at showing that Tolkien was really passionate about his writing and the use of language. The war scenes in the movie are quite graphic and hard to watch, but show the inspiration for Tolkien's epic battle scenes in his writings.

One thing I disliked is the way the movie starts. It begins with a scene of two CGI horses being ridden into battle. The CGI used isn't that great and is a terrible choice for the opening scene, because it instantly turns down the audience and makes it just a little bit harder to get their support. However, the story is strong enough to compensate for that and you become quickly lost in the world of Tolkien's imagination.

The moral of this film is that you should try to accomplish your goals and overcome obstacles. This is told throughout Tolkien's journey. He constantly tries to accomplish different goals and is incredibly dedicated to finishing them. There is also an integral message about dealing with loss. This is shown in how he deals with the many devastating losses in his life.

The music in this film is great. It is exciting and conveys a strong tone that matches the film incredibly. It is very interesting and has a lot of variety. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 through 18, because it covers some heavy topics that are unsuitable for younger viewers. Any fan of the writings of JRR Tolkien will love this. It is one of my favorite films and I am certain I will watch it again.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Dark Phoenix
(2019)

like the moral of the movie: you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.
I really like this movie. I love super hero movies, especially Marvel movies. Unfortunately, I was a lot younger when I watched the previous X-Men movies, so I don't remember them that well. When I was watching Dark Phoenix, I was a little lost on the background of the characters.

Dark Phoenix is about the super hero team we all know as X-Men. The main character is the one and only Jean Grey portrayed by Sophie Turner who we also know as Sansa, The Queen of the North from Game of Thrones. The movie shows how Jean Grey meets Professor X (James McAvoy) after a fatal car accident and how she joins the X-Men team. Professor X sends Jean and the X-Men team off on a rescue mission in space. They have to rescue a group of NASA astronauts. During the rescue mission, Jean suffers an accident, causing her to start losing control of her emotions and power. Her uncontrolled emotions are mostly anger and rage, which accounts for the title of the movie, Dark Phoenix, because you see a bit of the dark side of Jean Grey. The villains in the movie are a group of aliens that lost their planet in an explosion, so they come to planet Earth to kidnap Jean and acquire her powers.

Besides Sophie Turner and James McAvoy, this movie has another well-known actress, Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), who we know as Katniss Evergreen in The Hunger Games. In this film, we see a different Mystique, showing her good side and her protectiveness for her team. The sound and visual effects are amazing. My favorite scene is when the X-Men team rescue Jean and have to fight off the aliens. There are some sad parts such as the loss of some characters, which, of course, you need to watch the film in order to know which ones are gone.

I really like the moral of the movie: you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Jean Grey needed to know how strong and powerful she is, because she doesn't have a choice. Another message is about how family will always be there for you and will help you through tough times. The X-Men and Professor X are Jean Grey's family.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. plus adults. I don't recall any profanity in the film, but there is a far amount of graphic, bloody death scenes.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

A Dog's Journey
(2019)

plenty of cute doggy screen time and butt-sniffing jokes
A Dog's Journey is my second-favorite reincarnating dog movie. This sweet, but unoriginal sequel to 2017's A Dog's Purpose is much like the first one, with plenty of cute doggy screen time and butt-sniffing jokes. One strength, compared to the original, is that it spends more time on a single canine / human relationship, rather than jumping around to lots of new people.

For a movie for dog lovers, this one sure shows a lot of dog deaths! As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old Saint Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog's spirit to watch over his granddaughter CJ throughout her life. That's exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Mollie, who helps CJ as a child, then as a terrier named Max, who helps teen and adult CJ (Kathryn Prescott)

Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed his spirit is currently inhabiting. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans, aided by Mark Isham's strings-heavy score.

This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it's based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. One character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There's also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.

The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen to you in life. And, you should surround yourself with people who care about you.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, but adults will like it too, if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog's Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot ogr.

The Biggest Little Farm
(2018)

Shows the diligent work of two former city-dwellers to create a sustainable farm
This interesting and captivating documentary gives you the opportunity to view the experiences and hard work of John Chester and his wife Molly who developed a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Get ready to take in different emotions as you join their personal journey throughout the film.

The documentary follows two visionaries and a dog on their journey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. The story all begins with a promise to a dog named Todd; not just any dog, but a very special dog. When the barking of their darling Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny L.A. apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and into the foothills of Ventura County, simply striving to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete co-existence with nature.

The land they've chosen is tremendously devoid of nutrients and suffering from a cruel drought. The film records eight years of discouraging and encouraging work as they are challenged to create the ideal farm by planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and by bringing in animals of every type. Molly and Josh work day and night to build the farm, along with the help of their mentor. As the documentary continues, you'll see the helpful and kind hearts the animals have for each other.

The lead characters in The Biggest Little Farm are John Chester and Molly Chester. The writers are John Chester and Mark Monroe.

There are many important messages here, such as: believing that you can grasp your dreams if you work hard to accomplish them. For example, Molly Chester never gives up. She moves an hour north of one of the most polluted cities on earth and pursues her family dream of growing every ingredient she could possibly want to cook. I truly enjoy this true and challenging story of this "power couple."

The Biggest Little Farm is an educational film , which promotes a deeper understanding of the fundamental joy of farming, family and love. This film delivers an expressive, booming narrative with plenty of cute animals to spare. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults.

Reviewed bY Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Breakthrough
(2019)

Heartfelt Story That is Easy to Connect to, No Matter Your Religion
This is a very heartfelt movie that will make you cry and laugh at the same time. Based on a true story with a strong religious theme, Breakthrough is a perfect movie to enjoy with your family. It doesn't matter what your religion is: it is very easy to connect with this story and to feel very emotional. I love the acting and all the positive messages it contains.

This is the story of a 14-year-old boy, John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) who suffers a terrible accident: when playing in a frozen lake, he drowns and is rescued by a fireman about 20 minutes later. He miraculously survives but is in serious condition. His mom never surrenders hope and prays with fervor to keep him alive.

I like the underwater scenes: I love how they look and how they are filmed. In the movie poster we see the main character under the water, and, despite knowing he will fall, I still jumped from my seat when the ice broke. I think it is amazing how a simple story can make such an impact on the audience.

The story is well narrated. There's a song at the beginning of the film that could have been shorter, although it is good. It feels like a music video trapped in a film that is not a musical, but when the movie resumes, the narrative keeps you interested.

Chrissy Metz, who plays John's mother, portrays the character so well, it made me cry; you feel the connection with her suffering, and it is very powerful. She confronts doctors, and, although John is in a medically-induced coma, she keeps her faith alive. She doesn't get along with Pastora Jason Noble (Topher Grace) because she thinks he is too cool to be spiritual, but she bonds with this man who is very supportive and caring. John, of course, spends a good portion of the movie dormant, but he makes you pray for him because you want to see him alive.

The message of this film is never give up and always have faith. Another message is even if you don't fully like someone it doesn't mean you can't set aside your differences and work together. I also think is important for young audiences to understand that accidents happen, and we need to be careful.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

General Magic
(2018)

How can failure turn into success?
This is a very interesting documentary about the development of technology as we know it today and how failure can turn into success. I learned a lot about the development of the smartphone.

It tells the story of a technology company called General Magic and their struggle to make a smartphone, all while trying to keep it a secret from other companies that could steal their ideas.

It is easy to understand. I like how they illustrate things. For example, they use ocean waves to describe the coming and going of companies. The story is told by former General Magic employees, who know best about what happened since they were a part of it.

They frequently cut to show beautiful landscapes throughout the film. My favorite one is a beach, but they also show city skylines, forests and other interesting places. The music is very 80s and helps establish the time period. The message of the film is that sometimes, failure for one person can help another person to success.

It has some very mild profanity and there is mention of somebody being naked, but it is never shown. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend if for ages 12-18 as well as adults.

Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Missing Link
(2019)

Positively charming adventure with lovable protagonist and fantastic animation
Missing Link is a positively charming adventure with a lovable protagonist and fantastic animation.

The story line follows Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), a daring adventurer with a flair for the dramatic, who stumbles upon a massive discovery. He receives a letter confirming the existence of the Sasquatch and treks off to meets the sender, a Sasquatch named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis). Mr. Link convinces Frost to help him track down his cousins, the yetis, living up in the Himalayas. Together with Frost's old flame Adalina, they travel the globe in search of Link's distant family.

My favorite character in this film is Mr. Link. He is a big creature with an even bigger heart. Link yearns for family after years of loneliness in the wilderness. Link takes everything very literally which provides the film with some witty gags. Zach Galifianakis's voice work on this film adds an extra layer to this character with his warm, upbeat energy and comedic voice performance.

I really like the character of Sir Lionel Frost also. He is a flawed explorer who has lost his passion for adventure and has gained a desire for success in all the wrong places. It's interesting to see an adventurer who, although good at what he does, isn't as dashing and is more unlikable at the onset of this film than the norm. Frost isn't readymade for the role of hero and earns it as we watch him become a more selfless, kind person during his arc in the film.

I love the animation in this film. With Missing Link, animation studio Laika continues to prove that its animation is getting better and better with each film. Every locale in this film, from India to the Himalayas is colorful and vibrant. These environments and characters are well-crafted and thought out. You sense the work and passion behind what you see on screen and the animation is breathtaking and even unbelievable at times.

Missing Link doesn't overuse the fish-out-of-water trope with the character of Mr. Link. The one flaw with this film is the use of an assassin character named Stenk. This character doesn't add much to the film, other than an action scene every once in a while and comes across as underdeveloped.

I give Missing Link an age rating of 5 to 15 for some scenes of peril and crude humor. I give Missing Link 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Missing Link
(2019)

Positively charming adventure with lovable protagonist and fantastic animation
Missing Link is a positively charming adventure with a lovable protagonist and fantastic animation.

The story line follows Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), a daring adventurer with a flair for the dramatic, who stumbles upon a massive discovery. He receives a letter confirming the existence of the Sasquatch and treks off to meets the sender, a Sasquatch named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis). Mr. Link convinces Frost to help him track down his cousins, the yetis, living up in the Himalayas. Together with Frost's old flame Adalina, they travel the globe in search of Link's distant family.

My favorite character in this film is Mr. Link. He is a big creature with an even bigger heart. Link yearns for family after years of loneliness in the wilderness. Link takes everything very literally which provides the film with some witty gags. Zach Galifianakis's voice work on this film adds an extra layer to this character with his warm, upbeat energy and comedic voice performance.

I really like the character of Sir Lionel Frost also. He is a flawed explorer who has lost his passion for adventure and has gained a desire for success in all the wrong places. It's interesting to see an adventurer who, although good at what he does, isn't as dashing and is more unlikable at the onset of this film than the norm. Frost isn't readymade for the role of hero and earns it as we watch him become a more selfless, kind person during his arc in the film.

I love the animation in this film. With Missing Link, animation studio Laika continues to prove that its animation is getting better and better with each film. Every locale in this film, from India to the Himalayas is colorful and vibrant. These environments and characters are well-crafted and thought out. You sense the work and passion behind what you see on screen and the animation is breathtaking and even unbelievable at times.

Missing Link doesn't overuse the fish-out-of-water trope with the character of Mr. Link. The one flaw with this film is the use of an assassin character named Stenk. This character doesn't add much to the film, other than an action scene every once in a while and comes across as underdeveloped.

I give Missing Link an age rating of 5 to 15 for some scenes of peril and crude humor. I give Missing Link 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

The Best of Enemies
(2019)

Captivating Messages and Storytelling
The Best of Enemies has some truly captivating messages and storytelling, but its presentation of the segregation debate can get lost with the lack of background insight. Still, the excellent performances here carry over some of the weaker writing. Anyone interested in docu-dramas might want to check this out.

The film centers on the most unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader. The two reluctantly battle over the desegregation of schools in Durham, NC during the one of the nation's racially-charged turning points. C.P. slowly feels drawn towards Atwater's commitment to her people and becomes a frenemy. Can love trump hate?

First, Taraji P. Henson, is fantastic as Ann Atwater with her acerbic nature, but heartfelt fight for the poor and oppressed. She respectfully handles the rebellious, yet kind-hearted nature of the real-life figure. But, the drama's center comes from Sam Rockwell, as C.P. Ellis, who is my favorite character despite playing an initially despicable figure. His redemption is naturally done, and the messages never feel forced here. The two really work well off each other, and their chemistry is hilarious to watch. Babou Ceesay, as Bill Riddick, gives another great performance with his contributions to the segregation debate being another interesting learning experience.

Robin Bussell spectacularly writes and directs with the events presented in a clear, chronological order. But the pacing can be lost amongst this, as the film really stalls when juggling multiple real-life figures. It's the individual moments that stick, because she knows how to write human and relatable characters. The racial tension feels real here, as did the moments of unity. My favorite scene is the final verdict as the scene is filmed so well, leaving the audience unnerved at each person's decision. Still, it's C. P.'s monologue that sells the scene, which I just can't spoil. Seeing is believing. However, in addition to many moments of rocky pacing, the movie's focus on other characters, especially Atwater, is quite minimal and scattershot at times. C. P.'s development is forefront and that's understandable given he is the most complex character. I would have loved to see more personal looks at other characters.

The message of this film is that love is the greatest asset in any debate. We can all learn to reconcile our difference and just love each other. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to mature themes and racist language.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Shazam!
(2019)

Entertaining, funny, action-packed and engaging
Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It's entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.

Fourteen-year-old Billy Batson discovers, with the help of an ancient wizard, that he can turn into a Superhero, just by saying the word Shazam! But Billy is not just dressed in a superhero outfit. He looks older and bigger.

Converted into Shazam, Billy, who lives with adopted parents, goes home and tells his friend Freddy that he is Shazam. Freddy loves and knows everything about superheroes. Together they test Shazam's capabilities and, surprise! He is indeed a real superhero. Billy uses his powers for good, but also for fun.

I think Shazam! makes the cinematic world a better place. This is not just a hilarious comedy. It is about finding a family, making true friends and combating bullying.

The acting in this film is amazing. Zachary Levi is the perfect Shazam. He has the charisma and humor to make this hero adorable and he is a big kid. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer also make this movie very engaging. They are not just funny but also kind hearted. These actors totally carry the film. I think all the actors make it more relatable for younger audiences and new generations. I definitely think this movie is unique, because superhero films are usually more serious and only have a couple jokes, but this one kept my laughing. There's action and emotional moments as well. The amount of comedy is perfect and what makes it so special. The director David F. Sandberg surprised audiences. He's most know for his horror films, but this one turns out to be incredible and enthusiastic.

The message of the film is that we can all be heroes. It only takes a pure heart to have the power and strength to do good deeds, help people and beat the bad guys. The story works perfectly for the whole family, so I recommend it for ages 5 to18. I am a huge fan of this film as it made me laugh and I felt entertained the entire time. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Superpower Dogs
(2019)

An Inside Look at Life-Saving Dogs Trained in Disaster Response and More
I loved watching the film Superpower Dogs. The camera work is absolutely amazing with so many interesting shots and lighting angles in this 3D IMAX production. The director really worked with so many special effects to get lots of close ups and precise detailing. You really see things from the dog's point of view, as well as its trainer's. It is a very entertaining movie that appeals to all ages. This movie really shows that all dogs have super powers with their amazing senses, even if they are not trained to dig 15 feet into the snow or lift forty times their own weight.

The movie features a disaster response dog named Halo and her journey to become a service dog for disaster response. She is joined by five other dogs named Henry (avalanche rescue), Reef (water rescue), Ricochet (emotional support dog who enjoys surfing) and Tony and Tipper (endangered species protection in Kenya). Their trainers play extremely important roles in the film and also in their training. It shows what all the dogs do, but the main focus is on Halo.

This is a documentary so there are no actors involved. It is directed by Daniel Ferguson and produced by Dominic Cunningham-Reid, George Duffield and Taran Davies. The cinematographer is Reed Smoot. Big propos to all the crew! There are all kinds of special effects where they show us a peak of the dog's anatomy. It is very realistic, but purposefully made as a special effect, which is so great. Also, they show a physical representation of scents from a dog's perspective, since they have very exquisite smelling skills. It is difficult to bring smells to life but this IMAX movie does it!

The only bummer for me was I wish they gave a little more attention and time to the other dogs in the movie. I think the director only had 45 minutes, so I imagine it would be hard to include lots of details about all the dogs and their trainers.

The message of the film is that all dogs have superpowers, even if they are not rescue dogs. This movie can will appeal to all animal lovers (even cat lovers), even though the main focus is on dogs. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults.

Reviewed by Lukas L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Wonder Park
(2019)

Touching and Magical Adventure Filled with Action, Humor and Heart
Wonder Park, written by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, is a touching film and a magical adventure. It is filled with action, humor and heartfelt moments that make it enjoyable. The movie is all about the power of love and imagination. It is a wild ride of fun.

The movie tells the story of a young girl, June Bailey, (Sofia Mali and Brianna Denski). She is very imaginative and adventurous, which shows throughout the movie. She and her mom (Jennifer Garner) have a very close relationship. Together they invent a theme park called Wonderland, based on figments from June's imagination. It is a whimsical place filled with exciting rides and attractions, such as a flying fish carousel and crazy roller coasters. The park has great characters like Boomer, the narcoleptic bear and Steve, a gentle porcupine. There is also Greta, a feisty hog and a beaver Cooper played by the hilarious Ken Jeong. My favorite character is the monkey Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz), the leader of the park. He is such an endearing character. When June's love for the park is tested, the magic of what she and her mom created begins to disappear. It's up to June to save the park and herself.

The plot is creative. I like the animation and the magical looking effects. I love the vision of the park and the details that capture the theme of a child's mind. All of the areas of the park are vibrant and unique. I love the bendy straw slide and the balloon cove. The scenes match the mood of what occurs in the storyline. One of my favorite parts is when June first comes to Wonderland and sees that her creations are real.

The movie has some emotional moments between June and her mother. We see how June goes from being a happy-go-lucky kid to a sad little girl. We watch her love for the park fade away. However, we see her get her shine back. It is a great story about relationships and the importance of imagination and always believing.

I rate this film 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 13, as well as the entire family.

Reviewed by Jordan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst.org

Captain Marvel
(2019)

A Must-Watch for Any Superhero Fan!
Captain Marvel is a solid, if slightly flawed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A talented cast and savvy direction make for a crowd pleaser. Any superhero fan must watch this as the hype for Avengers: Endgame arises.

The story follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes. Set in the 90s, this adventure follows her struggle to regain her past as one mysterious incident created her powers. Amidst this, a galactic war arises between the Kree, her brethren, and the Skrulls, shapeshifting fugitives, as Carol remains the only one powerful enough to end the war. This war takes to Earth, with S.H.I.E.L.D. in its adolescence investigating. With this, Carol must team up with no other than a nascent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as the two investigate all sides to this war.

Brie Larson, as Carol Danvers, surprised me and is my favorite character as she is nothing like what the controversial trailers portrayed - hardened and emotionless. In fact, she is very sassy and witty, like Tony Stark, and even humanizes the character with her relatable struggles. Sure she is stoic and hardened to some extent, but she does everything she needs to, as audiences need to be sold of her importance in not just Avengers: Endgame, but the whole MCU, and that's exactly what we get. Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, is absolutely incredible, even if certain character decisions from a writing standpoint are very questionable, with one reveal just baffling. The dynamics between Danvers and Fury is one of the movie's best, with a buddy cop feel to it. It is investing to watch the younger, more inexperienced Fury, with certain nods to his future being a neat addition. The same goes to Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. It is a welcome surprise to see the simpler days of these two. Ben Mendelsohn, as Talos, also gives his all with his Skrull leader a formidable foe and he is more charismatic for it. As twists and turns reveal, he and his race became a sympathetic asset, with their kind being one of the most intriguing amongst the MCU roster. Last but not least, Jude Law, as Yon-Rogg, is interesting in his mentorship of Carol, and the twists regarding his character add for an emotional edge.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fledge aptly direct the film, with a stylish approach somewhat like Thor: Ragnarok. Every scene is well produced, but the style and vision are sometimes lost amongst the craft. The special effects are mostly on standard, but the de-aging effects for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg rise far above the standard. They don't look fake, and all expressions are truly natural. We are truly in the future of seamless CGI. My favorite scene is when Danvers truly becomes Captain Marvel, unleashing her full power amongst an enemy crew.

The message of this film is to never give up. Danvers takes several hits, to the point of giving up, but she always rises up to the challenge. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to some intense violence and language.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Teen Spirit
(2018)

Vivid, enthralling, remarkable film with important messages! Love it!
Can I say catchy! Teen Spirit, directed and written by Max Minghella, is ever-lasting, vivid, enthralling, remarkable and a momentous film. It is loaded with important messages that can be applicable during life. Let me warn you, it's an entertaining ride. Get ready to sit back and enjoy some beautiful music.

The story follows a shy, stylish, and deep feeling youth named Violet (Elle Fanning). Wow! What a dream she has of pursuing her passion to sing and break free from her small town. With the help of an unexpected mentor, she enters a local British TV talent show that will test her patience and ambition. This film allows you to experience one of the most beautiful and emotional touching stories ever.

The lead characters are Elle Fanning (Violet), Millie Brady (Anastasia), Elizabeth Berrington (Lorene), Jordan Stephens and Rita Zmitrowicz (Hayley).

My favorite part is undeniably when Violet executes a breathtaking performance during the finals. I enjoyed this moment because it really inspired me to take big leaps of faith just like Violet did. I also enjoyed this moment because it shows how far Violet has come to achieve her dream.

My favorite character is the inspiring and hard-working Violet, not only because she is the lead character, but because she inspires us to believe in yourself and don't let anyone tell you that you can't accomplish a dream, big or little. An important aspect of the movie is the creative and story-telling music. I enjoyed numerous performances throughout the film because the songs aren't just up-beat catchy tunes, they also tell a powerful and moving story which explains Violet's past.

This film promotes many positive, heart-warming, uplifting and inspiring messages such as being true to yourself. For example, Violet has a dream that she wants to achieve, but she doesn't change for anybody to accomplish that dream. She works hard to accomplish it though. Another important message is about how peer pressure influences you, but you most follow your heart and be strong.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, adults can enjoy as well. Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Fighting with My Family
(2019)

One of 2019's Best Movies with excellent performances and apt direction
This docu-drama follows the incredible story of WWE superstar Paige, or Raya Knight (Florence Pugh). Born into a cheerful wrestling family, Raya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) get a once in a lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. Raya earns the spot, with Zak being left behind, and Raya having to leave her family behind to compete for the spot as Diva. With rigorous coach Hutch (Vince Vaughn), Raya will be pushed to new limits while Zak faces a test moving on from his dreams. These journeys push them to fight for their family and prove what truly makes a star.

Florence Pugh becomes Raya Knight/Paige with her persistence and wit towards any obstacle being very inspirational. She respectfully adapts Paige and her final speech at WrestleMania looks exactly like its real-life counterpart. Jack Lowden does the same with Zak, my favorite character, as his character arc is so relatable with his struggles to move past his dreams of making the WWE, disregarding his own wife and child. Jack shows excellent range presenting Zak's eventual passion for helping others with his family's wrestling service and taking care of his child. Nick Frost and Lena Headey, as Ricky and Julia Knight, complete the family with their uniquely jovial, but lewd attitudes that only want the best for their children and other people in need. Vince Vaughn, as Hutch, is very impressive providing an inspirational mentor for Raya, as well in his real-life friendship with the Rock. Dwayne Johnson plays himself, enough said. In all seriousness, it is very entertaining and informative to watch his real-life impact on Paige.

Stephen Merchant spectacularly writes and directs, with the events presented in clear chronological order. But the real standout comes from his snappy writing, as all the jokes and emotional moments land. He truly knows how to write human and relatable characters. My favorite scene is when The Rock gives Raya's family a surprise call. Dwayne Johnson and Nick Frost truly give their all in the funniest repartee, while also giving the feels with The Rock presenting his admiration and best regards for Raya. Still, with all the positives, I feel that the film doesn't acknowledge all angles to a boxing match and the matches here feel very simplistic at times. However, the film's main intent is to flesh out the family first and then get into the nuances of the sport, so this flaw isn't particularly egregious.

The message of this film is that a person's character doesn't come from the title they hold, but by one's contribution to help others. Zak holds the strongest example of this. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to language and sexual references.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Ralph Breaks the Internet
(2018)

An astonishing animated film filled with humor and excitement!
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a colorful, fun-filled adventure that builds on characters and friendships. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a predictable and boring washed-up sequel. That is not the case. The film builds upon the friendship that Ralph and Venellope have with each other. The climax of the movie is a heartwarming test of their friendship which brings light that friends don't always need to agree on everything.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is about Mr. Litwack installing the Internet to his arcade and his "Sugar Rush" game breaking, which leads to their adventure through the internet. Mr. Litwack orders the parts on eBay, but it costs $200 which is more than the game makes a year. Ralph and Venellope overhear him talking and decide to go on a quest to find the part and save Venellope's game. They travel to the router and get transported to the magical world of the Internet. They awe at the vibrant colors and variety of the internet and go directly go to the search bar where they ask to go to eBay. When they realize they have to bid for the wheel, they bid the highest number they can think of, not realizing they have to pay. This causes them to go on an epic adventure to get $27,001 in under 24 hours or else the item would be re-bid. They find a pop-up ad that shows them how to make money playing video games. They decide to get a car owned by Shank. They race Shank until they get beat by her. She gives them a tip and tells Venellope she races well.

My favorite scene is when they go to the Disney section of the Internet and we see a whole lot of cameos from favorite characters such as Eeyore and Stan Lee. I especially love when Venellope is being chased by Stormtroopers and goes into the princess lounge where she teaches them about modern comforts. I found that hilarious.

This film has huge star power. Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly, the man behind Step Brothers and The Sisters Brothers. Also, Sarah Silverman plays Venelope who started in SNL and has appeared in The battle of the Sexes.

The message of this movie is that, even if you are best friends with someone that doesn't mean you can't disagree. This movie has nothing be inappropriate for kids. I recommend it for ages 7 to 18 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. By Abraham Finer, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Bohemian Rhapsody
(2018)

Amazing Script, Constantly Daring And Unexpected
Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band. Even though I only knew the most famous songs, that doesn't matter. You don't need to be a fan to enjoy this film. It belongs to everyone, like Queen does.

The story follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the lead singer of Queen, and his rise to fame, but also his fall from grace. It sounds really simple, but the other aspects of the movie, such as the writing and acting, really set it apart from other similar films.

First, the script is amazing. Kudos to the script writer, Anthony McCarten. There are so many scenes in this movie that are genuinely full of tension particularly scenes showing the band arguing and practically any scene with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech). The writing really helps deliver tension in the darker scenes and make the more uplifting scenes really motivating. The writing makes you feel Freddie's downward spiral. The scenes with Paul especially made me genuinely nervous. Because, you know he doesn't care about Freddie and he just wants to leech off of him. All you want is for Freddie to cut ties with Paul. Thankfully, this movie isn't a complete downer, as there are some genuinely heartwarming moments, especially in the beginning. Then, things get dark pretty quickly. It's nice seeing the band get together and hang out. You genuinely believe in their friendship.

This movie also shows Freddie dealing with real issues - his race, his sexuality and not feeling like a disappointment to his parents. Life is complicated, whether or not you are rich and famous. We also got to give special attention to Freddie's actor. Rami Malek really is Freddie Mercury! It is so spot on that Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury look almost identical. That's what I call amazing casting. While the rest of the cast is really great as well, Rami Malek completely steals the show.

This movie also excels at showing how destiny works in mysterious ways. For example, five minutes before Freddie asks to join to the band, the lead singer quits. I find that really interesting. To be honest, the only issue I have with this movie is the final scene. It's a recreation of the Live Aid performance Queen did, which seems fine at first. However, the scene goes on forever. It is a good scene and I get why they made it so long, but after awhile I kept wondering how much longer the scene was going to last. That's really my only issue with the film. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. Even if you're not a huge Queen fan, I think you'll enjoy this. Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Glass
(2019)

A breathtakingly unique twist on the classic superhero movie.
Glass kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! This film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster of twists and turns. It's very well done with exceptional acting, which is what I like most about it. James McAvoy, Ana Taylor-Joy, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson all make you feel as if you are inside the movie, living all the intense moments they go through as your own. M. Night Shyamalan's direction is outstanding. Everything is so well set up and all the questions are answered at the end of the film, giving it a suspense that keeps the audience engaged.

Glass is a mixture of narratives of two of standout originals, Unbreakable from Touchstone and Split from Universal in a new comic-book thriller. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis comes back as David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price or Mr. Glass. From Split comes James McAvoy, replaying his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities that reside within and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only survivor from the Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb's superhuman figure of The Beast in several events, while the manifestation of Price appears as a mastermind that holds secrets critical to both men. Definitely this concludes the series in an unexpected, yet impressive way.

My favorite part is when Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) switches and acts like his multiple personalities when he is first taken into the mental hospital. For anyone that has seen Split, you get to relive how funny his impressions of the distinct personalities are and remember how much you enjoy them. The whole plot is so tense throughout, that it is good to have moments like these to breathe a little bit before the film goes back to more serious moments of the story.

This is a very entertaining film that perhaps reminds us not to be friends with psychopaths. I recommend it to ages 14 to 18, plus adults and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
(2019)

Vibrant Voice Talent, Quippy Writing Make For A Cartoon Genre-Defying Blast!
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a superb follow-up to the original film that lives up to the years' worth of hype surrounding it. Vibrant voice talent, including new standouts, and quippy writing make for a cartoon genre-defying blast. Any fans of the LEGO franchise must check this out.

The movie follows five years since "everything was awesome," as the citizens of Bricksburg suffered irreparable damage from the forces of LEGO DUPLO invaders. Bricksburg descended into Apocolaypseburg, where the citizens brood. Luckily, Emmet (Chris Pratt) always retains hope, even when General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) captures many of his friends. This takes Emmet on a journey across multiple unexplored worlds, including a central DUPLO musical land, as the fate of the LEGO galaxy relies upon him.

The ensemble cast not only features one role from Chris Pratt as, of course Emmet, but also as Rex Dangervest. He continues to shine as Emmet, with the reluctant hero taken to deeper territories as his hope to regain his friends is tested. Rex Dangervest shines and is my favorite character, as he remains a charming presence and even mirrors many of Pratt's roles in Hollywood. His relevance to the plot also provides for some mind-bending revelations. Elizabeth Banks, as Lucy/Wyldstyle, continues in her heartfelt buddy dynamic with Emmet, as she even wants him to do something more intimidating. This proves for an interesting drive in his quest to find Lucy. New additions from Stephanie Beatriz and Tiffany Haddish are welcome ones, with their unique DUPLO builds taking the spotlight. In particular, Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi, shines with her malicious intent and deceitful musical numbers. Will Arnett, Allison Brie and Charlie Day return from the previous movie and continue their signature work, with all even having a moment to shine amid this gigantic cast.

Mike Mitchell spectacularly directs the movie with a great mastery of unconventional animation found within, that pans out beautifully. Also, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller return with a script that might even be funnier and more meta than the original. My favorite scene is the musical number between Batman and Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi that is just a true showcase of this series' unique sense of meta-commentary and humor. My problems with the movie do stem from the real world scenes. Even though the dynamics between siblings Finn (Jadon Sand) and Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) is a very touching and even humorous one, it just doesn't lead to much and feels tacked on, with the time gap seeming like something of an afterthought.

The message of this film is that everything will not always be awesome, but in times like those, we must always let people in and help others as much as we can. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

Alita: Battle Angel
(2019)

An Epic, Action-Packed Film With An Empowering Message for Girls
Alita: Battle Angel, in one word, is exhilarating! This anime film is directed by Robert Rodriguez who produced Spy Kids and writer James Cameron, who most of you may know as the writer/director of Avatar. This film is visually stunning. The animation and real life footage totally merge together. This movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire time!

Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) disassembled in a scrap yard. Dr. Ido takes her core, which was still very much alive and attaches it to a cyborg body. Alita awakens in the doctor's care and wants to learn who she really is. Discovering the world around her, she is fascinated by Iron City. Ido tries to keep her from her past, while her quick-witted friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers to help her. The villains that run the city try to go after Alita. Little do they know Alita has these powerful fighting skills. To see what happens to Alita you have got to see this film!

The setting really brings this movie to life. There's a violent, dangerous vibe you get right when you see the film. I felt as if I was actually there, roaming the dirt roads with the humans, cyborgs and bounty hunters. My favorite character in this movie is Alita. I fell in love with her right when I first saw her. The details in her eyes make her look so human-like. The action in this film is put together very well. Alita is a mix Wonder Woman, Cat Woman and The Matrix all put together. I could watch Alita fight all day. I love her!

The message throughout this movie is about girl power, confidence and never giving up. This movie is PG-13 and there is one curse word I heard. Adults will enjoy this movie also. I give this film a whopping 5 out of 5 stars because it is worth every star and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Milika L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
(2019)

Best Movie of 2019, so far!
DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World is the best movie of 2019, so far. This movie has something for all ages. It's filled with lots of action, surprises and humor. This full length animation, co-written and directed by Dean DeBlois, is a definite must see!

Following the format of any great adventure, screenwriters DeBlois and Cressida Cowell, include everything needed to keep the continuity flowing from the first installment of How to Train Your Dragon to this one. In what is supposed to be the last movie of this trilogy, we see Hiccup, now as the spirited ruler of Berk, protector of the dragons and boyfriend of his longtime friend, Astrid. Hiccup discovers that Toothless, his best bud, is not the only Night Fury alive. He learns that danger is coming and that the only option of surviving is to seek out the Dragon Utopia that his late father once spoke of before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first. There's lots of fire, fighting, roaring, funny bits and mushy stuff too, but you have to watch it to find out who gets the best of who.

Cinematographer, Gil Zimmerman, is terrific at laying out the scenes, which help the viewers understand the story. We get to see how the Vikings really feel about their dragons and what happens when Hiccup finally meets his match. Every moment feeds off the first and excitement is built off of reflections from the first two movies. The production designers and art directors help keep viewers connected to the characters by giving us realistic scenes and sets that capture you with bright lights and strong graphic details. When darkness comes, critical moments become more authentic. When there's action, you can't help but stay focused. Toothless' upgrades and the new, much larger dragons are epic!

Jay Baruchel is super cool as Hiccup, my favorite character. He's grown, has the best dragon ever, is Chief of the Vikings and everyone loves him, except the Night Fury Slayer and those dragon captors. He has crazy friends like Tuffnut & Ruffnut, who keep you laughing throughout the movie. Hidden World is a screen adaptation of the book series by children's author, Cressida Cowell. It sends you on a fun journey with some curious characters with strange outlooks on life. These anthropomorphic characters make you forget that you are actually watching an animation.

Lessons to take with you after seeing this flick are to make good choices and to allow others to do the same thing, even it doesn't benefit you. I give DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It's one film for everybody! Grab your friends and parents and get to your local theater for the premiere, February 22, 2019. Remember to like and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: kidsfirstfilmcritics. Until next time, I'm Brandon for KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. That's a wrap. Peace out!

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
(2019)

Best Movie of 2019, so far!
DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World is the best movie of 2019, so far. This movie has something for all ages. It's filled with lots of action, surprises and humor. This full length animation, co-written and directed by Dean DeBlois, is a definite must see!

Following the format of any great adventure, screenwriters DeBlois and Cressida Cowell, include everything needed to keep the continuity flowing from the first installment of How to Train Your Dragon to this one. In what is supposed to be the last movie of this trilogy, we see Hiccup, now as the spirited ruler of Berk, protector of the dragons and boyfriend of his longtime friend, Astrid. Hiccup discovers that Toothless, his best bud, is not the only Night Fury alive. He learns that danger is coming and that the only option of surviving is to seek out the Dragon Utopia that his late father once spoke of before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first. There's lots of fire, fighting, roaring, funny bits and mushy stuff too, but you have to watch it to find out who gets the best of who.

Cinematographer, Gil Zimmerman, is terrific at laying out the scenes, which help the viewers understand the story. We get to see how the Vikings really feel about their dragons and what happens when Hiccup finally meets his match. Every moment feeds off the first and excitement is built off of reflections from the first two movies. The production designers and art directors help keep viewers connected to the characters by giving us realistic scenes and sets that capture you with bright lights and strong graphic details. When darkness comes, critical moments become more authentic. When there's action, you can't help but stay focused. Toothless' upgrades and the new, much larger dragons are epic!

Jay Baruchel is super cool as Hiccup, my favorite character. He's grown, has the best dragon ever, is Chief of the Vikings and everyone loves him, except the Night Fury Slayer and those dragon captors. He has crazy friends like Tuffnut & Ruffnut, who keep you laughing throughout the movie. Hidden World is a screen adaptation of the book series by children's author, Cressida Cowell. It sends you on a fun journey with some curious characters with strange outlooks on life. These anthropomorphic characters make you forget that you are actually watching an animation.

Lessons to take with you after seeing this flick are to make good choices and to allow others to do the same thing, even it doesn't benefit you. I give DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It's one film for everybody! Grab your friends and parents and get to your local theater for the premiere, February 22, 2019. Remember to like and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: kidsfirstfilmcritics. Until next time, I'm Brandon for KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. That's a wrap. Peace out!

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