Haunted Mansion Review

 Ready for a little spookiness in August? I'll be honest the desire to throw on a jumper, buy pumpkins and embrace all things spooky has hit me early this year, mainly due to the depressing summer weather here in the UK. But something still feels slightly off about releasing a ghost movie in the middle of summer but that is exactly what Disney have done with Haunted Mansion. Haunted Mansion is the second film of its name release by Disney, The Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003) was my go-to childhood scary movie, although there is no link between the two films. It is also the second film to be based on a Disney ride, the first being the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The ride features at five Disney Parks, under three names: The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, and the film makes numerous nods to the dark ride. So, join me foolish mortals on a journey to the Haunted Mansion.  Haunted Mansion's opening act is perfect, scary and full of mystery. As we open

Epic Tails Review

Looking for a the perfect February half-term movie? A film for the whole family, one that children and adults alike will enjoy, Well Epic Tails is the film you are looking for. I got the chance to watch the newest animated feature at the weekend, thanks to StudioCanal. The film comes from French animation house TAT Productions, and is directed by David Alain. Read on for my full review. 

Meet Epic Tail’s protagonist Pattie (Sonja Ball), she’s brave, intelligent, passionate and wants to lead a life of adventure as a heroine, but there’s one problem, Pattie is a mouse. Pattie faces mockery from classmates, disbelief from her teacher and over protectiveness from her adoptive cat father Sam (Mark Camacho). And as the years pass she almost loses hope in following in the footsteps of her idols Jason (Terrence Scammell) and The Argonauts. That is until the people of her town which is protected and prosperous because of the Golden Fleece build a huge statue of Zeus (Josh Widdicombe), which angers Poseidon (Beckett) and Jason well past his prime sets off on a mission to save his people. Jason doesn’t go alone, Pattie takes the opportunity to see if she really has what it takes to be an adventurer. The narrative is easy enough for young children to follow along, but not predictable which keeps adult viewers engaged. 

What I really enjoyed about Epic Tails was the style, I’ve become so used to watching animated productions from a small handful of American studios, that it was refreshing to watch a film that’s origin exists outside of Hollywood. For me the most refreshing change was the treatment of villains, it has almost become the standard to forgive villains, even embrace them. Epic Tails differs it breaks with the current trend and literally squashes its villains and not one of the villains is given a redeeming narrative. The animation style is impressive, the film perfectly captures the way light shines through mouse ears, combines bright and bold colours to make beautiful visuals, but the style itself, the shape of the characters for example is unique. 

Pattie is a wonderful character, if at times a little whiney. But her strength to never give up is inspiring. The film as a whole led by Pattie exemplifies key characteristics, treating children to believe in themselves, never give up and to pursue their dreams. You cannot help but feel proud of Pattie and what she achieves. Another brilliant aspect of Epic Tails, is the inclusion of the Greek Gods, now my Greek mythology knowledge is limited to what I learnt from a game I played as a child (I believe it was called Master of Olympus) but one thing I know is the Gods liked to play with mortals, altering between generous and destructive. Which is exactly how they are portrayed throughout the narrative, they are neither hero’s or villains, but another layer to the narrative. Nine gods feature in total, all voiced by Giovanna Fletcher, Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe. 

Overall, Epic Tails is an adventure of epic proportions. Beautifully animated, with laughs (the ninja rats where a highlight for me), heart and an engaging narrative. Perfect for children of all ages, even those in their mid-teens will find themselves enjoying Epic Tails. Epic Tails is sure to be a half-term hit!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Epic Tails releases on Friday 10th February in the UK.

Thank you for reading xx