The Post – Surpasses Any Expectations And Delivers On A Much Higher Level.

December 14th, 2017

Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “The story comes to life under the masterful direction of Steven Spielberg. His most famous techniques are clear from the very first shot and continue throughout the film. In fact, the first scene, which takes place in the jungles of Vietnam, will remind you of Saving Private Ryan due to the heart-thumping sound design and chaotic cinematography that puts you right on the battlefield.” Clayton P. adds, “The Post is very timely and reflective of our own time.  In this day of “fake news” and media bashing, this film is a refreshing story of the integrity of newspaper organizations. Spielberg tries to show the importance of a free press in combating government malfeasance.” See their full reviews below.

The Post
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

There are very few films every year that keep you excited and entertained while delivering impressive visual achievements. The Post does not belong in this category because it far surpasses any expectations and delivers on a much higher level. Every single aspect of this film -from acting to directing to editing – are all superb.

The Post has many things to offer, but the biggest would be the drama surrounding this very real story. It feels like an adventure, even though it takes place on East Coast. It is sprinkled with just the right amount of funny moments here and there, with hilarious and perfectly timed jokes. Out of all the spectacular cinematic achievements, none of them would be possible without the exciting and truly eye-opening story. It dives into a major leak of top-secret information, ranging multiple U.S. presidents, all relating to the Vietnam War. At first, the film seems to be about the two newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post, both attempting to get this story. Later, it turns into a fight between freedom of the press and censorship as the Nixon Administration attempts to block both newspapers from publishing any information about their secrets.

The story comes to life under the masterful direction of Steven Spielberg. His most famous techniques are clear from the very first shot and continue throughout the film. In fact, the first scene, which takes place in the jungles of Vietnam, will remind you of Saving Private Ryan due to the heart-thumping sound design and chaotic cinematography that puts you right on the battlefield. The cast has their own achievements. Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee) and Meryl Streep (Kay Graham) work perfectly together and truly become their characters. John Williams, the Composer for the film, manages to take the spotlight from the visual scenes and put them into the music. His original score sounds incredible and you’ll find yourself swallowed by the soothing and memorable tones. But what really looks impressive in The Post is the film grain. The quality looks like a modern film, yet the colors and the lighting make it feel like the 60s which adds to the realism of the story.

The cinematography defines my favorite scene, the climax of the film. Kay Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, has to make the final decision whether the paper should publish the leaked documents or not. She is on the phone with multiple business partners, her editor (Ben Bradlee), and many journalists of the paper as well as some of her board advisors. Easily, this makes for the most intense scene in the entire film and truly brings Meryl Streep’s character to life. Throughout the phone conversation, the camera angles make it feel like one long shot across multiple locations. Finally, at the moment she makes her decision, the camera slowly zooms into her eyes and mouth to show wonder, fear, curiosity and more – all at once. Finally, as Kay makes her decision, the camera zooms out and the feeling of intensity immediately leaves the room. Despite being just a few minutes long, it feels like an eternity and you, as a viewer, can’t help but clench your fist in anticipation of what her decision will be.

The story has many mature elements and the concept itself is complicated at times. The messages related to journalistic oppression are very important for all ages. I recommend this to ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for perfect directing, astonishing acting, and cinematography so beautiful it belongs in an art gallery along with many other films directed by Steven Spielberg.

The Post
By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic , age 18

Spielberg’s The Post is a paean to the American ideal of freedom of the press.  This highly intense, suspenseful film tells the story of Katherine Graham, owner of The Washington Post and its historic role in the publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the films stars Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham, Tom Hanks as the Post’s editor, Ben Bradlee and a top ensemble cast.

Set in the classic age of newspapers and network television, before the internet age, The Post  is a coming-of-age story on two fronts.  The Washington Post goes from being a regional media outlet to a national newspaper of note.  In the process, Katherine Graham, goes from being a society hostess to a strong female corporate owner.  A former government analyst finds proof of a government cover-up regarding American involvement in Vietnam and leaks the information to The New    York Times and The Washington Post.  Graham’s editorial team is in favor of publishing the material because it’ll put the newspaper on the map, so to speak.  Her legal and financial team are against it and warn that she could go to jail for contempt and lose the newspaper.  What follows is an intense examination of all the pros and cons of the issue.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is seeing the inner workings of creating a newspaper – the old printing presses, the dyes, the plates with all the metal letters and etchings of pictures.  Spielberg clearly loves the traditional craft of printing a newspaper.  The John Williams music is perfect for the suspenseful plot. The acting is impeccable.  Both Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have such amazing craft that they imbue their roles with intelligence and humanity. The beginning of the film sets up the true-to-life plot and players. Because of this, the beginning of the film may be difficult for younger viewers because they aren’t aware of the politics of the 1970s.

The Post is very timely and reflective of our own time.  In this day of “fake news” and media bashing, this film is a refreshing story of the integrity of newspaper organizations. Spielberg tries to show the importance of a free press in combating government malfeasance. The Post is appropriate for ages 15 to 18. Younger teens may find the film boring if they are not interested in politics or media. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars for its exceptional use of real life suspense.  It is available in theaters  January 12, 2018 so check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House – Perfect for the Holiday Season

December 14th, 2017

Welcome to Doozer Creek where the Doozers live! They’re green. They’re cute. They’re three inches tall and they’re full of energy, ideas, and enthusiasm! It’s family time at Doozer Creek! The Pod Squad want to build a Doozer-sized Gingerbread House! However, in order to achieve such a large size Gingerbread House it’s going to take some clever construction to create. Can the Pod Squad do it? Then, Daisy Wheel wants to ice skate with the others, but she doesn’t know how. Together, the Pod Squad build her a custom Doo-Step Skating Dress that lets her glide across the ice in no time. Weee! Enjoy these adventures and six more focusing on science, technology, engineering and math! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “One thing I love about The Doozers is that they teach young children about STEAM which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. It is so important that kids learn these basic skills when they are young and The Pod Squad demonstrates this perfectly.” Izzy C. adds, “Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House takes us on a fun adventure with four little children and their mission to be helpful. This movie is also about spending time with your friends.” See their full reviews below. Happy Holidays!

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Jim Henson’s three-inch green characters, The Doozers, from the       wonderful Fraggle Rock Adventures are available on the new DVD, Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House.  This is perfect for the holiday season because it is all about sweet treats, ice skating, presents and holiday joy that we know and love. If you aren’t in the holiday spirit yet, then this DVD will put you in it.

One thing I love about The Doozers is that they teach young children about STEAM which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. It is so important that kids learn these basic skills when they are young and The Pod Squad demonstrates this perfectly. The Jim Henson team always seems to know what kids will enjoy and they are on target with this new DVD. You might not have the tools that The Doozers have, but it encourages you to want to build something. It makes me feel like there is never a problem that, with a little thought and creativity, cannot be solved.

The voice-overs are great because they are so cute. They match the little green Doozers perfectly. They all have different personalities and qualities. Each character has a terrific personality and that makes me feel as if I have been friends with them forever. My favorite episode is Daisy Wheel on Ice. It is hilarious when Daisy Wheel tries to ice skate but can’t. She keeps falling until her friends invent something to help her skate while standing up.  This invention could be very helpful for people who can’t skate, including me. I think someone should invest in this invention.

Daisy Wheel might be the youngest of the Pod Squad, but she is ready for anything and always has a bright idea when needed. That is why she is my favorite character. Daisy Wheel is also very quirky and had me laughing through many episodes. Daisy Wheel is goodhearted because she loves helping others by building them things. This is another one of her qualities that I adore.

I recommend this DVD to ages 3 to 8 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Kids will adore the fun things that The Doozers do and will be inspired by the fun projects to want to build things themselves. The animation is colorful and the story lines are easy to follow which makes it perfect for a young audience. It is available on DVD now so be sure to check it out.

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House
By Izzy C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic,  age 9

This is a fun movie to watch during the Holiday Season. It takes place in a magical little community that is close to where humans live, but it is hidden from them. The movie stars members of the Doozer Pod Squad, known for using math, engineering and design to find solutions to problems, which they do again in this story.

The story is simple and sweet. It is a very enjoyable and easy to follow along with. The animation is gentle looking, round and happy. The bright colors and good voice actors make it fun to play on the TV. Like it says in the title, this movie is about a Giant Gingerbread House that the Doozers make. They are trying to sell Molly’s father’s gingerbread houses, but they need the right materials and some help. They have a positive mission, but will they be able to do it in time for Christmas?

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House takes us on a fun adventure with four little children and their mission to be helpful. This movie is also about spending time with your friends. If you are the type of person who does not like to work with others, then this is the movie you need to watch to encourage you to work better with others.

There are two characters that I identify with – Mollybolt and Daisy Wheel. Molly is independent and kind. Those characteristics speak to me. I can also relate to Daisy Wheel when she learns how to ice skate. I remember learning how to ice skate and I felt just like her when I started. I relied on the encouragement from my Mom and my friends on the ice rink to help me keep going.

My favorite thing about the movie is its positive message. There is a very important lesson here that I have never seen in a Holiday movie. Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House shows kids that anything can be accomplished if you work with a team and do your best. I learned that if I need help with anything then I shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. I also learned that if anyone tries to do something on their own and are not successful, then they should remember that there are people who are ready to help make it happen. All you have to do is ask! When you work as a team, anything is possible. This movie reminds me of the saying “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!”

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids from 2 to 6 years old. I watched it with my 6-year-old brother and he was very entertained. I don’t think older kids or adults will find this movie interesting enough, but it is perfect for little kids. This DVD is available now so, be sure to look for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Digimon Adventure Tri 3: Confession – A Beautifully Anime Film That Touches Your Heart

December 6th, 2017

Tai and his friends are haunted by the infection that resulted in Meicoomon destroying Leomon. What could have caused it? When did it occur? Now, all of the Digimon are quarantined, in hopes that answers can be found and the infection can be stopped. Unfortunately, one of the quarantined Digimon is already showing symptoms. The adventure now evolves once again. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “All of these brave and courageous Digimon are so cute! This story is so powerful and made me bawl my eyes out.” Arjun N. adds, “Digimon Adventure Tri: Confession impressed me because of its wonderful style and action. The voice-acting is spectacular and the impressive animation allows for amazing visuals.” Talia J. wraps it up with, “Digimon Adventure Tri. 3: Confession is a beautifully made anime film that touched my heart and will touch the hearts of others.” See their full reviews below

Digimon Adventure Tri 3: Confession
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

All of these brave and courageous Digimon are so cute! This story is so powerful and made me bawl my eyes out. The animation for each Digimon is unique and the animation for the human characters shows their emotions quite well. I really love seeing the sweet bond between the Digimons and their owners.

I haven’t watched Digimon part 1 or part 2 before, so it was a bit confusing for me in the beginning. But after the story got underway, I got the gist about what was happening. The storyline starts off with the characters trying to find a cure to an infection. The infection caused one of their Digimon, Meicoomon, to start causing trouble in the human world. They don’t know where Meicoomon has been or where she will go, so they have to keep all of the Digimon in Koushiro’s office to prevent them from getting infected. But one owner brings his Digimon home by accident. Later that day, the Digimon gets the virus but they don’t tell anyone. During the fight to keep Meicoomon in the digital dimension, the virus spreads to one of their Digimon friends who went to hold Meicoomon. The Digimon realize that they have no choice but to fight till the end to protect their owners and their human world. The Digimons say a sad goodbye to their owners and, even though their owners don’t want them to fight, they go anyway, ready to die.

The voice acting in this film is really convincing. Convincing in the way that I could tell when a character is desperate, sad or angry, and also convincing. Miwa Matsumoto (Patamon) sounds like a very delicate and caring creature. Patamon’s close bond with his partner T.K. is very sentimental. When Patamon has to say goodbye to T.K., I cried so much because I could tell that T.K. could not live without Patamon. But Patamon sounds determined and very emotional, as if he was crying.

The animation of this film is anime style. The animation for the Digimon is very unique. Each of the Digimon are completely different from the others and they each have different personalities and physical characteristics. The human characters are animated so that their faces shows their emotions. My favorite part is when Patamon and T.K. have to say goodbye to each other. Even though this part made me sad, I feel like it is the best part of the film. I really feel the emotions from T.K. in this scene.

The message of the film is about overcoming obstacles. Meiko is very depressed because her Digimon, Meicoomon took a dark turn. Even though this obstacle is in her way, she gets out of bed every morning and tries to do something to bring Meicoomon back to normal. She realizes that just crying won’t do anything for her Digimon.

This film is very sentimental. I really enjoyed crying about this film. Sometimes you just got to cry and have your heart be moved and not worry about how everything will turn out. Be sure to check this film out to see what happens. I recommend this for ages 8 to 14 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.  It is out on DVD’s now so go check it out!

Digimon Adventure Tri: Confession
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Digimon Adventure Tri: Confession impressed me because of its wonderful style and action. The voice-acting is spectacular and the impressive animation allows for amazing visuals. This is sure to be a hit with Digimon and anime fans.

The story follows the events after an infected Meicoomon (Kate Higgons) turns to the dark side and kills Leomon. Due to this, Meicoomon’s owner, Meiko (Miho Arakawa), is dealing with extreme guilt and all the other Digimon are left in the office of Izzy (Mona Marshall) to prevent further infection. However, when Takeru (Junya Enoki) finds out his Digimon, Patamon (Laura Summer), is facing infection, he tries to stop it before it is too late. Meanwhile, Meicoomon returns to cause more havoc on Earth.

Miho Arakawa, as Meiko, excellently presents her guilt and blame after Meicoomon turns to the dark side. Her sadness is well presented as she tries to abandon her team. Junya Enoki, as Takeru, is a highlight delivering a well-ranged performance full of charisma and urgency, as he tries to put his team back together to save Patamon. Also, the emotional drama between Takeru and Patomon is well done, and due to this he is my favorite character. Tom Fahn, as Agumon, is a well-presented team leader of the Digimon who will do anything to save his friends. Laura Summer, as Patamon, delivers and equally emotional performance to Takeru as she is facing a possible impending infection, which will turn her against her Digimon friends. Kate Higgons, as Meicoomon, is a well-developed antagonist who is a formidable foe for the Digimon to fight.

The direction by Keitaro Motonaro is wonderful due to a pace that feels as if it’s an interesting magna story. My favorite scene is the scene when Takeru tells Patamon that he is infected, because it is extremely emotional due to the incredible acting of the two characters. My only problem with this movie is the large amounts of expository flashbacks that further progress the story. It feels like a lazy way to tell a story.

The message of the movie is about finding a way to forgive yourself. Meiko’s intense guilt and blame for herself is a big plot point, but she learns that moving on and helping the team will be for the better. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because of its action and emotional themes. The movie is available now on DVD and Blu-Ray, so check it out.

Digimon Adventure Tri.: Confession
By Talia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Digimon Adventure Tri. 3: Confession is a beautifully made anime film that touched my heart and will touch the hearts of others. The storyline picks up right after the events that took place in past movies. Tai and his friends are still trying to figure out what caused the infection that made Leomon go rogue. All the Digimon are quarantined in hopes to keep them safe from the infection and buy the friends some time to figure out ways to stop it from spreading. Sadly, one of the Digimon is showing some indications that they might have the infection.

This DVD is the third film in the franchise Digimon Adventure Tri. I had absolutely no background knowledge of the first film Digimon Adventure Tri, nor did I know anything about the second film Digimon Adventure Tri.2: Decision. Consequently, it was a bit difficult for me to understand what was happening in the beginning of the film, since the characters referred to things that happened in the previous two films. For example, the character Leomon is discussed a lot in the beginning of the movie. I had no idea who or what that character was for the first twenty minutes. Eventually I picked up that Leoman is a Digimon. Then, I had to rewatch the scenes where they talked about that character. The one very helpful thing in this film are the flashback scenes. They really helped me understand the plot. I recommend that people watch the first and second films before watching this one as it will help them understand the plot of the film.

This is not my first anime film, but it is my first anime dealing with magical characters like Digimons. I was not a fan of Pokemon growing up so I never watched too many anime films. Occasionally I have watched a realistic fiction anime but never fantasy ones. After watching this film I’m definitely going to put more time in watching anime films. This film gives justice to the world of anime. The storyline is compelling and the whole concept of digital monsters is absolutely fascinating. I love the relationships between the people and their Digimons. My favorite duo has to be Patamon (Anna Garduno) and TK (Johnny Yong Bosch). I could feel the love they have for each other. I grew very fond of these characters over time. I emphasized with them when times were bad. These two characters make this film even better.

The animation is absolutely stunning. There is so much detail that goes into making anime films. This film meets that high standard. The Digimon are drawn beautifully. Their exterior designs match their personalities so well. I could tell a lot of time went into drawing these monsters. The humans also have a very special look to them. My favorite feature is the characters’ eyes. You can feel the characters’ emotions by looking into their eyes. It can be difficult to truly connect with animated characters at times, due to their not looking realistic. These characters are drawn very realistically and I personally connected to them.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 16. Younger audiences will love the fun characters and the older audiences will find the story line interesting. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. I felt a connection to the characters and an urge to know the ending. I think the animation is stunning. This film is available now on DVD now so go check it out!

 

 

Super 4: Welcome to Kingsland – So Many Adventures! Something for Everyone.

December 6th, 2017

Embark on a series of adventures with the Super 4 as they travel throughout the wider Playmobil® universes. Whether it be a sci-fi futuristic world, a magical fairy world, a world of pirates, or a world of medieval knights, the adventures are never ending! Welcome to Enchanted Island, an island covered with a mysterious enchanted forest, which is home to every form of magical creature you could ever imagine fairies, mischievous boy sprites, unicorns, sirens, ancient tree spirits, and magic wishing wells. Visitors to Enchanted Isle must beware for nothing is ever quite what it seems, and dreams and reality quickly become one. At the center of the forest is the palace of the capricious Fairy Queen, who is in a constant temper due to being turned into a frog by a talented young fairy who overdid herself and, in an attempt to grant the ultimate favor to the queen by making her even more pretty , she cast a spell that in fact gave her the head of a frog! Unfortunately, that talented young fairy is our friend, Twinkle. Twinkle has great potential as a fairy but she must learn to master her wand and its magic. Join Twinkle along with her Super 4 friends as they band together to fight villains and save their worlds from chaos. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “Even though you may expect this DVD to be a cliché about a Prince saving a Princess, it is nothing like that. These episodes have so many adventures and each episode has something for everyone to enjoy.” Damon F. adds, “The message of this show is that if you work together, you can do anything.” See their full reviews below.

Super 4: Welcome to Kingsland
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 12

These amazing animated episodes are great for everyone. Even though you may expect this DVD to be a cliché about a Prince saving a Princess, it is nothing like that. These episodes have so many adventures and each episode has something for everyone to enjoy.

Prince Alexander and his friends Ruby (a pirate), Twinkle (a fairy) and Jean (a secret intelligence agent) go on numerous adventures and come close to dangers from dragons, trolls and evil majesties who try to take over the kingdom. Prince Alex and his friends use their different thinking styles to come up with solutions to the different problems. Each character has a completely unique personality and different style.

Twinkle (Sarah Natochenny) can make herself sound so innocent and very caring. Sarah Natochenny seems very enthusiastic and happy, which completely matches Twinkle’s personality. Baron, an evil majesty, voiced by Sébastien Desjours, sounds a lot like a person who is very nosy and would like to fiddle with your life. Sébastien Desjours’ voice reminds me of an evil wizard or some sort of evil rich person. Desjours can sound very menacing and mischievous.

The costumes for each character show off its personality. For example, Jean is in a suit and has his handy, dandy smart watch device. The animation is unique and gives a lot of information about him visually. The backgrounds are detailed and the faces of the characters reveal their emotions. I like how they animate the dragons. They look pretty realistic and their movements are very smooth. The dragon’s breath of fire looks epic and moves the same way as an explosion moves.

My favorite episode is when Alex and his friends actually think that Baron is trying to befriend them without trying to gain something from them. This is my favorite episode because, at first, I thought that Baron was just trying to steal the sword from them and I expected him to eventually be successful at taking the sword. But when a dragon scoops up the sword from Alex’s hands, Baron jumps on the dragon and throws the sword down to Alex. I actually thought that Baron wanted to help them. Later, they realize Baron gave them a fake duplicate of the precious sword.

The message of this film is to live life with adventure and do the right thing. Alex, Twinkle, Jean and Ruby always have fun and make sure to help those around them. They never try to steal what isn’t theirs or try to make other people’s lives miserable. These episodes really show the importance of teamwork and it could inspire kids to help in their community.

These episodes are very entertaining and fun to watch. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 13 and give it film 5 out of 5 stars. The DVD is available now so be sure to check it out.

Super 4 Welcome to Kingsland
Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Super 4 Welcome to Kingsland is a DVD of episodes about the Playmobil characters known as the Super 4. The series is based on the worlds of Playmobil. The worlds shown on this DVD are: Kingsland, which holds knights, barons, kings, princes, princesses and dragons; Fairy World, where fairies and little strange monsters live; and the Lost World, which includes dinosaurs. I must admit, I was disappointed that this DVD is very repetitive. The characters that aren’t Super 4 members do pretty much the same thing in every episode. For example, the knights just worship the king and don’t fight. And, the plot where the baron tries to marry the princess is used in two different episodes.

The members of the Super 4 are: Alex, (Damien Ferrette), the prince of Kingsland and the leader who started the Super 4; Twinkle, (Annouck Hautbois), a fairy from Fairy World, who doesn’t always get her spells right the first time; Ruby, (Laetitia Lefebvre), a pirate from the Pirate Lost Island, who sometimes gets in trouble for stealing treasure but always gives it back unless it is owned by the enemy; Gene, (Franck Lorrain), the team’s genius from the Agents’ world, who never gets things wrong. The Super 4 are a group of friends who embark on many adventures and missions to fight villains. This collection is about a few of their adventures saving Kingsland, Alex’s home world from chaos.

My favorite episode is called “Rage of Dragon” which is about the enchanted witch from fairy world who puts a spell on Ruby that turns her into a dragon. Super 4’s remaining members must figure out what happened to her and help her break the spell. That episode really stands out. My favorite character is Alien, Twinkles strange little monster pet who is really scared of dragons. He is funny because he is always clumsy.

The message of this show is that if you work together, you can do anything. Even though I didn’t like the plot repetition, younger kids who like repetition and play with Playmobil might love this. For that reason, I rate this DVD 2 out of 5 stars and it for ages 2 through 6. This DVD/Blu-ray is available now so go check it out.

The Snowman & The Snowman and the Snowdog – A Magical Holiday Duo

November 30th, 2017

These two films are based on the books by Raymond Briggs. The Snowman is about a young boy who wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. The Snowman and the Snowdog is the charming sequel to The Snowman. On the 30th anniversary of the original film, Briggs gave his blessing to a sequel and the magic began all over again, this time with a new set of friends. When a young boy and his mother move into a new house, the boy discovers a secret box hidden under the floorboards of his bedroom. In the box, he finds a hat, scarf, some lumps of coal and a shriveled tangerine – it’s a snowman-making kit! Later that day it starts to snow and the boy builds a snowman and with the little spare snow leftover, a snowdog. That night they come to life and take him on a wonderful adventure. As dawn breaks they fly home, but before the boy returns to bed a magical surprise awaits him. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “I really got into the Holiday Spirit after watching these two movies. I found them both to be charming and sweet little short films.” Sahiba K. adds, “Each aspect of these two short films from the animation, to the music and the cinematography is lovable and got me into the holiday spirit.” Eden T. wraps it up with, “The detail in these movies is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion!” See their full reviews below.

The Snowman & The Snowman And The Snowdog
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

I really got into the Holiday Spirit after watching these two movies. I found them both to be charming and sweet little short films.

The Snowman is based on the children’s book by Raymond Briggs. The story is about a young boy who builds a snowman that later comes to life. It’s a simple story, but a lot of the charm comes from two aspects. First, the animation stands out among other animated films. That’s because this film’s animation looks like a picture book. Congrats to the director Hilary Audus who keeps the original look of the books, which is rather neat. I love the subtle details like the movement and the backgrounds. Second, there is no talking throughout the entire movie. It’s narrated by music. Now, obviously, if a movie is going to have just music, the music has to be good. And yes, the music is really good. It sounds very whimsical and beautiful thanks to the wonderful work by Andy Burrows and IIan Eshkeri. The only time anyone really speaks, is at the opening and in the song, halfway through the movie. Speaking of this song, called “Walking in The Air,” it is really good. It is very calming and magical.

The second film on this DVD is the sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog. A kid moves into the house that originally belonged to the boy from the first movie and shortly after that, his dog died. Fast forward to winter and the kid finds the items used to build the original snowman. The child rebuilds the snowman and builds a new snowdog and then that night, the snowman and the snowdog come to life.

The animation is in the same picture book stle, which is nice considering this film and The Snowman were made 30 years apart – The Snowman in 1982 and The Snowman and The Snowdog in 2012. This film is also wordless, excluding a song. I didn’t like this song as much as “Walking in The Air,” but it is still good. It just doesn’t match the beauty of “Walking in The Air.” This DVD is a great film to get your family into the holiday mood. I give both of these films 4 out of 5 stars. And I recommend them for ages 4 to 18. This double feature DVD is available now so, go check it out.

The Snowman & The Snowman and the Snowdog
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

The Snowman and The Snowman and the Snowdog double feature, based on the books by Raymond Briggs, is heart-warming and delightful! The peaceful and calming music had me feeling relaxed and cozy. The snowman’s soft smile and his innocence lit up my face and made me want to give him a hug. Each aspect of these two short films from the animation, to the music and the cinematography is lovable and got me into the holiday spirit.

The story of The Snowman follows a young boy who builds a happy snowman. That night, the boy watches his snowman come to life and together they go on a magnificent journey. The Snowman and the Snowdog continues the story many years later when a new boy, whose dog has just passed, moves into the house where the happy snowman was originally built. He finds a snowman making kit and rebuilds the snowman along with a snowdog to accompany him. Again, they both come to life and take the boy on another miraculous journey.

The animation is soft. Almost everything appears to be shaded with colored pencils. The shading uses multiple colors which makes even the simplest objects, like a wall, interesting and gentle to look at. When the boy is outside, it snows most of the time. The snow is beautiful and is everywhere, in front of the characters and behind them. It adds a very realistic, yet tranquil effect. The outlines of different objects are subtle also, adding to the animation’s serene quality. The music is peaceful and communicates emotion, because there is no dialogue. It reflects the boy and snowman’s thoughts so that nothing has to be said. For example, when they are feeling playful, the music is upbeat and faster, but when something sad or curious interrupts their playfulness, the music slows down and has a lower tone. Therefore, the music engrossed me in following their journey and I could easily understand the characters’ feelings. The animated cinematography of certain scenes is simply beautiful. For example, the snowman flies with the boys high in the sky and, the way the city is shown from above, made me feel like the snowman was carrying me too.

My favorite parts are always when the snowman takes to the sky because the music, animation and cinematography all come together to create a magical experience. The message of these two short films is to subtly introduce the concept of loss. I give this double feature 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18. It is available now on DVD so check it out.

The Snowman And The Snowman And The Snowdog
By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

This double feature DVD includes heartwarming films about the winter season that never ceases to amaze me. I like both movies because they remind me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing! This DVD includes two movies: The Snowman and The Snowman and The Snowdog.  I love both equally!

In The Snowman, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy…well, you’ll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The sequel movie, The Snowman and The Snowdog picks up where the first movie left off. It takes place in modern times with another boy who has recently moved into the exact same English house (now renovated). Less than a year after moving in, the boy discovers under a floorboard a time capsule left behind by the previous boy. This box includes a picture of the same snowman and the original objects used to decorate it. The lad builds the snowman according to the picture and the Snowman is reborn! Still, the boy isn’t finished. While saddened with the recent loss of his dog, he also builds a Snowdog! They travel around the world in similar fashion as the first boy, but there is a surprise ending!

The detail in these movie is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs’ classic picture books.  Besides young children, adults who have read the books in their youth will also appreciate these quality films. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6 and adults who enjoy fine art. This movie is available both on DVD and VOD. So, enjoy this winter delight!

 

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