To commend The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is reasonably easy. Here’s a film that’s pro-science, and sheds new light on a world that Western audiences don’t normally see. But it’s all so dramatically meager and obvious as well.
Even if the run-up takes its time, DeBlois sticks the landing – for this film, for his trilogy – and makes something that feels a bit more knowing in its themes: Life goes on, protect the ones you love, and enjoy the world we all share. There are far greater crimes children’s films can commit than positive messaging.
Marwen is too much, not enough, and yet still deeply watchable. It’s admirable for the wildly different approaches it takes. Only a stylist like Zemeckis could try something like this. Take a real man’s witty, real-life therapy-based photography and attempt to spin it into a mo-cap circus with every genre tool he can think of.
Outlaw King is like watching prog versus metal. When it’s prog rock – folksy and wooden – it’s at its worst. Muted, draggy, earnest, with wee traces of carefully placed humor or commentary on a bygone era? It’s Moody Blues, and even a little Jethro Tull? Hardly worth putting on, unless you like your history slim and bone-dry. But at its best, it’s heavy metal, with swinging axes and church slayings and all sorts of grim goodies.
Bohemian Rhapsody is another lame music biopic, and its failures ultimately lie in the poor creative choices, the gutless approaches to potentially explosive events in the life of this band. We’re not buying this new album. There’s no new material to be found in Bohemian Rhapsody.
While it deals in the traditional melodramatics, straight from the ‘ol Hollywood emotion factory, Tillman Jr.’s aim seems true. The Hate U Give feels so Right Damn Now that you could leave the theater and see its stories on the nightly news.
Wardle allows the details to roll out with impact, and even some insight. Curiosity for the grand genetic schemes is a great sell, but the human element, the lament for lost time, truth, and family? That sticks at the end.
It’s fine. It’s nice, pleasing, and capable of mustering amazement from time to time at what Rogers did. This callback to one of television’s greatest pioneers shows why he meant so much to so many, and what we could still learn from him today.