Quick Reviews: Paddington 2, Murder on Orient Express, Wonder

paddington 2 murder orient express wonder 2017 movies malaysia


Paddington 2 (2017)

Malaysia Release Date: 30 November 2017
Genre: Family comedy
Director: Paul King (Paddington, Bunny and the Bull)
Screenwriter: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson

Verdict: Paddington 2 is surprisingly superior to the first film (2014) with a far better antagonist played by the very committed Hugh Grant who did great. Not all of its humour works for adults but throughout the entire film, I felt happy and engaged by the simple, lighthearted world where kindness is always returned. Despite at times wanting to punch the overly clumsy bear, the film isn’t as slapstick as its predecessor.

Sure, there are a lot of cartoon-ish, dumb moments that wouldn’t quite make sense in the real world but the film never takes itself seriously and yet it somehow works very, very well. One of the fellow critics at the screening mentioned that the film’s style has very Wes Anderson feel to it, and I agree. This sequel is certainly entertaining for all ages and successfully conveys the effects of kindness and courage. It definitely made me want to be a bit more kind and polite to others after watching it. I can’t believe it even got my eyes teary at the end. The late Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, would’ve been proud.

What I would’ve named the film: “The Bear That’s Somehow Lighter Than A Small Bucket of Water II”

Malaysian censorship: 100% clean family comedy rated U. I’d be surprised if anything was required to be censored.

Rating: 4 / 5


Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Malaysia Release Date: 30 November 2017
Genre: Mystery
Director: Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella, Thor, Henry V)
Screenwriter: Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Logan)
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley

Verdict: I haven’t read this particular Agatha Christie detective book featuring the character Hercule Poirot nor have I seen any of its adaptations but I am a fan of all the ones that I did read. Am I fan of this film? Yes but there are issues to be addressed.

First of all, there are a lot of names being mentioned in quick successions and some without a face to remember, making the investigation and conversations a little confusing at times. I got lost with the exact details but I managed to solve the case in my mind before I figured the names. Another big issue is that, for the ending to be as profound and agreeable to the audience as it hopes to be, it requires strong character development or a series of films before it but unfortunately we get neither.

However, the film is still entertaining and compelling to watch if you’re a fan of detective mysteries albeit both cases here are quite easy to solve. Kenneth Branagh IS Hercule Poirot. He is almost exactly how I imagined the character would be when I read the books. The rest of the star-studded cast did quite well with the limited screen time and script they were given. The visuals, set and costume designs look fantastic.

Second opinion: My girlfriend, too, felt that the pacing was fast and it got confusing at parts but in overall, still an interesting film to her.

What I would’ve named the film: “A Justified Murder”

Malaysian censorship: Nothing seems to be needed to be censored.

Rating: 3 / 5


Wonder (2017)

Malaysia Release Date: 7 December 2017
Genre: Family drama
Director: Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Screenwriter: Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe

Verdict: Initially, I wasn’t really keen to watch this film as the trailers make it look so cheesy and sappy but it turns out to be surprisingly a thoroughly entertaining drama that’s genuinely heartfelt and funny. Although I couldn’t really relate to it ’cause I had a close friend who looked different back in primary school, he had plenty of other friends and nobody treated him different, I really enjoyed Wonder despite its predictable genre cliches and fairy tale-ish approach.

Instead of making it all about August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) the fifth grader with rare medical facial deformity, the narratives also place the focus on depicting the effects it has on his parents, sister and friends. And I do admit I did shed some tears but it’s not even about the kid. Great performances by Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts and Izabela Vidovic.

What I would’ve named the film: “Elephant Boy”

Malaysian censorship: I doubt any scene requires to be censored at all. If it’s rated U here then maybe only the mild kissing sequence would be cut.

Rating: 4 / 5

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