In an alternative reality Groot comes to meet Peter Quill and give him life lessons instead of fighting aliens throughout the galaxy. No?
Ok, just kidding. I am just easing the tension and calming my emotions because holy shit, I was tearing up a lot while watching this. This movie is heart-wrenching, prosaic while not being preachy.
Also, let me just say this. If there are going to be any more movies that are going to have monsters or CGI-based central characters, just bring Liam Neeson. It is so soothing to listen to him talk.
So, the premise of the movie is that Connor O’Malley is a shy kid. He is bullied at school. His mother is suffering from cancer and at such a young age, he has to handle all of this, without the help of anyone. In order to cope with his problems, he calls upon the Monster(aptly voiced by Liam Neeson), who comes to his aide and helps him through tales of kings, queens and apothecaries. I like the word “apothecary”, so I used it.
I don’t want to spoil any more of the story, because I’ll end up saying what all of those stories meant. If you want a SPOILER FILLED review, just mention it in the comments.
I’ll begin with the visuals. It is seamless. Even though some of the animated sequences look like the “Tale of the three brothers” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie, but it has more colour and much more fluidity to it. The editing along with the visuals are mesmerising. There some great transitions that just blew my mind. The colour tone of the movie is perfect. Many movies aren’t able to do that and recently as my mind has been bruised by Hindi movies, this movie felt like a balm to my senses.
Patrick Ness has done a marvellous job in the writing department. There are no intentionally melodramatic scenes. I mean, the whole story is intentional, of course but all of it feels natural. The dialogues aren’t poetic, except for the Monster’s. Combine that with J.A.Bayona’s(The Impossible) direction, the movie felt like a perfect symphony. The underlying subtext is captured on-screen with perfection.
The topic of the movie is very difficult, I think. It easily becomes preachy or just too sappy. I don’t want to sound crude, because I know how it feels like and it does feel exactly like the movie has shown. So, the matrimony of Ness and Bayona is just spectacular.
Coming to the acting department, the kid was so great. There are only a handful of child actors who do not end up being whiny or too dull. This kid, if he does everything right, has a bright bright future. Lewis MacDougall, remember that name. Even though it was an author backing role, Bayona picked up on his nuances very precisely.
Felicity Jones gives a very grounded performance. She was in Rogue One, which demanded her to do more stuff, physically. Here the performance was confined to her eyes and voice. Where was she all my life??
Toby Kebbell, who is a tremendous actor, gains some redemption after Fant4stic. I like his acting very much. He was so moving in Black Mirror and even though his screen-time is not so extensive, he pulls it off with a very subtle performance. Sigourney Weaver has been on the top of my list of female actors since Alien, so I don’t think I have to elaborate on how she did here. She is awesome. AWESOME!
FINAL VERDICT – I think this movie didn’t get much notice because the trailers were showing a Monster. Tell you what? That’s not even the focus of the story.
Definitely, definitely watch this movie. 2016 was a great year for movies and this is a huge addition to that. Fair warning. Keep your kids away from this, at least till the age of 18. Even though the movie is PG-13, I’ll suggest that 18 is the right age.
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Picture – Youtube