Thunderbirds Are Go Season 3 Skyrockets onto Prime Video this Friday!

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Executive produced by Estelle Hughes (Driver Dan’s Story Train), Giles Ridge (Pocoyo), Richard Taylor (The Lord of the Rings), and Andrew Smith (District 9); written by Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, Teen Titans); and directed by David Scott (LEGO Star Wars) and Theo Baynton (The Wotwots); Thunderbirds Are Go is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
 
Below are what customers have said about the second season on Thunderbirds Are Go:
 
  • “My kids love this series and we’re so excited when season 2 came out. It did not disappoint. It keeps my 4 year old and my 9 year old entertained which is so rare to have a show that they both enjoy. It’s great having something they can watch together and I don’t have to worry about it being something they shouldn’t watch.
  • “This is my two sons’ favorite show ever!”
  • “Great science and technology information wrapped up in suspenseful adventure for kids and adults alike with a splash of pure, sweet humor.”
  • “We all love it from the 6 year old, to the 13 year old to the parents!”
  • “A show that is an adrenaline rush for both children and parents alike with noble values of selflessness and sacrifice to rescue others and without any bad language.”
Seasons one and two of Thunderbirds Are Go are available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Prime Video app for compatible TVs, connected devices, including Amazon Fire TV and mobile devices, or online at www.amazon.com/kidsoriginals, at no additional cost to their membership. Prime members can also download select titles to mobile devices for offline viewing. Eligible customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream. Thunderbirds Are Go is also available as part of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the all-you-can-eat subscription service designed from the ground up for kids. FreeTime Unlimited is available exclusively on Amazon devices, including Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, and a year-long subscription is included with every Fire Kids Edition.
Credit: Amazon Prime Video.

Gifted – Powerful Statement, Outstanding Acting, Stunning Cinematography

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Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Gifted is a story with not a lot of surprise elements, but it wins the audience over with its powerful statement, outstanding acting and stunning cinematography.” Imani B.G. adds, “This film is filled with life stories that I found myself relating to in certain aspects. The film is shot very well and has an amazing cast. I found myself very emotional during certain scenes.” See their full reviews below.

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

 

Gifted is a story with not a lot of surprise elements, but it wins the audience over with its powerful statement, outstanding acting and stunning cinematography. Mainly, Gifted has a very dramatic storyline. However, Gifted offers much more then that. Viewers also get a subplot of romance, friendship and strong family values as well as some comedy here and there to keep a dramatic movie light.

The plot begins when Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) starts first grade. She isn’t like the other kids in her class. Her teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate) soon learns that Mary turns out to be a genius in mathematics. She can easily do equations higher than high school level. Despite her clear giftedness, Mary’s uncle, Frank (Chris Evans) refuses to put Mary in a school for gifted children, trying to keep the girl’s life normal. Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), Mary’s grandmother insists on making her do mathematics around the clock and training her to be a math prodigy. What follows is a custody battle between the two for Mary.

(Premiere / red carpet interviews with Octavia Spencer, Mckenna Grace, Director Mark Webb, Producer Karen Lunder, Write Tom Flynn, Producer Andy Cohen)

 

My favorite scene really stands out due to remarkable lighting and camera work. The scene really doesn’t contribute to the plot, but the cinematography makes it one of the most excellent in the film. The scene shows Mary riding on Frank’s shoulders. Behind them, a giant sunset completely fills the sky. The lighting from the setting sun comes out stunningly dazzling. Even though it doesn’t add to the complexity of the story, the scene is very impressive and demonstrates the closeness of the uncle and his niece.

One of Gifted’s weak points waters down to the story. Even though the film is unique from other stories about genius kids, by focusing on the family values and relationships instead of Mary’s exceptional mathematical skills, it still comes out very predictable and rather simple. The main conflict never really feels like a major issue but rather, just a side story. Despite those issues, Gifted still entertains through the acting. All the actors deliver outstanding performances. Mckenna Grace, despite being only 10-years-old, completely steals the show.  Never does the acting feel forced and the actors seem to authentically connect with their characters and have a true bond on-screen.

There are a few adult references in the film, but nothing to worry about. I recommend this for ages 8 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars because, although the story needs work, the acting and cinematography make Gifted a very entertaining and memorable film. This opens in theaters April 14 so, be sure to check it out.
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Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age: 15

 

My overall thoughts about Gifted are very positive. This film is filled with life stories that I found myself relating to in certain aspects. The film is shot very well and has an amazing cast. I found myself very emotional during certain scenes. I really enjoyed watching this film with my family, and I believe that other families will enjoy it as well.

 

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a young child prodigy who is also his niece, Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace). The two live in a coastal town in Florida with their next door neighbor and friend Roberta Taylor (Octavia Spencer). Frank plans for Mary to have a normal school life that conflicts with her mathematical ability. His mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), disagrees with Frank’s plans and wants to make sure Mary is known throughout history for her mathematical skills.

 

The relationship between Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace is one of my favorite aspects of this film. The two connect very well on and off screen, which makes the movie come to life. They both represent what a family relationship is like. For instance, Mary is inseparable from Frank at all times and just wants to be around him. I believe that families watching this movie will feel a sense of happiness when learning about their relationship. I also really enjoyed the background music playing throughout the film. It adds a special mood and vibe to the film and made it pleasant to listen to.

 

The message of Gifted is that family is important and families need to pay attention to the young child’s needs. Often, parents push their kids and that can have a negative effect on their relationship and add stress to their child’s life. Evelyn pushed her daughter, Diane, over the top, which may have been the cause of her tragic suicide. Frank, of course, does not want that to happen to his niece and believes that Diane does not want that for the child either. Thus, a fight for custody between his mother and Frank ensues. To expand on my point, the film makes the point that children should have a voice and must be heard when dealing with their future because it can affect them in either a positive or negative way in the end.
Gifted is rated PG-13 and I recommend it for the ages 13 and up. I definitely encourage parents to see this with their young adolescents because they may be able to learn from this and it may strengthen their relationships as well. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because of its emotional and memorable storyline, the outstanding cast and the wonderful scenes. You can see this film in theaters now so go check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon – Fun, family-friendly DVD

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The lovably simple residents of peaceful Kikoriki Island are thrown kicking and screaming into big adventure when their resident scientist invents an amazing device (a helmet called “the Improverizor”) which takes personality traits from one person and swaps them with someone else’s! But when spineless young Wally tries to use the untested device to cure his cowardice, he ends up even more spineless: by getting accidentally body-switched with a squirmy little caterpillar. Now he’s got more to fear than he ever dreamed, and so do his fellow villagers, as they’re dragged into a madcap adventure packed with plane crashes, mistaken identities, erupting volcanoes and angry natives on the warpath. Boy, do the Kikoriki crew wish they could switch places now: with anyone!

 

 

Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon

 

By Tristan Tierce, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

 

 

Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon is a family friendly animated film based on the television series GoGoRiki.  Directed by Dennis Chernov and originally voiced by Russian actors, this film is one of two DVDs that are being brought to American audiences by Shout! Kids Factory.

 

The story begins with the local scientist creating a machine called the “Improverizer” which swaps people’s personalities.  But something goes terribly wrong when a young coward, Wally, gets ahold of the device.  Wally’s friends and other Kikoriki residents go on a journey to help him return to his original body.  It is a tale of finding yourself, learning to trust your own instincts and not rely on silly mechanisms like an “Improverizer” in order to change and grown and friendship.

 

The animation is done in CGI (Computer Generation Images) and is colorful and aesthetically pleasing.  Each of the characters are based off of animals and their personalities are very fitting.  Their bodies are egg-shaped and the DVD actually includes an egg decorating kit so you can make your own Kikoriki villagers at home.  The animation is cartoony and fun, but some times I did feel it was a bit slow.  As an illustrator myself, I found the landscaping and various imaginative backdrops were my favorite part of Kikoriki.

 

My favorite character is Wally.  Wally started off as a coward and tried to use the “Improverizer” to change his personality.  But in the end he learned that bravery comes from within.  I found myself laughing several times during the film.

 

I feel Kikoriki:  Legend of the Golden Dragon is appropriately rated PG for rude humor and mild peril.  It also includes a few adult references and jokes, but nothing so noticeable I feel a younger child would pick up on.

 

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 12.  I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.  Available now on DVD so, check it out.

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Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon

Rohan Foxe KIDS FIRST! film critic, Age 11

 

 

 

Kikoriki: Legend of the Golden Dragon is a funny animated film featuring lots of bright and hilarious characters. I like how it has lots of jokes referencing other films. It is a very interesting film with a cool animation style. I like how it includes lots of zany contraptions that make me laugh. It has an entertaining story filled with prophesies, volcanoes, treasure and jokes.

 

In the story, a young sheep named Wally gets tired of being a scaredy cat so he uses one of the town’s scientist’s inventions to get courage. He trips and accidently misuses the device and ends up in a caterpillar’s body. Meanwhile, the other residents of Kikoriki Island are taking a plane trip when their plane crashes and are lost. They find the native chameleon’s village and discover that Wally’s caterpillar-controlled body is worshiped as the golden dragon spoken of in a prophesy. Wally gets the same information from some hilarious treasure hunters and both groups try to get his body back.

 

This film is very funny and has very colorful characters. The story has many twists and turns that keeps it exciting entire time. I especially enjoyed how they have a slow buildup of action throughout the film, not all in one place. This film’s moral is to think highly of yourself. They also emphasize how you can do anything if you believe, friendship is important and good always comes out on top. I feel these are important morals because they teach a lot about self-respect.

 

My favorite part of the DVD is when what characters are playing happens in real life. This is hilarious and shows that the writers have great imaginations. I also strongly enjoyed the part where Wally becomes a caterpillar because it is like a Rube Goldberg machine which I find very entertaining.

 

I really enjoyed this film. It is very entertaining and funny. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15. I also think parents will enjoy this. It is available now on DVD so, check it out.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Floogals – Exploration and Critical Thinking Made Fun and Exciting for Preschoolers!

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Join the Floogals on a mission of discovery as they explore Earth and the funny “hoomans” who live there! Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo, and Junior Boomer are pocket sized alien adventurers on a mission to observe and experience a new and exciting world Planet Earth! Arriving in their spaceship from the distant planet of Floog, the Floogals are on a mission to document everything around them in the peculiar world of the “hoomans”. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lara M. comments, “I love how this show demonstrating the power of exploration and critical thinking. Floogals is a children’s TV show that mixes animated and real life images, exciting characters and unique episodes.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Rachael V. comments, “This show follows three little explorers observing the hooman (human) world in a way that we can only observe by watching a show like this. All the stories are fantastic…” See their full reviews below.

 

Floogals: Destination Planet Earth!

by Lara Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

 

I love how this show demonstrates the power of exploration and critical thinking. Floogals is a children’s TV show that mixes animated and real life images, exciting characters and unique episodes. Young children will enjoy the adventures the Floogals embark on.

 

This special Floogals DVD has eight episodes, stars Captain Fleeker, Officer Flo and Junior Boomer – aliens who have come to earth to explore the human’s objects. Episode #1, Project Caterpillar, explains the process of metamorphosis to the Floogals as they watch and wait for the Hooman’s caterpillars to change into butterflies. Episode #2 is Project Balloon, where the Floogals discover what a balloon is, how it works and why they are needed. The next Episode, #3 is Project Baby. The Floogals discover what a baby is exactly. Episode #4 is Project Bubbles. Along with discovering what a bubble is made of, the Floogals learn to work together to blow bubbles. In Project Hamster, the Floogals have to catch the Hooman’s hamster that escapes the cage. In Project Robot, they take Hooman’s son’s robot to rescue officer Flo. The episode Project Garden Hose has them finding out that the hose is turned on by a lever and learning that hoses are used to water plants. The final episode is Project Magnet where the Floogals’ learn what a magnet is and how it works. In each episode, kids learn the use of objects in our world.

 

My favorite character is Junior Boomer. Boomer’s adolescent character and curiosity is fun to watch throughout every episode. Of course, the other characters are exciting to watch too. Officer Flo’s intelligence and Captain Fleeker’s leadership qualities greatly enhance the show. In addition, I enjoyed the live elements incorporated into the show. In Project Hamster, I like how a real hamster is in the show along with the animated Captain Fleeker, who are both in the hamster’s cage.

 

Each episode teaches something different. Project Caterpillar teaches the audience about Metamorphosis. Project Balloon shows how balloons float. Project Baby demonstrates how we grow. Project Bubbles shows us what bubbles are made of. Project Hamster teaches about live animals and how to keep them in a cage. Project Robot shows how electronics work and how they run on batteries. Project Garden Hose demonstrates how a hose is used and how it works. Finally Project Magnet shows us how magnets work. As each episode teaches kids how ordinary objects in our world work, the Floogals’ comedic characters and unique adventures make the show enjoyable. I recommend Floogals for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is available now wherever DVDs are sold so, go check it out. You’re missing out if you don’t share it with your preschoolers.

 

The Floogals: Destination Planet Earth

By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

 

 

This show follows three little explorers observing the hooman (human) world in a way that we can only observe by watching a show like this. All the stories are fantastic, but the one I like the most is Project Garden Hose. Due to the size of The Floogals, something like a garden hose is a behemoth to them (which becomes adorably obvious in Project Hamster). They are skating down the hose and it looks like this neat little jungle. It’s very fun. Something about this program that had me worried at first is that it mixes animation with live action. The Floogals and their belongings are shown in CGI, but the world in which they explore is all shown in live action. I’ve seen this before and didn’t care for it. I was not looking forward to watching it because of that. But The Floogals really pull it off! I can honestly say that the exploration would not be nearly as entertaining without the brilliant visual media mix along with the fun writing. I look forward to showing this to my son when he gets a bit bigger. I recommend this for ages 2 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Books of the Week!

Ripley Publishing Introduces Two New Board Books
Wonder what in the world you just met, as you turn the pages of
Wacky 1-2-3 and ODDphabet!
Ripley Publishing is expanding its line of popular children’s books with the launch of the company’s first board books, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ODDphabet and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Wacky 1-2-3, suitable for ages 3 and up.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ODDphabet and Wacky 1-2-3 make learning letters and numbers tons of fun! From a painting elephant to singing mice, and everything in between, each quirky character is based on a true Ripley’s-verified story.
From A to Z and 1 through 12, rhymes and colorful illustrations engage young readers to learn the basics while promoting inclusivity and individuality.
Both books feature highly engaging illustrations by Ripley cartoonist John Graziano, who also illustrates the daily
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon.
ODDphabet and Wacky 1-2-3 go are available through all major booksellers.
 I highly recommend both of these books for young children because they really make learning fun! They will make children laugh but they are also learning and nothing is better than that! 

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Do you have a child who loves Lego and Batman? Then this next one is a must-buy!

I love the illustrations in this book from DK. It has the characters and even all the vehicles! Older kids will love the inside story of how the LEGO group and Warmer Bros. brought Batman’s brick world to life.

Look for it at bookstores this Spring!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to feature. 

Smurfs: The Lost Village – Full of Creativity and Good Animation but the Story Falls Short

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In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller-coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Smurfs: The Lost Village is a fun family film full of creativity and good animation. The movie takes kids into a vibrant new world with a new crew of Smurfs. Unfortunately, some bland characters and stale laughs don’t live up to the visual achievement of this movie.” See his full review below.

Smurfs: The Lost Village
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

 

Smurfs: The Lost Village is a fun family film full of creativity and good animation. The movie takes kids into a vibrant new world with a new crew of Smurfs. Unfortunately, some bland characters and stale laughs don’t live up to the visual achievement of this movie.

Based on the works of Belgian cartoonist Peyo, this film follows Smurfette as she struggles to discover her identity. Smurfette was a lump of clay created by the evil wizard, Gargamel, who is the Smurfs’ sworn foe. Whenever she tries to forget the terrible notion that she is not a true Smurf, something happens that reaffirms her of it. One day, while playing with a group of Smurfs, she sees something that may lead to the uncovering of a new faction of Smurfs. Smurfette, Hefty, Brainy and Clumsy set out on a journey together. With Gargamel on their heels, what they find could change the world around them forever.

The animation in this film is vibrant. The creatures in the forest surrounding the Lost Village are colorful and creative. The look and feel of the film overall pays homage to the original comics but also exploits the nuance and richness of modern computer animation techniques.

I don’t care for the story in this film. Other than the addition of the Lost Village and its inhabitants, it feels pretty formulaic. The story has a lot of the tropes of the original cartoon and that isn’t a bad thing, but the plot is predictable and the antics between Gargamel and the Smurfs in a full-length feature film grow old very fast. I would have liked to see this film take a different path than the adaptations before it, but it plays it safe.

The voice cast of this film includes a broad range of actors from Julia Roberts to Jack McBrayer. The film never really uses these actors to their full potential, sidelining many to bit cameos rather than real roles. Mandy Patinkin is a standout in this film as Papa Smurf, a wise guy who helps the Smurfs when they seek guidance. Patinkin is the perfect choice to play this role. His voice is both soothing and authoritative. Patinkin also has the right amount of charisma to voice this character.

The lesson of this film is that you will not be remembered for what you were good at, but the kindness in your heart. Smurfette has trouble finding a skill that will define her personality unlike her other Smurf pals. But that is not what is important in life. The way people will remember your legacy is by how you treated others. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 10 and you should be aware there is some crude humor. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Power Rangers (2017) – Beats All Other Installments in the Series!

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High school outcasts stumble upon an old alien ship, where they acquire superpowers and are dubbed the Power Rangers. Learning that an old enemy of the previous generation has returned to exact vengeance, the group must harness their powers and use them to work together and save the world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “There have been many movies, shows and stories related to the Power Rangers series, but by far, Power Rangers (2017) beats all other installments in the series.” Arjun N. adds, “Saban’s Power Rangers is a great romp of Power Rangers’ fan service. I found the acting and special effects to be incredible throughout this movie.” See their full reviews below.

 

Power Rangers (2017)

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

 

There have been many movies, shows and stories related to the Power Rangers series, but by far, Power Rangers (2017) beats all other installments in the series. This doesn’t mean Power Rangers (2017) is perfect. The film has a fair share of flaws that could have been fixed, but  for the most part, it leaves a pleasant and positive impression.

 

This film has plenty of action, with lots of comedic scenes to illicit frequent giggles from the viewers. Some romance blossoms between the characters and it is filled with a dramatic feel throughout the entire film. The story begins when five kids, despite having no previous connection with each other, all end up at a gold mine, where a strange rock with even stranger coins is revealed. Each of them take one coin and attempt to escape from the mine’s security. Sadly, while escaping, they get hit by a train in what would be a lethal crash. Yet, all five wake up the next day completely alive. More important, now they all share super hero strength, can jump really high and more. Soon the five learn that they are the Power Rangers and need to defend a crystal in Earth’s crust that allows life to exist on the planet, from an evil woman named Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks).

 

Power Rangers (2017) has entertainment value and fans of the brand will especially enjoy it. There are many aspects that come out perfectly. My favorite aspect, by far, is the cinematography. Every single shot in the 120 minute run time is wonderful, from twisting shots that give the viewer a first-person perspective, to shots flying through the air to give a sense of scale. Another aspect that the crew achieved successfully are the costumes. The Power Rangers look epic and the reveal of their costumes were cheered by viewers in the theater because of how iconic the designs are.  The plot also has many good aspects. They don’t give the characters’ super powers and super suits at the beginning. For most of the film, you have five teenagers who are clearly mortal. This gives the viewer time to bond and connect with the characters and allows a sense of realism.

 

The plot does have its downsides. Even to people who have no idea who Power Rangers are, the story is quite predictable. From the first time they give information about the conflict in the story, I knew exactly how the adventure would turn out. One aspect that surprised me was the special effects. The designs of the monsters and robots all look very real and impressive, but their placements in the real world look forced and somewhat fake, and there are many times where it’s especially obvious to the viewer. Despite all these flaws, the acting is quite phenomenal. I love the way every character comes to life, and how the actors are able to transform. One character that I thought could be improved is the villain, Rita. The back story in Power Rangers (2017) is very vague, and turns her into another “good guy turned evil and now she is insane” example. This has been overused in movies, especially when it comes to stories about super-heroes. I do appreciate how diverse the background stories of these characters are and how in tune with today’s world they are as well.

 

My favorite scene has to be the compilation of clips where the five realize their powers. Of course, they wake up thinking that the previous night’s deadly train crash was simply a bad dream, but they soon start realizing something is very wrong. Not only are the stones from the previous night still in their pockets, but throughout the day, it becomes very clear that their strength has exponentially grown, and they are now stronger and more fit then the strongest people on Earth. I chose this scene because the acting and cinematography work together very well in these clips to show the true confusion on the characters’ faces. You really feel like you are part of the scene, instead of simply watching it.

 

This film has one major change from the older films. It is no longer appropriate for younger kids. They portray Rita in an almost horror-like way (which comes out stunningly) and, there are some scenes with adult language and slightly adult references. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18 and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars because of its many flaws, like the special effects, storyline and some of the characters. However, Power Rangers (2017) is still enjoyable to watch and really does justice to the series. It is in theaters now so, go check it out.

 

Saban’s Power Rangers

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

 

Saban’s Power Rangers is a great romp of Power Rangers’ fan service. I found the acting and special effects to be incredible throughout this movie. This will appeal to all Power Rangers’ fans.

This film is about five teenagers, Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zach (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.), who are all misfits. The five come across stones of the Power Rangers, an order of people who protect Earth, and they take these stones. The next day they wake up with superpowers. They go back to find an underground lair with a robot Alpha 5 (Bill Hader) and a former Power Ranger in the form of a talking wall, Zordon (Bryan Cranston). Zordon warns them of an imposing threat, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), who has the power to destroy Earth. This group of misfits must learn to overcome their problems to become the Power Rangers and defeat Rita Repulsa.

Dacre Montgomery presents leadership yet also being a troublemaker in his role as Jason (Red Ranger), and instead of falling to the stereotypes of being the bland leader who gives rules, he presents a charisma in his character. Naomi Scott as Kimberly (Pink Ranger) is fantastic in presenting a fierce yet caring Power Ranger. RJ Cyler as Billy (Blue Ranger) is my favorite character in the movie due to his comic relief. Ludi Lin as Zach (Black Ranger) presents a careless, yet quick Power Ranger. Becky G as Trini (Yellow Ranger) completes the team of Power Rangers. Elizabeth Banks can be a little bit too over-the-top with her villainous Rita Repulsa, who is horrifying most of the time but funny in the most unintentional parts.

The direction of the movie by Dean Israelite is fast paced with every character and especially during the action scenes. The special effects by Zoilo Abad are exceptional with the details on the costumes taking the highlight. My favorite scene is the final battle with Rita Repulsa in the Power Rangers’ mech suits due to the breathtaking special effects.

The movie’s message is about teamwork being the solution to the problem because the team is only able to defeat Rita Repulsa by working together as a team and using tactics they learn together. I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to the intense action and language. This film opens is in theaters now, so go and check it out, if you want a mighty morphing time.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife – Even In The Worst Of Times, People Are Kind-Hearted Beyond Belief

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The time is 1939 and the place is Poland, homeland of Antonina Zabinski and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski. The Warsaw Zoo flourishes under Jan’s stewardship and Antonina’s care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck. The Zabinskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save the lives of hundreds from what has become the Warsaw Ghetto. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha M. comments, “This film is truly incredible because it shows how kind hearted people are. Given that the movie takes place in Poland during World War II, there is a lot of tension among the Jewish and German residents because the Jewish Holocaust is occurring. But, the main characters, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, still manage to take care of their zoo and try to keep the animals safe.”Lucia F. adds, “I really enjoyed The Zookeeper’s Wife…This movie was moving and beautifully done, but there are some scenes that were a little too intense for me.” See their full reviews below.

 

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife

By Samantha Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

 

 

 

 

This film is truly incredible because it shows how kind hearted people are. Given that the movie takes place in Poland during World War II, there is a lot of tension among the Jewish and German residents because the Jewish Holocaust is occurring. But, the main characters, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, still manage to take care of their zoo and try to keep the animals safe.

 

In the midst of World War II, Adolf Hitler’s power permeates in Poland, specifically in the Warsaw ghetto, where there are many Jewish inhabitants. Living in Warsaw is Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain), her husband Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh) and their son. They are in charge of the Warsaw Zoo, where any animal you can imagine lives. Bombs are hitting the Warsaw Zoo, killing many of the animals. The zoo is almost completely destroyed, and the Zabinski’s decide to use it as a Jewish sanctuary.

 

Jessica Chastain’s portrayal of Antonina is quite believable. Antonina is a beautiful woman who loves animals more than she loves herself and she does her best to ensure that everything goes as planned. Johan Heldenbergh, who plays Jan, is very brave. He acts as an assistant to a German soldier and looks for creative ways to transport the Jews to safety. They put their lives on the line to save others, which truly is remarkable.

 

The Warsaw Zoo looks astonishing. It is huge! There are so many beautiful trees, and there are animals walking around with Antonina. I want to now have my own zoo someday!

 

My favorite part of the movie is when Antonina is riding her bicycle and she calls her camel to walk alongside her. This camel is hilarious because he makes strange noises and he hops so quickly. He acts as a police patrol for the zoo, which I think is extremely funny.

 

The message of this film is to help others. Antonina and Jan Zabinski try to help hundreds of Jews stay safe and do not put themselves first. Antonina and Jan live in imminent danger themselves and all they can focus on is making a difference, which I admire greatly.

 

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. It is so inspiring and there are animals in it, for which I have a great soft spot. Given that there are many casualties among animals and people, I recommend this film to ages 18 to adult. This film is not afraid to depict historical reality, so it may be difficult to watch some scenes, but this movie is now one of my favorites. Watch this film if you enjoy history and films that are based on true stories. It comes out on March 31, 2017 in theaters so, make sure to keep your eyes open for it. It is a movie you certainly don’t want to miss.

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife

By Lucia Funaro KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18

 

 

 

I really enjoyed The Zookeeper’s Wife. It is a real-life story about love and caring under extreme conditions in the midst of war. Antonina Zabinska and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski, are so brave and generous. They saved the lives of almost 300 Jewish people by hiding them in their basement under their zoo during the German invasion in Poland in WWII. This movie was moving and beautifully done, but there are some scenes that were a little too intense for me.

 

The plot is a true story that occurred during the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939 to1945. The Warsaw Zoo, owned by the main characters, is bombed and so many animals unnecessarily slaughtered. The brave owners rescued and protected hundreds of local Jewish people from the Nazis. The main character is Antonina Zabinska (Jessica Chastain). She is the leader of this establishment and comes up with the idea to hide the Jewish people. The film tells a wonderful true story about this modest woman who accomplished an amazing feat.

 

The message is that an unassuming woman was able to save many human lives even though she would have been killed instantly by the Nazis if they knew she had sheltered these people. She does everything in her power to ensure almost everyone’s safety. I love how Jessica Chastain portrays Antonina. She remains calm about the situation and believes it is going to work out okay for everyone. Even though she is nervous about the advances of the Nazi zoologist Heck, she still tries to manage her nervousness when in front of the children. She has tremendous strength of character.

 

What really stood out for me was the opening scene when you see two cute lion cubs sleeping with a young child and her mother watching lovingly over them. Juxtaposed with that adorableness is a scene later where many of the animals are killed by the Nazis. It is extremely shocking and sad to see these beautiful animals so needlessly slaughtered. Another very intense, but effective scene is when two Nazi soldiers are flirting with a young teenage girl and then, you see the girl beaten up and blood running down her leg. Even though the attack on the girl is not shown, the aftermath of the rape shows the cruelty of the Nazis.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because it effectively tells a beautiful, true story about the power one woman’s loving heart. This movie contains intense scenes, so I recommended it for kids 13 to 18. This film is in theaters now so, check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!