Archives for November 13, 2021

Fitch * A Sole Human Survivor, A Lovable Robot And A Cute Dog Make Finch An Adventure Like No Other

In Finch, a man, a robot and a dog form an unlikely family in a powerful and moving adventure of one man’s quest to ensure that his beloved canine companion will be cared for after he’s gone. Tom Hanks stars as Finch, a robotics engineer and one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar event that has left the world a wasteland. But Finch, who has been living in an underground bunker for a decade, has built a world of his own that he shares with his dog, Goodyear. He creates a robot, played by Caleb Landry Jones, to watch over Goodyear when he no longer can. As the trio embarks on a perilous journey into a desolate American West, Finch strives to show his creation, who names himself Jeff, the joy and wonder of what it means to be alive. Their road trip is paved with both challenges and humor, as it’s as difficult for Finch to goad Jeff and Goodyear to get along as it is for him to manage the dangers of the new world.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Cinematography, sound effects mixed with one sole apocalypse human survivor, a lovable, relatable robot, and a cute dog, make Finch an adventure like no other! Not to mention that it has some of the best CGI I have ever seen.” See her full review below.

Finch
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Cinematography, sound effects mixed with one sole apocalypse human survivor, a lovable, relatable robot, and a cute dog, make Finch an adventure like no other! Not to mention that it has some of the best CGI I have ever seen. Finch is considered a sci-fi drama film, but could also be considered a comedy, making this a very interesting film.

Finch tells the story of Finch (Tom Hanks), who survives the apocalypse with just his dog, Goodyear, and a new robot, Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones). Finch builds Jeff from scratch to look after and protect Goodyear in case he dies from the effects of the apocalypse. The three of them travel in an RV to search for a new home that hasn’t been affected by the apocalypse. During their journey, Finch tries to survive in this new world, while also teaching Jeff all about being human and keeping Goodyear safe.

The main characters are Finch, Jeff the Robot and Goodyear. Hanks has a one-man show in this film, but you tend to forget that because of his loving and protective relationship and dialogue with Jeff and Goodyear. He is a genius at carrying the film with no other human actors. My favorite character is Jeff the Robot because he is very relatable and curious. He steals the film with his determination to learn how to be human and his humorous ways. He is very dedicated to learn how to communicate and bond with Goodyear. When Jeff decides to learn how to speak “dog” with Goodyear it is hilarious watching them bark at each other. Part of what makes Jeff so funny is that he takes everything Finch says literally. Finch once tells Jeff that there are holes in the sky like swiss cheese. Jeff then goes off to try to locate the cheese. One of the most beautiful parts of this film is the relationship Finch, Jeff and Goodyear have and the level of trust they have with each other in order to survive. The CGI in this film is spectacular and really keeps you engaged.

The message of this film focuses on learning about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human. Finch spends the entire movie teaching Jeff how to be human so he can properly take care of Goodyear in case anything happens to him, even teaching him about having trust. It is very heartwarming watching their relationship develop throughout the film. I rate Finch 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Finch is available on AppleTV+ November 5, 2021.

Clifford the Big Red Dog * Action-Packed, Filled With Fun Adventures Based On The Book

When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy, she never anticipated waking up to find a giant ten-foot hound in her small New York City apartment. While her single mom (Sienna Guillory) is away for business, Emily and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) set out on an adventure that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as our heroes take a bite out of the Big Apple. Based on the beloved Scholastic book character, Clifford will teach the world how to love big!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Clifford the Big Red Dog is the kind of lightweight, zippy children’s entertainment that keeps kids engaged and parents from eyeing the theater’s exits.” Giana N. adds, “Clifford the Big Red Dog is an action-packed film, filled with fun adventures and non-stop-entertainment. It’s based off the original show from the 2000s, but it’s made more modern. If you are a fan of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog, then you will definitely enjoy this.” Selene W. adds, “The message of this film is that love comes in many shapes and sizes.  Being different doesn’t exclude you from being loved, but rather expands love’s possibilities.  Clifford teaches Darby how love can bring new experiences and confidence when you allow it to grow.” See their full reviews below.

Clifford The Big Red Dog

Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an action-packed film, filled with fun adventures and non-stop-entertainment. It’s based off the original show from the 2000s, but it’s made more modern. If you are a fan of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog, then you will definitely enjoy this.

The storyline follows Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) who is an outcast at her new school and, while her mom is away, she is being taken care of by her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) who is a bit irresponsible. On her way to school she comes across an animal petting tent and meets Clifford, a little red dog. One morning she wakes up and Clifford is ten feet tall. Emily needs to find a way to get Clifford small again before she gets into a whole lot of trouble.

My favorite aspect of the film is that this one keeps to the same concept as the original show. Although Clifford starts out as a small puppy, he grows bigger and bigger the more he feels loved by Emily Elizabeth. And the bigger he gets, the more noticeable he is to everyone. Clifford is obviously animated and you know he’s not real. However, the animation makes him look pretty realistic and he’s so cute. I also like the relationships Emily had with her family and friends. Even though the officials claim Clifford belongs to someone else, the people that are closest to Emily stick with her until the end. My favorite character is Uncle Casey because he is funny and fun to be around. He is hilarious when the time is right, and he also knows how to be serious, keep focused and get the job done when he needs to. The acting in this film is just really believable. With all the emotional and exciting scenes in this film, you’ll find yourself entertained the whole time. You may even shed a tear while watching.                                                                                    

The message of Clifford The Big Red Dog is that it’s okay to be different. Everybody is different and it’s a normal thing. So we should just accept each other the way we are.

I rate Clifford The Big Red Dog 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

Clifford the Big Red Dog

By Benjamin P. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Clifford the Big Red Dog is the kind of lightweight, zippy children’s entertainment that keeps kids engaged and parents from eyeing the theater’s exits. It doesn’t stray away from what Clifford stands for, but it fundamentally misunderstands what has made Clifford’s adventures iconic.

Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) is a pre-teen on a scholarship at her private school, picked on by her classmates for her comparative lack of wealth. She trudges home each day, worn down by her classmates’ ridicule, but that changes when her mom has to leave town and her unruly Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) arrives. On the way to school, they come across a tent shrouded in mystery with an eccentric owner named Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese), and there they find a little red dog named Clifford. Casey lets his niece know she can’t take the puppy home and, despite her sunken shoulders and the hanging head, she agrees. But little Clifford gets into her backpack and later she finds him. Emily wishes that she and the dog would grow big and strong so they could be protected from the world’s cruelty. A tear tinged with magic runs down her face and brushes against Clifford’s bright red fur and—just like that!—the next day, he’s grown to his familiar grand size.

Emily and Clifford’s serenity is short-lived, and you can’t keep a 10-foot dog a secret for long; from there, Emily, the dog and her uncle, dash back and forth across New York City in search of a home for Clifford as a genetics company wants to harness Clifford’s traits for their next product and tries to capture him.

Clifford the Big Red Dog gets lost in grounding their characters in the real world. The simplicity of the Clifford stories is part of what make these best-selling books so well-known and loved.  As this story goes deeper into the corporate troubles of the genetics company, the fun of placing Clifford in the real world isn’t developed, with the exception of Clifford chasing a giant inflatable ball across a park.  Also, there is a bit of a message in this film that the minute you are made fun of, that you should put your aggressor through the same humiliation which did not sit right with me.

I give Clifford the Big Red Dog 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13 for some crude and rude humor as well as some cruelty toward a bully. Clifford the Big Red Dog paws its way into theaters and onto Paramount+ November 10, 2021.

Clifford the Big Red Dog 

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13  


Adventure has never been bigger than in Clifford the Big Red Dog, based on the beloved Scholastic book series.  This movie really grows on you as quickly as Clifford grows from a small puppy to a big red dog.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a story about Emily Elizabeth Howard (Darby Camp) who is gifted an adorable red puppy after she and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) discover a magical pet rescuer (John Cleese) on their way to school.  The puppy grows overnight into a big red dog and Emily Elizabeth and her uncle have many adventures trying to adjust to Clifford’s new size and the various problems that arise.  An antagonist shows up to seize Clifford for his scientific experiments. Emily Elizabeth and her friends rescue Clifford and, in the end, it is Clifford that rescues Emily.

My favorite character is obviously Clifford, but I also enjoyed Jack Whitehall’s (Uncle Casey) performance which is so humorous, especially the interesting situations as he tries to grow into his role as the supervising adult.  Darby Camp (Emily Elizabeth) really shows a great deal of emotional depth as her special bond with Clifford grows along with his size.  My favorite scene is the one where Clifford is playing fetch with a blow-up ball in New York City’s Central Park.  I really enjoyed all of the New York scenery and characters from the Big Apple which add to the story.

The message of this film is that love comes in many shapes and sizes.  Being different doesn’t exclude you from being loved, but rather expands love’s possibilities.  Clifford teaches Darby how love can bring new experiences and confidence when you allow it to grow.

I rate Clifford the Big Red Dog 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, plus adults who will enjoy the humor as well. The film is available in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Don’t miss this classic story as it comes to life!