The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Four Kids and It

Director: Andy De Emmony Studio: Kindle Entertainment

Review: Four Kids and It

My mind has a soft spot on British family films when it comes to telling stories about an imaginative character coming to life in kids' eyes. The world has Paddington, Harry Potter, The Lorax, and any films that feature magical creatures based on the books. Co-written by Mark Oswin and Simon Lewis, the story of the film is based on the book called Four Kids and It, written by author Jacqueline Wilson. The film stars Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen, Ashley Aufderheide, Billy Jenkins, Ellie-Mae Siame as main leads while Paula Patton, Matthew Goode, Russell Brand, and Michael Caine as supportive characters.

The film focuses on the four children who are taking a holiday at Cornwall, only to find a magical creature at the beach that grants wishes to anyone who encounters it. Meanwhile, a notorious man named Tristan Trent is obsessed with searching for the magical creature so he can make his wishes and let all his dreams come true. With that, it’s now up to the four kids to keep the creature out of sight.

Director Andy De Emmony really gets the children cast off the ground by explaining about the situations on how they can deal with this creature and to themselves when it comes to sibling conflicts and issues in front of the family. Taking advice and inspiration from Steven Spielberg’s movies, including E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, De Emmony and the duo writers, Mark Oswin and Simon Lewis, tackle each scene to create the perfect shots and dialogue from the child stars in order to imitate the perfect flavor and colorful, body language from those movies, especially when the child actors are trying to express their motives and relationships in real life on the set.

However, the plot on the first half of the film seems a bit off as the film storyline left me a bit confused and unmoving during the course of the scenes between the four kids and Psammead. Not to mention the lazy-script writing coming from the duo right there which puts Wilson's literature into a different universe (That is if anyone has read that book).

The magical creature in this film is Psammead — a timid CGI lovable, lookalike of E.T. and voiced by Michael Caine — who provides the children’s imagination by granting any wish per day to children or anyone who comes across Psammead in person. Actor Michael Caine provides a supportive, yet caring friendly-figure for his Psammead persona compared to how much Caine provides for his fatherly relationship with Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight trilogy.

The actor who played as the man named Tristan Trent who selfishly wants Psammead is Russell Brand. Brand was an English native hailing from England around the Sussex area. He has contributed to a plethora of films as an actor, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bedtime Stories, the Despicable Me films, Trolls, and the 2011 remake of Arthur, directed by Jason Winer.

This fleeting, tonal flick may not land on the bad movie section like the junky Spiderwick Chronicles movie but may not land on the good movie section like the Paddington films either. Four Kids and It just lands on the average-pleasure, rather than a guilty-pleasure. For me, Four Kids and It is an 110-minute average-but-somewhat-okay movie, though not as enjoyable to say the least. To make this a simple choice, I say be careful what you wish for before you select this film for your viewing pleasure. If you regret watching this, I say go back to and watch any of the Paddington films just to make up for that time.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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