I'm really violating my own rule this year about not seeing remakes. This time it was Pete's Dragon.
I saw the original Pete's Dragon the week it opened, but I've not watched it for years. I don't remember the ending.
With the exception of the characters of Pete and Elliott, the new characters are completely different from the old one. It's not as lighthearted or silly as the first version. One detail I noticed in this new one is that, unlike umpteen other fantasy movies, all the characters see the dragon halfway through or before. Most fantasies only have the main character seeing the make-believe character, with no one believing him or her, until the end of the movie.
The only person in the movie I recognized was Robert Redford, and he was part of the reason I saw Pete's Dragon. I believe this is the first Disney movie he's ever been in.
It's been decades since I've seen Charlton Heston's Ben-Hur or read the Lew Wallace novel, so I don't remember much about each one. A friend and I saw the remake today, and both of us enjoyed it.
The chariot race does not last as long as the 1959 version, but it is far more graphic. I jumped in my seat and/or gasped a number of times. It hurt just to think about what was happening to the racers, both the men and their horses. And I thought the ending was much too idealistic, and happily-ever-after-ish.
But otherwise, the movie was very exciting, extremely elaborate and well-done.
I suspect that The BFG was originally supposed to be a Christmas release but got pushed back (or forward). It just has that "look."
I can't compare The Big Friendly Giant movie to the Roald Dahl book because I haven't read it. I am assuming the book was written in the 1980s, and that the movie also takes place then. There is one scene in the movie that indicates it, and a small child will never get the reference anyway.
It's about a little girl named Sophie who is taken away by BFG after she sees him one night wandering the streets of London. She learns what his job is, and who his enemies are. She enlists the Queen of England to help the two of them against his enemies.
The only person you will recognize in the movie is Queen Elizabeth, played by Penelope Wilton, who was Mrs. Crawley on Downton Abbey.
I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, even though it is kind of creepy in places.
I've never read Robinson Crusoe, so I don't know how closely the plot of The Wild Life follows the 1700s novel. But then again, this new movie is computer animated with talking animals, so obviously it can't be that close!
It's the tale of a young man who is shipwrecked alone on a deserted island and befriends the animals living on it. Again, since I haven't read the book, I don't know if the critters are supposed to represent the characters in it. And I always thought Crusoe's best friend was named Friday, yet the parrot in the movie was called Tuesday.
The movie is cute at times, but towards the end I got a little bored. You're supposed to stay for the closing credits, but I thought they dragged on too long.
Birth of a Nation is very good but not excellent. It's a little slow in places, and it's hard to keep all the characters, both black and white, straight. Even though it's rated R, it's not nearly as violent as Unbroken was which was only PG-13. There are two brief shots of women's breasts, but that's the only nudity. There isn't even any swearing, except for the N word.
Nate Parker, the actor who plays Nat Turner, looks so much like Denzel Washington that I kept thinking that Parker was Washington. Armie Hammer is a quasi-bad guy and quite charismatic.