You know the old saying sun, sea and cinema trips. That’s how it goes right?
Well, certainly in our house that’s how it goes and given the weather in Belfast there is usually a higher number of cinema trips than there are adventures to the beach!
With the kids on summer holidays, cinemas traditionally ensure there are plenty of options available for weary parents looking some respite from either rain and/or the relentless questioning and requests. This time is sacred. A time to forget the rows, warring siblings, the relentless Irish rain and a chance to be together united in laughter and enjoyment of a good film (hopefully).
Over the course of the summer we have made it to three of the big family releases. Despicable Me 3, Captain Underpants and the Emoji Movie have all been encountered so I thought why not combine the three and find out which (if any) have the much sought after Films and Faith seal of approval.
Despicable Me 3
First up was Despicable Me 3, my kids love this series of films and while a third instalment may seem unnecessary the cash is still rolling in so the studios are no doubt already scheduling Despicable Me 4.
After he is fired from the Anti-Villain League for failing to take down Balthazar Bratt (who is wonderfully stuck in the 80s), Gru finds himself in the midst of a major identity crisis. When a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother he sets off in search of his sibling in order to rediscover who he really is.
These films have always had an element of family journey within them. Whether it be Gru taking on the responsibility for the kids in the first film or finding love in the second he has always been finding himself and extending his family in some way throughout the franchise. Surrounded as always be the bumbling and endearing Minions there is an element of ‘rinse and repeat’ with this instalment but it still works for the most part and certainly we laughed our way through and had a great time with it.
Next up Captain Underpants! Based on the series of successful books this is the story of two imaginative prankster friends George and Harold who love nothing more than creating comic books starring our titular hero. The pair are trying to negotiate school and avoid run ins with their oppressive headmaster Mr. Krupp. When the accidentally hypnotise Krupp into believing he is the real Captain Underpants they unwittingly unlock a world of super hero adventure.
The Captain Underpants stories are not books that have made it to our house yet so I was unsure how the film would be received. However, within minutes we were all enraptured and laughing hysterically at the various gags and fart jokes within. CGI animated but with a lovely hand drawn aesthetic there was simply something refreshing about this story. There is no great depth to it but it was great to see fresh ideas and ways of presenting these on screen. To have two young kids on screen who were creatively minded producing this ludicrous character, albeit by accident, filled my kids (and me) with a little bit of wonder. Creativity is something that should be fostered and encouraged in kids and to see that play out on screen through such creative characters was really encouraging.
I laughed probably a lot more than an adult should at Captain Underpants but the car journey home was filled with shouts of his ‘Tra-la-laaaa’ catchphrase and I knew then how much of a hit it had been!
The Emoji Movie
Last up on our summer of cinema was The Emoji Movie. If Captain Underpants inspired creativity and freedom of ideas this sadly reminded me of colour by numbers. Set inside the phone of a teenage boy The Emoji Movie is about Gene a meh emoji who is more expressive than the others who simply perform their one role.
In essence this movie is about the acknowledgement that we are created for more than one thing. We don’t have to be pigeon holed. We don’t have to stay within the rules of who we are told we are. We can be who we want to be. In truth though this is little more than a bland, half-baked attempt to rehash The Lego Movie. The film is not funny and spends its time cynically referencing apps and at times is incredibly dull viewing. This is quite simply a quick cash grab attempt by a movie studio and sadly, looking at box office, it appears to be working thus far. While my kids say they enjoyed it I was less than impressed and hope that I never have to endure this film again!
Suffice to say then that The Emoji Movie is not the recommended summer family cinema trip. While Despicable Me 3 was enjoyable the award must proudly go to Captain Underpants which was a funny, engaging and catchphrase repeating joy of a cinema trip and is therefore the Films and Faith recommended family film of the summer!
War have you been watching this summer? Let me know in the comments section and let me know which of these were your favourite.