|Table of Reviews|
Devotion – Review
Devotion – Budget of $90 million – 2 hours and 18 minutes
Lieutenant Tom Hudner enters the locker room to greet his fellow soldiers and hears someone mumbling to themselves. Before Tom can investigate, his airmen walk in, say hello, and rib him. One soldier, Ensign Jesse Brown, is standoffish, but Tom shakes his hand. Tom attempts to get closer to Jesse, but Jesse keeps his guard up. Until Tom offers Jesse a ride home because Jesse’s car broke down. Tom meets Jesse’s wife, Daisy, and their daughter, Pam. Daisy invites Tom in for a beer. She worries because the U.S. government gave the airmen their first mission. They will lend air support to the Korean War. Pam makes Tom promise to watch over Jesse. A new aircraft, some backward attitudes, and heavy firefights will test Tom’s devotion to his promise.
Based on Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos, this movie stands out from other historical tellings because there isn’t a bad guy (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Just navy pilots doing their job and working through issues to get along. Although Jesse receives media attention for his race and naval status, he doesn’t want that to define him. Only his dedication to the country. Tom is a true definition of an ally. He quickly points out others’ wrongdoings and listens to Jesse with an ear of compassion, not pity. Tom knows that being African American is one part of Jesse’s story but not its entirety. This movie will leave a tear in your eye and gives these men their due.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
If you don’t follow the rules, you die – Tom
Tell the brothers I appreciate them – Jesse
Strange World – Review
Strange World – Budget of $135 – 180 million – 1 hour and 42 minutes
The town of Avalonia lives in the dark ages, surrounded by mountains. Explorer Jaeger Clade believes salvation is on the other side of the mountains. So, he sets out with his crew, including his son, Searcher, to trek to the other side. The terrain is rough, and the weather treacherous, but they continue. Searcher notices a glowing plant on the ground and tries to touch it, but it shocks him. He wants to harvest it and learn more about it. Jaeger tells Searcher that they are on a mission to save Avalonia, not garden plants. Searcher takes a stand against Jaeger, and Jaeger asks the crew to choose sides. They pick Searcher. Jaeger goes into the unknown alone and disappears.
Twenty-five years later, Searcher is famous for discovering Pando, the green-glowing plant. It powers Avalonia, and the townspeople develop their technology quickly. Searcher married another harvester, Meridian, and they have a teenage son, Ethan. Farmer Searcher has the largest harvest in the city, but something is wrong with the plant. The energy dies quicker than ever, and Searcher thinks it’s a weed. So, he implores Ethan to pull them to save Pando. As Ethan pulls weeds, his friends come by with his crush, Diazo. Searcher wastes no time and introduces himself to Diazo. Mortified, Ethan pulls Searcher away from him before Searcher can ask more questions.
The leader of Avalonia, Callisto, comes to Searcher’s farm. They are old friends because Callisto was on Jaeger’s exploration team before she defected. She tells Searcher that Pando is dying everywhere, and they need to find the source of the problem. Searcher leaves with Callisto and travels to the Pando’s roots inside a sinkhole. As they descend, Meridian catches up because Ethan stowed away on the Callisto’s airship. Searcher finds Ethan with their dog, Legend, and begins to scold him. Then, the airship crash lands, causing Searcher to go overboard with Legend. Meridian offers to help Callisto fix the ship to find Searcher and tells Ethan to wait after he argues to rescue Searcher first. Meridian explains it will be easier to save Searcher with the aircraft fixed. However, Ethan sneaks away to look for Searcher.
Curious Searcher looks around the unknown lands and discovers creatures unlike any other. When he bumps into one, it screams like him. The brute pulls up his mask, and Searcher sees his long-lost father standing before him. After confirming his identity, Searcher catches Jaeger up on Avalonia, his family, and Pando. Jaeger warns Searcher that everything in this strange world wants to kill them. Everyone will need each other to save Pando and Avalonia.
This movie’s animation is off the charts with unique techniques and more profound meaning to each life form. Once you understand the full scope of the film, the style choices for each Strange World character will make sense. Of course, there is more than meets the eye, but family is the story’s core. After years of feeling like a disappointment, Searcher found a path to forge but in Jaeger’s shadow. He vows to be a better father by allowing Ethan to forgo exploring for farming. However, Ethan looks up to his grandfather and wants to be brave and strong. Exploring is Ethan’s dream. Also, Ethan has Meridian as his sounding board. She understands Ethan’s need to grow but won’t allow him to push her away. It’s a mom’s right. While the movie is predictable, it’s funny, heartwarming, and compelling.
I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars
Coffee first, morning later – Meridian
Searcher, we’re explorers. Not gardeners – Jaeger
I’m not your – Searcher
What is happening to my life – Ethan