ALSO SHOW­ING

Carmarthen Journal - - Film Reviews -

BUM­BLE­BEE (PG)

★★★ ★★ THE ro­bots in dis­guise re­ceive a wel­come and sweetly sen­ti­men­tal re­boot in the sixth in­stal­ment of the Trans­form­ers fran­chise.

Bum­ble­bee un­folds be­fore events of the orig­i­nal Trans­form­ers and ser­vices a softly beat­ing heart be­neath gleam­ing metal through the touch­ing friend­ship of the tit­u­lar Au­to­bot and a grief-stricken girl played by Pitch Per­fect alum­nus Hailee Ste­in­feld.

On the run in 1987, Bum­ble­bee seeks refuge in a junk­yard where teenager Char­lie (Ste­in­feld) finds him and to­gether they set out to save the Earth from the De­cep­ti­cons.

Ste­in­feld ten­derly con­veys the depth of her hero­ine’s af­fec­tion for her child­like robo­com­pan­ion, who is one of the cutest weapons in the Trans­form­ers ar­moury.

MARY POP­PINS RE­TURNS (U)

★★★★ ★ A SPOON­FUL of nos­tal­gia – make that sev­eral heaped spoon­fuls – helps the joy-in­fused medicine of Rob Mar­shall’s 1930s-set mu­si­cal fan­tasy go down in the most de­light­ful way.

Based on the books by PL Travers, Mary Pop­pins Re­turns pre­scribes two hours of pure, sen­ti­ment-soaked es­capism to ban­ish the win­ter blues and jiggedy-jog our weary souls.

It’s a lav­ishly staged carousel of whoop-in­duc­ing song and dance num­bers that kicks up its pol­ished heels in the face of cyn­i­cism and af­fec­tion­ately harks back to the 1964 Os­car-win­ning clas­sic di­rected by Robert Steven­son. Emily Blunt, above, is prac­ti­cally per­fect in ev­ery way.

This Christ­mas and be­yond, it’s an ex­ceed­ingly jolly ‘ol­i­day with Mary Pop­pins Re­turns.

AQUA­MAN (12A)

★★ ★★★

OCEANS rise and stan­dards fall in Aqua­man, a bloated ori­gin story for the epony­mous DC Comics su­per­hero which cap­sizes in a tsunami of splashy dig­i­tal ef­fects and melo­dra­matic sto­ry­telling.

Scriptwrit­ers David Les­lie John­son-McGoldrick and Will Beall crown a new king of At­lantis via a con­vo­luted trea­sure hunt above and below crest­ing waves, where armies of ar­moured crocodiles and sea­horses clash in a ti­tanic bat­tle.

Sweep­ing panora­mas of oth­er­worldly ma­rine crea­tures locked in bloody com­bat owe a debt to The Lord Of The Rings tril­ogy in their gar­gan­tuan scale and ex­e­cu­tion, but there is no emo­tional con­nec­tion to two-di­men­sional char­ac­ters in the midst of the melee.

Ja­son Mo­moa, above, flexes his mus­cles and pearly whites in the ti­tle role, im­bu­ing his re­luc­tant heir with flashes of rough charm and hu­mour.

Ni­cole Kid­man and Willem Dafoe, sport­ing a fetch­ing man bun, buoy throw­away sup­port­ing roles and refuse to drown in the re­lent­less on­slaught of spe­cial ef­fects trick­ery. We are not so for­tu­nate.

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