Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Movie Review: The Hunters

Title: The Hunters

Genre: action, adventure, family, fairy tales, romance
My Rating: *****
Official Rating: PG (action/violence)
Age Group: 8+

Brothers Paxton and Tripp Finn have a good life. Aside from going to boarding schools all their lives and not really seeing their parents very often, they have a huge house, a stable with horses, Pax has a boat he's going to sail off in, Tripp's got an awesome phone, and, well, basically their family has money. Plus, the boys do have each other, which they're grateful for.
But when Interpol agents show up at their house one day and tell the boys that their parents are international thieves, not researchers, well, that turns everything upside down. Just when things can't seem to get worse, Dylan (the girl Paxton went out with a few times because his parents set them up) arrives. She's got a different story. Something about an ancient society protecting fairy tale items and their magic?
Yeah, the boys really aren't entirely sure what's true anymore. Until they're thrown into a crazy adventure. Can they figure out who to trust before it's too late? And are their parents even alive anymore?

Word of Warning
  • Giant half-clothed statue
  • The Finn boys are led to believe their parents are thieves--something far too easy to believe given the circumstances
  • The whole movie consists of adventure and near-injury (the kids are never actually harmed)
  • Hand-to-hand combat throughout, along with people being shot at with little crossbows. The only people who are hit are two bad guys, and this is off screen.
  • Characters use a zip line to get across a canyon. The second time, they fall in and are assumed dead. By the end of the movie, we are aware that they both survived.
  • One character uses a stick to pretend he has a spear through his middle. It's quick and overly dramatic, basically unbelievable (which was probably the point).
  • A wife suggests that if she didn't know better, she'd think her husband was flirting with their business partner. He assures her this is not the case.
  • Wife figures out a puzzle, and her husband mutters to her, "I am very attracted to you right now" to which she responds with feigned annoyance.
  • There is a suspected intruder in the barn, character goes up to see what it is with a pitchfork, finds his brother.
  • Tripp is apparently an expert when it comes to running away from his boarding school. This includes telling the headmaster he has a nose hair (in Latin) and needs treatment. He refers to his school as juvenile detention.
  • The brothers tease each other good-naturedly but they clearly do care for each other.
  • The Finn boys clearly feel cut off from their parents even though the family is held together by a strong bond. When Paxton tells his mom this, she admits she didn't know until then and is very sorry. Part of this cut off feeling comes from the boys not being told about their ancestry, which the mother claims was done to give them a regular childhood. They feel hurt by this as well.
  • The mirror in the story of Snow White has the power to give a person his/her deepest desire. According to the legend, the only thing anyone who wants the mirror wants is power.
  • Tripp refers to a stone as "this sucker" twice. This is the only language problem in the whole movie.
  • The kids choose to save the world, then their parents (reasoning doing it backward might not work). The mother praises them for this hard choice.
  • A drugged apple makes a character weak and eventually causes unconsciousness.
  • A hench-woman clearly wants to kill the people she is following even though her boss tells her he needs them alive. This includes the mother character, as well as three "kids" (ages probably between 19-15 but not clearly stated).
  • The kids climb a rock wall. At the top, one of the boys is almost killed by a rake-like device that flips up toward his chest/face.
  • The kids come across a skeleton with an arrow through it. They take its torch and move on.
  • A car is shown chasing down the three kids.
  • A girl tumbles down a hill, landing on top of a boy, and then the other boy crashes in and breaks up their tender moment which consists of the boy tucking the girl's hair behind her ear and asking if she's ok.
  • The mother character is tied up and kept prisoner.
  • The girl tries on various moderately immodest evening gowns. We see both the boys without their shirts on, briefly. One of these moments results from the girl looking for the boy and walking in on him while he's apparently changing. She leaves quickly and looks shocked. He doesn't seem to be a big fan of the situation either.
  • Moderately immodest evening gowns worn by characters at a party (we see very little and they are not important to the plot, just there for the party).
  • Betrayal by trusted family friend.
  • Characters enter a graveyard at night and eventually enter a tomb to find the mirror.
  • The bad guy claims traditions are a sort of slavery and power is the way to go, not being afraid of things like the traditions advise.
  • Girl is taken captive by her hair and dragged off. She is later punched in the stomach by the woman that she just kicked.
  • A man turns to stone and crumbles. A woman is hit by an evil beam of light and knocked out. The whole castle implodes and we assume she's dead, but we find out at the end of the movie that she survived.
  • A brief kiss.
My Thoughts
I admit it. The better and more acceptable a movie is, the more picky I am with the "words of warning." Why? Because instead of mentioning the aspects which would cause more concern than others in order to keep the list down to a few pages, I can mention every single little thing and still end up with a decently short list. That is what happened with this movie. I was incredibly impressed by it. It was one of the few PG non-animated movies I would happily watch over and over. It could easily capture a wide range of ages for its audience.
And it's so good. The family dynamics, the brothers' friendship, the romance, and the adventure. Granted, it's a little cheesy when I sit back and think about it. But during the movie, I very rarely found myself thinking that. Of course, after watching it a good three times within two days (rentals....) I did find the cheesy parts without too much trouble. Even then, they didn't bother me very much.
Putting it simply: a great movie night movie for nearly the whole family.

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