Millennials Talk Cinema

It’s Thanksgiving time, and that means that holiday movies — or pretty much any movies with magic in them — are now officially in season. The streaming flicks that have currently caught the attention of our local critics are an emotionally rich new take on the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland stories from Brenda Chapman (co-director of Pixar’s “Brave”) and a wacky/spoofy all-Lego mash-up of “Star Wars” characters, giving lovable homage to all previous films and the notorious 1978 television oddity “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” Here’s what writers Alexa Chipman and Amber-Rose Reed have to say about this magical pair of now-streaming attractions.



Alexa Chipman

This film expertly intertwines the lore of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan.”

It constantly shifts between the realm of imagination and reality, like showing an intricate spear that flickers into a rough stick, then back to a spear. By the end I had no idea what was “real” and what was not. How much of the story is in the childrens’ dreams and how much of it actually happened?

Once I let go of trying to figure that out, this otherworldly tale soared, catching me right in the feels!

In this movie, loss, courage, family, and coming-of-age explode with beauty. It practically breathes with magic and what it means to be alive.

The storytelling is richly Dickensian. For those of us mourning the loss of the Dickens Fair this year (for admirable reasons, but that doesn’t change the fact we will miss it) this is a perfect substitute.

I was especially grateful for the streaming format. The tea room scene is a stunning example of the height of Victorian elegance, and I was able to pause it to admire heaps of scones and sweeping gowns.

You can’t do that at a theater!

Hats off to the child actors in “Come Away” who are at the heart of its success. Jordan A. Nash is a thoughtful, passionate Peter Pan and Kiera Chansa’s Alice hovers with pensive creativity. They are surrounded by an ocean of talent, from Angelina Jolie to Michael Caine. As their compassionate, flawed father, David Oyelowo’s performance is incredibly moving.

“Come Away” is created for dreamers — those of us who never truly grew up. If you still check closets for a glimpse of Narnia or run out into the woods to play pirates with twigs, this movie is a loving tribute to your stubborn hold on imagination.

Wonderland and Neverland never went away. All we need to do is reach out to find them again.

[Suggested Emojis: Two Thumbs Up]



Amber-Rose Reed

This is, believe it or not, my very first Lego movie.

My last major experience with Legos was the deep mourning of losing my Lego ghost mini-figure, thus rendering my ghost ship just ... a ship.

This was a much more fun experience.

If you’re familiar with the infamous “Star Wars Holiday Special,” then you’re familiar with Life Day, aka Star Wars Christmas, traditionally celebrated on the planet Kashyyyk with Chewie’s family. But after a Jedi teaching set back, Rey goes in search of a Life Day miracle, leaving her friends to roast the tip-yip and celebrate without her. The Life Day miracle comes in the form of a kyber-encrusted key that can send a Force-user backwards and forwards in time.

Don’t ask too many questions of this timey-whimey construct. this is a 45-minute Lego romp that doesn’t seem too interested in the pressing questions of time travel. What follows Rey’s discovery of this key has hints of “A Christmas Carol,” with lessons being learned in the past and present, but suffers from being so short, so those lessons are mostly told, and not really learned.

It was super entertaining to see all of the “Star Wars” timelines crash together, both in the shorter segments and the longer ones. Some of the smaller touches were especially delightful, such as Lego Rey fighting with the same style as Rey from the movies. The “Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” is a fun romp through the “Star Wars” timeline, and well worth a watch.

But if there is a sequel, I have a request.

Please let Rey and her friends go on a group adventure.

I know she’s a Jedi now, but they still go on romps together, right? Please?

[Suggested Emojis: Smiley Face, Life Day Tree)

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