Oz the great and powerful

If you’re obsessed with flying monkeys, china dolls and magic, then this is the movie for you. Who doesn’t want to watch a movie about airborne mammals!

The film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs who ends up in the magical Land of Oz after being caught up in a hurricane.

Warring Witch sisters Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, greet him in turn, showing him the good and the bad in the mystical land.

The wizard of Oz has always been a mysterious character in the original Oz movie. This movie opens up to how he actually became the wizard of Oz in a very imaginative way.

At the start of the movie, the Land of Oz is under the rule of the wicked witch Evanora, living in fear, hoping that one day the prophecy will come true, that a wizard will come and save them. With the arrival of Oscar, a small time travelling circus magician, havoc occurs when he tricks everyone into thinking that he is the wizard

The wicked witch finds out that the wizard has come so she tricks him into thinking that Glinda the good witch is actually bad. Evanora uses her crystal ball and some magic to trick Theodora, thus disturbing the balance in the Land of Oz.

Oscar must now choose between returning home and risking his life, changing the fate of Oz.

It’s brilliant being a film reviewer – you get to watch movies for ‘work’! This was just another excuse to watch another film.

Welcome to Jenny and Hannah’s film reviews – our reviews need to be read as we’re amazing!

The film wasn’t exactly our favourite. We found it confusing as too many things were happening at once and they talked too much.

Kids nowadays don’t want to hear talking; they want to see action. It’s not that the movie’s too short, it’s that the plot is too long.

It’s hard to concentrate on the scenery and action when the actors won’t stop talking. It failed to engage us sufficiently; instead of thinking we were actually in Oz, we knew we were stuck in a dark movie theatre, surrounded by dirtymonkeys popcorn.

Overall the movie was okay. Not wishing to cut a flying monkey in half, but we are forced to give it three flying monkeys out of five.

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Do games positively influence children?

As we know, video games are selling at a huge rate. In fact, Microsoft and Sony, with their Xbox 360 and PS3, have sold almost 150 million consoles combined and have over 1200 game titles and counting!

There are a number of big events in the current world of gaming right now, such as the release of the PS4 and the BAFTAs of gaming, with Dishonoured taking the big title of Game of the year, beating FIFA 13, Mass Effect 3 and C.O.D Black Ops 2.

There are many benefits of gaming. It is said that video games are actually improving the hand eye co-ordination of senior citizens.

Hilda Knott, an 85 year gamingold pensioner plays video games to keep her mentally active. She plays a variety of games such as puzzles on her iPad, and Grand Theft Auto on her 65 inch television.

The President of America, Barack Obama says video games can actually attract teenagers and children into computer programming.

An example of this is the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg told Obama that he learned programming because he took an interest in video games.

But on the other hand, more and more people are becoming addicted to video games. There has even been one case in which a man in China decided to ‘kill’ his son’s avatar, as he was worried about how much time his 23-year-old unemployed son is spending on video games.

The effects of excessive gaming include anxiety and very high levels of depression.

Violent video games also influences aggressive behaviour in teens and young adults. In 2004, a 17-year-old male repeatedly stabbed and killed a 14-year-old boy following an obsession with the video game Manhunt.

After acknowledging the advantages and disadvantages of gaming, we wanted to explore young people’s attitudes to gaming.

A 12 year old student at Bluecoat Academy, Wollaton, responded to our questions about teenagers and gaming, stating “The school could possibly set up a club in which students could play games together in case they do not have the contacts of their friends”.

However, another student of the same school said “The school could have disputes between Xbox 360 and PS3, although we all know that Xbox is better.”

We want to know what you think schools have to do with gaming, whether it should be clubs, interviews with gaming stars, or even, designing future games!

Post your thoughts in the comments section.

Animal Farm meets the circus!

Orwell’s Animal Farm, performed by Bluecoat Academy.

Bluecoat Academy took their own spin on the classic book and play, Animal Farm.  Animal farm is a book in which animals in a farm, named Manor Farm, rise up against their human owner, Mr Jones.

Mr Mansell’s fantastic idea of a circus theme makes this play amazing. This stunning rendition of Animal Farm was brilliantly performed by years 7-13. It took place on 6th, 7th and 8th of February.

The reception and intro were great; it didn’t take very long for us to come in and start the show. As soon as it started we noticed the movements of the animals were quite similar to how the animals would move, without going on all fours.

The costumes were well made and looked a lot like the creatures they represented without using normal animal costumes. However, there were quite a few disturbing scenes in this play which may not have been suitable for younger audiences.

Animal Farm has quite a serious and dark theme as it is a representation of the Russian Communists after Lenin died.  Yet the original idea of a circus theme added humour and lightened the mood, with a custard pie fight at the end bringing lots of laughs.

The voices were extremely clear and there were very few stutters.  You could tell the actors had spent a lot of their free time learning lines and sorting out movements, and the result meant the animal’s voices matched their roles.  It was a nice mix of different ages.

The plot was very engaging and the producers made great use of small space. We give Bluecoat Academy’s performance of Animal farm an 8/10.