Four Kids and It (2020)

Based on a well-known children’s novel of the same title. The film introduces us to two adults named David (Matthew Goode) & Alice (Paula Patton) and each of their two children.  These two families meet up at a holiday cottage located on a beach in Cornwall, where the two adults reveal to their children that a relationship has started between them and it is getting quite serious. The four children are not impressed when they hear the news, and all four of them dislike the idea of their parents dating with the possible idea of new siblings too.

But while they all stay at the cottage, the four children discover a cave nearby, which leads them to a private beach. On this beach, the children encounter something unlike anything they have ever seen before. They find a magical old creature who introduces himself as a Psammead (voiced by Michael Caine). This creature lives under the sand and has not been disturbed in over one hundred years.  The Psammead has the power of granting the children one wish per day that will last until sunset.

While the children begin to have their dreams and desires fulfilled, a man by the name of Tristan Trent (Russell Brand), who lives in a mansion nearby, has been trying to hunt the very same creature the children have just discovered. Tristan has large plans of his own once he gets his hands on the Psammead.

Talking about the positives in this film, I truly enjoyed the performance of Russell Brand as the film’s mischievous villain. The actor has brought over 100% commitment to this role, and his work alone is easily the best element of this film. Michael Caine’s voice work as the Psammead is also fun and pleasing. I enjoyed the film’s CGI work and the overall look of the Psammead, along with his movements, which were all excellent to see on the screen.

Four Kids and It is most certainly best suited for young children. But even as a children’s film, there are many ingredients that hold this film back from leaving a major and lasting impact when the end credits roll. Leading characters, including the main family we follow, are incredibly cheesy and, at times, have unlikable moments. I felt the actors were doing what they could with the material and script, but how they were used on-screen only raised my eyebrows multiple times. Some cringe-worthy moments, or things we have seen before, include parents who never seem to watch over their children while the kids have long adventures, characters obsessed with the lack of phone signal, one character continually failing to cook a proper meal and cliche arguments amongst the child characters.  Some scenes also overstay their welcome, and some scenes have been edited in a very odd manner to the point that I felt some moments didn’t feel like a continuous shot as the director may have intended for viewers.

Overall, for some audience members, there are many elements that are pleasing, including the performance by Russell Brand and the perfect voice work from Michael Caine. While it is obvious this film is aimed at younger ages and the key themes are attempting to be heartfelt, the film does have some faults that hold it back from leaving a longer-lasting impact on movie lovers or fans of the novel.

4.5/10

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REVIEW WRITTEN BY PETER WALKDEN

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In Italy, in 1889, Francesca Cabrini (Cristiana Dell'Anna) is a nun in the Roman Catholic Church. Cabrini is passionate about helping young children who live in poverty and roam the streets. Her dream is to start building a network of orphanages in Lombardy....

The Great Escaper (2023)

Set in the year 2014, Bernard (Michael Caine) is a World War II veteran who spends his days living in an aged care home with his wife Irene (Glenda Jackson). As the anniversary of D-Day approaches, Bernard attempts to book in to attend the D-Day commemorations in...

How to Have Sex (2023)

Three teenage girls, Tara (Mia McKenna-Bruce), Em (Enva Lewis) & Skye (Lara Peake), are travelling on a holiday in Malia, Greece. The close friends hope to have a wild and fun time, spending their time being loud, drinking heavily, visiting various clubs, meeting...

Desperation Road (2023)

Maben (Willa Fitzgerald) is currently doing everything she can to get by and survive while attempting to be a good mother to a young daughter. With no home or money to their name, the pair often move around from one place to the next. One evening, Maben is approached...

History of Evil (2024)

In the future, many things have changed. Firstly, corruption plagues America, and local police now enforce a religious government. Those who refuse to submit to religious law enforcement are known as ‘The Resistance’. One member of the Resistance is Alegre Dyer...

You’ll Never Find Me (2023)

In a mobile home in a caravan park, Patrick (Brendan Rock) sits alone by his dining table while a wild storm rages outside. Soon, a loud knock at the door startles Patrick. Upon opening the door, he finds a woman (Jordan Cowan) begging for help and seeking shelter...

Interview: Cast & Director of Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Director Ricard Cussó, along with lead actors David Wenham, Ed Oxenbould, Grant Denyer & Elizabeth Cullen, during the Queensland premiere of Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023) at...

Combat Wombat: Back 2 Back (2023)

Several months have passed since Sanctuary City was introduced to Maggie, aka Combat Wombat (Deborah Mailman), and her sidekick Sweetie (Ed Oxenbould). Thanks to the latest technology developed by tech genius Lenny (David Wenham), the people within the city can now...

Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

Two best friends, Larry (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard (Jonathan Silverman), work at an insurance company and are doing everything possible to receive a promotion. Each day, they dream of earning more money and living a life of luxury, even more so when they see their...

The Mountain (1956)

When a large plane crashes just below the summit of Bald Mountain, rescue parties are formed to climb to the disaster. The aircraft was on a routine flight from Calcutta to Paris when something unexpected caused the flight to crash. Each moment means less possibility...

This Is Me…Now: A Love Story (2024)

Prepare yourself for a one-of-a-kind journey that you won't experience anywhere else as you join Jennifer Lopez, a renowned celebrity artist and actress. Through song, dance, story and spectacular picture, she takes you on a tour of her mind, heart, and soul, guiding...

Subtraction (2022)

Farzaneh (Taraneh Alidoosti) is a driving instructor. During a lesson where she tries to teach someone who is completely ignorant and careless about basic driving rules, she sees something unusual far away outside the car window. From a distance, she can see her...

Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow (2022)

The film is set in Shanghai in 1934 and follows the story of Inspector Sun (played by Ronny Chieng), a brilliant and confident huntsman spider. Inspector Sun is known for working alone, and when we meet him, he has been tasked with solving the ultimate unsolved case -...

Riceboy Sleeps (2022)

Found on a cold winter’s evening as a baby wrapped in a blanket, no one knew where So-young was from. As she grew up, she bounced around from one orphanage to the next before packing her bags when she got older and leaving to live in a big city. So-young hoped for...

Interview: Mark Leonard Winter / The Rooster (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Mark Leonard Winter, director and writer of The Rooster (2023), which is Available in Australian Cinemas from February 22nd. When the body of his oldest friend is found buried in a...

The Rooster (2023)

Dan (Phoenix Raei) is a police officer working within a small community. Life presents many challenges and struggles for Dan, and he finds himself walking around in what feels like a real-life nightmare. Pushing him even further over the edge is the discovery of a...

The Jester (2023)

One evening, a man named John (Matt Servitto) walks around alone in a small community. While walking, it's evident that something, or perhaps someone, is following him from a distance. John also appears to have strange and unexplainable visions of a little girl. The...

Dario Argento Panico (2023)

Introducing a documentary focused on the well-known horror director, writer, producer, actor, and composer Dario Argento. Today, many public figures would say Dario is like a painter or a musician in the film style. Dario's films have always featured fantastic camera...

May December (2023)

Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) is an actress working on her newest film. To prepare for her upcoming leading role, Elizabeth has the opportunity to study the real person she will be portraying, a woman named Gracie (Julianne Moore). It's been over twenty years since...

Birth/Rebirth (2023)

Celie (Judy Reyes) is a single mother who works full-time as a nurse. At the same hospital is Dr. Rose Casper (Marin Ireland), a morgue technician who is working in the field of pathology. Even though they work at the same hospital, Celie and Dr. Rose Casper are...

Interview: Simon Emmett / Welcome to the Darkness (2023)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) had the honour and pleasure of chatting with Simon Emmett, director of Welcome to the Darkness (2023), available on Digital from January 24th, thanks to Lightbulb Film Distribution. Have you been a long-term fan of The...

Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Over the last year, a family of three consisting of Samuel (Samuel Theis), Sandra (Sandra Hüller), and their vision-impaired son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), have been living in an isolated location in the mountains. The film opens with Sandra attempting to share a...

Interview: Josh Forbes / Destroy All Neighbors (2024)

Walkden Entertainment (aka Peter Walkden) enjoyed chatting with Josh Forbes, director of Destroy All Neighbors (2024), Now Available Exclusively on Shudder. How did you become connected with Destroy All Neighbors, and what was the biggest attraction to working on...

Welcome to the Darkness (2023)

It's incredible to think of it now, but in 2002, The Darkness was an unsigned band. By 2004, its key members- Justin Hawkins, his brother Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain and the original drummer Ed Graham- had sold over a million records. But in 2006, something...

The Iron Claw (2023)

Based on a true story set in the early 1980s, The Iron Claw follows the Von Erich brothers and their journey within the world of professional wrestling. Firstly, we are taken back in time to glimpse wrestling icon Fritz Von Erich (Holt McCallany), delivering a final...

The Jungle Bunch: World Tour (2023)

The Jungle Bunch is a group of animals who, when called upon, will help and save the day. Whether it's another animal in need of urgent help or an area in the jungle that requires their attention, their goal and desire is to help maintain peace and harmony. When one...

The Canterville Ghost (2023)

In the late 1800s, there's a wild storm during the night right at bedtime for Lord Monroe (Bill Lobley), the proud owner of a stunningly large manor house in Canterville Chase, England. However, before going to bed with his teddy bear, Lord Monroe encounters something...