Talking Movies: Downton Abbey: A New Era, The Sea Beast and Run Hide Fight

Spling reviews Downton Abbey: A New Era, The Sea Beast and Run Hide Fight as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about a period romance drama, an animation adventure comedy and a crime thriller.

Starting off with a film now on Google Movies…


The Crawley family ventures to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the dowager countess’s newly inherited villa.

Director: Simon Curtis

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith

– Downton Abbey: A New Era is a sequel, following the first adaptation of the beloved upstairs-downstairs TV series drama.
– While a grand and sumptuous affair with a burgeoning cast, set at an iconic landmark, elevation is required when it comes adapting to film – usually by raising stakes.
– The first film centred on a royal visit to Downton Abbey, where the proud staff tried their best to accommodate the king and queen’s permanent entourage and meet their high standards.
– The sequel picks up a few years after the events of the first film and presents Downton Abbey on the cusp of the 1930s.
– The trials and tribulations of the Crawley household continue, making allowance for the shooting of a rather challenging silent film and the countess’s health concerns.
– While Julian Fellowes penned the screenplay, the sequel has a slightly different feel in terms of lighting, using sets and open-air environments.
– Featuring the nostalgic theme from the series, solid performances from its stalwarts, welcoming almost all of the cast back to reprise their roles and integrating typical story elements with a heartfelt undertone, this sequel will appease fans.
– While shot on location in England and the South of France, the interior scenes are more contrived possibly aggravated even further by a large ensemble, warmer conditions and more claustrophobic spaces.
– Essentially one big family with enough outsiders to create turmoil, the emotive subplots, light peril and pristine living help fulfill one’s longing for pre-Covid times.
– The New Era proves that as long as Downton Abbey stands and there’s a demand, this series could keep on going indefinitely.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!

Moving on to a movie on Netflix…


A young girl and a legendary sea monster hunter embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters to rewrite history.

Director: Chris Williams

Stars the voice talents of: Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator and Jared Harris

– The Sea Beast is a visually-spectacular animated adventure comedy with touches of deep sea horror and timely themes.
– It’s an entertaining thrill ride that takes place in a world where capturing or killing sea monsters is not unlike modern whaling.
– Similar to Moana, it centres on the adventures of a legendary monster killer and a young girl on a personal quest of her own.
– Taking on a Pirates of the Caribbean swagger, it starts off surly and grows on you along with its motley crew of characters.
– Urban always delivers and Hator brings some much-needed cuteness but it’s Harris who steals the show as Captain James Crow.
– The dialogue is effective and often humourous but could have used some polish in the grand scheme, yet it’s no secret… The Sea Beast is all about audio-visual splendor.
– The animation style is as comical as Moana, but there are some sea battles and epic moments that reach new heights in a bid to match the legends as detailed by its book.
– There’s a progressive revisionist undercurrent to The Sea Beast that concerns itself with re-balancing gender, race and the treatment of creatures.
– While animated and in the key of Disney without the singalongs, there are a few darker sequences that could scare kids and some adults.
– All in all, The Sea Beast’s feast for the eyes and deeper themes help steer its monolithic story home.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!

And finally a film on Showmax…


A teenager uses her wits and survival skills in an attempt to thwart a group of live-streaming school shooters.

Writer-Director: Kyle Rankin

Stars: Isabel May, Radha Mitchell and Thomas Jane

– The title “Run Hide Fight” refers to the recommended course of action to be taken during an active shooting.
– This contentious film has been criticised for its “filmification” of a desperately tragic and ongoing school shooter situation for the United States.
– It’s also interesting to note that Gus van Sant’s controversial yet critically-acclaimed film, Elephant, captured a similar fictionalised school shooting scenario based on the Columbine massacre almost 20 years ago.
– Centred on a 17-year-old with a ex-special forces father, Run Hide Fight follows a similar plot structure to the original Die Hard with several pop culture influences.
– This audacious move, emulating one of the greatest and grittiest action films of all-time with faint echoes of the Hunger Games, makes it seem geared towards popcorn entertainment and quotable one-liners, but its behind-the-scenes angel is compassionate, trying to avoid violence to subdue and deter attackers.
– Careful to steer away from glorification, Run Hide Fight risks oversimplifying the psychological motivations of its armed invaders.
– They’re lead by a Joker wannabe on a mission to ramp up social media infamy as his school hostage lockdown scenario crumbles.
– Rankin’s crime thriller takes advantage of the controversial subject matter but in delivering a hands-off representation, struggles to find the right balance, essentially caught in a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation.
– Ultimately, through solid performances, resourceful indie filmmaking, timely themes and hot topic subject matter, Run Hide Fight tips the balance in its favour.

A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA… key performances, trademark elements and emotive storytelling help Downton Abbey cross over into the 1930s… A solid 7!

THE SEA BEAST… while familiar, this colourful, fun and spectacular animated adventure comedy is buoyed by a fine voice cast… A solid 7!

RUN HIDE FIGHT… this controversial and taut crime thriller outplays its budget, fueled by solid performances and hot topic tension… A satisfactory 6!

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