Disney+ Roundup – ‘The Book Thief’, ‘Big’ & ‘Splash’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley.

It’s that time again to bring you another Disney+ Roundup on ‘Bradley’s Basement’, and today we have a triple feature as I’ve seen three movies that I’ve never seen before on Disney+ lately. This includes a war film called ‘The Book Thief’ and two 1980s films with Tom Hanks – ‘Big’ and ‘Splash’. 🙂

‘The Book Thief’ was released in 2013 and it stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse. The film was directed by Brian Percival, who’s had a number of TV and films credits including working on ‘Downton Abbey’ as well as the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series on Channel 5.

Based on the 2005 book of the same name, ‘The Book Thief’ is about a young girl who lives with her adoptive German family during the Nazi period and the Second World War. The girl is taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father. She ‘borrows’ books and she shares them with a Jewish refugee. 🙂

This Jewish refugee is sheltered by her foster parents in their home. This was an interesting film to check out, as it depicts what German life was like under the Nazis through the eyes of the young girl. Sophie Nélisse is very good as Liesel, who has won a few awards for playing the character in the film.

Having studied Nazi Germany in GCSE and A Level History, I could sympathise with the girl’s plight as well as her foster family’s in coping with the oppression by the Nazis. There’s also the friend that Liesel makes – Nico Liersch as Rudy Steiner, who happens to be in love with her throughout the film.

Ben Schnetzer plays Max, the Jewish refugee in the film. I was put-off by the film’s narrator turning out to be Death, voiced by Roger Allam, as I was hoping it might be God or Jesus instead. I was also unsatisfied we didn’t get to see Liesel after Nazi Germany and growing up to be a renowned writer.

The first of the two Tom Hanks films I saw recently is ‘Big’, which was made in 1988. Before I check out the ‘Shazam’ films properly ( 😀 ), including its upcoming sequel, I saw the film about a pre-adolescent boy wishing to be ‘big’ from a fortune-teller machine and he transforms into an adult. 😀

‘Big’ is an enjoyable film and Tom Hanks is very good playing Josh Baskin. It was amusing to see Tom Hanks playing a boy in an adult’s body and how he coped in the adult world of New York. The film itself was a huge commercial success and apparently, it proved to be a pivotal film in Tom Hanks’ career. 🙂

As well as Tom Hanks, there’s also Elizabeth Perkins as Susan Lawrence, who becomes Josh’s love interest. I admit that the love story aspects of Josh and Susan are quite dodgy when you think too much about a young boy in a relationship with an older woman, but gradually, it’s touching and sad.

I’ve also seen Elizabeth Perkins in 1994’s ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. 🙂 There’s also David Moscow who plays young Josh Baskin at the beginning and at the end of the film. John Heard, who played Kevin’s dad in the first two ‘Home Alone’ films, plays Paul Davenport, who I found funny and entertaining. 🙂

I think this is the second time I’ve seen John Heard in something outside the first two ‘Home Alone’ films. There’s also Robert Loggia as Mr. MacMillain and Jared Rushton as Billy, Josh’s best friend. I’m sure I saw the trailer for this film many years ago. It’s taken me up to 2023 to watch it on Disney+. 😀

The second Tom Hanks film I saw recently on Disney+ is ‘Splash’, a 1984 film that was directed by Ron Howard of ‘Happy Days’ fame. 😀 I enjoyed ‘Splash’ on Disney+. I must say it’s a lot better than ‘The Shape of Water’, especially as it’s a romantic comedy about man falling in love with a mermaid.

Apparently, this film received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Tom Hanks plays Allen Bauer, a man who’s unlucky in love and he ends up falling in love with Daryl Hannah as Madison, who turns out to be a mermaid. I wish that falling in love with a mermaid is an easy thing to do. 😀

The love story between Allen and Madison is sweet and amusing to watch, especially when she gets to learn more about his world before he ends up living with her in the mermaid world by the film’s end. Yeah, the endings of ‘Splash’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ are quite similar despite being different.

Oh, and the military and the scientists that take Madison in and wanting to study her are similar in terms of how cold-hearted they can be to the ones in ‘The Shape of Water’. Mind you, I’m grateful that we have more focus on Allen and Madison’s romance compared to how ‘The Shape of Water’ did things.

The film also features John Candy as Freddie, Allen’s brother. It’s nice to see John Candy, having seen him in the first ‘Home Alone’ film, but I wouldn’t have considered him as Tom Hanks’ brother in ‘Splash’. There’s also Eugene Levy as Dr. Walter Kornbluth, a scientist who proves that Madison is a mermaid.

Out of the three films I’ve seen recently on Disney+, the two Tom Hanks films were the most enjoyable. ‘The Book Thief’ is more serious in terms of dealing with Nazi Germany and the Second World War, but ‘Big’ and ‘Splash’ were fun in dealing with fantastic ideas and themes that I enjoyed.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim 🙂


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