08th Apr2021

‘Come Away’ Blu-ray Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jordan A.Nash, Keira Chansa | Written by Marissa Kate Goodhill | Directed by Brenda Chapman

Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland, Angelina Jolie and Kallus from Star Wars: Rebels sounds like a cracking Sunday afternoon to me… It has been a while since I got to see a decent movie based around the whole Peter Pan tale. I always thought 2003s Peter Pan with Jason Isaacs as Hook was far and away the best version, well outside of Hook obviously. Whenever a new film comes round, be it animated or live action, I am always keen to see how this one is going to play out and how they are going to make it fresh, original and different enough to warrant my attention (wow, I just used three words that basically mean the same thing).

I wouldn’t say I had the loftiest aspirations for Come Away to be honest; after all on the surface it kinda just looked like a mash-up between Pan and Alice but without ‘the house of mouse’ pulling the strings! The cast did grab my attention though with Jolie, David Oyelowo, Micheal Caine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw all in attendance. Well I say in attendance but those second two names pretty much show up and leave as quick as they came. With all of that said I made myself comfy on the couch cuddled up to my missus and 2 of my 3 girls as we watched Come Away… But what did we think?

Alice (Keira Chansa), Peter (Jordan A.Nash) and their older brother David (Reece Yates) have the most amazing imaginations and spend their days playing in the woods having tea party’s, running with the lost boys, sailing boats and having epic sword battles with pirates. All the while under the encouraging supervision of their parents Jolie and Oyelowo. That is until one day tragedy strikes and eldest brother David is lost to the seas (he drowns but my way sounds better). Peter and Alice find that they need to step up as their mourning parents struggle to cope. Alice feeling it’s time to grow up and become a lady while Peter thinking he needs to be the hero BUT how do you shake the call of Neverland or the magic of Wonderland?

Before I get further into this review, I would like to talk about all the good stuff this film does.

The children Chansa and Nash are absolutely superb; with Nash as Pan being the anchor for the movie and really keeping me involved but both our main child actors are superb. Angelina Jolie is wonderful in the first half of the film but once the elder brother dies she really just grated on me. I do kind of understand that this was when the kids take the reigns; but even the scenes she was in didn’t do a great deal for me, however her performance in the first half is on point. I can’t say enough about how good she was at setting the tone.

I felt very much the the same about Oyelowo but he hits a level, hots his stride and remains there for the duration, I am a fan though so I was good with his performance. Director Brenda Chapman (Disney’s Brave) does a great job of bringing forth the magical side of proceedings and not having them seem over the top. Come Away does fill your heart at times and has you wide eyed with bewilderment and a big old smile from ear to ear… so job done.1

Having said all of this, I can’t say Come Away is perfect and although my gripes are small they are gripes nonetheless. Micheal Caine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are barely in the movie, which in the case of the latter is happening too often for my taste. I don’t really understand why Alice is in the film, I realise it’s a way of crossing the two characters over and audiences love that kind of thing but while I really enjoyed the child actress and the magical scenes around her, I couldn’t help but think “what exactly did this character do for the story”. The story does get a tad convoluted if I am being honest and in the second half starts to lean on the Easter Egg connections a bit TOO hard.

Overall I do recommend Come Away though, it was a cool little family film and our family really enjoyed it. Yes, I was smitten with all the fantastical reality the kids made in their head and I loved the way Chapman kept subtly reminding us that what the kids are seeing when they play isn’t really what’s there and I loved that. All in all this is a solid recommend. Come Away has a ton of heart and it’s very well made.

***½  3.5/5

Come Away is released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 12th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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