Director: Tibor Takács Writers: Tim Burns, Mike Kiss, Jennifer Pertsch Starring: Dylan Schmid, Aidan Shipley, Atticus Dean Mitchell, Emilia McCarthy, Christian Potenza Runtime: 81 minutes Rating: PG
Family-oriented movies are a great way to get household folks, young and old, cozied up for an evening of plain old fun and entertainment. The world of family movies gets a fresh new perspective with new entrant Bunks, Disney XD’s first-ever Canadian original movie, debuting on Sunday, October 27th.
Directed by Sabrina the Teenage Witch director Tibor Takács, Bunks follows Dylan (Dylan Schmid) and Dane (Aidan Shipley) O’Reilly, two Dennis-the-menace-like brothers who constantly get up to no good. When their parents decide they should be sent to a military camp to receive some “discipline”, the two brothers hatch a plan and sneak into Camp Bushwhack, an island camp for kids, posing as camp counsellors. All is going according to plan until the mischievous pair awaken a long-forgotten curse that brings campfire stories to life and unleashes a massive zombie attack. The two brothers now need to man up and become the leaders they were previously only pretending to be.
Family movies are brilliant because they can bring everyone within a family together, no matter age or interests. It’s supposed to be pure entertainment, and Bunks delivers on that note. There is a great blend of laughs and OMG moments, keeping one interested in the film from start to finish. In addition, the creative team has done a great job of retaining some of that Disney magic to which we are accustomed, while still allowing for a more mature tone, allowing for appeal for kids and teens alike. The cinematography is simple and straightforward, with no fuss, which is what one wants to see in a film that has been created with the primary purpose of entertainment. The story is quite good as well, only suffering in a few instances when transitioning between scenes in the film. Also, the creative team has chosen appropriate music to match with the various scenes, not overdoing it with their choices. Overall, the creative elements are well-balanced, blending together the various themes involved quite well.
A point to note is the acting delivered by various Canadian talent. Dylan Schmid and Aidan Shipley showcase great chemistry on screen, being funny, irritating, and adventurous when their characters need to be. Plus, their performances never appear forced, which can sometimes be the case within films that aim to target a wide, general audience. Atticus Dean Mitchell (My Babysitter’s a Vampire) and Christian Potenza (Total Drama) both deliver humourous, leadership-type characters that add value to the story arc and complement the performances delivered by both Schmid and Shipley. Noting complementary performances, all the young stars gave impressive performances for both their age and their experience in film. Emilia McCarthy’s (Kid’s Town) performance in particular was truly refreshing; one expects a typical “Disney Girl” performance by a female actress, but her performance was refined, poised, and well-balanced.
Bunks is a great little film that is sure to keep the whole family entertained. With a good mix of supernatural and horror elements, it has all the necessary ingredients to be an effective Halloween film. I will not be surprised if the film sparks a potential series, especially with it’s abundance of fun, lovable characters.
Bunks premieres on October 27, at 8 p.m. ET on Disney XD.