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I Declare War
Drama, Action, Comedy
IMDB rating:
Robert Wilson, Jason Lapeyre
Eric Hanson as Kenney
Alex Wall as Scott
Aidan Gouveia as Quinn
Siam Yu as Kwon
Alex Cardillo as Frost
Spencer Howes as Joker
Dyson Fyke as Sikorski
Patrick Mölleken as Skinner (voice)
Michael Friend as Skinner
Andy Reid as Wesley
Storyline: Armed with nothing more than twigs, their imaginations and a simple set of rules, a group of 12-year-olds engaged in a lively game of Capture the Flag in the neighborhood woods start dangerously blurring the lines between make-believe and reality. Paint-filled balloons = Grenades. Trees = Control towers. Sticks = Sub-machine guns. The youthful innocence of the game gradually takes on a different tone as the quest for victory pushes the boundaries of friendship. The would-be warriors get a searing glimpse of humanity's dark side as their combat scenario takes them beyond the rules of the game and into an adventure where fantasy combat clashes with the real world.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
HQ DVD-rip 720x304 px 1403 Mb mpeg4 2092 Kbps avi Download
DVD-rip 640x272 px 698 Mb mpeg4 1039 Kbps avi Download
If the acting was better this could have been something
First off, I'm not the one who usually goes 'I can't stand child actors' like many others, there have been many cases in which using child actors for a serious movie have worked very well.

'Stand By Me', 'Mean Creek' or 'King Jack' to name a few all had excellent acting in them by leads consisting mostly of kids.

But the acting here (for the more-part of the cast) really is sub-par, even for child actors. And it doesn't help that the dialogue often gets truly cringe-worthy: "even retards are more popular than me!" cries the stereotypical bully in one scene for example.

The actual plot though overall is pretty decent and with a better cast and director it could have been fairly decent.

It's listed as a comedy here but there is very little fun in this movie as it portrays children playing war in a very serious fashion, perhaps to draw some similarities with real war, but I didn't think it really worked.

If you want a movie with kids playing war in the woods then go see 'Son of Rambow' instead, that's more on the comedic tip but at least it entertains without getting cringe-worthy.
The Little Rascals in combat
Plot of the film is kids play war, tantrums are thrown, somebody gets hurt. Though certainly watchable, this film leans towards mild exploitation rather than any serious social commentary or observation on childhood and adolescence, so if looking for something heavy like "Ratcatcher" or "Lord of the Flies" you'll need to look elsewhere. That's not to say the filmmakers intent was to produce any type of exploitation, I really don't know, perhaps they intended to produce some type of profound allegorical tale, one to cause serious contemplation. If so, judging by many of the reviews here they achieved that goal, so hats off. Myself, I did no serious anything after watching the film, but here are a few observations. When characters are kids, no one expects them to perform with sharp logic or reasoning, so many of the lapses in such can be explained there, but it's still distracting. Several things are amusing, though not sure if intended to be. The character of field commander Quinn is described by his opponent PK as a brilliant nemesis and tactician. If leadership quality includes crying and running home when one of your own grunts pelts you with a tomato, then Quinn is a regular Patton. PK appoints the role of chaplain to one of his less aggressive soldiers, a boy who attends church on a regular basis, and as is customary in film today, his faith is mocked throughout. Another of PK's soldiers is quite inquisitive, contemplative, aggressive even, yet he goes into battle forgetting his only weapon. Fighter, intellectual, or idiot, you decide. As I said worth a watch, though you might want to lower your expectations if you've read the many glowing reviews here.
Stand By Me for a new generation
This is a difficult one. Great movie with great performances by the kids. But a tough one as the kids are playing with guns. Not real guns, they use sticks for that and use rocks as hand grenades, but through their eyes they are real. I hope that the recent violence and gun shootings don't put anyone off going to see this. It doesn't glorify violence in any way, in fact it gives an anti-violent stance. It reminded me of this generations Stand By Me meets Lord of the Flies meets War Games meets Son of Rambow. I really hope that it finds an audience. It deserves to. It made Ain't It Cool News' Top 10 list of 2012. It'll take some creative marketing to get people to watch it but in 10 years time we'll look back at it they way we look at Stand By Me now.
An eloquent anti-gun culture essay
This refreshing Canadian film, which is reminiscent of Christophe Barratier's La Nouvelle Guerre Des Boutons, is an eloquent and impassioned treatise on the need for gun control. These boys and girls are very serious about their war games. So serious that they start to believe the wars are real, important. So important, in fact, that they begin to think that their friends' lives are expendable in pursuit of vanquishing their enemies. It is quite clearly saying 'This is what happens when people who have no need to carry guns do so'. Only a couple of the kids don't lose sight of the fact that its supposed to be a game; they are the ones who stand back from the crowd and see the bigger picture. The acting is first rate, and the effect created by using kids playing capture the flag to represent the men and women of America's ammosexual culture is compelling.
Playing war
Doing a movie with kids is pretty difficult. Only thing that is supposed to be as difficult is handling pets/animals. But this really holds the premise and the promise it is giving the viewer. The actors are young, but they are all really good. Thankfully the script is helping a lot, by not pulling punches and having those kids do things that you wouldn't expect (or maybe you would).

One of the twists is the "fantasy" bit, that you will grow accustomed to pretty quickly. It helps elevate the movie to another level too. Are kids different and what makes them act that way? Thankfully the movie is not blaming something in particular. If your fantasy and your character trades allow it, you will go a certain direction. Really nice movie with a very good story
Great movie. Great cast.
I went into this with low expectations. I am glad I watched this. It was a great movie with an excellent cast. The special effects were good without being over the top. Just enough to add to the movie and not take anything away from it. This movie reminds me of many days spent in the woods with nothing much more than our imaginations and either toy guns, or sticks used for guns/rifles. Pine cones for grenades. You had to be hit with it for it to be considered a kill. We also never were quite as violent as the kids in this film. Although our language was probably just as bad if not worse. I don't think this movie compares to any others. It, to me, stands on it's on. Again, a very good movie. That is worth watching.
Original concept but boring.
I really wonder where the comedy part actually was in this movie, as stated in the genre section by IMDb. I rather felt sorry for some of the leading playing figures. I think that P.K. and Skinner would be very interesting study objects for aspiring child psychologists, and eventually could use some proper psychological assistance.

On second thought I ended up watching 90 minutes at a cinematic display of a game played in the woods like scouts members still play. But in this case performed by a group of youngsters with a lot of dangerous imagination. It reminded me sometimes of "The Goonies", but without the pirate ship and without Chunk.

At times the acting was very annoying and amateurish. All the characteristics of a low budget film were there : the same location all the time, endlessly running back and forth in some local woods, no expensive action scenes or props. Personally, I thought P.K. wasn't exactly a textbook example of a leader. He'dd rather gather in the group of most bullied boys at school.

The concept is original. It shows how children experience the adult traits like hatred, jealousy, love, loyalty and friendship. In reality this could also lead to similar incidents, unfortunately. Only the effect is weak and makes this film a slow, boring and totally not emotionally touching film.

More reviews at http://opinion-as-a-moviefreak.blogspot.be/
War ... It's child's play
Like many fellow viewers at the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Films that afternoon, I didn't have any clear idea on what to expect of "I Declare War". It plays at this prominent and reputedly brilliant genre festival, so it must contain some sort of significant cult value, that's for sure. But what exactly to prepare for, I didn't know… Drama and valuable coming of age life lessons like in "Stand By Me"? Adventure and thrills like in "Lord of the Flies"? Or maybe something entirely unique and innovative like "War of the Buttons", or something extreme and shocking like "Battle Royale"? It became somewhat of a mixture of everything, in fact, and yet at the same time something totally new and original. Although I certainly can't state that "I Declare War" is one of the greatest and most eye-opening films ever made, I'm nevertheless very glad that I watched it and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a wide variety of film fanatics. It's an atmospheric and occasionally very suspenseful motion picture with sublime performances from the youthful ensemble cast (not a single adult in the film) and a well-scripted scenario that thankfully doesn't get overly moralizing or metaphoric near the finale. It's summer vacation and the neighborhood boys gather every afternoon in the woods to play war. The rules are quite simple: two camps and two generals instructing their teams to capture the opponent's flag through smart tactics and ingenious war strategies. The soldiers use wooden sticks and water balloons, but through their vivid and wildly imaginative eyes we see rifles, machine guns, bazookas and grenades. Today also promises to become a special day for the troops, as there will be mutiny within the platoons, female soldiers joining for the very first time and ordeals that will genuinely put the soldiers' friendships to the test. "I Declare War" is reasonably fast-paced and benefices from terrific filming locations as well as from steady direction and – as mentioned already – stellar performances. The sound, visual and make-up effects definitely aren't childish, but neither are they provocative or graphic. In other words, this isn't just intended for physically grown-up people, but also for emotionally mature audiences … largely accomplished by kids! What I appreciated most of all was that, at all times, the children remain in fact children. Their reasoning, motivations and interactions are exactly like any child of whatever origin or culture would react. That sounds logic, but it really isn't as the movie will make clear, and that's why it's such an impressive and highly recommended effort.
I declare this movie sucks
I do not know what movie the other reviewers were watching because "I declare war" was 90 minutes that I wasted watching this crap. The kids repeatedly mouthing innate conversations while on the hunt for the enemy camp that no real kids would actually be saying. A so called wannabe military strategist General PK replying "no" when a kid asked if Napoleon ever lose a war, I guess the movie writer never heard about Waterloo.The only part of the movie that I found even remotely amusing was when the kid returned to the enemy camp where he had been tortured and overacted his death scene after being shot by the enemy camp kids.I believe this would have made a decent 30 minute episode of the new twilight zone. Anyone who thinks this movie belonged in the top ten movies of 2012 probably also thinks Spring Breakers should get a Best Movie Oscar nomination.
What happens when innocent fun gives way to danger? Classic theme well-executed.
In the tradition of "Stand by Me" and "Lord of the Flies" comes a poignant dark comedy that puts a timely spotlight on the games kids play and the consequences of seemingly innocent actions when fun gives way to danger.

Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson co-directed from a Lapeyre script. Wilson is an accomplished producer -- this is his second feature directorial effort (he serves as a producer on this as well). This is Lapeyre's followup to his first narrative feature "Cold Blooded." The movie had debuted as a work-in-progress print at ActionFest in North Carolina in April, where it took home the jury prizes for Best Film and Best Screenplay. It went on to a triumphant premiere at last month's Toronto International Film Festival. It took top honors here in Texas, winning the Fantastic Fest Audience Award.

The premise of "I Declare War" is deceptively simple -- a group of kids gets together on a regular basis to play war games in the woods, challenging each other in mock battle with harmless paintballs and tree branch bazookas. We used to play cowboys and Indians with water guns and toy pistols. Some of us graduated to Civil War reenactments. We turned out okay. So when these youngsters choose to head out into the forest and get a good physical workout trying to steal the opponents' flag from their home base, while most of their peers are engrossed in role-playing games on their computers, this looks like a marvelously healthy alternative.

But boys will be boys, as they say (okay, there is one girl), and the situation inevitably turns sour. Rivalries turn real as jealousy, love, and loss come to the fore, and some players take the game one menacing step further. The timely topic of bullying suddenly rears its ugly head as we see its root causes on display before having the chance to look away. As in 2004's "Mean Creek," one of my all-time favorite indies, innocent joy turns to potential tragedy as the line between fantasy and reality blurs both on screen, for the viewer, as well as in the minds of the youngsters.

What the kids begin to see in their minds -- a stick of wood is suddenly a rifle, a paintball is a real grenade -- is reflected in the film itself. This is just one of the many masterful strokes that sets "I Declare War" apart from its brethren and makes it such a powerful cinematic experience in its contribution to a rich cinematic tradition, the classic morality play writ large when the protagonists are vulnerable adolescents.

This character-driven study on the limits to which a man/boy can be pushed rests on the abilities of this age-consistent ensemble cast to make these characters believable. Without that the narrative would fall apart like an army facing mutiny. Standouts include Gage Munroe as PK and Michael Friend as Skinner. Both turn in frighteningly genuine performances that may draw a tear or two. All team members are on somewhat equal footing in significant roles with few in background support. Kudos must go out to Siam Yu, Aidan Gouveia, Mackenzie Munro, Alex Cardillo, Dyson Fyke, Spencer Howes, Andy Reid, Kolton Stewart, Richard Nguyen, Eric Hanson, and Alex Wall. Another bold choice -- there are no adults in this tightly-focused production.

The movie's authenticity also stems from its unscripted feel, as the youngsters were encouraged to insert dialogue using their own teenage vernacular and improvise where it was agreed the young actors would best know how to behave in a certain situation. The language is raw, to be sure, not unlike my 2012 SXSW Film Festival favorite "Funeral Kings," with F-bombs galore and enough obscenities to make their parents blush. But it always effectively serves the plot and is never gratuitous or overtly offensive.

Production values are well above the typical indie or foreign film. The entire picture was shot in one exterior location, a seemingly simple task made much more difficult by the limited hours allowed for underage actors and inability to avoid shadows no matter how well lit. Still, it always appears to be magic hour with the kids awash with the stunning beauty of nature, bathed in sunlight, their angelic innocence filling the screen.

Composers Eric Cadesky and Nick Dyer have crafted an intricate score that's surprisingly heavy, serving as a perfect dramatic counterpoint to the child's play in the great outdoors. The action dictates the viewer's emotions, not the clichéd tugging of heartstrings with violins and cellos, and that's as it should be.

The camera-work is virtually all Steadicam, affording cinematographer Ray Dumas the ability to maintain fluid motion throughout, despite the natural obstacles inherent in shooting on a forest floor. The combatants often move with the frame and not through it, as though we were running right alongside them. These tracking shots bring the viewer right into the action, allowing us to feel as if we're part of the game. But we're playing both sides -- but they don't know that -- and that's part of the fun of I Declare War. Spies abound, and you're one.

"I Declare War" also works because we've all been there, more or less -- every audience member will see a bit of their golden youth in one or more of these kids, for better or worse. If painful it can be cathartic. If pleasant it's sweetly evocative of a time past to which many wish we could return.
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