I Declare War (2012)

This movie is about a group of kids playing war in the woods. Some of them take it more seriously than others, and at points it gets out of hand. What's interesting is that the director decided to delve into the imagination of the kids involved by having scenes where the sticks and water balloons are replaced with realistic guns and grenades. It raises some questions during the movie when you can't really tell what is real and what isn't.

The story was pretty simple, and parts were pretty clearly lifted from Lord of the Flies. They do a good job of establishing the rules for war right off the bat, so you know that one or more rules are going to get broken along the way. Kids, eh?

Where this movie has its most difficult challenge is finding kids who can deliver performances that are convincing. The problem is that the person in charge of casting was not up to the challenge. Some of the kids do a pretty good job, and others do an absolutely terrible job. As these are kids, I'm going to rest the blame on the directors' heads. That's right, there were two directors, and neither of them did a very good job of coaching the kids that clearly needed help (including one major character and the sole love interest). It's a shame, too, because the performances detracted from what was otherwise an enjoyable movie.

The way that they went back and forth between toy rifles or sticks with stuff taped to them and big, loud guns and anti-personnel weapons was a stroke of genius, and it kept interest level high - especially where real life violence started to intrude on the play war. Sometimes it was confusing, but that just made it more interesting to pick out what was and what wasn't actually happening.

Direction was a mixed bag
Acting was pretty terrible
Effects were good, but their use was excellent
Story was good
Dialogue was a bit too advanced for most of the kids



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