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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie Review - Batkid Begins

Batkid Begins (2015)
Directed by Dana Nachman
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Batkid Begins is essentially one big, feature-length commercial for the wonderful Make-A-Wish Foundation charity and while it doesn't quite have the dramatic impact I'd hoped considering its emotional story, it's an admirable documentary about changing one cancer survivor's life forever.  Six year-old Miles Scott was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 months old and he battled for years to fight the cancer, finally succeeding.  When approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation which grants wishes to kids fighting various diseases, Miles' wish was to be Batman -- not just meet Batman, but be Batman.  What started as a modest concept by Patricia Wilson, the head of the Greater Bay Area-based chapter of the charity organization, turned into an epic event attended by 25,000 people as the streets of San Francisco turned into Gotham City for one afternoon to make a young boy's dreams come true as he regained some of his childhood he had lost to battling leukemia.

I can't deny that the corners of my eyes welled up with a few tears as portions of this film progressed, particularly in a quiet moment the day before the City by the Bay's transformation into Gotham in which Miles gets to practice becoming a superhero.  As Miles' story unfolds, you can't help but be moved by this young kid's awe and fascination as his dream of becoming Batman comes true (although, at times, you can also sense an overwhelming aspect of the whole affair to this child).  You also can't help but be amazed at how many people stepped up and volunteered to make Miles' dream a reality.  The short film is innately watchable and well done, but in the end, it's a bit too pleasantly one-note (and this is coming from a reviewer who admires films that carry an old-time sentimental mentality).  By starting the film with images from the amazing day and interviews with Miles and his parents after-the-fact, director Dana Nachman loses a little bit of the impact from the build-up to the eventful day.

While I do have some qualms, it's tough to dislike Batkid Begins.  The feel-good nature of the piece is impossible not to enjoy.  While I had hoped for a little more of an emotional core and a little less of a Make-a-Wish infomercial, Batkid Begins certainly shows the fantastic work of the charity organization and the happiness that it provides to kids who so deserve a little bit of happiness in their lives.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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