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THE MOVIE GUY — Girl power drives two teenage adventures

Enola Holmes

Netflix

3 ½ Stars

 

The Secret Society of Second Born Royals

Disney+

2 ½ Stars

 

Other than the rise of streaming services, perhaps the most notable new trend in movies is that filmmakers are re-working classic stories with colorblind casting and overtly feminist attitudes.

The resulting films have generally been refreshing and quite enjoyable.

We get two solid examples of this with the online releases of Enola Holmes and Secret Society of Second Born Royals.

Both films focus on teenage heroines who chafe at the traditional gender roles they are expected to accept. These are girl power movies that are obviously aimed squarely at teenagers, so they are also filled with a nice mix of action, melodrama and the slightest hint of romance.

Enola Holmes is the more accomplished of the two films, with Millie Bobby Brown playing the title role of Sherlock Holmes’ little sister. It begins with a search for her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter) and ends up with a fight to save a young lord (Louis Partridge) from an assassination attempt.

It’s everything you’ve come to expect from a Sherlock Holmes mystery, except with a 16-year-old girl doing the sleuthing while Sherlock watches from the sidelines.

Brown is very charming in the title role. She’s very adept at handling the emotional moments as well as several robust action sequences.

The supporting cast and Victorian era production values are also top notch. I think this would have been a solid hit in theaters, and I expect Netflix will trumpet the film’s streaming success after this weekend.

Society of Second Born Royals plays much more like a Disney Channel movie, with Peyton Elizabeth Lee playing a second born princess of a small European country who discovers that she has superpowers.

It turns out that this is something that happens with most second born children in royal families, so while the eldest will take the throne, the seconds will be charged with protecting the kingdom.

It plays like a Breakfast Club version of an X-Men movie and offers some OK action moments as well as the humor and romance we expect.

The acting talent is a notable step down from Enola Holmes, but it’s still solid enough to please the target audience.

Perhaps just as important, both films offer plenty of opportunity for sequels.

Enola is based on a series of six young adult novels, while Second Born can simply plug in a new villain and be back up and running.

Additionally, Henry Cavill is so charming as Sherlock Holmes that I would love to see he and his sister team up for a few additional adventures. I expect I won’t be alone in this.

Both films are enjoyable adventures that should thrill young audiences, as well as parents looking for some wholesome-but-still-cool entertainment for the whole family.

Enola Holmes is streaming on Netflix. Society of Second Born Royals is streaming on Disney+.

 

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.