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4.2 out of 5 stars132
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 22 March 2007
I cannot understand why film distributors gave this excellent family action film such poor exposure in cinemas worldwide. I saw 'Stormbreaker' in my local multiplex and immediately told two friends how much I had enjoyed it, returning with them to see it again the next day. We three septuagenarians (two of us retired high school teachers) agreed that it was the best action movie for young people in a very long time, and that it also had the rare quality of being thoroughly enjoyable to adults. We also greatly enjoyed the many aerial and ground level views of London, a city familiar to all three of us. Alex Pettyfer, whom we had previously seen in 'Tom Brown's Schooldays', acquits himself very well indeed, and the humorous overtones of the 'Batman' grotesques and the reactions of the cartoon characters on the background TV screens during violent action sequences will reassure those youngsters who might otherwise take them too seriously. I have enjoyed the Harry Potter films, but I consider this adaptation by the author of the original Alex Rider book series to be very much more suitable for family viewing. As the DVD had not then been released in Australia, I imported the UK version and lent it to a young friend who works with me in a heritage cinema staffed by volunteers. He loved it, paying it the compliment of making it the subject of his next school essay. 'Stormbreaker' stands head and shoulders above the American pap passing for humorous childrens' movies which crosses our screen during school holidays. Buy the DVD and watch it often with your children.
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on 14 November 2006
I've read all the Alex Rider books.

Stormbreaker is not the best book in the series, but I can understand the movie makers starting there as it gives them the option to make at least five more Alex Rider films..

The film follows the book pretty faithfully, though with a few inevitable cuts and the introduction of a character from a later book. More is given to the female characters, particularly Alex's housekeeper/guardian (Jack Starbright/Alicia Silverstone), presumably to widen the appeal beyond teenage boys and their dads.. The relationship between the nasty head of MI-6 his deputy Miss Jones and the reluctant spy Alex is nicely transferred from the book. I particularly liked the Miss Jones characterisation. I thought the SAS training camp and the relationship with Wolf could have been handled better.

Overall, the plot in Stormbreaker is not the strongest in the series, so

I am sure many will criticise this, but the studio have done an excellent job of transferring what there is to the screen.

It is much better than the awful SpyKids series...
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on 7 September 2006
I took my children to watch this, with no prior knowledge of the themes of the movie. I would best describe it as a "teenage James Bond" character with appeal for all ages, from about seven up. It is slicker than most of the other "teen hero" movies on offer, and appeals to adults more than a lot of the other films I've watched with the kids. And of course, with a proportion of British cast, and set in London and Cornwall, there is the added bonus of some familiar homegrown footage.
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Stormbreaker does exactly what it sets out to do, provide a James Bond for the under 12s.

The story is the usual "bad guy (Mickey Rourke) wants to take over the world" stuff, as seen in almost every James Bond film. After his uncle is killed it is up to the young Alex Rider to stop the evil Rourke getting away with it.

There is plenty to enjoy for all ages here. The girls will fancy Alex Rider and the boys will wish they were him. Some of the action scenes are gloriously over the top and fun to watch. The film does sag in places and perhaps would have been better paced if it had a slightly shorter running time. There are numerous cameos along the way which help to keep the film flowing though and Alex Pettyfer, who plays Alex Rider, is good throughout but not totally convincing. He looks far more comfortable in the fast paced action scenes rather than in slower ones where there is lots of dialogue.

Overall this is a good, inoffensive film which is suitable for all the family.
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on 18 November 2006
I've read all the Alex Rider books to my son and looked forward to seeing them transformed into films. I thought that Anthony Horowitz had done a pretty good job of transposition; books don't morph easily onto the big screen and I did feel the first Harry Potter suffered from the attempt to simply be 'true' to the original novel. In this film, the result is a comic, slick, and genuinely exciting movie. I got very fed up with all the critics who argued that it was too funny to be a thriller, because for me it's a family film and I don't want to sit there worrying about the blood and guts being spilled in front of my children. I also thought that Alex Pettyfer was excellent in the lead, and am surprised by the poor reviews he gets below. Compared to Daniel Radcliffe, he's fantastic, and I felt that he managed to convey very convincingly both the pluck and the insecurity of a 14-year-old coming into his own in a very alien environment. It's not Shakespeare, it's not European art house, it's just good entertainment that anyone could enjoy.
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Having listened to a couple of the later Alex Rider stories on audio CD, I was waiting for the first in the series (Stormbreaker) to appear at a decent price on audio CD before listening to it, so that I could work through the series in order. However, the DVD appeared on discount before the audio CD, so I thought I would go for that instead.

As with all Alex Rider stories, you have to suspend your sense of disbelief, starting at the point you see Alex with his classmates and think that he looks mid-twenties rather than 14, then continuing the suspension of disbelief through the martial arts sequence, and pretty much the rest of the film.

The casting is a complete mix. Stephen Fry is just about perfect, Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo, Damian Lewis, Alicia Silverstone, Sarah Bolger and Robbie Coltrane are all fine, but all of the other main characters, including Alex Pettyfer, Mickey Rourke and Bill Nighy are just plain wrong - Bill Nighy and Mickey Rourke are terrible, and Alex Pettyfer isn't much better.

I haven't listened to Stormbreaker on audio CD yet, but suspect that the DVD does not follow the original story, unless something happens subsequently to make Sabrina forget things. In a later book in the series Sabrina does not believe that Alex works for MI6, in this DVD she is helping him. Very confusing. The story also had more than a hint of Eagle Strike in it, so I don't know if bits have been borrowed from that or whether the book of Stormbreaker is actually very similar.

So, as a film, it's an action movie for teenagers and below. From that point of view, it's fine. However, for anybody who has read the Alex Rider books, or listened on audio CD, I suspect this DVD will be a bit of a disappointment. I know it gets good reviews here on Amazon, but I perfectly understand why it performed so poorly at the box office. Wikipedia gives details on how it got on at the box office, giving the impression that there will not be a series of films to follow after the poor performance of Stormbreaker. That's a shame, as had Stormbreaker been done better, I could well have imagined the whole series being made into films.
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on 7 January 2011
I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie. Having read the book with my 8 year old nephew, we did not realise that there was a movie as well. It was a very enjoyable adaptation of the book . I don't understand why it has not received more publicity.

It was also a great break from the fantasy worlds of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Narnia (all of which I love). The setting was London and personally it was lovely seeing my city captured as a backdrop for this Movie.

It has been great for my nephew to read the book and then watch this excellent movie adaptation.

I hope there will be movies for the other books in the Alex Rider series.
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on 1 December 2006
I have read all the Alex Rider books, and I recommend them. Although the film was brilliant, I was a bit disappointed with it. The acting was mostly lousy, and the storyline is completely different to the original book. The film was exciting, with pretty good special effects, and heart-stopping stunts!

I would watch the film first, before reading the book.

I look forward to a sequel!

Written by my son, age 11 Years.
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on 2 November 2008
Alex Rider (Pettyfer) is assigned by MI6 to work undercover as a computer nerd to find out the dealings of Darrius Sayle, a man generously giving free computers to every school in England.

Based on Anthony Horowitz's award winning novel, Geoffrey Sax's adaptation is a true testament to the book, filled with that exciting Bond styled action along with a great variety of characters; this is an entertaining adaptation and a worthy watch.

Pettyfer (Tom Brown's schooldays) gives a great account of himself as the 14 year old school boy. Pettyfer gives Alex that suaveness and cheekiness that Horowitz intended and though there are a few clichéd moments for the character, Pettyfer still pulls it off.

The recognized supporting cast including Coltrane, Nighy, Silverstone, Rourke and Serkis is excellent, all bringing their own talents to the story. Damian Lewis is especially impressive in his role as Yassen Gregorovich with a cold hearted evilness and sophistication, which is exactly what Horowitz was describing.

The book is very entertaining and one of those childhood fantasises which every young teenager has dreamt about, to be a teenage spy with gadgets and fighting bad guys. The book isn't a necessity to read before watching this, but is recommended as it contains more information about Alex's past and has a slightly better ending.

Director Sax has fulfilled the books ideologies with fast and flowing direction which creates that energetic energy of a teenage boy. The scene in the car crushing yard is a great moment in the film watching Alex fighting around 5 grown men. The action and choreography is excellent in this scene and continues throughout. The fight between Jack and Nadia is even funny despite the serious implications, which adds another element to this film.

Like Bond films, this action adventure has a great deal of seriousness and action and still maintains a light heartedness and adds plenty of humour; watch out for the jellyfish reference.

There is always a question of realism in the action genre and there are some unrealistic moments and just in time scenarios which do put a damper on the story.

Nevertheless Stormbreaker is a great adaptation with great characters and fast flowing action and is a landmark in British cinema for being one of a few British action films that doesn't have 007 starring.

8.5/10
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on 15 January 2007
This is a teenage version of James Bond and it does it very well great cast & action. That young man will make a great Bond one day he has the looks. Anyone over 18 would not find this adult enough but for the under 18's it was a great film.
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