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“MIGHTY OAK” Rocks

 

 

Review by John Delia

Mostly an inspirational film, the musical drama Mighty Oak involves a rock band and an opportunity for a pre-teen to show off his talent. More than that however, the movie has a very good musical score, some very good actors and a fine director that leads you through the very touching and compelling film. Although rated PG-13 for some adult substance abuse and brief off color language, it reaches out to youngsters who want to develop their musical abilities at an early age.

Gina Jackson (Janel Parrish) in MIGHTY OAK from Paramount Home Entertainment

Rising star Vaughn Jackson (Levi Dylan) has hit pay dirt with his rock band Army of Love that has been getting a lot of followers for his music and charm on stage. Playing mostly for local clubs, the band is about to go on to bigger and better things with the help of manager and sister Gina Jackson (Janel Parrish) who has booked them for a very huge event. They are flying high until an unfortunate auto accidents takes Vaughn’s life.

Distraught, the band Pedro (Carlos PenaVega), Alex (Nana Ghana) and Darby (Ben Milliken) break up and go their separate ways. Ten years later, a young boy Oak Scoggins (Tommy Ragen), a guitar player and singer, comes into the life of Gina when he’s discovered by Pedro. So begins a story of transformation, inspiration and a new beginning.

Tommy Ragen as Oak Scoggins in Mighty Oak from Paramount Home Entertainment

What makes the film extra special is the motivating performance by Tommy Ragen whose performance as the young ten-year-old Oak Scoggins makes the film a winner. The first time actor sings 8 of the songs he wrote for the film while playing the guitar to boot. It’s not just for the singing, the young boy has the ability to act with great emotion and his presence on stage looking like he’s been singing lead in the band for way more than just this film. He’s an inspiration for those who want to pursue a career in any walk of life.

The whole cast should be commended for their work in the film creating believable characters and working the dramatic script to its heartwarming ending. Janel Parrish co-leads the film as the spunky sister of the front-man for Army of Love. She’s a spunky young woman who knows how to get attention from big entertainment seekers while keeping her brother on track. She actually makes the film work, bringing a lot of viability to the script. She should be the most recognizable of the cast for her work as Mona Vanderwaal in 138 episodes of TV’s “Pretty Little Liars” and a total of 43 credits in film and TV since she was Tommy Ragen’s age. You’ll see her again in the sequels of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before if they ever get released in 2020.

Janel Parrish as Gina Jackson and Raven-Symoné as music critic Taylor Lazlo in Mighty Oak from Paramount Home Entertainment

Mighty Oak has been rated PG-13 for thematic content involving substance abuse, language, some accident images and brief suggestive comments. It is now available Digital Platforms including Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW, and more.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film that inspires youngsters. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Janel Parrish, Carlos PenaVega, Alexa PenaVega, Tommy Ragen, Levi Dylan, Raven-Symoné, Nana Ghana, Rodney Hicks, Gianna Harris, Ben Milliken
Directed by: Sean McNamara
Written by: Matt R. Allen
Genre: Music, Drama, Comedy, Inspirational
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content involving substance abuse, language, some accident images and brief suggestive comments
Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.
Opening Date: July 7, 2020
Distributed by: Paramount Home Entertainment
Released in: Digital Platforms including Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW, and more.

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