It seems like my posts and reviews about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films are a big hit on 18 Cinema Lane. My most popular movie review is my Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill review at 131 views and counting! The Word on the Street post about Marrying Father Christmas going into production is the most popular post on my blog at 212 views and counting! To keep up with this apparent demand, I decided to review Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game. Back in April, I reviewed Reap What You Sew: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, giving the movie the score of 7 and receiving pretty good feedback on the review itself (that review got 3 likes and 10 views). Then, in May, I shared the official synopsis for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game in a Word on the Street post. In that post, I speculated that Niall Matter’s character, Nick Miller, could replace Martin as Aurora’s love interest. Was my speculation correct? Solve this mystery by reading my review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: This cast was solid! Everyone in this movie gave such a memorable performance! While watching this film, there were two actors that really stood out to me. One of them was Niall Matter, who, I think, gave the best performance in any Hallmark movie he’s starred in this year (so far). There was one scene where his character, Nick, was talking to Aurora about the murder victim. In that moment, his eyes looked as if they contained so much pain, showing just how much emotion Niall gave to that portrayal. The other actor is Curtis Tweedie, who portrayed Brian, one of the students at Lawrenceton College. Curtis packed so much emotion into his role that my heart actually went out to his character, feeling bad for him whenever he was upset. Though Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game was Curtis’ first Hallmark movie, I would love to see him star in more Hallmark productions, especially a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie!
The interactions between characters: Something that always remained consistent in the Aurora Teagarden series is the various interactions between the characters. It’s always nice to see favorites from the series, such as Aurora and Aida, interacting with new characters, like their cousin/nephew Phillip. Anytime a new character is introduced in this series, it feels like they are effortlessly woven into each story or the series as a whole. The characters’ connections to each other and the conversations they share are always a delight, especially in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game. Nick, for example, was introduced in this movie as a new character in the series. However, Niall not only fit in amongst the cast, but his character fit in amongst the different characters as well, whether they were new-comers or veterans to the series.
The mystery: In most mystery movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the primary focus is placed on solving the murder mystery. With Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game, Aurora and her friends were also trying to solve a kidnapping case. This second mystery added a new layer to this series and told a story that is rarely written into a mystery movie on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Having more than one mystery also maintained the amount of intrigue that is expected in the Aurora Teagarden series.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Arthur’s lack of screen time: For three years, the Aurora Teagarden series has introduced their audience to several memorable characters. One of them is Arthur Smith, who is portrayed by Peter Benson. Known as the husband of Captain Lynn Liggett-Smith and for telling Aurora to let the police solve the mystery on more than one occasion, Arthur has appeared in all nine Aurora Teagarden films. However, in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game, it seemed like Arthur didn’t receive as much screen time compared to the other films in the series. In the latest Aurora Teagarden film, it felt, to me, like Arthur’s significance as a character got reduced.
Aurora and Nick’s limited amount of time together: Nick Miller, one of the newest characters in this series, is Aurora’s next-door neighbor. Throughout Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game, there were subtle hints to the idea of Nick and Aurora pursuing a romantic relationship. While it’s understandable for the screen-writers to take their time when developing this on-screen relationship, I feel that Aurora and Nick didn’t spend enough time together. The amount of time they spent together on-screen was so limited, it was hard to determine if Candace Cameron Bure and Niall Matter had good on-screen chemistry.
The mystery’s start time: Usually, the start of a mystery movie’s mystery takes place within the first few minutes of the film. For Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game, the start of the film’s mystery didn’t happen until about 20 minutes into the movie. Personally, I think this length of time was a little too long. The ideal amount of time for a movie’s mystery to start, in my opinion, is somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes.
My overall impression:
I really enjoyed Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game! It was better than Reap What You Sew: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery and it continued to spark my interest in this series. Something that I’m definitely looking forward to seeing in these movies is the growth of Aurora and Nick’s relationship. As Rick said in Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. His quote can definitely be applied to Aurora and Nick’s friendship, as their story is far from over. As for the Aurora Teagarden series, I would still like to see an Aurora Teagarden Mystery Month, similar to the Garage Sale Mystery Month in August and Hailey Dean Mystery Month in June. The Aurora Teagarden series is still one of the strongest movie series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, so I do think this idea could work. As long as there are stories to tell, there will always be a mystery for Aurora to solve.
Overall score: 7.7-7.8 out of 10
Have you seen the Aurora Teagarden movies? Which movie in the series is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!