Posts Tagged ‘ Disney ’

Brave (2012) – 3.5/5

Beautiful, visually groundbreaking film with a strong first act that doesn’t make up for the otherwise strange, choppy, awkwardly structured nature of the rest of the film. The thing is entertaining, sure, but the element they introduce at the end of the first act, the “twist” if you will, comes out of nowhere and ultimately doesn’t work at all .

On top of that, the film establishes certain things it never pays off, namely, the whole **SPOILERS** girl is an excellent archer thing emphasized in all the marketing and posters and toys and pretty much every other element associated with this film since it was first introduced to the public many years ago. Or months. Whatever. **END SPOILERS** What gives, Pixar/Disney? Did you guys have a sudden change of heart regarding this key element of your main character’s personality and just neglect to tell the rest of us, hoping we wouldn’t notice? And why call the film “Brave” if bravery really has nothing to do with the story? It’s not even one of the central themes of the film!

But yeah, the story here is a mess. The whole **SPOILERS** magic bear transformation thing **END SPOILERS** comes out of nowhere and doesn’t work at all. Very little about the film prior to it happening implied that such a thing was even possible, and when it does happen, it’s forced and handled very awkwardly. As is the whole big bad “bear antagonist” side plot, which was very poorly developed and at times just plain stupid, especially at the end. Talk about tacked on.

I think the problem here was that the filmmakers were trying to do too much with the world they created: trying to cram too much story and theme in too broad a manner. And a lot of it feels forced as a result, and phony, and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when all is said and done.

The animation though is great, probably the best to date. This is some truly groundbreaking stuff visually, especially the way the main character looks and moves, and her gestures and facial expressions, and the background visuals, god; it’s all genius. It’s extremely photo realistic, and in a few years, I don’t think we’ll be able to tell the difference between something shot from life and something made on a computer. Hell, we’re practically there now. Impressive stuff.

So yeah, not the best film story wise ever made, but visually, hot damn! Definitely style over substance here, though. The emphasis was clearly more on the visuals than the story, and the film suffers greatly for it. Oh, but the voice acting is pretty good.

Worth a watch if you want to see where the future of computer cinema is heading. Good places, I assure you. Probably.

 

 

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The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) – 4/5

Beautiful, imaginative, funny film with a creative, unpredictable story and a charming main character that actually makes you care for her despite not actually existing in any tangible way. Great job, girl voice actor! I’m talking about the US dubbed version since this movie has been redone with different voice actors a bunch of different times through the years. I would have preferred the original with subtitles cause I’m an elitist snob like that, but this was a pretty damn good dub all things considered.

The movie is very beautiful, and features classic animation I think, the paper and pencil kind that’s since mostly, and sadly, gone out of style. You can kind of tell by the jittery movement of some of the frames, but it doesn’t matter, it’s still great looking, and the story is deep and rich, with nice little touches here and there that really add to the film’s overall sense of wonder and magic. I loved the little world they created here, and wish they had gone into it more as a lot of the deeper stuff is only merely hinted at most of the time, or mentioned in passing, like the thing with the  rats.

I guess such things are part of the story’s unpredictability, but I was really expecting the rat element to come back somehow in the end, especially with the whole “sword” thing being introduced early on. But nope. Oh well. It still works.

I also liked how none of the characters are quite what they seem: you think the main girl is going to be this **SPOILERS** big predictable spunky Disney female type character who loves getting into adventures and doing “boy stuff,” and she is at first, but after she’s discovered by the big guy she actually learns from her mistake and becomes extremely cautious and reserved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such character growth in a kids’ film before.

Same with the “friendship” she has with said big guy throughout the film. From the trailers you think it’s going to be this close, sappy, borderline romantic relationship, but no, it’s not like that at all. In the end they make it seem like it was, and maybe to them it seemed that way since they were both essentially just children, but to me, it didn’t feel like that at all. Their relationship is quick, distant, and cold, almost to the point where I had a hard time buying it at all. Their initial meeting is awkward and forced, like the filmmakers were rushing to bring these two together and establish them as friends as quickly as possible for the sake of the plot, except they forgot to include the part where they actually become friends in any kind of believable manner.

And they’re not even friends really; he’s dying and wants someone to talk to, and she needs his help at the end finding her mother. Aside from that, though, their relationship mostly consists of him trying to get her to talk to him and her telling him to leave her alone. Just like one of my typical relationships, in other words. Hey-O!**END SPOILERS**

Overall, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie, flaws and all. Sure, the world could have been explored more, and sure, aspects of the relationship between our two main characters weren’t quite as defined as what we’re used to from a film of this kind, i.e. a cartoon, but it’s still extremely engaging and imaginative and suspenseful and downright hilarious at times. And what excellent voice acting all around. A very, very enjoyable movie. And the ending was even a little sad. Totally wasn’t expecting that.

The best of 2012 so far, even though it came out in 2010. Worth watching!

 

 

 

 

The Princess and the Frog (2009) – 4/5

Hmm. Yeah, a good movie, though somewhat forgettable looking back on it. Not as good as Disney’s older stuff, but still entertaining and very nice to look at.

The story was interesting, but nothing you haven’t seen before. The villain was the best part; too bad there wasn’t more of him. He just never felt like a real threat. Even his motives were a bit hazy. But this is a Disney film, so I shouldn’t have expected anything too serious.

It accomplishes what it sets out to do. The songs are pretty good, the animation is great, there’s plenty of humor and heart. It’s just a good all around children’s film. Nothing more, nothing less.

Worth watching, sure.

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