Archive for the ‘Disney Canon’ Category

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast 3D

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment
Belle and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast

That ballroom looked better in '91.

It was around the 3D re-release of The Lion King‘s stellar box office run that someone said it was a sad, sad day at the movies. If Disney didn’t even have to bother putting work into making a new property, but could instead just put an old one out with a new coat of three dimensionality on it and reap cash, actual new movies that are good won’t get numbers at the box office. Disney will stop making good features. Actual movies will get squeezed out of the box office in favour of some old four-star movies trotted out again for all to see. And for some reason that I can’t fathom in hindsight (maybe I’m judging by the wrong movie, who knows), people thought ticket sales for The Lion King were cutting into Drive‘s first week. And yeah, new movies like Drive or Contagion being bumped off the top spot by Lion King is almost certainly a pisser, but were those tickets really being sold to the same audience?

In any case, I just got home from the 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast and that’s what I’ve been thinking about this entire time. Is it really a sad day at the movies when good family films are back in theaters with a new coat of paint? Sure, it’s a lot less work than making a new feature film of equal quality from the ground up. Sure, it’s pretty much every criticism you could throw at it. But in a modern world less and less concerned with preserving our history, more and more caught up in blindly imitating it to make money, shouldn’t it be a welcome vacation to get a Best Picture nominee back on the big screen, no matter how it’s being released there? These are the days when the true family film, entertaining for all members, is disappearing entirely. To get a movie this beautiful, timeless and magnificent re-released is wholly welcome in my books. And especially when the end product looks as luscious and gorgeous as it does. Read more…

REVIEW: Tangled

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Rapunzel is the first Disney movie I’ve seen in theaters since I was a child. I don’t remember the last one, and I’m not counting Disney·Pixar releases in that tally, either. No, I’ve seen WALL·E, Up and Toy Story 3 in theaters. I’m even gonna go see Cars 2. But really, where I messed up was not seeing The Princess and the Frog when it came to the silver screen. That movie was classic in all the finest senses of the word. It had classic Disney characters, a classic storyline and was set in one of the finest cities and eras of America’s classic age. Let’s see, I gave that one… three and a half stars. A fair rating, I daresay. Rapunzel is decidedly more modern, taking a more post-modern approach to the fairytale, mining genre expectations for humour. Before we start pretending this is an original approach, know that I will never mention the film that stole Pete Docter’s first Oscar.

Now that we’re pretending that it’s original to build gags out of story expectations you have going to see fairy-tale-movies, I gotta say: Rapunzel is plain funny. I’ve seen–okay, I haven’t seen that many fairytale movies, but damned if this one didn’t make me laugh far more than I expected to. From brilliant voice acting from Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi to some of the finest character animation I’ve seen in the characters of Maximus (a horse) and Pascal (a chameleon), this movie is one of the funniest I’ve seen from Disney. It isn’t a mean humour, built on biting sarcasm and contempt for all the stories that have come before it. It’s built on a familiarity–the knowledge that the generation of kids seeing this movie this weekend are the kids whose parents were raised on the classic Disney films of twenty years ago. Read more…

Categories: Disney Canon, Movies, Reviews

REVIEW: The Princess and the Frog

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The entire world has a love-hate relationship with Disney Animation. I’ll write another post on my attitudes toward their entire history and various hypocrisies they’ve committed through the years, but suffice it to say for now that this is a studio on the mend. Before Princess and the Frog, they’d entirely abandoned 2D, hand-drawn, feature animation for “new” and “hip” CGI. I’ll say this now, before I start in on my Pixar reviews: John Lasseter is the greatest thing to happen to feature animation since Walt Disney himself. The driving force behind CGI feature-length animation also became CEO of Disney Animation, and rightfully heralded the return of hand-drawn animation to the studio that made feature-length animation at all a reality. … AWESOME.

The Princess and the Frog is the latest in Disney’s grand tradition of princess features. … I’m not going to explain that. If you need an explanation of what a princess feature is, stop reading now and start watching some movies once in a while. The princess this go-round is a young girl from jazz age New Orleans named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose). From an impoverished background, she’s dreamed her entire life of owning her own restaurant. Finally, after saving up for years, she’s just about got her restaurant. However, thanks to being outbid with less than a week to match the offer, the restaurant is all but gone from her future. This is when she meets talking frog Naveen (Bruno Campos), who earlier in the day had been Prince Naveen (of Maldonia!). Knowing the old fairytale, but never quite trusting the power of wishing to achieve her dreams, she gives into frog!Naveen’s pleas to kiss her–and is promptly turned into a frog herself. Read more…

Categories: Disney Canon, Movies, Reviews