Review: Frozen

FROZN_014M_G_ENG-GB_70x100.inddStarring: (voices of) Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk

Directed by: Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck

Disney latest animated family film is the rather winter-y Frozen, which is computer animated, much like their last two films were, and like Tangled, it continues the tradition of musical about princesses. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, directed by Jennifer Lee, who also wrote the screenplay, and Chris Buck, who directed Tarzan for Disney back in 1999, and features the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad.

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Review: Saving Mr. Banks

movies_saving-mr-banks-posterStarring: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, B. J. Novak, Bradley Whitford, Ruth Wilson, Annie Buckley, Rachel Griffiths

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Everyone knows Mary Poppins, the Disney film, which stars Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke, but the book series it was based on, by P. L. Travers, is not as popular, at least not anymore. Saving Mr. Banks tells the story behind how the books became the much-loved film that we all know, with Tom Hanks starring as Walt Disney himself, and Emma Thompson as British author P. L. Travers.

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Review: Planes

PH4BnI8ap8kN76_1_mStarring: Dane Cook, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Priyanka Chopra, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Carlos Alazraqui, John Cleese

Directed by: Klay Hall

The first shot of Disney’s latest animated feature, is almost disclaimer-like, in telling you you’re in the ‘world of Cars’. Indeed the film is set in the same world as Pixar’s 2006 and 2011 Cars films, but this isn’t a Pixar film, and so having the expectations of one from Planes is probably unfair.

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I loved Tangled. Possibly more than what is appropriate for a 20-year-old guy. It’s good old Disney, with music and magic.It doesn’t have the double layer, with something for the adults as well as the kids, like Pixar does so well, but that’s okay. It wouldn’t work for everyone. I think the comedy in this, though easy and child-orientated, will keep parents entertained as well.

It’s the most expensive animated movie ever, and it looks it. I think it was money well spent (I hope they make it back). It looks amazing, and the use of 3D is very good. The scene everyone will talk about is the lantern scene, just because of how incredible it looks, and all the kids in the cinema reaching out to touch the floating lights. With so many 3D movies out these days, you’d think they’d learn by now that you can’t touch things in 3D. Baby Rapunzel (was she born with hair that already past her shoulders?) is so adorable. She is serious competition for Agnes from Despicable Me, and Bonnie from Toy Story 3, in terms of animated cuteness.

I’m sure the children Disney is aiming Tangled at won’t notice or even care, but the plot has some holes in it. Well, not holes, but smudgy lines. Why would Mother Gothel tell Rapunzel when her real birthday is (or her real name even), especially since she seems so hesitant to celebrate it? And does she come to love Rapunzel over the years? It certainly doesn’t seem so. It also seems awfully convenient that she would leave straight away for a three-day journey for her birthday present, especially after a big argument. The other major issue is: if the lost princess’ name was Rapunzel, and she would be about the same age as this crazy girl with ridiculously long hair, why doesn’t it occur to Flynn/Eugene that she could be her? Or the horse with the human brain? Or to anyone of the dancing people in the town that she looks exactly like the baby in the mosaic? Also, [SPOILER ALERT] how do her parents recognize her with brown hair? Mother Gothel was the one who discovered that cutting it makes it brown right before kidnapping her… Or did they just see it in her eyes? (Yes, that’s me being cynically sarcastic.) [SPOILER OVER]

That’s quite a long paragraph of plotline oddities. But really they don’t matter. The film still works, and is a treat to watch. The music is also not bad, but I’ve never been a fan of Disney songs, they just never do anything for me. I imagine people who want to will like them. I’m glad Tangled came out in 2011 here in the UK, so I can safely say it may be my favorite animated film this year. 

Review – TRON: Legacy

I tried to lower my expectations before seeing Tron: Legacy with all the negative reviews. I think everyone agreed, looks great but story is shit. And even going in expecting nothing from the story I still felt a little disappointed.

I’m still not really sure if there was too little story or an attempt at too much. Or there’s just nothing to care about. Maybe its because all the drama is set in a digital world, there doesn’t really seem to be anything at stake. And the end! Why couldn’t Jeff Bridges do that or something like it before? I mean, he is ‘the creator’.

And then there’s Sam Flynn. Or Garrett Hedlund. Let’s start with Sam. The director and the script do nothing to make you feel bad for him. Sure his dad went missing when he was young, but he grew up just to be a rich prat rather than a troubled man. I think they tried to go the troubled way… All I can say is try harder. I’d say the same to Garrett. The dude isn’t unwatchable but he also gives nothing to make me want to watch him. He’s unbelievably boring and has a voice that should be on hypnosis CDs. He seems like a nice guy but could they really find no one else?

The visuals as everyone already knows are stunning, but it starts looking the same after a short while. Nothing new was introduced to keep it looking fresh. It’s all just strobe lights and neon lights. All the high contrast, with everything that’s not a light being black, gets very boring.

Tron: Legacy was probably too big a movie for a first time director. Everyone involved obviously set out to make a big digital age epic, but it doesn’t really work out. I’m not saying that first time directors can’t do big studio movies, but not all are going to be the right choice. Joseph Kosinski obviously knows how to do the style thing, but he failed to bring out parts of the characters that would make the audience connect with them.

The soundtrack is brilliant, and music is very important, but it’s not going to make the film better. You could really just try and enjoy the soundtrack, treat the film like a very pretty and long music video with some very irritating dialogue.

I didn’t hate Tron: Legacy, but it is such a disappointment. It could have been so good, you can see that from what it actually is, and that makes it all a bit sadder. Had the script been rewritten one or time, or someone had raised issues with the story early on, things could have been so good.