Tangled – Review

To preface why I’m reviewing Tangled: This year, 2018, I have set myself a goal to watch and review as many of the 56 (57 by the end of this year with Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2 being released in November) Disney Animation Studios films as I can.

Tangled loosely retells the fairy tale of ‘Rapunzel’. A story of a beautiful girl with long magical hair who is locked in a tower and rescued by a prince. In this iteration it is Rapunzel who is royal, a kidnapped princess, who possesses long, blonde, magical hair that can grant youth and heal injuries. She meets a thief whom she convinces to take her out of the tower she has been locked away in so that she can see the world and the floating lanterns she sees one night every year. The film features a few songs but I wouldn’t consider it a musical.

Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is an eighteen year old who longs to see the world outside her tower despite what her mother says about it being full of evil. She sees floating lanterns at night every year on her birthday and is convinced that the world cant be all evil. Eugene Fitzherbert, who sometimes goes by the moniker, ‘Flynn Rider’ (Zachery Levi) is a thief who barely scrapes through life while trying to be someone he isn’t. While Flynn Rider wold most likely rat Rapunzel out to the highest bidder it’s Eugene who begins to care for the lost princess. Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) is a twisted old woman who after kidnapping Rapunzel uses her to grant herself eternal youth and beauty. Once she discovers Rapunzel has escaped she does anything and everything she can to get her back and reclaim her power. I like these characters, Rapunzel is fun and Eugene can be suave and dorky at the same time but the real stars of this film are the two non-speaking sidekicks, Pascal the Chameleon and Maximus the Horse. Their characters have some much life and depth despite not having a single line but the way the animation is done, these characters steal most of the scenes they are in.

While we’re on the topic of animation style, this film has a nice flowing 3D animation similar to the style they would go on to use in Frozen. The animation of Maximus and the way the horse moved was scaled back a little when creating Sven in a similar style. I preferred the scaling back but I’m sure the way Maximus moved and acted in the film was loved by kids. Tangled was directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, both have been working with the company since the late 1990s, the latter of which has co-directed on recent Disney animated features like Bolt and Zootopia.

Tangled is one of my favourites of the ‘Revival’ era of films because of it’s fun and light-hearted approach to adapting a fairy tale.

Rating: Above Average

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History of Superheroes in Movies

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While there were superhero movies in the 1940s, 50s and 60s it wasn’t until the 1978 film Superman opened the door for comic books and their characters to be taken as serious movie ideas, but that faded over ten years until 1989’s Batman put them back on the map again. Unfortunately, with the exception of Batman Returns (1992) the popularity of superhero films declined again until 2000 when X-Men got it right.

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Since X-Men superhero movies have been on the up and up. Production companies started taking the concepts seriously again rather than trying to make it comical and camp (I’m looking at you Joel Schumacher). 2002 saw Spider-Man swing on to the silver screen and both the X-Men and Spider-Man films spawned major film franchises for Fox and Sony respectively. But we’ll get to the major production companies later. Fox continued it’s push with Daredevil (2003), X2 (2003), Elektra (2005) and Fantastic Four (2005) while Sony (Colombia) released Hellboy and Spider-Man 2 in 2004. Following the success of
these franchises DC and Warner Bros. took a different angle and rebooted the popular Batman franchise with Batman Begins (2005) which had a much darker tone to it than the Marvel films that were being released at the time. Superhero films cashed in on the success of the early 2000 hits for a few more years X-Men: The Last Stand and Superman Returns in 2006 and Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007 (which might I add were all franchise killers) but come 2008 something clicked in the minds of Marvel, DC, production companies and audiences… Superhero Movies could be better than exciting. They could be exhilarating the perfect escape for people young and old just like the comic books they were based on were for people years ago.

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2008 was a big year for Superheroes, with Marvel’s start of their Cinematic Universe (Actually owning the rights to these characters this time) Iron Man blasted on to the screen, reviving the dwindling superhero audiences and Robert Downey Jr.’s career at the same time. On top of that the reboot of the Hulk franchise with The Incredible Hulk re-established another character for something in the future. Iron Man would have been the walk-away hit of superhero films that year had the follow-up to Batman Begins not been released. The Dark Knight wowed audiences and box officenumbers proved that superhero movies were not just a sub-class of action films. They were their own genre. Mixing comedy and drama with action, visual effects and the characters people of all ages could enjoy. The superheroes were here.

avengers

The late 2000s brought us a prequel to X-Men in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and a surprise cult classic with Watchmen. The start of the new decade brought in more of the independent heroes in to the spotlight, Kick-Ass and Super depict average joes standing up and answering the call against villainy and Iron Man 2 delved deeper in to the mystery behind S.H.I.E.L.D and why they were showing up in all these Marvel movies. 2011 was another big year for Marvel with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger setting up for the biggest superhero team up in film history. Fox released a re-invigoration of X-Men going back to the early days of Professor X in X-Men: First Class and DC unfortunately missed the mark with Green Lantern. Last year blew me away though with The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises three of the four big superhero movie powerhouses put everything they had in to these films and they were incredible.

The superhero film genre has risen over the last twenty or so years to become films that provide drama, comedy, explosions and an all round entertaining visit to the cinemas.

(500) Days Of Summer – Review

One of my favourite movies of all time… nuff said. This movie has two fantastic actors who play two very good characters. (500) Days Of Summer is not a love story, it is so much better. Tom, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Summer, Zooey Deschanel lives cross when Summer starts working at the greeting card office that Tom works for, that’s day one… the following 500 days are shown out of order but in a way that is easy to understand what is going on. This is a refreshing take on the conventional romance movies in which it is usually the girl who believes in happily ever after and then in the end it happens. (500) Days Of Summer is different.

Directed by Marc Webb (now working on The Amazing Spider-Man) this movie has beautiful scenes and shots as they are strung together by a fantastic soundtrack with songs by The Temper Trap, Regina Spektor, Hall & Oates and many more. The film has funny moments as well as ones that tug the heart strings a little. All in all (I know this post is short but it just means you have to see this film) this movie is one for everyone.

(500) Days of Summer: Average

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One – Review

The second last film in the eight-part epic (spanning over 10 years of filming) that is Harry Potter. I watched this today and I couldn’t help but realise that if people hadn’t read the books or done a bit of research in to the storyline, they would have no idea what is going on. The amount of assumed knowledge is pretty big. The sixth film (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) goes in to a little about the Horcruxes but nowhere near enough to fill a casual viewer in on what is going on. Nevertheless Harry Potter is a huge book series as well as it’s film adaptations… and those who are serious about watching these films, most of them have already read the books.

This movie is unfortunately not as good as it’s predecessors. As much as I love the Harry Potter series this one falls a little short. Hopefully it will redeem it’s self in its conclusion when it hits our screens on the 14th of July (mark it in your calendars). Most of the other movies could work as a stand alone adventurea, which I believe adds to the appeal of the films and although the later books relate more to each other the films still work as individual stories. Deathly Hallows does not.

All that grumpiness out of the way and all criticisms said, this movie is fantastic for a fan (unless you’re so devoted to the books that you feel the movies let the whole series down) it starts to tie up loose ends (or at least puts them in a bundle for the next movie to tie it off) and the acting, I feel, is brilliant. One of my favourite stars, Emma Watson, improves with age (she’s so dreamy). The story line has enough action and comedy to just satisfy the viewer… just. I might be wrong in saying but it feels to me like this movie is another Order of the Phoenix (the fifth film), good but just not great.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One: Average

Wasted on the Young – Review

Wasted on the Young is an Australian film from first time feature director Ben C. Lucas.

Wasted on the Young is a film that begins with a jumpy timeline, centring around the fateful party where Xandrie (Adelaide Clemens) is drugged and raped, while showing before, for example the meeting of Xandrie and the protagonist, Darren (Oliver Ackland) and after the party, where Xandrie wakes up traumatised on the beach. The rest of the film deals with the events that follow that night. In the end everyone is involved because as Xandrie says, “If you see something and do nothing, you’re not a witness… you’re an accomplice.” All hell breaks loose when Zack (Darren’s step-brother) (Alex Russell) believes he’s gotten away with what he did to Xandrie on the night of the party and decides to throw another party to keep his “loyal followers” entertained. Darren has other plans and seeks “justice” for the crimes Zack committed.

This movie has a heightened sense of reality, there are no adults present (with the exception of a teacher’s voice on one occasion) and so it gives you a feeling that there are only these young people in this world, almost a Lord of the Flies feeling. They rule and justice and punishment is handed down their way. It can be looked at as a reflection of the issues plaguing youth these days and in a world without adults, who knows, this could be the way things would be handled. The acting in Wasted on the Young is very strong, Adelaide Clemens handled her difficult role of Xandrie incredibly well. The character of Darren reminds me a lot of the character of Simon in the british tv series Misfits and Oliver Ackland struck a cord with me, he could resonate this rage-ful helplessness that really connected with me. The whole young unknown cast did a fantastic job of making this “parallel world” come to life.

Wasted on the Young’s techniques are what sets this apart from other Aussie films, is high-contrast, and exclusive and selective shots contribute to this feeling that something is wrong with this world, you can tell that it’s not quite real. The director, Ben C. Lucas has this film planned and executed perfectly. It really made me think if this was the world we live in today, would this be the end result, is life truly Wasted on the Young?

Wasted on the Young: Above Average