Dec. 7th, 2010

Tangled

Dec. 7th, 2010 12:58 am
I went and saw Tangled tonight to celebrate finally being (mostly) done with classes. I don't think I'll be doing any more late night movies on my own, though. Didn't run into anyone or anything threatening, but it just didn't feel good to be walking out to my car alone in the middle of the night, especially when I really don't know what the area around that mall is like.

Anyway, the movie:

I predicted when I saw the trailers for this movie that I would be drawn to see it, that I would enjoy it, but that it wouldn't blow my mind. I'm undecided how much of my feelings are me genuinely reacting to the movie and how much of my urge to dismiss this movie is just me holding onto the expectations I built up months ago. Because yeah--while I did enjoy it (quite a lot), it didn't blow my mind. I kept counting tropes in my head--cute animal friend, all animals are dogs (though at least Max the horse wasn't actually any good at tracking people down by scent), et cetera. It did help that while the movie was unapologetically a fairy tale, it was also unapologetically silly--the "I've Got a Dream" song was nothing but crack, and Flynn's partners in crime were a pair of identical twin thugs called--I kid you not--the "Stabbington Brothers." There were moments where it felt like this was Disney's attempt to capture the tone and style of the Shrek movies, but I felt that Tangled had a lot more heart to it than that series. It was a lot lighter on the pop culture, too; the closest thing I can remember to a pop culture reference in the film was someone mentioning Mozart. Nothing against Shrek and its pop culture saturation, but I'm at a point where I find it refreshing when a lighthearted film doesn't rely on that.

So I dunno. Paint by numbers? Maybe a little bit. There were a few moments, particularly toward the beginning, when I felt like we were ticking boxes that just had to be ticked in order for it to be an animated fairy tale movie by Disney, and of course it was pretty obvious from the beginning how it was going to end. If you've seen the trailer, I'm sure you've already guessed at least half the ending, and by the time you're ten minutes in you'll have guessed the rest.

Just as in the case of Megamind, however, I have to say that a movie doesn't really need to surprise you at every single turn and have its ending come out of nowhere in order for it to be a good night out. Or in, as the case may be. I found myself a lot more interested in all of the characters than I'd expected to be--even if the overall movie felt a little cookie cutter, the characters really didn't. Rapunzel is pretty much the most adorable thing ever to live, the witch is darkly fascinating, Flynn is hilarious, and all of them have really amazing hair. Seriously, I kept getting distracted by all the gorgeous CG hair in this movie, and I don't mean just Rapunzel's (though hers was awesome, of course).

Like I said, I'm on the fence. Once more, for all its predictability, I did have a good time watching it. The songs were good, the characters were engaging and fun, and it's pretty much what Disney set out to make: a fairy tale movie like they used to produce.

As for the previews: Yogi Bear looks more insipid every time I have the misfortune to watch the preview. I can't wait for that to come out just so I can stop having the trailers inflicted on me at the cinema. Saw the preview for the Justin Bieber thing again, and couldn't help but laugh and groan at lines like "He's living this incredible life, but he's just like you and me!" Good grief, what is the fascination with singers' personal lives, anyway? Of course they're just like you and me; they're human, aren't they? Yeah, of course money and fame can change how they act, but that doesn't mean they're from another planet or something.

Of course, just as we're about to finally be rid of Yogi Bear, I find out that there's a live action/CG Smurfs movie in the works that will apparently take place in New York. I just...don't even want to go there. I don't really have anything for or against the Smurfs in general, but seeing a bunch of little blue CG men with big, wet eyes climbing around on taxis just gave me the heebie jeebies. This trend of taking old cartoons that were defined stylistically by their two-dimensionality and turning them into semi-photorealistic CG really has to stop. Regardless of how I feel about the cartoons themselves, and regardless of the story of the film, it's just not right.

Another thing that's just not right: Mars Needs Moms. This film is apparently from the same producer as The Polar Express, which might explain why it looks to be another extended tour of the uncanny valley. I thought they got the picture when so many people were creeped out by zombie!Tom Hanks--guess I was wrong. While I made it through The Polar Express okay by concentrating on the characters who were at least not completely horrifying, even the protagonist of Mars Needs Moms looks like a male version of the SimPal Cindy doll from The Sixth Day (if you don't remember that thing, google it--I dare you). I think there was something in there about Martians abducting human mothers because they were inept at raising their own children, and some sort of Great Mom Escape plot, but I was too busy dealing with the problem of my skin crawling every time I saw one of the characters to really follow whatever flimsy justification they cobbled together for this undead romp across the red planet. I try not to automatically pan animated movies for stylistic choices (Rango, for instance, has a style not immediately to my taste but that I'm willing to let grow on me because the film looks interesting), but this is just unforgivably ugly. Why even bother animating it if all the human characters are just going to be made to look as human as possible and animated via motion capture? They just look like floaty zombies wading through sludgy air. Ew.

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