Month: March 2014

Tangled (2010)

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not huge on Disney. I grew up watching Godzilla, Jurassic Park and Space Jam rather than Bambi, Jungle Book and Lion King. However, after being urged by my friend to watch this film and it’s being on Netflix, why not?

I regret nothing.

It appears that recently Disney has started to create films that are aimed differently to the audiences of today’s youth than our youth. One look at Frozen, Tangled and Brave could tell you how different they are to Lion King, Snow White et al. Regardless, it’s still the same story, just a different approach.

tangled22

I had previously thought there had been an earlier version by Disney of Rapunzel, but to my surprise, there isn’t. (Or is there? Someone clear this up for me!) So for Disney this is a first timer kind of thing. And it was great. As far as the fairy tale of Rapunzel goes, the story is a little different and the ending being completely different too, but after all, the real tale is a bit grim with a prince falling from the tower and becoming blind.

As I had previously said, I’m not huge on Disney and one thing I grew knowing about Disney is there was always a prince. Always. To my surprise the leading male actor, is by no means a prince. The furthest thing from a prince you could possibly find. Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) is as equal to the story as Rapunzel is, and he takes the reigns by providing the audience with how Rapunzel came to be.

 

The tale (from Disney’s perspective) goes that Rapunzel’s mother (the Queen of the kingdom) gets sick in labour and the whole kingdom sets out to find this magical golden flower that is currently being hoarded by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy’s voice) who sings a song to keep herself young. They find this flower and the mother gets better and of course the baby is born (Rapunzel). Of course, what’s a fairy tale without a bit of tragedy? Mother Gothel steals the baby realising that when singing the song her hair glows and heals her instead of the flower. She then raises the child herself in the tower but each year on her birthday sees the lanterns that are cast into the sky by the king and queen of the Kingdom.

Tangled-Paper-lanterns

Of course, what’s a Disney film of old without the songs? Yes, there are songs. Even the present Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) opens up with a song. But more importantly after the song finishes, we meet the character of Flynn Rider, currently in the act of stealing a crown from the castle. The trio of the main characters is complete when we meet the present Mother Gothel, and her character is not very likeable. At all. But that’s the natural progression of these characters, right?

Regardless of the thievery that we see Flynn in the act of, he is still a likeable character. Taking in the scenery, wanting a castle of his own, making one-liners around the place. It’s good. It fits. It’s whats funny about this film, and of course the relationship between the palace guards and the two muscular brothers that want to hurt him as well. Flynn and Rapunzel are both the driving force of this film, due to the ability to be able to like both of them and not feel one sided about the whole affair.

I won’t bore you with the details of the storyline, because everyone should know the story. However, Flynn discovers the tower and subsequently forced into taking Rapunzel to see the lights to get his crown back, instead of a prince finding the tower and Rapunzel and said prince falling in love, like the tale we read in primary school. This is not the only change to the tale, one being the fact that in the original tale, Rapunzel wasn’t the daughter of a kind and queen, but that’s not Disney, is it? And of course, we have to remember the primary audience will be children, but I found elements in the film that would be rather enjoyable for the whole family, not just the kids. I was heartily chuckling at the scenes involving Flynn because he is the driving force of the comedy. (And Maximus, let’s not forget about Maximus now)

tangled2

“They just can’t get my nose right!”

This comedy, yes very slapstick and daft, but it works. Disney have made the correct call in the complete piece as there are elements there for the whole family to enjoy, even the boys and girls considering Flynn plays a bigger part in the tale than the usual fairy tale. The animation is great too, flowing and smooth, with the mix of the music being nothing special, but there to keep the movie going without the musical numbers. My only issue. I couldn’t tell how long Rapunzel’s hair was. Does it keep changing, or was that just me?

In all honesty, if the other recent Disney films are like this (I’ve not seen the other recent ones) then Disney have hit a decent stride with a mix of comedy, animation and storyline (regardless of them adapting a fairy tale) because it works for all audiences. And of course the old hardcore disney fans would enjoy this too, as many that have enjoyed Frozen have been my age and would’ve grown up on Lion King, Jungle Book et al. But most importantly and what I really enjoyed, was the inclusion of Flynn, being this thief, turned helper, and the story opening with him telling the story and of course closing the story. Rather than being an emblazoned 100 minutes of Rapunzel letting down her hair.

4/5

Oblivion (2013)

Before you continue to read this post, this will contain spoilers, for only one of the plots made me kind of upset at the extent of it.

I still haven’t actually seen Tron: Legacy, but just looking at both Tron: Legacy and Oblivion it can said director Joesph Kosinski has an affinity for special effects. On paper, this filmed looked excellent and vastly superior to others in the same category.

Earth was subject to an attack by Alien forces, that destroyed the Moon which caused earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters that ravaged the Earth. Then the scavengers came, this led to the firing off the nukes. As Tom Cruise says “We won the war, but lost the planet”, they relocate to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon whilst Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) serve as drone maintenance for the large power stations that are converting seawater into energy for the colony on Titan (Don’t ask me how, I have no clue either)

Jack Harper is haunted with memories of being atop the Empire State Building and seeing this woman all the time, which is strange because he had a memory wipe. And he is also continually attacked by the scavengers during patrols and finding drones that have been scavenged for parts.

tom-cruise-oblivion

-Spoilers-

The narrative is acceptable, but does wear thin toward the end of the film as it all becomes a bit predictable with the plot and what is to occur in the sequences. The only plot that had me shocked was Jack ends up arriving in the ‘Radiation Zone’ only to discover Tech-52, another Jack Harper and another Victoria at the tower, but in viewing I could see it happening as soon as he enters the radiation zone. The big climatic one at the end of the movie, to be honest is an anti-climax. As soon as discovering that the scavengers are in fact humans, which in fact resemble some sort of sand people from Star Wars, are fighting against the Tet (the big spaceship that destroyed the moon) it’s clear to what is actually inside the Tet. And in all honesty, it reminded me too much of Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although, the recording of the blackbox being played to make the story come full circle is apt and works for the story in a largely average storyline.

-End of spoilers-

The extent that Kosinski goes to map out this post-apocalyptic world that Jack patrols is excellent and truly wonderful to watch, a sunken into the land Empire State Building, shells of boats but not only this, the canyon that Jack discovers houses a wonderful waterfall and serene landscape. Especially the little house that Jack had built by the lake. It’s a beautiful little place. Kosinski’s eye for detail makes this film very easy on the eye and more enjoyable as you are immersed into this world.

As I mentioned in the spoilers section, the storyline is largely average and all a bit expected. The story I would say has three big plot turns, the survivor Julia (Olga Kurylenko) and the scavengers being the first and the resolution ending at the Tet being the finale. But as most Tom Cruise films show, the plot is always a bit expected regardless of the enjoyment taken from it. I suppose that’s a nice way to sum it up, it’s enjoyable, but expected.

oblivionmovie

The soundtrack score was produced by M83, which happens to produce some excellent music, and obviously keeping in time with the futuristic element in the film, the music is an electronic blend of sounds that is captivating when listening to it away from the film.

The film stands at just over 2 hours, but doesn’t feel lengthy. I believe that’s down to the spectacular detail in which Kosinski takes us on, in this adventure. And partly due to the fact that the enjoyment factor is there regardless how predictable the story is. The acting is nothing special in all fairness, just an average Tom Cruise performance. With the blended soundtrack and this adventure, it’s great, but the predictability makes the movie nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable nonetheless.

These plot holes that I eluded to in this is not my only spite, despite receiving the next top billing, Morgan Freeman appears in the film for a maximum of about half hour, if that (I didn’t work it out). But I feel as though Morgan Freeman’s inclusion in the film was just an effort to sell tickets as his role was quite minimal, his right hand man, Sergant Sykes (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) could’ve had his role in all honesty.

3/5