Why I Love Wonder Woman

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With the release of Captain Marvel the inevitable comparisons to Wonder Woman are being made (even by myself). Some people like Captain Marvel better. Some people like Wonder Woman better. Some people don’t like either movie. That’s all fine and dandy but even with people who prefer Wonder Woman, I feel they never quite capture why the movie is so special to me. Patty Jenkins crafted a film I have a deep spiritual connection with and every time I watch it I ugly cry. It’s not just a superhero film but a movie that explains God’s love for all of us mortals, and I love it for that.

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In the beginning of Wonder Woman we get an introduction to the Gods of the DC Universe and the origin story for the Amazonian women of Themyscira. In this world Ares becomes jealous of humans because of their love for the other Gods and the choices they get to make. In his rage he fights all the other Gods and defeats all but Zeus. As his last act Zeus creates a weapon that can defeat Ares called the Godkiller. This weapon is Diana or Wonder Woman.

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Much like Mary protected Jesus as a child, Hippolyta tries to protect Diana from her role. Antiope, Diana’s aunt, takes the opposite view and feels her fight with Ares is inevitable and she must be ready.  Eventually Hippolyta relents and Diana’s training begins. When Steve Trevor arrives we see that Hippolyta’s worries for her daughter do not stop with her fighting Ares (like Antiope feels).  Hippolyta knows evil does not end with Ares and that her daughter’s pure heart is going to be broken by man. She even says so as she tearfully says goodbye to her daughter. Innocence will be gone to the horrors of war and that is a tragedy. 

In my religion we believe there was a war in heaven that is similar to this dynamic. Satan wanted to control mankind and Jesus wanted to give them choices and be a Savior for them. God chose the side of agency and a third of His children rebelled and sided with Satan or Lucifer. In many ways, Ares can be compared to Satan and he has a similar power to tempt and try the people on earth. However, just as we see in Wonder Woman, the humans still are accountable for their choices. Satan/Ares may tempt but it is in the end our choice to be unkind and hurt our fellow humans.

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Throughout the first 2 acts of Wonder Woman we see the purity of Diana. Her joy at seeing a baby. Her love for those she comes in contact with and her righteous anger at generals who speak casually of human life. This is the behavior of a God of hope and love. Even her dramatic scene where she fights at No-Man’s Land is an innocent act that everyone is telling her is crazy. She thinks in black and white and where there is pain, and she can do something, she goes and fights for what is right.

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This works so well partly because of Gal Gadot’s luminous and warm performance in the role. She is a former soldier so she can pull off the kick-butt action, but I grew attached to her in the quiet moments where she dances with Steve or sings with Charlie. She captures for me all that is good and kind, which is a huge contrast to the horrors of World War 1- quite possibly the most gruesome war ever fought. wonder woman4

So then we get to the much maligned 3rd act. I get the CGI could be better but to me that is like listening to a stunning sermon and complaining that the pews aren’t attractive. I feel like it is missing the whole point. Diana finally finds Ares, and she 100% believes killing him will end the war. However, Ares tells her that he is not responsible for such evils. He has given temptations and subtly given inspiration but it is humans who fall prey to hate and bigotry all on their own.

As the Godkiller she still fights Ares while Steve sacrifices himself to destroy the weapons. At the same time Diana is learning that mankind is both weak and strong. That we can cause all of this suffering (of again the most gruesome war ever) and yet we can sacrifice everything for each other. That is mostly devastating but there is a ray of hope.

In my faith, there is a story where Enoch has a vision in which he see’s God crying. He asks God “How is it that the heavens weep and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?” and God responds “Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge; and in the Garden of Eden, I gave unto man his agency. And unto thy brethren have I said…that they should love one another…but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood…Wherefore, should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7: 31-37)

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I can hear some of you saying ‘whoa Rachel. It’s just a stupid comic book movie.’ Not to me it’s not. Wonder Woman chooses to love and serve humans despite seeing their hatred and the horrors of war because she also saw their goodness in Steve. So much hate can be undone by the love of a couple and the selfless sacrifice of individuals. I think that’s a beautiful thing. It’s as close to capturing why God loves us as I’ve ever seen in a film and even just typing about it I get emotional. It may not have that meaning for anyone else, but I don’t really care. It’s very powerful to me and the more I think about it the more I love it. It’s a movie that transcends genres and is something I treasure.

I’m honestly kind of nervous about the sequel because this original is so special for me. I’m particularly nervous about Steve being in the movie because his sacrifice is what makes the original movie work.

Normally I don’t recite scripture and such on this blog, so I hope you don’t mind it in this one case. I just really wanted to explain why Wonder Woman continues to have such power in my life and be such a favorite. If you understand what I’m trying to say I would love to hear your insight. Or perhaps share a movie that has moved you spiritually.  Perhaps it’s something others don’t pick up on? I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for indulging me and hooray for great movies! (And hey if you’d like more posts like this let me know!)

 

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How to Save Jurassic Park

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One of the most impactful moments of my movie-going life occurred when I was 12 years old and saw a little movie called Jurassic Park. I loved it so much I saw it again, and again until I had seen it 7 times in the theater. My young brain was completely caught up in the magic of the great storytelling. I had never seen images like the dinosaurs on the screen. I had never felt such fear, awe, majesty and excitement. It was exhilarating! Even now years later, Jurassic Park still holds up as quite possibly the greatest blockbuster entertainment ever made.

Having loved the first one so much you can imagine my excitement when they announced a sequel and Steven Spielberg would be directing again! This was thrilling! And then I went to the theater and had my first real disappointment. It was cluttered, boring and thoroughly lame.

The rest of the sequels have continued the trend of the Lost World and been very disappointing. The most recent example is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I liked it a little bit better than Jurassic World because the director J.A. Bayona is talented enough to put together some engaging set pieces. However, some plot choices were idiotic and much of the movie the dinosaurs are in cages because that makes sense…

So it begs the question- what would I do to make a better Jurassic movie or is it just a hopeless endeavor? Do you have to get so convoluted trying to get people back to the dinosaurs that it just doesn’t work any more? Well, like I have saved Superman, Alice in Wonderland and Tim Burton I have a proposal to what I think would fix Jurassic Park (BTW the hints at Jurassic World 3 left in Fallen Kingdom sound completely awful so this is strictly a fantasy pitch).

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The group could be kind of similar to the diverse collection of people on the show Lost

My main premise is to take the idea of the Jurassic Park 3 but actually execute it well. You start out with a cruise ship that is shipwrecked onto the Isla Nublar. They have no way of reaching anyone and nothing to do but to try and survive until another ship comes.

Do not have any of the original characters but create new characters that have compelling backstories about why they came on the cruise. You could have a mixture of workers, elites, young singles looking for love etc. You can cast charismatic actors that are fun together and of course you need to have some people who are jerks that can be eaten by the dinosaurs LOL.

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Naturally you are going to want to have lots of dinosaur action and antics but don’t forget to have moments of awe and wonder as well. One big mistake in Jurassic World was killing off all the herbivores so there was no moments to stop and breathe. In Jurassic Park we get a lovely little break where Lexi, Tim and Dr Grant get to pet a brachiosaurus. As an audience we need this moment both as a breather for the characters but to make the dangerous dinosaur moments more chilling and real.

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I would also make it a priority in my movie to create real characters that have meaningful conversations. Sure the dinosaurs are great in Jurassic Park but so are the characters. One of the best moments in the film is when Dr Sattler and John Hammond are eating ice cream and Ellie calls Hammond out on his BS. He is waxing on about his dreams (letting us get to know him) and she basically dope slaps him and says “all that matters is the people that we love”. We learn so much about these characters in one quick scene of dialogue and so we care about them when they face all the action and tension.

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The thing I like about this shipwreck idea is that it wouldn’t require some convoluted reason for them going back to the island and it wouldn’t necessitate some ridiculous excuse for mutant or militarized dinosaurs. It’s just people on an island with dinosaurs trying to survive. That’s enough. That’s all you need. These other sequels have just gotten too stupid for my liking and I can’t deal with it. Jurassic Park was smart! It can be done.

Of course some of the characters would fall to the dinosaurs but eventually a ship would come or they would find some way to signal from the old Park headquarters and be rescued. And as they are being rescued the T-rex would be coming towards them but they zoom away just in time. This would be exciting and a thrilling moment for all involved. Don’t worry about setting things up for a sequel or starting a cinematic universe. Just make a fun monster movie with a good script and it will make tons of money. I know I would LOVE it!

So there you have it. That’s my idea for a Jurassic Park movie. I think almost anyone will agree my idea is at least better than whatever ridiculous nonsense they have planned for Jurassic World 3.

Sigh…What could have been.

How would you save Jurassic Park? And what do you think of my idea? Let me know in the comments section

Let’s Talk About Bad Movies

Recently I put 2 movies in my bottom 10 of the year that other people seemed to enjoy- Glass Castle and Dark Tower. Since doing so I heard from a number of people say something to the effect of “how can you have The Emoji Movie ahead of them”. My rankings move and flow so they may end up above Emoji but placing them below it is completely valid.  I also have Lady Macbeth in my bottom 10 which I’ve gotten some flack for. Thing is there are a lot of ways a movie can be bad. A movie can be offensive, lazily made, boring, poorly written or acted to name a few reasons.

Recently a critic I follow did a video criticizing Jeremy Jahns for liking Suicide Squad but disliking Dunkirk. I don’t agree with Jeremy on either film but the argument is complete nonsense. He says in the video that if the character development in Dunkirk is a problem for Jeremy than maybe he’d like character explanation like in Suicide Squad.  The two films are completely different in totally separate genres and can’t be compared. What works for a person in a comic book movie is not going to work for a gritty war movie. It’s ridiculous. Implying that the same exact criteria makes a good movie for all genres is nonsensical and I’m sure he knows that. It’s just a quick way to take a cheap shot at someone with a different opinion. I’m sure he has reviews you could say “how could you like ….but dislike…”

Someone might say to me ‘how could you give a higher grade to a Smurfs movie than Lady Macbeth? The two movies are completely different for different audiences. Smurfs Lost Village has flaws but it is beautifully animated and had some nice heart to it. I think it is worthy of my B-. Lady Macbeth looks pretty but there is no chemistry which is essential in this type of gothic romance. It’s like having Wuthering Heights with no chemistry or connection between Heathcliff and Catherine. That would be awful. Because they have no chemistry their choices are increasingly idiotic, which then makes the thriller part of the movie not very thrilling. Smurfs mostly succeeds at being what it is trying to be where Lady Macbeth in my opinion doesn’t.

Same is true with Glass Castle and Me Before You. Both movies are trying to be inspirational stories with hashtags like #liveboldly but the way they tell their stories ends up offending me rather than inspiring. It’s not like I am going to say ‘well your movie greatly offended me but the acting was good so I forgive it.” That makes no sense.

Let me go over my bottom 10 from 2016 and explain to you the various reasons they stunk for me

10. Mothers Day- Terrible unfunny script that doesn’t celebrate Mothers or Motherhood

9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2- the worst kind of sequel. Thinks let’s do everything from original but twice as big

8. Nine Lives- can laugh at how bad it is but still poorly made and he’s not a bad Dad and doesn’t deserve to be turned into a cat.

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- one scene of exposition after another creating a real snoozefest.

6. Alice Through the Looking Glass- same as Miss Peregrine’s but more annoying.

5. Me Before You- morally offensive film that thinks manic pixie dream girl can fix all of life’s problems

4. Batman: the Killing Joke- a movie that believes a woman is a tool for the screenwriters to victimize and animation sucks

3. Warcraft- some neat special effects can’t save a movie that was so confusing my head hurts just thinking about it

2. Norm of the North- incompetently made in every facet. Animation, voice acting, comedy, story, villain all are awful.

1 Do Over- an excuse for Adam Sandler and buddies to go on vacation. Racist, sexist, homophobic all in one.

So do you get the idea? You can dislike movies for lots of  reasons and just because a movie is well made doesn’t mean it can’t suck and be on my worst of the year list. It’s my list and I decide what I do or do not like.

Smiles and Frowns

As I mentioned at the end of my Ghost in the Shell review I am starting a new feature on my blog reviews. Instead of just giving a grade I am going to give each film a smile or frown. I’ve realized that grades mean different things to different people so this will be a simple way of saying good or bad- kind of like the old thumbs up or down from Siskel and Ebert. Then I will give my grade so you will know how strong a smile/frown it is.

I even had these amazing graphics made by my friend Joan at Bitsy Creations.

I thought I would let you know of 2017 new releases I’ve seen so far which are smiles and frowns.

Smile Worthy- (in order of preference)

STEP

Get Out

Lego Batman Movie

The Good Postman

My Life as a Zucchini

My Entire High School is Sinking into the Sea

Wilson

Rebel in the Rye

Smurfs: the Lost Village

Power Rangers Movie

Bright Lights

Tim Timmerman, Hope of America

The Hero

Ghost in the Shell

Beauty and the Beast

Great Wall

Frown Worthy (in order of preference)

The Yellow Birds

Kong: Skull Island

Rock Dog

Before I Fall

Table 19

Lady Macbeth

Surfs Up 2: Wave Mania

Silence

Where Have the Kids Movies Gone?

I have a bit of a bone to pick with movies today! That’s right I’m just going to say it-

WHERE HAVE THE MOVIES FOR KIDS GONE?

I’m not talking about movies you can take kids too. I’m talking about movies that are designed with kids in mind, specific for their intellect and to inspire their creativity. These are such a rarity that most families have consented to taking their kids to more mature films or not seeing movies at all.

The most obvious case of this problem is in superhero movies. Gone are the days when a child could play superman, batman or spider-man and then live those stories at the movies. These days Superman is murdered, Batman is a killer who sleeps with Batgirl and we will see what Spider-man is but it won’t be PG. I can tell you that much. I get that the new thing is R rated superhero movies and that’s fine. But I wish the other end of the spectrum was also having time and thought put into superhero movies for them. The latest Ghostbusters movie tried to do that a little bit but it was ran out of town on a rail.

What really made me think about this is the recent Power Rangers Movie. I enjoyed it and gave it a positive review but if ever there is a franchise which should be for kids you’d think it would be Power Rangers. However, the new movie earns its PG-13 rating with crude humor, violence, adult themes and a skimpy bikini. Why was this necessary? I get we need to update film to a modern audience but why does always mean excluding children?

The Transformers movies are another example of a franchise which should appeal to kids but fails spectacularly in doing so. It’s about freakin toys and yet it is loaded with gratuitous shots of women and mind numbing visual destruction.

In animation we see this trend all the time. In a desperate attempt to entertain parents studios often throw in adults only jokes or content and I hate that so much. For example, in The Minions movie we get an extended sequence with a Minion wearing a thong and having a threesome of sorts with fire hydrants in a spa. Why is that necessary?

And I’m not saying movies for children can’t be dark. My cousin was just telling me that her 3 year old daughter loves Song of the Sea– a movie about a boy mourning his dead Mother. She loves it! I’ve known many kids that love deep movies like Bambi, Wall-e or Dumbo much more than their adult parents. It’s all about balance and creating compelling characters/worlds. I feel the recent Beauty and the Beast sucked a lot of the joy out of the film by having the household objects be responsible for the curse and them dying and all. It’s hard to enjoy Be Our Guest and songs like that as much when this gloom is hanging over the proceedings. I need the humor and happy scenes to balance out the darkness

The only family film from a major studio to my knowledge getting a G rating this year is Disneynature’s Born in China. Everything else is PG or PG-13. Granted the MPAA has made it extremely difficult to get a G rating because of what they call “mild thematic elements” but still so few even come close. It’s very frustrating.  The Peanuts Movie is a lone example I can think of recently that got the G rating.

It’s not even about ratings but the quest for the family film hurts movies because no movie can be everything to every audience. Some movies should be made for children. Why is that such a foreign concept?

Dreamwork’s Home is another example of a movie that awkwardly smashes together themes for adults and children creating a very unpleasant experience. If they had just focused on making a cute alien movie for kids it would have been SO much better. The Angry Birds Movie would also have been much better if they had abandoned the crass adult humor and just stuck with a cute movie for kids.

I’m not even a parent but I would way rather watch something like Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh that is carefully made for children than most movies which try to please the entire family.

Will nobody think of the children? Sigh…

How Did I Miss That?…

Lately I’ve been wondering about something in regards to my reviews. Now I do two types of reviews. I review previously released films that usually I have time to stew on and ponder. Many times it is a rewatch and there is no sense that I have to rush to get the review out. We saw this with my Disney Canon Series, Pixar reviews or Scrooge Month.

However, there are the reviews to new releases. These I try to get to you as soon as I can so you have some guidance on what to see and not see. The problem with this is I’m not able to ponder about the films as much as I do on the films that aren’t new releases. It’s more of a gut reaction, which is a valid response but not always the most comprehensive of what becomes my true feelings on a film. Some films I give a mildly bad review to like Minions or Independence Day Resurgence but then the more I think about it the more annoyed I get or the more forgettable it feels. I knew they were bad but they become more bad the more I have time to stew on it.

The same goes for certain good films. I respond positively to them but the more I rewatch and see them the more I love them. This year Only Yesterday was that way. I gave it a B+ I believe but the more I have seen it the more charmed I am by it and the flaws become easy to forgive. My initial review is still valid and it’s not inaccurate of my feelings, it’s just I’ve noticed more good things and been able to ignore the problems.  Mad Max Fury Road is another one the more I watched and thought about the more I loved it.

What really got me thinking about this is Trolls. I gave Trolls a C in my review. I felt it was very hit and miss and I think that is a correct diagnosis. However, the more I’ve thought about it the more I’m bothered by certain aspects of the film. Particularly the messaging and what it says about happiness.

I admit part of these new ideas have come from conversations with others who’ve seen the film and some of my fellow youtubers/bloggers reviews. For example, Jim Gisriel makes some great points about how some of the ideas are actually dangerous.

A friend brought up to me that Inside Out is about accepting all emotions and that all feelings are vital to finding joy. Whereas, Trolls is about how happiness exists and is the only correct response to life. There is no sense of the trolls learning from the Bergens about how to be angry, upset, sad etc. It is a My Fair Lady type experiment to teach the bergens how to be happy.

That is alarming.

Angry Birds is even worse where anger is actually the solution to the birds problems and the happy birds are stupid and naive. They literally have to take lessons from Red on how to be more angry….

Zootopia, on the other hand, still holds up as a powerful fable with amazing animation, humor and characters. It’s a richer experience each time I watch it.

This is a problem.

The more I think about these messages the more bothered I am. I don’t know. Is it overthinking the films too much? Should I just go with my initial gut reaction? Should I write up a new review when I have these new revelations or be happy with the initial thoughts?

What do you think? Have you ever experienced this change in your views of a movie or are you pretty consistent?

How to Fix Tim Burton

Earlier this year I did posts on how to fix Superman and Alice in Wonderland. Now I am taking on a great visionary like Tim Burton. In my opinion aside from his animated films he hasn’t made a good movie since Sweeney Todd in 2007. I’m sure he is rolling in his money somewhere but if anyone were to ask my advice here’s what I would say.

tim-burton1. STOP ADAPTING THINGS!– Tim Burton comes from an animation background and his animated films (both producer and director) have still remained great. What’s unique about them? They are original properties!  They come from Tim Burton’s brain!

Let’s look at his track record with adaptations:

Planet of the Apes- clunky, awkward, boring, and aside from Rick Baker makeup Tim Burton’s visual style nowhere to be found.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- they replace all the whimsy of the Gene Wilder classic with a Michael Jackson version of Wonka. I hated this film so much in the theater.

Alice in Wonderland- long, boring adaptation that trades in the Wonderland nonsense for a prophecy and chosen one with a apocalyptic battle scene and Crispin Glover being creepy, Helena Bonham Carter screaming

Dark Shadows- based off of cult TV show feels like each performer is in a different movie. The tone is all over the place. I didn’t laugh once.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- just like so many YA adaptations it gets bogged down in exposition instead of creating compelling characters. I was so bored.

So there you have it. STOP DOING ADAPTATIONS!!!!

2. Animate Again– I don’t know how good Burton’s relationship with Disney is after Frankenweenie but I’m sure he can find a studio to work with again. In my opinion Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride are by far the best thing he has done since Ed Wood.

You could say that’s just because I am an animation addict and that would be true but Tim Burton started in animation and some of his most personal projects have been in that medium. His short Vincent feels practically autobiographical.

vincent06The other thing is animation takes time. A live action film can be filmed in as short as a month. Animation is multiple years process and I think Burton needs that to refine his scripts and make sure they are more than style over substance.

I’m not saying never do live action again but let’s get the Burton mojo back with animation. I’m sure Laika would work with him again and that would be awesome.

3. Collaborate- In my opinion Tim Burton’s best movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, isn’t actually directed by him. It is directed by Henry Selick. Sometimes I wonder if Tim Burton and Zack Snyder both need collaborators.

They are both visionary storytellers. There’s no doubt about it but left to their own devices the stories are muddled and boring.

ed-woodI don’t have any proof but I’ve got to imagine in the early days of Burton he was reigned in a lot more than he is now. At the very least I know Ed Wood was a very collaborative effort between writers Larry Karaszewski, Scott Alexander, director Tim Burton and producer Denise Di Novi.

Working with his muses such as Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (who has evidently been replaced by Eva Green) you would think would invite collaboration but it does not appear to be the case. Perhaps you get too comfortable and that leads to uninspired work.

Animation is a very collaborative medium so it is no surprise his best work has been there.

4. NO CG-  Now I don’t really mean no CG, but I think CG has kind of ruined Tim Burton.  I can only imagine how much cooler his Alice in Wonderland would have been if he had to literally create the world.

If you think about Edward Scissorhands, Burton created an entire world. Just as an example, his version of suburbia in Edward Scissorhands is full of color and makes a statement about the life just in the color of the paint and the way the castle floats above the small houses.

edward_scissorhands_hillIn his recent Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children the suburb is just normal houses that look like any other houses.

peregrine-houseThe one part I liked in Miss Peregrine’s was the skeleton scene which is made to look like stop motion! It was like a little peak at what might have been.

skeleton5. REMEMBER THE EMOTION– Most of Tim Burton’s early films work (for me at least) not because of visual splendor but because I am emotionally attached to the characters. Big Eyes is the only one of his recent live action films I have connected with on that level (I so wish Christoph Waltz hadn’t ruined that movie with his overacting). Sweeney Todd has it because of the Sondheim music but other than that Tim Burton has had one flat protagonist after another.

Alice's expression through most of Wonderland...
Alice’s expression through most of Wonderland…

Ed Wood is a great movie because we care about Ed making his horrible movies. He is so happy doing what he is doing and that makes you root for him. Edward Scissorhands is heartbreaking. Jack Skellington is likable despite stealing christmas. Frankenweenie breaks your heart in two and I’m not even a pet owner.  The list goes on.

edward-scissorhands2Even a silly movie like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure you laugh but actually care a little bit about him finding that darn bike. I’m not the biggest fan of Burton’s Batman films but particularly Batman Returns has a lot of emotion in it. I mean Penguin’s story is a complete tragedy. I wish we could get a tenth of the emotion from Penguins funeral with the birds walking him into the water in films like Alice in Wonderland or Dark Shadows.

And you don’t have to make the character have Daddy issues to get emotion. Just have a character experiencing something that matters to them. Put on that Danny Elfman score and you’ve got my attention! Corpse Bride gets emotion out of me in Victor playing a piece of classical music. It’s a moment of human connection. That’s all it takes.

corpse-bride-victor-playing-pianoI really do think that Tim Burton is a talented man, a genius when he is on his game. I LOVE Corpse Bride. I LOVE Ed Wood. I LOVE Edward Scissorhands. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is genius. I thought Sweeney Todd was terrific. Frankenweenie made me bawl my eyes out. I want to like a new movie from him so badly!

So, that’s my opinion on that. You are welcome Mr Burton for the free advice 😉

Lion King Remake

lion-king34As a Disney blogger I feel somewhat compelled to say something about today’s announcement of a Lion King remake. I wish I could say I was surprised but come on guys we all knew this was coming.

So, what do I think about live action Lion King? Well, my feelings on fairytale retellings are mixed at best. Even in books they just aren’t my thing. When it comes to the movies I have loved 2 of them- Pete’s Dragon (which is a remake in name only) and Cinderella (which there are so many versions it’s not really an animated remake). I liked Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians but didn’t love them like some.

Three of them are awful- Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. They are bad for different reasons but mostly they just aren’t very well made movies, with badly written scripts and boring characters. When this is done to a remake of a classic film it feels insulting because you know that Disney could have done better. They have the better version staring them in the face and they settled for junk (yes, I realize that is strong words but I think those 3 movies are that bad).

As far as my recent outcry over Beauty and the Beast. I have hated everything I’ve seen out of that movie. People ask my opinion and that’s how I feel. Could the movie be great? Sure but things like the new Lumiere and Cogsworth? Peeuw! And then when I heard the director claim the reason to do the remake was they finally had the technology to fully realize the original vision that angered me. That vision was fully realized. If Disney is going to insist upon making these remakes could they please stop downgrading the original in an effort to puff up the new film? Please!

So, the Lion King…the first obvious difference between it and these other films is no humans. It is basically an animated film but because it is photo-realistic it is perceived as live action. And they could use motion capture to get eye movements and other facial expressions on the lions.

I have no interest in this project at all. Does that mean it couldn’t be good? Of course not but I’m not excited or anticipating it in any way. I’m open to them being good or bad but don’t expect me to be eagerly anticipating any of these remakes.

I’m not in general opposed to remakes. I just don’t like bad movies and for a long time these remakes were terrifically bad movies.

There are a few spots where the Lion King could be improved on such as the intro to Can You Feel the Love Tonight, which I’m sure will happen as this will be a dark and grittier version like in Jungle Book. I’m not sure I need a dark and gritty version but whatever…

I don’t know what else to say. There’s a difference between totally writing something off and being expected to be excited about it. For some reason I was expected to be excited about a teaser trailer for Beauty and the Beast that was shots of the set and some music but everyone expects me to be full of wrath at this announcement.

I don’t hate the remakes as some form of protest. I genuinely look at the films/promotional images and either like them or don’t like them. It’s as simple as that. I actually liked the Jungle Book trailers so it’s not just some knee jerk, hate everything reaction from me. So far everything out of Beauty and the Beast I haven’t liked and have frankly been surprised that other people were so accepting of them. I mean Lumiere and Cogsworth you can’t see their faces! And the new Belle dress…Ee gads. It’s like they are actively trying to make her ugly. Don’t even get me started on Mrs Potts…

If I had it my way these remakes would take the Pete’s Dragon approach. Take indie directors with bold artistic approaches, small budgets and lots of heart. However, these big loud bloated films seem to be the typical Disney choice. Shrug. Too bad.

I guess my only real question will be if they use the music or not? Most of the films have not used the music (Jungle Book I didn’t really care for the music in it. We will see on Beauty and the Beast…). Also, will they bring the original voice cast back? Who knows?

When it comes down to it I wish they weren’t making any of them but am open to them being good movies. I guess that’s all I have to say.

More ramblings on my youtube channel

Why I Sell Beauty and the Beast Table Read Clip!

This morning I was greeted by throngs of notifications about the great new exciting clip from the Beauty and the Beast live action film. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- this movie could be amazing. I hope it is but honestly I’m kind of upset about it right now. I hated the images of Lumiere and Cogsworth- especially Lumiere where you can’t see his face and he’s all rugged looking instead of smooth. He’s a candlestick which limits his expression as it is. We don’t need anything obscuring that expression.

Anyway, so what I was presented with today is a clip from the table reading. I guess I was supposed to be excited like the table read for Star Wars: Force Awakens which had Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and others coming back to Star Wars. Unfortunately this table read not only didn’t excite me, it kind of ticked me off.

Force Awakens had a reason to be made. A large majority of people didn’t like the prequels and felt Star Wars hadn’t been good for a long time. And despite some similarities to previous films Force Awakens was a continuation of the story not a remake. With this Beauty and the Beast I’ve long scratched my head at why this needs to exist? Why when it is already been perfectly executed do we need a remake of the film?

Disney just gave me their answer and it kind of makes me mad…

Bill Condon says “When something is so perfect why get near it? The answer is technology has caught up with the ideas that were introduced in that movie”.

Are you kidding me?

This is basically Disney saying that the 2D animation that made them great isn’t a fully realized version of their great ideas. That they were restricted and now technology has expanded they can finally do their ideas justice.  You know what? Those ideas were done justice. I never watched Beauty and the Beast and thought ‘boy if only they had greater technology this could be executed better.”

The Jungle Book gave us a new version of the Kipling story and the technology worked for that version of the story. If Condon had said “we now have the technology to tell a new take on the ideas” that would have been one thing but for him to say that “technology has caught up with the ideas” it makes me really mad. It says to me Disney sees 2D animation as quaint and old fashioned and technology/CG as a better way to execute the ideas of the past! Urgh!!!

I can’t be the only person in the world that was annoyed by this comment? And the fact Disney would use that quote to sell this movie is really discouraging and shows a lack of respect for the great artistry done in the 1991 film. It was certainly a good enough execution of the ideas to get the first animated Best Picture nomination and it was good enough to entrance millions of viewers.

Howard Ashman wrote and worked on Beauty and the Beast literally on his death bed. It is a masterpiece and a labor of love in every way I can think of. It was good enough to make AFI’s Top 10 Romantic Movies of all times list. Good enough to be many people’s favorite animated film including current CG films.

But I’m glad technology has finally caught up with Disney’s ideas of the past….

angery beast