Monday, November 26, 2012


"You should know that this is the strangest thing I have ever done!"

This Disney animated musical movie is another prime example of my rather annoying habit of becoming adamantly against a particular film based on a very small amount of information that I could easily ignore if I already had decided to like it instead. The small bit of information I used for my unjust judgment here came from this trailer.

The first time I saw this trailer, I was tired of it before it was over. I figured the rest of the movie would be just as silly and boring as the trailer. I absolutely love an animated movie just as much as when I was a kid, but even back then wouldn't have enjoyed watching an entire movie full of the dull ridiculousness you just witnessed above.

It must be all in the presentation.

If I had seen the trailer below first, for instance, I would have much more readily formed a positive opinion of the film, which would have changed very little even after I saw the movie.

THIS trailer is a good representation of Tangled. Unfortunate that a couple minutes ago was the first time I've seen it... isn't it?

Nevertheless, and thankfully, this quirky story of Rapunzel, an eighteen-year-old girl with a dream and impossibly long, magical hair, and a charming, impossibly handsome thief, Flynn Rider, (voiced very pleasingly by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) still got me. I'm tempted to say this may be the very first Disney Princess movie in which the supporting hero outshines the heroine - almost. It would be too shocking if it was actually, but they certainly are at least equal, and that is probably a record anyway. The two animated characters have more character and more chemistry than a number of live-action movies couples! In spite of that first trailer, this film turns out to be a unique and exciting, actually funny, and even endearing offering from Disney.

Concept art that is only slightly more gorgeous than what you see in the film.

Yes, there are still some very silly aspects to this movie, but I found they mostly turn sweet when balanced so well with some heartfelt moments, moments of breathtaking animation, a witty script and two surprisingly fleshed-out and loveable lead characters. Tangled is a pleasure to watch every time.

- 4.5/5 stars

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Star Trek

Whenever I don't want to watch a movie because it sounds stupid to me, my dad always suggests that I watch the first ten minutes before passing judgment. But usually, ten minutes quickly turns to thirty before I have a decent idea of whether I'd like it, at which point it's not too inconvenient to watch the rest even if I don't like it in the end. I blame my dad for my amazing ability to sit through the most awful movies and not only not die, but actually enjoy them... if only in the smallest degree. At any rate, his "ten minute" trick either works great, or not at all depending on your viewpoint. If you're like me you'll be sucked in anyway, but very few films can convince an unwilling viewer to change their mind within the first ten minutes.

I can only think one movie where the first ten minutes are a perfect preview to the rest, and if you're not hooked by then you can safely assume it's not a movie for you. The tone is set, and your attention captured with excitement, drama and mystery, and impressive visuals, then the beautiful theme music swells to a mighty crescendo as the title, "Star Trek" fills the screen, and seals your fate for the next two hours.

Yes, I defy anyone to watch this Star Trek's opening scene, and then not have a hard time turning it off. Director J.J. Abrams pulled off a whopper of a beginning, and set a very high standard for the rest of his movie. Then he promptly lived up to it in every possible way.

Thanks to Eric Bana as the villainous Romulan Nero, and an aged Spock, time is slightly altered for James Tiberius Kirk (as good as ever in the hands of Chris Pine) when his father (then-newcomer Chris Hemsworth) is killed the same day Jim is born. Still, he joins Star Fleet after some encouragement from Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood!) and time as we know it is set more or less right. He forms a fast friendship with Bones (Karl Urban, brilliant... perfection... all I can say) flirts with many women and ends up on a ship called Enterprise with a group of younger, but familiar faces, and the fate of the Earth in the balance.

Welcome back, Spock and Kirk!

I must admit, meeting these rebooted classic characters is my favorite part of this movie. I cannot get over Karl Urban's McCoy, and his first scene. Simon Pegg as Scotty is a scene stealer (that would be why the character shows up later in the film) and Anton Yelchin as Chekov is --yo-mayo!-- now one of my favorite characters. I can find no real complaint about any of the characters; I only wish the film had been longer in order to give them all as much time as they could possibly use to develop, play off each other, and show off their individuality. For this reason my anticipation of the next installment is probably a bit too much for my good considering it's pretty far off right now.

May 2013 they'll be back, and with the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch!

There really isn't much more to say. The ensemble cast with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto at the lead is a pleasure to watch, and every moment is brimming with energy. The plot is easy to follow with a little attention, yet complicated enough so that the second viewing produces moments and intricacies unnoticed the first time. I have nothing but praise for every aspect of this full-throttle adventure. Truly entertaining comedy, drama and action blended together with the skilled eye and hand of J.J. Abrams. He is respectful of everything that came before him, and has brought so much new life to the franchise with so much care and love; he is obviously passionate about what he is doing, and I firmly believe that if he continues to be so, so will his Star Trek movies continue to be in a class all of their own -- boldly going where no one has gone before.

Ah... words fail me.

- 5/5 stars