Movie Reviews: December 2010

TRON: LEGACY

So what’s a Tron?: Tron is a security program designed for the purpose of protecting Encom’s servers from the scourge of the Master Control Program. Inside the computer world, he appears as a human covered in neon lights who plays frisbee.
So this movie is about Tron then?: No, he’s barely in it. But because he has a cool name, he gets to have the movie named after him.
So then what’s the deal with this movie?: It’s a sequel made 28 years after the first one, which is just enough to confuse all the movie-goers who didn’t even know the first one exists. It has Jeff Bridges playing the Dude from the first movie and getting trapped in his own version of Reboot’s Mainframe, causing his son to come rescue him. It’s pretty awesome. I love the action sequences, and Jeff Bridges plays two different kinds of bad-ass in it. There is a bit of a lull in the movie during the middle part, but the rest is all pretty good and kind of goose-bumpy.
Dude. Reboot vs. Tron. Think about the possibilities: That’s too much awesome geekiness for the world to handle.

Tangled

Why is it called Tangled?: Disney’s marketing department decided boys don’t want to see movies about girls and changed it from “Rapunzel.” So they went with a hair-pun. To me, that’s like calling The Little Mermaid “All Wet” but what’s done is done. Incidentally, the marketing department also hid the fact that it’s a musical. This is sad, because the world needs to know that they’ve gone back to using Alan Menken songs, and we’re free of Randy Newman’s tyranny.
And how is it?: I was apprehensive at first because I was only going in with all the word-of-mouth this movie was getting. But now that I’ve slept on it… holy smokes, it’s really good. This is exactly the kind of movie that fits in with all the real Disney classics. It has the humor, the characters, the story, the musical numbers and atmosphere which all make it work (and the lack of pop-culture references.) It’s also animated in a way that makes it look like a 2D movie if you squint your eyes and pretend all the textures and shadows aren’t there. I enjoyed it the first time, but I have a feeling I’ll like it a lot more when I see it again.
Nitpick: My biggest complaint is that while they’re trying to re-invent the Disney animated musical, they’re still falling back on too many old Disney ideas. There’s a lot of throw-backs to other Disney films like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and during the boat scene, I kept expecting two eels to capsize them. And while the songs are good, only about two of them are catchy while the others fall back into “generic forgettable musical number” territory. But so far, none of this was enough to actually ruin the movie experience for me.
The Best Part: The horse steals the show. I won’t spill too much, but this is the first time I’ve seen a wacky horse side-kick who was more than just comic relief/transportation. This horse is like if Boba Fett and a Velociraptor had a baby horse, and if Batman kidnapped that baby horse and raised him to be awesome.

January 02 2011 04:26 pm | Movies

5 Responses to “Movie Reviews: December 2010”

  1. Jeyradan on 03 Jan 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    a) You’ve seen the original Tron, right? How does Legacy fit in with that? I loved Tron, campy and ’80s-sci-fi-y as it was, and I want to know whether or not Legacy preserved that feel, whether or not it did justice to the silly, Pete’s-Dragon-esque clashing of animated and live-action realities that was Tron.

    b) Did you hear that “Tangled” is Disney’s LAST fairy tale? That they don’t plan to do ANY more? How disappointing is that? A company whose legacy is built on fairy tales, who are the be-all and end-all of the film fairy tale world, is dropping the ball and there’s no one who can pick it up. Thoughts?
    (Also, is “Tangled” really as bereft of the actual Rapunzel character as I’ve been led to believe? I was told she’s barely important compared to the male character because, due to the capturing-the-boys’-audience thing, they minimized her and emphasized him. Is it true?)

  2. Chris on 03 Jan 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    “Legacy” sorts of builds on the original Tron. It’s not as campy, that’s for sure. It’s darker, more modern, more stylish – sort of like Sherlock Holmes or Star Trek. Those two are still the better movies, but Legacy is geared in that direction. They’re not trying to appeal to people who liked the silliness of the original.

    I’ve heard about the “fairy tale” thing with Disney. It’s not too uncommon, really. Every once in a while, Disney takes a break from their usual movies before they re-invent themselves. Just look at their movie line-ups throughout the decades. They often tend to give up on fairy tales and then go back to them a few years later. If we’re talking about “Disney Princess” movies, you could also take into account that there was a solid thirty years between “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Little Mermaid” where they had no new Disney Princesses. Give it time and they’ll always find their way back.

    As for Rapunzel, I don’t think they cut down on the importance of her character. She’s pretty well emphasized throughout the movie and a lot centers around her. The guy still gets his screen-time, but there’s a good balance between characters and I think they handled it very well.

  3. jolly_old_saint on 05 Jan 2011 at 1:59 am #

    I could stand the plotholes and nonsense of Tron, but really wish they’d have wrapped up the arc with…y’know, Tron. Also, Jeff Bridges was more channeling The Dude from The Big Lebowski than the dude from the first movie. Not that I’m complaining, since The Dude from The Big Lebowski was awesome.

    With you all the way on tangled, though. Great movie, great horse, 2/10 songs were catchy but its fine because everything was pretty and fun and awesome.

  4. Murray on 05 Jan 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Tangled, better than Enchanted? Because that was a pretty cool movie as a subversion of princess movies.

  5. Chris on 05 Jan 2011 at 10:44 am #

    It depends on what you’re looking for. “Enchanted” is the type of movie where Disney is poking fun at themselves, as of where “Tangled” is where they’re trying to return to form. Both are pretty good.

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