April 3, 2012
“What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?”
Finally another Disney classic comes to Blu-Ray featuring a typical eye-popping restoration. ‘The Lion King’ was of course part of a run of Disney successes during the 1990s and some say the best, but I always prefered ‘Beauty & The Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’. The painted African landscape shots look dazzling in HD and once gain you can even see the artists brushstrokes. The voice cast is wonderful featuring Jeremy Irons as the deliciously evil Richard III-like lion Scar, Rowan Atkinson as the officious bird Zazu and of course the booming James Earl Jones as the towering fatherly presence of Mufasa king of the pride. The best thing is Hans Zimmer’s magnificent African inspired score. The extras included on the disc are many and often excellent but they become tiresome when they are too focused on selling the subsequent musical. Role on a Blu-Ray release for 1992’s ‘Aladdin’.
March 1, 2012
“The steel beast is dead, peasants… I’ve set you all free!”
The idea of a Disney movie about a Princess who is thrown down a well by an evil enchantress ending up in New York sounds bloody awful. But 2007’s ‘Enchanted’ is actually utter genius and had me laughing so hard that I was exhausted by the end of it.
The main reason it works is down to Amy Adams outstanding performance as Princess Giselle. Adams clearly spent ages pouring over classic Disney movies to get the glowing smile, the floaty-balletic movements and the wavy hands just right. The film starts as a cynical parody of the Disney smaltz but ends up as a wonderful celebration of the studios love-conquers-all outlook. It probably switches at about the moment Giselle induces the whole of Central Park to follow her in a glorious song and dance number. The music of the film is by Alan Menken the Composer behind most of Disney’s most famous scores. I’m still humming the main theme ‘True Loves Kiss’ as I type.
In my favourite scene is Giselle calls out of a window and a host of critters arrive to help her clean up in traditional Disney style. The gag being that, since this is New York, some of the critters are actually rats and cockroaches. The technical achievement on display in this blend of real trained animal footage and CGI is staggering. On that note, the Pop-up-book style end credits are worth the watch alone. The Blu-Ray extras include making of featurettes and a fiendishly difficult “Can you spot the Disney references?” quiz (There are literally thousands of them).
February 11, 2012
“Are you one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?… Yes… yes, I am”
The fact that the new eponymously titled ‘The Muppets’ film came out nearly 3 months ago to rave reviews and blockbuster takings in the USA has left me eagerly waiting for it’s UK release.
In preporation I decided to view (For the first time) their last big screen outing 1999’s ‘Muppets In Space’. Following on from the double-wammy succeses of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Treasure Island’ the film unexpectedly bombed. Such is Hollywood financial thinking that despite The Muppets franchise previously raking in hundreds of millions of Dollars it’s been a full 12 years until they’ve been given this new outing. ‘Muppets In Space’ isn’t bad, it’s just not as funny as it should be, plus where are the songs? Now onto what I thought of the new film…
You will have the same “WTF is this film?!?!” reaction as I did when you view the first few minutes of ‘The Muppets’. This is intentional but then you will slowly realise that this isn’t a sacharine sweet Disney Rom-Com but a zanny satire of that dire Genre. In fact watch the spoof trailer (Below) that was used early on to market the film as ‘Green With Envy’:
This isn’t a film aimed at kids, it’s for grownups like me who have fond memories of The Muppets, hence the nostalgic 80s refrencing gags. The main characters trip along in this “Gee, aww shucks” rainbow dream world which the filmmakers undercut with Police sirens and gunshots in the background. A world where they burst into melodramatic song and dance numbers but then fall about exhausted afterwards. The plot is essentially the “Get the old gang back together for one last show” thing from The Blues Brothers. They drive all over the USA to reunite the team and even drive?!?!? to Paris (A great little satirical gag) to get Miss Piggy who has hilariously forged a new career as Plus-Sized Fashion Editor for Vogue Magazine. Finally this is the kind of qulaity film that furry felted ones desereve.