Posts Tagged ‘Hercules’

March Madness: Disney Pt. 1

April 14, 2018

Bracket

So March has come and gone but March Madness lives in people’s hearts forever, right? The thing about that is that I am not a basketball fan. While I played pickup games in middle school, I was never a fan because Baltimore does not have a team. If Baltimore does not have a team, I quickly lose interest in those sports. What I am a big fan of is Disney animated films and Pixar (before and after acquisition by Disney). I heard about this bracket and how it was driving everyone crazy and I thought it would be fun to fill it out and then explain my choices. Art is subjective and ranking things is absolutely just an exercise in examining your personal tastes. In other words, don’t get mad at me for my choices.

 

Lion King vs. Tarzan

This was an easy one to start of with. Tarzan has an interesting story about discovering one’s place in the world and also the evils of poaching. Lion King tells the story of a son’s love for his father and is basically Hamlet but with lions. While both are adaptations of established stories, Lion King has a lot more to say. Lion King also talks about duty vs. enjoyment and overcoming your fear to do what is right. It is a much more inspiring story. Lion King also has better music as Elton John and Tim Rice beat Phil Collins any day of the week, at least in my opinion. The Lion King also is funnier when it tries to be funny and more touching when it needs to be touching.

The Princess and the Frog vs. Lilo and Stitch

This one was a little harder. I like that Lilo and Stitch does not have a romantic subplot and it depicts Hawaii more as it actually is. It is a movie about sisters and misfits finding a family. It is honestly a really great movie. The Princess and the Frog is a movie about working hard for what you want but also trying to find the fun in life. The work/life balance message is something that is important to me. Also, The Princess and the Frog is a musical which uses great jazz tunes including a song actually sung by Dr. John. That definitely edges it ahead. It also does not hurt that Tiana is the first African American Disney Princess.

Tangled vs. Big Hero 6

It got difficult again. Big Hero 6 was a comic book series I read when it first came out. It was a charming and fun series with a lot of brand new heroes, Silver Samurai, and Sunfire. The movie version was really fun and had a different take on the character Baymax that knocked my socks off. It also did a great job with the theme of dealing with death. I also love superhero movies a lot. However, Tangled is an underrated movie that kind of paved the way for a new wave of Disney Princess. This new take on the Rapunzel story is really strengthened by the undeniable, bouncy energy of Rapunzel and the offbeat, goofy humor of the movie. This movie was a go to for a while when I was depressed to try and get me out of it.

Frozen vs. Moana

This was a totally unfair first round matchup. When I first saw Frozen, it blew me away. It was a total game changer when it came to Disney Princess animated movies. Setting aside that it had Kristen Bell in it, it also was the first of those movies that did not have a real romantic subplot. It was more about the love between sisters than the love between two people who had just met. Moana has even less of a romantic subplot and it is about being true to yourself and following your passion while staying true to your roots. It is a truly beautiful movie both visually and figuratively. It also has songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda who does so well that he ended up defeating the unstoppable catchiness of the songs of Frozen. That alone is saying something.

Aladdin vs. Hercules

Like most people, I love Hercules. It has a lot of snappy humor and is a great adaptation of various Greek myths with a slick modern style to it. The animation style is fun and it has an interestingly complex love story that comes second to a story about believing in yourself and becoming a hero. However, I have a big history with Aladdin. Back then I was a superfan of Robin Williams but the event that really cemented my love for the movie is when I watched it on drugs. To be fair, I watched it as I lay in the ICU after heart surgery in fifth grade. The movie has absolutely beautiful art and awesome voice talents. The story is also about believing in yourself but it is also about seeing people as they are and the power of friendship. The songs by Alan Menken are leagues above most Disney movies as well.

The Little Mermaid vs. Pocahontas

This one was easy. I really dislike Pocahontas. It is the only major release Disney Animated Movie that I dislike and that’s saying something. It is a historically inaccurate portrayal of a woman who was mistreated as a Native American by European colonists. The art style is also kind of off-putting to me for some reason. Also, I never liked the music very much. The Little Mermaid, on the other hand, is a really fun movie and a happier take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. The music is all so fun to sing along to and the humor is cute and enjoyable. I love the theme of feeling like you are in the wrong place and yearning for a place that just feels right to you. It also has some interesting magic spells and supernatural powers go along way with me.

Mulan vs. Zootopia

This is a weird matchup. Zootopia is a really interesting movie that has a lot to say about racism and affirmative action. It disguises that message behind really well-animated animals living in a big city together. I love the world building involved in that and the story is a great roller coaster that has a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Mulan is a great tale about the clash between following tradition and being who you feel you need to be. It also has the first Disney Princess who could fight. The animation is also really pretty with its own style that clearly illustrates that we are in China. What edges Mulan ahead as the clear winner is the music. Mulan has a lot of great, singable songs. Mostly I am thinking about I’ll Make a Man Out of You which was written by Donny Osmond of all people.

Beauty and the Beast vs. Nightmare Before Christmas

This one is not even fair. Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful movie. The art is a shining example of what 2D animation can be and the art style was so unique. It also introduced us to a heroine who was smart, brave, and who would not back down. It also introduced a romantic couple who believably wanted nothing to do with each other who were also both questionable individuals. The story does a good job of showing two parallel character arcs with a satisfying conclusion. The songs are also among the best in Disney. Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that I watch every year at some point between Halloween and Christmas. It is yet another movie that I have used to battle depression because the movie itself is about battling depression. It is also the only movie on this list that uses stop-motion animation which is done so well I sometimes thought of it as live action. On top of all of that, it has music from Danny Elfman at the peak of his abilities. Every song is awesome and portrays so much emotion that I cannot ever let this movie go.

Alright, this one is getting a bit too long so I will have to continue it at another time. Of course, part 2 will have to wait until sometime after April but I am excited to get back to it! In the meantime, feel free to offer your own opinions. As I said, art is subjective and I am not “right” and you are not “wrong”.

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Media Update 6/15/17

June 15, 2017


John Wick 2

One of my favorite parts of John Wick was the occasional glimpse at the life John had left behind. There was this whole soldier of fortune/assassin culture that was brutal but also dignified on its surface. There were rules and there was structure in a mysterious world just beyond our own. I wanted more. I got it in the sequel. In John Wick 2, John is forced to go back into that world he retired from and he must go deep. The fight scenes are just a good as the first movie and just as relentlessly pulse-pounding. Keanu Reeves’ quiet intensity is so much fun to watch. The world building was everything I wanted it to be. Even after all the new information is revealed, there are so much more mysteries and corners of that world to explore. I hope there will be a third movie in the series. I definitely recommend this.


Hercules (2014)

Live-action, hard-hitting Greek legend adaptations have been a big thing lately probably since Zack Snyder put out the pretty OK movie 300. This movie is also action-packed but I felt that it is a more nuanced take on the legends than the testosterone-driven 300 or the Clash of Titans remake. Greek legends are not just about what the characters did but also the personalities involved. I have been a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for almost twenty years now so I will pretty much see anything that he is in. This was a neat adaptation of Greek legends. It feels much more down to Earth mostly because not a single god shows up in the story. Instead, we get Hercules (who is unsure of his parentage) leading a squad of mercenaries in the years after the Trojan War. The combat is excellent with great combat strategy and beautifully filmed. Where the movie really shines is the charisma of The Rock mixed with the awesome supporting cast. It is exciting, funny, and a great popcorn flick. I recommend it.


Manhunter

I have read Red Dragon (and all of the Hannibal Lecter books) and I watched all of the movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. I have also watched the first season of Hannibal, the deeply disturbing television show. This was really the only part of the franchise that I had not seen. When I learned about it, I dismissed it because I was afraid that Lecter without Hopkins would not be any good. This week, I was suddenly curious what the movie was like. I was right, the movie is very different without Anthony Hopkins’ magnetic performance. That is not actually a bad thing. By the time Red Dragon rolled around, Lecter was drawing too much attention in a story that is not really about him. This version is allowed to focus more on Will Graham, the deeply troubled hero. I loved William Petersen’s performance and the muted but powerful way he interacted with the world. Graham as the deeply troubled detective who is just barely keeping on the rails is so interesting to watch. Cox as Lecter is more driven and direct. It’s not better or worse, just different. Dino De Laurentiss shot the movie beautifully but I can definitely see the effect that David Lynch left behind when he quit the project. I recommend it if you can sit through a slow-paced murder mystery/thriller.

Music of the Week:
Katy Perry – Bon Appétit

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole

Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Knower – Time Traveler

Teamheadkick – Deadpool Rap

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “A Name With Instant Recognition”
– I continued Season 3 of The Flash
– I continued Season 5 of The Arrow
– I continued Season 12 of Supernatural
– I continued Season 2 of Supergirl
– Lucha Underground is back
– I might see Wonder Woman this weekend. Maybe.


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