Friday, January 16, 2004

Big Fish

In a Nutshell: Wow. I was so surprised by this movie. I was just expecting it to be okay, and it was exceptional! And I don't even *like* Tim Burton! Just go see it.

Quick Plot: A son tries to reconnect with his sick father, after years of having to tolerate Dad's "big fish" stories.

In Detail: Just wow. This is truly one of the best movies I have seen in quite some time. I wasn't even going to see it; I really don't like Tim Burton films. But my brother convinced me that it wasn't a typical Tim Burton (like Edward Scissorhands ::shudder::), and that he really thought I'd like it. And he was so right! Thanks little bro. This movie was fun and funny and fantastical and fulfilling all at the same time (and no, I didn't try to get all those words in there, it just worked out that way). Yes, it's a little strange, but in a good way, and it actually makes sense within the context of the film. It is also very moving; if you're a crier, take tissue (I only had one or two tears, but there was lots of sniffling and a couple of borderline sobs in the theater). Just a great great film. I'm trying not to say too much about it, because I don't want to ruin anything. Just see it, you won't be sorry.

Will I Buy It? Most likely.

Peter Pan (2003)

In a Nutshell: Well, I liked it, but I also understand why it is not doing well at all. To borrow from my husband, "it's too childish for adults and too adult for children." (He's going to start charging me for those, or at least requiring co-writing credits.) By attempting to do both, it doesn't fully please either group. What a shame.

Quick Plot: Does anyone really not know this story by now? Oh, okay. The time has come for young Wendy to "grow up" and leave the nursery. But she doesn't want to; she wants to stay a teller and believer of stories to her siblings forever. And when the star of her many adventures, Peter Pan, comes to take her away to Neverland, where she will never have to grow up, she jumps at the chance, but comes to learn of the things she'll miss by staying a child forever.

In Detail: I really did like this movie. It was genuine and heartfelt, and beautiful to watch. But, let me reiterate: it's too childish for adults, and too adult for children. If they had gone fully in the adult direction, it would have been truly fantastic (well, to me), but how do you market Peter Pan to adults? It's almost impossible. As it is, they tried to please both groups, and instead, I think both groups leave unsatisfied. But personally, I really liked it, and I thought it was good to very good. The parrot was just, I don't know, creepy, and I hated Tinkerbell. But the interactions between Peter and Wendy were fabulous. Totally reminded me of what it's like to have a crush when you're 10 years old. Sensual, yet still innocent, without being sexual. Lots of parents are saying that the film is too sensual, but I think it rides that very fine line perfectly.

I'm about to jump into the deep end here (something I generally try to avoid, especially here), but hang with me, okay? The whole story has always been a metaphor for sexual awakening anyway, whether parents wanted to believe that or not (thank you Disney). If you go to Neverland, not only do you never grow up, you never mature, in all forms, not just getting a boring job or "acting proper" or whatever. By not staying, Wendy accepts her move from "the nursery" into the adult world, along with all that implies. And yes, I'm sure it is uncomfortable for parents to watch two pre-teens kiss (I'll let you know after I have my own kids), but it is very chaste and age-appropriate, and pre-teens *do* kiss, pretty much just like that in most cases (don't freak out, Mom and Dad, I was not one who experienced it personally). I found it to be very beautiful and moving, both the kiss and the film itself (well, once you got past some of the slapstick parts). And let me tell you, the boy who plays Peter is every 10-year-old-girl's dream! Such a cutie-pie. ::sigh:: Oh to be that young again.... Anyway, definitely worth seeing, though quite a bit more violent and eerie than I expected. Our theater even had it marked as PG-13 (though technically rated PG by the MPAA), and I'm not so sure I disagree. It's certainly borderline, so keep that in mind before showing it to very young viewers. Will do fine in the theater or as a rental.

Will I Buy It? I'm definitely considering it.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Home on the Range

In a Nutshell: Don't bother, unless you are desperate for a film you can see with your children. Extremely disappointing.

Quick Plot: Three cows try to save their farm from foreclosure by capturing an outlaw and collecting the bounty.

In Detail: ::just shakes her head:: Most of you know that I am a *huge* Disney fan. So what does it tell you when I have no idea what to say about this movie beyond disappointing. I was not engaged in the story at all, and I was not impressed with the music (though the singing itself was pretty good). It really just started and stopped. I didn't understand much of the motivation of the characters, and most peculiar for a Disney film, I found many of the characters miscast voice-wise. It was just a very surreal experience to leave any Disney movie so disappointed. Rent it if you have to, but otherwise don't even bother. This is definitely the final nail in the coffin (for a while, at least) for Disney "hand-drawn" animation. ::sigh::

Will I Buy It? I sincerely don't know. I'm not even sure it's worth it for the continuity of my Disney collection. That should tell you all you need to know about my opinion of this film. :(