Sunday, July 29, 2007
The geniuses from Pixar Animation are some sort of collaboration put together by God to save a genre that has been struggling to survive. Of course old Disney classics like The Lion King, Peter Pan, Oliver and Company, Alladin, and others included are no longer existent, but because of Pixar, a new generation of classic films are being created for both children and adults alike. Ratatouille is another worthy addition to the library of Disney's hall of fame.
Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) is bringing a new level to animation, as he swiftly blends classic story telling with artistic beauty. In every frame, the audience is dazzled by the movements and small touches he puts in, especially when the story is in the kitchen. Rats in a kitchen never looked so good.
The story is in fact about rats doing something good in this world. Is that a hypocrisy or what? Well, if you can escape away from reality, you will be able to believe the premise. The plot revolves around Remy, a rat who dreams of becoming a great French chef like his mentor Chef Auguste Gusteau. When Remy is tired of eating plain and old garbage, he tries to spice up his appetite with some new ingredients. When he accidentally gets caught stealing spices by an old lady, his entire tribe who lives above her house must flee. While escaping, Remy ends up in the sewer under Gusteau's famous restaurant. Even though completely socially unaccepted, Remy will stop at nothing to make his dreams become reality and enters Gusteau's kitchen to find what's missing in his life. Yes, apparently rats do indeed have a dream. I was waiting for Martin Luther King to appear in rat form to appropriately give a speech.
Artistically, Ratatouille is perfect. It has the scope of Finding Nemo and the brains of a brilliant creator. In fact at some points, it almost felt too sophisticated for a Disney film. Many children may not pick up on several of the hidden references to French culture and a culinary atmosphere. But as always, Pixar always sends a great message in their pictures, with Ratatouille telling us never to give up on a dream even if people don't take you seriously. Even the villain in this film, a food critic voiced by the legendary Peter O'Toole, has his humanistic side as well, who is reminded of why he entered his career in the first place. Director Brad Bird is becoming the D.W Griffith of animated films.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Now if you're just obsessed with musicals, then this is your summer cure. It will have you tapping your feet begging for more. But like I said, if you are not into musicals, this is your kryptonite. So where do I stand? Well, about right in the middle. I think Broadway is a wonderful experience that should be seen by all and Hairspray has been a huge success on Broadway. But as a film, it's hard for me to sit in a theater watching the stage-energy that should be left to the stage itself.
At least the the film has a great cast, including Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, Amanda Bynes, Michelle Phieffer, newcomer Nikki Blonsky, and John Travolta as Blonsky's fat mother (this is worth the price of admission just to see this wonderfully weird portrayal). It takes place in 1962 surrounding teenager Tracy Turnblad (Blonsky) and her family (Walken and Travolta play the parents). Tracy and her friend Penny Pingleton (the beautiful Amanda Bynes) are obsessed with the Corny Collins show. So when the show offers a chance for any young gal to dance on the show, Tracy wants in. Now Tracy may be an overweight girl, but she has the moves that will have you smiling all the way through. Her heart throb Link Larkin (High School musical sensation Zac Efron) is quickly attracted to her skills and the two become quite close. Now in a musical, the rule is that there is always a villain. Velma von Tussle (Phieffer) the shows manager hates the fact the Tracy was picked to dance on the show (Tussle's daughter Amber has been the star forever) and will stop at nothing to get her off it, even if that means ruining the sanctity of Tracy's parents marriage.
Maybe I'm being a scrooge with this review, but I think my only regret was I didn't get to experience the play first. If that had occurred, this could have been a wonderful reminder of that experience. Instead, I have to settle for a reminder of something I never had.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Transformers is a loud, lame, and crazy adventure of a robotic world joining ours into the biggest war the universe has ever seen. And from that, the movie still totally rocks.
Bay knows his audience...BOYS. He knows not to take this too serious. This a movie that will bring out your ten year old side and will make you want to run out and play with these toys all over again. The cast does a fine job in front of the green screen, and Shia LaBeouf steals the show who is rapidly becoming a truly fine actor. Could he become the next Tom Hanks?
The Fantastic Four is just plainly an awful series. It is neither inventive, nor exciting and it can be defined as a flimsy, bombastic piece of junk. As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope is lost. The Fantastic Four is almost anything but fantastic.