Thursday, December 2, 2010

RftP: Tangled, Faster

Catching up on two films from the weekend, Tangled is apparently Disney's 50th animated film and, basically, a prototypical Disney flic.

Adding Rapunzel to the lineup of "Disney Princesses", Tangled is a loose adaption of the original Grim Bothers tale that shifts a lot of the elements around to service Disney's need to be both "family friendly" and "empowering" as they say in zee focus groups. Functionally this still results in a good film but also is a piss poor retelling of the tale; not that the later's ever been the primary goal out of this crew anyways.

Apparently the most expensive animated film ever made (to this point), and the second most expensive production of all time, you kinda get the idea that most of that was in startup costs for the Disney CGI Division because it doesn't really set itself apart from any of its predecessors in terms of graphical "wow-ness" though is certainly pretty enough in that regard. Story wise its pretty much what you've come to expect from Disney love stories lately (initially cold leads warm to each other over the course of a few days of forced/orchestrated co-habitation), and the songs and comedy are decent enough to make it reasonably fun.

As such, if you're in the mood for an animated flic it's not a waste of money. The only sad part is that the ~49 million opening weekend for this vs the ~24 million for last years Princess and the Frog likely further drives in the spike that says traditional animation is done with consumers; which is a bit of a shame when we could see the medium go away because of failures elsewhere.

Moving on, Faster throws Dwayne Johnson at us in the "Revenge Killer" role while slipping in homages to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly intermittently. This film suffers from a meandering storyline that does at least manage to come together reasonably well in the final act. But, it's all the deviations on the trip that serve to kill the pace and see to it that the movie doesn't live up to its title. Its simply doesn't embrace it's theme as well as, say, Crank or Shoot 'em Up, nor manages to be interesting enough to be, say, Heat or The Town let alone something like Inception.

Existing in that middle ground of action flics where its not bad enough to dismiss outright but also not good enough to make it worth running out to see, probably it's greatest failing is in giving Johnson little to do but look resolute and one shot people as he wanders through the film as some amalgam of The Terminator and a horror movie killer's ability to ghost in and out of situations. While he's not going to be working Stratford next season, he has shown himself to have a broader toolset than that in the past.

For most people, this is gonna be a catch it on video kinda film.

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