Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Movie I Love - A Movie I Hate #2

I found myself watching many different trailers for the upcoming film, Tron: Legacy and was inspired to embark on another installment of the movies I love and hate.  This particular installment focuses on the world of fantasy and sci-fi, which also includes animated movies.  One thing I maintain within my movie-going philosophy is that even animated family films can have adult oriented themes.  But I should stop while I'm ahead. read on, comment with disagreements and/or additions you wish to add to what I've already written.

I Love.....The Secret of N.I.M.H.
Since his move from Disney to his own studio, Don Bluth has created some fantastic animated films, the Secret of N.I.M.H. is by far his most notable.  It was this film that made the execs at Disney decide to stop making cheap animated films and start moving towards the quality that Walt Disney had put in place at the founding of his company.

The film presents us with a world of mice and rats which emulate the humans that surround them.  In turn, they develop very twisted, violent and dysfunctional relationships with one another.  This was one of the first animated films that took adult themes seriously, which helped to boost animated films to what they are today.  No longer can the lie of rats and mice being cute, cuddly, furry creatures continue within family oriented films.

But even more important, the truth of human nature is exposed, much like with Art Spielgelman's famous "Maus" graphic novel.  The film is filled with rats spilling death threats, arguing, dropping houses on one another, and multiple counts of betrayal.  N.I.M.H. was and still is one of the best things to ever happen to animation.

I Hate....Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs
And then we are met with a digression in animated feature films.  While the fun, humorous and silly nature of the film is a positive aspect of the story, the thematic implications henceforth are never addressed.  The intended audience (or I should say the supposed intended audience) is family oriented, posing as a fun film that intends to create laughs, forgetting about the long term effects.

But of course I guess it's true that a policeman resembling Mr. T would jump around like a monkey, like most films of the past have tried to make black people out to be.

But let us not for get the steady decline in nutritional value among the American people. (America being the fattest country in the world) Here comes a films which praises a world filled with ice cream mountains and fountains spewing with nacho cheese.  This is a world doesn't respect the artistic value that food should have, making it utterly revolting and visually unappealing.  The film's intentions are noble, but ultimately leaves a bad taste in the filmatic taste buds.

I Love....Tron
Disney has always been a company filled with "firsts."  It created the first full length animated film, the first theme park, and the first computer animated feature film...Tron.

This was also Disney's first attempt at moving away from their normal type of film.  It still verged on the fantastic and unrealistic, but this story stepped into a dark world with very little hope and humanity, with a script that took a bold move in questioning the very concept of religion and God.  But, of course, that isn't the focus of the film.

The take on video games as a separate, real world was most likely a courages step for Disney since many parents of the day viewed video games as a demonic sensation that would potentially harm their children's well-being.  Surprisingly, the movie was met with fantastic reviews and repeat visits from film viewers.  While the animation doesn't meet the quality of present day, it's still remarkably well done and still entices my retinas.

Now, with Tron 2 coming out, I wonder what new direction Disney will take the film?  It seems to be making an attempt at continuing the video game feel that was established with the first Tron, but will the new and darker direction work?  One can only hope.

I Hate...Superman 4: The Quest for Peace
Richard Donner made a landmark with his two Superman films.  But Sidney Furie took the already campy comic book film franchise and turned it into a flop.  I already hated the idea of Lex Luthor as a bumbling idiot who thought of himself as intelligent, now they put his voice into a ridiculous super villain whose more annoying than creative.

But what's even worse is the whole comedic feel to the film.  While the previous three films maintained a hokey feel, this film's comedy was out of place and only made you laugh out of embarrassment for watching it.

But here's the conundrum...I own it on DVD.  And such is my torment, to enjoy watching a film that I hate.  If only Warner Bros. could have realized then that trying to make up their own villain really doesn't work well when there aren't competent writers in charge of the script.

But even small editing problems made the film hard to watch.  At one point, Superman had become old with no explanation as to why.  The story never found its footing and was confusing the whole way through.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot all about The Secret of N.I.M.H. I want to watch it again now!