Disney and a Beer: Tangled

The Beer
Harpoon Chocolate Stout – Chocolate flavored beers aren’t my beer of choice, but Harpoon Chocolate Stout was good. The chocolate flavoring wasn’t as powerful as other chocolate stouts I’ve had before, making it one of the better ones. Verdict: Enjoyed it.

The Movie

Tangled movie posterSynopsis
Rapunzel (Mandy Moore (voice)) has been kept in a tower hidden deep in the woods by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy (voice)) for eighteen years. When Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi (voice)) stumbles upon her tower, she makes a deal with him to help her discover the world she has been concealed from.

Review
Ever since the end of the Disney Renaissance, not many Disney films were as successful at capturing the magic in those films. Everything began to turn around with The Princess and the Frog, but Disney began to once again hit their stride with Tangled. Offering the humor, music, and lovable characters like many Disney favorites, Tangled proved that there is still a place for new princesses in Disney’s pantheon.

The animation of this film is one of Disney’s best. I really enjoy how vibrant the colors are. It is a great contrast to the awesome animation of How to Train Your Dragon, which was released the same year. Where HtTYD excelled in dark contrasts, Tangled keeps things full of light and color. Many of the scenes take place in the woods, so there are a lot of greens. Even in the city, the orange and similar colors of the roads and building really stand out. I’d me remised if I didn’t mention Rapunzel’s hair. Everything with the animation just worked.

Disney is very good at creating memorable animal sidekicks. Maximus and Pascal easily are near the top of that list. Like most animal sidekicks, they don’t say anything (at least verbally). But let’s be honest, they don’t really have to. They say enough with their body language. Maximus is the loyal horse of the Royal Guard, tirelessly pursuing Flynn Rider. The chameleon Pascal is Rapunzel’s best friend who keeps Maximus in line and helps Rapunzel with anything she needs. They are both great individually, but as a pair, they are comedic gold.

Flynn Rider not your usual fairy tale hero. He’s a thief. Now I know that has been done before, Aladdin for example. But the difference is that Flynn is a thief because he wants to be, not because he needs to be. His reasons for helping Rapunzel initially are purely selfish. His transformation is predicable, but hey, it’s a Disney movie. What did you expect?

Alan Menken composed the scores for many of the films from the Disney Renaissance. So it’s no surprise that the music of Tangled is amazing. There are so many unforgettable songs, like “When Will My Life Begin,” “Mother Knows Best,” and “I See the Light.” The soundtrack is very reminiscent of songs from Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

There is a lot to love about Tangled. Stunningly gorgeous animation and fun, memorable characters make this a can’t-miss film.

Rating
4/5

Trivia
Rapunzel’s hair measures 70 feet (21.3 meters) long and is comprised of more than 100,000 individual strands. Special software had to be created to simulate the hair movement because animating that much hair had never been done before.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Nathan Greno – Director
Bryon Howard – Director
Dan Fogelman – Screenplay
Mark Kennedy – Head of Story
Dean Wellins – Additional Story
Alan Menken – Composer

Mandy Moore – Rapunzel (voice)
Zachary Levi – Flynn Rider (voice)
Donna Murphy – Mother Gothel (voice)
Ron Perlman – Stabbington Brother (voice)
MC Gainey – Captain of the Guard (voice)
Jeffrey Tambor – Big Nose Thug (voice)
Brad Garrett – Hook Hand Thug (voice)
Paul F. Tompkins – Short Thug (voice)
Richard Kiel – Vlad (voice)
Delaney Rose Stein – Young Rapunzel (voice)

Pacific Rim Review

Pacific Rim is a popcorn flick in every sense of the word.  I am a fan of several mecha anime (such as Gundam or Code Geass) and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was a big deal when I was young, and this was a love letter to all of that.  Pacific Rim may not be for everyone but it was definitely for me.


Pacific Rim movie posterSynopsis
When Kaijus, giant creatures from a different dimension, emerge from the Pacific Ocean, humanity bands together and creates large mechas, called Jaegers, piloted by two soldiers. Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), along with his brother (Diego Klaggenhoff), pilots the Jaeger named Gypsy Danger. When his brother dies in battle with a Kaiju, Raleigh goes underground. Years later, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) convinces him to return to the fight for one final mission against the Kaiju.

Review
So going into the theater for Pacific Rim, I guess you could say my expectations were pretty high. Awesome special effects, a great director, an original story influenced by different anime, and giant robots fighting giant monsters Power Rangers style had the potential for a truly amazing and visceral experience. Although it stumbled at times, Pacific Rim met these expectations head on.

The special effects in this film were fantastic. I haven’t been this impressed with visuals since Avatar. It was very easy to see where most of the movie’s budget was spent. The Kaiju monsters were hands-down my favorite visuals from the movie, particularly the lambent ones. They looked very organic, maybe even more so than the Na’vi from Avatar, which were impressively well done. You can see every Kaiju skin wrinkle and the skin wasn’t flat, but dynamic. The Jaegers were just as stunning.

This is the second film I have seen this summer that forgoes starting at the beginning of a conflict and instead just jumps directly into the middle of it. And once again, it is used to great effect. By doing this, the story is allowed to move forward. A brief history was given in the beginning, but flashbacks were mainly utilized to fill in the gaps. The early years of the Kaiju War would be really cool to be explored in a prequel film. There is a lot of material there that would be fun to see.

My biggest disappointment with Pacific Rim was that there weren’t as many Kaiju vs. Jaeger fights as I would have liked/expected. That was what I was truly looking forward to the most. And because there weren’t many battles, there wasn’t much focus on other mechas besides Gypsy Danger. I would have liked to see a focus on the Jaegers as a whole, rather than one in particular. The lack of focus on the giant battles leaves more room allocated for characterization. Maybe a prequel, if there ever is one, could delve more into the Jaegers.

Despite the striking visual effects, they also caused problems at times. During several scenes there was rain, almost a requirement for action movies nowadays (you know, for dramatic effect). Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but the camera work was wonky, and these two factors combined made it very difficult to see the action.

Pacific Rim delivers on the action. Although there wasn’t as much as expected, when they did happen, they were huge and exciting. And a less action-oriented focus allowed more characterization, leading to some great character moments near the end. The visual effects were really spectacular, and extremely well done. You’d be hard pressed to find a more visually stunning film.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Guillermo del Toro – Director / Screenplay
Travis Beacham – Screenplay / Story

Charlie Hunnam – Raleigh Becket
Diego Klattenhoff – Yancy Becket
Idris Elba – Stacker Pentecost
Rinko Kikuchi – Mako Mori
Charlie Day – Dr. Newton Geiszler
Burn Gorman – Gottlieb
Max Martini – Herc Hansen
Rob Kazinsky – Chuck Hansen
Clifton Collins, Jr. – Ops Tendo Choi
Ron Perlman – Hannibal Chau