Monsters, Inc.

*Contains Spoilers*

Pete Docter may be my favorite of the Pixar directors.  He helmed some of my favorite of the studio’s stable: Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out.  Watching Monsters, Inc., I am reminded how much worldbuilding it requires, right from the jump.   I would argue that it remains one of Pixar’s most imaginative movies to date.  It does not take place in our world – let alone a bedroom or sunny backyard – but rather delves into a parallel dimension, populated by wildly outlandish characters.  The characters dip into our world frequently, but the landscape virtually encompasses the entire globe.  That is an immense undertaking, and a huge risk.  That said, Pixar’s success with its first three films laid the groundwork for them being able to present something so “out-there,” and, thus, continue with even more radical ideas in the future.  After all, Pixar was launched on a wild, unprecedented venture, so it’s not exactly surprising.

What was surprising, however – apart from the dynamic worldbuilding and physical comedy (we’ll come back to that) – was the depth of the movie’s theme.  Of course, at four films into the studio’s collection, depicting deep themes was clearly their M.O., weaving these subjects delicately so it reaches audiences emotionally,  regardless of age, but not coming off as preachy.   And, like with A Bug’s Life, the message struck me a lot harder and a lot more powerfully as an adult.   As Sully summarizes during the film’s conclusion:

“…laughter is ten times more powerful than screams…”

Continue reading

Beautiful. Powerful. Dangerous. Cold. My review of Disney’s “Frozen.”

Born of cold and winter air
And mountain rain combining
This icy force, both foul and fair
Has a frozen heart worth mining
Cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear
There’s beauty and there’s danger here
Split the ice apart
Beware the frozen heart. . .

I didn’t really register those lyrics in the opening of Disney’s Frozen the first time I saw it.  I enjoyed the music of it – I do recall being impressed by the use of a men’s choir and the overall sound of this song as their opening number.  After getting the soundtrack, however, and listening to the lyrics themselves, it really struck me how smart this song is; in and of itself, the lyrics are well written and the musicality of the piece is quite pleasing, but setting it at the top of the film frames the story and tells us, the audience, right up front, that there is a certain sense of understanding between the people of Arendale and their harsh, winter climate.   What’s more, it essentially explains the theme and story that the movie is about to show.

Continue reading

Gargoyles: Small Screen to Big Screen

Gargoyles: Small Screen to Big Screen

A list, made back in 2010, by someone else – not me, rather one Jordacar – of a proposed cast, should Disney’s Gargoyles ever make it to the big screen for a live-action feature film.  No kidding either: this is a complete cast list. I agree with about 90% of the choices made, but some are better than others.

Among my favorite choices in this list are:

Neil Patrick Harris as Puck
Absolutely, without a doubt, YES.  This seems like such a good match that I’m speculating as to what Harris would be like as Puck in the actual Shakespearean context.  In the Gargoyles ‘verse, though, there is no question that he would be fantastic.

Seth Rogen as Broadway. Whoa!  I am not usually much of a fan of Seth Rogen, but I actually find that this suggestion is a damn good one; if he took the part seriously – and probably even if he didn’t – this would most likely be a really good fit.  His voice alone matches Bill Fagerbakke‘s from the show almost perfectly.

Brian Cox as Hudson.  Not who I would have thought of on my own, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. No one can argue that Cox is badass, which I think whoever plays Hudson needs to be.

Anton Yelchin as Lexington. I’ve never been able to think of anyone to play Lex, but Yelchin would be perfect.

Sarah Bolger as Princess Katherine.  I became a big fan of Sarah Bolger in The Tudors and I can easily see her in this role; she clearly understands how to step into a period setting, and I Katherine is different enough from Mary Tudor that even though the two would be compared, I think the two performances would stand apart.

Aldis Hodge as Glasses.  This is awesome.  Even though the likelihood of Dracon and his cronies being featured in a Gargoyles film is slim to none, I have to say that, just for this casting, they should all have cameos, if not an active participation.

Michael Ealy as Derek Maza / Talon.  If Elisa is played by Rosario Dawson, then I think the two of them could easily play brother and sister – and that’s important.

Enrico Colantoni as Martin Hacker.  Big fan; and this would be a slam dunk.  Again, unlikely Hacker would show up in a film, but still.  Colantoni would be perfect.

Jayma Mays as Maggie Reed. Yes.  Yes, indeed.

Adam Baldwin as Fang. It’s basically an evil Jayne Cobb in animal form.  ‘Nuff said.

Richard Armitage as Duncan.  Uh, yes please!

Vincent Cassel as Oberon.  Oh, hell yeah!

I think, too, that Tom Hiddleston should be in there somewhere; possibly as Magus, Owen or maybe even Xanatos (which would be a stretch, but I think he could pull it off).  He could also probably play Puck really well, but I think that’d be too close to type-casting.  You know, Puck being a trickster and all.  Plus, Neil Patrick Harris is too perfect.

The ones don’t especially agree with:

Garrett Hedlund as Brooklyn.  NO way!  No disrespect meant, but I just cannot see that.  I don’t think he’s a bad actor or anything, it’s just not the right fit.  He’s a little too old, for starters, and I just can’t see it.

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Magus. My only real problem with this casting choice is (a) I think Hiddleston might be much better for it, and (b) if Sarah Bolger plays Princess Katherine, then it’d be awfully weird to have the actor who played her father on The Tudors play her love interest in this.  Just…*shudder*…creepy, you know?

Liam Neeson as Macbeth.  Uh…what?  I love Neeson as an actor but, again, that just screams the wrong fit to me.

John Noble as The Archmage.  No real issue here, other than I think Gary Oldman might be better for this part.  Imagine that!

Your thoughts?