Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull: One Year Later

I joined the family at the lake house in WI for the long weekend and a tradition is to watch a movie together after dinner. My Dad has recently discovered the merit of Blockbuster's 4 for $20 deals and just goes back to get 4 more whenever he finishes the last ones he bought. So when I got to the house I was curious to see what they had brought for the weekend. To my disappointment (not surprise) there laid a copy of the most recent Indiana Jones movie. I hadn't seen the movie since I went to see it opening day with my friends but i remember our reaction being similar to this:

Okay so it wasn't as bad as all that, we did stay for the whole thing, but it was safe to say that we felt our childhood had been tainted. So much so, that a few of us went to Burger King the next day (with our Indiana Jones cups) and watched Raiders to get the bad taste out of our mouths.

So the time came to pop in a movie and it was unanimous amongst my mom, dad, sister, and uncle that we watch the film that had caused me so much pain about a year ago. To my surprise, it was fairly harmless this time around, in fact, it may have been as butters put it, pretty good...maybe not that good. At least they didn't pull a Rocky and have Ford do something crazy (fridge aside).

Here are to problems I still have with the movie but don't completely ruin it.

Too Much CGI/Green Screen!: With the exception of the man-eating ants, the CG took me out of the movie. I understand that both Harrison Ford and Karen Allen don't have the endurance for action scenes that they once did , but they couldn't at least film in a real jungle? And for the temples? I would've loved to see some old-school special effects with that infamous black line around the miniture sets. This brings me up to the issue that most found disheartning.

The Aliens were fine...until the ship took off: There's a reason the 1st and third movie are considered by most to be the best of the bunch, is because they involve christian artifacts. Temple of Doom was actually the first Indiana Jones I saw as a kid and I like it as much as the third. Until recently though, it was considered to be the worst of the franchise and I honestly think this has to do with the majority of the US audience belonging to either the Christian or Jewish faith. Because of their faith, a lot of people find it easier to believe the holy grail or arc of the covenant are real but an obscure section of indian religion or the possibility of a mayan civilization worshiping aliens are ludicrous. If some tribes worshiped the sun, then aliens aren't far off. I'm not knocking Christianity, people of faith, or any other form of religion but it is ridiculous to discount the plausibility of a different belief, even if it is subconciously.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

D2 Mighty Ducks Entry

Just letting everyone know that the D2 entry is added but Blogger puts the posts in order of when I started writing them, not when they are actually posted. Ill try not to let this happen again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Different Controversy Found In Disney's New Movie

If you haven't heard, Disney is releasing a new 2-D animated movie based on the classic story The Frog Prince called The Princess and The Frog. This seems like a great move to bring back the audience whose childhood revolved around the Disney Renaissance of the 90's. While there has been plenty of controversy on the internet about the race of the characters and the setting I was offended by the trailer's marketing but before I get to that I should go over some things I liked about it.

Disney has been showing some real balls lately
- When was the last time a G-rated animated movie was in contention for the best movie of the year? I still maintain that Wall-E should've been nominated and won best picture and the majority of that goes to the risk Disney/Pixar took to make an animated movie with limited dialogue and hold the mirror up to society. Here, Disney is showing similar guts by releasing a 2-d animated movie when everything is moving towards 3-D CGI it is nice to see someone taking a chance. Also when was the last time there was a mainstream animated movie with an African American main character? While Disney is probably trying to make up for characters like the Crows in Dumbo and that Disney himself was apparently a racist, this is huge for Disney to take a step in this direction. Disney certainly has needed to catch up with the times. It's good to see they did.

John Lassater is an Executive Producer
-When Ratatouille came out everyone talked about Brad Bird being the best animated storyteller in the western hemisphere. While thats true, Lassater has some major chops with the aforementioned Wall-e and Finding Nemo.

Essentially An Unknown Cast-I know some of these actors are very well known but the only one I could recognize is Terrence Howard. This is also a sign of Disney's guts in an age when solid movies like Kung-Fu Panda are released with a bloated cast.

Despite these redeeming qualities I can't get too excited about this next outing from Disney. My main problem with the trailer & the marketing campaign in general is that it is manipulating those of us who were kids in the 90's during the peak of not only Disney animation but western animation in general (Don Bluth). To imply that this movie is going to come close to classics such as Aladdin, Lion King, and Beauty and The Beast is absurd. Disney's last few original 2-D animated movies have been, for the most part, less than stellar. Let's take a look at the list:

Brother Bear (2003)
Treasure Planet (2002)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
The Emperor's New Groove

Just to be clear, I do like Lilo & Stitch a lot and The Emperor's New Groove certainly has it's moments. If we are really being honest with ourselves though, the last great Disney 2-D venture is Mulan. However there is something to be said for the best movie of that bunch (Stitch) using water colors, so maybe this throwback is enough.

One other thing, why is this movie being put out in limited release? Disney is really showing confidence in the box office draw of its own name. My only guess is that they are really trying to push the nostalgia factor in a way that would make this an "art film." As I mentioned before, just because it's in 2-D or hand drawn, doesn't automatically bring it up to par with those from the 90's. Again, heres the trailer, if you haven't seen it or need to watch it a second time. Let me know what you think.

Poll extended (TWSS)

A quick update,

I noticed there was one more vote in the poll than expected so I've opened it back up to see if anyone else will vote. Be sure to leave a comment saying which "Other" movie your looking forward too.

Also, Finals are ending so here's some posts to look forward to:

  • Where Exactly Was Canada In D2: The Mighty Ducks?
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Where was Canada in Mighty Ducks 2's Junior Goodwill Games?

So my friends and I have been playing a lot of NHL '09 (or "Chel") and decided to play a couple with international teams. Naturally we wanted to recreate some of the classic international match-ups Russia v. Sweeden, U.S.A. v. Russia, and of course, U.S.A v. Iceland. That's right, as kids who grew up in the 90's the most heated hockey rivalry is between Coach Bombay's U.S.A team and Wolf "The Dentist" Stanton's team from Iceland. Unfortunately, Iceland's hockey team (if they have one) isn't recognized in NHL '09, but in shuffling through the other countries my friends and I came to a mindblowing realization: Canada may not have been in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

We were stunned! It's safe to say hockey is Canada's game, no question about it. The Hockey hall of fame is in Toronto and the Canadian Junior Leagues are considered the gateway to the NHL. So why weren't they in D2:The Mighty Ducks?

I did a little research by rewatching the childhood classic and found that Canada was in the Junior Goodwill Games Tournament albeit in a loophole.

There you have it Canada was in a Group B while USA was in Group A. However if these groups only played each other in the finals, then why did USA play Iceland in the championship? We're led to believe that it's a round-robin format because we are told that Russia upsets Iceland, bringing the Vikings record even with USA's.

Lets jump back a bit because of the pairings of the groups. Group A consists of USA, Iceland, Italy, Trinidad-Tobago and Germany. Group B includes Sweden, Canada, Russia, Denmark and France. Group B is clearly the tougher division with Sweden, Canada, and Russia while the only two good teams in Group A are USA and Iceland. They could have switched Italy with Denmark so Group A at least gets a scandinavian team in the mix.

Am I reading too much into this? Probably, but there probably is a real reason for this. Disney realized they would have bigger market in Canada than Iceland or Trinidad-Tobago. Therefore they didn't have to worry about offending the Canadian market with stereotypes like the ones used with Iceland and especially Trinidad (see steel drums after they score a goal).