Tag Archives: The Lion King

The Tree of Life

10 Jun

Title: The Tree of Life
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Starring: 
Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, some thematic material
Runtime: 
138 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 
86%

Before I launch on my review of The Tree of Life I feel like I must go to lengths for you readers to understand just how badly I wanted to see this film. First off, I’m nineteen right now, turning the big two-oh this September, so it’s not like I’ve been watching films for all that long, much less watching them with the level of appreciation of the art behind it I now think I at least somewhat posses. But as a young film aficionado I still remember clearly the most formative events in my movie-watching life. Obviously the first ones came very early on in my life and were marked by Disney movies, the songs of Beauty and the Beast, the tears over Mufasa’s death in The Lion King or me writing my own name in my Toy Story toys like Andy did in the film, those are all still memories I hold very dearly in my heart.

But the actual film that made me love movies was a timeless classic I saw when I was eleven: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Look, I’m not talking about it being a sublimely perfect film (though it is), because at that age I didn’t really love films (I’ll talk about that moment later), I just watched movies to keep myself entertained, but when I saw this one I realized I actually loved watching them. It was a combination of many things, realizing what the word beauty meant when I saw Audrey Hepburn, the moment she sings ‘Moon River’, seeing her in the iconic black Givenchy dress walking to Tiffany’s in the early morning, just everything about that film got to me in a way that had never happened before with any other film. So after watching it I started watching as many movies as I could, not necessarily going back to the great classics because I was still eleven and that didn’t really cross my mind, but watching whatever I found on TV and in the theaters.

But that just made me really really like movies. The moment that made me truly fall in love with films, the one that got me into every single aspect of it, that made me able to really appreciate the stuff that went on behind them and that made me watch every single film from past decades I could and that would then make me start this blog so that I could talk about the films I had seen happened a few years after my first encounter with Ms. Hepburn. It came sometime during the last week of February, 2005, to be exact, when I was thirteen. And it came courtesy of Sofia Coppola and her then-one-year-old film, Lost in Translation.

To this date Lost in Translation remains, without the slightest doubt, my single favorite film. I could make tons of very OCD- infused Best Of lists and if Lost in Translation is eligible for inclusion in it it will most certainly top it. Yes, maybe it’s my favorite film for sentimental reasons, I’m pretty sure it is, but isn’t that what favorite films should be all about? A film that takes you back to a certain time, one that you can quote from beginning to end, that you can connect to on countless levels. That’s what Lost in Translation is to me. It’s the one that made me love films, and it may sound shallow but I’m absolutely certain that my life right now would be totally different had I not watched that film. I wouldn’t be writing this right now, that’s for sure, I wouldn’t have gone and watched every single Bill Murray film after watching that one, I wouldn’t have gone back and watched literally thousands of older films after watching it. A lot wouldn’t have happened for me.

And I would certainly like to think, at the risk of sounding like a snob, that since 2005 I’ve become quite knowledgeable about films. I’ve certainly tried to watch as many as I could, understand the history, the landmark moments, you name it. Last year alone I watched 210 films with a 2010 release date, which I think is a pretty commendable number. But anyways, this all hasn’t been for nothing, it’s just been to illustrate that I truly love films, and to show that it’s not like I have been watching them with this level of passion for all that long, just for six years.

And exactly for that reason, that it’s not like I’ve been loving films this much for all that long because I’m still young, there hasn’t been “that” movie for me yet, the one that I have been waiting for for ages. Sure, there have been lots of films I’ve been anticipating like crazy, last year’s Inception is just one example, but my anticipation for those films was founded by trailers and teasers released months before its release. But The Tree of Life is finally that first movie I’ve been truly longing for. That’s because it’s a Terrence Malick film, one our times definitive auteurs, a guy that’s the film world’s equivalent to what J.D. Salinger was to the literary world, a true recluse, a guy that in 38 years has given us only 5 films (counting this one) but one that has a cult following, and is known for his extremely picky and tediously long process of creation. Actors kill for the opportunity to work under his direction, filmgoers relish the chance to analyze and get immersed in a film of his, which is why The Tree of Life is a true cinematic event.

I said my anticipation for films in the past has been based on cool trailers, or teasers or just press releases that said that a director I liked was tackling an awesome concept with a cool cast. And that sense of anticipation doesn’t last for long. Yes, you can say that you’ve been excited about Marc Webb’s upcoming Spider-Man reboot with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone since the moment they announced it (as well as you should be) but we’ve just been thinking that it’ll be a cool movie, and we’ll (I hope) love the trailer whenever it’s released, and then I guess our anticipation will truly begin. The Tree of Life is a film that has had genuine anticipation boiling up for two full years now, since it was announced. If only because it meant a new Terrence Malick film was due, only six years (a short waiting time for him) after his fantastic The New World in 2005 (which I ranked as the 18th best film of that year). And because the cast was Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in a film people knew nothing about, because it was said that Mr. Malick was shooting some really ambitious prehistoric scenes, because Douglas Trumbull, the special effects master responsible for 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, was reportedly coming out of a near three decade retirement to provide work for the film. The reasons why The Tree of Life was hugely anticipated for two years were endless, the fact that it was supposed to premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival but then didn’t and made us wait a whole year more only added to Mr. Malick’s aura of perfectionism and to the film’s mystique.

It did premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, were it was met, as it was expected to, with hugely divided reactions, either extraordinary praise for its ambition or perplexed thoughts from people that really didn’t get it. I just saw the film and you can count me as part of the former and certainly not the latter. I doubt The Tree of Life will end up as my favorite film of 2011, but it certainly is the best I’ve seen so far this year, the first one I’ll award a perfect grade to, and one that made all that salivating for a new Terrence Malick film completely worth it.

But, at the same time, I can totally get why some people aren’t falling head over heels for this film. It’s a tough one to digest, more like a work of art than a film, one that has to be appreciated more than understood, and it will certainly require repeat seatings to fully grasp. Because the visual achievements of this film are undeniable, it’s just insanely great to look at, and you’ll lose yourself in its immensity easily enough, but some people won’t get much more than that out of it, because to really get the emotional aspect of it you have to be very patient with it, and let yourself go and let it all sink in. I would like to think I did that, because by its end The Tree of Life was a film that had moved me tremendously.

This really is a cinematic achievement, and I’m sure I will love it even more the next time I see it, and even more the time after that. Even if the stuff that Mr. Malick presents doesn’t resonate to you personally, even if the spiritual offerings don’t ring true with you, there’s no way you’ll leave this film having gained nothing, no way the film won’t stay with you and mean a lot to you, I just don’t know how that could be. Yes, there are bits and pieces of the film that I’m not sure I really understood, I didn’t really think it was a fully cohesive piece of work, and it got me frustrated at how overlong some scenes were at times, but that’s all stuff that you think while watching it, because once the whole movie is done and you’re left pondering about the experience of the film as whole, you’ll be blown away by even those bits that you thought weren’t working at all.

And the ambition level behind is just astonishing, it evokes everything, it talks about things as wide and complex as creation, and things as personal and just as complex as family without ever taking a moment to let you breathe. In the end it’s just a very honest film, and asks some questions that are very hard to answer, ones that won’t go down easy, and because of that I think The Tree of Life is a film that has finally shown us the real power of this art form, film hasn’t been put to this use before.

I don’t know if I should tell you exactly what this film is about, or the stuff it does along the way because I fear it may take away from your experience. It’s a vastly bold film that takes on the task of encompassing all of creation and viewing it all through the lives of members of one American family, and it achieves a marriage of impeccable vision and incredible humanity with a level of success I think is unparalleled in film history. And I would like to go on for longer about the merits of this film, but this review is already twice as long as my usual ones, and I’m sure when I check it for spelling mistakes once I’m done I will have the urge to edit it down a whole lot, but I won’t, because even if this may feel like blabbering at times I think it illustrates just how much I adored this film. I’ve just find out what it means to finally see a film I’ve been waiting two whole years to see come to fruition, and Mr. Malick delivered like crazy, not only giving me a film as great as I expected it to be, but also giving me something there’s no way I could have ever really expected.

Grade: A+

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Oscar Nominations: My Reactions

25 Jan

The Oscar nominations were announced bright and early this morning. And while most of the nominees were predictable, there were still quite a bit of storylines to take out of the morning’s announcements.

Firstly, of course, the outrageous snub of Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category, Inception might have made the Best Picture ballot and Mr. Nolan himself got his second career Screenplay nod, but the Academy yet again failed to mention him for Best Director to make room for the Coen brothers. Another snub was The Town, which ended up with a sole Oscar nomination and got snubbed in the Best Picture as well as Director and Screenplay races, the films nominated instead were still quite deserving, but still, too little love bestowed on such a great film.

Then, on a far more positive note, this was also the year in which films that came out of Sundance came out strong at the Oscars, which is terrific news for the independent film business, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both got 4 nominations in major races, Animal Kingdom got a Best Supporting Actress bid, and four out of the five Best Documentary nominees were shown in Park City a year ago.

As for what the nominations will mean come the big night on February 27th, well, The King’s Speech certainly got a huge boost today, scoring an even dozen nominations, the most out of any film this year. That has some people jumping from The Social Network‘s bandwagon into the one driven by Harvey Weinstein, since for the last several decades the movie with the most nominations has won the Best Picture race 75% of the time. Now, let’s play statistics for a while here, I actually still think The Social Network will still win this for now, but the stock on The King’s Speech has certainly risen in the last few weeks. First, of course, was Saturday’s PGA win, and considering that association has bestowed its award to the eventual Best Picture winner 13 out of the last 20 years it means it has the odds going for it.

But then again, lets not forget just how much The Social Network has going for itself, it pretty much swooped the Critic’s groups awards, including big wins at the Globes and the National Board of Review. Not to mention that David Fincher is the clear front-runner to win not only the Best Director Oscar, but the DGA honors that will be announced on Saturday. And really, the Best Director winner is always considered the likely victor of the big race and, in fact, the winner of the DGA award has actually went on to have their film win the Best Picture Oscar 33 times in the last 40 years.

So, who really has the advantage? I honestly don’t know, this really is one seriously tough race to call, and I won’t call it until all the remained precursors are done with. Yes, the DGA will most likely go to The Social Network, but then the BAFTAs will presumably be all over The King’s Speech considering it’s a home-grown film. The PGA win by Tom Hooper’s film was big, yes, but so were the many Critic’s Associations and Globes wins by David Fincher’s movie. So, if I may interject, I think that the one awards show that may be a big indicator as to what will happen on Oscar night will be the SAGs, taking place this coming Sunday.

Hear me out for a while, the SAG obviously doesn’t have a Best Picture award, but rather a Best Ensemble one, meaning it will honor the combined acting performances of the cast in a film. And while I still think that the front-runner for that one is The Fighter (which has four seriously spectacular performances), I can see an upset happening courtesy of The King’s Speech. The Social Network won’t win that one, it has some great performances but it can’t compete acting-wise with those two other films, so that race will be the one to prove just how much support The King’s Speech has. And if it wins that one, then I probably will update my predictions and consider it the front-runner for the Oscar, because, remember, the SAGs have many times served as indicators of Oscar upsets, I’m obviously referring to 1998, when the SAG went to Shakespeare in Love, the same film that went on to win the Best Picture Oscar over the clear favorite, Saving Private Ryan, and most recently in 2005, when Crash ended up with the SAG win and ended up upsetting Brokeback Mountain for the Academy’s top honor.

So yes, this will be a Best Picture race for the ages, one I’m really excited for and one that will come down to the very end. Will The King’s Speech end up with the win? Consolidating itself as the biggest Oscar bait there ever was in 2010, a biopic about British monarchy counting with excellent performances all around and a spectacular director working form a brilliant script. Or, will The Social Network prevail? The film with very young up-and-coming actors, directed by a director that started out working on music videos and then went on to create some of the most masterful and popular films of the last decade and a half, one about a modern phenomenon and full of quick-witted, very fast and talkative scenes. It will be a New School vs. Old School battle to the very end, the historical dramas have fared very well in the past, I’m thinking Gandhi or The English Patient, but as of late, with winners like The Hurt Locker and No Country for Old Men, it feels as though the Academy is skewing more towards films oriented to younger audiences with a more gritty sort of feel. We’re in for one very entertaining race to the finish line.

But enough about the big race, I’m sure we’ll talk much more about that in the near future, but for now let us revise all the nominations announced by the Academy today.

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

All the usual suspects here. I went 9 for 10 as far as my predictions go, considering Winter’s Bone felt the love from the Academy big time today and crept into the big party, throwing out my original prediction for the tenth slot: The Town. Again, as for who will actually win it, I have no idea, it’s a big split between The Social Network and The King’s Speech, and we’ll have a clearer idea of the state of the race once the remaining precursors are all said and done.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky (for Black Swan)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (for True Grit)
  • David Fincher (for The Social Network)
  • Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech)
  • David O. Russell (for The Fighter)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, considering I predicted the horribly snubbed Christopher Nolan to be invited to the party instead of the Coen brothers. However, True Grit got a massive ten nominations and the love went to the genius brothers instead. Which was well deserved, but it’s ridiculous that Nolan doesn’t have a Best Director nomination to his name yet. However, massive kudos to Darren Aronofsky for finally getting his first career nomination for helming what to me was the best film of 2010.

BEST LEAD ACTOR

  • Javier Bardem (for Biutiful)
  • Jeff Bridges (for True Grit)
  • Jesse Eisenberg (for The Social Network)
  • Colin Firth (for The King’s Speech)
  • James Franco (for 127 Hours)

Went a perfect 5-for-5 in this race, correctly predicting Javier Bardem’s nomination over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Still, Bardem’s nomination was much deserved, and it was awesome to see a foreign language performance getting a nod here. However, this has never been a race, the golden man probably has Colin Firth’s name engraved from this very moment.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Nicole Kidman (for Rabbit Hole)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Natalie Portman (for Black Swan)
  • Michelle Williams (for Blue Valentine)

Another category in which I went 5-for-5 in my predictions. And it really is a lovely bunch of ladies getting nominated here, Michelle Williams got her extremely deserved nomination for her beautiful work in Blue Valentine and Jennifer Lawrence capped off her breakthrough year with an invite to Hollywood’s biggest party. This is, though, still a Portman vs. Bening battle, and even though I think Portman has the edge because hers was the better performance in the better film, I’ll wait until the SAGs are done on Sunday to call her a lock.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale (for The Fighter)
  • John Hawkes (for Winter’s Bone)
  • Jeremy Renner (for The Town)
  • Mark Ruffalo (for The Kids Are All Right)
  • Geoffrey Rush (for The King’s Speech)

I predicted four out of the five here, the one I got wrong was Andrew Garfield who I thought would firmly land a nod but was bumped off by John Hawkes who was riding on the huge love given to Winter’s Bone here. Still, this is no contest, it’s Bale’s to lose, and he just won’t.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams (for The Fighter)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (for The King’s Speech)
  • Melissa Leo (for The Fighter)
  • Hailee Steinfeld (for True Grit)
  • Jacki Weaver (for Animal Kingdom)

I’ve always said this was my favorite race of the year, and even though my personal #2 pick, Mila Kunis, was left out, it really still is. I said that if Hailee Steinfeld remained here and wasn’t voted as Lead, then either Ms. Kunis or Jacki Weaver would get the boot, I picked Kunis in my predictions but apparently the Academy really loved the Australian crime saga and wanted to give it a nod, as they should have, really. Still, this is the best race there can be this year, considering I could see any of these ladies potentially winning. Amy Adams was my personal favorite of the year, and she gives her best performance yet, and considering it’s her third nomination they may (and hopefully will!) give it to her. Helena Bonham Carter may find herself winning if The King’s Speech sweeps. Melissa Leo is the current favorite, and if she wins the SAG on Sunday then this will be hers. Hailee Steinfeld carries True Grit and the voters may like to reward a young one. And Jacki Weaver created one seriously compelling character here, though considering she missed out at the SAG I think she’s the less likely to end up winning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Another Year (written by Mike Leigh)
  • The Fighter (written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)
  • Inception (written by Christopher Nolan)
  • The Kids Are All Right (written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg)
  • The King’s Speech (written by David Seidler)

I went 4 for 5 in this one, and the one I missed was the one that pains me the most not to see here which was the beautiful Black Swan screenplay, which I had in favor of Another Year, but I guess you can never count Mike Leigh out of this race, he’s just that good. As for who will win it, I would very much like to see The Kids Are All Right pick this one up, or if not then Christopher Nolan as a sort of apology from the Academy for not even nominating him for Best Director. But, most likely, this one will end up firmly in the hands of David Seidler.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • 127 Hours (written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, based on the book by Aron Ralston)
  • The Social Network (written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Ben Mezrich)
  • Toy Story 3 (written by Michael Arndt, based on the story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • True Grit (written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, based on the novel by Charles Portis)
  • Winter’s Bone (written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell)

As I said in my predictions, Winter’s Bone was going to put up a fight to be honored in this category. In my predictions I had The Town listed instead of Debra Granik’s film, but, as I’ve already said, the Academy shout-out the Ben Affleck film outside of Jeremy Renner’s nod, so no love here either. I like Debra Granik’s script better though (had it 6th in my Best Screenplays of 2010 list, while The Town was 15th), so I’m happy about it. Still, there’s no way Aaron Sorkin is losing this one, but then again I said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s script for Up in the Air last year.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Inception
  • True Grit
  • The King’s Speech

Very very good bunch of nominees here, the only film I could have seen making the cut and still be happy about it would have been Shutter Island, but nevertheless, this will be a very cool race. I’m hoping Inception will prevail here, though Alice in Wonderland may have something to say about that and, if it turns out to be a sweep, so may The King’s Speech.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

If I would have to guess, I’d say True Grit will win this one. However, it was amazing to see Black Swan get listed here, though I would have liked to see The King’s Speech miss out on this race in favor of the wonderful job by the 127 Hours guys.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Io Sono l’Amore
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Tempest
  • True Grit

As I said in my review for The Tempest, you can never count any Julie Taymor film out of the Best Costume Design race (all four of her films have now been nominated), but still, this one will most likely go to Alice in Wonderland. Cool to see Io Sono l’Amore get a nod here, too.

BEST EDITING

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network

Out of the technical categories, Best Editing is the one that foretells the Best Picture winner the most, so this one is one we should pay close attention to. Since the award was introduced nearly eight decades ago, only nine films have won Best Picture without being nominated here. Which I guess also goes to explain why Crash trumped over Brokeback Mountain. But still, the two Best Picture front-runners are here, so seeing who wins may be decisive as to who takes Best Picture. My vote goes to The Social Network here, and I still can’t fathom why Inception wasn’t named.

BEST MAKEUP

  • Barney’s Version
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

They failed to recognize Alice in Wonderland in this one somehow, so I’m guessing this one’s definitely The Wolfman‘s.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • 127 Hours (composed by A.R. Rahman)
  • Inception (composed by Hans Zimmer)
  • The Social Network (composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
  • The King’s Speech (composed by Alexandre Desplat)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (composed by John Powell)

Usual suspects in this one. Awesome to see Reznor and Ross up for this one, and they’re definitely my favorites to end up picking the award. However, Alexandre Desplat gets his fourth nomination with this one and still hasn’t won, so if The King’s Speech ends up owning the show he could win. However, Hans Zimmer’s score for Inception, which is all sorts of mind-blowing, may end up getting the win if the Academy feels it didn’t bestow enough nominations love towards the film, he hasn’t won an Oscar since The Lion King in 1995, despite being nominated 6 additional times since.

BEST SONG

  • If I Rise (from 127 Hours)
  • Coming Home (from Country Strong)
  • I See the Light (from Tangled)
  • We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)

I honestly don’t know who will end up with the win here. All I know is that I’m happy no songs from Burlesque were named here.

BEST SOUND

  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • Salt
  • The Social Network
  • True Grit

This is the one category that had most prediction experts baffled. Everyone predicted a maximum of 11 nominations for The King’s Speech, and this is the one nobody imagined, and the one that showed us just how much the Academy loved the film. As strange as it may sound, a Sound nomination is what really let us know that it was the front-runner.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Inception
  • Toy Story 3
  • TRON: Legacy
  • True Grit
  • Unstoppable

I really liked seeing TRON: Legacy here, and I was sure that The Social Network would get a nod here, but out of nowhere came Unstoppable and made the cut. Still, a cool and eclectic bunch.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Iron Man 2

I expected TRON: Legacy to make the cut here, but at least it got a Sound Editing nod so it didn’t go unmentioned. Still, if Inception loses this race the Oscars will have lost all credibility to me.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful (from Mexico)
  • Dogtooth (from Greece)
  • In a Better World (from Denmark)
  • Incendies (from Canada)
  • Outside the Law (from Algeria)

This one’s always very tough to predict. But hopefully Biutiful will end up with the trophy.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • L’Illusionniste
  • Toy Story 3

This one isn’t a race at all, Toy Story 3 will win this one hands down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Gasland
  • Waste Land
  • Restrepo

No Waiting for Superman? Yeah, very very weird. Same with the lack of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. Still Inside Job would be a very cool winner, as would be Exit Through the Gift Shop, especially if we somehow get a Banksy appearance.

Tangled

4 Dec

Title: Tangled
Year:
2010
Directors:
Nathan Greno and Byron Howard
Writer:
Dan Fogelman, based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm
Starring:
Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor
MPAA Rating:
PG, brief mild violence
Runtime:
100 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
8.3
Rotten Tomatoes:
88%

Tangled was widely celebrated by Disney as the 50th animated feature film they have made. A stunning accomplishment by any standards, but one that’s even more breathtaking once you start looking at the films that form part of that legendary canon. In fact, just look at the first five films the Walt Disney Animation Studios released and you’ll know just how amazing these people are: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. Five films that stand as classics to this very day, and that are the first five films in a list that also includes other timeless classics like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. As I said, legendary stuff indeed.

So yes, the animated films Disney has made are some of the most amazing landmarks in animation in history. Though to be fair, in the new millenium the results haven’t been as outstanding, and I’m gonna do a rundown of how the past ten years have gone for the company, so bear with me for a while: Fantasia 2000 was pretty neat but was based on an existing property, Dinosaur I didn’t like, The Emperor’s New Groove was quite cool but wasn’t as good as the old Disney films, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was disappointing, Lilo & Stitch was actually quite awesome, Treasure Planet was okay at its best, Brother Bear I didn’t care for at all, Home on the Range I actually thought was horrible, Chicken Little was perceived as cute but the film was definitely below average, Meet the Robinsons I would’ve been fine without, Bolt was quite allright but nothing spectacular, and last year’s The Princess and the Frog I actually really liked and thought it went back to what made Disney such a great animation studio in the first place, which was great to see.

So yes, an exhaustive recap of what the past decade has been for the house the mouse built, but I did it to just explore how so-so the 2000’s were in comparison to the 1990’s which, excluding the first one released during that decade which was The Rescuers Down Under in 1990, produced 8 films which were all seriously awesome. The last decade on the other hand, only had two films that I would include in Disney’s best-of, Lilo & Stitch and The Princess and the Frog.

Tangled, however, I would also include on that list, and I thought was a very charming film, that while isn’t as good as some of the classics Disney has made in the past, is certainly the best one to come out in this millennium, and has some seriously wicked visuals to go along with one very entertaining story.

And this is a great addition to that legendary canon because when we think Disney fairytales we many times think about “Be Our Guest” or “Under the Sea” and many other amazing musical numbers that have been implanted into our memories forever thanks to Disney. And Tangled has a few musical numbers, which may not be as legendary as the aforementioned ones are, but they’re still really fun and totally have that magical Disney feeling to them.

You obviously know how the story of Tangled will go, but that’s really okay, because it’s how it’s told that matters the most, and in Tangled it’s all told with great flair and outstanding visuals. And that’s why this is such a good movie, because we get connected to it, and it grows on us as it goes along, it all looks simply gorgeous and it has a big heart in it, much like those old Disney staples do, in the end it’s just a very sweet film.

If you watched the trailers and the TV spots one got the impression that Tangled was an action-adventure/comedy sorta film, they didn’t showcase the musical side of it. That’s probably because they showcased the musical side of The Princess and the Frog when they were advertising that one, and while that one was ultimately rather profitable, it made just over $100 million domestically, probably because some people were put off thinking it was just a musical. Tangled, on the other hand, has lured in people not from the musical side but from the one that has a broader appeal, and has made a killing at the box office standing at about $75 million domestically after a week, and once in the theaters audiences have loved the musical side of it, awarding it the first A+ CinemaScore grade of the year. So yes, Tangled is pretty good.

And it’s so good precisely because it manages to blend that mix of action and comedy and music and fairy tales and everything else so damn well. A film about a princess that has a cool leading man to appeal to us males, and a film with original Alan Menken songs that wasn’t being advertised as a musical but that worked as one for everyone that saw it.

You probably know the story by now. Rapunzel, a princess, was stolen away as a young child by a horrible woman who keeps her locked up in a high tower because the hair of Rapunzel keeps her forever young. And our princess, armed with her ridiculously long hair which is beautifully animated, only wants to go out and see the world, and see up close those lanterns floating in the sky she’s seen only from afar from her tower . Which ultimately happens once Flynn Rider, our male hero voiced by Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck, comes along.

The film after that is jam-packed, with action scenes and music and some funny dialogue between our protagonists and even funnier non-spoken stuff by Maximus, the horse that pairs up with them. This is just a good ol’ animated Disney film, it has a lot of heart, and the animation is seriously superb, just wait until Rapunzel gets to see those lanterns, the amount of attention this film pays to detail is terrific. And the appeal Tangled has is really broad, it has something for everyone that can go see it, and it’s armed with new ways in which to recreate the neat magic from the past.

Grade: A-