Monday, March 28, 2016

"The Magic of Disney Animation" Retrospective - #1-3: Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia.

After a string of successful animated shorts that included Steamboat Willie (which pioneered the age of synchronized sound in motion pictures), and Flowers and Trees (which did the same thing for color in film), Walt Disney quickly became a prolific name in the medium, but his ambitions stretched further than any 7 minute constraints. He had the idea of creating an animated film just as long as any of the eighty minute golden age classics at the time. It was a brilliant idea in hindsight that, nevertheless, made everyone, including friends and family, fear that this would be the downfall of the entire studio once and for all. Little did the skeptics at the time know that Walt would set into motion not only a studio that would still be enchanting audiences eighty years later, but forever revolutionized filmmaking in general.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice movie review.

It's been no secret that since their rise to power thanks to their ambitiously interconnected universe, studios have attempted to greedily copy Marvel Studios' success. Imitators included Sony, who attempted to expand their newly rebooted Spider-Man franchise by eventually working in the Sinister Six (didn't work out), and now want to create an expanded universe for Ghostbusters (won't work).

The most obvious came from Marvel's longtime rival DC Comics, who made their intentions to build a similar universe very clear. Problem is, DC has always had trouble getting any non-Batman franchise off the ground, leading to outright failures like Green Lantern, and even Man of Steel being a severely polarizing movie. Batman V Superman is intended to be the main foundation for the rest of the franchise to follow, introducing the individual pieces of the Justice League for future entries, and getting two of America's most iconic superheros into an epic match-up. That's just the problem with the film, though, is that too many cooks are crowding into the kitchen, leading said foundation to be incredibly rickety.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Divergent Series: Allegiant movie review.

Trends are known to come and go, as when a particular film of any mold becomes popular, it will inevitably have numerous copycats and cash ins attempting to steal its thunder. After the success of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, studios soon started getting their own adaptations of fantastical book series off the ground, some successfully like The Chronicles of Narnia, while others like Eragon flopped miserably.

The latest trend setter came in the form of the adaptation of The Hunger Games trilogy, whose own success led to studios creating their own adaptations of Young Adult action novels set in dystopian futures. One of these comes in the form of Divergent, based on the books by Victoria Roth, a film franchise that even "fans" of the source material acknowledge isn't very good, and if anything, the fact that it's made it to three feature films with a fourth on the way already is a testament more to apathetic obligation than passionate commitment. Not only fans, but it seems even the cast and crew have left any and all enthusiasm at the door by this point.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Zootopia movie review.

We live in very shaky and uncertain times right now. It only feels like yesterday that social media vented its outrage over the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of the diversity-lacking slate of nominees. The Academy have made it clear that they intend to take great steps to remedy this unfortunate situation, but here's the thing: These are only symptoms of much bigger problems going on.

Not only in Hollywood, but racial, class, and gender-specific prejudices have seen non-negligible societal issues spike in attention and coverage, leading to rising tensions and mean-spirited stereotyping and paranoia. It's in these times that the first of Disney's two major 2016 releases, Zootopia from Wreck it Ralph director Rich Moore, chimes in with an optimistic, but no less thoughtful commentary on these topics.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"The Magic of Disney Animation" Retrospective: Introduction.

Ask anybody on the street what the first word they think of is when you say "Animation". More often than not, the one word they will immediately answer with is Disney...