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Friday, February 3, 2012

Beauty and the Beast 3D, Tangled Ever After, and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace That Won't Go Away

I recently visited the movie theater to let my nostalgia get the best of me and watch Beauty and the Beast in 3D. It seems like only yesterday that I detailed here the drama that seemed to be unraveling with this particular release. I’m just thankful that it is finally back in American theaters, entertaining new and old audiences.

Tale as old as time, but still entertaining audiences.

I was very excited for the pre-show, too. In a turn of marketing genius, Disney decided to create a Tangled short featuring Eugene and Rapunzel’s wedding.

Disney Bridal by Alfred Angelo: Rapunzel Dress
Disney Bridal by Alfred Angelo: Rapunzel Veil
The short was like any good old-fashioned Disney short: short, sweet, and full of slapstick and clever gags. One that didn’t hit me until later was Rapunzel’s veil. In many ways, it has bothered me that Tangled seems to suggest that Rapunzel’s hair can’t grow at all now that it has all been chopped off. Eugene acted very nobly, to be sure, and it had to be done, but because of his cutting tool he did a fairly choppy job (which is realistic, and I honestly respect the animators for the end result). But just because Rapunzel lost the flower power doesn’t mean that her hair is just dead. I would prefer to look at it as her being reborn, getting to start her life anew with the family that she’s been separated from this whole time. And while the poor girl has been through a lot and has more important things to concern herself with than hair, it must have still been hard to come to terms with the loss of her long, golden locks. She put her hair to good use and could do things with it that no one else could do. And just in general, when a woman gets a drastic hair cut, it can have a strong effect on her emotionally and psychologically. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that Rapunzel was 100% fine with the way her hair looked on her wedding day. But the length of her veil says everything, in a sweet and subtle way…while Rapunzel decided to mostly skip having a train for her wedding gown, her veil takes up the length that her hair would have. It was clever, symbolic and beautiful. Overall, the short was a fun addition to my evening.

The blonde doll is available now, but you will have to wait until March 28th for the brunette (and pay a lot more).

 But now, on to Beauty and the Beast. I detailed here before that the prologue had supposedly been altered in Australia and New Zealand. I am happy to report, however, that the original prologue is what is playing in movie theaters across America today: “If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return…” In fact, the film is exactly like the original (meaning no “Human Again” add-on) except it is in 3D and the film quality has been greatly enhanced.
 As for the 3D itself? Not too shabby. It really opened up the scenes (which were, of course, dynamic to begin with, but enhanced with the 3D). Beauty and the Beast is filled with detailed, beautiful and sweeping environments, so it was really cool to see it popping out a bit more. It was by no means gimmicky or in-your-face, and felt fairly natural to watch. It was rare that the 3D bothered me…the two most notable moments were when Belle enters Beast’s castle for the first time and looks up into the ceiling (her face ended up looking completely flat for some reason, which looked odd) and during “Gaston” at a time where the trio of blondes stood together but were completely still (I had never noticed their lack of animation at that moment before, but the 3D made it very apparent). With that in mind, I will probably go back to the theater to see this at least one more time, as Beauty and the Beast is my favorite film and I enjoyed noticing all sorts of things that I hadn’t seen before.

3D, but tasteful!
 Would I be willing to go see another Disney film re-done in 3D again? Depending on the film, yes. This fall Finding Nemo is slated to be released in 3D. I know it will look gorgeous…so this will essentially have the same appeal as Avatar (which got way more attention than it deserved, in my opinion). But if Disney thinks I’m going to want to see every Pixar film in 3D, they are seriously mistaken. I sincerely hope that the Cars franchise stays far, far away. Hopefully they learned something from the second film doing abysmally at the box office. They can have their fun with Carsland at Disney California Adventure, but let’s leave it at that, shall we?

There is another film being shown in 3D format for the first time next week: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Do I really need to see this film in 3D? Yes and no. No because Disneyland already has the attraction Star Tours in 3D, which opened last summer to great fanfare and utilizes many possible scenarios from the prequels, like podracing. I am not a fan of the prequels…and if you think they are worthy of a significant amount of praise, then I suggest you head on over to RedLetterMedia (be forewarned – this guy does some really bizarre vignettes for his character and it is by no means child-friendly, and he has a weird sense of humor, but the guy knows what he’s talking about).

So why do I have to see this disgrace to the Star Wars legacy and movies in general? If this release does not do well, then NONE of the other Star Wars films will be released in 3D. Granted, this saves any of the films from being tampered even more by George Lucas (well, temporarily, anyway), who seems completely determined to ruin his own franchise…but I’d be lying if I said I was not interested in seeing the original trilogy in 3D (even with the recent tragic addition of Vader crying “Nooo!” when he grabs the Emperor in Return of the Jedi). They really should have started with the release of the original trilogy (IV, V and VI), but of course they couldn’t possibly do that! Ugh…so, of course, Lucas and his band of cronies who don’t dare tell the man that he’s making bad choices force fans like myself (and, honestly, the majority of true Star Wars fans) to shell out money for films we do not want to see in order to have the opportunity to see the ones we really love. Greedy gungans (or gungas, according to George in an interview).

Hey Ani!!! I'm obnoxious!!!
 So, as much as I hate to advertise for this abomination, as a Star Wars fan I am asking you to go out and see this film so that we have a chance to see the real Star Wars films (that we’re not ashamed to call ourselves fans of) in 3D.

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