The program approaches its subject with a wry, detached style, with some controversies addressed, but overall the impact of Walt Disney on the world is met with awe and respect.
THE BEST TINKER BELL MOVIE SO FAR...
Posted on Sep 22 2010 by Greg
if you're a Disney and Peter Pan
fan and you ever had any doubts about whether making Tinker Bell the central character of a Disney film series would work, they should all disappear when you see Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
. I really believe this would be a very successful film if released theatrically, especially this time of year when pickings are lean at the theaters.
The first film, titled Tinker Bell
, was largely an origin story, and the second, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
, helped develop the supporting characters (especially Terrence) and Tinker Bell's anger issues. This film offers a good balance between our lead fairy and her friends along with a really solid story that never seems padded, a hazard in some direct-to-video films.
Like a Victorian E.T.
, this new film gives us a chance to see what happens when a young, imaginative child gets the dream of a lifetime -- to meet a fairy. Woven beautifully into the narrative are the young girl's need for her father's attention (who is present for her in body only), the dynamics between the fairy characters (focusing mostly on Vidia, who is nicer in this film but still having the prickly attitude of Veronica Lodge) and the wonderful activity of creating fairy houses (which is showcased in a bonus feature taking place at the Epcot
Flower & Garden Festival).
The film has a nice, lyrical pace but never lags for a moment, much in the style now identified with Pixar movies (some character designs even have a Pixar look). What are most delightful for fans are the references to the 1953 Disney classic. In the opening moments, Terence brings Tinker Bell to Fairy Camp and says, "There it is, Tinker Bell -- Fairy Camp!" much as Peter Pan said, "There it is Wendy -- second star to the right and straight on 'til morning!" At one point, there is a glimpse of the Darling home from the sky, as well as the iconic Big Ben landing.
This is the least musical of the Disney Fairies films, but the score by Joel McNeely
is magnificent -- yet there does not seem to be a soundtrack album! Maybe it will show up as a download.
Visually, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
is a feast and a good excuse to finally get that Blu-Ray player. With a big screen TV you can simulate the look of the film in a movie theater.
WHAT ABOUT PRINCE DASTAN?
Posted on Sep 21 2010 by Greg
(and his sister Maggie
) are the children of Naomi, as in "What About Naomi?"
If you watched the classic original Electric Company
back in the '70s (or when it was briefly revived, or on DVD), you know that this was the signature phrase from the brilliant "Love of Chair," a satire of soap operas that was conceived by head writer Paul Dooley
. Every installment of this sketch ended with the narrator saying, as the organ music dramatically paused, "And...what about Naomi?"
It was an inside joke. The real Naomi was Children's Television Workshop staffer Naomi Foner
, who years later gave birth to the two young stars. What does this have to do with The Prince of Persia
? Well, it gives Jake Gyllenhaal a few extra points with me even though this movie somehow falls short of what it could be. He seems like a sincerely good fellow, and even took the time to appear in promos and on talk shows to promote this film, something that some stars who cash huge Disney's paychecks don't bother to do.
As a workout video, The Prince of Persia is better than any of those Jane Fonda
VHS tapes. Jake earns his abs in scene after scene. It's a shame that the script did not offer him as much of a challenge. We never really get to know, or really care much about, the lead characters. The first 30 minutes is almost solid exposition, overloaded with political business and intrigue, before the fantasy of the magic dagger and the romance of the lovely and independent Princess and Dastan get underway.
The two leads seem to have some chemistry but an awful lot of epic furniture gets in their way. I have to wonder how the script must have been before it was meddled with by all the chefs, concerned about the obviously huge budget paying off and making sure the kitchen sink wasn't left out.
It's a fine cast with always great performances by Ben Kingsley
and Alfred Molina
, spectacular production values on a level with DeMille and a fine score by Harry Gregson-Williams
Maybe the summer was too hot here in Florida for me to find the film's setting very appealing. The short documentary included with the DVD (the Blu-Ray also includes a deleted scene and an interactive feature) tells us that the temperatures were over 100 degrees and this discomfort comes across in the film -- though apparently producer Jerry Bruckheimer
stayed nice and cool in the studio where he taped his comments with a superimposed background behind him!
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