Movie Review – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Movie Review - Maleficent: Mistress of EvilThere really isn’t a lot to say about this Maleficent sequel. It’s gorgeous to look at. If you like fantasy movies, you’ll have a great time.

Angelina Jolie brings back that good/evil vibe she did so well in the original. She also doesn’t look a day older from way back when, so I assume there was some CGI de-aging and very smooth fairy-tale make-up going on. Good on her. And good on everyone involved. The story isn’t gripping or even worth discussing, but it’s still just a lovely film.

What was better about this movie than the first is that it’s a brand new story. The classic tale had to conform somewhat to the Disney Briar Rose/Aurora/Sleeping Beauty concept. More or less. From the ‘evil queen’ point of view, except totally not. Evil is relative.

Maleficent 2 got to be a fresh new movie with a totally different concept. It didn’t let anyone down. The audience laughed, gasped, and even applauded at the end. I had a great time, and it was clear everyone left with a smile on their face and a spring in their steps. It’s nice to see a sequel surpass the original.

If you like fantasy movies, see this in the theater on a good screen, and reserve a good seat location for your ticket money. It’s that pretty. There aren’t a lot of good fantasy films out there, not compared to the current plethora of action, thriller, or sci fi flicks. This one’s worth it (again, if you like high fantasy and tales of magic).

To be totally honest, you’ll be completely lost if you haven’t seen the original, since almost no time is spent on exposition.

Go see the original again, and then this, and if you liked the first, you’ll love the second.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: Here are 3 good Peetimes — I recommend the final one before the climax, but any will do. This is such a pretty movie, and I didn’t want to make Peetimes over the big fantasy scenes, so these are more like transitional sections with exposition I’ve summed up in the synopses.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and brief scary images
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Sequel

Movie Review – Gemini Man

 

Movie Review - Gemini ManNothing amazing, nothing awful. This is a stylish little film where every actor gives it their all and makes a nice 2 hour action excursion.

Here’s a Pro-Tip for audiences: wait for this to come out on streaming. While old and young Will Smith both look great ( I suspect they aged up one version and de-aged the other — meeting somewhere in the middle), they both look like super fit, handsome men. And both have his trademark humor.

Benedict Wong is a wonderful addition, proving he can be more than just a sidekick MCU wizard. More Wong, please, in better films? K, thx.

What else to say about Gemini Man?

The good guys and bad guys are all somewhat sympathetic. What price should freedom cost in our nation/world? This is for better minds than mine to decipher…although I lean on the side of the Hippocratic Oath: DO NO HARM.

I’m sure politicians would find me hopelessly naive. Even Sci Fi shows like Men in Black find it better to keep humanity in the dark in dark times.

Gemini Man, Overall:

So: there are MANY exciting films coming down the pike for the upcoming holiday Blockbuster season. Save your dough. The FX here are middlin’, and the story is fine…but not great. A good film to catch at home.

PERSONAL PLEA: Will!!! Smith!!! Please return to the Suicide Squad 2 fold. You can’t go wrong with Director James Gunn. Robbie and you were the only reasons the origin story even worked. Gemini has no franchise future. Go have fun being a super-person instead!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: In a movie with this much action and surprises, it was hard to find good Peetimes, so use these and be quick. Here are 4 decent Peetimes with no crucial action and just a bit of exposition. The 2nd Peetime is much longer/better than the others, if that helps you decide which is best to use. This is not a long movie, but a lot happens.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Gemini Man. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Rules to Survive in ZombieLand

zombieland poster 1991
Cardio, don’t be a hero…and CLOWNS? I have to agree with Columbus and Clowns. Sorry. Give me Zombies ANYDAY.

Here are the rules presented on the big screen in 2009’s Zombieland, one of the two greatest Rom-Com-Zom movies ever made.

(Just so you don’t have to guess, the other is Shaun of the Dead.)

With Zombieland 2 coming out soon, RunPee thought a refresher on zombie survival rules was in order. Can you remember more than the first three?

There are 11 officially listed rules, but we don’t know them all from the first movie — ie, “Check the backseat” is listed onscreen as Rule 31 in-film. So this list is incomplete, based on Zombieland 1. Stay tuned, hopefully, for more to come in the sequel!

Here’s we what we learned from the first Zombieland film.

All The Rules to Surviving in Zombieland

1. Cardio

Columbus lists this as Rule Number One. Like escaping a bear, you just have to be faster than the other guys. Bonus points if you’re faster than the zombie. Remember, some are slow shuffling undead, and some are superhuman fast, and they are both still zombies. And hungry for you. Stay in shape.

(Also, like Columbus, you might need to circle your car enough times to find your keys. Nobody ever said Zombies were smart. Just keep running.)

2. Double Tap
Columbus says, “When in doubt, don’t get stingy with your bullets.” You’ve got unlimited access to sporting and gun shop supplies. Use them. Why trust one head shot when you can have two, or more? Unload the whole damn cartridge if you’re annoyed enough.

And don’t prod the body with your foot to be sure the undead are dead. Don’t be like stupid people in movies. Use your Cardio and get the hell out.

BTW, Double Tap is the name of the Zombieland sequel. So we can’t underline the importance of this rule and neither should you.

3. Beware of Bathrooms
You are at your most vulnerable while sitting on the toilet, so always take extra care.

I learned this early on while watching X-Files…nothing good ever happens in bathrooms, while you’re setting up for a nice bathtub, or waiting for your bowels to move. This kind of thing has been spoofed in many films, but the song remains the same — just because you have your pants down doesn’t mean you’re safe.

What to do?

Zombies seem to sneak up on people who are at their most vulnerable, although zombies really just attack with no special circumstances. However, this does not change the fact that toilets are places you want to be careful around. The best way to stay safe is to check each bathroom before you enter, in every cubicle. Also remember: just because it’s not humanly acceptable to crawl under cubical doors, it doesn’t mean the zombies won’t do it.

4. Buckle Up (Canon: this is Rule 31, in-universe)
It doesn’t do to be hyper alert for zombies and clueless to the normal safely hazards of life. Seat belts save lives, even especially when the danger level is dialed up to 11.

Columbus’ life is preserved from this rule right in the movie. Tallahassee, though, can’t get any shits about mundane things like seat belts. Good thing Woody Harrelson is a big box office draw. That should keep him safe through the sequel, or even three-quel.

5. Travel Light

This includes both physical possessions and attachments to people. You never know when you’re going to have to kill your mum (see: Shaun of the Dead).

Zombies can surprise you at any moment, and you’ll need to make a fast get away, more often that you’d think — even from the slow ones. As well as using your well-honed Cardio to outrun the zombie(s), you’ll also need to be light on your feet. That means reducing the weight of objects you’re carrying with you. So instead of a bulky suitcase full of personal mementos, you’d be safer with a smaller amount of luggage, such as a backpack that’s easy to carry and won’t slow you down. Maybe bury your stuff someone for later retrieval when things blow over. IF, of course that ever happens.

Your heaviest luggage in Zombieland should be your guns, ammo, blunt smashing tools, water, food, and medical supplies. Remember, in an empty world you can get these things almost anywhere.

And, yes, if you can find them, Twinkies last forever.

6. Don’t Be A Hero
Don’t stick your juicy blood-filled neck out for others if you wish to stay alive.

In Zombieland, the big risk is you might get eaten alive by zombies if you’re not always alert.

However, remember that there are certain circumstances where this rule could, maybe, be ignored. Perhaps you want to save someone who makes staying alive worth it (because you love them), or you wish to ensure you have a partner to back you up when sleeping or pooping, or smashing tourist items in tacky gift shops (you can only do Zombieland alone for so long).

7. Limber Up (In-Universe, Limber Up is Rule 18)

Don’t take too much time distracting yourself with the yoga before an actual attack, but in your down time, stretch and limber your body. You never know when you’ll need flexibility to get out of a rough situation. This goes along with the Cardio rule. Your fitness is your best defense.

8. When In Doubt, Always Know Your Way Out
If you’ve seen any action films, you’ll know the importance of knowing backdoors, trapdoors, or even warehouse windows that offer an extra escape when you’re surrounded by hungry zombies.

What does this mean? Look around and scope out your place. Prop open spare doors. Know your exits. Don’t go inside if  you don’t know at least a couple of ways out. Even Shaun was trapped in his favorite pub in Shawn of the Dead, even though he’d been there hundreds of times. Don’t let this be you. Indoors, outdoors…nowhere is safe. Your brain is your best weapon — use it. Know the way out.

9. The Buddy System

Are you alone? You might not last long. Sometimes you have to sleep, or cook, or poop (see Bathroom Rule), or maybe even have sexy times. Someone has to keep a look-out for you, and you for them.

It’s not altruism. It’s just smart. Humans are social creatures. Zombies are not.

10. Check The Back Seat

Ever see ANY movie, ever? The supposed hero gets into their car and…low and behold…in the backseat someone rises up to throttle them. Ugh.

This is just common sense. Check your seats. Always. Duh.

11. Enjoy The Little Things

Life in Zombieland is awful. Really. Almost nobody is left alive, and even your loved ones might now be brain sucking monsters. If Twinkies, breaking Indian pottery, or riding roller coasters are all you have left to enjoy, make those things happen.

In fact, life in real land can be tough. It only makes sense to enjoy the little things no matter what. What things make you happy, even for a moment? Do them. This is a lesson that Zombieland can teach us all.

ZombieLand 2: Double Tap will be live soon. Let’s assume there will be more rules coming down the pike. I look forward to more dystopian lessons. Got any guesses about survival tactics in a world gone nuts? Comment section is down below. 

Movie review : ZombieLand

Best Zombie Movies List

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

 

Movie Review – Joker

 

Movie Review - JokerI have a feeling a lot of people will really like this Joker movie. Personally, I don’t understand how this film can even come close to the DCEU and their best films. It’s not funny at all, like EVER, and doesn’t involve any of the Justice League members. I have to admit that we’ve had a lot of Jokers over the years that don’t give us much fun. I don’t even think I like any of the Jokers we’ve seen, except maybe Mark Hamill as the Joker in the animated Batman TV series.

Sometimes going back to the well works. I mean, look at Tom Holland against all the Spider-Men we’ve had in the last decade. We finally got a great one! Holland’s beloved, with good reason, after the other Spideys that had both great and awful qualities in the end. Which is a whole other conversation.

Another comparison: by Thor: Ragarok, Marvel finally figured how to handle The Mighty Thor (with great comedic timing). Right? This improved the entire MCU and gave Chris Hemsworth a new lease on super life.

So, what is the deal with the DC comics not being able to make consistently enjoyable films? The studio is all over the place, and fans aren’t sure what to expect. How does a delightful outing like Shazam fit in with the gritty Batman trilogy? And do all these Jokers fit within one continuity? I think we have to accept they don’t.

I’m looking forward to seeing James Gunn’s work on Suicide Squad 2 and hopefully, he’ll make it as amusing as Guardians of the Galaxy. But don’t expect Joker to be amusing at all. This film feels more like Logan , the X-Men standalone, (to which we gave an A+) than anything else. Or at least maybe that’s what this film tried to be. Joker is depressing, and deep, but filmed well, with a lot of care to the details.

Do you want a superhero/super-villains film? If you’re a huge Joker fan, I don’t think this is your film.  It just has nothing “super” in it. Really. It’s a dramatic movie, very traumatic, and more than a bit weird.

I initially gave Joker a C+, but today I upgraded it to a B-, for being a good drama that spins an unusual take on the iconic Joker role.

K, thx. Can we stop rebooting Jokers for a while now?

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: There is a lot of plot and character development here, making it hard to get Peetimes as the events unfold. I recommend the 2nd Peetime for a nice long break. Try to use it proactively in this 2 hour movie.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Joker. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images
Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller, DC

Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

Best Superhero Movies That Were Never Made

Movie Review – The Princess and the Frog

 

Movie Review - The Princess and the FrogThe Princess and the Frog is a suitably good and modern take on the “Princess” theme, with a jazzy little soundtrack and some true comedic moments. But is it moving? Inspiring? Maybe. Tiana, the Princess in question, is a good role model, with a solid work ethic.

Which makes me think…Tiana has a job. She works. Do any of the other Disney Princesses work at all, ever? Even the ones that aren’t royalty to start with seem to do…nothing. Belle, for example, apparently reads all day, to the amazement of the illiterates around her. Cinderella worked hard, basically as a slave, but I wouldn’t call what she did a job.

Aladdin at least has a profession (petty thief). The other Princes only seemed ride around the country, looking for sleeping Princesses to kiss. But, you know, this review should be about Tiana. 🙂

Tiana only wants to own a jazz club in New Orleans, which is a nice achievable goal. She works at least two jobs to get to her dream, and her parents aren’t abusive, so it’s not like there’s an evil stepmother in the picture, for once.

Which leads to the villain: the Voodoo guy. He has no motivation in the plot except to be evil for evil’s sake, and he really drags the film down. His stuff is so boring I can’t be bothered to look up his name. I know it’s hard to make a good villain, but when Disney hits it out of the park, magic happens. We start to care about the story.

In The Princess and the Frog, I only cared about the actual ‘frog’ scenes, which are definitely delightful. The swamp travel passages with the firefly and alligator are super fun, and emphasize the solid narrative message that looks can be deceiving. Prince Naveen is even quite ‘charming’ in his selfishness, and he has a nice arc with Tiana, who brooks no foolishness. Good for her.

But there’s the redneck scene, which is the kind of unpleasant throwback stereotypical storytelling I’d expect from Old Disney, which also drags the movie down. Ugh. (And that’s why their scene makes a great Peetime, having nothing to do with the plot and offering very awkward humor.)

So…I’d call this a middling Princess film. I was pleasantly surprised how Disney incorporated a lower class American heroine that wasn’t in love with a man because he was attractive and royal. And I liked how Naveen was sort of a brat, but good at heart, and he grew to love Tiana for her personality, not for her beauty.

Altogether, The Princess and the Frog is a nice movie that showcases a young woman of color in a way that never feels racist: her story is not about her skin at all, unless you count green froggy skin.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: If you can hold off for the Recommended 2nd Peetime at 51 minutes, you won’t miss any songs, and the scene in question is really quite dumb. We also provided an early Peetime at 40 minutes in case you really need it (it includes a minor song).

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Princess and the Frog. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G) none
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

New Disney Princess Celebrates Racial Diversity

Movie Review – Ad Astra

 

Movie Review - Ad AstraThis is a very intense and thought provoking movie. I can’t write the review today, but I’ll give it a B grade for now. I saw in in IMAX, which I recommend for the best “space” experience, and for the constant extreme closeups on Brad Pitt’s face.

Suffice to say for now the film (which means To The Stars in Latin) is extremely low key and existential. And is sort of about God without being anything about God at all.

Much to add later. I’m sure future classes about philosophy will eat this movie for lunch and dinner.

D-Box Experience
You really feel the experience of the rocket ship at take off and some feeling of what it is like when they are weightless in space. For this movie, I would give the D-Box experience a 5 out of 10.  (Special thanks to Troy Borysko for the input.)

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Although the movie is 2 hours, it was easy to find Peetimes. It’s a slow, contemplative film, with a lot of ‘scenery’ scenes, and closeups of Brad Pitt talking to himself. I recommend the 3rd Peetime at the halfway point — it’s a nice long break with nothing going on. A lot of people (like a dozen!) got up just before the climax and missed the best part of the film. So go proactively at the one-hour mark.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Ad Astra. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some violence and bloody images, and for brief strong language
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Movie Review – Tangled

 

Movie Review - TangledI’m only 3/4 of the way through my first viewing of Tangled (yes, my 1st time) and I love it already so much I’m willing to give it an A+. Of course, they could screw it up during the climax and I’ll have to change my review, but so far I’m completely delighted.

Tangled: beautifully animated, very funny, and packs in a lot of adventure. I’m stingy with my A grades, and give almost nothing an A+, so this is a good endorsement from us at RunPee.

Great Characters

There’s a handsome Han Solo type of rogue. Which…yay! And of course there are amusing animal sidekicks. What’s cool is that both the horse and chameleon have a ton of attitude, which Disney doesn’t usually do. Actually, their “men” aren’t usually ‘jerks with a heart of gold’, except for Flynn here, and  Naveen in The Princess and the Frog. So this is kind of a treat. Ahem.

I smiled a lot, especially with the Snuggly Duck ruffians singing about their dreams. Really. What could be more cute than that scene?

This movie made me happy.

A Great Villain

Then there’s Gothel, the ‘wicked’ adoptive mother. She’s an awesome villain. Her songs are totally fun, and she’s actually nice to Rapunzel. She really is. She’s affectionate, goes out of her way to get Rapunzel a birthday gift, and gives the girl a decent life (albeit as a complete prisoner) with games, books, paints, a great kitchen, craft supplies, a lot of leeway for doodling all over the walls…pretty much anything one can do inside a nicely appointed tower.

Gothel’s not evil so much as selfish…but not completely unrelatable. She’s not about riches or power. She just wants to stay young and live. Ursula from The Little Mermaid is still my favorite Disney villain, but Gothel is surprisingly interesting. I liked her better than Scar from The Lion King, and he was previously my second favorite Disney villain. Good job, Tangled!

And a Disney Easter Egg or Two

I find one in the movie Tangled: a stylized depiction of Snow White’s Poisoned Apple painting on a stairway balustrade in Rapunzel’s Tower. Easy to miss, but it’s there.

Also, Rapunzel and Flynn show up at the Coronation scene in Frozen, which is pretty cool. Her hair is still short and brown. Disney doesn’t want to be a shared universe, but now that Pixar/Marvel have been absorbed by the Mouse, things are changing.

Tangled, Overall

I’ll be watching the last part of this movie tomorrow (I have to see Ad Astra tonight to get Peetimes) and really hope Tangled’s climax doesn’t let me down. I’ll be back soon to let you know if this is truly an A+ film.

UPDATE After Finishing Tangled: I’ll keep the A+. It met up with my expectations, even though I thought they could have wrapped up Mother Gothel’s story a little less gruesomely.  Put her in prison or something, like the Stabbington brothers, who were, you know, actually evil. I did love the return of the ‘dreamer’ ruffians, though. See? Some people are redeemable. (I really would like Disney to stop with the bad parent theme, like they did with Brave.)

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: This Disney classic was re-released in theaters this Friday. When I do Peetimes for Disney Princess films, I do my best to avoid any songs, which is what most fans want to see. Some exposition or mild plot scenes are chosen instead, but are well-summarized in the synopses. Tangled has 3 good Peetimes, so you won’t be lost when you get back from the toilet. Pick any.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Tangled. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for brief mild violence
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast

What You Need to Know to Watch the Downton Abbey Movie

downton abbey lords and ladies
Must be nice.

Have you seen or recently rewatched the UK six-season show Downton Abbey? Do you remember enough of it to make sense of the new film — one that doesn’t bother with any backstory exposition at all?

Here’s a cheat sheet to remind you of what you need to know to enjoy the Downton Abbey Movie (consider this a spoiler warning if you haven’t seen the series)…and here is how to watch the series online.

servants in downton abbey
Team Downstairs.

The Servants’ Halls:

  • Daisy began a relationship with Andrew, one of the footmen. It’s a relationship on equal appreciation, for once.
  • Mrs. Patmore is still the cook, and continues to mentor Daisy in life lessons.
  • Barrow is still the Butler, as Carson is retired. (His palsy is never referenced.)
  • Barrow is still gay and suffering from loneliness. He’s also mellowed out a lot.
  • Mrs. Carson (Previously Mrs. Hughes) is still in charge of the household.
  • Anna is still Lady Mary’s maid, and Baxter still is Lady Grantham’s maid.
  • MY GOD, the Bates’ Problems are over and done. Thankfully. They’ve been through enough.
downton abbey characters
Team Upstairs.

The Nobles of Team Upstairs:

  • Awww, Lord Grantham still has his dog, which he loves more than his daughters. 😉
  • The Dowager Countess Lady Violet has NOT mellowed over the years, but she seems to accept Isobel Crawley now as a real friend. She’s has moved on to new frenemies (like her Dolores Umbridge counterpart from Harry Potter, Imelda Staunton.
  • Lady Edith and Lady Mary are still happily married, although their husbands and children are barely in the film. Mary = Henry Talbot. Edith = Bertie Pelham, FYI. There’s been a lot of men in their lives over the seasons, but this is how it ended up.
  • Also, Isobel Crawley is still the Baroness Merton with her marriage to Richard Grey, who is still no longer dying.
  • Robert and Cora are still as cute a couple as ever (Lord and Lady Grantham).
  • Lady Rosamund and Rose are nowhere to be seen.
  • Sisters Mary and Edith appear to have maintained the hard won truce they found at the end of the series.
  • Tom Branson remains is a loyal son-in-law and is comfortable being a nobleman now, but his Irish socialist past still haunts him.

If you really want to know the very detailed ins and outs of how Downton Abbey ended, check out this wiki.

Finally: A very detailed video refresher narrator by the beloved stars — by the beloved Carson and Mrs:Hughes/Carson: (HUGH TV show spoilers, not mild like me mine.)

Finally, here some of the most acidic Dowager Countesses Lady Violet Crawly lines (the delightful Maggie Smith) shade throughout the years — this is a hoot:

Movie Review – Downton Abbey

What Downton Abbey is About, and How to Binge Watch It

Quiz – Queen Elizabeth l and Mary Queen of Scots

All the Disney Princess Songs – with You Tube Clips

moana disney princess
Singing to water and/or birdies is a Disney Princess thing.

What is a Disney Princess wish-filled ” I Want” song? Notice how all the girls — and some of the guys, IE: Aladdin and Snow White’s Prince Charming — have a song full of exposition about their hopes and wishes? This was even parodied in Ralph Breaks The Internet in a genius scene where the Princesses talk about singing a song and looking into water, leading Vanellope to find a puddle and sing her own ” I Want” song.

I don’t know why Princess Vanellope isn’t a proper princess, but I suspect she’s just too young.

ralph breaks the internet and princess venelope
Wreck-It Ralph himself- proof one can be both zero and hero.

There’s one official Disney Princess that doesn’t have a song — can you guess who this is? (Merida from Brave.) Also, Elsa from Frozen is not considered an official Princess for Disney marketing reasons, but she SHOULD be a princess, jeez, and Anna too. Elsa’s ” I Want” song is award-winning and beloved by fans. So I’m adding it to this list. Also, I really think of Nala from The Lion King should be a Disney Princess. She’s mated to Simba, and it says he’s a King right in the movie title. So her song is here too.

I’m rewatching each song clip right now to see if they all sing to some form of water. Can you guess which songs don’t feature water? I’ll write the answer below!

With no further ado, here are the all Disney Princess wishing songs with their song clips from You Tube — enjoy!

Snow White – “I’m Wishing”

Cinderella – “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”

Aurora – “I Wonder”

Ariel – “Part of Your World”

Belle – “Belle (reprise)”

Jasmine – “A Whole New World”

Nala – “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”

Pocahontas – “Just Around the Riverbend”

Mulan – “Reflection”

Tiana – “Almost There”

Rapunzel – “When Will My Life Begin”

Moana – “How Far I’ll Go”

Elsa – “Let it Go”

Vanellope – “A Place Called Slaughter Race”

So, who doesn’t sing to water?

Rapunzel, for one, unless you count paint. Belle doesn’t sing to any water in her song. Tiana doesn’t either, unless you count a pot of gumbo. I’m easy. Who else? Aurora and Cinderella only sing to birds, which is very “early Disney.”

Which I Want Princess songs are your favorites? Tell us in the comment section below. (I’ll tell you mine there to get started.)

Movie Review – Ralph Breaks the Internet

A Whole New World – Aladdin Lyrics and Video (1992 Animated Version)

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast

Movie Review – Beauty and the Beast

 

Movie Review - Beauty and the BeastWithout any doubt, the 1991 animated Beauty & The Beast is considered among the best of the Disney Princess movies, or any of the the Disney films. It’s from the period known as The Disney Renaissance that started with The Little Mermaid, and ran through most of the 90s. (I think it concluded with The Princess & The Frog.) This was an era that brought a faded Disney empire back into the hearts of people who love stories of adventure, and of Princesses.

Four of the best Princesses came from this creative Disney restart: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Nala (she may be ‘only’ a lion but as mate of the King, she’s royalty). In several RunPee Polls over the years, Belle’s always got the top spot as everyone’s favorite Princess.

So I want to give this beloved film an A+, but I just can’t, and that’s why I’ve been dragging my heels to write this review. I finally just decided to give my thoughts and say Beauty & The Beast misses that “plus” by a hair…and it’s not the hair of Belle or The Beast that brought it down.

What’s great in Beauty & The Beast:

Belle is a great role model — she loves books and adventure stories, and isn’t afraid to try to protect the ones she loves. She’s spirited and speaks her mind intelligently.

Belle’s also very nice to the furniture, which is a big deal if you know this classic tale.  😉

The Beast has a meaningful transformation that takes a good slow time to develop (the seasons change over the course of the film). He’s delightfully grumpy for quite a while, and his path to compassion feels largely earned. The two will probably make a good couple, and the message of “seeing beyond surface appearances” is profound enough.

What drags Belle’s movie down:

No, my main beef with Beauty & The Beast lies with Gaston. (Also, with the wolf scene, but I’ll get to that later.) Gaston is simply a bore. And not in the love-to-hate way. His character sucks life from the screen. Gaston’s little sidekick is intensely annoying (again, not in the good way). All the villagers seem like the world’s stupidest morons — from the first song Belle, through to the end with The Mob Song. I don’t understand how this village can possibly even function, given their apparent level of credulity and ignorance.

At least in The Lion King (who has a great main villain), the hyenas — also depicted as intellectually challenged — are amusing in their henchmen evilness. They also don’t just blindly follow whoever talked the loudest.

Anyway, all the scenes at the castle are simply gold, and if the movie focused more on the title characters and said furniture, we’d have a perfect film. Cogsworth and Lumiere aren’t quite Pumba and Timon, but come close. And that doggy footstool deserves a special mention: what a delightful idea!

There’s enough story to be told in the main narrative without manufacturing the Gaston side plot.

To be fair, I know they were trying to show that the “good looking” guy was a big jerk, while the scary, hairy Beast has a heart of gold, but the movie spent too much time with Gaston, his motley crew, and the idiots with the pitchforks. Either spend less time away from the castle, or make the other parts better. Too much creative time is squandered.

What about the wolves?

I did say I was going to mention the wolf scene. For one thing, it makes a great Peetime, since no one is seeing Beauty & The Beast for the action. But I also don’t understand Disney’s problem with wolves. Wolves don’t attack people. They especially don’t attack people riding giant Belgian Draft Horses like Philippe. I happen to like wolves and support their reintroduction to the wild, and was vastly disappointed with Disney maintaining their ‘wolves are evil’ stance in the 2017 live action Beauty & The Beast.

You know who gangs up on people like that in real life? Other people. They could have made the remake with a band of outlaws and moved away from the whole wolf thing… This is a personal peeve, and I won’t take marks from the film for it, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.

The animated classic, overall:

Had Beauty & The Beast been solid throughout, with an interesting villain and henchmen, it would be an easy A+ film. The Little Mermaid and The Lion King handle this effortlessly. The castle scenes are so fun and compelling, though, that I’ll say Beauty is probably the third best pre-Pixar Disney Princess movie, coming in with a high A score.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: The Disney classic is being re released to theaters on Friday. It was hard to make Peetimes, since I assume people want to see the songs in this 1991 classic, and there are a lot of them. I also didn’t want to have you miss the romantic parts. I chose 2 Peetimes during the silly villager songs, and one during an action scene, leaving you free to enjoy the best parts of the film.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Beauty and the Beast. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (G) N/A
Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy

Movie Review – Beauty and The Beast (live action version)

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The Lion King – Rewatch Review of the Animated Classic

Rewatch Review – Disney’s Animated Aladdin (1992) – A Classic Film with Deeply Modern Flaws