Monday, February 28, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet - The Latest Adaptation is the Cutest and Quirkiest

OMG, Gnomeo and Juliet was soooooooo good. I had no idea what to expect. Okay, I had some idea. I thought it would be a run of the mill CGI feature with little to no substance. Boy was I wrong. I think these gnome characters are probably the funniest and dare I say almost fully fleshed characters I've seen in awhile.

What got my attention immediately about this production is the attention to details. You look at these beings and you immediately know they're made out of stone, plastic and sometimes metal and wire. There is no doubt about it. One could easily be fooled into thinking this was stop motion animation. One could be easily fooled into thinking this was made by Pixar if it weren't for the way the story unfolds.

In adapting the story by using a cast of garden gnomes, the story still has a sense of fantasy and history but it does take place in the modern world so it can also be seen as a commentary on Shakespeare adaptations themselves. There's an awesome cameo with Shakespeare, voiced by Patrick Stewart, who gives his own commentary about the unfolding actions.

I've got to give major props to Juliet. She's usually portrayed as an overprotected pretty princess, but in this quirky adaptation she knows how to fight, knows how to be her own person and is hella' funny. The real scene stealer in this one though is Juliet's Nurse, here portrayed as a man hungry water fountain frog named Nanette. The soundtrack is filled with classic Elton John songs and one new song he sings with Lady Gaga that is NOT available in the soundtrack. This is the only way to hear the legendary team-up for now Gaga fans.

This is a very cute and quirky adaptation of the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet. I highly recommend it, and not just to hear Elton sing with Lady Gaga.

Check out these links:

Romeo and Juliet: Sealed With a Kiss - Another animated adaptation of the classic Shakespearian story. This one using a cast of Seals, Walruses and Fish. No mermaids though sadly.

Shakespeare: The Animated Tales - An animated anthology in which Shakespeare's best plays are told in 30 minutes vignettes with spectacular animation from Moscow.

Gnomeo & Juliet - Buy the soundtrack. I love me some Elton John.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Powerpuff Girls Movie - The Return of The WhoopAss Girls

OMG I haven't seen this movie in years. I saw it in theaters and then ignored the US DVD release due to Warner Home Video's reluctance to release it in it's original widescreen. A fate that has also been cast down on the musical Annie and the awesomeness of Cats Don't Dance.

If you've seen The Powerpuff Girls TV series, then you know what to expect: Mary Blair type artwork, old school spy movie type musical cues, homages to classic anime and kung fu movies, and superpowered battles that are too cute and incredible at the same time.

The movie tho does take a different tone than the TV series. The TV series has always softened the blow of some of the harsher themes that our main heroines have been presented with, but in this origin story type movie, creator Craig McCracken really dives in towards a darker tone for our girls. Initially he was trying to get back to the roots of the original short that inspired The Powerpuff Girls. Back then they were called The WhoopAss Girls. 

Some of the major things that seperate this movie from the light hearted fun of the TV show is that the citizens of Townsville really do hate the girls for most of the movie and the girls have to deal with thinking they've been abandoned for most of the picture. I usually cry in almost every movie I see, but this one really had me pulling out almost every emotion out of my frail twinky body.

Not to say that this movie is nothing but seriousness. There are a lot of clever and non clever comedic moments and wordplay throughout the film and it still very much a Powerpuff Girls story. This one really needs to get out onto Blu Ray, you know what I mean?

Let Me In - Vampires and Bullies

Okay I know the deal about this movie: It's the American version of the swedish horror movie awesomeness that is Let The Right One In. As soon as the American version was announced, helmed by Cloverfield's Matt Reeves, fans of the original swedish film were a buzz. From the studio pressure of aging the characters to make it more accessible to American audiences to the usual questions of "why remake a movie that doesn't need to be remade" type of questions that are not original or unique - so I'll never understand why people keep asking them.

 Before moving on to my review I would like to answer the popular question of "why remake a movie that doesn't need to be remade." Because it can be done. A remake does not ruin the original. End of story. If you don't like it, don't watch it, chill out. Like really.

Let Me In is an almost shot for shot recreation of Let the Right One In. kinda' like Gus Van Sant's Psycho. A viewer of the original film can see exactly where Matt Reeves put his own personal view on this version though, like the awesome car crash scene and the opening which has us start in the middle of the film's plot and then go back 2 weeks earlier.

The theme of bullying gets a new resonance in this film especially due to the media attention that bullying has been getting in the news as a result of homophobic behavior in schools. That thought is not lost in this movie as the bullies always call our main character, Owen (Oscar in the original), a little girl and are very brutal in their bullying of him. At times I thought I was watching Shawshank Redemption Jr.

Our female lead, Chloe Moretz, plays Abby (Eli in the original) and she is quite a sight. She looks like an angel, but is no doubt hiding something more sinister, which should be no surprise to anyone who's seen the original, or hell to anyone who's seen the trailer as well. I also love how she says at times that she's "not a girl" exactly. A subtle nod to the original novel which I highly recommend you read as it is probably one of the best pieces of gay literature around.

I loved this movie no doubt. I thought it was beautifully filmed and incredibly romantic. An interesting contrast to all the horrific bloody scenes. I'm pretty sure that fans of horror will find something to love in this almost perfect feature.

Check out these links:

Blood: The Last Vampire - Got Blood - Check out this kick ass vampire movie
Let Me In [Blu-ray] - Buy the movie on Blu Ray
Let the Right One In [Blu-ray]  - Check out the original Swedish Film
Let The Wrong Subtitles In - A Report on the above mention Blu Ray for the original film
Let me In [Let the Right One In] [Hardcover]  - Read the Book.