Saturday, February 20, 2010

And so it goes . . .

Last night found many of my friends in the Salt Lake area attending the Elton John and Billy Joel concert. It was interesting to see how many were tweeting or updating their facebook status from the show. I find it amazing at how much time we spend sharing the minutiae of our lives with others, and how much time we spend following the actions and steps of our friends.

A few months ago I came across a You Tube video with Ben Stiller and Mickey Rooney discussing the impact Twitter has on us.

Then again, if it weren't for social media, I would not have found this website.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

That was new . . .

After finding out that The Princess and the Frog was still playing at one of the theaters in Tempe, Haily and I took the kids out for a night on the town. Unfortunately, money's been tight for some time, so we haven't been to the movies much in the past year - in fact, we only saw Up and the 3D Toy Story double feature.

My daughter, for the first time, sat through the movie without needing to climb up on Mommy or Daddy's lap. My son's prior movie experiences have left either me or my wife leaving the the theater to tend to him. He was a little rambunctious, but watched the movie - sometimes in his seat, sometimes in Mommy's lap - but we didn't need to move from our seats to calm him down.

The presentation was a great twist. Rather than a straight telling of the Frog Prince fairy tale, the film takes the premise and creates a world where the characters are aware of the story and take matters into their own, er, flippers.

About halfway through the movie I found myself doing something I haven't caught myself doing in a long time. I had a silly grin going from ear to ear. Beginning with the introduction of Louis, a trumpet playing alligator . . .

. . . and continuing with the addition of Ray, a cajun lightning bug . . .

. . . I found myself completely caught up in the movie. It's been years since I found myself so fully enveloped by a film. I'll admit, I'm too much of a geek to lose myself in movies. I have to know how a particular effect was created, or try to comprehend a particular character's motivation. For example, early in the film, the style changes from the romantic animated form to an art deco tapestry, and in the midst of the scene found myself wondering if any previous animated films have had such a drastic change in style.


Later, during a very stylistic sequence after the movie had built up some steam, I was too involved to let my geek side take over to contemplate on the technical aspect of the scene.

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG: Ma Belle Evangeline -

Dr. Facilier, is a worthy addition to the Disney rogues gallery. The clip I've included offers a bit of the background on his character by both the voice artist, David Keith, and lead animator, Bruce Smith.

The Princess and the Frog:Conjuring the Villain
Uploaded by DisneyAnimation. -

The Princess and the Frog was truly charming, and I look forward to repeated views (it is scheduled to be released on DVD in March). True, I am an avowed Disney animation nut, and will pretty much always say something good about every Disney cartoon that comes along, but this one will be ranked in my library alongside true classics such as Pinnochio, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.

I know, this review is several months beyond all others out there, but it touched a part of me - the part that loves animation for being animation. But what I think I'll remember most is looking over at my daughter, fixated on the magic up on that movie screen.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Being Driven Crazy?

Spending a quiet day at home with my kids. My wife needed to run out to the grocery store, and I offered to let her have some time to herself and watch the kids, rather than drag everyone up and down the store aisles.

We're watching Cars. My son is shouting out Lightning McQueen's name "Ightneen!" and my daughter is starting to deconstruct the movie. It took me 24 years and countless college English courses to begin to figure out that process.

Cars is an odd duck. Every other Pixar movie deals with how object, insects, monsters, fish, super heroes, rats, robots, and senior citizens deal with the everyday world around them - our world. In Cars, not only is it not our world, but no explanation is provided as to how the Cars come into existence (notice how there aren't any Cars that are depicted as children).

Despite that, it's still one of my favorite Pixar films. If I had to rate them, with the first being the best . . .

Toy Story 2
The Incredibles


Toy Story
Finding Nemo


Monsters Inc.
A Bug's Life

Although I've listed A Bug's Life as my least favorite on this list, it still has an overall high rank when compared to the offerings of other films (animated or otherwise). I trust Pixar, and look forward with anticipation for Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters Inc. 2, The Bear and the Bow, and Newt.

And to think, it all started with a lamp. Actually it was a Bee. Wally B. But that's another story.