nenena: (Default)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2013-12-01 03:57 pm

Weekend Reviews.

Uchouten Kazoku / The Eccentric Family

I didn't have time to watch this brilliant gem of a show when it was airing in Japan last season, but I heard only good things about it. And boy am I glad that I finally got around to watching it now. It's funny, it's sweet, it's moving, it's gorgeously designed, and there are only a few spots where the family melodrama crosses the line into eyeroll-inducing cheesiness. And for a Japanese dramedy that is really saying something, because eyeroll-inducing cheesiness is normally the name of the game in this genre of shows.

The Mindy Project

Oh hey look the second season of this show took everything that I liked about the first season - namely, the fact that Mindy had a lot of female friends and that her supporting cast was really funny - and, well, got rid of it.

Goddammit.

This used to be the show I looked forward to the most every week. Now it's just become a pain to watch. Don't get me wrong, I love all of the humor from Mindy's serial dating escapades, and yes, I WOULD expect a show about a single woman's quest for love to be mostly centered around the heroine interacting with men... but that can't be the ONLY thing going on every. single. episode. What happened to all of Mindy's girlfriends? Why does Mindy have only one female co-worker whom she barely interacts with? (Technically there are three female co-workers in Mindy's office, but Betsy and Beverly have gotten so few lines this entire season that they might as well be non-entities.) And whose idea was it to transform Ed Week's hilarious character from Season 1 into the sad, unfunny schlup that we've got in Season 2?

Hey, you know what makes a sitcom funny? There has to be more than one source of situational humor built into the cast and the setting. The first season of The Mindy Project accomplished this brilliantly by givings its lovelorn heroine MORE than just her lovelorn escapades to get entangled with. Now the show has boiled entirely down to only two jokes: either Mindy conflicts with her male co-workers over some stupid sexist Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus bullcrap, or Mindy dates some dude and it's a hilarious disaster. Again, both of these things ARE funny... But they can also get very tiring when there's nothing else of interest happening in the show.

I still really love Mindy Lahiri as a character, but boy has this season been painful to watch so far.

Frozen

First off, somebody needs to fire Disney's entire marketing team.

Frozen is not the film that it was advertised to be. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Frozen should definitely join the pantheon of other great Disney films that were marketed absolutely horribly (Brother Bear still being the worst victim of Disney's flubbed marketing of all time, with Princess and the Frog and its terrible teaser trailer being a close second) because I am absolutely in awe of the way that they managed to take such an endearing character as Olaf and through the power of terrible trailers alone turned him into such an obnoxious twatcharacter that months before the release of the film he was mocked not just on the internet but on primetime television with a level of vitriol that I haven't really seen leveled at a CGI comic relief sidekick since, well, Jar Jar Binks.

Forget the trailers, though. Here's what you need to know about Frozen:

1. It's a much welcome, long-overdue return to the Disney films of my childhood. Like the best of the Disney Renaissance films, Frozen is scored by Broadway composers (with none other than The Book of Mormon's Robert Lopez writing the song lyrics) and cast almost entirely with powerhouse Broadway singers.

2. By the way, the songs are fantastic. Absofuckinglutely fantastic.

3. It is a beautifully, beautifully, beautifully animated film.

4. The story is all about the bond between two sisters and there is a stunning, brilliant twist at the very end of the film that completely deconstructs everything about the usual Disney Princess narrative and that sends a powerful, positive, and much-needed message to all of the little girls in its target audience.

5. And really, seriously, DO forget everything you saw in the trailers: Olaf is freakin' great. I mean, he's basically Ray 2.0 (sweet, brave, endearing comic relief sidekick who saves Our Heroes from several bad situations and who suffers from a quirky delusional belief that nobody else has the heart to correct him about), but hey, Ray was a great character too, so I'm not complaining. It also helps that Olaf is voiced by The Book of Mormon's Josh Gad, and since it's basically the voice acting alone that makes Olaf so utterly endearing instead of utterly grating, well there you go.

Of course the film is not without its flaws. Like nearly every other reviewer has pointed out: The costume designs are fantastic but the character designs are really blah, the songs are waaaaaay too front-loaded and the very noticeable lack of a finale song is actually kind of jarring, and - most unforgivably in my humble opinion - there's no villain song, despite the fact that the film had a PERFECT moment for there to be a villainous reprise of "For the First Time in Forever." But alas, the moment was wasted.

The most unflattering thing I can say about the film is that it really does feel like a not-quite-finished, workshopped version of a future Broadway musical. Not that Frozen being someday turned into a stage production is a bad thing - and heck, it's practically inevitable at this point - but what I'm trying to say is that it feels like maaaaybe this time Disney had their eyes on the Broadway prize from the beginning, and the animated film was treated like a stepping stone on the pathway to a lucrative Broadway megahit, rather than as an end in itself. That would explain why the score seems unfinished, why the settings and action sequences all seem carefully calculated to be executable onstage, and why it appears as though there was a ton more care and effort put into the costume designs than into the designs of the characters' faces. BUT that might also explain why Disney got Broadway composers to write the score and mostly Broadway singers to act and sing in the film, which were both A++++ MOVES WELL DONE DISNEY WELL DONE, and to be fair the film IS already perfectly situated to be expanded into a brilliant stage musical, so... I dunno.

But anywhoo, I really loved the film and y'all should go see it!!

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous (will be screened)
OpenID (will be screened if not validated)
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.