The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

No, it isn’t a 3-D remake of the Leone/Eastwood classic (although it’s an interesting idea!). I’m talking, rather, about three recent releases on the 3-D theatrical circuit.

Ideally, I’d end with the best, last – but if we are to follow the headline I’ve set myself, then first up will have to be…

THE GOOD:

As far as we know, Disney didn't do any marketing tie-ins with hair strengthening products for the release of TANGLED. Talk about a missed opportunity...

TANGLED 3-D

Rating (out of 5 stars): * * *

Disney revisits ‘Rapunzel’ – and adds numerous plot elements, in order to stretch a slender story’s running time to that of a feature film.

We’ve been told (although we don’t necessarily believe it) that this is to be the last of the Disney “Princess movies”, as the markets have apparently dictated that Disney’s primary market is little boys. All this gender nonsense is very silly as far as I’ve concerned, as there is much in this film to delight both genders – and all ages. Romance, action, comedy – and even a “wicked stepmother” role; Mother Gothel. The execution of this character, in terms of its writing, voicing and animation – brings us closer to the horror of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs than we’ve been in a long time.

Although the trailer had given us a taste of the sly, “grown-up” humour we should expect, it had no left no clue of the nastiness we’d be dealt by Mother Gothel! There an issue here that will find a resonance in glamorous Hollywood as much as in humdrum suburbia – and that would be Mother Gothel’s ruthless desperation in her effort to hang onto her youthful looks…

Tangled is a musical, in the tradition of the Disney standards, but not a great one. Yes, it did earn Randy Newman an Oscar for Best Song, but all the nominated songs at this year’s Academy Awards were lacklustre, so it was no great achievement, sad to say. And don’t get me wrong; this blog does indeed recognise Mr Newman’s godliness… on the whole!

[This is a landmark movie in that it’s the 50th animated film to emanate from the Disney studios. Pixar films are excluded from the count as they’re a separate studio, even though they used to be distributed – and are now owned – by Disney.]

Here goes…

THE BAD:

“Step on it, Gramps – if you drive hard, maybe we can whizz past the box office without anyone noticing!”

DRIVE ANGRY 3-D

Rating (out of 5 stars):  ½

Nicolas cage appears hell-bent on destroying any kind of respectable reputation that he may have accumulated for a handful of half-decent movies he’s done in the past. And “hell-bent” would be a particularly apt expression in this context, as Cage plays an guy who returns from hell – wait for it; on a motorbike – to avenge his child’s death and simultaneously punish the folks who’ve kidnapped his granddaughter (it’s the same villains, lest we get confused…). I think I’ve said enough. Can I go now?

Oh, but I still have to deal with…

THE UGLY:

"Hopefully this circular saw will dismember me - and spare me the rest of this movie..."

SAW 7 3-D (a.k.a. SAW 3-D)

Rating (out of 5 stars): zero

We’ve been assured that this is the “final chapter” in the ‘Saw’ franchise – which is reason enough to face every new day with a smile.

Whereas the Saw films’ initial outing had some kind of reasoned plot to drive it, this dire affair has the thinnest excuse of a ‘script’ upon which to hang a series of stomach-churningly violent deaths.

I live in South Africa; a country where brutal crimes are committed against innocent people, in their homes, every day. Why would I want to see a film that celebrates violence and cruelty with such relish; a film that reduces human beings to bleeding bags of pulp and guts? I would never advocate censorship, although I like to think that officials in the film companies exercise some discretion over what they distribute. To me, the very notion of releasing such a film into the South African marketplace, is an exercise in inexorable bad taste.

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