Sunday, February 1, 2015

Movie Review: Frozen & Guardians of the Galaxy

I had plans to hang out with a friend a couple weekends ago. A reference to "Frozen" crept into our text exchanges. I mentioned that I had never seen it before. "Guess what we're gonna do when you come over!"

I was okay with the idea. I had heard great things about it. One of my favorite wrestlers, Steve Corino, tweeted recently that he repeatedly watched "Frozen" with his one-year-old son and enjoyed it every time.

After getting a warning from my friend that she would probably start singing at random points in the film, we started it and I watched. In a nutshell, I really enjoyed it.

I'm not really a fan of a lot of Disney movies. A girl once asked what my favorite was and after I said "I don't know. 'A Goofy Movie'?" She replied "That doesn't count. It has to have a princess in it." She begrudgingly accepted "Fox and the Hound" as a second choice.

I don't care much for musicals. The main thing I liked about "Pitch Perfect" was that they were all aware of the fact that they were singing. Music didn't just randomly break out, out of nowhere. It does that in "Frozen," but it's nothing major. The musical interludes aren't really the main moments of the movie; they could still tell the majority of the plot without singing.

There are a lot of really catchy, entertaining songs. The big song from "Frozen," of course, is "Let It Go." The reason for that song catching on is that it's a pop song disguised as a random song from a movie. The song about building a snowman is cute, but you would only listen to that on the Disney Pandora station. If you take out the few references to snow, "Let It Go" could be on the radio as a legitimate song. 

"Frozen" is an intelligent movie. Something doesn't have to be high brow for older people to like it or low brow for kids to enjoy it. If it's smart and funny, everybody will like it. They have fun with one of the tropes of a lot of older Disney movies - love at first sight and instantly getting married. "Really? You just met him and you're getting married" isn't something you would expect to hear in a Disney movie, based on the past.

But, this isn't the past. Times have changed. So have women in Disney films. They no longer need a "Prince Charming," which has become a cliche term to describe a man trying to help a woman who doesn't need him. Ironically, that's an actual Disney character from the past.

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A week later, I'm at the same lady's house. We're listening to music. A poppy, upbeat track comes on and she says "That's from the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' soundtrack." I tell her that I've heard good things about both the soundtrack and the movie. "Excuse me? You haven't seen 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?"

I have heard about "Guardians of the Galaxy" since somewhere in the late 2010, early 2011 time frame. Dave Batista, a professional wrestler, left WWE in mid-2010 and getting the role of Drax in this film was the first big thing he did. He's now currently filming a movie opposite Robert DeNiro, he was recently announced as the villain in the latest James Bond movie, and of course there's the upcoming Guardians part 02, and rumor has it that the Guardians will feature heavily in the eventual Avengers part 03.

One of the issues I saw for a long time while this movie was getting made was people worrying about a "B-level" group of superheroes being a successful movie. The most successful Marvel movies - your X-Men, the Captain Americas, Thor, and Iron Man; those are all "name brand," so to speak. Your average movie-goer may not have read the comics, but they know who those people are at least.

I would consider myself a comic book nerd as a kid. But I was more of a DC comics nerd. If you wanna talk about "Zero Hour" and how it affected their universe, we'll have a go of it. In the Marvel world, I didn't know who Guardians of the Galaxy were. I had to look that up. And, so some people were kind of worried that this wouldn't be a huge blockbuster like the previous Marvel films.

There seems to be two main genres of superhero films that are successful: those that appeal to the youth audience (Spider-Man) and those that feature a tortured anti-hero (Batman). "Guardians of the Galaxy," on the surface, is really none of those. It's more of an action-comedy featuring some unlikely heroes. And I feel like that resonated with an audience; these were just ordinary people who were put into an extraordinary situation. And it was funny. And heartfelt, too. Everybody had a reason for being thrust into their position. And we wanted them all to succeed.

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To conclude things here...

I enjoyed "Frozen." I feel like this could easily become a franchise, and I'm sure there are sequels planned out. I think a prequel featuring them as young children could be something profitable. It worked for the "Hercules" movie. They made a really popular series based on a 5-minute montage from the film of him as a teenager. It could definitely work with "Frozen."

I did really like "Guardians of the Galaxy." I'm not a huge fan of action movies. But, there was enough story and comedy to make me sit through the fight scenes. The thing I heard the most about the movie was "Chris Pratt doesn't seem like a superhero." And, to that, the character he plays isn't really a superhero. So, it works.

And... That girl I'm watching movies with... I like her, too.

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