Tag Archives: Emma Thompson

BRAVE

22 Jun

Synopsis:  Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Voice – Cast:

Kelly McDonald…………………………………….Merida

Billy Connolly………………………………………..Fergus

Emma Thompson…………………………………….Elinor

Julie Walters………………………………………The Witch

Robbie Coltrane……………………………..Lord Dingwall

Kevin McKidd……………Lord MacGuffin/Young & Old

Craig Furgeson………………………………Lord Macintosh

Review:  Pixar/Disney’s new animated adventure Brave is upon us, as all Pixar’s films, it is breathtaking in it’s artistry.  Is it is as groundbreaking as say Toy Story, Wall E or Up were in story telling, no, however that said it is a solid story with Celtic mysticism and strong female role models.  The story takes it’s nod from Disney’s princess stories and turns them on their head. Princess Merida is shown at first as a young child, on her birthday her father Fergus gives her a bow and arrows and she becomes determined to be the best archer she can be. She is strong willed and as her mother Queen Elinor tries to give her lessons on how a Princess is supposed to act Merida will have none of it.

The day comes when Merida is old enough to get married and her mother arranges a competition between the sons of the other three Scottish clans to win Merida’s hand. Merida reluctantly goes along with it, protesting along the way.  Merida now a master archer decides which contest the three first born (following tradition) son’s will have to win, she chooses archery. When it becomes clear all three sons are not worth her time Merida decides to break tradition and she hits the bulls-eye and decides to go her own way. King Fergus is sort of a Celtic Tevya (Fiddler on the Roof) and the situation is reminiscent of Tevya’s daughter Tzeitle wanting to marry her true love not be forced into an arranged marriage.

Fabulous imagery abounds in the Celtic woods, the Willow-the -Wisps stand out as an obvious nod to the sprites and spirits of the films of Japanese Master animator Hayao Miyazaki, think Spirited Away. The story of bonding , mending relationships and finding your own fate also are Miyazaki themes.

This is a story about mother-daughter conflict, love, bonding and resolve. Like Disney Princess films there are funny gags, secondary characters for comedy relief and a selfish prince who was transformed into a angry bear. Merida wanting to change her fate and not follow in her mother’s path that has been set before her, runs away into the woods and meets a witch who givers her a spell that will change her mother. Too late Merida finds out the spell is the same Bear spell she cast upon the prince. Only mending the broken bond between Merida and her Mother before the second sunrise will break the spell and restore harmony in the family.

Brave is a mix between Pixar story themes and Disney Princess themes and sometimes things get a little lost, solid entertainment none the less. The film does make up for the awful Cars 2 and the flowing hair of Merida is amazing.

Two footnotes: There was a terrific Pixar short subject called La Luna, it was clever and beautifully animated. There was also a trailer for Monster University that makes me worry if Pixar is going to dilute their product by adding so-so sequels to their cannon.

Recommended:

Advertisements

Men In Black 3

31 May

Synopsis: Agent J (Will Smith) travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K(Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin) and changing history.

Cast:

Will Smith ….. Agent J

Tommy Lee Jones …… Agent K

Josh Brolin ……..Young Agent K

Jemaine Clement …… ‘Boris the Animal’

Michael Stuhlbarg …… ‘Griffin’

Emma Thompson …… ‘Agent O’

Mike Colter …… ‘Colonel’

Nicole Scherzinger  …… ‘Boris’ Girlfriend’

Alice Eve …… ‘Young Agent O’

David Rasche  …… ‘Agent X’

Michael Chernus  …… ‘Jeffrey Price’

Bill Hader  …… ‘Andy Warhol’

Review:  Right off the bat I will tell you MIB3 is as good if not better than MIB1. The time traveling sub-plot, Josh Brolin’s outstanding spot on version of a young Tommy Lee Jones coupled with Will Smith’s off the cuff Agent J make this an enjoyable entertainment.  Barry Sonnenfeld is also back aboard as director and he vindicated himself with this one after the disastrous MIB2. In case you forgot MIB2 the first sequel, don’t feel bad it was a forgettable film. I am also happy that Rip Torn is not involved in this project, he wore out his cantankerous one note acting in  the last one.

One of the joys of watching actors having fun was watching Emma Thompson as O the head of the super secret MIB organization. She did a wonderful job up against Will Smith’s, agent J. Notably the time traveling method used by Agent J involves jumping off the ledge of the Chrysler building, as he attempts to save the life of his partner Agent K from being assassinated by an alien in the 1960’s. Another great stunt involves the first Apollo moon attempt, a machine that will save mankind must be placed on the capsule before take-off and then escaping through an emergency exit before anyone gets caught. They also kept the memory eraser device from the previous 2 films, an arsenal of fancy laser guns and of course this time Rick Baker out did himself with the myriad of aliens he designed.

The script is polished, funny and ironic, so do you need to see the 3D version? No, the film stands up fine without it. So for a fun entertaining outing at the cinema I say go for it.

Recommended