Friday, January 1, 2010

Alvin & the Chipmunks--The Squeakel and Princess and the Frog

Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakel
I think it was a great movie. (Of course most critics didn't like it.)The Chipettes weren't as girly as I thought they were going to be. They stuck together, even when Ian tries to make JUST Britany the star. Meanwhile, Alvin totally turns his back on Simon and Theodore so he can hangout at the jock table.(He eventually comes to his senses.)Lastly, Ian pretty much goes crazy and the Chipmunks and the Chipettes are formed.

The Princess and the Frog
It's a great movie! Perfect for chefs, kids (not just girls,)people in New Orleans, music-lovers,families, and MORE! With an unexpected ending, a weird blind woman(who loves snakes!,)a poor prince, a jazzy alligator, and a girl with a restaurant dream. Overall it is a perfect movie because it's NOT your classic princess tale.

Alvin & the Chipmunks the Squeakel
Okay, I was not looking forward AT ALL to seeing this movie. I only took the two older girls because our youngest went down for a nap and my wife was psyched about watching the 49ers on TV. I even asked Georgia & Gracie moments before walking into the theater if they minded if I went to see a "mommy movie" while they saw Alvin. The answer was a vehement "yes, we mind."

So, here's the good news should you find yourself with children begging you to see this movie--it's not that bad. I actually laughed out loud more than a few times. There's a particularly funny scene involving a Wii remote & a flat screen TV that had me rolling.

Message-wise: As Georgia stated above, the 3 sister group--the Chipettes--remain in true sisterhood despite efforts to make one of them--the "cutest" one--the lead singer. Alvin & the boys have a similar theme--family stick-togetheredness. While it's not terribly original or "cutting edge" (they are computer-generated talking chipmunmks let us not forget)-I did not feel my $27 admission fees were in vain. The girls liked it, I got a laugh out of it, and without revealing too much, you will never be able to hear Beyonce's Single Ladies ever again without seeing the Chipettes.

Princess & the Frog
We took the whole brood to see this--me, the wifey, the 11, 6, & 2 year olds plus Gracie's best friend Charlie. The thing that struck me immediately is it's look--created by using hand drawn images, the old fashioned way vs. computer animation--which is pure, old-fashioned Disney. The images of 1900s New Orleans--from the French Quarter to the bayou to the Disneyified version of "wrong side of town" are rich, warm & evocative. You will be longing for beignets when the film is finished.

And I have to disagree w/Georgia--this Princess movie ends the way ALL Disney princess movies end. Cue the bells. What's really different about this is the obvious--the lead character, the "princess," is African American. Hello. First we had Pocahontas. Then Mulan. Now, finally, Tiana. Dark headed, brown eyed, brown skinned girls around the world may rejoice. And Tiana's plucky, determined and just too darn busy pursuing her dream of opening her own restaurant to worry about silly old boys. Well, almost too busy.

When the film lands its two heroes--Tiana & Prince Naveen, both turned into frogs by this point--in the Bayou, things really pick up and it's great songs, singing gators, and the funniest Cajun lightning bug you have ever seen. Almost all the scenes in the bayou are magical.

There is the requisite classic Disney freaky antagonist and in Princess & the Frog they have created a vodoo man sure to haunt some of your more sensitive children's dreams for months to come so beware--there are trippy vodoo scenes w/swirling colors, dancing dead guys, and graveyards. There is the spoiled Southern belle who drives you crazy because she's such a ninny-more Scarlet O'Hara than Scarlet--but ultimately makes an unselfish sacrifice at the end that saves her from worst Disney character status.

Bottom line--good movie, some really great songs, and another minor character--Ray the Cajun lightning bug--to fall in love with.

Food for thought: Would Disney ever make a "princess movie" about an adventure a princess girl had that did not involve some romantic entaglement? What do you think? Would you go? Would your daughters and sons want to go? I know the answer in my house. Let me go and get started on that screenplay...

No comments:

Post a Comment