Posts in 3D
My Tangled Review

I caught up with Walt Disney pictures 50th animated feature, Tangled this week. First things first, I love digital projection. I know the tedious purist's out there will waffle endlessly on about how they miss film and how much better it is, yadda, yadda, yadda but let me tell you now. They are morons. I haven’t actually met anyone who holds that opinion yet but I’m sure they’re out there and they’re morons, okay?  However.  Tangled in a sumptuously comfortable new cinema, (the new Readings Multiplex at Charlestown, NSW), was heaven. 

It’s so Purrrrdy
Heaven (of the non sexual kind) is big screen, high definition, richly coloured and in crisp focus. Focus being something modern projectionist's seem to have an enormous amount of trouble achieving and maintaining, among other things too I’m guessing.  I remember seeing a Blu Ray for the first time on a large new high definition Telly and aside from being blown away by the richly saturated, crisp image, and falling instantly in love, I realised I  didn’t have that metallic taste in my mouth anymore. And this is the same but on a much larger scale and with no rectal bleeding. I've been to this theatre before but the reason I'm being so gushy about it is because it's the first time I've gone along with my glasses.
I know, I know.  Well.  I'd misplaced them for a month or so and only just found them again the day before. I really must get a new pair. 


Anyway, to Tangled.  It's really the standard princess fairy tale that you expect from Disney but rather than being a bit `Meh’, it's fresh, well paced, not too long...or short, great fun and just the right amount of tears without becoming treacle. It looks beautiful. The artwork is CG but rendered in a very painterly way. It doesn't have any of the harshness of lighting that some CG movies have and there is a great attention to detail without it becoming too busy.  The lantern releasing sequence for instance, toward the end of the film, took my breath away in how masterfully well it was directed and rendered artistically. It's just so damn purrdy.
The character animation is once again Disney's animators at the peak of their art. The Princess and the Frog, Disney's previous movie, was my previous high point but there's not one moment in this movie where the acting in this animation is not extraordinary. Every character is 'alive' with their own personality, it's really amazing to see. I could go on about how much I loved the animation but we all have lives to live and people to kill.

Showering Thematically
In the shower this morning I was lathering up and thinking about Tangled thematically, (hey, It's what I do).  It's really a film about  Mothering. Motherhood perhaps, probably more parenting in general I suppose. Actually it’s not about Mothering at all, it’s about being a parent. Let's leave my mother issues out of it. It's about how you can loose your kids completely if you don't let them go and become the people they want to be. The villainess of the story is a passive, aggressive old witch called Mother Gothel who has stolen the Princess Rapunzel from her parents and keeps her hidden away from the world in a tower so she can use the princess's magical neon hair to keep her young. For some reason I can imagine young, pre-teen, beauty queen contestants leaving sessions of this movie bewilderingly disturbed and their mothers regretting taking them to see it. (Well they might get ideas!!) The writers at Disney sure seem to be having some interesting parental issues they're working out through their movies.
Before I finish, there's something that's struck me as interesting in the latest clutch of movies from Pixar and Disney and considering they're both overseen creatively by Pixar it makes sense to lump them together. You see, Walt Disney was always a firm believer in putting characters at real risk, increasing the stakes and not avoiding the emotional impact of a characters death. It’s great because it means he has so much respect for his audiences. It went out of fashion for a while. Some parents thought (and still think) such emotion is too edgy.  They don’t want their children exposed to such things afraid that they might have nightmares.  Meanwhile those kids grow up friendless because all the other kids think they’re pansies with no abilities in life to cope with situations where their metal is tested when up against the shit that life throws at them and who wants to be friends with someone like that?  Pfffft - Not me!!

Spielberg is a big gay nancy
Seriously, who would? Steven Spielburg's a big PC Pansy arse these days. He took all of the guns out of ET and replaced them with Walki-Talki’s for Christ's sake!  Indiana Jones doesn’t fire a shot in his latest movie...where’s the fun in that?  Anyway, there seems to be a bit of a reaction against that kind of thinking (and bad story telling), once again led by Pixar. In Toy Story 3 there’s a great scene toward the end where the characters are seemingly all going to die in a giant trash compactor. 
It’s a real, heartfelt moment in the movie and it’s done so well, you really do believe that they might actually kill these characters. I sat up out of my seat thinking to myself, `well this is new.‘  It wasn’t of course. It was what Walt used to do.  But film makers don’t anymore for fear of offending someone in the audience, like dull, mediocre parents who want to wrap their kids in cotton wool and make them unable to cope with a real crisis’s when they’re an adult. There’s a near death scene in Tangled and I love Disney for it. Rapunzel and the hero, Flynn, are trapped in a cave with the water rising up around them. They’re desperately trying to find a way out and the tension is increasing. This is nothing new in live action movies, you see it all the time. No. It’s the look that passes between them that’s new for an animated movie. It’s a moment of mortality and just for a fleeting second, you believe that these characters are in real danger and it forces you to invest so much more in the characters. Now that’s good story telling.

Go See it on the Big Screen!
Trust me. It’s worth seeing this movie on the big screen. Hell, if I can go by myself, (my date was exhausted after moving house - kisses to her,) and have the ticket girl ask me, `Just yourself?’ in a way that obviously is mean’t to imply I’m some kind of big gay pedophile then you can too.

4.5 out of 5 Stars.
TV Series Idea: The Classic Adventures of Superman

I've wrote previously about getting ideas out of my head so they don't sit around in my skull rotting away like so many bits of dead fish at a fishing Co-op.  Here's one I've been developing and using as a bit of a Fisher Price mental gym for my brain while working on artwork.

`Make what you yourself, want to see.'

A regular piece of advice I read from successful artists, authors and film makers is to make what you want to see yourself. It's how I approach my own artwork. Artist friends of mine say to me 'you should exhibit your sketches Rossco rather than the finished piece - they have so much more energy and life than your finished work.' Well, maybe they do, and it's passively-aggressively nice of them to say so (Rrrrowwwwrr!) but I have a vision of the finished piece in my brain cavity and for the life of me, I can't shake it until I've completed the work and exorcised that little fella into existence. The sketches to me, are works in progress. Half finished ideas and exploratory mental musings. Hmmm, I digress. My point is. If you're an artist. You have to be selfish and trusting in your own ego. Doing work for others I've found, can be soul destroying.

The point of this ramble is that you should do what you want to see and this is my idea for a television series that I want to see. I've always been a big fan of Superman.  Without overly gushing - I love him. And like many millions of others around the world, he's my Jesus myth. I've enjoyed the American series Smallville over the years, But it's always frustrated me. I know it's about the young Clark Kent coming to terms with his powers, his place in the world and building up to becoming Earth's mightiest hero. But for me it's been a ten year prick tease and goddamit, I need some relief!

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Re-visioned Classic Take on Superman!

One day earlier this year, I was watching the underrated classic 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'. The production style and direction of it got me to thinking that this was how a TV series of Superman should look and with digital special effects these days, nothing is impossible. (Oh, it goes without saying that it would have to be in 3D!)   Sky Captain had iconic shots of people in suits pointing to the sky and I could imagine them pointing at Superman flying through the skyscraper canyons of Metropolis on his way to rescue someone.   The series would begin in the thirties when men wore hats and women liked men who wore hats.   It would have the popular hits of the day as part of the soundtrack but with new modern arrangements. (which I reckon would be really cool and provide another revenue stream for the studio. How `bout it Warner Bros?)

There could be digital cameo's from Movie Stars like Bing Crosby & Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, Humphrey Bogart and historical figures such as Albert Einstein, President Roosevelt, Gandi and Hitler! Perhaps visiting or living in Metropolis and getting into adventures with Superman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.   I don't see the series as campy but a hybrid of the old movie cliffhanger serials that were the basis for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies and film noir detective adventures but with truly suspenseful action and adventure.   Stylistically I see the series moving season to season begining with the high contrast look of the thirties to the gritty reality of the forties fighting enemy spies and threats from above, to the Fifties where there is a rich saturated colour that would herald the Golden Age and the formation of the Justice League of America  and a whole slew of other DC Comics Characters.

Moral Complexities abound

 

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This would be a series where people, villains and superhero's die. The series should treat Superhero's as if they're real and look at the worlds reaction to their appearance.  The villains would have to be truly evil and corrupt. Metropolis would begin the series corrupt and over-run by the mob. The Daily Planet would begin as a mouth piece newspaper for organised crime but through Supermans example, things begin to change.  Cynicism and Apathy should be as much an enemy to Superman as Brainiac is.  But Superman's goodness, his sense of truth and justice, should be real but not glib. The series can illustrate to younger viewers that doing bad is easy.   Being good is a challenge that requires hard work and mental discipline but the rewards can be far greater and stronger than the easy, cheap and short-lived gains of crime.   The moral complexities of this series would, I reckon, require writers of the calibre who wrote the 'Sopranos ', 'Deadwood' and 'Boardwalk Empire'.  Children today are not as innocent as they once were when Superman first appeared. They can smell bullshit a mile away and they see injustice every day, so cheap n' easy moralizing just won't cut it.

A Man all men want to be

 

I reckon Superman should be a genuinely likable bloke as well. Men should want to be like him and he shouldn't be a derisive figure of fun. He's from the country. Country people tend to have a dry sense of humour. They're not into silliness, they only speak when they've got something to say but they love a good chuckle. He's the strong silent type, like a buff Clint Eastwood.  I like Tom Welling from Smallville as the young Clark Kent but he plays him like someone who's just had a mildly uncomfortable rectal examination and isn't looking forward to the next one. And Brandon Routh? Well he was playing Christopher Reeve, who for me and so many others, was Superman.

What I've written here today is just the tip of the old iceberg. I've thought of putting up a Facebook page to perhaps try and gauge interest for the idea and maybe start a movement to get it made. I'll put an update when I do, but for the moment, write me your opinions in the comments for this posting.  I know it would be an expensive series to make. But it would be an Event Television Series and if it has the right balance of mystery, suspense, humour, cliffhangers and well written, compelling story lines with great special effects - how can it loose?!

I even have an idea for the final episode of the series in mind that I reckon will leave people as blubbering wrecks on their couches while watching it. I won't say any more other than it involving the death of a prominent world figure.

Tell me what you think and if you yourself would enjoy watching each week, `The Classic Adventures of Superman' on your widescreen, high def 3D telly in surround sound.

I'll leave my last words for the season to the man himself;

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