2013 Story by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Shane Morris
Screenplay by Jennifer Lee
Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Disney’s take on the Snow Queen tale is an overall positive experience, but I hesitate to praise Frozen as a new classic. Despite some very good twists and themes that throw some classic Disney Princess tropes on their ears, the good parts don’t transform an overall uneven story into something great. Instead, we have something that is pretty good, just not amaze-tastic.
Frozen‘s strength is in its story of sisterly love. As children, Elsa accidentally injures Anna with her snow powers, causing Anna to have part of her memories erased. Ever since, the girls grow up separate, with Elsa hiding away due to her powers, taught to fear and suppress them. Anna is forever wondering why her sister hides away, and no one bothers to just tell her what happened. After the deaths of their parents (this IS a Disney movie!), Elsa comes of age to be coronated as queen, which will be the first time the palace has been open in years.
Anna’s elation at having actual people to interact with causes her to act almost drunk with gittiness, and it helps that one of the first things she does is bump into a handsome foreign prince, Hans. Elsa’s increasingly solemn demeanor (a manifestations of her duties and her worries that her powers will be exposed in front of all the visitors) drives Anna closer to Hans, to where they become engaged that night. Elsa realizes this is crazy, and doesn’t want to give her blessing at such a quick relationship, nor have a giant wedding where more people will be around to possibly expose her powers. This leads to an argument that leads to Elsa accidentally blasting parts of the palace with her ice powers. The powers go out of control, Elsa runs for the mountains, and accidentally freezes the whole town as she flees.
Anna (Kristen Bell) – Anna goes after her sister, desperate to mend their rift, and also to help save the town, which now has a complete ice over in summer. She’s unprepared for such a harsh journey, but is motivated by her surviving memories of fun and love of her sister.
Elsa (Idina Menzel) – The newly crowned queen of Arendelle is happier being alone in the mountains, free to use her power and free from accidentally harming anyone with it.
Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) – A mountain man who runs an ice business, and lives a solitary life with his reindeer, Sven. He’s hired by Anna to take her up the mountain to the source of the cold. Their relationship starts as the typical antagonistic people from two worlds who grow together as they travel on a journey thing. Kristoff was an orphan, but was adopted by trolls (coincidentally, when he saw the young Anna be healed by trolls)
Sven (Himself) – Reindeer owned by Kristoff. Sven loves carrots and pushing Kristoff to do things. Sven does not talk, but Kristoff often has conversations to himself where he provides a voice for Sven.
Hans (Santino Fontana) – A foreign prince visiting the town for the coronation, he befriends Anna due to their shared experiences of having older siblings ignore them. He and Anna have a whirlwind romance that ends with them engaged on the day they meet. Hans is put in charge of the town after Elsa flees and Anna leaves to go find her. He does his best to take care of the frozen city, and leads an expedition to find the Queen and save Anna.
Olaf (Josh Gad) – A snowman created inadvertently by Elsa when she’s playing with her powers, Olaf resembles the snowmen built by Elsa and Anna as children. He attaches himself to Anna and her party, and is excited about everything. Olaf’s greatest wish is to experience summer, blissfully unaware as to what happens to snowmen in summer.
2012 Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon
Directed by Andrew Stanton
As you might expect, I’m a rather big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Barsoom stories. I have the whole series in old out of print volumes culled from bookstores across the country. I have many other Burroughs books and other pulp novels. I have the Guide to Barsoom and some other books where Martians show up, and some of the old Marvel comics. You might say I like this crazy fantasy stuff. So, yes, I was excited that we were finally getting our big screen Barsoom film. Then it got renamed John Carter.
After 100 years, A Princess of Mars is finally coming to the big screen (if you ignore Asylum’s DTV Princess of Mars…) as John Carter. John Carter. No “Of Mars”, no “A Princess of Mars”, no nothing. Add to that all the other abysmal marketing Disney did for the film, and suddenly the rumors that this will be the biggest box office bomb in the history of the planet and the red planet as well started to spring up. “Whatever,” I said, because I’ll let the movie speak for itself. And the movie has finally spoken. And it’s good. Not excellent, but good. Good enough that John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) should be doing better at the box office than it is tracking. Good enough that the naysayers were wrong, even if John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) does lose a lot of money, it is not because John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) failed.
That is not to say there isn’t any problems. There are. Some are pretty big. But I’ll get to most of them. But a simple review like this right after watching on opening night doesn’t do John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) justice, so rest assured there will be another, longer, super detailed, mega-ultra-hyper-giga-supreme-double-secret-comprehensive review once John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) is on DVD and I can screencap and watch a bajillion times to my heart’s content.
John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) – The fighting man of Mars with the super jumping powers and the getting into everyone’s business powers. I will say making John Carter a reluctant hero is boring, that’s been overplayed since the 90s. And capitalizing it with him having a dead wife and kid just makes it even more boring. None of that junk is in the book, John Carter is just a dude who fights. No one needs a giant backstory. I didn’t start this website because a movie killed my family, sometimes things just are.
Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) – Now, I did not like what they did with John Carter, but I did like what they did with Dejah Thoris, making her a much stronger female character who still has the poise and confidence of a princess, even if she does human things from time to time. She’s also not afraid to fight for her country, the Dejah Thoris of the books does not fight at all and is more of a proud trophy that half the planet is trying to kidnap and marry.
Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) – Jeddak of the Tharks and the guy who finds John Carter after he gets his ass to Mars. Helps Carter in order to help his secret daughter, Sola.
Sola (Samantha Morton) – Thark female assigned to care for John Carter, is treated as a screw up by the evil woman Sarjoka. Is unaware that Tars Tarkas is her father.
Woola (CGI) – Martian dog assigned to keep watch on John Carter, instead becoming his loyal companion. Woola’s best scene (and one of the more charming scenes in the film) is when he’s first introduced, as it both gives us a look at his character and is entertaining as well.
Matai Shang (Mark Strong) – The leader of the Holy Therns aka White Martians aka the bad guys. While not originally in the original book (Matai and his buddies show up in books 2 and 3) he’s here causing trouble to make a bigger, more cohesive arc between a planned trilogy. Matai Shang and his ilk are more technologically advanced than in the books and have a far more sinister origin and goal.
We had the smaller version of the full trailer for John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) this morning on ABC (because the target demographic is obviously old women…), and now we get the full full trailer, which premiered on Jimmy Kimmel Live and IGN, because someone in marketing remembered John Carter should have many males in the audience.
This looks better than that tv clip, so at least it looks like it will be fun. It better be!!!
Also I’m loving the random comments saying this is an Avatar ripoff. Way to know nothing about nothing, buddy! via IGN
Talks about who he plays in the film – plays Tardes Mors – the leader of one of the two warring tribes on Mars
Tells me how he got cast in the film and how he was a huge fan of Andrew Stanton’s work
Says the script is so well written – filled with energy and drive
Says it’s live action, CG and animation
Has already filmed a few days
Does he think the movie will push the boundaries of film like Avatar
Talks about a big set piece “where everyone is involved” and that will take 8 or 9 days in March, then he does two small scenes in early April, then he goes to Utah to film as that’s going to fill in for Mars