Movie: Maleficent

"Maleficent"

From Disney comes Maleficent-the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal-an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom-and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.” (c) Disney

Nearly a decade ago, there was a little story called Wicked. A retelling of the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, told from the perspective of the villainous Wicked Witch. The book was a political thriller filled with conspiracies and revolutions and a love that will never be. When it went to Broadway, it received a Disney makeover complete with a happily-ever-after for the misunderstood witch.

Misunderstood. That’s was probably what Disney was aiming for when they decided to make a Maleficent film. Because in the middle part, where we see Maleficent from the time she casts the curse to the time Aurora falls prey to said curse, is spectacular.

The christening scene alone was worth the ticket price. It was that marvelous.

If only the film had been consistent with the marvel from the beginning to end, there wouldn’t be need for justification and qualifiers. The film would’ve just been good. Fascinating. Amazing.

But the origin story Disney gave Maleficent was half-assed at best, with scenes being stitched together by a narrator who seems to be just grasping at straws.

I was ready to give up on the film when we finally get to the part where Maleficent casts the curse. And the film had me hooked again. The unexpected comedy that came afterwards was also a pleasant surprise.

It was the story after the curse has been fulfilled that I really had a problem with though. Origin stories can fall flat and you wouldn’t care as much because it’s something new. You don’t like it? No harm done. But when they touch upon something that you’ve already grown to love, or grown nostalgic of? That’s when the gloves come off.

And I really thought Disney was going to stick with the story they already told in Sleeping Beauty…just told from a different perspective. Because that’s what the narrator promised. That they are telling the same story from a different point of view.

I wanted Maleficent to turn into the dragon we see in the animated film. I wanted to see Maleficent die. Not because I have any morbid fantasies, but because that’s how it happens. And you know they could’ve stuck with that ending? By having Maleficent keep with her character development–and by testing the prince she deems maybe worthy of Aurora’s heart. By sacrificing herself, so that the girl she deems her successor can live.

It’s been said that Maleficent went the Frozen route with true love not having to come from romantic love, and I would have been fine with that if they hadn’t changed the whole ending.

I mean… Really? This is how you pay your respects to a classic? By saying its ending wasn’t good enough?

Maleficent is worth the ticket price, yes. But it’s not worth a second look.

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Theater: Disney’s Aladdin [Atlantis Productions]

Atlantis Productions' Aladdin

After the success of it’s productions of Disney’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST in 2005 and Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID last year, Atlantis Productions proudly announces that it has been handpicked by Disney Theatricals to stage the Asian premiere of it’s newest stage musical Disney’s ALADDIN.

Based on the much loved animated film, Disney’s Aladdin tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp. The brand new romantic musical adventure incorporates all the beloved songs from the film’s Oscar®-winning score and brings some of the movie’s most memorable characters to life. Jafar, Iago, the Sultan, the Genie and of course Aladdin and Jasmine come together to create a whole new world of magical musical theatre for the whole family.

Disney’s ALADDIN features music by eight time Oscar Award winner Alan Menken and Lyrics by Oscar Award winner Howard Ashman, Oscar Award winner Tim Rice, and Tony Award nominated lyricist Chad Beguelin (who also wrote the brand new book of the musical).” — (C) Atlantis Productions

Hey guys! If you have nothing to do on the night of December 8, that’s a Saturday, why not check out Atlantis Productions’ staging of Disney’s Aladdin?

Here’s a review from ABS-CBNNews.com;

Apparently, the songwriting team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman initially conceived “Aladdin” in the lines of the classic Bob Hope-Bing Crosby “on the road” movies but this was supposedly changed when Robin Williams signed up to voice the Genie. For the stage version, they brought the original concept back. As such, the musical is more of an old-fashioned cornball comedy with a merry band of musicians – Aladdin is the fourth member – who also acts as the narrators.

This new stage musical from Disney Theatricals brings to life a story we already know and love and gives it new life, with a different way of story-telling–and new music!

The musical will be staged at the Meralco Theater, which is located at Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City. And the ticket prices are as follows:
Php1,500.00 – Orchestra Center
Php1,350.00 – Orchestra Side
Php900.00 – Orchestra Side Obstructed
Php1,100.00 – Loge Center
Php1,000.00 – Loge Side
Php700.00 – Balcony Center
Php600.00 – Balcony Side
Php500.00 – Balcony Back

If you’re interested, contact Onay Sales through her mobile number: 0917.908.0565! Again, this is for the 8 p.m. staging on December 8!

Movie: Wreck-It Ralph

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Ralph is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, the good guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?” — (C) Disney

The first time I saw the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph, I knew I was going to be in theaters its first day of release. And I was. And I loved it as much as I loved the trailer. Seriously. Even the really quiet parts.

Wreck-It Ralph has the perfect mix of adventure and heart, with a healthy dose of nostalgia. And by healthy, I mean just enough. The familiar computer game characters that appear on screen don’t take away the spotlight from the main characters–but they don’t feel like tacked-on gimmicks either, with Clyde (the orange Pacman ghost), Zangief (from Street Fighter), and a zombie from House of the Dead playing a part in pushing Ralph into his journey.

The pace of the story could do with some work, but it’s a film. It’s not like we can change channels or tune it out while in the theater, right? It’s not dragging, so it doesn’t really detract from the whole feel of the film. But some parts, I felt, could’ve been more … faster, I guess. Like the whole chunk of sequences that had Ralph and Vanellope working together to make a car.

I know it’s important to build the relationship of the two characters, but–maybe there could’ve been a better way to do it? Or, you know, they could’ve made this part shorter and just added a different scene prior or after to further push the relationship of the two.

Other than that, the only gripe I have about the movie is the first time we see villain King Candy work around the game codes. I felt like it could’ve benefited from a better lead-in scene, as the actual scene of the monarch swimming in codes was a little jarring.

Is that a spoiler? Sorry. It’s a very villain thing to do to cheat though, so it’s not that big of a spoiler…right?

Now, going back to why I loved the film, it’s actually very simple: Wreck-It Ralph is a celebration of who you are. Not who people want you to be, or what you think people want you to be. It celebrates the role you play in life, no matter how other people see it.

It’s a movie about who you are–not what you are.

movie: tangled

"tangled" starring mandy moore and zachary levilast year, disney came out with their latest princess movie: TANGLED. finally, it’s reached the shores of the philippines. and i have to say, the movie is definitely worth the wait.

TANGLED is a retelling of the classic fairy tale rapunzel. the story revolves around a girl with a very long hair, the witch who kidnapped her and kept her hostage, and the prince who would eventually come to save her (and prove to her that there is such a thing as love).

while the basics of rapunzel remains in TANGLED, it is definitely a more adventurous, and more gripping story than its original counterpart. for one thing, the witch isn’t magical–and she’s keeping rapunzel alive because of her magic hair.

what do you do when you’ve discovered the secret to staying young forever? a flower borne from a single drop of sunlight. gothel’s answer was to keep it secret from everyone else. unfortunately for her, she made a mistake in not taking it. and so villagers take the flower to treat their ailing queen.

the magic of the flower is absorbed by the then-pregnant queen, only to be passed on to her child: rapunzel.

the witch, gothel, discovers that the magic of the flower is now present in rapunzel’s hair. she tries to take a lock of hair, and discovers that the magic disappears once the hair is cut. and so she does the next best thing: she takes the child instead.

and so begins the story of rapunzel in TANGLED. eighteen years pass and she is kept in the tower by gothel, who she now knows as her mother. and everything is humdrum for her–until the arrival of flynn rider. unlike in the classic story, flynn is nothing like a prince. instead, we get a thief with a fake reputation.

and instead of a courtship that develops because a prince falls in love with a naive young princess in the woods, we get something else: an adventure and romantic-comedy plot.

rapunzel makes a deal with flynn: he becomes her guide outside the castle, and she will give him back the crown he stole from the castle. and here’s where we go the route of the more modern disney films: we get unexpected accomplices, villains who turn out to be just hindrances, and a showdown with the real villain that ends with a twist on the classic ending.

pretty formulaic, right?

with this in mind, i thought i knew what i was getting into with TANGLED. i was wrong. and i am happy to admit that. because TANGLED takes your expectations and gives you something else. it may not wow everyone, but it will definitely gives a fresh take on an old story. and right now, that’s exactly what disney needs to keep children looking forward to the next disney film.

TANGLED is now showing, both in 2D and 3D, in cinemas nationwide.