Cinderella

Vampire Owl: How many Cinderella movies have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I have lost count this time.

Vampire Owl: And how many more Cinderella movies will we watch?

Vampire Bat: It is also not something we can guess.

Vampire Owl: If Cinderella was a vampire, this would have been so perfect.

Vampire Bat: We don’t really have fairy-tales in the vampire world.

Vampire Owl: One doesn’t really need them, right?

Vampire Bat: Well, fairy-tales are lies, we all know that.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that humans are not really short of lies.

Vampire Bat: And they even want us to believe the same.

[Gets a beetroot cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vivian (Idina Menzel) leads her life in a village of hardworking people with her daughters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), as well as her stepdaughter Ella, then known as Cinderella (Camila Cabello) who is different from her stubborn sisters. She does almost everything in the house, but is not considered to be someone of importance. Nobody in the house likes her, and wastes no time in scolding or making fun of her, despite her best efforts to make things better. Everyone at home considers her to be an orphan, even though she is daughter to the mother’s earlier husband. It is then that Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is in requirement of a wife, but he is not really that much into it – King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) are not really happy about it though, as they would have preferred him to marry someone whom they admired and win many colonies as wedding gift in the process.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Robert goes on living his life, not intending to be the grand kind that everyone wanted to be, Princess Gwen (Tallulah Greive) hopes to be rule the realm as a queen, an idea which nobody is interested in, but she does manage to provide some ideas in between, which mostly wouldn’t suit the world she lived in. Robert would meet Cinderella in the market though, as she was trying the dress which she had designed. For them to meet again, they have to come together in a ball, and she also wants to find buyers for her clothes, and Fairy Godmother (Billy Porter) prepares her for the same, supported by the mice (James Acaster, James Corden and Romesh Ranganathan) who are transformed into men and are supposed to take her to the palace on a magical chariot. Now the question remains if she can fall in love and sell her clothes at the same time, or whether she will fail as her stepmother and stepsisters would have always thought she would. The possibilities are endless.

The defence of Cinderella :: The first song by Ella is the best one with the music, and there are a few nice songs, even though none of them rise much above that particular level, while there are some which are not interesting at all. The visuals are really good, and the magic of the original fair-tale story is maintained, even though it seems to be so more by compulsion rather than anything else – maybe this film could have been named something else and played into another tale instead of calling Cinderella for help. There are some nice ideas in the background, that is for sure, but in the implementation, it often falls on the nose, and still we find something here and there. It does have the support of some fine performances in moments, and it also thrives on the moments. After all, we can’t just avoid a Cinderella movie when it comes, even when it deviates too much from the original ideas, and even if it is not the Cinderella that we knew or wanted to watch.

The claws of flaw :: For a Cinderella movie, this one is really strange. Its deviations often feel dumb, and often it feels useless. We have watched so many Cinderella films that we know what the story should really be about despite adding something not suiting at all. Some of the music does get irritating, just like a few of the characters fo manage to do. It is the same reason why it also feels foolish at times. The director here does have some weird and silly ideas about making a Cinderella film, and one has to understand that there are a few things which really make a Cinderella, just like without a few things, some classics and fairytales are not complete – Hamlet needs vengeance, Macbeth needs the witch-like creatures, Rapunzel needs the long hair etc. This is where Cinderella making the unnecessary deviation without creativity falls behind, and in the process, it is also too long a film, considering what kind of content it has.

Performers of the soul :: A lot of characters in the movie do look strange, even though many of them seems to excel in this. Camila Cabello is really good, without doubt, and the same can be said about Idina Menzel and Pierce Brosnan. Camila Cabello has some fine moments which rise a long way up, while it is always good to see Pierce Brosnan in any role. Idina Menzel has her stepmother role smaller than what one would have expected. Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer plays the usual stepdaughters of the good old fairytale. Nicholas Galitzine and Minnie Driver are okay, but seem to overdo things at some moments, and some of their dialogues are ridiculously silly – but that is more or less inheriting the silly mood of the film itself. Tallulah Greive plays basically a useless role, and she doesn’t have enough screen-space either. A number of smaller characters in this film seems to be strangely written, and we would have actually done better without them as some of them also manage to look much ridiculous. Billy Porter as the fairy godmother is nonsense.

How it finishes :: Cinderella with this version is enjoyable only because of parts. Otherwise, it is irritating in other parts. It needed better music and try not to use nonsense to sell its ideas. These won’t suit in a Cinderella film either, but as it does look good, and because we have always loved Cinderella, we go on with it. As it has released on Amazon Prime Video, there is always the option to fast forward those unnecessary elements. When people try to divert a classic fairytale without not much thinking, I can assure you that there are many areas where you wish to fast forward. If you accept people’s right to be silly if they have a high budget, and enjoy the rest, you can enjoy the magic with the visual extravaganza. Well, we have accepted many stupid films which looked good or a few others with dumb fun, it is very much possible to be entertained by this.

Release date: 3rd September 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kay Cannon
Starring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan, Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, Tallulah Greive

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Frozen II

Vampire Owl: Everyone is frozen at home due to COVID-19, and we are watching the second part of this movie.

Vampire Bat: COVID-19 has been a serious crisis in the vampire world too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the last world vampire conference was held in twenty five districts because they had to keep the distance.

Vampire Bat: For the undead, it wouldn’t show any symptoms. We would just die.

Vampire Owl: Death after death is a highly disappointing thing.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we become immortal, and then we die. It is ridiculous.

Vampire Owl: The vampire doctors including Mr. Frankenstein are saying that this was spread by werewolves.

Vampire Bat: This could have been the result of a pure evil magic potion prepared by the Northern Witches.

Vampire Owl: Or maybe spread by a zombie bat?

Vampire Bat: Bats becoming zombies are abominations. I wouldn’t discuss them.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: King Runeard (Jeremy Sisto), long ago, had established a treaty between the people of the kingdom and those of the forest, by building a dam for the better utilization of resources by the forest tribe. But all of a sudden, a fight breaks out between the soldiers of the kingdom and the fighters of the forest tribe, leading to the death of Runeard and also that of the tribe leader, leading to a division between the two, and the forest being engulfed in an enchanted fog created by the spirits of nature, letting nobody inside and allowed nobody to go out. The enraged elemental spirits of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air of the forest had only one person escaping to the kingdom of Arendelle, Agnarr (Alfred Molina) who later became the king after the death of his father with Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood) as his queen. The tale go only this far for Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell).

So, what happens with the events here? :: Years after her coronation, Anna and Elsa are having some good time during the autumn season with Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), and Kristoff’s reindeer Sven along with the subjects in the kingdom. Elsa has been listening to a mysterious calling, and her response to the same awakens the four elemental spirits, Earth, Water, Air and Fire. With these spirits threatening the kingdom, Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven set off to find the problem’s root cause, leaving the people with Pabbie (Ciaran Hinds), the leader of the Rock Trolls. The team is taken in by the enchanted forest, but are trapped in there with no chance for exit. There they meet the air spirit first, followed by two groups of soldiers from both sides who are still in conflict with each other.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Elsa and Anna manage to make peace between the two groups of soliders as they realized that the queen of the kingdom is from their tribe, and she was the one who saved the king and escaped with him from the enchanted forest years ago. Meanwhile, Kristoff keeps thinking about proposing to Anna, but doesn’t succeed in the same for which asks for her from Ryder (Jason Ritter) who shares his interest in reindeers. They come up against earth spirits, a group of giants made out of rocks, but manage to evade them. They find their parents’ destroyed ship and a map with a route to Ahtohallan, a mythical river which could answer all their questions. Elsa decides to go there alone, and with Kristoff and Sven already left behind, leaves Anna and Olaf to float down in a boat made of ice as she decides to take on the water spirit on her way through water. But there is a long way to go, and can she do it alone?

The defence of Frozen II :: The animation remains the strong point of the movie. There are also the special effects – what you see on the screen is nothing less than spectacular, getting you right into that world, and frost just gets to you if you are sitting in a theatre, especially a newer multiplex. The visual effects do the job like not many animated movies can do, and in a world of magic, it asserts the strength of the same. The characters are lovable, and we feel very close to them, even though they are part of that fantasy world only. They become part of us as much as the technical skill on display. The songs are pretty good too, and the messages are once again clear, with family bonding, not just between the sisters, but going further. Frozen will continue to have advantage over the other so called big animated movies like How to Train Your Dragon, Rio, Despicable Me, Finding Nemo, Cars, Ice Age, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and the others which have turned into successful franchises.

Positives and negatives in a world of enchantment :: The case of repetition could be there up to an extent. Frozen had already established a “happily ever after”, and due to the same, this could have been a reverse fantasy on another day. People might have the opinion that a sequel was not needed, considering how perfect the first movie seemed to be. A certain amount of deviation can be declared too. Finding fault with this sequel is more of a process which can be done in relation with the first movie, and not as a stand-alone flick, and it is something which a person who hasn’t watched the first film will understand with ease. We can also move on without finding any fault in this case, as this movie has no shortage of entertainment, with action, adventure and even a funny side – the cuteness factor is also at the highest with this movie in comparison with any other animated movie that strives to do the same for the audience.

How it finishes :: Frozen 2 might not be able to claim that much of a splendour as its predecessor which held the title of the highest grossing animated movie of all-time, even though the sequel has overtaken Frozen, but it has to be noted that the first position is no longer there to be taken. The two Frozen movies are now on second and third positions in that list. But that wouldn’t take away this movie’s claim as a worthy successor because the first movie had set a level which was almost impossible to meet, and this one had to stay close to what was established. The spectacular world which has been created in this film is sure to catch our attention, and the soul of the first movie is carried on, which will make this an interesting watch, and something to feel happy during the time when Corona virus is making its way through nations. Frozen 2 has the beauty of snow, hues and magic brought in style yet again for your eyes.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Evan Rachel Wood, Sterling K Brown, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Rachel Matthews, Jason Ritter, Jeremy Sisto, Ciaran Hinds, Aurora

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Frozen

frzen

Ice and Snow :: Here is something from Robert Frost: “Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice” – I would remember those lines from the poet very often. It is only my second favourite from him after “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Lets leave the fire to any of the fire elementals and fire-breathing dragons as that would be another story. Let bring ice and snow; as the poet would love to watch the woods filling up with snow, and also talk about that destruction by ice, we were given those thoughts about snow and ice, not something people of this part of the world are too familiar with. Yes, the interest in snow was nicely built up to such an extent that I had winter wallpapers on my desktop for a very long time – that started when I was a kid, and we had the latter poem to study in the earlier classes, and the only thing which I liked slightly better was “Daffodils”.

What is Frozen? :: All that talk about ice and snow would take me back to the only one animated movie in the theatre right now. There is nothing repulsive about that feeling, as I am not talking about that 2010 movie when people get trapped in the snow and get eaten by wolves. Well, that was a good movie too, but that kind of atmosphere never comes to the picture this time. I have always felt something about snow, but I have never seen it with my eyes or felt it. I have felt the temperatures close enough to zero degree Celsius, but never snow. Then I decided to experience snow in 3D with a movie, and from the current situation, I am pretty sure that it is the closest to falling snow that I can get. To add to it, this one is also the next brilliant animated movie from Walt Disney after Tangled. Brave was not bad, it was of inferior standard compared to the other Disney movies. The rest didn’t interest me either. But, after a three year gap, Frozen has made me fall in love with Disney yet again. It came in 3D and with the AC in the theatre, it was a world of snow, and it was alive with all the emotions.

The Setting :: The movie is set in the kingdom of Arendelle, a world of magic. It is the story of two sisters, the princesses of the kingdom, Anna and Elsa, with the latter having the powers to manipulate and control the elements of frost. But as the latter’s powers accidently hits the former while playing in snow, her life is only saved by a group of trolls who erase the memory of Anna and warns Elsa of her powers becoming too powerful for her to control. As days pass, Elsa becomes more of a recluse, afraid of herself and unable to control her powers and thus transforming her room into a snow world and keeping away from Anna who doesn’t know what keeps them apart. The doors of the castle are kept closed so that nobody comes to know about the secret. Anna also keeps to herself and the world inside the castle. The king and the queen takes special care to the fact that the balance is not broken, and the world remains the same.

What is it about? :: The action takes place three years after the death of their parents. The children have grown up, and despite the reclusive nature of Elsa, she becomes the default heir to the kingdom and has to fight her inner demons of frost to take over the throne. The gates of the castle are finally opened and people come in. Anna takes this as an opportunity to fall in love, as there would be celebration and she can search for her true love. She meets Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and falls for him. Elsa somehow manages to keep her powers inside until Anna tells her that she wants to marry the prince whom she just met. Elsa refuses to grant her blessings for her sister to marry someone whom she doesn’t really know much about, and as a result, there an argument which leads to the powers of Elsa coming out in the form of ice, and even reaching that extent that the whole kingdom is covered in snow and even the ships get stuck in the ice as she flees to the top of the mountains in the forest. But Elsa is feels herself responsible and is determined to bring her back with the help of a mountain man, a reindeer and a snowman.

The defence of Frozen :: It is the best use of snow and ice in a movie after Rise of the Guardians, and the best animated movie since the release of that one in December 2012. Well, that one had an ordinary box-office performance, but that won’t be the case of Frozen, one can say that. The movie’s most adorable part is its snowman. The movie’s treatment of the story and characters are interesting, as there is no big villain out there, and the snow queen doesn’t go the evil way. There are lesser evil people for sure, but none extreme. The act of true love is no longer romantic, and that is the best part- there should be sacrifice. There is also the stupidity for frail romance and the vain “love at first sight” theory mocked. The songs are beautiful and its visual treat is even more stunning. Frozen makes Brave looks like a little creature who can only say “precious”. How did that creature win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film is still a mystery for me – it was so empty with a lead character who makes people wonder if their sons and daughters are better as reckless, shameless children who defy their parents who know what is better? Well, our heroine here knows the importance of family.

Plus and minus :: There might be too much music for the elder people, even as the humour can keep them attached to the movie. It is also very loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen (similarities are to be created rather than found). The heroine reminds one of Rapunzel of Tangled, not used to going out of her world and being in love with a random person whom she meets on the way while pretending to be courageous and smart. Yes, there is that reindeer instead of the horse and our snowman is indeed better than that chameleon. You will love his ideas about summer, that is for sure. Its a little bit of doing the same thing under disguise, but the fact that it is enjoyable, and there are some good addition makes this fantastic. Elsa is more like X-Men‘s Rogue controlling her powers only with her gloves, and there are trolls who are more like dwarves – funny ones for sure. If Anna catches out attention, Elsa melts our heart! If you don’t like snow, then this movie will lose its awesomeness of 3D snowflakes and everything visual. Yes, it is better than Despicable Me 2, the overrated animated movie of the year which was also very good.

How it finishes :: Frozen comes up with so much goodness, and the message of sisterly love and affection, and it supports one’s right to be different (even as the variation in the character of the so called chivalrous prince was rather too much). Its assertion that love for beauty is so much flawed, and its call for the society to accept the people with differences and also asserts one’s right to choose to be alone. It is only family that can deny the same. It is a true musical fairy tale in the form of an animated movie. Even as there could have been more in store concerning the cold and darkness (as said by Boogeyman in Rise of the Guardians), and there could have been more concerning the frost powers. But for now, we can be satisfied with the power of true love and all that ends well, and as they all live happily ever after – not that much of a spoiler there, as you all know how these movies are to end; even our snowman gets his own snow cloud to follow him during summer. It is our movie of this weekend – The Hunger Games releases here next week!

Release date: 29h November 2013 (India); 27th November 2013 (US)
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Starring (voice): Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, Santino Fontana, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Williams, Jack Whitehall

frozen copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.