Friday, January 11, 2013

New Dream

You're going to have to excuse me, but I've drunk the better part of an entire bottle of Momokawa Pearl tonight and watched another Disney princess flick and I fear I am not completely responsible for what follows.
Regardless of how much you may imbibe, the inescapable reality is that when you have kiddos under 12 (and an outlet to electronic entertainment) you will perforce watch a freaking great bolus of kidvid.

This will range from truly entertaining in it's own right ("Avatar", or "Korra") to sort-of-bleh to downright eye-searingly awful.

If there is a hell, it will consist of being forced to view repeated showings of fucking "Santa Buddies" or, worse, "Soccer Dog: European Cup". a horrible nightmare which made me want to both laugh hysterically and pound my head against the wall over and over again.

Oh, God, the fucking horror of Soccer Dog: European Cup. I could weep.


But this week has been truly special for kidVid; the cable Disney channel has been showing "princess" movies 24-7, and I have a six-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and so you know what that means.

Tonight's offering was Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time, the second direct-to-video Cindy "sequel".

And y'know what; I almost hate to say this wasn't horrible.

For one thing, it actually had a laugh with some of the ridiculous premises of the original.

There's one point where the Prince - who actually gets to be a person, a real guy, in this one, as opposed to a stuffed dummy who represents "love and marriage" - is enjoying a bout of fencing with his dad. King Dad - and Charming - get some good lines;

King: You think there's only one woman in the whole kingdom who wears a size four and half?

Charming: It's all I have to go on here.

One of the "ugly stepsisters" got a chance to step out of the caricature and become more of a person and a rather endearing one, too. I actually ended up with a certain amount of affection for Anastasia Tremaine.
Girl's got some feet. I like a gal with some sturdy, real-womanly sort of feet. We can't all be size four-and-a-halfs, y'know. She's sweet, and sort of lumpy, and gauche, and I like that in a woman. Hell, I AM that.

Anyway, the writers and voice-actors do a nice bit of work with her, Cindy, and the Prince.

Of course, Lady Tremaine is her usual terrible self and the flick is all the better for it. She's delightful to watch as a sort of black hole of badness, a singularity of pure self-absorbed evil. Such a darling, really, she just needs a couple of minions and a fortress of doom. I'd take her dancing just to see when she'd try and put the poison in my shandy.

And, yeah, there's the fucking mice, but the film actually goofs with the mice; Charming gets some face time with them and then proceeds to tell Dad that the "talking mice" have told him that his real inamorata is about to be sent off to the antipodes or where-ever.

You can imagine King Dad's reaction; imagine your reaction.

Yeah, that's it. Well played, Disney.

Plus Cindy gets to grow out of the slipper a bit.
In fact, the saving grace of the thing is that it actually gets a sort of humanity out of all the most cardboard characters of the original Cinderella cartoon; Cindy gets to be a little cutting and a little clever, Charming gets to be kind of offhand and, well, charming, and even the damn anthropomorphic animals are tolerable for a change.

The point of this post is that for all that these damn direct-to-video Disney sequels get a lot of stick, I actually had to watch this one and it wasn't genuinely painful; truth told, it was rather sweet, a bit clever, a trifle snarky, and even had some truly pleasurable moments.

Seining gold nuggets from the filthiest stream, perhaps, but, still...I ended up liking Disney's Cinderella and her paint-and-ink pals better after this one than the original.

And that is, perhaps, not something to be idly dismissed, I think.

But this may be more than the maunderings of a more-than-tipsy Friday evening.

We will see what the cold light of the morning brings.


Don Francisco said...

With a three year old myself, I completely relate to wanting a better class of kids film! Critiquing them gives my brain something to do.

Compared to kids films released when I was younger (80's/90's), there's a reasonable amount of quality today. Or maybe it's just the cumulative quality of decent films.

Meanwhile my friends without kids are seeing the latest adult releases. Aside form the feeling that we live an a parallel universe (apparently entire cultural events come and go without me noticing), for the most part, I don't think I'm missing out that much.

FDChief said...

DF: I have to say, given what I've seen lately, I think the folks who wrote Disney's Tangled were smoking a WHOLE lot less weed than the people who made the last half-dozen "adult" films I've seen. Plot holes, improbable dialogue, piss-weak name it. Ugly.

Like I said; this Cindy-3 thing was actually in several ways superior to the original Disney cartoon. Even in the sober light of dawn, the quality was a trifle higher.

Kind of sad, tho - says something about the overall state of the film biz.