Enchanted

Disney princess meets New York City equals Enchanted, the latest Disney concoction. It’s probably Disney’s best original movie in years, which isn’t saying much as Home on the Range and Brother Bear are really weak competition. It’s unusually witty for a Disney film, and I don’t believe there was a single fart joke in it. I know. Scary.

Giselle is a beautiful, typical Disney character in the animated world of Andalasia. Her voice alone summons cute little critters that help her clean daily. But she longs for a handsome prince. Meanwhile, Prince Edward is a handsome, typical prince, whose workout consists of slaying trolls. After a chance encounter, Giselle and Edward become engaged, to be married the next day. On the wedding day, the evil queen, jealous of Giselle, pushes her down a portal, into the fantastical, yet very different land of…New York City.

She wanders the streets, asking for directions to the castle and where her handsome prince is. After falling off a castle-decorated billboard, she is caught by Robert, a widower lawyer with a daughter obsessed with princesses. Meanwhile, Edward and his chipmunk sidekick Pip go through the portal to save Giselle. Robert is annoyed with Giselle’s stubborn “princess-y” thoughts, but develops a friendship with her. Now Giselle’s beginning to question if she even wants to go back.

What a witty, smart movie. Disney’s finally done a smart move – make a homage to the classic Disney princesses and mix it in with a good story. Amy Adams carries this movie, and does so with charm, beauty, and good acting. Enchanted doesn’t live up to it’s title, but it sure comes close. A-

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Beowulf

Thousand-year old poem meets Hollywood makeover equals Beowulf, the new film from special-effects wiz Robert Zemeckis. This is a very, very different movie from most action epics. For one, it’s based on an ancient, classic poem. Second, it, in spite of the first fact, has a real plot. Third, it’s made with an amazing, and of course, pricey, technology that captures actors’ movements and turns them into animation.

With an all-star cast including Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Penn, John Malkovich, and in the title character, Ray Winstone, it’s an excellent way to remake a poem. And especially with a gifted director who’s made classics like Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future trilogy, and The Polar Express, it makes this all the more appealing.

Grendel is a monster. That’s it. He looks like…Gollum, who got roasted to a spit, half eaten, and was shown Russell Crowe’s toilet seat. That’s how bad he looks. For some reason, he keeps attacking a Danish village, and so they need…a TOUGH WARRIOR! So, via a very dramatic entrance, Beowulf decides to slay this monster. And apparently, Beowulf is a huge man, so he decides to fight and kill Grendel – butt naked. This incurs the wrath of Grendel’s hot, but violent, mother, in the form of a naked Angelina Jolie. Grendel’s mom hypnotizes Beowulf into thinking Beowulf killed her.

30 years later, Beowulf is a great king, most nobly known for slaying Grendel and his mother. But for the first time in 30 years, odd things are happening, people are ending up dead. Could a new terror have arisen? Perhaps from a new beast? Perhaps Beowulf’s son?

It’s a unique, life-like experience. It feels astounding to inhale this new technology. There are moments so real, so unique, that you must see it to believe it. Now, why there’s so much nudity, and why for some reason an ugly monster’s mother happens to be a naked Angelina Jolie, few will know. Maybe college students. Still, it’s a very fresh, very new take on that pesky poem we’ve all had to read in high school. A-

Bee Movie

Jerry Seinfeld returns to the screen, animated-style, in Bee Movie. It’s been nine years since Seinfeld ended his sitcom, appropriately-named Seinfeld, to the tune of 75 million viewers. We really haven’t seen that much of him, aside from the Seinfeld re-runs that net him a couple thousand dollars an episode. But when I saw the trailers for this, I literally yelled, “Woo-Hoo!” after Jerry Seinfeld turned up on the credits.

I had to see this. I repeat. HAD to see this. I begged Mom. I planned my 11th birthday party around it (yes, now I am 11). I purchased the $200 “Complete Series” Seinfeld box set. I went to the theater and saw it. What I saw was unlike the fart jokes of Shrek the Third or the pop-culture cracks of Happily N’Ever After, a witty movie that didn’t rely on pop-culture references, but was actually propelled forward by a story that, albeit pretty unrealistic, was funny and original.

Barry B. Benson (get the pun?) is a bee living in a hive, who recently has graduated from college, and is very discontent for the sole future that awaits all bees: work in the hive till you die. That’s it. He does a huge social stunt – he goes out of the hive, to New York City. And he actually enjoys it. There’s a few funny scenes that show Barry becoming acquainted to his urban environment. Barry befriends a florist, Vanessa, (yes, you read that correctly), and they hang out together. Then Barry discovers that, well, we humans eat honey. See where this is going?

It’s really boring in the last half until an action sequence aboard a plane, but it’s still amusing to see Seinfeld still doing his thing – even though it’s turned down for the kiddies. Recommended, but many, MANY times, you must suspend your disbelief. B-