I was initially looking forward to Disney’s Rapunzel movie. One of their most respected animators, Glen Keane, was finally being given the chance to direct, and he was developing an innovative technique whereby the images would be three-dimensional and yet have the texture of an oil painting. Then they fired him and brought in another director. They also decided that the reason their last movie, The Princess and the Frog, hadn’t been as big a hit as expected was that it was too “girly” and the word “princess” in the title put boys off going to see it, so they added more action, beefed up the male character’s role, and changed the title to Tangled. A while ago I saw one of the misguided and inappropriate viral marketing videos they’d made, and yesterday I saw the trailer for this depressing Shrek-alike mess.
But do you know what bothers me the most about this? I’m going to have to go and see it. My girls have already seen the trailer and can’t wait. Castles and princesses with long blonde hair? Must see! Of course there’s plenty of good stuff around too, and I’ve made sure they see plenty of Pixar and Miyazaki in an attempt to balance out all the Barbie dvds.
Also, to be fair, I’m sure my Dad suffered through a fair few bad films I made him take me to when I was a child. Maybe he was secretly glad for an excuse to see Star Wars, Superman, Clash of the Titans, etc. He certainly seemed to enjoy them, and, nostaglia-tinging aside, I do think there was something more innocent and fun about those early ’80s fantasy adventures, especially when compared to some of the slick, cynical, “hip” stuff released these days. On the other hand I, like my own children, was uncritical enough to be reeled in by anything containing certain key elements (superheroes, spaceships, monsters) regardless of the quality of the script. One that sticks in the mind is “Spiderman and the Dragon’s Challenge”. This was one of those cases, like the original Battlestar Galactica, where two episodes of an American TV series were stapled together and released in cinemas in Europe. I probably realised at the time how cheesy and limp it was, but look! He’s climbing the walls!