Cinderella Review

I went to see the new Cinderella movie with a friend last week and absolutely loved it. It was sweet and innocent and just all around lovely. My only issue? Not enough Helena Bonham-Carter (she’s been a long time favorite of mine). But the real stand out here was the set and costume design, both of which were absolutely magnificent. It was a glorious riot of Rococo, Victoriana, and 1940’s influences that, at times, had me paying more attention to what people were wearing and where they were standing than what they were actually talking about. So rather than talking about the movie, I’ll just show you.

The young Cinderella and her mother.

The young Ella and her mother.

Cinderella's daily wear- nicer than most of my good clothes.

Cinderella’s daily wear- nicer than most of my good clothes.

Cate Blanchett as the stepmother and the two stepsisters. I liked that the stepsisters weren't physically ugly, they just had pretty ugly personalities.

Cate Blanchett as the stepmother and the two stepsisters. I liked that the stepsisters weren’t physically ugly, they just had pretty ugly personalities.

I loved the rather lurid pinks and yellows that the stepsisters were dressed in. They always matched exactly and they always wore their color. And the dresses were beautiful, just maybe not in a color I would ever wear.

I loved the rather lurid pinks and yellows that the stepsisters were dressed in. They always matched exactly and they always wore their color. And the dresses were beautiful, just maybe not in a color I would ever wear.

Prince Kit, also known as King in the North. I like him better scruffy but he makes a good, clean cut Disney Prince. Most of his costumes were military style, but they were still ornate with beautiful details like the design seen on this hunting coat.

Prince Kit, also known as King in the North. I like him better scruffy but he makes a good, clean cut Disney Prince. Most of his costumes were military style, but they still had ornate and beautiful details like the design seen on this hunting coat.

Helena Bonham-Carter looking absolutely luminous as the fairy godmother. At times I found her even prettier than Cinderella (but that could just be my own personal bias...).

Helena Bonham-Carter looking absolutely luminous as the fairy godmother. At times I found her even prettier than Cinderella (but that could just be my own personal bias…).

The step family at the ball. There was always so. much. going on with the sisters' gowns.

The step family at the ball. There was always so. much. going on with the sisters’ gowns.

Cinderella's marvel of a ball gown. I wanted to touch it so badly. All those petticoats! The shimmeriness! The tulle! The twirliness! I can't get enough of it!

Cinderella’s marvel of a ball gown. I wanted to touch it so badly. All those petticoats! The shimmeriness! The tulle! The twirliness! I can’t get enough of it!

I'm not normally a huge fan of wedding dresses but this one was pretty nice. Surprisingly subdued, but look at the embroidery on it! Lovely.

I’m not normally a huge fan of wedding dresses but this one was pretty nice. Surprisingly subdued, but look at the embroidery on it! Lovely.

Has anyone else seen this version yet? What did you think of it?

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Oooh look! A sequel!

I haven’t seen the show, or the additional movie/specials they’ve done since the first movie came out but I think it’s great we’ll be seeing a movie where characters have grown and changed since the last time we saw them. Hiccup actually looks like a young man!

Will it be good? Worthwhile? I have no idea! But I’m excited about it! I loved the first movie so here’s hoping this sequel will be just as heartwarming and entertaining.

It looks like the original voice cast will be returning (hurray!) with the addition of Kit Harrington as a new character and Cate Blanchett as Hiccup’s mom (hurray!!). How To Train Your Dragon 2 is slated for release on June 13, 2014.

Don’t You Love It…

Don’t you love when you’ve been waiting to see a movie and you really want it to be good and it turns out to be just as good as you were hoping? I got to watch two movies this past week that were every bit as good as I wanted them to be.

HANNA

I’ve been wanting to see Hanna since it first came out. I’m fairly certain I read Roger Ebert’s review which mentioned the fairy tale aspects of it and I was hooked. But I was never able to make it to the theater and I was unable to watch it until someone happened to donate a copy to the library where I work. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was pretty sure I was going to like it. And I did!

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has lived near the Arctic Circle almost her entire life. Her father, Erik Heller (played by Eric Bana), has taught Hanna how to fight, how to hunt, how to survive. She speaks at least 5 languages and was taught by her father with nothing but an encyclopedia and a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Their simple cottage is in a snow covered forest where they live completely alone. Soon Hanna begins to insist to her father that she’s ready. We’re not told exactly what she is ready for but soon Hanna flips a switch to tell Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) where she is. Her father leaves after they work out her back story and where they will meet up (Wilhem Grimm’s house in Berlin!) and soon armed men come to take her away. Hanna wakes up in a fancy prison cell, freaks everyone out with her ruthless killing skills and then escapes thinking she has killed Marissa. Except she hasn’t. And now Marissa is determined to find Erik and Hanna and get rid of them.

I loved the fairy tale elements in this story. Hanna comes from “the forest” (her description) and Marissa is called a witch. The whole movie has a certain dreaminess to it that contrasts well with the violence that was found in many of the Grimm tales. This isn’t a Disney story where everyone has a happy ending. Also, the music (done by The Chemical Brothers) is really good. If you ever get the chance to watch this one, take it.

THOR

I finally got to see Thor. So happy. I would have felt terribly cheated if I hadn’t been able to see it before The Avengers comes out!

As I’ve mentioned before, I was initially a bit nervous about seeing Thor. I love Norse mythology and I could tell from the previews that Thor the movie was not going to be too similar to Thor the Norse god. But I set that aside and just enjoyed the movie. And I loved it!

When we first meet Thor he is being shown the weapon of the Frost Giants that his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has captured. Odin tells Thor and his brother Loki that both are the sons of kings but only one can rule Asgard and take Odin’s place. Fast forward a few years and clearly Thor has been chosen to succeed his father. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now tall, blond and handsome. He also seems to be more than a bit arrogant of his prowess with his trusty giant killing hammer Mjollnir. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) seems to be ok with this turn of events however and Thor and Loki seem to be friends as well as brothers. So anyways, today just happens to be the day Odin is officially naming Thor as his successor. But oh no! Frost Giants break in and try to steal their weapon. They are destroyed by a handy invention of Odin’s fortunately before they can run off with it. Odin is relieved, Thor angry. Thor wants revenge and shows off his hot temper. Did I mention this attempt at theft happened right before Odin could announce Thor as his successor? Thor gets mad at Odin’s perceived softness and sneaks off with his friends to kill some giants on his own (introducing us to the Rainbow Bridge and Heimdall as well). Odin finds out and exiles Thor to Earth where he runs into pretty astro-physicist Jane (Natalie Portman). Hearing that Odin sent Mjollnir to Earth after him, Thor runs off to grab it and try to return it to Asgard. S.H.I.E.L.D got there first though and after a brief introduction to Hawkeye, Thor fails and is interrogated by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). Meanwhile, Loki has pulled a coup at home while Odin is in some sort of coma. He comes to Earth, tells Thor Odin is dead, and that Thor can never come back. Thor accepts and attempts to live on Earth until his friends come to tell him how awful Loki is. Odin wakes up, Thor defeats Loki, and Thor becomes the god he should be. Loki gets sucked down to the world of the Frost Giants supposedly, but we’ll see him again in The Avengers.

I loved this movie because Chris Hemsworth was fantastic as Thor. And I loved Loki too. Loki’s a trickster god and reading the mythology, you’re always wondering “Loki, what are you doing?!?” And that’s kinda how I felt here too. Loki seemed to be trying to take over Asgard because it would cause problems. And that’s what Loki likes to do. And Thor and Odin are always just like “oh Loki! Enough now. Let’s go drink some mead.” And everything’s forgiven. Which is kinda what happens here. Only Loki chose to leave Asgard, nobody forced him to. So, loved Thor. Thor and Loki were great, can’t wait to see them again, and I really hope we get to see a scene like this again:

Casting The Hobbit

Update: I’ve written a more recent post about the dwarves with lots more pictures. Read it here!

Less than 10 months until The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out! I’m pretty excited, if you hadn’t realized that yet. It’s been about 2 months since the trailer was released; I think it’s about time Peter Jackson released something else. I’d be happy with a teaser with the same scenes in the trailer, just reworked a bit. And some new music.

Well I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. So I guess I’ll just look at the casting decisions since everything is now finalized.

First off, I have to say that I am the teeniest bit disappointed that Guillermo del Toro is no longer directing. Don’t get me wrong- I think Peter Jackson did an amazing job with the original trilogy and it is only fitting that he provide the necessary continuity between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. But after seeing Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy I and II, The Devil’s Backbone, and The Orphanage, I became very curious to see what del Toro would do with The Hobbit. I suppose it’s better with Jackson though, as I’m fairly certain I would have been outraged if anyone besides Jackson had dared to direct something that he had made so thoroughly his own.

So on with the cast!

Up first, the returning players:

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf

Hugo Weaving as Elrond

Cate Blanchett as Galadriel

Ian Holm as Old Bilbo

Elijah Wood as Frodo

Andy Serkis as Gollum

Orlando Bloom as Legolas

Christopher Lee as Saruman

If I remember correctly, Galadriel and Saruman do not show up in The Hobbit (the book) and it is generally assumed that Peter Jackson will be including bits of The White Council. Frodo was not in The Hobbit either, so I’m guessing that Peter Jackson is really trying to make the movie The Hobbit accessible to fans who only watched the trilogy. Old Bilbo will most likely be telling Frodo (pre-trilogy events) of how he came to be possessor of the One Ring. And I think it’s pretty clear that the White Council bits have been added in to provide some background on where Sauron came from. And Gollum! How exciting it will be to see Bilbo finding the Ring and the riddle contest.

Next, the dwarves:

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield

Adam Brown as Ori

Jed Brophy as Nori

Mark Hadlow as Dori

Aidan Turner as Kili

Dean O’Gorman as Fili

William Kircher as Bifur

James Nesbitt as Bofur

Stephen Hunter as Bombur

Graham McTavish as Dwalin

Ken Stott as Balin

John Callen as Oin

Peter Hambleton as Gloin

What we’ve seen of the dwarves so far is fantastic. Visually, these guys look like they came straight from under a mountain. A lot was said early on about how these guys were too good looking to play dwarves but I really don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Rounding out the main company with the dwarves and Gandalf:

Martin Freeman as Bilbo

If the little we’ve seen in the trailer is any indication, Martin Freeman is going to own this role.

Next, the elves:

Lee Pace as The Elvenking Thranduil

Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel

Very little detail is given about individual elves who show up in Mirkwood. We’ll see Thranduil there and also at the final battle, although it isn’t until Lord of the Rings that we actually learn his name. Tolkien’s silence about the elves has opened up a lot of room for Jackson to play around; Tauriel will most likely be one of the elves in the dwarf-capturing party (since there is no mention of her in the book), as will Legolas. Elrond will be seen during the stop at Rivendell and Galadriel is a member of The White Council.

Finishing up with some supporting characters:

Billy Connolly as Dain Ironfoot

Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman

Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn

Stephen Fry as the Master at Laketown

Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown

Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug

Some of these characters probably won’t be seen until There and Back Again comes out in December 2013. Getting to see Mirkwood and Smaug will be incredibly exciting.

I really can’t wait to see what Peter Jackson does with The Hobbit. I think it’s so expected that he’ll do a fantastic job that I’m not really worried about it, but I do want to see it as soon as possible! Be sure to check out the amazing fan site TheOneRing.net for up to date casting info. And the imdb page has good information as well for the movie.

It’s Here!

After weeks of frenzied anticipation, the trailer was finally released last night!

It looks amazing. This is of course only for the first part of the movie; part 2, There and Back Again, won’t be released until 2013. Of course, An Unexpected Journey itself won’t be released for another year but I have every intention of remaining in a fever-pitch of excitement until then.

There’s old Bilbo (Ian Holm) and young Bilbo (Martin Freeman), the smallest glimpse of Frodo (Elijah Wood), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and Bag End. The Dwarves are introduced: Fili (Dean O’Gorman), Kili (Aidan Turner), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton- they really made him look like Gimli!), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Balin (Ken Stott), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), and- finally- Thorin (Richard Armitage) with the Hero Shot.

We hear the dwarves sing, we get a taste of the comedy and the seriousness of their journey, plus hints aplenty of what this will mean for Bilbo in particular. It will be interesting to see how they show Bilbo finding the ring since we have seen that already in Fellowship of the Ring, but I got chills when I first heard Gollum speak. Also- Sting!

It seems pretty clear that they have cut the movie off right before they enter Mirkwood. Probably a good decision. I can’t wait to see Beorn and the Great Goblin for the first time and so excited to see Galadriel and Elrond again.

I realize this is just the trailer and that trailer music might or might not make it in to the movie but it sounds fantastic so far. Can’t wait for the whole soundtrack to be released, especially since the soundtracks to the Lord of the Rings movies were so amazing.

I am also fairly certain that a roomful of Thorin posters is in my very near future. Richard Armitage is gorgeous, but Richard Armitage as the handsome bearded Thorin? *swoon* Who knew dwarves could bring out my inner fangirl?