PG, 107 Minutes, Animation | Action | Adventure
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant
Viewed on 03.11.2011, Rating: * *
The combination of Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp should have resulted in the magical and wonderful creation of an enchanting movie that would be much beloved by all forever and ever amen. I mean, come on, it's Verbinski & Depp, and we've seen this combination be a winner multiple times now. Unfortunately, this time around we get Rango, which on the surface seemed like it should be good, but just ended up flat and boring and bad. So bad. But not quite bad enough that it becomes good again - just bad. I'm not even sure that kids would get the jokes or enjoy this story. Bob hated it, whereas I was merely disappointed, although I must admit I did laugh most of the way through, but not because the jokes were funny, but because they were sooooooooo baaaaaaad!
PG13, 86 Minutes, Drama | Fantasy | Romance
Director: Daniel Barnz
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause, Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Viewed on 03.12.2011, Rating: * * * *
Beastly, on the other hand, I thought was quite good. Alex Pettyfer plays Kyle, a teenage New York Socialite brat who treats everyone who isn't rich and beautiful like crap. He's a jerk, a bully, and ass all rolled up into one, but we do see glimpses of someone with a good heart underneath, but he's been taught by his selfish jerk of a father to be an even bigger selfish jerk. Of course Lindy, played by Vanessa Hudgens, has a crush on him, even though he barely acknowledges her existence.
Along comes Kendra, played amazingly well by Mary-Kate Olsen, an extremely well-dressed witch, who happens to be his favorite target to torment, and soon she has enough and places a curse on him that turns him as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside, a tattooed and pierced freak, complete with some truly horrible scars. (The previews and poster - like the one above - actually made the tattoos and scars kind of sexy, but I was quite glad to see that in the actual movie they were pretty awful - open flesh wounds are rarely sexy and I was glad they didn't try to make them so). One of the tattoos is alive, a flowering rose tree, and the curse specifies that he must find someone to see beyond the exterior and say they love him before one year has passed and the flowers in the tattoo bloom again. His loving, kind, and caring father (not), played by Peter Krause, immediately ships his son off to a crappy house in Brooklyn where no one will see him, and refuses to ever visit or spend time with his son, instead sending a maid, Zola, to care for him and a blind tutor, Will, (played flawlessly by Neil Patrick Harris) so he doesn't fall behind in school.
After sulking and pouting for months he finally realizes he's beginning to care for Lindy, but is sure that she could never love him (and of course she doesn't recognize him as her crush from school). As the year end approaches he begs Kendra to give him more time, and when she refuses, he begs her to help the people he cares about (giving Will his sight back and the Zola her family), but she replies that she can't unless he succeeds in getting Lindy to say the magic words.
So I won't ruin the ending, although it's totally predictable, and you know that it will be, but you don't care because the journey is just fun. I will say that the jerk father seems to get what's coming to him at the end of the movie, which was a very pleasant surprise!
I completely enjoyed this movie, in spite of, or perhaps because of its' predictability. Mary-Kate Olsen did a surprisingly good job as the witch (although why someone with her magical abilities and wardrobe was in high school I have no idea), and Alex and Vanessa seem to have good chemistry. Their acting wasn't the best ever, but they're young and will get better in time, I imagine.
So while I can't recommend Rango, I do strongly recommend Beastly for the fun factor.
Have you seen either of these movies? Do you agree or disagree with my ratings? What's your opinion? Leave a comment and let me know!