As promised, I have returned having recently watched "Ratatouille", "The Increadibles", and the newest installment of "John Adams".
The Disney/Pixar combo just keeps knocking these out of the park! "The Increadibles" was visually stunning as well as being a fabulous family friendly fantasy. I grew up hearing about the typical American Family, and how "Leave it to Beaver" should be that model... I also grew up watching "Married with Children" and was subjected to the Anti-Family posing as a closer representation of true family life in America. While there are just as many disfunctional families are there are funtional, I truly believe that this film captured one of the best representations of a healthy family I have ever seen. No matter what walk of life you are from, a good family man, and a good mother are always trying to figure things out in a way to best take care of thier children and eachother. While children, teens, and young adults will come watch this movie and appreciate the adventure and super-hero tale, parents will watch this movie and breathe a sigh of releif in that someone understands how hard they work, and that a good parent is the real hero.
"Ratatouille" took a different appraoch to story telling than "The Increadibles". While being just as inspiring, it was condsiderably more cinematically complex. This story of a country rat who's family does not understand his appreciation and desire for fine fare, follows as he is swept into the big city (Paris) and finds a way to follow his dreams. Along the way we are treated to a colorful cast of characters and culinary creations. However, the biggest star of this film is the production and direction. Where "The Increadibles" was an animated movie, "Ratatouille" was a great movie that just so happened to be drawn as opposed to filmed. Everything from the storyboards to the camera angles screamed of the kind of moviemaking that typically draws the attention of The Acadamy Awards. While "Ratatouille" did win the Oscar for Best Animated Movie, I feel it was a gross injustice to have been relegated to this category and forgotten. Children will love the comedy and visual treats, while adults will enjoy the inspirational story of someone following and achieving their dreams while being treated to complex sub-plots of love, comercialization, employee retribution, and winning over one's critics.
While this past holiday weekend affored me the time to watch a couple of family friendly animated movies, I also made time for myself to watch HBO's newest installment of "John Adams". I was excited to watch where this episode would take me, given how masterfully the first two wound their way through The Boston Massacre all the way to the Declaration of Independence. Had I not seen the first two episodes, I'm not sure I would continue watching this Mini-series solely based on the the third. Paul Giamatti fell into the trap that I and many others were afraid of... a whining, self pitying academic who happened to get caught up in political life, and thrust into the maelstrom of American Independence. His personal hangups with Ben Franklin during their time in France were far overplayed, and instead of feeling for Adams the audience is left annoyed and tired of him. While this was a low point in Adams' life, it should not have consumed a full hour delving into his insecurities. I will absolutely watch this series through to the end, but if this episode becomes more the norm than the exception, I will be disappointed because of the promise of what could have been.
Next installment: Showtime's premier episode of the Tudors Season 2, more John Adams, and hopefully a live action comedy.