Frozen (Movie Review)

“Suck on this, Iceman.”

Well, Pixar had a nice long reign as the dominant force of animated movies, but it looks like everybody’s favourite evil empire has finally reclaimed the throne.

The king has returned, bitches.

Let’s face it. It’s been a bit of a rough decade or so for Walt Disney Animation Studios in pretty much every single aspect of the film-making business that isn’t “making all the money.” The first Disney Renaissance is commonly accepted among people with too much time on their hands to have ended after Tarzan had its way with the box office in 1999. In the couple of years that followed, Disney kind of went through an awkward period, releasing such movies as Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor’s New Groove  and  Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Can you guess which two of those movies don’t suck?

Obviously, one of them’s the one where David Spade voices a cartoon llama.

With the exception of Dinosaur (Which was just terrible), all of those movies were box office disappointments, especially for Disney, who, just last decade, had grossed nearly a billion dollars thanks to the masterpiece that was The Lion King.

After the introduction of the Academy Award for best Animated Movie (About a decade or so too late) in 2002, Pixar was bogarting center stage, winning seven Oscars, while Disney was just struggling to keep up, failing to win any of their nominations, especially when he nomination were as puzzling as the ones for Brother Bear and Treasure Planet, two movies you did not even know existed. Even when Disney quietly initiated their second renaissance with the release of The Princess & the Frog, they still remained second fiddle to Pixar. And rightly so, although somebody needs to explain to me why Tangled wasn’t at least nominated.

And then, something happened: Pixar shot themselves in the foot, thanks to a trio of terrible-to-non spectacular movies, and were left in a similar position to the one Disney experienced after the first Renaissance. And from the ashes of Pixar’s run of dominance, Frozen rose like a goddamn phoenix.

Good luck getting this song out of your head sometime in the next decade, by the way.

Now, despite the Fall Out Boy reference, I’m not a teenage girl, and, despite my complete and utter hatred of my existence on this godforsaken planet, I’m not the parent of a toddler, so I wasn’t exactly part of the main audience that this movie was aimed at. Besides, fuck this movie. It is the duty of a cultured movie critic like myself could easily destroy this cynical effort to feed some Disney execs’ cocaine habit, while singing the praises of some foreign film that nobody outside of Europe has ever seen, right?

Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I’m reviewing Frozen right now and not The Great Beauty.


 Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

 Produced by: Peter Del Vecho

 Screenplay by: Jennifer Lee

 Story by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris

 Based on: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

 Genres: Animated, Musical, Fantasy, Comedy

Voices of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds

Music by: Cristophe Beck

Songs by: Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Oscar nominations (Wins in bold): Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song

Plot: The crown princess of the Scandinavian kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa, was born possessing the power to produce ice, frost and snow whenever she so desires, essentially making her, among other things,  the odds-on favourite to win any sort of Battle Royale between the Disney Princesses. Somebody needs to get on that, by the way.

One night, when playing with her little sister, Anna, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the head with a bolt of, um, ice magic that knocks her unconscious  and turns a part of her hair white. Anna is saved from further harm, and remains energetic and fun-loving as ever, but loses all memory of Elsa’s magic. Elsa, on the other hand, is immediately spirited away by her parents, the king and queen, to her chambers, where she is isolated from damn near everyone, including her sister, causing a rift between the two sisters. Elsa is trained as best as possible by her parents to control her powers with limited success, and grows up introverted and constantly worried about her powers hurting somebody else. As it turns out, locking a young girl in her room in order to prevent her from interacting with other people doesn’t exactly make a confident young woman. Who fucking knew, right?

When the king and queen die at sea during a storm, Elsa (Idina Menzel), the heir to the throne, is set to be declared queen once she comes of age. When the castle gates are opened for the coronation Anna (Kristen Bell), excited to meet new people after years of isolation, meets a charming prince from the “Southern Isles” or whatever named Hans (Santino Fontana). After the coronation goes off without a hitch, much to Elsa’s relief, Anna and Hans enthusiastically ask Elsa for her blessing of their marriage. Because she’s not insane, Elsa refuses, much to Anna’s displeasure, and an argument ensues and, in a fit of emotion, Elsa accidentally unleashes her powers and causes an eternal winter in Arendelle.

Big deal, I live in Edmonton. This is June for me.

Horrified, Elsa flees up the North Mountain, and Anna, with the help of a misanthropic Sami ice vendor named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, heads up the mountain to find her sister.

While there are many things that can make or break a Disney movie, at the forefront must be the animation. Since the 1930’s, Disney has been at the forefront of animation, but they’ve been known to slip up a couple of times, which can take a pretty heavy toll on a movie like this one.

Thankfully, this movie surpasses all expectations. It looks incredible. Along with Tangled, Frozen, while still mostly CGI, also blends in elements of traditional hand-drawn animation, and while the former movie looked great, the technique is exploited to its full potential in this movie, especially in scenes where Elsa is using her powers. The scene during “Let It Go” when she’s building her castle is a sight to behold, especially. I don’t think that even the most jaded cynic wouldn’t look at that scene with the utmost reverence for how far we’ve come since the days of Steamboat Willie.

Or whatever the fuck’s going on here.

The only quibble that I have with the animation (And it’s more of an observation than an outright complaint, mind you) is that, for some reason, all the female character’s eyes are goddamn huge.  Not to take anything away from the animators, because the characters still look amazing, but did they feel like they needed to make the girls look extra pretty by blowing up their eyes or something? Kinda weird for a movie with otherwise relatively progressive themes, but I must admit Id be lying if I said I cared enough to really let it bother me.

Another staple of any classic Disney movie is the great soundtrack, and I’m pleased to say that Frozen doesn’t disappoint… Most of the time. The backing soundtrack from Christophe Beck does a nice job pretty much the whole time throughout of  ramping up or scaling down the intensity, even if you don’t really notice so until the end. The songs, written by the married songwriting team of Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborator Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, do pretty much a great job of setting the tone throughout the movie, and, I’d expect that kids would go pretty wild over them too, since they’re extremely catchy.  Hell, I haven’t seen the movie for a couple of weeks, and I still have all of the songs ricocheting through my head at the same time. This is not a good feeling.

My brain is imploding inside of itself! Somebody help me!!!

“Frozen Heart” kicks off the movie, and it’s a lot more aggressive, and kind of darker than what you’d expect from most Disney movies. It’s not exactly “Circle of Life”, and it wasn’t an integral component for my enjoyment of the movie, but hey, I’ll take it.

“Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” is one of the two really fantastic songs in the movie, and it’s also probably the most touching, which you wouldn’t expect from its upbeat beginning. It does a really good job of showing of the two main characters’ emotional states too. “For the First Time in Forever”, while a bit more formulaic, and not grammatically sound as a title,  is also a fun listen, and mostly showcases Anna’s personality: Energetic, klutzy, optimistic, yet lonely.

Also, who knew Veronica Mars could sing?

 “Love is an Open Door” is a cheesy song that would fail in any context outside of the movie, but gets by here thanks to the charm of Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana, and “Fixer Upper” is just the biggest piece of shit, but pretty much any flaw present in those two songs are immediately made up for in “Let it Go.” The one song in the entire movie that lets only the great Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel showcase her Broadway-honed talents, and has even people who hate this movie (Horrid as they may be) admitting under their venom-tinged that “this one’s pretty good”. I’m not gonna spend too much time on this song, because at this point, it doesn’t need to prove itself to anyone, so I’m just gonna go ahead and get to the voice cast.

So, I guess we’re just gonna go ahead and pretend that a dress made out of ice wouldn’t be insanely uncomfortable?

 While Idina Menzel gets most of the attention because of her singing (And the fact that Elsa is the most badass Disney Princess ever. Come at me, Mulan.), and Josh Gad is rightly praised for being hilarious as Olaf, the magic snowman, but stealing the show for me is Kristen Bell. I’ve never seen an episode of Veronica Mars, so I can’t really comment on her real-life acting ability, but I feel confident saying that nobody else could have played the part of princess Anna as well as Bell. A character that would’ve been a ditzy mess in the hands of anybody else….

Unrelated stock Kirsten Dunst photo.

… Kristen Bell injects so much charm and wit into the character that it’s hard to fathom somebody criticizing her performance.

Like I said, Gad is great, and Menzel, Fontana and Groff are fine in their respective characters, none of which seem to only be there to fill some bullshit stock character role, thank God. I guess you could make an argument that Olaf was kind of unnecessary, but come on, the dude’s hilarious. And that “In Summer” song? I love it. It’s so chock-full of not-so-subtle irony. Your seventh grade English teacher would love it.


I think the thing I enjoyed best about this movie is the ending. I’ll be the first to admit that the movie hits specific Disney beats. The “I Want” song, the romance (Although this one did surprise me and didn’t feel forced by any means), and, most importantly, the protagonist, a princess, of course, is helpless and is saved by, what else, true love! Oh spare me Disney, you schlocky asshole of a company! Why don’t you stick to buying every other film studio in the goddamn world, you sexist fucks!

Seriously though, keep buying the film studios. I love it.

Yes, true love does save Anna from an icy doom, but Disney wisely decides not to have Kristoff save both Anna and Elsa from their respective ends (As most other Disney movies would end) and has the girls save each other, not with the power of romantic love, that weird, undefinable emotion that compelled Prince Charming to make out with Snow White’s dead body, or whatever, but with sisterly love, which is proven, in this movie, to be just as strong. It’s a somewhat subtle touch, but it definitely won me over.


What nominations/wins did it deserve?:

  • Best Animated Feature: Boy does it ever deserve that win. Hell, I would’ve lobbied hard for its inclusion on the Best Picture shortlist if I was a member of the Academy. One day, I guess.
  • Best Original Song (“Let it Go”): Believe the hype.

Overall: It’s not without some minor flaws, but Frozen easily merits the hype that has made it a global phenomenon (My little cousin is struggling to decide whether to be Anna or Elsa for Halloween this year). It’s not the best Disney movie ever, but it’s certainly the best one since the first Disney Renaissance. If nothing else, it has set the bar really high for Big Hero 6.

I, for one, am extremely optimistic.

Rating: 9/10



My Oscar Picks

Well, it’s not like I can do so much freaking Oscar reviews without doing a quick prediction. These predictions will have the same format as my Razzie predictions, with my top three picks for every category, except the ones which I haven’t checked out because they didn’t have any Best Picture Nominees (Categories with an “*” are categories in which I’ve seen less than three of the nominated movies). Also, if any movie that I did not watch wins their respective category, that movie will be added to my seemingly never-ending queue of reviews.

Honestly? I just look at the trophy and see a golden novelty dildo.

Best Visual Effects:

  1. Gravity
  2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  3. Star Trek Into Darkness

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. While Benedict Cumber-Dragon was amazing and J.J. Abrams lens-flared Star Trek into beautiful oblivion (I’m hoping that nonsense I just pulled out of my ass makes sense to somebody), Gravity had some of, if not the most  the most, beautiful visuals I’ve ever seen in my seventeen years of watching movies.

Best Film Editing:

  1. Gravity
  2. 12 Years a Slave
  3. American Hustle

I’m still not entirely sure how one critiques editing, so admittedly, this category is kind of a crapshoot for me.

Best Costume Design* 

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. American Hustle

American Hustle could beat out 12 Years, because it did have a pretty fantastic costume design team, or whatever (And Amy Adams’ necklines sure help), but I think that the latter’s  costumes were just a little bit better.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling*

  1. Dallas Buyers Club

I’m shocked that American Hustle wasn’t nominated for this category, but honestly Dallas Buyers Club should win this award, based solely on the work they did with Jared Leto.

Best Cinematography*

  1. Gravity
  2. Nebraska

I’m kinda surprised that Nebraska was nominated for this category, because I really didn’t like the choice of black-and-white colouring, but whatevs. Gravity should and will win, anyways.

Best Production Design

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Gravity
  3. American Hustle

Assuming that “Production Design” means “film sets and such”, I’d give it to 12 Years, mainly for the stunning contrast between the natural beauty of Louisiana and the brutality of the subject matter.

Best Sound Mixing/Editing

  1. Gravity
  2. Captain Phillips
  3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 

Yes, I know I mixed the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, but a) It’s pretty much the same movies, and b) I don’t know what the fuck the difference between sound editing and sound mixing is supposed to be.

That said, Gravity‘s soundtrack was downright gorgeous.

Best Original Song (I Haven’t seen most of these movies, but the songs are on YouTube, so all’s good.)

  1. “Let it Go” from Frozen
  2. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  3. “The Moon Song” from Her 

Let’s face it, Disney songs are pretty much the bomb. Keep in mind that this is coming from somebody who thinks that any song off London Calling is the pinnacle of Western Civilization.

Best Original Score

  1. Gravity
  2. Her
  3. Philomena

Like I said, Gravity‘s score is fantastic. I liked Hers’ soundtrack too, but Philomena‘s just seemed nondescript to me.

Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Documentary-Short Subject, Best Documentary-Feature, Best Documentary Film, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Animated Feature Film

I  haven’t seem any of the movies nominated for these, because a) Honestly, these are the least interesting categories to me and b) While I actually love animated movies, there’s no way I’m going to a theater filled with screaming eight-year olds to watch Frozen.

Best Writing-Adapted Screenplay

  1. 12 Years A Slave
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Captain Phillips 

I didn’t find any of these scripts to be legendary, per se, but they were still pretty damn great. It could really go any way.

Best Writing-Original Screenplay

  1. American Hustle
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Her

I wonder if I could somehow develop David O. Russell’s amazing dialogue-writing ability without also developing his crippling douchiness…

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  2. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  3. June Squibb, Nebraska

Holy shit, I son’t think you could have picked three cuter nominees for this category.

Pictured: The Axis of Adorable.

Jennifer Lawrence is my favourite actress, and June Squibb was awesome too, but there’s just no way they match up to Mexican-born Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyongo’s film debut.

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Fassbender played Edwin “Evil Incarnate” Epps to perfection, and Somali actor Barkhad Abdi was awesoome in his debut, but they just had bad luck this time, going up against Jared Leto as the tragic Rayon.

Best Actress

  1. Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  2. Amy Adams, American Hustle
  3. Judi Dench, Philomena

I think that Cate Blanchett is gonna win, considering the love she got at the Golden Globes, but I loved Sandra Bullock.

Best Actor

  1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
  2. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Man, does Leo ever have bad luck getting easy opponents on Oscar ballots, huh?

I had to pretty much flip a coin to decide who I thought was better between McConaughey and Ejiofor. All I can say is that I hope I don’t have to type either of their names again until next Oscar season, at least.

Best Director

  1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  3. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

I’m not that big of a director guy, but you don’t have to be one to know that Cuaron did a fantastic job with Gravity.

Best Picture

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Gravity

Just read my review of 12 Years a Slaveit’ll tell you all you need to know.

Top 10 Movie and TV Anti-Heroes Part 1 of 3: 10-8 (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Anti-Hero: a leading character in a film, book or play who lacks some or all of the traditional heroic qualities, such as altruism, idealism, courage, nobility, fortitude, and moral goodness.

It seems like the concept of the anti-hero is a recent invention among movies and TV. Just thirty-some years ago, the defining hero of my mom’s generation was Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi, and about as noble a human being as one can be. This generation’s hero is a fifty-something drug dealer who poisons children and murders anybody who looks at him funny. Talk about a generation gap. If Breaking Bad had aired in the sixties, it would have caused a riot of WASPy parents that would have made the anti-music backlash of the eighties look like a calm and reasonable discussion.

It might have even gone a ways towards making Tipper Gore look like a halfway competent politician.

In reality, the concept of the anti-hero has been around since the beginning of storytelling. The ancient Greeks had a crapload of them. In the ancient legends, Hercules may have been a great hero, but he was also a poster child for anger management issues, having killed his music teacher, Linus, with a lyre, for whatever reason. He was also an extreme womanizer, (As well as whatever the gay equivalent of womanizer is) and who would have put Hugh Hefner (And Freddy Mercury) to shame, with at least thirty different male and female conquests, spread out between (And during) four different marriages. Also, instead of in the Disney movie, where Hercules beats the hell out of Hades (See what I did there?) and ends up hooking up with his sassy, unnecessarily well endowed companion, Megara, Hercules leaves James Woods alone, but is driven mad by Hera (Who’s not his mother,  and hates him, unlike in the movie) and, um, murders Megara and their four children.

Run, bitch! RUUUNNN!!!

So yeah, the concept of a slightly or largely amoral hero kicking ass and taking names isn’t a new one. It was just buried under the idea of classical heroism promoted by American propaganda during the depression (Superman, Batman),World War II (Captain America) and the Cold War (Iron Man). The anti-hero made a comeback around the seventies in movies, TV and comic books, thanks in large part to the anti-authoritarian ideals of those years,  and is going strong to this day in the same three mediums.

Anyways, the following lists are the result of my quest to find the ten best anti-heroes in movies and television. There are several criteria for inclusion on this list though:

  • I have to have seen their show/movie.
  • They have to be the main protagonist of at least one movie (Which means that Hit-Girl and Severus Snape are not included).
  • They can become a villain (Walter White), or start off as a villain (Tony Montana), but they have to be likable and adhere to a moral code (Which means that Daniel Plainview and that freaky kid from A Clockwork Orange are both out.)
  •  No, Batman is not an anti-hero. he does not lack altruism, idealism, courage, nobility, fortitude or moral goodness. Well, maybe not when Frank Miller writes him, but we’re not on comic books.
  • A lack of a no-kill policy isn’t necessary, but it helps.

Anyways, let’s get this party started:

10. Wolverine 

Appearances:  X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class (Cameo), The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of the Future Past

Portrayed By: Hugh Jackman

Real Name: James “Logan” Howlett

Occupation: Adventurer, X-Man, former mercenary

No-Kill Policy?: No

A mutant with a tortured past, claws protruding from between his knuckles, a skeleton laced with indestructible adamantium and a healing factor that makes him damn near impossible to kill, this Canadian badass translated all too well from the comic book to the big screen, with Hugh Jackman using his natural Aussie charm to transform the character from short and ugly to tall and, well, gorgeous.

It’s the magic of Hollywood!!! (And diet pills)

Born James Howlett, the most famous of the X-Men originated from the wilds of Alberta, Canada, where he and his feral mutant half-brother, Victor Creed, run away from home after James accidentally kills their father when his claws emerge for the first time. Fleeing to the States and put their superpowers to use, fighting in the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2 and Vietnam, before being recruited into a mutant mercenary group, Team X, led by William Stryker, which also included such Marvel staples as Deadpool, John Wraith the,um, Blob, Agent Zero and Charlie from Lost. when he leaves the group due to their slaughter of innocents, he leaves Team X, is tricked into having adamantium bonded to his bones to make him even more indestructible, fights the thing that was supposed to be Deadpool, and has his girlfriend die, or something. I kind of hated this movie.

Anyways, he later joins the X-Men and fights the forces of intolerance, led by both Stryker and Ian McKellen’s Magneto, before leaving the group after the clusterfuck that was The Last Stand and retiring to the Yukon to befriend CGI bears and scare the shit out of poachers. After his adventures in Japan in his solid second solo appearance, it appears that Logan will return in Days of the Future Past to be the mutant Marty McFly, or something.

The amoral superhero’s on-screen depictions have been well-received, and have made Jackman one of the most recognizable actors in the world. And no matter how much work Brett Ratner and, to a much lesser extent, Gavin Hood put into making him look like a much bigger sissy than anybody with metal claws has any right to look like, the man known  as Logan has still developed more depth then most superheroes, as shown by the awesome revelation scenes with William Stryker and Lady Deathstryke in X2 and the boring, poorly done flashbacks with tons of expendable characters in Origins. Long story short, as long as Brian Singer and/or James Mangold is there to direct, Wolverine should continue to develop into the force of nature comic fans know him to be.

9. V

 Appearance: V for Vendetta

Portrayed by: Hugo Weaving

Real Name: ???

Occupation: Vigilante, Insurgent

No-Kill Policy: Nope.

Hero or villain? Revolutionary or terrorist? It’s up to the viewer to decide what to make of V, the Guy Fawkes masked anarchist from Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s classic graphic novel, V for Vendetta. The excellent film adaptation introduced moviegoers to his theatrical  brand of violent anti-fascist insurgency.

Little is known about the man known only as V. His only known backstory is that he was imprisoned by the British government (Led by the fascist Norsefire party) at Larkhill Resettlement Camp, a death camp populated by political prisoners, homosexuals, Black people, Jews, Muslims, Indians and Pakistanis, which doesn’t exactly help nail his identity. Lucky(?) for him, he was not selected to be among the exterminated and was instead subjected to medical experimentation, which killed his fellow prisoners, but enhanced his strength and reflexes to abnormal levels, in addition to giving him genius-level intelligence, because giving your captive superhuman powers and intelligence is a good idea when you’re also trying to keep him under your thumb.

“Oh, okay, we see now that murdering a crapload of people and giving the rest all they need to defeat us may have backfired on us a little bit.”

After his inevitable escape, V dons a Guy Fawkes mask and costume and begins both a personal vendetta against his captors at Larkhill, consisting of psychological torture and assassinations, and a revolt against the tyranny of the Norsefire party, characterized by his flair for the dramatic, his love of anarchism and explosives.

While V is s freedom fighter, and I think that we can all agree that we’d rather be anything but fascist, it’s important to note that also has a twisted sense of morality that can make us hate the charismatic revolutionary. Case in point, his psychological abuse of his protege, Evey. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more conflicted about  a protagonist then when it was revealed that he orchestrated all that.

Nevertheless, thanks to the success of the film and the comic book (Which is better, in my opinion) V (Specifically, his Guy Fawkes mask) has become a symbol for civil rights movements around the world, including the Occupy Movement, the Egyptian Revolution and the activists, Anonymous.

8. Django 

Appearance: Django Unchained

Portrayed By: Jamie Foxx

Real Name: Django Freeman

Occupation: Bounty hunter, former slave

Quentin Tarantino has a reputation for writing and directing not only some fantastic movies, but also some excellent anti-heroes. Jules Winnfield, Beatrix Kiddo, Jackie Brown, Aldo Raine…

…Mr. Pink…

However, I chose to go with his most recent protagonist, the slave turned vengeful bounty hunter, Django.

Separated from his wife, Broomhilda, and sold into slavery, Django is rescued by German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, who has been searching for the Brittle Brothers, a notorious gang of slave drivers and Django’s former owners. Schultz, who despises slavery, but is also an opportunist, offers Django a deal: Django becomes his apprentice and helps him find the Brittle Brothers and other dangerous  criminals…

…Like the Jonah Hill-led pre-KKK.

…and in return, Schultz helps him rescue Broomhilda from the clutches of the charismatic but insane slave driver, Calvin Candie, (Played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s in full “Just give me my fucking Oscar already” form).

Sure, there were a ton of off-putting things about the film, specifically, the close-up shots of blood spurting out of bullet wounds, the constant saying of the n-word, and Quentin Tarantino’s acting, but you don’t go to a movie about slavery expecting to see rainbows, Uncle Toms and butterflies, like in some Paula Deen wedding fantasy, or whatever. Slavery’s been pretty much taboo until recently, with movies like Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave contending for Oscars, and depicting the horrible, disgusting realities of slavery you didn’t see in Gone With the Wind. It helps that Django was a total badass, mowing down evil slave driver after evil slave driver and spewing memorable banter (“The “D” is silent”) left and right.

In short, Django is both a badass anti-hero, and a convenient way to alleviate white guilt. You can’t go wrong with that combo.

Join me in a few days as I keep counting down the Top 10 movie and TV anti-heroes.

The Lion King- Complete Synopsis and Review

By now, most rational thinking adults have reluctantly admitted and come to grips with the fact that Walt Disney was, among other things, a twisted, racist jerk who nowadays, mostly serves as easy fodder for Cracked articles and hack writers such as yours truly.

This urban legend has been debunked, but anybody who`s seen Fantasia would have no trouble believing he would do this to himself.

However, another thing that everybody who’s ever seen a Disney movie as a child (and you have seen one, unless you’ve been living in North Korea all this time) must admit to absolutely adoring at least some of his companies` goddamn movies. Blatant racism aside, he set the blueprint for every single animated movie from Snow White to this piece of shit.

Oh, the humanity!!

I, to this day, fucking love Disney movies. I made it my personal mission to view any piece of Mouse House-related film I could lay my grubby, unwashed 5-year old hands on. Pinocchio, Peter Pan, the Jungle Book… I ate that shit up.

However, in my juvenile mind, one movie towered above the rest… A movie that had the kickass soundtrack, awesome art, and graphic violence that I had come to expect from Disney without all the asshole humans.

The Lion- What? No, what the fuck is this?

I am speaking, of course, of The Lion King.

Now, astute readers and anime fans will point out that The Lion King is a stolen product. Many links to the Japanese cartoon, Kimba the White Lion are present in the plot and imagery.

This is what I`m talkin` about, by the way.

To these devoted Japanese (and socially stunted non-Japanese) cartoon fans, I say, you`re probably right. The similarities are pretty damn convincing. Unfortunately, we’re never gonna officially find out if the Walt Disney corporation swiped this tale, (Hint: Yes.) as Disney’s lawyers are ruthless enough to topple countries, if they are so inclined.

“Let`s see those fuckers talk shit about Louie the orangutan NOW…”

Anyhoo, plagiarism aside, The Lion King remains, by far, my favourite Disney movie of all time. While not the best movie I’ve ever seen (That would be either Star Wars, Chinatown, Django Unchained, Terminator 2, The Empire Strikes Back or Pulp Fiction) it is the one movie that will consistently cheer me up when I lock myself in my room to bemoan my crippling social awkwardness.

“Talking, animated, incestual lions voiced by celebrities are the only things I identify with!”

So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for…

Directed By: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

Genres: Animated, Musical, Drama

Based On: Hamlet (William Shakespeare) Kimba the White Lion (Osamu Tezuka)

Starring: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair (RIP) Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings

Legacy: Depressed kids, retarded sequels, a weird-ass musical, and the knowledge that no matter where we are, James Earl Jones will always be watching over us.

Plot summary: The movie kicks off with a sunrise in an African savannah, where the animals, big and small, begin a mass exodus to Pride Rock, a structure that I find very hard to believe was totally a result of erosion and not, say, hyena slave labour. (Holy shit that would explain a lot!) at Pride Rock, there lives a pride of lions who live under the watchful eye of king Mufasa (voiced by Darth Vader) and queen Sarabi (Madge Sinclair) who are about to present their young cub and heir to the throne, Simba. The two new parents are joined by Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) a baboon/witch doctor who proceeds to smear ceremonial red fruit juice in the cub’s forehead, a move which led to several childhood-shattering Urban Dictionary pages. He then carries the little fella over to the very edge of the rock and DANGLES HIM OVER THE FUCKING DEATH DEFYING DROP to present him to the other animals (who are apparently hoping to witness a spinal injury, the sickos.).

Wait a minute, where have I seen this before…

“It`s the circle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiife…”

The animals, so moved by this gesture of terrible parenting that would make Edward Furlong  proud, bow down to the probably terrified cub, blissfully unaware that this little fucker gets carte Blanche to devour them, because circle of life and stuff.

The movie then displays its title, presumably so those who mistakenly thought they were watching Pulp Fiction could leave the theatre with their dignity intact rather than wonder why the lions aren’t having long, rambling discussions about burgers and shooting each other’s faces off.

Although seriously, how cool would Samuel L. Jackson as Simba be?

The next scene takes place at the bottom of Pride Rock, where Scar (Jeremy Irons), Mufasa’s brother and former heir, is delivering a bitter, self-pitying monologue about his now damn near nonexistent chances of becoming king to a mouse that he plans to devour whole. Snow White, this ain’t.

Before he can swallow the poor rodent, he is interrupted by Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), a hornbill who also serves as the king’s major domo. He promptly tries to eat him (Christ, they might as well have had Hannibal Lector voice him.). The only reason Zazu’s miserable existence is saved is because Mufasa shows of at that moment… And he is pissed off.

Damn you Scar, what have you done?

Apparently, while Scar was (presumably) writing emo poetry in the Rock, or something, he also missed Simba’s presentation. When Mufasa confronts him about this, Scar responds with jealousy and disdain for Simba, while delivering a thinly veiled threat to Mufasa. Despite the crowd pleasing prospect of having Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones fight to the death, the brothers part without incident.

Fast forward to a later point in time, and Simba (Voiced by flash-in-the-pan teen idol Jonathan Taylor something or other) is now a feisty cub, who wants nothing more than to see the kingdom with his dad. Mufasa gives him a tour of the Pride Lands and explains the circle of life, and how there exists a delicate balance between blah blah blah it’s the Force with African animals.

On an unrelated note, I hope everyone appreciates the photos. You have no idea how much fucked up fanfiction I`ve had to sort through to get to them.

Unfortunately, Zazu stops by to spoil their fun. After a brief “let’s kill the birdie” hunting lesson, he tells Mufasa that hyenas have been spotted in the Pride Lands. Mufasa bounds off (Presumably to go all William Wallace in those motherfuckers) and Simba is taken home.

Once home, Simba finds his uncle Scar (Yeesh, how fucked up of a parent do you have to be to name your kid Scar?) and, completely unaware of his uncle’s burning hatred of all that is good in the world, innocently gloats to his unstable, jealous kin about his future as king, because 4 out if 5 doctors agree: kids are some retarded motherfuckers.

Up yours kid, write your own damn blog.

Scar not so innocently tricks him into going to the elephant graveyard that Mufasa explicitly told not to visit. (Because who’s he gonna trust? His beloved father or his creepy emo hermit uncle?) Before venturing out to find the graveyard, he gets together with his best friend, a female cub named Nala (voiced by Niketa Calame), who strangely enough, is betrothed to him, which flies in the face of everything we know about lions. A song and dance routine (My personal least favourite if the movie, though it still kinda kicks ass.) ensues, which, as it turns out, is all an extremely elaborate plan to ditch/murder Zazu, their chaperone.

“In the wild, lions use Beatles music videos to paralyze their prey…”

The two cubs then arrive at the elephant graveyard, which, it must be noted, is awesome in its creepiness. Before they can further explore, Zazu, who somehow survived being crushed by a rhino, tries to usher them out. Simba loudly mocks Zazu’s common sense, which attracts three very hungry hyenas, Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Banzai (Cheech Marin) and Ed (Jim Cummings). They proceed to attempt boil Zazu alive in a miniature volcano and chase Simba and Nala throughout the graveyard. The two fall through a piece of decaying elephant skin and into a dead end. Right before the hyenas eat them, Mufasa shows up in the nick of time and beats the living shit out of them. Angry that Simba had to be a disobedient little punk; Mufasa angrily takes him and Nala home. While this unfolds, Scar watches it all from his perch.

What follows is the second most touching and (upon repeated viewings) most heartbreaking scenes in the entire movie. While Zazu takes Nala home, Mufasa explains to Simba the difference between being brave and being a retard who does stupid things so others think he’s brave (albeit, in better language than I put it). What follows is the most adorable play fight ever (I didn’t even know lions could give noogies) and Mufasa tells Simba (after Simba asks if they’ll “always be together”)
(If you didn’t feel your eyes start to water, then you no longer get to describe yourself as a human being.) that the stars are the great kings of the past, and no matter where he is, his dad will always be there to guide him. The non-jaded viewers out there may wanna stop watching at this point.

We are then taken to what seems to be the shittiest part of the pride lands, where the hyenas are licking their wounds after the ass thrashing that Mufasa handed to them. Scar appears, and it is revealed that he sent the hyenas to kill Simba and Nala. (One would think that he’d use better hit men then Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin, but one would be wrong)

Scar then outlines his next plot, (through song and dance, as all great plans are outlined) which involves him killing the king and Simba in one go. He also praises himself repeatedly and displays a hyena army that could conquer most Central American countries. Oh, also, he stages a military parade that would make Kim Jong-Un proud.

See? They`re like Disney, except more gender inclusive.

The next day, Scar takes Simba to the gorge and tells him that his father has a “marvellous” surprise for him. While Simba practices his pathetic lion cub roar on what must be the most harassed chameleon in Africa, Scar gives the signal for the hyenas to attack a group of wildebeests who are grazing at the top of the gorge. When Simba notices the hundreds of buffalo who are fleeing into the gorge, he finally does what any sensible person would do and runs for his life.

While Simba’s busy somehow outrunning the wildebeests, Scar alerts Mufasa and Zazu of Simba’s situation. They immediately rush to help him. Mufasa dives into the wave of wildebeest while Scar viciously smashes Zazu into a wall, knocking him unconscious. Wow, everybody just really hates this fucking bird, huh?

Humanity demands that any cartoon character that is voiced by Mr. Bean must be horribly abused.

Against all odds, Mufasa manages to pluck Simba out of the fray and carry him to safety before being knocked back into the stampede. After several torturous moments, Mufasa leaps onto the walk and laboriously climbs up. Satisfied for his father’s safety, Simba moves to higher ground. However, Scar is waiting for Mufasa, and instead if helping him out, drives his claws into his paws (I’m a poet and I didn’t- fucking kill yourself) whispers “long live the king” and flings him off the edge. Simba sees him fall (But not Scar) and screams one of the most agonic “NOOOO!” s I’ve ever heard.

After the herd finishes its rampage, Simba cautiously heads down to find his dad. He eventually comes across his-miraculously still intact after being trampled by wildebeest- body.

What anybody who isn`t a character in a kids cartoon would look like after being trampled by a herd of goddamned wildebeest.

I’m gonna go ahead and say this: If you were in no way saddened or depressed by this next scene, then you have no heart. I will even go so far as saying that you are a terrible human being that I wish would die and we will never, ever be friends. There. You have no reason to continue living now.

Simba, fearing the worst, wanders up to Mufasa and tries to wake him up. Realizing that his dad’s not getting up, he desperately cries for help before curling up to die beside his father. There. Your childhood is now ruined and you have Walt Disney to thank for that.

Thus carrying on Disney`s proud tradition of killing off the parents of adorable movie characters. Fuck you Disney. Fuck you.

While said childhoods are being torn to shreds, Scar shows up. He passive-aggressively frames Simba for the death of the king and tells him to exile himself. Simba follows this advice, but Scar decides to cut his losses and sends the three hyenas to kill him.

Simba is chased by the hyenas to a cliff which drops into an impossibly huge gathering of spiky plants. Fearing death by mauling over death by poky flowers, Simba makes the plunge, somehow survives, and vanishes into the desert. Upon his return to Pride Rock, Scar tells the lionesses that Simba has died to, and that he (Scar) will take over the throne, and promptly lets the hyenas take over the place.

Meanwhile, Simba has collapsed from dehydration in the desert and is being circled by vultures. (Are we sure thus movie wasn’t directed by Stanley Kubrick?) Right before the birds can tear into him, though, he is saved at the last minute by the comic relief: Timon (a meerkat voiced by Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (a warthog voiced by Ernie Sabella), whose idea of a good time is to have vultures start pecking at a carcass and attacking then, rather than just saving the victims before they become vulture food. Fuck, this movie’s depressing.

And to think that before this movie, Disney taught us that vultures were harmless Beatles imitators.

Anyhow, upon seeing the unconscious lion cub, they take him to an oasis and revive him. After waking up, Simba promptly tries to leave because either he lacks the mental capacity to drink water while he gets the chance, or he’s suicidal. Timon and Pumbaa stop him to relentlessly badger him about his past, at which point he says that they’re nothing they can do as long as they can’t change the past.

Because there are no magic Deloreans in African deserts, this seems like the truth, right?

Wrong, because as Timon and Pumbaa put it (in sing and dance, of course) Hakuna Matata!

While that may look and sound like the name of what you assume the name of every genocidal African dictator, it actually roughly translates to “No Worries” in Swahili. (Because the international community clearly needed more would be Ferris Bueller mottos) A bouncy pop number follows, explaining to Simba the pure joy of not giving a fuck. (Also, eating bugs, which kind of goes hand in hand with not giving a fuck, come to think of it) Also, Simba swallows a cute looking grub whole and Timon bites live beetles’ head off.

Willie Scott would hate this song.

As the song progresses, Simba matures into an adult lion (surprisingly keeping the song’s beat after all those years) who now has a giant red mane and is voiced by Matthew Broderick. You can bet your ass I’ll be trying to squeeze in as many Ferris Bueller references as possible now.

Back at P.R. , it appears that, fir someone who wanted the job so badly, Scar has done a fucking terrible job of running the place, as all the grass and animals are gone, and it looks like Mogadishu. Scar has apparently also gone batshit insane, as evidenced by the fact that he plays with animal skulls, keeps Zazu prisoner in a rib cage to sing him novelty songs, and loses his fucking mind when anyone mentions the word Mufasa.

Wait a minute…Are we SURE this isn`t just Detroit?


At the oasis, Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa are relaxing and stargazing. Timon and Pumbaa theorize on what exactly stars are. Timon thinks they’re fireflies, and Pumbaa thinks they’re giant, burning balls of gas. Simba chimes in with the story his father told him about the kings of the past looking down on them, after which Timin and Pumbaa promptly laugh in his face. Somehow depressed at having one of his fondest memories of his dad ripped to shreds, he wanders off and slumps into the ground, shooting dust particles and such into the air. Said dust particles float aimlessly through the air until Rafiki the baboon witch doctor snatches them out of the sky, as he does every day, apparently. By sniffing these fucking feathers, or whatever, he is able to tell that a) Simba’s alive and b) his exact location. Apparently, baboons are a lot more intuitive then we give them credit for.

Also, they`re fucking terrifying.

Meanwhile, while Timon and Pumbaa are doing a kick-ass duet version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, Pumbaa rudely wanders off (right before the song’s best part!) to hunt a beetle. The (rather chill-looking) beetle gets away, because Pumbaa’s a shitty hunter, and poor Pumbaa is rewarded for this by having a fucking lioness try to rip his larynx out.

Anybody who saw this movie at age ten was now terrified as well as heartbroken.

Luckily for him, Simba intervenes, and the two lions duke it out. Despite Timon loudly encouraging him to “go for the jugular” Simba gets his ass handed to him. However, he is familiar with this particular brand of ass kicking, and finds out that this particular lioness is his old buddy, Nala, now voiced by Moira Kelly, who you know from approximately zero movies besides this one. (They should’ve picked Mia Sara.) After the play fight and the excited introductions, (Pumbaa is remarkably forgiving.) Nala excitedly tells him that since he’s alive, he’s the king, which surprises Timon and Pumbaa. Simba and Nala promptly wander off alone and fall in love while the obligatory Disney love song plays. Also, Nala gives Simba this look at the end of the song, (Which you can look up your own damn self, as I don`t feel like sorting through all the fan fiction porn.) which probably given conservatives all the fuel they needed to fire their anti-Lion King Crusade. (Instead, they chose this bullshit)


After the (presumed, but highly implied) fuckfest, Nala once again asks Simba to come back to the Pride Lands and explains that since Scar took over, there’s no food and water, and the hyenas took control. After hearing the dire situation the lionesses are in, Simba heroically declines, saying Hakuna Matata. Because we didn’t already wanna punch this little pussy in the face ever since he grew to full size. When Nala reminds him that it’s his goddamn responsibility, Simba points out that she’s starting to sound like his father. Nala replies that “At least one of us does”. This is about when the shit goes down.

After Simba tells her that she doesn’t know what he’s been through, Nala asks her to just fucking tell her what crawled up his ass. He promptly suggests that she go fuck herself and goes off to mope around in the plains like the sissy little butch he has revealed himself to be. (On the other hand, listening to Matthew Broderick try to be angry is pretty damn hilarious.)

Seen here: An angry Matthew Broderick.

Simba mopes around the plains, bitching and moaning about his life in general, when he meets Rafiki, whom he doesn’t remember. You’d think that seeing the maniac who dangled you over a death defying drop jabber nonsense at you in Swahili would induce some form of PTSD flashback, but you would be wrong.

Seen here: Someone you could leave your kid with without a second thought.

Rafiki harasses Simba for no apparent reason (and and possibly drops acid with him considering what comes next) before name dropping Mufasa, which gets Simba interested. When Simba informs him that Mufasa is very, very dead, Rafiki offers to show him to Simba. After chasing Rafiki through a creepy-ass forest, they stop at a pond, where Simba looks to see that his reflection has been replaced with Mufasa’s. Then, to top off the weird as hell day he’s been having, he looks up to see Mufasa’s enormous ghost appear in the sky. Mufasa commands him to grow a pair and to remember who he is.

After the ghost disappears, Simba decides to head back to Pride Rock to take down his punk-ass uncle. Upon hearing this great news, Rafiki beats him with a stick.

Come on, like you didn`t kind of want to do that already.

At the oasis, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa puzzle over where Simba went. Rafiki appears out if nowhere to tell them that he’s returned to the kingdom. Cue inspirational footage of Simba running through the desert.

The three of them catch up to Simba, who is surveying the shithole that was his childhood home. After promising to help him, Simba uses Timon and Pumbaa as live bait to get past the hyena guards. By far the funniest scene in the movie follows, which is completely unexpected, considering the whole “live bait” implication. On an unrelated note, how does a meerkat in the Serengeti know what “dressing in drag” means?

Simba catches Scar in the act of beating the shit out of his mother. After Scar snivels like a coward for a bit, he remembers that he is voiced by Jeremy Fucking Irons and suavely accuses him of killing Mufasa, which Simba stupidly admits to? Scar then pushes Simba off the edge of Pride Rock and leaves him hanging over the edge, while he monologues. He then reveals to Simba that he was the one who killed Mufasa. (Which, apparently, no one suspected until now.)

Granted superhuman strength by this revelation, Simba vaults right back up and chokes out Scar until he admits to the lionesses that he killed Mufasa. All hell then breaks loose. The lionesses kill the hyenas in droves, Rafiki goes Bruce Lee on some mother fuckers, Timon and Pumbaa rescue Zazu from the three celebrity voiced hyenas in what may be the coolest scene in the movie, and Simba chases Scar to the top of Pride Rock.

Scar reverts back to Bitch Mode, begging Simba for his life, claiming that the hyenas made him do it and pleading that he not stoop down to the level of killing his own family. (Apparently, lions can’t sense irony) When Simba orders him to go into exile, Scar flicks ashes into his eyes and attacks him. What follows is the most disappointing fight scene in Disney history, which is no more badass than an Animal Planet documentary. The fight ends with Simba kicking Scar over the side of the Rock. Scar gets up (without a broken neck or back, somehow) and runs into the hyenas. He is relieved to find himself with his mindless drones again…until he discovers that they remember that he sold them out to Simba. However, not being as savage as you may think, and loyal to their friends even if their friend did a very stupid thing, the hyenas help Scar escape in order to set up a plot for the inevitable straight to DVD sequel.

Oh, HELL no…

Wait, that’s not it, what was the ending again? Oh, yeah, instead if the charming shit I mentioned, the hyenas EAT HIM ALIVE. Some family movie, huh?

The Heartless bastards who did this movie would agree emphatically.

After this lovely G-Rated introduction to military coups, a rainstorm washes away the hyena and Scar remains. Simba’s faithful subjects gather round to watch him painfully limp up Pride Rock. The audience is then given an earful of kickass heroic Disney music followed by the most startlingly terrifying lions roar you will ever hear.

Fast forward ahead, and all is awesome in the Pride Lands. The vegetation is back in full force, the sun is shining, the animals are back, and the hyenas have been chased off and/or slaughtered. Said animals are gathered around Pride Rock as they were at the beginning of the movie, saluting Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa as they sit at the top, soaking it up. While “Circle of Life” plays on, and under the watchful, um, eye of James Earl Jones’ voice, Simba and Nala present their newborn cub… Who they then proceed to let Rafiki dangle off the edge.

Fuck this shit. Children’s movie, my ass.


I know it sound like I’m criticizing this movie the whole way through, but that`s just the way I review movies. It`s much easier to make jokes about bad and/or ridiculous parts in movies, because it`s almost like they write them for you.

Seen Here: A comedy masterpiece.

Anyway, the first thing that stands out to me about the Lion King is the graphics. They are a testament to the fact that having hand-drawn animation is not always less preferable to computer animation. The opening sequence, especially, is absolutely gorgeous and really captures the epic feel that I bet the creators were going for. The one computer animated scene (The wildebeest stampede) is just icing on a very tasty cake.

I mentioned the whole Kimba/Simba plagiarism controversy in the intro. While plagiarism is unacceptable in all forms, and I don`t think that Disney should be exempt from explaining themselves just because they`re Disney, I think they do deserve some credit for making this idea appealing to American audiences. Think about it: If you were Disney, would you produce a movie that had the pitch of: Lion cub`s father is murdered, so he feeds his killer alive to hyenas? I didn`t think so.

One minor quibble I have about the movie besides the whole plagiarism thing is the voice acting. I`m not complaining about the voice acting herself, per se. James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons steal all their scenes as Mufasa and Scar, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella and company were not slouches. (Though Matthew Broderick could sound dead inside occasionally.) It`s just that they seemed to kind of overdose on big-name actors. The only real career voice actor on the cast was Jim Cummings, and he played the retarded hyena.

Possibly my favourite thing about this movie, though, is the soundtrack. Disney pulled all the stops in this category. They hired the great Tim Rice to compose the music, who needing a composing partner, hired…ABBA!

Thankfully, one of ABBA was busy working on some Scandinavian musical, so Rice hired the even greater Elton John to help him out. The duo wrote all the songs in the movie, (With Sir Elton chipping in with two beautiful versions of “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”) While Hans Zimmer directed the instrumental score. It`s like they were TRYING to make every single other movie soundtrack sound like a Nicki Minaj album.

Overall: My favourite Disney movie. Very little to complain about, though the plagiarism bothers me.  Setting that conveniently aside though, Lion King is a gorgeous, epic film, and if any of you haven`t seen it, then get your ass to iTunes (Or Pirate Bay, whatever. (Cheap bastards) and watch the shit out of it.

Rating: 89%