New-to-me Movies Seen in December

1. Frozen (2013)
2. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

REVIEWS (behind the cut):

1. Frozen (2013)

Disney’s latest release is a retelling of the Snow Queen story. In this case, the story focuses on two sisters, one of whom has powers over ice and winter, but can’t control them. So, she keeps her powers secret over the years and tries to keep them contained, hiding them even from her sister whom she avoids in order to protect her.

I think it’s great that this is a story of sibling love instead of the typical romantic love. The animation, as usual is great (though not as beautiful as previous movies, such as Brave) and it’s full of singing and dancing, which I enjoy but isn’t for everyone.

The movie was very sweet and cute, but far from perfect. There were plot points and moments emotional growth that could have used better development and more subtlety. So, it’s not my favorite of the Disney movies, but it was still enjoyable.

2. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The sequel manages to be much more fun than the first Thor movie, with lots of action and lots of humor. Loki is much more mischievous this time around and he contributes to the humor, walking that line between wicked and helpful. I really enjoyed this one, even if the Dark Elves came off as a bit silly sometimes.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

While I’ve seen bits and pieces of this over the years, seeing it all the way through, beginning to end, really showed me why this is a classic. At times it can be hard to get through, because such terrible things happen to the main character. Also, the ending is corny as heck. But it’s also incredibly sweet, showing how the kindness and generosity you share can save you when it’s your time of need. Great movie.

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Part II of the trilogy (which should have been a duology) presents a journey through Mirkwood, giant spiders, wood elves (including Legolas), the people of Lake Town, and of course the dragon Smaug. It also includes long drawn out action sequences (mine-cart scenes, anyone), which are entertaining but border on the ridiculous.

In trying to make this movie match the dark tone and over hanging threat of the Lord of the Rings, Jackson removes the light-hearted fun and adventure of the Hobbit story. Instead beat viewers over the head with “Look! See! It’s the dark lord, Sauron!” Unfortunately this means that the movie was far longer than it needed to be and I’m afraid it won’t fit in as well with the Lord of the Rings movies, which started out fairly light and happy.

However, Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel is a welcome addition. It’s nice to have a women included, especially one as kick ass and compassionate as she is. Martin Freeman continues to be a fantastic Bilbo Baggins and the scene in which Bilbo meets Smaug is wonderful. Their banter and the dialog pulled straight from the book is just about perfect.

So, while the movie was far too long, it was still very enjoyable.


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