Sunday, April 13, 2014
Cindy Prascik's Review of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Rio 2
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off for what I hoped would be a quiet afternoon at the cinema. On the docket: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Rio 2.
Spoiler level here will be mild-ish, almost nothing you haven't seen in the trailers. I do have to mention one specific thing from Grand Budapest Hotel, which, while not a plot spoiler, might be more than some want to know before seeing it.
The Grand Budapest Hotel was first on my agenda.
A former lobby boy recounts his adventures with his mentor, a concierge at the Grand Budapest Hotel.
I guess it's first and foremost important to point out that I'm neither an expert nor the number-one fan of Wes Anderson. I've seen a couple of his previous films and liked them, but none ranks among my favorites. Still, I loved the Grand Budapest Hotel trailer and expected great things.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is quirky and clever, full of humorous little twists and great dialogue. It boasts a fine cast, including Ralph Fiennes, who is phenomenal in the lead. The scenery and set pieces are so glorious they almost deserve top billing themselves. Why, then, did the movie leave me a little flat? I really couldn't say. Other than pointlessly playing a dead cat for laughs (an automatic deduction of one-half Weasley on the final grade), there wasn't anything specific I didn't like; on the contrary, I liked all of it very much...yet I didn't walk out of the theatre with that feeling I get when I've seen a really great movie. Due to my unusually high expectations, maybe that feels more disappointing than it should.
The Grand Budapest Hotel runs 100 minutes and is rated R for "language, some sexual content, and violence."
Smart and funny, well written and well acted, somehow The Grand Budapest Hotel is still less than inspiring. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Grand Budapest Hotel gets six and a half.
Closing yesterday's double-bill was the animated sequel Rio 2.
Blu and family leave their comfortable Rio home to fly to the aid of Linda and Tulio in the Amazon jungle, but the jungle, they find, is full of surprises.
Rio is one of my all-time favorite animated films. It's not special, like How to Train Your Dragon, but it's so pretty and lively you can't help but be happy while watching it. I had high hopes for Rio 2, but, alas, it falls very far short of the bar set by its predecesser.
Rio 2 is as beautifully drawn, colored, and animated as the original. It throws in a bouncy tune here and there to keep the kids' attention, though, as an adult, it feels more like uncomfortable, contrived attempts to show off the alleged singing talents of certain cast members. Jesse Eisenberg is a delight as Blu, and would easily stand out even if the rest of the cast weren't so...meh. It was no surprise to me that a cartoon Kristin Chenoweth is just as annoying as a live-action one, but Rio 2's chief problem goes beyond petty annoyances; the sad truth is it's just plain boring. It's not an overly long movie, yet it seems to go on forever, and a few good laughs and some nice-looking artwork are by no means enough to recommend it. If I had to say one good thing, it'd be that a Friday afternoon screening spared me the eight-year-olds' birthday parties with which I've been cursed at my other recent animation outings.
Rio 2 clocks in at 101 minutes and is rated G.
An unworthy sequel to its delightful predecessor, of a possible nine Weasleys, Rio 2 gets four.
Until next time...