Weekend Forecast for November 26-28, 2010

November 24, 2010

He's not blending!

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It's that time of year where families gather together for turkey and tater tots; then, if everything goes to plan for Hollywood, you all get sick of each other and head to the movies.

One of the four films easily stands out as the cream of this weekend's crop, as Tangled sees Disney go back to its Public Domain Theater roots for a retelling of the story of Rapunzel, albeit with the mandatory gender politics update. Mandy Moore stars as the girl with ridiculously long hair, who's been kept in a tower for her entire life and longs for love, or even just some fresh air. Zac Levi (who you may, or judging by its ratings, may not be familiar with from the show Chuck) plays a bandit who passes by her tower and catches her eye. Any port in a storm, right? After he helps her to escape the two have a series of wacky adventures and all turns out well in the end (oh, it's not a spoiler. It's Disney!).

After more than a decade of playing second-fiddle to their own subsidiary Pixar, Disney has decided that it really wants back in the game as an animation king. Last year's The Princess and the Frog was their first hand-drawn film in over five years, and was a solid success over the holidays, eventually grossing a little over $100 million domestically. It's a nice start but pales in comparison to a lot of other middle-tier animated films – though it's crucial to note that they're not in the business of the pop-culture gag-heavy films, even if this is being sold similarly to those films.


Tangled is a traditional Disney musical, albeit with some computer graphics aid and fancy 3D effects, so you more or less know what you're getting. After a brief peak in the '90s, following which computer animation stole Disney's lunch, this has usually meant medium-sized box office, although the quality has always been there (okay, maybe not Hercules). With this film, they're meeting us hippies halfway by mixing in a couple of pop-culture jokes, but for the most part it's the Disney we know and love, or hate. I look for this to build on Princess and the Frog's opening, starting out with a three-day total of $30 million, and a five-day figure of $48 million.

Action audiences can get their fill from Faster, Dwayne Johnson's return to being an action lead, after a few years in family pictures and supporting roles. A sort of reductionist action movie, it stars Johnson as a man out to avenge the death of his brother after they were double-crossed by the rest of their crew. And that's it – it's basically 100 minutes of The Rock going out and killing bad guys while a Cop (seriously, his character name is just “Cop”) played by Billy Bob Thornton tries to stop him.

The ads have really played up Johnson's stoic-side, sort of harkening back to the 80s-style action heroes like Stallone and Lundgren, who simply went about their business like it was a duty – they didn't want to be killing all these punks, but there were punks who needed killing and no one else was going to do it. Strangely, this works against Johnson's natural charisma – his comedic abilities have elevated multiple films – but they're going for a type of movie here, filled with car crashes and gunplay.

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