Directed by Joe Wright
Joe Wright finally found his escape from the period piece adaptations and had a lot of fun doing it. The whole set-up and synopsis for Hanna may evoke Kick-Ass or the Bourne films, and certainly to a degree there is truth to both of those comparisons, but I got a Coen Brothers and Tom Tykwer feel to this film, and not just because Tom Hollander’s character looked straight out of The Nihilists from The Big Lebowski.
The first 30 minutes of Hanna with The Chemical Brothers alluring soundtrack and cinematography is like an extended music video mixed with awesome action sequences. Once Hanna gets to the outside world the whole tone of the film changes to the Aryan-looking Hanna being a fish out of water in the real world and conveniently meeting a very progressive yippy family. Hanna had been raised as a trained assassin with the level of skill, strength, and stamina well beyond her years. She memorizes legends to maintain once she sets out but has no idea what she is in for and really, you just want her to get into more conflicts with Euro-Trash associates of the CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett hamming it up with southern drawl and loving it) than see yet again Hanna’s “quirks” be accepted.
Saoirse Ronan as the title character makes this film an enjoyable ride, even when your patience on the plot situations are tested more than once. Ronan conveys a girl who is both damaged and innocent, estranged from reality yet full of intellectual curiosity and wonder. Eric Bana as Hanna’s father is limited in screen time but has a warmness and calm collective awareness that helps him milk all of his time on-screen. Some characters you wished were a little more fleshed out than they were beyond passing figures in Hanna’s journey but Wright’s eye for action, space, and artistry, especially in the final act, makes this film deceptively a very pretty, off-beat B-movie. This is in no way the best work for anybody involved, but it is a very watchable film that you know there was a lot of fun had by its cast and crew.
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
I dare Disney animation, Pixar, Nickelodeon Movies, and Dreamworks to make a better animated film than this incredible surprise by Gore Verbinski. Not only is this Wild West set-up enjoyable but it is a surprising adult animated film that was perhaps misdirected in its advertising. Rango ain’t Fritz the Cat but it is certainly not a kids movie.
Rango offers itself closer to Mel Brooks, Chuck Jones, and Tex Avery than the standard animated fare out today. I lost track of all of the Western references and how surprisingly not out of place the non-Western references were cleverly included. John Logan’s script is such a labor of love to the genre and films, clearly he got the importance of Warner Bros. cartoon shorts where pop culture references do not have to spelled out to its audience but infused within the plot as the best kind of homage.
The voice cast up and down is top-notch led by the incomparable Johnny Depp voicing the title character who gets to go into places where in an otherwise live-action film would limit him, and that is saying something. He is clearly having fun with this character in a way that I have not seen on screen like many of his other movies in years.
I am glad this film exists. Gore Verbinski making a kids movie (Did I mention I saw the rather too hot for children Mousehunt as a wee one?) would have just felt wrong and no way should a script this tidy, fresh, and intelligent be made toothless to get more tickets at the box-office. This is a film made for teens up to the elderly who appreciate a film that clearly loves its genre, characters, setting, and set-up. I cannot help but wanting to thank Gore Verbinski and John Logan for making it okay to make an animated film where adults are more in on the joke than the kids.