Monday, January 9, 2017

Anticipatory Delight

I did it again. I dreamed about the live action Beauty and the Beast movie last night. This time, Belle was searching for her father in the open ocean, gliding through the calm, navy-blue water while ethereal voices offered whispered guidance and clues to his whereabouts.

Yeah, I've dreamed about this movie at least twice, now. 

I think I might be excited.

Of course, with excitement comes anxiety. What if I have all this anticipation, and then don't like the film? What if it's terrible, and my hopes are dashed, and I feel like Gaston after his proposal to Belle, sloshing around in the mud with a pig on my head?

I'm not a film buff; in fact, I rarely go to the theaters anymore. But every once in a while I'll get excited about an upcoming film. Maybe the movie is based on a book I've enjoyed. Perhaps it's part of a franchise I care about. Or maybe it stars someone I like.

Recently I got to thinking about some of the movies I've looked forward to over the years. Did the film meet (or even exceed) my expectations? Was it a dud? So I brainstormed a list of about two dozen films from the past 20 years that I have, at some point, been excited about, and have now seen. For each one, I've rated what my excitement level was prior to the film's opening. That scale can be seen here:

Molly's Excitement Scale

0- Not interested. In which case, it wouldn't be on this list, so...

1- I was aware of the movie and looking forward to seeing it.

2- I was pretty excited. Watching trailers, keeping an eye on casting, production, etc.

3- I was super excited! Tried to be there on opening weekend!

Also, ratings-wise:

👏 - Exceeded expectations.

👍 - Met expectations.

👎 - Did not meet expectations and/or hold up over time.

The Movies

  • Titanic (1997)
Excitement Level: 1. I'd seen the trailer and thought, "I want to see that." 

After Seeing The Film: LOVED IT! It was one of my favorite films for quite a while.  👏

Excitement Level: 3. I watched every interview and read every article I could.

After Seeing The Film: I really enjoyed it. Saw it twice in theaters, in fact. Was a little disappointed by some of the changes from the book. I'd also wished they'd filmed it sequentially, as Daniel Radcliffe's appearance and voice slightly change back and forth during the film (yay adolescence!) But otherwise, I was quite happy. Expectations met. 👍

Excitement Level: 3. The momentum from the first movie was still going strong a year later.

After Seeing The Film: I may not have liked this one quite as much as the first, but what the heck, Harry Potter rules! 👍

Excitement Level: 2. I still went and saw most of them in the theaters, but I think the 1.5-year gaps between some of the films slowed the excitement momentum. 

After Seeing The Films: I enjoyed all of them to varying degrees. The last two (Deathly Hallows) are probably my favorites. 👍

  • Freaky Friday (2003)
Excitement Level: 1. I was a fan of the Jodie Foster version, and was interested to see how they updated the story.

After Seeing The Film: Not bad, really, though I don't think I've seen this since about 2005. 👍

  • Peter Pan (2003)
Excitement Level: 2. I heard about the movie about a year before it came out. I followed the production, watched trailers, etc.

After Seeing The Film: LOVED IT! 👏

  • Ella Enchanted (2004) 
Excitement Level: 2. I was a fan of Anne Hathaway. After I found out she was making this movie, I read the book and really enjoyed it. I remember dreaming about this movie before it came out, too, with dreams about them messing it up.

After Seeing The Film: I liked it upon first viewing, but after re-reading the book and then re-watching the movie, it finally clicked that they are so different. Different as in... the book is good and the movie is not. I tried re-watching the movie a few months ago and couldn't even get through half. 👍/👎

  • The Princess Diaries 2 (2004)
Excitement Level: 1. Well, I'd enjoyed the first Princess Diaries movie, so the second would be more of the same, right?

After Seeing The Film: False. It was terrible. I mean, I recall enjoying it the first time I saw it, but it's really quite awful. 👎

  • The Polar Express (2004)
Excitement Level: 2. A long time ago in a decade far, far away, I really liked director Robert Zemeckis. He had done four films in a row that I enjoyed (Forrest Gump, Contact, What Lies Beneath, and Cast Away) and I was looking forward to his next offering, which was The Polar Express. There was a four-year dry spell between this film and his previous one, so my anticipation kept growing.

After Seeing The Film: I liked it well enough. I don't rewatch it all that often, but it's a fine holiday film. 👍

  • Superman Returns (2006)
Excitement Level: 1. It's interesting, because although I have been a fan of Superman for over half my life, in 2006 we already had Smallville on the air (which I didn't care for) and, perhaps because of that, I couldn't seem to get too excited for this new version of Superman. Sure, I would give it a shot, but I went into it without knowing much about it.

After Seeing The Film: I really liked it! Fun fact: the movie makes a lot more sense if you've (recently) seen the first two Christopher Reeve films beforehand. Good to know... now. 👏

  • Nancy Drew (2007)
Excitement Level: 1. I do enjoy those classic books, and have always wished for a good film adaptation. (The 2002 TV-movie was okay.)

After Seeing The Film: Super sadface. I didn't like it at all. 👎

  • Beowulf (2007)
Excitement Level: 1. This was Robert Zemeckis's next directorial offering after The Polar Express.

After Seeing The Film: Um, well, that was the last Robert Zemeckis movie I ever saw in theaters.... 👎

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
Excitement Level: 2. Indiana Jones IV was "in development" forever, so of course when it actually went into production, I was stoked. But as opening day approached, I was a little fearful. I mean, I'd disliked Temple Of Doom, so it was feasible that I'd dislike this Indy film, too. At any rate, it couldn't be better than Last Crusade (one of my favorite films), because that would take a miracle.

After Seeing The Film: The miracle did not happen. At least I liked Crystal Skull slightly better than Temple Of Doom.... But mostly I didn't like it. 👎

  • Twilight (2008)
Excitement Level: 3. Let's be honest... I mainly wanted to see this because it was filmed in our area and I my car was a background extra in it. I tried reading the book first and couldn't get through it. But I followed the news and the countdowns and everything.

After Seeing The Film: It was okay, I thought then. I even went and saw New Moon a year later. But I can't sit through it anymore. This film is sooo bland and dumb. 👍/👎

Excitement Level: 3. I've been a fan of Ramona since grade school, and I enjoyed the 80's TV series. I was happy the characters were coming to the big screen. This is another movie that seemed to be in development for a long time, giving me ample time to obsess over it.

After Seeing The Film: I really liked it for what it was. It won't make any AFI lists, but it's a worthy adaptation of the books, and a sweet family-oriented film. 👍

  • Tangled (2010)
Excitement Level: 1. Even as a kid I'd hoped Disney would do a version of Rapunzel.

After Seeing The Film: I enjoyed it about as much as I've enjoyed any non-Pixar movie Disney has put out in the last 20 years. It had its good points, it had its meh. I wasn't disappointed, but it didn't become my new favorite Disney film or anything. 👍

Excitement Level: 2. I love the character of Robin Hood, but Russell Crowe? Ick! What to do?

After Seeing The Film: What to do was see it anyway. And say, "hey, that wasn't so bad." 👍

Excitement Level: 2. This was one of my favorite books. With any book-to-movie adaptation, one worries that it won't be done right.

After Seeing The Film: There are a few things I would've done differently, but overall it was a nice film and a pretty good adaptation. 👍

Excitement Level: 2. I had seen the previous two Nolan Batman films on DVD, and I'd enjoyed them (especially Batman Begins). As the third movie in the trilogy approached, my excitement grew.

After Seeing The Film: It was fine, but I've never been compelled to re-watch it. 👍

Excitement Level: 2. I had been hoping for a sequel to Superman Returns, and I knew that this wasn't going to be one, but rather a reboot. Still, it was Superman. I had to check it out.

After Seeing The Film: I wanted to leave the theater halfway in. Sigh. Figured I'd give the sequel (Dawn Of Justice) a chance if I heard good reviews first. Did not hear good reviews. I don't think I'll be revisiting this franchise until the next reboot. 👎

  • The Giver (2014)
Excitement Level: 2. I'd read the book a few times and enjoyed it. I follow Lois Lowry on Twitter, so I was aware of the production (which seemed to take forever).

After Seeing The Film: A few differences from the book (notably that the characters are older) but I was pretty satisfied with it. I could have done without the Taylor Swift cameo, though. 👍

  • Pan (2015)
Excitement Level: 1. Back in 2003 I was super excited for Peter Pan and then ended up loving it. So I was looking forward to this... until I kept hearing not-so-great things. It even got its premiere date pushed back, which is rarely a good sign. (Well, it worked for Titanic, but....) I finally saw it on cable a few months ago.


Which is to say I didn't like it. 👎

  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Excitement Level: 3

After Seeing The Film:

(Written on 3/19/17)

*Expectations met.

*It's not better than the original, but it was fine.

*There are moments that slightly improve on the animated version and ones that tried to improve on the original, but didn't work.

*Hierarchy = Animated Film > Broadway Show > Live-Action Film > > > > > >  The Straight-To-Video Sequels.

*Why were there so many other couplings trying to happen in the movie, huh? Focus on Belle & the Beast, please!

*Gaston using a gun instead of a bow & arrow or a knife was kind of... loud.

*Philippe is a gorgeous animal and there should be more Disney horses, thank you.


*Emma Watson's singing voice is very nice.

*Yeah I teared up during the titular song, WHAT?

*I liked Maurice, but wish he'd been slightly kookier.

*Guillotine joke circa Be Our Guest was amusing.

*The Enchanted Book element seemed unnecessary and kind of weird. But also, kind of cool?