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 Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.

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A_Nonny_Moose
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PostSubject: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:58 am

Saw both of these films recently and it reaffirmed something I've know for ages. I don't like musicals. When the characters start singing, I lose interest. Not entirely sure why, but I think it's simply that I can't suspend my disbelief that much. People don't break out into song, and no matter what kind of world a movie sets up, when the characters start singing it's instantly unbelievable to me, so I stop caring. Especially when the song covers a length of time within the story greater than the length of the song itself, like a montage. Even if the songs are good, they still interrupt the movie, so I'm still annoyed.

Anyway, Brave and Tangled. Two very loosely similar princess stories that highlighted this issue for me. Brave features Merida, and princess who loves horse riding and archery and is tired of her mother trying to make her act like a proper princess. Tangled features Rapunzel, a princess who is locked in a tower by her "mother" and longs to see the outside world. Structurally, both movies start off in very similar ways.

Brave opens with Merida as a child, and sets up important elements such as her love of archery, the wisps, and Mordu the bear. After this it jumps to Merida as young woman and goes through her daily routine of being trained to be a princess. But shortly after, there is a musical montage showing how she likes to spend her free time. Riding through the forest, practicing archery, climbing waterfalls. All with a nice song playing under it. This kind of scene I can enjoy, and this particular one I did enjoy. I don't have a great breadth of cinematic knowledge but I think this falls into the category of Show Don't Tell. The character is doing whatever, and the story is told through cinematic technique. Editing, music, etc.

Now, for me, if during that scene Merida had actually been singing about how she liked archery, it would have completely ruined it. The scene gets that across fine without the character having to sing about it. A song like that (and not all songs in musicals are like that) would be no different to me than the character turning to camera and explaining directly to the audience what they're doing.

So, Tangled. It starts in a similar way. The opening introduces how the magic works, the old woman, we see Rapunzel as a baby, and learn why she's trapped in the tower. It then jumps to her as a young woman, and there is a musical montage showing a day in her life and how she spends her time in the tower. She reads the 3 or 4 books that are there, paints the walls (although she's running out of space), brushes her hair, waits for the lanterns each year, and so on. The point of the scene is that she's generally happy but becoming more intrigued with the outside world and bored with her daily routine.

However, she's actually singing about it. She sings about painting the walls, about reading the books, about brushing her hair. Going back to what I said earlier, this is a song that covers a whole day, and I just don't get it. It's probably me being a miserable git, but when characters start singing I don't get it. If it's a song on the score, I get it. It's there just for the audience. But when characters sing, I can't help but overthink it. Is it there just for the audience, or do the characters know they're singing? Is she singing the song all day, or just singing snippets that are relevant to what she's doing?

And apart from all that, the scene doesn't need it. You could get the message across the same way that Brave did. Have a song on the score that isn't literally explaining what the character is doing moment by moment, but which fits the tone of the scene. Or just some music even, there's no inherent need for a song. And tell the story of a girl who is increasingly unfulfilled by her day to day life through images. You could play that scene as is with no sound and I'm sure it would still work, so why does the character need to sing when it adds nothing?

Yeah yeah, because it's a musical. It's a thing that exists, I know. It's for kids or adults that like musicals for some reason. But the only reason to make a story into a musical, as far as I can see, is because you want to shove a lot of songs in there. There's nothing about the musical format that helps tell the story better. Except maybe, to take another example from Tangled that annoyed me, when you can use a song to cheat your way out of a scene.

There's a part in Tangled where Rapunzel and Eugene end up in a bar with a bunch of thugs, and they all start fighting over Eugene because there's a reward for turning him in. These are guys with huge axes and hook-hands, so they mean business. But Rapunzel says "Hey I need him to take me to see the lanterns because it's my dream. Don't you guys have dreams?" At which point all the thugs break into a song about their dreams, and Rapunzel and Eugene get away. That scene wouldn't work without the song, because it's utterly stupid, so I guess that justifies the musical format. A bit. Although you could just not have a song and write a better scene.

But yeah. I ended up liking Brave a lot more than Tangled almost entirely because Tangled was a musical. Also the ending of Tangled irked me a bit. I thought Rapunzel would save Eugene and then cut her hair off herself. Seemed like it was going that way. But apart from that and the songs it was alright.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:07 am

What's your opinion on musicals that are justified by context, for example that one Buffy episode?
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:16 am

I haven't seen that one Buffy episode (or most Buffy episodes). Now that I think there was that one episode of Scrubs though, with the woman who had some brain disorder that made her think people were singing. That was good I suppose, been a while since I last saw it.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:34 am

What do you think about spoken narration describing a scene the same way your first example from Tangled does? Is it a peeve you specifically have about songs or is it that type of storytelling that irritates you?

Incidentally, you should watch Buffy. Especially that episode. Once More, with Feeling is one of the best ones.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:37 am

why is a fully grown man watching tangled? i have kids & ive managed to avoid watching it
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:51 am

testtubebaby wrote:
why is a fully grown man watching tangled? i have kids & ive managed to avoid watching it
Someone get the tin man a heart.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:58 am

testtubebaby wrote:
why is a fully grown man watching tangled? i have kids & ive managed to avoid watching it

Because real men disregard the misconception that Disney features are only for kids and watch them with absolute gusto. It actually makes one manlier, truth be told. Just watching Winnie the Pooh can give you a beard that would make Kurt Russell get a massive throbbing erection.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:58 am

Skipio wrote:
What do you think about spoken narration describing a scene the same way your first example from Tangled does? Is it a peeve you specifically have about songs or is it that type of storytelling that irritates you?
I guess both. Musical numbers and characters needlessly explaining what they're doing get on my nerves. Not all the songs were like that in Tangled but the opening was very similar to Brave, which drew my attention to it even more.

testtubebaby wrote:
why is a fully grown man watching tangled? i have kids & ive managed to avoid watching it
I either forgot or just didn't know it was a musical, and it was right next to Brave on the Amazon video list. It was much more traditional than I expected. I think Disney tried to make it look like a Dreamworks picture because they were a bit worried about doing a very traditional Disney Princess story. On the boxart Rapunzel is smirking and kind of holding her hair like a weapon. There's a tiny bit of that in the film but it's still a bit misleading.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:04 am

Both Brave and Tangled were far less offensive to me than Frozen. The songs in that really don't fit at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:10 am

I haven't seen Frozen and I don't intend to. But I want to ask, what the hell is it about? Because I remember seeing trailers for a movie called Frozen, and it was a snowman and a reindeer fighting over a carrot. But then when everyone started talking about this movie called Frozen, it was about a princess with ice powers or something.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:49 am

I think for the most part, musical numbers can be pretty entertaining and add to the story when they're more about the characters and/or the situations they're currently in. Songs where the cast is just singing about what they're doing on-screen and nothing really important can seem pretty flat and tedious, but more often than not we don't get those in these features. The most rewarding songs are the ones actually based on a major theme of the score, which really helps to complement the narrative(especially when they're built up from early on like "Hellfire" from Hunchback).

SimianWonder wrote:
Both Brave and Tangled were far less offensive to me than Frozen.  The songs in that really don't fit at all.

That's because the song writers tried to go for a slightly more contemporary and poppish angle with some of the songs. It really, really didn't work, and they clashed with the ones that weren't as modern-sounding. What also hurt was the song placement itself. We're bombarded with so many early on before it suddenly gets sparse. Then we get a decent reprise of an early number, and then a really shitty song to cap it all off after that.

A_Nonny_Moose wrote:
I haven't seen Frozen and I don't intend to. But I want to ask, what the hell is it about? Because I remember seeing trailers for a movie called Frozen, and it was a snowman and a reindeer fighting over a carrot. But then when everyone started talking about this movie called Frozen, it was about a princess with ice powers or something.

It's about this queen who unwittingly set off an eternal winter with her ice powers after running way from home due to people finding out she was one of the X-Men.

Barring the songs, the film is actually decent throughout most of it, but then it just craps in on itself for the last 30-40 minutes.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:14 pm

On my phone so I cant quote everyone to answer, I have seen many Disney films and enjoyed a lot of them, my question was why would a grown man watch tangled? A film literally made for girls in primary school. Btw I too thought brave was a food film
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:25 pm

If it was literally made for girls in primary school then they wouldn't have focused the entire marketing on the male protagonist and the funny horse.
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:45 pm

I can see changing the name to "Tangled" sure did its job.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:56 pm

Not many primary school girls (in this country) are really into men, we sell a lot princess things (frozen for example) so marketing it on the girl seems right


E: Completely mis read your post, over here they marketed it towards Rapunzel as apposed t the man
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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:58 pm

Really? This is the trailer I remember seeing.


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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:15 am

Flynn is awesome fuck you guys.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:10 am

I like both of these movies, but I understand Moose's opinion.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:36 am

Baal wrote:
I like both of these movies, but I understand Moose's opinion.
I normally agre with what Moose says but with a wall of text that big i feel my response was appropriate.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:41 am

Oh you are completely right, but not everyone can enjoy the majesty of Idina Menzel's beautiful singing voice.

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PostSubject: Re: Brave and Tangled: I just don't like musicals.   Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:07 am

Superbuu3 wrote:
Flynn is awesome fuck you guys.

I like fairy tale Chuck.

Baal wrote:
Oh you are completely right, but not everyone can enjoy the majesty of Idina Menzel's beautiful singing voice.

Y'mean Adele Dazeem's beautiful singing voice.

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