We splurged this weekend and took the kids to Disney’s Bears. Later I snuck off to Brick Mansions.
Disney’s Bears (2014) – Rated G
“A documentary that follows an Alaskan bear family as its young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.”
Obviously this documentary is a bit whitewashed, being from Disney and rated G. The cinematography is wonderful and I can imagine this being a good film to run in the background on your high-definition television. There are fabulous timelapse shots of avalanches and the tide coming in and covering mud flats. There are incredible mountain vistas and wonderful wildlife shots. This is not limited to the titular Bears as a wolf, raven, gulls, deer, and many unfortunate salmon are also part of the picture.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with Disney Nature films, the movie is haphazardly narrated. The script varies wildly from adult perspective to teen approach to young child enticement. Bears attempts to be all things to all people and succeeds at none of them. This is not narrator John C. Reilly’s fault but rather the script which even tells us when to laugh at the bears’ antics.
Still it is very pretty, will entertain small children, and runs a very brief 77 minutes.
Brick Mansions (2014) – Rated PG-13
“An undercover Detroit cop navigates a dangerous neighborhood that’s surrounded by a containment wall with the help of an ex-con in order to bring down a crime lord and his plot to devastate the entire city.”
It’s not a surprise that this movie was dumped right before summer. Brick Mansions is just awful. It shouldn’t be but it is.
Brick Mansions is the American version of the futuristic thriller District B13. District B13 was a high energy action film that first brought parkour to film audiences back in 2004. Two years later, it would be popularized in Casino Royale. Now, ten years later, the American version comes out. Unfortunately for Brick Mansions, that ensuing decade has been filled with action movies that have used this martial art, including District 13: Ultimatum (2009).
David Belle, co-founder of parkour and star of District B13, repeats his role here as Lino (Leito in B13). Changing the setting of the script to Detroit seemed a no-brainer. David Belle is not a particularly good actor but his parkour skills are still amazing. His co-lead here is the late Paul Walker, who is engaging and has the physicality for his role.
What went wrong? I have to lay all blame at director Camille Delamarre’s feet. There are some amazing stunts here, particularly the parkour but Delamarre doesn’t capture any of their power. He jump cuts and slices his way through to make all the action incoherent. This is Delamarre’s first feature as a director but he was the editor on Transporter 3 (the bad one), Taken 2 (the bad one), Lockout (how do you make a prison in space movie boring?), and the equally awful Columbiana. Delamarre is set to direct Transporter 4 next. Ugh.
Also ruining Brick Mansions are a weak script (the original script is over a decade old and District B13 was not a strong script to begin with) and RZA. RZA plays our lead villain Tremaine and it feels like nails on a chalkboard every time he is onscreen.
Just avoid this. If you want a parkour fix, re-watch Casino Royale or check out District B13.