2 In 1: The Wizard Rockumentary and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Both reviews this time are movies that deal, in some form or fashion, with music. The first is a documentary about a specific type of music that’s been exploding into popularity around the world, while the second is a musical that’s been pretty popular for years now (and I’m assuming pretty much everybody has seen it by now, so there are some pretty obvious spoilers). So let’s get to it.

The Wizard Rockumentary.

The Wizard Rockumentary is a documentary about the rise and evolution, popularity, and overall purpose of Wizard Rock (AKA Wrock) through the course of seven years. For those that don’t know, Wizard Rock is when a band or soloist—whether good or bad, it doesn’t matter—writes and performs songs about the Harry Potter books. The documentary details a huge, uncountable amount of Wrock bands, but keeps its focus on (or at least keeps coming back to most often) a specific four: The Switchblade Kittens, who were an actual mainstream band that evolved into a Wrock band and actually created the first Wrock song; Harry and the Potters, who were the first actual (and most popular/famous) Wrock band; Draco and the Malfoys, whose music is like the antithesis of Harry and the Potters (obviously); and The Remus Lupins, which is just one guy, but does very well.

As I said, the purpose of the film is to detail the rise and evolution, popularity, and purpose of Wrock. It begins back in 2000 and spans from then up to 2007 when the final Harry Potter book is released. What the movie does well is in telling the purpose of having a Wrock band, which isn’t to make money (and if you do, it pretty much goes to charity) or to be the best band in the world, but to make songs about books, to get other people to read books and make songs about them, and to just have fun while you’re doing it. It’s all about the fun, and you really see how much fun these people are having while doing this. And there’s a huge range of ages in this—which is another point, as it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can Wrock—from 7 up to even the 40s (maybe 50s). And there’s a whole bunch of different styles of music, too. There’s the more feel-good music of Harry and the Potters, the downright nasty (though hilarious) lyrics of Draco and the Malfoys, the more adult-themed music of The Whomping Willows… it just goes on and on, and some of them are really good and very funny. And most of them are typically through the perspective of the band name (for instance, Harry and the Potters write songs through Harry’s perspective, The Hermione Crookshanks Experience goes through Hermione’s perspective, The Whomping Willows through the tree’s perspective, etc.). Any way you look at it, it’s awesome.

The only downfall of the film, really, was the band of the two kids (the one being 7… the other having to be around 4 or so). Calling themselves The Hungarian Horntails, these two boys dubbed their music Dragon Rock and was mostly a bunch of screaming instead of actual music or lyrics. And their purpose contradicts that of actual Wizard Rock, as they clearly state they’re doing this to become famous and make money (I know they’re just little kids, but still). And I know the purpose of putting them in the documentary was to show that even little kids can Wrock, but it just felt a bit out of place. Though there are a few good lines given by Harry and the Potters about them, which almost made up for their inclusion, so that did make it a bit better.

Otherwise, the movie was done well. It’s interesting how most documentaries will follow one specific person (or a select group) or company or event and detail it/them, sometimes even giving the documentary a conflict or story arch (such as with The King of Kong). However, this film doesn’t do that. Instead of documenting something physically specific, it’s documenting an idea, a theme, and that almost makes the film a bit more powerful in doing so. It shows that these people aren’t a bunch of crazy, no-life losers, but normal people just like everybody else who just want to read books, make music, and have a blast—it doesn’t matter if you’re the best singer or the best musician. And to me, that says quite a bit. So I recommend the film to those of you who are either Harry Potter fans or music fans, or even those of you who could be interested in either (like King of Kong did with video games, I don’t necessarily think you need to be a big fan of Harry Potter to understand what this film is saying/doing). Unfortunately, though, it can’t be found in stores; instead, it can be found at www.wizardrockumentary.com. And one last thing… I totally love the tagline of the film—“A Movie About Rocking and Rowling.” I just thought that was totally clever. So yeah… Read. Rock. Love. Peace out!

A Keanu 'Whoa'

The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A movie in which Tim Burton gets all the credit, but he didn’t even direct! Still good, though. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman) is the Pumpkin King, the scariest in all of Halloween Town. But he’s getting tired of the same old thing and wants to experience something new for a change. So he winds up stumbling upon Christmas Town and becomes enthralled by everything in it and decides to bring back the spirit of Christmas to Halloween Town, and even getting a few henchmen to kidnap Santa Claus (Edward Ivory) so that Jack can take over. But things don’t go exactly right, and the henchmen go behind Jack’s back to the evil Oogie Boogie (Ken Page) so that he can take over instead. Meanwhile, shy and restless Sally (Catherine O’Hara) is doing everything she can to become free and get closer to Jack.

I don’t have too terribly much to say about the film, so I’ll split it into two bits: the positive and the negative.

The positive: The animation/claymation style of the movie is done very nicely, and there are some really beautiful shots, even, all throughout the film. I really loved anything where the moon is in the background, or anytime the film played with shadows (such as with Oogie Boogie in the first half of the film). The music is very good and catchy, and I really like pretty much every song in the film.

The negative: It seems as if there’s just something missing, like the movie needs to be a bit longer. Everything just moves so quickly. And besides Jack and Sally, every character is pretty flat and one-dimensional. Oogie Boogie isn’t really mentioned as a character until about halfway through the film (though you see hints of him at the beginning), and you see him toward the end, though the final confrontation isn’t really built up, and then when it happens, it goes by in about a minute and then it’s all over. So not only is the villain barely set up (to the point where you don’t really dislike him because he’s there so little), but he’s overtaken very quickly and easily, making for a rather boring and tense-less climax. It’s fun to look at, but there was no thrill. There’s also a bit toward the end that makes a connection that’s like “wait, what?” Jack is questioning Sally as to why she tried to help him (the most famous and likable person in Halloween Town), and he stops and is like “Wait, I didn’t realize you loved me!” Because obviously, trying to help out a friend means they’re in love with you… I mean, she was, but that’s beside the point.

But besides that, the movie was fun. As I said, the music and visuals were good, and the movie is an all-around good time. I’m a big fan of musicals, and I think this is a pretty good one for all intents and purposes. I just think it could have been a bit longer to help with the character development.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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