There was trouble in the making of The Fox and the Hound almost from the beginning. It was a movie that saw Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men – a group that had been guarding the studio’s animation efforts for 40 years – phased out for newer animators. Anyone and everyone in the world of Disney animation worked on this film. Brad Bird, Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja and Don Bluth were part of the new breed, while Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and Wolfgang Reitherman represented the old breed.
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Andreas Deja, Copper, Don Bluth, Fox and the Hound, Frank Thomas, Glen Keane, John Lasseter, kurt russell, Mickey Rooney, Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston, Sandy Duncan, Tim Burton, Tod, Vixey, Woolie Reitherman
The conceit behind The Parent Trap is so simple that it is almost crazy no one thought of it before Erich Kastner’s novel that inspired the film. Two twin sisters separated at birth? It sounds like it’s a Weekly World News headline rather than a Disney film. Instead, it turns out to be one of the most cherished Disney films of all time.
The Parent Trap has long been one of my favorite Disney films because it’s so very funny, but watching it again as an adult, the appeal is so much broader. The acting is the first thing that jumps out at me now. Every character in this film is played by a top notch actor. Hayley Mills is great as Susan and Sharon, although she is not asked to do a great deal in the film. Even better is the chemistry between Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara as the childrens’ parents.
Fundamentally, much of the Walt Disney Company’s business relies on the idea of wish fulfillment. From the ideas of the princess films to the attractions at the theme parks, Disney promises if you “wish upon a star” your dreams will come true. So, I imagine it was only a matter of time until Disney applied that idea to a modern day setting for young girls.
Like many other people, I seem to find that all the life lessons I need to know are given somewhere within Disney. The most recent one I learned applies to everyone. Although, I think it’s especially important for teens because we have the most choices to make out of everyone on the planet. I learned this lesson in Cars 2 from everyone’s favorite tow truck, Mater!
Photo from fanpop.com
One of the earliest Disney films I remember is The Rescuers. Not the most popular Disney movie, to be sure. But it made a lasting impact on me. I would have been 5 in 1977 when it was released, so I was the perfect impressionable age. But at any age, who wouldn’t root for a pigtailed, snaggletoothed orphan like Penny? I was floored by her plight and swept away by the injustice of Penny’s situation. Not to mention my utter hatred and fear of Medusa (an appropriately titled villain name if ever there was one). Seriously, red hair, purple eye makeup, and a crazy driver to boot. She was all kinds of craz-ay! To this day, I can still remember lines from the movie. Hating Brutus and Nero, Medusa’s alligators. And bayous. But loving Evinrude, the adorable, plucky dragonfly. And Bernard and Bianca for coming to help Penny.
There are times in my movie going experience where I go into the theater with great excitement and still others where I go in not sure what to expect and am pleasantly surprised. In the case of Cars 2, I went in with great trepidation. The first film was a uniquely American film, and celebrated parts of our popular culture that I cherish – the road trip,California crazy architecture, Route 66 and nostalgia for the 1950s and 60s.
Winnie the Pooh had to go up against Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 when it was released. This is unfair. I have to get that out of the way, because I imagine that many of you will not have seen the film by the time you read the review.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is having difficulties with their films reaching the audience, can we agree on that? Since John Lasseter and the Pixar crew came over, the in-house animation arm of Disney has produced some films that would rank up there with the best of the Second Golden Age, only to find them fall flat with audiences because of release dates and marketing issues. Pooh has been no exception, getting crushed by Potter.
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Andreas Deja, Craig Ferguson, Eeyore, Eric Goldberg, John Lasseter, Kanga, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Roo, Tigger, Tom Kenny, Winnie the Pooh
I love to go to the movies, almost as much as going to Disney theme parks. It’s my way to escape reality for a little while. A good movie takes you out of reality and into a separate world. Too often this summer, though, the films have been subpar. There’s too little character development or not enough done to create the world of the film. And then, there’s a film like Captain America.
With the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, it’s worth revisiting the previous films. While the first installment, The Curse of the Black Pearl, is widely regarded as a fabulous film, the reception of Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End was less than stellar. I watched them again, and I have to admit, I just don’t understand all the animosity.
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Barbossa, Captain Jack Sparrow, Cutler Beckett, Davy Jones, Elizabeth Swann, Geoffrey Rush, Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tia Dalma, Will Turner
20 years ago, The Walt Disney Studios was a very different place than it is today. Only 7 years into the Michael Eisner and Frank Wells era, Jeffrey Katzenberg was running the studio, and they were looking for hits. Animation was going well, but Katzenberg was looking for new films that would strike a similar chord with the public. To do so, they turned to The Rocketeer, a comic book written and drawn by Dave Stevens.
The film they produced is a strange combination of Stevens’ sensibilities and studio pressures. Despite the mish mash of a story that could be incredibly silly, The Rocketeer is realistic and fun. The Rocketeer is an attempt to create a pulp action film, similar to that of Indiana Jones, and it succeeds in that regard.
When Cars arrived in theaters back in 2006, it seemed as though it was tailor made for me. I’m a big fan of the car culture of the late 50s and early 60s, and especially Route 66. John Lasseter’s direction on the first Toy Story film and his attention to story have always captivated me. There was a lot of hype to live up to for Cars.
A film like this is difficult to categorize. The lead of the film, Lightning McQueen, is a cruel soul who mistreats others. The nostalgia for the former culture of Route 66 and the towns of the Southwest makes it more of a message film. The racing action incorporates elements of sports tension into the proceedings. Mater’s relationship with McQueen turns things into a buddy comedy at certain points. There’s also romance with Sally. This crazy stew of ideas mixes together to make Cars. So how does it work?
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Cars, Doc Hudson, Fillmore, Guido, John Lasseter, Lightning McQueen, Luigi, Mater, Pixar, Radiator Springs, Sally, Sarge
There are some movies that are more than just a movie, they are a phenomenon. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was just that. During the summer of 2003, we were all treated to a film that celebrated the freedom of the open seas, the wit and wisdom of pirates and the fun of filmmaking on a grand scale. It’s no stretch to say that the remaining films in the series are still living off the good will from this amazing movie.
To get one thing out of the way quickly, yes, Thor is not technically a Disney movie. It is, however, produced by Marvel Studios, which is a subsidiary of Disney. After this summer’s Captain America film, all future Marvel films will be released by Disney, so I’m counting Thor as a Disney film.
With that taken care of, let’s talk about the film, shall we? Based on the Marvel comic book character more so than the Norse mythology, Thor is a comic book movie at its finest, full of action, drama, romance, and character. It’s extremely fast paced, witty, and packed with visual effects. But does the combination of that make a great film?
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth, Iron Man, Kenneth Branagh, Loki, Marvel, Natalie Portman, Odin, Stellan Skarsgaard, Thor, Warriors Three
On May 14-15, D23, the Official Disney Fan Club celebrated Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. For two magical days in the Fantasia Ballroom, D23 members were treated to the most amazing collection of stories, history, unseen pictures and videos of the creation of Walt Disney World. There were Disney Legends on hand to help tell the story of Walt’s dream here in Florida… Marty Sklar, Dave Smith and Robert Sherman just to name a few. The stories and history told here was a Disney Fan’s nirvana. Whether you just had a casual interest, a history buff or Disney fanatic, this was the place to be.
There are not enough words of praise I can heap upon the folks at D23 for the amazing show put on this weekend. It was well presented, in fact so much information was available, and there is no way I could possible cover a tenth of what transpired in those two days. What I will do is to go over the major highlights (For me, everything was a highlight!) and hope you can appreciate this major event.
Also posted in D23, Disney Company, Events, Imagineering, Resorts, Travel Reports Tagged Animal Kingdom, attractions, Bay Lake, D-23, Dave Smith, EPCOT, Florida Project, History, Magic Kingdom, roy disney, Walt Disney
It would be difficult to have higher expectations for a film than I had for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The first film in the series, The Curse of the Black Pearl, is probably my favorite film of all time. I enjoyed the second and third films immensely, even though they were very different from the first. So keep this in mind when I discuss On Stranger Tides, which I managed to see earlier this week.
Also posted in Disney Reviews Tagged Angelica, Barbossa, Black Pearl, Blackbeard, Elizabeth Swann, Geoffrey Rush, Gibbs, Ian McShane, Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Will Turner
In general, I’m a fan of cheesy teen movies. Sure, I may be in my mid-30s, but I enjoy reliving high school as much as anyone. So I went into the theater to see Prom with expectations to enjoy it. My wife, meanwhile, was dreading every moment, not excited at all about seeing a movie that promised to be a glorified after school special. I should have listened to her.
I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest since I first watched Toy Story 3 and now that Tink loves the trilogy, I just can’t take it any more.
Lotso is obviously set up as the main evil character in the movie. He has turned heartless thanks to losing the love of his life, Daisy. Yes, he snapped and went over the edge but Daisy wasn’t to blame. It was her parents. Seriously, I know it’s a cartoon where toys go on grand adventures so I should just let this go, but any good parent knows you have to keep up with a child’s favorite toys. Leave behind the lovees? Only if we are running for our lives. And Daisy’s parents would have had to do quite a snow job to convince her to accept a new Lotso in place of the one she had loved so much.
The idea of superheroes being outlawed is not a new one, and the idea wasn’t original even when it was done in The Incredibles. In the mid-1980s, Alan Moore did it with the seminal comic book Watchmen, which is acclaimed as one of the top 100 novels of all time. So for Brad Bird, the film’s director, and the Pixar team to tackle the subject in an animated film seems like a bad idea.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I first watched Lemonade Mouth. The name was a little different, which interested me. The other things that intrigued me were the movie’s messages. I could tell from the advertisements and previews that this wouldn’t be some movie focused on that sweet, teenage love that either makes you want to vomit or warms your heart, depending on who you are and how it is portrayed in the film. Instead the movie focused on uplifting messages of individuality, expression, friendship, perseverance, and standing up for what’s right.
Also posted in Lifestyle, Teens Tagged ABC, Bridgit Mendler, Good Luck Charlie, Jay Kyle, Lemonade Mouth, Mel's Organic Lemonade, My Wife and Kids, Teddy, teens, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Wizards of Waverly Place
I’ve never been a fan of Bambi. There I said it. Despite the artistry involved, the wonderful character designs, and all the effort that went into the film, I don’t think it turned out particularly well. It’s a beauty to look at, but not all that fun to watch. With the release of the new Blu-Ray, I decided to take another look at it.