Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 1 & 2 (5-24 & 5-25)

This is going to be a long one, but I kind of got gung-ho on Disney movie watching and didn't really stop for the weekend, so I'm afraid there will be no reviews of each, just some basic thoughts and maybe a video clip or two (or ten).

I have been a member of the Disney Movie Club since it's inception. You do pay more for the movies from the DMC, but with all the benefits (i.e. PINS!), it makes it worth it. I started off with VHS, moved them all to DVD, and I'm now in the process of replacing the DVD's with Blu-Ray's. Every switch, I swear "never again", and yet I always seem to do it eventually.

Disney movies (the animated kind) are vaulted for seven years, brought out for a limited time, then vaulted back up again until the next release (which gets upgraded every incarnation...most movies coming out of the vault now are "Diamond Editions"). Some movies never get unvaulted (i.e. Song of the South), or worse, they are "edited" to take out the "offensive" bits. I get the point in this, no need to corrupt the younger generation, but to my artist's mind, it's blasphemy to ruin the original animation. Those movies were created in a different time and should be regarded as such, but treasured just the same. If they feel the need to edit them, release the originals for diehard animation fans like myself who watched the originals as a child and, believe it or not, weren't corrupted by their stereotypic messages. Soapbox dismount (for now).

On Sunday, I opted to not start in the animation genre, but instead went with live action. I decided on a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, starting with The Curse Of The Black Pearl.

Of the three original Pirate movies, this is by far my favorite and the franchise would have been just fine had they stopped at the first one. I often wonder what Walt would think of sequels. It's not something they did in his day and I honestly think he would scoff at the premise of it. But alas, it's not only common place nowadays, it's expected, so endure we must. As a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (it is #2 next to Haunted Mansion), there are dozens of nods to the ride in the movie, so that makes the Disney geek in me rather giddy!

Then there is the second movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. This is where the franchise starts to wain. I do love the Davy Jones storyline, but even that cannot save the path that the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swann storyline starts to take in movie 2. There are also quite a bit of ride nods in this one as well.

With movie 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the story arch is complete. I don't want to spoil anything, but the way they end the Will/Elizabeth storyline makes me want to cringe every single time. The ride links in this one are even less than 2, most are just ride quotes from Barbossa.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, takes a different turn, no more Will and Elizabeth. Despite my disappointment with movie 3, movie 4 was worse. If it wasn't for Barbossa (who I like better than Captain Jack, he's more of a true pirate), this one would be a total loss. The ride links are even less, most are pretty cryptic to even the most diehard ride fan.

Of course, they are making a fifth Pirates movie, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Will Turner will be back for that one, so I still have hope that it will be better (although they still won't be able to "fix" their mistakes with 3 because there is no Elizabeth Swann in this one).

They did modify the rides with elements of the movies, adding Jack and Barbossa (but not Will and Elizabeth). As realistic as Capt'n Jack's audioanimatronics are (there is more than one), I'm offended at the quality of the Barbossa (at least at Disney World's...I haven't seen Disneyland's yet).

Monday, I went in a lighter direction, down the Pixar way. I'm not going to rehash my gripes about computer animation versus hand-drawn animation, so don't worry. I started first with the Toy Story series, 1, 2, 3, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Toy Story of Terror, and the various Toy Story shorts.

Toy Story is one of those rare sequel series where #1 is not the best one. It's OK, but if I wasn't a total Disney geek and had to have every single movie in the franchise, I probably would have stopped at 1.

Again, Toy Story 2 isn't the best sequel either. As sequels go it fit, but there was so much drag time, I often find myself getting easily distracted by other things around the house when I should be watching the movie.

Toy Story 3, on the other hand, is an amazing sequel and, no matter how many times I watch it, I end up bawling like a baby during several key moments throughout the movie. And, as someone who still has "toys", this movie hits home more than the others. It's also the only Toy Story movie I actually saw in the theater.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins is just a useless cartoon (not 3-D animation, well, other than the opening sequence where the Toy Story gang pop in the video to watch Buzz's new movie). Is it necessary for the group...no, but it is part of the group, so therefore I own it. Honestly, watching it yesterday was the very first time I had even cracked the case open, let alone watched the movie. I really don't see the need to ever watch it again.

Toy Story Of Terror was a short that they showed on regular television first on year during the Halloween season. It's OK, but nothing to write home about either.

As far as I know, there are only four other Toy Story toons, Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, Partysaurus Rex (my favorite one), and Toy Story That Time Forgot (which is not available on DVD yet, but is on YouTube). Since Partysaurus Rex is my favorite, how about a clip from it:

When it comes to the Toy Story series, I'm a LGM (Little Green Men) super-fan. I'm not sure what it is about them, but I literally go all doe-eyed when I see LGM merchandise. Another favorite of mine is Mr. Pricklepants...I mean, come on, who wouldn't love a lederhosen-wearing porcupine voiced by Timothy Dalton? Surprisingly, I'm pretty good with voices and can usually tell the actors portraying characters (I do it all the time with commercials), but I honestly had no idea that Ken was voiced by Michael Keaton until I read the credits.

And, as per Disney usual, there will be a Toy Story 4.

Then I moved on to the Cars series. If it wasn't for Mater, I wouldn't even bother with these. I'm more of a Princess kind of girl than a Cars kind of girl. The first Cars is my least favorite, probably because there isn't as much Mater. But the "vistas" in the movie make me extremely excited for Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure.

Cars 2, however, is completely Mater-centric, so I'm all about it!

Of course there are Cars Toons like Mater and the Ghostlight (my personal favorite):

but most of those are included in the set, Mater's Tall Tales..."if I'm lyin, I'm cryin!". I'm not a Larry the Cable Guy fan per-se, but there is just something about Mater.

I did start Planes, but I fell asleep in the middle of it (yes, it's that bad), so I'll rewatch it tonight alone with Planes 2: Fire and Rescue (which I haven't seen yet). Hopefully, I'll be able to stay awake during both.

TOTAL MOVIES WATCHED: 4 Live Action + 5 Full-length Animated + 16 Shorts (I think...shorts tend to blend together)


Linda said...

Wow!! Pirates are some of my favorite movies to watch. I do like the first one the best. I too love Mater.


Tiffany Pincombe said...

Great reviews! I'm so glad you went for it and nice start with two big franchises. I didn't know about the shorts for some of these, thank you.

Alyssa F said...

I've tried once to do a POTC marathon, but never quite made it. So good for you for finishing! I agree that Black Pearl is my favorite of all of them, although I enjoy parts of all 3 sequels, and I'm excited to see what they do for #5.