Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 28 & 29

I've got to try to speed this up a bit even though I watched 6 movies Saturday and an additional 6 plus 6 compilation videos on Sunday. What's going to make this one shorter is the lack of comments I have for all the crappy sequels I had to be exposed to.

Since Lilo & Stitch kind of put me on the path of dogs (Stitch hides himself as Lilo's dog), this weekend was an almost all dogs weekend. So, of course, I started Saturday with the ultimate of Disney dog movies, 101 Dalmatians.

As a kid, I had animation issues with this movie. The sketchy lines and the graphic nature of the backgrounds bothered me to no end. Watching the special features on the disc, you have no idea how relieved I was that Walt shared my misgivings about the animation. He loved the classic style, with Sleeping Beauty being the pinnacle, and I definitely agree with him...it's kind of like comparing the masters to Picasso, or worse, Pollock (don't get me started on Jackson Pollock or I'll never shut up!).

I didn't have much luck with watching this movie as a kid either. The only time I ever saw it in the theater (which, coincidentally, happened to be the first time I ever got to go to the movie by myself), my mother had to come and pull me out because a tornado was coming (a byproduct of living in the South). I wasn't upset about the tornado, I was completely humiliated by getting pulled out (they turned on the overhead lights and everything) and it messed me up for years...the warped mind of an Asper.

I disagree with Marc Davis that Cruella was his greatest work, I still reserve that compliment for Maleficent, but I respect the movie a whole heck of a lot more now and even enjoy the animation.

Watching the sequel, 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure, further reminded me how special the original animation was. They tried hard to mimic the backgrounds (although I still think they failed on that front), but the cleaned up character lines completely ruined any attempts made to retain background purity. Plus, the story reminded me way too much of Bolt (even though Bolt came later) and I couldn't enjoy it because I felt like I'd "been there" before.

Of course, because I watched these two, I had to watch the two live action ones as well. I have a love/hate relationship with live action remakes, but of all of them, 101 Dalmatians is a lot closer to the spirit of the original than say Maleficent was. I don't really understand why they felt like they needed to change the puppies names (which reminded me of the mice in Cinderella live action), give Anita a job working for Cruella, or Roger's career (from songwriter to video game creator), but the rest of it was pretty spot on. I especially liked Hugh Laurie as Jasper, although his accent kept changing throughout the movie from a bit too posh to closer to animated Jasper and then back again.

Then, to round out the series, 102 Dalmatians. I'm really surprised that Glenn Close would have anything to do with this piece of crap.

I'm adding these two live actions to the live-action total, even though both have qualities of animation about it, especially since sometimes the dogs were CG.

I was so grateful to be done with this series that, because the animated sequel reminded me of Bolt, I watched it next. I always really liked this movie...I mean, come on, a hamster named Rhino? What's not to love?

And there is a Rhino short on the disc as well called "Super Rhino" and it's hilarious!

To change things up, I decided to watch 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I'm not really sure why, I was just feeling a mood. I've never seen this film in its entirety, I've only ever seen bits and pieces. I never got it before and I didn't get it after seeing it all together either. Although I rode the ride back in the day at Disney World, I don't remember it at all, and there's probably a good reason why.

Sunday got me back in a dog mood, starting first with The Fox And The Hound. I saw this movie as a kid, but I don't remember it being the bawl-fest that it is. I do remember that it's the reason why I dislike hunting so much. Bambi ain't got nothin' on this one.

Again, the sequel, The Fox And The Hound 2, completely ignored the fact that Copper and Tod grew up and was nothing but a long flashback to a moment in time during their puppy-hood. I can't help but think that the head of the animation department pulled out a bunch of originals and said to the animators, "take these characters, write me a new story and put it out, doesn't matter if you've seen the original or not, just use the image on the box cover to go by". And come on, a song called "Hound Dude"? Crap is too good a word.

Lady And The Tramp was next (because what dog movie compilation would be complete without it), but if I'm really honest, I've never really cared for this movie and I'm not sure why. The animation is spot on, the voices are great, the characterizations are amazing...it must be the story that just doesn't grip me.

The sequel, Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure, is a bit too similar to 101 Dalmatians II.

About the only think positive I can say about these sequels to classic movies is that they make the originals look even better.

The last dog movie I watched was Oliver & Company (although technically Oliver is a cat). I know I've seen this one before but I honestly didn't remember it. Of all the movies I watched Sunday though, it was my favorite (probably because it was a take on Oliver Twist and I have a thing for Dickens like I do Austen). It has a bit of TV animation feel to it, but the story was strong enough to carry it, although I think they went a bit overboard with the vocal talent.

What's ironic about this movie is that there is a documentary on the disc that talks about the "new" technique of computer animation, but how hand-drawn would be around for years to come...if they only knew! Oh, and there were two shorts on this disc, including one Pluto.

I still have one or two more dog movies in my collection, but I am definitely not ready for Frankenweenie yet so soon after losing Zach, so I went in yet another direction, Duck Tales The Movie: Treasure Of The Lost Lamp. Speaking of TV animation, I don't particularly dislike it nearly as much as movie animation. I guess I give allowances for their much smaller budgets and limited production time. This movie does have that TV animated feel, but I would expect that considering it's a movie based on a TV show and it adds to continuity (I like that word and wish the animation world did too).

I do have all four seasons of the show on DVD, but we're not quite there yet.

Since it was starting to get late, I popped in a few compliation DVD's of Disney cartoons, starting first with Vintage Mickey. I was a bit shocked that this video only contained 9 cartoons and no special features but, considering the first one was the original Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie, I was OK. Mickey was a bit of a cad back in his old days...playing music on a pig's tits, trying to constantly force Minnie to kiss him (sometimes really aggressively), I can see why there was a need for Donald so that they could soften Mickey up a bit.

For those that have ever played Epic Mickey, you'll recognize a lot of these cartoons.

I tried a bunch of other Donald related DVD's next, but considering I've watched all four Chronological Donald's all ready, there was barely any shorts I could count towards my total. Fun Factory with Donald only had one I hadn't seen already, Fun Factory with Huey, Dewey, and Louie had none, Classic Cartoon Favorites - Best Pals: Donald and Daisy had none, Classic Cartoon Favorites Starring Donald had none, and Starring Chip and Dale only had four.

So, not as long of a post as I expected it to be, yea me!

Live Action: 20
Full-Length Animation: 64
Mixed-Medium: 4
Animated Shorts: 238
Live Action Shorts: 5
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 1
Animated Series: 14
Mixed-Medium Series: 2


Tiffany Pincombe said...

Great reviews! The Fox and the Hound is one that I saw in theatres way back when and the sad parts are seared into me. I re-watched it recently and it still makes me cry too, even when I know no one gets killed. It's a great story and the Owl was always my favourite character in that one.

Vickie said...

Love all these movies!!! Great reviews!!!!

Alyssa F said...

Ah yes, the animated "cheapquels" as I call them. I was so glad when Bob Iger replaced Michael Eisner as CEO and put a stop to them. He even made them reanimate a large portion of the Tinkerbell movie in order to improve the quality.