Monday, July 13, 2015

Disney Movie Reviews - Days 48-50

I'm going to try hard to fit the entire weekend into one post, but I guess only time will tell if I manage it or not. I can probably safely assume that this one might be a long one, so brace yourself!

Friday is going to be easy because I only watched one movie, The Three Musketeers, aka, the Donald, Mickey, and Goofy version. I really like this version as well, but since there aren't too many Musketeer movies I don't like, it was a given that I was going to enjoy it and, considering it's the very first full-length feature the three of them have done together, they had me at the opening credits. I about died laughing when Mickey says, "Donald, we can't understand a word you say!", during a rather long speech. I understood every single word he said and that made it even funnier. Wish I could have found a clip, but here's the trailer instead.

Saturday was a definite path, or the best one I could do in honor of Pluto (the planet, not the dog), but it took me a little bit to get there. I started with Wreck-It Ralph. This is so not my style of movie, but I absolutely love it! The one-liners and quips all throughout the entire movie alone make it worth watching! And the whole nostalgia bit with the old pixelation in the video games (including the Steamboat Willie opening sequence) was really cool for an old girl like me! I never get sick of watching this movie either, probably because I discover a one-liner I never noticed before...this time it was "children of the candy corn"...brilliant and I can't wait to use it!

I'm still in shock that I went all fangirl at seeing Vanellope in the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parade at Disney World last year, I didn't realize that I liked that character that much. Guess I kind of relate to her since I'm the "glitch" in my family!

Of course, the famous short Paperman was on this disc, but I still prefer Feast.

And there were also "commercials" on the disc for Wreck-It Ralph, but commercials in the sense of marketing for the arcade featured in the movie, so I basically counted these all together as one short as well.

I watched G-Force next and there are aspects about this movie that I really like and I've seen it several times before although I can see why it bombed. They didn't really market it at all and there are parts of the story that can drag on a bit. I'm really surprised they even put it out on disc, but the absolute lack of one single bonus feature tells me that we're lucky we got the movie in DVD at all.

Meet The Robinsons was next and, I've seen this movie a couple of times before, but I really have to force myself to watch it. I think the underlying themes that prevail throughout this movie are way too strong and come off preachy sometimes and it's a deterrent from the overall story line. I've given up whining about the animation even though this movie is a prime example of when CG animation just doesn't work.

There were two countable shorts on the disc to add to the total too, so not a complete loss.

Then it was time for Mars Needs Moms. This was the first time I had ever seen this movie and I all I can say is I wished I still hadn't seen it. The creepy animation was just downright scary and just plain wrong. I've seen capture animation movies before, but it really only works when they are going for that realistic approach. I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares over this movie. And don't get me started on the Martian extreme thigh gap...WRONG!

After two bombs, I had to go to the mother of all Disney space movies, Wall-E. This movie is preachy too, but they do it right and I never feel like it's being shoved down my throat. I love Wall-E and Eve and think they are great characters. This is one of those movies that has very little dialogue (not a good stitching movie, but I was ready for a break anyway, so it was fine) but really doesn't need it because the story is so strong. And the animation is beyond comparison to any Pixar movie before or since. To make it even better, there is no FastPlay on this disc (although it does come in a really crappy and hard to open cardboard case...I get the point of these, but I so hate to see one because they are always a pain to deal with).

There were two shorts on this disc as well and it made me realize that it was a good time to get my next two choices out of the way.

I have the two Pixar Short Films Collections, but having most of my Pixar movies on Blu-Ray meant that there were six on the first collection I hadn't seen (most of which were early, pre-feature-length Pixar shorts) or ones not on the DVD version of a particular movie. Some of my favorites I watched again, but others I didn't. There are also four Sesame Street-themed shorts featuring Luxo on the disc, so I counted them as one short.

There were only three on the second collection I had never seen. I'm only adding to the count the ones that weren't on any of the other movie bonus features, so it's a pretty short list of shorts. I was always surprised there wasn't a volume 3, but I guess since Disney is releasing one this year and it has Pixar shorts on it, then that's good enough, I would just prefer my Disney shorts and my Pixar shorts separate (even though I know they are under one umbrella now).

This was also the first time I watched these two collections back-to-back, and since I have the first collection DVD format and the second in Blu-Ray, it was very interesting to see how much of an actual difference there is between the two formats and it makes me feel much better about upgrading my complete collection from DVD to Blu-Ray.

Now on to Sunday (I might make these all in one post after all!). There was only one set of Pixar movies I had left and that was the Monsters series, starting first with Monsters, Inc. While I'm a big fan of the characters from these movies, I'm not that great of a fan of the actual movies themselves (as is the case with a lot of Disney/Pixar movies for me). I really want to like the actual movie, I just find myself getting bored very quickly. Not only that, but I realize that I have a pretty disturbing view of monsters since I have been watching horror movies since a very young age (blame me, not my parents, I would sneak up to watch them), but I don't think I know a single kid that would find a big teal-blue, purple spotted, fuzzy bear-looking creature scary. Maybe that's just me.

Since I watched both Shorts Collections, then I can't count the shorts on this disc, but there is a bonus disc in my set that had all kinds of cool stuff including an On The Jobs with Mike and Sulley expose, Monsters, Inc job orientation videos and another one of several TV commercials for the Monsters, Inc, so I'm adding three shorts to my count for these, one for each series of shorts.

Then on to the second movie, Monsters University, which I like even less. The story isn't half bad, it's the lack of continuity in the storytelling between the two movies that eats away at me. In the first one, they say that Mike and Sulley have been best friends since the 4th grade and the special features in that set are loaded with references to their childhood friendship. But this movie makes it seem like they didn't meet until college and were enemies at first. That sort of thing grates on my very last nerves. I realize that different filmmakers made the two, but would it hurt the second group to watch the first movie again? Or, since they all still work for Pixar, walk across the building and ask the first guys continuity questions? Ugh!

There was one short on this disc, The Blue Umbrella, which was really cute and well done, so well done, that parts of it were very hard to even tell they were CG animation. I couldn't find a full clip, but I did find a little clip:

I figured, since I was dragging the bottom of the Pixar bucket, it was time to drag the bottom of the Princess bucket as well, which means The Little Mermaid. I'm not going to go on and on about how I blamed this movie for so many years for being the final nail in hand-drawn animation's coffin, or how crappy the animation actually is, but I'm going to try to be a bit more positive because, like Beauty & The Beast, I know it has legions of fans. I do love the characters from the movie, the music is amazing too (just not as good as Beauty & The Beast) and I absolutely ADORE the ride at Disney World, but the actual movie itself? Not so much.

I do find it ironic that, throughout the myriad of special features on my disc, all the animators involved felt the need to profess their belief that Walt would have approved the direction that animation was going in by going completely digital. I don't think it's just because I'm already judgmental about it, but they honestly sounded more like they were trying to convince themselves more than the audience. I think Walt would approve the direction it is going now, but I think he would have been appalled at those early days and not just because of the growing pains to get the software apps just right, but the way that the company treated their animators in those days. So many greats left the company back then because they were either subjugated by their digital successors or just plain out and out fired because the company felt they weren't worth their salt anymore. It was a dark time for the Disney Company and a dark time in animation and I'll let it go at that.

It got better, the greats have now been practically canonized (the ones who are still alive) and the some of the ones who left have found their way back again or went on to bigger and better things. If Tim Burton had stayed just a Disney animator, look at all the things we would have missed out on, although, as I'm typing this, I realize what a double-edged sword I'm creating since I just complained about his constant use of Johnny Depp in all his movies...but still! I have yet to review Tim's best work ever, The Nightmare Before Christmas (and not just because it's Depp-less). I'm saving that for a special occasion.

There is also a short on this disc, The Little Match Girl, and you talk about creepy! No wonder I had never even heard of this before! UGH! I wasn't paying that close attention the first time I watched it, so I watched it again to make sure I saw what I saw, and sure enough, yep! What the hell were they thinking leaving the ending like that? Disney has never had a problem changing fairy tale endings before when they end badly. I'm posting it, but be forewarned, it is not a happy one:

Since there isn't any dialogue in the short (because honestly, is there anything left to say?), I figured it would be OK to post a foreign one.

Of course, as with most every Princess movie from Cinderella on, there are sequels, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. I don't know which came first, I watched them in the order listed because that's the way they were on the combo disc set I have. I kept falling asleep through both of them. I initially kept rewinding the disc when I realized what was happening, but after a while, I just said to hell with it and went on. I have seen both of them before, so if I missed part, it was OK. I didn't miss much.

If I'm really honest, Return to the Sea was almost a better movie than the first, except for the really crappy animation quality (you knew I wouldn't let that go), or the guy who took over voicing Eric sounds a bit more like a serial killer than a prince (and Eric is my second favorite Disney Prince behind Phillip, I went all fangirl over his statue at Disney's Art of Animation Resort at Disney World, so I take his voice seriously). I said I wasn't going to post a trailer for either of these (especially since I wrote them as one review), but why break tradition now?

Oh, and there was a short on the Return To The Sea disc, Merbabies, but again, you talk about creepy and it's one of my favorite kind of shorts, the Silly Symphony ones. And, for some weird reason, you can't turn the CC off on the short and it was annoying seeing queues for certain sounds (since there is usually no speech in a Silly Symphony). I grew up watching TV with CC because my step-dad is mostly deaf due to a war injury and I typically don't mind them much, but not on a musical short. Good thing it wasn't full length or I would have had to chuck it in for the night then). I didn't watch the special features on the second movie because I accidentally hit that stupid Netflix button on my remote and, by the time I got out of it, I was done for the least with new movies. I did watch The Avenger's twice before I went to bed, but I needed some adult movie time for a while.

50 days in and still no end in sight! I have quite a few more animated movies to go, a lot more live action including scores of Disney Channel Original Movies, and then there are the documentaries (I'm not going to watch them all, but the ones I feel are important to the catalog).

Live Action: 42
Full-Length Animation: 86
Mixed-Medium: 7
Animated Shorts: 276
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 2
Animated Series: 77
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 8


Kate N said...

Wow! I am exhausted just reading that post - you still managed to watch a lot even if you didnt like them much. I like Monsters Inc - its one of my faves along with Finding Nemo - but I am not a fan of Monsters University, I found it really easy to get distracted and the story for me didn't seem like the same two guys! lol But then, I have only seen it once.

The Little Mermaid is a movie that I am not keen on, I don't know why, I just never enjoyed it the first time I saw it and didn't watch it again. I have the same problem with Aladdin, and I barely make it through the opening sequence of Pocahontas!

But I am enjoying your reviews and finding out about films that I have never seen, and you are definitely helping me to decide whether I should or not. Hehe.

Heather said...

I don't know how you're keeping up lol. Little mermaid is one of my least favorite princess movies but I'm going to a benefit on Sunday so I might get to meet Jody benson! My dress for it comes today so I get to play dress up lol I just hope it fits. I liked the umbrella short when I saw it I thought it was cute. Loved wreck-it Ralph and I'm excited for pixels next week even though I hate Adam sandler. I like monsters inc too. University was kind of meh but definitely not my favorites of the Pixar series.

Tiffany Pincombe said...

Great reviews! I've seen very few of the ones you watched over the weekend, and I'll have to keep Wreck-It-Ralph in mind as one of the good ones.