I'm sure most of you saw in the news about that idiot dentist that killed the beloved lion in Africa. I'm not a fan of cats, big or small, but I would never kill one and that kind of killing for fun is just stupid! I hope they throw him under a third-world jail. All I kept thinking all day long is "wouldn't it be just if the dentist was turned into one of the lion cubs that will now probably be killed by the other lions since their dad is no longer around to protect them?" or better yet, if the punishment fit the crime?
That act of stupidity decided my movie direction for last night...Brother Bear If you haven't seen Brother Bear, I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but basically, a boy who kills a bear that he thinks is responsible for the death of his brother, gets turned into a bear and unknowingly befriends the cub of the dead bear. It is a surprisingly really good movie considering what generation it came out of and I've always really liked it, but it hit home a bit harder last night. Granted, it has a bit of the "preachy" element to it and the music can be too overpowering at times (whoever decided that Tina Turner would be a good choice to sing the opening song to a Disney movie ought to rethink their career...her voice is WAY too powerful for the context of a Disney film). The backgrounds were amazing though and the animation was soft enough not to be domineered by the CG aspects of it. In the end though, it's all about the story and it's one of the few original Disney story lines. As much as I love the fairy tales, the originals tend to have more heart and lack limitations of a defined predetermined course.
The only thing that really has always bothered me about this movie is that it starts off in full screen and transforms to widescreen once Kenai becomes the bear. I always forget and end up changing the settings on my TV because I think something is wrong. I often say I'm all for artistic creativity, but even I have my limits. Changing the size of the screen to represent the "opening" of Kenai's eyes to the world is a bit like Johnny Depp's interpretation of Willy Wonka...useless and just plain annoying.
I guess I had never seen Brother Bear 2, although I've owned it for years and just recently replaced it with the combo disc pack with the first one. I was almost mad at myself when I finished because it is better than the first one! Unlike every single other Disney sequel out there, this one had no decrease in the quality of the animation and what a pleasant surprise that was! Granted, we had a main voice change from Joaquin Phoenix to Patrick Dempsey (which was a bit shocking...couldn't they have at least tried to get a similar voice?) and a different lead musician from Phil Collins to Melissa Etheridge (who I'm not a fan of, but her voice suited the songs, so it was OK). I was a bit shocked to hear Mandy Moore voice Nita, the female lead, as well. I didn't realize she had done another Disney voice other than Rapunzel. Since I was stitching while watching, it tended to throw me upon occasion because I kept looking up expecting to see Rapunzel. But like the first, the story was so incredibly strong and the animation was so good, any little nitpicking I could do would be just that.
And since I had finally let loose of the lion drama and was in a bear mood, The Country Bears was next. Yes, this is a horrible movie in all respects, but I do so love it because I worship The Country Bears! The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean might be my favorite rides at Disney World, but I go all fan-girl over the bears every single time. I know every word to every song by heart, every personality of every bear and every facial expression and, when the show comes on MouseWorld Radio, I get that Duran Duran giddiness in the pit of my stomach! I must have been a bear in a past life or something!
This movie doesn't feature any songs from the show (well, other than in the special features section), but it has a Muppet-type feel because it has a plethora of stars throughout the entire movie. Every single time they mention one of the bears, I'd find myself singing one of the show's songs that included that bear's name (I bet I went "Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred and a bear named Tennessee" a hundred or so times!) and every time I saw Big Al, I'd go "blood on the saddle". The movie is so bad it's good I guess!
And seriously, just how many voices has Haley Joel Osment did for Disney? Well, I IMDB'ed it and, not counting the Kingdom Hearts video game series (he's the voice of Sora), he's only done five animated movie voices (although technically The Country Bears isn't animated, but still). It sure feels like a heck of a lot more. And when you've got the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Don Henley as the singing voices of the bears, it just goes to show I'm not the only bear fan in the world.
I'm really going to miss not having The Country Bears at Disneyland, but at least there will be a lot of Koda and Kenai around the Grand Californian and, a lot of bears in that movie have a Country Bear feel to them (again, I'm obviously not the only bear fan in the world). I'm going to have to try really hard to remember to turn around in the beginning of the Winnie the Pooh ride to see the original Max, Buff, and Melvin!
Live Action: 76
Full-Length Animation: 89
Animated Shorts: 282
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 77
Mixed-Medium Series: 2