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Old 26-11-2018, 07:48   #21
jockosjungle
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To be honest, i strongly doubted the crows were going to make it into the remake.
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Old 26-11-2018, 09:51   #22
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#5: Bambi (1942)

I'm noticing that these early "golden age" Disney films - with the exception of Pinocchio - were all very light on plot. They certainly had stories to tell, but there isn't a huge amount of focus or direction behind where they lead us. That's been a bit of an issue for me. And yet, in some ways this is the most ambitious Disney movie so far because it attempts to just portray life.

Still, Bambi is, for the most part, a delightful film. It's a slice-of-life tale about the animals in a forest and what they go through. Like Dumbo, it's very short with a running time of just over an hour, but again that suits the film. It does everything it needs to in that time, and any longer would have made it boring.

Bambi is a Disney film that I didn't see growing up, and I first caught it at some point in my 20s when it was on TV. This is a shame, because I think that the film's impact was probably lost on me. This should be a shocking and dark movie (and I'm sure it scarred many children) but I found it more thoughtful and ponderous than anything else.

There isn't all that much personality in the film. Thumper, the little rabbit, may be the only character in it with something that defines him. All of the other animals are just there, doing animal things with their families. Bambi himself (I actually always figured he was a girl, but no!) doesn't do all that much. He's always just reacting to what's going on around him, at least until he grows up and figures out what he wants in the later sections.

I also found some really jarring things here. After the very sad moment in which Bambi realises he's lost his mother, the film cuts to a very happy sequence with jaunty music and it really took me by surprise. I also burst out laughing at the introduction of the "grown up" versions of the characters who didn't look all that different but suddenly had deep voices. It just didn't fit.

There's some really excellent sequences all through this though which warmed me to the film a lot more. The presence of "man" as the enemy is really well done, especially since we never get to see him. The forest fire sequence is just stunning, and a stylised fight between Bambi and another male deer is really gorgeous. I was also really impressed at the scene with the birds hiding in the grass from the hunters, and one of them gets so scared that they decide to fly away... which is obviously the wrong decision.



My current ranking:
  1. Pinocchio
  2. Bambi
  3. Dumbo
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. Fantasia
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Old 28-11-2018, 13:32   #23
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#6: Saludos Amigos (1942)

Remember when Disney made an educational film about Latin America made up of four short animated sequences tied together by live action footage of the animators walking about the various countries? No, I had never heard of this one either. Watching it, I'm not surprised.

I don't quite know what to make of this. It was put together as part of a government "good neighbour" policy between the USA and South America (and, I also have to assume it was super cheap to make).

There's no story, and it feels very much like Saturday morning cartoons; slapstick and silly. Fortunately, two of the sequences feature Donald Duck, who is always fun. The low point of the film comes from the tale of Pedro the plane as he attempts his first solo flight while the narrator explains everything that's going on. I also wasn't a big fan of José Carioca who seems to exist just to advertise Brazil.

There is still some quality, and I'm impressed at how creative some of the things contained in here are. I was particularly charmed by the scene transitions in Goofy's segment (which by far has the best animation). In the end, though, this is a Disney film that nobody really talks about for a reason. I have to say it wasn't particularly educational, either. At least it's only 40 minutes long and there's no songs.

I have a few more of these "package" films to get through before I get back to the proper Disney animated films. Based on this I really don't think they should be counted among the Disney Classics line. Hopefully the rest will be a bit better.



My current ranking:
  1. Pinocchio
  2. Bambi
  3. Dumbo
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. Saludos Amigos
  6. Fantasia
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Old 28-11-2018, 20:13   #24
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Hehe, quite a bit more filler to come before you make it into the 1950s. I've got a soft spot for The Three Caballeros but mainly because of associations with visiting Epcot rather than any sense of wonder at another nonsensical Latin America travelogue.

Good luck getting through the next 6 hours or so.
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Old 28-11-2018, 21:01   #25
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Originally Posted by Roger Belly View Post
Hehe, quite a bit more filler to come before you make it into the 1950s. I've got a soft spot for The Three Caballeros but mainly because of associations with visiting Epcot rather than any sense of wonder at another nonsensical Latin America travelogue.

Good luck getting through the next 6 hours or so.

"The Three Caballeros" is a separate film that's next in the list, I assume.
I was just going to say a similar thing - the fact that it features in the Gran Fiesta Tour ride in the Mexican pyramid at Epcot probably makes it seem a better film than it is!
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Old 29-11-2018, 06:59   #26
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To be fair there was quite a bit of "filler" all through the collection. Anyone remember "the magic cauldron"?
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Old 29-11-2018, 09:14   #27
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Yes, the "package" films are all behind me now, and believe me I am thankful that they're over!
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Old 29-11-2018, 17:37   #28
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To be fair there was quite a bit of "filler" all through the collection. Anyone remember "the magic cauldron"?
Do you mean The Black Cauldron? Saw that in an almost empty Odeon as Santa Claus the movie in the next screen was sold out. Still think I got the better deal.

Also saw Oliver and Company and Basil The Great Mouse Detective at the cinema.
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Old 29-11-2018, 18:03   #29
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I'm actually really looking forward to The Black Cauldron. I've never seen it and know absolutely nothing about it.
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Old 29-11-2018, 18:41   #30
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I've never seen it and know absolutely nothing about it.
Not surprising. This was a failure at the box office, it was at the pictures near me for a week when Disney movies used to run for the month at least.

Its a nice idea and seems to have all the ingredients of a fantasy/Hobbit/Lord of the Rings type movie and should have worked but too much behind the scenes stuff really crippled its chances.

Some nice animation and early CGI, the main problem however is that instead of embracing a new animation style. They tried to recapture the old Disney days which as these were different animators using different processes could not be done.

Some of the voice actors I felt were not right for the part John Hurt especially when you hear him I am instantly reminded of him as Aragorn in Bakashi's Lord Of The Rings. Plus I think John Hurt's performances need his mannerisms than just his voice.

Richard Burton or Anthony Hopkins can do a cracking voice only work
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Old 29-11-2018, 21:49   #31
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Also saw Oliver and Company and Basil The Great Mouse Detective at the cinema.
Loved that when I saw it in the cinema as a kid; along with with The Rescuers Down Under.
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Old 30-11-2018, 09:31   #32
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#7: The Three Caballeros (1944)

A follow-up of sorts to Saludos Amigos, this seems to be intended as a more fully developed version of that. The irony is that it's far less interesting and much more messy than that film was.

Donald Duck is again taken on a tour of South American countries, this time through the form of birthday presents that magically whisk him away. There's even less attempt at storytelling here. The entire running time is more or less made up of dancing (outside of a story about a penguin and one about a flying donkey which appear at the start, and feel extremely out of place with the rest of the film).

The animation is the draw here, it's top notch and highly creative. This must also be an early example of mixing animation and live action together, and the results are pretty good from a technical point of view.

Painful to sit through, a real drag. So much dancing, and it's so full of hyperkinetic energy that it's all a bit exhausting. I still just don't like Joe Carioca. It's also a bit weird how aggressively horny Donald becomes when he's around (real) women.

It's nice to get a look at the different cultures, but it's presented in such a slapdash manner that it's meaningless.



My current ranking:
  1. Pinocchio
  2. Bambi
  3. Dumbo
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. Saludos Amigos
  6. Fantasia
  7. The Three Caballeros
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:19   #33
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#8: Make Mine Music (1946)

Sigh. Another package film made to save money. This is kind of like an updated version of Fantasia, with more contemporary music and settings (at least, contemporary for the 1940s). While in many ways it's more fun than that film, it also lacks the refinement and spark that one had.

Ten different short animations stuck together with no through line, very random and at times abstract. It's got the Disney flair but not the Disney magic, and I'm really missing that now. This one isn't as inventive as what has come before, either.

I think the only section I found something to like in was the retelling of 'Peter and the Wolf', which didn't sugarcoat things much at all and presented a darker cartoon than I would expect from today. Quite refreshing.

It's kind of interesting as a time capsule, because it showcases a lot of the popular music stars of the day. I'm also realising how much Sterling Holloway's voice was a part of my childhood and how instantly recognisable it is.



My current ranking:
  1. Pinocchio
  2. Bambi
  3. Dumbo
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. Saludos Amigos
  6. Fantasia
  7. Make Mine Music
  8. The Three Caballeros
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:38   #34
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#9: Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Still in the era of the Disney package films, but this is an improvement. Instead of a jumble of random short animations, this just tells two stories and they are both fully developed ideas. It's still a little difficult to fully enjoy, though.

The first story is about a circus bear named 'Bongo' who escapes into the wilderness. Bongo has very little in the way of personality and it's hard to engage with. There's no dialogue and instead the whole thing is narrated, which mostly works but isn't the most thrilling thing. It also goes on for far too long given how little story it has to tell. Honestly, it's pretty damn boring.

I really took some issue with the bizarre portrayal of bear romance, which involves hitting the person you're attracted to as a sign of affection. Come on.

The second short is the better one. It's a re-telling of 'Jack and the Beanstalk', but with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. That instantly means there's going to be a fun factor, and it delivers in that respect. Donald especially gets to do some real psycho stuff which is just glorious.

Unfortunately, the short interweaves with some really awful live action stuff involving a famous ventriloquist of the day and his creepy puppets. This felt quite unnecessary and honestly ruined the flow, especially since the puppets keep interrupting the narration to make bad jokes. Humour really was different back then, but I could see kids finding the fun in this. Myself, I was impatient to get back to Mickey.

One of the notable things about this is that the art and animation quality has a massive step up from the previous films, near enough equal to some of the classic features. That certainly makes it easier to sit through. I was particularly impressed at Jiminy turning over the newspaper pages, that looked amazing.

This is also famously the final time that Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse. This isn't a classic Disney film by any stretch, but it's the best thing they had done in a while.



My current ranking:
  1. Pinocchio
  2. Bambi
  3. Dumbo
  4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  5. Fun and Fancy Free
  6. Saludos Amigos
  7. Fantasia
  8. Make Mine Music
  9. The Three Caballeros
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Old 05-12-2018, 12:04   #35
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I remember having "Mickey and the Beanstalk" on vinyl and playing it many times as a kid. A way to have Disney magic in the days before home video!
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Old 05-12-2018, 13:58   #36
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I can imagine quite a bit of Disney's stuff being effective as audio-only. Especially their earlier releases.
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Old 06-12-2018, 16:15   #37
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Going on a YouTube watchathon, it was interesting to see a 'recycled Disney scenes' where dance routines were recycled across different films, eg, Beauty and the Beast, Aristocats, etc. Apparently it was a false economy though - it was a lot more expensive to recycle old scenes and rehash them, rather than draw them from scratch, plus the hassles of finding the drawings in old archives.

The Aristocats was my earliest Disney movie, and bizarrely, remember listening to it on 'follow along on cassette' version when I was ill in bed for ages. Loved the story and humour in it. I apparently saw 'The Rescuers' in the cinema, but can't remember that at all.

Last edited by Chris Locke; 06-12-2018 at 17:57.
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Old 06-12-2018, 17:09   #38
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I've definitely been noticing the recycled animation in a few circumstances! Once you see it, it really stands out.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:48   #39
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Digging into it a bit more:
Quote:
Disney Legend Floyd Norman, actually worked on many of the films in question; he started at Disney as an in-betweener on Sleeping Beauty, became part of the story department with The Jungle Book (he created the sequence in which Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli), and worked on dozens of films for Disney, Pixar and many other studios. If anyone would know the truth, it would be Norman. So I asked him, “what’s the deal with all those recycled scenes?”. “That was Woolie Reitherman.” A quick check of Wolfgang Reitherman’s IMDB page confirms that nearly every Disney film shown using recycled footage in these videos is one he directed, most notably the Jungle Book, Robin Hood, the Sword in the Stone, Winnie the Pooh, 101 Dalmatians and the AristoCats.
“It’s actually harder and takes longer to redraw an existing sequence,” Norman told me, “it’s a lot faster and easier to just do new animation, and it’s a lot more fun for the animators. But Woolie liked to play it safe and use stuff he knew would work. That’s all it was.”

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Old 07-12-2018, 12:07   #40
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Interesting stuff. It sounds like things came to a head on The Fox and The Hound when a significant chunk of the animation department resigned due to Reitherman's way of doing things.
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