Thursday, April 19, 2012

D52 Review - Sleeping Beauty

This is probably the most underwhelming princess movie I’ve ever seen. And I didn’t care for Cinderella very much at all. You can definitely see why they waited 20+ years after the fact to do another princess story, since this one was so bland and so boring and….just completely unmemorable.
The animation is worse than its predecessor, and the characters are really just meh. The story begins with Princess Aurora being born, and people come to shower the infant with gifts that most likely won’t go to the baby since a baby has no use for money. But three faeries decide to give more tangible gifts, such as beauty, song and prophesized death.
…wait, what?
Apparently there’s some big evil witch they didn’t want coming around the baby (who can blame them) and is a little pissed off about it. But instead of just outright killing the infant then and taking her revenge, she decides to choose a plan that could probably be avoided and would take decades to carry out. For one of the more legitimately threatening villains, she isn’t very bright.
The third faerie (who in the original fairy tale was supposed to grant the gift of obedience, which wouldn’t sit well with audiences of today, but since when has that stopped them?) decides to help by saying that instead of dying, she’ll just sleep until her true love can kiss her to wake her. So now we have a plot that’s ripping off a plot of a previous movie and a princess we know nearly nothing about.
And this doesn’t change over the course of the movie. Aurora/Briar Rose is so bland and boring as a princess. Sure she’s pretty, sure she can sing, sure she goes barefoot everywhere even though you shouldn’t go barefoot in a forest (wouldn’t walking across a log in bare feet hurt?) but we don’t know anything about her! Even less than Cinderella, and she was portrayed as being pretty much an unperson who took everything life could throw at her and kept her Stepford Smile on.
So, in this movie, I was very thoroughly bored. The only scene I really enjoyed was Prince Phillip slaying the “Dragon”, but that wasn’t enough to save my opinion of the movie. I really didn’t like this one. Thankfully Disney learned what they were doing when they made films like Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and others. There’s only so many times they can take a story that would take 15 minutes to tell and stretch it out like taffy.

D52 Review - Lady and the Tramp

Like most of the early films in this project, this was my first time seeing this film. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would! Even though I’m not a pet person, I liked the animal protagonists (even if Lady was really bland as a character) and the music was enjoyable. (“Bella Notte” is one of my favorite Disney songs of all-time.)
Something I took issue with right off the bat is the fact that the wife got a puppy as a Christmas gift (and it appeared that she expected clothes or jewelry, because women are all moneygrubbing whores) and all I could think was “…uh, if you’re gonna make a commitment to take care of a puppy, wouldn’t it be nice to talk it over with your wife first?”
Personally, I’d be upset if I got a puppy without being asked if I wanna take care of one first. Then I’d seem like a heartless bitch for not giving the puppy a home and for refusing a Christmas gift. But getting back into the story, the lady gets pregnant (as ladies are wont to do around that time) and we get comical bitchiness and cravings scenes!
The baby is born, and of course Lady is upset since the owners have forgotten about her. As the oldest child with three other siblings, I know that feeling and it isn’t fun. But apparently it’s more acceptable to do that to the family pet, since pets don’t have feelings and whatever.
The movie itself is charming, but has its flaws. I seriously did not realize how racist the Siamese cat scene was until watching this, despite the fact that I had heard the song before as a child and couldn’t remember it being that bad. (But as a kid you don’t really have an opinion about these things.) But…wow, that scene was painful to watch. I’m surprised it hasn’t come up more often in “Reasons Disney is Racist/Horrible” lists on Cracked.com.
The spaghetti scene is as adorable as it’s made out to be, but of course there has to be a comical romantic misunderstanding (a cliché that’s used far too much in every social media and that I really, really hate) and they have the most demonic looking rat I’ve ever seen. And as Jesse was quick to point out, why would the rat go to the baby’s room instead of the kitchen? Unless it’s a DEMONIC RAT BENT ON HUMAN FLESH.
After another misunderstanding with the humans, we finally get our resolution, Tramp gets a home, and we have Babies Ever After. Despite its flaws, this was the first Disney film I viewed that actually showed they were trying to get their act together with filmmaking and story and stuff like that.
And then they decided to do Sleeping Beauty next and it all went to shit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

D52 Review - Peter Pan

One of the hazards of this project is having a film that you liked a lot as a child blowing up in your face with how much it doesn’t hold up now that you’re older. I was really childishly excited about Peter Pan, since I remember watching it a lot as a kid and liking it. I love the songs “Second Star to the Right” and “You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly!” and hearing the opening choir made me grin. But as the movie went on, my grin faded.
The father in the story borders on the abusive, which was uncomfortably shown by the way the wife seems to shrink back whenever he turns to her. Then Peter Pan shows up and he’s more of a brat than I remember, with the “Girls talk too much!” and all. (I agree that girls DO talk too much, but still, how about a thank you for sewing your shadow back on?)
However, he pales in comparison to the huge bitch that Tinkerbell is for most of the story. She pretty much is out to sabotage Wendy every chance she gets, going as far as trying to outright kill her. And like in Alice in Wonderland, there’s a theme of girls either being completely oblivious to danger or just not minding that EVERYTHING is trying to kill them!
“Tinkerbell, are you trying to commit murder again?”
“We were only trying to drown her!” (Actual quote.)
And of course, there’s the unfortunate racism involving the Native Americans in the story, which made me much more uncomfortable than as a child since I actually understand what’s going on. The only scenes I can say I genuinely enjoyed the way I did as a child are the scenes with Captain Hook and the crocodile, since they play off each other well and are still comical to me.
I feel bad for not liking most of the films I’ve seen so far, but that’s one of the things about projects like this, not everything you saw as a kid holds up today. Some you still like, some you like better, some you wonder why you ever liked them in the first place. I hope the pattern changes as it goes on.

D52 Review - Alice in Wonderland

This was my first time watching Alice in Wonderland, and I was interested to see what the movie had in store for me. I wasn’t around for the package films of the 40s, but I think this kinda had that same feel. It didn’t really have a flow to it. It started quickly, moved swiftly, ended abruptly. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I did get surprised at how fast it moved along.
Alice is a very distracted child (most likely a child that would be diagnosed with an attention disorder today) and is very removed from reality. Her stepping into Wonderland is kind of rushed, where she’s like “This book doesn’t have any pictures kthanksbye”. And she’s so nonchalant about the whole thing!
“Oh, my, I appear to be falling down what could be a bottomless pit! I don’t mind if I’m suspended by my comically billowing skirt for eternity, I’m just gonna go with the flow!”
“Drink Me. Seems legit!”
“Eat Me. Well, the first one didn’t have any side effects whatsoever!”
And of course, we have our characters, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Walrus, the Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter, etc. I remember the Walrus scene being a focal point of hilarity for myself and my viewing companion, but not for the reason you would think. Oysters on the half-shell are probably my favorite thing to eat, and the little baby oysters that the Walrus and his Weasel friend were consuming did not look cute and adorable as intended, but instead made me hungry. I’m just shellfish that way, I guess?
I wasn’t charmed by the characters as much as I thought I would be. I enjoyed the Mad Hatter scene, the Cheshire Cat went over ‘meh’, the roses were complete bitches, and the Queen of Hearts reminded me of a notoriously bipolar retail manager I had. Everything seemed to move so quickly that I couldn’t even enjoy what was going on, and it didn’t even make Alice the focal point of the story.
Then the movie ended as abruptly as it began, “you fell asleep again oh you had a dream whatever time for tea.” It’s a very rushed film, and the visuals didn’t do very much to help it (even with some *ahem* help.) Lots of people like it, and I don’t blame them, but to me, my first viewing didn’t win me over.