Today I uploaded the next in my Animated Oscars: Did the Right Film Win series. We are on to 2003 and we get 2 special films and one that I hate.
If you guys follow my blog you know I did not like Brother Bear. You can read my full review to find out why I felt it made the wrong choice every time and got a rare F from me.
The two worthy nominees are Finding Nemo and The Triplets of Belleville.
Finding Nemo is the wonderful Pixar film about a father fish searching for his son who is in an aquarium miles away. It is funny, creative, very well paced with beautiful seascapes.
The Triplets of Belleville is not for everyone. It is challenging 2D animated film from Sylvain Chomet. The story is about a woman who’s Grandson becomes a cyclist but then is abducted. She meets a famous vaudville act The Triplets of Belleville who help her find her Grandson and sing a lot of catchy songs along the way. There is no dialogue for the most part and it is very strange but I like it. The animation is stunning and the music will make you want to dance. It made my Most Artistic Animated Films list.
So what do you go with the artistic film with great music or the crowdpleaser with great heart and good jokes? Watch the video and find out. 🙂
What would you pick? Would love your thoughts on if the right film won in 2003.
I haven’t done a straight Disney post for a while and I thought it might be fun to go through the decades of Disney and pick one movie I think is overrated, and one underrated. The overrated movies are not bad movies (except for 1). I like all Disney movies to one level or another and there are only 4 that I have no desire to ever see again. (Any guesses?)
I don’t think any from this era are overrated. They are all great. That said, I like Pinocchio. It is brilliant, a masterpiece, but it is so dark and scary that it is not one I want to rewatch much. I would give it an A where most people give it an A+ so only a small difference (I had a B in my original review but I’ve thought on it and would give an A now). It’s a morality tale and sometimes that can be a little heavy handed and the Pleasure Island sequence is especially chilling particularly the kids turning into donkeys for the salt mines (holy crap that’s scary!). However, I LOVE the music, animation, and heart! I appreciate a lot more now as an adult than I did as a child but unlike Hunchback which goes too far IMO this is still watchable scary for kids. Just not a favorite of mine even though I recognize its many great qualities.
Dumbo I think unfairly has a reputation as being racist and so people stay away. The crows are a caricature but I never found them demeaning or insulting. Perhaps I am not culturally sensitive to that group but they are happy and cheerful, nothing childish or patronizing. Even if you fast forward the crows (a small scene) the rest of the movie has such heart and teaches about accepting others with differences- just the message some fear the crows are against.
I love the relationship between Timothy Mouse and Dumbo and Mrs Jumbo and her son. The artistry is also simple but beautiful.
None of the package movies are really rated very highly but I got a lot of pushback on my Fun and Fancy Free review because people have nostalgia for Mickey and the Beanstalk. I wonder how many have really seen it recently? It is pleasant and Crazy Donald is cool but it is also predictable and kind of slow. But it is harmless enough. What I really didn’t care for was Bongo- the story of a circus bear who learns how to slap people to show them how much they love them. What a great message for kids!
I am also not a big fan of the interruptions from Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen at a little girls birthday party. I know they are legends but it didn’t make me laugh and felt a little awkward.
I find Melody Time to be one of the more palatable of the package films because although it has 7 shorts it focuses mainly on 2 longer segments- Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill. Appleseed I love but may be less agreeable to non-Christian viewers. It looks like it was picked up off a Grandma Moses painting and the story is sweet and music lovely. Pecos Bill is also beautiful to look at and a very funny Western tall tale.
I like Peter Pan but unlike Dumbo I think people have a right to complain about the Redman song. It is pretty bad and long. Plus, everyone is so mean to Wendy and she doesn’t really do anything worthy of the ill treatment. It also resorts to slapstick a lot. Most of it I think is funny but it gets a little old after a while. Still, the artistry is lovely and music great. It’s a solid, entertaining movie, just not a favorite of mine.
Alice in Wonderland isn’t for every taste so I think that is why it gets a bad rap. If you can just take off your normal linear storytelling hat and appreciate something different you will be dazzled. It is supposed to be nonsense, not have a plot. The movie is Alice being introduced to a variety of unusual creatures and I think it is brilliant. The artistry is so much fun with the great Mary Blair’s visual style and the music is wonderful too. Even after seeing it many times I find myself curious for what Alice will find next on her journey. It’s great!
This is another film I think a lot of people have a fondness for out of nostalgia more than it actually being a good movie. I was honestly being generous when I gave it a C-. I hated the way it looks. Everything looks like it has been painted over with blue and gray and feels dirty. But most importantly none of the lessons Arthur goes through teach him anything about being a King or make him qualified to take the sword out of the stone. Let’s see- he learns to be saved as a fish by Archimedes, make a squirrel cry as a squirrel and have Merlin battle Madam Mim as a bird. How does any of that relate to being a King? The songs are fun I will grant it that.
The movie even Disney is embarrassed by because of the recycled animation. I’ve thought about it a lot and decided I don’t care about that. It’s just a technique like CG, hand drawn, stop motion, and if the story is good than the technique doesn’t matter to me. Not that Robin Hood is a perfect film. I think it is one act too long and gets a little too melancholy in the 3rd act. But I love the dry English wit and pithy dialogue. It’s funny with a great villain and solid music.
Fox and the Hound is a fine movie but I’ve seen it pretty high on some lists and it is far too corny for me to take seriously. I mean there is an extended poem with violins playing in the background. If that’s not corny I don’t know what is? And the characters are kind of one note although the message about friendships changing is a good one. I hate the female characters who are just man (or dog/fox) candy. I am not a fan of the dopey music and the bear scene while striking feels like it belongs in a different movie.
Those of us who are in the animation fandom may think I’m nuts for saying Great Mouse Detective is underrated but I think if you asked the world at large many are unaware of The Great Mouse Detective. It’s not a perfect movie and is pretty scary for little tikes but the energy of Basil and Dawson and the great performance by Vincent Price as Ratigan make it thoroughly entertaining. The scheme is over-the-top like a Bond villain and the animation is lush including the terrific use of computer animation in the clocktower segment. The only part I dislike is the stripper song at the bar which I fast forward.
Hunchback of Notre Dame is kind of the opposite of Great Mouse Detective. The hardcore Disney fandom loves it, where most normal moviegoers I know greatly dislike it. We’ve hashed this out a million times on this blog but my main issues are the tonal shifts it takes between obvious appeals to children to adult-appropriate cruelty and messaging. The movie is visually striking but I found myself either disliking or feeling ambivalent towards every character. The change of Frollo to a judge from the Archbishop actually makes the church look worse by being inattentive and enabling a madman. The music is wonderful and it is some of Disney’s best animation but I just can’t get over that tonal see-saw and the cruel imagery for a film marketed and made for children. They should have just gone all adult and I would have gone for it.
This movie hits a couple happy buttons for me. I love action adventure movies with treasure hunts and clues. To me RDU tapped into that formula and was so much fun. I also love scenes in movies where characters fly and this has stunning flying sequences with Marahute. I also had extremely low expectations because I hate the first one. RDU tempers the meanness of the first by only having McCleach in the movie for about 12 minutes and Cody is rarely alone. There is way more hope throughout and John Candy is hilarious as Wilbur the albatross who is operated on by crazy mice doctors (still one of the funniest scenes in all of Disney!).
Finding an overrated movie in this period is hard and Brother Bear has a bad rotten tomatoes score and is at the bottom section of most people’s list so how can it apply? Well, I guess this is degrees. I thought it was total junk. I disagreed with literally every decision they made. Most people give it a ‘stupid but harmless’ pass but I hated everything about it- the voice acting, predictable story, terrible character designs, awful background songs, strange singer choices, unlikable characters, annoying side characters, humor that doesn’t work (most jokes aren’t even jokes, no punchlines given…), ending is unbelievable and it had potential which made their terrible choices even more maddening. I would way rather watch Brave than this and I am not a big Brave fan but in the world of Disney turning into bears movies this is by far the worst. It was nominated for an Oscar I remind you!
Meet the Robinsons is not a perfect movie by a long shot but I think many were so upset by Chicken Little they didn’t give this a fair shot. It’s a lot of fun and very clever. It is too cluttered but it is also kind of a puzzle I had fun putting together. The Bowler Hat villain is creepily drawn and you will never guess his surprise! The characters are engaging and fun and the story has a lot of energy, zipping around all over the place. And I almost always like a time travel story so this just worked even with its flaws. Give it another shot and I bet you will find some things to like.
Sorry guys. I like Wreck-it Ralph but it is an average Disney for me not a top tier film. I love the setup. I love Ralph but I do not like Vanellope or Sarah Silverman’s vocal performance. The villain is very clever but they spend way too much time in Sugar Rush and I’ve seen lots of worlds that look like Sugar Rush. After a while it kind of looked like one of the new Care Bears movie backdrops. I love the music, and what they were going for but it loses me. It should have been more like The Lego Movie or Monsters Inc in the door scene and skipped between lots of the games. That would have been much more entertaining to me. Again, not terrible. I like it. I own it. I just don’t think it is the masterpiece others think. Plus, the other movies in the era are in my top 10 except for Winnie the Pooh which I love and Princess and the Frog which I feel is perfectly rated.
I don’t know if I think any of the films from this era is underrated but like Great Mouse Detective I think 2011’s Winnie the Pooh has been largely forgotten by the general public despite getting good reviews and praise of many hard-core fans. This is a movie that takes its target demographic of little children under 3 seriously and is gentle and sweet and I loved it. Aside from a few of the voice actors and Christopher’s eyes it is lovely story of the gang trying to find Eeyore’s tail and prepare for the coming of the Backson. I love the music and the animation is wonderful. I love that this movie was made for little children with no attempts to wink at adults and even the short running time is perfect for the attention span of toddlers.
And please save your conspiracy theories. This was not a carefully constructed film to justify the closing of the 2D department. That is so asinine. If Disney can make money on 2D guess what they want to make money. That’s what a business wants to do…It’s not as good as the original but a worthy sequel in spirit and feel- an lovely homage you might say.
So there you have it. I’m sure you will have lots to say. Remember I like all of these movies except Brother Bear. I love Disney movies! Share with me what your over/under would be for the eras I mentioned? Always be respectful and we can have a spirited debate. Thanks!
So people love a worst of list including myself. There’s something fun about dogging on the hard work of hundreds of people and a giant studio like Disney. Every year I love watching all the worst films lists on my favorite youtubers (and loved it back in the Siskel and Ebert days). In Disney’s defense they have very few true stinkers. There are only 3 that I would really call stinkers and even them I would rather watch than stinkers from other studios like this years Legend’s of Oz, The Lorax or The Smurf movies. So this is all relative.
But you guys asked for it so here goes…
Worst Movies (you know this from my rankings).
Silver- Chicken Little
Bronze- Brother Bear
Gold- Radcliffe- Pocahontas
Silver-Sykes- Oliver and Company
Bronze- Kron- Dinosaur
Character I Personally Dislike the Most-
Gold- Medusa, Rescuers
Silver- Buck Cluck, Chicken Little
Bronze- Kenai, Brother Bear
Gold- Say it with a Slap, Bongo from Fun and Fancy Free
Silver- Mine, Mine, Mine, Pochahontas
Bronze- A Guy Like You, Hunchback of Notre Dame
Gold- Kenai, Brother Bear
Silver- Taran, Black Cauldron
Bronze- Pocahontas, Pocahontas
Gold- Gargoyles, Hunchback of Notre Dame
Silver- Koda, Brother Bear
Bronze- All the Cows, Home on the Range
Most Offensive Disney Moment-
Gold- Redman, Peter Pan
Silver- Judge Frollo burning family alive, Hunchback
Bronze- Ending, Jungle Book
Most Boring Disney Movies-
Silver- Three Caballeros
Bronze- Brother Bear
Gold- Home on the Range
Silver- Chicken Little
Bronze- Oliver and Company and Brother Bear tied
Movies that Others Like that I Don’t (don’t hate them but not crazy about them either)-
Gold- Sword in the Stone
Silver- Hunchback of Notre Dame
Bronze- Wreck it Ralph
Aristocats a lot of people give a pass too.
Gold- Fox and the Hound
Silver- Home on the Range
Bronze- Brother Bear
There you go! Remember just an opinion. Everyone has different tastes and these are just mine.
The last few nights of movie viewing have been rough going…I try to be kind and positive on my reviews but I would be lying if I didn’t say how much I disliked Brother Bear, Chicken Little and Home on the Range. Treasure Planet was fine but kind of dry. The reviews don’t have any meaning if they are all vanilla and you never either love or hate something.
But it’s tough when there is a stretch of bad reviews. Start to feel like a jerk! I want to like them! Really I do.
Fortunately we get a break from the dreck with Disney’s strange but entertaining 47th animated classic Meet the Robinsons. This is not a masterpiece but as pop entertainment it is creative and bizarre and I liked it.
There isn’t a ton to say on production but that Pixar was officially purchased by Disney during the making of the movie, which is why John Lasseter became a producer on the film.
In fact, he saw an early screening and didn’t think the villain was scary enough so he changed it and evidently 60% was changed and retooled. It has the feel of a movie that is a bit overwrought and maybe retooled a bit too much but it still works.
It is also of note because it was the first Disney movie to be released in digital 3D that is so common now.
The movie has a bit of a Simpsons feel with broad humor and bright colors and even has Danny Elfman as the composer of the score (who wrote the Simpsons theme). It’s not as good as the Simpsons or as funny but I would bet it is a creative influence.
The soundtrack has songs by Jamie Cullum, Rob Thomas, They Might be Giants and others and it is very good. Probably Disney’s best pop song soundtrack. (At least it is a step up from The Spice Girls in Chicken Little…)
The voicecast is universally strong and huge (shows how many characters are in the story). Steve Anderson voices 3 parts including the Bowler Hat Guy, Ethan Sandler 5 including Doris. Tom Kenny, Tom Selleck, Laurie Metcalf, Angela Bassett, Harland Williams all provide voices.
This movie is impossible to describe without being a huge spoiler for those who haven’t seen it.
Basically it’s kind of Back to the Future meets The Incredibles meets strangeness.
A little kid named Lewis is an orphan who likes to invent things (kind of like Doc Brown as an orphan kid). He even keeps his roommate up all hours of the night with his inventions.
His inventions prevent him from being adopted, so he decides he wants to get to know his mother using a memory scanner he has invented. He then meets a strange boy named Wilbur
Wilbur is looking for a man with a bowler hat who has stolen a time machine. This sends Lewis on quite the journey! The Bowler Hat man is a very good and creepily drawn villain. You will never guess who the Bowler Hat man really is. Or at least I didn’t. It’s very clever!
Lewis and Wilbur meet the Robinson family and I don’t want to give the surprises away but there is a dinosaur and several other inventions. It’s a nutty movie.
At times it gets a little cluttered and convoluted but basically it’s about how Lewis gets to understand his mother, his own potential and the importance of family.
I don’t want to oversell Meet the Robinsons because it has big problems. It throws a lot at the screen and at a certain point it becomes exhausting, but I’d rather have that than a lazy predictable entry like Brother Bear. Just my personal preference I suppose.
I’m not sure every plot point works out and the writing could be sharper, creating more compelling characters but what we get isn’t bad. In fact, I think it is pretty good.
It’s certainly bright and colorful and the story definitely surprised me. The villain is very well done and like I said caught me off guard. The big reveals work and overall I was charmed by it.
It might be a little hard for kids to keep track of everything and I wish there were a few more laughs but I think enough is there to entertain kids and it’s maybe even more suited to teens.
We do also get some really nice messages about family, being yourself, and getting adequate amounts of sleep each night…!
It’s certainly a huge step up from Chicken Little. That’s for sure. It’s no Pixar. I mean Pixar came out with Rataouille in 2007 and who can compete with that?… (was a weird year for animation because the Bee movie also came out which is a strange mixed bag like Meet the Robinsons).
So looking for some odd and colorful entertainment? Give Meet the Robinsons a shot.
I’ll just give a warning before reading this review. If you like Brother Bear you probably don’t want to read further because I did not. It had such potential but everything about it was a failure. So, if reading a review of someone who dislikes something you like is an unpleasant experience for you than STOP READING NOW!
In 2003 I went on a mission for my church so for 2 years I didn’t see any movies and with new movies coming out when I came home I never really got to play catch up. Sure I watched the 3rd Harry Potter movie, The Incredibles and Return of the King but that was about it in the 2003-2005 era. If one had a bad reputation I skipped it and moved on. Brother Bear was one of those films and I hate to say it but I’m glad I did.
I’m sorry guys but this movie stinks.
Literally every choice I would have advised them to reconsider. Everything from the yogi bearish 2D characters on top of the deep canvas which looked strange, the odd voice cast, the underwhelming songs, the uber-predictable story, the painful attempts at humor and the incredibly unlikable lead character made it a very unpleasant experience. Honestly I’m struggling to find anything I like about this one.
Unfortunately I’m not the most witty writer in the world (at least I can admit it unlike the writers of this movie…) but my friend over at Disney Movie Year wrote a very funny review of Brother Bear. He liked it about as much I did…
It is obvious from the start of the movie Brother Bear tries to recycle themes, characters even whole scenes from Lion King, Pocahontas, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, and more. One article I read (information was fairly sparse on this one) said
“Michael Eisner informed the animation department that he wanted a movie about bears. What about bears? The fact that they are readily marketable, in Stepakoff’s estimation. Various ideas were kicked around – “bear King Lear”, “bear Antigone”, none of which came to fruition, surprisingly.
Well said but even a commercial cash grab can turn out interesting as Disney has proven many times (think Robin Hood) but the choices they made are so strange.
Everything in the movie looked odd to me. The way the characters are designed on top of the Deep Canvas background always felt off. Also the voice casting never seemed to fit.
The songs are super lame and who thinks ‘Intuit bear story’ and then ‘I’ll hire Tina Turner’? I don’t get it? That makes no sense? There were so many strange choices like that.
The story is so predictable. Every time it took the obvious turn I groaned at the screen. And the sentimental moments are not earned by the characters. I don’t believe the journey they are on or even understand why it is completely necessary. I mean does every teenager who mouths off and acts in anger get turned into a bear in the world of this story? Even if you accept his punishment, I saw no change or growth and the events on their road trip are so obvious and so predictable they bored me to the point I kept checking the time left on the netflix stream….It wouldn’t speed up but seemed to have a half an hour left for 3 hours….
Just bad choices all around. The dialogue is awful. The script feels childish and a lot of times we are introduced to characters and then we never hear form them again. Something usually isn’t funny if we have just met a character. Honestly the script left me aghast at it’s stupidity. I expect better from Disney! (No wonder this only has 32% on Rotten tomatoes…)
For example, there is a line in the movie where the two moose are playing ‘I spy’ and they go back and forth spying things and I kept waiting for the joke. There was no joke!! It was just a 2 minute bit of dialogue playing I spy and I guess that’s supposed to be funny? And I guess talking ‘Canadian’ and saying hosier a lot is also supposed to be funny? It certainly didn’t make me laugh.
There were so many befuddling moments like that? Why attempt to treat the Intuit culture so carefully at the beginning and then have modern voices speaking the way modern teens would speak? That was so distracting. There’s one scene where some billygoats who are introduced and forgotten about in like 2 minutes, say shut up 7 times. Is that supposed to be funny characters saying shut up a lot?
Aladdin could get away with modern voiced characters because there was no attempt to be authentic to Arabic culture. Same with Hercules.
The other huge problem is the lead character is so unlikable. I started to watch after a while (I was so bored) to see when we finally get a smile from Kenai. Literally 1 hr 2 minutes before a smile. He is so winy and for things that don’t seem so bad. It’s not like they are stuck in terrible weather or life is miserable? And at the beginning, so he got a love totem? Is that really such a shameful thing? What a cliche for the male character to hate love and kindness. Groan…It seemed so immature for someone having been officially made a man to be continually harping on it.
He is either angry, bitter, or complaining the whole movie. This made his transformation at the end completely unbelievable. The relationship between Koda and Kenai doesn’t feel earned as he goes from hating him to loving him in literally one conversation and musical montage. I realize Tarzan kind of does this but the montage shows weeks of interaction and sharing. This is literally a song and them frolicking in the woods. There’s no sense of time elapsing or growth of characters. And even when he finally smiles he is still kind of a grump. I don’t know when I’ve disliked a lead character more in any movie, Disney or not ..
I could keep going but really this movie sucks. I think Bongo is a better bear movie…
I’m sorry if I offend people who like it but I thought every choice they made was wrong. Even the pretty scenery was ruined by the Saturday morning cartoons they placed on top of it. And that’s an insult to Saturday morning cartoons…
I’ll say it again but I really thought this movie sucked and it had such potential, so I’m not inclined to be easy on it. Badly done!
Overall Grade- F
Just to show I’m not alone on this one Rotten tomatoes bottom 2 is Brother Bear and Chicken Little of the Disney Canon. They are the only 2 movies in the 30 percentages (which is pretty amazing when you think about it). Nearly every other Disney movie is pretty close to being fresh. I don’t think any other studio could say that. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/guides/best_disney_animated_movies/
So now we are starting the part of this project I am probably looking forward to the least- the Disney 2000s. To be honest, if I could just watch 12 Pixar movies instead I would be a lot more pumped but I promised to go into the project open minded and I will do so with each of these films.
In fact, most of them aside from Emperor’s New Groove, I either haven’t seen or haven’t seen in a long time. So I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised kind of like I was with Rescuers Down Under. Hopefully I will find a hidden gem.
So, I am curious, my wonderful readers, which one (or more) out of these 12 do you like and why? Get me pumped! Which is your least favorite? I promise I will not let your likes or dislikes affect my view of the films so don’t worry about that. Just share in the comments or message me on facebook or twitter at @smilingldsgirl.