Once Upon a Time Season 1 Review

ouat2Being a Disney buff I have often been asked for my feelings on Once Upon a Time and indeed I probably should have started watching the show much sooner but it was on Sunday nights and my Sunday nights were filled with Amazing Race, The Simpsons and other shows.  Now TAR is on Fridays and I find myself having little to nothing to watch on Sundays besides the Simpsons and I’d heard great things about the recent OUAT season featuring characters from Frozen that I decided to give it a watch.  Luckily seasons 1-3 are on Netflix stream so that makes catching up very easy!

It’s a pretty simple premise for a show, one that only ABC could stage with it’s Disney pedigree.  The story begins with a town in Maine called Storybrooke.  It is a town of displaced fairytale creatures who have all forgotten their alter-egos because of a curse put on them all by the Evil Queen/Regina in modern world.  Regina is played with a lot of gusto by Lana Parilla.

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A seeming commoner named Emma comes into the town by a boy who claims to be her son.  She is played with mixed results (the acting is not great in this show…) by Jennifer Morrison who some might recognize from How I Met Your Mother.

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Henry played by Jared S Gilmore is Regina’s adopted son but he hates her and knows she is out to destroy everyone in Storybrooke.  It’s kind of funny to have a kid completely deplore their mother.  Never seen that in a show before.

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Emma becomes the Sheriff and as she seeks to uncover her past we meet with a variety of storybook characters.  The biggest are Snow White played by Ginnifer Goodwin, who I am not a huge fan of but she is Ok here. snow whiteOf course she has her Prince Charming who is played by Josh Dallas in a more fleshed out role than the few seconds the animated film gives us (naturally of course).  His storylines about being a false prince is one of the most entertaining of the first season.

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Then we get episodes with one or more of the following characters.

Geppetto and Pinocchio

pinocchio Belle played by Lost’s Emile de Ravin

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Cinderella played by Jessy Schram

cinderella  The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio (and other fairies and one who I think is Tinker Bell but I’m not sure) blue fairy  The 7 Dwarves, Grumpy in Particular gets a plot7 dwarves   Hansel and Gretel

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Red Riding Hood by Meghan Ory

meghan-ory-red-riding-hoodJimminy Cricket- a heavy Snow White and Pinocchio influence on the show

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The Genie

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The Mad Hatter

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Maleficent

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And our main villain of the franchise aside from Regina is Rumpelstiltsken who is played very creepily by Robert Carlyle.  I kind of hope that success of this series might inspire Disney to do a Rumpelstiltsken.  I’ve often wondered what their version would look like.  It would be different than any of their other animated fairytales because it would have to feature a princess who gets married towards the beginning of the story and has a baby.  So far Disney princesses have always been virginal adolescent girls.  Also, you’d have to have her marry a King who was going to kill her if she didn’t make straw into gold which isn’t exactly PC but it would be interesting to see what the Disney people could do with it .

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So what are my thoughts on the first 22 episodes of the show? Well, overall I’m entertained by it.  The acting is sometimes cringe-worthy and the production values are not strong but the story is interesting enough and keeps me flipping between worlds enough to be engaged.  It’s not meant to be taken too seriously, just a lot of fun.

Some may wonder why I hated Maleficent, a recent fairytale adaptation and give a passing recommendation to this telling.  Here’s the difference- Maleficent fundamentally changes the characters.  What was once evil is now good and what was good is evil or inattentive and idol at best.  In this show what was bad in the movies are still bad. Sure Regina has a few softer moments but she’s pretty ruthless both as the queen and mayor of town.  Anything that is added to it is in addition to the original stories, not a replacement for those stories.

Maleficent pissed me off because it ruined the character of Maleficent.  Plus, I am way more likely to be forgiving of terrible production values and bad acting in a TV show than a big budget Disney movie. When they carefully restage pivitol scenes from the original movie and then change everything that happens it makes me angry.  They do not do anything like that here in Once Upon a Time.  The events are the fairytales.  It is the before and after for the characters and the importance of said actions that matter.

For example, the Snow White story is basically the same as the movie down to the poison apple.  Where it changes is after they are married and the curse is placed on them and all in attendance.  Pinocchio is basically the same down to Monstro and the Blue Fairy (although no Pleasure Island yet) but what happens to Pinocchio when he grows up is different. You see what I mean?

All the lame fairytale retellings of late have attempted to reshape and reform the originals and they’ve all sucked.  This does it’s own thing and it works pretty well.  It’s campy and silly but I was entertained.  I’m curious to keep watching (which I suppose is the real test of a good show).

What do you guys think about Once Upon a Time? I’ve still got 2 seasons to watch before I can catch up to Season 4 but I have been enjoying the podcasts over at Post Show Recaps by my twitter friend Mike Bloom.  If you like that kind of thing be sure to check it out.

http://postshowrecaps.com/category/once-upon-a-time/

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Final Disney Rankings

So what you’ve all been waiting for! My ranking of the Disney Canon!

I will add in Big Hero 6 when I finish that review but here are my current rankings.  I’ll go least to best

54.  Dinosaur– slow, predictable, looks ugly, CGI is awful, attempt to be thoughtful ends up stupid, the writing was maddeningly bad

dinosaur poster53. Chicken Little– mean spirited, frenetic, unfunny, none of the episodes connect, animation underwhelming. Feels like they didn’t even try

chicken little52. Brother Bear– every choice was wrong.  Badly animated characters, strange voicework, predictable and unbelievable story, unlikable characters, underwhelming music, strange singing choices. The humor never works. Huge disappointment.

poster51. Home on the Range– Trots out tired ‘save the farm’ storyline, terrible puns, strange voice choices, underwhelming songs, jokes and illusions to westerns don’t work,  some of the animation is ok and the yodel song was well done. Otherwise skip.

poster50. Three Cabelleros– 2 ok shorts surrounded by lots of Donald shouting and chasing women around Rio.  Watch Saludos Amigos instead.

TheThreeCaballeros1944FrontCover49. The Rescuers- some nice animation but shrill,  mean spirited villain overwhelms the picture.  Not enough hope makes film feel depressing and cold.  Watch sequel instead

Rescuers_Poster_HQ48. The Aristocats– lazy mismash of 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp but with cats.  Duchess feels apathetic and bored. No sense of tension in the plot and chemistry between her and Thomas nonexistent. Designs and backdrops underwhelming and strange voice work. Lame villain who’s actions don’t really make sense. Some alarmingly bad animation where the mouths don’t quite match up with the vocals.  Ok songs.

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47.  Fun and Fancy Free–  Bongo is well animated but strange message and oddly paced, Say it with a Slap is one of worst Disney songs, Mickey and Beanstalk is Ok but feels kind of lazy and slow.  I like crazy Donald.  In between live action segments feel strange and unnecessary.

fun and fancy free poster46. Pocahontas– Savages is the films saving grace.  A wonderful number but Pocahontas is kind of an unlikable character.  She doesn’t listen and has no chemistry with John Smith.  The animation is boxy and too geometric and the villain with all his GOLD is so boring. Plus, it’s a real story, important to a people, which makes it more insulting.

pocahontas poster45. Hunchback of Notre Dame– Some good elements but the attempt to combine an adult story with juvenile elements creates a tonal mess.  Very frustrating. A man tries to dump a baby down a well after killing his mother, he sings a song about wanting to rape and kill another woman and he lights a house on fire containing a family inside.  And we have singing gargoyles! What was Disney thinking…

The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame-_199644. Fantasia 2000– Takes the original concept of concert films and turns it into a cheap celebrity clip show.  I hate the CGI. The music choices are strange.  Whole thing feels second rate except for Rhapsody and final number

Fantasia2000_Poster43. Sword in the Stone– The film everyone else likes but I don’t.  Arthur does nothing to prove he should be able to pull the sword in the stone.  None of his ‘lessons’ actually prepare him to be king.  On top of that it looks blue and gray and ugly throughout. Madame Mim isn’t introduced till end and it’s Merlin not Arthur that takes her on.  I don’t get why it’s so popular. Sherman Brothers songs are ok and duel is fun but again doesn’t have anything to do with the story and Arthur.

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42.  Bolt– Forgettable but enjoyable film. Decent vocal performance, fun story but nothing to spectacular.poster

41  Oliver and Company- A mess of storytelling, terrible villain, but some of the visuals of New York are nice, cool subway scene at the end and 2 dynamite songs.

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40. Make Mine Music– one of the strangest entertainment experiences of my life.  Kind of ‘so bad it’s good’.  Each of the segments in this package films feels so strange especially the story of the Whale Who Sings Opera, who they kill off and send to whale heaven for no reason except to teach kids that miracles don’t exist and people hate goodness and light (strange message). It’s so odd but oddly entertaining.

make_mine_music_poster39. The Black Cauldron- A lot of problems but I liked the villain and Gurghi’s sacrifice.  All in all I enjoyed watching it, even with issues.  It looks beautiful and score is fantastic. Terrible voicework throughout, and kind of unlikable characters with weak motivation but enough to keep me mildly interested.

the-black-cauldron-198538. Saludos Amigos– Disney’s goodwill mission to South America spawned this movie and it is better than Three Cabelleros.  First of all, it is shorter (45 min).  It has more segments and they are all pretty good.  Live action is tough to sit through but again it is short. Generic but entertaining.

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37. Meet the Robinsons– Nutty time travel story with a convoluted but entertaining plot.  Great and surprising villain.  A little cluttered but I enjoyed it. If you have a kid who likes things that are a little bit out there I bet they will love this movie.

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36. Treasure Planet- Beautiful steampunk look, but feels slow and story is the same old story from grade school we’ve seen a million times.  Unpredictable looks but predictable story. Plus, some of the world doesn’t make sense so it is hard to feel suspense or tension.

poster 35. Wreck-It Ralph– Fun premise of bad guy in video games who gets tired of being bad is fun but they spend too much time in Sugar Rush and some of the voice performances are annoying.  Could have been much better but still enjoyed it. A good villain.

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34. Fox and the Hound– A sentimental soapy flick if there ever was one but it embraces that soap so I enjoyed it. Bear scene very good but intense for small kids.  Friendship and forgiveness nice messages.  Music and female characters super bland

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33. Princess and the Frog- Looks beautiful and a wonderful lead character, Tiana, who works hard, sets goals and has a unique dream for a princess.  Dwells too much on occult, cluttered, shouty and underwhelming lead man and songs. Villain good but not my cup of tea

The_Princess_and_the_Frog_poster32. Peter Pan- Probably my biggest disappointment in rewatching the Canon.  It’s not bad but slower than I remember it mixed with slapstick that is pretty good.  The songs are ok except for Redman and You’re Mother is a snoozefest.  People are very mean to Wendy throughout especially the other female characters.  Still, it’s charming in it’s own way.

poster 31. Bambi- Beautifully drawn and I love how the score is the sound effects creating rain and fire so effectively.  Great voice work but the story is meandering and is basically a year in the life of a baby deer. Not enough to grip me although the death of Bambi’s Mom is traumatic, we haven’t gotten to know her very well and she is quickly replaced by a bland Faline. Still, I own it and enjoy watching it. It’s very good. (Bambi is our first B graded picture so I like all from now on a lot.  That’s 30 films with a B or higher!)

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30. Lilo and Stitch– LOVE, love, love the Nani and Lilo sections and Ohana themes.  Love Hawaii backdrop and the watercolors.  I love the Elvis music.  I do not love Stitch.  I wish they had gone more ET and less cockroach.  He’s too mean, takes it too far and looks too gross. But the stuff I like I really love

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29.  Winnie the Pooh– A worthy entry in the Winie the Pooh series.  Lovely, simple story for young children.  Not too scary and nice message.  Beautifully drawn and enough humor to entertain adults.  Voices are a little off but I enjoyed it. Love the music.poster

28.Hercules– a guilty pleasure of mine.  Disney’s first attempt at a super hero movie and I enjoy it.  I love the gospel muses and the music.  The villain is dry and funny and Megura is sassy and a lot of fun to figure out.  Pain and panic are very funny too.

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27. Tarzan- Looks gorgeous. The flow and feeling of Tarzan surfing on the trees looks great.  Jane is a lot of fun too and not always the damsel in distress we expect. Sidekicks are lame and villain a bore. Songs especially You’ll be in my heart are great.

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26. Melody Time– Aside from Ichabod and Mr Toad, my favorite of the package films.  Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill are lovingly drawn with good music and tightly written scripts.

melody time movie poster25. Pinocchio– I know some will be shocked to have this so low on the list but it is so grim and sad with no sense of retribution or punishment for the wrong doers.  I guess the kids just stay as donkeys.  Some of the story and design choices don’t make a lot of sense but as a morality play on film it works well and Pinocchio and Geppetto are both likable and the music is classic especially When You Wish Upon a Star.

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24 Robin Hood– Great dry wit and folksy music save this recycled animation cash grab.  It’s very entertaining and has some fun action sequences too.  It goes on for one act too many and becomes a little repetitive. Great villain.  I love it!

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23. Lady and the Tramp– Lovely Norman Rockwell style animation with an appealing dog couple (may be Disney’s best romance ever filmed…hmm).  Siamese song is a little insensitive but brief and then we never see them again which is strange.  They could have been more important to the story? Great side characters of Trusty, Jox and Trixie.  Fun jazz inspired score and songs by Peggy Lee. A little too predictable and syrupy to be in top 20 but close.

Lady-and-tramp-1955-poster22 Atlantis- A fun treasure hunt with eclectic cast of characters who are funny and surprised me from time to time. I enjoyed seeing an original land, language, culture.  Looks great.  Kind of like a cross between anime and comic books with a bit of steampunk thrown in.  In the minority on enjoying this picture, but I thought it was an entertaining adventure. Kida is a weak character but as she isn’t one of the core group it doesn’t matter too much. This is the first A of the list so the rest are all very strong.

atlantis poster

21. Emperor’s New Groove- More laughs crammed in than any other Disney movie and they worked.  Very funny script and appealing enough characters to support the humor.  Great villain, good voice performances.  Especially when you know the troubles they had making it, it’s a wonder it produced something so entertaining.  Creative story too.

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20. Aladdin- One of Disney’s best characters and certainly the funniest single character.  The Genie (aka Robin Williams) is hilariously spastic and full of energy.  Nice chemistry between Aladdin and Jasmine and she has more spunk than a typical princess. Jafar is an ok villain.  Animation is ok.  But nice messages throughout, great songs, and a very entertaining picture for both boys and girls (and parents!).

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19. Great Mouse Detective- Fun Disney take on Sherlock Holmes.  Ratigan is hilarious villain with a over-the-top scheme to take over England.  Basil and Dawson are very well done. The kidnapping scene at the beginning is pretty scary for young kids and the bat in the toy shop is a scary sequence.  The saloon song I could do without but all in all a very fun movie. First extended use of CGI is very effective.

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18. Rescuers Down Under- One of the rare sequels that is infinitely better than the original.  Much less of the villain.  Much more hope for Cody.  Bernard and Bianca are back and a lot o f fun. John Candy is hilarious.  Flying sequences gorgeous. Some of the CGI doesn’t hold up but for the most part a great adventure story.  Like Indiana Jones for little kids.  Underrated score by Bruce Broughton.

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17. Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad- Don’t really think of it as a package film but definitely the best of that era. 2 American stories Wind and the Willows and Sleepy Hollow are done very well.  Both dark in different ways.  Toad more of a morality tale and Ichabod a classic ghost story.  Basil Rathborne and Bing Crosby great as narrators.  Beautifully drawn with scares and humor balanced out perfectly.

Ichabod_and_Mr_Toad16. Snow White and the 7 Dwarves– Still holds up amazingly well.  Animation is beautiful especially in scenes like the transformation of the queen and the haunted forest.  Some humor and emotional scenes too.  Not a huge fan of the voice work and especially the high pitched singing.   Great villain who isn’t satisfied unless she is the best at everything. 2 leads are pretty bland but ok.

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15.  Big Hero 6– Maybe recency bias but I loved Disney’s first Marvel super hero movie.  It’s got heart, action and a script that surprised me.  Plus, it looks gorgeous and has a unique world with very likable characters.  I just loved it!

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14. Mulan– Love the character of Mulan who joins the army to save her father.   Li Shaang and rest of army appealing and fun.  Eddie Murphy very good as Mushu.  Completely forgettable villain given no nuance or subtlety.  A few minutes after couldn’t remember his name.  It also could be a hair shorter but I love it.

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13. Lion King- A lot of pop music in both the songs and pacing.  Draws you in.  Very entertaining.   Terrific villain and villain songs.  Mufasa’s death is heart breaking.  I love the message and story.  The humor can be a little annoying but I still love it.  Amazing Hans Zimmer score. Animation is stunning.

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12. Dumbo- Such a sweet movie about accepting differences and how they make us special.  A wonderful friendship between an unlikely pair of Timothy Q. Mouse and Dumbo.  Pink Elephants on Parade is brilliant.  Love the watercolors and simple backgrounds and feel of the circus.  I don’t think the crows are all that racist and it’s just a lovely little movie with huge heart.

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11. Alice in Wonderland- Not for everyone but if you can handle non0linear storytelling you will enjoy it.  It’s basically Alice meeting a bunch of eclectic characters in Wonderland.  It’s bright and colorful and clips along nicely.  Only part that didn’t work for me was the Walrus segment.  It stalls the story and I kept wanting to get back to Alice.  So much better than Tim Burton versoin.  Mary Blair drawings are stunning, bright and geometric.  It’s nutty and weird and you will love it.

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10.Sleeping Beauty- Gorgeous literary style animation.  It feels like paper dolls in segments.  One of most dynamic Prince in Disney.  Amazing villain who should have been invited to the party!  The fairies are fun.  The alcoholic fathers I could do without and Aurora is too perfect and bland but the Tchaikovsky’s ballet as the score is neat, the battle between Phillip and Maleficent is awesome.  A great movie!

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9. The Jungle Book- All comes down to the music and villains.  I hate the ending but Shere Kaun and Kaaa are very good villains.  All the voice cast is fantastic and it is edited so well.   Hardly a minute goes by without some action or a song.  It clips a long so well and is consistently entertaining.  Sherman Brother’s best music aside from Mary Poppins.

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8. Frozen-  A movie that showed a different kind of love- love of friendship and of sister.  The voicecast features the best singers of any Disney movie.  The songs are great.  The message of not being who you are raised to be is moving and powerful.  The animation is gorgeous.  Just enough humor.  I love it.

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7. 101 Dalmatians- Best of the sketch films by far.   Terrific and tense adventure.  Fabulous villain with Cruella Deville.  Lots of great characters and puppies are so cute.  The scene where they get to the truck disguised is a nail biter. All the side characters on the journey and the twilight bark are a lot of fun.  Roger and Anita are one of my all time favorite Disney couples.  I love it101 dalmations6. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh– 4 lovely stories of our friends at the Hundred Acre Woods that are just about perfect.  Full of humor, great songs, and a little bit of zany scares with the Heffalumps and Woozles.  The ending is perfect and really moved me.  Winnie the Pooh symbolizes childhood and this movie is like a big hug.

The_Many_Adventures_of_Winnie_the_Pooh5. Fantasia- A stunning concert experience.  It’s like combining the best symphony and gallery you’ve ever been to into one experience.   The music is gorgeous.  The inspiration they get from the music inspires me to be more creative.  It’s not a movie in a traditional sense but an experience like Tree of Life.  I like all the segments but probably enjoy Sorcerers Apprentice, Nutcracker Suite and On Bald Mountain the most.   If it feels long divide it up and watch it over a week. Nothing wrong with that.  .  Those who hate this film probably aren’t the biggest classical music fans and wouldn’t find going to a symphony or art gallery very enjoyable. I loved it.

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4. Tangled-  Proof that Disney brilliance isn’t only in the Golden Age and Renaissance.  I LOVE the villain an villain song.  The idea of a mother manipulating her daughter for her own selfish desires is so evil.  The side characters including Maximus are great.  Rapunzel is so kind and likable.  We all know someone like her who is indecisive and naïve but charming.  Flynn is a wonderful narrator and a complex, funny character.  The animation is stunning especially the lantern scene in 3D.  It’s Disney’s first attempt at a romantic comedy and they totally pulled it off.

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3. Cinderella-  Just about a perfect movie.  Cinderella has warmth and kindness.  She works hard and tries to be optimistic.  Lady Tremaine is a fantastic villain who’s soul purpose seems to be to control Cinderella.  The scene tearing the dress is devastating because we saw how tenderly it was given to her by her friends. The mice are cute and loyal friends.  Small characters like Lucifer, Bruno, Archduke, and the King all have fun personalities.  The Fairy Godmother is perfect and the music sublime.  A Dream is a Wish is a favorite of mine and Bibbity Bobbity Boo a classic.  The Prince is bland and they fall in love at first sight but at least we have gotten to know him a little bit through the King.  It’s a great movie!

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 2. Little Mermaid– Truly my co-#1. I love Ariel’s journey to find out who she is and where she belongs.  I love her curiosity and determination.  I love Ursula and her drag queen crossed with a truck driver persona.  I love the music especially Part of Your World and Under the Sea.  I love the look of it and all the bubbles and colors.  It’s so well paced and the characters, even the Prince, have real heart.  They are all trying to do the right thing in their own minds.  It is also very funny with Les Poissons a hilarious slapstick number.  It was the most magical experience I had at the movies as a little girl and I just love it.

Movie_poster_the_little_mermaid1. Beauty and the Beast– and co #1 goes to Beauty and the Beast.  A perfect movie.  The music is stunning.   Belle is a fabulous heroine who we would all want to be friends with if given the chance.  Gaston is hilarious and his journey to madness very interesting.  The Beast is such a monster and yet he does change and grow until you are almost sad to see him turn into a human.  I could listen to Angela Lansbury sing the title song all day.  She is great in it.  Jerry Orbach as Lumiere is perfect.  I loved the broadway play and the movie is so entertaining.  The animation looks amazing.  The computer graphics hold up and still look fantastic.  It’s a stunning picture that will entertain the whole family no matter the age or sex.Beautybeastposter

Here is a video version if you prefer that.  If you are on youtube I would love a few likes.

Movie 41: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

atlantis poster Today is a good example of why I am glad I started this project.  In 2001 when Disney’s 41st animated film Atlantis: The Lost Emperor came out I was underwhelmed by it.  I remember thinking it was boring (an adjective I try to never use in my reviews because it doesn’t mean anything).  It seems hard to believe because the movie I watched today was a fast paced delight.  I am truly shocked how much I enjoyed it!  (I was 20 by the way in 2001 so it wasn’t like a child who might be more likely to find this boring).

This review is going to be a little different than some of my others because I want to give you guys the chance to go into the film spoiler free.  I am spoiler proof.  For some reason repetition doesn’t bother me and I legitimately do not care if I know the ending to things.   But that said, I think for this type of action adventure movie it will be more fun to not have every detail dissected like other Disney films which most people have seen.

Go out, rent it and give it another shot!!!!  At the very least I don’t think you will have a terrible time at the movies and I bet you will enjoy it!

Here’s the trailer to give you an idea of the story (it is a very good non-spoilery trailer.  They don’t even give away the villain and I won’t either)

The Production-

I can talk a little bit about the production without giving anything away.  After Hunchback the crew wanted to stay together but go in a radically different direction so Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, Don Hahn and others set out to make Disney’s first science fiction movie and one of their few original stories.

There is a definite steampunk feel with its influences from Jules Verne and Victorian/futuristic mashups.  The ship could be the nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

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They visited museums, researched a variety of cultures and created their own version of Atlantis.  According to my research it had Mayan, Greek, Cambodian, Indian and Tibetan elements.

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The Atlantean language was created both written and spoken.

They even hired the guy who created the Klingon language to make one for Atlantis.  That is just cool.

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They had good writers including Joss Whedon who worked on the project for a while and then Tab Murphey took over and it has a Whedon team feel to it.  Milo is the lead in the movie looking for Atlantis but he quickly gets joined by a rag-tag crew that is very diverse for Disney and full of surprises.  It’s like the Steampunk Avengers!

atlantis crew

The voice acting is mostly unknowns except for Michael J Fox as Milo, James Garner as Captain Rourke, John Mahoney as Whitmore, Jim Varney as Cookie and Leonard Nimoy as the King.

They also hired Mike Mignola, creator of the Hellboy comics,  as a production designer and you can see his influence in the film even down to the hands he uses in his drawings:

“I remember watching a rough cut of the film and these characters have these big, square, weird hands. I said to the guy next to me, “Those are cool hands.”

And he says to me, “Yeah, they’re your hands. We had a whole meeting about how to do your hands.” It was so weird I couldn’t wrap my brain around it”

I love that comic book influence on the film and yet it avoids cliches in a lot of the characters (yes they fulfill certain tropes like the tough talking female mechanic but then she has moments of softness).  There’s a moment where you feel like Milo is alone and it actually seems like he is being left and then the movie is very clever with what happens with the characters and story.

I liked every character in the movie, and I’m not normally a sci-fi person.

They were also influenced by anime at the time and particularly Hayao Miyazaki and his amazing adventure stories, and I think they pull off a lovely homage.

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Some of the mysticism is a little convoluted with the blue crystals and everything but for this kind of story I bought it.  And the imagery is beautiful.

The only thing parents will want to be aware of is Princess Kida wears very skimpy clothing and bathing suits throughout the film.

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The score is by James Newton Howard and it is excellent but there are no songs (funny coming from the troop of Hunchback and Beauty and the Beast!).  But I’m glad because they really weren’t necessary.  The score is all we need to create tension.

The movie is also very funny.  Characters like the Moleman and Cookie were a lot of fun.

It is also one of the few Disney movies that doesn’t really have a strong romance.  It just allows you to focus on the characters.  I like that.

Movie Review/Conclusion-

I’ll say it again I was genuinely shocked how much I enjoyed Atlantis: The Lost Empire.  It was exciting, beautifully drawn, with a fun troop of characters to root for.

atlantis crew1Unlike in 2001, I did not think it was boring this time around.  In fact, it seemed to clip along quite quickly.  There also isn’t tons of exposition.  They just present the world, language and everything else and let you figure it out as the characters do.

I liked the women in the picture.  Kida isn’t the perfect savage you expect.  Mechanic Audrey had some layers to her.  Not every decision was easy, and Helga is not someone to get pushed around (she surprised me!  Totally kicked butt!).

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wilhemina All the characters have their moment and there is humor and tough action.  I loved the sound design.  In fight scenes you hear punches and grunts.  It helps immerse you in the experience.

There are some holes in the story and things happen in relatively tidy ways but isn’t that usually the case for these kind of movies? I mean if you start to take apart Indiana Jones movies they are very tidy too and completely implausible but it’s a B Summer movie with great action and fun characters so you go with it.

In any case, for whatever reason, I didn’t buy it at 21 but really enjoyed it at 33.  Maybe I’m not the same person I was back then?  Go figure!

But seriously, give this movie another shot.  Go out, rent it, and let me know what you think.  I bet a lot of you will be pleasantly surprised like I was!

Overall Grade- A-

It might be a little hard for kids under 7 to follow so keep that in mind.