Now that I’m finished with Scrooge month I thought I might do a few bonus holiday reviews and tonight I watched Home Alone and boy does it hold up well. Aside from technology changes I think it could be released today. It’s still funny, sweet, sincere and a great family film.
I have a bit of a personal history with this movie. When we were 10 my grandparents would take us on a trip and my trip was to go to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm and see my cousin in a choral competition with my grandparents. It was pretty great. Before we went down to Southern California we had a night and decided to go see Home Alone at the theater. My parents weren’t big TV/Movie people so my movie indoctrination was fairly sparse- the occasional Disney and my recent obsession with Little Mermaid which was released the year before Home Alone. I certainly hadn’t seen many comedies at that point.
So to the theater we went and I laughed my head off. It is the first movie I remember connecting with and laughing hard at.
The truth is I was a very independent kid so Home Alone was kind of my fantasy. The idea of a kid not only getting by without his parents but defending the house and being smarter than everyone else is so appealing to kids (at least to my kind of kidlike mind). Pretty much if you want to know about me as a child watch Little Mermaid and Home Alone. That’s the kind of independent spirit I was. I hated to be told what to do and wanted to be taken seriously in conversation and life. My parents were wise to give me a pretty long leash.
What makes it funny is very good writing combined with the type of humor usually reserved for animation. Road Runner or Tom and Jerry would have anvils dropped on their heads in cartoons but here is it is real people and all done by a charming little kid.
I like that the movie stays grounded. All of the stunts Kevin pulls off feel like the kind of thing a kid could do even if in reality they are not. It’s not like he’s blowing stuff up or using chemicals a kid wouldn’t know about. He puts ice on the staircase, puts toys and glass ornaments on the ground, makes havoc with a air rifle. I’m sure you could tear apart things like the zipline as not being realistic but for the most part it feels plausible. If anything it feels more grounded in reality than Columbus’ Goonies which is another child-fantasy film with heart and humor (a favorite of mine too).
He also doesn’t totally get away with it. He comes pretty close to being hurt by the Bandits which creates a kind of nervous tension that makes the viewer laugh.
One of my favorite things about the movie is they make Kevin a capable kid. Some of the best scenes are him going to the grocery store, doing laundry, sitting at church, meeting with Santa, and ordering pizza. We sometimes see kids as so helpless but I bet a lot of kids in Kevin’s position would do just fine at all those tasks. They aren’t as stupid as we like to think.
There is also real heart to the movie which especially for a holiday film endears the picture to all of us. So many comedies today feel crass and then try to throw in sentiment at the end (I’m talking to you Adam Sandler). But this maintains that kind of heart all the way through. Even the fight between Kevin and his Mom at the beginning feels authentic to the way a family really talks and deals with one another. Again, it feels like a real family and that gives the whole crazy situation a grounding for the humor.
I love the scenes with Kevin and the scary neighbor. It’s sweet and sincere and reminds you of the fears and earnestness of children. It could have been overly-sentimental but it is played perfectly and you have to give a lot of credit to Macaulay Culkin and Roberts Blossom who plays the old man.
Catherine O’hara is wonderful as the Mother. When she is pleading for help to get back to her son you wish you could help her. You not only feel her panic but her shame and guilt. It’s very good.
I also like that Kevin does not immediately forgive his Mother. He pauses for a second and looks at her. You think maybe he will stomp off and then he smiles. It is a great moment.
John Candy has a lovely cameo as a Polka band member who agrees to give Kate a ride to Chicago. He’s joyful and sweet and wants to help a person in need, and the polka music makes it funny (of all the music I think polka is the funniest for some reason).
John Heard feels authentic and real as Kevin’s father and the rest of the family is kind of generic Hollywood kids but it works. My family reunions are full of chaos and I didn’t get along with my brother so those family scenes ring true for me.
There are a lot of little details I like. Such as Kevin getting his own tree and decorating it or the fact he lights candles over his mac and cheese. It makes this little kid feel like a real person instead of a caricature.
Home Alone could have gone off the rails in so many ways but it straddles that line of slapstick, sentimentality, and a good story just about perfectly.
I give a lot of credit to John Hughes’ writing and Chris Columbus’ directing. They both had (or have in case of Columbus) careers where they respected young people and sought to tell their stories well.
Whether it is Chris Columbus writing Goonies, directing Harry Potter movies or The Gremlins, or John Hughes with Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller they both managed to always portray children and teens as real people with their own thoughts, desires and struggles. We take them seriously because the creators took them seriously.
In the end with Home Alone I think even if you hated all the slapstick violence you could still enjoy the movie. There is enough character development and warmth to enjoy the movie on that level alone. How many comedies can say that?
And let’s not forget John Williams’ wonderful score. He combines traditional carols, band and pop music with his own original pieces in one of the best holiday soundtracks ever. He’s the master!
I hadn’t seen Home Alone for a couple of years and watched it last year and was really charmed by it. So if it has been a while for you give it a watch. Your kids will love it and you will too!
A few days ago I did an informal poll amongst my friends asking ‘which Disney Renaissance movie is your least favorite?’. While it had a few fans, the overwhelming choices were Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame and I’d probably be right there with them. We will see what I think of Hunchback next but Pocahontas is not a strong film. In fact, if I was going to give an F this might be it. I’ll think about it while I’m writing this review.
It’s kind of a mystery why Pocahontas doesn’t work with all the resources that were thrown into it. As I mentioned in my last review after Aladdin the Disney team split into two projects with some going to Lion King and a larger share going to Pocahontas. Most of the big names like Alan Menken, Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, Glen Keane, Joe Grant and Chris Buck all went with Pocahontas because they thought it was a more promising project.
While nobody is going to a Disney film for a history lesson it is at least worth noting the long list of things they got wrong in their first attempt to tell the story of a real person.
Most of these inaccuracies I don’t care about but the one I find most confusing is why did they age Pocahontas? It’s a Disney movie. Wouldn’t it be better to have it be about a little girl who jumps on the fire and fights for peace over war? That sounds very interesting. Instead they took the Titanic route and made a by the numbers romance inspired by Romeo and Juliet more than what actually happened.
The reason I believe they went the way they did is the project was started in 1990 and what was a big hit in 1990? Dances with Wolves. A film that has not aged particularly well with the stoic natives teaching the white man the true way to live…
But it was a huge hit back then both critically and financially so it makes sense Disney would want to create Dances with Wolves Jr and that Pocahontas being a well known folk-lore it is a natural choice.
The story went through a lot of rewrites, which is why it took so long to make. At one point it was to be a comedy with the animals talking and John Candy playing a turkey. I loved him in Rescuers Down Under so I would have been curious to see what he could have done with it. Unfortunately he died in 1994 so a new direction was taken on the film.
The voice cast is interesting. I like that they got a number of Native American actors to do the tribe-members but I wish they had coaxed better performances out of them. Russell Means is a wonderful Native American actor but his line readings to me felt very stale, like he was reading off of cards not having a real conversations.
I felt the same way about Irene Bedard as Pocahontas but Judy Kuhn is stunning as her singing voice. One of the best in all of Disney. Mel Gibson is fine although why they didn’t have him do a British accent I will never know (we know he can do accents from Braveheart). It makes no sense to have an American with the Jamestown settlers…
I tried to look into why they made the animation choices they did but didn’t find anything good. Everything feels very geometric with hard lines and shapes. This can work in a fantasy world like Alice in Wonderland, but for a movie which is supposed to be a real world setting I found it very distracting.
Even the design of the characters is very geometric. Governor Radcliffe is a giant rectangle:
Pocahontas looks like 2 triangles and her face is very rectangular. I found all the characters to be unpleasant to look at. Some have also said all the indians have too almond shaped eyes and look more like Southeast Asian than Native American. I can see their point. She does have a Laotian, Cambodian, Malaysian look about her more than Native American.
The music was done by Alan Menken and new to Disney lyricist Stephen Schwartz who would go on to write the mammoth hit Wicked. My favorite of the songs is Savages about the prejudices of both the white and Indian groups but the rest are fine but kind of forgettable.
Native Americans, in general, were not happy with the film. Chief Roy Crazy Horse of the Powhatan tribe wrote a piece called ‘The Pocahontas Myth’ which is worth reading.
“In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as “Pocahontas”. In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is “responsible, accurate, and respectful.”
We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred.”
If you watch the Behind the Scenes Disney makes it seem like they are doing a noble thing by sharing this great story and culture when in reality those of that culture, for the most part, felt it was a denigration to their history. I understand films need artistic license but when a true good story exists and they choose to veer so far away from it than I have an issue.
At the very least it is disheartening to hear the tribe’s offer to help was rejected.
The movie begins with our introductions of the ship and crew leaving the new world. I like the immersion into the painting and the aerial pan and zoom to the boat.
I wish more was made of the crewmembers families we see in these opening shots. It would have given so much more heart to the scenes that come.
Next we see a storm which evidently reused some of the shipwreck scenes from Little Mermaid but it is very effectively done so I don’t mind. John saves Thomas’ life creating a bond between the two.
We also get our first taste of Radcliffe and our first mention of ‘gold’. I read they were starting with Gaston as their mold for Radcliffe and I wish they had kept on that vein. Gaston works because he isn’t bad at first, just conceited. As his vanity is wounded he grows more and more mad until he is a monster and murderer. Radcliffe starting from the first sentence about savages and gold is like wearing a ‘hey look at me villain hat’.
He literally has a line where he says “This new world is going to be great. I’m going to get a pile of gold. Build a big house and if any Indian tries to stop me I’ll blast him” It took 5 years of rewrites to come up with that bit of subtle writing? Sigh…
Next we get our first introduction to the tribesmen and women. The men have returned from battle and guess who is off scampering around the forest? Why Pocahontas of course. We get a preposterous dive off of a waterfall for no reason but to prove she’s headstrong.
It’s Pocahontas the super woman!
Now I can hear a few of you saying “wait, Rachel. You love Little Mermaid and she’s super headstrong”. Here’s the difference. Ariel is 16, a mermaid and is legitimately not at home in her own body. Pocahontas is a grown woman and she hurts a lot of people in her quest to stay the same as she is at the beginning. Ariel wants change. Pocahontas doesn’t.
Anyway, Powhatan wants her to marry the great warrior Kocoum. Pocahontas doesn’t want to because ‘he’s too serious’. He just got back from war. Shouldn’t we do a little more to establish such a trait before he is discounted as an ineligible mate? He has like 2 lines of dialogue in the whole movie.
So Pocahontas sings about what could be coming for her but again she really doesn’t want change. She wants to remain as free and prancing as she is forever. It’s a pretty song though.
Next the settlers land and I’m not kidding you right off the boat start digging for gold and sing a song called ‘Mine, Mine, Mine’. Again, way to be subtle why don’t you! Why not establish some of the actual reasons for conflict and hunger the settlers faced. Why not make them a tiny bit sympathetic and give the story some wonder and mystery? As it is, it is so predictable.
We also get introduced to Grandmother Willow- a tree that gives Pocahontas advice. It is strange that only this tree talks and yet none of the animals or other trees?
She is supposed to be the conduit for our modern audience like the Genie in Aladdin but it comes off as trite and silly.
The thing that is strange is they have a Shaman in the story who isn’t used. Wouldn’t it be natural for Pocahontas to seek guidance from him? Why not make him the spiritual core of the movie? Strange choice
There is also Pocahontas’ friend Nakoma, who I liked but is underused. She has to make harder choices than Pocahontas and is a more interesting conflicted unpredictable character. I wish the movie was about her.
Next John Smith and Pocahontas meet in a very cheesy scene with Pocahontas appearing out of the mist like a ghost.
For literally 2 lines of dialogue they can’t talk to each other but then that’s done with and she’s busy teaching him why his ways are wrong and loving nature is good…Groan.
There is also a major ridiculous moment where John teaches Pocahontas about gold. These are characters which now speak the same language. Certainly a woman like Pocahontas would be familiar with valuable items used for commerce such as beads, stones, and other forms of currency used by most tribes. It’s just another moment where the whites love gold (gold is the 4 letter word of this movie) and the pure natives don’t need such superficial things….Double groan.
Like I said, subtlety is not this movies strong point.
Our next scene is back at the fort (which appears overnight) and Radcliffe shoots Manatuk causing Powahatan to prepare for war.
There is also a moment where Radcliffe tells Thomas ‘Learn to use a gun properly”. Hmmm wonder if that is going to prove prophetic…
We get a little comic relief here with Meeko the racoon, Percy Radcliffe’s dog and Flit the hummingbird.
John and Pocahontas have one of Disney’s best kisses
Unfortunately both Thomas and Kocoum see their kiss and Thomas shoots Kocoum. This is a pretty good scene with great sound effects. If feels like two people fighting
Then we get the best number in the movie called Savages. Some take offense to it but it isn’t approving of the views of the characters but merely saying that’s what some people think of others. I actually think it is a good thing for children to understand and be watchful for as racism and hatred will always exist.
The geometric graphic style in the picture also works well for Savages. Great scene!
Then we get to the climatic moment we all know is coming but it is gone and over so fast it is a little deflating.
Pocahontas tells the people “this is the path that hatred has brought us”. I don’t think that is true. Thomas didn’t hate anyone. Neither did Kocoum. They were just trying to defend their friends. You could make the argument ignorance or a lack of understanding created this scene but hatred I don’t know if that’s been established except for Radcliffe.
Radcliffe ends up shooting John by mistake and his men turn on him and in the end decide to take John Smith back to England to recover. Pocahontas has the chance to go with him but she chooses to stay where she belongs.
I like that ending. Not the happy ending we might expect.
So clearly this is not my favorite Disney movie; although I don’t think I can give it an F because Savages is a good number and I do love Judy Kuhn’s voice.
It’s just frustrating because they had an opportunity to take actual events and make them into a great movie. Instead we got more of the same in a predictable story told by boxy characters with wooden vocal performances.
Some of the backgrounds and scenery is nice. I will give it that.
Most tribes have pretty thick skin and for the Powhatan chief to say:
“It is unfortunate that this sad story, which Euro-Americans should find embarrassing, Disney makes “entertainment” and perpetuates a dishonest and self-serving myth at the expense of the Powhatan Nation”.
Need I say more?
You also have a heroine who is infallible and doesn’t want to grow up or change her behavior unlike Belle and Ariel who will do anything for a change. A lot of people are hurt by Pocahontas’ selfishness but I don’t see real growth or change in her.
Radcliffe and the ‘gold’ is such a lame villain. There’s no nuance or depth to him. Nothing that makes him different or unique. He just wants gold…
Kocoum, Nakoma and Thomas are all more interesting than John Smith or Pocahontas but I barely remembered their names they are so briefly used.
The dialogue is not well written in almost every scene and every action is completely predictable.
The music is fine but the animation is boxy and unappealing. They create characters like Grandmother Willow that doesn’t need to be there when a character like the Shaman already exists within Pocahontas’ culture. Imagine how insulting that must be for a tribesman to see their true spiritual guidance tossed aside for a tree…
I know the movie has fans but I’ve watched it 3 times and don’t get its appeal. To me at best it is bland and at worse it paints caricatures of a whole race of people, which is not okay in my book.
If you like it that is awesome just not my cup of tea, and got to keep it real on this blog or no point in my reviewing them at all.
When I started this blog I was hoping I would be surprised by movies and really love something I had previously discounted. Up until now that hadn’t really happened. But I think Rescuers Down Under may finally be that moment!
Compare to the First-
What? You ask? But, Rachel you hated The Rescuers how can you like the sequel?
Well, as it turns out there are a lot of reasons. This is one of the few times in movies when a sequel is far superior to the original in every way. I seriously can’t think of a single way I liked the original better.
My main problem with The Rescuers wasn’t the set up. It was the tone. To me it had a mean spirit about it. First of all, it starts off the movie with Penny already captured. We don’t see her get abducted but just hear about it morosely from Rufus at the orphanage. We hear about how miserable and lonely Penny was and from the beginning it feels hopeless and sad. There is never a moment where Penny is free from her kidnappers. In Down Under there are extended sequences of Cody with Marahute the eagle before he is abducted which helps us feel more hopeful than a desperate message in a bottle.
We also get WAY more of Madusa in the original than we do of the villain Mcleach in Down Under . In fact, I would bet that Mcleach and Cody are in the same scene for less than 10 minutes of the finished film. Mcleach actually isn’t in the movie all that much, and there is almost always a comic element to his scenes whether it is Joanna stealing his eggs or Frank and the other animals trying to break free. (more to come on that later). Wilbur gets more screne time than the villain. Some may see that as a weakness but I need very little of Mcleach to know exactly who he is.
Mcleach is also not as emotionally cruel to Cody like Medusa is with Penny. He tells him to shut up and tries to intimidate him but it is more procedural and less personal than in the original. Plus, there is no tearjerker song telling Cody to be brave despite the evil he is among. And Cody has a mother who loves him and is looking for him. The loneliness the characters experience is not the same.
In the end it comes down to tone. In the little writing I’ve done I have learned tone is huge. Down Under is full of light and hope where The Rescuers felt dark and cruel. Again, this is just my opinion but that’s how the two came across to me.
So let’s actually talk about the movie instead of comparing to the original…
For some reason Disney had wanted to make a sequel to The Rescuers for some time. In fact, Oliver and Company was supposed to be a continuation of Penny with her adopted family. That was eventually scrapped and around 1988 production started on The Rescuers Down Under.
At the time there was an Australian trend with movies such as Crocodile Dundee being popular. In the dvd extras Disney animators went to Australia and spent time at the San Diego zoo to get the feel for the animals and it is definitely the most life-like animals since Bambi. Marahute is stunningly drawn.
Although it is often forgotten (even by me!), Rescuers Down Under was important because it was the first film to use all CAPS (Computer Animation Production System). This was developed by Pixar and instead of xerox which had been used since 101 Dalmatians copying the cells, the computer scanned the drawings and colored them in digitally. The CAPs work in this movie is stunning. Compared to the sketch xerox era it is so alive with color and movement. Even more so than Little Mermaid.
There is also CGI in the movie which is completely created on the computer and that does not hold up as well. Segments like the Sydney Opera House look dated when I bet when they were released it was pretty spectacular.
But these scenes are few and far between. Most look fabulous.
The voice cast is excellent. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor (her final role. I met her right around this time in the Beverly Hills Hilton and she was exactly you would think she would be. Even had a fir and hat like Bianca!) returns as Bernard and Bianca and both of them are given more to do in this telling. Bernard isn’t a total bore but actually does things to propel the story and there are lots of terrific side characters.
My favorite was Wilbur who is the albatross brother of Orville from the first film. John Candy does the voice work and he is hilarious. There are repeated scenes where he is in this mouse operation clinic where I laughed about as hard as I have in a long time . It’s a shame Candy didn’t do more voice-over work because he is so good.
The other interesting thing about the film is it is only the 2nd Disney film with no songs. The first being The Black Cauldron. The rest of the Disney Renaissance pictures would be full on musicals but Rescuers doesn’t even have a song in the credits, and you know I’m actually ok with it, which is surprising with how much I love musicals.
They were clearly going for an Indiana Jones vibe with Rescuers Down Under and in every way they succeeded including Bruce Broughton’s John Williamesque score. I loved it! Here’s the closing number. Listen to it and see if you don’t hear the Indiana Jones feel:
There is even a map with arrows just like in Indiana Jones:
And the kangaroo rat Jake has an Indiana Jones feel about him except he isn’t scared of snakes!
One of the animators said they were trying to share the message that “someone small can conquer evil” and that really comes through. What a great message for kids who are of course little.
It’s a shame it didn’t do better at the box office because it is routinely ignored by Disney and its fans. It had the bad luck of opening the same weekend as Home Alone which monopolized the family audiences leaving Rescuers with 4th place. Jeffrey Katzenberg pulled all marketing for the picture after that and it was left to the wayside.
The only good thing which came out of it is Disney decided to not release any of the sequels they would produce in theaters. The direct to video sequels by Disney are one of the grossest cash grabs ever perpetrated by the studio.
Like I said, it actually takes a while for the abduction and crime to happen (at the 13 minute mark). Before that we meet Cody who lives with his Mother in the Australian outback, which looks a lot like a lush Grand Canyon. The vistas are magnificently drawn.
Cody is notified by some of his network of animal friends that a creature is in trouble. When he arrives he finds out it is a magnificent golden eagle called Marahute. At first Marahute is suspicious of Cody, but he is kind and cuts the ropes that bind her which thrusts him off the cliff. In a very dramatic scene Marahute rescues Cody and gives him the ride of his life.
When the ride is done Cody notices a small mouse tied up and not realizing it is a trap tries to free it. When he does he gets thrust into a pit and we meet Mcleach who is voiced by George C Scott. He is a greedy poacher something Cody is eager to accuse him of. Still he is willing to let Cody go until he see’s a golden feather from Marahute on his backpack.
Mcleach also has his pet ‘goana’ or giant lizard named Joanna. She is constantly fixated on eating eggs. Wanting Marahute, McLeach takes Cody and throws his backpack to the crocodiles to throw off the rangers who will search for him. The mouse who was the bait on the trap see’s the abduction and sends word to the Rescue Aid Society. This fun scene almost reminded me of an international version of the Twilight Bark from 101 Dalmatians.
Eventually Bernard and Bianca are assigned to the case but it interrupts Bernhard’s proposal to Bianca. This scene of the mice restaurant reminds me of classic Disney short.
The animation is also fabulous with the snow coming down in the background (think of the original with the static backgrounds that looked so corny. Quite the contrast!)
So off they go to find Albatross Air but it turns out it is no longer Orville but his brother Wilbur and like I said every scene with him is hilarious. In an homage to the original we get another rocky take off which is a lot of fun.
His arrival in Australia is equally funny.
Bernard and Bianca meet Jake in this scene and he agrees to be their guide. This is also where Wilbur get’s taken to the mouse hospital which is so funny.
Then we get the scariest scene in the movie with McLeach trying to get information from Cody using knifes. This is the closest the film gets to the tone of the Rescuers but it is about a minute long so it is more palatable.
Before you know it we are back to Bernard and Bianca with Bernard trying to propose again, but he is interrupted by Jake and a snake.
Cody is then put into a cage downstairs with the rest of the animals Mcleach has poached including a cellmate lizard named Frank.
This is another character that keeps things light and fun when they could be dark and disparaging. The gang tries to get the key from the wall to set themselves free but Joana catches them and destroys their attempt putting the key back.
We then get another funny scene of Wilbur in the hospital. Maybe you guys won’t think it is a good scene but it really made me laugh
We also get a humorous scene with Joana stealing Mcleach’s eggs and he gets the idea of how to manipulate Cody. The next morning he pretends to let Cody go but tells him he has killed Marahute and ‘too bad about those eggs…’. Knowing Cody will go to the eggs he follows him with Bernard and Bianca on the tank/truck contraption he is driving.
There is a scene that is right out of the tank scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which was released in 1989. I have to believe this was added or changed to be an homage to that scene they are so similar but in a good way!
What kid isn’t going to like that kind of adventure? There is nothing about Rescuers Down Under that is going to scare kids, make them nervous around strangers like the Rescuers did for me at 9 years old.
Mcleach traps Marahute but Bernard is left behind with the eggs. He cleverly hides them from Joanna and just then Wilber shows up. He says he will not sit on the eggs but there he is at the end of the scene.
Now that Mcleach has Marahute he needs to ‘tie up the loose ends’ meaning get rid of Cody. All the hope lies in Bernard saving the day. Jake doesn’t think he can do it but Bianca believes in him ‘you don’t know Bernard like I do. He will never give up’ . I like this moment of faith in a tiny mouse under such odds. It goes with the theme the animators were trying to achieve.
To everyone’s relief Bernard does save the day and turn off Mcleach’s truck and causing him to be thrown into the river.
Marahute saves Cody and before another minute has gone by Bernard proposes to Bianca and she accepts creating our happy ending .
with one final word from Wilber sitting on the nest (I just love that guy!).
This movie is the reason why you should always go into a film with an open mind. Even if you didn’t care for the original, maybe they will fix the problems in the sequel? It’s rare but it does happen, and it happens with Rescuers Down Under. I loved it!
The voice acting is fabulous. The comic relief is hilarious. The Indiana Jones moments are great fun. The side characters like Jake and Frank are developed and a delight to watch. The music is perfect even without any songs!
Some of the animation looks a little dated but it is only a shot here, and a shot there. Most of it looks gorgeous. The flying scenes totally hold up. The characters look so much more alive and vibrant than the original and more than anything we had seen in previous films (yes, even more fleshed out and illuminated than Little Mermaid).
The villain is a mean dude but you hardly get any of him, which is perfect. We know he is a bad guy. We don’t need to dwell in it till it becomes shrill and unpleasant. He’s in and out and done. Maybe not the greatest Disney villain ever but it works for the story.
Bernard and Bianca were a lot of fun this time around, and we got to see way more personality from both, especially Bernard who saves the day! I loved that.
And Wilber is my new favorite. He was so funny I could watch his scenes over and over again laughing each time. The crazy doctors almost reminded me of a Pinky and the Brain skit. That’s how funny they were.
So, I don’t know if going in with low expectations made this work for me but whatever it is I really liked it. I can’t imagine a kid not loving this movie.