Dark Victory (1939)

Dark Victory Movie Review

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Dark Victory Movie Review

Dark Victory is a 1939 drama film starring Bette Davis, George Brent, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Humphrey Bogart. It is such an underrated, deeply affecting film.

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I’ll have a large order of prognosis negative

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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Dark Victory is a classic melodrama of yesteryear, the kind of melodrama which is today unfortunately deemed soapy and dated when in my opinion those films are still emotional and excellent. This is no exception. It follows a woman who learns she only has some months to live and decides to live to the fullest extent and die with dignity.

There is no denying that sometimes the film was emotionally manipulative, but I easily fell prey to it as it is just so incredibly well made and fantastic across the board, on all fronts. I loved how it has less characters and thus the plot is very well crafted and the characterization is superb. The film is engaging from beginning to end owing to some superb pacing at work. The highlights were the restaurant scene and the entire third act with the final scene being simply heartbreaking and so majestic.

Bette Davis is one of my favorite actresses and possibly the best actress of all time, certainly in the top three. Here she went against typecasting and actually played a character who is not bitchy or mean-spirited but good-natured, energetic and sweet. She simply killed it and gave one of her best performances which says a lot for the actress of her caliber. She had to play such an incredibly complex role – from unwillingness to accept her illness to anger at her friends to fear to the eventual decision to pass away with dignity – and she nailed every single one of those emotions. Such a brilliant role and performance.

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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But everybody else also did a good job with George Brent being the highlight as her romantic partner. He is restrained and very competent in his role of a mature, yet very caring man. Geraldine Fitzgerald also gave a great performance as Judith’s wonderful, loyal friend.

Humphrey Bogart is also in this movie and although I’ve always loved Bogie, I have to say that he was the weakest link here. I do find that stable sequence very romantic and wonderful, but it was hardly necessary and it detracted from the main plot of the film and felt like a detour to be honest. His entire character and subplot was wonderful, but it honestly felt as if it was there just to fill the runtime.

Dark Victory is superbly directed, edited and paced. It is also very well shot and I loved that darkening out moment near the end, really well done as an important plot point. I also really liked the film’s moving score. It is technically terrific across the board and so incredibly emotional that I was moved by it quite a bit. It is one of the better melodramas from this period and probably the most underrated film from this greatest ever year for cinema.

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Dark Victory Movie Review

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It was nominated for three Academy Awards and it is a testament to how amazing this year was when it deservedly lost all three. It lost for Score and it also lost for Best Actress and Best Picture both to ‘Gone with the Wind’ which is the best film ever made so I am not arguing with that decision naturally. It had very tough luck and in some other year, Davis easily could have walked away with another Oscar on her mantle.

1939 remains the greatest year ever for cinema and Dark Victory is probably its most underrated film. This sentimental melodrama is difficult to watch, heartbreaking and so well made across the board with such a majestic, devastating ending, an excellent moving story and terrific performances from its talented cast with Bette Davis shining in the main role which was incredibly complex but she managed to pull it off and deliver one of her career best performances.

My Rating – 4.5

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The Major Lied ‘Til Dawn (1938)

The Major Lied 'Til Dawn ReviewThe Major Lied ‘Til Dawn Review

The Major Lied ‘Til Dawn is a 1938 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a weak short honestly.

I get why some people may like this as the animation is nice, the travelogue, nature documentary style to it is charming and the British accents are a lot of fun. But other than that, the film is overly talkative, boring and never funny or exciting whatsoever. The score is also forgettable.

The characters are okay, but not too remarkable and even the elephant is not great. That ending was overrated in my opinion. Most people love it as it was changed from the usual end-credits as this time around the elephant said it, but it is not particularly memorable to make much of a difference.

The Major Lied ‘Til Dawn is well animated and voice acted, but bland, boring and forgettable.

My Rating – 3.4

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Pokémon (Adventures on the Orange Islands) Season 2 (1999)

Image result for pokemon poliwag gif

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Pokémon (Adventures on the Orange Islands) Season 2 Review

The second season of Pokémon is called Adventures on the Orange Islands and it first aired in 1999. It is an inferior season.

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You insult my hair?

Prepare for trouble!

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Pokémon (Adventures on Orange Islands) Season 2 Review

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Yes, the previous season was much better in my opinion as this one has just the various adventures and no leagues whatsoever. We only follow Misty and Ash here as Brock leaves them and that was great as Brock is uninteresting to me if you discount his pathetic pursuing of girls.

However, Tracey as the new addition is even worse as he is such a bland, boring and entirely forgettable character and thankfully he is not going to appear in the next season as he stayed with Professor Oak who is here as likable as always. I also really liked that episode with Gary as it was nice seeing that he became more mature.

Ash got Lapras here and it is one of his biggest new additions to the team and he also got a new Pokedex which is also interesting. I liked seeing Charizard become more helpful and obedient to Ash and he is one of the more interesting of his Pokémon.

To me the highlight here was the episode in which Poliwag helped Misty get a cure for Ash and Tracey while Meowth and James are looking for the same cure for Jessie. I absolutely loved this episode as it was a glorious emphasis on Misty and Team Rocket. She is great here and I loved the entire adventure and cartoony action here, but it was also great seeing the two try to help Jessie. It is a sweet and wonderful episode and I wish the rest were like this one.

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Pokémon (Adventures on Orange Islands) Season 2 Review

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There are some wonderful episodes to be had here, but unfortunately there are also way too many detours and once again the series relies too much on cutesy factor as well as childish adventure with not enough true battles and no league elements here. So in the end, this season is solid, but inferior to the first one as it is not all that eventful.

 

Worst Episodes: In the Pink, Stage Fight, The Joy of Pokémon and the Underground Round-Up.

Best Episodes: Shell Shock, The Stun Spore Detour and The Rivalry Revival.

My Rating – 3.7

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Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella Movie Review

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Cinderella Movie Review

Cinderella is a 1950 animated musical fantasy film which is Disney’s 12th animated feature. It truly is one of the better Disney films of all time.

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They can’t order me to stop dreaming

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Cinderella Movie Review

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After almost a decade of low-quality package films, Disney is back with a classic Cinderella, the film which will prove to be one of the best Disney films and one of their most fondly remembered pictures decades later. It surely has its obvious flaws, but the strengths are abundant that they mostly render those flaws minor.

First, the characters. There is a plethora of characters in this movie – from the innocent protagonist to wonderfully evil villains to the prince and his silly father to the mice, the necessary sidekicks. Cinderella is, like Snow White – kind, pretty, a good singer and great with animals, but unlike the first Disney Princess, she has a bit of a feisty and rebellious attitude making her more believable and modern. She is not too developed, but still a solid early Disney Princess who is actually much more active than people nowadays give her credit for. She actually went to the ball and managed to find her own happiness instead of waiting for it to happen.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Prince Charming is unfortunately a non-entity as the most underdeveloped character in the film. It is a shame, but at least all of the other characters are strongly developed and he would have been more utilized had the film been longer in length, but more on that later on.

Charming’s father is an interesting attempt at comedy proving to be quite an unexpectedly funny creation. He is very desperate in his need for grandchildren which is realistic given the time period portrayed and he is a needed comic relief, influencing the fathers in ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the process.

Now, the mice. They are at times funny, at times sweet and always helpful. Their chases with Lucifer should prove entertaining for children and a pleasant diversion for adults. Those action scenes are definitely cartoony, but still done so well and pleasantly reminded me of classic cartoons such as Tom and Jerry. Bruno is particularly memorable as this fat, food obsessed but also very endearing mouse.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Their voices are awfully squeaky and they more than occasionally feel as if they were the protagonists thus ruining the film’s pacing a bit and greatly contributing to Cinderella’s lesser screen time. But still they are endearing enough that the film did not suffer too much for having them appear too often. Plus I liked that this is the ultimate Disney Princess animal film as here Cinderella not only speaks to animals and helps them, but it is a mutual relationship as they help her too and they do help her a lot. The relationship is wonderful and important in terms of storytelling too.

Lucifer is one of the most villainous animal characters in all of Disney films thanks to his mean personality and negative attitude towards the protagonist. I do think that this film is not for a cat person as they are very much the villains here whereas the dogs are heroes, but still I liked that archetypical approach as here it worked in its favor and fitted the film really well. And he truly is a great animal villain or henchman should I say.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Grand Duke is a funny counteract to the King and I really liked their amusing interactions. Fairy Godmother is of course very endearing and such a wonderful character. She is great both as a necessary story point and as the necessary magical element in the film. Anastasia and Drizella are very funny as these ugly, incompetent and stupid stepsisters.

But the one character who totally stands out is Lady Tremaine. She is mean, cold and just plain evil, coming across as even scary in some noir-influenced scenes. Her attitude along with her voice work and actions make her one of the very best Disney villains, probably better than Maleficent and the Queen because she does not need powers to be scary and evil. She is at the top or near the top of the list of best Disney villains and definitely the most underrated villain as well. A very menacing presence and even more disturbing for being a real, non-magical person.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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This famous fairy tale is very well adapted here as Cinderella is enchanting, magical, endearing and always mesmerizing to watch. The highlights of course include the ball dance, some of the cat and mouse chases, every scene with Lady Tremaine and the dress making scene which is an unforgettable, simply beautiful Disney sequence. The film should have been much longer in length as the mice took too much of the screen time this way and the second half felt somewhat rushed. The first act is prolonged and the third is rushed but despite weaker pacing, the story is great and wonderfully traditional that it in the end works.

While the animation is not on par with the studio’s first couple of films, it is nonetheless far better than the package films thanks to an interesting beginning, colorful style and an artistic ballroom sequence. The character design is excellent and the interiors look great, but to me the highlights here are the exteriors. This is a rare animated film which feels like a concept-art come to life as some scenes (especially the outside ones) are so elegant, artistic and dreamlike in their quality that they almost felt like paintings. I loved that artistic angle here.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Cinderella’s soundtrack grew on me over time. I still think that it is one of the weaker of the Disney Golden Age soundtracks, but still quite solid with some great songs. Cinderella serves its purpose as the opening of the film with that classic book added. The lyrics are too descriptive and spoilery, but the song is quite okay and catchy in a traditional way.

Sing Sweet Nightingale is way too short in length, but again it serves its purpose in terms of storytelling and as a showcase of the contrast between Cinderella and her stepsisters. The Work Song is the weakest song in the film which is accompanied by a wonderful scene where the mice make her a dress, but their squeaky voices ruined an otherwise catchy number. So This is Love is a forgettable Disney ballad again accompanied by a wonderful scene, but the song itself is too short and not memorable, catchy or romantic enough.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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Of course the two best numbers here are Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes. The former is such a wonderful children’s song which is incredibly catchy, fast and irresistible to sing along to while the latter actually grew on me over time as at first I did not care for it, but now I really like it. It is the classic “I Wish” Disney Princess song and the ultimate moment for the main character. The lyrics are great, the song is wonderfully traditional and so well sung with the highlight being the last chorus. I loved its scene too.

Thanks to superb villains and their awful actions, you can’t help but feel sad for the main character, making the film one of the darker films in the canon because of its evident sense of danger and sadistic intentions of Lady Tremaine.

The tearing of the dress scene is unforgettable in its brutal and heartbreaking imagery. Even though Cinderella’s characterization is not particularly strong, you always root for her and you are happy at the end when everything turns out fine. Lady Tremaine, like all of ‘Pinochio’s villains, ends unpunished and she has never made a single mistake making her one of the best villains ever to come from Disney.

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Cinderella Movie Review

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The humor is quite good at times and I loved the film’s diverse tone and also its elegant score. It is abrupt in its ending, but flies by how short and incredibly engaging and wonderful it is. The best part of the film is its emotional aspect. So in the end, the film is not quite on part with some of Disney’s previous classics, but it was still a great, important step in the right direction for the studio and certainly one of their better films out there.

It is certainly way too short in length and somewhat rushed, but Cinderella was nonetheless a phenomenal return to form for Disney with mostly strong character development, evident emotion and sense of danger, engaging story, solid humor and such an elegant, artistic animation style to it. The soundtrack is weaker than most of Disney’s Golden Age soundtracks, but it still features two classics in Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes. The mice take away too much of the screen time, but I still really like the classic cartoon animal chases here. It has its minor flaws, but it is still one of the better Disney films thanks in no small part to Lady Tremaine who truly remains one of the finest and most menacing Disney villains of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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Porky & Daffy (1938)

Porky & Daffy ReviewPorky & Daffy Review

Porky & Daffy is a 1938 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is such a funny short.

Porky enlists Daffy for a boxing match and the entire cartoon then revolves around Daffy screwing with his opponent. Now I usually dislike boxing shorts, but this one truly is phenomenal because it is non-stop hilarious action from start to finish with so many inventive quality gags.

I love Daffy Duck here, he is so energetic, crazy and a lot of fun. The belt joke was so funny, I liked the pelican referee and how Daffy used him as a punching bag and literally every single action from the duck here is very inventive and incredibly smart. The only problem is that there is certainly not enough of Porky Pig here and he did not even need to be here whatsoever.

Porky & Daffy features a bunch of hilarious and smart gags making this boxing short truly phenomenal.

My Rating – 4.2

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From the Page to the Screen – Animal Farm

Animal Farm Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a classic 1954 allegorical novel written by George Orwell. It is one of the most important novels of the 20th century and one of the most influential. Its politics still ring true, the film remains a very sophisticated and deceptively simple animal tale and I really liked both the book and its cinematic adaptation.

 

 

THE FILM ADAPTATION

The film was released in 1954, nine years after the novel was first published. It holds the distinction for being the very first British feature animated film. And it definitely paid off as the critics liked it and it truly is a respectable adaptation of an important novel and a somewhat underrated film today.

 

PLOT

The film follows the book pretty closely and is mostly a terrific adaptation that doesn’t really sacrifice anything important. However, the ending is altered and overly happy and thus it is not comparable to the source material unfortunately.

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Definitely the voice acting could have been better as one guy literally voiced every single character here which is troublesome. But the characters themselves are very strong and so well developed just like their book counterparts.

WINNER – TIE

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Animal Farm Movie Review

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EMOTION

The novel is very emotional, but the film is also highly emotional in a couple of truly devastating scenes. Both works are heartbreaking at times and mostly overly dark and realistic that you end up rooting for the good guys.

WINNER – TIE

 

THEMES

Of course this one goes to the novel. The film is good and very well adapted, but as is usually the case, the themes are much better explored in the written form. That is not to say that the film is thematically thin, it’s just that the novel’s exploration of order, leadership and corruption is much more striking and sophisticated.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

 I like Orwell’s style. I really do. His style with simple and shorter sentences really works as it makes the work much more dramatic. However, some parts were overlong with the descriptions lacking. The film, on the other hand, features good sound design and absolutely terrific, admirably grounded in reality character design where animals are not cute but fittingly realistic and even grotesque.

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 4: FILM 3

I actually like the animated film almost as much as I like the book. It truly is a phenomenal adaptation that is going to remain the best ever made out of this material. But there is no denying that the book was first and that this work is so deep and rich in themes. Thus the novel takes this one, but not by much.

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Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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Howl’s Moving Castle Movie Review

Howl’s Moving Castle is a 2004 fantasy anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is far from the best that Studio Ghibli has to offer, but still a solid film in its own right.

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I don’t cook!

I’m a scary and powerful fire demon!

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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I actually liked this one much more upon second viewing as I really did not care for it the first time around. But watching it now, I could certainly appreciate it more. The storyline is admittedly quite good and I particularly loved that it is an alternative historical film. This is early 20th century for sure, but with magic added as a bonus.

The story is fascinating, magical, endearing and as imaginative as you would come to expect from the studio. I loved the magical elements and I really liked some of its themes with aging being particularly well explored.

However, the major problem I’ve had with it is that it is undercooked. The narrative is very problematic as it doesn’t give us too many answers to some really crucial questions such as whether or not Sophie is a witch, Howl’s origin story is left unexplored as is his entire relationship with Suliman.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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To me the film just happened and it gave us way too many characters and way too many plot points that some were seriously shortchanged. That is the problem of the script but also of the action as the runtime is more than long enough for it to develop properly. But the action is frequently quite overwhelming that we do not get to spend enough time with some characters and story points.

I liked Sophie quite a bit. She has excellent development and growth in this film and is a likable protagonist for whom you root for. Howl is also very good and interesting as this man obsessed with looks and young age. The relationship between the two is moving and one of the film’s highlights.

The Witch of the Waste is excellent and I ended up liking her quite a bit. Underutilized for sure, but she is at first excellent and memorable as a villain and then quite sweet as their companion. Calcifer is a cartoon character in his appeal and design, but a good one nevertheless and having fire literally be a character was interesting and he was so well animated and very endearing.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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Markl is sweet, but entirely underutilized unfortunately. But his relationship with Sophie is heartwarming. Madame Suliman is memorable as the film’s greatest villain, but once again entirely underdeveloped. The voice acting is superb and everyone did a great job across the board.

Howl’s Moving Castle features brilliant animation. Yes, that is certainly one of the standout aspects here. I loved seeing for once the early 20th century in a fantasy flick and the attention to detail is so meticulous that I was transported to that era from the first moment. The costumes look great, the hairstyles, the various imagery is highly interesting and in particular the interiors looked awesome with the castle itself being so well imagined. This anime surely is beautiful to look at.

To me the highlight in terms of the scenes was the beginning and especially the transformation scene which was very intriguing and wonderfully reminded me of fairy tales. The film is very much a Japanese fairy tale which I loved of course. The ending with the imposed end credits was not my cup of tea, but each scene in the house was wonderful and Howl and Sophie’s scenes were all heartwarming.

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Howl's Moving Castle Movie Review

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The action is very well executed even though it is overwhelming. The pacing is frenetic for sure and the film should have been much calmer as its runtime demanded it. Miyazaki’s direction and vision are reliably strong, but he was influenced by ‘Spirited Away’ a bit too much and the film never is comparable to it. The score is also not as memorable as some other scores from the studio. In the end, I liked the film, but it is way too flawed to be considered in the top half with Ghibli’s biggest classics.

Howl’s Moving Castle is admittedly much better upon second viewing and it features excellent world building and attention to detail. I really liked its historical period and the magical elements. The two main characters and their relationship are strong and the animation is magnificent and beautiful to look at. But this is still one of the more flawed Ghibli films with overwhelming action and a problematic narrative that leaves too many things unanswered and too many characters underutilized. Miyazaki was influenced by his ‘Spirited Away’ a bit too much and this is obviously a pale imitation of that classic film.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Moose Hunt (1931)

The Moose Hunt ReviewThe Moose Hunt Review

The Moose Hunt is a 1931 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a weird short.

Yes, this short is quite odd when you think about it. Pluto’s two gags are not bad, but are way too ridiculous to be taken seriously. One involves him actually speaking and giving us a spoken line which remains the only time he has done that. And another is the ending where Mickey escapes from the running moose by flying, yes flying on Pluto who suddenly could fly. So silly.

However, I still ended up liking this short because it features solid animation and movements and it gives us a wonderful relationship between Pluto and Mickey who share some great interactions here. The moose is also very well designed. The film is important for being the first one where Pluto is actually Mickey’s pet and I can’t wait to see more of him in the future.

The Moose Hunt benefits from Pluto and Mickey’s fun interactions, but is also ridiculous and silly in its two gags which are not doglike at all.

My Rating – 3.5

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From the Page to the Screen – The Jungle Book

The Jungle by Book Rudyard Kipling - Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is an 1894 family novel written by Rudyard Kipling. It is one of the treasured children’s classics of literature but even though it is endearing and with a great attention to detail, it was too episodic in nature and two disconnected to me personally. I liked the book, but I did not love it. It was influential and was adapted into three major films, all done by Disney, so let’s see how they stack up together.

 

 

THE 1967 VERSION

The 1967 original animated film is the last film that Walt Disney personally worked on until his unfortunate death. It represents a true end of an era, an era of classic Disney films as afterwards the studio went into their first Dark Age. It is an underrated film today as it is in my opinion one of the ten best Disney films of all time.

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The Jungle Book (1967)

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PLOT

The film is very episodic in nature just like the novel, but it thankfully adapted just one major story from the book and is thus much more engaging and well put together. When everybody thinks of The Jungle Book, they immediately think of this movie which is a testament to how amazing it still is and it easily trumps the source material.

WINNER – FILM

 

CHARACTERIZATION

I liked the characters in the novel, but in the film we get much better and more meaningful interactions between each and every one of them plus Baloo and Bagheera are so much better as these unforgettable, wonderful Disney sidekicks. Shere Khan is also one of the better Disney villains out there.

WINNER – FILM

 

EMOTION

The original novel is quite cold actually if you do not count that final chapter which is so moving and beautiful. But the rest is lacking. The animated film, on the other hand, is very emotionally rewarding in large part thanks to superb characterization. The entire third act is wonderful and that ending where Mowgli leaves the two and goes to the man village is so touching.

WINNER – FILM

 

THEMES

This is the only category where the novel is clearly better than the film. I love the film but it is too straightforward and not too sophisticated thematically speaking whereas the book explores animal order, foreignness, courage and principles among others.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

This also has to go to the film. Certainly the book features some wonderful descriptive passages from Kipling, but the film takes that to the next level with pleasing, underrated animation style, simply superb character design and one of Disney’s better soundtracks.

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 1: FILM 4

This is one of the rare clear victories in favor of the cinematic adaptation instead of the novel and that is what Disney does best – they took a somewhat boring, very episodic and scattered novel and made a much more straightforward, much more emotional and much better developed in plot and characters film that remains one of their biggest classics to this day.

 

 

THE 1994 VERSION

This adaptation is live-action and again it came from Disney and was released in 1994. It was fairly well received, but is in my opinion the weakest of the three by far as it doesn’t hold up particularly well and for the movie called The Jungle Book, there isn’t a whole lot of jungle to be found in it.

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The Jungle Book Movie Review

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PLOT

As a period, historical piece, the film works. But as a jungle adventure, it fails miserably as it only has a couple of such scenes and they were all some of the worst scenes in the film. I get what they were going for, but the film just wasn’t sophisticated enough to pull that different, more sophisticated approach off. The novel does that much better.

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Some characters here are fine, but most are lacking and their book counterparts are so much better developed. It also hurts that the acting is not the greatest, especially from the main actor who is also quite miscast.

WINNER – BOOK

 

EMOTION

The novel has that heartfelt final chapter, but the film is lacking in this particular aspect. It isn’t too cold, but because the characterization is weak, there was just not a single truly moving scene to be had here.

WINNER – BOOK

 

THEMES

This is another clear victory for the book as the film tries to be a serious historical drama but fails in that department as the dialogue and the script are not all that great. The novel is much more sophisticated.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

The original features excellent writing from the author – mostly the descriptions which are so detailed and they bring the image of India in your head remarkably well. This movie, on the other hand, features solid costumes, but it doesn’t hold up in terms of the effects as it uses real trained animals and thus removes the magic and charm from the story in favor of realism.

WINNER – BOOK

 

BOOK 5: FILM 0

Now this is another clear slate, but this time around in favor of the book. The movie isn’t bad and is perfectly solid, but mostly just a noble effort at making a very serious, realistic animal film. They failed at that for the most part and what we got was a very forgettable adaptation that is not fun or exciting at all.

 

 

THE 2016 VERSION

The newest 2016 live-action Disney film is really an animated film because it relies heavily on special effects with only Mowgli being played by a real human being. But the effects are excellent and the film is mostly stupendously crafted that it received excellent reviews and reactions across the board. It is a very good film, but somewhat overrated as the original film is much better.

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The Jungle Book Movie Review

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PLOT

I liked the plot of the film quite a bit. It follows the first film somewhat closely, yet it also stays pretty true to the source material. Only the ending was too happy, but otherwise this was such a stupendous adaptation that doesn’t just copy the original film (looking at you ‘Beauty and the Beast’).

WINNER – FILM

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Everything I said above for the original film also applies here but to a somewhat lesser extent. Baloo is great and so well played by Bill Murray, Bagheera is good, Mowgli is endearing and Shere Khan is quite menacing. The characters are faithful to the original film and very good overall.

WINNER – FILM

 

EMOTION

The entire third act is quite moving and although the ending is too happy, it was still quite glorious to witness and heartwarming. It isn’t as endearing as the first film, but it is more emotional than the novel.

WINNER – FILM

 

THEMES

This adaptation actually includes some of the themes from the book and the most fascinating was the role of the elephants in the ecosystem. But still the themes here are rare when compared to the book’s richness of themes.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

The special effects are gorgeous here and although the animals are too big, they look great and pretty realistic. The scenery is also frequently gorgeous and the score pays homage to the original film really well in spite of the weak renditions of songs. This Oscar-winning film is a technical marvel that is best to be seen on the big screen.

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 1: FILM 4

Now even though the score is pretty much the same as it was with the original film, this remake is still inferior to the original and never as terrific or as wonderful. But still it is one of the best live-action remakes from Disney in this new string of remakes and mostly an unexpectedly strong, competent film on all fronts.

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Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope Movie Review

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is a 1977 science fiction fantasy film directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. It is the very first installment in the massively popular blockbuster franchise.

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May the force be with you

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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So the story concerns the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Leia who attempts to destroy the Death Star. Luke Skywalker comes into the mix when he comes into contact with the droid who possesses some valuable information. The story is very good and interesting and it begins basically when ‘Rogue One’ ends. That film is a prequel to this particular story.

The storytelling is very good here. The film does not attempt to have any serious themes, message or deeper meaning or emotion and that is fine as it knows what it wants to do and it doesn’t stay away from that. However, the main problem with the entire film is the excessive amount of action employed.

That is why A New Hope is an enormous influence on future filmmaking for better and for worse. It just has way too much action. For example, the entire third act with the battle scenes in particular was just way too long and it honestly bored me pretty quickly. It also employed some detours when the three were on the ship and it definitely needed a tighter, more involving and less action oriented narrative and approach.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Let’s talk about these famous characters and actors. Luke Skywalker is as boring and as bland as most of these blockbuster heroes are. He is just a bland, tiresome entity and I dislike him quite a bit. That also stems from Mark Hamill’s very mediocre performance, at least in this movie he was very weak.

Han Solo and Princess Leia are much better and much more memorable. Certainly this was typecasting as Harrison Ford always plays these cocky, charismatic characters, but this was one of the first, before the Indiana Jones franchise and thus I like him more than Indy. He can be funny, but still too arrogant for my taste.

Leia definitely is underutilized here, but excellent. She is basically a Disney Princess in a way, especially now that Disney owns this franchise. I like her quite a bit as she is competent, action oriented and brave while still retaining her womanly attributes, beauty and royal behavior. The interactions between these three were quite strong and Carrie Fisher is great in her signature role.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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Peter Cushing is solid as the villain and of course Darth Vader is iconic in terms of blockbuster villains and unforgettable and menacing in each one of his scenes. In my opinion this Obi-Wan Kenobi is not great because Alec Guinness obviously disliked being on the set, he did not understand the role and thus we got a very confused performance.

As for those cutesy characters, I still do think that they were just blatantly added for the appeal to the children everywhere, even in this first entry. Chewbacca is particularly forgettable and the worst costume effect of them all. C-3PO and R2-D2 are a fun couple with an interesting dynamic. The former is feminine and very talkative while the latter is cute and mute. They are definitely an interesting duo, but again overly utilized in too many scenes.

A New Hope has some of the best special effects of the older blockbusters, that goes without question. What they pulled off here was remarkable. The sets look great, the space battles and spaceships are awesome and so cool and of course the costumes and the practical effects are so detailed and carefully designed that they mostly aged remarkably well and they added realism to the picture that CGI is not capable of.

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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Movie Review

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That is why George Lucas should be respected for this film. He brought an entire new universe to the audience and they were captivated back then and still to this day. It is a mish-mash of older ideas, but an original mix nonetheless. It has way too much action and weak pacing, but one of the best scores in film history for sure as that iconic John Williams opening remains legendary and the rest of the pieces are pretty terrific themselves. It is a good first entry, but the second one is much better.

A New Hope is an extremely influential blockbuster for better and for worse as it brought the wonder and epic majesty of space operas to the world but it also brought too much action which is in this film overwhelming. It also has some detours and the pacing is bad which is why its successor is so much better. But still the film features some great characters, that iconic, legendary score from John Williams and extraordinary special effects which mostly aged remarkably well. The beginning and the ending are the highlights, but most of the third act with that overlong battle bored me leading to a good, but far from great first entry.

My Rating – 4

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