Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review

Waking Sleeping Beauty is a 2009 Disney documentary film directed by Don Hahn. It showcases the history of the Disney studio in the 80s and 90s with an emphasis on the beginning of the renaissance.

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I just don’t think anything is quite as magical as a Disney cartoon fairy tale.

There’s just nothing like that.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I love this topic naturally as I am such a huge fan of Disney animation. The Disney Renaissance is truly a special period for the studio and for the American animation as a whole. I love all of the movies released there and although I would have liked to have seen the later Renaissance entries here as well, I still loved that I got to see the makings of ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’, four of their biggest movies.

That footage was fascinating and although I knew a lot of this stuff already, I still loved seeing it on the screen. Jodi Benson’s recording of Part of That World is definitely one of the highlights and of course watching those real lions in the studio was so much fun. I also liked that they showcased their rivalry during the eighties such as Don Bluth and Spielberg and we even got to see some 80s movies here such as ‘The Black Cauldron’ and ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. It is always tragic seeing how the former hurt the studio when it is such a solid film and of course the jokes about the latter’s title were so amusing.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It was interesting learning a bit more about the studio’s troubled history. Of course Waking Sleeping Beauty glorifies a bit too much their own work, but that is understandable as they’ve had such enormous success during the nineties. Of course seeing the Oscar nominations and seeing that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ended up in the Best Picture race was so emotionally rewarding and such a huge feat in the history of animation.

You learn a lot about Michael Eisner and Roy Disney’s roles which were very important and Roy always seemed so nice to me. But I also learned a lot about Frank Wells and his death was tragic. Jeffrey Katzenberg was well portrayed here and not in an overly toxic manner which they could have done, but thankfully did not. He remains a controversial, but still important figure for Disney and that was well portrayed here. And of course the movie wonderfully showcases the importance of Howard Ashman’s input and his untimely death truly remains tragic and you only can imagine how much more he could have done for Disney had he lived more.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty uses archival footage and interviews instead of new interviews and that was truly such a unique and different angle to a documentary feature. Very interesting and it ultimately worked really well for the film. However, the movie remains very troublesome for relying too much on archival footage of the filmmakers and animators and not enough on the films themselves. They should have showcased and emphasized the films more and how they were made and it would have been much more entertaining and much better. But the ending is really moving and the movie was so insightful and a great history lesson for an animation fan like myself so I forgive them for those flaws.

Waking Sleeping Beauty definitely should have focused more on the films themselves instead of relying so much on the filmmakers and animators, but it is still such an insightful and fascinating look at the Disney Renaissance and a big reminder of how important and great that period was. The movie showcased really well the troubled history of each film as well as the various troubles with the studio executives and animators plus it is a unique documentary that relies entirely on archival instead of new interviews.

My Rating – 4

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 musical romance film directed by Bill Condon and produced by Disney. It stars Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens.

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My dear Belle, you’re so ahead of your time.

This is a small village, and it’s small-minded, as well.

But small also means safe.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

This 2017 version is a remake of the 1991 classic Disney animated film which is regularly cited as one of the best animated movies ever made. So naturally this adaptation was a risky venture and some may say even unnecessary. However, the end result is quite good so to me it was worth it. I liked most of the things and I truly hated just a couple of aspects so I ended up liking the film overall despite it being naturally inferior to its predecessor.

The plot isn’t as rehashed as everyone has been saying. Definitely some scenes are just way too repeated, but because those are classic scenes, you basically couldn’t do it any other way. So I am here only going to talk about those different plot points as we all know the overall story from the original film.

The beginning was a nice idea as it showed us how the prince was turned into a beast. However, they didn’t do it in the best way possible and the scene felt too safe and tame as is the whole flick, but more on that later. I have to say that I almost disliked the first act of the movie as it was mostly just repeated from the original with nothing new added to the table.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

What I liked is that we got too hear the backstory for the Beast, but the highlight was Belle’s backstory. That entire Paris sequence was beautifully conceived and executed. It was emotional and a perfect way to both progress their relationship and reveal to Belle what happened to her mother. That explanation was definitely good, but more often than not, I actually really disliked the film’s talkative, explanatory approach as they had the need to spoon-feed to their audience literally everything (how the two learned how to dance for example) and thus they lost the simplicity and sophistication of this tale and the original movie.

How Maurice got blamed and proclaimed a madman was changed and actually for the better as it was much more believable. The same goes for Agathe as I really liked her mysterious presence throughout the whole film. And the objects turning into anthropomorphic state was another good idea well executed. Overall, I liked these changes, but they were too minor and I would have liked to have seen more sophisticated additions and themes.

The characters are great. Belle is as great as before and the same goes for Gaston who is even funnier and more memorable here. Sometimes the feminist approach with Belle was too on-the-nose, but she was mostly too likable to dismiss. Beast to me was the only truly weaker character as I thought he was too timid and his design was thoroughly unappealing to me personally. Quite poor CGI there. But I have to say that the various romantic scenes that they added for the two were great and they helped strengthen their relationship even more.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Maurice is different than in the original film, but still quite good and likable. LeFou being gay is an interesting and fitting choice, but it backfired as they didn’t do anything with it. They raised the roof for him being the first gay Disney character and I thought that those elements here were too much played for laughs and ultimately disappointing. But I liked his relationship with Gaston and how he eventually turned to the good side, that was great.

Lumiere and Cogsworth and solid and they provide some quite good laughs, Mrs. Potts is also solid albeit infinitely inferior to the original version and Madame de Garderobe and Maestro Cadenza were good new additions.

The acting in Beauty and the Beast is superb. The casting is top-notch as everyone looks the part, even Dan Stevens who is too physically unappealing for the prince, but he was like that in the original too and he gave a good performance. I love Emma Watson, I always have and I am glad that her career is as strong as ever nowadays. To me she was weaker at first, but as the film progressed, she became much more confident and ended up being great in the role. She blended in this movie beautifully as she was just born to play this role. She became Belle and I adored her.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

But Luke Evans is great as well. He managed to bring both the comedic and the serious to the role and he both looked the part and played it superbly. All of the other actors and actresses did a very good job with the exception of Ewan McGregor whose French accent is just horrible.

Now is the perfect time to talk about the songs. This is the first movie in this live-action adaptation era for Disney that is a true musical and I liked that, but to some extent. Musically speaking, it is infinitely inferior to the original and it just makes you appreciate the 1991 film even more. But I still liked that the songs were there as it was pleasant to experience them again and in live-action treatment.

Belle to me felt somehow too long and Emma Watson’s singing, although good for an actress, is ultimately subpar and I missed Paige O’Hara here. Belle Reprise is never as grandiose as it was before. Be Our Guest is actually pretty solid, although definitely too muted. I never liked Gaston so I didn’t like it here either, but The Mob Song is quite good and serves its purpose well. Something There was pretty good and quite comedic which I liked.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

All of these songs from the original are actually rather fine, but the titular song is just so bad that it thoroughly took me out of the movie. Not only did they change the song and added new instruments, they also slowed it down significantly and the entire sequence was just so poorly filmed that it was totally ruined in my opinion. I was actually quite mad for what they did here.

As for those new songs, How Does a Moment Last Forever is brief and effective and Days in the Sun features mediocre lyrics, but is a solid and somewhat catchy tune, although ultimately too forgettable. Evermore isn’t great, but it is perfectly solid with good lyrics and excellent singing. It is also accompanied by memorable castle imagery. All three of these new songs are far from great, but still turned out better than I expected.

Beauty and the Beast is a visual feast for the eyes and that is where the film shines completely. It becomes such a magical experience and you witness a fairy tale unfold right in front of you. Even the 3D was pretty solid with some good, popping moments. I loved the costumes despite Belle’s iconic dress which felt cheap, but all of the others were great and they transported you to its time period wonderfully. The same goes for the imagery and the special effects, both terrific. The score is also very good and I thought that the pacing is solid. The film is long, but it never felt like it which is a testament to how entertaining it is.

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review…………………………………………………….

As I said, the Beast didn’t look terrifying and was even scarier in the animated film and that was so disappointing. They should have gone with a much darker and atmospheric tone. But if there is one thing the film does better than the original, it has to be the humor which is so great. I laughed out loud quite a lot as more than a couple of lines were so clever and hilarious. The comic delivery from the actors was excellent. I actually held a smile on my face throughout the whole running time as I was having such a great time and despite its many shortcomings, I think the critics were too harsh to this movie and it is actually quite good, if far from great.

The 2017 Beauty and the Beast is a magical experience despite it being expectedly inferior to the original. Of the songs, the new ones were pretty solid in my opinion with Evermore being the best; both Belle and Be Our Guest were solid, but the titular song was totally ruined with so many incredibly poor choices being made. The characters are great, the casting is top-notch with Luke Evans delivering a strong performance and I adored Emma Watson here. She became Belle which was awesome to witness. The plot changes were minor, but quite good and even though the film should have been darker, I liked its improved humor with many funny lines and the film is a visual feast for the eyes with great costumes and effects. It is ultimately far from great, but still a satisfactory and pleasant remake.

My Rating – 4

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Mulan (1998)

Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Mulan Movie Review

Mulan is a 1998 animated musical historical comedy film that is the 36th Disney animated feature film. It is a very strong, sometimes admirable Disney effort.

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The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

This is a historical film in the rein of ‘Pocahontas’ where she may or may not have lived and the film took liberties adapting this story which is a famous Chinese story. And I loved the change in setting. This is basically a Chinese Disney film where all of the characters are from that country and some of the animation as well as the actors are also Chinese and I just loved that authenticity about it.

The plot itself is very good. The conflict is great and I found the film to be a solid historical as well as war picture, but mostly excelling in the drama and sometimes comedy department. It is a pleasant mix of genres in a typical Disney fashion and it succeeds in most of its areas. The highlights were of course the musical numbers, the sequence where Mulan cuts her hair is just so inspired, some of the action sequences are excellent, especially that with the avalanche, and of course the entire third act is beautiful and such an emotionally satisfying conclusion.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Fa Mulan is such a strong female main character and is actually one of the most, if not the most, feminist Disney princesses. She is brave and a great person who brought change, but unlike Pocahontas, she is actually very well developed as a character and is both likable and sometimes genuinely charming. Captain Li Shang is also very good and I liked him and the relationship between the two. I know that it maybe would have been better had they stayed just friends, but even though it was a bit rushed, the seeds were still solidly planted for their future romantic relationship.

Now Mushu is your typical Eddie Murphy animated character that came even before his Donkey persona in ‘Shrek’. Although a typical goofy sidekick, I mostly really liked him as he was quite funny at times with a larger than life personality and a good heart. Grandmother Fa is actually funnier than Mushu as she is one of the most underrated Disney supporting characters. She isn’t present a lot in this movie, but whenever she was on screen, she killed it with hilarious lines.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I liked the Emperor of China in the third act and the villain Shan Yu, although disappointing in the ending, was a solid presence overall with a great menacing look and voice to him. And his animal henchman in the form of a falcon is very cool. But even though all of these characters are quite good, the problem with Mulan is that all of the other male characters as their fellow recruits were quite forgettable and not one of them stood out. That was unfortunate.

The animation in Mulan is quite good with a couple of reservations. The overall visuals are stellar and the film looks like a Disney film, but with strong Asian influences spread throughout too. I loved some of the interiors as well as the imagery, very striking. I also liked the costumes and the movements were well choreographed and the flick is well filmed. My one issue with it is the character design. Some characters such as Mulan and Mushu look really good, but others such as all of those recruits did not look that great. I don’t know why, but some of the character designs here did not personally appeal to me. And I found the fact that most of those men were either skinny or fat or entirely incompetent to be very unrealistic and frankly stupid given the historical period in question.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Now let’s talk about the soundtrack. It is another good Disney Renaissance soundtrack with a couple of absolutely terrific songs in it, but more importantly a fantastic score. Yes, the score is absolutely phenomenal and most of the scenes were fittingly dramatic in their score or fittingly Asian as well. But Mulan’s Decision stands out as one of the finest compositions that Disney has ever put out as it is just such an iconic, powerful and instantly recognizable theme perfectly incorporated into its scene and story.

There are only five songs here and to me only two stood out as True to Your Heart is catchy, but a typical end-credits song that is forgettable and doesn’t have a context to it, Honor to Us All is a solid movie opener but is overall bland and not memorable and A Girl Worth Fighting For is actually quite catchy and fun, but overall not great.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

But of course Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You are just superb across the board. The former is such a beautiful song accompanied with a great scene, imagery and character drama and it is a perfect vehicle for Mulan to help us connect with her emotionally. It has great lyrics, excellent singing and is catchy, but powerful and moving as well. But the latter is the standout musical number which is unlike any other Disney song and that works in its favor. It is overall such a great and important scene that is one of the best montages that I have ever seen, but the lyrics are excellent and the song even manages to incorporate otherwise boring recruits in it solidly. It is such an entertaining song that is just infectiously catchy to sing along and very original and exciting.

Mulan features some really good voice acting in it and everyone did a good job. And of course the singing is great. But it is also very solidly paced and always entertaining to watch and dramatic. It features a great message and is one of the most feminist Disney movies out there, but is done right instead of preachy. Mulan truly is a great role model for girls. The dialogue is also really strong and some of the lines here are actually quite inspired. And the film was emotionally rewarding, especially in its ending.

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Mulan Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

But there is one problem here that prevents it from being a classic and that is why it is inferior to most of the other Renaissance films and is only better than ‘Hercules’ and ‘Pocahontas’. I am of course talking about the humor. Now the humor is okay and sometimes even quite good, don’t get me wrong. But I just did not find it necessary for this particular film at all. This is the type of film that should have been very serious and somehow Disney put a lot of the humor in it and that signature touch of theirs did not connect in this instance as good as it mostly connects. Some of the characters are too goofy and only Mushu and Grandmother Fa have their comedic moments whereas others are forgettable and some scenes were too lighthearted. But all in all, the film is mostly satisfying and was a wonderful experience.

Mulan is too comedic and goofy at times and some characters are forgettable, but Mulan herself is such a strong female role model, the animation is quite good, the score is excellent, the message is strong and the action is solid. It features a good story, a great Chinese setting and feel to it and two fantastic songs in Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You.

My Rating – 4

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Moana (2016)

Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

Moana Movie Review

Moana is a 2016 animated musical fantasy adventure film that is the 56th Disney animated feature. It is such a wonderful, old-fashioned Disney film which I liked a lot.

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If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I found the plot to be very good, if some plot points felt obvious. To me, the film succeeds the most as an adventure owing to its pure, unabashed sense of fun and discovery. I loved that about it as nowadays we rarely see these kinds of films and here we’ve got a grand sea adventure for the ages.

Of course the Polynesian setting is beautiful and highly authentic and intriguing. I loved that we got to meet this culture and their traditions, it definitely felt original and refreshing in that aspect. Another strong thing about it is its lack of villains. Moana has no villains whatsoever in it and that was great and realistic. The villain is the nature and its forces which was great to witness and so refreshing. I loved that the film focused more on the relationship between its two characters than on action. But the action is great too and actually the entire last battle and especially the final appearance of the goddess was just beautiful to behold and it was the best and most epic scene in the entire film.

Let’s talk about the characters. Moana is pretty good as the newest Disney princess. Yes, sometimes she felt too arrogant and annoying to me in a typical feminist fashion. But she was mostly likable and I liked that the movie was about her for the most part and her journey is so well established and her ups and downs are dramatic and emotional.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

As for Maui, I don’t know about this one. Mainly because I dislike Dwayne Johnson and his voice so much, I did not care about this character much. Auli’i Cravalho did a much better and more natural job in her voice performance. But even though the two are great together and their tumultuous friendship feels like one of those classic Disney friendships from yesteryear, I still did not like him individually. He had some great moments, but was overall too unwilling to help her at first, too selfish and his humor felt forced to me. Really not a fan.

I liked the fact that the movie chose to focus mostly on these two as that led to a better developed relationship between these two, but it still has a couple of memorable supporting characters in it. To me Moana’s parents and especially her father was a walking cliché, but the grandmother was such a kind and wonderful person and their relationship was so sweet. Her death scene was really impactful and tragic. Tamatoa as this gold-obsessed coconut crab was the closest that this movie came to having a villain and I really liked him. He was a memorable and sometimes even funny character and he served his purpose and made an impact for a short screen time he received. I would have really liked for them to have focused on Pua instead of Heihei and that was unfortunate as Pua is such an adorable, lovable pig whom I liked a lot. But Heihei is also pretty good as this incredibly stupid rooster and some of his gags were quite funny. He truly is the dumbest Disney characters of all time.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

Moana is a musical and to me it succeeds as such much more so than ‘Frozen’ did because it has more than one really good song. The overall score was really good too. Tulou Tagaloa is a short, if good opening for the movie, but I loved its Polynesian sound and language. That is the major strength of this movie – finally we see a Disney movie that utilizes the culture it depicts in its soundtrack!

An Innocent Warrior is another strong Polynesian number, it has beautiful vocals and is really moving. But I disliked Where You Are quite a bit as it is so bland, so forgettable and it is probably the weakest song in the entire movie. I also disliked You’re Welcome which featured too much rap and Dwayne Johnson singing is not my cup of tea. That sequence is comedic and it explains his character well, but the tune as a whole was annoying.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

Shiny is a much better rap song. I still dislike that that genre was featured here as it does not fit, but I found the song’s chorus to be very catchy and memorable. But I have to say that I strongly disliked how this song started, but more on that later. I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors) was to me such a powerful number and not that much in the tune itself, but in terms of storytelling and characterization, it probably succeeds the most out of any song here as it perfectly helps us prepare for the storm and is so emotional and with beautiful vocals.

Logo Te Pate is also such a catchy, fun number that I liked a lot. But the highlights are naturally How Far I’ll Go which was Oscar-nominated and We Know the Way. How Far I’ll Go is such a classic Disney song in its style and it perfectly helps develop the character of Moana while also having a great scene to accompany it with good imagery and such good lyrics. But it is so immensely catchy too.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

But to me We Know the Way is easily the highlight. I love this song so much! With superb lyrics and a great usage of Tokelauan language, it features such a great scene as a whole and I just loved that backstory in this movie. But it is such a catchy tune, so catchy and so fun that I actually have listened to it at least fifty times so far. It is a new Disney classic song in my opinion.

So naturally I love these songs so much and I think the soundtrack is mostly superb and stupendous, but I really disliked the musical direction in this film. For example, We Know the Way just sort of started and those transitions were not the most polished. But as I said above, Shiny starts in such an unappealing way with the character basically saying that he is going to sing. I disliked this meta approach to the songs so much as it basically adds another strong reason for musical haters to hate the genre. I would have liked a more respectful approach.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I liked the humor in Moana quite a bit, but I liked that it was mostly dramatic and that it focused on adventure and drama the most. It is a high-spirited adventure, but it succeeds in emotion as well because a couple of scenes are just so powerful, either poignant or uplifting. And some scenes, such as the last couple of them, are grand and majestic in both scope and emotion. The film is definitely ambitious in some areas.

The animation is gorgeous to behold. I loved its use of hand-drawn animation, but this is the first computer animated film from Ron Clements and John Musker and the results are more than stellar. The character designs are pretty good, but the highlights are some of the highly memorable imagery and the ocean. The water is so well animated and a character in its own right.

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Moana Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The film is well edited and well directed, I found the tone to be well handled and diverse and the film is emotionally engaging, but the dialogue needed to be much bigger to sell those abundant conversations and emotional scenes better. And because the film was too simplistic and definitely unoriginal in its storytelling, it never achieved the status of those Renaissance flicks from the nineties, but it came actually pretty close at times which I did not expect. And I loved that it was a return to classical Disney musicals and that is the major reason why I liked it more than Zootopia’ from the same year. it has its problems, but it is so wonderful and adventurous that it mostly succeeds.

Moana has its problems such as some typical plot points, a lack of stronger dialogue and I really dislike Maui and the film’s annoying meta approach at times, but the film succeeds as a high-spirited, grand adventure and it is a return to those classic musical adventure films from Disney which is why I loved it so much. The characters are mostly good, the film is very emotional at times, its lack of villains is admirable, some scenes are just beautiful and majestic to behold and the film’s Polynesian setting is so well utilized and intriguing. But the soundtrack is just fantastic with so many great, catchy or emotional numbers with the highlights being How Far I’ll Go and especially We Know the Way which are definitely future Disney classics.

My Rating – 4

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Fantasia 2000 (1999 )

Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Fantasia Movie Review

Fantasia 2000 is a 1999 animated musical film which is the 38th Disney animated feature film. It is a solid film that isn’t as inferior to the original as you would think.

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That age old question:

“What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos?

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Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Now because I was never a huge fan of the original ‘Fantasia’, I do not find it to be an untouchable masterpiece. I do respect it, but it is an uneven work of art. The same goes for its sequel Fantasia 2000 which is actually one of a few Disney sequels that we’ve got so far. Yes, it seemed unnecessary, but they actually justified its existence thanks to a couple of awesome segments that rival the best from the original film. It is still a vastly uneven film, but when it succeeds, it succeeds in spades.

Because this is basically a package film in a way, I would structurally organize this review as I usually do with such films meaning that I will go through each of its eight segments one by one and I will comment upon the overall technical aspects afterwards.

So let us begin. The first segment is Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Now Fantasia 2000 follows the pattern of the original film and thus we begin with the abstract segment first. This one features colorful butterflies and besides the obviously very good animation in it and of course great music, there is nothing else in it really. I do not like abstract pieces and this one is as basic as they come.

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Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi is really good. The only problem here is that it is too slow and actually boring at times, but other than that, this segment is actually quite impressive in terms of the animation which is absolutely gorgeous to behold and the character designs are great. Watching those whales swim was beautiful. The movements were polished and the segment is not only artistic, but sometimes even magical.

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin is my second favorite Fantasia 2000 segment without a doubt. It is set in New York City in the 1930s and we follow four individuals with each one of them getting their wish fulfilled at the end. I loved it not only for its of course terrific technicalities, but mostly because of its heart and charm. I love the 30s so I naturally loved its setting and time period, but the characters felt relatable, likable and I rooted for them.

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Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 by Dmitri Shostakovich is a weak part. The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a famous fairy tale, but I just did not think that it received justice in this adaptation which was problematic. The characterization and action are weak and this animation is my least favorite of the entire movie.

The Carnival of the Animals, Finale by Camille Saint-Saens is another weak segment. This is where the film really slowed down and weakened significantly which is a testament to its uneven quality. What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos? Yes, that is a basic concept here and needless to say, it was overly simplistic, cartoony and just too short and kind of pointless.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is naturally a classic, but I did not get the need to revisit it again here other than to acquaint the movie with the newer audiences. It just made the movie cheaper than it should have been and this was definitely a needless rehash and they should have just made another original segment instead.

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Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Pomp and Circumstance – Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 by Edwald Elgar is based on the story of Noah’s Ark. I just loved this one! It is my favorite segment from the entire movie. Every story that features Donald Duck is a winner in my book and this is no exception as I just love this guy. Daisy is also stupendous here and their romance is sweet and endearing. The ending is simply wonderful. But the reason why it succeeds lies in its beautiful animation with excellent designs of all the animals and of course the score is superb and not only my favorite composition here, but also one of my personal favorites when it comes to classical music. I love this piece and I love the entire segment.

The movie finishes off with Firebird Suite – 1919 version by Igor Stravinsky. Now this is obviously a very poetic, emotional and actually quite artistic experiment with a gorgeous, epic conclusion that brings to mind the conclusion of the original film and was a perfect ending to the entire film, but it was still disappointing to me as it was overly slow, sometimes even boring and prolonged.

Fantasia 2000 features gorgeous animation and I liked the variety of styles present here. Almost all of the segments were beautifully animated and the animation is even artistic at times. It isn’t as inspired as in the original, but still very good in its own right and frequently great. The compositions that they chose were probably even better than before and I liked the use of animals and Donald Duck in it. Donald was also hilarious in one in-between segment along with Mickey. Quite charming and endearing.

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Fantasia Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Now let’s talk about those segments in-between. I strongly disliked them. And they are the worst thing about this movie. Let me elaborate. They brought in celebrities and famous actors and actresses, mostly comedians, to do the introductions to the segments and most of them did a cringe-worthy job with Steve Martin being forgettable and Penn & Teller being just so off-putting that they annoyed me immensely. Some got less to do, others got a lot more, but I disliked most of those introductions and it really hurt the movie in the long run. But it is otherwise a solid sequel in the Disney canon that still is weaker than all of the Renaissance movies prior to it which is why it counts as the first film in the Disney’s Second Dark Age.

Fantasia 2000 is a pretty solid Disney sequel with off-putting and cringe-worthy introductions to the segments and some segments are weaker as the film is quite an uneven work as a whole, but most of the segments are very good with my favorites being Rhapsody in Blue and Pomp and Circumstance which are awesome. Donald Duck is as lovable as ever and the technical aspects are impressive with excellent classical music and sometimes quite inspired animation.

My Rating – 3.5

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Tarzan (1999)

Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Tarzan Movie Review

Tarzan is a 1999 animated adventure film that is the 37th Disney animated feature film. It is a bit underrated film that is one of my personal favorite Disney flicks.

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What am I doing? Captain!

Tell them you never found us!

After all, people get lost in the jungle all the time!

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

This famous story got a great treatment in the Disney form and truly it just might be the best ever adaptation of the novel. It is such a fun, joyous and charming adventure flick with a couple of genuinely dramatic and heartbreaking moments as well. It flowed mostly really well and it is a well crafted film, albeit a bit too rushed at times.

The ending is most certainly overly happy, but still satisfying. As for the highlights, all of those emotional scenes were the best. For example, the beginning is just breathtakingly beautiful and it just might be Disney’s finest opening, possibly inferior just to the one in The Lion King of course. I loved the sequence in which Tarzan and Jane first met. Beautifully shot, tremendously well scored and filled with an excellent silent and even poetic approach to it, it is one standout scene from beginning to end. The scenes between Tarzan and Kala were naturally some of the best as well.

Now is the perfect time to talk about the characters. Tarzan himself is really good. Too serious, but he has such a great, genuinely moving and powerful arc. He grew up a bit too fast, but his adult part is great. Jane is fantastic. I don’t know why she’s so underrated, but when it comes to Disney’s female characters, she is one of the most endearing and likable. I liked that she was a stereotype at first, but that she eventually changed. The romance between the two is very sweet.

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Kala is such a sweet soul and a wonderful mother. Kerchak is superb and the relationship between him and Tarzan is possibly the strongest one in the film and that says a lot. He proved his worth near the end and watching Kerchak die and utter that line of acceptance to his adoptive son was just heartbreaking and wonderful to witness.

Terk is definitely funny and it is great that we got a female comedic sidekick who is also a tomboy. She is genuinely funny with a couple of great lines and succeeds as a comic relief as well as being a great friend. Tantor is nowhere near as good as her, but he still has his moments and is better than most secondary sidekicks. Professor Porter is absolutely phenomenal. I just loved him as he is such a sweet, at times funny and always immensely likable person who brought a smile to my face. Clayton, on the other hand, is one of the film’s major weaknesses. I get that he was important to the story, but he was still a typical villain who didn’t really pose serious threat. He is well designed and definitely not bad, but still not great and his death is typically foolish and even ridiculous in a way.

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Tarzan has excellent animation. Now there isn’t anything truly artistic here and some of the earlier Disney renaissance films were more inspired for sure, but it still looks terrific. The character designs I loved. I wasn’t crazy about Tarzan’s look, but the gorillas looked terrific and all of the other humans were great. But the highlights are the action which is stupendously well realized in movements and the natural scenery which is simply gorgeous. Some scenes here truly are breathtaking to witness.

Now the soundtrack is splendid. I get why some may find it cheesy, but I like Phil Collins and what he did here was great. All of the songs here are either moving or catchy and I liked that for once the characters do not sing, but the songs serve as a background. All of them serve as great plot drivers or character moments and thus they are successful.

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

Trashin’ the Camp is naturally the weakest of the five, but watching it and listening to it the second time, I do not dislike it as much as I did the first time around. It is still basically a non-song with silly singing, but the tune itself is catchy and the sequence is actually a lot of fun, although definitely a detour and even filler in terms of storytelling.

Strangers Like Me I don’t love as it is a bit boring to me when compared to the next three songs, but it is still solid and actually great in its lyrics and very fitting to the story. The entire scene is one of the film’s best, so well done and animated. I have a soft spot for Two Worlds. Not a lot of people love it as much as I do, but not only does it accompany a master class opening, but it is genuinely good in its own right with moving lyrics and a great, dramatic and inspirational change in rhythm near the end.

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

You’ll Be in My Heart is a deserved Oscar winner, a song that is emotional, even heartbreaking and is pleasantly reminiscent to Baby Mine from ‘Dumbo’. So well sung by both the mother and Phil Collins in the official version. But it is actually Son of Man that is the highlight of this great soundtrack. I just adore this song! It was a great, fun way to have Tarzan transition from child to adult without it being boring, the lyrics are good, the rhythm is so entertaining and it is just such an infectious, immensely catchy tune that is in my opinion one of Disney’s catchiest songs ever.

Tarzan is technically quite polished. The action is stupendous, so well done and exhilarating at times. It had a lot of action, but the kind of action that is adventurous and fun instead of dull. The humor is mostly charming and satisfying, the dialogue is solid and the movie’s admirable emotional approach is evident from the beginning (the way they explored family was beautiful to behold). The voice acting is top-notch, the direction is excellent and both the animation and the effects are fantastic. The pacing is one of my problems. It was just too rushed which is something I’ve only noticed watching it for the third or so time, but it was definitely noticeable. Some scenes were way too abrupt and the entire movie had such an epic, long story that needed to be told in at least 100 instead of 88 minutes.

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Tarzan Movie Review…………………………………………………………………….

That is the only flaw here, that along with the villain and a somewhat too happy, if still heartwarming ending. It felt way too convenient and to me unrealistic that Jane chose to live with him in the wild, but still watching her make that decision, jump into the water and kiss him at the shore was wonderful and watching the Professor join them with that very funny line made my day. The film has a couple of flaws for sure, but it is still one of Disney’s best films in my opinion. Not in the top five, but certainly near the top of the list and probably in my top ten.

With absolutely terrific animation, memorable and very well developed characters, greatly established relationships between each and every one of them, stupendously well executed action sequences and some great tunes with Son of Man being so catchy and a lot of fun, Tarzan is such an underrated Disney film that is one of my favorites from the studio, a film that is rushed in pacing and with a typical villain, but is simultaneously emotional, dramatic, romantic and adventurous and well crafted on almost every level. It was a great film to end the Disney Renaissance.

My Rating – 4.5

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Hercules (1997)

Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

Hercules Movie Review

Hercules is a 1997 animated musical fantasy comedy film that is the 35th Disney animated feature film. It is such a minor, but very entertaining Disney entry.

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I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle this.

Have a nice day.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

It is based on the titular legendary hero who is the son of Zeus. And this of course all comes from the wonderful Greek mythology. And that makes it the second Disney film to be based on the myth or legend after ‘Pocahontas’ released two years prior to this one. Here the change in pace was quite welcome as we have never before seen a film from this studio tackle such a subject matter and they mostly did a good job with it, if admittedly far from a great one.

Now of course the film follows the very familiar trope of an underdog/superhero origin story and that is certainly typical, but definitely well done here as the film is entertaining from start to finish. It marks a major departure from the other films released during the Renaissance as it is rarely serious and is much more comedic in tone. In fact, it is definitely a comedy at its core and there is nothing wrong with that as it’s a fun romp that also has a big heart and some genuinely memorable characters.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

Speaking of the characters, the protagonist is definitely a typical heroic type you’ve seen countless times before. He is charming for sure, but definitely forgettable. But Megara charges this movie and is easily the most memorable and best character of the bunch. First of all, she is animated and presented differently and is for once a more realistic in looks female character which is great. Another great thing about her is her backstory which is dark and I loved the explanation for why she’s working for Hades and it all ties well into the overall arc and her relationship with Herc. She is such a funny, realistic and extremely likable personality and it’s a shame that she’s not regarded as one of the best Disney female characters when she most certainly is.

These two are fantastic to watch together. In fact, their romance is one of my favorites from the studio as they are just so charming together and those romantic sequences are pleasantly playful and charming. It is at its core a traditional love story, but it’s presented in a more modern way which makes it more relatable.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

Phil is solid and I liked his character quite a bit here. He wasn’t as funny as he ought to have been, but he is such a good soul and some of his moments brought a smile to my face. Another great relationship is between him and Herc too. Hades is definitely a joke of a villain in the vein of Captain Hook from ‘Peter Pan’. He is too easily defeated and is never menacing. But he is still good for this type of movie as he is very funny at times and such a delightfully memorable presence on screen. Zeus is great and I liked how the Gods were depicted and animated quite a bit, Pegasus is of course endearing and Pain and Panic are such amusing, at times hilarious henchmen for the villain that they are quite underrated characters in their own right. The voice acting here is fantastic with Susan Egan, Danny DeVito and James Woods all knocking it out of the park.

Hercules is never animated as artistically as most of the other Renaissance flicks which makes it inferior in comparison. But it is still good when viewed in its own context and honestly the designs here are simply phenomenal. The character designs in this movie are some of the most original in the animation history as they look like their representations on those vases and they look like they actually came from this particular time period. That is something that ‘The Prince of Egypt‘ would repeat a year later, but this movie came before which makes it quite unique in that matter. The film is also pleasantly colorful and its color palette also fits well into this world. The animation here is another testament to how great Disney once was at adapting its songs and animation within the time period.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

However, the songs in Hercules are quite the opposite. They never fit in with the period as they are way too modern. But that wasn’t a problem to me as these songs are just so good. And of course incredibly underrated, at least some of them are. The only song here that I honestly really dislike is One Last Hope. Danny DeVito is good in this role, but his voice is too distinctive and here that shows a lot along with his lack of a greater musical talent. But the song is above everything else very boring and the scene too should have been better.

The Gospel Truth is inferior too, but a solid opening and I liked its backup sinking quite a bit. A Star is Born is another similar song, but very well sung and very catchy. I liked these female voices a lot actually. Go the Distance is a typical Disney song in its entirety, both in imagery, plot and tone. It is a regular “I wish/I can do it” song and it sets up the rest of the movie just fine and is admittedly very well sung, but the melody itself is boring and the lyrics aren’t the greatest.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

The two best songs from Hercules are of course Zero to Hero and I Won’t Say I’m in Love. The first one is just so incredibly catchy and one of the fastest and most purely entertaining Disney songs ever with fun lyrics and such a phenomenal melody. I loved that it also has two parts and both are absolutely terrific.

And of course I Won’t Say I’m in Love is the highlight both in terms of music and in terms of storytelling. The sequence that came before it is so wonderfully romantic, but this scene is phenomenal, so well filmed and with great imagery. It is such a perfect vehicle for Meg and it wonderfully propelled her character forward, but it is as a song just awesome. It is a Disney ballad turned upside down with an added feminist twist of sorts as the girl doesn’t want to fall in love this time around, but can’t help it. Its lyrics are so good and the song is so catchy and instantly memorable.

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Hercules Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………..

I liked the action sequences here, but they still could have been a bit more majestic. The pacing is totally off and the entire third act just felt rushed which is weird as the material there is so good and it had the potential to be much better executed and much grander. The ending is so wonderful, but those scenes that came before it were admittedly rushed. The film is moving at times and always charming and the humor and dialogue are definitely strong, but it is never ambitious or particularly memorable in any way which is its main problem. It is fun and funny, but never great and always just good. And even though it wouldn’t stack up pretty high on the Disney list, it is still a very fun ride when watched singularly.

Hercules definitely lacks ambition, the pacing is totally off as the third act is rushed and even abrupt plus some of the songs and scenes were subpar, but the film is a fun and funny ride with solid humor and such phenomenal, memorable characters with Meg being one of Disney’s finest heroines. It also has an interesting animation style to it, it is moving at times, very charming and it has a very good soundtrack with Zero to Hero and I Won’t Say I’m in Love being the highlights.

My Rating – 4

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Pete’s Dragon (2016)

Pete's Dragon Movie Review………………………………………………………

Pete’s Dragon Movie Review

Pete’s Dragon is a 2016 family fantasy adventure film directed by David Lowery and it is the newest Disney live-action remake. It is a solid, but typical endeavor.

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You can’t say ‘dragon’ over the radio

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Pete's Dragon Movie Review………………………………………………………

The film tells the story of an orphaned boy who befriends a dragon in the forest and the ensuing repercussions of their discovery by the town’s local residents. It is the remake of the 1977 eponymous movie and it succeeds as a remake for two reasons. One is that the original itself is one of the weakest, if not the weakest, live-action animated Disney feature so it was pretty easy to top it which this one did. And the second reason is that it abandons the original’s storyline in pursuit of its own.

And that latter approach is done for better and for worse. On the one hand, it certainly works better to have a live-action adaptation that isn’t a cheesy, overlong musical and is rather a straightforward adventure movie. But the problem here lies in its familiarity. We’ve seen this countless times before. Just in this movie you can see the influences of ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. It is never original and it never has anything truly unique or interesting in it.

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Pete's Dragon Movie Review………………………………………………………

Pete’s Dragon is still done really well despite its tired plot. The execution is so good that it is actually one of the better kids’ flicks of this type. I particularly liked its third act which featured some pretty good action scenes and a very good conclusion with a strong emotional payoff.

But the characters and their actors are not the greatest. All of the characters are as typical and as forgettable as you would expect from this type of family film. And by the way, the entire film is incredibly forgettable, both the remake and the original, which is something that this property never managed to overcome. And the actors are very weak or they gave weak performances. The child performances are solid, but Bryce Dallas Howard was much better and much more memorable in ‘Jurassic World’ and Robert Redford is… well, let’s just say that he seemed like he didn’t want to be there. That is his performance in a nutshell.

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Pete's Dragon Movie Review………………………………………………………

But even though I criticize it too much, Pete’s Dragon is actually a good or solid at least movie with especially good CGI. I did find it typical for today’s movie to have an animal that acts like a dog, but Elliot was otherwise really solid both in his look and in his personality. And the relationship between the two is been there, done that, but at least it is very well done and sometimes actually quite moving and warm. The soundtrack is good and definitely fitting in its country genre, but it still had way too many songs in it. The structure of the movie is good, but it is sometimes a bit too slow and uninvolving. And the beginning was weird as it just kind of started, but the other parts are all good with the entire third act being a real winner. All in all, it is a solid live-action adaptation, but both ‘Cinderella and ‘The Jungle Book’ were much better in my opinion.

Pete’s Dragon is sometimes uninvolving, definitely forgettable, weakly acted and overly familiar in its storyline, but it is also pretty heartwarming at times, its third act is very good, the special effects are solid and the movie succeeds as a remake because they took a different approach that worked in its favor and it ended up being much better than the original which was very weak.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1996 animated historical musical drama film that is the 34th Disney animated feature film. It is such a good, awfully underrated movie.

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Quasi, take it from an old spectator.

Life’s not a spectator sport.

If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do,

then you’re gonna watch your life go by without ya

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

It is based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo. And although some of the darkest elements were omitted in this adaptation, it still remains one of the darkest Disney films of all time, one of the most sophisticated and most mature. That is because you can’t really make this material kid-friendly no matter how hard you try. But that is okay as its darkness makes it so memorable. Yes, it ends with a happy ending, but it isn’t all that happy as, in the vein of ‘Pocahontas‘, the protagonist doesn’t get the girl in the end and that is so admirable.

The plot here is very well told and always wonderfully dramatic and serious which means that it thoroughly succeeds as a drama film. In fact, it is such a dramatic movie that it doesn’t even have fantasy elements to it as those sidekick gargoyles can be interpreted to be Quasimodo’s imaginary friends. Couple that raw seriousness with its darkness and you’ve got one of the most atypical Disney films out there.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Now, let’s review each of the characters here. The character development is strong. It isn’t fantastic, but it is mostly very good and in some cases even fascinating. Quasimodo is a bit bland as he is a bit too good, but that is an expected trait for a hero. But he is such a tragic figure that you can’t help but sympathize with him and root for him from beginning to end.

Esmeralda is one of the best Disney princesses that never received that official title. Yes, she is cocky and overly sexualized, but that is necessary for the plot and she can also be quite sweet at times while also being admirably selfless in others. She is definitely one of the strongest female characters in the Disney canon as she is both inspirational, pretty and very capable.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Captain Phoebus is also pretty good. Their relationship could have been a bit better, but his friendship with Quasimodo is excellent and is just as good as is the relationship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda. Clopin I never really found all that interesting and he is to me a character that could have easily been cut off from the end product.

Djali is a forgettable animal sidekick, but the fact that she is a goat makes her interesting. Victor, Hugo and Laverne are quite solid, if at times a bit annoying gargoyles. Some may say that they are unnecessary, but the scenes with them were heartwarming and they served as Quasimodo’s shoulders to cry on. And if my theory that they are actually the figment of his imagination is true, that is even better.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

Judge Claude Frollo… What is there left to say than has already not been said? Fearless, extremely realistic and all the more powerful for it, he is such a strong dark presence in an already pretty dark movie that he elevated the material even more. His lust for Esmeralda provided us with some of the most mature sequences ever for the company and his inner conflict is so powerful and dramatically conveyed. His interactions with each and every character is exceptional and he never made a single mistake throughout the movie. Needless to say, he is one of the finest Disney villains ever created.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame features some of the most underrated animations which again goes to show what an underappreciated movie it is. All of the designs here are strong and the animation is fluid and polished. However, what makes it stand out is its attention to detail. The eponymous church is absolutely gorgeous to behold and so meticulously and realistically portrayed. I also loved how wonderfully utilized it was and how we got to explore it from all of its sides. The city scenes were also excellent and the camera angles are terrific throughout the movie.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame………………………………………………………………….

Now is the perfect time to praise its soundtrack. It consists of six songs and most of them are very good. Let’s start with those lesser ones. Topsy Turvy is my least favorite number here as it to me served as a filler in terms of storytelling and the overall tune is forgettable and boring. I realize that the gypsies needed to be portrayed and showcased in their music and lifestyle, but those scenes with them tended to go on for too long in my opinion.

A Guy Like You is definitely fun, but it is more fun than meaningful and it is another song that didn’t need to be here. It isn’t bad, but it is inferior when compared to others that I am going to talk about now. Out There is weaker in its beginning, but so great in its ending and that quality is something that is present in another song too, but more on that later. Out There is exceptional in scenery and in its final moments which are so well sung and powerful. It is a solid I Wish number for sure.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

And now for the top three. As I said above, The Bells of Notre Dame is another song that starts off weaker and ends magnificently. It is a song that lasts for way too long, but it is such a great opening for this movie that perfectly sets it up in terms of storytelling. But those final moments in the song are jaw-dropping and when you hear those bells and that awesome chorus, you instantly appreciate 1990s Disney and how wonderfully they used to fit in the score with the time period which is something that today’s entries are lacking unfortunately.

Hellfire is a blast! It is so powerful, so well sung and so vivid in its lyrics and so creepy in its imagery that it is naturally one of the best, if not the very best, villain songs in the Disney canon. Its chorus is so powerful and its lyrics are so descriptive and they serve as awesome character development for Frollo leading to a song that is great both as a musical number and as a plot device.

And God Help the Outcasts is definitely my favorite piece here mostly because it is one of the most purely human and selfless songs that I have ever heard. Its message resonates today as well as it did before, it is beautifully sung and, though a bit short, it is both moving and powerful. It is also one of my favorite sequences in the film.

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame Movie Review………………………………………………………………….

The Hunchback of Notre Dame also benefits from other memorable sequences besides the ones set in music such as the ending which is emotional and just so well executed and every scene in and around the church is a winner. The score is tremendous and so in tune with its time period and the film is mature just enough that it is still suitable for children which is great. It definitely has its problems such as the pacing which isn’t the tightest and its biggest problem is that it should have lasted a bit longer as the plot demanded it. And the humor isn’t the greatest and is needless here. And again its atypical nature is both its strength and its weakness. But having in mind how powerful and tragic it is, it’s a shame that it is so underappreciated even today.

Another exceptional Disney Renaissance entry, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is so shamefully underappreciated as it is one of the darkest and most mature Disney films yet. It is a bit uneven at times, but it is so emotionally powerful, so well crafted both in story and in animation, so serious and dramatic and filled with many great musical numbers such as The Bells of Notre Dame which is wonderfully fitting to the time period, God Help the Outcasts which is emotionally resonant in its selflessness and great message and Hellfire which features one of the finest Disney villains ever in outstanding, devilish Judge Frollo.

My Rating – 4.5

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Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

Pocahontas Movie Review

Pocahontas is a 1995 animated historical musical romance that is the 33rd Disney animated feature film. It is a pretty good and underrated Disney entry.

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Still I cannot see if the savage one is me.

How can there be so much that you don’t know?

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

The film follow a Native American woman named Pocahontas and her encounter with Englishman John Smith as he and the other settlers arrive on the continent in search of gold. The story itself I really liked and I realize the criticism leveled at it in terms of historical inaccuracy and that is valid. However, that is usual for Disney films and that’s why I didn’t find it that problematic. The lack of humor is definitely troublesome, but I mostly liked that the film is so serious and mostly realistic as we haven’t really seen a real historical Disney flick before. There aren’t that many fantastical elements here and I liked that. It succeeds as a period piece in my opinion and of course as a musical, but it doesn’t quite succeed as a romance, but more on its songs and romance later.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about the characters. Pocahontas herself is quite boring to be honest. In fact, she is one of the dullest Disney princesses because she’s just so underdeveloped and somewhat forgettable. I liked her playful nature at first, but then she was too serious later. She is a tough and respectable female character, but that is also a problem as she was to me a bit too great and flawless.

As for John Smith, he is much more realistic and memorable than her and although far from great, he is definitely solid. And now is the perfect time to talk about their relationship. Well, it is both good and bad. It is great for being somewhat realistic and more serious than usual for Disney and I just loved that they didn’t end up together and this is the only somewhat sad ending in a Disney movie which is very commendable. However, the two lack chemistry which is evident from their first scene and they just needed more spark and fun in their scenes together.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

Governor Ratcliffe is a somewhat typical Disney villain who is obese, ugly and obsessed with gold, but I mostly liked him, especially how he mostly satisfied as the bad guy. Chief Powhatan is a strong, if underutilized figure, Thomas is pretty good and very likable, Nakoma is sympathetic as Pocahontas’s friend and Kocoum was annoying to me. Grandmother Willow is such a wonderful motherly presence and a rare, but strong fantastical inclusion here. As for the animal sidekicks, they are quite frankly not great. Flit didn’t get much to do and Meeko was oaky, but his scenes with Percy the pug went on for too long. This is the movie that didn’t need animal sidekicks and these two are cute, but totally unnecessary and disappointing in humor.

Pocahontas benefits from some gorgeous animation. I do get why some people may not like this movie, but nobody really can deny its artistic and musical merits. And the animation is one of its strongest suits. The colors are so pleasant and very authentic as we’ve never really seen the use of red so much before. The movie looks fluid and sometimes even poetic, especially during some of the musical sequences. The character design is pretty good and the humans look quite solid and realistic.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

And the reason why Pocahontas entirely succeeds as a musical film is because it has such an awesome soundtrack with excellent songs as well as a terrific score. The Virginia Company is so cool! It is the song that I picked upon only upon my third viewing, but I now realize how incredibly catchy and wonderfully fitting to its time period it is. This movie definitely benefits from a strong attention to detail as it looks and sounds like 17th century and Steady as the Beating Drum is another strong case for it.

Listen with Your Heart is intriguing and well scored, but If I Never Knew You is boring and I just strongly dislike Mine, Mine, Mine and it’s the only mediocre song here. But of the big three, all are pretty good. Just Around the Riverbend is a bit overrated to me, but its sequence is so well constructed and it serves as a very good plot device. Savages is phenomenal. It is one of the darkest and purely evil songs in the Disney canon thanks to some really striking words. It is such a great villain song. I really liked the reprises of all of the songs too.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

But of course the highlight has to be Colors of the Wind. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite and one of the best Disney songs of all time! The scene alone is gorgeous both in its animation and in its poetic feel. The lyrics are just beautiful and it has such a strong environmental message as well as being a great plea for tolerance and a good case against ignorance. But it is also beautifully sung by Judy Kuhn and it’s such a catchy, moving and grand musical number.

As I said before, the score is also great. In fact, it might just be better than the songs as it is that good! The Colors of the Wind theme at the end is just breathtaking and it propels that scene to even higher levels. Speaking of that scene, I adore it and it’s to me one of the finest ever Disney endings. Nobody died and the conflict was stopped, but Pocahontas and John Smith say goodbye to each other and that was definitely such a sad moment. But watching her run to the cliff and then say goodbye using her Native American hand language and seeing him use it too was just beautiful and the fact that it was followed by that perfect score and gorgeous animation just adds to its incredible quality. I also really liked the use of nature in this film and how the leaves flew by in this scene. I thought that said movement was a bit overused before, but in this scene it worked to its fullest advantage.

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Pocahontas Movie Review……………………………………………………………………….

The cinematography is excellent, the pacing is a bit slow, but thankfully the movie wasn’t boring, at least not to me. The voice acting is quite good, but the humor is very weak as I stated before and it’s one of the movie’s biggest detractors. But I really liked its time period and setting along with its protagonist. It is very rare for a Hollywood film to revolve around Native Americans and I found Pocahontas to be very respectable of these people as they were very well portrayed. And I loved that it didn’t take sides as it showed how hostile both groups were to one another. It is quite artistic at times and mostly quite sophisticated, if a bit too straightforward at times. Its emotion is evident and strong, but the dialogue should have been better. And of course its message is important and well conveyed. In the end, it isn’t one of the strongest Disney movies and it is weak when compared to most of the other Renaissance entries, but it is still a pretty good, respectable feature that is definitely underrated.

Pocahontas is at times overly serious, its humor is quite weak, the use of animal sidekicks is mediocre and the characterization overall isn’t the greatest, but I still find it to be a pretty good, sometimes even admirable film that is quite underrated as well. Its animation is just gorgeous and at times even artistic and contributing greatly to a somewhat poetic quality to the movie. It succeeds as an interesting period piece, but mostly as a great musical as the songs are amazing, the score is just terrific and it has one of the best ever Disney endings in a scene that is so powerful and breathtaking.

My Rating – 4

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