Top Ten Disney Second Dark Age Characters

Disney’s Second Dark Age was very dark indeed as these films are, let’s say, not some of their best. In terms of characterization, they are much better than in either plot or music so this list should be pretty strong after all. So here are the ten best original characters that have arrived during this period.

                     

                          

10. Dr. Jumba and Pleakley

They are not hilarious really, but they are funny from time to time. This alien duo succeeds because of an infectious dynamic they share with each other. They are perfect comic reliefs from this film who never overstayed their welcome and thus they share this tenth spot.

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9. Kenai

We’ve seen this type of protagonist before who changes from selfish to selfless and caring throughout the runtime. However, Kenai is a really well realized character who transcends that familiarity to him. He is complex and memorable and his relationship with Koda is wonderful.

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8. John Silver

John Silver is the best character from Treasure Planet and the most complex out of the bunch. I loved his buddy/bromance relationship with Jim Hawkins and his shift to the good side was done really well as he never really totally changed and admirably stayed in the grey area.

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7. Lilo

Stitch is the more memorable part of this duo, but still Lilo is pretty good herself. She isn’t funny as she’s a straight character, but she’s better than most Disney protagonists as she is a relatable heroine and a very realistically depicted kid who is at times unlikable and at times likable.

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6. Bowler Hat Guy

This superb character from Meet the Robinsons isn’t really a villain by the time the film ends, but still that doesn’t matter as what we got from him is one amazing backstory which was superbly well written and highly moving in emotion. He’s complex and very memorable.

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5. Koda

Who doesn’t love Koda? He’s such an immensely cute, simply adorable bear cub, but as in the case of Lilo, he is also pretty unlikable at times and annoying as most kids can be. Thus he is realistic, his brotherly relationship with Kenai is beautiful and he truly is a character you root for from beginning to end.

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4. Kronk

Now admittedly Kronk is your typical overly dimwitted comic relief cartoon guy. However, he is better than most of his type thanks to Patrick Warburton’s top-notch voice performance and many hilarious lines that he got. His interactions with Yzma are so funny and his funniest scene is the devil/angel one which is hilarious.

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3. Stitch

Stitch is as classic of a Disney character as we got during this new century so far. I loved his dynamic with Lilo, I really admired how funny and yet gross he can be and the highlights are his voices and especially character design which is odd and highly authentic.

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2. Yzma

This old hag just had to be somewhere high on this list and this second place was perfect for her. Thin in structure and exceedingly ugly, she is different than most villains look, but what makes her great is her excellent voice, her personality and her relationship with Kronk which produced many of the funniest moments in the film. She is both a competent and a funny villain.

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1. Emperor Kuzco

So well developed, absolutely hilarious with his many perfectly delivered funny lines, well voiced and animated, Kuzco just had to be on top of this list as he is simply the greatest character from this decade of Disney films. His interactions with all three characters are excellent, but his wonderfully realized and fun buddy relationship with Pacha takes the cake as the best one. He is arrogant and unlikable at first, but consistently funny with his unforgettable one-liners and I just could not get enough of him in this already hilarious flick.

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Honorable Mentions:

Jim Hawkins – A pretty solid hero in Treasure Planet, Jim Hawkins is less memorable than John Silver, but likable and well developed nonetheless.

Mittens – Easily Bolt’s finest character, this cat is very realistically portrayed as cats go and I really liked both her personality and her look.

Alameda Slim – This underrated goofy villain from Home on the Range got some funny lines and one great, enormously entertaining song.

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Top Five Disney Second Dark Age Songs

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Top Five Disney Second Dark Age Songs

Disney’s Second Dark Age is easily the worst period for the studio not only in terms of the movies themselves, but even more so in terms of the scores and soundtracks as not one of these eleven films is a proper musical and some even have very few or downright no songs. That is why I decided to put together a list of the five best instead of ten songs as there just wasn’t enough to make a top ten this time around. So here we go.

 

5. I’m Still Here

This rock song from Treasure Planet is admittedly not my cup of tea as I prefer pop over rock. However, I cannot deny that it is original for a Disney movie to feature rock songs and this one is easily the better of the two in the movie as it is very catchy and with pretty good lyrics.

 

4. He Mele No Lilo

Now I do know that I am in the minority here as most prefer the other song from Lilo & Stitch, but I like this one better as it is much catchier and much more fun. It took me some time to learn all of the Hawaiian words but I eventually did it. I loved the use of that language here.

 

3. Yodle-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo

I really like this silly song! It is an underrated number in its own right. Now Home on the Range is a mediocre movie, but it does have a pretty solid country soundtrack and this country song is a more different Disney song with a great use of yodeling, funny lyrics and accompanied by good, trippy imagery. It is the greatest moment in the film for Alameda Slim.

 

2. On My Way

Most people really despise Phil Collins’ songs in Brother Bear, but just as the movie itself, I deem them pretty good and highly underrated. On My Way is the best of the bunch and although far from the quality of the songs from ‘Tarzan’, it is still the most recognizable, wonderful scene in the movie and this song is very catchy, sweet and just a lot of fun.

 

1. Little Wonders

A hugely underrated song from a very underrated movie, this Meet the Robinsons number is one of my favorite Disney songs for sure. I love it so much. Rob Thomas is the singer here and thus the song is different than your usual Disney ballad, but still it accompanies that beautiful final scene so well and the entire movie too as it features incredibly touching, powerful lyrics and the tune itself is pleasing and strong. It came from an unexpected movie, but it easily takes the number one spot for me here.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Look Through My Eyes – This is another strong, highly catchy and fun Brother Bear song that is also moving and strong in its lyrics.

Barking at the Moon – This song from Bolt is a surprisingly solid charmer with very good lyrics, an excellent use of the sound bark and accompanied by a wonderfully sweet sequence.

Little Patch of Heaven – This country number serves so well as the theme of the film. It is sung really well and it is immensely catchy and descriptive in quality.

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Most people love this song the most from Lilo & Stitch, but even though I do like it and it is very catchy and fun, it is the lesser of the two in my opinion.

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Ranking Disney Second Dark Age Films

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Ranking Disney Second Dark Age Films

Disney’s Second Dark Age is by far the worst period that has ever happened to the studio. Most of these movies are just solid, none of them are truly great and only a couple are truly good and a couple are the only mediocre movies that Disney has produced. But even though this was a very uneven, weak and ultimately too different period for Disney, it still gave us a couple of really good movies. Here is my ranking of all eleven films from this very productive period in Disney history.

 

 

11. Chicken Little

By far the worst Disney movie of all time and their only film that got a rotten rating from me, Chicken Little truly is the black sheep of the entire studio’s output. Now the film isn’t terrible as it is pretty moving and fun at times, but for the majority of its runtime it is very uneven, it has two very different movies in it and those do not mash well together and the animation is easily the worst that Disney has ever put out.

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10. Home on the Range

Home on the Range is much better than ‘Chicken Little’ as it should prove a nice distraction for children, its characters are fun and the soundtrack is actually quite underrated with a couple of solid songs. However, the film is very garishly animated, it is awfully frenetic in pacing, aggressive in humor and non-existent in plot. It is one of the rare Disney films that only kids could properly enjoy.

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9. Dinosaur

Dinosaur is such a disappointing film. You have a great idea here, but it was executed pretty badly. I loved its beginning and it truly was epic and some scenes here are very ambitious in scope, but the movie is awfully dated in its CGI animation with pretty mediocre character design. Speaking of characters, they are quite bland and dull and the overall storyline is pretty boring and typical. It is probably the most tedious Disney film ever.

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8. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis is another huge missed opportunity. I have a huge respect for Disney for venturing into this very ambitious anime-like project with a much more serious storytelling than usual. However, the end result is decidedly mixed as it has its epic moments and very stellar animation, but awfully forgettable characters and way too much action. It is a movie that should have been exciting and not sluggish and even boring at times.

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7. Bolt

Bolt is a movie for dog persons. If you love dogs, then you are bound to really enjoy it, but otherwise it can get on your nerves with a frustratingly annoying first act and a pretty generic plot as a whole. But the characters, especially sidekicks, are quite solid and the film is well animated and scored. It is nothing special and it is a very forgettable affair, but an enjoyable and fun one nonetheless.

Bolt Movie Review

 

6. Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet is yet another missed opportunity at making a great anime flick which was basically what Disney tried to do here. The animation is very strong and colorful, the mix of old and new in its story is very refreshing and the film benefits from such a strong relationship between Jim Hawkins and John Silver at its core. But it suffers from some pretty annoying sidekick characters, too much action and not enough substance and magic.

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5. Fantasia 2000

‘Fantasia’s pretty underrated, solid sequel is again an extremely uneven work with some segments that just do not work and are frustrating in their many flaws, but some such as Pomp and Circumstance and Rhapsody on Blue are quite inspired in terms of both animation and story. The film is ultimately a success with great segments overshadowing the lesser ones, but the film is undone by those cringe-worthy transitions with bad humor from its annoying comedians.

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4. Meet the Robinsons

The second most underrated film on this list is Meet the Robinsons which is such a pleasant, wonderful romp. It tries too hard with its eccentric characters and it is highly uneven in pacing and tone. But it is ultimately more than a solid effort and a different Disney film than usual with its very interesting and heartwarming futuristic tale. The score and animation are solid, but the Bowler Hat Guy and his story are the ones that really stand out.

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3. Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch is considered a minor classic for Disney and for many good reasons. It is a great tale of sisterhood that is heartwarming, but never overly sentimental. I loved its message and its painterly Hawaiian backgrounds are gorgeous. The soundtrack is also pretty stellar. But it is its very fun humor and its eponymous characters and their dynamic that really make it a respectable family film.

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2. Brother Bear

And yes, Brother Bear gets the second spot as Disney’s most shamefully underrated film from this period and quite possibly of all time. It is not without its flaws as the ending is too happy, but still this is one wonderful, truly touching story of brotherhood that really resonated with me on multiple levels. The humor is solid, Phil Collins’ songs are a lot of fun and the film juggles the fun with the dark really well. I really like it and I wish more people discover this gem.

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1. The Emperor’s New Groove

And the number one is easily taken by The Emperor’s New Groove which is the funniest Disney film of all time! There is a hilarious joke after joke, gag after gag literally from beginning to end here and it truly is a glorious laugh riot of a movie. But the reason why it ultimately works so well lies in its characterization which is off the roof strong. You have dimwitted and hilarious Kronk here, but you also have such a great villain in Yzma and of course one of the most entertaining protagonists ever in Emperor Kuzco. This infectiously dynamic, hysterical comedy was a different attempt from Disney that paid off stupendously leading to this period’s very best entry.

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Ranking the Space Odyssey Series

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Ranking the Space Odyssey Series

The Space Odyssey series is probably the finest ever science fiction novel series of all time. Arthur Clarke is a fantastic writer and he made a series that is both fascinating and intellectually superlative. I love all of the books in the quadrilogy, but some are better than others and here I am going to rank all four of them along with the two movies.

 

 

6. 2010 (Film)

Although it landed on the last place, I still really liked the movie adaptation of the second book. Sure, the epilogue and the Chinese scientists are unfortunately absent here, but the film is otherwise pretty faithful, some scenes are so great and memorable and the characters are actually better than their book counterparts leading to a pretty satisfactory adaptation.

2010 Movie Review

 

5. 3001: The Final Odyssey

I wanted a better and more memorable ending and the monolith’s purpose here is changed for the worse, but this is still a terrific final installment to this great quadrilogy with a memorable protagonist in Frank Poole, a couple of superb observations from Clarke about religion and politics and a superbly established, intriguing future world.

3001: The Final Odyssey Review

 

4. 2061: Odyssey Three

The characters are sorely lacking in 2061, but its adventurous plot more than makes up for it. The film is such a great exploration of convergent evolution and extraterrestrial animals and this high adventure on Europa was so entertaining and unforgettable. It surely is the most fun and adventurous of the books.

2061: Odyssey Three Review

 

3. 2010: Odyssey Two

2010 is more straightforward than its predecessor, but it honestly worked for me and it did that in spades as it gave me the answers to most of the questions I’ve had about this world before and the answers were satisfactory and fascinating. The book also features a great team of astronauts which consists of Russians and Americans working together and that was admirable.

2010: Odyssey Two Review

 

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Book)

The choice for the first and second place was extremely difficult for me as I love the book and the film version of this story pretty much the same and both are amazing, but the book isn’t as ambiguous and as artistic which is why it eventually takes the second spot. But still, it is superbly written by Clarke and this was his idea after all and he proved what a great mind he had here. The story is simply unforgettable and classic and the book is filled with many great themes such as evolution, robots and space travel leading to the quintessential science fiction work.

2001: A Space Odyssey Review

 

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Film)

But the film is just a thing of marvel, a beauty to behold on a whole new level and so it tops my list because of its artistry. The classical score is amazing, the effects are the best ever in movie history and the movie is still smart and thematically rich while also being atmospheric and actually very mysterious and ambiguous in quality as you need to see it more than once to fully comprehend its storyline. It is the best science fiction film ever made, one of the finest films of all time and it is the textbook example of how to properly adapt a book into a film. It retains all of the novel’s qualities while adding a touch of artistry and ambiguity to create an original work that stands on its own.

2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review

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Best and Worst Films from July 2017

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Best and Worst Films from July 2017

 

 

Best Films from July 2017:

 

 

3. The Outlaw and His Wife

Because of my trip to Italy during this month, I’ve seen less movies than usual, but I have still seen a couple of genuinely great movies and thus it was tough choosing this last spot in the best list. I had to sacrifice ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’, ‘Colossal’ and ‘Village of the Damned’ and I chose instead this Swedish silent classic. The Outlaw and His Wife is emotional, very influential and visually arresting with some beautiful natural landscapes leading to one of the best films from this era.

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2. Timecrimes

I absolutely loved this movie. Timecrimes is one of the most authentic science fiction films recently and one of the decade’s best for sure. This Spanish flick features such a fantastic time travel story and it surely is a textbook example of how to this story concept. It is so meticulous in detail and so well thought out that it needs to be seen very carefully to be fully understood. Couple that with great sound and many terrific twists and you’ve got one great chiller.

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1. War for the Planet of the Apes

Although not quite as fantastic as ‘Rise’ or ‘Dawn’, War for the Planet of the Apes is still a glorious conclusion to the best trilogy ever in movie history. I loved its war elements and how thankfully they weren’t overwhelming. The villain is great and the story takes a surprising and not as expected turn in its third act. It concluded this great trilogy beautifully while so wonderfully tying it to the original Apes franchise. It is emotional and deep and it almost made me cry and not to mention that it is filled with quite a lot of instantly recognizable, unforgettable sequences.

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Worst Films from July 2017:

 

 

3. The Talented Mr. Ripley

I’ve seen just a couple of mediocre movies in July but they are so weak that they all had to be on this list and this foolishness of a movie easily earned this third spot. You have two movies here – one is a cliched thriller and the other one is a ridiculous bromance/romance of sorts that did not make any sense in its character interactions whatsoever. It is such a ridiculous, overrated film.

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2. A View to a Kill

A View to a Kill is somewhat fun, but as silly and as campy as you would come to expect from this series during the eighties which was easily its worst period. There are a couple of silly characters here including that horrible villain and the acting is just some of the worst with a couple of poor performances.

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1. Blade: Trinity

Ryan Reynolds is the only saving grace in this movie which is otherwise a bland, campy affair with too much action but the one which is weakly executed and dull. This is easily the worst of the Blade trilogy and the only one that doesn’t have any memorable action sequences whatsoever. It is dark, boring and silly.

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Ranking Guillermo del Toro Films

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Ranking Guillermo del Toro Films

Guillermo del Toro’s filmography is solid, but not great. Most of his films are just solid and his shift to American films was unfortunate as his Spanish efforts are much better and more unique, but still some of his films are so good and one of them is my favorite modern movie of them all. His style with grotesque designs and a reliance on insect imagery makes all of his movies easy to identify and unique. Here is my ranking of all nine of his feature films so far.

 

 

9. Blade II

I am not the biggest fan of the Blade franchise and thus this second entry in the trilogy gets the last spot on this list. It is as shallow and as weakly plotted as you would expect from the franchise, but still it is the best entry in this trilogy thanks to del Toro’s involvement which brought a lot of fun visuals and great action to the table. It is his worst, but not a bad movie at all.

 

8. Hellboy

I am not a fan of this franchise too unfortunately. And the first movie is the weaker of the two for sure. It does have its interesting visuals and characters, but it was mostly too dull to me as I just was not engaged properly. It also never really utilized on its interesting mythology and different characters particularly well.

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7. Pacific Rim

Now I do usually dislike robots and mecha media and surely this movie is filled with too much action and its second half is just incredibly boring with action after action with no plot whatsoever. But the first half is actually quite solid and I really liked the film’s visuals as well as Idris Elba and Charlie Day’s characters. That’s why Pacific Rim ultimately was better than expected for me.

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6. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army still has a weak plot and some dull characters and it is again not as entertaining as it should have been, but it is an improvement over its predecessor thanks to very strong VFX work with great creature designs and some fun action sequences and excellent mythology.

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5. Mimic

I really liked Mimic and it is an underrated film. It has quite dull characters and weaker performances, but it is a solid film which utilized on del Toro’s obsession with insects in a big way and we get great insect monsters here along with a superb horror atmosphere and some exhilarating action sequences. It’s a flawed, but fun movie.

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4. Cronos

Now Cronos is the director’s movie that disappointed me the most as its dialogue is quite weak and the film unfortunately succumbed to typical genre territory in its third act. But before that, it was a pretty good movie with an admittedly authentic, detailed and very intriguing plot and a really interesting take on the horror genre.

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3. The Devil’s Backbone

The only flaw in this movie is that it was never as atmospheric or as creepy as the premise needed it to have been. But other than that, it is one of his best movies thanks in large part to its emotionally resonant story with many touching moments. The visuals are also expectedly great and the film is overall superbly scripted and shot.

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2. Crimson Peak

And yes, Crimson Peak gets this very high second spot because it truly is  great film and del Toro’s most underrated one unfortunately. It does have its too repulsive moments, but the entire story is so well crafted and meticulous in detail that I loved it nonetheless. But it succeeds the most because it is just so atmospheric and creepy in its visuals with a great gothic feel to it. I found it mysterious and authentic. A great return to form for the director.

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1. Pan’s Labyrinth

Sad and touching, visually arresting, beautifully scored and so authentic and dark in its story, Pan’s Labyrinth is just such a classic movie for the ages with one of the best ever film villains in disturbingly competent Captain Vidal. It has a bunch of unforgettable scenes, memorable characters and a great, different approach to the usual fantasy format while also being very strong as a war drama. It is simply a beautiful movie that I watched three times by now and it gets better and better after each viewing. A masterpiece by all means.

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Ranking Planet of the Apes Films

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Ranking Planet of the Apes Films

Planet of the Apes is one of my favorite film series. I love it so much, at least those movies that are good as there are some real stinkers here. Ranking them was definitely very easy for me as it was evident which ones are bad, good or great. So I am here ranking all nine Apes films, both the original and the reboot series. And that unfortunate Burton remake too.

 

 

9. Planet of the Apes (2001)

Speaking of the devil… Yes, Tim Burton’s Apes remake is the worst and the only truly bad film in this franchise and the only truly bad film in the director’s filmography. I don’t know what he was thinking with this one but everything here is so bad from the characters to that odd romance to action and of course Mark Wahlberg’s infamously terrible performance. A total misfire on every conceivable level.

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8. Battle for the Planet of the Apes

This is the final film in the original five Planet of the Apes movies and it is easily the worst one and the only mediocre entry. It has a pretty nice and moving ending, but other than that, it was a very unfortunate film as it should have been a great culmination of the entire series but ended up being disappointing. The action is quite bad as are the make-up effects and the film is rather boring and weakly acted. It’s such a shame that the original series ended on this note.

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7. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

But the penultimate installment in the original series was also quite weak. Certainly Conquest isn’t a bad movie as it is an interesting experiment with a more serious tone and racial commentary, but to me that was also its downfall as it was influenced too much by the 70s flicks and thus it looks mediocre visually and it was way too gritty and dark with no sense of fun or excitement whatsoever.

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6. Escape from the Planet of the Apes

The sixth place on my list goes to Escape which is the first good movie here. I did find its humor hit-or-miss and the tone is again too serious, but that also led to some pretty fine and thematically rich drama. I loved its ending and I loved the emphasis on Zira who was always one of the franchise’s best characters. The character-driven approach is refreshing and it ultimately led to a singularly different and satisfactory film that can stand on its own.

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5. Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Beneath the Planet of the Apes is too campy and with not that great acting, but I have to say that I really enjoy this movie and it is in my opinion the most underrated of all Apes films. It is of course inferior to the original, but it was different enough and so interesting that it succeeds in spades. Its bold ending is unforgettable. The exploration of the underground tunnels was a lot of fun and I just loved the introduction of mutants. The film features terrific world building.

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4. Planet of the Apes (1968)

It pains me so much to put the original 1968 movie on fourth place but I have to as the reboot series is just so amazing and ultimately better. But there is no denying the power and sheer originality of the first film that started it all. Charlton Heston is so great in the main role, the characters are memorable and the storyline is one of a kind, engaging and well thought out. It features a bunch of unforgettable sequences with an awesome twist ending leading to what is inarguably a science fiction classic.

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3. War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes is the weakest entry in the new trilogy as it has its minor flaws, but it is still a phenomenal film which made me smile a lot and it also almost made me cry at some points. It is so incredibly emotional and such a wonderful finale to this great journey. I loved its war elements, but I loved the drama even more as it was sophisticated and always emotionally resonant with some great character moments. It serves as a great conclusion to this trilogy as well as a great precursor to the original flick.

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2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a bit underrated as it isn’t regarded as highly as the rest of the trilogy, but it is just as great in my opinion. It started this whole story superbly and I loved the more simplistic approach this time around. Caesar’s origin story is perfectly told here and the relationship between him and James Franco’s character is the heart of the film. Its scientific approach is great and its action scenes are terrific, but its emotion takes it to the next level.

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1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

And the best Apes film just has to be Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which is amazing on so many levels. And it really says a lot that it is the first on this list which is populated with a couple of instant classics. The character development is just spectacular and Koba and Caesar’s conflict is so well established. The humans are also memorable and that last scene between Jason Clarke’s character and Caesar is just so emotional and heartbreaking. The action is great as is the score, but it is its Shakespearean approach and great dialogue that makes it stand out. Complex and sophisticated, but also always hugely entertaining, it is the best Apes film and the best modern blockbuster in my opinion.

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Top Ten Silly Symphonies

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Top Ten Silly Symphonies

Disney’s Silly Symphonies are such a wonderful cartoon series. There are 75 animated shorts in this series and most are pretty good with some being timeless classics. They show great artistry at Disney and it was very interesting following the rise of sophisticated animation during this period in time for the studio. There are quite a lot of great entries so I wanted to include as many as possible here so that’s why the honorable mentions got more entries than usual.

 

 

10. The Golden Touch

I do not understand Walt’s dissatisfaction with this one. It surely is a very underrated flick which does have weaker than usual songs, but such a good animation, excellent main character, a very good plot and a couple of quote memorable scenes. The highlight is of course its message which is great for kids.

 

9. Who Killed Cock Robin?

This movie isn’t the best of its type, but it surely is a one of a kind, different Disney flick that stands on its own. Its parody of Mae West is hilarious, the film is full of energy and it is filled with catchy songs. It is such a zany, incredibly weird and refreshingly adult film that was unlike anything that Disney had done up to that point. Its ending is so funny with that sexual innuendo.

 

8. The Flying Mouse

I just loved this one. The Flying Movie is superbly well crafted not just in animation which is wonderful, but also in terms of storytelling as its story is so well told and the film is quite dramatic and dark at times. The message of nature’s power and self-acceptance is terrific and it is one of those Silly Symphonies that every child should watch.

 

7. Mother Goose Goes Hollywood

And this is the movie that even trumps Who Killed Cock Robin? as it truly is a blast. It doesn’t have a plot, but it has a joke after joke and most do hit and if you know at least some of these famous people from the thirties, you are bound to get a laugh. To me Great Garbo is one of the highlights and also Katharine Hepburn whose accent is hilarious. It is such a wild, crazy movie that ultimately works thanks to great humor and animation.

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6. The Grasshopper and the Ants

And now we arrive to the classics and by that I mean famous stories that were gloriously adapted by Silly Symphonies and thus got immortal. The Grasshopper and the Ants is well made technically as its animation is truly terrific, but the message that you should work for yourself is great for children. It is such a well told, spotless flick that only needed a less happy ending.

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5. The Ugly Duckling

This timeless tale from Hans Christian Andersen got a great treatment by Disney. The animation is truly gorgeous as it came out in 1939 which was the last year for the series. The score is also pretty wonderful. But it its adorable factor with the duckling as well as a heartwarming ending that make it a classic that it is.

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4. Ferdinand the Bull

Who doesn’t love Ferdinand the Bull? A tale of a bull who doesn’t want to fight, but just wants to smell flowers is a terrific message story that should only prove more relatable as time goes by. Couple its great story and an unforgettable protagonist with a simply gorgeous animation and such skilful cinematography and you’ve got a charmer for the ages.

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3. The Wise Little Hen

The Wise Little Hen is important for introducing Donald Duck to the world, but even more important in its again great message for kids and should be watched by every child as it teaches them to bi nice and share with others. The film is definitely quite funny and with a great ending and such a catchy score.

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2. The Tortoise and the Hare

That hare is truly insufferable and his eventual defeat by the tortoise only further strengthens an already great conclusion to this great film which is message-heavy but still important and superbly crafted on every level from the animation to the voice acting and terrific pacing. An undisputed classic.

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1. Three Little Pigs

With an irresistibly catchy classic song Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?, groundbreaking character development in animation, gorgeous visuals and a superb scene after scene, Three Little Pigs is truly a classic for the ages. Its message about hard work is importance, but so is its place in the history of animation as the first truly accomplished animated short both in terms of characterization and story. I love this movie so much and it is in fact the best animated short of them all in my opinion.

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Honorable Mentions:

Babes in the Woods – A very good, yet still somewhat different than usual adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, Babes in the Woods is so well told and suitably dark tonally.

The Practical Pig – So well plotted and scored, but absolutely hilarious in its clever and unexpected ending, this truly is the best Three Little Pigs sequel.

Three Little Wolves – Another great Three Little Pigs sequel, Three Little Wolves features such memorable wolf cubs and a phenomenally well crafted ending with that contraption.

Just Dogs – This one is a great short for every dog lover with a skilled animation for its time, many well depicted dog species and a pretty good humor.

Music Land – Not as great as it could have been, but still very good, Music Land is unique in plot, gorgeous in animation and ultimately a pretty bold, successful experiment.

Egyptian Melodies – As the earliest Silly Symphony on my list, Egyptian Melodies stands shoulders above its contemporaries thanks to highly inventive animation and a great setting.

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Best and Worst Films from June 2017

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Best and Worst Films from June 2017

 

 

Best Films from June 2017:

 

3. Wonder Woman

Unlike last month, June wasn’t particularly strong for me and there are only a couple of films I really loved. Wonder Woman is one of them and the most unexpected one for sure. I went into the theatre expecting a solid popcorn flick, but what I got is one of the better superhero films out there with absolutely wonderful Gal Gadot, a great message to it, excellent humor and it truly does succeed both as a superhero and as a WWI flick. And also as a charming romance.

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2. The Last Temptation of Christ

This is easily one of Scorsese’s finest films in my opinion and probably his most underrated. It is the best ever film about Jesus and although it isn’t faithful to the Gospels, it compensates that by giving us something entirely different and unique such as that bold and amazing ending. The performance from Willem Defoe is so strong, the character is so well explored and the film is very sophisticated in dialogue and script leading to such a smart, spiritual experience.

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1. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

The number one goes to Ali: Fear Eats the Soul – one of the best films that German cinema has to offer. Following a tumultuous relationship between an older German woman and a much younger Muslim migrant, the film explores this doubly unusual relationship so well as it not only gives us the wonderful, heartwarming stuff but also the expected, tragic consequences that arise from it. It does all that while also showcasing so realistically racism from neighbors and community and in my opinion Brigitte Mira here gave one of the best ever female performances in a film. A true classic and a much deserved winner for the month.

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Worst Films from June 2017:

 

3. War of the Worlds

A very weak remake, Spielberg’s version of War of the Worlds is a somewhat admirable effort, but it unfortunately mostly backfired as it doesn’t succeed either as a family drama or as a sci-fi disaster flick. The cinematography is quite dull and the film is ultimately very slow, tedious and frankly an unnecessary remake of a much better original.

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2. L.A. Confidential

I really didn’t like this film. I know that it is beloved by many and it received so many Oscar nominations, but it is to me just such an uninspired, clichéd and incredibly boring crime flick that never differentiates itself from others of the same genre. A total bore of a film that is difficult to sit through.

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1. Cries and Whispers

And the worst film I’ve seen all month is Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers – a film which is one of the most overrated foreign flicks and the one that represents his worst tendencies as a director such as unlikable characters, overrated and gimmicky technicalities and bullshit psychology. It annoyed me so much and I even hated it so the first place was guaranteed for it.

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Ranking 1960s Animated Short Oscar Winners

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Ranking 1960s Animated Short Oscar Winners

The sixties proved to a bit of an improvement over the fifties when it comes to the animated short category at the Oscars as the films are more diverse. It is still not the greatest as half of these winners aren’t all that great, but half are very good and a couple are truly excellent. Ranking them was pretty easy in my opinion so here we go.

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Image result for the hole 196210. The Hole

The last place goes to this work from the Hubleys whom I just never got personally and I deem them overrated. Their ‘Moonbird’ got the second last place on my 50s list and this one gets the last as the discussions it gives us between two construction workers are just not all that interesting and again the animation is quite choppy and subpar.

 

 

 

Image result for a herb alpert and the tijuana brass double feature gif9. A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature

This is another short from the same two directors and even though it still doesn’t have the best animation and the storyline is non-existent, it is a better film than ‘The Hole’ as it is admittedly fun and it features an interesting approach with the music being basically the precursor to the modern music video.

 

 

Image result for ersatz 8. Ersatz

This Croatian short is wildly overrated in my opinion. Yes, it is very well animated and sometimes quite inspired, but ultimately pointless in its non-existent story and not as memorable. It has an inventive animation for sure, but I wanted more from it in terms of storytelling.

 

 

 

Image result for the box 1967 7. The Box

This is a wasted movie as it was immensely promising in its interesting concept and although it still has its moments and is ultimately pretty solidly executed, it should have been much funnier and much better given the great concept. Its couple of scenes with facial expression humor are the standout ones.

 

 

 

Image result for it's tough to be a bird 19696. It’s Tough to Be a Bird

This is your regular Disney educational animated short that gives us a very memorable protagonist, a couple of funny moments and it is very good for children, but again its format does not allow for much enjoyment for adults and I found the over-reliance on live-action instead of animated segments troubling.

 

 

 

Image result for the critic 1963 5. The Critic

This is another example of a great idea not greatly executed. It gives us art film screening where we listen to very relatable complaints from one viewer. The idea is ingenious and the film is very funny at times with some hilarious lines from our amusing hero, but it is overly short and should have been even funnier given the awesome premise.

 

 

 

 

Image result for munro 19604. Munro

Munro is very important in its message and storyline, though the narration and animation should have been better. But what I loved about it is how it managed to portray a difficult situation in a lighthearted, more humorous manner and it thus led to a much more successful film.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for the dot and the line 19653. The Dot and the Line

Although surprisingly sexist in the portrayal of its female character, The Dot and the Line is still a lot of fun and very well executed and animated. But the standout aspect is of course its imagination as it is wildly inventive in concept and more than capable in execution leading to a well deserved third slot on my list.

 

 

 

 

Image result for winnie the pooh and the blustery day gif 2. Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

It does have its issues, but Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is still one of the best ever Winnie the Pooh storylines which gives most of its characters a lot to do and sure enough, Pooh, Piglet and Tigger are all very memorable and funny. Its two songs out of five are also pretty terrific and classics in their own right.

 

 

 

 

Image result for the pink phink gif1. The Pink Phink

This had to be the number one pick although it was a pretty close race. But The Pink Phink is a great example of how great Pink Panther is. It has amazing animation which is wonderfully simplistic and polished, very inventive action scenes and excellent humor and of course superb character interactions and that iconic score. The film is wonderfully comedic and superbly executed from beginning to end leading to what is arguably the best Oscar-winning animated short from this decade.

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