The Three Little Pigs (1933)

The Three Little Pigs Review

The Three Little Pigs Review

 Three Little Pigs is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a classic and a timeless masterpiece.

It is such an acclaimed and important movie. It is about three pigs who build houses. The two of them build with sticks and straw even though Practical Pig, who builds his house with bricks, warns them of the wolf. Eventually, the wolf comes, blows their houses down and the two escape to Practical Pig’s house. Yes, this story has a great message for children about work and how important that is. But it is also wonderfully executed from beginning to end with no wasted or rushed scenes whatsoever.

The Three Little Pigs is important for being the first animated short to use real, fleshed out characters which is evident from the beginning. All three of the pigs along with the wolf are different, well developed characters with their own unique set of personalities. And I loved all of them with the Big Bad Wolf being the highlight with his harsh voice. He is such a great villain that posed real threat and is the most memorable character here. And the voice acting is truly excellent here.

The animation is absolutely mesmerizing. The colors are great, the film looks polished and wonderful to look at and the movements are all well realized. But the character design is the standout as all characters look absolutely fantastic with the wolf in particular being so well animated. The music is of course iconic to this point. The whole short is brilliantly scored, but the song Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? in particular is just fantastic as it is so catchy, so well incorporated into the story and just unforgettable. The film is great for the eyes and ears and is undoubtedly the finest Silly Symphony and it just might be the very best animated short film ever made.

With exquisite animation, memorable characters, very important and superbly incorporated message for children, excellent characterization as well as character design and outstanding, catchy and iconic music, The Three Little Pigs is undoubtedly a classic that is charming, entertaining, important and quite iconic. It is perfect both in terms of storytelling and craftsmanship, a film that is endearing and fantastic to this day, a masterpiece that is quite possibly the best animated short film of all time.

 My Rating – 5

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Bob’s Birthday (1993)

Bob's BirthdayBob’s Birthday Review

Bob’s Birthday is a 1993 animated short film that is a rare instance of an animated sitcom short which is executed wonderfully. It also received an Oscar which was well deserved.

It is about Bob, a 40-year-old dentist who struggles with his middle-age issues while his wife Margaret plans a birthday surprise for him. When he comes home, while their friends are hiding, hilarity ensues as he starts talking badly about them and the two also fight. Its plot is simply put ingenious. So well constructed and executed. I appreciate it not only for its humor which is fantastic, super funny and clever, but also for its themes as it is very smart and so relatable. It explores the middle-age problems beautifully with the dissatisfaction with work and friends, but still leaving a somewhat potentially happy ending as at least the two love each other. The plot and the characters drive this authentic sitcom film.

Yes, the characters are superb. Bob is relatable, very grounded in his depiction and likable. And Margaret is also sympathetic and you feel for her when everything goes wrong. The two have a great relationship and are so relatable.

This is one of the rare instances of an animated short film that is driven more by its plot and characters than animation. It is the weakest link here. Maybe it was the purpose here, but it is cheap-looking for its time and the character design is too cartoony which doesn’t mash well with its mature tone. It is an adult film which I highly appreciated, so sophisticated and relevant. It is also well acted and directed, although a bit weirdly paced. But it has just the right amount of running time, clocking in at around ten minutes and it is endlessly entertaining while also being inherently charming.

Bob’s Birthday may have weaker animation, but the characters are so grounded and relatable, the humor is splendid and its sitcom story with the hilarious scenario and sophisticated themes is wonderfully executed and very mature and relevant.

My Rating – 4.5

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Robin Hood (1973)

Robin Hood

Robin Hood Movie Review

As the movie that I entirely changed my opinion upon second viewing, Robin Hood is a 1973 Disney animated film which is their first film to be based on a historical/mythical figure.

As I said above, Robin Hood is one of the rare Disney flicks that I thoroughly disliked when I first saw it a couple of years before. However, that changed and now I find it charming. It is still incredibly flawed and nothing too remarkable, but it is a solid little film that has its strengths and one of those strengths is definitely the plot. It is always engaging, from beginning to end, and it is also incredibly well paced. It follows the adventures of Robin Hood and his pals and his quest to get rid of the taxation ruled by Prince John and it also follows his romance with Maid Marian. Now, I think this movie succeeds in both of those stories as it is very dramatic and funny, while also being very dark in its first and quite romantic and charming in its second subplot. Granted, it is infinitely inferior to ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood‘, but Disney still managed to make a decent film about the title character and one of the best as Hollywood rarely got this character right.

I like the beginning with the rooster. He sings a nice little song and his narration I found intriguing for once. And he also closed the movie wonderfully. The whole heist is really well done in the beginning as is the tournament later on. The movie got action sequences right, albeit they are too prolonged. The romance is well introduced and well handled as well, but it is the film’s later parts with excellent action and some rather dark tone that is the most intriguing. Overall, the movie flows nicely and is very entertaining and amusing to watch for sure.

Now, for the characters. They are anthromorphic and although that got on my nerves initially, I got its approach later as it lends to much of the humor in the film and was easier for animators to animate for better and for worse. Robin here is definitely good, but too cocky for my taste. However, they nicely mixed his arrogant persona, charisma and abilities with his heart and care for his people. Maid Marian is good as well, albeit a typical female love interest. But Little John is absolutely superb and so funny which is again a testament to Phil Harris who did Baloo in the ‘The Jungle Book‘ as well. He is a great voice actor and he brought a lot of the humor and heart to the movie. But all of the performances are great as well and it made the movie seem professional.

I disliked its villain – Prince John. He is once again a typical lame Disney villain and I get that he is made weak on purpose to help the humor, but he is still lame and those choices to ridicule him sometimes seemed way too over-the-top. Sir Hiss is a typical henchman as well, but the relationship between the two is certainly amusing to follow. Now, the Sheriff of Nottingham is the sole villain they got right as he posed the most threat and was genuinely bad and capable. As for Lady Kluck, she was the funniest part here with her voice and her fighting abilities. She was amazing and came out of nowhere.

Speaking of her, she is the example of how the humor in Robin Hood is both good and bad. It is definitely funny at times with a lot of pathos in its first half, but it is also very frothy and foolish as well. And no matter how good it genuinely can be, the humor nonetheless brought too much parody to the film and its light tone doesn’t mash well with the dark approach in the second half.

The animation is without a doubt the weakest aspect here. It is just so mediocre and forgettable that it is a shame for such a studio to do so. And it is even horrendous at times because it is mainly so incredibly lazy. It just steals the animation from ‘Snow White‘ in one whole dancing sequence which is just ridiculous. It also never has any artistic drive whatsoever and just is just there to serve the plot. The characters are okay, but nothing too remarkable with a typical character design. But at least it is colorful and charming.

The soundtrack here is surprisingly good. This is one of the things that struck me the most upon second viewing as I never knew how many good songs Robin Hood has and it does! Oo-de-lally is just gorgeous and so incredibly catchy and old-fashioned. Not in Nottingham is so poignant and melancholy whereas Whistle-Stop is so fun. But the two best songs are Love and The Phony King of England. The former is a really nice and romantic ballad beautifully sung, albeit too short in length. And the latter is the highlight that, despite its recycled animation accompanying it, manages to be one of the best sequences because it is so spirited, so fun and just so incredibly catchy and joyous. The soundtrack in Robin Hood is a testament to how great Disney Animation was back in the day with having terrific songs, but also having those songs suit the mood and the time period of the story told, a quality they forgot nowadays.

The directing is nothing memorable, but the acting is great and the imagery is excellent. The dialogue is also solid as is the film’s humor. The emotional investment is there, but only in its second half and the tone has such a jarring shift in the middle. This picture is of the similar quality level as ‘The Aristocats‘ and although the next two Disney movies from the seventies are better, this is still one of the most purely entertaining and fun flicks that is charming in its own right, if incredibly flawed.

Robin Hood has quite solid characters and the humor is quite good as well. The story is always entertaining and fun whereas the music is an underrated highlight with the songs being incredibly catchy while also being old-fashioned and suiting the mood and the time period perfectly. But the animation is so incredibly lazy, mediocre and even recycled, the tone is awkward, the villain is pathetic and the action is overwhelming. Nevertheless, no matter how flawed it is, this is still a fun Disney flick which has its strengths and is charming in its own humble way.

My Rating – 3,5

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The Night Before Christmas (1941)

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas Review

The Night Before Christmas is the third Tom and Jerry short and easily the finest of the three.

It is a standout film as it has a very different and authentic approach with the famous characters. The way Tom helped Jerry and let him in the house and unfroze him is really beautiful to watch and although weird and different, I like that it feels that way as it thus differentiates it from many other of their adventures. The first half is inferior to the second, but it is a very deftly edited cartoon with a lot to offer. The animation is fluid and the Christmas theme is really well handled with excellent incorporation of thematic music and decorations. And the finale is so incredibly sophisticated and filled with attention to detail and warmth that it becomes an instantly recognizable and memorable moment from the duo’s filmography.

The Night Before Christmas is wonderful, endearing and funny film that is easily one of Tom and Jerry’s best.

 

My Rating – 4.6

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The Midnight Snack

The Midnight Snack

The Midnight Snack is the second Tom and Jerry cartoon and an evident improvement over ‘Puss Gets the Boot’. The dynamic here is much more fun and the highlight is the opening and all its parts where Tom eats from the refrigerator while Jerry is trapped. That whole part is phenomenal. And the ending is superb and a lot of fun. I like the score here as it so perfectly accompanies the action on screen, albeit a bit too emphasized. And the scene with Mammy hiking up numerous layers of her clothes upon seeing the mouse is just hilarious. The middle parts are not as good as beginning and end parts, but this is still a wonderful short filled with many fun gags, excellent score and a couple of truly memorable and funny scenes.

My Rating – 4.

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Review

This is a film that is propelled with great technical achievements. The animation is absolutely mesmerizing and almost groundbreaking with its use of different styles of animation. The score is also really beautiful and it just lifts the whole short. However, the story I never found particularly interesting and it was too abstract in my opinion. It was also rarely easy to understand and its use of silent prose could have been better put to use. But it is still a moving story, no matter how executed it is. It is thematically rich and rather poignant, while being inspirational in the end. And I really liked the animation of books which is revolutionary in my book as it is really breathtaking to behold and the character design is really well done. It is an exquisitely animated film that has a flawed, but a moving plot nevertheless.

My Rating – 3.7

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