Porky & Daffy (1938)

Porky & Daffy ReviewPorky & Daffy Review

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

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

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

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

My Rating – 4.2

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From the Page to the Screen – Animal Farm

Animal Farm Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – Animal Farm

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

 

 

THE FILM ADAPTATION

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

 

PLOT

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

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

WINNER – TIE

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Animal Farm Movie Review

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EMOTION

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

WINNER – TIE

 

THEMES

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

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

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 4: FILM 3

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

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The Moose Hunt (1931)

The Moose Hunt ReviewThe Moose Hunt Review

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

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

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

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

My Rating – 3.5

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From the Page to the Screen – The Jungle Book

The Jungle by Book Rudyard Kipling - Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – The Jungle Book

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

 

 

THE 1967 VERSION

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

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The Jungle Book (1967)

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PLOT

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

WINNER – FILM

 

CHARACTERIZATION

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

WINNER – FILM

 

EMOTION

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

WINNER – FILM

 

THEMES

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

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

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 1: FILM 4

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

 

 

THE 1994 VERSION

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

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The Jungle Book Movie Review

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PLOT

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

EMOTION

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

THEMES

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

BOOK 5: FILM 0

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

 

 

THE 2016 VERSION

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

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The Jungle Book Movie Review

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PLOT

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

WINNER – FILM

 

CHARACTERIZATION

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

WINNER – FILM

 

EMOTION

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

WINNER – FILM

 

THEMES

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

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

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

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 1: FILM 4

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

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Porky’s Spring Planting (1938)

Porky's Spring Planting ReviewPorky’s Spring Planting Review

Porky’s Spring Planting is a 1938 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a solid, but not great entry.

I did not care much for this particular cartoon and in my opinion the gardening short ‘Porky’s Garden’ is the better short of the two. Certainly the animation is nice and the overall story I found to be interesting and not really done before. The ending with Porkys negotiations with the chicken was the highlight, but the rest wasn’t really funny.

The film takes its time to get there owing to a very slow start and thus we are not introduced to these chicken well into the film. They only arrived around the half mark which was beyond problematic. Another very troublesome aspect is Porky Pig who is here animated oddly and he both looked and behaved strange and different than usual. I was not a fan of that at all.

Porky’s Spring Planting is perfectly solid with a good story, but weak structure and a problematic depiction of Porky Pig.

My Rating – 3.5

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Doctor Who Season 13 (1975)

Doctor Who Season 13 Review

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Doctor Who Season 13 Review

The thirteenth season of Doctor Who is an improvement upon its predecessor, but still far from a great season.

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Something’s going on contrary to the laws of the universe.

I must find out what

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Doctor Who Season 13 Review

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Terror of the Zygons is entirely forgettable. The setting of Scotland is interesting, but other than that I am not a fan of this story. And I have to say that I still do not care for Tom Baker’s performance and I find this Fourth Doctor quite irritating.

Planet of Evil is better than the above serial, but not all that memorable either and I am personally not a fan of this period in Doctor Who history as it relies too much on horror instead of fantasy and science fiction. Maybe if the horror elements were great, I would care, but the strong atmosphere is mostly just not there.

Pyramids of Mars is undoubtedly one of the best serials in this season. That’s because for once it does something different by giving us a pseudo-historical story which proposes that Ancient Egyptians built the Pyramids with the help of aliens. I find this particular theory interesting and thus this story suited me.

The Android Invasion deals with interesting, though familiar ideas, but the execution is just not strong enough to make it thrilling and this story definitely needed to be entertaining given its great potential for sci-fi thrills.

The Brain of Morbius is once again a forgettable story which relies way too much on ‘Frankenstein’ and is unfortunately a pale imitation of it in terms of storytelling and atmosphere.

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Doctor Who Season 13 Review

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The Seeds of Doom is not great, but it is still very good as this environmental, cautionary and mostly quite involving tale with solid special effects and a couple of good character moments for the Doctor and Sarah.

In the end, we bid goodbye to UNIT in this season which was certainly sad as I liked that group of characters, but other than that, it remains an uneventful season with Tom Baker being ineffective in the most important role and with too many horror, classic movies influenced storylines which did not work as well as they should have.

 

Worst Serials: Terror of the Zygons and The Android Invasion.

Best Serials: Pyramids of Mars and The Seeds of Doom.

 

Worst Episodes: Terror of the Zygons Part 1, Terror of the Zygons Part Two, The Android Invasion Part Two and The Android Invasion Part Three.

Best Episodes: Pyramids of Mars Part One, Pyramids of Mars Part Two, The Seeds of Doom Part Five and The Seeds of Doom Part Six.

My Rating – 3.6

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Cinderella Meets Fella (1938)

Cinderella Meets Fella ReviewCinderella Meets Fella Review

Cinderella Meets Fella is a 1938 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is such a hilarious short.

Having in mind that this short is directed by Tex Avery, it was bound to be great as it is. It has his great signature humor and I loved its parody. It parodies Cinderella and it does that really well with a couple of hilarious moments. The film is still sweet and moving, but with a couple of decidedly adult gags which I appreciated. It isn’t perfect as the second half never quite is comparable to the first one and Cindy is portrayed as too young, but other than that, it’s awesome.

I really liked the animation and of course the characterization is excellent. Cindy is young but fun and memorable and of course Egghead is as amusing as he usually is. The funniest gags were the cuckoo trying to stop the clock, the various radio cuts as they were modern and put into an older period and of course the highlight is the Fairy Godmother who is here portrayed as a drunk lady who visits booze pubs regularly. The gag in which she pulls vodka instead of a magic wand from her purse was so funny.

Cinderella Meets Fella is one of the best Merry Melodies so far owing to it being such a great parody with excellent characterization and many hilarious mature gags.

My Rating – 4.3

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From the Page to the Screen – Prince Caspian

C. S. Lewis: Prince Caspian Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian is a classic 1951 fantasy novel written by C. S. Lewis. It is far from my favorite entry in this series, but it is still such a good second installment that gave us a very interesting Narnia story where animals do not rule for once, but the humans do. It is a very fascinating and also pretty dark read.

 

THE FILM ADAPTATION

The film was released in 2008 and it received much weaker reviews and box office numbers than the previous entry. It still did fairly well, but not nearly as great as the original and that was to be expected given how it ended up being annoyingly action oriented and loosely adapted.

 

PLOT

The plot in the film is pretty solid and most of the plot points were adapted. However, some were not and they were shortchanged for all that extensive action spectacle which I did not appreciate at all.

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

I did not find Caspian to be a particularly strong character in the book, but in the movie he is even worse and his relationship with Susan came out of nowhere and was highly unnecessary. Others were fine, but I was not a fan of that particular development.

WINNER – BOOK

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Image result for prince caspian gif

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EMOTION

Again the film is quite moving in its third act and very emotionally rewarding. And of course the novel has its fair share of heartfelt moments. As was the case with the previous comparison, I am going to give the two a tie in this category.

WINNER – TIE

 

THEMES

This goes without saying. The novel examines the principles, the warfare and particularly the memory of the past, but the film discards all of that for giant action sequences that took too much of the runtime.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

Although the action is ridiculously extended, it was admittedly fun for a while because it was very well executed overall. And again we got terrific  world building, cinematography, score and of course special effects. The book is very well written discounting the action which this author does not know how to write.

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 4: FILM 2

Despite the film’s heart and expectedly terrific action sequences, it is infinitely inferior both to the novel and to the original film. The action is overwhelming and that ruined the momentum of the story for me. It is a solid film, but this time around you are much better off with the original source material.

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From the Page to the Screen – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Book Review

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From the Page to the Screen – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a classic 1950 fantasy novel written by C. S. Lewis. It is considered to be one of the best fantasy novels ever written and belonging to one of the best fantasy series of books. That is all for many great reasons as it truly stood the test of time and is still a magical, wonderful read. It is definitely one of the best entries in the series.

 

THE FILM ADAPTATION

The film was released in 2005 to pretty good critical reception and excellent box-office. It was well received and justifiably so as it truly is an epic, cinematic and truly great counterpart to the novel and the only truly great entry in this movie franchise as the rest were much inferior in quality.

 

PLOT

Now the film follows the book quite faithfully and is actually as magical or as endearing as the novel itself. But no matter how wonderfully it adapted the story, the book is still the original one and Lewis’s imagination is responsible for this entire world.

WINNER – BOOK

 

CHARACTERIZATION

The film’s character development is actually pretty strong. Admittedly the child actors were not great and their performances are quite weak overall, but most of the characters are as great as they were in the book with Aslan, Edmund and the Witch being the highlights. Plus Peter and Susan are actually better developed here than they were in the original.

WINNER – TIE

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Image result for the lion the witch and the wardrobe gif

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EMOTION

The entire third act in the film is very moving emotionally speaking and highly endearing. The entire magical trip was worth it as that ending is very rewarding and I loved it. It was as weighty as it was in the written form.

WINNER – TIE

 

THEMES

The film is very much action and spectacle oriented whereas the book touches upon many themes ranging from good versus evil to man’s relationship with nature to spirituality and most importantly to betrayal and forgiveness.

WINNER – BOOK

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

I love Lewis’s writing and he is the one responsible for this whole world as his imagination and world building are incredible. But the film does everything a movie adaptation should do – it gives us epic scope, arresting scenery, beautiful score and simply fantastic special effects that are some of the best of its decade.

WINNER – FILM

 

BOOK 4: FILM 3

This was a pretty close race but in the end the novel takes the win. Certainly the film is undoubtedly the best of its franchise, very faithful, magical and incredible to look at, but the novel is the original one with a fantastic story and with more themes incorporated into it. But still the fact that we got such a phenomenal film from this classic fantasy work should be respected more as this flick is unfortunately quite underrated.

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Ranking 1980s Animated Short Oscar Winners

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Ranking 1980s Animated Short Oscar Winners

The eighties actually proved to be one of the better decades when it comes to the category of Best Animated Short Film at the Academy. Certainly some films here are weak, but most were admittedly very good and a couple are phenomenal and very authentic. So here is my ranking of all ten of these 80s shorts.

 

10. Sundae in New York

This one deserves the dead last spot for sure. Its song is catchy and that is basically all I can say that is positive when it comes to this overly short, overly patriotic and downright pointless and weakly animated love ode to the city of New York.

Sundae in New York Review

9. Charade

Charade is better than the aforementioned entry, but not by much. It is again weakly animated and overly short in length. It isn’t bad, but it is another basic and rehashed entry with the game of charade not being fully explored with no humor be to found here whatsoever.

Charade Review

 

8. A Greek Tragedy

I liked the animation in A Greek Tragedy and the score is also very nice. However, this film is anything but its epic title as the story is non-existent and we just follow these three women who try to hold the stones of the building. The humor is weak and I missed the point of the movie entirely. If there is any…

A Greek Tragedy Review

 

7. Tin Toy

Tin Toy is a very dated film. Certainly the plot is great and it influenced countless animated features in its wake and the action and humor are solid. But even though the CGI was groundbreaking for its time, it now looks awfully dated and especially in that ugly design of the baby. The lack of score also troubled me leading to an undeserved Oscar winner as there are so many better Pixar shorts out there.

Image result for tin toy gif

 

6. Tango

Tango is the first truly good film on this list. Yes, the use of live-action figurines in an animated film bothered me as I do not like that approach at all personally. But there is no denying that it is thematically a deep film which is very authentic in its execution and the exploration of the passage of time.

Tango Review

 

5. Anna & Bella

This charmer is overly weird and odd in some of its imagery, but I really liked it mostly for the strong sisterhood at the center of it. It is a moving, very endearing film which benefits from a particularly strong structure and wonderful animation.

Anna & Bella Review

 

4. The Man Who Planted Trees

This movie is very long as it lasts for thirty minutes. It is not particularly engaging and the narration is excessively used. But the animation is beyond beautiful and even artistic in quality, the emotion is evident and some scenes are downright magical. It features a great environmental message that anyone could get behind with.

The Man Who Planted Trees Review

 

3. Balance

I do get what Balance is all about, but only after I read about it after watching it. That is because the plot is way too vague. But even though it is vague and the sound editing is mediocre, watching these figures try to balance themselves on a platform was a pretty strange and interesting experience. The film is otherworldly in its atmosphere and definitely highly original.

Image result for balance 1989

 

2. The Fly

The Fly is way too short, there is no denying that. But you can also not deny how strong its subdued animation is and how amazing its fittingly hectic cinematography is. It is a short which puts you in the shoes of a house fly with remarkably detailed, realistic and downright authentic and admirable effect.

The Fly Review

 

1. Crac

Crac follows the story of one rocking chair from its conception to its place in the art museum where it eventually winds up. Its watercolor animation is simply beautiful and the film is dreamlike in its effect and not to mention incredibly original and also highly moving. Most of the movies on this list are very authentic in premise and execution, but this is the best of them all thanks to its high emotion, a wonderful score and artistic visuals.

Crac Review

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