Disney Movie Discussion

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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:24 pm

Already been a petition against "whitewashing" Mulan. I just can not see a way that can do it in China with a non-Asian actress, they would have to move continents

Or just go full on offend Asia and have a songs about the wonders of Opium and Europe.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:28 am

Already been a petition against "whitewashing" Mulan. I just can not see a way that can do it in China with a non-Asian actress, they would have to move continents

Or just go full on offend Asia and have a songs about the wonders of Opium and Europe.


I know I would definitely want Disney to get the setting and the characters right. It would surely make the story feel more realistic and much more enjoyable.

You nearly made me spit water all over my laptop with your second line Zhou :lol:
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:00 am

Or just go full on offend Asia and have a songs about the wonders of Opium and Europe.


:lol:

I can see it now.

Frank Dikotter, the Motion Picture. Directed by, produced by and starring Frank Dikotter.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby SunXia » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:46 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
SunXia wrote:If it's Chloe Bennet then she is part Chinese and spent time in China and was actually born Chloe Wang.


I had more heard Ming-Na Wen (I suspect too old for Disney though would be lovely to have a romance for characters above the age of 20) but I realize how my post mixed my two points together. Sorry

Isn't she the only Disney Mulan at the moment since you know, she acted her in the Mulan animations....getting to play her twice, a bit unfair and unvaried.... :lol:
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:54 pm

Watched the larm of Cinderella (2015).

I have mixed feelings about this new larming trend Disney's gotten themselves into. Make no mistake; this version of Cinderella is a good movie as Disney features go. If you managed to get Sir Derek Jacobi, Hayley Atwell and Cate Blanchett on board, then you've basically already crossed the threshold for what constitutes a good movie right there. And of course if Kenneth Branagh could turn the first Thor film into something halfway decent, then he's definitely the right person to go to in directing a remake of a beloved '50's classic animated feature.

And though I was rather unnerved to see that Mrs. Weasley hadn't quite finished off Bellatrix Lestrange, she seems to have gotten over the death of Lord Voldemort fairly well and is doing some decent charity work in her retirement. :lol:

That said, though, still mixed feelings. Larming is tricky. And - though I'm a terrible masochist for bringing this example up repeatedly just to rub my face in my own shame - it can backfire spectacularly. It didn't backfire spectacularly here, but that's basically because with this group of seasoned actors you can't really go wrong. Instead the movie just felt kind of... schizophrenic, almost Janus-faced. I don't think Branagh knew going in, and I don't think any of the writers knew throughout, what kind of movie they wanted this to be - did they want it to be a faerie-tale or a period drama? Did they want it to hew consistently to the original animated Cinderella (1950), or did they want it to take on a new dimension and allow the live-action medium to speak for itself?

And the result is a film which tries to yark heavily back and forth between the two, often jarringly. On the one hand, you've got faerie godmothers and magical transformations done completely straight, in the over-the-top way you can expect from a Disney film by now. But on the other hand, you've got essentially half-finished caricatures of Jane Austen archetypes navigating a small Western European kingdom circa 1820 (but with fashions from considerably later) and dialogue that tries to suggest a deeper political narrative but which comes off, again, as half-finished. It's like they tried to do a fractured faerie-tale and gave up halfway through.

The royal ball scene was where these two different visions of the film clashed most jarringly. Did the directors want to focus our attentions on Kit's and Ella's blossoming mutual affections in the enchanted atmosphere? Did they want us to laugh at the third-rate Austen pastiche that was the awkward social manoeuvring of les demoiselles Tremaine? Or did they want to draw attention to the machinations of Lady Tremaine and the Grand Duke? I felt like my attention was being pulled too many ways at once. Contrast this with the original animated feature's much simpler royal ball scene, where the political intrigues of the King and the Grand Duke are played for laughs, and segue effortlessly into the musical number between Ella and the Prince. There's a much more transcendant, otherworldly atmosphere there that they just don't manage to recreate here, and not for want of technical wizardry or acting talent - both of which they have aplenty.

That's not to say that the scene didn't show promise in each of those three directions. Cate Blanchett clearly acted her heart out in this role; I truly enjoyed the way she made Lady Tremaine come to life as a profligate, scheming and deeply envious social climber with a deceptively-alluring gaze. And Lily James is no slouch either; she played Ella completely straight, as patient, innocent, scintillatingly sweet and kind, practically saintly even, without being saccharine or maudlin. It's a shame they paired her up with Richard Madden's near-total cipher; but to be fair, it's hard to give a standard Disney prince real depth, and Kit was even more of a cipher in the original animated feature. The one time I felt Kit showed any real genuine emotion was in his interaction with his father (Sir Derek Jacobi) late in the film. The Grand Duke seemed to be doing fairly well.

All in all, the acting was stellar. But again, it felt like the writers were trying to have it both ways, as a faux period-drama and as a faerie tale with magic, without doing the footwork to make either one really fully successful. An enjoyable movie; but it won't be a classic the way the original was.

7.0 / 10
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:46 am

Watched Beauty and the Beast again. Long been a favourite, bar the slightly botched ending, and always something I have forgotten. Has a nice romance
though wy the film blames beast when Belle pokes in the area she was asked never to go in...
, charm, a bit of humour, good songs like tale as old as time (with a lovely ballroom scene), the show stopping Be Our Guest, Gaston's tunes, the somewhat scary Mob song.

Plus of course the epitome of chivalry and good taste: Gaston
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:38 am

The Fox and the Hound (1981)
(Directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich and Art Stevens, starring Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Pearl Bailey and Paul Winchell)

First off, Kurt Russell?! I never would have guessed, myself. Copper doesn't sound anything like Snake Plissken.

... Ahem. Anyway. This film is pretty decent for what it is. The story itself is pretty simplistic, and they really pad it out to an 82-minute running time: orphaned baby fox befriends a puppy, but the two of them are driven apart by their disparate upbringings.

The voice-acting is actually pretty good (the sidekick birds in particular), but this is definitely pre-Renaissance quality in terms of musical numbers. Maybe my bar for Disney movies is pretty low, but I was actually genuinely impressed that the Big Mama character (Pearl Bailey) managed to sound authentic, rather than going into an animated mammy stereotype. Yes, her character came off as a warm caretaker sort, but Ms. Bailey ends up injecting a good deal of personality into her, particularly when she starts giving Tod (Keith Mitchell / Mickey Rooney) some tough 'education' about dogs.

The animation quality is frustratingly inconsistent. The most gorgeous nature shots are indeed amazing and belong with the best of the Disney animated canon, but some of the animated shots just look downright lazy and half-arsed - cels look half-coloured, greyed out or blurred, frame rate slows visibly, that sort of thing. The musical numbers are definitely pre-Renaissance in quality - as in, they're forgettable. The choruses have a throwback feel to them which just seems out-of-place in a movie where it's clear that only one of the voice actresses actually has any singing talent.

The story itself needed work. Clearly Chief (Pat Buttram) was supposed to die - it doesn't make sense for Copper (Kurt Russell) to want revenge on Tod otherwise. But the filmmakers I guess wanted to keep it G-rated, and not show Chief getting mangled by a train? The love story between Tod and Vixie (Sandy Duncan) feels a bit rushed and tacked-on - like, 'oh crap we're only at 50 minutes, let's throw a love interest for Tod in quick!' kind of movie-logic. That said, the fishing scene gives us some good physical humour, and Vixie is charming and genuine enough that for the most part she manages to justify her own existence. But it somewhat annoyed me that she doesn't really do much of anything apart from getting threatened by Copper and Slade (Jack Albertson), and giving Tod a reason to attack Copper when he's chasing her.

Doesn't Slade know that Vulpix is a Fire-type Pokémon? When he used Ember and Metal Claw on Tod and Vixie, he shouldn't have been surprised that it's not very effective...

Likewise, clearly he went to the Imperial Academy of Marksmanship.

Seriously, the only things he ever managed to hit with his shotgun were Widow Tweed's (Jeanette Nolan) milk jugs, and nicking the shoulder of a bear that was literally two feet in front of him. Watching him shoot at stuff actually made the tense scenes of The Fox and the Hound unintentionally hilarious.


Okay, now I'm ragging on it a bit too much. Even though it clearly belongs in the second tier of Disney films, it's a fun Disney animated feature all the same, with a bit of a bittersweet ending.

7 / 10
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Shen Ai » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:09 pm

I rewatched The Black Cauldron recently. It was one of those films as a kid I never watched very often, despite seeing most other Disney films 3-4 times each.

I can kind of understand why. The lead trio are really, really dull. There's very little to them. Taran is reminiscent of Kayley from The Quest for Camelot. Which is a bad thing. He aspires to be great, but he does very little to actually prove himself, and he just seems like a lot of talk. A cloud of hot hair.

Princess Eilonwy is kind of just... there. We don't get much of an idea why she was a prisoner, or what she's the princess of. I mean, someone should be looking for her right? Someone should be waging war to get her back, or we should have a gang of knights looking to recover her, shouldn't we? She doesn't do much, and other than telling Taran to lay off and stop being such a brat, there isn't a lot to her.

And the Bard. Meh. He's got one or two funny bits, but he's mostly just played for comic bits. And it doesn't really work because he isn't especially entertaining or quirky.

The world is barren. We get a Horned King, and a fairy kingdom, and all these orcs and witches and magic and princesses, and yet the world is sparse. There isn't any beautiful scenery (in fact, it's chillingly barren and bleak) or many other characters. We don't see big towns or great castles or very many other people. I heard this film was based off of a book series, and since Tolkien almost all modern fantasy series have strong world building aspects. I know this is a Disney film, but I'm not asking for Westeros here, just some semblance of other people living in this world.

The story is pretty basic, but a lot of the plot elements they use are kind of... odd. Like, using the pig as a central plot device was pretty out there. Weird decision. I think we'd have gotten a much stronger emotional connection to the story if the pig's seer abilities were given to... I dunno, the Taran's little sister or something. Or the Princess, if you wanna kill two birds with one stone. Like, why the pig? It was kind of cute looking, but it also acted kind of annoying at times. Felt odd to ascribe such importance to a pig of all things.

The character of Gurgi gave off a lot of Gollum vibes. That was interesting. Probably one of the more interesting and likeable (if not the most interesting) characters in the film. His voice acting annoyed a lot of people, but I kind of liked it.

Actually, to segue into the voice acting, it wasn't very good. The lead feels mechanical, the princess is so utterly devoid of any feeling other than bewilderment and whimsy, and Nigel Hawthorne feels kid of wasted as the Bard. Gurgi is good, for me anyways, and John Hurt as the Horned King is eerie and frightening. That was good.

The Horned King himself is a pretty interesting figure. He looks frightening, his voice is perfect, and he's actually made out and portrayed as a serious threat. The problem is, is that he doesn't do a whole lot. Which would work for a film where the lead characters are strong enough for the viewer to invest in and thus the villain can stay in the background as a threatening force, but in this one he and Gurgi end up being the most interesting figures, so when he barely appears you feel like he's being wasted. His end also was a big disappointment. He's also backed by this incredibly irritating butt-monkey sidekick, which feels odd since the Horned King is so threatening, so for him to have this utter buffoon (who isn't funny at all) is just odd. It's not like Hades with Pain and Panic, where Hades was kind of sleazy, reasonable (in his own way), and human-esque. He was played for laughs and he was made out to be relatively normal (relative to the world). Having silly goons makes sense. But this was pretty much like trying to give Sauron Alf as a sidekick or something.

That's not to say the film was all bad or just terrible, everything had potential to be great. Unfortunately, it just kind of fell flat. There's some interesting themes and moments and characters, but it's not used effectively enough. The action scenes aren't bad, and the music is pretty good. However, for a film based off of a reasonably successful book series, I was disappointed.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:00 pm

Watched Lion King, much better then I remembered it. Viusually striking, sometimes a little odd but very colourful and impressive. Strong songs, the comedy of Timon and Pumba, the hyenas, some big themes (though not even King Charles I thought monarchs had that much power...). The big moment
the father's death
is still powerful
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby MissMontana » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:25 pm

Oh, The Lion King it's classic and I love it since... forever!
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