Disney Movie Discussion

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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:22 pm

Watched Snow White, intresting watching it now and wondering how many elements were borrowed in future Disney films. Also memories of an old ride. Animation still well drawn and pretty though some noses simply vanish, lips can seem too large and anything that will be interacted with stands out from the background. Pacing of the plot seems odd nowadays and sound isn't smooth. The tale still retains charm, comedy and a few nice songs like hi-ho and the wishing well song
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:18 pm

Watched the Great Mouse Detectives which I watched as a child and as I watched yesterday, memories came back. Animation lacks vibrancy but is still well drawn and coloured, one or two decent songs, some good characters with only Ratigan (Vincent Price) not quite living up to the rest. It has charm, gets a few scares out of Fidget (Candy Candido) but the adventure didn't draw me in so got a little bored.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:35 pm

As in Basil? That was one of my favourite Disney movies! We borrowed the video from the library like 8 times!
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:23 pm

Sun Fin wrote:As in Basil? That was one of my favourite Disney movies! We borrowed the video from the library like 8 times!


That's the one, my sister enjoyed quite a bit when she was younger I believe. I didn't particularly remember but then, as I watched the movie, elements came back to me.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:42 am

Just because of Jodi Benson and Rene Auberjonois, I decided I wanted to rewatch...

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Wow. Talk about a childhood nostalgia trip! I'm not the biggest fan of Walt Disney or his Corporation, as I'm sure people know. (Given that I'm a trade union-supporting, anti-monopolist pinko commie ethnic Jew who is critical of American IP law, chances are we wouldn't have gotten along.) But I think along with Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid was the first Disney animated feature I ever watched, so there was some value in it for me. It is pretty dated, though.

And there were definitely scenes that had me outright snorking with derision. Because Prince Erik of Wherever naturally sets out to sea with his mutt and his crew of trusty sailors - where there are no women, of course - when all he wants is to get the right girl, and he pines to Grimsby over the fact that he can't find her. (Well, duh, man. You join the navy and the only women you're gonna find are either prostitutes at whatever port you dock at, or mythological and sushi from the waist down!)

The big fun of the movie for me was trying to figure out where and when the whole thing could have possibly taken place. First off, Erik as a name used by royalty would only have been found in the Nordic countries, and Erik certainly had in his employ a whole bunch of people with distinctly Anglo-Scandinavian and German names: Grimsby, Karlotte, Gertrude (Chef Louis being a notable exception). So I was thinking he would have been either Norwegian or Danish - possibly Swedish. But even though dolphins and whales are native to the North Sea, there are exactly zero coral reefs off of the coasts of any of those countries. Which made me think briefly that Erik might have been some kind of colonial administrator in the Indian Ocean or in Oceania, but there are three things about this that make it impossible. First off, even the servants are all very noticeably white - this would not have been the case in a European overseas colony. Secondly, in European colonies they did not build castles of the type Erik lived in... though Disney-style castles were ever only really built in Bavaria, so we can count this out as kind of an anachronism. Thirdly, Scandinavian countries colonised northwards for the most part - Iceland, Greenland and Vinland. The handful of exceptions were a few colonies off of Ghana and a couple holdings in the West Indies and (in Denmark's case) the Indian Ocean. We do know, though, that the story has to take place during the colonial period, because Grimsby smokes pipe-tobacco, and tobacco is a New World plant, so my guess is 17th- or 18th-century as far as time period goes.

However, there are a series of cold-water coral reefs off the coast of Scotland, apparently! There are also native willows there, which would make possible the 'Kiss the Girl' scene. So it might be possible that Erik was an Orcadian of Scandinavian descent, and all of his servants would have been either imported from England or Norway, rather than Scotland. That might also explain the castle, and it makes sense because for a long time Orkney was fairly independent from the Scottish crown, and ship-handling skills would have been valuable even for its local potentates, and for a long time it was a safe seat for Jacobite sentiment.

But that still doesn't explain the flamingoes!

... Ahem. Anywho. The film. Yes.

I admit I'm kind of creeped-out by the idea of a sixteen-year-old stalking and crushing on a slightly-older man with the wrong hardware, and though (as 'Part of Your World' makes clear) her love of humans does rather seem more cultural than fetishist, Ariel still does have kind of a mostly-chaste but still odd fixation on human legs (both the male sailors' and her own) that I hadn't noticed before. Also, Triton (at first) has a very empathisable reaction to the whole thing, but takes it way, waaaay too far when he goes totally berserk on Ariel's collection of human artefacts.

There are also a whole bunch of overtones to Ursula that I hadn't noticed before, including a surprisingly (for Disney) anti-capitalist interpretation. She ruthlessly exploits merpeople's desires to get them to unwittingly (but 'freely') sign contracts for the purposes of her gaining further magical powers, and eventually rulership of the entire ocean - by which point she's essentially transformed herself into a Lovecraftian elder god who simply doesn't care about mortal suffering.

Rene Auberjonois's Chef Louis is utterly brilliant, for all two scenes he's actually in the movie, where he and Sebastian provide almost all the slapstick for the entire film. And apparently it's actually him doing the singing, too! The whole movie is worth it really just for that.

The musical numbers are utterly fantastic - I think this may have been the first movie that featured Howard Ashman and Alan Menken as the composer duo? 'Part of Your World', 'Under the Sea', 'Kiss the Girl' - these are all very justly considered Broadway classics. I can certainly see why this film led the Disney Renaissance. You really have to hand it to Samuel E. Wright - easily, far and away, the best voice-acting and musical performances of any animated feature in the '80's.

The animation is, as I said before, a bit dated, and certainly pales in comparison with Beauty and the Beast. I appreciated seeing the traditional animation techniques, in the same way as I enjoy playing old SNES games and appreciating the way the graphical limitations of the medium were transcended. Ariel also clearly has an '80's hairdo even when she's on land, which is all the more hilarious considering my (admittedly flawed) 17th- or 18th-century Orcadian hypothesis. And when Ariel is turned into a human for the first time (both on land and underwater), the 'camera' is placed in hilariously-strategic positions that clearly the 2007 CGI feature Beowulf would also use to similar effect - another one of those things that you notice watching the film as an adult that you just don't as a kid.

It's really difficult to give this film a rating. As with other Disney films, I understand that there are a lot of problems with it, and of course I loathe both the company (which continues to abuse IP law and indulge in all the anti-union wage-depressing behaviour that practically every other big corporation in the US does) and the anti-Semitic nativist ideology of Walt himself. But this movie was really a part of my childhood and I can't help but look back at it with rose-tinted bins.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:34 pm

I suspect when I next see it, all I will see is leg-fetish so thanks for that :P

Does it matter, in terms of quality of the film, about whether one hates what the owner/company/director/lead stands for or is?
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:26 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I suspect when I next see it, all I will see is leg-fetish so thanks for that :P


:lol: I live to serve!

Honestly, there's a lot more symbolism with regard to legs in the movie, and it doesn't even operate primarily on a sexual level. To Ariel, who doesn't have them, legs and feet represent everything 'human' about humans, and given her father's hatred of them kind of a 'forbidden fruit'. And they also are literally taken, in the film, to represent her freedom and self-determination.

But still, yeah, there's kind of a factor there that it's best not to think too deeply about. :P

Dong Zhou wrote:Does it matter, in terms of quality of the film, about whether one hates what the owner/company/director/lead stands for or is?


Ehhhhh... yes and no. That's one of the reasons why I didn't give it a rating; I'm still really conflicted on this question.

On the one hand, the film is outstanding on its own merits. On the other hand, the film is so iconic and so central to the Disney image, and its characters figure so heavily in marketing particularly to young girls (being part of the Disney Princess line-up that I've taken so much issue with in the past), that separating the film from its context and its current use seems a bit... irresponsible somehow.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:15 pm

Sorry, all I heard was crushing of childhood memories into leg-fetish. I'll need years of mollycoddling, by you, to get over this :P It makes sense that legs make an important symbol

WeiWenDi wrote:On the one hand, the film is outstanding on its own merits. On the other hand, the film is so iconic and so central to the Disney image, and its characters figure so heavily in marketing particularly to young girls (being part of the Disney Princess line-up that I've taken so much issue with in the past), that separating the film from its context and its current use seems a bit... irresponsible somehow.


If I said I would never refuse to watch a film/show due to what it espoused, I would be lying. I'm not sure what the line would be if the director (or some such figure) is horrible a person, I imagine there is one where I would refuse to watch a film becuase of it but not sure what that would be. So that's my general stance. On Disney, I'm not exactly going to be listing them under best companies ever and I agree with your distaste about the message they sent/send out with the Disney Princess (I had forgotten the Little Mermaid was one of them). On a personal level, I also tend to associate Disney films with happy childhood memories.

When watching a film, or deciding on a score, I tend to just go for the film merits, I try to separate it from who made it or the marketing or anything else. If there is an outside issue with a film that I want to discuss or I'm unhappy about, I bring it up. I don't think Little Mermaid as a film should be punished for what it was later used for, it should celebrated for what it is but doesn't mean one can't bring up the problems of Disney or the Princess marketing.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:21 pm

Watched The AristoCats, saw it once or twice as a child but forget it, very much enjoyed it in a 7/10 way, had a lovely time. Slightly unusual way of drawing human faces, the villain more a joke then scary, some clever nods with the characters French names. A nice romance, loved the song "everybody wants to be a cat", some lovely side characters like the hounds and the charming geese. Ok some of the trying to be cool language sounds forced and seems dated and this isn't much about an adventure but about the characters. With characters being enjoyable, that isn't such a bad thing.
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Re: Disney Movie Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:29 pm

Would people here want to see more movies like Malafcient which tells a traditional Disney film from the villain's view? I rather enjoyed the film so I would like it if they have a good idea
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