Disney Movie Marathon Challenge

Discussion in 'Disney Movies, Books, TV and Music' started by RSandRS, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Disney Movie Marathon Challenge

    Hi

    I've lurked on the boards for a while now and am an avid listener to the Disunplugged. I live in the UK and have only been to Disney World twice and never to Disneyland in California :/ I'd go yearly if I could afford it! I really love Disneyland Paris (DLP) which is much easier to get to for us on this side of the pond and have been countless times. I love preparing for a Disney trip by watching Disney movies and we just booked a Halloween trip to DLP for the first time! I've never been to DLP during October or for the Halloween party so this will be loads of fun.

    In any case, to prepare for the trip I suggested to my sis that we had a Disney movie marathon of the animated classics starting with Snow White. Loads of these films, like Fantasia, Pinocchio etc I haven't watched since I was a (renaissance) kid so this should be interesting. Then I thought, why not challenge ourselves to watch ALL of the feature length animated films (including potentially Pixar), including many of the older ones which I have never seen before (The Three Caballeros I'm looking at you!). Of course, it may not be possible to access every single one, but we will do our best!

    I thought I might write our thoughts on here and people can share their views on the films (and at the same time get excited about a forthcoming Disney trip). Hope that sounds like a nice idea?

    Lets see how far we get! Please join in watching if you are interested in a trip down nostalgia lane!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Disney_theatrical_animated_features

    Day: 1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
    So Disney's first animated feature film: We watched this as a children but didn't appreciate how revolutionary it is in terms of all its doing with music and animation.

    Such high quality considering it's the first feature length animated film EVER! The backgrounds are very detailed and the animators were equally good at portraying the soft and romantic and the dark and scary aspects of the film. The animation is breath taking and the characters (apart from Prince Charming) are all fantastic. Its proper dark and scary, but humorous as well.

    I remember not taking to Snow White as a child because basically she was no Belle, but actually she's kind of awesome. I don't subscribe to the view that she's wet and useless - she's actually just nice and maybe a bit naive, but perfectly capable of molding her environment and the people around her to be how she wants them to be. She just does it with charm rather than by force.

    Love the relationships they develop between Snow White and all the dwarfs - especially Grumpy. Her 'Oh, and you must be Grumpy!' said in that adorable voice is one of the best moments in the film. This is also what I'm going to say to misogynists if they step to me from now on.

    The evil queen is perhaps unnecessarily evil considering they give her almost no motivation - definitely didn't clock the bit where she walks past the skeleton and kicks it in the face when I was a kid, but I don't think such a dark moment would appear in a Disney movie nowadays.

    It's definitely the dwarves movie rather than Snow White's and in places it does feel like a very weak story tacked onto some quite good comic shorts.

    However, re-watching has given both of us a new found appreciation for Disney's first princess as well as being awed by the talented artistry!

    How do others feel about Snow White? Does it rank high on your list of Disney favs?

    Nest stop Pinocchio...
     
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  2. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    That scene is quite dark indeed. Notice that the skeleton is reaching for water that is just out of reach, which is likely why they died. It shows the Queen's cruelty.
     
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  4. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Hi, I had not noticed that! Thanks! :) Adds a further dimension to the scene!
     
  5. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Day 2: Pinocchio (1940)

    Hi All, Disney movie number 2! I can appreciate the art work in this film is lovely, but I have always found it the most difficult Disney film to watch and it doesn’t get any easier as an adult. The music is iconic, ‘When You Wish upon a Star’ is a gorgeous song especially when Jiminy Cricket sings it. However, the whole boys turning into donkeys never gets easier to handle.

    I watched the National Theatre in the UK’s production of Pinocchio with Disney’s music this year and interestingly the producers clearly felt the original story was not disturbing enough so made the music creepier sounding. The puppets were played by people and the human characters by puppets, which was kind of cool though.

    I’ve watched this movie many times and I can understand why it was a critical success, but I just cannot like it, because the message, as far as everyone but Pinocchio is concerned, seems to be unforgiving.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the film?

    Tomorrow Fantasia, which we haven't seen in years!
     
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  6. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    So, I recently bought the Signature Edition of Pinocchio and watched the movie for the first time in a long time (since I was a kid). I had forgotten how genuinely messed up the Pleasure Island scenes are. It's so demented! In some of the special features, it is mentioned that some of the creators started out making it just like a land of candy and junk food, but it was Walt himself who said that it needed to be more violent, and that little boys, if given a chance to run rampant unsupervised, would just go nuts. Certainly that is seen in Lampwick, who is just an unrepentant little snot (chewing tobacco and smoking a cigar at the same time :crazy2:). But, therein lies the moral of the story. Pinocchio was remorseful, and he learned and grew throughout the story, thus earning his reward. The others not so much, and they get what they deserve as well. It's a typical morality play.

    It's not my favorite of the classic Disney films, but I do appreciate it. I particularly like the underwater effects, which were cutting edge for the time. Also, the music of course is spectacular. When You Wish Upon a Star was a number one hit and recorded by many standards artists at the time. It's a true classic!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
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  7. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Really interesting! The original story is from 1883 so maybe a time when kids had to earn forgiveness rather than just getting a free pass because they were kids?

    Never get tired of When You Wish Upon a Star!
     
  8. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Day 3: Fantasia (1940)

    We both really enjoyed watching this! This is definitely one of the best of the early Disney films – it is just a bit episodic. It needed a theme running through it (other than 'music = inspirational') that could tie it all together.

    The highlights are the dinosaurs and the Sorcerer's Apprentice, in which Mickey is really cute and his iconic self. Interested at the inclusion of the dinosaurs, given its making a strong statement about evolution, which I did wonder if would go down with all audiences at the time. Checked this though and apparently, the sequence was ok’d as long as it did not feature human evolution. Fun fact of the day!

    Some of it is a bit saccharine, but as a little girl I loved those bits, and you've got to put something in there for the little girls. Especially as this film doesn't seem like it's really for kids at all. It's very experimental (which I LOVE as an adult) with lots of bits that aren't the least bit kiddy (night on bald mountain) juxtaposed a bit jarringly with bits that are obviously more aimed at kids (dance of the hours). I’m still not sure what is going on between the crocs and the hippos????

    Definitely, a really beautiful film and I wish they had done more such films as intended, but maybe sticking to one kind of animation or musical theme throughout?

    New film for us tomorrow: The Reluctant Dragon!
     
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  9. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    Fantasia is cool but uneven. My favorite sequences are Night on Bald Mountain and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. One issue with his film was that it used a very advanced sound system that most theaters in the country were incapable of utilizing, so the theatrical runs were limited, which limited the box-office take. It was the Dolby Atmos of it's day. Still, much of the movie is quite beautiful with great animation.

    The Reluctant Dragon is a great movie! You will enjoy it.
     
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  10. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Totally right, The Reluctant Dragon is awesome!
     
  11. RSandRS

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    Day 4: The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

    Ended up loving this one! Weirdly, as I'm such a fan of animation, I preferred the filmed sections. For those who haven't seen it, after a nudge from his wife the main character sets out to the Disney Studios to pitch a story idea to Walt and ends up getting a tour. The main character was a pillock (can see why his wife was trying to get him out from under her feet for a few hours) and didn't seem to understand that he'd stumbled on the chance of a lifetime, but all the other 'characters' were great. Watching it we also got a bit of a thrill every time we recognised a piece of artwork or a model or something from one of the well-known films. You'd never get to see that kind of thing now, even if you did get a chance to go 'backstage' at the Disney Studios. (One day when I win the lottery I will ABD Backstage Magic)!

    A really interesting film about the making of films, but done with a lot of charm. The mixture of animations and film didn't feel clunky - bits like Donald Duck coming to life to tell the main character off showed how well this concept could work.

    The reluctant dragon itself was quite funny, but definitely not my favourite bit. Of all the filmed sections my favourite bit was the lovely foley lady showing Benchley how they made the sounds, like Casy Junior. My favourite 'animated' bit was Baby Weems - don't ask me why, the concept just really appealed to me and I was emotionally invested in his poor parents getting him back!
     
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  12. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    You are dead-on about The Reluctant Dragon. The live-action parts are the best, though the Baby Weems sequence is amazing as well. It's a great look at the cutting edge stuff that was going on at Walt Disney Studios back then! If anything, the actual Reluctant Dragon cartoon is probably the least interesting part.
     
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  13. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Day 5: Dumbo (1941):dumbo:

    I still find this film almost too painful to watch - I know it's supposed to be one of the more light-hearted ones, but it is so sad from about five minutes in until five minutes before the end. And the payoff of Dumbo realising his flying powers and being reunited with his mum isn't enough to make up for it. He needs to escape the circus!

    The animation does not seem to be as strong as Fantasia but Dumbo is a great example of how to give human emotions to animal characters - you really feel for him because he is so fully realised as a character.

    I don't find any of the circus bits funny or entertaining - they seem quite dark to me as well. Quite a difficult thing for them to balance in the film - to suggest heavily that animal cruelty is wrong, but also to try and get us to laugh at animal cruelty.

    Pink elephants sequence is baffling - only word for it. Again treading the line between menacing and funny - an odd choice for a children's film. Some of the editing and transitions are amazing, but the sequence is definitely too long considering it adds nothing to the story. Apparently, they were experimenting with Cubism! Why 'pink elephants' though? Why not build the sequence around 'flying elephants' being a weird thing to see? It is interesting that we tend to think of Disney as 'safe', 'fluffy' and somewhat 'conservative' and not one of these early films is.

    The crows are really great. I do have problems with the choice to have the lead crow played by a white guy and have him definitely impersonating black musicians, but in general I don't find them racist. They're enormously charismatic and the only ones that believe in Dumbo and help him find his flying powers. Plus their song is easily the best in the whole movie - whoever wrote that song was having as much fun with language as the crows seem to be having singing it.
     
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  14. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Disney should do a sequel so we can get an insight into their current animation department!
     
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  15. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    I am really enjoying our back and forth on these movies. We're about to get into some I haven't seen in a long time, but I'll try to keep up.

    For Dumbo, I agree that parts of it are dark. I don't see the circus as a whole as evil, but the ringmaster definitely is. I love Casey Jr., the character and the sequence with the song, and it has a feeling of excitement as the circus arrives. There is in fact a dark side to it, though many of the animals seem content, if a little on the tough side (I am thinking about the other elephants who make fun of Dumbo and the baby.

    A few things to note - Dumbo is not really a "children's film." Walt didn't see his pictures that way. They're for everyone, including children, but they're not the only audience. He also didn't believe in dumbing-down material for kids or patronizing them in any way. Animation only became "for kids" much later when Saturday Morning Cartoon became the norm. Pink Elephants certainly is an interesting sequence. The term is actually a very old term for a drunkard, "oh, he's seeing pink elephants" someone might say. The term predates Dumbo and would have been a known euphemism to audiences at the time. Considering that's exactly what's going on in the scene, it's a good choice.

    Overall, Dumbo isn't one of my top-tier films, but I do like what it's trying to say. It has it's moments for sure, and Dumbo himself sure is a lovable little guy in that Disney style.
     
  16. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    Oh yeah. They could get one of their stars with a comedic penchant, like Paul Rudd or maybe even Dwayne The Rock Johnson to come in, and tour around, meeting the creatives and getting a demo of the Hyperion Engine for computer animation. It'd be fun if they did it right.
     
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  17. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Totally! The Rock would bring the charisma, which was lacking in the original main protagonist.
     
  18. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    I guess I'm just not sure why they are drunk at all? How did it serve the story? And if they had to get drunk why didn't they make it serve the story by having Dumbo have weird psychaedelic dreams about flying rather than about pink elephants? The sequence comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere - it looks pretty spectacular but it doesn't really have any place in the film.

    And the marathon continues...Really hope you manage to keep up! :) Thanks for commenting!

    Day 6: Bambi (1942)

    Definitely my favourite of the early ones - We really haven't watched this one since the nineties so we were both very surprised by how good it is.

    The most obvious highlight is the artistry of this film - you could pause it at any moment and have a gorgeous work of art to hang on your wall. Being a fan of impressionist painting I love the style they've gone for to portray the backgrounds, which are very evocative and use a lovely colour palette. I also really appreciate the time and detail that went into the characters in the foreground and things like Bambi's movement. I'm actually not sure if, apart from the lion king, there has been such a gorgeous Disney animated film - which is pretty amazing considering it's 1942 and we've got another 76 years of Disney animated films to get through.

    I'd also forgotten how delightful some of the characters in this movie were; in particular Thumper! They must have realised they'd struck gold when they found the kid who voices Thumper - he has so much personality. Other characters who surprised me were Bambi's mother and father. I'd pretty much forgotten he even had a father, but both parents are actually quite interesting characters and I found myself wanting to know more about their relationship. F

    The music is Bambi is nice but not very memorable. It's a bit safe and there's no standout song really. I feel like they needed a dark, mournful song for after Bambi's mum dies.

    Next films are all firsts for us-films produced during WW2 and Disney's contribution to the propaganda effort...
     
  19. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    I did get the Bambi Signature Edition as well and watched it recently. It's when we get into the package pictures where it'll be hard for me to remember, and they're not that readily available for viewing.

    Bambi is indeed beautiful! It's just so gorgeous, especially the backgrounds (I think Sleeping Beauty can give it a run for its money in the background department, but not many others.). The story is simple, and maybe a little slow. I too had forgotten about his father, the great king of the forest. He's so majestic! There is a similarity to the Lion King in how Bambi is eventually shown with his mate and the promise of a new legacy.

    "Man is in the forest," is what Disney employees used to say when Walt was coming down the hall to check on the work.

    I don't know if I'll have any memory of the actual WWII propaganda films. I enjoy your insights though.
     
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  20. RSandRS

    RSandRS Mouseketeer

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    Day 7: Saludos Amigos (1942)

    Couple of days break, although I thought I had uploaded this on Saturday...anyway here goes!

    Never watched this one before, but we thought it wasn't great. Again it's episodic so some sequences are naturally better than others, but none of them is particularly memorable. It doesn't seem to be able to get past being a film to educate the public about South America. Nowadays, as with movies like Moana, Disney 'educates' us about other cultures by weaving them into a story, but back then they seemed to think the only way was to hold things up one by one and say 'This is a thing. This thing is from Peru. Here's some images of people using the thing etc.'

    Jose Carioca is a cool dude and really deserves a proper movie/tv series to show off what a fun character he is - particularly when not dragged down by Donald, who doesn't manage to be anything other than annoying in this movie.

    The best sequence is the one with Pedro the little aeroplane. It includes some of the best animation (the animation in this movie is a bit disappointing considering what they were doing with Bambi at the time and considering the beauty of the landscapes they had to work with) and Pedro is a cute character.
     
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  21. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    So, I can't speak for this one as I haven't seen it in a while. I do remember Pedro and Gaucho Goofy existing (probably saw them as independent shorts. I do adore the Three Caballeros though. I know the next one has more of that. I really would like to rewatch these at some point.
     
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