Tag Archives: animation

Disney Project 2014: A Look Back

disney retrospective

Well, once again, I have neglected to complete most of my new year’s resolutions for 2014. But that’s okay! Because one of the few we DID accomplish was Disney Project 2014.

A year is a long time. You can see in the pictures how much B has grown. And while I would say that 15-27 months old is maybe a little young to try this project (if you were thinking about tackling it yourself), there were movies he enjoyed. It’s all about familiarity, I think. This weekend, we had no “to-watch” Disney movie, so we watched Monsters University, because he’s semi-familiar with the characters. It was more fun than I remember watching Snow White was (a whole year ago).

My favorites remain (in chronological order):

Sleeping Beauty
Lady and the Tramp
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
Frozen (I would never have said this 6 months ago. But it’s a part of me now.)

Least favorites from this year:

Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros
Dinosaur
Chicken Little
Bolt
Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Surprise! I actually like this:

Melody Time
Home on the Range
Meet the Robinsons

I’ve been trying to figure out what I learned from this experience. I could hold up the Disney protagonist values: honesty, loyalty, dedication, goodness. I could also point out that I think there is merit in the early Disney films, even if some of the things in them have since become politically incorrect, and I think we should not always judge things made in the 1940s under 2014 standards. Or maybe I could talk about the state of Disney princesses…from Snow White to Anna, a lot has changed about these women and their behavior and the roles they play in their own stories. (For that matter, a lot has changed about Disney princes, and their behavior, and their roles.)

I am so grateful to have the shared Disney childhood experience with Drew (even if we remember some movies with differing levels of fondness). I am also grateful to be passing on these movies and experiences to B. I can’t wait until he’s a little older and can point out plot holes we’ve missed and make jokes with us.

Thank you, Disney! Cheers, 2014! Now what to watch next?

 

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Disney Project 2014: Frozen!!!

MOVIE: FROZEN

RELEASE YEAR: 2013

I HAVE TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I AM SO EXCITED – I CANNOT BELIEVE – WE FINISHED OUR DISNEY PROJECT!

Ok that’s enough.

Although we watched Frozen about 60 times this year, we watched it one more special time on Christmas morning to finish out Disney Project 2014. It was just as good as always! I will always have a special place in my heart for Frozen and Elsa and Anna and Sven and Kristoff and Olaf and the trolls (not really the trolls) and For the First Time in Forever and Let It Go and the ending scene where Elsa says “You sacrificed yourself for me?” and Anna says “I love you” awwwwwww. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Celebrate Frozen and YAY FOR ACCOMPLISHING YEAR-LONG OBJECTIVES!

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Disney Project 2014: Wreck-It Ralph

Movie: Wreck-It Ralph

Release year: 2012

Neither Drew nor I had seen this one yet, but as we find (most) Disney movies delightful, and this one has a charming cast, I was excited to see it finally. And I wasn’t disappointed! It’s a clever story with lots of interesting details, about all the characters in arcade video games, and their lives outside the games. They all flow into and out of the “Game Central Station,” a surge protector that they’re all plugged into. There are some homeless game characters there, like Q*bert. Wreck-It Ralph is a “villain” character (but a totally nice guy), voiced by John C. Reilly, who sets out to become a hero, so that people will like him and want to hang out with him.

It’s full of little twists and turns that we both really enjoyed, and I thought the ending was good without being too cheesy. I’m officially a Wreck-It Ralph fan. =)

Alas, this is the best picture I could get, as B was especially active for this one.

IMG_8530Also, don’t stare too long at that duck, or it’ll freak you out.

 

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Disney Project 2014: Winnie the Pooh

Movie: Winnie the Pooh

Release year: 2011

That’s right. They did another one of these movies, because we need more Winnie the Pooh than just the “Many Adventures of” from 1977.

No we don’t! This one doesn’t have the same voices, and so everyone sounds a little off. The storyline is fine – Eeyore loses his tail, so they have a contest to see who can find a replacement – but then you find out at the end that OWL had the tail the whole time and was using it as a pull for his doorbell! What even is that?? That’s brutal and disgusting! Owl also tried to divert the blame from himself early on, by inventing a terrible monster called the Backson that comes and messes with you. Jeez, Owl. What’s your problem?!

At least it’s only an hour long? Sorry if you like Winnie and the gang – they’ve just never been my favorites. And this Winnie revamp is just unnecessary…

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Tigger here, Tigger there…

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Disney Project 2014: The Princess and the Frog

Movie: The Princess and the Frog

Release year: 2009

Yay, another good old-fashioned traditional-animation princess movie! I really like this one, even if the music isn’t my favorite. This is a great twist on the classic Grimm tale, “The Frog Prince.” The main character, Tiana, is upgraded from a bratty princess to a hardworking young woman in New Orleans. The prince in this case is the spoiled one, and maybe sorta deserves getting turned into a frog. The villain, Dr. Facilier, is super creepy, but even creepier are all the voodoo masks that represent his “friends on the other side” and end up taking revenge on him for a broken promise.

(Side note: Listen, everyone. Don’t mess around with dark magic. Just don’t do it. It never ends well. No voodoo, no ouija boards, no summoning spirits. It MIGHT just be silly, but it also might not be. Why risk it?)

According to the internet, the animators said they modeled the animation for this film along the lines of Lady and the Tramp, which they said is “so classically Disney.” Maybe that’s why I like it so much!

Even B liked it – at least he watched more of it than usual.

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Disney Project 2014: Meet the Robinsons

Movie: Meet the Robinsons

Release year: 2007

This movie is always on the TV at the pediatrician we go to. (At least it used to be until Frozen came out on Blu-Ray and rendered all other movies irrelevant.) I had never seen it before, although I remember, back in 2007, seeing the commercial and thinking that the part with the T-Rex (“I have a big head and little arms”) looked funny. (I was right. It is.)

I was really impressed by this story. Drew called most of the ending, but I think it was still satisfying. There was a lot of heartbreak at the beginning – orphans are always heartbreaking, especially at the tricky age of 12 – and a lot of heart in the ending. I like really liked it. I even tried to pay really close attention so I would actually know if I liked it. I fully recommend it!

We definitely used the long holiday weekend to catch up on Disney movies – we watched three, so there will be a quick succession of posts about them. We’re in the home stretch now: just 4 more to go!

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Disney Project 2014: Brother Bear

Movie: Brother Bear

Release year: 2003

I remember seeing this in the theatre, with a big group of friends. (I was passive-aggressively punishing one of them, and deliberately sat between another friend’s younger sisters, laughing loudly at their jokes and ignoring the transgressor. Ah, teenagehood.)

Watching it this time was obviously different. I feel like our pattern is to try really hard to follow the beginning of the movie, and then at some point in the middle it all breaks down and we miss big swaths of plot, and then we try to watch the end to see what happens. (Spoiler alert: Kenai remains a bear to be with his new brother Koda. More spoiler alert: When Koda’s mom and Kenai’s brother come back from the spirit world and, like, hug them, I was definitely tearing up. Oh Disney.)

Phil Collins came back to do much of this music, but it’s considerably less effective than in Tarzan, in my opinion.

Oh, also, we watched this on Netflix, and the sound is just awful. It’s so quiet. We turn it up so high and still can’t hear anything. What the heck?

And with that, we will now move into a bunch of Disney movies I’ve never seen, so this should be fun. Wilson is excited about all the animal faces on Chicken Little, so maybe he’ll enjoy it!

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Disney Project 2014: Treasure Planet

Movie: Treasure Planet

Release year: 2002

Yet another non-musical! I think I’ve seen this one time before, and it was in my adult life. However, we don’t own it, so I was delighted to find it was available for streaming on Netflix.

Treasure Planet: A retelling of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, but set in the future (?), on a planet where aliens come and go freely and space travel is the norm. Young Jim Hawkins wants to get out there and see the universe (and maybe find his dad who abandoned them when he was a kid?). When a turtle-looking alien delivers an orb-shaped treasure map to him before dying, he and his mother and this dog-faced professor barely manage to escape with their lives, heeding the words of the turtle, “Beware the cyborg.”

As far as I know, it’s a pretty faithful retelling of Treasure Island, although once I thought about it, my only knowledge of that book actually comes from the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode where Dave tells Alvin, Simon, and Theodore the story and they find themselves reenacting it. So I guess you could say I’m not super familiar with it. This did make me consider choosing Treasure Island for my book club, but I think I might just do that on my own. I like Stevenson’s other stuff so I think that this would be a fun read.

I’ll be honest though – I do miss the princess movies.

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Fun fact: This is my 500th blog post!!

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Disney Project 2014: Lilo & Stitch

Movie: Lilo & Stitch

Release year: 2002

Thoughts: These last few movies have been great – this has been such a great post-Renaissance run. I really like Lilo & Stitch. Here are five things I like about it:

1. Stitch is a misunderstood “villain” who winds up being a good guy. (Footnote: In fact, is there even an actual villain in this movie? Not really. But it works.) I mean, look at this clever poster:

LiloandStitchmovieposter

I love Stitch’s concurrent destructive/cute nature. He’s much like…a 2-year-old. Hurling things to the ground one second, climbing into your arms the next.

2. Lilo’s deadpan sense of humor. She is an adorable, precocious child, but with a realistic edge of behavior issues stemming from her turmoiled family life. I just want to cuddle her and tell her she’ll probably be really successful when she grows up.

3. Nani, along with all the other 20-something women, is a little stocky. If Meghan Trainor wrote a song about her, she would say Nani has “all the right junk in all the right places.” There is no question – this is no lithe and willowy Disney princess. But she is gorgeous and wears a bikini with aplomb. I remember seeing this movie for the first time and admiring this fact. I still admired it this time through.

4. “Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” Did I tear up when Nani thought she was going to lose Lilo to foster care? Yes, yes I did. I sympathize with her frustration of doing her best but still feeling on a daily basis like she is letting down her child.

Lilo & Stitch. Check it out if you like children, aliens, music, Hawaii, love, Disney, family, Elvis, or surfing.

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Disney Project 2014: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis_-_The_Lost_Empire_Movie: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Release year: 2001

Does this sound familiar to you? Or are you wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Because we are very definitely into that era of Disney that my generation was starting to miss out on.

It’s not a musical, and it has a different look to it than the animation of the “princess movies.” This one looks more like Hercules, but with a touch of 101 Dalmatians thrown in – I gather they were going for a “comic book” look which explains all the distinct angles, like Milo’s triangular fingernails.

Atlantis stars Michael J. Fox (then 40, but he definitely is voice-passing for 25) as Milo Thatch, a linguist and wannabe explorer, like his beloved late grandfather. He gets roped in to a mission to try to discover the lost empire of Atlantis, fulfilling his grandfather’s dream.

Imagine the team’s surprise when they actually reach Atlantis, but instead of crumbling ruins deep underneath the sea, they find a city still populated with people who are thousands of years old…and slowly dying. Milo wants to help them, but the captain of their team has different and more devious ideas about robbing the city of their power source in order to turn a profit aboveground.

It’s just occurred to me that I’m not sure how they were going to get back home (Washington, DC?). I thought their submarine was destroyed in a fight with a mechanical Leviathan. I must have missed something.

Don’t you want to watch this movie?! It’s filled with the early-2000s humor that I loved in The Emperor’s New Groove, and I’m a big Michael J. Fox fan anyway. Like when Milo is being seasick over the edge of the ship at the beginning, and he says, “Carrots, why does it always taste like carrots? I didn’t even eat carrots.” That’s bathroom humor at its best.

All in all, I’m a big fan of this one. This was a good weekend for catching up on Disney movies, so stay tuned. (And check out Atlantis: The Lost Empire!)

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(I don’t know what Drew is so shocked about here, unless it’s just the fact that we inexplicably own the 2-disc collector’s edition…)

 

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