Category Archives: Movies

Other Disney Animated Movie Voices-

I’m going to tell you about some more famous character voices you may enjoy. There are several actors that Walt Disney used repeatedly in his live-action and animated movies. Last week I told you about my favorite voice; Sterling Holloway. This week I’m going to tell you about two more: Phil Harris and Kathryn Beaumont. Neither of these names sound familiar, but I’m sure the characters they voiced will be familiar to you.

First, Phil Harris, did the voice acting for both Baloo in The Jungle Book, Thomas O’Malley (the alley-cat) in The Aristocats, and Little John in Robin Hood. Harris was also a bandleader in the 1940’s, an actor in radio, television, and films. He was a pretty good singer too; singing keys songs in The Jungle Book like “Bare Necessities“, and joining Louis Prima in “I Wanna Be Like You“. He joined Scatman Crothers in The Aristocats in singing “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat“. In Robin Hood he sang “The Phony King Of England“.  In 1989, Harris returned for a few episodes in the cartoon series TaleSpin as Baloo, before being replaced by Ed Gilbert. His last role was in 1991 in the film Rock-A-Doodle (not a Disney film) as the laid-back basset hound Patou. He died in 1995.Little_John

thomas o'malleyBalooKathryn Beaumont was an English actress, singer and school teacher who also did the voice of Alice for Alice In Wonderland and as Wendy in Peter Pan. Beaumont reprised her roles as Alice and Wendy in subsequent reappearances until 2005 when her roles were taken over by Hynden Walch. Beaumont is still living and is 76-years-old.wendy-darling-peter-pan-14526422-576-416

alice in wonderlandKathryn-beaumont-profile-pictureMost people aren’t aware of the talent behind the voice actors. Their faces aren’t seen, but they are certainly a huge part of making the films so enjoyable and memorable.

Advertisements

Disney ‘s Aristocats Movie Review

Roly(son)

Hello.  I recently watched one of my favorite Disney movies, the ‘Aristocats.’ This movie follows four cats, who are stolen from their rich owner by her evil butler, Edgar. The first cat is the mother, named Duchess. The kittens go as follows, Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz. The butler stole them and ditched them on a farm. He did this after finding out that the rich old woman who owned the cats was leaving all her possessions to them, not him. The cats seek to find their way home.  On the way they meet an alley cat, whose name is very long; so I will call him Thomas O’Malley. The man who voices O’malley also voiced Little John from Robin Hood (see previous articles about movie), and Baloo from Jungle Book.

images-1
Roquefort(voiced by Sterling Holloway)
images-2
The evil Edgar.

It seems strange to me that the only one of the cats at WDW meet and greets is  Marie. It also seems strange that for a movie as popular as Aristocats, Edgar is not recognized as a Disney villain. Edgar is up there in evilness with Cruella Deville for trying to kill kittens. First, to get the cats out of the picture, he puts sleeping powder in their food. A mouse friend of theirs, Roquefort (who is voiced by Sterling Holloway, whom we posted on this week) also eats some.  The cats all go to sleep, and then Edgar dumps them in a field. In the field Edgar has a run-in with two dogs. Later in the film, when Edgar sees the cats again, he tries to kill them.

images
The two hilarious hounds!

The dogs offer great comic relief and are to me, the best part of the movie. They are voiced with the thick Southern accents of Pat Buttram and George Lindsey (Goober Pyle from the Andy Griffith Show). Lines like, “Where’s my beddy-by basket!?” and “That’s just a little ‘ol cricket bug” never fail to make me laugh. I am sure that they don’t sound very funny out of context, but in the movie they are hilarious.

The music for this movie is fun and memorable.  It has one of my favorite songs, “O’Malley the Alley Cat.”  It is  sung by my favorite Disney singer, Phil Harris (the voice of Thomas O’Malley). Another great song is “Scales and Arpeggios,” sung by all the kitties. The other main song in this movie is “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” sung by famous jazz musician Scatman Crothers.

Aristocats is from my favorite era of Disney movies. The era from 101 Dalmations to The Fox and the Hound.  Over all, this movie is a great Disney movie. It is for sure a classic!

Unknown
Berlioz, Toulouse, and Marie the kittens.

**A bit of trivia about this movie:  It  was the first movie to be made after Walt Disney‘s death. I personally can’t tell any difference.

Roly, teen son

Roly’s Brothers Grimm Cinderella to Disney Cinderella Comparison

Brothers Grimm Cinderella Vs. Disney Cinderella

Disney could not have made an exact remake of the fairytale. The Brothers Grimm telling is not Disney acceptable; more on that later. The Movie, of course has, Cinderella, a wicked stepmother, and wicked stepsisters. Cinderella goes to a ball, meets a prince, and lives happily ever after.

For all of you who love the Fairy Godmother, don’t get your hopes up for the fairytale. Both the Fairy Godmother and the mice are never in the book. The birds take the place of the mice, and, oddly enough, there is a tree instead of the Fairy Godmother. Cinderella does not change from fairytale to movie. Her mother tells her, before she dies, that Cinderella must always be good and kind. This is the reason, not her fathers death, that she serves the Stepmother unquestioningly. We never even hear that the father dies in the story. So either he died, didn’t know how evil the stepmother was, or didn’t care.

The tree is, in fact, a magical tree that Cinderella planted over her mother’s grave. Each night that Cinderella goes to the ball (yes it is multiple nights in the story), she asks the tree to shake and pour silver down on her. The tree gives a little wiggle each night, and gives her dresses of increasing beauty. Cinderella goes to the ball each night and dances with the prince. She gets away before he and his guards can find her. The book doesn’t give a reason, but my theory is he got too handsy.

The prince pours pitch down on the steps, so that she would get stuck, on the last night. She gets her feet out of her slippers and goes merrily on her way. The prince finds the slipper she left behind. He orders every maiden in the town to put the royal Nike on her foot. In the movie, the finding of the royal Nike is due to Cinderella having to run back before midnight because the Fairy Godmother had placed a deadline of midnight. The tree was nicer and didn’t.images-1

The final major difference is the best part. This part would not make it into a Disney movie. The stepsisters, when it is their turn to put the shoe on, find that it doesn’t fit. The stepmother then councils them to cut off the pieces of their feet that won’t fit, because “when they are queen, they won’t need to walk.” As if this wasn’t “bad” enough, once they are discovered and Cinderella goes to marry the prince, they lose their eyes too. They stand on either side of Cinderella at the wedding. Remember the bird friends I mentioned earlier? This is where they come in. They come and peck an eye out of each of the sisters. Then, once the step sisters get THAT bandaged, they go back to Cinderella. The birds then peck their other eyes out.Unknown

Unknown-1AND THEY ALL (mostly) LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Noah (Roly): 14 y/o punk who loves Disney.

Into The Woods Movie Review

Roly (son)

(Spoiler Warning)

“Into the Woods” is a live-action Disney musical starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, and Johnny Depp based on the Grimm fairytales.  If you love musicals, then “Into the Woods” is the movie for you. If you’re like my family, then don’t bother. I however, am different from the rest of my family, I have read the fairytales that this movie is based on. This is a fair movie, and that is at it’s best. “Into the Woods” has near constant Disney/ theater style singing. There is actualy one rap song in this, which I will talk about later. This movie is 3/4 singing with the whole first 15 minutes hardly penetrated by a single non-crooned word.Preview

I will elaborate on what I previously said about liking it because of the fairytales. “Roly, aren’t the cartoons much better than this? Why wouldn’t you just watch the cartoons instead?” Well, the cartoons have very different stories. The cartoons are much better, but they diverge drastically from the Grimm fairytales, from which most of them get their origins. “Into the Woods” sticks very close to the fairytales in the tellings of their origins. First, Cinderella was not originally from Grimm. Grimm is the most famous of the storytellers. So I will judge it on that. There is no Fairy Godmother. There is only a tree, planted over Cinderella’s mother’s grave, which magically gives her a dress and slippers. They don’t go with the fairy godmother story. They stick to the tree, which is much better.

Rapunzel is different as well. In the fairytale, she is locked in a tower because her father stole something out of the witch’s garden. The evil witch pretends to be her mother until she finds out that a prince has been visiting (and more) Rapunzel. She then cuts off Rapunzel’s hair, and pretends to be Rapunzel. When the prince climbs up, the witch pushes him out of the window. He then lands in thorns, which cushion his fall and cut his eyes out. Rapunzel, who was banished by the witch, then finds him and heals his eyes with her tears. The cartoon has not a prince, but a rogue coming to Rapunzel. He gets stabbed, not pushed out a window. “Into the Woods” sticks to the story (minus him getting pushed out a window and making Rapunzel pregnant.) The witch merely makes thorns magically appear in front of the prince, which then cut his eyes out.

Jack, from ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ and Little Red Riding Hood are also in the film. I will not take the time to go into them. Jack, as far as I know, is not a Grimm character anyway.  The story of Little Red Riding Hood is consistent with the Grimm version.

Oddly, “Into the Woods” is a much better mashup of fairytales than the movie, “The Brothers Grimm.” The first two thirds are straight from the fairytales . The part after that, which I will talk about later, is about what happens after the fairytales.Preview-1

The singing is my big complaint with the movie. It is what kept this movie from being great, to being a mediocre at best movie. The witch sings a song near the beginning which sounds very much like an attempt to rap. Leave the rhymes to Snoop Dogg, Meryl. She rhymes at a slow pace to music that plods along. It sounds much less like a fairytale chant, and more like rap. I can’t cover all the songs, because that would take as long as the movie. The girl playing little Red Riding Hood’s singing, plainly put, sucks harder than a man whose friend was just bit by a rattlesnake. Anna Kendrick (Cinderella) and the boy who played Jack were the best voices in the whole movie. Any time that the evil stepmother or sisters are in the movie, and sing, it becomes unbearable. Johnny Depp’s voice cracked like a 12 year old’s while singing.Into the woods

The people who tie them all together are the baker and his wife; who are not from the Grimm fairytales. They all go into the woods, coincidentally. The witch put a curse on the baker’s family, that they would have no children. To lift the curse, they must bring back several items; all of which one of the other characters has. They get them, and get their “happily ever after;” and so do the other characters. This is a satisfying ending; A classic Grimm style ending. They all live happily ever after.

Then the writers royally screw things up. A giant comes and causes an earthquake, and they must go into the woods to find the giant. The giant somehow made the woods a jumble, so the paths are no longer there. That means, they can’t get out. They turn on each other. The baker’s wife goes away, and meets Cinderella’s prince on the way. The prince is a two-timing cad and seduces the baker’s wife. By the way, the baker’s wife has a little baby. They smooch and tongue, and we find out that the baker’s wife has as many morals as the before mentioned Snoop Dogg. I won’t give any more away, as I believe I have told enough.

If you want to watch a cinematic version of the Grimm fairytales and can tolerate constant crooning, then give this movie a try.Preview-4

Fun facts about classic Cinderella movie

Elaine/mom/Perdita here-374685187_b565c19fc2

Cinderella is the 12th of Walt Disney’s 54 animated full-length feature films. It was released in 1950.  It is based both a fairy tale “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. It was chosen because of its similarity to Snow White. The films true immediate source though was the Perrault’s French version.

It took six years to make and it was one of the highest grossest films of 1950. Disney re-released it several times to keep its popularity high among new generations of moviegoers (re-released in 1957, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1987).

Songs in the film that were popular were “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” (Oscar-nominated), “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes”,” So This Is Love”, “Sing Sweet Nightingale”, and “The Work Song”.

It was the greatest critical and commercial hit for the studio since Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.

Brief Synopsis-

Cinderella was the beloved child of a widowed aristocrat who feels his daughter needs a mother’s love. He marries Lady Tremaine and after his sudden death, her true nature is revealed. She overwhelmingly favors her daughters from a previous marriage: Drizella and Anastasia. She abuses Cinderella who is laden with reams of chores until she is reduced to a slave in her own home. Meanwhile there is a king who wants his son, the prince, to have a wife so he can have many grandchildren. The king decides to have a ball and invite every eligible maiden to find a wife for his son.Cinderella-Pumkin

Lady Tremaine receives the invitation and Cinderella overhears. Cinderella has no suitable dress, but her friends the mice (more on them later) and the birds make a nice dress for her. The evil stepsisters can’t stand the competition so they rip the dress to shreds which reduces Cinderella to tears. The fairy godmother makes an appearance and works her magic. She gives Cinderella a beautiful dress, a pumpkin carriage, coachmen, and the infamous glass slippers and the rest is fairytale history.womens-cinderella-cinder-elly-jaq-and-gus-t-shirt-logo

A highlight of the movie for me were the mice: Jac and Gus (known as Gus-Gus). They embody the anthropomorphic transformation that many of Walt Disney’s animals had, especially early on. The role of the mice and the birds are overlooked somewhat in the tale of Cinderella, but that is an oversight in my opinion. What would many of the Disney movies be without the charm and heart that comes from the animals (especially the ones that talk)?Cinderella-disneyscreencaps_com-867

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Roly(Son) here

First of all, this movie is a good movie, and  a very good sequel to the first movie (The Avengers). That being said, the first movie was excellent; and is the best superhero movie in my opinion.  Batman Begins is a close second. This movie was as good a follow-up as I suppose there could be to a movie like the first. I feel the same way about this movie as I do about Terminator and T2; they are both good, but the second doesn’t measure up to the first.  I do however, like Vision and the twins being in the movie, but that is the only thing better about it. I feel that the comedy just wasn’t quite there in this movie, and Hulk got even less of a part than in the first movie.th-1Unknown-2

The big difference between the two movies is the villains. A good villain can make a good movie into a great movie. Ultron was a good villain, but he didn’t have the same swag as Loki. Ultron was just evil, and being a robot was, robotic. Loki is funny, and at times in the first movie, I rooted for him.

(SPOILER WARNING!) The story was that the Avengers steal Loki’s staff from Hydra and find out that there is an infinity thstone inside. They use the power of the staff to make an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) named Ultron. He bursts into the room where the Avengers are sitting, and says that he will destroy them. He gets a new improved body and enlists the help of the  twins, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. They both have super-powers and they have a personal grudge against Stark (Iron Man), because a bomb with the company’s  name on it killed their parents. Initially they willingly help Ultron and fight with him.  They come around to the good side though and help the Avengers.  The movie ends in a climactic battle against an army of Ultron’s robots, and they save a city; possibly the world, in the end.th-3

Overall, this was a good movie, but not a great movie. I went in not expecting it to be as good as Iron Man, or the Avengers, so I wasn’t let down, but my mother, who recently posted a review of the movie was let down. She had red multiple reviews saying it was the best superhero movie ever, and went into it thinking so.

Tomorrowland-extended movie preview-from Epcot

Tomorrowland-extended movie preview from Epcot-

Perdita (mom) here-Tomorrowland-Syd-Mead-Concept-Art

I recently returned from WDW where The Imagination Pavilion at Epcot is showing an extended preview (20 minutes) for the upcoming movie Tomorrowland. It is being release by Disney Motion Pictures on May 22nd. The movie stars George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson. It is directed by Brad Bird (previously made The Incredibles). The screenplay was co-written by Bird and Damon Lindelof (writer and co-creator of Lost).

In the extended preview, we see a young boy (assumed to be Clooney as a youth) who is taking his invention to the 1964 World’s Fair (where Walt Disney originally previewed his Carousel of Progress which is still at Magic Kingdom). His invention is rejected by Laurie but a young girl hands him a pin (the Tomorrowland pin). He began following the girl into ” It’s a Small World” ride but the something inside the ride scans the pin which causes a corridor to open. The boy falls in his boat into a room filled with water and docks beside a platform. He gets out of the boat and enters a Dr. Who-type portal that transports him to Tomorrowland. He arrives and finds himself in a very different looking world and upon a very high place which he immediately falls from. Several falls and near misses ensue before his invention (a jet-pack) begins to work. Suddenly we are looking at George Clooney and the teenage girl we see in the short preview that is being shown on tv and in theaters. Much is left as mystery and unanswered questions in this extended preview. It certainly looks like an interesting sci-fi film with plenty of action.images-2

This film promises and is said to be an epic sci-fi film from Walt Disney studios.
Disney is saying the film is about, ” two people bound by a shared destiny; one being a bright optimistic teen with scientific curiosity and the other being a former boy genius inventor jaded by disillusionment. Together they embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as Tomorrowland. What they must do there changes the world-and them-forever.”images-1

Comparisons of Avengers-Age of Ultron vs. The Avengers movie-

Perdita (mom) here-

Sunday night I went to see the new Avengers movie. I will give a quick comparison of the two movies. Both movies star Marvel superheroes Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk. The whole Marvel enterprise was recently acquired by Disney. Both movies were directed by Joss Whedon. The actors in the movies were the same with Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth playing Thor, Mark Ruffalo playing Bruce Banner (who transforms into the Hulk), Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow, Jeremy Renner playing Hawkeye, and Chris Evans playing Captain America. In the first Avengers, Loki was played by the talented Tom Hiddleston. In Avengers 2, Ultron was played by James Spader and two other new character were introduced. They were quicksilver and scarlet witch played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen respectively. Both movies are also feature epic battle scenes and have the central theme of good vs. evil with the superheroes fighting to save the planet. The acting is very good in both movies as well. I am really going to concentrate on the differences, instead of just giving a straight-up review of the first or second movie.

I can’t help but compare it to the first Avengers movie. I thought the first movie was quite a bit better than this one for several reasons.

Unknown-2The first (and biggest) reason is that to me Loki is a much better villain than Ultron. Loki is a villain but her is also funny and charismatic. Ultron had no charm or humor. I just wanted to hate him; not hate and love him. Loki is a much more complex character than the A.I. (artificial intelligence) creature Ultron.

Secondly, being a huge Hulk fan, Hulk’s role in this movie wasn’t funny like in theUnknown-1 first Avengers. Both movies didn’t have enough screen time for the Hulk for my taste. The Hulk is also a complex character due to his desire to keep himself under control but being unable to. He can be a force for good or destruction. Both movies show this, but I didn’t like the way he was portrayed nearly as well in this movie.

Third, the character development was mainly done in the first Avengers movie and in all of the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America movies, so this movie was almost all action. For my taste there was too much action with not enough back-story.
Let me also add, I liked the movie. I just liked the first Avengers quite a bit better.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but there is a turn of events later in the movie that I was a bit sad about. The direction for the next movie seems clear. I will still see the next Avengers. Who knows? It may be better than this one. Even if it isn’t, it will still probably be pretty good.avengers_age_of_ultron_2015_movie-wide

“Song of the South” Future

Pongo here. We recently watched Disney’s “Song of the South” and our son, Roly, gave his review of the film earlier this week. I felt that a follow up was in order.

The setting of the movie is the post Civil War, reconstruction period in the US deep South. The story is of a young boy being helped through the separation of his parents by a nice, grandfatherly man. In my opinion the setting is not really important. The plot is strong on it’s own. With Disney now in the throws of redoing seemingly every movie from the past, I think that “Song of the South” would be a perfect movie for a re-make. I would change the setting, though, taking out the elements of contention.

SplashMountain1

In my re-imagining of “Song of the South,” I would set it in modern Texas. This would at least help “Brer Roadrunner” from Splash Mountain make sense as roadrunners are not native to Georgia. I would cast Cheech Marin as Uncle Remus and possibly Felicia Rashad as the grandmother. A cultural potpourri would hopefully make the story agreeable to everyone. Again, the race of the characters is not what makes the film work, it is the story and the characters. I would touch up the animation of the Brer Rabbit scenes but keep the voices, the songs, and the animation the same.  Again, this would keep Splash Mountain from needing changed. Give royalties to the families of the voice actors of the animated characters, who if I am not mistaken, also did the voices of the crows in “Dumbo.”

Cheech+Marin+Premiere+Walt+Disney+Pictures+HCX7SxeLEz7l

Anyway, I recommend that if you get a chance, watch the movie. It is entertaining, and I hope that Disney will take my advice and do a worthy remake that opens this story to the modern public.

Song of the South movie review

For all of you who are as big a Disney fan as me, you know Song of the South is banned. I had the luck of finding it on YouTube, and put it on Apple TV. This movie was banned for racism, as it is set on a plantation in the post-Civil War period of America. (This movie is the basis for the Splash Mountain attraction.) First of sotsall, if you are expecting a cartoon about Brer Rabbit and all the other Brer critters (which are seen in Splash Mountain), you’ll be disappointed. Know before watching this movie that it is in fact, about a young boy visiting his rich Grandmothers plantation. On the way, his dad (who grew up there) tells him about Uncle Remus and his tales of Brer Rabbit. Once they arrive, the father immediately leaves for Atlanta (it is implied the mother and father are having marital problems.) Later that night the boy runs away and meets Uncle Remus. That night Uncle Remus then tells him the first tale of Brer Rabbit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bWyhj7siEY#t=99 He goes on to tell him two more tales throughout the movie, and they all help the boy out in some way or another. The mother eventually gets mad at Uncle Remus and tells him to stop telling the boy stories. (There is no coherent explanation for this, but Uncle Remus says he won’t tell any more stories.) Later, he tells one last story, which yet again helps the boy out, and also stops a little girl from crying. The mom goes gets very upset and tells Uncle Remus to leave the boy alone. Uncle Remus leaves the plantation and it seems the movie will end on a sad note. (I won’t give the ending away completely in case you decide to watch it.) The movie ends up with a great ending and Uncle Remus ends up being the hero. It’s a good story; it’s a shame that the setting makes it offensive to some people. Roly

sots2