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Rewatching Disney's Animated Classics

Discussion in 'Movies' started by benbess, May 1, 2019.

  1. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    I have always been a big fan of Disney's Robin Hood. The animation is lovely and the songs by Roger Miller refreshing. I recommend it, despite it not being a fan favorite. Also, The Rescuers is a good film (as is Rescuers Down Under). And yes, Black Cauldron is worth it.
     
  2. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Having just joined the Disney Movie Club for blu-rays, I now have some animated Disney movies to watch that I haven't seen in about ten years. The one I watched today was The Lion King. I watched this one so many times in the 1990s and early 2000s (c. 3 times in the theater, c.15 times on vhs, and maybe another 15 times on DVD) that I felt like I had it almost memorized. And so when the expensive blu-ray came out I skipped it until now. But wow, The Lion King looks fantastic on blu-ray! Truly stunning. And what a great movie. Somehow I thought I liked this movie a little bit less than Aladdin, but really this one is an A+ too, and overall the animation in The Lion King I think is in some places maybe a step above even the good animation in Aladdin. It does make me upset that Disney doesn't do hand-drawn animation any more.
     
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  3. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    The Reluctant Dragon, which is included as a bonus feature on the Ichabod/Fun and Fancy Free blu-ray, is a good tour of the Disney studios and techniques in c. 1941. That blu-ray disc is really a triple feature.
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Indeed. I picked that up more for Reluctant Dragon than anything else.
     
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  5. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Supporting Actor

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    Excellent points I feel I'd like to add to.

    I guess I never thought of Mermaid as lesser animation overall. The movie as a whole is just so darn good, but I can see what you're saying. Of course as I'm sure you're aware, Mermaid was the one that allowed more funds to be put towards feature animation so what you noticed could be avoided later on.

    Things did certainly move more towards the perfection found in computer animation starting with Beast, and it seems that influence (along with improved production values in the wake of Mermaid's success) allowed for stronger, more polished animation. And maybe that explains my personal sense they seemed to have a more "corporate" feel by that point.

    As for comparing eras, I think it isn't fair for a couple of reasons. One is precisely the reason you state: there was no Walt. I find the Walt-era films to be as far beyond the Renaissance as the Renaissance is beyond Pixar films, but even within the Walt films there was variation as you noted due to artistic vision, and even economic restrictions. I still find it humorous 101 Dalmations, a "Silver Age" Disney movie I dearly enjoy, is beloved despite obvious cost-cutting measures (Xerox process) that clearly puts it in a different category from top-tier stuff like Bambi or Pinocchio, despite being made in Walt's lifetime.

    The other reason is that it was simply a different time, and I believe this accounts both for some of what you're saying and some of the credit Walt gets in conversations like these. He was the visionary, yes, but all these movies (and all movies generally) are of their time. This really underlines it. If Mermaid, Beast or Aladdin suddenly appeared as new releases today, people would need medication for all the wonder and brilliance found in those films. But the same thing would have happened if Snow White somehow premiered in 1992. Sleeping Beauty was the successful deviation from the typical studio style it was because of Walt's leadership AND because it was of its time. It still feels like a 50s film just as Lion King and Hercules feel like 90s films despite their style differences. This is something no movie can help, and the conditions unique to these films became factors precisely because of this.
     
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  6. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    The original “Fantasound”
     
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  7. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    The original soundtrack for Fantasia goes well with the action in the film, but not well at all when listened to alone. I used to listen to the soundtrack recording frequently and I always imagined the entire orchestra on a huge swing, swinging from left to right!
     
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  8. Mysto

    Mysto Screenwriter

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    I'm the same way. I love the Reluctant Dragon because, although I enjoy many Disney films, I even more enjoy Disneyana.(The history and inside dope on Disney studios, process, and Disney himself.) The backlot tour is worth the watch to see (a fantasized) but still the studio in it's heyday.

    As far as the discussion on favorite D films, I think some of it might have to do with when you saw a movie. I really enjoy Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland - two films that don't get a lot of respect. But I saw them at the show - when I was a kid. Probably explains my love for fantasy type movies.
     
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  9. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Here's Matt Hough's review of the Ichabod/Fun and Fancy Free/Reluctant Dragon blu-ray....

    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/the-adventures-of-ichabod-and-mr-toad-fun-and-fancy-free-blu-ray-review.333391/#post-4123906

    "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad contains Disney-tainted variations on two genuine classics of literature: the Toad of Toad Hall sequences of The Wind in the Willows and Washington Irving’s masterful short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In the former sequence (narrated in clipped, sometimes formal but occasionally sly fashion by Basil Rathbone), the self-indulgent J. Thaddeus Toad (Eric Blore) must be saved from his own foolish caprices (which include losing his beautiful mansion Toad Hall to a gang of rascally weasels) by his accountant Angus MacBadger (Campbell Grant) and his friends the serious and stern Rat (Claude Allister) and the sweetly simple Mole (Colin Campbell). In the film’s latter (and better) half, Bing Crosby in his inimitable hip (for the 1940s) fashion narrates in dialogue and song one of the most famous love triangles in American literature between the gold digging schoolmaster Ichabod Crane, the boisterous, burly Brom Bones, and the wily, flirtatious Katrina Van Tassel.The animation in both sequences is masterful, among the most evocative and detailed that can be found in any of Disney’s more famous classic films, and both sequences end in frantic chases: our heroes with a vital piece of evidence trying to escape from the villains chasing them in Toad Hall in the first and in the second the unforgettably tense and suspenseful dash to safety by a frantic Ichabod Crane being chased through the countryside by the notorious ghost rider the Headless Horseman. The latter story also boasts a wonderful trio of songs by Don Raye and Gene De Paul crooned by the Old Groaner with backup singing by the swinging Rhythmaires which characterizes three of the story’s most interesting personas: Ichabod, Katrina, and the Horseman. Those songs and its otherwise uncommon fidelity to the original story (much of the narration is lifted straight from Washington Irving) make the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad truly a must-see adventure though Mr. Toad has lived on in the hearts and minds of many a baby boomer who visited one of Disney’s theme parks and enjoyed Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride....."

    Much more at the link.
     
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  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I'm glad my old reviews are still present on the site (and thank you, Ben, for linking them), but the moves to and from various servers over the years have occasionally destroyed the formatting making reading very difficult. Believe me, if I could go back into those reviews and replace the formatting, I would!
     
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  11. richardburton84

    richardburton84 Stunt Coordinator

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    For me, Ichabod and Mr. Toad is easily the best of the Package films made between Bambi and Cinderella (though Fun and Fancy Free is a close second). The humor in the Wind in the Willows segment is nicely balanced by the more serious (but not too serious, as evidenced in the courting scenes) Sleepy Hollow sequence, capped off by that magnificent scene of Ichabod’s ride through the forest and encounter with the Headless Horseman. It’s especially nice that the film keeps the ambiguous ending of Sleepy Hollow when the studio often added happy endings to their films.
     
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  12. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    We just got a new TV for our living room, a 65" 4k UHD Vizio M-series Quantum, and one of the first movies I watched all the way through on it was my new blu-ray of Pocahontas. Anyway, in a word it was spectacular, both for picture and sound, and really like seeing it again for the first time. Here's a link to Matt H's review from 7 years ago, as well as a quote....

    https://www.hometheaterforum.com/community/threads/pocahontas-pocahontas-ii-blu-ray-review.316837/

    "The film was the first Disney animated title based on a true event (though naturally a great deal of dramatic license has been applied) and as such ends in a way almost unheard of in a Disney film – no happily ever after! That gives the film a ring of dramatic truth, however, amid a somber story enlivened by a host of Disney cartoon critters (a mischievous raccoon, a feisty hummingbird, a snooty pug) and a seven song score by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz that’s mostly exceptional with two glorious power ballads for the title character (“Just Around the Riverbend” and the Oscar-winning “Colors of the Wind” exceptionally well sung by Judy Kuhn), a dazzling production number for the villainous Radcliffe “Mine, Mine, Mine,” and the climactic “Savages,” an ironic tune sung by both the natives and the interlopers sneeringly in reference to their enemies. The animation is greatly stylized with lots of sharp angles and almost phosphorescent colors, and the effect is undeniably hypnotic (the representations of fog and wind are especially striking throughout). The voice cast does a superb job from first to last (David Ogden Stiers plays not only Radcliffe but also his valet Wiggins thus continually acting opposite himself), and the entire production just whizzes by due to razor-edged pacing by directors Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg that doesn’t waste a second of screen time."

    I agree! Some of the animation is among the best that Disney's artists did in this era. And wow do the colors pop! Here's more on that from the review....

    "Video Quality

    Pocahontas – 5/5

    The film has been framed for the video edition at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p resolution using the AVC codec. Controlling the vibrant, hyper-saturated purples, pinks, oranges, and reds must have been a nightmare for quality control artists, but the finished product is exemplary. This is a dazzling transfer with not a hint of banding or aliasing with the tight line structures and features a picture that’s razor sharp throughout."
     
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  13. Message #73 of 74 Jun 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I've been watching the Cinderella trilogy, if you can call it that, on my new blu-rays from the Disney Movie club. The first movie from 1950 as we all know is a delight, although the animation and backgrounds are not as detailed as was found on Pinocchio ten years before. The fairy godmother and her song are still wonderful and powerful even though I think it's less than 10% of the movie.

    The first sequel has some ok animation for a direct to video movie, and there are some good bits of humor with Pompom the cat, but overall the story lacks zing. The biggest surprise for me is that Lucifer the cat survives! For almost 50 years I thought Lucifer was dead, and I'm not sure how I feel about him coming back. But he's a compelling character and is well animated in the sequel. The modern song played over the credits of Cinderella II is actually good imho....



    Cinderella II: A Twist in Time is somewhat better than II in that the story has more focus. Plus I usually like time-travel stories. The animation on the third one is quite nice for a direct-to-video movie.
     
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  14. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    It's been forever since I've seen II and III, but I remember not thinking much of either of then. Mind you, I own both, but they're not high on my rewatch list.
     
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