Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon – Part 1: Introduction
The Golden Age of Walt Disney Animated continues on into the 1940’s as World War II was just starting to become a massive deal which really effected these movies when they were first released. But long after their poor box office beginnings these movies are now regarded as golden icons. So in this part we’re going to look at the rest of the movies that came out during the Golden Age of Walt Disney Animated.
Pinocchio is great step in the right direction as it’s another one of those films that made a huge impact on animation history. But once again that doesn’t really matter as it’s all about me and what I think and if I think it rightfully deserves all the praise it has been getting for the last 80 years or so. Well (just note I’m still suffering from the last bit of ice I was standing on) Yes and No.
The story is still quite simplistic like the last movie but I was quite surprised that this movie actually has a great message for kids and some interesting themes. So the movie starts off with the heavy hitter right off the bat – When You Wish Upon a Star. It’s a nice song but it doesn’t really work with what the movie is going for. So we follow Jiminy Cricket who is pretty much the Micky Mouse reserve as he crashes at a wood carpenter’s workshop. This is where we see Geppetto putting the finishing touches on his new boy puppet and about 20 minutes into the movie Geppetto wishes that his puppet was a real boy.
Then the only female character in the movie shows up and completes half of Geppetto’s wish. (Come on, you said he was a great man, why only go half way?) The song lied to me as she only grants the wishes of good people even though the song says it doesn’t matter if you’re bad or pure evil, so what gives movie!!! The Fairy asks the recently brought to life boy puppet to be really good if he wants to become a real boy. THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY FREAKIN SENSE, you’re granting the old guy his wish, not the puppet!!!!!
Once the set-up is out of the way the movie does get a bit better as Geppetto sends Pinocchio to school. (Pinocchio has only been alive for less than a day and Geppetto has already signed him up for school, does this concern you?) From here the only talking animal in the movie tricks Pinocchio into skipping school to become an actor. This part of the movie feels completely pointless to me. Pinocchio ditches Jiminy, he has a bit of fun and then learns this isn’t what he signed up for.
It feels pointless as he is tricked by Honest John again to go to some happy place only to learn this isn’t right. I actually liked this part much better. Firstly that stupid fairy isn’t in it, secondly there are consequences and the characters change and thirdly I was actually shocked by how disturbing it is. As this creepy old man takes all these little boys to this fun theme park to party, only for them to realise that he really wants to turn them into donkeys and sell them. This sequence is perfectly paced and Lampwick’s screeching for his Mumma released the chills.
I was actually quite surprised by how much I liked this movie as Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket have an arc and they grow as people which is a big change from the last movie, though it still needs some work as sometimes some of their actions don’t feel natural and are completely forced. The animation has drastically improved, the soundtrack is excellent. There are some filler parts but I feel it’s more easily forgiven in this one as the story doesn’t come to a complete halt just to tell a joke.
I think Pinocchio’s main problem is that it’s too short. The movie is about the same length as Snow White and alot more things happen in this movie and there really isn’t much time to breathe as each scene continues onto the next set piece. There are other things too but it is an improvement and I somewhat enjoyed myself. 7/10, I think it’s worth at least one watch.
I don’t want to spend too long on this movie because trying to remember my experience is like remembering what I dreamt about last night.
Fantasia is Disney’s third big heavy hitter and this one is famous for being their most ambitious movie to date and that’s because it isn’t really a movie, but more of a concert. So the idea of this movie is that a talented orchestra plays to or with the gorgeous animated set pieces and that’s the only thing great about it. As with the last two movies, but even more so with this one, I applaud everyone involved for putting their absolute best into it. I really see the passion and the hard work involved and the impact on the future of animation I really appreciate. But that doesn’t mean it’s a masterpiece.
My thoughts can be summed up with this quote I wrote.
It’s an art piece and the movie seems very proud of it and that’s why I was tempted to go to bed during this movie. The animation is synced with the music, there is no dialogue, it’s colourful but my problem is hearing the same music with each animation sequence looking the same as the next is just so boring and repetitive. The only segment I actually liked was the Micky Mouse wizard thing. It’s telling a visual story and the music adapts to the story and that’s great, I loved it. But all the others are just the animation blending with the music and they all have similar tones and feels, YAWN.
I don’t know about you but I hated the live action cutaways with this old man narrating and explaining everything before we see it happen. I know it’s necessary for kids but that clearly shows this movie doesn’t understand it’s target audience. No kid would want to watch a movie like this, but an adult would definitely be able to appreciate the art of it and the cutaway live action nonsense just treats them like they’re idiots.
I don’t have that much more to say about it. It’s a visual masterpiece but it’s also an extremely boring movie that is way too long to keep my interest. It’s a 4/10, I think you’re better off going to see this live in a concert hall, then the intermission part of the movie would mean something. I think it’s highly overrated but I’ll leave it up to you if it interests you or not.
Movie number 3 is Dumbo and it was alright. It’s better than Fantasia but not as good as Pinocchio. This movie came out during the height of the war and their last two films bombed because of it. Pearl Harbour is right around the corner so this is pretty much Disney’s begger project.
So because of the war and the smaller budget this movie looks kind of sub-par when compared to their last few movies. The quality of the film looks kind of bad, animation is okay and everything is just alright. Except for the music which I think has definitely improved since their last few movies and surprisingly some of the songs stuck with me this time.
Like Snow White this movie is very much on the nose. So on the Thomas the Tank Engine fun train a stork drops off a baby to Mummy Elephant. It’s never explained how an elephant signs off on an application for a cloud delivered baby but I guess you just go with it. Mummy Elephant loves her baby very much but no one at the stork baby making factory told her that her package is defective. Jumbo Jr came into this world with humongous ears and that’s when Mummy Elephant and her mummy animal friends band together to find out the truth about what the storks do to their adoptive children. (That’s not how the actual movie goes but it would make a cool expanded story.)
In the actual movie Jumbo is called Dumbo because he looks dumb. Jumbo becomes a laughing stock when little boys poke him and that makes Mummy Elephant really angry and I’m angry at these idiot circus people who build a foot high pen for elephants!! Mummy Elephant is put into solitary confinement. (I’m not joking!) Then with 30 minutes of the movie left we’re introduced to Jumbo’s spokesperson who wants to exploit the little baby elephant for some unknown reason. (I’m not falling for your sympathy act!)
Then for the rest of the movie you’re just waiting for Jumbo (why is this movie named after his nickname and why does the mouse keeping calling him that?) to fly, like what the back of the box said and on the cover. Don’t worry it does happen when there is about 5 minutes of the movie left. ‘Wow Jumbo you ca….’ THE END.
I really can’t hate on this movie too much as this is the shortest Disney movie so far as it’s just over an hour. So there are less filler scenes and the very simple plot moves quite smoothly. The only time I felt like the movie came to a complete halt was for the Pink Elephants on Parade song. Disney is really trying to top themselves with what they can get away with. Snow White had the spooky forest, Pinocchio had the kids smoking big fat cigars and turning into literal asses, Fantasia had the boobie flash and this one had our main characters getting drunk and seeing weird pink elephants. For such a short movie this scene really didn’t need to be there as it doesn’t add anything to the film besides reminding me of my childhood nightmares.
Dumbo is alright. I can sit through it just fine, it’s mildly entertaining, the best thing about it is the music. It’s fine apart from the weak characters and the pink elephant sequence. Though I wish it was a bit longer as I felt it ended so abruptly. Once Jumbo can fly and wows the crowd that’s literally it. I would have liked to see a bit more after that but then I guess the movie would have to start being a bit more complex. Whatever, 5 or 6/10, watch it if you like and it’s a good length for very young kids.
Bambi is kind of meh. What happened Disney??? I liked Pinocchio but after that you tossed it all down the gutter and this is probably your worst one by far.
Bambi is another movie no one cared about back then but is loved to death today, except for me because I’m weird. This follows a baby deer doing cute stuff for an hour and that’s about it. I will give credit where it’s due and pretty much everything that has nothing to do with the plot and characters is excellent. Music awesome, the lighting and colour is used effectively, the animation and character design is also really great. I thought I should get all of that out of the way because this is the most uneventful Disney movie yet.
So for the first half of the movie we follow baby Bambi as he learns about his environment, how to talk, how to stand up properly while meeting the super cute wildlife. He soon meets comic relief character, Thumper who is played by an annoying kid actor for most of the film. The character really overstayed his welcome for me as he serves no purpose to the story but to give you the giggles. Flower I liked much better because he wasn’t over used and he was kind of cute, although still pointless. The first half of the movie is just cute animals doing cute stuff as the story chuffs along at a very slow pace until the dramatic moment which completely messes up the pacing. I think my boredom overcame me when Bambi’s mum took him to the meadows, I actually started calling her exposition mum from this point on because that’s all she does.
About 40 minutes into the film, the movie takes a dramatic turn by killing off exposition mum, making it the first big death in Disney history. (Villains don’t count!) I kind of liked this scene as it made the movie a bit more interesting but it’s ruined when the next scene goes immediately to happy land, Bambi is all grown up and no one mentions it again!! What the hell Disney, a dramatic moment just happened and you skip over it like it’s nothing. Good on you for taking a risk but all you did was remove the impact from that moment. With only 15 minutes of the movie left our three bachelors are all grown up and are warned about the dangerous species known as women. They’re seduced by the three gorgeous chicks, Man comes back to cause havoc and then the story comes full circle and Bambi is with the big elk of the forest.
To sum up my thoughts: Bambi is visually impressive but doesn’t have much of a story to keep me interested. The most interesting scene in the movie is butchered and all we have is cutesy fluff, which is okay to have if there was a proper story to back it up. I kind of liked the theme it’s trying to go for but the poor pacing and the nonexistent story just wasn’t executed properly. 5/10, such a shame. If you think I’m wrong or whatever then watch this movie with that mindset and try convincing me that I’m wrong.
That’s the end of the golden age and it’s a fairly competent run with one good movie, three average to not bad movies and one really really boring movie. Let’s end this era of Disney’s history by looking at some interesting alternate titles that I came up with for this part.
Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon – Part 3: The Wartime Age