The Disneyathon – Part 6: More Classics

Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon – Part 5: The Silver Age

lady_and_the_tramp_blu-ray_release
If you didn’t like my Cinderella review then you’d better hold on to your butts.

1955 gives us Lady and the Tramp and guess what? I thought it STUNK!

Think Romeo and Juliet and every other love story ever made, but with dogs. I never grew up with this movie, I think I rented it from the video store, watched it and that’s it. I have no childhood attraction to this movie, so let’s just dive into this baby.

I seriously don’t remember this movie well as I was kind of shocked to find out that the Lady and the Tramp romance forms only one third of the movie. Most of the movie is about Lady learning how to be a respectful dog or whatever. If you’re into cute animal hijinks that’s cool, but I’m not easily swayed by cute fluffy creatures. It felt like a drag with the most interesting part being a continuity error in the first five minutes of the movie. I know the Disney crew put everything into these movies, but come on! It’s a giant piece of newspaper, how hard is it to forget that?

Also, while we’re on Lady, she is easily the most uninteresting protagonist in this Disney series thus far. She’s a quiet well trained dog and does what she is told – how riveting! Her most defining trait is that she is quite needy. The second that people stop paying attention to her she gets upset and annoys them until they look at her again. She gets a little more interesting when she meets the Tramp, a stray cunning dog who is easily the most interesting character in this movie. He’s the basic free spirited hunky hobo and the reason why I prefer him over Lady is because he has a bit of a backstory and he sounds like a cool guy to hang out with. (Why wasn’t he the main character?)

This is the first Disney movie to have an actual romance. The earlier ones just had them meeting and getting together at the very end. This one is different and it’s easily the worst part of the movie. I can see Lady falling for Tramp because, as cliched as it may be, he’s a hunky bad boy who Lady just needs in her life. While Tramp looks like he sees her as another dog to have a bit fun with. So I hope you understand why I don’t buy this romance. The first and only time they show any romantic feelings that makes sense is the famous spaghetti scene. Other than that it just felt very unnatural – after one day they’re in love!!! I know in real life it doesn’t take much for dogs to fall for each other but this movie is treating these dogs like humans so I’m calling the writers out on this sloppy romance!

I hated how they inserted conflict into this movie with Lady learning at the pound that over the years Tramp has been with other women. This is such a shock to her that when he meets her again she refuses to have anything to do with him. It so dumb and manufactured and Lady is just being super uptight. Why are you mad at this guy for dating other women? I also cannot understand what made Tramp fall in love with her, we know he’s been with so many women, what makes her so different??

It’s frustrating to talk about as near the end there are so many contrived plot devices and coincidences in this movie that it annoys me! Like the Aunty character’s only purpose is to create these annoying issues that I have! Thanks to misunderstandings they realise Tramp is a good guy and he moves in with Lady. Even though he preferred the street life but, whatever, forced happy ending everyone. YAY!!!

To end this off I will say this is another high quality Disney movie. Maybe this might be with my Blu-ray but this movie looked so impressive cinematically. Also this is the first Disney movie to be wide screened instead of the classic television box. The story was bad but at least I can admire all the backgrounds and the art direction that went into this movie. Overall I have decided Lady and the Tramp might not be for me as I cannot see what’s so special about it. I’m giving it a 3 to 4/10.  I guess if you want to see some cute dogs doing cute stuff then go ahead.

sleepingbeauty
Never seen this movie before.

Another Disney fairy tale and, as we all know, originality doesn’t really run in the Disney family.

So when you see the title Sleeping Beauty you’re probably thinking it’s a rip-off of Snow White. You’re completely right! No joke, this is Snow White again with just a touch of Cinderella.

Instead of going over the similarities I’ll just focus on what’s different. For starters, even though the movie is about Princess Aurora really her fairy guardians are the main characters of the movie.  They get the most screen time and they have more stuff to do. Aurora is barely in the movie and that’s probably a good thing because she is so under developed that she makes Lady look three dimensional.

The Prince has a bigger role than the last two mannequins. He has a bit of a character and he gets to fight a freakin’ Dragon! While we’re at it let’s talk about the main villain, Maleficent. This silver age has proven quite disappointing for me but the thing that keeps me interested is the villains! I think Maleficent is another worthy villain in the series although she probably has the weakest motivation out of all the Disney Princess villains. She curses the main girl because she wasn’t invited to a party? Okay, I would have gone with being evil for the hell of it, but I guess I can go with it.

There is really nothing to say about this movie except that it’s kind of fast and loose with the fairy magic abilities. It’s not very clear with the limits of the fairies abilities as I feel they could just solve all their problems with one clean swish of their wands. Seriously it’s too uninteresting to really pick apart the plot here.

As with Lady and the Tramp the best part is how amazing it looks for a 50’s movie. This improves on that as this is the most visually impressive movie in the Disney canon thus far. It once again has a nice soundtrack and excellent animation which is pretty much a staple of Disney movies at this point.

Final thoughts, Sleeping Beauty made me want to fall asleep and also made me want to find a beauty. 5/10. Watch it, don’t watch it, I don’t care.

101-Dalmatians-1961-1
More cute dogs 2: They have multiplied over the hundreds.

Welcome to the 60’s where the Disney animated crew have taken a step backwards.

Sleeping Beauty didn’t do well at the box office and that massively crippled the studio. So in 1961 The Disney animated crew gave us a less costly animated movie.  Some may have heard of it, it’s called 101 Dalmatians.

It’s about a bachelor dog and his bachelor pet human meeting and falling in love with a bachelorette dog and her bachelorette human. They move in together and the two dogs rapidly spawn out 15 healthy puppies. You might be surprised hearing it from me but this a really good opening to the movie. We get a good idea of Pongo’s view on the world. It’s a nice easy way to get to know and care for Pongo and his owner Roger. I liked the whole sequence of Pongo forcing the meeting of Roger and Anita, it’s all great.

The movie needs some conflict and here is where we’re introduced to the best villain in this series thus far, Cruella de Vil. (The subtlety is off the charts!) Cruella steals the whole movie as soon as she walks through the door. This might have to do with the fact that she’s barking mad. She is straight to the point and completely honest about her intentions. We learn she’s absolutely obsessed with fur coats and she yabbers on about wanting to turn the dogs into fur coats. It’s funny later on in the movie once the puppies are born when she is insisting on making out a cheque to buy the puppies. I am so curious to know where did this meek mild woman met this deranged psychopath.

Anyway since these people didn’t call the police over the first few threats Cruella made, of course the dogs are taken and Anita still thinks Cruella didn’t do it. The rest of the movie has Pongo and Perdita desperately searching for their babies. I will say this is when the movie started to falter a bit for me. Especially with the Twilight Barks sequence that really dragged on. The explanation of the other 84 puppies I wished was a bit more clearer because I’m presuming Cruella bought all these dogs from pet shops when it would have been much easier to just buy a fur coat. (Though this is Cruella here so I think I can let it slide.)

I was surprised by how tense this movie was. There is a good scene where the cat is trying to get the dogs out of the room before the house crooks favourite show finishes. My only problem with this scene is the guys taste in TV because this show is so boring. My actual main point is since there are so many dogs there is no way of knowing when the sequence is over until the movie calls for it. This is especially the case with the scene where the dogs are trying to get on the moving van. (For some odd reason they never shut the back door!) Whatever, happy ending and I absolutely love Roger’s line to Pongo stating his logic about the 84 additional puppies.

Compared to the last couple of movies the animation looks poor by Disney standards. It doesn’t bother me that much as it gives a bit of a unique style compared to the other movies. (Especially if you’re marathoning them like me.) Cruella de Vil is my new favourite song and it’s something that will stick with me for hours.

Overall 101 Dalmatians is a fun movie. It’s very cartoony and embraces perfectly the over the top bad guy. It’s also kind of cute but that’s not the only drawing point, unlike another movie in this part. I think this movie had just enough to keep me interested until the very end. 6 to 7 out of 10. I think it’s worth at least one watch.

My Official Disneyathon Ranking List

Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon – Part 7: The End of an Era

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