Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon – Part 11: The Disney Renaissance
Disney Renaissance classic number 3 is another hit in my eyes.
Welcome to the city of Agrabah, a city filled with colourful Arabic people with American accents. A vibrant city guarded by the apparently skilled, but mostly overweight guards. The most appealing part of the city is the humongous palace, home to the cheerful but old Sultan and his rebellious daughter, who is ordered to be wed. The palace is alluring to handsome street rat, Aladdin, a diamond in the rough.
His life will change forever when he meets the most evil looking tall man you have ever seen. The man sends him into the mysterious Cave of Wonders to find a magic lamp which holds a magic genie who will attempt impressions of people you haven’t heard of and make modern day references to things that won’t be relevant for thousands of years. I guess he really is an all-powerful genie if he knows who Pinocchio and Sebastian are! That settles it, Aladdin has just confirmed that all of the Disney movies take place in the same universe.
Aladdin is a lot more fun than I remember. The opening sequence where they play Arabian Nights is, I believe, the best beginning to any Disney movie. It immediately draws you into the city of Agrabah and intrigues you on what the next half hour holds. I guess the only problem is when the singer starts sounding like Robin Williams. I also love Aladdin’s introduction as it nicely showcases his witty, street-smart personality and his good hearted nature. It also comes with a fun song, which is of course a bonus.
Aladdin is a fun guy to root for, but Jasmine on the other hand! Not a bad character, but she’s probably the weakest Disney Princess in this era so far. She keeps reminding us that she’s not a prize to be won, but I can’t help but think that she is. I liked her dad much better as he reminds me of myself – a young child trapped in a old man’s body, except I’m not that old!
Apu and The Magic Carpet are fun side characters, though Apu sounded like Donald Duck and it was distracting. My favourite sidekick was Iago played by the one and only Gilbert Gottfried. He overshadowed his master Jafar and most of the other side characters, except for big blue, but everyone knows that. What can I say that hasn’t been said about Robin Williams’ Genie? He takes over the whole show once he shows up. He’s funny, energetic, AWESOME! He sings my favourite song in the whole movie, Friend Like Me. Enough said, you already know the Genie is great!
I do have to mention in every Disney review about the amazing animation. Well not entirely true, the 2D animation is perfect, but some of the 3D animation is a bit off. The backgrounds are fine, but The Magic Carpet and The Cave of Wonders sometimes looked a little terrible. Not as bad as The Rescuers Down Under, but they were seriously pushing their 3D knowledge at the time.
While we’re on criticisms, certain aspects aren’t that stellar. The song selections – not that I hate any of the songs, but they are sub-par compared to The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. I don’t really like how the main conflict is sloppily set-up. After learning she’s a princess Aladdin is convinced she won’t like him anymore when she finds out he’s a commoner. Even though she spent a whole afternoon with him, already knowing him as a commoner. Aladdin’s logic doesn’t make sense so the whole message of don’t pretend to be someone you’re not doesn’t work for me.
Despite it’s shortcomings I still found it highly entertaining. It’s a colourful movie filled with fun characters and great music. What more could you want? Besides a remake! No, don’t you dare go there! I’m giving it a solid 8/10, a must watch if you haven’t seen it already for some unknown reason, or watch it again and again. It does not get old.
Surprise! Happy Early Halloween! Plus Christmas!
If you didn’t know, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas was distributed by Walt Disney Animated and the DVD sales all have the Disney label, so let’s talk about this film.
The first thing you’ll notice is that The Nightmare Before Christmas is different, which is why when I was younger I never finished this movie as I got to the first musical number and was too spooked to continue. Besides being a bit spooky and kooky I say it’s the most different to other Disney movies, most obviously, because it’s all stop motion. Every character is pushed into the background by our egotistical main character and, whilst this might sound a bit weird, it is the most musical Disney movie yet.
Most Disney movies tend to have 4 or 5 songs while Nightmare has over 10 different songs. It is pretty short and there aren’t many breaks between songs so in my mind that makes it a full blown musical. Speaking of the songs they’re all pretty good, but some are more memorable than others. My favourites are Sally’s Song, Kidnap the Sandy Claws, What’s This? and, the song that used to give me nightmares, This is Halloween.
It’s also worth pointing out that Tim Burton was the creator of the story and characters, not the director of the movie. Henry Selleck, as director, did a great job as the movie captures the appeal of a Tim Burton movie. It’s stylistic, the sets are elaborate, the character designs are unique and Halloween Town and Christmas Town are easy places to get yourself lost in.
I absolutely love that it’s all in stop motion as it’s something I haven’t really discussed before on this site and something that I have always been fascinated by. This movie is probably one of the best stop motion movies I have ever seen. The character movements are so fluid and how the camera flies through this world it’s incredible.
Now with all of the stuff you look out for in a Tim Burton movie let’s move onto the less interesting side – the story. It goes pretty much where you’d except it to go, but it’s best not to think about that as the fun characters and the film’s charm is what keeps the appeal alive. Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King, is the most self-absorbed main character in this series. Jack made me realise how selfless all the other Disney protagonists are as, sure they may have big ideas, but they’re all such noble citizens. Jack is bored so he goes to Christmas town and decides he’s taking over and he’s going to put his own nightmarish spin on everything and if you don’t like that then too bad!
Speaking of which, it’s my favourite aspect of the story. After Jack comes back from Christmas Town he decides to mix-up Halloween with Christmas creating horrifying results. The best part is when Jack impersonates Santa and starts delivering presents to all of the kids. Everything else is not as much fun.
The other side characters seem to represent the more classic Disney typecasting roles. Sally the Frankenstein’s bride thing is more like your typical Disney male or female lead. The mayor and half of the townsfolk could take up any of the comedic sidekick roles and The Oogie Boogie is your standard over the top baddie. I’m not saying I dislike any of these characters, this is just what I noticed.
Overall, another solid movie. As to whether it’s one of my favourite Disney movies I will have to come back to you on that, but for now a 9/10. I know the target audience is kids, but to be honest I think it’s more for grown-ups who like a good musical and will appreciate the art behind it.
Our final movie for this part is one that needs no introduction, because it doesn’t. Okay?
The Lion King is the Disney movie I watched the most as a child, it’s the movie that started my interest in animation, it’s the movie that made me a fan of Disney and no matter what I say next it will always hold a place in my heart as one of last few treasures of my childhood.
Nah! Hakuna Matata! I’m just teasing, this movie is still awesome!
The Lion King is famous for being Disney’s first original story. Loosely original, as throughout the movie it feels heavily inspired by other famous works and perhaps another similar lion. Despite that the themes of betrayal, regret and sabotage have been mostly absent in other Disney movies. It is a simple tale about a young prince, who learns from his mistakes and gains the courage to stop his evil uncle and restore his kingdom. Wait, isn’t that the plot of Hamlet? Also, whilst I haven’t seen it, I do know it’s pretty similar to Jason and the Argonauts.
I said I really enjoyed the opening of Aladdin, but it’s already been topped – twice. Waiting for the first few lines of The Circle of Life is as exciting as waiting for the Star Wars logo to pop up. Just like with Arabian Nights and This is Halloween, The Circle of Life perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the movie. Also, I really liked Scar’s introduction as a sad miserable outcast that no one takes seriously and who, despite his name, doesn’t really scream out evil as much as Jafar or Ursula.
As I said earlier this movie is as great as I remember. The animation, the lighting and the mix of the colours is timeless. The comedic aspects blend in nicely with the more serious parts. Han Zimmer’s score is amazing, I could hum it all day. This movie has the best song catalogue. Even the one from the special edition, The Morning Report, is pretty good. Though my personal favourites are The Circle of Life and Be Prepared.
Character time! Most of the characters range from forgettable to alright. For example the Hyenas are easily the weakest villain sidekicks in this era. They’re neither funny nor entertaining and maybe a bit racist. At least their boss is awesome. Jeremy Irons was such a great choice to play Scar as he steals every scene. We haven’t yet seen a villain like Scar who is a great schemer and manipulator. Targeting little kids and playing to their emotions is such a nasty thing to do. Especially since Scar actually wins, which is different for a kids movie.
Simba the gold lion was another character I really liked. I enjoyed his character journey and pretty much all the stuff he does. The kid that played Simba was really good, though Matthew Broderick as the grown-up Simba, I’m not so sure about. The supporting cast is also really good, my favourite being Mufasa played by the man who was born to voice a king, James Earl Jones. He’s great and his death is one of the most devastating in a Disney movie. Back to something positive – Timon and Pumbaa are fun side characters and the same with the old baboon Rafiki who is up with Merlin as the best wise old mentor in a Disney movie.
I really enjoyed myself. Great story, great characters, great work from everybody. I guess my biggest complaint is that the final battle on Pride Rock is a bit weak. What’s with all these Disney movies having big final battles in some sort of reddish hell ground where someone has to perform a swan dive to their death. The last couple of movies have done this and I have become less interested with each instalment.
8 or 9 out of 10. It’s still a great movie and I would happily watch it any time and if you haven’t seen it then give it a bash.
Link to Next Part: The Disneyathon Part 13: Some Unique Films