The Disneyathon Part 16: The Fall of 2D Animation

The Disneyathon Part 15: Post Disney Renaissance

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Ugh! It should be illegal for an animated kid’s movie to make you feel so teary eyed! It’s so satisfying when you find a movie that you really loved as a kid only for it to be even better when you’re older and more cold and cynical.

The best way to describe Lilo and Stitch is it’s incredibly sweet. I don’t think I’ve found another movie that really brought out the inner child in me like Lilo and Stitch did. It’s a movie with really good themes for children, complex characters, astonishing animation, super catchy music and most importantly it’s a movie with heart. I will have a real hissy fit if Disney ever decide to make a soulless live action remake of this treasure!

The story of Nani and Lilo could easily warrant a movie of it’s own. Lilo has no parental figures in her life so it explains why she’s a bit odd and kind of feral. You instantly feel for Nani too as she is thrown this massive burden of taking care of Lilo, going to work and pleasing Mr Bubbles the social worker. Things get more complicated when Experiment 626, later renamed Stitch, comes onto the scene and causes problems. It’s honestly amazing once Stitch shows up that the two storylines just continue on like they are two sides of the same coin.

Stitch’s character is complete genius to be perfectly honest. He’s a hostile creature who’s only purpose is to destroy everything and Stitch improves on Kuzco’s arc by questioning his morality. Can he break from his sole purpose and can Stitch be loved and be a part of a family? Stitch’s design also takes notes from The Beast as he looks quite scary when we first meet him, but as the film progresses he looks more cute and innocent. It helps alot that Stitch can’t really talk as it lets the visuals tell his story.

It’s also amazing for a space movie that the human stuff is far more interesting than outer space. I like Jumba and Pleakley as they’re quite a unique duo and their fun comradery could make up a fun buddy cop movie. It’s just Gantu and the other space stuff that felt kind of whatever. While I’m on my issues it felt quite jarring for Bubbles to just let Nani and Lilo be together again after everything he’s seen them get into. I guess we had to get that happy ending somehow. That’s about it for flaws as my only other one is how cruel the characters are to this singlet tan-lined man who just wants to eat his ice-cream on the beach. Not cool guys!

The movie has a great soundtrack. The Hawaiian songs are a nice touch alongside all of the Elvis songs. The action scenes are alot of fun with an equal balance of dread and comedy. There is some pretty good humour though I much preferred the visual gags.

I say this movie is sweet as the emotional scenes hit hard. My biggest gut punch was when Nani and Lilo were on the hammock having a moment while completely ignoring Stitch.

This movie is so great that I just realised I haven’t talked about Lilo and Stitch. They’re a cute pair and that’s all I have to say about that. Anyway as you can tell Lilo and Stitch is great so here’s a 9 to 10/10.

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A recurring theme with these 2000 movies is that I cannot recall any of them having a big impact on media as a whole, unlike the last decade or even the one to come. The only people who remember that these movies exist are people like me who grew up with these movies or Disney fanatics, also like me. I think Treasure Planet is the crowning jewel of forgettable underrated 2000 Disney films. It’s quite an interesting tale of how Treasure Planet came to be as it’s been in the works since before The Little Mermaid and after all that wait it grossed as well as The Black Cauldron.

This was a quite fun movie to revisit and I can understand why some people absolutely love this film, unlike Dinosaur or Atlantis. Though my personal underrated picks would be Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo and Stitch as they’re fun, unique and surprisingly emotional. Treasure Planet also does that, but not as well.

I don’t know much about the book so all my knowledge of it comes from this movie and The Muppets’ Treasure Island. It’s a fresh idea, taking a well known book but setting it in space to make the story more grand and exciting. Look, I honestly have no hatred for Treasure Planet, it’s a well executed fun adventure Sci-Fi pirate movie, but when I watch a movie I’m wanting more.

For example:

  • The Emperor’s New Groove is a fun buddy cop flick which is elevated thanks to the great cast, characters, the message and slick writing.
  • Lilo and Stich is a cute human meets alien movie which is elevated by the fantastic music, characters and a very powerful story.
  • Treasure Planet …uh????? Jim and Silver are great together and the space pirate ships look pretty cool but they could have used alot less side characters.

It’s throwaway entertainment for me and that’s mainly because there isn’t much substance besides a great surrogate father son relationship and it’s leaning too heavily on that old tired Disney formula. There are no stakes and it’s fairly predictable. The only time I felt shocked was when one of the side characters died or when Jim and Silver’s relationship became more tense because I was emotionally attached to these characters.

Speaking of the other characters, they’re serviceable. I think they would have been better in another movie, for example Emma Thompson’s character, Captain Amelia, who is thoroughly entertaining but is pushed to the sidelines too often to really stand out. Or Scroop, a terrifying crab thing who’s final fight with Jim is ruined because of this stupid robot that took away any dread the scene might have had. Though none of this ruined the movie except maybe the god awful songs that really feel like the 2000’s. Ugh!

I like Treasure Planet, I could easily watch it again, but it’s nowhere near great. At least it looked like it tried with its great score and animation. The 3D is still a bit off for me, but I can overlook that. Overall Treasure Planet is a perfect 7 out of 10 movie.

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We’re really going downhill now as I wanted to like Brother Bear, but it unfortunately didn’t work out.

Brother Bear is kind of a special movie for me as it was one of the first movies I ever watched at the cinema and I have fond memories of holding it in high regard. But I have changed alot since 2003 and I can now see that this movie is very much flawed. It’s quite hard to pin it down as there are some great things about this movie, but the bad stuff really ruins what good this movie has.

What I have been appreciating about these Disney 2000 movies is that they all have good and interesting messages for kids to learn from. Lilo and Stitch was about can the most destructive of monsters find family and Treasure Planet was about discovering oneself in the most unlikely friendship. Brother Bear continues that with Kenai’s ghost eagle brother setting up him, his other brother and a small bear named Koda to learn the valuable lesson of the power of bro love and also learn that Kenai is the true villain of the movie. Wait, what!

The first act shows Kenai being the cause of all the terrible events that happen to these characters and Kenai being turned into a bear and slowly bonding with Koda is shown as him redeeming himself. It’s not too bad except it feels very rushed. It’s a short movie and there isn’t enough time to properly develop everything the movie is trying to tell. This could have been easily fixed by having more scenes developing Koda and Kenai and less scenes of those two moose’s.

The big problem with Brother Bear is that it’s made up of two movies. Movie one is a tense drama of three brothers being pulled apart by a bear and the rest of the movie is a silly talking animal movie that is focused on two surrogate bear brothers. It’s a jarring shift and movie two really turns it into a typical Disney movie, which is what’s currently killing these movies. But none of that is as bad as the final act where everything is hastily wrapped up into a forced happy ending. I haven’t seen such a bad ending to a Disney movie since Pocahontas.

Moving on from the story the voice acting is pretty good whilst not being outstanding. Rick Moranis is in this and that was a bit of a shock. Phil Collins returns and I was pretty annoyed when one of his songs was played right over a pivotal moment in the story. Still I enjoyed the songs, his best one is On My Way, but my favourite song from this movie is Great Spirits, which I didn’t even realise was sung by Tina Turner. The animation is once again at the top of its game. The 2D animation blending into the 3D like environment has improved so much since Treasure Planet.

In the end Brother Bear is a well made movie with a pretty inconsistent story. It just escapes the average rating so here’s a 6/10. Now, let’s move on to our final movie.

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What happened Disney? You used to make movies that were legitimately great, but now you have officially made your first ironically enjoyable movie.

It’s hard to believe that this movie was made under the Walt Disney Animated banner because it is so stupid. Home on the Range features some of the lamest jokes, corniest dialogue and weakest storytelling to ever make it’s way into a Disney movie. Yet somehow I still liked it!

The biggest issue with the movie is that most of the characters suck! There are only two that don’t. There is Grace the ditsy cow because I have a bit of a bias for ditsy characters and she’s voiced by Jennifer Tilly. The other is the horse, but only ironically. With that out of the way, Maggie played by Roseanne Barr, just NO! Judi Dench’s cow is supposed to be the voice of reason but she’s incredibly dumb. Maggie is also not that bright, but she isn’t to blame for their farm going under, if only this stuck up cow could get it through her thick head. That’s all I have for the characters because the rest are very forgettable.

I guess the one thing it does do right is it’s a cartoony movie and you’re not supposed to take it seriously, but I was never really laughing with the movie. The jokes feel like they were created by a 13 year old who felt really proud that they came up with the most predictable jokes ever to grace the silver screen. The only thing I found funny is the horse kicking people in the head because it meant I never had to see those boring characters ever again. The humour for me was that the writers thought this was funny. For example the main villain has never seen the main character’s farm on his big map before because it’s the exact shape of the triplet brothers heads. After that Randy Quaid points this out in excruciating detail because this is so funny and not extremely lame. A bad movie wouldn’t be complete without some cringy dialogue.

I guess I was lying a bit before as there are some other good things. The songs are decent and it’s nice to see a character sing a song again, too bad it was the worst of all the songs. The minecart chase section was pretty fun and the movie is shorter than feature length, so why was this released to cinemas again? Lastly the animation is passable as this studio has done better in the past. I guess the only problem with the animation is that this is the movie that convinced Disney to abandon 2D animation altogether. Whether this was a good idea or not we will find out, though I am personally not a fan of it.

Home on the Range, a stupid movie and I can see why time has abandoned this film, 4/10.

My Official Disneyathon Ranking List

Link to Next Part: (Coming Soon)

 

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