Tag Archives: films

A couple of words and some Oscars

16 Jan

Hello everyone, I hope that 2016 has treated you well so far! I want to thank everyone for being so supportive of my blog. I’m sorry it’s been slow content wise.

Now this is the point where I SHOULD say that’s all changing, but it’s not. Mother luck has smiled upon me this week and my laptop crashed (also my iPad screen cracked but that’s another story). I am unaware at this point when or even if my laptop will be fixed.

What this means for the blog is that updates will be slower for the time being, because it all depends on when I can get to the local library to leech off of their computers. I’m actually not too upset about this situation, as I need to spend less time online and walking 20 minutes to the library is good exercise.

I’m away in Wales next week for a conference, and the weekend after that I’m heading off to Rome. Which is fun for me, but not fun for people wanting to ready my goofy blog. I’m sorry, but I have big things planned in February!

I suppose I should say something about animation too? Since this is what my blog is about? Well this week we got nominees for the 88th Academy Awards. That’s fun!

Now, I’ve only seen a few 2015 animated features so far. Inside Out (which I saw AT Pixar, one of the greatest experiences of my life), Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2, and The Peanuts Movie (or as it’s called here in the U.K. Charlie Brown and Snoopy: The Peanuts Movie which is just a tad of an overkill IMO).

My thoughts on the films?

Inside Out

12

Minions

15

Hotel Transylvania 2

1

The Peanuts Movie

13

Alright, and my thoughts on the nominations?

Well, I’m overJOYed that  Inside Out received a nomination for Best Screenplay, very much deserved. I am a bit disappointed that it did not get a Best Score nomination however. Also, my favourite film of 2015, animated and not.

As for snubs? I’m also overjoyed that Minions was not nominated. Not only am I sick of seeing those little bastards everywhere, but the film was mediocre at best. I am also sad that The Peanuts Movie was not nominated. I felt that its animation alone justified a nomination.

I also want to say that I’m glad that Shaun the Sheep got a nomination on the basis that I love Shaun the Sheep. Aardman does great stuff.

What are your opinions on the 88th Academy Award nominees? Let me know!

 

 

 

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Dead Disney #1- Dumbo II

23 Apr

So I thought that this would be an interesting series to do. There are plenty of blogs out there dedicated to reviewing movies or character that already exist. And those are great! But why not doing a tour of the Disney graveyard, and see the films and characters that weren’t fortunate enough to make it to the Big Screen.

There are A LOT of these. And I was trying to decide which dead Disney film to examine first. Most of the Disney films that were shelved are ones that I would love to see more of, and wish would of made it. So for my first post, we’ll examine one that I thank the Animation Gods for making sure it never saw the light of day.

The subject for my first post in this series is- Dumbo II

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You all aren’t aware of this, but Dumbo is one of my favorite Disney movies, favorite animated movies, movies of all time. It is very short, it doesn’t have Disney’s best animation, it’s simple, and it’s controversial. But none the less, I think it’s a brilliant film. I believe that it has the most underrated Disney soundtrack, and Timothy is one of my favorite characters in the whole Disney canon.

I’m not the only one who appreciates Dumbo so much. It’s actually John Lasseter’s (Director of Toy Story and chief creative officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) favorite movie of all time, and is a huge inspiration to all his films. I agree with Lasseter that Dumbo is a funny, moving, and entertaining film. Lasseter points out that it definitely lives to Walt Disney’s saying that ‘For every laugh, there should be a tear”.

What? No I’m not crying. I just have something in my eye.

There’s only one other Disney movie I like more than Dumbo, and if you’ve read some of my other posts you already know what it is (for those of you who are new, it involves a cricket).

So let’s take a look into Dumbo II. There’s actually a trailer of some persuasion out for this thing. It was included in the bonus features of the 2001 60th Anniversary DVD of Dumbo. It was to be a direct-to-video sequel. So we have a good grasp on the characters and story of what this film would of been. You can watch it right here. It’s narrated by the standard Disney voice over guy.

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The trailer is basically a behind the scenes look at the production of the film. It starts off with the artists talking about the legacy of Dumbo, and how sad the movie is, and how everyone can learn from it that we’re all different bladablhadablha.

The producer says that the challenge was to make a sequel that brings the same feelings that the original did. I try to be optimistic,  but I really know that that challenge would of failed. You can never recapture the magic of an original Disney film, isn’t that right Cinderella III and Peter Pan II?

I’ll be honest though, the only good part about Cinderella III was the Prince. He’s such a sassmaster.

Here’s the story of Dumbo II. It would of taken place a day or so after Dumbo ended. Now that Dumbo isn’t considered a freak (as he’s bringing in major bank for the circus) he’s made a group of super cool and hip friends. The major theme for this movie is friendship, and how friends are there for you and all that stuff we already learned in Kindergarten.

So who are these friends? Well Timothy for sure was slated to return, as he was Dumbo’s first friend when Dumbo had no friends. Timothy works on another level, as Dumbo is silent and Timothy can understand Dumbo and act has his surrogate voice.

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As for the new friends, each is based off of a different stage of development children go through.

There’s Claude and Lolly, the twin bear who rush to get every done, leaving a string of chaos behind them.

dumbod

chaos

Dot the Zebra the curious Zebra who always asks “whywhywhywhywhy”

dumboe

Godfey the ‘I can do it all by myself” Hippo.

dumbof

and Penny the adventurous Ostrich. She likes being in the spotlight and looks just like Daisy Duck.

dumbog

I’m not crazy for any of the characters  But I actually like Penny the Ostrich. The filmmakers point out that she’s a bit jealous. Dumbo is an elephant, who can fly. She’s a bird, who can’t fly. I think that would of led to an interesting conflict actually.

And the plot of the story is that the gang manage to get separated from the circus. Too hard to grasp? Not really. In Dumbo, the only boundary between the mother elephant and the spectators was a puny rope, allowing for that one bastard kid to enter the elephant arena and tease Dumbo. Security is not tight, so I’m guessing that it’d be fairly easy for a group of baby animals to escape.

dumboc

So now the animals are lost in the big city, and the major conflict is the baby animals dealing with their new freedom, but still trying to find the circus.

Isn’t that what this was about?

My main question about Dumbo II is this. How were they going to deal with the Crows? I’m not going to get too much into the Crows themselves in this post. I already addressed them a little bit in a previous post, and I’m currently writing a whole article about the controversy surrounding them. I won’t defend or condemn them in this post.

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But it is a fact  that they have a good deal of controversy about them. They have their fans, but they also have their criticizers. For those of you who haven’t seen Dumbo (who are you people, go see it!), Dumbo gets assistance from a murder of Crows. They are funny and helpful, and are basically the heroes of the film.

That’s right.  Heroes. Dumbo is cute, but is a baby and didn’t do much. Timothy tried to help Dumbo, but he actually made things worse. It was the Crows who suggested using psychology to get Dumbo to fly. So if they’re the heroes what’s the problem?

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They’re a group of jive talking Black stereotypes who are led by a crow who (although not called this in the film) was referred to Jim Crow in story production. While controversial now, they were in super strange way, progressive for their time (Show me a film from the 1940s where African Americans are the heroes, and are  shown as self confident and not dependent, intelligent and not stupid). These days Disney gets cited for being racist for having these characters in this films. So when it comes to Dumbo II, we run into a few problems.

The first option is to just ignore the existence of the Crows. Completely. Which I don’t like. They were such a big part of the first film, and Dumbo wouldn’t of gotten a happy ending without them.

The second option is to have the Crows in Dumbo II. But then it gets iffy, because while having jive-talking hipster crow was acceptable in the 1940s, it definitely isn’t savvy with our standards now.  South Park or Family Guy could get away with having characters like this, but I assure you people would get upset if Disney tried to pull this again. Generally, I find that people are forgiving of the Crows because they were products of the 1940s. But it wouldn’t fly now.

dumbooo7

Remember Princess and the Frog? People got all upset because the heroine was to be Maddie, an African American housemaid. Maddie was seen too close to “Mammy”, and her occupation was offensive as well. So Maddie the housemaid became Tiana the waitress. They made the film more PC because of criticism  which I’m not complaining about. I liked Tiana, and having her as a waitress/cook contributed to the story. Disney is very sensitive to how they portray race and gender in films these days. So it’s no question that if the Crows were in the film, they would of been made politically correct. And I’m very interested to see what that would of been like.

Although we don’t know for sure, I think (and hope) that the crows would of been in this film. They made cameo appearance on The House of Mouse. They also appear sometimes in merchandising, such as children books and pins. (I’m a Disney pin trader, and I actually have a Crow pin).

Remember what I said earlier about Disney being more PC? The crows’ grammar certainly improved.

——————————

So what happened to Dumbo II? This happened:

John Lasseter!

When John Lasseter became the Creative Director for Disney, he put a stop to all Disney sequels. Because instead of introducing children to the classics like intended, the sequels often tarnished the spirit of the original films. And it’s not surprising that Lasseter wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to his favorite film.

So my final consensus on Dumbo II? I’m intrigued, very intrigued. I wish that we would know more information about this film, that’s for sure. But I’m a “purist” when it comes to Disney films. And I’ve never been impressed by a Disney sequel that wasn’t canon. And I’m a huge fan of the original Dumbo, and I’m certain it could never come close to the original. Also I think this sequel specifically appealed to small children and parents. The getting separated from parents is an archetypal fear for children, and  each of the new animal friends was based of a phase of child development. So it’s very relatable for children, and I’m sure parents would think that is interesting as well. But besides that, I don’t see this film reaching out to other demographics.

I want to know what you think! Feel free to make a comment on what you think of the plot, the new characters, and the crow situation. Thank you for reading!