Monday, December 20, 2010

Disney Darlings, Part One

Oh wow. TWO WEEKS.

I. Am. Sorry.

I really have nothing in the way of excuses, just ... ya know, life. Got in the way of stuff and has been generally very exhausting the past while.

The only free time I have had lately was Saturday just gone, when I spent much of the day curled up in bed in the fetal position feeling extremely sorry for myself and watching multiple Disney films. Sooo ... I decided why not create a nice long list of my favourites :-)


The Jungle Book

An absolute classic. Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, this was the last animated film Walt Disney himself ever oversaw. Bagheera the panther finds an abandoned baby boy in a wrecked boat, and delivers it to a family of wolves to be raised. Fat forward ten years, and Mowgli the 'man-cub' is happily frolicking with his canine companions, unaware that a tiger named Sher Khan wants Mowgli dead, based on his only previous experiences with humans; hunters. Bagheera and Mowgli's wolf family decided it would be for the best if Bagheera takes Mowgli back to the nearest village, but Mowgli runs away and befriends a bear named Baloo.
The musical score is particularly good work, with 'Bear Necessities' being a classic song that everybody knows. 'I Wanna Be Like You' pays tribute to the popular swing music of the time (and then feckin Katie Waissel butchered it to pieces), and most adults wearily taking their kids to see it will have gotten a kick out of the quartet of vultures, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the Beatles, if you didn't notice.. ;-)


The Lion King


Ahh now. I defy anyone to claim they did not enjoy this film! Not since Bambi have I cried so much at parental loss - damn you, Disney. Simba is the young cub of King Mufasa, who rules over the African plains with a gentle paw. Mufasa is loved by all the animals, while his bitter brother Scar lurks in the shadows plotting his downfall. Disney certainly don't shy away from the touchy subjects; Mufasa's cruel and untimely death, Simba being outcast, and several rather dark and scary scenes for young children; such as Scar's song and dance in his cave with his hyena minions, and his total determination to have Simba killed. Death, growing up, and finding oneself are all strong themes throughout. Seriously good tune-age include 'I Just Can't Wait to be King!', and, of course, 'Circle of Life'. Its rather like Hamlet, but with cute, cuddly animals. Win.




Pocahontas

Right, I know a LOT of critics ripped this one to shreds for a 'stereotypical' and cutesy view of Native Americans, but I don't care - loved it. I was about eight when I saw it, and clearly political undertones
washed right over me; all I wanted to do was run and play in nature and befriend a talking racoon. My mother literally had to coax me down out of trees after this one, and despite being a blue eyed blond child, I dressed up as a Native American for Halloween for about three years running. I don't care how 'twee' it might be, it tries feckin hard to show everyone that we can all get along; which, lets face it, is a simple thing to try and get across to your kids. The songs ain't half bad either. The only problem I had was that they did not end up together at the end - ok I know that's what actually happened in real life, but I - like every other young girl, I'm sure - honest to god thought that when she legged it up to the top of the mountain she was going to jump in and swim off to the boat to be with him.

And then she just stood there and WAVED. Ehh ... crying eight year old? Happy ending please?!



The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Ahh, another one that tries to teach us how we can all get along. I don't know why so many people roll their eyes a stuff like this; they're children's movies, it's probably one of the best things to teach them. Another Disney based on a novel (Victor Hugo's this time), it tells the story of a young gypsy woman named Esmerelda who befriends Quasimodo the hunchback. Quasi was abandoned on the steps of the Notre Dame Cathedral as a baby, and Judge Frollo took him in, but imprisoned him high up in the bell tower because of
how 'hiedeous' he looks. Esmerelda is down there dancing around and being a Romany barbie when she gets herself in a spot of bother, and Quasimodo saves her - and falls in love with her. The only part that gets a bit weird for kids is Frollo's love for Esmerelda; he is totally fascinated by her and basically lusts after her, but at the same time he hates her, and hates himself for loving her. Bit much for young uns to properly understand, it's be more of a job for the Criminal Minds team. This was another one that disappointed me with its ending, actually; Quasimodo can be friends with Esmerelda, but she would rather go off with Captain Phoebus. For all its faults though, its still one of my absolute favourites, and I went through a phase of wanting to be Esmerelda as well; I tied bells to everything I wore and drove everyone demented with them.


The Aristocats

A total gem that doesn't get nearly enough credit. Its a fairly simple plot; a lovely old Parisian lady intends on leaving her entire fortune to ... her cats. Next in line is the butler ... standing between him and a wealth of riches are a couple of helpless kitties. What's a guy to do, really? He stuffs them in a box and dumps them miles away, and the film tells the story of their journey home again. Mummy cat, Duchess, has no street smarts at all, but determinedly leads her three kittens home, befriending the charming Thomas O'Malley, the 'alley cat' along the way (you might recognise him as Baloo the bear...) O'Malley introduces Duchess and the kittens to his swingin' pals, a band of assorted animals who certainly play on the 'scat' genre of music. 'E'reybody Wants to be a Cat' is classic Disney brilliance, and the simplicity of the film is a credit to it.




Right lads, I'm not done but I'll leave it there for tonight. Part Two tomorrow!

3 comments:

  1. Love The Lion King!!! Never liked The Jungle Book tho!

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  2. I loove the Beatle vultures in the Jungle Book!
    Such a big kid I get a new Disney film every Christmas. This year is Beauty and the Beast. Too excited! <3

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  3. Me too, I got about three last year, was delighted with myself... I'm on the hunt for Lady and the Tramp though, I can't find it in shops anywhere!

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