Review? The Sword in The Stone

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

The Sword in the Stone is the story of Arthur becoming King of England.  We begin with the death of the King, leaving no heir and a sword inside an anvil awaiting the right wise King to pull it out. Without no king, England falls into the Dark Ages. The audience meets an orphan boy, Arthur hunting with his foster brother. He is treated poorly by those who care for him and is scrawny and shoved aside. Despite the disgust he gets from his adoptive family, Arthur is eager to please and therefore, retrieves an arrow – meeting the wizard, Merlin. Merlin has seen the future and offers to be Arthur’s tutor. Merlin convinces his family to teach Arthur, while they focus on training the oldest son for the jousting contest to decide the next King of England.  Merlin first teaches Arthur about physics, but also how to rely on intellect over brawn to overcome situations. Arthur tells his adoptive father about the events of the day but is punished due to his disbelief. Merlin enchants his chore to take Arthur on another lesson. He teaches this time about looking before you leap. After the lesson, Merlin is accused of black magic and Arthur loses his right to squire his older brother at the jousting event.  Now being taught full-time by Merlin, Arthur dreams of flying and is transformed into a sparrow. However, he is attacked by a hawk and falls into the hands of Madam Mim who uses black magic and trickery.  She challenges Merlin to a wizard duel and cheats – but Merlin wins using knowledge over strength.  Due to a series of events, Arthur becomes the squire of his brother again; infuriating Merlin leaving the wizard to abandon him. During the contest, Arthur forgets his brother’s sword and pulls out the one from the anvil. Bringing it to the tournament, they recognize it and place it back – trying to disprove that Arthur was capable of doing it. Many try to pull it again and after Arthur attempts again, he is hailed the King.  Overwhelmed, Merlin returns to him and leads Arthur to his bright future.

Opinions

Internet opinions do not favour the Sword in the Stone highly. I can get why – it is the legend of King Arthur. Does this film do the story justice? Probably not. Does the story introduce kids to several moments in History? Yes – at most it will start a conversation and a history lesson. Heck, I think anyone wants a movie to start a topic with their kids or be able to introduce them to things in history. That’s why we have movies about the Wars and historic people so it is always in the mind of the youth. Is this a bad adaption of King Arthur? Probably. Do I hate on it? No way. It’s a whole bunch of nonsense, no corresponding scenes threaded together to make a movie but it is fun. If you don’t like one tone for very long, this is the movie for you. It is constantly shifting tones, adding sprinkles of humour at every bit. I love the “lessons” – this film actually focuses on giving core teachings to both the protagonist and the audience. Arthur grows a person – he takes interest in these things but also capable of standing up for himself at the end. He defies Merlin and says how important it is for him to do something for his family. This is the family who don’t treat him with any shade of kindness and yet, Arthur still adores and seeks their approval. He knows he has to work hard – by doing the dishes, and pay his dues. This core magnifies Merlin’s lessons. Plus, it introduces us to Archimedes. By far, one of the best owl characters since Bambi.  I think there was a period where most Disney films feature owls. I like this movie despite its flaws because it tries to have a good heart and message. It takes a source material with a light tone. While it might be the best telling of the story, it is a favourite of mine.

Lessons learned

  • Brain over Brawn – He is taught this twice in the film.  Arthur must use his wits to outsmart his adversity in the fish scene. He learns that not always strength will get you out of a situation. Arthur also see how to use your intellect to your advantage against someone who will take all the opportunities to be better than you. Madame Mi cheats, she lies and she thinks she is clever. Her confidence and shallow pride is her downfall. We learn that using your intellectual and knowledge against someone’s own flaws can outsmart then. She is so confidence and Merlin uses that pride against her. In this note, we also learn that “brawn” should be used in times when work is required of you.
  • Don’t try to use the easy way out of situations.  Following on from the top lesson, Merlin’s pride in his intellectual leads to Arthur’s downfall as well. Arthur’s willingness to do this dishes by hard work is undermine by Merlin’s enchantment. For failing to do his work, he is punished and loses something important to him. Arthur learns that if you want something or something is required of you, you can’t take shortcuts. You have to put in the effort and the work. His older brother puts in the training to become a jousting champion. Hard work can pay off and you need to know your responsibilities. Mi’s cheating is also the “easy” way out which leads to her defeat. It pays to serve your dues.
  • Look before you leap –  Arthur learns that he needs to think before he acts. He learns this by standing up for himself and being a squirrel. He defies Merlin (speaking without thinking), losing his companion. He also learns that charming the lady squirrel (doing without thinking) has consequences. You have to be careful of your actions and be prepared to face the fallout of them.

Fun Facts:

  • Based on The Sword in The Stone by T.H White
  • Arthur was voiced by three actors, leading to noticeable changes of voices between scenes.
  • The final animated film to be released before Walt Disney’s death
  • Sixth highest grossing film of 1963

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 7.5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 6/10 for overall era
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Review? 101 Dalmatians

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

One Hundred and One Dalmatians starts with two lonely bachelors, Roger and his dog Pongo. Pongo longs for a mate and tries to set up his owner with Anita and her dog Perdita. Through a series of incidents, the two meet at the park, get tied together by their dogs and find love. Later on, Perdita gives birth to a litter of fifteen puppies and the family is visited by crazed fashionista Cruella De Vil. She offers to buy the dogs with the secret intention of turning them into a coat. When she is refused, she hires two men to steal the puppies. The Scotland Yard fails to find them, leaving it to the parents to use their connections. Eventually, a sheepdog, a horse and a cat track the puppies back to Cruella de Vil’s place.  Learning the horror truth of their future, the parents Pongo and Perdita come to the rescue.  Their friends assist with the escape – they soon realise that there are 101 puppies in total including their own. Willingly adopting all the puppies, they try to get back home. However, the dogs face the threat of the chase and the weather. As they try to get back to London in a moving van, Cruella and her henchmen give a rage filled chase. To their luck, they crash and become abandoned, letting the dogs escape successfully. Pongo, Perdita and the 101 puppies return home and Roger and Anita decide to keep all of them.

Opinions

One Hundred and One Dalmatians is a movie I want to love. Reflecting upon it before seeing it, I remember enjoying the song “Cruella De Vil” which is honestly one of those rememberable villain songs. I remember loving the puppies and the cuteness. However, after revisiting this film as an adult, I realise how much of this film is dead air. It has cute moments and one of my favourite all-time couple meetings. Yet, the story isn’t that great. This film sort of just happens and we never really get the great set-up or pay-off needed. As soon as the puppies are born, there is just an adversity. It comes out of nowhere and apart from her fashion desires, it means Cruella doesn’t make much of an antagonist. In saying this, this doesn’t mean I don’t like the film. It’s just a bit forgettable and therefore suffers from leaving any impressions on the audience. I believe the remake in 1996 was a lot better and did add a lot more “family” feel good to the story. The one interesting thing about 101 Dalmatians is how much of a backseat both Roger and Anita take to the story. Their relationship is completely developed off-screen and therefore we look solely from the perspective of the dogs. I enjoy and dislike this. The opening scene with Pongo surveying woman is both fascinating and amusing. It kind of gives an insight into the dog’s world.  But this time spent with the dogs means we lack any understanding why these would be the kind of people to adopt 101 dogs.  This film has one hell of a good song and not much else going for it.

The weird things

  • Who the heck wants to steal dogs, skin them and wear their fur as a coat? The fur on a Dalmatian is not particularly thick. It seems it would mostly be a skin coat which is creepier…Also, if she was willingly to do this, what the heck has she done in the past?
  • Not a note about this film – but watch The Simpson parody of this. “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”. It is excellent and also has some great music!

Fun Facts:

  • Based upon the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.
  • The film uses Xerox photography to aid in animation. This technique saved money and time.
  • The film features 6,469,952 spots in total
  • The film only features three songs.
  • There is cameos of Peg from Lady and The Tramp in the pet store.

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in the DVD collection
  • 6.5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 5.5/10 for overall era

Review? Sleeping Beauty

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Sleeping Beauty tells the story of a princess cursed by her parent’s foolishness. We begin the story with the birth of the new Princess, Aurora and the proclamation of a new holiday for all the kingdom to attend.  Among the guests are three fairies, blessing the child with gifts of song and beauty. However, before the last fairy can gift the child, an evil fairy Maleficent appears to the shock of all. Unwanted and cast aside, Maleficent curse the child will touch a spindle and die on her sixteenth birthday.  Horrified, the fairies attempt to break the curse but are unable to but the last fairy, Merryweather softens it so Aurora will fall into a slumber and can only be awaken by true love’s kiss. The king orders the burning of all spinning wheels and they hide their daughter with the fairies in woods.  Years later, we are introduced to the Princess renamed Briar Rose, living with her three peasant ladies (the fairies). She goes to collect some berries so the fairies can arrange a surprise party and begins to sing, capturing the attention of the Prince.  They fall in love and he asks to meet her family. Meanwhile the fairies, unable to use magic, create a mess and resort to using their wands. While arguing over the colour of a dress, magic sparks draw the attention of Maleficent’s raven and reveals her location. Briar Rose returns to declare her happiness, only to learn about her royal heritage and return to the castle. Returning to her castle, Aurora is drawn by Maleficent to touch the enchanted spinning wheel and fall into slumber. In the meantime, Prince Phillip kidnapped by Maleficent learns that the girl he fell in love with is the princess and he will be locked away until he is old. The fairies release him, arming him with Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue to stop Maleficent.  He succeeds in killing the dragon turned Maleficent and awakens Aurora, including all in the castle with a kiss.  The couple waltz away with an array of changing dress colours.

Opinions

Sleeping Beauty’s strength rely on a compelling, mysterious and downright dangerous villain. Maleficent is excellent from her brief moments on screen. She is captivating and intriguing. She exudes evil from her introduction in the castle to her end. She is cruel and you love how truly wicked she really is. Sleeping Beauty creates fascinating and charming side characters. The three fairies have distinct personalities and their interactions are both humorous but filled with heart. These characters give to life to a film that would otherwise be dull. Aurora is a filler character. She doesn’t do a lot except for what she has to. She is more passed around to avoid the curse. We spend so little on screen time with her that when she is cursed, we really miss the impact of it. The scene of Aurora being led to the curse is more interesting than her being in a deep slumber.  The action lies mostly with Prince Phillip and his defeat of Maleficent. It feels less a Princess story and more as story of valiant courage.  The main princess suffers under-development, outshone by better sidekicks. You remember this movie for Maleficent and the arguing of the three fairies over the dress colour. Everything else fades into the background. I love Sleeping Beauty for its rich and detailed backgrounds. It has bold choices and it is an enchanting film. You don’t love it for its love story but the laughs and horror contained within each scene.  However, one thing I do like that other Princess films didn’t do, is how the two love interests already have a history before their meeting again.

The weird things

  • The instant love – Oh, this is a common trope I’ll be driving home. They met, they dance and he is ready to throw his kingdom’s entire agreement for a pleasant girl. However, in saying these things – I actually have the least issues with their relationships. While the instant kiss of true love is a far reach. Prince Phillip willingly decided to throw aside his requirements of a kingdom for a pleasant girl. A girl beneath his stature. This means he was willing to look pass his duties and truly love someone for what they are – not what he had to do. This is interesting character. Furthermore, his willingness to meet her family and commitment instantly was a nice flare and touch. It grounds his character into reality.
  • Oh, but you had sixteen years to learn! The fairies are honestly my favourite thing about this film…But, they had 16 years to learn how to cook, clean and sow. They seem to doing a diet of no magic for so well, so long and then all the sudden, they have to rely on them. How the heck did they raise that baby? How is it even alive? They seem kind of thick.

My last thoughts

While it is interesting that this is the last Princess film for 30 years before the Little Mermaid. It doesn’t feel like it was the film that killed the Princess genre. It was a very good film. While not the “perfect” princess formula – it did create interesting side characters. It hit the right notes with the villain. It lacks the motive, morals and catchy songs of later “Princess” films. You can see how the beginnings of that formula happened in this film.

Fun Facts:

  • Based on The Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault
  • The last Disney adaptation of a fairy tale because of its initial mixed reception and under performance at the box office. The studio did not return to the genre until 30 years later with The Little Mermaid.
  • First animated film to be photographed in the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process.
  • Prince Phillip was the first Prince to have a name after the two Princes are never named in the films.
  • Sleeping Beauty made 5.3 million during its initial release against their 6 million production costs.
  • The film resulted the company in posting its first annual loss and there were layoffs in the animation department.

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in DVD Collection
  • 8/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 8/10 for overall era

Review? Lady and The Tramp

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Lady and the Tramp tells the classic story of two different classes falling in love despite their differences. We begin the tale with the gifting of Lady, a cocker spaniel to her owners.  She enjoys a lavish and happy lifestyle, befriending neighborhood dogs until her owners start treating her differently. While learning why, Tramp is introduced to Lady’s life – a stray mongrel, always on the run from the dog catcher and living off scraps. He tells her the horrors of the upcoming baby arrival and tells Lady that she should expect to lose her place in the household. However, after the baby arrives, dog and infant bond easily. One day, left in the care of her owner’s aunt and her trouble-making cats, the cats trick the aunt into thinking Lady has attacked them. She buys Lady a muzzle, freaking out the dog and she flees, getting pursued by a trio of stray dogs. Tramp comes to her aid and they share a night together. Eventually Lady is taken by a dogcatcher and meets with Tramp’s crowd of dogs who claim he is no good.  She is taken home and when Tramp comes to apologise, she is too angry to care.  In the meantime, a rat enters the house and the two dogs try to kill the rat before it hurts the baby. Tramp knocks the crib and is seen as a wild dog, with the Aunt calling the pound and locking Lady away. Lady’s owners come home, releasing Lady and allowing her to show them the rat. Lady’s friends help rescue Tramp from the dog catcher. Tramp becomes a part of their family with Lady and him having their own puppies.

Opinions

I like Lady and the Tramp. Some like to say this film is dull or boring because nothing really happens. Yes, it is slow and it takes a while before the action builds up. But, it is beautiful to look at. The artwork and backgrounds of this movie feature almost a watercolour tone. Meanwhile, we are given the most iconic scene with the two dogs sharing a romantic dinner together. Is this the most realistic movie? No, but it has a sweet center. It tells a very classic story of two different personalities finding common group. The nice thing of this story is the growth in Tramp, more than Lady. Lady is a cute dog but she doesn’t serve much purpose. Tramp, however, is consistently redeeming his mongrel personality with kind and brave acts. When we are originally introduced to Tramp, he is rescuing his friends from the dog pound. He fights off the strays for Lady, frees her of her muzzle and kills the rat. They give him a lot of courage and bravery. However, he does also come off wayward and easily distracted. He is not always there for both his friends and Lady. I like this film because they tell the story well and with ease. While the beginning struggles to create any momentum, it does end on a high note. The film highlights humour, swagger and classic with an artistic flourish.  It’s not the best Disney film, but trust me – watch the opening gifting scene and you will fall in love with all the cuteness.

The weird things

  • How stereotypical racist can the two cats be? They are even called Si and Am. Their styles and portrays are so on the nose. However, in saying that, watching their introduction makes me laugh. The stereotypes hurt and sure, this will probably be very offensive to some people….But I take it with a grain of salt and just laugh at the outright ridiculous of the whole thing. If you are not easily offended, check out The Siamese Cat Song from this film….It’s pretty much the most racist Asian stereotypes you will ever experience. You can tell this film is from a completely different era.
  • Can we sit and talk about how’s Lady motivation for her dislike to Tramp is due to him…well, being a “Tramp”. Ironically, we use this word to dismiss and degrade woman. In this film, the “Tramp” is actually supposed to symbolise the fact that the dog is a vagabond who is a person who has no settled home. But watching this film now with the word shifting so much in culture, it gives a different meaning to this film. There is even a scene devoted to claim how many girlfriends he has had – making him what the modern use of “Tramp” is.  Can we attribute this film to shifting the meaning?!
  • The dog in the present box. I have seen this time and time again. I don’t know about you, but this is like dogs in sweaters – it seems almost so cruel.

Fun Facts:

  • Based on the story Happy Dan, The Whistling Dog by Ward Green
  • Joe Grant came up with the idea inspired by his dog and how she got shoved aside when they had a new baby.
  • The film’s opening sequence is inspired by an incident where Walt Disney presented his wife with a Chow puppy in a hat box.
  • Greene wrote a novelization of the film two years before the film, due to Disney’s insistence to get audiences to be familiar with the story.
  • Originally Disney was prepared to cut the spaghetti scene thinking it was not romantic enough and would look silly. It remained because Frank Thom animated the entire scene.
  • The first animated film done in CinemaScope.
  • Made 7.5million dollars during its 1955 release in the North American box office.
  • It was originally panned by critics saying the dogs had dimensions of hippos.

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 6.5/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 6/10 for overall era

Review? Peter Pan

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Peter Pan is the story of a boy who never grows up. The film begins with the Darling children parents being late for a party. They become annoyed about the stories their eldest daughter, Wendy has been telling her brothers about Pan and pirates. Declaring they must start to grow up and leaving in a rush, the children are distraught. Peter plays them a visit with his pixie, Tinkerbell and whisks them away to Neverland.  The terrifying Hook is on the lookout for Peter, aching for revenge over his lost hand and is hunted by a tickling crocodile.  When they return, Tink full of jealousy over Wendy order the lost boys to shot down her. Peter banishes her and the boys run off to find the island’s Indians.  Meanwhile, Peter takes Wendy to see the mermaids and see Smee and Hook have captured the chief’s daughter, Tiger Lily. Rescuing her, Pan is honored. Hook takes advantage of Tink’s jealousy and tricks her into revealing the location of Pan’s hideout. As the Darling children grow homesick, they request to go home, wishing to take all of them back with them. Afraid of growing up, he refuses and they leave only to be captured.  Hook leaves a bomb but Tink learns of the plan and rescues Pan. They go and rescue the children with Pan combatting Hook, defeating him and flying the ship home.  They are later found by their parents and have softened slightly about them growing up.

Opinions

Peter Pan is an innocent and simple film. It has a nice nature storyline that flows easily and the pacing is good. There is not one single dull moment and there are enough entertaining capturing characters for everybody. However, in saying this, I don’t really like Peter Pan. I have seen the source material adapted way better than this with deeper messages and a real transformation in all the characters. The film is too basic and too short to really touch upon any of those key moments. When it does, it feels too fake. I don’t like Tink – she is unsympathetic character and so is Pan. They are all a little too cliché and I am tainted by other adaptions to truly enjoy this film. It has one song you remember and the rest is a bit bland. The art style and animation is crisp and beautiful but everything else is a bore. This film doesn’t really stick out for me and I find myself always a little bored by the amazing adventure. There is no real thrills or laughs. It’s a very average movie.

The weird things

  • The Indian’s portrayal – Oh I realise that Disney has commit the race related stereotypes before but this film they are so obvious and so in your face. The boys want to hunt them like wild animals. They speak/sing of themselves in a somewhat detrimental way. They are very much stereotypes and the vibe that the film gives you is that they are somehow wild and unruly and that Pan is a legend for surviving on an island with them.
  • Just follow a stranger to somewhere and you’ll be fine – Yep.

Lessons Learned

  • Let your children have a childhood – I feel while it would be easy to say “it is all about growing up” – it’s not that simple. Yes, the Darling children do grow up in the way they don’t want to play pretend forever, or live in Neverland away from their parents. But the parents also realise that they are children and they should share stories, have fun and be children. It’s embracing both taking responsibility as a child but also knowing that it is okay to have fun and live in an ideal world.
  • Revenge never pays and don’t let it consume you – Both Hook and Tink go through a similar arch, with only Tink being able to get pass it. Hook is consumed by his revenge and jealousy so much he lost a hand. Tink was consumed by her jealousy that she lost her friend, betrayed him and almost killed him. She had to sacrifice her own life to try and make amends. This teaches that jealousy and vengeance are consuming habits that you will make sacrifices for.

Fun Facts:

  • Based on the play by J.M Barrie
  • The final film to be released through RKO before Walt Disney founded Buena Vista.
  • Originally intended to be the second film after Snow White but he couldn’t get the rights.
  • Peter Pan has been seen as racist due to its portrayal of Native Americans. They are displayed as wild, savage, violent and speak in a stereotypical fashion. The boys try to even hunt them as wild animals.  However, these stereotypes also present in the play.
  • Earned $7 million against its $4millon dollar budget.

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 3/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 5/10 for overall era

Review? Alice in Wonderland

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

Alice In Wonderland follows the story of a girl who follows a rushing rabbit down a rabbit hole and embarks on a one-of-a-kind adventure.  Accompanying her sister to the riverbank, Alice is bored by lessons and becomes distracted by a white rabbit. Curious, she follows it down a hole and ends up in a room, watching the rabbit disappear behind a tiny door. She is advised to shrink and drinks from a bottle. Unfortunately shrinking too small, she eats a biscuit and becomes too large. Upset and drinking the bottle again, Alice is swept through the door by her tears.  Alice sets on her way to find the rabbit and crosses the paths of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Told a cautionary tale, Alice leaves and comes across the rabbit’s house. He mistakes her for the housemaid and sends Alice to retrieve his gloves. However unable to resist, she eats another cookie and grows too large for the house. They try to burn down the house to get rid of Alice but she escapes and becomes distressed about her tiny stature.  Alice meets a caterpillar who advises her to eat either side of a mushroom and she returns back to normal to continue her journey. In the woods, she meets a Cheshire Cat who advises her to visit the Mad Hatter.  Arriving, the Mad Hatter and his friends are celebrating an unbirthday. The rabbit shows up and has his watch destroyed. Fed up with the nonsense, Alice tries to go home but is lost. Following the advice of the Cheshire Cat again, she takes the shortcut to the Queen’s castle.  Alice meets the Queen who beheads playing cards for planting the wrong type of roses and plays a game of croquet.  After the Cheshire cat plays a trick on the Queen, Alice is arrested and put on trial. Chaos ensues during the trial until Alice grows big again, insulting the Queen.  They order her execution and she flees, finally stumbling upon the door from the beginning at the movie. She realizes she has been sleeping this entire time, wakes up and leaves to go home for tea.

Opinions

Alice is a strange movie. It is no surprise that people who participate in illegal substance use like this film. It is bright, colourful and has no consistency from scene to scene. I struggle to watch this movie. It is so clunky, suffering from pacing issues and jumping around with no real plot. You are stuck with a bland character enduring the insanity. The biggest problem for this movie is there is too many going on all the time.  You can barely digest one scene before you are onto the next bit. This means all the characters suffer from extreme traits. The rabbit is always rushing – does he do anything else? The Mad Hatter is just mad and annoying. The Queen is just boisterous and loud. Alice is just curious. I find that I lack sympathy for her character and I don’t particularly relate to her journey. To me, there is no real take away mess other than don’t mess with that you don’t know what will do.  This film is a bright, loud and colourful trip that makes little sense. There is no plot holding the remnants of each scene together.  One scene to another don’t really fit together to tell anything of importance and this hurts the film. I said I struggle because this movie is such an overload to the sensory, you can’t latch onto anything.  As a person who hasn’t read the tales but seen various attempts of the material – this is not the best adaption. It adds no strengths to the characters, their arches or the stories morals. The best thing about this film is in the style it is animated. Without all these graphic visuals, detailed in a bold style, there wouldn’t be anything about Alice to remain in the imagination…maybe except the headache.

The weird things

  • Just eat the random food. Just drink the random liquid. It’s fine, you’ll be good! Ha, the “subtle” hits at drug use in this movie is rampant. While I’m not saying that is the intention of the novel. The whole “just eat whatever a stranger tells you” is not a great message to be teaching your kinds.

Lessons Learned

  • Be curious – Curiosity while not necessarily being represented in a great way in this film is a good thing. Be curious and obtain a certain joy/wonder about the world. Question things and be ready to explore. Take a new path.
  • Be Careful about the advice of strangers and their goods – Alice is often given misleading advice and items that both help and hinder her. She has to use her wits to try and get the right result from the tools handed to her. This means you won’t always be given the exact answer but if you use your skills, you get an answer you need.

Fun Facts

  • Based on the Alice books written by Lewis Carroll
  • Walt Disney initially tried to make Alice into an animated film during the 1930s
  • Alice was originally intended to be a live action/animated film
  • The creative direction of the film was criticised by Carrol, literary and British film fans for “americanizing” the work.
  • Earned 2.4million at the US box office during initial release
  • Disney felt the film failed because there was no warmth in Alice’s character.
  • During the late 1960s – early 1970s, the film rediscovered popularity due to the association of Carrol’s work with the drug culture.

Verdict:

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 3/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 5/10 for overall era

Review? Cinderella

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SPOILERS

What is it about?

The second princess outing from the Walt Disney Company. Cinderella is the story of a kind and resilient woman under the care of her stepmother, after her parents have passed.  Her stepmother, Lady Tremaine cares for her own children’s prospects more than Cinderella’s and forces her to work as a scullery maid. Despite this, Cinderella is gentle and friends to all mice and birds. One day, the castle announces a grand  ball will be taking place for the Prince and all the eligible maidens can attend. Cinderella is excited that she will be allowed to attend as long as she can make a dress and finish all her chores. Unable to, her  mice friends finish her dress and surprise Cinderella. Enraged with her success, her step-sisters tore her dresses to shreds and go off to attend the ball. In tears, Cinderella goes into the garden and her Fairy Godmother appears, granting her wishes on the condition it disappears at midnight. Meanwhile, at the ball, the Prince rejects all girls until seeing Cinderella and dances with her. They fall in love and are about to kiss when the clock strikes midnight. She flees, leaving only her glass slipper.  The King pleased that his son wishes to marry the mysterious girl sends out a proclamation that every girl will try on the slipper.  Lady Tremaine is suspicious of Cinderella after she hums the song at the ball and locks her up in attempts to keep her from marrying the Prince. Her mouse friends steal the keys and break Cinderella free.  She asks to try the slipper but her stepmother breaks it. However, Cinderella presents the other slipper and it fits, leading the Prince and her to get married.

Opinions

Cinderella is a charming and enchanting fairy-tale that improves in areas where Snow White lacked, but still has some shallow plot points. This film could be so easily boring up until the catalyst point where the ball happens. However, it is not. We get a lot of sweet and cute moments in the beginning of this movie. It does well to establish Cinder’s caring and kind personality while establishing clearly her relationships with her sisters and mother. While her step-mother lacks motive unlike the Evil Queen, it builds a good dynamic and makes you see the clear lines of evil/good in the movie. In saying this, we build and build to the ball and when it happens, it is short lived. Not only in the romance is this movie quick but so is a lot of the ball. We barely get a couple of verses of “so this is love” before midnight happens. Cinderella does well in its side characters and gives a lot of personality to both the mice and the cat. This makes it light and adds a tone of humour to the film.

It is important to note while Cinderella dreams of better life and maybe romance, when she wants to go to the ball – it is not with the intention of being with the prince. I like this idea because it makes the character feel more independent and strong over Snow White’s characteristics. Despite her life and boundaries, she is hopeful she can attend and she wants attend because she wants to go to the party.  Therefore the romance is the film suffers and feels more like an addition on at the last moment, then a real plot point of the story. In a modern retelling it would be almost more interesting if she didn’t get with anyone and decide to have independence. However, her marrying the prince and getting out of her stepmother’s shadow is sort of that concept. It is worth remembering there were times in history where a woman being married off was a form of independence or ownership or trade. Depends on how you want to look at it.

I love the mice characters and the cat. Their rivalry is more solid than the hatred from Lady Tremaine. We lack so much understanding of her motives that it makes difficult to see why she does what she does. We can say she favoured her own children or she was jealous of Cinder’s beauty but we never really get a solid reasoning. This makes Lady Tremaine actions feel vindictive without purpose which doesn’t make her frightening but more weaken. It seems, to me, she is almost too easy to overcome and she doesn’t really pose  much adversity.

The Weird Things

  • I see her, I dance with her and I am often to marry her – The whole relationship with the prince and her is shallow. I can only assume it was her beauty that got him intrigued and their whole marrying immediately is not only rushed but so obscure. He barely knows anything about her. This is not that different from Snow White but is definitely less creepy.
  • Why does she even have a Fairy Godmother? Seriously who knows why. You can say it is due to her kindness and life of misery…but I’m so confused as into why this exist. The whole story is non-magical until this point and is really out of context.
  • Cinderella is kinda of lazy – she gets all her friends to help with her chores…and mice can’t sow, but we wish we lived this kind of fantasy.

Lessons Learned

  • Be kind and caring to all; it will earn you help in the end. Cinderella’s kindness to creatures and in general not only gets her dress made but a fairy godmother.
  • When you want something – try to get it. Cinderella works to attend the ball. She does all her chores. She is courageous to ask for it and she is fearless.

My Last Thoughts

I feel that Cinderella exudes courage, independence and kindness. I particularly like the fact she never really, well to me, seemed like she was after the prince and more wanting to just attend the ball. It’s a real moment of bravery and shows the character had independence to ask for what she wanted, work for it and try and get it.  I also can remember at least two songs from this film and the soundtrack is more impressible.

Fun Facts

  • During World War 2, Walt Disney’s company was $4 million in debt and on the verge  of bankruptcy.
  • Considered to be one of the best American animated films ever made, as selected by the American Film Institute
  • Received three Academy Award nominations.
  • There is a 2015 live action remake starring Lily Collins, directed by Kenneth Branagh

Verdict

  • Movie will be kept in DVD collection
  • 7/10 for personal enjoyment
  • 7.5/ 10 for overall era