The Three Caballeros is another of the few Disney films on my list that I haven’t seen before, so I didn’t really know what to expect going in. What I knew of the premise, Donald Duck getting a tour of Latin America, didn’t sound especially promising, and the first part of the film gave me little hope, but a strong second half made the experience a pleasant surprise.…
I’m fairly, but not entirely, sure I saw Fantasia as a child; however, I have almost no recollection of it, so going into this film I had very little idea of what to expect. Having seen it now, it’s easily my favourite Disney film yet, which shouldn’t surprise those who’ve read my thoughts on animation in general because Fantasia is easily Disney’s most experimental work outside of Dumbo‘s pink elephants. Its seven shorts, each introduced by a live-action presenter with the whole film bookended by an orchestra setting up, are set to classical music and each intended to complement that music. They vary wildly in style, from abstract to fairly traditional. They also vary in how much they draw in one’s interest, and the film may have benefited from cutting out one or two.…
When I was a child, Dumbo was possibly my least favourite Disney film, so I wasn’t much looking forward to this one except for one particular scene. I’m not sure why I didn’t care for it. I possibly just didn’t like the elephants, Dumbo included; the gossipers are intended to be annoying, and the animators succeeded there. As a child I also didn’t connect much to the mother/son relationship, which, being the whole point of the film, is rather critical.
Watching it now, I’ll again applaud the quality of the animation, though if there’s any change in quality between this film and Pinocchio it’s marginal. It has lots of bright, primary colours, even compared to Snow White and Pinocchio, especially in the character designs, which fits the circus setting, and the backgrounds are again detailed and generally softer-coloured.…
So, after a brief delay the Uncle Walt-a-thon continues, this time with Pinocchio. Like Snow White, it’s a technically impressive film with the art, animation, and music. The character art, in particular, improved noticeably. In the older film, characters sometimes stood out against the background due to a simpler colour palette and less texture, like they were obviously animated separately from the environment they were in. Here, that wasn’t a problem at all.
I mentioned last time that Snow White is almost an animation showcase, but Pinocchio is much more story-oriented. It ain’t Les Miserables, obviously, but a lot actually does happen in this film, along with legitimate character growth, which makes it more interesting and satisfying than Snow White. I will say, though, that the Stromboli and Pleasure Island segments are a lot creepier to me now that I’m old enough to know what “human trafficking” is.
Another thing that didn’t occur to me as a child is that Jiminy Cricket is totally useless through the whole movie. I’m pretty sure the only reason he got to be Pinocchio’s conscience to begin with was that the fairy found him amusing, and decided to humour him.
Finally, something I did notice as a child is that they use the word “jackass,” which is pretty cool for a kids’ movie, but it helps drive home the main point, namely, a boy who isn’t good may as well be made out of wood, and if you really act like a jackass – you might just turn into one!
This past weekend, I started an Uncle Walt-a-thon. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be watching every major animated Walt Disney film. First up was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Overall, it was quite good, primarily as an animation showpiece. The background art was done with a soft colour palette, similar to water colours, which gives it a childlike, storybook feel. It reminds me somewhat of last year’s Wandering Son. There’s also a nice variety in the settings; the evil queen’s castle, the dark part of the forest, the dwarves’ cottage, and the mine all have their own colour schemes and very different atmospheres. The character animation was very fluid – this show has almost constant movement, which modern animation often lacks (granted, this applies mostly to TV shows).
The plot can be explained in its entirety in under two minutes, but plot seems to be mostly beside the point. The ending, for example, is nothing more than the prince, who doesn’t even have a name, just showing up, kissing Snow White to bring her back to life, and the two of them riding off. Instead, we mostly just get a sequence of individual scenes, usually with music and singing. It’s all well directed, the songs are catchy, and the simple humour makes it a “family film” in the best sense of the phrase.
On a side note, I’d like to say that Grumpy is the best dwarf, by far. Mainly because he’s the only one to ask the obvious questions, like “Who is this girl to boss us around in our own house? What’s she doing here in the first place? Isn’t it kinda risky to hide someone a powerful witch desperately wants to kill?”