font-family: 'Dancing Script', cursive;

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 21: The Great Mouse Detective

And you thought you liked Sherlock Holmes: We watch The Great Mouse Detective

1. What movie did you watch?
The Great Mouse Detective. The movie is based off of the book Basil of Baker Street, which itself is inspired by the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. The movie is filled with lines and references to Holmes and his adventures, including his methods of deduction and love of violin. After a string of successful live action movies and the disastrous release of the animated Black Cauldron, the successful release of this film convinced Disney management that the animation department was still viable and eventually led it into the Disney Renaissance of the 90s. Fun fact: there is a brief scene towards the beginning of the movie where we see the silhouettes of the actual Holmes and Watson and hear them having a conversation. The voice used for Sherlock is an earlier recording of Basil Rathbone, famous for portraying Holmes in film, sampled from a reading of The Adventure of the Red-Headed League. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I have seen it before, it was one of my favorites as a child- and I think I last saw it about two years ago.
Alexis: I remember watching it a lot as a kid because we owned it on VHS, but I haven't seen it since childhood.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: Honestly, it made me think a lot about Sherlock Holmes and how similar they truly are.

Alexis: It recalled memories of watching this movie on car trips. For some reason, my sister and I would usually choose to watch this one while we were on a road trip. Now, this was back in the days before iPads or even before cars had DVD players in them. My parents would strap a small, thick portable television between their front seats, and we would be able to watch VHS's during the long drives. Looking back this seems extremely unsafe, but it kept us completely entertained.

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: This used to be one of my favorites, and I still love it but definitely not as much as I used to. I think once you're an adult and are watching it, the movie becomes more of a game to find Easter eggs than to solve the (fairly simple) mystery. Although, the movie does leave a lot of logistical questions regarding Ratigan. Mainly, I need to know why Ratigan wants to be a mouse- are rats second class citizens or something????

 Plus, there are plenty of mildly inappropriate moments in such a short (only an hour 15 minutes) movie.

Alexis: I sincerely enjoyed it. Now, let it be known that I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I've read most of the novels and short stories, I love the Guy Ritchie films, and BBC Sherlock is one of my favorite television shows. Having not seen this movie since I was young, it was very fun to watch it as the Sherlock fan I am now. I loved catching the lines and references to Holmes canon, it was like a game! The movie is very cute overall, and although it is not seen as one of Disney's best, I think it provides 70 minutes of good fun.

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: I just love Toby and Olivia! They are so cute and great!

Alexis: I don't think I have a specific favorite part of this one. My favorite character is Basil, and I just love most things he does. I think he's a great and adorable tribute to Sherlock Holmes.

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: Clearly Buzzfeed disagrees with me,   

Alexis: We must leave you for now... the game is afoot!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 20: The Black Cauldron

Feel Bad for Us, We Watched The Black Cauldron

1. What movie did you watch?
The Black Cauldron. The film is based on the first two books of the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. The movie came about during a period of turmoil for the company. In 1979, star animator Don Bluth quit and took thirteen of his colleagues with him. During this period, the Disney company had appointed a new chairman, Jeffery Katzenberg, and due to his and Michael Eisner's new leadership the process of creating the animated feature films changed. Tighter schedules and lowered budgets are to blame for the difference in animation compared to earlier Disney films. The movie was a box office bomb, and only received positive reviews for its soundtrack, composed by Elmer Bernstein. In terms of animation, it was the first Disney animated feature to include the use of computer generated imagery, used to create the cauldron, and on certain scenes including magic. In 1985, the year of its release, it was the most expensive animated movie ever made. Fun fact: Tim Burton worked on this movie as a concept artist. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I'd only seen it once before and never again- with good reason.
Alexis: I watched it several times as a kid, but I don't know why because I was always terrified of it. I know we owned it on VHS but it was one of our least watched ones.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: I knew it was bad- but I didn't realize it was as horrible as it turned out to be.
Alexis: Memories of being terrified of it... I'm pretty sure I had nightmares.

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: In case you couldn't tell, I didn't enjoy it. Besides it being horribly scary for children, the animation was just sup-par comparatively and I didn't care about any of the characters. All the way around it was disappointing and just didn't feel like Disney!
Alexis: This movie is a literal piece of crap. The animation and the storytelling itself are just awful. The characters aren't developed, the story makes little sense, and even the voice acting sounds off. The whole movie feels like it drags on longer than it should. Also, was I watching a mangled, terrible, children's version of Lord of the Rings because that's kind of what it felt like. Except instead of a ring it's a cauldron and instead of a wizard we have a stupid magic pig. Also, Gurgi is clearly our Gollum character, except somehow more annoying. Overall what did I think of it? Awful.

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: The one thing I did appreciate is the moment when Gollum, I MEAN Gurgi, redeems himself by sacrificing himself and jumping into the cauldron.  And then the moment when they get him back and realize he is alive is kinda touching. ONLY KIND OF THOUGH, cause the animation through all of that is horrible.

Alexis: When the credits rolled.

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: Disney, why would betray me by making me watch this movie?????
Alexis: I will accept this movie as Disney canon only because its failure helped push the company into the Disney Renaissance.