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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 23: The Little Mermaid

 Life is the Bubbles! When we watch The Little Mermaid!

Disney Dream Portrait: Julianne Moore as Ariel and Michael Phelps as Merman (2008)

1. What movie did you watch?
The Little Mermaid. The film was released in 1989 and is based on the Danish fairytale by Hans Christian Anderson. It is well known for being the first movie of the Disney Renaissance, named because it was the era when Disney experienced a "creative resurgence in producing successful animated films based on well-known stories, which restored public and critical interest in The Walt Disney Company as a whole". The movie was written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music produced by Alan Menken, the team who worked on many of the movies of the next decade. It became the first animated hit for Disney since The Rescuers and received high critical praise. The movie's success allowed for the expansion of the Disney Animation department. Fun fact: The fun, flowing effect of Ariel's hair underwater was based on footage of astronaut Sally Ride in weightless conditions. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: This is a classic, so of course I've seen it before, but not since the summer- July or August, so it had been a while.
Alexis: It's actually been a little while for me, probably a year or two since I've seen it.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: It made me think of all the times I've been to Disney's California Adventure and gone on the Little Mermaid ride when I was tired and bored because it never has a line. And Ariel's hair is the actual worst on the animatronic, they tried to change it and fix it and still couldn't.
Also, Ursula's killer chins on that animatronic:
Lastly, it makes me think about Ursula on Once Upon a Time and her horrible horrible tentacles (also how they love to screw with these stories).

Alexis: Obviously it brought back memories of watching it as a kid. Seeing it also brought back memories of the original commercial for the movie on VHS. They had the preview on all of the other Disney Renaissance movies, so I used to see it every single time I watched one of those movies (which was a lot). It's just funny to me that I know certain lines so well because of that preview. 

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I loved it! Unsurprisingly it brought me right back to my childhood and it was just so much fun. Howard Ashman's work on this movie made it what it was and it is so impressive. Without him Sebastian would have been English, and "Part of your World" and "Under the Sea" wouldn't exist.

Alexis: Amazing, fun, classic. This movie is great, and it set the tone for so many other amazing Disney films that came after. The story is great, and all of the characters are so heartwarming and lovable! Then of course there's the songs, which are spectacular. Overall, it's a great film that really inspired the animation industry at the time, and I love it. 

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: Glen Keane's animation work on Ariel always amazes me. He was a big, goofy, guy and he drew her so delicately and so clearly understood her emotions. (Note: he also created and animated Rapunzel in Tangled and is still working with and without Disney.)

An Illustration of Keane and the Characters he Created

He recently made this and IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL:

Alexis: I think my favorite moment(s) are the musical numbers. The colorful animation paired with the amazing songs make them the most memorable part for me. I can't help but sing along to them all! 

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: I'm so happy we are officially in the Disney Renaissance.
Alexis: Oh Once Upon A Time and your weird adaptations! But anyways, yes I'm very excited to finally be in my favorite period of Disney movies.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 22: Oliver & Company

Why Should We Worry? We watch Oliver & Company!

1. What movie did you watch?
Oliver & Company. The film is inspired by Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, and takes the story and puts it in the context of 1980s New York City with animals instead of street kids. The movie was a commercial success and it lead Disney's senior vice president at the time to announce the company's plan to release animated features annually. It was the first Disney animated film to be musical since The Fox and the Hound, and it convinced the company to return to a musical format for its movies (which it did for the next decade, the Disney Renaissance). Fun fact: Oliver and Company was the first Disney movie to use real-world advertised products, such as Coca Cola and USA Today. They were seen in the Times Square scene in the second half of the movie, and they were not paid product placement ads, but were put there by the animators to make the location look realistic. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I haven't seen it since I was very young, probably elementary school age.
Alexis: I've only seen this movie once all the way through, and it was a very long time ago. This was one of the few Disney movies we didn't own on VHS so I really didn't watch it at all.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: For some reason, there were certain scenes I very vividly remembered, specifically when Jenny is cooking for Oliver and the butler watching wrestling at the very end. I also remembered when Dodger gets beat up by Syke's dobermans and got so upset by dogs fighting and hurting other dogs.
Alexis: The only part I really remembered was the song Jenny sings to Oliver. So I guess I have memories of watching that sequence and liking the song, but that's really it!

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: It was boring to me! It was never my favorite as a kid, probably because I don't like the source material, Oliver Twist, that much, so why would I love an adaptation? Plus, the animation that isn't the animals is very stylized, almost like a New Yorker cartoon...very odd.
Alexis: It's okay, but it definitely doesn't compare to other Disney animal features. The songs were catchy and I think Oliver is adorable, but most of the story is pretty forgettable. Also, the opening sequence of this movie is the saddest thing I've ever seen. It totally beats out the shooting of Bambi's mother for saddest Disney moment in my opinion. Seeing the poor kitten left alone breaks my heart!

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: I do really love Dodger, what a sweet, if misguided, puppy!
Specifically, Why Should I Worry, was the only song I remembered, probably because it featured Dodger:

Alexis: I agree with Maddie, I think Why Should I Worry and its reprise are my favorite moments, the song is just so catchy!

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: I CAN'T WAIT FOR LITTLE MERMAID NEXT. Also, this was so meh...
Alexis: I don't want to watch this movie again any time soon because I'm still crying over the opening 5 minutes.