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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Special: The Nightmare Before Christmas

What's this? Another Halloween Special!

1. What movie did you watch?
The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie was released in 1993, and the first stop-motion film by Disney. The Nightmare Before Christmas originated in a poem written by Tim Burton in 1982, and he originally intended to turn it into a TV special similar to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Disney bought the rights but the project's development eventually stalled because its tone seemed "too weird" to the company. Burton and Disney came back together to begin the project in 1990, although Burton did not end up directing because he didn’t want to be involved with "the painstakingly slow process of stop motion". The film was only mildly successful at the box office, but became a cult hit when it was released to home video in 1994 and DVD in 1997. Fun fact: Filmmakers made 227 puppets to represent the characters in the movie. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I have- I usually watch it once a year around Halloween/Christmas time, so that's probably how long it's been!
Alexis: We watched it last Halloween, so pretty much a year ago!

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: It made me think largely of haunted mansion holiday! Every year around Halloween/Christmas Haunted Mansion in Disneyland gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. It gets a haunted gingerbread house and is just ten times better than regular haunted mansion. I love it every year!!

Alexis: I don't have too many memories around it because I didn't watch it a lot when I was younger, but it definitely reminds me of watching Disney Channel because they always used to play "This is Halloween" during commercial breaks around Halloween.

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I loved it as usual. I always marvel at the fact that it's made using claymation- It's SO amazing! I have such respect for the people who make these movies.

Alexis: I agree, I always marvel at the style and format of the movie, claymation is so cool! The design of all the Halloween characters are amazing, I notice something different about them every time. The music is also great.

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: Probably the song, "What's this?" which is so cliched but I like what I like. It's just so clever, this movie has so many clever moments as a whole.

Alexis: Oh I can top that in terms of cliche, my favorite part is the opening and "This is Halloween". 

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: Honestly Jack and Sally are kinda OTP, what a cool couple.

Alexis: Has anyone heard the covers of this soundtrack by bands like Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy? Because they're amazing.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 30: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hellfire: Our 30th Movie!!

1. What movie did you watch?
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The film is based on the 1831 novel of the same name by French author Victor Hugo. Several of the directors, writers, and composer Alan Menken took a trip to Paris and studied Notre Dame and the surrounding area. They received a private tour of hidden passageways and towers, which served as inspiration for Quasimodo’s home. Fun fact: It was decided that the villain Claude Frodo would be a judge instead of an archdeacon, in order to avoid religious controversy with the Church. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I watched it last spring or at the beginning of the summer, so not too long ago.
Alexis: It's been quite a while for me, I haven't seen it in several years.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: I used to have a customized birthday book where it told the story of a festival that all the characters (except Frolo) went to and they all wished me happy birthday! This link sells what I believe I had.
Alexis: Not many, since I didn't watch it that much as a kid either. I remember "A Guy Like You" extremely vividly because it was on a Disney sing-along video I used to have.

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I liked it! It's not my favorite of all but it's a fun movie and the story is much darker than I remembered. Definitely much darker than many others- the world overall is very mean and cynical towards Quasi, which I understand is generally a part of the story but it also is not an idea that Disney likes to portray much. This probably wouldn't happen in a Disney movie today: 

Alexis: It's darker than I remembered but it's a very picturesque film to watch. The animation of Notre Dame and the interiors/exteriors of the cathedral are stunning. The music is beautiful and fits the movie well; I really like all the songs in it! It's also more layered in religion/racial issues and is therefore deeper than many other Disney movies, which is probably why I thought it was boring as a little kid.

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: I would say my favorite moment is probably the song "Out There" it's so heartbreaking and beautiful. The animation is also so beautiful in certain parts.

Alexis: The musical numbers are the best part in my opinion. I also think Captain Phoebus is funny, I love his scene with Esmerelda in the cathedral when they're fighting with a sword / candle holder. He and the goat, Djali, are my favorites so I enjoyed their scenes.

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: I take issue with two things regarding this movie. The first is that as a child, I don't know what I thought "Hellfire" was about but as an adult I can't believe they had Frolo sing a whole song about how he was upset about Esmerelda making him have sexy thoughts.
The second issue I have is that the sequel is absolutely horrible. the animation just looks like nothing else Disney has made and is the worst. And I so badly wanted it to be good since Quasi got a love interest and got to be truly happy.
Look at that! I just don't understand why it looks that way!!!

Alexis: I would just like to point out that this movie is tame compared to the original book. I'm surprised they included Hellfire, but that song is nothing compared to the creepiness of his feelings in the book. Also, I can't help it, Hellfire is a catchy song, it gets stuck in my head!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 29: Pocahontas

Have you ever painted with the colors of the wind?: Our 29th Movie!

Jessica Biel as Pocahontas- Sorry!

1. What movie did you watch?
Pocahontas. The film is based on the history and folklore surrounding the Native woman Pocahontas and the English settler John Smith. After the critical, award winning success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney studio chairman of the time Jeffrey Katzenberg opted to produce another animated sweeping romantic epic in hopes of replicating another Best Picture nomination. The music was done by Alan Menken, and received two Academy award nominations for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. The film ended up receiving mixed reviews from critics overall, but was a box office success. Fun fact: "Pocahontas' real name was Matoaka. "Pocahontas" was only a nickname, and it can variously be translated to "little wanton", "playful one", "little brat" or "the naughty one."

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: It hasn't been very long- I saw the last third maybe a month ago.
Alexis: I watched the second half of it a month ago with one of our other roommates.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: It largely makes me think of seeing World of Color at California Adventure for the first time and so loving the Pocahontas section. It's absolutely beautiful and I like that they chose "Just Around the Riverbend" instead of the expected "Colors of the Wind." The way they create the river in the fountains is amazing. Also, what fun songs to sing along to!

Alexis: I have a very specific memory associated with this movie! Story time: When I was in 3rd grade, all the classes participated in a music program, and that year the program was "At the Movies". One of the songs we were performing was Colors of the Wind, and being a big fan of the movie and Disney songs in general, I went for one of the solos. Now, it's important to note that this is the only vocal solo I've ever had in my entire life (I am not the best singer, I'm not tone deaf, but I'm definitely no Celine Dion). On the night of the show, I stepped up to the mic, dressed as Pocahontas, holding my small animal companion in my arms, and sung the first two lines of the song. And then nothing. Apparently I was clutching the mic so tightly that I turned the switch off. My parents have video of it, and you hear me sing for all of 3 seconds before it goes silent. So there we go, my only singing solo was silenced. I can't listen to Colors of the Wind without thinking of my lost glory (maybe it was for the best).

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I liked it. It's not one of my all time favorites, but definitely one I enjoy. As a kid I cared a lot more about the animals in the movie than the humans! Meeko was my particular favorite. 
I also loved the way nature was portrayed through the whole movie, and I got very upset as a child when the settlers "hurt" nature. Grandmother Wllow was another favorite. Re-watching it now I so appreciate how Pocahontas is encouraged by many (except for her father and Kocoum) to explore her loves and be adventurous. She's one of the more proactive and empowering Disney Princesses. 

Alexis: I really enjoyed it, and although it doesn't make my top 5, I think it's a really well done movie. I love the music and all the nature imagery. I know some people have problems with the historical accuracy, but I like to think of it as its own story, and leave out the context of what really happened (I mean, Pocahontas was like 12 in reality, and that makes everything creepy). I also really like Pocahontas as a character. I think she's a strong, interesting Princess, and I wish she were featured in more Disney things!

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: This is totally cliched but my favorite part is Colors of the Wind. Who wouldn't love that part?? The song is so beautiful and has such a great conservationist message. In addition, the animation that goes along with the song is simply amazing- the "watercolor" section gets me every time. 

Alexis: Possible unpopular opinion: my favorite song from the movie is actually Just Around the River bend. But my favorite part of the movie is the climatic scene with the Native Americans and settlers marching towards each other, and Pocahontas decides that she can be the one to stop it. I love the imagery of her running toward the cliff, and the whole scene after is so moving.  

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: Overall, I find this movie interesting because personally I feel the animation is uneven- it has beautiful moments and the rest of the movie is fairly simple animation. Some of this I'm sure is for effect- the more natural and mystical moments are more beautiful while the moments with the settlers are more plain. The best part of the animation overall is the depictions of nature throughout.
In addition, Pocahontas should have died from this jump at the beginning of the movie:

We must also appreciate the amazing meme this movie gave us, the Kocoum Scream:

Alexis: My favorite video:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 28: A Goofy Movie

Doin' it for the Goof*: Our 28th Movie!

1. What movie did you watch?
A Goofy Movie. The film was released in 1995, and acts as a sequel to the TV show Goof Troop. Fun Fact: When writing the movie, Disney staff members wanted to make Goofy less one dimensional, and "give him an emotional side".

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I have seen it before but maybe only once or twice, and a LONG time ago.
Alexis: I watched it over the summer (when our other roommate Amy and I watched this and an Extremely Goofy Movie back to back).

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: Not many but I loved the father/son road trip dynamic. My family doesn't road trip much, but when we do I love it, so I guess that! I thought overall it was good, but my family was never big into this and I still don't have as strong feelings about it largely because I have no sentimental attachment.
Alexis: It actually reminds me of family road trips! When my family would drive between our town in Ohio to our extended family in New Hampshire, my sister and I would often choose this one. It also reminds me of singing all the songs with family friends of ours (we're huge Powerline fans!). 

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I thought it was good, but it's never been one of my favorites. I don't like how mean it is to Goofy the whole time. Especially since Goofy is one of my faves: my laugh when I get very over excited used to sound like his, so I feel that we are brethren. Here's how I feel about people who are mean to Goofy:

Alexis: I really enjoyed it, this movie is so fun! It brings back a lot of good memories for me, and it makes me laugh every time. How could you not love Lester's Possum park, and Bigfoot dancing to "Stayin' Alive"?

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: I have to say, I'm a sucker for musical endings, so I loved Powerline's performance at the end. The song is just so infectious and Max gets to accomplish his goal (even if it is for the wrong reasons).

Alexis: I agree with Maddie, the two Powerline songs are my favorite, both Stand Out and 121. But my favorite line is definitely Bobby's "leaning tower of chees-a!".

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: The main thing that confounds me about this movie is Goofy and Max's packing. IT MAKES NO SENSE. It's lager than the car, and none of it is in the car, why wouldn't you put some of your luggage in the empty back seat?? Also, why are you bringing so much?? You aren't gone that long!

Alexis: I own a Powerline t-shirt.
* Credit for the pun goes to our roommate, Amy

Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 27: The Lion King

Hakuna Matata What a Wonderful Day: We Watch The Lion King!

1. What movie did you watch?
The Lion King. The film was released in 1994 and directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff with music by Hans Zimmer and Elton John. The story was influenced by Shakespeare's play Hamlet. In order to get the animals and their world just right, the animators and other staff of the movie traveled to Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya to study up. The movie received high critical and audience praise when it was originally released. Including sales of its re-release in theaters in 2011, it is the highest grossing hand-drawn animated film of all time. Fun fact: the movie inspired a Broadway show, which opened in 1997 and is now the fourth longest-running Broadway show in history. 

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: I watched it over the summer! So coming up on a year probably.
Alexis: Probably six months ago or so, it's shown on ABC Family a lot.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: Oh man, so many. It particularly made me think about doing shows with my friends and always including Hakuna Matata because we loved it so much. We would sing along and choreograph dances to it!

Alexis: The Lion King was one of my sister's favorites (along with the Little Mermaid), so it always reminds me of watching it with her. One specific fun memory: we used to have a ton of little Lion King figurines from the Disney store and from happy meals, and instead of making them live in the jungle, we had Simba and friends live in our dollhouses. They were very civilized lions. Then there was the time my sister flushed her Kovu toy down the toilet...

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: It's one of my favorites! I don't watch it as much because Mufasa's death upsets me so much and I can't put myself through that. I was also much more of a princess kinda gal...but I have a very strong appreciation and love of it. I particularly love Timon and Pumba in this: they are just great and I would sometimes skip around to just their parts. 

Alexis: I love this movie, it definitely makes it into my top 5 favorite Disney movies! The music is absolutely amazing, and the opening scene to the film is one of my favorite openings to any movie ever; it's just so powerful. Also as I've mentioned before I was a huge animal/nature lover as a kid, so seeing the African scenery and animals was really cool for me. I still think it's a beautifully made movie.

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: My favorite scene of the whole movie is when older Simba talks to Rafiki and sees Mufasa in the clouds:

Alexis: The opening to the movie; the Circle of Life. 

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: The animation in this movie is so beautiful:
Also, Disney animators got to chill with lion cubs to do research for this: HOW COOL IS THAT?!?

Alexis: When Maddie and I took our usual summer break from this blog, we'd already watched Lion King and had this post ready, but I forgot to post it. Whoops, my bad, sorry for the delay folks!

We're Back!

Maddie (left) and Alexis (right) geeking out at Disneyland.

Like last year, Maddie and I decided to take a break from the blog over the summer since we were living on opposite coasts. But I did get to visit Maddie this time, and we finally went to Disneyland together! I'm a strict Disney World girl, while Maddie is all for Disneyland, so it was very fun to experience something new with her (she's the best tour guide you can get!).

Anyways, let's get back to the blogging!