Magical Movies Tour: Fantasia

This was the second time I watched Fantasia since getting Disney+, and it probably won’t be the last. (Unlike Pinnochio, which I really didn’t like much at all on adult revisit) It’s a really beautiful and interesting film, a delightful anthology of music and creativity that’s a wonderful love letter to the way the performing and creative arts communicate with one another.

The pacing surprised me when I revisited it. I felt as a kid that it was an endless wait to get to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” but it’s only the third segment! I also always loved “The Rite Of Spring” and now I think it’s kind of ugly and dull. I’m no longer a nightmare inclined kid, so I can see “Night On Bald Mountain” and “Ave Maria” as stunning dual images of the supernatural rather than you know, the most terrifying thing ever and a boring parade of lights.

There are so many things that I think get overlooked. I’m sure when designing Hercules Disney Animation when back to “The Pastoral Symphony” because while not identical, so much of the design matches up. “The Nutcracker Suite” images here are still the ones I see in my head when I hear the music. Those fairies spreading dewfall and dancing flowers are much more ingrained than any ballerina.

Fantasia’s initial financial failure is so sad to me. It’s such a special and beautiful film. I actually never saw the sequel Fantasia 2000 so when we get to it in a few months, I’m actually pretty excited to revisit the concept. I may just watch it this week too, in addition to Dumbo, which is, incidentally, our next movie! I’m not sure what I’ll have to say about Dumbo…but I bet it’s racism.

 

Magical Movies Tour: Pinnochio

As someone who love Disney in all it’s forms. (All praise to the Mouse!) I found myself stunned by watching Pinnochio another one I hadn’t watched since I was little. While there’s the light through line of Pinnochio wanting to become a real boy, and Geppetto searching for him on his adventures, it’s much more episodic than anything else, we go from scrape, to scrape, thatat Pinnochio and Jiminy get into.

But I was also blown away by how despite not knowing the movie that well, I knew every word to every one of these songs, because they’re used ad nauseum in the parks. “When You Wish Upon A Star” obviously, but also, “Hi Diddly Dee,” and “I’ve Got No Strings” just all over the place.

Jiminy Cricket is an interesting character, I like that he’s a little bit more of a scoundrel than I remembered, or at least, kind of a bum. He’s looking for some level of “becoming real” as well, or at least a place of belonging. The Blue Fairy sees this in him and grants him purpose, he’s a conscience. He’s terrible at this job but he’s trying his best.

The animation is once again, mind blowingly lovely, the transformation of the boys into Donkeys is terrifying, as is Monstro the whale, but in general everything looks so smooth and beautiful, the dancing in particular is a marvel and such a step up from Snow White, which I know was something that Disney himself was very adamant about, he wanted there to be revolutionary and new animation in each film.

While I didn’t enjoy Pinnochio as much as I did Snow White, seeing the way the animation moved forward was cool, and I love the music here, truly love it.

Next week, even more music! It’s time to talk about Fantasia. I actually watched this the first weekend that Disney+ was available, but I’m excited to watch it again. It’s remarkably beautiful.

Magical Movies Tour: Snow White And The Seven Dwarves

Welcome my friends to the Magical Movies Tour! For the next fourteen months we’re going to be watching all of the Walt Disney Animations Studios Movies. To be specific, these are the Walt Disney Animation, NOT Pixar, and only the theatrical releases. Maybe I’ll dive into those at a different time, but just the Disney Studios stuff at the moment.

And where better to start than Snow White And The Seven Dwarves, the beginning (and we will be proceeding chronologically from there). So, here we go.

I was nervous going into Snow White which I don’t think I’d watched all the way through since I was a kid, and I’d always written off as “annoying” and “simplistic” and “not particularly good.”

About five minutes in when I realized how wrong I was about the film. Aside from the revolutionary and incredibly beautiful animation, the music is lovely and Snow White herself is a better character than I’ve ever considered, while she is certainly more reactive than proactive, I’m OK with that. Making the Dwarves individualized rather than a collective was a genius decision on Walt Disney’s part. And each of the seven gets a moment to shine.

And then there’s this music. There are good, good songs in this movie. “I’m Wishing,” “Whistle While You Work,” “Dig Dig Dig & Heigh Ho” are all bangers in the musical theater/Disney tradition. Not to mention, “Someday My Prince Will Come,” which is a truly lovely “I Want” song. I was so charmed by this movie watching it again, truly. If I had to choose something to criticize I would say that the first act is a little choppy.

There’s nearly no exposition to the Queen’s jealousy, or Snow White’s trip to the woods with the Huntsman, or the magic mirror. It just jumps from place to place. The Prince also appears and disappears. I don’t mind gaps in exposition, especially in fairy tales, but it’s conspicuous and makes the first act hard to follow. However once the Dwarves enter the proceedings, the movie is nearly perfect.

The animation is legitimately some of the most beautiful ever created, stunning and scary and charming. I keep coming back to that word, but really, that’s the best one for the film, charming. This is a charming film, with personality to spare. No wonder it spawned an empire.

Next week we’re going to watch Pinnochio. 

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Rebels: Season 4

Rebels played a long game that I got impatient with when I watched it the first time and I now deeply regret bailing on.

Ezra’s story is a deeply interesting take on coming of age, and actually reminded me of my beloved The Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce (also about a mystical teen who has a magic connection to animals.) Ezra’s connection to the force in the end feels more akin to Yoda’s than any other Jedi we’ve seen in the series, he feels the world around him the way that Yoda does, especially on Dagobah, or in Ezra’s case on his home world of Lothal. (Also, he saves Ahsoka with Force time travel and concept that now exists in my universe and I’m so grateful for it.)

Sabine and Zeb also get strong supporting arcs, becoming leaders in their own rights, as they move along in the world. They’re both savior figures for their people which is cool and dedicated warriors who fight for the freedom of the galaxy.

And now it’s time, we need to talk about Hera and Kanan and the deep tragedy of it all. Hera Sandulla is a remarkable character. She’s strong and brave and awesome and she becomes a hero of the Rebellion and even fights in the battle of Endor! This is of course after the tragic loss of the love of her life, Kanan Jarris, Caleb Dume, Mediocre Jedi Knight. Also he becomes a force wolf.

It’s great.

Look, as I said to Jess on facebook last week, I’m ALL IN for Filoni and his mystical Force hoo-ha. And Season 4 is full to the brim with it. Especially Ezra’s ending, where he uses his magical Force connection to the space whales to shoot off into the unknown.

The show ends properly with an epilogue by Sabine, talking about how the Ghost crew made it through the main trilogy, fighting on the rebellion side. Hera and Rex were even on Endor. Also, Hera was pregnant! I hope that Jacen didn’t have the Force and go to Luke’s Jedi Academy and get murdered by Kylo Ren…and…I just gave myself a sad. Anyway, with the Empire defeated Sabine decides to go off in search of Ezra, with Ahsoka at her side.

The show ends with a bright white light of hope which is amazing.

It’s incredible how quickly I turned and loved these characters. I was so lukewarm on the show when it started, and I was devastated by the time it ended. (To be fair, Kanan was always the part of the show I was all in on, so that makes sense.)

Next week we’ll talk about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Disney era movie that I like the least, but recognize on a technical and critical level is actually the best.

From D23

I might just do a separate post about the D23 news. Mainly, you know OBI-WAN. But as I wrote this up, I realized The Mandalorian takes place after the main trilogy. And a certain Mandolorian of our acquaintance jetted off into the unknown after Endor…I’m just saying…Pedro Pascal should cross paths with Sabine.

You’re going to be great

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I had a lot of trouble starting this review.

The Incredibles 2 is a breathlessly wonderful movie, fully of great jokes, stupendous action and more heart than every character ever played by Sean Astin.

Also, if one more person writes a “hot take” about how Brad Bird’s work reflects Objectivism, I’ll lose it. (There’s a moment in Incredibles 2 where Mr. Incredible, his mind hijaked by the villain Screenslaver, starts talking like John Galt about the mediocrity of most people and their failure to thrive, but you know, it’s the bad guy. Hell, even Tomorrowland is mostly George Clooney and those kids yelling at Hugh Laurie for not helping the world with his future tech, or whatever…) (Also, I maybe only read half of Atlas Shrugged, because even in my “rah rah conservatism, the free market will save us all” days Rand’s writing was boring af and also she thought charity was disgusting and I you know…have always felt opposite of that…)

Anyway, this movie, is delightfully funny, and the final fight is one of the best animated action scenes ever, topping even it’s predecessor. It’s also ridiculously funny, both Holly Hunter and Craig T. Nelson anchor everything beautifully. (Although the best comedy moments come from Violet, and her early teen rebellion renouncing superheroes!) (Not because she goes bad or anything, but the boy she likes gets his memory wiped, and it’s a whole thing.) There are some fun new supers, including the delightful Voyd, voiced by the one and only Sophia Bush. (Remember that time, Brooke, Haley and Quinn dressed up as superheroes and chased away the bullies at Jamie’s school? No, just me? OK…)

There’s so much about family, and marriage and love in these movies, that I think it would be a crime to talk more about it unless it’s really in depth, which is why I had so much trouble getting started. (Also, I was exhausted…and watching The Lord Of The Rings…) 

Anyway, it’s a good movie, people should go see it. I think most people already have but if you haven’t I do recommend it.

Short:

Bao is a beautiful piece of storytelling and what the hell is wrong with people?

Rankings

  1. The Incredibles 2
  2. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  3. Deadpool 2
  4. Ocean’s 8
  5. Infinity War
  6. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Trailers

The Grinch: Why the frak is the abomination happeneing?

How To Train Your Dragon 3: Looks beautiful, as these movies have always been. Also Toothless courting the light fury is delightful.

I don’t remember any others, which I guess speaks to how not really interesting they were, huh?

 

Nerd Homework: Gravity Falls

Back a few months ago, as I waited impatiently for Duck Tales to give us more episodes than just it’s truly stupendous pilot, I started poking around for other kid’s animation to check out.

I watched a few episodes of Gravity Falls and though I enjoyed it, I think my life was in just a bit too much chaos at that point to really grab on to it.

Cut to last week, worn out after Dune, and The Handmaid’s Tale and even Battlestar Galactica, I knew I needed a break, something light, and fun, and peppy. And so I decided to give the show another shot.

Boy was I rewarded. I was charmed by the writing and general silly/creepy tone of the show, and it’s 40 episode length made it a refreshing chill out and reset my brain stop over. I adore both Dipper and Mabel Pines and their contrasting views on the world, and constant support of one another. (Also, there’s an episode where Mabel White Fangs a boy band, so you know, my kind of thing.)

While I knew some of the big reveals due to being a nerd on the internet for the past five years, I still enjoyed seeing the set ups and appreciating just how huge it is when you learn about Stan’s past and the drama of Ford. I loved the way the show wrapped up, it’s vision of the apocalypse, fittingly, both horrifying and kind of adorable in turn.

I think about the building blocks of things a lot, the legacy left behind by stories that came earlier. And I think what’s interesting about Gravity Falls is this is a show about legacy (Mabel and Dipper being the natural consequence of Stan and Ford) and built on legacy of what came before it. (Twin Peaks, The X-Files.) Even aside from it’s straightforward virtues, is a masterpiece of meta textual storytelling.

I really, really enjoyed the show, and actually have a million things I want to say about it, but for now, I’m just glad it exists, in it’s small lovely way, cornered off like that magical summer you’ll always remember fondly.

On the Nerd Homework Front: I’m slowly but surely making my way through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I like the show a lot. I’m still mired in the Season 1, finding it’s legs stage, that I feel confident if I can make it through, I will be rewarded. (As I was with TNG) That knowledge does not quite make the season’s troubles easier to weather though.

I’m also reading Infinite Jest, which isn’t so much Nerd Homework, as just like homework, I guess? But you know, I occasionally like to converse with nerdy white boy types who all think Foster was a god or whatever, and I quite like the book. The love that I have for Vonnegut and Twain helps with that. (I’d previously read Wallace’s non fiction which always reminded me of Mark Twain.) It’s also taking a lot longer than I anticipated, so it’s put a bunch of other reading on hold.

Nerd Homework: Inuyasha

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As an ongoing part of trying to expand my horizons and become the best fangirl I can be, I’ve committed to doing some Nerd Homework this year. Primary Objectives are: The Dune Chronicles, Star Trek and anime.

As a part of the more anime portion of this project, I watched (at Aless’s recommendation) Inuyasha, which is long and amazing.

The set up is relatively convoluted. 500 years ago in the feudal era of Japan, a priestess named Kikyo fell in love with a half-demon named Inuyasha. They apparently betrayed one another under the auspices of a sacred jewel. Kikyo died, and in her final moments, wished that noone else could access the jewel. Cut to modern times, Kikyo is reborn as Kagome, and on her fifteenth birthday, the jewel reappears and Kagome is pulled through a magical well into the feudal era, where she frees Inuyasha, and shatters the jewel and they begin a quest to find the shards of the jewel.

Umm, so yeah, that’s just the beginning, they wind up fighting another demon named Naraku, teaming up with a lecherous young monk and a badass demon slayer, Kagome gets romantically stalked by a Wolf Demon. Kikyo comes back as a lonely and really annoying sort of ghost. There’s a lot going on.

loved this show. I loved the crazy twisty romances, the childish humor, the adventure. It was very long, and it pretty much ate my life over the past two weeks as I dove into it. (At the detriment of being caught up on anything else. This is the reason I haven’t watched Jessica Jones season 2 year…) I don’t know what my next Anime adventure will be. (I’ve got some Star Trek pushing to do. I fell hard into TNG in the fall, dropped off on it, and am now making the final push through it’s last 2 seasons…) but push on I shall.

I’m open to recomendations for anime though. Keep in mind how much I loved Sailor Moon and Inuyasha, these are the things I like…