Category Archives: Movies

Eurovision

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a 2020 American musical comedy film directed by David Dobkin and written by Andrew Steele and Will Ferrell. The film follows Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) as they are given the chance to represent their Iceland  at the Eurovision Song Contest. Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato also star.


The first problem is that this film is just too long at 2 hours. It should have been no more than 90 minutes.  Too much standing around in exotic locations and not moving the story forward.

But there is a great “Song-A-Long’ in the middle with former Eurovision winners.

Pierce Brosnan is great as Lars’s father, playing a grouchy old man who eventually warms to his sons quest.

Rachel McAdams is the heart of the film (probably not Lars sister)  giving an outstanding performance, and she can sing.

Graham Norton makes an appearance. It looks like he was given a lot of random things to say that were slotted in at the appropriate time.

Will Ferrell is not that good an actor. He is too old (at 52) to be a childhood sweetheart of McAddams (41). Bill Hader would have been better.

Having the most fun was Dan Stevens, as Alexander Lemtov, the flamboyant Russian contestant.

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver & Co

Oliver & Company is a 1988 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney and released on November 18, 1988, by Walt Disney Pictures.

It is the 27th Disney animated feature film, the film is based on the classic 1838 Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, which has been adapted many other times for the screen.

In the film, Oliver is a homeless kitten who joins a gang of dogs to survive in the streets. Among other changes, the setting of the film was relocated from 19th century London to modern-day New York City, Fagin’s gang is made up of dogs (one of which is Dodger), and Sykes is a loan shark.


This is definitely one of the better ones. With a modern setting and excellent voice acting, including…

Billy Joel as Dodger, a carefree, charismatic mongrel
Cheech Marin as Tito, a tiny yet passionate Chihuahua
Dom DeLuise as Fagin, a lowly thief
Bette Midler as Georgette, the Foxworth family’s prize-winning poodle.

It’s fun, has some great songs and has a good ramp up to an exciting finish.

Mice Detectives

The Great Mouse Detective is a 1986 American animated mystery film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation.
It is the 26th Disney animated feature film and was directed by Burny Mattinson, David Michener, and the team of John Musker and Ron Clements.

The film was also known as The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective for its 1992 theatrical re-release and Basil the Great Mouse Detective in some countries. The main characters are all mice and rats living in Victorian London.

Based on the children’s book series Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, it draws heavily on the tradition of Sherlock Holmes with a heroic mouse who consciously emulates the detective; Titus named the main character after actor Basil Rathbone, who is best remembered for playing Holmes in film (and whose voice, sampled from a 1966 reading of “The Red-Headed League”[2] was the voice of Holmes in this film, 19 years after his death). Sherlock Holmes also mentions “Basil” as one of his aliases in the Arthur Conan Doyle story “The Adventure of Black Peter”.

The Great Mouse Detective was released to theaters on July 2, 1986 to positive reviews and financial success, in sharp contrast to the box office under-performance of Disney’s previous animated feature film The Black Cauldron (1985). As such, the new senior management of the company were convinced that their animation department was still a viable enterprise and this set the stage for the Disney Renaissance.

Black Cauldron

The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated fantasy film produced by Walt Disney. It is the 25th Disney animated feature film and is loosely based on the first two books in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, a series of five novels that are based on Welsh mythology.

Set in the mythical land of Prydain during the Early Middle Ages, the film centers on the evil Horned King who hopes to secure an ancient magical cauldron that will aid him in his desire to conquer the world.

He is opposed by a young swineherd named Taran, the young princess Eilonwy, the bard Fflewddur Fflam, and a wild creature named Gurgi who seek to destroy the cauldron, to prevent the Horned King from ruling the world.

The Cast includes:
Grant Bardsley as Taran
Susan Sheridan as Princess Eilonwy
Nigel Hawthorne as Fflewddur Fflam
John Hurt as Horned King
John Huston as Narrator

What’s amazing is the similarity in voice between Gurgi and Smeagol

Foxy Hound

The Fox and the Hound is a 1981 American animated musical buddy drama film produced by Walt Disney Productions and loosely based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix.

It is te 24th Disney animated film and tells the story of two unlikely friends, a red fox named Tod and a hound dog named Copper, who struggle to preserve their friendship despite their emerging instincts.

Featuring the voices of Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson (in his final film role), Sandy Duncan, Jeanette Nolan, Pat Buttram, Dick Bakalyan, and Paul Winchell.


Another beautifully animated film. The animal characters are often more human-like than the stereotypes used for the people.

Rescuers

The Rescuers is a 1977 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions.

It’s the 23rd Disney animated feature film.

An international mouse organization headquartered in New York City is shadowing the United Nations, dedicated to helping abduction victims around the world at large. Two of the mice, Bernard (Bob Newhart) and his co-agent, Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor), set out to rescue Penny (Michelle Stacy), an orphan girl being held prisoner in the Devil’s Bayou by treasure huntress Madame Medusa (Geraldine Page). The film is based on a series of books by Margery Sharp, most notably The Rescuers and Miss Bianca.

Bob Newhart is not the best choice as a mouse hero. He is just too laid back to be a rescuer. Gabor is better as Bianca, sho brings a zaz and zip to the character.

The story is very simply; go on an adventure, overcome obstacles and get the girl. The best characters are the villain Medusa and her two crocodiles.

Of note is the sound design. Often there is no background noise at all. This is  interrupted by effects, voices or a song. It’s very strange and different to modern films.

Overall I though it was a very average film, however it received positive critical reception and became a box office success. The film was also successful throughout the world.

Due to the film’s success, a sequel titled The Rescuers Down Under was released in 1990, which made this film the first Disney animated film to have a sequel.

Winnie Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a 1977 American animated musical anthology film produced by Walt Disney Productions.

It is the 22nd Disney animated feature film and was first released March 11, 1977.

The film’s content is derived from three previously released animated featurettes Disney produced based upon the Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966), Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968), and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). Extra material was used to link the three featurettes together to allow the stories to merge into each other.

The visual style is derived from the book illustrations, with characters interacting with the text, moving outside the book frame ant at times breaking the forth wall.

Because it’s a series a strung together adventures, it doesn’t hold up very well as a movie. While children will probably enjoy each, I found it rather forgettable as it didn’t work to tell a story.

 

 

Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a 1973 American animated romantic musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney.
Produced and directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it is the 21st Disney animated feature film. The story follows the adventures of Robin Hood, Little John, and the inhabitants of Nottingham as they fight against the excessive taxation of Prince John, and Robin Hood wins the hand of Maid Marian. The film features the voices of Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Peter Ustinov, Pat Buttram, Monica Evans, and Carole Shelley.

Robin Hood was initially received positively by film critics who praised the voice cast, animation, and humor yet its critical reception became gradually mixed since its release. It was released on November 8, 1973 to mixed reviews and is a box office success.

Not as good as Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Aristocats

The Aristocats is a 1970 American animated romantic adventure musical comedy film directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. It was produced by Walt Disney Productions.

The 20th Disney animated feature film, the film is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and revolves around a family of aristocratic cats, and how an alley cat acquaintance helps them after a butler has kidnapped them to gain his mistress’s fortune which was intended to go to them. The film features the voices of Eva Gabor, Hermione Baddeley, Phil Harris, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, and Roddy Maude-Roxby.

The Aristocats was released on December 24, 1970 to positive reception and was a box office success.

Another hit following on from The Jungle Book and a rather charming film.

Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney Productions.

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book of the same name, it is the 19th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.

The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967, to positive reception, with acclaim for its soundtrack, featuring five songs by the Sherman Brothers and one by Gilkyson, “The Bare Necessities”.


It’s easy to see why this is popular. The animation is in the Disney classic style and flows smoothly. There are plenty of action pieces that are inventive and unexpected.

The best part of probably the voice acting. Each animal gets to shine and is clearly defined. There are also great songs, including the essential…