Category Archives: Movies

Tangled

Tangled is a 2010 musical adventure produced by Walt Disney Animation. It is the 50th Disney animated feature film.

Loosely based on the German fairy tale “Rapunzel” in the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm. The film tells the story of a lost, young princess with magical long blonde hair who yearns to leave her secluded tower. Against her mother’s wishes, she accepts the aid of an intruder to take her out into the world which she has never seen.


This I saw at the cinema. and it had a big star at the time. Zachary Levi was the star of the series Chuck (2007-2012).

Yvonne Strahovski & Zachary Levi

He went on to star in the film Shazam! (2009)

In Tangled he is Flyn Rider; thief, rogue and ladies man. He rescues poor Rapunzel from her tower and gets nothing but grief for it. She assaults him (frequently), threatens him and leaves him for dead.

Then, at the end gets all weepy  over him!

This is another favorite. As usual, it’s got everything, a strong story and fun characters.  I do remember being very impressed in the theatre during the lantern scene.

But by far the best character is super sleuth, tracker and warrior Maximus (the horse).

 

 

Princess Frog

The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated musical fantasy comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation. It is Disney’s 49th Disney animated feature film.

Te film is loosely based on the novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, (I read in 2014)  which is in turn based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Frog Prince”.

Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film stars Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jim Cummings, Jennifer Cody, John Goodman, Keith David, Peter Bartlett, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, and Terrence Howard.

Set in 1926 New Orleans, the film tells the story of a hardworking waitress named Tiana who dreams of opening her own restaurant.


I’m sure I have seen this before on TV. Yet another great film in the Disney Renaissance. Of real fun is a jazz loving Crocodile.

Bolt

Bolt is a 2008 American computer animated comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney.

It is the 48th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard. The film’s plot centers on a white dog named Bolt who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human owner, Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to rescue her.

Now we are getting into the second ‘golden’ period of Disney animated films. This is fully CGI animation with an extraordinary amount of detail. The films starts with a fantastic chase sequence before slowing down and getting into explaining the situation and plot.

From there, it’s a road trip with Bolt, Mittens and Rhino. The three work well together, thanks to some great script writing. And in the final act Bolt has to perform a heroic act for real.

Everything just works in this movie.

 

Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons is a 2007 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Walt Disney. It is the 47th Disney animated feature film. The film is loosely based on characters from the children’s book “A Day with Wilbur Robinson”, by William Joyce.

The voice cast includes Laurie Metcalf, Adam West, Tom Selleck, and Angela Bassett.


Of all the previous Disney films, this is the first I recall seeing in the cinema. I remember it as a favorite, and seeing it again reinforces that view.

It’s just a great science fiction story. The main protagonist is suitably nerdy and cute. And the story unfolds in surprising directions, but it does allow the audience to guess the true nature of Lewis.

There is a great cast of strange characters. And the main villain, while the real mustache twirling  type does have a backstory and motivation.

Chicken Little

Chicken Little is a 2005 American 3D computer-animated science fiction comedy film, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and loosely based on the original fable of the same name.

It is the 46th Disney animated feature film and was directed by Mark Dindal from a screenplay by Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman, and Ron Anderson.

Cast:

  • Zach Braff as Chicken Little.
  • Joan Cusack as Abigail “Abby” Mallard.  She is Chicken Little’s best friend.
  • Steve Zahn as Runt of the Litter, a large pig .
  • Garry Marshall as Buck “Ace” Cluck, Chicken Little’s father.
  • Amy Sedaris as Foxy Loxy, a mean, young fox who is a baseball star and the “hometown hero”.
  • Mark Walton as Goosey Loosey, a dim-witted goose and Foxy Loxy’s best friend and henchwoman.
  • Don Knotts as Turkey Lurkey, a turkey and the mayor of Oakey Oaks.

This one is fun and irrelevant. It starts off in the traditional manner, with Chicken Little predicting that the sky will fall. Then it’s a school nerd romance story. This morphs into a sports movie, then finally when the Aliens turn up, an alien invasion movie.

Finally, remembering that Disney has some moralizing to do they throw in a bit of Father/Son relationship advice.

Overall it’s an entertaining film, but it is all over the map in terms of genre and tone.

 

Home Range

Home on the Range is a 2004 Western musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney.

It is 45th Disney animated feature film and the last 2D animated Disney film released until The Princess and the Frog in 2009.

The film is set in the Old West, and centers on a mismatched trio of dairy cows—brash, adventurous Maggie, prim and proper Mrs. Caloway, and happy-go-lucky Grace. The three cows must capture an infamous cattle rustler named Alameda Slim for his bounty in order to save their idyllic farm from foreclosure.

Silly, witty and fun. A return to the good old style of Disney. It even has a few songs chucked in for good measure. This is the best film since “The Emperor’s new Groove”

 

Bear Brother

Brother Bear is a 2003 American animated comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney.

It is the 44th Disney animated feature film. In the film, an Inuit boy named Kenai pursues a bear in revenge for a fight that he provoked in which his oldest brother Sitka is killed.

He tracks down the bear and kills it, but the Spirits, incensed by this unnecessary death, change Kenai into a bear himself as punishment.

The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. A direct-to-video sequel, Brother Bear 2, was released on August 29, 2006.

This time it’s about the relationship between two brothers. And again the moralizing is laid on with a trowel.

Lilo Stitch

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated science fiction comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney.

It is the 42nd Disney animated feature film, it was written and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois in their directorial debuts.

Cast:

This really is a science fiction story. A good 10 minutes is spent setting up the story and characters on an unknown planet.

Then it’s down to earth for the main story. And it’s mainly about the relationship between two sisters and how Stitch intervenes, causing chaos. The ‘it’s all about family’ theme is really laid on heavily at the  end. This detracts from the underplayed sci-fi aspects and reminds us how american stories do moralize about everything.

 

Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet is a 2002 science fiction action adventure film produced by Walt Disney.

It is the 43rd Disney animated feature film. It as a science fiction adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 adventure novel Treasure Island.

It employs a novel technique of hand-drawn 2D traditional animation set atop 3D computer animation. With a budget of $140 million, it is the most expensive traditionally animated film ever made.

Firstly, it has a well known cast that do a good job:

And that’s about it. The  space environment makes no sense at all. They have steampunk styled ocean ships that “sail” in space. Apparently ‘space’ is full of breathable air.  There is gravity, but that can be turned on and off due to the plot requirements.

The story is just a clone on the original. But the best part are the creature designs. Emma Thompson looks suitably sexy as the cat-like captain. And the crew are variations on sea creatures.

As expected the art design is vibrant and colorful.  But ultimately, the story is forgetable.

 

Atlantis

Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a 2001 animated science-fantasy action-adventure film created by Walt Disney.

It is the 41st Disney animated feature. Written by Tab Murphy, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise.

Set in 1914, the film tells the story of a young man who gains possession of a sacred book, which he believes will guide him and a crew of mercenaries to the lost city of Atlantis.

Not the best of the Disney films. It suffers from stereotypical and poor characters. This despite some well known stars in leading roles:

Michael J. Fox as Milo James Thatch, linguist, cartographer and main protagonist.

James Garner as Commander Lyle Tiberius Rourke as the big bad leader of the band of mercenaries.

Claudia Christian as Lieutenant Helga Katrina Sinclair, Rourke’s second in command.

David Ogden Stiers as Fenton Q. Harcourt, a board member of the Smithsonian Institution.

John Mahoney as Preston B. Whitmore, an eccentric millionaire  (best known as Martin Crane in Frasier

Leonard Nimoy as Kashekim Nedakh, the King of Atlantis.

There are some impressive visuals, but it doesn’t make up for a rather hackneyed script.