Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Review

large_vB1p70FfFMxNB0X6hub662kHj71
It’s time for one of Disney’s most iconic films of all time. Snow White is a tale that everyone knows about and I dare say that they are aware of the general plot as well. It’s always fun to see the original adaption because the specifics will still be different than you may recall. For example, I didn’t remember the intro being so long in this film. The actual action doesn’t start until you’ve made a lot of progress in the film already. It’s a pretty fun film. Parts of it have aged better than others, but the pacing is good and it’s over rather quickly.

The film starts off the Queen worrying about who the fairest lady in all the land could be. The mirror hints that Snow White has surpassed her so the Queen forces her to be a maid/slave. This works for a while, but Snow White’s beauty continues to level up with each passing year. The Queen hires a Huntsman to take Snow White down for the count, but he too gets captivated and warns her to escape. The Queen decides that she’ll have to get involved personally. Meanwhile, Snow White befriends a bunch of dwarves and is fairly safe in theory. What can an old queen hope to do against these powerful miners? Not much, not much at all!

Fortunately for her they are away for most of the day. The Queen isn’t one of Disney’s more interesting villains as she doesn’t actually have a lot of personality. She’s just very vain and wants to be as beautiful as she can be. She took the title by force and I wonder how many people she’d had to bump off to reach the top. I imagine it must have been a lot. Her poison apple is certainly a useful tactic even if it wouldn’t work on most main characters. If she had only brought her lightning shield with her, the ending could have been very different.

As for Snow White, she’s a nice lead I suppose. She is very naive which is a problem in these tricky times. That being said, she knows how to make a good first impression and is easy to get along with. She may have less personality than some of the other Disney princesses, but she has heart. There’s nothing wrong with her as she’s basically a perfect heroine. Of course, to be truly perfect she will need to learn how to fight. The Prince has even less personality and is basically just trying to find a princess. He comes through when it counts in the end, but it’s hard to say whether this makes him a great character or his goal just coincided with her path to being alive again.

The characters that I didn’t like are the Dwarves. Their exaggerated personalities ensure that they are all annoying, just in different ways. It’s hard to like them at all as characters and since they couldn’t even protect Snow White in the end…what was the point of them? I wouldn’t have minded if we had gotten 3 Bears instead. If you understand that reference then you’re already ahead of the curve. I think it would be hard to make them good characters due in large part to the very concept behind them. You would have to completely change the characters.

The animation is pretty good. As with just about all of Disney’s classic animations, it looks very smooth. You can see how effort was put into all of the frames and it is quite telling that it looks better than some modern shows. Th animation is bright and you can always see what is happening. The designs have become iconic over the years and I can see why since they work well. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t say that this film has an exceptional soundtrack though. None of the music/song tracks are all that memorable and I can’t say that I remember any at the moment. Perhaps I need to give it a revisit, but some films are memorable from the start. I’d use Let It Go from Frozen as an example…but I just did in this sentence.

Disney’s been remaking a bunch of their old films lately so I can definitely see this one showing up as well at some point. There would definitely need to be a bunch of changes, but that’s part of the fun with the remakes. Seeing how they modernize the story without actually changing it. For example, I doubt they’d play it straight with the poison apple since that’s basically a meme at this point. I also like to think that the Prince’s role will either be changed or he’ll have more screen time before the pivotal moment. No matter what they do though, I’m sure Disney will do the film justice. It’s the kind of film that you certainly don’t want to take lightly since it’s so well known. I’d like to see the film expand a little more on Snow White’s ability to communicate with all of the animals. After all, if Universal can create a Dark Universe and make all of their old monster films supernatural, why can’t Disney give all of its iconic princesses cool super powers? I think that would actually be pretty neat. (So long as Snow White doesn’t send the animals off into battle)

Overall, Snow White is a fun film. From the Disney Princess films, I dare say that it has the lightest plot though. At least half of the film is basically just Snow White hanging out with her animal buddies and teaching them how to keep the house neat. The evil queen doesn’t appear as much as you’d expect and the Prince’s total screen time is probably under 5 minutes. The film’s very short, which helps for pacing, but I fear that it worked against the film when it comes to the story. Everything had to be rushed through which makes the events appear to speed along. That being said, it did get legendary for a reason. It’s still solid overall and I’d recommend checking it out. After all, how can you call yourself a film fan if you haven’t watched this classic?

Overall 6/10

Advertisements

Moana Review

vaiana
It’s time for a fairly recent animated film although it feels a little old by now. We haven’t gotten too many films that take place in the islands. Lilo and Stitch is one of the only big ones that I can think of. I’m perfectly okay with this since the big cities are where I like the films to stay. It just makes for a more engaging backdrop. That being said, the film did have some pretty nice visuals along the way thanks to the nice action scene at the end. It’s a good film, but one that does have some issues.

The plot revolves around a girl named Moana. She is destined to rule the island at some point so she is learning as much as she can. That being said, she wants to venture off the island because she feels too constricted there. It’s prohibited because of a risky endeavor led by her father. The choice is taken out of her hands when she is chosen to save the world by delivering a relic to an island where it was stolen long ago. She’ll need to enlist the help of Maui, a demigod whose abilities are matched only by his intelligence. He really doesn’t want to help, but he gets taken along for the ride. Can these two really manage to get the stone to the island where they will have to face off against Te Ka? It certainly won’t be easy!

Moana is a good main character. I’d want to leave the island if I was in her shoes as well. The economy wasn’t going well and the job market seemed to be wearing thin as well. The village simply needed new materials and she would have to venture out to get them. Moana is very determined and keeps getting back on the track no matter how many times Maui fails. The ocean’s blessing was also super useful since it meant that Moana couldn’t drown. She had a little crisis of self confidence towards the second half of the film, but fortunately she managed to get past it.

Unfortunately, Moana is perfectly countered by Maui who is one of the worst Disney “heroes” that I’ve ever seen. There is absolutely nothing heroic about this guy. He seriously tries to drown Moana in one scene and then leaves her to die in a blocked off cave in another. Fortunately, the ocean saved her the first time and she found an exit the second. The fact that Maui tried to murder her is glossed over later on and his attempts grow less drastic as time goes on. That being said, he was already too far gone for me to see him as a likable character. Even up to the end, Maui is really just fighting for himself and his ego.

What makes this even worse is the fact that Maui isn’t even very tough. On the contrary, I’d say that he is actually very weak. He can’t really hold his own against anybody. He gets wrecked by a giant crab and doesn’t even put up a good fight against the fire demon. Maui is really just one of those characters who is all talk and no action. He gets old rather quickly. For the other supporting characters, we also have Moana’s father and her grand mother. The Dad gets annoying pretty quick as he tries to stop Moana since he lost in his mission a while back. I definitely don’t think leaving the island should be banned. The grandmother is nice and seems to know a lot, but she also does act a little crazy half the time. Her antics probably could have been dialed down a notch.

There are two main villains here. The first one is Tamatoa, a giant crab who sparkles. This guy humiliates Maui quite a lot so I was on board with that. He’s a fairly intimidating villain as well even if he is easy to trick. He made for some pretty fun scenes so I was glad to have him on board. He didn’t seem that strong, but his strength was ultimately enough anyway. The other big villain is Te Ka, who defeated Maui so completely that the poor guy was scarred for life. Te Ka’s fire abilities were pretty great and the heroes definitely didn’t seem like they had a chance against her. That being said, it does lead to one of the film’s biggest plot holes. Te Ka is probably the best character in the film.

Here’s where the plot gets messy. Okay, the whole point is that the ocean is sentient in this film and wants Moana to save the day. She needs to get the pendent/stone/mcguffin to the island to seal the demon. Here’s where the plot falls apart. We learn that the water can move and walk around. It can grab things and shoot blasts of water. Why isn’t the ocean just placing the item back itself? From what we see in the movie, it would be very easy to stun the fire demon and place it. After all, the ocean finally does take the fire demon down in one shot when it acts at the end. The fire demon keeps healing so it’s not down for the count, but it would be long enough for the water to finish the job. There is no reason for it not to act and I feel like this is a glaring hole in the film’s script/plot. It just made no sense and I was puzzled about that during the entire film.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is relatively sound. Quite a lot happens during the time frame as the heroes have to reclaim Maui’s weapon, fight off pirates, and go on a bunch of adventures. I have to say that Maui’s shape shifting was as underwhelming as you’d expect though. He made a big deal about how he would get super tough once he had his weapon back and he still had a habit of getting knocked around by everyone. I was just surprised that he never lived up to his own hype.

The animation looks pretty good. The water is crispy and clear. The energy blasts and disaster zone with Te Ka are also visually striking. It’s a pretty well made movie all around in terms of the visuals. The character designs are also on point and I certainly didn’t notice any animation errors. By and large, the writing is pretty good as well. It’s nothing special, but it doesn’t make any mistakes so that is most certainly a good thing.

The humor can be a bit weak in this film. One of the main comedy subplots is that Moana has a bird who can’t really think straight. This means that he is always getting lost, pecking the ground, or just getting in everyone’s way. There’s nothing really fun about seeing a bird just crash into everything all the time and I could never get behind the plot. As far as animal mascots go, this one was a complete dud.

Overall, Moana is a good film. It goes by fairly quick and has some nice action scenes at the end. What holds it back is mainly Maui. The guy is just unbearable whenever he’s on screen and comes off as a total jerk. The bird subplot certainly didn’t do the film any favors either. It’s a fun flick, but odds are that you’ll find yourself choosing something else to watch. There’s nothing that this film does particularly well that isn’t completely surpassed by a better film. Don’t even get me started on comparing the songs to the classic “Let It Go” That won’t end well. Still, if you’re in the mood for a tropical animated film, there aren’t a lot of other options. This will definitely be the option for you.

Overall 6/10

Tugboat Mickey Review

198385_1020_A
It’s time for another Disney short. I think it’s safe to say that Mickey Mouse has been in a lot of adventures but this may have been the toughest one yet. He owns a boat in this story along with Goofy and Donald. The boat wasn’t fully completed yet as it had a bunch of repairs that still needed to be done, but then the group hears an SOS signal and naturally they cannot ignore it. They have to speed up the repairs and get ready to head out, but can they make it in time?

This is easily one of the better specials. As always, I like seeing the group together. Part of what makes it fun as well is the trick ending. Turns out that the SOS signal was actually a fake and it was just coming from a radio. There’s a twist within the twist though as the signal appears to be sentient because the machine starts to drown when Mickey and co. attack it. You also have to wonder what kind of show was being played since it claimed that this was the final episode. Everyone drowns in the end? Well gosh, that’s a bold ending. At least Mickey didn’t take this lying down though, the least our heroes can do is break the recording to stop others from meeting a similar fate.

The animation is pretty smooth as always. I saw this special back to back with another one that had Mickey’s classic design so it was cool to notice how it changed as the years go by. Mickey has always adapted with the times to the point where it’s hard for me to say what the best design was. He’s a solid lead although Donald steals the show as always. Goofy isn’t bad this time as his role is fairly good. One advantage that this special had over some of the others was that the jokes didn’t go on for too long and they basically all worked this time. Maybe a boat special was just what we needed.

The Donald plot had him go up against a sentient steam pusher which got in some epic burns. It had the best lines of the special. Donald may have lost the fight, but not the war. Goofy had to fight with a latch opener that kept throwing his coal back at him. Goofy definitely wasn’t going to be getting past this guy very easily. Mickey actually had the weakest plot as a drunk bird kept messing with his painting skills. There’s not a whole lot you can do with that plot after all, but the special tried.

Overall, Tugboat Mickey is a fun special. It’s only around 7 minutes so it’s over in the blink of an eye. The short length always helps for these specials so they don’t drag on or anything. If it was gonna be feature length, then you’d probably need more of an actual plot here. If you’ve enjoyed the Disney specials so far then you should add this one to your collection.

Overall 7/10

The Band Concert Review

The_Band_Concert
It’s time for another classic Disney review! In this special, Mickey Mouse is actually the antagonist for once. In my head canon, Mickey Mouse let the fame get to him and he forgot to look out for the little guys. As such, he is now the leader of a band and only allows top musicians to play with him. Donald tries to get in on the action, but Mickey reacts violently each time. He’ll have to think of something to get in on the act, but things get tough when a tornado sweeps through and carries them all off. Can Mickey finish his song or will Donald interfere again?

It’s a pretty entertaining special and I can see why people consider it to be one of Disney’s stronger ones. I thought it was more enjoyable than the others that I’ve seen as well. It’s pretty high energy the whole time. Sure, Mickey is pretty out of character, but it just goes to show that even he loses it once in a while. At least Mickey is super focused as not even the tornado could break his concentration. His team didn’t miss a beat and that’s why they’re considered as the pros.

Meanwhile, Donald Duck did his best to fit in. He didn’t let the others get him down and came with a lot of flutes just in case. I’d say that he’s easily the best character in this special. Donald is a reminder to us all that nobody can stop you from playing your tunes except for yourself. This special was a little light on dialogue so we didn’t get to hear Donald’s iconic voice as much as I’d like, but it’s still always fun to see him on screen. Donald is certainly my favorite from the old Disney characters. Another bonus is that Goofy doesn’t get much to do here since it’s just a bunch of Goofy ripoffs in the band and none of them have any lines if I recall correctly. Most excellent!

The actual song that the band was playing was pretty good as well. I definitely don’t mind old style songs for a special like this one. After all, something like Brave or Excalibur Clash wouldn’t fit so well right? I sometimes like to wonder what is better, to have a really epic song for something simple like baking a cake or to have a fairly uneventful theme playing the whole time. The latter would be forgettable, but the former would hint at something epic coming up and then you’d just be disappointed. It’s a tough question for sure.

Overall, it’s fun to check out these retro specials. They’re really short so you can breeze through them, but the animation holds up well. Mickey Mouse and the others certainly got iconic through these shorts so Disney knew how to market even back then. Still, I doubt anyone could have ever guessed just how legendary they would ultimately end up being. There are a lot of specials so it’ll probably be a while before I see them all, but I’m getting there step by step.

Overall 7/10

Aladdin Review

MV5BNTI4ODQ1MzAzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzU4NzMxMDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_
It’s time for a classic film review. This title is basically the opposite of TMNT in many ways. Aladdin is a heartwarming story about a man who must risk life and limb to stop the evil plots of those who would harm the kingdom and Princess Jasmine. His name is Aladdin and he has become a very iconic figure in Disney history. Does this film deserve to be called a classic? Let’s see!

Whoops, did I already spoil the plot? Well, that was a rather vague version of it anyway. Princess Jasmine is to be married to a rich prince as per the Kingdom rules, but she doesn’t like any of them. One day, she escapes to the outside world and meets up with Aladdin. They are soon separated and now they know that they are meant to team up as they try to get back together. Unfortunately, Jafar intends to stop this since he wants the crown for himself. Whoever gets the magical lamp to summon the Genie may end up having a great advantage over the other!

Aladdin is the main lead of the film, but the title probably gave that away. He’s essentially what you would expect for the main character. He likes to defy the authorities and he steals food from the shop owners whenever he can. He talks a really good game (Like 99% of the current film protagonists) and then proceeds to get crushed by the weakest of minions. “You’re only in trouble if you get caught” is one of his most wince worthy moments since he gets caught immediately after saying this. Haven’t we seen enough characters who talk their way to the finish line only to be defeated instantly in combat? I can’t say that it’s very entertaining. Aladdin is also one of those guys who immediately falls in love at the drop of a hat and it hurts his overall character arc. He tends to hesitate a lot, which makes him fall short when the stakes are at their highest. He also tries to lie his way through situations and the fame of being a prince gets to him. He just fell into so many character holes throughout the film that I can’t say that Aladdin is one of the better main characters. He could have been good, but he was a little too generic and not someone that I could really root for.

Jasmine is a pretty decent character and it’s easy to sympathize with her plight. An arranged marriage is like a surprise dinner from your worst nightmares. Nothing will turn out as you’ve always pictured and things will just keep going downhill forever. I don’t know why the Sultan won’t just rewrite the rule, but maybe he doesn’t know that he can actually do that. Jasmine’s pet tiger is pretty intense as well and we can thank him for all of the assistance that he gave Jasmine. Unfortunately, Jasmine goes too far with her plan to distract Jafar and she just should have tackled him or grabbed the staff. It would have been a better way to stop him without degrading herself. It’s no exaggeration to say that the scene did hurt the film’s overall rating. Jasmine was a decent character, but the onslaught of romance scenes threw her down a few pegs.

Jafar is definitely a pretty weak villain. He’s just another guy who wants power and romance as he ascends to the top of the food chain. He wants to become the Sultan as quickly as powerful and he sends in his underlings to do the dirty work for him. When it comes down to a fight, Jafar must rely on his staff since he’s really not a fighter. He does get a big moment at the end of the film, but he spoils it since he didn’t think it through. He should have just protected the lamp from being touched..but he was not yet fast enough. Even without the romance, I wasn’t a fan of Jafar, but it certainly didn’t help his case. Iago was a better villain!

Iago is one of the more sinister creatures in the film since he’ll do anything for money and power. He definitely talks big and he doesn’t really back down from anyone. He’s one of those character’s who’s literally all bark and no bite, but that’s just how his character is. His personality may not be as enjoyable if he was a tough fighter, but that’s up for debate I suppose. It’s hard to see how he could turn over a new leaf, but he does know where the money and power now reside….

Abu is Aladdin’s pet monkey and he’s not one of the biggest supporting characters in the film. He has his moments though and he is probably a decent character for some. I don’t really care for him myself, but he keeps things real. He’s a decent fighter and he always goes all out although he is not quite as nice as Aladdin. He reluctantly parts with his piece of bread and he is pretty sad about the whole thing. I may like him more in the sequel…maybe.

The Sultan is one of the main sources of comic relief for the film. He only wants what’s best for Jasmine, but his thirst for fame and glory blind him to this and he tries for her to get married as quickly as possible. He lacks strength of character so he is easily manipulated by Jafar. It’s too bad for him because the Sultan is still a decent character…or he has the potential to be decent. He plays with his toys during his free time and he can talk a pretty good game. Unfortunately, it is often too little too late and I can’t really forget how he was tricked so many times. He’s charismatic, but you begin to dislike him when you realize how bad some of his decisions are.

Genie is one of the most popular characters of the Aladdin franchise and he’s definitely unforgettable. He basically has unlimited power so he doesn’t need to fear anyone. He gets tricked a few times by Aladdin, but he learns as he goes. Genie doesn’t like to be double crossed and he doesn’t really care too much for being a genie, but he puts on a tough face and endures it. He’s definitely one of the most likable characters in the film and he’s always ready with some good advice for Aladdin. He doesn’t possess a lot of “strength of character” since the lamp is always able to override what he really wants to do. Luckily, that shouldn’t be a problem for him in future appearances.

The animation isn’t bad for this film. I definitely miss the good ole hand drawn days of Disney and this one reminds you why it can be so special. It reminds me of those computer games that were all the rage back in the day. The animation is rather similar. I do think that America was significantly behind Japan at the time in animation, which explains why Transformers and Gundam look better than Aladdin. For what it is, Aladdin still looks good though and you can easily follow what is happening. There aren’t any obvious animation errors. (Although his bread almost appeared to have chocolate in it at some points) All of the character designs quickly became iconic after this film.

There are several songs in this film, but it’s not overdone like in High School Musical. My main complaint would be the fact that it’s really hard to follow the lyrics. The sound effects are too loud during the chase scene so some of Aladdin’s lines can’t really be heard and you’ll get lost midway through the song. The voices were pretty good and the songs were decent, but this isn’t the next “Everything is Awesome” or “Let it Go.” (Although I already forgot the latter one. I need to give that song a listen too….someday) So, the songs didn’t really bother me in this film since the villains didn’t play a major part in it. Nothing’s worse than seeing the villain get a few songs to himself to remind us just how sinister he is!

Unfortunately, there was one extremely wince worthy romance scene that derailed the film faster than a dog will snatch away your bacon from the table. It’s the kind of scene that can really shave a few points off of anything even if it is fairly brief. It’s just something that I don’t want to see in my entertainment and I was surprised that this was in a Disney film. Jasmine decides to distract Jafar with her fake words while Aladdin went for the Lamp. That’s already pretty terrible in itself, but I didn’t expect it to get worse. Unfortunately, words are not enough so Jasmine takes the next step, but it’s a step that should never be taken. There were a lot of other alternatives for Jasmine at the moment and she should have just tackled the villain.

This makes Aladdin look bad as well for two reasons. One, he kept on hesitating and stopping, which made things worse for Jasmine. He ultimately fails in his quest to grab the lamp as well so it was basically all for nothing. The second reason would be the fact that Aladdin allowed this to happen as well. I’d expect some “Brooklyn Rage” (Abridged term) from him and a solid punch. Aladdin could likely beat Jafar in a fist fight and he would just need to prevent Jafar from ordering the Genie to help. That really wouldn’t be too hard for him and then Jasmine could grab the lamp. So, what I’m saying is that drastic measures, which involve degrading yourself to stall the villain is basically a no no. The scene shouldn’t have happened and the fact that Aladdin still failed was pretty awful.

Aside from that scene, the film also does have a lot of romance stuff in it. That’s not typically a good thing and I wouldn’t say that it’s handled all that well here either. The flirting can be pretty irritating after a while and it’s even worse if you don’t care for the two main characters that much. Romance typically doesn’t have a place in any film and this one overdoes it.

At least Aladdin has no trouble with its pacing. A lot of events happen in the short runtime of the film and the plot changes from one scene to the next. Most of the characters got their necessary development and the villain had time for two different plans! Unfortunately, I still didn’t end up liking the characters all that much, but Disney tried. At least I did like (some of) the animal characters in this film. The tiger was hardcore and the birds were also cool. There aren’t many action scenes in the film, but they’re fairly good and the danger scenes inside of the cave of wonders are also well done. The film definitely had a lot of potential.

Overall, Aladdin is definitely one of Disney’s most well known films, but it’s definitely no all star. Frozen would wipe the floor with this film and Aladdin just hasn’t aged all that well. It should be noted that I’ve never been a fan of desert films as it is. (Although that wasn’t really a negative in this film) Aladdin can be a fun watch for the family, but there are just too many scenes that aren’t funny or enjoyable. The critical scene that I mentioned earlier is ultimately what destroyed the film for me. Of course, there were also several other romance scenes that were pretty bad. If you really don’t mind romance and are just happy to see the heroes come out on top no matter how they got there…then you may enjoy this film. Still, if you want to watch a fun animated film, I’d recommend checking out Megaman NT Warrior The Program of Light and Darkness! You won’t be disappointed as that one features the greatest character of all time and some epic action!

Overall 4/10