Category Archives: Animation

Vincent

The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Rick Heinrichs
Written by Tim Burton
Narrated by Vincent Price
Music by Ken Hilton
Cinematography Victor Abdalov
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Touchstone Home Video
Buena Vista Distribution
Release date UK 1982
Running time 5 minutes 52 seconds
Country USA
Language English

I saw Vincent last week as a part of the Tim Burton exhibition that is currently on at ACMI in Federation Square, Melbourne. (I also have it on DVD as an extra on The Nightmare Before Christmas) It’s a great six-minute stop motion animated film that shows where Burton would be headed in his career. It features great narration from Vincent Price and the animation is very good.


Destino

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most f...

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Directed by Dominique Monféry
Produced by Baker Bloodworth & Roy E. Disney
Written by Salvador Dalí, John Hench & Donald W. Ernst
Music by Armando Dominguez
Music Adaptation: Michael Starobin
Editing by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
Studio Disney Studios France
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date USA: December 19, 2003
France:  June 1, 2003

Destino was a collaboration between Disney and Salvador Dali that commenced in 1945/46 but was unfinished. They had storyboarded it but due to financial difficulties and the war the project was cancelled. It was resurrected in 2000 by Roy Disney and finally premiered in 2003.

It has not been released onto DVD yet, although it could be an extra release with the forthcoming Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 release next year. It was supposed to have been a part of the Walt Disney Treasures line but that never came to fruition. It is quite interesting and very Dali-esque. Destino was a part of the National Gallery Of Victoria‘s 2009 Dali exhibition; Liquid Desires.


The Smurfs And The Magic Flute

Directed byOriginal version:
Peyo
Jose Dutillieu
Eddie Lateste
English version:
John Rust
Produced by Original version:
Jose Dutilieu
English version:
Roger Guertin Written by Original version:
Peyo (based on his original Smurfs characters)
Yvan Delporte
English version:
John Rust

Cast

English version

  • Cam Clarke as Peewit
  • Durga McBroom
  • Patty Foley
  • Grant Gottschall
  • Mike Reynolds
  • Ted Lehman
  • Bill Capizzi
  • Ron Gans
  • X. Phifer
  • Dudly Knight
  • John Rust
  • Richard Miller
  • David Page
  • Robert Axelrod
  • Michael Sorich
  • Richard Ashley
  • Ed Devereaux
  • Harry Dickman
  • Paul Felber
  • Michael Fields
  • Kalman Glass
  • Stuart Lock
  • Anna Mackeown
  • Vernon Morris
  • Bill Owen
  • Richard Pescud
  • Yael O’Dwyer
Peyo signature

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Music by Michel Legrand

Editing by Nebiha Ben Milad & Michèle Neny

Distributed by Atlantic Releasing (U.S. theatrical),
Vestron Video (VHS)
Release dates 1976 (Belgium)
November 25, 1983 (U.S.)
Running time 74 min.

Country Belgium
Language French

When I was 9 I loved the smurfs, I think that the love affair started because of BP, as they used to have the little figurines that you would get free when buying fuel. I must have had a hundred of those little guys. Little did I know then that the smurfs had been around since the 1950s in Belgian comic books or that the German company Schleich had been making those figurines for almost just as long. The smurfs may have been just a short-lived fad in the English-speaking world but they are huge in Europe. I must say that the smurf comic books that I have read seen to be pretty good and that it is a shame that so few have been translated into English.

My Dad must have loved us kids a lot, as when I was 9 he took us to Clayton drive in to watch The Smurfs And The Magic Flute. Unfortunately for us then, we got mixed up with the times and it wasn’t actually playing at the time that we arrived and we had to go home without seeing it, but the fact that my Dad was willing to take us to see such a horrible film is testament to his love for his children. I wouldn’t have done it. I think that today’s parents are blessed that they can take their kids to see animated movies and are also guaranteed to be entertained themselves, but in the 80s all animated films were strictly just for kids.

I guess that if I had of seen this movie when I was 9 I would have enjoyed it, as 9 year olds are happy just to see images moving up and down on a screen and enjoy anything. Then again this film is not the same as the smurfs TV show and actually predates it by a number of years. This film was made in Belgium in 1976 and was directed by the creator of the smurfs, Peyo, whilst the American smurfs TV show didn’t start until the mid-80s. This film wasn’t released into the English-speaking world until 1983. The voice cast is horrible, the actors are different from the ones who did the voices in the American series. It seems almost as if when translating it into the English language they decided to give the characters the most annoying voices possible. The animation is Ok by 1970s standards but the songs featured in the film is horrible.

I see that this has just been released onto DVD here in Australia but I suggest that parents avoid this like the plague. Even if they are at all nostalgic for the smurfs avoid this at all costs and instead look for the DVD box sets of the TV series which can also be found.

By the way I have seen the trailer for the smurfs movie that is coming out next year. It looks like soon The Smurfs And The Magic Flute won’t be the worst smurfs movie ever made.

I do recommend that you buy the Smurfs graphic novels which can be pre-purchased from Amazon.


Make Mine Music

Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimim, Hamilton Luske, Joshua Meador & Robert Cormack
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by James Bordrero
Homer Brightman
Erwin Graham
Eric Gurney
T. Hee
Sylvia Holland

Dick Huemer
Dick Kelsey
Jesse Marsh
Tom Oreb
Cap Palmer
Erdman Penner
Harry Reeves
Dick Shaw
John Walbridge
Roy Williams
Starring Nelson Eddy
Dinah Shore
Benny Goodman
The Andrews Sisters

Jerry Colonna
Sterling Holloway
Andy Russell
David Lichine
Tania Riabouchinskaya
The Pied Pipers
The King’s Men
The Ken Darby Chorus
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date April 20, 1946
Running time 67 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Sometimes I can understand why people illegally download movies from the internet, even though I would never condone such a thing. A case in point is Disney’s Make Mine Music which is not available to my knowledge on DVD in Australia but the American version can easily be found on Amazon. But beware, as the American DVD is censored, with one whole section, The Martins and The Coys, taken out because… I’m not sure. Some people say that this section was taken out because it is offensive to Southerners in the USA, while others say that it’s because there is excessive gunplay. Whatever the reason I don’t think that it should be censored. I can understand people wanting to find the uncensored version of this and think that when companies censor in this way they sort of deserve to lose revenue from people making illegal but complete copies.

Anyway this film is made up of ten segment which we would all be pretty familiar with as they were shown on the Wonderful World of Disney all the time, but now they are rarely seen. I don’t know if I had ever seen the film in it’s entirety before, just the segments individually.

The most well known of the segments are…

The Martins And The Coys

The most infamous of the segments now because it has been banned.

All The Cats Join In

I like this a lot. The music is very catchy and the animation is good.

Casey At The Bat

The most famous of the segments. Pretty funny.

Peter And The Wolf

I liked this segment as a kid but think it’s just OK now. The characters are cute.

Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnett

This has the Andrews Sisters and other than that I didn’t like it very much.

The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At the Met

This is quite funny and the whale is cute, but the ending is sad.

Anyway this is a pretty good piece of forgotten Disney animation. It would be good if Disney could give it a proper (complete) DVD release or even show it on TV so that kids (and adults) can see it.

This reminds me that tomorrow (Friday August 6th 2010) Disney Channel are showing Fantasia at 6.30pm, in between the endless ads for Jonus, Hannah Montana and all th eother stupid tween shows that are currently on Disney.


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Directed by Wes Anderson
Produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Allison Abbate &
Steven M. Rales
Written by Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach (screenplay)
Roald Dahl (book)
Starring George Clooney
Meryl Streep
Jason Schwartzman
Bill Murray
Michael Gambon
Jarvis Cocker
Owen Wilson
Willem Dafoe
Helen McCrory
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Tristan Oliver
Editing by Andrew Weisblum
Studio 20th Century Fox Animation
Indian Paintbrush
Regency Enterprises
American Empirical Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date November 25, 2009
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English

It is difficult to watch any film, let alone an animated film, after just seeing a movie as brilliant as Toy Story 3, but as I am so fascinated in stop motion animation and because I have wanted to see this film for quite a while, so I decided to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The film is OK and the stop motion animation is excellent, but it cannot compare to the emotion of the Pixar Toy Story 3. The film is an Americanized version of Road Dahl’s book, which is not as bad as it sounds as there are still some very British elements in the movie. All I can say is that it is a good but not great film.


Toy Story 3

Directed by Lee Unkrich
Produced by Darla K. Anderson & John Lasseter (Executive)
Nicole Paradis Grindl (Associate)
Written by Michael Arndt
Starring
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Ned Beatty
Don Rickles
Michael Keaton
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Estelle Harris
John Morris
Jodi Benson
Emily Hahn
Laurie Metcalf
Blake Clark
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Ken Schretzmann
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date June 18, 2010
Running time 103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English

The final adventure of Woody, Buzz and the gang is undoubtedly their best yet and I think is the best film that Pixar has made. I think that Pixar has raised the bar with TS3, especially with the personality of their characters. They connect with the audience in a way that other animated characters… even live action characters… are unable to. They have such a great depth that when they are in very real danger towards the climax of the film that many in the audience are weeping and blubbering like babies (shut up… I had something in my eye).

The film starts a bit slowly as we are re-introduced to the gang and they get us up to speed on what has happened since we last met. There is a lot of comedy, especially when the toys go to Sunnyside and we meet Ken, who is the funniest character in the film, but towards the end of the film things get serious and the toys are in very real danger of becoming a melted blob. It is here that you notice just how good this film is because you have become emotionally attached to a bunch of animated toys. The film has a lot of emotional depth, more than even your average live action film, and the toys, especially Lotso the strawberry huggin’ bear, have issues that have caused them to choose their life’s role. (I hope this makes sense)

Basically you should really see this film.


Toy Story 2

Directed by John Lasseter
Co-Directors:Lee Unkrich & Ash Brannon
Produced by Karen Robert Jackson & Helene Plotkin
Written by Andrew Stanton
Rita Hsiao
Doug Chamberlain
Chris Webb
Story:
John Lasseter
Pete Docter
Ash Brannon
Andrew Stanton
Colin Brady
Jimmy Hayward
Story Supervisors:
Dan Jeup
Joe Ranft
Starring Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Kelsey Grammer
Don Rickles
Jim Varney
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Wayne Knight
John Morris
Laurie Metcalf
Estelle Harris
Andrew Stanton
Music by Randy Newman
Cinematography Sharon Calahan
Editing by Lee Unkrich, Edie Bleiman & David Ian Salter
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date November 24, 1999
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I enjoyed watching Toy Story 2 even more that the original. Again there is some top notch animation from Pixar and the characters are warm and relatable. A lot of the time you forget that they are not real but are images on a screen.

Woody and Buzz are back and teaching the importance of friendship. I like the inclusion of Jesse the cowgirl, as voiced by Joan Cusack and Stinky Pete the Prospector, voiced by Kelsey Grammar.

Again it is a great film by Pixar with really lovable characters. It is very funny and is suspensful at the same time.


Toy Story

Directed by John Lasseter
Produced by Ralph Guggenheim & Bonnie Arnold
Written by John Lasseter
Pete Docter
Andrew Stanton
Joe Ranft
Joss Whedon
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Starring
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Don Rickles
Jim Varney
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Annie Potts
John Morris
Laurie Metcalf
Erik von Detten
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Robert Gordon & Lee Unkrich
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date November 22, 1995
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
It’s hard to believe that Toy Story is 15 years old. Woody, Buzz and the gang are still fresh after all that time. Now with Toy Story 3 being released today I thought that I would relive the first two adventures.

Toy Story was the first feature-length CGI animated film and unlike Dreamworks’ Shrek, it doesn’t feel dated at all. I think that this is the great thing about Pixar in that they don’t just concentrate on pop culture references or fart jokes (unlike Dreamworks) but actually create characters that an audience can care for and a story that is engaging. It’s a bit hard to review Toy Story as it is a film that almost everyone has seen and I am sure enjoys. There is a lot of great humour and the characters, such as Woody, have real emotions that we can really empathise with.


Gay Purr-ee

Directed by Abe Levitow
Produced by Henry G. Saperstein & Lee Orgel
Written by Joan Janis & Chuck Jones
Starring Judy Garland
Robert Goulet
Mel Blanc
Music by Harold Arlen & E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date October 24, 1962 (USA)
Running time 85 mins.
Language English

This is a film that I have wanted to see for a very long time. It was made by the famed UPA cartoons studio, which modernised animation in the 1950s and usurped Disney’s position as the industries leading light. They also took home several Oscars in that decade and created Mr Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing (with Dr Seuss), but by this films release in 1962 their light had well and truly faded. The studios guiding light, John Hubley had left in the 50s and by 1959 UPA had lost their theatrical distribution contract with Columbia.

This film was also also responsible for Chuck Jones being fired by Warner Bros. Jones had moonlighted for UPA in writing this film, which Warner’s did not appreciate as they had an exclusivity contract with him. Even though Jones is only credited as writing this film some of the character designs, particularly that of Mewsette, look as though they are his style. Many of his team of animators from Warner Bros. were also involved in this project.

There is a bit of other star power in this film. Three decades before it became trendy for major Hollywood stars to do the voices in animated films Judy Garland did the voice of Mewsette. Robert Goulet and Red Buttons play the other leading characters Juane Tom and Robespierre while Paul Frees who was no stranger to voicing animated characters, played the part of Meowrice. The songs in the film which are quite catchy were written by the team of Arlen and Harburg who a couple of decades earlier wrote the songs for another Judy Garland vehicle, The Wizard Of Oz.

The film is quite entertaining but not quite as good as the fare that Disney was making at that time. There is a bit of the UPA pretensions that they were making art rather than making a cartoon, but these are actually enjoyable. The backgrounds are really nice to look at and the little lecture on the different artists from the turn of last century was kind of cool too.


Song Of The South

Directed by Harve Foster (live action)
Wilfred Jackson (animation)
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Dalton S. Reymond, Morton Grant, Maurice Rapf, Bill Peet, Ralph Wright & George Stallings
Joel Chandler Harris (original stories)
Starring Ruth Warrick
Bobby Driscoll
James Baskett
Luana Patten
Lucile Watson
Hattie McDaniel
Glenn Leedy
Johnny Lee (voice)
Nick Stewart (voice)
Music by Daniele Amfitheatrof, Paul J. Smith (score), Edward Plumb (orchestration)
Cinematography Gregg Toland
Editing by William M. Morgan
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date(s) November 12, 1946 (U.S. release)
Running time 94 minutes
Language English

Usually when you think of movies that have been banned the name Walt Disney doesn’t spring to mind. Most Disney films are sweet as saccharine but there is indeed one Disney classic that has been banned for the last two decades and has caused more controversy and differing opinions than any other film that I know of. There are many theories as to why Disney has imposed a ban on this film being released onto DVD  and I really don’t understand most of the speculation. Then again I am neither an American or an African-American and am not fully aware of the issues involved and so can only judge the film on its entertainment value and not its cultural or racial undertones. I will say that I don’t understand why a film such as Birth Of A Nation can be freely available to buy on DVD and shown (as of last Saturday on ABC2) on television yet Song Of The South is not, other than the fact that some people automatically associate the Disney brand name with entertainment for children. (Won’t we think of the children!)

Having watched Song Of The South I have to say that I really do wonder what all the fuss is about. I don’t think that it is blatantly racist at all. I know that the argument that African-Americans who don’t like the film use it that the film is set just after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery and that the black people seem to be happy to work for the whites and that their characters are mere stereotypes but then again that’s the way Hollywood does things. It could also be argued, I guess, that Disney’s films are set in an alternate reality where live action humans and cartoon characters interact. Everyone is happy in the Disneyverse despite what is happening in the real world. However the whites and blacks in this film are not equals and there is a clear line of power that is implied here. The black people are clearly subservant to the whites, except in the eyes of the children who treat everyone with respect.

One thing that I think is the real shame of this film not being able to be viewed is that now no one gets to see Jame Baskett’s performance as Uncle Remus. His performance exudes a warmth that is contagious. His role is also important in another way in that this would have been one of (if not the) first times that a black man had the main role in a film not targeted specifically to a black audience.

I think that Song Of The South is a typical Disney live action film in much the same vein as they would make a decade later, focussing on the lives of some kids and the trials that they have to face. The three animated scenes featuring Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear are brilliantly done too. I don’t think that it makes any sense Banning Song Of The South, especially if more blatantly racist films are freely available to be released onto DVD or shown on TV. Then again this is my opinion.