Disney Movies: Alice in Wonderland

So here we go again – getting deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of Disney’s 50s gems, so to speak. Number dix:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

alice in wonderland

Just a background: Alice in Wonderland was released in 1951 one year after Cinderella and based off the famous book The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, where a young girl by the name of Alice finds herself falling through a rabbit hole and stumbling into the trippiest trip of her entire life. There is literally no sense or organizational manner to Wonderland. Which of course, makes it all the harder to critique. But! Here we go either way —

—STORY CONSISTENCY—

The hard thing about this part of the judging is that when in any sort of universe has the story of Alice in Wonderland ever been consistent? I mean, the only consistency we really see is with Alice growing and getting small again when she eats things, along with the complete circle at the beginning and end of which she is introduced in one place and then back there at the end. As far as the movie goes, however, things run as consistently as they can, despite the story’s lack thereof. We see every character that was seemingly “important” at the beginning come back at the end and little Alice even learns her lesson, we think.

—CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT—

Here, we see that Alice has the most “development” so to speak, but she confused me a tad at the same time. She was supposed to be a little girl, but she was quite well-spoken, aware, and logical for a little girl, British or not, and this made her appear quite mature. Which I’m sure was the point. However, then we would have random moments when she would burst into tears of no real accord, like when she has gotten large again in the small room. Of course, if we had had more indication that Alice was an overall mature girl, then these moments of utter logic in the face of very strange things would make more sense, however, we see that she is painted as, apparently, the opposite of this. She is supposed to be quite an immature and almost silly child who doesn’t pay attention or listen. But in Wonderland, she seemed above and beyond all that, and though she retained her curious child’s edge, she very much abandoned the other two things and was extremely attentive to detail and listened whenever she was in trouble. This shows that, despite it all, Alice actually grew up while away in her dream world, yet came back to her rightful age and maturity level when she wakes up again. It is a strange combination of both development and purposeful lack thereof.

—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—

I’ll admit, when Alice opened her mouth to sing with the flowers, I had to cover my ears. Her voice was much too high to be pleasant! But the flowers seemed to agree with that after a time. However, the animation style has already matured since Cinderella. We see careful and detailed attention put on Alice, which is also nice because she is a girl, and see some familiar bits of animation put into the strangeness and oddity of Wonderland (similarities to Fantasia, I mean). The music, for the most part, was pretty good as well – a lot of the songs were clever and new and funny. The best scene for animation and music creativity was surely the Mad Hatter’s un-birthday tea party scene, where we see Alice’s childhood impatience shine through, as well as the true insanity of Wonderland.

—PLOT COHERENCE—

Even so, this Mad Hatter scene, as well as the Queen of Heart’s scene, are the most well-done pieces of the film. The very beginning is a tad dull and too repetitive to really re-watch or pay attention to when you are older. When she has just landed in Wonderland and is resizing herself all over the place, it gets a bit old. However, once we get past that and hit the forest with the Cheshire cat and the Mad Hatter tea party, we really see more of Alice’s personality stand out and the personality of Wonderland as a whole. Again, we cannot truly critique the plot of the movie, considering it is based off the original story, which truly has no purpose, meaning, or true plot to it. But again! This postmodernness, though something I deeply dislike, is something that was done on purpose and for the sake of entertainment alone. And, by the late beginning and middle of the movie, we are quite entertained indeed.

OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10

 

Advertisements

People Make Glasgow Day 4

Ah yes – the time has come for the REAL fun to start. My dad left me to my whimsies, told me to have fun and be safe and then left me standing on the street as he drove away in a taxi for 6 months, and it was up to me to fulfill my life’s ambition and become the true Gryffindor within. I am, after all, a Gryffindor at heart.

10940535_10203320750281221_5611840833746876321_n

So here lies the outside of my flat. Birkbeck Court. It’s peaceful and quaint, isn’t it? I love the way the deadened trees somehow seem to liven the place up. It was a dreadfully sunny day. Quite the scandal, if you ask me. My window was one of the ones at the very top. Crazy, right? And you know what? I never learned to accept those 8 flights of stairs.

10957689_10203347194662314_6323192064052589011_n

And, in case you were wondering (which I’m sure you were), this is what my room looked like on the inside. It’s even cuter than the outside, I’d say. Of course it helps that I decorated it. I went a little wild while packing and brought almost everything I could find that seemed to scream ‘KRISTA!’ So – here it all is. I enjoyed it though. It became my safe haven. My cave of love, even. Though I often kicked them out without their socks the next morning. I even enjoyed the smell of it. There was an old style heater under the window and I think it gave the whole room a sort of warm, cozy smell as well as feel. I always slept well here. It was strange. I hadn’t often slept well back in Cali. I always needed some kind of white noise there, too. But not here. Here, I could keep my window open and listen to the crazy partiers coming home at 3 in the morning screaming Bulgarian songs. I could listen to the rush of taxis and large buses on the wet road. I could hear the patter of the rain on the windowsill. It was all very refreshing to me.

10945494_10203347190262204_2764172325092063210_n

Well, one week in, I woke up to this. Snow. On the roofs. In the grass. Breeding in the sky. It was the most exciting thing I had experienced so far. I had gone out the night before so I woke up kind of late, but it still seemed right on schedule. So I rushed into the shower and got ready. I had to be outside. Had to. Of course, when I get out there, the cold wind only seemed to wake me up more. I wanted to keep walking. Wanted to run. To take over the city myself. And I mean, I basically did. But I didn’t know I would do that yet. Today, all I cared about was kicking around the snow and making footprints in the grass. I didn’t even care that I was alone. None of my flatmates cared that much about it. But I did. It made me feel…alive. I was soon to find that a lot of things would make me feel that way in this dreadfully distant place.

20705_10203347189982197_3050737265536119056_n

Look at how few people cared! Though most of them weren’t silly California girls, were they? Thank the Lords. I was already annoyed at the international orientation when a whole line of flippy-haired, blonde, San Diego girls sat down in front of me. I didn’t need more of them, that’s for sure. I had left America for a reason. Where was I headed here? I don’t even know. Everywhere. Nowhere. To the library, probably. Pay no attention to the giant crane or the lack of human life…

PARTAH

And, as promised, my life truly began this week, too. Here, I have officially convinced all of my international and Scottish friends alike to attend the Harry Potter themed club party with me. We were pre-gaming in a flat before heading out to the club. Can you pick out the Scots? Hint — look for the whitest boys in the whole room. I’m hardly visible, though it is a shame. I was wearing a full-on outfit of Hufflpuff attire, socks and everything. Kind of awkward considering I’m a Ravenclaw now. This was the first real party I attended and the first time I really let go. I won’t say much more. The rest is up to one’s imagination. Let’s just say that the night ended much wilder than expected…

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 5 to come next week.

Disney Movies: Cinderella

Ah yes, the golden child — finally, right? I feel we’ve had to endure some mighty terrible ones to get to you. And yet, I was expecting worse from this one, strangely. I highly underestimated the old princess ones it would seem. So — onto number neuf, then?

CINDERELLA

cinderella

The usual background: Cinderella was Disney’s jump into the 50s, where his movies suddenly became quite, well — how do I put it nicely? — fantastic, with Cinderella starting us off with its release in 1950. What surprised me the most about the opening credits to this one was the fact that it was based off Charles Perrault’s Cinderella tale and not the other versions, such as Brothers’ Grimm. Which I suppose makes sense, considering Disney would strive to stray as far from Grimm as possible (look at Snow White). I actually read Perrualt’s version for the first time very recently for a uni course! So — go Disney for variation.

—STORY CONSISTENCY—

This story was quite consistent with the fairy tale book theme in the beginning, like most of the other princess and storybook tales he’s done. What was refreshing about Cinderella was that she didn’t start out as a princess, in fact, she started out as the opposite. The story is very consistent in terms of where it starts, where it’s going, and where it ends. We have no real questions as we go through and everything that happens, for the most part, makes sense, especially if you are familiar with the original fairy tales themselves. Cinderella starts off as a poor kitchen wench to her own “family”, shedding light on how awkward living in an abusive family is because, what do you do? Cinderella followed their orders without much complaint because again — what DO you do? How else do you handle that sort of situation besides ranting to your animal friends and then getting the family’s orders out of the way as quickly as you can? Speaking of animal friends — the consistency with them is pretty great. They are always there to help and it makes sense because she was nice to them and even gave them fitting clothes when everyone else was afraid of them or wanted to eat them (mainly the mice in this scenario). And then we have the sub-plot of the prince’s story and probably the first Disney movie to have a successful sub-plot. We see that his father has specific plans for him he doesn’t want to meet and is having a huge row about it, which leads us to the ball. Then of course, it makes sense why Cinderella can’t go initially, and even the fairy Godmother makes sense because, if you’re familiar with Perrault, she’s by a tree when she cries for help. The tree is supposed to be where her mother is buried, hence the magical Godmother figure. It makes sense in the tale, all right? But also is portrayed well here. Along with everything else. Even the fact that Cinderella loses her slipper is consistent because we see her lose it early on in the movie, when it “doesn’t matter”. This was also a beautiful use of foreshadow — by the way. Kudos, Disney. She’s simply walking up the stairs with her hands full when she loses a slipper! Brilliant, really. And even after she’s married to the prince, she loses a slipper again! Oh Cinderelli…

—CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT—

With the above in mind, this movie greatly surprised me with an array of fantastically brilliant and vibrant characters that all really shine as their own personas. The King, for example, was my favorite. He was hilarious, ridiculous, and above all, Kingly. All he wanted was grandchildren, and he was willing to do everything in his power to get them. Even if that meant cutting off his Duke’s head or making his son marry someone he despises. Quite the true Kingsman. Then we have Cinderella, who is honestly quite sassy and sophisticated, behind the family’s back, of course, in a manner mature for her age. Which makes sense, considering she had to grow up quite fast. Her step-sisters are on the opposite spectrum as bumbling, idiotic, spoiled brats, which also makes sense. Even the mice have very distinct personalities. We have Gus Gus, who spewed the best line ever after revealing the newly made dress to Cinderella. “Happy birthday!” he said. Classic…And then, we have Jacque, who is quite a spunky, helpful lad. He even wishes to sew for the ladies, but this one overly stereotypical mouse sings, “Leave the sewing for the women!” which is probably my biggest negative about the movie. But — I guess it is the 50s. Anyway, the male mice ended up helping five minutes later despite. All of these characters go through transformations as well. We see Cinderella finally break down under all of that pressure, stress, and abuse after her dress is ruined. We see the prince finally take to a girl. We see the King calm down about everything because of Cinderella. And! We see the step-family get served. HA! You thought you would win — but you didn’t realize that Cinderella had mice on her side. I also do really like this touch to Cinderella. If animals can trust you, that automatically makes you a trustworthy, kind, and true individual. At least I believe so. And it makes sense, at that point, that she would only put her trust in animals.

—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—

The animation has definitely become less silly since The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad and grown much more sophisticated, glamorized, and entrancing. We see two kinds of animation in this film: stagnant, flatter animation, like with the castle and the background guards, and the fuller, more detailed animation that we’ve been seeing up until now, with Cinderella herself (finally! The women have detail!), the step-family, the King, and the Duke. Specific actions were given more detail, too. Like when the fairy Godmother is magicking everything into something pretty and presentable, and even the dramatic moments, like when Lady Tremaine realizes that Cinderella had gone to the ball and locks her in her own room. The music has already escalated since Bambi, too. Our first song is quite beautiful and serene, interrupted only by a loud clock that Cinderella herself makes a sassy retort about. And the music continues that way, as well. Some very classic and still famous songs can be found within this track, such as the first one about dreams and the fairy Godmother’s classic, “Bipidi-bopidi-bo”.

—PLOT COHERENCE—

We see that the plot itself has escalated as well since our last Disney. Where Ichabod Crane was silly and not focused, Cinderella was actually quite serious, yet mixed with the perfect amount of comedy, as well as being extremely focused on its task. There were quite a lot of important things that happened in this movie that were so minute and detailed, a child would never pick up on it. Like for example, the simple fact that the fairy Godmother made the actual horse the coachman for Cinderella’s carriage, stating, “Now you’ll get the reins for a change.” Not only is that a great thing to give anyone who is often controlled, but it is a direct parallel to what she is giving Cinderella: reins. A means to control her own life for once. And though most wouldn’t call this movie feminist, what I love about it is Cinderella’s chance to go to the ball had nothing to do with “finding a man” or “seeking love”. She was just seeking freedom for herself, if even for one night. And! She didn’t even realize that the man she danced with WAS the Prince! She was just there to finally shine and have a good time, and love just happened to come, too.

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10