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

 

Advertisements

Disney Movies: The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad

This one was an interesting one for me, considering I enjoy reading these kinds of tales, and had actually quite enjoyed the Legend of Sleepy Hollow as it was originally told. So — number huit:

THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD CRANE AND MR. TOAD

ichabodandmrtoad

Background: This movie was released in 1949, so right before Disney’s famous Cinderella and 50s era. I feel that most don’t actually know about this movie. I hadn’t known about it until I had looked up the list of Disney’s movies for my wee project here. The thing is, this movie is a compilation of two “beloved” tales, one set in England and the other set in New England, as it were. Both written much earlier than 1949. Mr. Toad’s story is straight from “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, while Ichabod Crane’s story is from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.

—STORY CONSISTENCY—

Even though we have two stories combined into one, I didn’t feel as if there was much of a conflict between the two or lack of consistency. We have a narrator who, like with Snow White, takes us into each story by first opening the actual storybook the tale is found in. This is a nice touch and it is, consistently, done between each new story. We then develop a “battle” between the Motherland and the New Land. Which story is better? Which story contains the more “intriguing” character? And, within each story, we see a high level of consistency that follows the original tales almost to a T. There is really nothing confusing or off-setting about either of these renditions and same goes for the in between that brings them both together into one film. Probably the most inconsistent thing is the fact that the movie title announces Ichabod Crane first, suggesting that his story will come prior to Mr. Toad’s, when in fact, it is the other way around in the actual film. Which is a bit upsetting, especially for an English Lit. major. I mean, basic thesis writing Disney, come on! Not to mention that the main picture for the movie only features Ichabod Crane, which is also a little depressing. If Mr. Toad’s story isn’t that important to you, then don’t feature him! It’s probably because his was the English one…

—CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT—

Now, ironically we see more character development within Mr. Toad’s story than within Ichabod Crane’s. What I did like about Ichabod Crane’s story, however, is the fact that no one actually speaks in it. The characters’ lives are told to us via a (not annoying, for once) narrator, as well as through song and sudden instrumental dramatics. But this also provides for less character development because we see the characters as they are and that is basically it; they do not change. I mean, Ichabod Crane was obviously the most interesting character and probably the only one that was an actual character. The others were more like blank shells – especially Katrina – who stands out as the extreme archetype for the “beautiful, American bell with blond hair” and who has no actual personality at all. Sadly, I was not surprised that this was the classic “American” tale that Disney chose to feature and that they chose to portray Katrina in this way. For the featured English tale, we get to hear the characters speak and each one has his own specific character traits. Of course, there are no female characters, which is probably the reason behind this, but even still, each one starts out a specific way, goes through a brief transformation, and then, even if they go back to how they were before (hint hint Mr. Toad and his mania), we see that there has been thought put into them either way. I for one loved the attention Disney put into the various accents. My favorite, as anyone who knows me can guess, was Angus MacBadger, considering he was a well-structured attempt at a Scotsman.

—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—

The animation for this movie is better since the atrocity of Song of the South, but it also doesn’t quite live up to the standards that Disney has already set for himself. I’m starting to wonder if there were some movies he just didn’t care about as much and so let them fall to shit a bit. The animation for this movie comes across as very silly, which goes along with the actual story line of the whole movie. However, the animation itself portrays a certain level of deliberate detail. Like how Katrina looks the specific part of a stereotypical Swedish beauty, how Ichabod looks like a scarecrow, and how the animals within Mr. Toad’s part are shaped according to their personalities. For example, Ratty was stuffy, sophisticated, and rather pompous – he looked just like John Watson, actually, with his brown tartan clothes, pipe, tall, stiff demeanor, and old English hat. The music was fairly average based on what, once again, Disney had already achieved. Nothing really stood out to me, except there was a level of over-dramatized instrumental moments.

—PLOT COHERENCE—

So I have to admit that this whole movie just came across as rather silly to me. Even the dramatic bits, for both Mr. Toad’s and Ichabod Crane’s stories, came off as not very serious and quite ludicrous. The reason the consistency worked so well is because the stories themselves were fairly simple and almost followed the original tales too well. The only bits that weren’t from the originals were unnecessarily ridiculous moments that were dragged out and overplayed, like when Mr. Toad is running through the water and through bushes with his horse and cart, though I’ll admit that was pretty funny, and when Ichabod was getting chased by the “headless horseman”. With this in mind, I feel like Disney took the original tales and actually dumbed them down for this production. The story is so simplistic and silly that there is not too much point to it, in the end. Neither of the narrators decide which characters were “better” and to be honest, the way the stories were portrayed, I didn’t really feel like they were great characters to start out with. But, perhaps the point of the movie was to be sillier versions of otherwise much more “seriously” told tales. And with that in mind…

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10

What do you think?

The Glory of the 21st Century

Death is inevitable. But the problem isn’t this. It’s that people pretend like you have all the time in the world. And that’s not the worst bit – what’s worse is how life for what it’s worth can end and cease to exist long before your actual death arrives. Sometimes, life can become worse than death…

Historians always say that it is the people of the past we should feel sorry for and not wish to live among. But there is only a half-truth in those words – it is US we should feel sorry for and not wish to live among; US who should be afraid. People talk as if we have achieved great things in this new century. And maybe we have. But we have also failed on a countless number of instances. You see, we live in a world of oblivious and ignorant chaos. And we are stuck in it. There is no longer any place to run to, should we become incapable of handling it. Everywhere is full of careening, twisting, warping humans without brains, demons with too much power, and monsters with access to weapons.

I wonder what the historians of the future will say about us then…

If there will be any humans left, of course.

Welcome to the 21st century! Where it is common to come home and find out that your child’s school had been shot up for absolutely no reason by a random citizen who somehow had access to a machine gun. Welcome to the 21st century! Where you figure that a mass killing a month in some foreign country can’t affect you, right? Welcome to the 21st century! Where complete pyschopaths and selfish pricks with disgusting hair think they can run a country already full of hypocrites, liars, and freedom fakers. And where these hypocrites, liars, and freedom fakers apparently want them to. Welcome to the 21st century! Where mindless drones have replaced humanity and technological distractions and meaningless apps have replaced emotional, real, true, human connection. Welcome to the 21st century! Where racism and sexism still plague in places that pretend they had never existed and basic human rights such as consent and bodily ownership are consistently ignored and pushed aside. Welcome to the 21st century! Oh — what a time to be alive! What a time to be “free”! What a time to be at war…

You know, I’ve had so many people sit me down and tell me how early I am to things. “Wow, you’re so ahead of us when we were your age!” “I know you think that you love him now, but maybe later…” “I mean, you’re only 22, just give it a rest and wait.” The thing is – I’m not early at all. If you look at the world, at the way things are going, how in hell can I trust in or even hope for any kind of future? I believe in my passions and my dreams and my aspirations. I do. But how can I sit around and wait, when the world won’t wait for me? The world is falling apart. That much is clear. And it’s not just the crumbling, coughing Earth that makes me say this. It is everything. It’s the fact that people don’t even look up from their phones now when walking through a shopping center because Pokemon Go is just “that invigorating”. It’s the fact that there is a terrorist attack a month in countries like France and Turkey, and shootings once a week in America. It’s the fact that the U.K.’s latest election left them desolate, broken, and confused, and our upcoming one is making me feel the same way. What, with our choices for candidates? There’s no wonder people are fleeing to Canada. I do things quickly and without fear because there’s already plenty of fear to go around. And when it comes down to it? When WWIII is actually happening? I don’t want to be in regret. I want to say that I achieved everything I could have, even if I am only 22.

Welcome to the 21st century.

 

 

People Make Glasgow Day 3

So we progress on, yes? Onto jour trois:

10933803_10203320748121167_3782966045298780062_n

As was promised by the last post, my dad and I had managed to successfully find Strathclyde. Not only that, but we managed to take plenty of pictures on its campus. It is quite pleasant, isn’t it? Not as beautiful as the University of Glasgow, my dad said, but this campus was newer anyway. Already I was loving the different vibe that we found just walking among the buildings and old bits of grey snow. Here, I am posing by the big ol’ grand sign. You know, in case you were a lost student, too drunk to find your way home without guidance at 4 a.m.

10923564_10203320764401574_2193621234809665125_n

Dad and I wound our way through campus and found ourselves back on Buchanan. We progressed further down the street this time, only going the other way, toward what appeared to be a large concert hall. It had been a long, cold day. But it hadn’t rained on us. Even the sky itself was tired of being sunny and was winding down well before it had hit late afternoon. A typical January in Scotland apparently had the sun setting at around 3.30 p.m. Imagine that?

1619325_10203320761641505_66550908419306394_n

Out of the setting sun shadows, we found ourselves on Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan and Sauchiehall connected at the concert hall, actually. It was like we couldn’t be stopped, stumbling here and there. It was really great fun. And of course, neither Dad nor I could help stopping and taking a well-deserved tourist shot. What American goes to ANY part of the U.K. and doesn’t come out with at least one picture of themselves next to an old phone booth? No one. Not a single, true American. Even though I was rapidly loosing all shred of my American-ness, layer by layer, I found this picture enjoyable and necessary all the same. And you know? The phone inside actually worked! It even included free WiFi. I say again – imagine that?

10931380_10203320746601129_6557073180753857780_n

At this point, Dad and I stopped in a pub for some grub. And alcohol, of course. “Drinking already”, my poor father commented as I happily and without hesitation ordered a coffee with a healthy serving of whisky included. It was quite good! Much sharper than I had expected, but I mean, what good is whisky if it isnae sharp?

10888392_10203320768561678_8208461022899282684_n

I know this is technically a repeat picture. But look — there ARE differences! The snow has officially melted completely, there are less cars on the street, and, it’s during a different time of day. I wonder if there was ever such a beautiful picture as this in California. I doubt it. When have there ever been clouds over Southern California long enough to capture a shot like this? The answer is never. But it’s okay — because when I took this picture, Southern California was long gone from my mind.

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 4 to come next week.

 

Me, Myself, and I

I more often than not come across as a surprise to most people. They seem to think that, because I am very open with myself and to others, they know everything they need to know about me. The fact is, they often dismiss what they think they know, anyway.

Though I am not often taken seriously, people seem to think that they can predict me. “Oh she’s talking about Scotland again”; “Oh she’s going off about Harry Potter again”; “Oh she’s complaining about some other shit or other again.”

But here’s the thing. None of them seem to know that, though I may do these accused things more often that I care to admit, I am also doing other things. Unpredictable things. Off-to-the-side things that will help me in my climb to glory. Like how I ghost write for random individuals on the internet in between crafting my own novels and get paid for it. Oh — did I mention I have a 5 star rating there? Bet none of them know that. Like how I am in contact with a New York Literary agent and how every time I send one of her manuscripts back, all she has is high praise for me. I doubt any of them would ever guess that. Like how I am applying for a big scholarship to get me back to Scotland for free and that would nearly give me a full ride to one of the oldest and most established English speaking universities in the world. Yeah, most don’t know that either.

What they don’t understand about me is though I may talk a lot, I still withhold the most important information. Because, though I do talk a lot, I am not an all-talk person. And all of you complainers? You minimalist haters? You pretentious postmodern pricks? You don’t know a thing about the real world. But I do. So here’s me saying – why don’t you stop being so predictable? Everyone knows exactly what you’re going to do with your life. I mean, it’s the same thing you’ve been doing this whole time.

But me? Well Hell — I’ll be reaching for the skies. Moving somewhere at the drop of a pin and not worrying about a thing. I am, after all, just a wee lass. What could you possibly predict about me that could be true?

Perhaps one day, they’ll see. Perhaps one day, I’ll show them. Perhaps one day, they’ll know just how unpredictable I can be.

Unpredictable

Disney Movies: Song of the South

All right, so I was deeply excited for this one purely because of the repulsion everyone seems to carry with it. Not to mention the hush-hush attitude and the fact that Disney oh-so-characteristically pretends it no longer exists. So – shall we begin? Number sept:

SONG OF THE SOUTH

fakeasfuck1

Here’s some background: Song of the South was released in 1946 at a time when racism was still fairly prominent. Hell, will it ever STOP being that? Anyway — end rant before it starts — what surprised me the most about this movie was that it was primarily set in live action. The animated parts only took up about 30 minutes total of the 1.30 movie. Apparently, this movie was supposed to be a collection/take on actual slave stories told while they worked on the plantation. There were some pretty well-known people in it as the cast, but that does NOT make up for what is to come. Which is, my friends, the reason why this movie has been so hush-hush and thrown into the gutter.

—STORY CONSISTENCY—

The consistency of this movie actually wasn’t too bad, though we’ll get to the rest later. Though the first time the movie suddenly changes from live action to animation — literally with the popping of Uncle Remus into another scene of sorts — we are quite surprised. At least I was. But then, as soon as that switches back around, we know what to expect from the rest of the movie. Whenever poor little Johnny gets into trouble of sorts or he ends up in the same scene as Uncle Remus, then we know another animated story is about to come. And we also know to expect the same kind of animated stories. All of them center around Brer Rabbit and his two foes, Bear and Fox. The animated stories actually weren’t all that bad. If the whole movie had just been centered around that, or perhaps all animated, maybe it would have been better. But, they were at least consistent throughout the whole film, while the film itself was fairly consistent, too, in terms of what it showed. Even the “blackness” of the whole film was consistent. And by this appropriation, I mean that the whole movie, cartoon and not, was very much heavily “black-ified” in terms of dialogue, manner, and even voice. Unfortunately.

—CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT—

Now, with this in mind, I felt like the characters were quite terrible for most of the movie. The emphasis on positive “blackness” really wreaked the whole thing, I think. First of all, the story took place on a plantation and centered around white folks being served by overly happy African American folks who were, clearly, slaves on this plantation. Funny thing is, you only see the house slaves. You never go out to see the actual working plantation slaves. In the beginning, we even have Johnny’s grandmother tell one of her little house boys to take Johnny out to see the plantation, but they never go. Even Disney knew THAT wouldn’t be appropriate. But we still have the majority of the African American characters standing around, smiling and looking peacefully content with their lives. Hell, even their dialogue was atrocious. It was like none of them had any emotions at all except wise ol’ glee. While the white characters were overly dramatized to the point of it being ridiculous, the African American characters were dumbed down into drones who didn’t seem to care about the unjustness of the real “song of the south” they were living in. Of course, that was the thing, wasn’t it? The whole movie was very fake. Even the white plantation owners were treating the slaves quite well, but there was some tenseness even in the acting. It was hard to miss. On top of this, no one really grew as characters. The only real character development was with Uncle Remus, but even he didn’t change much, just went through a difficult period where he decided to temporarily run away. (But for reals this time). Johnny remained an annoying little runt who just ran around and stole people’s puppies, creating the big central conflict for the rest of the movie, his mother remained the silent, meddling white woman, and Uncle Remus was and always will be the “zip-idi-do-da” guy who told stories. Strange to think that phrase and song came from this movie…

—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—

Well, considering that half of the movie wasn’t animated, this category becomes harder to judge. However, the animation that did exist in the movie was okay. It wasn’t any better or any worse than the other movies we’ve seen up until this point. Except perhaps Bambi, because that one was still one of the best animated ones so far. But, if we look at the live action side — the acting was, honestly, pretty darn terrible and the dialogue was a very low blow to really anyone, black, white or anything else. It was fake, unnatural, and above all, fairly lazy script writing. The music was pretty interesting, but nothing quite to the capacity or level of Disney’s past pursuits.

—PLOT COHERENCE—

Here’s where we’ll take a trip down ranty lane. You thought Pinocchio was bad — oh hell — you’re in for a wild ride. Not only was the racism and lack of script originality high in this film, but utter pointlessness was too. I didn’t mind the animated bits as much, like I mentioned before, though they also had their problems. But let us begin with the live action bits. First, we see that this film is very biased and white-centric, even though the title is promising us otherwise. Secondly, everything is too scripted, to the point of falseness and fake characters. This also makes for a false story. One top of this, what exactly IS the song of the south? Because I feel as if I have learned nothing about the South’s old, terribly racist, slave culture at all. In fact, I haven’t learned anything except why this movie has been banned from the United States. This movie’s whole plot is that a young white boy is visiting his grandmother on her Georgian plantation, his father has to mysteriously disappear, his mother has to nag all the time, and he feels the need to run around the front — front only — of the plantation with all the African American characters. Then he meets this girl with a dog and the dog becomes the big “conflict” for the next 30 minutes. Who’s dog is it? Why do you have it, Johnny? Take it back! No, I CAN’T have it — how am I supposed to feed that thing? You know, stuff like that. Then, every time there’s a mysterious break in the pointlessness, Uncle Remus tells a tale about Brer Rabbit. Initially, this was the main thing on Johnny’s mind. He came to the plantation only wanting to find Uncle Remus because he had heard about his “stories”, apparently. But before Johnny can even hear about these stories, Disney feels the need to Huckleberry Finn this shite and have Johnny try to run away after his father, only to be caught by Uncle Remus, who then volunteers to run away with him. It almost becomes pedophilic, to be honest, which is similar to Pinocchio. Funny thing is, these stories reminded me of a black version of these French children’s stories that we had read aloud in my language classes. They featured a rabbit, who was always on the verge of getting cooked by Fox and Bear, but who always managed to figure out some sneaky way to get out of it. Now, these, again, “black” versions of the story cast Brer Rabbit as more of a trouble-maker who isn’t very wise in his decisions, the Bear as quite a daft bimbo, and the fox as a rather insane rabbit hunter with not much sense either. The fact that they are black-cast makes these stories then turn into stereotypical archetypes that are unfair, unjust, and just wrong. Which makes the whole movie appear so. I did enjoy the strong friendship that Uncle Remus and little Johnny formed from the story telling and trouble-making antics, but the whole thing just felt over-done, wrong, and unoriginal despite.

All in all, Disney should have waited to attempt this movie in 2100, when society will hopefully be less racist. However, Disney could have made the movie better by involving an actual plot, hiring script writers who actually cared, and just chatting with some African Americans maybe? Or just making it not so dewy-eyed. No, and I mean no, African American was that happy to be a slave, whether a house one or not. But again, we didn’t even see the real plantation workers, did we? We just focused on the story-teller guy who surely existed on all plantations and favored the little annoying white boys.

Sorry Song of the South, but you were a real bust. The only real thing about you, unfortunately. ‘Merica was right to kick you out, I think.

OVERALL RATING: 1.5/10

What do you think?

Disney Movies: Make Mine Music

This was one of those Disney films that people either pretend didn’t exist or they literally just don’t know about it. Well — let’s find out if it’s one or both. Number six:

MAKE MINE MUSIC

Make Mine Music

Just some background: Make Mine Music was released in 1946, so it would appear that Disney had decided to (finally) take a few years’ break. This movie works much like Fantasia, only…It also doesn’t. There are 10 different short skits in this one, but with each skit, comes a different orchestra and set of instruments. In fact, there are so many people and musicians featured in this movie, I don’t think I dare list them.

—STORY CONSISTENCY—

With this in mind, the story itself, as a whole, overarching movie, is not very consistent. At least Fantasia always offered us the interrupting Deems Taylor, all that we see that connects all of the slightly ridiculous skits together is music and the continuous promise of another skit. Until, of course, the last skit, to which I was surprised had been the last. There wasn’t much indication that it would be, after all. But, just as the skits themselves are lacking in connection, the music is as well, adding to the confusion in consistency. Some of the skits seemed to feature more music than others, while most had an annoying narrator speaking throughout the entire skit. But we’ll go more into this later. The disjointedness of the whole film came across, to me, as a compilation of Looney Tunes’ skits instead of Disney animated ones.

(Again — we’ll skip character development because there are too many to count and not enough time to develop them all.)

—ANIMATION AND MUSIC—

One would think that, if there were good things, they would all exist here. Unfortunately, even with its’ title, the film still fell a tad short in this category. Fantasia succeeded in the sense that the skits were only told through music (and, for the millionth time, Deems Taylor). But not just any music, instrumental music. This is what saved this movie, I think. And for Make Mine Music, I was expecting the same thing. But instead of focusing on what we could do brilliantly with a set of instruments, any music at all was drowned out by narrators speaking through the entirety of almost every skit. The only skits where there were no narrators were skits with singers, and those were probably the best ones. This greatly took away from the film for me and I wasn’t able to appreciate much about the skits because of it. With this in mind, I felt like the animation had downsized quite a lot since Bambi. In Bambi, we see Disney’s sophistication and character rise by at least half, whereas in this film, it is downgraded more than that with overly silly caricatures, annoyingly intrusive narrators, and skits without much depth. The animation itself is okay, but even that has declined since Bambi. A lot of the characters within the skits were lacking individuality and distinct features. The whole thing honestly came across as a project that was heavily rushed.

—PLOT COHERENCE—

This movie reminded me a lot of Fantasia and I wondered if it was Disney’s attempt to recreate that borderline masterpiece in a different light. However, where Fantasia mostly succeeded, Make Mine Music mostly failed. Once again, Fantasia really only worked because it was a film compilation of skits being represented and told solely through music of an instrumental nature, while Make Mine Music was constantly interrupted by unnecessary dialogue, narrator intrusion, and silly animation that took away from the whole point: the beauty of music. In terms of individual plots, I personally disliked most of the skits. Even the nicer ones, like the silhouette ballad, did not really do much for me because it was so simple. Even now, the only one I think that I really enjoyed was the love story about the hats. It was quite clever, sweet, and had less of a voice over than the others. In fact, the only speaking in it was through song, which was, I feel, the whole point Disney was going for anyway. But the only others I can think of are the ones that I disliked most of all. (Which was the Peter and the Wolf rendition, if you’re curious, for its extremely obnoxious narrator, Russian appropriation, and misrepresentation of wolves, which I know at the time was not as big of a deal, but still bugs the shit out of me.)

So there you have it. One of the lesser known films made by Disney, and perhaps for good reason. Probably the best thing about this film were the featured voices in it, but that’s not saying much for Disney. Especially as the film to proceed Bambi. I’m sure he quickly learned to stick with Fantasia-like productions and his classic, animated icons after this one was produced.

OVERALL RATING: 3.5/10

What do you think?