Saturday, December 04, 2010
Despite the sing-along-ability of the music, notice just how many acts of depravity the pirates are celebrating in song.
You may not recognize this final one. It was created for the movie that eventually became The Emperor's New Groove, originally titled Kingdom of the Son. Rather than kill Kuzco, Yzma's evil plan was to . . . well, the song explains it all.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Actually, these are my favorite songs at the moment. I did pare these down from a larger list of about 20 songs and pieces of score. Maybe after I'm done I should do a song a day and explain why I like it.
No such luck today, though.
I grew up outside of a small town, and have seen things change. Even in the few years I've lived in my current town, I've seen a lot change just up and down the main street in town. There's something about small town life, and "Our Town" from Cars nails it on the head.
I didn't expect to like Meet the Robinsons. The ads seemed repetitive (I've got the caffeine patch), but I came out of a special preview moved almost to tears. I think "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas had something to do with that.
Sorry, I don't mean to be so goopy and emotional. A big part of the reason I like these songs is that they register with me on a level I didn't anticipate. Jessie's sorrow over losing her best friend Emily echoed my sadness in realizing my childhood was far behind me (and Toy Story 3 reminded me of it that much more). Sara Mclachlin's "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 again just hits that emotional spot.
Okay, enough for the mopey songs. I think Disney came back in a big way with Enchanted, and the broadway sensibilities of Alan Menken were perfect for this film. I struggled between So Close, Happy Working Song, and That's How You Know, and decided to go with the blockbuster. This song just feeds on itself and gets bigger and grander.
And let's try one that's not set in the 2000's, eh? The Jungle Book has always been one of my favorite Disney movies, and while "Wanna Be Like You" is much zanier, I prefer the laid back and mellow "Bear Necessities."
But even with this list, I've left out a lot of other favorites: Friend Like Me, Kiss the Girl, What's This, Why Should I Worry, Strangers Like Me, etc., not to mention theme park favorites like The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Check out this shot by shot remake of A Goofy Movie's "After Today."
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Perhaps, in addition to my postings about all things Disney, I could give an update about my family.
My daughter began Kindergarten in August. She's really been enjoying it, and has impressed her teacher. During our first parent teacher conference last month, I was told that my daughter had exceeded the testing requirements and was truly excelling in her development. She's really taken off.
My son is doing well, also. His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds every day, and we are amazed at the different words he's using.
My wife recently started a new job, and my job is going well, also.
We're surprised that Halloween has gone right on by and we're now looking at Thanksgiving in just a couple of weeks, with Christmas soon to come.
In all, things are getting better. 2010's definitely been better for us than 2009, and 2011's looking to be a good year as well.
Donald has always been a favorite of mine. As far as he's concerned, Donald always justifies himself in whatever action he takes, often to his own detriment.
The Duck first appeared in 1934's "The Wise Little Hen" as a supporting character who found excuses to not help the hen plant or harvest her corn, but was sure ready to help her eat it. He soon became a foil for Mickey Mouse, who began his own life as a bit of a rebel and not quite the corporate mascot he is today. Donald's personality was perfect to fill this change in Mickey's demeanor.
Ready to fight for his (perceived) rights at the drop of a hat, he often gets his comeuppance, but rarely learns his lesson. I've included one of my all time favorite shorts "Donald's Snow Fight," which happens to be one of the first Donald cartoons I remember watching (I've also included it to commemmorate the first big snowfall affecting many of my family members for this year). Enjoy, as Donald turns what could have been a fun few hours into the snow into an all out war with his nephews.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Please check out toursdepartingdaily.com. This website provides stunning HDR images from Disneyland. Those who might follow my albums on Facebook and Flikr might understand why I like this site. He not only gets spectacular shots of the big attractions, but also finds the quiet and overlooked details which Disney places in the parks so well.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Sorry I've fallen so far out of step with updating my blog. I'm inspired by my friends and family who take the time to update on a daily basis, and I've got the time in the afternoons, when I'm not wrangling kids, to focus on blogging.
When I saw this topic, I really was not sure which villain to choose from (maybe that's the reason I took so long - yeah, that's the ticket). Maleficent and Chernabog make up the biggest of the baddies, and you can't argue with the too-close-to-real-life villany of Lady Tremaine, Cruella De Ville, MacLeach, and Madame Medusa. Jafar, Captain Hook, Yzma, Gaston, Hades, the Horned King, the Wicked Queen, Mad Madame Mim, Strombolli . . . nearly every Disney movie has a definable villian.
But who is the ultimate villain. Which one encompases the whole of the Disney pantheon of evil?
He had a pegleg once . . .
Pete, once known as Peg-Leg Pete, actually pre-dates Mickey. Pete, looking more like a bear, first appeared in Walt Disney's Alice Comedies, a series of mixed live action and animated shorts in which a little girl from the real world interacts with the cartoon world. Pete was also featured in Disney's Oswald cartoons as a major villain.
Pete terrorized Mickey as the owner of the steamboat in Steamboat Willy. He's been both a sheriff and outlaw. He's locked horns with Donald, Pluto, and Chip and Dale. Pete's turn as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" was probably the first time I recognized his character, and as the spectral representation of death frightened this 7 year old.
Even some of his most recent turns have been interesting, as the harsh neighbor of Goofy on "Goof Troop." In one of his most diabolical schemes, he manages to turn the goof against his own son in "A Goofy Movie." Pete continues his villainy in the "Kingdom Hearts" video games, and has a role in the upcoming "Epic Mickey"
In all, Pete's been around the longest, and has been up against the best of them, yet he still keeps coming back for more.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I like to think this is what Walt saw as he toured the park in the morning, empty, quiet, and ready to create magic.
"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."
- Walt Disney
Sunday, July 04, 2010
I'm veering away from animated films for today's post. It was Tennessee Steinmetz that an unfortuate Jim Douglas turned to after losing his last race. Tennessee, an enlightened artist who utilized car parts for his medium of choice, spent time with Buddhist monks, which explains why he recognizes Herbie as an individual.
"We take machines and we stuff 'em with information until they're smarter than we are. Take a car. Most guys spread more love and time and money on their car in a week than they do on their wife and kids in a year. Pretty soon, you know what? The machine starts to think it *is* somebody. "
Buddy Hackett's portrayal of Tennessee was a great combination of true friend, spiritualist, offbeat artist, and goofy guy along for the ride just hits all of the right notes for me. Of course, Hackett went on to portray another know-it-all sidekick.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"Now Woody, he's been my pal for as long as I can remember. He's brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he'll never give up on you... ever. He'll be there for you, no matter what. "
Andy, Toy Story 3
I have friends a lot like Woody. Friends who never give up, who are there when you need them. I hope you know who you are.
Monday, June 28, 2010
LDS missionaries are not allowed to go see movies. We had other responsibilities to attend to, but I have to admit it was very difficult to know that the theater in the next town over had an extended showing of a movie animated not by hand, but by computer. Being the all around animation nut I am, it took everything I had to stick to the straight and narrow through the winter of 1995, and into the following spring of 1996. Every time we drove past the theater showing an extended run of Toy Story, I just kept chanting to myself, "I'll be home in four months, and I can see what it's all about then." It was a long four months (but the best two years of my life - up to that point).
Yes, I eventually made it home from the mission field, and I did get to see Toy Story, albeit on video tape. Two years later, I waited patiently in line at the SCERA theater in Orem, Utah to see Pixar's newest offering, a bug's life. It couldn't be as good as Toy Story was, could it? I was proven wrong - a bug's life reached the mark set by Toy Story, and the start of Pixar in jokes, such as the Pizza Planet truck and the use of John Ratzenberger, started to become familiar points to watch for.
Toy Story 2 set the bar even higher and became one of the rare sequels that outdoes the original. Then came Monsters Inc.
James P. Sullivan, Monster's Inc. top scarer. Behind the fangs and fur, this monster was a regular joe, just trying to do his job to the best of his ability.
THEN SOMETHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG!!!!!
His world is changed by a little girl. He learns that children aren't dangerous, and by the end of his first day with "Boo," she's got him twisted around her little finger. I didn't think much of it at the time.
And then my world was changed by a little girl. My daughter was born about four years after Monster's Inc. was released, and I suddenly realized why Sully was so protective of Boo. I also came to learn for myself the great feeling that accompanies the final frame of the film.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The soundtrack also included "When Somebody Loved Me." Jessie's song about Emily, the little girl who owned and forgot about her, really affected me. Where Toy Story showed the secret life of toys, Toy Story 2 dealt strongly with the fact that, eventually, children outgrow their toys, and these characters, who thrived on playtime with their owners, could become lonely and forgotten. The film also focused on the collector mentality, which I did get caught up in a few years later, that maintains that toys are for looking, not playing. But the lesson that Jessie and Woody learned is that being loved as someone's toy, even for a short time, is more important than being locked inside a gilded cage, never to be played with again, avoiding the pain and heartbreak that would inevitably come. Wait a second, I'm half afraid this post is about to turn into a review of Toy Story 3 (good movie, go see it).
Jessie was a welcome addition to the cast. While the writers gave her a valid reason to want to avoid further heartache, Jessie seems to have the biggest heart of all the Toy Story characters. She does everything big, with perhaps a little too much enthusiasm. Where Woody retains the floppy physics of a rag doll, every move Jessie makes, while perhaps exuberant, is calculated and certain. It is Jessie who helps Woody realize where he came from, and it is for Jessie's sake that Woody makes the choices he does in Toy Story 2.
Jessie has also become one of my daughter's favorite characters, which is interesting, because her other favorites are the Disney Princesses and Tinkerbell. One of my favorite Disneyland memories is of my daughter meeting Jessie and having some one on one time together in a quiet corner of the park.
As a post script, my collector mentality gave out about the time that Cars was released. I purchased the toy Cars figures to display and keep on my bookshelf, out of the reach of young children, with no intention of taking them down.
Flash forward a couple of years. My son loves his (my former) Lightning McQueen and Mater cars, and won't go to sleep without Red, the fire engine. And you know what, I'm happy they're no longer on the shelf and that the paint has become chipped from countless drops on a tile floor. My son loves them, and that's what brings them to life.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Always at the mercy of the latest Muppet Labs contraption, Beaker gets right back up and takes whatever comes at him.
He might not say much, but meep meep meeep meep meep, meep meeep meep meeep meep. I don't think anyone can say it better than that.
He also plays a mean guitar.
Beauty and the Beast was released November 21, 1991. I was a junior in high school who, honestly, felt very out of place and insecure, especially when it came to girls. Upon my first viewing, I felt a connection with the Beast. He was unsure of who he was. He had accepted what he had become and convinced himself that no one could love him. Like the Beast, I was wrong about myself.
An interesting aspect I've only just come to realize, is that this is the first Disney film in which the lead male character was saved by the lead female. It was the Beast who was in need of rescuing, not Belle (okay, yeah, she wanted to escape her provincial life, but she didn't need a prince to do so, and there was that whole wolf attack thing).
As time went on, I found myself feeling more like the Beast. The broadway musical added a song to those from the film, "If I Can't Love Her," in which the Beast loses hope of Belle ever loving him. The song is very melancholy, and echoed how I felt entering the fall of 2002. One late October night, I got a call from a friend who wanted to set me up on a blind date. Before I could decline, I then got a call from the blind date, who was expecting me to pick her up the following morning. I couldn't say no, and found myself looking forward to meeting this impetuous girl. Six months later we were married. Finding my wife evoked a transformation within myself, like the Beast, only unlocked once I truly loved another, and knew they loved me in return.
Nearly eight years later, as I watch Beauty and the Beast from the perspective of a husband and parent, the film takes on a different meaning. But the Beast remains my favorite character. He reminds me of where I've been, and of the joy I've found in love.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Another blog I'm following, which has also been going through the doldrums, posted a list of 30 Disney related topics. Each topic was to be the focus of a different blog post each day. I figured, what the heck, if anything can get me writing daily, that just might be it. I've seen 365 day blogs, and while I'm not quite ready to commit to that kind of goal, 30 days, with all of the brainstorming done, just might help me out.
By the way, I'm starting tomorrow. Here's the list any, in case anyone else feels like doing the same. I'd like to see what you would have to say about these topics.
Day #1: Your favorite character
Day #2: Your favorite Muppet
Day #3: Your favorite heroine
Day #4: Your favorite Pixar Character
Day #5: Your favorite hero
Day #6: Your favorite animal
Day #7: Your favorite sidekick
Day #8: Your favorite villain
Day #9: Your favorite original character (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc.)
Day #10: Your favorite song
Day #11: Your favorite love song
Day #12: Your favorite villain song
Day #13: Your least favorite song
Day #14: Your favorite kiss
Day #15: The first movie you saw
Day #16: Your favorite classic
Day #17: Your least favorite classic
Day #18: Your favorite Pixar film
Day #19: Your least favorite Pixar film
Day #20: Favorite sequel
Day #21: An overrated movie
Day #22: An underrated movie
Day #23: A movie that makes you laugh
Day #24: A movie that makes you cry
Day #25: Your favorite scene from your favorite movie
Day #26: Saddest death
Day #27: Your favorite quote
Day #28: Your favorite theme park
Day #29: Your favorite theme attraction
Day #30: Your favorite theme park show
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I don't know why, but I think Pirates of the Caribbean remains my favorite Disneyland ride. There's something about the ride itself that I can't quite describe.
I remember in college walking to class one day. The gutters along the road were filled with water, and I couldn't help but think about riding Pirates the following week. Yeah, I've got it bad.
It's just too bad my daughter refuses to ride it.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
At my previous job,wildlife could be found in the landscaping to the east of the building and parking lot. It was always neat to be out walking around on a break and happen upon a rabbit or lizard out sunning itself on the sidewalk. I remember being told there was a coyote out there one night. But I most often saw a family of quail bobbing along.
I moved from that location about two years ago, and at my current location, wildlife is not too abundant, or at least it hides much better. But on my way home tonight, I saw something that made me laugh out loud. Another family of quail, this one alongside a busy freeway on-ramp. Busy in the sense that there were a lot of cars on it, not going anywhere fast, creeping along at five miles an hour. What made me laugh was not just seeing the quail bobbing as they moved along, but they were headed the same direction as the traffic, and keeping pace with the cars. It was one of those little moments where maybe you had to be there, but it's kept a smile on my face all night.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
We went to Disneyland for the day yesterday. We made it only onto five rides/attractions, but with only six hours to be there, we did what we could and just enjoyed being there.
After accidentally leaving our stroller in Phoenix, we made an emergency stop at the Target at Harbor and Chapman. We considered renting a stroller at the park, but figured it would be less expensive to buy a cheap umbrella stroller that's much less bulky than our regular one.
Despite the crowds, there was no wait for a tram from the Mickey and Friends structure, nor at security or the main gate.
We hopped onto the Ward Kimball at Main Street and rode to Tomorrowland, where we got fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear and caught Captain EO. I really liked the floor moving in time to the music, although I was disappointed they didn't have any purple 3D glasses.
After EO, we went back to the Tomorrowland station and rode to New Orleans Square and had lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant. My Bacon Cheeseburger was frigid by the time it was served (I really need to suck it up and get lunch at the Blue Bayou one of these days).
We had a 20 minute wait for the Haunted Mansion. Leota's head, which wasn't floating during our last ride in February, still remained stationary.
Thought we'd try Pirates, but it had a long wait, so we took the kids to the Tiki Room. I don't watch the show anymore, I've started watching people as they watch the show - with humorous results!
We redeemed our Buzz Lightyear fastpasses, and I got my highest score yet - level 5 (thanks to the attraction coming to a full stop twice - although outside of the range of diamond targets.
After Buzz, we caught a Billy Hill show. I was surprised to learn the show's been shorted to add an additional set. While I really like Billy Hill, I was expecting a full show and was disappointed to not see Puddle Prance or the Devil Went Down to Georgia.
We took Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland to check out the line for the teacups and Small World, which were both beyond our desire for waiting in line. We wandered into Toontown, where my wife came across a family friend from Utah she hadn't seen in over ten years.
In Toontown, we walked through Mickey's house, but opted not to wait for a picture, it was getting to be time to head back to the airport.
While my description may sound rushed, we really just took our time today enjoying the small details that really make the park fun. As a kid, I would go to the park once every two or three years. Since having an annual pass off and on over the past six years, I've gone from having to get on every ride come hell or high water, to today's experience, which was very mellow, despite the crowds. I paused to listen to the band performing at the French Market. I took the time to photograph a waterfall I hadn't noticed before on Big Thunder Mountain.
I sat back and relaxed on the train, not worried about where we were going to get off. For the first time, I really started to people watch, and to see someone enjoying an attraction for the first time. While I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do, I still enjoyed myself, and so did my family.
Well, almost. My daughter really wanted to ride Soarin', but we didn't make it over to DCA.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
In the meantime, here's a picture of my latest papercraft: The Disneyland Skyway!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
A few months ago I came across a You Tube video with Ben Stiller and Mickey Rooney discussing the impact Twitter has on us.
Then again, if it weren't for social media, I would not have found this website.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
After finding out that The Princess and the Frog was still playing at one of the theaters in Tempe, Haily and I took the kids out for a night on the town. Unfortunately, money's been tight for some time, so we haven't been to the movies much in the past year - in fact, we only saw Up and the 3D Toy Story double feature.
My daughter, for the first time, sat through the movie without needing to climb up on Mommy or Daddy's lap. My son's prior movie experiences have left either me or my wife leaving the the theater to tend to him. He was a little rambunctious, but watched the movie - sometimes in his seat, sometimes in Mommy's lap - but we didn't need to move from our seats to calm him down.
The presentation was a great twist. Rather than a straight telling of the Frog Prince fairy tale, the film takes the premise and creates a world where the characters are aware of the story and take matters into their own, er, flippers.
About halfway through the movie I found myself doing something I haven't caught myself doing in a long time. I had a silly grin going from ear to ear. Beginning with the introduction of Louis, a trumpet playing alligator . . .
. . . and continuing with the addition of Ray, a cajun lightning bug . . .
. . . I found myself completely caught up in the movie. It's been years since I found myself so fully enveloped by a film. I'll admit, I'm too much of a geek to lose myself in movies. I have to know how a particular effect was created, or try to comprehend a particular character's motivation. For example, early in the film, the style changes from the romantic animated form to an art deco tapestry, and in the midst of the scene found myself wondering if any previous animated films have had such a drastic change in style.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG: Almost There -
Later, during a very stylistic sequence after the movie had built up some steam, I was too involved to let my geek side take over to contemplate on the technical aspect of the scene.
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG: Ma Belle Evangeline -
Dr. Facilier, is a worthy addition to the Disney rogues gallery. The clip I've included offers a bit of the background on his character by both the voice artist, David Keith, and lead animator, Bruce Smith.
The Princess and the Frog:Conjuring the Villain
Uploaded by DisneyAnimation. -
The Princess and the Frog was truly charming, and I look forward to repeated views (it is scheduled to be released on DVD in March). True, I am an avowed Disney animation nut, and will pretty much always say something good about every Disney cartoon that comes along, but this one will be ranked in my library alongside true classics such as Pinnochio, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.
I know, this review is several months beyond all others out there, but it touched a part of me - the part that loves animation for being animation. But what I think I'll remember most is looking over at my daughter, fixated on the magic up on that movie screen.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Spending a quiet day at home with my kids. My wife needed to run out to the grocery store, and I offered to let her have some time to herself and watch the kids, rather than drag everyone up and down the store aisles.
We're watching Cars. My son is shouting out Lightning McQueen's name "Ightneen!" and my daughter is starting to deconstruct the movie. It took me 24 years and countless college English courses to begin to figure out that process.
Cars is an odd duck. Every other Pixar movie deals with how object, insects, monsters, fish, super heroes, rats, robots, and senior citizens deal with the everyday world around them - our world. In Cars, not only is it not our world, but no explanation is provided as to how the Cars come into existence (notice how there aren't any Cars that are depicted as children).
Despite that, it's still one of my favorite Pixar films. If I had to rate them, with the first being the best . . .
Toy Story 2
A Bug's Life
Although I've listed A Bug's Life as my least favorite on this list, it still has an overall high rank when compared to the offerings of other films (animated or otherwise). I trust Pixar, and look forward with anticipation for Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters Inc. 2, The Bear and the Bow, and Newt.
And to think, it all started with a lamp. Actually it was a Bee. Wally B. But that's another story.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Meet Ted. He's a bug.
Ted is one of my favorite characters from the comic book series Bone. If you were to mashup The Lord of the Rings with Ducktales, you'd come up with something reasonably close to Bone.
It follows the adventures of three cousins, Fone, Phoney, and Smiley Bone as they come upon a map, drawn by a child, which leads them on an unbelievable journey into a valley filled with a variety of creatures, ranging from stupid rat creatures to bees the size of a Volkswagen, to giant mountain cats, to dragons.
I followed Bone throughout it's run, first coming across it around 1991 (I think) as I read about it in a Previews magazine. My best friend was the one who really discovered it, and I caught on soon thereafter.
Humor was a definite trademark of the early issues, with the highlight being the Great Cow Race. Later issues delved into much darker territory. The end, though, was satisfying. One of the great things, though, was that I actually came to know the characters, and was devastated when they died or suffered tragedies.
Ted could have been a throwaway character, based upon his introduction, as he seemed to be just a visual gag, which paid off a couple of issues after his debut. Ted, though, continued to appear, with some randomness, but every appearance was fun and lively. He didn't seem to let whatever situation the main characters were facing get the best of him, and he found the good in every circumstance. I'd like to be a bit more like Ted. Except the part about being a leaf bug.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Had a hankering to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" today. I don't know what sparked that idea. It may have had something to do with the fact that Adrian and I sat down the other day and watched a ride through of the attraction on iTunes, or if I heard a ride through on a podcast, or if I am just getting antsy for the next installment in the movie series.
But I got home real late and watched American Idol instead.