This is the catchiest tune in the whole film. It is so simple and yet so inexplicably endearing. Bert nearly steals the whole film from Mary Poppins with this song, showing his cheery disposition, but also hinting at the underlying injustice – “the social ladder has been strung”. Pavement Artist is the same tune, but set to different lyrics. No wonder then that Chim Chim Cheree won an Academy Award for Best Song in 1965.
II. Feed the Birds
Walt Disney’s favourite song, Feed the Birds is the ultimate Song Queen of Mary Poppins and another example of the Sherman Brothers’ genius. Meaningful, with its veiled message that calls for compassion, social justice, and to pay attention to those that are vulnerable and disadvantaged, Feed the Birds is that quiet, reflective moment that this film needs, especially since it was accused of sugar-coating the hardship that people from the lower classes go through.
Destino is a Salvador Dali-Disney (John Hench)’s collaboration on an animation that first started in 1945 and only finished in 2003 when Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney found the unfinished project materials in 1999. The surrealist animation was eventually directed by Dominique Monféry, and the music was written by Armando Domínguez and performed by Dora Luz. The animation is one incredible beauty that mixes Dali’s artistic vision with Disney’s hand-drawn techniques, presenting such themes as the pains of lost love, dream-following and memories. Even if narratively difficult to grasp, the viewing experience is still more of a “deliciously enigmatic”, “soul-searching” one, rather than frustrating or unnecessarily confusing. Besides, Dora Luz’s soulful voice adds to it being rather touching and simply unforgettable.
Disney-Pixar’s Luca is an Italian Riviera-set animation that tells a story of a merman Luca and his family living underwater and having a hostile relationship with people living on land. Luca is a boy curious about the outside world, though, and soon becomes very interested in the “land” people. He meets a fellow merman, an “expert” in people, Alberto, and together they venture to discover “the unknown” or the “land” things, already having a goal in mind – to get their hands on an Italian scooter Vespa. The duo soon encounters a local bully, Ercole, and an eccentric tomboy, Giulia, as well as try to win a local race. Luca is gentle and sweet, who can deny this? It also has its share of laugh-out-loud sequences and beautiful images of a small picturesque village. Apart from that, the animation is painfully generic and even forgettable. Its narrative is almost too insignificant, and if it were not for all the wonderful visuals and the Pixar/Disney name behind this cartoon, Luca would have qualified perfectly to be just yet another daytime television animation geared towards very young children.
Christmas is getting nearer, and I hope everyone is excited! People are probably also excited about Disney’s Frozen II, and, for those who do not know, I want to draw attention to the plagiarism case below, concerning the Frozen (2013) teaser trailer (the first video below) and the short animation titled The Snowman by independent animators Kelly Wilson and Neil Wrischnik (the second video below – access by following the link since it is imossible to watch it on WordPress)). This case was settled out of court in 2015. I previously talked in my review of Frozen about how the animation relied heavily on the conceptual story and character vision from Hans Christian Andersen’s tales (which is fine), as well as on the romance from Anastasia (1997) (which is also ok), but it seems that, from the very beginning, the Frozen franchise was off to a start that involved blatant stealing and zero acknowledgement. At the preliminary hearing, Judge Chhabria ruled that “the sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar“. With the world’s most creative brains at Disney/Pixar headquarters, they still could not come up with their own concept for a teaser trailer. The similarities are painfully evident, and if Disney did not think so, they would have battled it in court, rather than settling for an undisclosed sum to be paid to Wilson and Wrischnik. And, Wilson and Wrischnik were paid by Disney.
Since the new trailerfor Pixar’s Toy Story 4 is already released, it is perhaps time to talk again about the trilogy and its dubious origin and inventiveness. Since the release of the first Toy Story animation in 1995, there have been comparisons made between it and The Jim Henson Company’s television puppet film for children of 1986 – The Christmas Toy. I will again revisit and comment on this comparison, taking into account the ideas presented in the new Toy Story 4 trailer. The point is that Toy Story is The Christmas Toy in a nutshell – creators of Toy Story surely must have thought about The Christmas Toy when they were creating Toy Story.
There is nothing like snowy and wintery films to cool us all down in the middle of this summer, and Debbie at Moon inGemini hosts The Winter in July Blogathon for this very purpose. For this fun blogathon, I chose to write on animated films Frozen (2013) and The Sword in the Stone (1963). While Frozen is, essentially, the winter animation, there is also some winter scenery at the very end of The Sword in the Stone. These are both Disney-productions, with some fifty years separating the two, but one is computer-generated, while the other one is hand-drawn. My arguments will be that there are good enough animations, but they both fell short of their desired mark. While Frozen has great visuals, some music and concepts, the animation’s plot and characters can be criticised. Equally, while The Sword in the Stone relies on a fascinating legend and is entertaining, its visuals sometimes leave much to be desired and its episodic plot is uninspiring. My first post will be about Frozen, and because I critique it in depth, I am also warning about spoilers!