Posts Tagged ‘Alan Menken’


November 4, 2021 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When looking back at the period now, considering their enormous success and influence, it’s easy to forget that Disney was a film studio in trouble in the 1980s. Their first four animated films during the decade – The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company – had not been particularly well-received, while the success of the fifth, The Little Mermaid in 1989, was certainly not seen as a guarantor of future achievement. Everything changed with the 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast, which became the first animated film ever to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and subsequently set in motion a decade of almost unparalleled cinematic dominance for the house that Walt built. Read more…


October 24, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Walt Disney Corporation is, for better or worse, probably the world’s biggest and most influential media and entertainment company. Not only does it own its own catalogue of classic live action and animated films, including those made by Pixar, it of course also owns Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars universe, Marvel and the Avengers universe, and has recently bought Twentieth Century Fox and it’s entire cache of intellectual property. As I write this five of the six highest grossing films of 2019 are Disney features, and we haven’t even seen Frozen II or Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yet, which could lock out seven of 2019’s Top 10. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way, and even easier to forget that the film that turned it all around was an animated feature based on a classic story by a children’s author from Denmark. Read more…


April 4, 2017 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Beauty and the Beast is the latest film in Walt Disney Studios’s series of live action remakes of their classic animated films, following on from Maleficent (a remake of Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. For those who don’t know, the film is based on both the 1991 animated film, as well as the classic French fairytale La Belle et la Bête written by novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. It tells the story of a beautiful young woman, Belle, who is taken prisoner by a mysterious and terrifying beast who lives in an enchanted castle near her village; initially scared of the monster, Belle gradually grows to love him, especially when she learns that he is actually a handsome prince who was cursed by an enchantress years previously. The Beast and all the castle’s inhabitants – who now comprise a candelabra, a clock, and a teapot, among others – are cursed to remain in their enchanted state until someone falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Belle’s boorish and narcissistic suitor Gaston is manipulating Belle’s kindly father in order to win Belle’s hand in marriage, and will stop at nothing to bag his ‘trophy’ wife. The film, which is directed by Bill Condon, is a sumptuous visual delight, filled with spectacular fairytale imagery of magic and romance; it stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston, with Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, and Josh Gad in supporting and voice roles. Read more…

SAUSAGE PARTY – Christopher Lennertz and Alan Menken

August 23, 2016 2 comments

sausagepartyOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

There hasn’t been a mainstream R-rated animated film in many years – at least since the South Park boys released Team America: World Police in 2004 – which, considering the success and popularity of shows like Archer and Bojack Horseman on television, seems to be something of an anomaly. Thankfully, that balance may be redressed with the success of Sausage Party, the brainchild of screenwriters Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir, and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. The film follows the adventures of a sausage named Frank who lives in Shopwell’s supermarket. He is in love with Brenda, a hot dog bun, and together they dream of being taken to ‘the great beyond’ when they are bought by one of the supermarket’s patrons. Unfortunately, an unexpected incident leaves Frank and Brenda stranded on the wrong side of the supermarket, and they must team up with a Jewish bagel, a Muslim lavash, and a sexy taco named Teresa, in order to get home. Meanwhile, Frank’s friends Barry and Carl have been successfully taken to ‘the great beyond’, but quickly realize that all their preconceptions about supermarket heaven have been terribly, terribly wrong. Read more…

ENCHANTED – Alan Menken

November 23, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

It occurred to me recently that Disney animated movies are entering a second period of decline. The first Golden Age lasted roughly 20 years from 1937 to 1959, and encompassed classics such as Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. After a lean period through the sixties, seventies and early eighties, the second Golden Age (Silver Age?) began with The Little Mermaid in 1989, and continued on through Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame – and it is probably no coincidence that this was also the time when Alan Menken was the King of the Mouse House’s musical department. Recently, though, their output has been lackluster at best; it’s highly unlikely that The Emperor’s New Groove or Chicken Little will be mentioned in the same breath as their esteemed predecessors. Again, and ignoring the horrible misfire that was Home on the Range, it’s also likely to be no coincidence that Alan Menken has largely been absent from their most recent efforts. Read more…


April 2, 2004 Leave a comment

homeontherangeOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken has been away from film music since 1997, after the Disney animated film Hercules crashed and burned both critically and commercially. The announcement that he would finally be returning to the fray with Home on the Range was met with almost universal praise. The man is far too talented, and far too well respected to be consigned to film music history just yet. But, what does he give us as a welcome back gift…? Singing cows and yodeling. Billed as “Chicken Run with cows”, Home on the Range features the voices of Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench and Jennifer Tilly as a trio of precocious cows who go off to collect the bounty on the head of the infamous yodeling cattle rustler, Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid), in an attempt to save their ranch from falling into the clutches of an unscrupulous developer. Read more…