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Posts Tagged ‘Disney Animated Feature’

FROZEN II – Christophe Beck

December 10, 2019 4 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

I don’t think anyone – including the people at Walt Disney – could have predicted just how successful Frozen would be when it was released in the fall of 2013. With it’s winning combination of comedy and action, strong female leads, genuinely beautiful snow-capped animation, and of course *that* song, it quickly became the highest grossing-animated film of all time (although Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs still holds the true crown, adjusted for inflation). It made its two princess protagonists, Anna and Elsa, household names, and made snowmen cool again, but it was as much of a success critically as it was commercially, eventually going to pick up two Oscars, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and even two Grammys. Of course, no studio would ever sit on all this success without trying to capitalize on it with a sequel, and so here we are with Frozen II – the first traditional animated Disney sequel to hit theaters since The Rescuers Down Under in 1990. Read more…

THE LITTLE MERMAID – Alan Menken

October 24, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

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…

THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE – Henry Mancini

July 14, 2016 2 comments

greatmousedetectiveTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Looking back from the vantage point we have now, thirty years into the future, it’s difficult to picture just how much trouble Walt Disney’s animated feature film department was in during the 1980s. A world away from their heyday of Snow White, Bambi, and Cinderella, Disney’s output in the late 1970s and early 1980s comprised some of their most forgettable works, ranging from The Rescuers in 1977 to The Fox and the Hound in 1981, The Black Cauldron in 1985, and Oliver & Company in 1988 – a year before everything changed with the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989. Released right in the middle of this lackluster phase, The Great Mouse Detective was Disney’s attempt to capture the essence of Sherlock Holmes in an animated film. Based on the popular children’s books by Eve Titus, the film is set in a version of Victorian England populated by anthropomorphic mice and rats, and follows the adventures of the famous detective Basil of Baker Street, who is hired by a young mouse named Olivia to investigate the disappearance of her toymaker father, who has been kidnapped by the evil Professor Ratigan as part of a fiendish plot involving robot clones and the Queen of England. The film was directed by Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, and John Musker, and features the voice talents of Barrie Ingham and Vincent Price, among others. Read more…

ZOOTOPIA – Michael Giacchino

March 22, 2016 Leave a comment

zootopiaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Zootopia is the latest animated film from Walt Disney, directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore. A comedy-crime caper with undertones that explore themes of racism, xenophobia, and political corruption (yes, really!), the film follows the adventures of Judy Hopps, an ambitious rabbit who wants to become the first leporine police officer in Zootopia, a city populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. Before long Judy is embroiled in a case in which several animals have been reported as going missing and “turning savage,” reverting back to the old ways of predators and their prey. To solve the case, Judy must team up with a wisecracking and streetwise fox named Nick Wilde, find the missing persons, and discover how and why the animals are devolving to their “natural state”. The film features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, and J.K. Simmons, and has an original score by Michael Giacchino. Read more…

PINOCCHIO – Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith

June 22, 2015 Leave a comment

pinocchioMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

After reading the novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi, Walt Disney felt it could be made into a fine Disney animated feature. When he picked up his honorary Oscar for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, he advised the Academy of his intent to bring Pinocchio to the big screen. The film became a passion project and its budget ballooned from $500,000 to $2.5 million, with several major rewrites. The voice cast included Dickie Jones as Pinocchio and (Alexander the Donkey, Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket, Evelyn Venable as the Blue Fairy), Christian Rub as Geppetto, Walter Catlett as John Worthington Foulfellow the Red Fox, Charles Judels as Stromboli, Frankie Darro as Lampwick and Thurl Ravenscroft as Monstro the Whale. This film offers the classic tale of Geppetto the woodworker, who makes a wooden marionette, whom he names Pinocchio. He has no son and when he goes to bed he makes a wish that Pinocchio become a real boy. His wish is heard, and the Blue Fairy comes during his sleep, and brings Pinocchio to life, but he is not yet fully human. She advises Pinocchio that if he is brave, truthful and unselfish, he will become a real boy. She assigns Jiminy Cricket to be his conscience. Well, after a long adventure, with many struggles along the way, Pinocchio succeeds, becomes a real boy, and he and Geppetto live happily ever after. The film resonated with the public and was a commercial success. It also received critical acclaim and secured two Academy Awards for best Original Score, and Best Song “When You Wish Upon A Star”. This was the first time a film secured these two wins together. Read more…

FROZEN – Christophe Beck

December 2, 2013 Leave a comment

frozenOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Frozen is the 53rd official animated feature in the Walt Disney canon. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Disney veterans who previously worked on The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas and Tarzan, the film is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale The Snow Queen, albeit significantly ‘Disneyfied” and turned into a full-fledged musical. The story involves two princess sisters from the kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa and Anna, voiced by Kristin Bell and Idina Menzel. As she grows up, Elsa begins to manifest powers that allow her to manipulate snow and ice, culminating in an incident at her coronation as Queen that leaves Arendelle under a blanket of eternal winter. Elsa flees from her home, distraught, but Anna resolves to reconcile with her sister. Teaming up with Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff), a gruff mountain man, and Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), an anthropomorphic snowman, Anna sets off into the frozen wilderness to find the Snow Queen with the fate of the kingdom in her hands. Read more…

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG – Randy Newman

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Princess and the Frog is the 49th entry in the official canonical list of Disney animated features. Set in New Orleans at the turn of the century, and loosely based on the classic fairytale The Frog Prince by the Brothers Grimm, it tells the tale of Prince Naveen, who travels to the Big Easy in search of fun and jazz music, but who is cursed by the evil witch doctor Facilier, and turned into a frog. Knowing that only the kiss of a princess will return him to human form, Naveen searches desperately for the traditional cure for his ailment; unfortunately, he mistakes waitress Tiana for royalty and the kiss backfires and turns Tiana into a frog too! Desperate for answers, Naveen and Tiana journey deep into the bayou to search for an ancient voodoo priestess who may be the only one who can help… Read more…

BOLT – John Powell

November 21, 2008 7 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 48th official film in the Disney animated feature canon, Bolt is the story a small dog – the Bolt of the title, voiced by John Travolta – who has lived his entire life on the set of a TV show in which he portrays a superhero dog and, as a result, thinks that his superpowers are real. However, when Bolt is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he embarks on a cross-country journey to reunite with his owner and co-star, Penny (voiced by Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus). Along the way, he teams up with a jaded alleycat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman) and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (voiced by Mark Walton). Read more…

MEET THE ROBINSONS – Danny Elfman

March 30, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Walt Disney’s 46th feature length animation, and their major animated effort for 2007, Meet the Robinsons surprisingly fell under the radar, and was a comparative box office failure. It tells the story of a young orphan inventor named Lewis, who embarks on a series of extravagant, time-traveling adventures with various members of the futuristic Robinson family as he attempts to find his real family. The film was directed by Steve Anderson and featured the voice talents of the likes of Angela Bassett and Tom Selleck, as well as an original score by Danny Elfman. The film sees Elfman in what one could call “madcap mode”, in much the same way as he was on scores such as Flubber and Mars Attacks. Read more…

CHICKEN LITTLE – John Debney

November 4, 2005 Leave a comment

chickenlittleOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

It pains me to write this, but the quality of Disney’s annual animated features seem to be decreasing in quality with each passing year. It’s a truly depressing thought to realise that having gone from such legendary fare as Pinocchio, Snow White and Bambi, to modern classics such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, we are now reduced to watching twaddle like last year’s Home on the Range, and this year’s lacklustre effort, Chicken Little.

The story is a simplistic fable variation on “the boy who cried wolf”, aimed firmly at kids, with little in the way of the subtle subversiveness which makes this kind of fare palatable for adults. Young Chicken Little (Zach Braff) causes a mass panic in his small hometown of Oakey Oaks when he claims that “the sky is falling” (it turns out to be an acorn), and is scorned as a dumb kid, and treated as a social pariah. Read more…

HOME ON THE RANGE – Alan Menken

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…

DINOSAUR – James Newton Howard

May 19, 2000 Leave a comment

dinosaurOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A mammoth majestic effort of immense proportions and great beauty, James Newton Howard’s score for the Disney animated epic Dinosaur is far and away the best work of his career to date. Previously defined by taught, almost themeless thriller and horror works with the odd landmark standout (Waterworld, Wyatt Earp), Dinosaur is highly recommended for anyone who was underwhelmed by The Sixth Sense or bored by Snow Falling on Cedars. It is the James Newton Howard score I have been waiting all my life to hear. As a film, Dinosaur’s themes and messages are rooted in the grand Disney tradition. Right from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, through The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mulan, the mouse house have continually recycled the old story line chestnuts again and again – an outsider comes to be part of a new community, is initially shunned by the group, but is eventually accepted when he/she/it stands up to an aggressor and proclaims the merits of teamwork, loyalty and understanding. In this case, the outsider is a young dinosaur named Aladar, who is orphaned at birth and raised instead by a family of lemur-like monkeys on a small island. When the island is devastated by a meteor shower, Aladar and the survivors hook up with a group of other dinos who are searching for “The Nesting Grounds”, a mythical place where land and water are bountiful, but who are continually avoiding the deadly carnotaur predators who track their every move. Initially shunned by the herd, Aladar eventually makes friends with Neera, a female, and offers help to three elders who are slowing down the group – and making an enemy of Kron, the leader, in the process. Read more…