Thursday, 28 February 2013

Disney movies - guilty pleasures

Copyright The Walt Disney Company/

As I was born in 1956, I will start when I can first remember seeing a Disney film.....

1959  Darby O'Gill and the Little People   probably saw it in 1960.
The banshees' Death Coach scared the crap out of me. Would have made a good ride ("E" ticket at Disneyland). They don't use that term anymore. Also pre-007 Connery was on board.
1961  One Hundred and One Dalmatians - liked Cruella's mansion art design
The Parent Trap the thing I most remember was the incredible queues of cars outside the drive-in to see this (this was huge in Australia) also seeing TWO Hayley Mills (split screen was movie magic). Few years later TV ripped this off with The Patty Duke Show (another guilty pleasure .... maybe another post?)
1962  In Search of the Castaways  I remember a crazy avalanche (?) scene set in New Zealand, wildly imaginative, typical Disney class, superb art direction/special effects. Hayley Mills meets Jules Verne.
1963  The Sword in the Stone You can't beat a classic story. Madame Mim is a dead ringer for a former teaching colleague (but I digress)
1964  Not Mary Poppins too long (140 mins) for kids, well I got a wriggly bum.
1965-1969 - nothing of interest to me
1970  The Boatniks only because of Phil Silvers and Joe E. Ross
1971  Bedknobs and Broomsticks only because of Angela Lansbury (117 mins, why were Disney movies so long?)
1972 -1976  to me, Disney was uncool
1977  The Rescuers;  Freaky Friday a return to form (we won't mention Pete's Dragon....)
1978  Candleshoe  Jodie Foster (again) with a great Brit cast.
1979  The Black Hole (I think I was the only one in the cinema) a brave try, great John Barry score but the ending....??!!
1980  Not Popeye  ...R.I.P.   Robert Altman directed this!!
1981  Dragonslayer - slow to develop, but a stunning film, the dragon will knock yer socks off, Sir Ralph Richardson, Alex North musical score. Highly recommended.
1982  Tron - ahead of its time, staggering design but a bit of a bore.
1983  Something Wicked This Way Comes - flawed masterpiece, not a crowd pleaser, very atmospheric, creepy Jonathan Pryce and tarantulas.
1984  Splash - finally Disney gets a hit! Forget about The Black Cauldron (has its moments, but read the three books, Lloyd Alexander's The Prydain Chronicles)
1989  The Little Mermaid using Alan Menken and Howard Ashman really paid off for Disney
1996  The Hunchback of Notre Dame superb Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz score, too dark for kids
1997  Hercules wondrous Menken/Zippel score, reminiscent of Little Shop of Horrors, cool gospel singers/Greek chorus, James Woods as Hades. Perfect
2001  Spirited Away produced by Studio Ghibli, English version is very respectful though.
2004  The Lion King 1 and a half  Nathan Lane is hilarious, lovely movie send-ups; Howl's Moving Castle Studio Ghibli again but I found the Japanese version hazy, confusing in parts, talented voice cast - Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale
2005  Sky High fun for adults and kids - the Disney formula (entertainment on two levels)
2007  Enchanted the ending drops the ball but the rest is smart and a delightful 'Disney princess' tribute. Amy Adams is such a versatile actress. Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz score is a delight.

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