Discussion in 'DPF Game Room' started by MerlinEmrys, Dec 15, 2017.
By the end of this month we'll be in movies that were released in my lifetime!
Summer means staying up late and chatting
I know that I won't get credit persay but I'll go ahead and do an analysis/response to others.
1. Overall Impression
Winnie the Pooh is one franchise most people will recognize, whether it by reading the book as a child or by watching the Disney animated film; I think for me it started with watching the Welcome to Pooh Corner reruns on tape. The Many adventures of Winnie the Pooh definitely stands out as being one of the last productions Walt Disney had a hand in a decade after his death. One constant thing for the studio during this time was saving money; the cost savings essentially wrapping up three already completed short films into one feature. If this is just three short pieces recycled, why was it considered part of the animated features list? The animation itself though is splendid and the music by the Sherman brother's is especially iconic. It was very episodic/short chapter like, with the new finale especially sweet considering and great at tying all of them together.
2. Character Analysis
Pooh Bear has a very interesting character design. He is essentially an anthromorphi stuffed toy bear, moving as stiffly as you would expect a toy bear would. Twirling around he uses his joints in a full 360, unlike what a real living creature would be able to do. Even falling from the sky he falls face first, toppling like a dead weight toy. It's funny that I can relate very much with Pooh's forgetfulness, often not realizing something till after I was supposed to do it.
3. Scene Analysis.
This is one of the scenes added to film in relation to the first three short film segments. As such it brings a much need closure in which Christopher must venture to attend school. As they pass through the forest, Christopher spends part of the scene climbing through tree roots over a water brook, a transition of rough adventure in the forest slowly coming to a nice path toward civilization. While it is reminiscent of Bambi's scene of traveling by the stream, it is strangely different that there is not a reflection of the two as they pass over the brook(possible cost savings?). His final words of Pooh to remember him is a very charasmatic end to the film, though I'm curious how the new live action sequel deals with this topic if Pooh has to remind Christopher of his adventures in the hundred acre wood.
It's strangely not surprising that the film used three different child actors for Christopher Robin; ironically one of them would be the Director's son, who was also used in multiple Disney Films during this era. It probably was meant to be a cost savings rather than having to rerecord entire new lines for a consistent voice(see Sword in the Stone).
9. Iconic Scene
The last scene of Christopher Robin walking with Pooh in the final chapter of the book is one I would consider truely original to this film seeing as the others were meshed together three short films into one.
1) The backwards letters/mispelled words throughout the film Is very familiar to me as my daughter(kindergarten) is also struggling with this at times.
2) The phrase, Trespassers Will, brings to mind a news piece of the author of how the land the 100 acre wood is on is actually on private property and closed off normally to guests.
P.S. Do I get a medal for Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, I was looking and it was missing off my checklist...
@coblj003 have you turned in a late one yet? Everybody gets one late freebie.
And I'll update your medals with Bedknobs.
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I think I'll use a lifeline, after this just Bonuses entries ...
How the mighty have fallen… From one of my favorite Disney films (Pooh) to this one. Yikes. I guess before you get to the Disney Renaissance, you have to go through the Disney Dark Ages first…
1. My overall impression of the movie… Several things:
• This movie feels like we’ve finally hit the nadir of Disney animated movies. It feels like whoever is in charge of this film doesn’t care anymore, like they’re just on auto-pilot, like they’re just phoning it in… In fact, after watching it, I have to say that this movie doesn’t even *feel* like a Disney movie, but instead like one of those cheap knock-offs that you can buy in the bargain bin at WalMart for $5 or less.
• I love Old Rufus! Of course, I’m biased toward kitties, but he’s a caring old soul looking after Penny (and the other girls at the orphanage) who genuinely cares about her and making her feel better. Also, he doesn't hate mice but he was concerned that if mice move in, he’ll be kicked out.
• It feels like the movie has some sexist overtones. One particular example is when Brutus and Nero are sniffing the air and I’m thinking that they smell the scent of mice (Bernard and Miss Bianca hiding nearby). Then, Bernard points out that the alligators are actually smelling Miss Bianca’s *perfume*. Really? So if she weren’t wearing perfume, two alligators would never have smelled two mice? I will admit that the perfume is used as a later plot point, so I would give the writers the benefit of the doubt if there weren’t many other issues I had with this movie regarding sexism (see #3 below).
2. and 8. The character I chose to analyze was Madame Medusa (I wanted to do Old Rufus, because he’s a cat, but he doesn’t do much and isn’t involved in the plot too much). To me, Madame Mim feels like a cheap knock-off of Cruella de Vil—she drives recklessly like Cruella, she has temper fits/tantrums like Cruella, she has a henchperson like Cruella, she tries to fake charming and sincere but can’t really do it and it comes off as over-the-top and pretentious, she has a hissy fit when she loses at the end of the movie like Cruella, etc. Perhaps part of the difference between them is their physical appearance. Cruella is fashionable (and obsessed with it); her figure isn’t perfect, but it isn’t nearly as unflattering as Madame Medusa’s is… Medusa is not fashionable, and her figure is not flattering at all. I have to admit that I wasn’t interested in seeing Medusa in as few clothes as they gave her (especially her red dress or her nightgown). At least Cruella wore layers…
In some ways, she should be much worse than Cruella. First off, she’s very reckless with a shotgun, and that makes her pretty dangerous. Second, she was overly cruel to Penny, saying: “What makes you think anyone would want a homely little girl like you?” I know she’s a villain but, wow! Also, she steals Teddy from Penny to motivate her to find the Devil’s eye, promising to return it after she finds the diamond, but then steals Teddy to hide the diamond. I get that she wanted a place to hide the diamond, but if she left without Penny, a grown-up having a random Teddy bear would seem odd and would draw their attention to the bear… Based on all of this, she should seem scarier and more villainous than Cruella, but she still feels like a pale knock-off of the original.
I also felt like Nero and Brutus were prototypes for Flotsam and Jetsam (Ursula’s eels in “Little Mermaid”), a pair of dangerous animals serving as henchmen for the villain, whom she refers to as her “precious pets” (“My little poopsies!”).
Other recycled issues from previous movies:
• The voice recycling isn’t as bad; the only major character whose voice was used in prior movies was Miss Bianca (Duchess), although the minor characters of Luke (Napoleon/Sheriff of Nottingham), Rabbit (LaFayette/Trigger), and Owl (Piglet) have recycled voices.
• Recycled animation within the movie: The albatross takeoff seen twice in the movie feels like the same scene used twice.
3. The scene I chose to analyze was the Rescue Aid Society at the beginning of the movie. The introduction of the mice from the UN delegates briefcases follows the trope from “101 Dalmatians” of the mice (pets) looking just like the UN delegates (owners). This scene allows another chance for Disney to represent characters from different countries. Unlike many of the previous Disney films (“Peter Pan”, “Lady and the Tramp”), obvious derogatory stereotypes were avoided. While they still used different “stereotypical” costumes (kilt, turban, fez, etc.), they were not played for cheap laughs or cheap shots.
This scene, however, does bring to question in my mind about possible sexist attitudes being demonstrated throughout the movie that probably would have been acceptable in the 1970s. For example, this is the first time that a female mouse has been given an assignment. The chairman says that it’s without precedent but it’s not like the “old days” when it was a “man’s world”. So, Miss Bianca is allowed to “chair” an assignment, but (still a man’s world, after all) she has to have a co-agent go with her. All of the other mice (all men, no less??) eagerly volunteer, presumably because they’d like to spend some time alone with her… Would they have felt the same about the less attractive (and larger) German female mouse? I still don’t know exactly why Miss Bianca chose Bernard over all of the other agents, but perhaps she felt that a janitor would be more willing to let her be in charge of the mission than an actual male agent would…
Bernard also continually shows, depending on your interpretation, a chilvalrous or a sexist and dismissive attitude toward Miss Bianca. He doesn't think she should go on the mission because it could be dangerous and anything could happen to her. Several times throughout the movie (checking out the zoo, looking for the Devil’s eye in the cave), Bernard appears to be afraid but he overcomes his fears and acts bravely to protect Miss Bianca from the danger.
Bernard also seems to misinterpret what appears to be a meaningless kiss on the cheek from Miss Bianca as a sign that she loves him, and he seems to interpret a sleepy Miss Bianca leaning against him in the same way…
4. The song I chose to analyze was “The Journey” (Who will rescue me?), the song at the beginning of the film. First off, all three songs except the “Rescue Aid Society” (“The Journey”, “Tomorrow is Another Day”, and “Someone’s Waiting for You”) sound the same, and are indistinguishable from each other. They also remind me of the typical 1970’s songs (they all sounded like “Morning After” from “The Poseidon Adventure” to me). This song is played over (under?) the credits. It’s really forgettable, as all of the songs in this movie are, and feels really cheap. There are very few lyrics (mostly, “Who will rescue me?”), and they appear with *still shots* instead of actual animation. This also makes the movie feel cheap—like they couldn’t be bothered to (or couldn’t afford to pay to) animate this sequence. The song does set up the premise that Penny needs to be rescued, and that is the goal of the movie, but just dropping the bottle off of the riverboat into the sea would accomplish this goal…
5. The specific symbol I chose to analyze was the number ‘13’. It is used to show that Bernard is superstitious, noticing every time the number appears (# of teeth on the comb ladder, albatross flight #, # of steps on the albatross flight ramp, etc.). However, it never goes anywhere or becomes significant in any way. It seems like a running joke that falls flat. So why are we made to notice ‘13’ throughout the movie? How does it move the movie along? I never got an answer for this, and this makes the movie feel badly written.
I just noticed, I suppose, that something bad does happen to Bernard after noticing the number ‘13’— he falls into the bottle after using the comb with 13 teeth, and Orville the albatross does crash land from flight 13 (with the ramp of 13 steps). But this isn’t made obvious in the movie, and other bad things happen without the number ‘13’ being involved. So, why bring up triskaidekaphobia?
9. This movie is a rescue/action film, so I was trying to decide what action scene I thought was most iconic: I decided between Miss Bianca and Bernard riding on the albatross airlines or them with Evinrude. Since the Evinrude scenes involved a chase sequence with two alligators, I chose this scene.
10. I chose this pin (127221) because it’s got Miss Bianca and Bernard talking to Penny while she is holding Teddy.
I always thought Madame Medusa reminded me of Miss Hannigan from Annie with Penny being a stand in for Annie.
1. For the most part, I enjoyed this movie. The idea of mice being the ones to save people was a novel concept, and the characters were for the most part likable and charming. This seemed like the first time that Pat Buttram's accent seemed to actually fit the setting (the American South, versus France or England). Eva Gabor once again layed a classy, smart leading lady, but her voice was different enough from Dutchess that I wasn't bothered by it. (For a long while I thought that Eva did one of their voices and Zsa Zsa did the other; I was a bit surprised when I learned that it was Eva doing both). And Bob Newhart was a marvelous casting choice for Bernard - his voice has a softness and gentleness to it that fits Bernard's personality well.
I don't feel like Madam Medusa was a particularly effective villain. Its one of the first films I can think of where the villain's henchmen are more intimidating than villain herself. She did have power over Penny, but that's mostly derived from having kidnapped her and stranding her on the abandoned riverboat with crocodiles (and a mostly ineffective human henchman/business partner) watching her.
The animation in this film left something to be desired, I felt. I love the character design (and it is, again, very Bluth-y at times), and the titles cards were very pretty with a canvas painting feel, but the animation felt off in some way. Flatter? I feel that flatter is the best word for it. It just lacked a certain depth to it that I've noticed in the previous films. It did seem like they used more original animation from it; I didn't notice a lot of recycled shots from previous movies.
I really like Bernard, but his sexism masked as chivalry and over-protectiveness got a bit old after awhile.
4. Rescue Aid Society sounded very much like other pledge songs for service organizations, such as Girl Scouts. At the same time, it worked well to provide some vital expository information about the plot and characters. We start the movie off unfamiliar with the organization, but we learn that it is a group dedicated to saving those in need whenever they may need it, and it lays out the traits that the members aspire to uphold (honestly, loyalty, courage, might). These values are what the characters hold in high regard, and we can see them working towards them throughout the movie (Bernard's increasing courage, Bianca's loyalty to Penny by facing adversity and not giving up until she's rescued, etc.)
It is also the only song in the film to get a reprise; when Bianca and Bernard are chased off the riverboat and Bernard starts to give up hope, Bianca remembers the song and it inspires her to keep on going and to convince Bernard to do the same. It is also the only song in the movie that is sung by characters themselves instead of by an external voice (kind of like a narrator...I'm sure there's probably a term for it but I can't think of one).
6/7. "What can two little mice do?" This line, said by Bernard several times throughout the movie, is the heart of the entire film. Mickey aside, Mice aren't generally viewed in a very positive light; many people see them as pests; they are small and can be timid; they aren't exceptionally strong. However, Bernard and Bianca prove that if you set your mind to it, anyone can be a hero and two little mice can do quite a lot. They use their limitations to their advantage (for instance, their small size allows them to get into and out of spaces other characters can't), and work towards improving their deficits.
9. I think of of the stronger scenes animation wise was Orville's flight. While serving the purpose in the film to get them from New York to the Devil's Bayou, it gave us some great scenic shots, as well.
This frame perfectly captures Bernard and Bianca's personalities, I think.
10. What single pin do you think best represents this film for you? Why? Give us the pin number and post a picture!
I went with the Beloved Tales, though it does show Bernard as slightly more confident than he was in the film:
Pin# 92210 - DSF - Beloved Tales - The Rescuers
Honorable mention goes to this pin; I find it amusing that they used the wrong song title, instead of the actual song Tomorrow Is Another Day.
Pin# 16339 - Magical Musical Moments - Someone Is Waiting for You (Light Up)
~ Hidden Mickey! I don't recall the exact year this movie is set in, so including a Mickey watch (first produced in 1933) may be an anachronism, but it was still a neat little touch.
~ The ability for Penny to speak to animals left some unanswered questions. How is she able to do so? Is she the only one with this ability? The reporter at the end seems incredulous about talking mice, but maybe the adults just don't take the time to listen to mice.
I noticed that the Rescue Aid Society was the only song sung by characters. It reminds of an upcoming trend that I absolutely hated among the songs from the Disney Renaissance coming up (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Hercules, etc.): Taking a song from the movie, sung by the voice actors from the movie and "recasting" it with "famous" singers for radio release (i.e., Peabo Bryson/Celine Dion for BatB; Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle for Aladdin; Elton John for LK; Michael Bolton for Hercules; etc. etc. etc.).
Without exception, I prefer each song sung by the voice actors instead of these "big stars"...
1. Overall Impression
I’ve probably only seen this film once or twice before this viewing—I’m much more familiar with the Down Under sequel. So I didn’t remember anything beyond the most basic plot points for this one and general characters. My overall impression for this film was dark. I’d say, more than perhaps any film before, this film was really about life and death situations and utter cruelty. At every turn, someone could legitimately die: Penny in the Black Hole, Bernard with Brutus/Nero, Evinrude with the bats, Medusa pointing the gun. It wasn’t just peril, it was life or death. I came away from this film exhausted because the tension was just so high for a lot of points. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, necessarily, but I probably won’t return to the film outside of another viewing challenge. What hopeful moments there were, and the ultimate happy ending, were overshadowed by the grim attitude the film had. That works for some films (The Secret of NIMH), but just didn’t click here.
2. Character Analysis / 3. Scene Analysis
I had zero memory of Medusa going into this and that’s probably because I BLOCKED HER OUT. Geebus she was terrible—not as in under developed or sloppily done, but an actual, terrible person. Her attitude reminded me a lot of Cruella de Vil (the car scene helped that a lot) and aspects of her character design reminded me of Sexy Madam Mim. But in many ways Medusa was too real to be a movie villain. Certainly she had lampoonish moments, but her cruelty was almost too natural for her that it was eerily realistic.
Two points about her character stick out to me; the first is what really made this a dark film for me. First, she abducts Penny—that’s pretty rough. And following the heart wrenching scene of Penny talking to Rufus about not getting adopted, Medusa offhandedly comments to Penny, “What makes you think anyone would want a homely little girl like you?” This was an absolute gut punch, a low blow even for a villain, and one delivered so casually and callously. The fact that Medusa’s claim that Penny is “homely” or unattractive is highlighted as in this scene, Medusa is in the process of taking off all of her make-up, most of the shots revealing her in only half of it:
Medusa subscribes to the idea of outer beauty, though she herself is certainly not beautiful, and so she “puts on a face” to make herself seem more appealing, though it’s almost so grotesque as to have the opposite effect.
The other moment was when she turned on Snopes and had the gun pointed at both Penny and her former henchman:
This was also a very dark moment, and one I genuinely didn’t see coming. The gun itself is fairly unrealistic, and we’ve already seen that it’s more of comedic relief and providing a sort of fake threat, but this was a heavy moment for a Disney movie and one that stuck out to me as just extra dark…
6. Dialog Analysis / 7. Overall Goal
When Bernard and Bianca leave the orphanage, Rufus says casually, “But what can two little mice do?”, a sentiment which gets repeated a few times throughout the film. I believe this is the heart of the matter, that size/stature equal capability. Even when B&B finally make it to Penny, she comments, “Didn’t you bring someone bigger?” The ultimate goal of the film is to prove both of these points wrong, that even the smallest of us can make the biggest difference. This returns to the fable of The Lion and the Mouse that the Rescue Aid Society is based on:
(Though that seems to actually be a mash-up of “Androcles and the Lion” and “The Lion and the Mouse”.)
This idea of “small by mighty” has been seen a few times so far in the Disney canon, but none so effectively as here—though it will go on to be a staple of Disney films and properties, namely Rescue Rangers. I like to this of this film as the foundation for that trope, that it’s a little rough around the edges, but sturdy and allows those that follow to improve and hone the trope more.
Something that really bugged me about the film was the size proportions with the swamp critters. For the bulk of the film, having correct size proportions was important (B&B going through the airport, going into the zoo, nearly getting eaten by Brutus and Nero). But suddenly when the swamp critters convene to prepare for the attack, we revert to Robin Hood style:
We’ve already established that Bernard is just a little shorter than Ellie May, and we’ve also established how small Bernard is in comparison to Rufus the cat and Brutus/Nero. Which means that Ellie May is just a little bigger than a mouse. THEN HOW IN THE WORLD IS SHE BIGGER THAN A TURTLE OR AN OWL. It’s something that as a child I definitely wouldn’t have noticed. But man, as soon as I saw it, I couldn’t look away and just totally broke the magic for me whenever all of the characters were around. Like, I don’t want to be that guy, but Owls eat mice…so Sexton Owl should be WAY bigger than them………. Sorry, I just couldn’t shake it, hahah!
9. Iconic Shot
So little of this film was memorable for me as far as the plot was concerned. But the relationship between Bernard and Bianca was certainly something that stuck with me. With that in mind, I’ll go for this as the iconic shot of the film, as it begins their relationship and is just SO cute.
10. Representative Pin
So many pins of this film are B&B in the leaf with Evinrude, but that just doesn’t work for me—possibly because in my mind, this film was just a setup for Down Under, hahah! But the spirit of adventure and traveling on Orville I think does more for representing the film in my mind:
Pin 92210 DSF - Beloved Tales - The Rescuers
*The opening credits were SO dramatic!!! D8 It made me anxioius!
*I also REALLY remember the scene where Bianca walks in to the Society meeting late and everyone just ogles her. Even as a kid I remember thinking “That rude…”.
*I love the organ scene with Brutus and Nero. Probably my favorite from the film. It’s a little tired now, but still a solid goof.
Hahah! Skimming over these now that I've posted my own, it looks like a lot of us were on the same page with this one. XD
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Here writing, just give me a bit.
Just saw merlin's last comment and now feel compulsive to tead before I post. : p
Hahha! I don't read until I post my own, that way I won't be influenced by others. :3 but it does have the side effect of sometimes we are all saying something similar. XD
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So here we are in on to 1977, To put it in perspective that the Rescuers came out the same year that Star Wars, A new hope was also released.
1. Overall Impression
This film feels very different then what a traditional Disney film has felt like, If there is one thing I notice is Don Bluth's designs(the bats especially) throughout the film. The setting is strangely contemporary rather then being set on in the past. Missing are the the Jazz scores or the use of the Sherman brothers instead giving a very typical 70's era soundtrack. The song, Somebody's Waiting for You, also nominated for best original song in 1978, sounds very much like the 70's ballads that were common during that time. The story plot was okay, though some of it's execution with it's use of the villains could have been handled much better.
As for art direction, The heavy use of rotoscoping and xeroxing is very prevalent. The introduction of the United Nations show a variety of normal people drawn to scale, whilst later introduction of the villains show Madam Medussa and Snoops as heavy chararicatures. Certain scenes seemed reused, such as the mouse scouts band playing several times, and Orville taking off. Certain scenes of Madam Medussa seems heavily based on Cruella D'Vil, her car is the even same and her driving/chase scenes seem almost frame for framed inspired by it.
2. Character Analysis
Madam Medussa seems to primarily inspired by Cruella D'Vil, researching the film it was said that they may have initially tried to use Cruella as the main villain; ultimately they would settle on making her "trashy". One characteristic that is shared between the two is the Saccharine sweet, two-face display of her personality when it comes to interacting with Penny and Mr. Snoops. She will grumble and complain behind their back but then try to act innocent and caring the next.
3. Scene Analysis
In terms of diversity of The Rescue Aid Society, I wonder if there were any geopolitical/racial influences that might have come into play. I thought it odd that UN Soviet/communist countries from that era seemed oddly missing in representation(in name at the very least) with Latvia seeming to represent the Soviet bloc; others areas were much condensed rather then specific countries such as Germany(rather then west/east) or even the whole of Africa being represented by just one mouse.
As Madam Medussa talks with Penny, she wipes off her makeup leaving only half of it visible similar in part to the Batman Character Two-Face. This represents her two-faced personality similar in part to Cruella D'Vil, Saccharine sweet versus her mean and hateful side.
One of of the types of scenes that have been brought back for this film is of Penny praying before bed. It's not one seen since Pinnochio and Snow White and is used it is also used as a visual epiphany to Rufus's quote that "Faith makes things turn out all right". If you look close to Teddy, it also looks similar in design to Pooh bear.
10. Representative Pin
Pin 18344 Disney Auctions - The Rescuers 25th Anniversary Series ( Bernard, Bianca, and Orville ),
This does a representative job of the iconic photo of Bernard and Bianca riding Orville.
1) Overall i found the movie watchable and Disneyesque. The animation and characters are relatable. The story is rather sad since it's about a child's note for help, adoption, child labor in attaining treasure, missing love through family--lesson is there is love out there, and not give up hope, have "faith" you will be rescued.......hmmm sounds like a sermon ......after Winnie the Pooh with words and reading books, there seems to be an exposure to children about institutions like the United Nations, adoption, and the Smithsonian. Read that UNICEF was started in the 60's and wonder if that influenced the movie a bit.
3) The iconic scene is when Bernard and Bianca board on Albatross Air flight#13 and take off.....Orville's landing isn't bad either. Fastened into a sardine can, and nose diving down before they can get into a flight path overseeing the city by air, similar to Aladdin and Jasmine.
4) "Tomorrow is Another Day" seems to be a hopeful tune, as one of the few songs.
5) The Devil's Eye seems to be a symbol worth looking at... homage to the Hope Diamond i suspect..a beautiful rock of nature, to be valued by our culture in $$$$$$$ and ownership, rather than the science of geology. and history of our planet.
8) The connections seem to be the similar type of characters. The main story frame is overcoming bad by good, Disney's thematic source. Marketing of cuteness: Teddy's similarity to pooh bear, Bianca and Bernard, Rufus as a grandfatherly figure....some characters will have tie ins with either previous or future movies, similar to using voice talents.
Points: After reading slbrabham's similarity of Medusa to Hannigan, I can't stop seeing Carol Burnnette as Medusa : p
One other thing why are the female drivers like Cruella and Medusa such insane drivers and why is Medusa driving Cruella's car?
Now back to reading the other evaluations
Just a reminder, we've got the D52 chat tonight in about 40 minutes at 7pm est.
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The chat is live if you are around!
Pete's Dragon (1977)
Monday is our "wrap-up" discussion on The Rescuers. So you're welcome to respond to other analyses throughout the day.
However, you may not post any more full analyses for The Rescuers to count for completion toward the 52 Challenge. No late homework. ;P
In the tradition of Disney movies over 2 hours long with lots of songs/dance numbers dragging down the plot like “Mary Poppins” and “Bedknobs & Broomsticks”, we have the 2 hour 8 minute “Pete’s Dragon”…
1. My overall impression of the movie… Several things:
First off, it’s a VERY long movie with lots of songs, some of which go on way too long. I counted about 11 songs and that’s a lot!
This is mostly a live action movie, and it felt a lot like the Disney live movies of the time (I’m thinking specifically of “The Apple Dumpling Gang” that also stars a well known comedy actor that hams it up entirely too much on screen—Don Knotts).
Elliot doesn’t talk much or all that coherently, but Pete can understand him. I guess this doesn’t bother me much, but I’m not sure why they couldn’t have had Elliot speak a little more clearly…
I couldn’t help but notice that the animation in this movie is just a single character: Elliot. That makes the whole animation process easier, but it does make Elliot seem to be a completely different part (and thus disconnected) from the rest of the movie.
2. (and 8.) The character I chose to analyze was the Dr. Terminus. He starts out as comic relief, as a travelling snake oil salesman (a lot like Professor Emelius Browne in “Bedknobs & Broomsticks” who ended up being a hero), but eventually becomes a somewhat villain, a ghost of “Gaston” in the future “Beauty and the Beast”. Ironically, when Dr. Terminus enters the town, he destroys the same fence, the same wet sidewalk, and another one of the mayor’s cigars, exactly like Elliot did (I noted the repetition, but wasn’t exactly sure why it was done…).
The song “I Saw a Dragon” by Nora’s father, in which he goes into the pub in a drunken state to tell everyone that he saw a dragon, feels an awful lot like the scene in BatB in which Maurice had escaped from the Beast and went into the pub (in an insane state??) to tell everyone that he saw a beast.
To that end, the father later approaches Dr. Terminus to ask what he knows of dragons and to confess that he’d seen a dragon. This scene feels like the BatB scene where Maurice begs Gaston to help save Belle from the Beast (“crazy old Lampie”).
As a way to make Dr. Terminus seem more evil, they had him say that he hated the city of Passamaquoddy and that all of the citizens deserved to have whatever ailments they had. Heavy-handed, and not nice, but hardly villainous…
Once Dr. Terminus believes there is a dragon, he wants to hunt him so that he can use/sell the dragon parts for lots of $$. Very similar to Gaston wanting to hunt down the Beast after he believes that he is real. Except Gaston seems to want to hunt the Beast for the glory while Dr. Terminus seems to want to hunt Elliot to make $$. This similarity of Dr. Terminus to Gaston spills over into their lackeys: Both Hoagy and LeFou are viewed as kind of cowardly and cowering, following the orders of their bosses blindly. Finally, both Dr. Terminus and Gaston attempt (with varying degrees of success) to stab/harpoon their intended victims, the main characters of the movie.
All in all, Dr. Terminus doesn’t feel as dangerous or ominous a villain as Gaston, and appears more as comic relief or a distraction in the film.
3. The scene I chose to analyze was the scene with Red Buttons and Mickey Rooney trying to find the dragon. I purposefully did not use the character names because this scene isn’t about the movie or the characters, but about these two “big stars”. This scene doesn’t really do much to move the story along; it just seems like a chance for two big comedy stars to show us their drunk act. They both played this over-the-top and it feels like all they are doing is trying to one-up each other! Once the two actors finally find Elliot, it seems like the animators decided that *they too* had to get in on the over-the-top overacting in this scene. They gave Elliot a lot of grimacing facial expressions as he listened to the horrifying description of him by Mickey Rooney; it seems like Elliot didn’t know Mickey Rooney was talking about him, and Elliot seems to be scared by the description. So we get to see lots of drunken acting by Mickey Rooney and Red Buttons, and lots of grimacing and scared looks from Elliot.
My major issue with this scene is it seems like a waste of 20 minutes in a movie already over 2 hours long. I was really bored with all of this drunken acting that didn’t really seem to move the plot along. It just felt like an excuse for two well-known (and perhaps egotistical?) actors to ham it up for the cameras…
4. The song I chose to analyze was “There’s Room for Everyone”, which was a rather catchy and memorable song in the movie, given the message the song tries to convey.
Before the song, the townsfolk (fishermen) were complaining that they hadn’t caught any fish since Pete arrived (with talk of Elliot). They blamed Pete for their “bad luck” and said there was no room in the town for a dragon or for Pete. This feels an awful lot like the anti-immigrant (anti-stranger) sentiments you hear in the political debates from time to time. I’m not sure if there was a specific group being targeted in the late 1970s when this was filmed, but it seems that this kind of debate (“us” versus “them”) happens all the time.
The lyrics in the song are kind and welcoming (“There's room for everyone in this world, if everyone makes some room”, “Even a dragon deserves a place, a wide open space… Give him a chance to sing his song, he only wants to belong”, “Step aside, let them live, it's simple to give. Like us, they just need a home”, etc.), and very much of the sentiment that all should be welcome; after all “a dragon is just one more stranger in search of a friend”.
The song is even more optimistic if you consider that it is being sung by children (along with Nora) and that the children do not seem to be burdened by the superstitions and bigotry of the adults.
The whole song is totally inspiring until you hit the last line that is repeated: “So let's all make sure we give everyone somewhere to stand. Just the way God planned it, just the way God planned.” Now, in the 1970s I’m sure this would not have been controversial in the least. But unfortunately, in the current political climate that includes Islamophobia, the name of “God” has been invoked by some of those who would hope to discriminate against the “them-s” for not being “us-es”. I know that it was not the intent of the lyricists to “taint” this song with religious discrimination, it was hard for me not to bristle at this last line given the current political climate. OK, back to the fun stuff…
5. I symbol I chose to analyze was Elliot’s invisibility. First off, it’s hard not to be cynical about the invisibility as a way for the animators to “cheap out” and save some $$ in not animating Elliot. And that may have been a real financial concern in making the film, but Elliot’s invisibility is more than just financially convenient.
Elliot’s invisibility is also a way to allow skepticism of the existence of the dragon. After all, the only ones who have seen Elliot clearly (except at the end of the film) are a child (whose imagination can be easily dismissed) and a couple of drunks (whose lucidity can also be questioned, and therefore their claims of seeing a dragon dismissed). Nora clearly does not believe in the existence of Elliot and she believes that her father is humoring Elliot instead of considering that he really believes his drunken visions.
It’s not clear if Elliot sees the need to hide from adults in order to protect himself or Pete; he just seems willing to follow Pete’s lead when Pete tells him to vanish. Elliot probably could take care of himself, but his invisibility can (and does) get Pete in trouble (see #6 below).
In the end, some (most?) of the townsfolk end up knowing (and believing) about Elliot even if they didn’t see him, and Nora and her father know of him. We won’t really know if this becomes a problem (the town knowing Pete has a dragon) because Elliot has to leave now that he has helped Pete find happiness and a home.
6. The phrase I chose to analyze was from Pete to Elliot: “I don’t know whether you’re good for me or bad.”
It’s true that Elliot gets Pete in trouble from time to time. For example, when Elliot destroys the fence and the wet concrete sidewalk, Pete gets blamed. Also, when Elliot rings the school bell and moves the school marm’s chair, Pete gets punished.
Once he said this comment, Pete immediately apologizes to Elliot, saying that he didn’t really mean it, and later Pete admits that Elliot only appears to a child who really needs him.
In the end, Elliot does more good than bad to Pete—helping Pete find a home with Nora and her father, helping Nora find her long-lost beau Paul, saving Pete from the Gogans, and helping to light the lighthouse to save Paul and his ship.
In the end, Elliot has helped Pete enough that Pete no longer needs Elliot, and he must go on to another child that needs him more.
8. This movie continues to build on (and recycle) previous motifs used in other Disney movies. These include:
• As with “Mary Poppins” and “Bedknobs & Broomsticks”, this was an overly long film (over 2 hours) and had LOTS of song & dance numbers that just dragged on for too long. In this movie, the “I Saw a Dragon” song dragged on with a long dance number reminiscent of “Portobello Road” in B&B. The song that introduced Dr. Terminus also felt really long and the dance felt pointless, other that to give Red Buttons more air time to ham it up. And “Every Little Piece”, in which Dr. Terminus and Hoagy talk of their plans to cut up Elliot for $ was way too long and repetitive.
• The film opened with static images, just like “The Rescuers”. Also, Pete being an orphan who was bought by the Gogan family to work on their farm felt just like Little Orphan Penny being kidnapped by Madame Medusa in “The Rescuers” to work in the pit to find the Devil’s eye, complete with the Gogans/Medusa pretending to be nice to the orphan but not quite being able to pull it off convincingly.
• When Elliot practices his disappearing act, he eventually ends up with just his face showing, an obvious homage to the Cheshire Cat.
• This movie seems to have major issues with the live action/animation match. Just as with “Mary Poppins” (and unlike “Bedknobs & Broomsticks”, which did this match very well), the lighting level between the live action and the animation felt off. Elliot always feels a little pale or bright compared to the live action, and I could see a bit of blurriness of Elliot’s borders when we first see him with Pete.
• Nora singing about Paul on the lighthouse railing felt reminiscent/foreshadowing of the song in “Frozen” between Anna and Hans.
9. For me, the most iconic scenes were of Pete and Elliot together, in this case, eating apples together at the beginning of the movie.
10. I wanted a pin that had Pete and Elliot on it, but there weren’t many to choose from. So I chose this pin (39807) because it shows Elliot in the process of becoming invisible, which was a major plot point of the movie.
Ack, this week completely got away from me, and I was at Disney about three hours later than planned today. I’mma wake up early tomorrow to finish watching (I started yesterday but was so tired I fell asleep part way through) and post my review.
I've watched the feature but as I'm currently at work so I'll complete review later when I get home...
1. I haven't seen this movie in a good twenty years, and I liked it a lot. I think I prefer Bedknobs and Broomsticks slightly more, but this slightly more than Mary Poppins. Elliot is adorable, and was used fairly effectively when needed (and not overused). I do think that the practical effects when Elliot was invisible weren't quite as impressive as the battle scene from Bedknobs, but the sheer amount of integration of live action with animation (throughout the entire movie versus just one or two scenes) compensated for that.
I felt like it suffered from pacing problems. It fluctuated between long sequences where not much happened and sequences where there was almost too much action. Some of the characters were also a bit too over the top, such as Lampie and Hoagy. They were going for comedic effect with their exaggerated reactions to Elliot, but after awhile the same level of reaction got old.
It was also somewhat disturbing that the Gogans sang an entire song about abusing Pete in the middle of town and the only person standing up to them was Nora. I know the townsfolk were upset with Pete, but did they really think sitting back and letting these abusive people try to take him back was appropriate?
5. The lighthouse is the strongest symbol in the movie for me. Nora and Lampie became the light in Pete's life - the Gogans were abusive, the townspeople blamed him for the fish shortage, the teacher hated him from the start. Nora, on the other hand, saw a young boy in need and took him in, and even though she didn't believe in Elliot, went along with Pete out of kindness.
Additionally, the lighthouse is where Elliot reveals himself to Nora - her understanding of the situation is "illuminated" by this reveal.
8. Of the three live action films, this is the first one to incorporate the animated character into a real life setting without using magic, versus within the chalk drawing or storybook. As a result, the other characters reacted much more closely to how people in real life would (over the top slapstick aside). One thing about Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks is that the characters reacted as if the animated characters were a normal thing that just happened to people. (Perhaps because they knew they were in a fantasy world at that point?) When the majority of townspeople met Elliot, they freaked out. This wasn't a normal thing in their small town.
9. The most iconic image that sticks out to me is Elliot smashing through the wall of the schoolhouse. It showcases the practical effects wonderfully, and makes for a striking image. It also marks the turning point when most of the townspeople start believing in Elliot - he left behind something they can see, visual prof that he he exists. It also shows the relationship between Elliot and Pete - Elliot cares for him so much that he risks being seen in order to protect him from the bullying teacher.
10. At its core, the film is about Pete and his relationship with Elliot, the first being to show him kindness in his life. They trust each other with their lives and love each other deeply. The Beloved Tales showcases this relationship splendidly.
Pin# 92208 - DSF - Beloved Tales - Pete's Dragon
"Pete, you have to get to school. Hurry up and go to school. Pete, let's hurry and get you school. Right after this five-minute song-and-dance sequence involving every one of your future schoolmates so everyone is late to school!"
Mental note - if I ever go back in time and become a snake oil salesman, I just sing a song about the wonders of my product and have a sidekick dress up in costumes to pretend to be cured and I'm set!
Basically Dr. Terminus and Hoagy:
Hmmm this was not as expected and long, or it seemed that way.
1) Overall impression is-it's not Mary Poppins quality- maybe a stretch to go another direction into B movies? I wouldn't choose to watch or pay to see it again. I'm sure there were some achievements made in the mixture of animation and live action but it's not as noticeable as Mary Poppins.
2) Elliot is the character I picked since he's the loveable one for Pete, similar to the Pooh character to Christopher Robin. Elliot is Pete's companion and best friend, when a child needs one as they grow up, and try to survive in a loveless environment. Elliot appears so that we know he exists, and not just a Figment of Pete's imagination. He protects, loves, and helps Pete find a family to belong to, and then leaves once his objective is accomplished. Elliot speaks in grunts/sounds and expressions, we seem to have to assume the conversation and dialog being expressed. He's pudgy, scruffy, tiny pink wings and hair make him an unpretentious character although being a dragon, but a favorable companion for Pete.
7) Overall goal for the movie was probably a grand family musical for the time. Elliot is a highly marketable character, and a big hit during the Electrical Light Parade era, but as a movie it seems not to memorable, as Disney strays away from full animation.
8) With Rescuers preceeding this, and then Pete's Dragon, it seems that Disney needs to make films of children in strife. Sadly it puts children in situations needing loving homes, and doubt in themselves to a future. These are sad themes and not just the happy, feel good previous movies from earlier. Maybe the social awareness of the time puts Disney into a struggling position to survive during a troublesome 70s for families. Interesting the opening for The Rescuers and Pete's Dragon use paintings to intriduce the films.
10) Pin #92671 is cute with Pete and Elliot as they enjoy the apples, seems one of the few with Pete and Elliot together from the movie.
These live action filns are not as fun to watch, or as timeless as the animation films except for Mary Poppins. I'm definitely looking forward to the Renaissance period of Lion King and Little Mermaid!
1. Overall Impression
I went into this film really excited because I remember loving it as a kid. Parts of it have certainly stuck with me, but on this viewing, I see that it doesn’t quiiiiite hold up as well as films like Mary Poppins. The acting in parts are rough, the cinematography is pretty shoddy in spots, and (like MP and Bedknobs) parts of those song/dance scenes just stretched on and on. Overall, the film has a great heart, but it does show its age.
And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we could have done without most of the music……
2. Character Analysis / 6. Dialog Analysis
Despite the film’s shortcomings, Nora is a really great character. She’s caring, sweet, but not one to back down which makes her quite a force to be reckoned with. Her interaction with the Gogans during “Bill of Sale” was pretty cool. Also, her kindness points to the cruelty Pete has suffered at the hands of his other foster family (the whole idea that he’s been bought and is “property same as the family cow” is disturbing and horrid, especially on the heels of The Rescuers).
But her indulgence of Pete’s “unrealistic” pet dragon is quite tender. One of her lines during “It’s Not Easy”, when she says “I can see that friends can be different / Yes, I understand you now” is such an awesome moment of an adult believing a child (despite “knowing” that there’s no such thing as a dragon) stands in stark contrast to typical adult-child interactions (Banks-his kids, Medusa-Penny, etc) and acts as a safe haven for Pete, just like her lighthouse!!
4. Song Analysis
Gonna play fast and loose with “analysis” here as I’m not so much looking at the content of the song, but the cinematography. “Candle on the Water” is one of my favorite Disney songs. It’s so lovely, and the sentiment is really sweet. But hot dang. The shooting for this song was terrible. The entire shot is just a super slow pan zoom in on Nora standing in front of the lighthouse light. And that’s it. This slow, boring shot completely undercuts the very internal reveal this song provides. We are so far away from the subject as to lose all emotion that would have added. Also, with the lack of body language and any movement, this performance fits painfully into the “Let me stand and sing” type of songs that become very distracting.
(And no! Not all songs are “Let me stand and sing!”, Russ! You people and your distaste for musical numbers…. *grumble grumble*)
As @pincrazy said, Mary Poppins this ain’t, and to its detriment. Though MP had similar pacing issues, I felt here that many scenes really drug on. And the editing / sound quality of the film was no where near the par of MP. While this film had a lot of heart, it was not enough for me to look past many of its shortcomings, which I can do more easily with other films in this style. Though I will say, the scenes where Pete is riding on Elliot, or Hoagy being carried, are very well done.
9. Iconic Shot
I always would have expected the iconic shot for this film to be the Tick-Tac-Toe game. But man, that scene was so freaking sad!! So scratch that, and we will go with Pete sitting on Elliot’s stomach during “I Love You Too” (a song so sickeningly sweet it gave me cavities…)
10. Representative Pin
This pin does a good job of depicting the kind of whimsy this film was after. Also, it’s the scene I remember best as a kid, so that helped my decision. XD
Pin 17924 DLR - Pete's Dragon 25th Anniversary (Dangle)
* This film’s saving grace was Doc Terminus. Holy crap I loved him so much. His entire demeanor was hysterical and both of his songs were priceless. I liked him so much, I didn’t want to do any analysis on him—just let him be weird and wonderful XD
*This is totally off topic, and if you’ve never seen Neon Genesis Evangelion, this won’t do you any good. But if you have, then you’ll love this:
I’m sure I have other spare thoughts, but I’m under the gun now so this will have to do. XD
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