Hm, well, I've been watching some old Disney movies lately, and I've kept in mind all the people who say that the 50s-60s were the glory days for Disney, and everything they do now suck. Well, when I first saw Snow White and Dumbo and Cinderella when I was 5, I thought so too. However, I decided to take a trip back and REALLY watch them, and here's my comments:
Snow White: Well, it was the first full-length feature, and many still claim it to be a classic. Okay. But has it aged well? The original fairy tale is pretty slight, so one expects a movie to expound on the story. But...it doesn't. Not really. Snow White is pretty dumb and airey, which is okay, but doesn't hold one's interest for long. There's some spectacular animation still, but one walks away from the movie feeling that it was very 'padded.'
Sleeping Beauty--Some great character designs going on here, but some sequences are too slowly paced. Not much to say, really. Like Snow White, it feels very padded and lightweight. Not very memorable songs.
Dumbo--Probably my favourite still, but one can see the formulaic Disney trend starting here, with the wisecracking mouse and super-wimpy and indecisive lead (who grows up at the very end, like Simba/Kimba). However, Dumbo and the sidekick getting drunk and seeing pink elephants is definitely the highlight of the movie.
Alice in Wonderland. Great character designs, but they go overboard with the songs. Nice animation. Disappointing, though, if you're a Carroll fan.
Cinderella--For the love of Gawd, quit singin' and showing us the stupid mice and give us some meat on the main story! Nice animation, though. Not very romantic is retrospect.
I still have to watch Peter Pan, but upon close inspection, it seems that these Disney 'classics' are really classics of visual creativity rather than storytelling. I guess since it's for kids it doesn't matter, but to say it's 'fun for the whole family' is stretching it.
I also picked up a few Peanuts specials from the 70s. Let's take a look...
Race for your life, Charlie Brown!-- The Peanuts gang go to Summer Camp and have to deal with a bunch of bullies in each of their competitions. Okay, this is the second Peanuts movie, I think, and it's okay. My favourite Peanuts gal Peppermint Patty gets to strut her stuff and Sally gets to be annoying as ever. Snoopy and Woodstock also star, but they hog too much of the film at times. The voices are well-cast here, with everyone pretty much dead-on.
Valentines Day Charlie Brown--I forgot the exact title of this special, but I assume only one Peanuts Valentine special was made. Pretty good, very faithful to the comic strip. All the characters play out their famous crushes--Lucy wants Schroeder (piano guy), Charlie Brown wants ANYONE, Sally wants Linus, and Linus wants the teacher. Anyway, the class has one of those things were each student puts their Valentine cards in a box, and it's given out to everyone from there to protect each sender's identity. Everyone gets one (or more) cards, but Charlie Brown gets nothing. The next day, all the girls feel guilty, and Charlie Brown gets a used card--one of the girl's names is rubbed out and replaced with Charlie Brown's. Schroeder blows up on the girls, lecturing them on their lack of sensitivity, and that they were just trying to ease their own conscience by giving him a card a DAY AFTER Valentine's Day. Charlie Brown is so pathetic he tells Schroeder to shut up and he takes the second-hand card. So ends the special. Peppermint Patty only shows up once in this special, and it's only in the background of one of the scenes. Poor me.
It's your first kiss, Charlie Brown!--I didn't really get all of this, but basically Charlie Brown must dance with the red-haired girl he has a crush in the upcoming prom. But before that night, the Peanuts gang have a football game with a rival school. Peppermint Patty is captain of the team, and Charlie Brown is the kicker. Of course, Lucy is the one who must hold the ball, and Charlie Brown misses the ball every time (because, you know, her schtick is to take the ball away when he tries to kick it). They eventually lose, and Charlie Brown goes to the prom with no pride. Still, when all is said and done, he gets to kiss the red-haired girl. Personally, I didn't like this special at all. The voices were poorly cast, and Charlie Brown sounds like a chainsaw. Characters act out of character, with Peppermint Patty resorting to mean-sprited teasing when she and the other girls are chewing Charlie Brown out at the prom. I thought Patty had a thing for Charlie Brown? She's also supposed to be rather blunt, but carefree. Linus doesn't sound very intellectual here, either. Lucy is extra-b*tchy here, though, and Charlie Brown is super-pathetic, so they have two of the characters spot-on, at least. However, this is the worst of the three.
atlantis looks like a so-so movie to watch.....