Category Archives: Animation

#252 Pinocchio

(1940, Ben Sharpsteen & Hamilton Luske)

“Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy.”

I’ve covered a lot of Disney movies, it seems, although in actual fact very few movies from Disney’s Animated Canon are on the 1001 Movies You Must See list. In fact, I believe this may be the last one we’ll see. Disappointed that many of your favourites weren’t included? So am I, but there you go.

Pinocchio, as you may know, is the story of a puppet made by the eccentric Geppetto, brought to life by the Blue Fairy and accompanied by the quirky Jiminy Cricket. Pinocchio must learn to be brave and kind and other positive character traits in order to become a real boy and not be taken in by tricksters and turned into a donkey, and mustn’t tell lies otherwise his nose will grow to enormous proportions. Someone gets eaten by a whale too. It’s a weird story.

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#233 Alice

(1988, Jan Svankmajer)
Něco z Alenky

“Now you will see a film made for children…perhaps”

Alice In Wonderland is a truly iconic children’s story, and I personally have a fondness for it, as I’m sure many others do. But despite its fame as a children’s story, it can easily be read as a horrific nightmare drug trip without changing a single word in it. And this dichotomy of Lewis Carroll’s classic certainly wasn’t lost on Jan Svankmajer when he made Alice.

You should already know the story of Alice In Wonderland, but for those who don’t, welcome to Earth, intergalactic visitors. It’s about a girl named Alice who goes to a place called Wonderland, oddly enough.

She gets there when a White Rabbit in a jacket rushing past her complaining about being late while examining a pocket watch. In traditional versions, Alice follows the rabbit down a rabbit hole and lands in Wonderland, where she experiences a series of adventures, but in Svankmajer’s version, Alice (Kristýna Kohoutová) follows the rabbit into a stationery drawer. And that’s not the only way it differs.

Where other versions of Alice placed a young girl in a dazzlingly colourful environment with gumdrop trees and sprawling gardens, Svankmajer’s Alice places her in a dilapidated mansion filled with creaky antiques that come to life and do weird things. Also, where other adaptations take the “wonder” part of the title as their entire design document and make everything all charming and happy, Svankmajer seemingly decided to use Carroll’s possible opium trip as the basis for his version.

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#206 Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

(1937, David Hand)

“Who’s the fairest of them all?”

It’s Disney again! This time, it’s the film that started it all. Movie #1 in the Disney Animated Canon. Walt Disney’s pet project designed to show the world that animation could be turned into full length features. But how well does it hold up today?

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs is based on the famous Grimm fairy tale. Every day, an evil queen (voiced by Lucille La Verne) asks her magic mirror “who is the fairest of them all?”, expecting the mirror to inform her that she is the fairest. She is content until the mirror one day says that a young maiden named Snow White (v/b Adriana Caselotti) is the fairest. In a fit of jealousy, the queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and murder her. However, he can’t do it, and Snow White flees and takes refuge with a group of dwarves (note the spelling, Disney!), leading the queen to try and devise an even more gruesome fate for the girl.

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#185 Dumbo

(1941, Ben Sharpsteen)

“I ain’t never seen a elephant fly”

So, after In The Realm Of The Senses last time, I need something to come down from the un-erotic and borderline creepy non-step sex; preferably something more wholesome and refreshing. Do I have any more Disney movies to review?

YES! YES I DO. Here’s Dumbo.

Dumbo is the fourth film in the Disney Animated Canon, and quite possibly one of their simplest. It’s about a baby elephant who gets made fun of because of his big ears, gets ostracised by his fellow elephants following the imprisonment of his mother and eventually triumphs over adversity to teach kids that you shouldn’t make fun of someone with physical deformities, especially if it gives them special powers. It’s basically Disney’s X-Men before X-Men became Disney’s X-Men.

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#150 Toy Story

(1995, John Lasseter)

“YOU. ARE. A. TOY!”

It’s strange to think of a cinematic world without CGI, especially when modern-day family films almost always seem to be computer-generated, with drawn and stop motion animation barely getting a look-in. But it did exist, which is why the arrival of Toy Story was such a revelation. It was the first entirely CGI movie released to cinemas, and it helped change the landscape to what it is today. But does it hold up today?

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#147 Fantasia

(1940, Various)

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#137 The Jungle Book

(1967, Wolfgang Reitherman)

“The bare necessities of life will come to you”

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#111 The Lion King

(1994, Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff)

“We are all connected in the great circle of life”

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#63 Akira

(1988, Katsuhiro Otomo)

“TETSUOOOOO!”

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#54 Spirited Away

(千と千尋の神隠し- Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)
(2001, Hayao Miyazaki)

“Nothing that happens is ever forgotten, even if you can’t remember it”

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