School of Movies
Meet The Robinsons + Bolt

Meet The Robinsons + Bolt

September 28, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]  

The mid-2000s saw Disney continuing to flail about in search of a new identity. They still didn't have a clear idea of who they wanted to be seen as now, they just knew it wasn't Aladdin and Jasmine singing on a magic carpet.

So here was a duo of CG animated curios, with some genuine charm amidst some baffling choices, deliberately homogenised with the output of their rival studios. They can be described thusly;

1. Genius orphan visits future and hangs out with a family of crazy people.

2. Deluded television superdog travels America to get back to his owner. 

Next week: The Princess and the Frog

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Home on the Range + Chicken Little

Home on the Range + Chicken Little

September 21, 2018

[School of Movies 2018] 

Now we have reached a truly dark time in Disney's history.

These are two barnyard adventures featuring shrieking animals, wafer-thin plots and zero growth, either for the characters or creatively for the production teams. 

As such there's little to talk about beyond ducks getting smacked in the head, so we devote most of this episode to discussing the painful transition from 2D cel animation to 3D. It began as one of our weakest, most aimless Disney shows, and for that I literally apologise midway through, but by the end, while the tone gets heavy and we are powered along by anger and frustration it turns into something a lot stronger as a true sense of loss begins to set in. 

There were far brighter things just on the horizon, but some decisions cannot be undone, and the repercussions are what we all have to live with.

Next week: A double-bill of Meet The Robinsons & Bolt

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Treasure Planet & Brother Bear

Treasure Planet & Brother Bear

September 15, 2018

[School of Movies 2018] 

Treasure Planet: Maybe Disney's biggest mistake since The Black Cauldron. Actually, that comparison isn't a bad one at all. Both were epic-but-short adventures with the focus on a young boy that many audiences struggled to love, both were adaptations of difficult books, both were departures from the studio's accustomed style, both had awkward comedy moments that didn't quite land, both were insanely expensive and both were expected to bear rich dividends at the box office, tanked instead and forced the house of mouse to re-evaluate, leading ultimately to a golden age of parity between creators and money men, garnering massive financial and critical success.

But to achieve that they had to fail big time first. And as failure's go Treasure Planet is a frequently beautiful one. It has its annoying characters and manifestly poor decisions on show, but there are bits that genuinely make us well up with emotion, a wonderful James Newton Howard score and the same deep canvas animation technique as Tarzan. It's an oddity and a bittersweet one at that. 

Brother Bear: This is the definition of a mixed Disney bag. On the one hand you have truly gorgeous animation, a promising premise, the chance to proclaim that you've learned from past mistakes as they partain to the portrayal of native peoples, the feel of The Lion King, a talented voice cast, an Oscar-winning singer and Tina goddamned Turner!

On the other you have a confused series of events, a tone that veers between how merciless nature is and a cloyingly sweet Saturday morning cartoon from 1984, a plot structure that appears to have gaps, an uneven sense of humour unlikely to make many people laugh, and worst of all, a panicking executive team ready to pull the plug on traditional animation if you screw up, and ready to chase Shark Tale into the sewer of quality.

Guess what happened... 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus