#365- The Jungle Book

Quick recap: Mowgli wants to continue living in the jungle even though literally every animal either hates his very essence or just wants to eat him.

Did you know there is fan fiction where Baloo Bagheera Gay Dad it Up and raise Mowgli together? Because I did not.

Fun (?) fact: According to Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, we should be pronouncing Mowgli as if the first syllable rhymes with ‘cow’. She reportedly never forgave Disney for messing this up.

Me around any responsibilities

My thoughts:  My usual strategy with a cartoon is to invite my nine year old to watch it with me and get his ‘hot take’ on things (as the kids say). This worked perfectly with A Night at the Opera ….and that’s about it. He stayed for about 15 minutes, got bored and went to go play on his phone. When asked later on if there was any wisdom he wanted to impart from the little bit he did watch, my son rolled his eyes deeply and replied, ‘It was horrible. Just horrible.’

I, on the other hand, quite enjoyed The Jungle Book. I thought the animation was really pretty and I’m a sucker for animals. Even more enjoyable, I was quite pleased to find out that this movie isn’t as racist as I remembered it to be. As an example, Louis Armstrong was originally chosen to play the orangutan King Louie but was cut because Disney didn’t want him to be likened to an ape, the racist stereotype. How progressive! But really, this just felt like a sweet story about a little boy growing up. A timeless tale, if you will. There was a wide range of genres of music from scatting to a barbershop quartet that made the movie seem more fun than I remember as a kid. I found myself humming along to several tunes days later, a sign that I’m hooked.

I’m always surprised when I rewatch a childhood film to find that I now identify with an entirely different character than I used to and I no longer fear the villain. This time around, it made total sense why Bagheera wanted Mowgli back in the village and how totally wrong Baloo was for the boy. As a kid, Baloo just looked fun and sweet but considering he let Mowgli get kidnapped by monkeys in the middle of their first song together, maybe he wasn’t the best choice. Then again, Bagheera almost let Kaa the snake eat him so he’s not entirely blameless. As for Shere Khan, who absolutely scared me as a kid, now I see him as just a tiger who needs to eat and who is rightfully scared of fire. Adulthood may have less imagination but it sure brings about some good logic.

Final review: 4/5

Up next: Tabu

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#304- Fantasia

Quick recap: 8 pieces of Western Classical music are illustrated by the Walt Disney company.

Me, after eating that whole pizza the other night

Fun (?) fact: To this day, Disney still receives complaints from parents about the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ sequence. It was removed from the film for several years after so many people complained that it frightened young children but later brought back to teach those kids to suck it up.

I blame the large nipples

My thoughts: I made invited my seven year old to watch Fantasia with me, hoping to further cultivate a love of music like I have. I loved this movie as a kid, but then again, I’ve always had a thing for the Classical genre. My grandmother listened to it often and I remember falling asleep to various pieces at night, painting pictures in my head as the music swelled around me. Alas, this bonding moment with my son was not to be because he was asking to turn it off within 5 minutes. It wasn’t a complete wash, as you will see as I break down each segment:

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor– the animation was just a bunch of abstract art, which is basically the very definition of torture for a kid. The look in his eyes as the music continued was one of betrayal, since I had promised him he would enjoy it.

Nutcracker Suite- My kid loves The Nutcracker and wanted to listen to it constantly around Christmas. He enjoyed this segment better but would’ve much rather seen the ballet than the changing of seasons. The mushrooms dancing (albeit a little racist) was pretty cute.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice– Mickey Mouse saves the day! My son thought the animation was really funny, except for the scene when he chops up the broom into little pieces.

Rite of Spring- The animation for this one started with the birth of our planet and ended with all the dinosaurs dying off. My kid has never really been into dinosaurs so he was mostly bored. I was amused watching what people in 1940 understood about our universe.

The Pastoral Symphony– The setting for this piece is Mt. Olympus. There are various centaurs, unicorns, and gods and not a nipple in sight. It was really creepy after awhile, this nipple-less world. My son thought the baby pegasus were cute but lost interest once the centaurs started hooking up. I don’t blame him.

Dance of the Hours-My son enjoyed this one as well, but didn’t understand how an alligator could lift a hippo. Buddy, you have no problem with an ostrich ballerina but an alligator and hippo dancing gives you pause? Moving on.

Night on Bald Mountain- My kid’s favorite holiday is Halloween so I thought for sure this would win him over. NOPE. Not even the screaming ghouls did the trick.

I’m sad that this movie didn’t really hold up as I remembered. On the positive side, I know what I can put on as punishment the next time my kid drives me crazy.

Final review: 2/5, although I would’ve rated it higher had I watched alone

Up next: Man of the West

#203- Pinocchio

Quick recap: A wooden puppet comes alive and surprisingly doesn’t murder everyone in his sight.

goosebumps-living-dummy-1

Fun (?) fact: In the original novel, Pinocchio murders Jiminy Cricket with a mallet. He pops up later on with little explanation given.

I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now

I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now

My thoughts: I decided to share Pinocchio with my 6 year old one evening, because there’s no better way to bond than to threaten a child with horrifying consequences if he doesn’t behave. Afterwards, I asked what he thought about it.

Me: How many points would you give this movie, out of 5?

B: 5, because of the cat.

Me: What was your favorite part of Pinocchio?

B: The cat.

Me: What was the funniest part of the movie?

B: When Geppetto thought Pinocchio was dead! Oh, and the cat.

The interview was abruptly shut down after that and off to therapy my son went.

So, besides learning how creepy my kid can be, I actually enjoyed the movie somewhat. The moral about being good was a little heavy handed, but that’s what was to be expected back then. Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it, with their soft themes of friendship and working together. Back then, all kids had was, ‘your nose will grow long if you lie, you’ll turn into a jackass and everyone you know and love will be swallowed by a giant whale.’

One thing I had forgotten about Pinocchio was all of the music Disney used to do with their films. I kind of enjoyed it, although my kid seemed a little bored through some of the numbers. He might’ve just wanted the cat back, though.

Overall, the only thing that really bothered me was the relationship between Geppetto and Pinocchio. I know that he wanted a son, but he had really only known the puppet for a few hours before he started getting into trouble. Maybe I’m just a bad person, but I most likely wouldn’t risk my life for a wooden puppet that had caused me grief for most of its short life.

I much prefer Egg Yolkeo

I much prefer Egg Yolkeo

Final review: 4/5, and I agree that the cat made the movie

Up next: Sunrise

#186- Fantastic Planet

Quick recap: A race of super huge blue people (Draag) oppress a race of teeny tiny humanoids (Om).

how I feel at the end of the week

how I feel at the end of the week

Fun (?) fact: The ‘Om’ race is a word play on the French word for man, ‘homme’

This movie had a lot going on

tbh, how congress should solve most issues

My thoughts: I’m still choosing movies at random, so it surprised me how many science fiction films I have seen lately,this one being my second French sci-film when I thought there weren’t any. Actually, Fantastic Planet started out in Czechoslovakia but had to be moved to France because Communists aren’t really fans of being made fun of. Go figure.

I full heartedly expected to not like this movie, but within minutes of its opening sequence, I was sucked in. For starters, I had no idea that Fantastic Planet would be animated, and man is it a trippy movie. It kind of reminded me of the Monty Python sequences, but much longer and weirder. The planet that the Draag live on is as strange as it gets, which I loved because the director could’ve used a somewhat familiar landscape but instead just threw in a ton of crazy plants and animals just for the hell of it. There is a scene where the planet is covered in crystals and the Om protagonist, Terr, gets caught in one. His master, Tiwa, simply whistles and the crystals disintegrate. Why crystals? Why whistling? No clue, but it adds to the idea of these humanoids being trapped in such an unfamiliar place.

fantastic-planet

As with most sci-fi and horror films, the best ones are those that can be related back to real world events. In the case of Fantastic Planet, it is literally about the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia. It was very easy to see the parallels while watching the movie, which is nice, but not so glaringly obvious that it felt preachy. In the movie, Terr is kept as a pet by the Draag child Tiwa. Through an accident, he is able to absorb the lessons his owner listens to, thus gaining all knowledge he will need later on to defeat the Draag. The ending is an optimistic one: the Om travel to the Strange Planet, an uninhabited place where the Draag send their meditations. While there, they are able to find their weakness and use it to overpower them. The Draag, knowing that they have lost, admit defeat and give the Om their own planet to live on without fear of extermination, named Terr.

Final review: 5/5. I don’t know how popular this film is, but anyone who loves science-fiction should watch it, if they haven’t already. Essential viewing.

Up next: Requiem for a Dream