Hey everyone, I have returned. I have reviewed the single narrative animated films from Walt's era and the "Dark Age" disney films, so now the only group I have not reviewed are the post-Renaissance films. This is my least favorite "era", since I do not really have any particular favorites in this one. After having to sit through Tarzan which I didn't like, I lost interest in modern 2-D Disney films. These film choices were very weird and just Un-Disney like. I know Disney was trying to step outside the box, but it clearly looked as if the studio lost their magic. Also, CGI animated films started becoming more popular in this decade. So without further ado, I'd like to get this blog over-with.
I hadn't really watched the first Fantasia that much and I didn't have much interest in this one either. Some segments were okay, others were sorta "eh". That segment with the city folk was pretty decent since it was not scary at all, The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment returned (which is obviously the best one), and the Noah's Ark segment was cool. But like the first Fantasia, they saved the scariest for last-the spring Sprite segment. That Firebird scared the crud out of me! I didn't think Chernabog THAT scary, but OMG a giant bird made of lava was just terrorizing! I've commented before that my 3rd Grade class once watched it for a music class, but I had to be pulled out of class because I was so cared of the Firebird. Later, one of my classmates poked fun at me by naming the Spring Sprite after me ss if I was the one burnt by the Firebird! The Firebird didn't scar my childhood the way the bear from The Fox and the Hound or the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin did, but it wasn't very pleasant. If you like Fantasia, you might as well see if you think its as good as the first one.
I love dinosaurs, but this film really doesn't use them well. The characters were supposed to be computer generated, but this movie looked more live-action than computer animated. This also came out in 2000, the year where everything seemed overdone-and this movie was no exception. Dinosaur suffers very similar problems I had with Tarzan; over-advertised, predictable, and dull. Aladar the main character is raised by primates (haven't seen that before right Tarzan?) and they come across a herd of dinosaurs heading off to a new great land (haven't seen that before- LAND BEFORE TIME!) in dull desert and Aladar is constantly put down by the stick-in-the-mud leader who has no personality and is killed by the badguy in the end (haven't seen that before right Kerchak from Tarzan?!). The dinosaurs, I don't remember them. I didn't even see any classic beloved dinosaurs that I loved like the T-Rex or the Triceratops! Yeah, this movie is pretty forgettable and unimaginative. I hope Pixar's The Good Dinosaur will be a better dinosaur-themed movie than this. I'd love to see a good CGI animated movie about dinosaurs, but this one just isn't it.
The Emperor's New Groove
Like I said above, everything Disney-related was overdone in the year 2000-advertising, merchandising, popularity, everything! Even The Emperor's New Groove seemed a little over done, despite its really good reception and Yzma's ppopularity, but it could be worse. The story is obviously familiar-the selfish emperor is turned into an animal and must change his ways before turning back to normal. I give Disney some credit for trying to make a comedic Disney movie instead of a dull adult-like one. The only problem with the comedy is that there's too much of it and it eventually wears out. Yeah, I know I'm never satisfied and I complain a lot, but there's just something about Emperor's New Groove that just feels like wry humor trying to cram so much of it at once. The comedy does make it fairly worthwhile for its fans, but I'd still place Emperor's New Groove in the "eh" category. It's not bad, just not a movie I'd prefer to watch that often.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Here's one that a lot of people consider a flop- Atlantis: The Lost Empire. While not really a box-office bomb, It didn't make a decent profit in the studio's eyes. If it wasn't a box office failure, it was definetly a critical one. And when this movie first came out, it left a rather uncomfortable and unhealthy impact on me, but I'll get to that in a minute. Disney was still trying new films so they tried an adult-like expedition movie. The designs and animation looked more like it was for adults and not very family-friendly balanced like some of the films from the Disney Renaissance had. And the characters were uninteresting and bland too. Nothing much really stood out about them. Heck, even the villain is weak! So you must be wondering, what was that unhealthy impact I was talking about? Well, when this movie was coming out, I remember a commercial for it ending with the crew riding through lava. This was back when certain warm-colored 2-D animation made me sick or uncomfortable. Just thinking about that lava part in the commercial made me so uncomfortable, I had my first fainting spell and I had to go to the hospital. So while I give credit to Disney for taking a risk in trying something new, Atlantis just isn't really my cup of tea.
Lilo and Stitch
Ugh, let's get this over-with. Fans are really going to be upset when they read this-I hate this movie. I've really tried not to, but the more I think about it, it makes me think negatively about Disney the same way I suffered with Tarzan. Lilo and Stich sounded like absurd names, though I guess Lilo must have meant something Hawian. Stitch is the real name that sounded really stupid. And Stitch himself is SO annoying! After this movie turned out to be the only real 2-D hit of this era, Stitch kept appearing everywhere in Disney related stuff-merchandise, theme park attraction, everywhere! I just felt like Stitch was ruining my beloved childhood company! The story itself is predictable too; there's the outcast girl who is very lonely but then finds a friend and makes an endearing friendship with him or her. That would be great if Lilo and Stich had real chemistry, but they really didn't. The human character designs look like puppets, and even Lilo's voice is so annoying! I know a lot of people liked this film when it came out, and I know a couple people who see it as their favorite, but this movie just drives me crazy! I'll shut up and let the fans enjoy this movie but the more I hear Lilo and Stitch, the quicker I just want to turn it off.
Treasure Planet is another alien-themed movie that was released in 2002. This was also the only Post-Renaissance film I ever got into for a while. Yes I know, it was one of the two major box-office bombs of this period and one of the reasons why Disney switched to 3-D animation, but it does have a pretty cool adventure. I first saw this as a premiere on Disney Channel in May 2006, and for one year it caught my interest. It did have certain problems that eventually made me realize why this film was a flop, but there are other aspects that make it okay. The aliens looked cool (much better than the ones in Lilo and Stitch), and there were a few characters I actually enjoyed. The character I liked the best was B.E.N the robot; great design, funny personality, and has the talented voice of Martin Short. I also liked Morph the blubber alien version of a parrot. He was really cute and morphed into anything he wanted. I do wish he and B.E.N became popular merchandise characters. The villain Scroop is really cool. He's got a great spider-like design, and a very scary voice. The way he killed Mr. Arrow reminded me alot of what Scar did to Mufasa. Even though Scroop is said to be the true main antagonist, the movie's villainy seems to focus on John Silver even though he reforms, and that is my only major problem with the movie! Jim seems to have a father-like bond with Silver, yet Silver is a bad guy and then a good guy again in the end-it's really confusing. I think Silver needs to be one or the other. Maybe that's why the story didn't fare well. So, whenever I think of films where the main antagonist's role is botched up or confusing, this is usually what first comes to mind. Treasure Island isn't exactly the best story to adapt. While Treasure Planet could use some fix ups, it has a pretty good enough space adventure. I don't think you should let it's box office bombing prevent you from seeing it. Give it a try.
Another 2-D film in this period I found fairly okay was Brother Bear. There really isn't too much for me to say about it, so I'll make this review fairly short. The movie was good at combining Native tribe culture, and talking animals. Koda was pretty cute, and all that spiritual talk was kind of interesting. There are songs sung by Phil Collins whom I'm not really a fan of, but I didn't think they were as bad as the songs from Tarzan. However, when I heard that Kenai had killed Koda's mother, that was one of the most heart breaking scenes I have ever seen in Disney history. But there were a couple other things about the movie I found funny, particularly that part where the rams tell their echoes to shut up. So I don't think Brother Bear is that bad a film.
Home on the Range
Here's that second major box-office bomb of this era, the one that many people think of the final nail in the coffin that killed 2-D animation (um, in a sense). I didn't think it was awful, but it still wasn't exaclty my cup of tea. I'm not a huge fan of the Wild West or of ranches, but I give Disney a little bit of credit for trying another comedy, even though it was a flop. Like most 2-D films of this period, the colors were not very interesting. And there were only three cows who were going on the adventure instead of a whole band until the horse and rabbit came along later. The Willie brothers were stupidly funny, and I liked how the bulls were twitterpated by the cows and saying they'll help them while lovestruck then crashing. But other than that, nothing much really stands out about Home on the Range. Not my cup of tea, but not terrible. If you like farm animals and the Wild West, why don't you give it a try?
So due to weak 2-D profits from films like Emperor's New Groove, and the 2 box-office bombs Treasure Planet and Home on the Range, Disney decided to make CGI animated films from now on. Did Chicken Little do any better than the past 2-D films? Financially fairly, but critically- definetly not! Some of the past Disney films got mixed reviews (like in the 50s, which isn't that bad according to Rotten Tomatoes) but Chicken Little got really bad reception. Nowadays I understand why. Based on the trailers I have seen for this movie, I was hoping that the movie would be a quest movie involving Chicken Little and his misfit friends, but when I saw it for what it was, I was a little disappointed. I only liked it for a little while because I liked Chicken Little, his misfit friends, the song "One Little Slip" and Kirby. But the novelty wore off a few years later and I just didn't enjoy it anymore. The film may have worked better if it was a quest movie like Finding Nemo or Shrek, but it really isn't. My biggest problem with the movie is the mean-spirited environment of Oakey Oaks. They all act bizarre and cruel unless someone manages to get past their selfish egos, like when CL won the baseball game. It was not very funny. The alien's deep voice was funny and Runt was funny, but nothing else made me laugh. Disney would make a great CGI animated film later on that would bring back the magic of Disney, but Chicken Little wasn't that film.
Meet the Robinsons
I don't have a lot to say about Meet the Robinsons, mainly because I have rarely seen it. But I did manage to once and I can talk about it for a little bit. It's not as cruel as Chicken Little, there is a little more story to it. Some things were kinda funny like the frogs, or the grandpa, or Bowler Hat Guy's clumsiness, but that's about it. The T-Rex in the future was kind if cool, and I'm glad even the bad guy's future got turned around for the better. Other than that, nothing much stands out about Meet the Robinsons. Not the best, not the worst-take it for what it is.
Before the Disney Revival, Bolt was a fair hit that served as a "Disney Appetizer". I haven't watched this movie too much, but I think it's cute. The studio workers are real desperate jerks in trying to trick Bolt into thinking his life really is an action-based movie, which prevents Penny from getting some time with him. And the agent is no help. I thought Mittens was funny in a sassy way and Rhino too. There aren't really a lot of jokes that make me laugh hard, but I'd say the comedy is more centered on Mittens's interactions with Bolt, similar to Woody and a delusional Buzz. Overall, Bolt is cute. Not one of my personal favorites, but it holds up decently.
And that is all I have to say. Please don't feel like criminals if you enjoy these movies that didn't work out for Disney. I don't want you to feel that way. Take care.