Disney Revisited Part 05 – Cinderella (1950)

Hey, guys! Been a while. Not my fault this time, swear. Last time I released one of these I said I was going to make this series into a collaboration with Plotstains (aka Doomed, for those of you who know him by that name), and… I did do that.

Basically how this is going to work is, we’re each going to watch the movie, post our own review on our respective blogs and if we find something worthy of discussion afterwards we will co-write a follow-up post and have it up on both our blogs as well.

At least, that’s how we figured out we want to do this so far. If we think of something else that works out better in the future, we’ll change it up as we go.

Movie Title: Cinderella

Release Date: February 15, 1950

Based On: Cinderella by Charles Perrault

First Impression

I remember watching Cinderella, but I don’t have that many fond memories of it as a kid. It doesn’t really set off any nostalgia.

Maybe I should point out that I was never one of those little girls who wanted to be a princess. I grew up with three older brothers. I played with their GI Joes and He-Man figures. The whole Cinderella fantasy wasn’t something I was particularly drawn to. I guess that’s why, even though I watched it back in the day, this wasn’t a movie I picked out at the video store (remember those?) very often. If I did go for the fairy tale princess classics, I’d often favor Sleeping Beauty over this one, but… we’ll get to that one when we get to that one.

My Impression Now

I really, really like it. Not gonna lie. This was one of the movies on my list I thought I would have to force myself to sit through, and it’s funny how a lot of the criticisms I wanted to make here gradually died out over the course of my viewings. Though, of course, not all of them.

Let’s start with the positives, though. Cinderella has a lot more personality than what I was vaguely able to remember. And compared to Snow White, I see her character as a major step up in terms of… Being an actual character. She clearly has her own thoughts and feelings about her situation, she expresses impatience, aggravation, and other negative emotions towards her step family, even if only in private, and she comes across more as someone trying to cling to a silver lining than someone who is either oblivious or uncaring to their own situation. She’s hardworking, kind, optimistic despite how unfairly she’s treated, and those are traits I can actually sympathize with. As opposed to Snow White whose only predominant quality was being innocent to the point of stupidity.

Lady Tremaine was a very solid villain. By real world standards she is probably the most believable Disney villain I can think of, in fact. There’s something in the way she talks to Cinderella right from the start of the movie that is just terrifying if you try to imagine yourself growing up under someone like that. The voice actress does a fantastic job of sounding menacing without ever truly raising her voice, never making any direct threats. Everything in that relationship reeks of psychological warping and manipulation. From the moment Cinderella wakes up to do her morning chores to their very first interaction, it becomes more and more clear by the way she just goes through the motions; even when Anastasia and Drizella are complaining to her, that she’s been broken down. She’s optimistic in the sense that she looks for positives and chooses to hold on to them, but she’s also resigned to this being her life. It’s very subtle and very striking at the same time. And as a writer I can’t help but appreciate that depth I didn’t even know existed in this character. Snow White was a very innocent character and that was her whole schtick. She never changed from that. She had no emotional depth or growth to speak of, but Cinderella has the optimism of someone who is constantly trying to stay happy. And eventually, right before the Fairy Godmother shows up, she does fall into despair. In fact, in that whole section with her talking herself out of wanting to go to the ball to thinking she’ll actually be able to go, to then having it literally ripped away from her, she goes through a wider range of emotion than the entire cast of Snow White. And I think it deserves a lot more credit than it gets. You know, it’s a kid’s movie. It’s easy to overlook these things when you leave it on in the background so your kids will shut up for an hour.

Now let’s address some of the criticism I said I wanted to make going into this, and where I think Disney actually did a good job with this story, at least in making an attempt to justify some of the stupider parts of it. Not gonna say they absolutely succeeded, but they tried and I appreciate that.

During the ball they made an attempt to show that Lady Tremaine couldn’t get a clear look at the girl the prince was dancing with. They implied that the Fairy Godmother ‘let’ Cinderella keep the glass slipper after midnight rolled around, either because she knew what was going to happen later or just as a memory of the ball. There is a very brief moment of acknowledgment to the fact the slippers should have turned back to normal and didn’t.

The whole ‘trying on the shoe’ thing was the king’s idea as sort of a loophole to get his son hitched (more on that in a bit) and the Prince isn’t the one who goes try the shoe on the women himself. And that’s a big one. I was actually good this time in not looking up the original tale, but I have watched a fair share of reviews of low-budget fairy tale adaptations (just because I do that, not particularly in preparation for this lol) and they always, ALWAYS, have the Prince himself go around like a moron trying on the shoe on every woman he meets like he has face blindness or something. And I like how they tried to remedy this by having the king being like “Okay, so he’ll marry the owner of the shoe. Find someone to wear the shoe”. The king doesn’t care if it’s the right woman (again, I’ll get more into that in a bit), and the Prince isn’t there for the shoe fittings, so it’s possible he doesn’t even know this is happening at all. It’s a stretch, but… Yeah, alright, Disney. I’ll suspend my disbelief for you on that one. At least you bothered to pay attention.

Now on to what I actually didn’t like about this one. My personal criticisms after watching it three times now. First and foremost… The mice are extremely obnoxious. EXTREMELY. And they didn’t bother me as much as a kid, I think, because I watched this dubbed in Portuguese, and the way they talked wasn’t that annoying in the dubbed version. But I swear, I was rooting for Lucifer to murder the little bastards the entire time. And I hate that they sorta move the plot in a way, because it’s their fault Cinderella had Anastasia and Drizella’s things added to her dress; the mice scavenged them. They have to be the ones to come and unlock the door so Cinderella can come out and try on the shoe… So you kind of have to put up with them. And I was not amused. At all.

The Prince is a plank. I don’t get why everyone loves to complain that the heroines in these early Disney movies lack personality and always need rescuing. I mean, yeah, Cinderella wasn’t a badass, but she was a character with a personality. With a name. The Prince is “The Prince”. The freaking dog can get a name (it’s Bruno), but the guy Cinderella is supposed to marry? Nah. He’s not important. Screw him.

I posted on my Twitter recently that no one ever takes into account the time period these fairy tales were written or take place in when they make criticisms to the insta-marriage relationships in these early Disney movies, but… Honestly… It feels a lot more jarring watching this a third time with a more analytical mindset and seeing all these little nuances in a character just to then watch them supposedly fall in love with a cardboard cutout. It almost undoes all that character depth when you really think about it and that’s just a shame in my opinion.

The king is an asshole. That’s all I have to say about it really. I mean, I could sort of sympathize with him growing distant from his son and wanting the joy of grandchildren before he dies, but he clearly doesn’t give a crap about his son in that process. Like, he hears that he’s in love (instantly, but whatever) and he’s determined to find this woman and make her his wife, but he just.. Doesn’t think that’s at all important. He just wants his son to make a baby and whoever he has to bone to make that happen is good enough for him.

Songs Overview

I actually have some fond memories of the music in this movie. Though it’s not from watching the movie. It’s from these VHS tapes I had as a kid called Disney’s Magic English and they were, you know, English lessons. They came with a book and a VHS, my mom would get them at the news stand every week for me. And they had activities and sing-a-longs. And one of them had the Sing Sweet Nightingale section from Cinderella and I freaking loved it. I thought it was just so pretty and I… Still think that. A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes is equally memorable to me for that reason.

HOWEVER. I do not like Bippity Boppity Boo. It’s equally memorable, but not pleasant to me. It will not leave my head and I hate that. Even as a kid, I hated that. I… I want to be harsher on it, because of this, but honestly… It’s a great song. It’s a great song that hinders my enjoyment quite a bit, but it’s still a great song. Damn it.

Overall song rating for Cinderella: 7/10

Racist Moment Spotlight

I couldn’t find one. If you can think of any… Let me know in the comments.

Conclusion

I like this movie. I didn’t think I was going to like it this much. And I was surprised with how much I had to actually say about it. I enjoyed it on my first time viewing and I actually found some depth in it once I sat down with a more critical eye as well, which was an unexpected bonus. I mean, even if I want to say I’m looking too deeply into this, it made me think. It inspired something. If you recall Bambi… I had very little to say about it. It was a story that happened and then other than it was visually stunning for the time, there wasn’t much to pick apart there. It was the fastest review I ever produced. Ever. So I can’t say that you can inject meaning into anything if there wasn’t something already there to find. I don’t believe that if you really want something to have substance you can just make it happen. Not if you’re genuinely looking at it with a critical eye. So I need to give this movie credit. It’s not as visually stunning as some of the previous entries. It’s not as unique or interesting as Pinnochio or Snow White, but I enjoyed it more. I enjoyed Cinderella as a character more than Snow White, and the parts that irritated me were a lot less irritating than the issues I had with Pinnochio, so… My ranking as of now:

  1. Cinderella
  2. Snow White
  3. Pinocchio
  4. Bambi
  5. Dumbo

So that’s it guys. If you want to read Plotstains’ Cinderella review check it out on his blog. Give him a like and maybe leave a comment shaming him for being the reason I’m so late with this one. 😛

Next up is Alice in Wonderland. I have my reservations about that one, but… Cinderella surprised me. I’ll try to keep an open mind.

B.B

Disney Revisited Part 04 – Bambi (1942)

Movie Title: Bambi

Release Date: August 9, 1942

Based On: Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Felix Salten

First Impression

Meh. That was pretty much my first impression of this when I watched it. I think I was too old to really care about cutesy animals and too young to appreciate some of the darker moments in this. Much like Dumbo and Pinocchio, this is one of those movies I watched because my mom loved it. But I’d already seen things like The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Aladdin then and Bambi was fairly unimpressive in comparison.

I do remember being scared of this goddamn owl, though.

bambi-disneyscreencaps.com-5082

Why, Disney? Just, why. 😐

My Impression Now

If I wanted to describe this movie in one word it would be ‘inoffensive’. I’ve watched it three times in a twenty-four-hour period and I’m still not entirely sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. I feel I have so little to actually talk about with it. Mostly because, say what you will, I don’t feel like Bambi holds up as an actual story. It’s more like cute animal clips with random moments of things happening in between.

Now, I will give it this much… The animation is miles above and beyond Dumbo. Everything in this movie screams ‘effort’, every character is extremely expressive and it is rather easy to connect with them because of it. However, considering the whole of what this movie is, it kinda feels wasted. I get that this is supposed to be something like a coming of age story but it also feels like it got distracted from actually telling it at some point along the way because the part where Bambi actually gets to grow up… Is just skipped over. His mother gets shot, his father takes him… SPRING! And he’s a teenager now. Oookay.

And yes, let’s talk about that transition, everyone loves to. I get that from an adult point of view it’s jarring. Heck, I actually laughed out loud when it went from “Your mother can’t be with you anymore, Bambi” to the happiest fucking birds you’ll ever see in animation, but you know what? It’s very clearly a “Look, small children in the audience, everything is okay, please stop crying now, we’re sorry” on the part of the movie. And honestly, considering the number of people who I’ve seen mention being traumatized by Bambi’s mother getting shot as a child, I’m okay with that. It was clearly necessary.

The climax of this movie suffers the same problem as the rest of it; the animation is impressive, but from a story standpoint, I don’t care enough. There is a lot of death of background characters and it builds a good level of tension, but at that point, I felt like I still knew next to nothing about anyone involved considering that, aside from Bambi himself, his father, and his soon-to-be mate, none of the main cast was actually involved. There was no Flower, no Thumper, not even that stupid fucking Owl.

This is the second time I break my own rule for this series, but I was curious to look at the plot synopsis for the book this was based on and yeaaah… I get that Disney couldn’t go all out on how every day in a deer’s life is constantly trying not to get shot, but the book actually has something this movie lacks. It shows Bambi actually learning what he needs to survive from his father. And this is the reason Bambi 2 is going to be one of a few ‘sequels’ I’ll eventually cover in this series. Because apparently, it covers that missing chunk of the story. Sadly, it’ll take a while to get there chronologically. It came out in 2006. That’s 60+ years after the original Bambi. That’s a lovely time to wait for the greatest question about this movie to get finally answered, huh?

Songs Overview

The songs were kinda forgettable in this. Think one of them might have been about love. And one about the spring rain or something. They were pleasant on the ears, but I don’t really remember them anymore.

Overall song rating for Bambi: 3/10

Racist Moment Spotlight

I can’t say I actually found anything in this movie. Huh. Wait, can calling a skunk ‘Flower’ be considered racist? Food for thought there.

Conclusion

So, there you have it, guys. My review of Bambi. And, full disclosure, this was the fastest I’ve written a review for this series. It took me five minutes. The reason it took me this long to post it was that my co-writer, Mr.Doomed (aka Plotstains), was supposed to come in and collaborate with me on this. And, hopefully, he will on the following entries in this series. However, right now, his computer died. So he wasn’t able to deliver his part of the review. And the reason it took me this long to post this is that I’d been waiting to see if his computer would be fixed. As you guys may be aware, that’s a pain I’m very familiar with.

Since making this series a collaboration is something I was looking forward to doing, I may give it more time before the next entry comes out, but I’ll find other things to look into in the meantime, don’t worry. >.>

As for where Bambi ranks compared to the previous entries in this series? That’s hard to say. I didn’t find as much wrong with it as I did Pinocchio and Dumbo but at the same time, it was pretty boring. I think as it is I’d rank it above Dumbo and below Snow White and Pinnochio. So my favorites list at this point would be:

  1. Snow White
  2. Pinocchio
  3. Bambi
  4. Dumbo

Up next is Cinderella though. That should be interesting. It’s been a while since we had a princess on this show. 😛

Later, guys.

B.B

Disney Revisited Part 03 – Dumbo (1941)

Movie Title: Dumbo

Release Date: October 23, 1941

Based On: Dumbo by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl

First Impression

I was really, really young when I first saw this movie and it honestly made no impression on me. I mean, I vaguely remembered it being cute and that was about it.

My Impression Now

I’m not sure what to think of this one. It feels like such a step back in terms of… Everything… compared to Snow White and Pinocchio. And seeing as it came out following something like Fantasia (a movie that I honestly couldn’t place on this list, but I will come back to eventually), it’s so unbelievably underwhelming. The music feels so incredibly dull and generic that it even pales in comparison to When You Wish Upon a Star; which you may recall I referred to as boring in my review of Pinocchio. The animation style looks much older than something like Snow White. This is especially apparent in the sections with the circus train. The way the train moves honestly made m think back to that Steamboat Mickey Mouse cartoon from 1928. Overall, while there was such love and attention to detail pouring out of every single frame of the previous entries in this series, Dumbo honestly feels… Very half-assed. :/

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Disney Revisited Part 02 – Pinocchio (1940)

Guys… Idon’tlikethisone.

There I said it. >.>

Now, like I said I’m going to be fair when addressing a movie’s shortcomings, but I just want to let you guys know right off the bat; Pinocchio gave me nightmares as a child and as an adult… It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now, I can’t say there aren’t things I love about this movie. Because there are. There are things that make this movie still enjoyable; sure there are. Unlike Snow White though, my adult perception hasn’t done much in regards to my feelings towards this movie.

I don’t like it.

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Disney Revisited Part 01 – Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Hey, guys. Let’s get started with the Disney Revisited mini reviews!

Before we begin, let me just give you my overall opinion of Disney so you’ll know what to expect of these reviews.

Yes, there’s the stereotypes and the racist connotations and the shady morals, but even with all of that… It’s impossible not to enjoy these films. It can’t be done. And believe me, I tried. When it comes to Disney even their worst is fucking amazing; there’s just no denying that.

So, while I don’t shy away from the things I dislike in some of these movies, I’m never going to be one to bash Disney for its mistakes and shortcomings. I mean, it’s freaking Disney!

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Disney Revisited Part 0.5 – Intro And Honorable Mention

Hey, guys!

Remember I said I would do a Disney movie list and a musical film list? Well, I’m still trying to get some of the musicals I put on my list to rewatch, so that’ll be a while, but I started rewatching my Disney films last night.

I realized that there are so many of them and they are all so noteworthy really, at least to me, that I’d do well to make these mini-review posts for each one and then just make a short list of my favorites afterward. The main reason is that there are a lot of these movies and I plan to revisit a great deal of them. Watching them all to only then write about it might make it so I forget some important details about a movie or another. Not to mention some of these movies I’m watching for the first time as an adult and I want to share my ‘first’ impression of them with you all. That if you don’t mind. ^^’

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