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Disney Animation Dark Ages Vol. 1: The Great Mouse Detective

I reviewed The Great Mouse Detective a couple of years ago, but it was barely a paragraph,and appears to be deleted, so I’m reviewing it again this time as a Halloween pick. It’s only gone up half a star since reviewing it last time.

It was released during what fans refer to as Disney’s Dark Ages. The string of films released in the 80s was the first that didn’t have any kind of influence from Walt since his death, weren’t financially successful for the company, and the stories were growing darker, and I’d argue, less family-friendly with each new release. It was like Disney forgot they were making movies with young families in mind.

The Great Mouse Detective pays homage to Sherlock Holmes and focuses on Detective Basil of Baker Street. He reluctantly teams up with Dr. Dawson and young Olivia in the search for her father. They must work together to save both her father and the Queen of England from an early demise at the claws of the evil Rattigan.

The Great Mouse Detective is one of Disney’s darkest entries in their animated canon. I enjoyed it more than I did last time, but it’s still one of my least favorite Disney movies. It’s not something I would sit young children in front of.
When Rattigan’s cronies don’t do as their told, they get fed to his cat. You see several characters get eaten and come close to death in other ways. There’s also a bar scene with busty bar mice and dancing show girls. Dr. Dawson’s alcoholic beverage also gets drugged. (Ya know, the kinda stuff that’s perfect for children !) There’s one scene where a bat jumps out of a stroller and kidnaps Olivia. This scene still makes me jump even when I know it’s coming, and I’m nearly 27. This movie might be fine for older children, but you’ll want to keep the little ones away. I can’t believe this only received a G rating. It should’ve been PG! Not even a catchy villain song and good characters are enough to save this one.

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Duchess (Eva Gabor) and her three kittens are kidnapped by Madam’s butler Edger when he discovers that she’s leaving everything to the cats and he’s second in line. Hoping to move up the inheritance line, he dumps them in the middle of nowhere with little hope of survival. Thomas O’Malley the alley cat (Phil Harris) helps Duchess and her kittens to get back to Madam, and ends up falling in love with Duchess in the process. Because cats need love too, and because this is Disney and a cat romance isn’t weird in the slightest!

This is one of my favorite animated Disney movies! The animation is beautiful and in some scenes looks similar to a watercolor painting. The story’s funny, and the music’s great. It’s one of Disney’s more underrated gems.

It was recently announced that Disney is working on a live-action version. (Because they’re lazy and it’s easier to regurgitate another unnecessary remake than it is to create anything original.) It’s supposedly going to be in the same vein as the Lady and the Tramp remake which I miraculously enjoyed. It could be good. It could be bad. It could go either way. It’s undoubtedly an unnecessary waste of time, money, and creative energy. Until then, you can stream the original on Disney Plus.

In traditional 2D Disney Princess fashion, Giselle (Amy Adams) gets nearly eaten by a troll and is rescued by Prince Edward (James Marsden). They sing a duet, fall in love, and she accepts his marriage proposal after a grand total of five minutes or less! Edward’s evil stepmother wants to keep her position as Queen and devises a plan to get rid of Giselle.
Disguised as an old hag, the Queen pushes Giselle down a wishing well that transports her from 2D fairytale kingdom Andalasia to 3D real world New York City. While there, fun-loving romantic Giselle ends up staying with strait-laced, uptight stick-in-the-mud divorce attorney Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his daughter Morgan.

Giselle brings fairytale magic with her wherever she goes including her ability communicate with animals through song and bursting into broadway worthy musical numbers at random. She injects Robert’s life with magic, and he tries to keep her grounded in her new reality. As much reality as he can anyway with an evil Queen and her henchman trying to kill her, and a Prince and talking chipmunk trying to find her! In the end, Giselle’s fairytale ending isn’t anything like what she’s expecting. Sometimes reality is better than a fairytale.

Enchanted takes several elements from Classic Disney movies like the old hag and poisoned apple from Snow White, the dragon from Sleeping Beauty, and the missing shoe and Ball from Cinderella, tosses them in a blender, and somehow they ended with a fantastic movie by the end of it! Enchanted has been one of my favorite movies since it first came out. It’d been years since I watched it, and I’d forgotten how good it was! I love everything about it from the story to the animation, the cast, and the music. Everything is perfect! I can’t wait for the sequel Disenchanted coming out later this year! I’ve literally waited just over half my life for it! Stream Enchanted now on Disney Plus.


Animation Gold: Frozen Duology

began with two sisters. One born with magical powers, and one born powerless. Their love of snowmen, infinite.” ~ Olaf

After setting off winter in Arendelle, Elsa (Idina Menzel) runs way and isolates herself from everyone. Anna (Kristen Bell) goes after her, teaming up with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) along the way. When Anna confronts Elsa, she accidentally strikes her through the heart with ice. Only an act of true love will keep her heart from being frozen forever, and it comes from the last person you’d expect.

Frozen was a breath of fresh air for Disney Princess movies. It has the comedy and the catchy songs, but what sets it apart is the focus on the love between sisters, the romance rides shotgun this time around breaking Disney’s long-term pattern which doesn’t happen nearly enough. It’s also the first time a character dare suggest that you can’t marry a man you just met. Somewhere off in the distance all the previous Disney Princesses cry together as one.

Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven are forced from Arendelle, along with the entire kingdom, to a magical forest their father told them about as children. While there, they meet the people of Northuldra and Arendelle who’ve been trapped in the autumn-bound forest for year’s. Elsa promises to bring peace and stability to both kingdoms. In order to do that she must follow a voice only she can hear to discover the origin of her powers and the truth about the past so that Arendelle can have a future.

Frozen 2 was a surprisingly amazing sequel that equals if not surpasses the greatness of the original. The animation is beautiful to look at at, and the backgrounds and nature scenes look incredibly realistic. The songs are even better than the original if that’s even possible. The story has grown along with the audience. The story is darker, more mature, and even goes so far as to kill both Elsa and Olaf before bringing them both back in classic Disney Happy Ending fashion. (Spoilers, but it’s been two years!) Frozen 2 is a beautifully done sequel well worth the watch. Now streaming on Disney Plus.