Irene Mecchi

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Brave Review


Excellent
Pixar continues pushing boundaries with this lavishly animated Scottish adventure, which centres on an involving mother-daughter relationship. The characters are wonderfully vivid, even if the film never quite achieves the transcendence of its nearest Pixar relative, Ratatouille.

In the 10th century highlands, Princess Merida (voiced by Macdonald) is annoyed that her only fate seems to be to choose a suitor from three eligible losers.

She'd much rather be out having epic adventures and making her own history. Her mother, Queen Elinor (Thompson), struggles to keep Merida in line, to say nothing of her rambunctious husband, King Fergus (Connolly), and three tearaway young sons. When Merida's frustration boils over, she consults a witch (Walters) about a spell that will sort her mother out. Of course, what happens isn't what she had in mind.

Continue reading: Brave Review

Hercules Review


Good
Tepid Disney animated entry is redeemed by self-referential jokes about merchandising, and James Woods' neat Hades. Probably the beginning of the Disney-mocking-Disney genre of animated films... something which has saved the studio in recent years.

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Review


Weak
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Review

Fantasia/2000 Review


Very Good
Little known fact: When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, it was intended to be a permanent work in progress. Each time you saw it, you would see something new combined with something old and familiar.

It didn't quite happen that way. The original Fantasia became a classic, although a static one. 60 years later, that's about to change. With the release of Fantasia/2000 we get eight animations set to music: seven new pieces and one classic. Oh, and this time it's presented on IMAX -- the first ever animated feature for the large format.

Continue reading: Fantasia/2000 Review

Hercules Review


Good
Tepid Disney animated entry is redeemed by self-referential jokes about merchandising, and James Woods' neat Hades. Probably the beginning of the Disney-mocking-Disney genre of animated films... something which has saved the studio in recent years.

Continue reading: Hercules Review

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Review


Weak
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Review

The Lion King Review


Extraordinary

One of Disney's greatest achievements, this is to my knowledge the only animated film to be turned into a Broadway musical. (Beauty and the Beast doesn't count, since that film had prior life outside the Disneyverse.)

The Lion King is primarily memorable because it's not based on a fairy tale or a children's story, and thus avoids the cliches that saddle so many Disney flicks. There's no "love conquers all" message, no moral about how trying hard will make everything come out OK. In fact, for much of its running time, The Lion King says the exact opposite: Hakuna Matata means "no worries," right? It's in the past, so let it go. But The Lion King also tells us that we can learn from the past, that tyrants should be overthrown, and that we should own up to our mistakes in the end.

This also makes The Lion King one of Disney's most adult movies. Though it's rated G, it features numerous scenes of peril and death -- with lion cub Simba orphaned after his uncle kills off his dad to usurp the throne and title of king of the jungle. But that too is part of the famed Circle of Life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Simba runs off to live in the jungle -- gettin' real, ya know -- stricken with guilt that he (thinks he) killed his father. Eventually he returns home to showdown with evil uncle Scar, who has been ruling the jungle with an iron fist, disrupting the Circle of Life.

The Lion King is one of Disney's last great 2-D creations, with computers aiding in some truly stellar moments such as the wildebeest stampede. Lots of perspective shots and moving cameras make this one of the genre's most film-like movies.

If there's anything annoying about the film, it's the singing, young Simba sounds like a young Michael Jackson. On the new song added to the just-out DVD release of the movie, the atrociously vapid "Morning Report," he sounds like a castrato Michael Jackson. You almost don't want him to succeed, but thankfully, Simba eventually grows up and is replaced, voice-wise, by Matthew Broderick. By way of other extras, there's a whole second disc of goodies, including an extensive selection of making-of footage, a deleted scene or two, an alternate first verse of "Hakuna Matata," a special home theater audio mix (sounds good), and about a bazillion kid-friendly features like games and singalongs.

The Lion King has rightfully spawned one of the most enduring industrial complexes ever to come from an animated cat. Way to go, Disney.

[]Join the Disney Movie Club and get three free Disney DVDs![][]

Ah, the majesty.

Irene Mecchi

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Irene Mecchi Movies

Brave Movie Review

Brave Movie Review

Pixar continues pushing boundaries with this lavishly animated Scottish adventure, which centres on an involving...

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Fantasia/2000 Movie Review

Fantasia/2000 Movie Review

Little known fact: When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, it was intended to be...

The Lion King Movie Review

The Lion King Movie Review

One of Disney's greatest achievements, this is to my knowledge the only animated film to...

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