Ralph Wright

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Sleeping Beauty Review


Excellent
It's a shame that Sleeping Beauty is saddled with such a sissy title. It's really quite the adventure, with a horse-riding hero, a spell-flinging evil fairy, and even a freakin' dragon! This is also the movie that the now-ubiquitous Magic Kingdom is taken from, it's where our titular heroine, aka Aurora hails from. But when that evil wench Maleficent (like the evil queen from Snow White but with horns) casts a spell that ensures she'll die from being pricked from a spinning wheel, three good fairies take Aurora into the woods, dub her Briar Rose, and try to keep her from harm. By the movie's midpoint, Rose has grown up to her teens, met the love of her life, and has finally been pricked by that wheel, and only through the good magic of the fairies does she stay alive, trapped in an unending slumber. And so our hero Prince Phillip rides into Maleficent's castle, showing down her evil minions and finally Maleficent herself (who takes the form of that dragon I mentioned). Awesome!

Beauty remains one of Disney's finest works. It was unequivocally the best animated film of its era up until arguably The Jungle Book (1967) or even Disney's comeback with The Little Mermaid (1989), depending on your point of view. It succeeds thanks to its awesome score -- borrowed from Tchaikovsky's waltzes -- as well as unprecedentedly detailed animation (dig the backgrounds) and its insanely over-the-top villain ("Me, the mistress of all evil!"). There's no freakin' singing animals or easy solution to the problem -- the prince has to hack his way through a wall of thorns then beat down a dragon in order to get his lady back! Young kids may not really dig the non-caricatured imagery and the lack of child-friendly messages; this isn't exactly the kind of movie you sing along to. (Poor Tchaikovsky missed the Mickey Mouse Club era by about a century.)

Continue reading: Sleeping Beauty Review

Peter Pan (1953) Review


Good
Peter Pan may be a boy who refuses to grow up, but his movie is really one of Disney's most adult "kids'" films.

Like Pinocchio, there are a lot of mature themes in Peter Pan. The elfin Peter is full of duplicity -- he'll lie to no end to get his way. Peter and the children he has brought with him to Never Land (they don't want to grow up either) visit a local Indian tribe, and with appropriate 1950s un-PC-ness, the smoke'm peace pipe and blow smoke triangles (cue song: "What Made the Red Man Red?"). Wendy and the kids are kidnapped by an extremely effeminate sailor (the immortal Captain Hook, Pan's nemesis). Even innocent Tinkerbell looks with frustration at how wide her hips are -- before she sells out her buddies in a play for her freedom from Hook.

Continue reading: Peter Pan (1953) Review

The Jungle Book Review


Excellent
The Jungle Book may not have much in the way of story (see also Tarzan: Boy raised in the jungle is returned to civilization, plus singing/dancing). However, it's got some of the best songs Disney ever did, including the swinging "I Wan'na Be Like You" and the svelte "Trust In Me." Baloo the bear has since become an institution in the American cartoonisphere.

Lady And The Tramp Review


Extraordinary
Today's kids may find this hard to believe, but Disney used to pride itself on making heartfelt and heartwarming, nee family style, films. Most people under 20 only know Disney as the place where they used to make hand animated films but now churn out the equivalent of CGI drive-in swill that froths at the mouth to meet only the basest of denominators. (Yeah, I'm talking about you, Chicken Little.)

So, I guess the best way to say it is: Disney used to be like Pixar.

Continue reading: Lady And The Tramp Review

Sleeping Beauty Review


Excellent
It's a shame that Sleeping Beauty is saddled with such a sissy title. It's really quite the adventure, with a horse-riding hero, a spell-flinging evil fairy, and even a freakin' dragon! This is also the movie that the now-ubiquitous Magic Kingdom is taken from, it's where our titular heroine, aka Aurora hails from. But when that evil wench Maleficent (like the evil queen from Snow White but with horns) casts a spell that ensures she'll die from being pricked from a spinning wheel, three good fairies take Aurora into the woods, dub her Briar Rose, and try to keep her from harm. By the movie's midpoint, Rose has grown up to her teens, met the love of her life, and has finally been pricked by that wheel, and only through the good magic of the fairies does she stay alive, trapped in an unending slumber. And so our hero Prince Phillip rides into Maleficent's castle, showing down her evil minions and finally Maleficent herself (who takes the form of that dragon I mentioned). Awesome!

Beauty remains one of Disney's finest works. It was unequivocally the best animated film of its era up until arguably The Jungle Book (1967) or even Disney's comeback with The Little Mermaid (1989), depending on your point of view. It succeeds thanks to its awesome score -- borrowed from Tchaikovsky's waltzes -- as well as unprecedentedly detailed animation (dig the backgrounds) and its insanely over-the-top villain ("Me, the mistress of all evil!"). There's no freakin' singing animals or easy solution to the problem -- the prince has to hack his way through a wall of thorns then beat down a dragon in order to get his lady back! Young kids may not really dig the non-caricatured imagery and the lack of child-friendly messages; this isn't exactly the kind of movie you sing along to. (Poor Tchaikovsky missed the Mickey Mouse Club era by about a century.)

Continue reading: Sleeping Beauty Review

Peter Pan (1953) Review


Good
Peter Pan may be a boy who refuses to grow up, but his movie is really one of Disney's most adult "kids'" films.

Like Pinocchio, there are a lot of mature themes in Peter Pan. The elfin Peter is full of duplicity -- he'll lie to no end to get his way. Peter and the children he has brought with him to Never Land (they don't want to grow up either) visit a local Indian tribe, and with appropriate 1950s un-PC-ness, the smoke'm peace pipe and blow smoke triangles (cue song: "What Made the Red Man Red?"). Wendy and the kids are kidnapped by an extremely effeminate sailor (the immortal Captain Hook, Pan's nemesis). Even innocent Tinkerbell looks with frustration at how wide her hips are -- before she sells out her buddies in a play for her freedom from Hook.

Continue reading: Peter Pan (1953) Review

The Jungle Book Review


Excellent
The Jungle Book may not have much in the way of story (see also Tarzan: Boy raised in the jungle is returned to civilization, plus singing/dancing). However, it's got some of the best songs Disney ever did, including the swinging "I Wan'na Be Like You" and the svelte "Trust In Me." Baloo the bear has since become an institution in the American cartoonisphere.

Continue reading: The Jungle Book Review

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Ralph Wright Movies

Peter Pan (1953) Movie Review

Peter Pan (1953) Movie Review

Peter Pan may be a boy who refuses to grow up, but his movie is...

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Peter Pan (1953) Movie Review

Peter Pan (1953) Movie Review

Peter Pan may be a boy who refuses to grow up, but his movie is...

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