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The Black Cauldron Review


Good
Disney didn't make a PG-rated animated film until 1985; this is it, The Black Cauldron, Disney's 25th animated feature. The film successfully skews toward older kids, but it's not too much for the little ones. The story is one of the better ones from this era (predating Disney's 1990s renaissance), involving a boy who does battle with the Horned King as he attempts to destroy, well, a magic pot that would give the King the power to raise an army of the dead. That a kidnapped pig plays a central plot point is irrelevant, this is simple (and simply-animated) Disney fun. John Hurt's gravelly voice of the Horned King steals the show.

The Rescuers Review


Weak
I'm sorry, but The Rescuers simply can't cut it as an animated classic. It's barely even an also-ran, though the superiority of its sequel, The Rescuers Down Under, makes it worth a look for completists. (Most notable is the fact that troublemaking animators inserted a nude woman into a fleeting shot as the mice are flying through the town -- alas, it's been excised from the new DVD release.)

The story is classic Disney, which is to say, it's pretty typical and lacking any real surprise. The Rescuers are a group of mice working out of the United Nations. They pledge to help anyone in need, and when a "HELP" message-in-a-bottle washes up, the mice send two of their group to the rescue. Why they pick the prissy Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and accident-prone city mouse Mr. Bernard (Bob Newhart) is a bit of a mystery.

Continue reading: The Rescuers 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.

The Great Mouse Detective Review


OK
A lesser-known entry in the world of Disney animation -- but an endearing one nonetheless -- The Great Mouse Detective is based on the children's book Basil of Baker Street, in turn a kid-ification of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, with a hyperintelligent mouse investigating crime in London.

At 72 minutes in length, it's a quick hop, skip, and jump across London, from a toy store to a pub to Big Ben, while Basil searches for poor Olivia's kidnapped father. The crook: Ratigan, voiced masterfully and inimitably by Vincent Price. With appropriately vintage, late-1800s period music and sets, the movie may not offer children the goofy stimulation of a Shrek or a Toy Story, but it's harmless enough that any kid ought to be entertained for the full running time -- even if the movie's hero is a bit too stuffy to relate to.

Continue reading: The Great Mouse Detective Review

The Great Mouse Detective Review


OK
A lesser-known entry in the world of Disney animation -- but an endearing one nonetheless -- The Great Mouse Detective is based on the children's book Basil of Baker Street, in turn a kid-ification of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, with a hyperintelligent mouse investigating crime in London.

At 72 minutes in length, it's a quick hop, skip, and jump across London, from a toy store to a pub to Big Ben, while Basil searches for poor Olivia's kidnapped father. The crook: Ratigan, voiced masterfully and inimitably by Vincent Price. With appropriately vintage, late-1800s period music and sets, the movie may not offer children the goofy stimulation of a Shrek or a Toy Story, but it's harmless enough that any kid ought to be entertained for the full running time -- even if the movie's hero is a bit too stuffy to relate to.

Continue reading: The Great Mouse Detective 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

The Black Cauldron Review


Good
Disney didn't make a PG-rated animated film until 1985; this is it, The Black Cauldron, Disney's 25th animated feature. The film successfully skews toward older kids, but it's not too much for the little ones. The story is one of the better ones from this era (predating Disney's 1990s renaissance), involving a boy who does battle with the Horned King as he attempts to destroy, well, a magic pot that would give the King the power to raise an army of the dead. That a kidnapped pig plays a central plot point is irrelevant, this is simple (and simply-animated) Disney fun. John Hurt's gravelly voice of the Horned King steals the show.

Continue reading: The Black Cauldron Review

The Rescuers Review


Weak
I'm sorry, but The Rescuers simply can't cut it as an animated classic. It's barely even an also-ran, though the superiority of its sequel, The Rescuers Down Under, makes it worth a look for completists. (Most notable is the fact that troublemaking animators inserted a nude woman into a fleeting shot as the mice are flying through the town -- alas, it's been excised from the new DVD release.)

The story is classic Disney, which is to say, it's pretty typical and lacking any real surprise. The Rescuers are a group of mice working out of the United Nations. They pledge to help anyone in need, and when a "HELP" message-in-a-bottle washes up, the mice send two of their group to the rescue. Why they pick the prissy Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and accident-prone city mouse Mr. Bernard (Bob Newhart) is a bit of a mystery.

Continue reading: The Rescuers Review

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