Release Date: 23 February 1940
Director:Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
Pinocchio is one of those movies where you feel like you know the story even if you’ve never seen it. But actually watching it fills in some gaps and reveals some misconceptions. The most famous part of Pinocchio is that his nose grows when he lies. And that lasts less than a minute. Still there reasons why the film is so familiar because the scenes of Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo dancing have been shown in a gazillion formats, most memorably to me edited into the DTV music videos that were always shown on The Disney Channel when I was a kid. And they’re worth showing off, because the Disney animators made some remarkable advancements in the depiction of the movement of bodies as well as shadows and water. Nothing prepared me for the nightmare fodder that was Pleasure Island and the children turning into donkeys. And the film carries such a heavy-handed middle class morality that it makes it seem like they want us to think that the kids deserved that. The final act seems tacked on where Pinocchio learns that for some reason Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo are in the belly of the whale Monstro, but it does give Pinocchio the chance to be a hero. A strange and remarkable film.
Release Date: 27 November 2013
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Production Co: Walt Disney Company
Country: United States
Genre: Animation | Family | Musical
As of yesterday, I’ve ended my reign as the last middle class American parent of young children to have not see Frozen. My daughter and I watched it on DVD. Despite all the hype and attention to the movie, it wasn’t quite what I expected, which means I somehow wasn’t spoiled. It was a good mix of musical set pieces, humor, adventure, and a story of sisterly love. I liked Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer the best. Yep, I liked it. So, I guess it was worth the wait.
Title: Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Release Date: 1971
Director: Robert Stevenson
Production Co: Walt Disney Productions
Country: United States
Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Family | Musicals | Animation
Set in Second World War England, three children have been evacuated to the countryside (oddly to a town overlooking the Channel) to stay with Miss Price (Angela Lansbury), a witch-in-training. Along the way on their magical adventures they pick up the con-man Professor Browne played by David Tomlinson. The movie is more of a series of loosely-connected set pieces than a story. Some of them go on too long, like the dance number on Portobello Road, although it is interesting to see the many faces of the British Commonwealth represented in a cheerful wartime London. Better are the mixed live action and animation sequences with fish dancing in an undersea ballroom and a raucous soccer game among wild animals. The conclusion features some whimsical special effects that stand up well after forty years as military uniforms and armor are magically brought to life to defend Britain against a German incursion. It’s a fun, entertaining bagatelle of a movie. My kids enjoyed it for sure.