Friday, March 30, 2012

The Muppets - The Wocka Wocka Value Pack


There are some movies you just can’t wait to be released for home viewing, and The Muppet’s is one of those movies.  By the time we recorded Episode 48 of the Disney Film Project Podcast, I had already seen the movie more than once, and I was itching to see it again.  It’s just one of those movies, from a franchise that I’ve loved since I was little, that I would have bought the movie right there in the theater on the way out had there been someone to sell it to me.  So when March 20th rolled around I was excited to be getting a copy.

The Wocka Wocka Value Pack has everything.  No literally.  It provides you with a Blu-ray copy, a DVD copy, a Digital copy, and the Soundtrack.  The first two are provided as physical discs you can watch in your Blu-ray or DVD player.  The Digital copy and Soundtrack will be delivered to you through the use of a code you can enter online at  For prior movies, the “Disney Digital” copy was unlocked via a third disc, so doing this just via code is new to me (correction: there is a third disc - it's hidden under the DVD).  As I bought the soundtrack back when the movie was released, that code isn’t as valuable to me.

The Blu-ray is able to be experienced in one of four languages: English (also the default), English w/ Descriptive Video Service (allows for the blind or visually impaired to experience the movie), French, and Spanish.  While it’s starting up you’re presented with “exciting” previews: Disney Studio All Access (Disney’s answer to Netflix), Brave (the movie I’m second most excited about right now), and then some upcoming Blu-ray releases: Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 (save me), and Disney Secret of the Wings - the upcoming and all new Disney Fairy Movie.  Later on if you watch the Sneak Peeks you’re also presented with an ad for as well as previews for A.N.T. Farm, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, the Aristocats Blu-ray release (Episode 58), and the upcoming Cars (Episode 17) spin-off Planes.

The menu for the movie is worth watching as it brings you back to the idea of the Muppets viewing their own movie that was presented back in the original The Muppet Movie. Here we see the Muppets finding their seats including Kermit, Animal, Piggy, Fozzie, and others.  The menu ends and resets when Animal decides to eat the camera.  

The bonus features are funny and very Muppets.  Scratching the Surface : A Hasty Examination of the Making of The Muppets comes first.  It starts out with a factual error about Muppet movies claiming that only 7 have been made - The Muppets was the 9th Muppet Movie.  It goes through the Muppets talking about how excited they are to be on a set making a movie again - with the possible exception of Miss Piggy who typically talks down the other Muppets.  We get to meet Jay G, the Production Muppet who is also apparently narcoleptic. It’s a completely cute and silly look at the making of movies.  My greatest takeaway was the Uncle Deadly talking about how he gets to haunt the theater two days a week to give a break to its primary haunt since the Muppet set was built in the same soundstage as the 1924 Phantom of the Opera.

Next up is The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (Well at least in Muppet History *we think) which is just your typical blooper reel combined with some intenional Muppet touches.  The bonus feature I found very funny was A Little Screen Test on the way to The Read-Through.  Here we have Jason and Walter walking through the “studio” on their way to their first read-through for the movie script.  We have some typical Walter awkwardness where we learn that he wrote his lines on his hands with a Sharpie.  Then we go through a series with them and the other Muppets and various camera angles and lighting styles as we’re told this is really just a screen test.  We learn that apparently Rowlf is illiterate, and it ends with The Muppet Show Theme.

If there was anything we complained about more when reviewing this movie originally it was Disney’s choice to cut out the backstory for the Tex Richman character.  If you remember the song from the movie Let’s Talk About Me which is sort of the Tex Richman theme song, you might have thought that in the movie it’s a bit short like something is missing, while that’s because it was cut.  The bonus feature Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song presents you with the full uncut version of the song. In it you can learn the the “heartbreaking story” about his own 10th Birthday Party made him evil and it was all the fault of the Muppets and his inability to laugh.

Then we finally get to what is always one of my favorite bonus features, the Deleted Scenes.  We’re presented with Walter’s Extended Nightmare which is an extended version of the dream Walter has in the beginning of the movie.  We then get an extra missing verse from Life’s a Happy Song which was a depressing piece by Walter about being “incomplete”.  We see a scene where Walter and Gary think they meet the real “Superman”, but really it’s just a bald, sweaty guy - the point of the scene would actually been to introduce us to Walter’s amazing whistling earlier in the film.  We get to see another made up TV show called Credit Card Club which is a simultaneous play on several teen movies and television shows.

Then we’re presented with some deleted scenes that are out of order, which I’m not a fan of.  Context goes hand in hand with chronology.  We get to see a scene where the Muppets are in prison and Walter bails them out as they were not in prison in the theatrical release this makes little sense.  The next scene is where we learn that the real problem with Gonzo’s bowling ball is that it was a Doctor Bunsen Honeydew special experiment as the bowling ball gains sentience and flies off after Beaker.  We are reminded by Kermit once more that, “the Muppets have always been about Artistic Integrity and not cheap tricks”.  In the next scene we finally get the context of the Muppets being in jail - it was because one of their ploys to get a host for their telethon was to fake The Oscars.  This eventually broken up by Billy Crystal and the police who arrest the Muppets.  And we learn that after the Muppet Telethon opening there was some follow up dialog that was cut.

The Blu-ray also includes all of the various theatrical spoof trailers that were at the core of the viral marketing campaign for The Muppets.  At least one of these was not released to the public prior.  Due to time constraints, I had to forego the Audio Commentary feature where I could listen to the stars of the movie talk about the movie as I watch.  But it’s something I intend to get back to.  

Everything I’ve said aside, the one feature you need to watch on this Blu-ray is the “Disney Intermission Feature”.  It is only accessible by first starting to watch the movie and then pressing your pause button.  At this point an get to see the curtains to the Muppet theater with a sign above them that reads “INTERMISSION” in old style marquee lights.  At this point you go through a series of shorts, voice overs, and fun little bits.  My favorite of which is the “Intermission Dance Party” where several Muppets dance by on the screen and if finally ends in conga line of Muppets, Jason Segel, and chickens.  You are also presented with sneak peeks of the various bonus features I mentioned above.  

Overall this highly anticipated home theater release is worth it for Muppet fans everywhere.  If I have any complaints about the Blu-ray release, the first is that its creators missed their chance to spice up the Blu-ray menu by having the characters change according to your menu choices which is very common on Blu-ray menus these days.  Second is that this release does not contain enough Mahna Mahna.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Slide Donald Slide

I guess it’s appropriate that with baseball season upon us, today’s review focuses on a baseball themed short from Disney – Slide Donald Slide.  Once again, we are looking at a short that doesn’t focus entirely on the main character.  In this case, Donald shares screen time with a bee that we’ve seen antagonizing him before.  This time they are fighting over the radio.

Our friend the bee is looking to be a famous conductor, and tries to turn the radio to classical music to help him live out his dreams.  The only issue with that is that it happens to be the day of the opening game of the World Series, and Donald wants to listen to the game.  The war over the radio begins when the bee keeps changing the channel, but keeps going far beyond that.

This is an interesting back and forth and makes for an entertaining short, since it’s a mixture of traditional Donald gags and some different and fun ideas using the bee.  We see Donald acting out the games he listens to on the radio, which all by itself is pretty funny.  But the metaphor gets extended further with the bee taking on an umpire role at the end of the short.  He even sends Donald to the showers when Donald argues a “call” made!

Those baseball scenes are the core of the short, and that makes for a lot of fun.  The other side of the coin, though, are the little battles over the radio dial.  Those are the same back and forth that we have seen Donald go through in many other shorts, where he attacks and is attacked in ever increasing gags.  My favorite in this short is where the bee attempts to sting Donald and ends up chasing him inside away from the radio.  Other than that, though, the give and take is not as compelling.

In fact, there is a bit of a mean streak to Donald that is above and beyond the other evils he has committed in other shorts.  He rigs up a faux radio that will explode when the bee changes the channel, and then proceeds to allow the bee to blow up.  That sequence was a little disturbing and not quite in keeping with the character in the past.  Despite that, Slide Donald Slide was a clear improvement from the other 1949 shorts I have watched recently.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sheep Dog

Once again in 1949, Disney produces a short that is theoretically part of their ongoing series of shorts, but in actuality is playing with different characters.  In Sheep Dog, Pluto is the “lead” but the focus is really and truly on a wolf and his cub who are attempting to eat the sheep guarded by Pluto.  They are the real stars of this short, and the ones that make the action go.

It’s an interesting question as to whether Disney at this point was running out of ideas for shorts, since so many elements of this refer back to other shorts and don’t focus on Pluto.  After all, we’ve seen Pluto in the Southwest before, guarding other animals a few times before and he’s fought with other animals quite a bit.  This one is about the wolves attacking Pluto’s sheep, and seems rather unoriginal.

The little cub adds a slightly new element to the mix, with his zeal to go after Pluto and the way he becomes part of the older wolf’s schemes, such as dressing up like a sheep.  That was the best part of this short, watching that younger cub go through the ups and downs as he and his father try to get the sheep.  The animation on the younger cub is quite good, both from the design and the emotions visible on his face. 

It’s not really until after the midway point of the short that Pluto becomes a factor.  The wolves wake him up, and he disguises himself as a sheep to make sure they don’t come near the sheep again.  Instead, Pluto the sheep gets taken and into a chase sequence with the larger wolf.  If all of this sounds like something you’ve seen before, you probably have.  This is a short that Disney runs quite often, although it’s not one of the better Pluto shorts.

What we end up with is a short focused around the wolves that comes off very uneven.  Pluto’s involvement in chasing the wolves is nothing new, and feels that way.  I have to commend the animators who created the short, though, because they did a very good job of fluid movements and showing the characters through action without any dialogue.  In the end, though, it’s not enough to keep the short from falling flat.  Here’s hoping that the next few 1949 shorts will fare better.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Greener Yard

With The Greener Yard, Disney returns to an earlier character they had created in the short Bootle Beetle.  It is again classified as a Donald Duck short, but in truth, the main fowl is in it for only a fraction of the time.  The main focus is on the beetle, and his adventures out in the big world, facing off with Donald and others as his adversary.

The short is designed in much the same way as the earlier Bootle Beetle short, with an older beetle telling a younger one about his past adventures.  In this case it is all about the trip over the fence from the outside yard and into Donald’s farm.  The point, of course, is that the younger beetle wants to venture out as well, but the older gent tells him that things are not quite as green on the other side of the glass, hence the title of the short.

The beetle does run into Donald fairly quickly, but that’s hardly the best or most exciting part of this piece.  When there’s interaction between the two, it’s still good, with the beetle shoveling watermelon seeds off the duck’s nose and other types of shenanigans.  It’s not that funny, since we have seen Donald fight all sorts of animals before.  So, a few minutes into this short, I was wondering where the funny would come from.

My answer was in a scene that followed, when the beetle was running away from Donald, and ends up fighting a chicken.  He doesn’t just fight the chicken, though, that would be an understatement.  No, the beetle plucks a needle from nearby and sword fights with the chicken like he’s Errol Flynn.  The chicken slashes and bites with its beak, and the beetle pokes and prods back with the needle.  It’s funny, adventurous and entertaining all at once, and salvaged the short for me.

In the end, when the younger beetle hears this story, he rightly decides to accept the dinner of beans without much complaint.  But the older beetle isn’t quite ready to let go yet, as we see when he retrieves some watermelon from Donald’s garden.  It just sort of undermines the entire premise of the short, though, because the beetle has spent the last few minutes showing why going into the garden is a bad idea.  The whole thing doesn’t hold together well, and offers less Donald than one might expect.  That’s why I’d imagine this is not a short that many have seen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review of John Carter by Briana Alessio

I am honestly not sure where to begin discussing this film.  I liked it but I was also frustrated by it.  Mixing science fiction with drama and romance, this week’s film is this year’s blockbuster John Carter of 2012.  Andrew Stanton directed this one – I have tons of respect for this man.  He was a writer for all three Toy Story films, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and A Bug’s Life.  He is also currently working on Monsters University, the sequel to Monsters Inc., which is scheduled to be released sometime next year.  Therefore, Stanton is kind of a genius.  I just think perhaps he went a bit off kilter with this one.

There are some great names in the cast…Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Dominic West, and Bryan Cranston.  My second favorite character in this was actually the villain, Matai Shang, played by Mark Strong.  I thought his performance was very well-done.  Strong’s filmography is incredible.  He is a British actor who has starred in mostly UK based films/television shows, but actually has another Disney connection.  He voiced Pod in the UK version of The Secret World of Arrietty!  How cool is that?!  And I’m not going to lie.  I have had a crush on Dominic West for years…almost as long as I have liked Jack Davenport.  For those who do not know him by name, he stars in the television show The Wire, and has also appeared in underrated films such as The Forgotten and Mona Lisa Smile.

So here’s the thing.  I have complete respect for the fact that they wanted to give Taylor Kitsch a chance.  I just do not think he was ready for this yet.  Although he starred in Friday Night Lights, going from John Tucker (in John Tucker Must Die) from 2006 to John Carter in 2012 must have been a big step.  I have to give him credit though – because of the extremely fit shape he was in for this film, he lost 30 pounds due to exercise and claimed to have suffered liver problems throughout the filming.  That is dedication right there!  Kitsch is not a horrible actor but portrayed John Carter as somewhat of an empty character.  Also, before he was transported to Mars, is it just me or was his voice strikingly similar to Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman in The Dark Knight?  The deep, horror-esque gravel tone.  Yikes.   

The biggest problem I had with this film was that it seemed to be a clash of Avatar meets Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.   It was difficult to comprehend the fact that this film took place on Mars and not on Pandora.  Maybe if the inhabitants were not gangly and 12 feet tall with an odd color of skin, I would have thought a bit differently.  Don’t get me wrong, the storyline is fantastic.  I just think that the articulate details could have been tweaked a bit to give this more of a creative edge.  The whole idea of a man from 1868 who is transported to Mars is an extremely cool theory.  Normally, a happy ending is needed in a film such as this one, and thankfully, Disney delivers with this promise. 

Thanks to IMDb, they shared some facts including a couple of which I would like to share.  On Dejah’s right arm appears a red tattoo which is said to resemble a Mickey Mouse head.  And this kind of blew my mind…the music from the first trailer for the film used two instrumental arrangements of “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin!  Also, John Carter was the third live-action Disney film to warrant a PG-13 rating.  The first was Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and the second was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

My absolute favorite scene was right after Carter arrived on Mars.  He did not understand why he could not walk properly on the planet, since he had no clue of where he was.  He attempted every way possible to stay on the ground and walk, but alas, none of the ways he tried worked.  There were a couple of light hearted moments as well, which added endearing qualities to the film.  For instance, throughout the duration of the film, Tars Tarkas repeatedly called John by the name “Virginia”, since this was where he was from so he mistakenly thought Virginia was his name.  The other scene I am thinking of occurs when John holds out his hand for Dejah to shake, but she is unaware of this concept so she shakes his thumb instead.

My favorite character in the film is Woola, the dog-like creature who accompanied Carter on his missions.  He was absolutely lovable and to me, was the saving grace of the entire film.  When he was on screen, my heart completely melted.  And as I mentioned previously, the villain Matai Shang is my second favorite character.

I would totally sit down to watch this again, but not for a while.  There are many other films I would like to see first.  There is nothing extremely wrong or degrading about this film.  Stanton did what he could with what he had, although perhaps he could have done a bit more.  However, it was not terrible.  I do not regret seeing it and if you are a fan of modern day science fiction films, it is worth a watch.

My Rating:  3/5 stars.

You are ugly, but you are beautiful.  And you fight like a Thark! 

Disney Film Project Podcast - Episode 64 - John Carter

This week the DFPP team and their friend Mark Weaver made a wrong turn at Jarsoom on their way to Mars only end up on Barsoom in the midst of a war between Therns and Tharks and Red Martians (oh my!) in the 2012 action adventure John Carter.

Listen, download, etc.

Show notes:

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

The package features had the blessing and the curse of being able to offer several different types of material in one film.  It’s a blessing because variety is the spice of life, a curse because the various types of stories could be wildly uneven, with one being simply amazing and another being downright bad.  After several tries, though, Disney got it right with The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

Like the other package features, Disney recruited celebrities to come on board and provide narration and music.  For the first part of this piece, it was Basil Rathbone, best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, who was the narrator of the story of J. Thaddeus Toad.  The aristocratic tones of Rathbone lend an air of credibility to a tale of talking animals.  After all, the original book was meant to poke fun at the British aristocracy, and the film follows that while infusing some Disney magic.

Walt was not impressed with the animation of this story, which is why he shelved the project for so long.  And to be honest, he wasn’t entirely wrong.  The animation isn’t as fluid and beautiful as what is seen in the second half of the film.  That’s not to say it’s bad, however, as some very memorable images from this film still resonate today.  The shot of Toad standing atop his horse, Cyril Proudbottom, and the weasels chasing him through Toad Hall are images Disney still uses.

The story ultimately comes down to a lighthearted romp through the tale of Toad swapping Toad Hall for a motorcar.  The best work in this film is the contrast between Toad’s mania and the stuffy, buttoned up attitudes of his friends Rat and Mole.  You see it during the courtroom scenes, the chase sequences and more.  While the crazed pace of the film keeps kids entertained, it’s the way that character is revealed through the actions of these characters that fascinated me this time around. 

When we hit the second part of the film, it’s a welcome slow down to spend some time getting to know the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow, especially the skinny schoolmaster Ichabod Crane.  Helping along that path is Bing Crosby, who brings his crooning skills to the table and provides songs and narration to the tale.  This was probably the best choice Disney could have made, because Bing’s trademark vocal tones soften the sharp edges of the tale and make it much more friendly to the viewer.

The story of this tale is actually quite light, as we are simply introduced to the three main chracters – Ichabod, his rival Brom Bones and their mutual crush Katrina Van Tassel – then shown how they interact.  The rivalry between Ichabod and Brom is the conflict of the short, and is established through action rather than narration.  Sure, Bing puts out a few lines that prod things along, but most of the rivalry is displayed through the slapstick back and forth between the two.

Of course, the real masterpiece of this film is the Headless Horseman, and the animation does not disappoint.  This is where Disney’s Nine Old Men spent their time, filling the short sequence with gags, suspense, horror, thrills and some of the best work the Disney studio produced in the 1940s.  There is a reason this part of the film still resonates today. 

The complete package of the stories of Mr. Toad and Ichabod Crane seem mismatched, and they probably are.  But combined together, they make for a film that is probably amongst the best of Disney from this era.  Soon after would come a second renaissance for the company with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and others, but the seeds for that future success are sown in this film, which should not be missed by anyone who loves Disney. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Development of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

As 1949 draws to a close soon in our meandering path through the Disney films, we come upon the end of an era for Walt and the studio.  It has been years since the last full length animated feature film and that does not change until 1950.  Since 1942’s Bambi, the Disney studio turned their focus to shorts, war materials during World War II and the so-called “package” features, where a group of shorts that were not considered enough material for a full film are packaged together and served to the public as the latest Disney feature.

The last, and perhaps best, of these is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, which took a long and torturous route to the screen.  Work first began on adapting Kenneth Grahame’s work A Wind In The Willows back in the late 1930s.  The book was a spoof of British aristocracy, masked as a children’s book about anthropomorphized animals.  It was brought to Walt’s attention after Snow White was such a huge success, along with nearly every other kid’s story known to man.

Walt was not entirely convinced, but bought the rights to the story anyway and set some of his story men to work on it.  Script work was completed in 1941, and a reel was completed along with some dialogue on some initial story concepts.  It was apparently not good, and Walt shelved the project only to be interrupted by World War II.  Many in the studio wondered if A Wind In The Willows would ever be started up again.

Toad/Cyril sketch from Van Eaton Galleries

It wasn’t until after the war in 1945 that work resumed on A Wind In The Willows, but this time the story was shortened and it was intentionally put into work as part of a package feature.  The initial concept during the war was to put this short together with Mickey and the Beanstalk and a short based on The Gremlins, a concept by author Roald Dahl.  However, The Gremlins never got off the ground, and was shelved in 1943.  The intended package film was titled Two Fabulous Characters after Mickey and Mr. Toad. 
Once Bongo came along, however, it was determined that the story of the circus bear was a better project and fit better with Mickey and the Beanstalk, and the two were released together as Fun and Fancy Free in 1947.

Still searching for material to make the Mr. Toad project work, in late 1946 Disney acquired the rights to make a version of the book The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving.  It was determined that this would be a good pairing for Toad and friends, and the Two Fabulous Characters title was reborn, this time pointing to Toad and Ichabod Crane, the hero of Sleepy Hollow.

The work of the Disney studio’s finest animators was on display in the film, as Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsberry, Ward Kimball, Milt Kahl, Woolie Reitherman and Eric Larson all contributed to the finished product.  As such, the animation was top notch, and audiences responded when the finished film was released as The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in October of 1949.  It became the hit film that Disney needed and has been a perennial favorite since the segments were broken up and re-released in the late 1970s.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the film itself and see the brilliance behind this Disney classic.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Disney Film Project Meet Up! - Avengers Meet - Saturday, May 19

That's right people, it's time for the very first Disney Film Project Podcast meet!  And boy, do we have a good reason.  What two films do we talk about more than any on our show?  Star Wars and Avengers, right?
Well, what better time to have our first meet than the first weekend of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and what better activity than going to see Avengers at Downtown Disney!

So, start booking your travel plans now to meet us at the AMC at Downtown Disney on Saturday, May 19, when we go to see Avengers together!  Todd, Cheryl, Brie and Ryan will all be there, and you should be as well.  Join us for the fun as the DFP Avengers Assemble!

Count yourself in now on Plancast, and we hope to see you there!

Tweetwatch Tonight! - Iron Man - 8:30p ET

The Avengers countdown continues tonight, with the very first Marvel Studios film - Iron Man!  Join Robert Downey, Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terence Howard and me for a rollicking action film with humor  and heart.  If you have not seen this one, you need to in order to really enjoy Avengers.

If you've never joined Tweetwatches before, it's super easy to do. Here's the plan:

1. Get the DVD or Bluray so you can watch with us. Netflix, Redbox, whatever you need to do.
2. Tonight at a little before 8:30, head over to our Friendfeed room.
4. At 8:30p ET, I'll tweet out the signal to push play, and we'll watch the movie together, while I fill you in on some of the little known facts about each film.

And while you're getting ready for the Tweetwatch, you need to make sure that you are planning for our very first Disney Film Project meet!  That's right, all four of us will be at Walt Disney World on Saturday, May 19, and you can join us to go see Avengers at Downtown Disney.  Check out all the details here on Plancast and book your trip now.  It's the first weekend of Star Wars Weekends as well, so you don't want to miss this!

Bottom's time to get ready for THE AVENGERS!!!! May 4, 2012 can't get here soon enough.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review of Peter Pan by Briana Alessio

What if the world we live in was a place where we never had to grow up?  In Neverland, you would not have to.  Peter Pan, the excellent Disney masterpiece from 1953 based on J.M. Barrie’s novel, proves just that.  From its magical beginning to its hopeful end, this brings nothing but sheer happiness throughout.

The opening credits reveal some names you might recognize.  Just to name a few…Milt Kahl, Wolfgang Reitherman, Mary Blair, Ollie Johnston, Ward Kimball, and the list goes on.  The talent provided for this film is absolutely endless.  And let’s not forget the incredible Jud Conlon, who organized the vocal arrangements for this film.  Conlon also provided arrangements for Alice in Wonderland.  There are a couple more Alice references, as I will further explain toward the end.

I love many scenes of this film, but I cannot leave out the very first scene in the beginning.  This is breathtaking as it gives quite an impressive view of an animated crane shot of London.  This immediately brings you to the Peter Pan attraction in Walt Disney World, and you almost feel as though you are in the attraction vehicle, flying over the buildings.  Also, I feel that I must make mention of the battle between Peter and his shadow in the nursery.  This is extremely well done, especially the way Wendy sews his shoes to the feet of the shadow.  It was simply amazing and the animation for this particular scene was well crafted.  The way Peter’s movements proceeded to match his shadow was excellent.

Of course, there is never a true Disney film without some humorous moments.  I found the treasure map drawing on the father’s shirt to be absolutely darling (no pun intended).  Michael’s following the Lost Boys and unknowingly climbing his way over the animals also brings a laugh.  There is also a fantastic scene where Captain Hook nonchalantly shoots a singing pirate on the ship, and all you hear is the poor man falling into the water.  However, what tickles me the most is on Mermaid Lagoon, when the feisty mermaids are attempting to pull Wendy in the water.  They do not succeed, but when Peter questions their motives, one of the mermaids responds with, “We were only trying to drown her.”  Oh, is that all it was?  No harm, no foul!  Great moment.

There is always a turning point of a film where you think to yourself, “NOW I get what is happening.”  Not that Peter Pan is a particularly complex film.  However, as Peter is about set to take Wendy and the kids to Neverland, she mentions the motherly figure.  Peter makes a comment of, “Good, you can be OUR mother.”  This is like a bell going off in the head.  Peter not only has 0% romantic interest in Wendy as you might think (as we find out, he kind of digs Tiger Lily), but he looks at her as being a mother to the Lost Boys and himself.

The voice actors could not have been more perfect for this film.  I particularly love Kathryn Beaumont who provides the talent of Wendy, and who also voiced no other than…wait for it…remember the reference I mentioned?...Alice herself for Alice in Wonderland.  The sweet Bobby Driscoll, who sadly did not live a long life, voiced Peter Pan.  Driscoll appeared in the much loved film Treasure Island portraying Jim Hawkins.  Something new that I learned…the voice of both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling is the same person, a man by the name of Hans Conreid.  I also want to make mention of one of my favorite characters in the film, Mr. Smee, who is voiced by Bill Thompson.  Name/voice sound familiar to you?  This might be because he also voiced Uncle Waldo in The AristoCats, Hubert in Sleeping Beauty, Jock in Lady and the Tramp, and the White Rabbit & Dodo bird in Alice in Wonderland.  This is among many other films/shorts which his voice talent appeared.

Similar to the rest of the film, the music is breathtaking.  My favorite song is “Second Star to the Right.”  I actually listen to this on a regular basis.  “You Can Fly” perks up my heartstrings.  “Pirate’s Life” is a great addition to the film, and “Your Mother and Mine” puts tears in my eyes every time, sung ever so lovely by Miss Kathryn Beaumont.

During every Disney film I watch, I always take note of who my favorite character is and what my favorite scene is.  For the character, I’m a bit stuck.  I love them all.  Peter Pan signifies the youthful individual within each one of us.  Captain Hook is my second favorite villain (Jafar from Aladdin is my absolute favorite).  Mr. Smee is fantastic.  I like Tinkerbell simply for her determination and hostility.  Wendy, John, and Michael are adorable.  The Indian Chief, Tiger Lily, and the tribe are all wonderful additions, as are the Lost Boys.  Nana is absolutely precious.  However, if I had to choose my favorite character, I think it would be the Crocodile (or should I say Clockodile?).  After all, he is in my most favorite scene in the entire film.  This is toward the end where Peter Pan calls Captain Hook a codfish and the codfish jingle begins.  The scene proceeds to show the Crocodile bouncing back and the forth in the water, enjoying the melody.  To me, this is a heartwarming scene and such a great, humorous way to wrap up Hook’s possible lack of a future.

As you all may know about me, I’m a crier.  I become emotional at just about anything and everything.  However, there are only two moments in the film where I get choked up.  First, the scene where Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael fly over London and land on Big Ben while “You Can Fly” plays.  I cry simply because it brings me to WDW’s Philharmagic attraction and I feel swept away to the sights and sounds of the happiness.  The other emotional scene for me is at the very end, when Mr. Darling sees the ship passing over the moon, and says the following: “You know, I have the strangest feeling that I've seen that ship before. A long time ago, when I was very young.”  This puts a lump in my throat, as I’m sure it does to many others.  I am actually getting misty-eyed as I write of this endearing scene, which means a lot to me personally.  This is a constant reminder that although we do have to accept responsibility and “grow up” at some point, we will always maintain the child-like quality in our hearts.  Thankfully, Walt Disney has helped with this by giving us Peter Pan.  Thank you, Uncle Walt, for making such a beautiful film that speaks to all of us.

My Rating:  5/5 stars.

Second star to the right and straight on till morning!

Disney Film Project Podcast - Episode 63 - Peter Pan

This week the DFPP team and their friend Lou Mongello decide to visit Neverland to get some flying lessons only to discover that it’s all fun and games until someone looses their hand to a crocodile in the 1953 animated adventure Peter Pan.

Show notes: 

Enjoy the show!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Disney Film Project Podcast - Episode 62 - The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

This week after hearing about Medfield College’s new computer the DFPP team enrolls in some Computer Science courses only to find out that the computer is actually a boy named Dexter in the 1969 film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.

Listen, download, etc.

Show notes:
Enjoy the show!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tweetwatch Tonight! - Captain America The First Avenger - 8:30p ET

It's Avengers countdown time, people!  It's time to get ready for the biggest movie of the summer, coming out May 4, 2012, with Tweetwatches of the super Marvel films that lead into it.  Get things started with Captain America, the First Avenger.

If you've never joined Tweetwatches before, it's super easy to do.  Here's the plan:

1.  Get the DVD or Bluray so you can watch with us.  Netflix, Redbox, whatever you need to do.
2.  Tonight at a little before 8:30, head over to our Friendfeed room.
4.  At 8:30p ET, I'll tweet out the signal to push play, and we'll watch the movie together, while I fill you in on some of the little known facts about each film.

Bottom's time to get ready for THE AVENGERS!!!! May 4, 2012 can't get here soon enough.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Disney Film Project Podcast - Episode 61 - The Preacher's Wife

This week the DFPP team tracks a strange anomaly to the middle of an urban community that leads them to a troubled preacher who has lost his way and stands to loose his family as well in the 1996 family drama The Preacher's Wife.