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The Sword in the Stone

Madame Mim: Sounds like someone's sick. How lovely. I do hope it's serious. Something dreadful.

Going loosely from the first of four parts of T.H. White's The Once and Future King

that had come out the decade before and a favorite of mine from childhood, we get a Disney-fied Merlin who is more comedic than sagely as we bounce from lesson to lesson as young "Wart" is transformed into a variety of animals and scarcely surviving each and every one of them until we get to the finality of him removing the sword from the actual stone.
Something that seemed not so climatic, especially after the real climax of the Wizard Fight between Merlin and the (created for the movie) "Mad" Madam Mim. The one scene that would be hightlighted many a time on "Disney's Wonderful World of Disney" on any given Sunday evening on NBC.

While sort of in the middle of Disney animations, I did enjoy hearing Sebastion Cabot, who is known as The Narrator for the Winnie the Pooh films playing a gruff Sir Ector along with a small voice role for Alan Napier playing Sir Pellinore, who, for me, is very well known for playing Alfred on TV's "Batman" a couple years after this movie was made.
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The Sword in the Stone



Seems to be a film that continually rises the ranks of the Disney animated classics for me. I like it's old world atmosphere with Wizards and castles it gives off a real cool atmosphere to me. I also liked the scenes with the woodsy atmospheres. They just looked really cool, like Merlin in the woods at the well. I also really appreciate the animation and how colorful the film is. Most Disney look gorgeous but I'd say that this one is really up there as well.

A lot of people are hating on Merlin here but I really like his character. Not the smartest of wizards but to me the film was going a bit comedic for me and it really worked wonders. His banter with Archimedes makes for a great one two punch. I'd say that Archimedes is one of my favorite side animated characters. I thought he was a barrel of fun.

And I just have a lot of nostalgia for the film to be honest which aides in loving it. My favorite scene has to be Mim vs. Merlin, one of the best film duels of all time. But I also chuckle at that squirrel scene as well, it's a fun hoot.

This one doesn't seem to have fared well so far, but it was a nice stroll down memory lane for me again.

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And I just have a lot of nostalgia for the film to be honest which aides in loving it. My favorite scene has to be Mim vs. Merlin, one of the best film duels of all time. But I also chuckle at that squirrel scene as well, it's a fun hoot.

This one doesn't seem to have fared well so far, but it was a nice stroll down memory lane for me again.
I haven't seen The Sword in the Stone in years but remember loving it as a kid and was also a big fan of Archimedes and I'm excited to revisit.

The Wind in the Willows
(Mark Hall, 1983)

Stop-motion pre-90s generally creeps me out and unless it’s intended to be a bit spooky, I try to avoid them so I was less than thrilled when I saw this was nominated but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised and found the attention to detail and characters to be so charming and also enjoyed the calming music and sound effects. I agree with HB in that the first part of the story with Mole and Rat was more interesting than Toad and his motorcar obsession but overall liked the movie a lot.

The movie also reminded me of a small gallery in Point Reyes Station that I like to visit for their annual fundraiser called “The Box Show.” The gallery raffles off plain wooden boxes to local artists; each artist(s) then use the box however they’d like in an art piece and return the “boxes” to the gallery for auction. Many of the boxes are used as dioramas and I’ve seen several over the years that look like the inside of Mole’s house or any other scene in the movie. Seeing Toad made me think of this piece from last year’s show:

Toadally Busted







Your Name(2016) takes the familiar troupe of body snatching and then twists it into something else and finishes with something better. While watching this film I kept thinking to myself did this film really need to be animated for me I felt like you miss out on the importance of the romance with animated characters.


On the flip side I really enjoyed the soundtrack and certain bits and pieces of the film I just felt like the film's runtime was padded out. I kept waiting for the magic of the story telling to come along and it just didn't connect with me and unfortunately for this genre that is a big thing.











Novelty is often brought up and knocked in film making you come across and gimmick and often times that gimmick hurts the film. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is very much a novelty film telling the story of princes, wizards, armies etc and told with carboard cutouts. And even though I didn't find the story or the characters interesting I did love the movie because it was so different from what I normally see. The story is told in shadow and it gives one's imagination the opportunity to be put to work with this one.









"Who Cares As Long As the Work Get's Done" - Merlin


Merlin is a dick, sorry it had to be said plus he uses biological warfare against Mim which is totally against the rules damn you Merlin.


The Sword in the Stone Yeah I loved this movie, watched it on Laser Disc I dug the characters and I liked how everyone had their own set of flaws. I suppose you could knock it for not exactly having a cohesive story rather more being a collection of Disney sketches but...I loved every minute of it. This actually reminded me a bit of the old WC Fields movies where you would have a collection of bits that were strung together to tell a somewhat weaker over arching story.








Meet the Robinsons is the sweet story of an orphan who is transported to the future to stop the bowler hat man from ruining the world. The story is well paced and some of the humor works well but I had a couple problems with the film. To start with while some of the jokes landed most didn't their is a pretty high level of corniness to most of the humor. When the humor goes dark especially with the Goob subplot the film shines but then we go off with other side characters it goes off the rails a bit. The other thing that bothered me was the animation style, funny how I enjoyed the 1926 animated film because it was different but with this 2007 one it felt very dated. This is unfortunately the worst part of CGI in that it can age very quickly and look kinda bad.



But for what it was it was alright.





Your Name. (Kimi no na wa.) (Makoto Shinkai, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 2nd Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by CosmicRunaway
Rewatch: Yes


Although he's far from being my favorite anime director, Makoto Shinkai consistently delivers visually beautiful films. 5 Centimeters Per Second and Garden of Words are absolutely stunning. The trouble is that the stories that accompany those gorgeous images don't always measure up.

So it was with some reservations that I first watched Your Name. back in late 2017. I was less than thrilled by its body and time swapping premise, but I was hooked by its imagery and drawn in by the sweet and funny romance. My experience today was much the same. I remain impressed by the detail and vivid colors and was again very much engaged with its characters. I don't think this will ever rank among my favorites, but it is a very enjoyable film and one I'll definitely revisit again.




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The Wind in the Willows

I don't really like the book The Wind in the Willows, so why would I really like any movie adaption? Same goes for this one, which overall has ugly looking characters, horrible songs, and annoying characters with no depths. But even though I had some things I really hated about it, it wasn't too bad of an experience. There was a certain grotesque charm to it, like during the court case scene, which was pretty interesting, or the final fight. There were moments in it when I thought it was just great and well done... but as a whole the film just doesn't work, it just doesn't engage me.




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Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

I was actually pretty pleasantly surprised with this one. There's a lot of super crap anime that I just can't stand, but this one did a decent job of having witty dialogue, fun action, and even a semi-engaging story. That said, it has some huge problems and will never rank among my favorites. I did like the movie references and the comedy, but some of the characters were annoying and I felt like the movie couldn't decide what tone to take. Was it a fun romp, an action, a philosophical science fiction, or all of those things meshed into an often blurry plot line? I didn't really know by the end. The truth is, Cowboy Bebop is a great movie to watch once, it's a fun enough movie. But after that, it'll just fade into a boring movie that doesn't need to be seen again.




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Tower

I'm... a sensitive person, I guess. Basically any movie with any depressing moments or overall themes will get me crying (For some reason I went through Grave of the Fireflies dry-eyed), even movies I didn't really like such as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Tower was no different. When it talked about the woman (Rita I think) who lied in the pavement with the pregnant victim Claire for hours, I had tears in my eyes. It wasn't an ugly cry, but it was just a sheer respect and awe for the heroes of this world. And that I think is what Tower is about. It's interesting that they spend less than five minutes on the actual shooter himself. There is no backstory, no theory given as to why he would have done such a thing as attempt to kill hundreds of people at the University of Texas. I really liked that. This movie chose to spend it's running time showing all the good that people did on such a horrible day, and that people have a capacity for both great evil and great love and courage. I can't judge a movie like this on technical quality, editing, etc... All I know is that it really moved me, and that's what a film should do.






Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 2nd Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: No.


I did not want to watch this movie. Mass shootings have become far too common in this country and with the recent shooting in Gilroy (not too far from where I am) it's perhaps too relevant a subject right now.

That said, this documentary was beautifully crafted and very moving. I was brought to tears multiple times hearing the accounts of that horrific day. It was especially difficult watching Officer McCoy talk about how he could've prevented the death of his fellow officer if only he had acted sooner, as well as some other survivors who also blame themselves for not doing more.

It's an incredibly emotional and compelling film. But here's the thing: I'm not convinced that the choice to use animation actually added anything to it. In fact, there were multiple times when it took me out of the film, especially when color animation was overlayed on black and white footage. This is a shame because animation can be used effectively in a documentary, as seen with the surrealistic imagery of Waltz With Bashir. And this leaves me torn in regards to how to rank it on my ballot. Do I place it high because it's so effective and engaging? Or do I rank it low because this is an animation Hall of Fame and I feel like the animation was actually a weak point in the film? I'll have to give it more thought.




Just my rewatch of Ernest and Celestine left. I might do that tonight, if not I'll definitely be done sometime this weekend.



And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!


Tower (Keith Maitland, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 2nd Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: No.


I did not want to watch this movie. Mass shootings have become far too common in this country and with the recent shooting in Gilroy (not too far from where I am) it's perhaps too relevant a subject right now.

That said, this documentary was beautifully crafted and very moving. I was brought to tears multiple times hearing the accounts of that horrific day. It was especially difficult watching Officer McCoy talk about how he could've prevented the death of his fellow officer if only he had acted sooner, as well as some other survivors who also blame themselves for not doing more.

It's an incredibly emotional and compelling film. But here's the thing: I'm not convinced that the choice to use animation actually added anything to it. In fact, there were multiple times when it took me out of the film, especially when color animation was overlayed on black and white footage. This is a shame because animation can be used effectively in a documentary, as seen with the surrealistic imagery of Waltz With Bashir. And this leaves me torn in regards to how to rank it on my ballot. Do I place it high because it's so effective and engaging? Or do I rank it low because this is an animation Hall of Fame and I feel like the animation was actually a weak point in the film? I'll have to give it more thought.


I disagree about the animation not adding anything to this film. The people in this documentary were shown when it happened and they were younger, and present day when they're older. The animation made it easier (at least for me) to connect these characters as the same people.

Most movies just cast two different actors as the younger and older versions of the characters, and if they don't get it right, it makes it feel like they're two different people, rather than the same person at different ages. I thought the animation was a great way to get around that and make the characters feel like the same people at both ages.
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@gbgoodies

It was made using rotoscope animation, so you still had actual actors portraying what was happening and animation was put over it later. For me it was no more effective than if they'd just used normal live action reenactments.



And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
@gbgoodies

It was made using rotoscope animation, so you still had actual actors portraying what was happening and animation was put over it later. For me it was no more effective than if they'd just used normal live action reenactments.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I've seen too many movies (and TV shows) where the younger versions of the older actors look nothing like them, so it feels like they're two different characters, and that just takes me right out of the movie.

Even though it was rotoscope animation, it still worked for me because it felt like it was the same person, just at different ages. I thought that helped make Tower one of the most powerful documentaries I've seen.





Ernest & Celestine (Ernest et Célestine) (Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, 2012)
Imdb

Date Watched: 08/02/19
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 2nd Animation Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes.


I've seen this movie many times, but tonight was my first time watching it in its original French dub... and I gotta say I prefer the English dub. No disrespect meant to Lambert Wilson, who was very good as the voice of Ernest, but the gruffness Forest Whitaker lent to the role just feels better suited to a big grouchy bear.

But the film is a delight in any language. Its basic premise - two outcasts from different societies come together to form an unlikely friendship - is nothing new or original. However, whatever it might lack on that front it more than makes up for in whimsy and charm. It also boasts simple but gorgeous hand painted watercolor images, which - as much as I love CG animation - are a nice change of pace from what most animation studios are producing these days. But mostly it's just really sweet, funny, and touching.

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