September 7th, 2020 (Labour Day)

Friday night was a Disney + evening, catching up on some older movies. One I had seen and the other I had not. I also wanted to check out what was the investment to see the streaming of the Live Action Mulan, just been released. Turns out that Disney “Premier” is a $39.99 added on that I am simply not prepared to pay. This would be for a movie that I wouldn’t have paid to see in the movie theatre. Why pay more than that for home viewing?? I haven’t even seen the original animated film from Disney. So pass. Apparently it will be released for all Disney + viewers in December. So, I likely can wait for that long.

Pixar’s Up is the 2009 delightful animated film that won Best Animated Film deservedly. It was also nominated for Best Film. Quite an achievement. It is a non-traditional storyline, where a 78yo man is the protagonist, and he has a young asian scout along for the fun and some other characters. The early parts introduce us to the very quiet Carl, and his chance meeting with Ellie who are both young fans of the adventurer Charles Muntz. Shortly after the introduction there is about an 8 minute sequence of scenes with no spoken words but just music accompaniment that shows the relationship between Carl and his now Wife Ellie. It is touching. One of the best sequences of any film I can recall. It packs some emotional clout that cartoons aren’t supposed to convey, but Pixar seems to be able to harness with ease. Carl and the young Russell set on an adventure together and they meet up with some characters to challenge and define them. They learn a few things along the way, and move into new territory. This is of course worth seeking out. I cannot recommend this more highly. Hard to imagine this was released 11 years ago already. It adds another quality film to the Pixar library.

A year later in 2010, Disney released the live action version of Alice in Wonderland, helmed by Tim Burton and his usual cast of actors he likes to work with like Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, among others. Those who are Potter-ites will see many a familiar face with the rest of the mainly UK based cast. I have to admit not to ever having seen the original animated film. I had never heard very good things about it. Walt Disney’s early animation work was the best for him before he turned his attention to theme parks. Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia were all part of their heyday. This movie I found too long. I also found that there were too many Lord of the Rings like battles that were unnecessary. Not just unnecessary but distracting to an overall theme. Is there really this epic battle between chess pieces and playing cards in the battle between the White Queen and her sister the bulbous-headed Red Queen? I incidentally would bet on the chess pieces every time. But nevermind. Depp plays the Mad Hatter and I see similarities with his character and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. At least that is what they seem to be getting at. Other elements like Game of Thrones (and I do recognize that GOT likely borrowed the sequences rather than the other way around) but the GOT did it better. It was overly long, it did not capture my interest and I didn’t really say that I cared about what happened to Alice. I do think that the source material likely contributes to this, but still. Yes it has the Burton touch of heavy make up on characters who are more like caricatures than human-like. I cannot recommend.

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