Disney’s Frozen

Annnnnnnnnnndddddddddd we’re back! After a short hiatus, hopefully it’ll be back to business as usual over at OBOB HQ! I still have a small backlog of posts to write up and add, even though they aren’t up to date on relevancy, please humour me in giving them a read! 

  

Onto the first post then! Disney’s Frozen truly captured the imagination and heart of countless children and families when it arrived into cinemas December 2013. This was the first Disney film that seemed to tick every box and since then, they’ve reaped the rewards in terms of sales on merchandise. And the fact that anywhere you go, someone will know the lyrics to ‘Let it Go’ .

Frozen is the story of princesses Ana and Elsa (voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel respectively) who are orphaned after their parents die after their boat capsizes. Although when they were younger the sisters were inseparable, Elsa is able to shoot ice and snow out of her hands and after an accident in which young Ana had a lucky escape, Elsa shuts herself off from the world. When she’s ready to be Queen, a winter storm is caused by Elsa’s nervousness and its up to Ana to reach through to her. 

Every bit of the fog of this film just flows together; the voice cast are great, each putting their own spin on their characters. The score and the music are both brilliantly catchy, you’ll find yourself wanting to listen to the soundtrack again and again. Even though some adults watching the film may recognise the same old Disney traits, the end twist of what true love represents is a lovely moments that can warm most hearts.

This really is a joy of a film, and I’m not doing it justice. There isn’t one sole reason that countless children want to be just like Queen Elsa, or why they demand the dolls, the pyjama’s and the colouring books; it simply is a collection of pieces that fit together to create magic. 

Olaf: Some people are worth melting for. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Who is the Monster and who is the Man?

With this question, our movie starts and with this Disney delivered a beautiful and quite frankly under-appreciated film with a classic moral undertone of don’t judge a book by its cover/appearances aren’t everything. As part of the late 90’s Disney films, it often gets forgotten but for me it’s personally one of my favourite Disney films. Set in Paris, it tells the story of Quasimodo, a very untypical hero, who over the course of the film goes on a journey of self discovery and self confidence, showing the fullness of his heart and kindness.

Throughout his life, Quasimodo has been hidden in the depths of the Bell tower of Notre Dame due to his hunchback appearance poisoned with words by the villain of the piece, and Quasi’s master and guardian Frollo, a religious man and prosecutor. It isn’t until he one day is convinced by his stone gargoyle friends  to go out into the streets of Paris and attend a festival that he meets other people, including a gypsy named Esmeralda (played by Demi Moore).

This is perhaps one of the darkest Disney film, dealing with issues such as persecution, loneliness, being an outsider in society and how that disadvantage you and exploring how religion can be twisted. Frollo remains as one of the most ruthless Disney villains created in my opinion, allowing his lust and obsession with Esmeralda to completely consume him. When you watch it at an older age, you realise just how unsettling and perverted it is.

It’s a film that’s unconventional in terms of a typical Disney story set up; a hunchback certainly isn’t a typical hero, but here Quasimodo is a true Disney hero, showing that appearances aren’t everything and leaving the audience in no doubt that he is certainly the man out of him and Frollo. It’s also a case of the hero doesn’t end get the girl at the end of the movie (although Phoebus is indeed a hero, he isn’t the ‘true hero’). Even though this doesn’t happen, Quasi learns a true life lesson and that he finally has people around him that are friends and not just stone gargoyles (which may or may not be real).

The true triumph of this film however is its music. Alan Menken who pens most, if not all the Disney films from the last 20 years of so teams up with Stephen Schwartz who has created hit musicals such as Wicked and Godspell and together they create a beautifully stunning score and lyrics. My particular highlight is the use of the choir which simply gives me goosebumps every time.

If you’ve never seen this Disney classic, I urge you to find a copy – it’s available on US Netflix and out on DVD – it’s such an under-rated movie and personally one of my favourites.

Esmerelda: You saw what he did out there, letting the crowd torture that poor boy. I thought if one person could stand up to him then – (Sighs) What do they have against people who are different anyway?

101 Dalmatians

This 1996 live-action version of the animated classic based on the novel starring Glenn Close as the movie villainess is a brilliant adaptation and a film you can usually find on telly at one point during the year. Starting off as a romantic film about two dog owners, Anita and Roger (played by Joley Richardson and Jeff Daniels), who meet unexpectedly in the park (with a little help from their dogs) they soon get married and their dogs have a litter of puppies. These puppies come to the attention of the villainous Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close), in this version a fashion designer who was Anita’s former boss who wants to make the ultimate spotted coat and use Anita’s puppies for it.

For anyone that hasn’t seen this film, first off – why not? Secondly, you should get your hands on a copy and watch it. It’s a brilliant family film, with some funny moments, adventure and best of all cute dogs and puppies. With this being a live-action version of the story, everything seems more real and realistic. A particular angle regarding the plan to kill the puppies, introducing a character, aptly named Skinner who illegally kills animals for their coats – he’s creepy and sinister and unfortunately a very real threat.

The human actors are each brilliant in their role – particularly Glenn Close as Cruella – she’s perfect in the role. She’s a character that’s used to getting her own way, even if it means breaking the law – she’s cold, calculating and ruthless and Close is perfect at portraying this maniacal villain. Jeff Daniels and Joley Richardson are charged with bringing Roger and Anita to life, and are given more material than the animated movie gives to sink their teeth into. One of my favourite things about this film however, is the double team of Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams as Jasper and Horace. They are both hilarious in their respective roles and have a great chemistry together. They are not afraid to get stuck into physical comedy, but also have a great script filled with some funny moments to back them up.

I don’t think I can end this review without bringing up the animals that were involved in making this film also; even though the film features a lot of dalmatian dogs there is also other breeds of dogs, farm animals, a cat, a horse, a racoon and a skunk. It also amazes me what trainers can get animals to do on screen, and particularly the dog actors; some of the facial expressions that the lead dogs playing Pongo and Perdita pull are beautifully heartbreaking, particularly when the puppies are first stolen. You can almost feel the heartbreak of the dogs as well as their owners.

101 Dalmatians is a brilliant Disney family film, and still a firm favourite with me, albeit I am a dog person, so the film was always going to appeal to me. If you haven’t seen it though, I do recommend it – it’s brilliant for a Sunday afternoon, and it also has a live action sequel (102 Dalmatians) which is also worth a look in too!

 

Cruella (to Jasper, Horace and Skinner: Congratulations, you’ve just won Gold, Silver and Bronze in the ‘Morons Olympics’!

(pause)

Horace: Who won the Gold?

Cruella: SHUT UP! (101 Dalmatians)

The Declaration of Independence and a Secret Treasure – National Treasure (2004) Review

This Jerry Bruckheimer produced and Disney distributed film starring Nicholas Cage, Diane Kruger and Sean Bean is a treasure hunting, mystery-adventure filled with interesting historical information, and a fake conspiracy against the founding fathers of America.

Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) comes from a family who has long been searching for a mythical treasure that has been lost for centuries. After years of his family searching he’s getting closer but doesn’t count on his colleague now turned competitor Ian Howe (Sean Bean) also wanting the treasure and fortune for himself. Ben accompanied by his friend Riley (Justin Bartha) and historian Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) he attempts to thwart Ian and also find the treasure.

The movie is an old favourite of mine, and is a great family film to watch on an afternoon, with some comedic moments, great action set pieces and a movie that allows you to learn a thing or two about American history. And it also features Sean Bean as the villain, something the man has had a bit of practice at (that and dying).

 

‘Okay Ben, pay attention. I’ve brought you to the Library of Congress. Why? Because it is the biggest library in the world. Over 20 million books. And they’re all saying the same exact thing – “Listen to Riley”.’ Riley, National Treasure

Avengers 2 Assemble!!!…And guess who’s coming back to the helm?

That’s right folks, after announcing the obvious -that there will be an Avengers 2, Disney have now confirmed that Joss Whedon will be back to write and direct the film!! This is excellent news, given the way The Avengers performed at the Box Office, Whedon is definitely a good man to put at the helm of the sequel and it just means the world can experience more of Whedon’s utter genius.

Don’t get too excited yet though (not that I am) Avengers 2 has no release date yet, and the earliest it will probably be slated for would be Summer of 2015. Next year with the release of Iron Man 3 sees the start of Marvel’s Phase 2 so we still have plenty to look forward to before the release of Avengers 2

For a little bit more info see here:

Also, it appears that Whedon has agreed to develop a live-action TV series for US network ABC based on Marvel characters – a little bit more info here at SFX 

Stark: “Then tell him to suit up. I’m bringing the party to you” (The Avengers)