Highlights: Overall it is a really excellent movie. I find it to be quite enjoyable, funny, and emotionally touching. One of the nice things about this movie is that it keeps a good pace. They go on lots of adventures but it doesn’t feel too rushed, and it never really drags at all.
Low points: The only slight downfall to the movie is Peter himself, because it can be hard to like a character that is so selfish and immature. However, if we can accept the fact that we aren’t necessarily supposed to like the main character, even though the kids in the movie adore him, it adds a really interesting dynamic and brings out an important message that Barrie wanted to convey in his original book/play. Plus, Tink is just a… “witch.”
Music: I think Peter Pan‘s got a lot of great songs – with the exception of Fantasia, which was focused on music, I might even say that Peter Pan is one of the few “early” Disney films to have a really memorable and overall good soundtrack. “The Second Star to the Right” and “You Can Fly!” are both really good numbers. There are also some good character songs, with “A Pirate’s Life” for the pirates and “What Makes the Red Man Red?” for the Indians. “Your Mother and Mine” is a beautiful lullaby, if not a little boring. And the crocodile’s tune is both fun and catchy.
Highlights: The series of nonsensical adventures that Alice goes through are cute and captivating. There is a lot of silliness going on here, making it a pretty funny movie.
Low points: Well, this was a highlight too, but the movie is just silly. There’s no real consistent plot to it, and sometimes it just gets a little too ridiculous for me. The nonsense goes on for a little too long – I prefer a little more plot in my movies, or at least memorable songs.
Music: There are a lot of songs in this movie, but most of them are super short or else just not that interesting. But with so many mini songs that are so well known, I’m quite surprised that nothing from Alice in Wonderland appears on my set of Disney’s Greatest Hits CDs. You have “The Unbirthday Song,” “I’m Late,” which are the most memorable, but you also have Alice singing “In a World of My Own,” “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” and the flowers singing “All in a Golden Afternoon.” Lots of different songs throughout the whole movie – basically every time Alice goes somewhere else or meets someone else, they sing a song.
Highlights: I like this move because it makes me happy. There is some action and some suspense (will she get locked up in her room after the ball or will the mice be able to free her?). But ultimately it’s all about the cheesy romance, and good overcoming evil. People now may complain that Cinderella is a softie, and a bad role model for females because she always does what she is told. But I’m not sure I completely agree. I like the fact that kindness and good heartedness is rewarded, rather than rebelliousness (though that has its own place too).
Low points: My husband really doesn’t like this film. His argument is that “nothing happens.” As he says, it’s just a bunch of mice running around for the majority of the movie… which is somewhat true. The actual events really concerning Cinderella and the ball and all of that take place relatively quickly, and if you cut out all of the fuss with the mice and the cat and the dog and whatnot, the movie would probably only be about half an hour. But they’re cute little mice! And they wear clothes!
Highlights: The Wind in the Willows is a fun short with a cute story and memorable characters. The Legend of Sleepy Hallow portion has some high points in it, though overall I wasn’t a huge fan (though I know many people are). But I did enjoy some of the music in it and some of the scenes.
Low points: The Legend of Sleepy Hallow came off as a bit odd to me. I think part of this is because the original story itself is odd, but then turning it into an animated movie presumably for kids makes it a bit weirder. It seems funny and lighthearted at the beginning, but the ending… not so much. Ichabod himself isn’t very likable so there’s not a ton of investment in the characters.
Highlights: None of the shorts here were really awful. Does that count as a highlight? On the flip side, while they were all at least okay, there were none that I really enjoyed. If I had to pick a favorite I suppose it would be “Little Toot,” about a young tugboat and sung by the Andrews Sisters.
Low points: There were no shorts in this one that really stood out to me. Johnny Appleseed was okay, but man is that story rather boring and drawn out. Same with Pecos Bill – it just felt like it went on for way too long. Blame it on the Samba features two of the three caballeros, and is just as trippy and odd as that movie is.
The next in the series of “package films” from the 1940’s, this one features two shorts: Bongo, about a bear who runs away from the circus, and Mickey and the Beanstalk, a sort of re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Highlights: Mickey and the Beanstalk is a cute, fun film with lots of little gags and funny bits thrown in. It features three of our favorite characters: Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. The giant is more humorous than scary and all in all it’s an enjoyable little short.
Low points: Bongo. Oh my gosh, I’m sorry if anyone out there likes it (there must be fans), but it was just awful. It had very little plot and went on for way too long. The first half of the film is basically just Bongo exploring the wild and it takes forever. Then he falls in love and there’s a really long, excessive song about it. The ending is okay but it does not make up for the rest of it. Also, during Mickey and the Beanstalk there is some really weird stuff going on with the narration and some ventriloquist dummies, which honestly freak me out. Luckily they’ve released a better version of Mickey and the Beanstalk that is narrated by Ludwig von Drake, rather than these weird ventriloquist dummies.
Make Mine Music was released in 1946 and is the 8th animated feature from Disney’s Studios, and consists of a series of shorts.
Highlights: We felt like every other short was good. It has an old fashioned feel to it, and may not be the cartoons that kids would enjoy today, but they’re still fun to watch. We enjoyed “All the Cats Join In,” “Casey at the Bat,” “Peter and the Wolf,” “Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet,” and “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.” All of these were more upbeat, colorful, and had interesting plots. Peter and the Wolf is without a doubt the stand out. I love the music and the animation works so well with it.
Low points: The in between shorts from the ones mentioned above, basically. “Blue Bayou,” “Without You,” “Two Silhouettes” – they were pretty, I guess, but they were just so slow and boring. “After You’ve Gone” was a little better but not great.
Music: Like Fantasia, these shorts are based around the music – so it’s really good. The music is probably what I enjoyed the most, to be honest. There were some really good things – Peter and the Wolf, like I mentioned above, but also the incredible opera work on “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.”
This follow up to Saludos Amigos really consists of three segments or shorts that are grouped together by a fairly weak storyline. First there is a tale of a penguin that wants to live where it’s warm, then a story about a flying donkey, and finally we have the adventures of the three caballeros.
Highlights: I really enjoyed the first two segments. They were short, sweet, and funny. Everything that you’d expect from a Disney short – I especially love the one about a penguin who can’t stand the cold and tries to move up where it’s warm. There were two bonus shorts at the end, which I really enjoyed. The first one was about Donald finding the fountain of youth, and it was hilarious. The other was about Pluto and it was pretty good.
Low points: The three segments of the movie are grouped together by a fairly weak storyline. I didn’t really love the second half of the movie, which was the main focus. Basically, Jose and Panchito take Donald Duck on a tour of Latin America, stopping in various cities and learning a few tidbits. And Donald did not come off in the best light. He was chasing down women left and right, desperate for a kiss, didn’t really matter from who. And once he gets his kiss the movie turns really freaky. I mean, it had a storyline and for the most part made sense up until then, but all of the sudden things just go psychedelic. Basically Donald is high from the kiss that he received, and sees singing women in flowers, in the sky, and starts dancing with some cacti. Basically the whole time I was sitting there wondering, “What the heck is going on?”