Happy Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014 Spooky Esmeralda picture image

Spooky Esmeralda

 

This is from Frollo’s Point-of-view.

Created by me using Azaleadolls Herione creator and and modifying a scary background from hdwallsource.com.

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Anastasia Review; A Princess movie with lots of Collateral Damage! Heck Ya!

Anastasia  picture image

Anastasia

Anastasia (1997) was one my favorite movies back in the day. It was made by our old pal Don Bluth and came out on November 14th 1997 under 20th Century Fox. In many ways this film is the definitive princess movie and people sometimes mistake it as Disney movie as it uses that sweet, sweet Disney formula and did well at box-off as well garnered two Academy Awards nominations for the music. But is the movie good or is it bad? It’s a little bit of both.

Dmitri, Anya and Vlad Anastasia  picture image

Dmitri, Anya and Vlad

PLOT! The film tells us that everything in 1916 Russia was just peachy (sure movie) that is till creepy-pants Rasputin gets fired from being best pals with Tsar Nicholas II and curses him and his family as he sold his soul because he is pissed off. The curse makes the “spark of unhappiness in Russia fan into a flame” that destroyed Imperial rule and ushered in communism. The movie doesn’t use that word and blames it all on Raspy. The night of the attack on the Romanovs, Anastasia goes back to her room with Grandmama Marie to get a music box and young boy gets them out a special exist. Rasputin tries to stop Anastasia but is killed when he falls through the ice. Anastasia and Marie then get separated and Anastasia gets Amnesia.

Ten years later, Marie is offering a lot of money for Anastasia’s return as the rumor goes she survived the February Revolution and gossip is the only thing to entertain the Russian because communism isn’t any fun…? Dmitri and Vlad are two conmen who plan on getting that money by hiring an actress to play Anastasia. Dmitri thinks he has an in as he has Anastasia’s music box, though he thinks it’s a jewelry box. As this is happening Anastasia is now called Anya and is getting released from an orphanage. Anya decides to go to Paris intend of going off to a job at some fish place as she has necklace that says “Together in Paris” and believes that is where her family is located. She first heads to St Petersburg along with her new puppy Pooka that she met on the road. She is told that to get to Paris she needs travel papers and she should speak to Dmitri at the Old Palace.

She goes to the Old Palace to meet him and has deju-vu moment. Dmitri, who isn’t having much luck hiring an actress thinks Anya could pass as Anastasia so he convinces her to join them. As she just wants to get to Paris, she agrees. Rasputin’s bat minion, Bartok is hanging out with source of Raspy’s power, a reliquary when he notices that the reliquary is stirring in Anya’s presence which convinces him that she is Anastasia and then the relic plunges Bartok into the underworld where Rasputin is in limbo because the curse failed.  Raspy the plans to kill Anya as he has the source of his with his power back.

Rasputin tries to axe Anya a few times on the journey and fails but he does cause a lot of collateral damage. While Raspy fails, Dmitri and Vlad transform into Anya into a proper lady and teach her how to prove she is Anastasia, via song montage.

The gang reaches Paris and the meets Sophie, Marie’s cousin and Vlad’s old flame. Sophie interviews Anya and she proves to Dmitri that she is really Anastasia as he was the one who helped Anastasia and Marie out of the Palace as a kid. This bums Dmitri out since he is in love with her after all the bickering they did. They go to ballet to have Anya meet with Marie, however Anya overhears Marie chewing out Dmitri as a conman and this whole thing was just about the money, so Anya slaps him and decides to peace out of Paris that night, at least she got her Paris fun song montage.

Dmitri then kidnaps Marie and takes her to Anya’s room and shows her the box. Anya’s memories re-surface with the power of smell and the music box, which her keepsake necklace opens and the two are reunited.

Dmitri is offers the reward but doesn’t accept and peaces out. Anya then forced into her showdown with Rasputin which results is a lot of damage to both a nice bridge and her princess gown, that bastard. But Dmitri comes back and helps Anya defeat him and Raspy bits the dust, literally. Anya and Dmitri then elope and Grandmama is cool with it.

Anya and Pooka against St Petersburg Anastasia  picture image

Anya and Pooka against St Petersburg

Let’s not mince word here, the reason why Anastasia is bad is because it takes a very bloody tumultuous period of history and fantasizes it. This movie is only accurate to people’s names and nothing else. To enjoy this movie you pretty much have to forget this is based on historical figures. Really they didn’t get anything right. It’s not like Romanovs or Rasputin haven’t been depicted in films before but the movie really makes light of the historical climatic of Russia. I mean it’s a sad when a disco song is more historical accurate about Rasputin (it’s a fun song though).

To the film’s somewhat credit, they know this was fantasy and in classic Disney fashion follows their clues from a classic movie, in this case the 1956 Anastasia
movie starting Yul Bynner and Ingrid Bergman. However reading stuff on the film from The Art of Anastasia, it says that they wanted a My Fair Lady type story where a girl is transformed from something ordinary to something glorious and apparently the world princess got kicked around a lot so this was the story they decided on.

Would it have been better to not include this period of Russian history and instead have a clearly fictitious story with clearly fictitious characters with a Russian setting? Hard to say because the Anastasia myth captured the world’s imagination for a long period time. It’s an impossible story to tell cleanly for kids but clearly the people who worked on the film loved it tried hard even if it is  grossly inaccurate. Should we pass it because it’s children movie? No, that shouldn’t reason pass off this kind of stuff. It’s historically inaccurate, it just fact.

Vald, Anya, Pooka and Dmitri Learn to do it Anastasia  picture image

Vald, Anya, Pooka and Dmitri

If you can for 90 minutes tell your purist part of your brain to shut-up, Anastasia is a good movie. It has great pacing, a solid script, lovely animation, some great songs and some memorable characters. Vlad is likable, Pooka is adorable, Dmitri while a snarky lair does get a decent arc, Bartok thinks Raspy’s plan is dumb and Marie is somewhat harsh but kind. You understand them and that is something you don’t often get in movies.

Rasputin though is weak. I know we turned off our purist brains but the real Rasputin was a really intriguing figure and this movie doesn’t even try to capture him except one part of his death, the ice.

Rasputin and Bartok Anastasia  picture image

Rasputin and Bartok

This Rasputin is pissed off for getting fired or something so he tries to kill the royals. I mean Nicholas shouldn’t have fired crazy but really that is his motivation for selling his soul to the Dark Forces? Side note, movie can’t say Communism or evil or demonic. They can say comrade and dark forces though, so lame.

Rasputin as the antagonist is both obvious and contrived. He always took the indirect methods to kill Anya. Once made the train go crazy and destroyed a bridge, second to sneak in her dreams and tried to get her to jump off a boat, and the third to drown her by destroying another bridge. Rasputin doesn’t like bridges apparently, but likes water. He could used his dark minions to stop her heart or something but he had to go for theatrics and cause infrastructure damage. If you want  to watch a movie about Rasputin either watch Agony (which is a communist propaganda movie and he is a gross figure) or if you find it, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, staring Alan Rickman.

Anya journey to the past  Anastasia  picture image

Anya

Anya/Anastasia is great character. She’s tough and no-nonsense but she is compassionate and fun. She knows exactly wants; family and a home so she can know her past so she understand herself.

This makes her follow Ariel in a way, as Ariel knew what she wanted; the people world. The other Disney Princesses (and most of the non Disney Princesses, looking at you Yum-Yum) are more vague in their wants and desires. Anya, unlike the more classic Disney Princesses works at what she wants. She seeks out Dmitri for help but he needs her more than she needs him, she helps with getting out Raspy’s train plan and she kills Raspy, twice. Girl even fights in her princess gown. Anya is probably the closet to Mulan in activeness and Ariel is knowing what she really wants from life.

Anya and Dmitri being snarky train scene Anastasia  picture image

Anya and Dmitri being snarky

Anya and Dmtri’s romance is interesting. They spend enough time together to form an attraction that starts off as snarky but over time they come to respect each other. It is formulaic but enjoyable.

Anya singing Once Upon a December Anastasia picture image

Anya singing Once Upon a December

The animation is really good for the most part. The CG work looks dated and forced but hand-drawn stuff is lovely. They do repeat animation but you hardly notice.

The songs run the gambit from amazing to ok. Once upon a December is the best song in the movie. It’s beautiful and haunting. Journey to the past is good I want song and did get an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. In the Dark of the Night is a cool enough song but the bugs should have been skeletons or demons or something cool and creepy and there is some silly lyrics. The rest of the songs are ok. No complaints on the music it’s solid. And like Thumbelina the music numbers are all theatrical which is fun and memorable.

Some fun little Trivia- Helene Segara of Notre Dame de Paris, sang a cover of Once upon a December for the French Soundtrack and I used play Once upon a December on the Piano, I had the sheet music, it was my jam in the day.

Anya and Pooka Anastasia  picture image

Anya and Pooka

Anastasia suffers for its gross historical white washing but otherwise it’s a good entertaining movie. Did I mention this movie has a fucking puppy in it? PUPPIES! And not one but THREE PRETTY DRESSES!

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Quasimodo Homage in The Legend of Korra

Prince Wu Legend of Korra season 4 episode 3 picture image

Prince Wu, Legend of Korra

In Episode 3 of the fourth season of Legend of Korra, Prince Wu is talking about his cornation having aerobatic bell ringers.  Now be honest, when you hear Aerobatic Bell Ringers who do you think of? Quasimodo!

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo during Out There Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Really there is no other Aerobatic Bell Ringer.

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1986 Animation; So Lifeless it sucks the life right out of your eyes

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo

What can you say about the animation in the 1986 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s bad. Much like the character design it’s dull and uninspired.

Esmeralda Dancing 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Dancing

The first scene is this cool moody shot of Quasimoodo with gargoyles and if the rest of the movie followed in vein of cool gothic-ness it would have been awesome but since we have already discuss that Burbank Films Australia was about efficiency than style, the look of the thing is dashed in less than a minute when we see Esmeralda awkwardly twirling admits warm yet dull colors. The colors design in this was just a bad choice, nothing is vibrate or alive it just looks lifeless.

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo

Another factor of efficient style is the lack of full-legenth shots and movement. Most of the movie is taken in the 3/4 shots or close up. The staging and composition of scenes just get boring as it’s typically one character talking insolation in a 3/4 shot to another character in a 3/4 shot.

Frollo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

I will say that this version is less unabashed in laziness than the Enchanted Tales version but I think it was far less ambitious, in that way I respect this version more. Oh, it has its methods for padding things out, like letting 48 frames go by of nothing, just stillness, periodically throughout the movie.

Gringoire 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Gringoire

I feel like a broken record saying that the execution on this movie’s animation is dull and boring but that the truth of it. If the animation was even slightly better this would be held in higher esteem but the real sad truth of the matter if they had put any more effort in to this movie they wouldn’t have had follow the book as faithfully as the did.

Next time- Accuracy and Laziness

Esmeralda and Quasimodo at the Pillory 1986 the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Quasimodo at the Pillory

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Novel Conclusion

We finished reading/blogging about the Novel of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I hoped you guys found it enjoyable, sorry it took so long, so many chapters.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read this, at least four all the way through. Reading this time I found some flaws with the book. Like it’s very slow to start and Hugo bogs down the narrative with a lot of names of people that don’t matter in the scheme of things. Is this bad? No, not really, it’s a style but once you get through Hugo’s essays and long descriptions of Paris and the plot finally gets going the book is great.

Notre Dame de Paris Belle Esmeralda Helen Segara, Garou Quaismodo, Frollo Daniel Lavoie Phoebus Patrick fiori picture image

Notre Dame de Paris Belle with Garou, Daniel Lavoie, Patrick Fiori and Helene Segara

I love how in some parts the book are a bit silly and how other parts are so tragic, so many emotions and for the most part the movie get the emotional resonants of book but they really do just focus on Quasimodo’s emotions and not Frollo.

I think it’s understandable why, at the end Quasimodo is just more likable and understandably tragic. I just wish Frollo got as much time with his core emotional scenes as Quasimodo gets. To do that some actor would need to spear-head that vanity-project with himself as Frollo and not Quasimodo.

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Kenneth Haigh as Frollo and Christopher Gable as Gringoire

 

I think what a lot of version miss is the madness of the time, that is why Frollo original lie about sanctuary being dispelled is so important. It started off small and then exploded leading to the death a of great many people including most of the main characters. Films should try to work it in better instead not at all. The book isn’t so long that a film couldn’t add it but a mini-series would be better, like by the BBC, they do good work.

All in all the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a great book to read  even if you just skim parts and/or skip the essays and a bird-eye view of Paris. It really paints a great picture of the late medieval period and has a great range of emotions.

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Princess Mononoke Review; Kodama are the Greatest Things Ever

Princess Mononoke picture image

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke it was made but Studio Ghibli. It was released in Japan on July 12th, 1997 and was the highest grossing movie till Titanic. It was released in the United States on October 29th, 1999 by our old friends at Miramax. It didn’t do well at the American box-office but did well on DVD. Princess Mononoke pretty much introduced the west to Studio Ghibli.

Princess Mononoke has made my life slightly annoying as one of my favorite anime is called Mononoke and has nothing to do with with Princess Mononoke. Mononoke literally means Strange things. Mononoke can be used instead of the word youkai, which means ghosts or supernatural things like monsters and spirits. You can also get the OVA it was based off of, Ayakashi – Samurai Horror Tales, Vol. 3 – Goblin Cat, it’s so awesome.

Anyway, I watched this in Japanese with subtitles.

San and Ashitaka Princess Mononoke picture image

San and Ashitaka

Princess Mononoke follows Ashitaka, an Emishi Prince who travels west to the Forest of the Deer God to cure his curse that he got from a boar god who was corrupted by hate. The curse will eventually kill Ashitaka but does make him stronger, like he can take off people’s heads with single arrow.

Once he reaches the Forest he sees that there is the conflict between the Gods of the Forests and the people of the Ironworks, who are cutting down the tree in the Forest and the Mountain. On the side the god is San, the adoptive human daughter of the wolf God, Moro. San is Princess Mononoke.

On the ironwork side is Lady Eboshi, who employs women who once worked as prostitutes and leapers to work her guns.

Thing come to a head (pardon the pun) when a group of mercenarys try to take the Deer God’s head which supposedly grants immortality as the Deer-God is life itself.

Ashitaka rising of his Curse Princess Mononoke picture image

Ashitaka rising of his Curse

Much like Fergully, Princess Mononoke is an environmental movie about man vs nature. Unlike Ferngully, Princess Mononoke’s character are all shades of gray. Lady Eboshi is painted as the antagonist but she cares for women and leapers. The Gods are just as susceptible to anger and rage which when it consume them unleashes corruption which is what cursed Ashitaka in the first place and can kill people. Ashitaka is painted as the good guy but he sees both sides but he leans more on the God’s side than than with the humans. Ashitaka is also interesting in that his neutrality is that he is an outsider.

Ashitaka and Yakul  Princess Mononoke picture image

Ashitaka and Yakul

Princess Mononoke is a very sophisticated movie that is steeped in Japanese Culture, so much so that I can’t possible put in all in here. But it gives the environmental message a lot more weight than a made up mythos. The film never really explains thing like the political environment is bog down exposition but you get a sense of the turmoil. It also doesn’t really explain what the Gods are but you understand them on a basic level. This just lets the view be immersed in the world of the story. I had heard that the English version explains stuff and has more exposition.

San Princess Mononoke picture image

San

We discussed some of the major characters but let’s talk about San, our Princess. She is very different than every other Princess. She is was raise by wolves so she is unrefined and tough but by no means unkind. She really wants to kill Eboshi as she destroying her Forest and she will risk her life for to achieve that goal. She is the flip side of Eboshi. Where Eboshi is cool and tactical, San is wild and implosive.

San is a very adept fight as she is both vert fast and strong. She has no interest in human and she openly rejects it. She does like Ashitaka enough but no enough to go off with him at end.

The Deer God Princess Mononoke picture image

The Deer God Footstep

As is standard with Miyazaki’s movies, the animation is gorgeous. I really enjoy the animation on the Deer-God especially with his footsteps. The music is also lovely and during the slower point the film is very calming.

Lady Eboshi with the Deer God's Head Princess Mononoke picture image

Lady Eboshi with the Deer God’s Head

I would say the only issue I have with Princess Mononoke is the ending felt rushed and bit contrived. It’s like the need additional conflict in the narration since the Gods and Human were at a stalemate so that is why we have the Deer-God head and the mercenaries. Apparently the storyboard for the ending were only finished a few months before the film’s premiere, so it makes sense.

Kodama Princesss Mononoke picture image

Kodama

Princess Mononoke is really a stunning movie with great visuals and great characters. The ending is a little forced but you are so caught up in the world that you don’t really notice. The Tree Spirits or the Kodama are so awesome with their clicking head!

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Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os

October this year is all about Pumpkin Spice in EVERYTHING! Soon your tires will have that warm Pumpkin-spice Smell.

So to capitalize of this trend Quasi-Brand Cereal has released Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os cereal. With Shiny Bells, Lively Tamabourines, Lusty Flames, Stoney Gargoyles, Majestic Notre Dames and Sparkly Gold Coins Marshmallows!

Pumpkin Spice Frollo Froll-Os hunchback Notre dame cereal

Pumpkin Spice Froll-Os

There Lustfully Delicious.

Be Honest, Who wishes this was real?

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1986 Character Design; Shaggy is that You?

Esmeralda 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Esmeralda

The character design in the 1986 version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame looks like Scooby Doo knock-off, we all know it and we all think it.

Scooby Doo Characters picture image

Scooby Doo Characters

They have the same basic look with the same black soulless eyes that are the same basic shapes as the Scooby Doo Characters. Esmeralda has Daphne-like eyes and everyone has the same shape But why is that? Did Scooby Doo and this version of the Hunchback have the same person in common? That was my thought because they look too damn similar but no, they don’t have anyone in common.

Gringoire 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Gringoire

Scooby Doo was done by Hanna Barbera and started in 1969. The 1986 version of Hunchback was done by Burbank Films Australia. The animation directors were Warwick Gilbert and Geoff Collins. Both of them have worked for Disney, Gilbert worked on some the TV shows and the sequel movies (shudders) and Collins does timing stuff including the timing on the Disney Version of Hunchback. So they are not to blame for the look. The story broad artist was Richard Slapczynski but again he doesn’t seem like he was reasonable for the Scooby look. I can’t find some one to blame but it’s not a question of who but what.

Esmeralda and Gringoire 1986 the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Gringoire

Burbank Films Australia is to blame! They began in 1982 and they just made TV movies and directed-to-video animated movies based on classic literature and stories. 1986 was a busy year from them as the churned out seven movies that year, Hunchback was their second of the year after The Three Musketeers. Also this movie debuted on TV. They clearly made their films as quickly as they could so the animation and character design suffered a lot not to mention the story and script, this is making sense now. The style may have been influenced by Scooby Doo as it’s very popular but it was probably for more for efficiency sake than artistic intent.

Quasimodo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

1986 Quasimodo

As it stands the character design is bland and uninspired. They look very simple and anything interesting about them is just baffling, like Frollo in red. Why? Much like their personalities their looks are watered down and boring.

I will give it a little credit, they make the character look like the character they are depicting. It’s not a great compliment, but Esmeralda and Phoebus are pretty, Gingoire looks like a hapless wimp, Frollo is austere if still in red, Quasimodo has a kindly expression and Clopin fits the part, remember in the Jetlag version when Clopin looked like a monster. It’s a small thing that the design for the characters but in this sort of movie made by company that just spat out movies one after after another, it’s something but then again you except characters to look the original characters so it’s really not much of a compliment.

 Clopin with thin legged extras 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Clopin with thin legged extras

And when you really compare Scooby Doo and this version, the similarities are only in  the eyes and faces. The Scooby Doo characters have more variety of shapes to their bodies. The characters in the 1986 Hunchback have thin stick-legs legs and larger torso. There is some variation but that is pretty much the going look of the characters.

Frollo 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Frollo

If Burbank Films Australia put more time into the execution of the character designs it would have been so much better then again if they had tried in any aspect of the film it would have been better and we would have had a great animated adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame instead just the simple utilitarian version that this movie is.

Next Time – The Animation……….. -_-

Esmeralda Dancing 1986 Hunchback Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Dancing

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Project Re-Read Book 11, Chapters 2-4 (END)

Book 11, Chapter 2, La Creature Bella Bianco Vestita

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City picture image

The Death of Esmeralda (Alessandra Ferrari), World Tour Cast Notre Dame de Paris, Crocus City

We have two deaths in this chapter, Frollo and Esmeralda. Poor Esmeralda is hanged right in front of Frollo and Quasimodo. Frollo gives out a terrible laugh and Quasimodo pushes him off of Notre Dame. Frollo clings to a gutter, much like the Disney version, but he falls and lands on a roof. He finally dies when he fall of the roof and on to the pavement. The sight of Esmeralda and Frollo both dead it too much for Quasimodo and he utters “ Oh, all that I ever loved.”

 

The 1956 almost got it but it cuts to Monfaucon before the tragic line can be uttered. The 1977 version does play out this scene well to a point but it’s ruined with Gringoire being like “yay, I’m alive” and people dancing around while Esmeralda’s body swings on the gibblet and Frollo’s corpse litters the pavement. Notre Dame de Paris does this scene really well even thought the line isn’t said  but the emotional impact more than makes up for it.

 

Book 11, Chapter 3, Marriage of Phoebus

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour picture image

Lilly-Jane Young as Fleur de Lys & Stephen Webb as Phobus, Notre Dame de Paris Asian Tour

This chapter give us closure on Gringoire and Phoebus. Gringoire saved Djali and wrote tragedies so he has a “punny” tragic ending. Phoebus wasn’t so lucky he got a tragic ending too but he got married. Victor Hugo at the time he wrote The Hunchback was unhappy in his marriage. After the birth of his youngest daughter, Adele, his wife ended their intimate relationship as she had a lover. Hugo also had a lover but he was he down on the institution.

The 1977 stupid dance at the end is actually Phoebus’ wedding and in Notre Dame de Paris Phoebus and Fleur de Lys exchange a look that indicates they are heading for marriage, so this chapter have been referred to in these versions.

 

Book 11, Chapter 4, Marriage of Quasimodo

Garou as Quasimodo & Helene Segara Danse mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Danse Mon Esmeralda, Notre Dame de Paris

This chapter always leaves me with a tear in my eye, it’s so bittersweet. After Esmeralda’s death Quasimodo disappears from Notre Dame. Roughly two years later at Monfaucon two skeletons are found in embrace one is Esmeralda and the other is Quasimodo. Quasimodo had sneaked in and laid down beside Esmeralda and died. As Quasimodo’s remains do not belong there, the men try to remove them but they crumbling to dust. Quasimodo crumbling to dust and erasing his existent from the Earth bring the them of Ananke full -circle.

So sad and quite lovely. One version has done this scene pretty much while another just hints at it. The one that did it was 1956 version, though we are just told about the the Quasimodo turning to dust. Instead we just see him settle down next to Esmeralda. It was done well. But Notre Dame de Paris which hints at it does this scene amazingly well. It because the song, Danse Mon Esmeralda, is so full of emotional impact that the tears just flow. It’s so sad …………….

We’re done, next week some final thoughts.

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The Thief And The Cobbler Review: This Movie is Obsessed with Balls

The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

The Thief And The Cobbler

Before we discuss The Thief And The Cobbler we need to discuss the Thief and the Cobbler. This was to be Richard Williams’ masterpiece. Richard Williams is most known for the animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He started The Thief And The Cobbler in 1964 and it was released 1995. Williams spent his own money to make the movie. There is actually a few versions of this kicking around. There the original version, entitled The Thief And The Cobbler, there is the Allied Filmmakers version called The Princess and the Cobbler and then there is the Miramax version called Arabian Knight, which is technically the version I’m reviewing though it exists under the name The Thief And The Cobbler.

Confused yet? Wait there is more, there is also versions of the film that feature unfinished parts which shows it as Williams intended it, these versions are the WorkPrint version and The ReCobbled Cut.

So the version that I suffered through for this review is the 1995 Miramax Arabian Knight version which is a soul-crushing ass of a film.

Tack and ZigZag The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Tack and ZigZag

There is the this city which they call Baghdad, and it’s protected by three golden balls against King One-Eye. Just get used to the words balls and giggle accordingly. There is also exposition on Arabian Knights and stars and stuff. Our narrator is Tack, a cobbler and there is also a thief who’s internal monologue will never shut-up ever. The Thief isn’t a thief so much as a kleptomaniac but thief is a shorter word. The Thief tries to steal from Tack and that leads to Tack to getting trouble with ZigZag, the Jafar of this story.

We are then introduced to Yum-Yum who is the Princess and guess what! There is more to her than beauty and she wants more out life than her royal life. BITCH, DO CHARITY WORK! Zigazag arrests Tack and brings him before King Nod and Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum takes a liking to Tack and breaks her shoe to spare him from ZigZag’s wrath. We then learn that ZigZag plans to marry Yum-Yum so he can rule the city. Which is the plan for every bad guy in children movies with an Arabian setting, marry the girl and then rule, heck that was the plan from The Swan Princess which we looked at last week. Oh well classics tropes and whatnot.

We then see Yum-Yum and Tack hanging before Yum-Yum takes her bath. As that is happening the Thief sneaks in to the palace looking for stuff to steal. The Thief steals Yum-Yum’s back scratcher and then runs into Tack and steals her shoe. Tack chases the Thief and is once again is arrested by ZigZag and puts him into a cell. Then queue the bland love you missing you song from Tack and Yum-Yum. After knowing each other maybe 20 minutes they love each other but then again they are so bland that they know everything about each other already.

The next day Tack escapes the cell as the Thief steals the Golden Balls. As that is happening the King, Yum-Yum and Zigzag learn that King One-Eye is going to attack. They then see the balls are gone and ZigZag manages to take the balls back from the Thief and tries to uses them as leverage to marry Yum-Yum which doesn’t work so ZigZag decides to give the Balls to King One-Eye. Hehehehhehe, Balls

Team good-guys learns about a good witch in the desert who might be able to help them, The Good Witch is King One-Eye’s Twin sister. Yum-Yum thinks she should go because she is smarter and faster than everyone else ever, in the history in the universe. She picks Tack to be her guide because likes him.

As they leave for the desert, the Thief follows. Why? Who knows? The Plot? They then meet brigands and they find the witch with little effort. She gives them vague advice mainly Attack or A Tack, get it? Ha! So clever. ZigZag convinces One-Eye to left him join their side if he can have Yum-Yum and he surrenders the balls. Hehehehhehe, Balls

Tack pretty much single-handedly defects the One-Eye with a Tack, ZigZag is eaten by crocodiles and his vulture Fido (Fido also never shuts-up), the Thief gives the balls back to the King and Yum-Yum and Tack get married. Yay, I so don’t give a shit.

Princess Yum-Yum and Tack The Thief And The Cobblerpicture image

Princess Yum-Yum and Tack

This movie is a huge septic mess. The characters are just beyond weak, the story is laughable to the point of madness, William’s animation is lovely but the filler animation is the excrement of lesser animation. Really, it’s kind of fun and sad to spot the difference between the two even in a single scene.

The Thief, Tack and ZigZag The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

The Thief, Tack and ZigZag

Watching the ReCobbled cut, I would say that the idea of the movie was not a character driven as the titulars characters are pretty much silent. However that is not the case in this version as the once silent characters never shut-up, like ever. Well strictly speaking they think their lines. The Thief’s brain never stops with the pop reference which so, so annoying. The voice also doesn’t suit him. Tack is just as annoying but Tack sometimes says stuff.

The intention with Tack is he is supposed to be shy and then he turns into a hero but whatever character arc he is supposed to have is really weak pretty much non-existent. One could argue that the Thief giving the balls back could be a character arc but it’s not because he continues stealing. No character has an arc in this movie. Do movies need to have characters that have arcs? No they don’t but arcs do add interest. If the movie was as Williams has intended it to be where the movie was surreal artistic animated fantasy movie where the animation is star it wouldn’t matter but here in this version it does as that was the idea. But then again this movie was a lazy attempt to rip off Aladdin so who real cares about good character development.

ZigZag is Disney’s Jafar but with Vincent Price’s voice in rhyme. He is not remotely interesting. The most that can be said in his favor is Vincent Price.

The brigands were just awful, I hated every second of them on screen. Mainly because they are so dumb that they need to consult a book that tells them to attack but in like 5 seconds they forget that at least one of them can read. Fucking useless waste of paper.

Princess Yum-Yum The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Princess Yum-Yum

Then we have our darling Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum like pretty much every other Princess as she wants vague more-ness from life.

I will give her some credit, she does not have a self-esteem problem at all. She knows she is pretty, smart and fast, even though she doesn’t do anything that exhibits though traits beside being pretty which one can see. She doesn’t do anything really. She goes after the witch just prove her awesomeness to her father. She does managed to get away from ZigZag but she doesn’t really contribute to the final show-down. She’s bland pure and simple.

Princess Yum-Yum The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Princess Yum-Yum

I have talked a little bit the animation and the songs. The trippy animation of Williams’ is wonderful and the trippy surreal-ness of the movie is the highlight. The crappy filler animation is awful.

Every single song in this movie is shit. They are all lazy and tedious. They were all added by Miramax.  The song that was sung by the brigands made me want to chop my ears off. Then after that song the Thief compared it to Le Mis. The Fuck? Really, most of the Thief’s references are weird. I mean he references Mel Torme because kids know Le Mis and Mel Torme? But yes, the songs are mouth diarrhea. I have no positives.

Tack The Thief And The Cobbler picture image

Tack

The Thief And The Cobbler or Arabian Knight or whatever you want it call is a hot crap of a mess. It has no identity, it tries to to be Disney with the surrealism of Williams’ animation and the two do not mesh together.

Clearly Miramax completed it to cash in on Aladdin. It’s ashamed that Williams’ animation is basis for the cesspool assness. I recommend just watching the ReCobbled cut as it’s far less painful to watch. There is also more sex in the ReCobbled Cut, no seriously there is. You can find it on Youtube.

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