Episode 1: Tale of Two Sisters

Georgina Haig as Elsa & Elizabeth Lail as Anna ABC's Once Upon a Time Tale of Two Sisters picture image

Georgina Haig as Elsa & Elizabeth Lail as Anna

Going to be honest, not a fan of this episode. I feel like the show getting cheesier. One reason for this is how on the nose the Frozen material. I would guess the reason is that Frozen is Disney’s most successful product line so leaving it as pretty much an off shot of movie makes monetary sense, why mess with something profitable? It just feel so diveritive. I feel like part of the strength of this show is the reimaging aspect not how close it is to the original movie. I mean for fuck sake they recreated  the split door scene from Do you want to build a Snowman with Emma and Regina.       

So speaking of Regina, she is now reverting slightly to her not to nice self as her plan is rewrite the book so villains can get their happy ending. Also Rumple and Belle found a mansion for their Honeymoon and even they got a divertive scene recreating the Beauty and the Beast dress. And someone they made that yellow gown look so childish. Her other yellow gown was better. OUAT why do you constantly try to upset me with your costumes?  Also the show throws the hat from soccer’s apprentice in there. Sure, why not? I hope the dinosaurs from Rite of Spring the dancing Hippos makes an appearance in this show too, I’m sure the writers can figure out how to work them in. I mean the romance with the hippo and crocodile was palpable or some magical McGuffin artifact from there will save the day at the last minute.   

Also The Enchanted Forest has another name, Mist Haven. Why? It never seemed Misty so why?  Is there Mist surrounding it?  EXPLAIN SHOW! Or why bother even calling Mist Haven for no reason other than a few minutes of mystery. 

This episode was a tepid start to this season. Also they had  Sven (best character in Frozen), Marshmallow and the rock trolls, can’t wait to see Olaf! There better be Olaf!

 

Episode 2: White Out

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan & Georgina Haig as Elsa ABC's Once Upon a Time White Out picture image

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan & Georgina Haig as Elsa


Really episode? You made Bo Peep a Warlord? You OUAT writers are smoking so strong stuff. Like in no way should Little Bo Peep be menacing. Also in the plot of the past, Anna teaches David, who is still a shepard, how to not give up and how to sword fight. So lovable, goofy Anna is a pro at sword-fighting. I don’t know either. The past portion called for too much suspension of disbelief to be enjoyable.

In Storybrooke, Elsa puts up an wall, insert a topical joke here if you want or even Game of Thrones. The ice wall knocks out the power. The power outrage fuels the B plot line where Snow has to fix it because she now deemed the mayor and mayors are electricians, but she does fix it. Also in the B plot, or maybe it’s  the C plot, Henry is trying to cheer up Regina with wine and chocolates, Henry is weird. Anyway Regina doesn’t want to see him but he doesn’t give up.  Okay back to A plot, so many plots in this show per episode, Emma, David and Hook check out the wall and Emma sees Elsa. Elsa gets spooked and traps Emma and herself in like an ice cave thing. Emma nearly dies but David convince Elsa to help Emma because he knew Anna. So it turns out Elsa isn’t going to be a villain, you really had me going there show (sarcasm). In the end the crew is going to help Elsa find Anna as Elsa thinks Anna is in Storybrooke because of a Anna’s necklace was in Rumple’s shop. Elsa tries to remove the wall but can’t because the ice cream lady is also so ice wielding magic user, dun dun DUNN!

 Let’s talk some reference. Regina  sends a crow or raven with a message saying she wants to be alone. You know the saying from Game of Throne “Dark Wings, Dark Words.” Totally applicable here. That is a straightforward one however towards the end of the episode in the past section David’s mother gives Anna some sandwiches to which says she loves sandwiches. This is a slight reference to Love is an Open Door where the lyrics go

Hans: I mean it’s crazy…
Anna: What?
Hans: We finish each other’s-
Anna: Sandwiches!  

That in it of itself is a reference to Arrested Development Season 3, Episode 11, Family Ties. That is like referential inception.  

I also just want to touch on my thoughts of the actress playing Anna. In no way do I think she can’t act but I don’t believe her as Anna. She pretty much just a  Kristen Bell impression, which was pretty much Anna. I find her performance a little distracting. She may grow into it but right now, it’s not working.           
Personally,  I did not like this episode. The A plot with Emma and Elsa was fine but everything else was too much to deal with, I can’t process the idea of Little Bo Peep as a magical Warlord, maybe with the right chemical combination, maybe but sober, nope. The Hook/Emma hug was nice.  

Warning, Kind-Rant-y

My Crack Team of Young, Impression and Insecure, teenage girls a.k.a Disney Princesses picture image

Disney Princesses

In liking  some more nerdy media, like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, you find yourself looking into Fan-Theory. Personally, I enjoy fan-theories and speculating but sometimes they can be a bit of stretch especially all the ones for Star Wars…#Reysfatherislonestar (let me know if you get this.)  The fan-theories that are really the most annoying to read or hear about are the ones about Disney movies.

The Lamp Seller Aladdin picture image

The Lamp Seller Aladdin

The Disney Fan-theory just take whatever Easter Eggs or aspects of the production and just try and give it a deeper meaning that are often beyond ridiculous. The only one I really do subscribe to was the Genie being the Lamp seller and I don’t really want to pat myself on the pat but that was my thought when I first saw the movie in theatres as young child and I was by no means a smart child. But while we’re on the subject of Aladdin the one that annoys me is because of the mere fact that Robin Williams ad-libs and did impression in the movie led some people to think Aladdin took place in a post-apocalyptic world. Not that this REALLY debunks it but I had this mini Aladdin hardcover book  that was a summary of the movie, and I swear it had a year given in it for when it took place. I can’t recall exactly but it was around 900 A.D. Again doesn’t debunk the theory but the point is  Williams ad-lib and they took it as a cue for a deeper meaning.

Tarzan Parents picture image

Tarzan Parents

All the Disney theories are just so far-reaching. I won’t say that Game of Thrones or Star Wars aren’t but they are not bad as the Disney ones.  My least favorite has to be Tarzan’s parents are Anna and Elsa’s parents but Tarzan takes place sometime during the Victorian era but Frozen doesn’t seem to and Rapunzel is in Frozen and that is certain not Victorian. Your eyes will go cross if you think about it for too long.  Also they look nothing like Elsa and Anna’s parents in fact they look more like Anastasia and Dmitri but darn, not a Disney movie, plus again wrong time period. 

Belle, Carpet, Pumbaa Disney Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King

Belle, Carpet, and Pumbaa

Also speaking of Tarzan, another theory is Belle is an ancestor of Jane BECAUSE Jane has a teapot and cup that looks like Mrs. Potts and chip. It’s not an easter egg it’s a clue. But then how do people explain how Hercules got Scar’s pelt? Did the Lion King take place at the same time as ancient Greece? Wouldn’t have the Hyenas torn up Scar’s skin when they ripped him apart? And then with all this logic is Little Mermaid a contemporary of Aladdin since Sebastien was in Aladdin? Is The Little Mermaid post-apocalyptic? Are Mermaid’s mutant?   But isn’t The Little Mermaid in Neverland since people think Ariel’s mom is one of those Mermaids in Peter Pan because one of the mermaid looks like Ariel even though Ariel was going to originally have Blond hair  till Splash happen. Oh but Belle, Carpet from Aladdin and Pumbaa are in Hunchback! Where is the theory to explain those?  I’m confusing myself now.

Belle and the Provincial Town, Beauty and the Beast picture image

Belle and the Provincial Town, Beauty and the Beast

Well since Hunchback doesn’t  have any popular theory here one that doesn’t make sense but doesn’t not make  either. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle acts like she is rather above the village. She calls it poor and provincial and she fully admits she doesn’t fit in with the townspeople. So WHAT if Belle and her father were originally from Paris. They had to  move to the quiet provincial town to escape  Frollo’s genocide of the Gypsy as their house had gotten burned down in the fired Frollo created. The farm the live in the move belonged to Belle’s mother. This theory also ties into the adsenty royal family as Frollo doesn’t have to deal with a King and why one cares or knew about a Prince seemingly vanishing.  Despite the fact that Hunchback is clearly medieval and Beauty and Beast has a somewhat 18th style especially since Cogsworth mentioned the Baroque era which was from 1600-1750 seems unlikely and Beauty and the Beast have a bonus that they take place in the some country at the very least.  I guess I need to figure out Pumbaa and Carpet since theories have Carpet in a post-apocalyptic world and Pumbaa lived sometime during 5th century. Also why does Hercules have Gospel music with an  Ancient Greece setting? Off Subject…   

Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Djali Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

The point is these theories have no sense of the movie’s setting and tone and rely on Easter Eggs and other production decisions  to connect dots that aren’t really there.

It’s Christmas time! A great thing to get for yourself or as gift are ornaments. Disney puts out a lot of ornaments and Hunchback has gotten a few, won’t say a lot. I do like this one because it depicts a nice scene from the movie  and has a nice sense of togetherness which just sums up the Holiday times.

Disney Quasimodo and Esmeralda Christmas ornament Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo and Esmeralda Christmas ornament

 

However maybe you’re not in the market for a Hunchback ornament. Don’t worry there are plenty and I do mean plenty of other Disney Holiday ornament for you.  These are really just a few, there are so very, very many. This isn’t like a list or anything just a super minimal sampling.

2016 Disney Ornament  picture image

2016 Disney Ornament

 

I like how simple and to the point this one it. It’s classic Disney yet fun and simple.

 

Eeyore Ornament picture image

Eeyore Ornament

 

I admit it, I have a soft spot for Eeyore. I like how he is tangled in lights.

 

Elsa, Anna, Olaf Ornament Frozen picture image

Elsa, Anna, Olaf Ornament

I love how wintery this one is plus it has that feeling of togetherness that Hunchback one also has.

Moana Ornament picture image

Moana Ornament

The Newest Princess.

 

Also if your if more Holiday crazy and ornament are too basic for you there is this Disney Christmas insanity,

Disney Tabletop Christmas Tree picture image

Disney Tabletop Christmas Tree

This is for serious Disney/ Christmas fans!

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

As mentioned before  Hunchback versions seldom ever passes The Bechdel Test, including the Disney version read here.  But it made me think about the other Disney movies. I was going to go through and look at each movie but I  don’t have to because this site  did all the work for me, http://disney-blog.com/2011/05/the-bechdel-test-and-disney-films/. But I’m going to offer some analysis.

Disney Princess Line UP with Esmeralda, Megara and Kida, picture image

Disney Princess Line UP with Esmeralda, Megara and Kida

As a refresher, to pass the test a work needs to meet 3 criteria; 1) It has to have at least two named female characters, 2) That talk to each other 3) About something other than a male.  Most movies fail the Bechdel test. Also passing or failing does not indicate the quality of a movie. Terrible movie pass and great movies fail.

Aurora and Prince Phillip Sleeping Beauty picture image

Aurora and Prince Phillip Sleeping Beauty

So what does this mean for Disney?  Well the purpose of the test is show the  female presence in a given movie.  Interestingly enough the older movies, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty all pass. Which is valid as at least with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty  there is a decent amount of named female characters. Though movies that don’t have lots of female characters still pass, like 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Hercules, and even The Emperor’s New Groove, which is a male buddy comedy.

Jasmine Aladdin picture image

Jasmine

Movies like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are often criticized for passive lead female characters but the most of the characters in the movies are females. So having one strong likable female character doesn’t help the over-all female presence. Like Aladdin fails, hard.

Ariel's Fin The Little Mermaid picture image

Ariel

I would disagree with The Little Mermaid failing as the site says because Ariel and Ursula had a fairly long conversation about a few topics, I would give it a pass.  The Lion King could have passed if Nala and Sarabi had spoken more. I’m a little unsure if Snow White should have gotten the pass, as the Queen has a name but after the fact. Her name isn’t said in the movie. Though to be fair, I haven’t seen Snow White in a very long time.

Elsa and Anna frozen picture image

Elsa and Anna

I do find it interesting that with modern day Disney movies that are Princess that try to aim with boys in mind they do keep a strong female presence. Tiana with her mother, Rapunzel with her “mother” and the sisters of Frozen.

Yzma The Emperor's New Groove picture image

Yzma

I would  thought more Disney movies would have failed but it pretty mixed. It’s just really interesting that the older princess movies have a stronger female presence than the Disney movies that have a single “strong” and “Independent”  female character.

The Gargoyles were by in large, the biggest flaw in Disney’s The Hunchback in Notre Dame. Out of the three Gargoyles, Hugo was the most annoying. He was loud, brash and stupid. In June 2013 Disney released a teaser trailer for Frozen that featured Olaf and Sven trying to get Olaf’s carrot nose on ice. This was not a good introduction to Olaf because all he did was laugh. For many people they thought this snowman was going to be annoying. Perhaps not as annoying as Hugo but still annoying. As it turns out Olaf wasn’t annoying, he was likable.

Olaf vs Hugo

Olaf vs Hugo

Olaf and Hugo are polar opposites while still being very similar. They are both short comic relief sidekick who are of the magically variety that help the main protagonist. But where Hugo is loud, Olaf has a soft tone most of the time, where Hugo talks about looks all the time, Olaf talks about people’s warmth. Olaf seems to have a childlike innocences while Hugo is more affective. Olaf wants warm hugs and to see summer while Hugo wants Quasimodo to get a girlfriend or to at least gain some self-worth.

Anna and Olaf Frozen picture image

Anna and Olaf

And this makes sense with their characters. Olaf is newly given life in the movie so his innocence makes sense. I’m sure Disney could have made him loud rough talking like so many of the 90’s sidekick but the soft innocence worked so much better and was refreshing.

Hugo playing poker Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Hugo playing poker Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hugo on the other hand was a product of the other Disney movie cashing in on the wisecracking sidekicks. His affectedness makes sense if you think of him as part of an old work structure. It could make sense if he was a facet of Quasimodo’s personality too. Maybe Hugo is Quasimodo’s Id personified (more on this in a future blog post).

Sven and Olaf from Frozen picture image

Sven and Olaf from Frozen

While Hugo brings down The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s not really his fault that he is a product of the Disney Standard of the time. He is a colossal fail and that why Olaf, Sven and even Tangled sidekicks are refreshing and seem better by comparison. Olaf clear winner.

Frozen picture image

Frozen

Back in August 2013, I did a post mainly centered on Frozen and its lack of style when compared to the 2-D drawn movies. Frozen hit theaters on Thanksgiving 2013 to a lot of praise. But is that praise deserving or are people just blinded by the snow?

The answer, is yes, it is deserving of praise. Frozen despite its first trailer, which was bad, is a very an entertaining and engaging movie.

 

Anna Frozen picture image

Anna

Let’s just get the style and the look of the movie out of the way. Yes, it looks like Tangled, hell Rapunzel and Flynn had cameos and Anna and Elsa look like Rapunzel. While it is annoying that the 3-D Disney movies have little variation in the female looks and not the men, I can justify this. Perhaps their royal families married and they are cousins or something, I would buy that. But please Disney try some new female looks the same face with freckles are getting old. Maybe go different place in this 3-D world, like Spain that would be fun.

 

Elsa Frozen picture image

Elsa

The characters, are all great especially Elsa. Elsa is no doubt the most complex character Disney has come with. I read that she started at the antagonist  but the song Let it go forced them to rework her character and gave us the sister angle. She is so complex that she great to watch. The other characters are all good. I was surprised by Olaf. After that trailer I wanted to hate him but the voice actor, Josh Gad, made him work in a charming way. I adored Sven. Anna is a bit annoying at time but she didn’t bother me.

 

Anna and Olaf Frozen picture image

Anna,  Olaf and Kristoff

If you read my other Frozen post  you would get the impression that I’m down on 3-D Disney movies in favor of 2-D animation ones. That is a little true, Tangled was not enhanced by being in 3-D it could have been in 2-D easy by not Frozen. The snow and the ice looked beautiful in the 3-D rendering and that was the point. There should  be some reason for the medium. It seemed like Tangled was the experiment and Frozen was the pay-off.

 

 Elsa and Anna frozen picture image

Elsa and Anna

I like how Disney is playing with their own tropes, Elsa telling Anna she can’t marry some she just met, Hans being the bad guy (he’s a bit like Gaston in that way) and true love being between sisters.  It’s really refreshing and playful.  Fun question, because Hans is the villain, does that make the romance song, Love is an open door, the villain song?  Talk about playing with  your tropes!

 

Trolls Frozen picture image

The Trolls

The movie is not without it’s problems, Hans was weak and dumb about political maneuvers, but the reveal was great, the deus ex machina ship at the end, the flow of the plot is clunky in places, it has a little bit of pan-scandinavian confusion  and I found the troll weak. The clunky parts are forgivable and Disney has never been one for 100%  cultural authenticity so that is forgivable too. The design of the Trolls were boring and franky they don’t look look like they belong to this movie. They could have more fun with the designs. The only good thing about them was Olaf’s reaction. It would have been amazing if they had been inspired by the Moomins but then again I love the Moomins, so bias. The trolls are small issue it just wish there was more too them then moss cover rocks.

 

Elsa, Frozen

Elsa

All in all Frozen was a great Disney movie. It had all the facets that make a Disney movie,  memorable songs, characters and animation, and Let it Go had all these things. All the things Disney has been lacking recently . Could Frozen mark the next Golden Age? Only the next few movie will tell and hopefully they will be just as good as Frozen.

Walt Disney Characters  picture image

Walt Disney Characters

I grew up Disney, hell most of us have. But few of us remember when Disney wasn’t not the huge power house it was in the 1990s. Prior 1990 Disney was going through a slump, The Black Caldron was a major failure and lead animator, Don Bluth left to form a rival animation company that made such great animated films as The Secret of NiMH, An American Tale, and my personal favorite The Land Before Time . And then everything changed with the success of Roger Rabbit. From then, Disney went into a Golden Age making such gems as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. After The Lion King, Disney slipped a little. The films after Lion King did not do as well. And then Pixar walked into Disney’s life and pretty much saved Disney. Since Pixar’s success, Disney’s focus has shifted from the 2-d hand-drawn animated movies to 3-D animated movies. Disney in addition to producing Pixar movies also have made a few 3-D movies on their own. The only recent 2-d animated movie they did was the 2009 The Princess and the Frog which returned to the princess formula. It wasn’t a bad movie, though why they got Randy Newman and not Alan Menken is beyond me. They also made in 2011, Winnie the Pooh. However, neither The Princess and Frog or 2011’s Winnie the Pooh were a huge commercial success and Disney has no plans to make any more hand-drawn movies at present.

Sven and Olaf from Frozen picture image

Sven and Olaf from Frozen

Disney is still going on the princess angle though with its 3-D movies. In 2010 Disney made Tangled which was based on the Fairy Tale Rapunzel. Tangled was meh-ish at best. It had a nice story, some decent songs but the character never captured me except the horse and the lizard. Now Disney is set to release Frozen. Frozen is very very very loosely based off the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Snow Queen.”

The Swing  by Jean-Honore Fragonard picture image

The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Here is my point, when I saw concept art for Tangled and Frozen I thought “Wow cool.” Tangled was said to take an art style from the Rocco painting “The Swing.” I kind of imagined the film would emulate that painting more. But Nope, Tangled looks fairly genetic 3-D movie. I really only seen the influence in the leaves.

Frozen Concept Art picture image

Frozen Concept Art

And now that feeling of genericness is justified in Frozen. The concept art I saw was really cool, it has an unearthly look to the Snow Queen. Now she just looks more like the blue fairy.

Anna (Frozen) & Rapunzel (Tangled)) picture image

Anna (Frozen) & Rapunzel (Tangled))

But the main thing is Rapunzel and Anna (Frozen’s Heroine ) look alike. The animators can the changes colors all they want, the viewing public is not that stupid. They have the same eye shape, lips, nose, cheeks, hell they even both have freckles. Really, they could be characters in the same movie. Lush leaves and snow do not constitute a distinct style and feel for a movie. But then again made they are meant to take place in the same world. However if Disney continues with this style it going to get boring. Oh Wait, it’s already boring!

 

A Side-by-Side Comaparsion of teh styles of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast  picture image Belle Esmeralda

A Side-by-Side Comaparsion of teh styles of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast

The great thing about Disney’s hand-drawn films is that they had different styles to complement the story. The Little Mermaid doesn’t look like Mulan. Even Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame which take place in the same Country and were done by the same directors look stylistically different. (Fun Fact – when Frozen was being development, at one point Hunchback and Beauty and Beast Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale were recruited to direct the film but the project was put on hold.)

Walt Disney drawing Steamboat Willie picture image

Walt Disney drawing Steamboat Willie

You have to wonder is the ease of computers robbing Disney of its style when it comes to the look and feel of its films? Given Tangled and Frozen, I would say yes. Most of the 3-D fair movie look plastic and devoid of personality. But perhaps Disney can pioneer the 3-D art to have give it a whole new look. Or better yet GO BACK TO THE HAND-DRAWN FILMS!!!!!!!!!!