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Non-Review Review: Saving Mr. Banks

“I’m tired of remembering it that way,” Walt Disney admits of his childhood at the climax of Saving Mr. Banks, in a rare moment of personal candour. There are moments when Saving Mr. Banks seems to come very close to working – exploring the link that exists between memory and imagination. In a way, that’s very much what Walt Disney was all about, adapting and renovating classic stories in such a way that they seemed to be more the stories that we wanted to hear than the stories that we remember.

Unfortunately, for too much of its runtime, Saving Mr. Banks serves more of an example of the process of “imagineering” that an exploration of it.

savingmrbanks1

It’s not quite tell-all-vision…

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Non-Review Review: Brave

Brave is certainly a significant improvement upon Cars 2, even if it doesn’t necessarily measure up the finest films in the Pixar stable. Part of the problem is the sense that, for the first time, the studio is telling a story that isn’t really their own. I know that particular films in the studio’s history owe a great deal to certain influences (The Incredibles to The Fantastic Four, for example), but Brave really feels like the studio is very much trying to put its own take on the conventional “Disney Princess” movie. While the results are certainly interesting, it never feels like Braveis entirely comfortable with itself. While the film is, technically speaking, quite impressive, it does feel like it never quite strikes the right balance.

The right to bear arms…

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Home of the Brave: Is Brave a Pixar Princess Movie?

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time getting too excited about Brave. To be honest, the notion of an original Pixar movie should be a breath of fresh air after the incredibly disappointing Cars 2. The studio is, after all, responsible for quite a few modern classics – those rare cinematic treats that the entire family can sit down and enjoy together. However, despite my deep-biding affection for classics like Wall-E, Up, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles or any of the Toy Story films, I can’t seem to be too concerned about the approaching release of the studio’s latest animated effort. I can’t help but feel that – despite the fact it’s their first film that isn’t a sequel in quite some time – we’ve seen this all before.

Is Brave just a Pixar “princess” movie, the spiritual successor to the long line of Disney “princess” movies?

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Non-Review Review: The Lion King

You said you’d always be there for me! … But you’re not.

– Simba rages at the heavens

The Lion King is my favourite Disney film. I don’t know if I could argue that it’s objectively the best or anything like that, as I imagine that there are a lot of external factors that contribute to making a person’s favourite Disney films – most of which are matters of timing, with the film appearing at “just the right time”, to borrow a cliché. I was seven years old when the film was first released, but I don’t believe that I saw it in the cinema (hence my trip to the cinema to see it on re-release), so perhaps I was eight or nine when I first caught Disney’s adaptation of Hamlet. It’s a dodgy proposition revisiting something you loved as a child, as there’s a risk that the finished product won’t quite live up to your memories of it – perhaps because you say it differently through younger eyes, or because time has marched on, or because you’ve become too cynical. So, I was taking a considerable risk as the theatre went dark, wondering if perhaps I had made a mistake.

I hadn’t. Sometimes some things areas good as you remember them.

"The fault, dear Simba, lies not in our stars... but in ourselves..."

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Non-Review Review: Finding Nemo

You know, even after all this time, I think that Finding Nemo views with The Incredibles as my favourite Pixar production. I respect and appreciate the sheer artistry and technical skill that went into Wall-E and I think Uprepresents the company’s most mature work to date, but I think Nemo perfectly captures everything that I love about the company – the maturity, the humour, the adventure, the technical skill of it all. Plus it has perhaps the best voice cast of the films.

The life aquatic...

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