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Non-Review Review: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Sleeping Beauty is very much a product of the fifties, with the movie’s production spanning most of the decade. The story work commenced in 1951, with vocal performances recorded the following year. The movie was eventually released in 1959, to lukewarm critical and commercial success.

However, Sleeping Beauty reflects the fifties in other ways. The story about a young woman who needs to learn to do as her guardians instruct her, how marriage is really the ideal prospect for a woman of sixteen, and about how people we label as “evil” are unquestionably beyond redemption, Sleeping Beauty really plays to a very fifties mindset.

(Appropriately enough, the high budget and lacklustre box office performance of Sleeping Beauty would be a major part of the reason that Walt Disney would post its first annual loss in 1960.)

Sleep well...

Sleep well…

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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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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – Deep Freeze (Review)

This September marks the twentieth anniversary of Batman: The Animated Series, and the birth of the shared DC animated universe that would eventually expand to present one of the most comprehensive and thorough explorations of a comic book mythology in any medium. To celebrate, we’re going back into the past and looking at some classic episodes.

Heart of Ice is a phenomenal piece of television. Paul Dini’s sharp script somehow managed to take one of the most camp and forgettable theme villains in Batman’s iconic selection foes, and elevate them to a prime position. After all, were it not for that reimagining of the villain, Victor Fries would likely be a footnote in Batman history, ranking not too far above the Killer Moth or the Calendar Man in the dregs of Batman’s rogue’s gallery. However, while the story provided a concrete and grounded origin for an otherwise Z-list villain, it also raised some interesting questions about where the character could be taken after that.

His second appearance in the series, Deep Freeze seeks to answer those question. While, ironically, it’s considerably shallower than its predecessor, it’s still an interesting look a villain defined by this show.

Freeze frame…

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Life of Pi Trailer

I’m fairly lukewarm on Ang Lee. When he’s great, he’s amazing – one of the most visually arresting directors working in the medium. However, sometimes I find some fo his work (Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm) to be a little self-indulgent. Still, Lee has a wonderful flexibility and a willingness to work outside his comfort zone that is hard not to admire. The trailer for Life of Pi first appeared on-line yesterday, and it looks pretty amazing from a visual standpoint. Adapted from the iconic and acclaimed novel, the film looks to have a wonderfully hypersaturated feel to it. In fact, the final shot looks like something from a classic Walt Disney film brough to life.

I’m calling it now. Unless it turns out to be completely abysmal, we have a Best Picture front-runner.