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Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Ghost Leviathan posted:

There's kind of a theme with older animation especially, and perhaps Disney in general, that the protagonists get really boring and generic designs while all the creativity (and probably budget) goes into the villains. I'm not sure if it's a marketing thing where the protagonists are supposed to look generic to have broad appeal/not offend anyone, or a budget thing where a less detailed and exaggerated design is cheaper to animate for the character who'll have the most screentime. Or maybe both.
It makes a lot of sense if you look back at Walt's Alice Laugh-O-Gram shorts which had a live action character interacting with cartoon characters and see how that mix of the real and the animated kept going as a motif in Walt's work. We take Snow White's aesthetic for granted, but it is legitimately kind of weird. You have these really realistic looking human characters existing alongside the more cartoony Dwarves. Snow White's technically animated, but functionally she's a real person co-existing with these things with eyes that really shouldn't be existing with her.

But I think it's just an extension of Walt liking the idea of live action things existing with cartoons. It's kind of a hold over of the animation-as-magic-trick works of Winsor McCay. It's interesting how it evolves over time. In Snow White, More Cartoony=More Fantastic Elements (The Dwarves, the Queen's disguise). But in Pinocchio, it's inverted. The Blue Fairy is the realistic looking woman in a world of cartoon characters, making her appear otherworldy.

As you get into the 50s, they start to cut the difference. Cinderella, the Evil Step Mother, and Prince are pretty realistic characters compared to the more comedic characters like the step-sisters. The child characters in Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland are more big eyed and cartoony--partially because they're kids--while villains like Hook or weirdos like the Mad Hatter still get more exaggerated designs.

I think that that Sleeping Beauty is when we actually get the modern balance of Disney characters. Aurora and the Prince are still realistic compared to the Fairies--but there is something more subtly stylized about them. Snow White and Cinderella have this softness to their faces, their faces look malleable as opposed to Aurora who has this really defined jaw line, pointed chin, and things that can only exist in animation like her white outlines for her blonde hair.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 18:42 on Jan 26, 2020

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Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


The trope of comedic relief/villains being denoted as such by the exaggeration of their designs also gets tricky once you get more diverse with your casting.

Despite the white washing voice acting and vague ethnicity, Aladdin and Jasmine's character designs are pretty good at invoking the vague ethnicity they're going for. It makes Jafar's design or the shopkeeper's design feel more problematic because you're cranking up the exaggeration level. You have a more subdued presentation of the same vague ethnicity to judge it against. Similarly, Dr. Facilier is a legitimately cool design and I don't think problematic in of itself--but you do get into this issue that he's the villain and he has a gap and more pronounced lips than Tiana who is not being white washed, but given realistic proportions that make his feel questionable in comparison.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


SolarFire2 posted:

It's so odd to me that I haven't seen The Beastmaster in decades when it used to show all the time on various channels when I was a kid.
I often find myself referring to certain movies was "Channel 11 movies." A phrase that I think makes sense if you grew up with WPIX.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Nikaer Drekin posted:

Jesus Christ, you people can't be serious about Boss Baby. Just an absolute turd through and through
It's a bad movie, but there are some decent slapstick. The chase scene is like technically fun.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Edit: WRONG THREAD

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


I liked Onward although it's metaphor as magic being the equivalent of a vague notion of ingenuity that spawns out of lack of comfort ends up feeling a bit vestigial. But I thought there was some cool design--The dragon with the school bell roar was cool-- and I was invested in the characters.

It was also nice to see non-human characters coded as black and latinx in a way that was not upsetting.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


teagone posted:

Wait, what?
New She-Ra is hella gay.

They're also being a meanie and reducing a character's story arc and pseudo-spoiling the end of five seasons

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 11:56 on May 20, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


BioEnchanted posted:

BTW Is there any legal way to watch Tangled the Series in the UK? There are no DVDs and the Amazon Prime listings only go up to the Rescuing the Queen from Varian arc.
It's not on Disney+ for you guys?

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Man, new Loony Tunes is baaaaaaad. It cycles in and out of pretty fluid animation and looking incredibly cheap--objects, characters, and backgrounds are often lacking in a consistency of design, but sometimes the shading is off. Characters sort of flop around, but there isn't the figure drawing fundamentals that make old Loony Tunes actually look good. They don't really understand the violence of the originals. It's more inspired by Itchy and Scratchy than actual Loony Tunes. The characterizations are very off. The whole gag with Bugs is that he's a Mickey Mouse-ish mascot character who is a bit of wise cracker and doesn't even take his own cartoons that seriously. Bugs is insane in these cartoons.

I don't even mind the recent Loony Tunes Show, but this is attempting at recapturing something and missing the mark hard.

I'm also bummed that just like with Disney+'s shorts there isn't better curation on HBOMax of the old Loony Tunes.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 15:29 on Jun 6, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


I'm sorry but hard disagree from what I've seen so far. It's not that I don't get what they're going for, it just seems like an unpleasant facsimile of versions of the characters that only existed for like a couple of years. Like the Bugs screaming thing is something that comes up in the older cartoons, but seems overused in the new ones. But it also is kind of jumbled in terms of them trying to reflect that early 40s style while also having the Roadrunner.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Boxman posted:

I always appreciated that Green Lantern’s nemesis is “Sinestro” and his backstory is that he used to be a good guy.

SINESTRO.
I do appreciate, and this is true, that he is usually drawn with his ring on his lefthand as opposed to Hal and the other Lanterns who wear their rings on their right hands.

EDIT: I also like the Green Lantern animated movie which is literally just Training Day with Hal and Sinestro. It was a really clever idea.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


If The Little Mermaid-Tarzan is the Disney Renaissance, I think that The Princess and the Frog till now should be referred to as the Disney Enlightenment.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Hedrigall posted:

They have official names, the movies from Bolt onwards are the Revival era
Yeah I know I just like my name better.

I also feel like it's BS that Bolt counts. Like I enjoy it well enough, but it's honestly feels so similar to The Great Mouse Detective or Oliver and Company.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


It's cool that a lead is bi, but worth noting that Disney has already had gay characters on their cartoons. Ducktales has a character with a gay couple for her dads.

Inversely, one of my problems with the Howard documentary is that they try to paint this narrative that there would have been absolutely, positively no issue with Howard Ashman coming out as gay and HIV positive before he won Disney an Oscar.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Darth TNT posted:

The soundtrack is technically good I guess, but it did feel a bit like everything is awesome (you're welcome) in different arrangements was the whole of the soundtrack.
I'm a big Tegan and Sara fan, so Spotify at one point was just like, "I guess you want to listen to 'Everything is awesome!'" And I didn't turn it off so now it just keeps thinking that.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


My wife is watching Avatar right now for the first time and one thing I adore is that magic and spirits are truly bizarre and only understood in their most broadest strokes. Magic in Avatar feels weird and scary, but I think Korra did a bit too much explaining. The spiritual elements just ended up feeling convoluted.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


WeedlordGoku69 posted:

...is it just me or does that open letter feel like it's trying to be as vague as possible about what they disagreed on?

like, it's entirely possible that they're NDA'd and can't talk about it, but i can't help but wonder if we're being manipulated here a little.
I mean to be clear there is absolutely no doubt they're NDA-ed.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


My wife and I are making our way through our rewatch of all the Disney animated movies and got to Dumbo.

We're sort of of ranking as we go, and I generally don't think we're going to get something as bad as Dumbo. It's not as interesting a failure as The Black Cauldron and Chicken Little isn't racist.

Also-- I forget his name is Jumbo, Jr. Dumbo is an insult from the bitchy elephants-- like he's dumb. And Dumbo can't speak. We've been calling a mute character Dumbo for eighty years. And made a remake of that movie last year. I just don't understand why that never hit me and it's kinda gross.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FilthyImp posted:

Part of me feels like there was just the faintest glimmer of something good in its story, with parallels between the working bodies building up the tent in pouring rain, Ms. Jumbo's incarceration, the heartfelt moment when the mother gets a fleeting touch of her son's childhood, etc.

And then you have the racist crows which just backtracks all over that for some jive poo poo.
Honestly the Song of the Roundabouts is worse than the crows.At least the crows are characters with personalities, senses of humor, who contribute to the plot. The roustabouts are faceless black men singing lyrics like this:

quote:

We work all day, we work all night
We never learned to read or write
We're happy-hearted roustabouts

I also don't mind the cheapness of it so much as the aesthetics beings a bit of a mess. Sometimes it resembles Pinocchio aesthetically, you get some proto-Mike Mine Music stuff with PInk Elephants, sometimes it resembles a silly symphonies short, but it also has stuff like the train that has this whole other look to it. It's a really messy film and just kind of a bore.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Pick posted:

It's not like you can actually hear the roundabouts song. That's why people always have to post the lyrics, because no one ever heard them in the actual movie.
I mean you hear faceless black men doing hard labor and singing they're happy and assume it's not great. And then you look at the actual lyrics and it's worse than you thought.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


I mean they're both bad... My bigger issue with Dumbo is that it's kind of a bore. I think with "What Makes the Red Man Red?" it's a really bad part of a really good movie.

With Dumbo, the most engaging part of the movie besides Pink Elephants involves a character named Jim Crow. There's just more race stuff in Dumbo and not a lot else that's actually good.

But I dunno... experiences vary I guess. I was always bored by Dumbo as a kid so I don't think I was paying attention. But like they're clearly black and while the lyrics are hard to hear, I think the sentiment comes through enough to be skeeved out. My wife's reaction was "oh no."

What's weird is that Pinocchio and Fantasia are actively pretty bawdy and sometimes scary movies. But Dumbo's the first movie we actively found offputting.*

*I know we're getting a sanitized Fantasia.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


BioEnchanted posted:

Isn't the point of happy-hearted roustabouts that it's a very sarcastic song? Kind of pointing out that they are trapped in a lovely situation but putting on a farcical brave face?
I dunno... between the comments about them being uneducated and wasting their money along with being five years off from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, it's kind of hard to get a good read on it for me.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


paradoxGentleman posted:

I feel like even if I was making an ironic song, I wouldn't put in such directly self-insulting lyrics like "We never learned to read or write", even if it was true, and especially not "We don't know when we get our pay, and when we do we blow our pay away"
Yeah... I feel like the defense is also removing historical context. The racism of Song of the South isn't the same as the racism of the Crows or "What Made the Red Man Red?" The latter is reducing a race to buffoons and playing up stereotypes for laughs. The Crows in many ways are pretty benign on first glance because they're proactive and clever characters. The offensiveness in them exists in their intent as minstrel characters.

The racism of Song of the South is more insidious because Uncle Remus is like the crows an actual character and he's not necessarily bafoonish. But the film exists with a more idealogical current that there is something inherently subservient and animal like about Blacks. It's fair to say that "Happy Roundabout Workers" isn't doing the same whitewashing of slavery and sharecropping as "Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah" does. There is an acknowledgement of the workers as doing hard work, but the context of the song also acknowledges a sort of hopelessness for them.They cannot read or write. They waste all their money. They only want to sleep and eat. On top of that, they're being depicted similarly to the golem like henchman from Pinocchio.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

I think it's fair to say that it exists in a continuum of really racist stuff, by a lot of the same people and the same studio, but that the intent of these two films is very different. It is difficult to imagine what the intent of song of the south is, being a white adaptation of afro-american folklore, but i havent actually seen it.
I don't mean this as offense, but I think we're going to inevitably talk past each other on this point. Song of the South isn't obtuse in its view of Blackness through Uncle Remus as a character. The actual Briar Rabbit stuff in a vacuum is genuinely considered fine outside of the overallt thorniness of Harris's appropriation of black folklore. But I think that Song of the South has a clear view of Blacks that while not aggressive, sees them as naturally caretakers and workers. I think that combined with coming off the since censored racist imagery in Fantasia, its hard for me to swallow your read.

I also just don't think much thought went into Dumbo at all.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 20:37 on Aug 18, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

There is stuff that exists, by all of these people working in different places for years, that is much more racist than even uncle Remus. At the same time, I don't think it's impossible for them to be making contradictory statements, or have conflicting beliefs. They're two different works.
I don't know man, I'm not really going to fully respond to this post because your last post was talking about how you have not seen Song of the South and blindly stated that we cannot infer any viewpoint on race which is silly, and now we're apparently talking with expertise on it? Death of the author is a lens to view art, it's not movie discussion law. You can absolutely use another text that gives an idealized version of life for Blacks in the South to inform your understanding of another text that includes Black or Black coded characters.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

That's not my point, my point is that we can infer viewpoint based on how the subjects in a film are depicted. And I'm not trying to talk about song of the south at all! I'm just pointing out what is in Dumbo.
I don't disagree with you, but contextualizing work is also a valid way to understand it. You're pointing to a musical sequence with inconsistent lyrics and muddled visuals at best (It's worth noting that Dumbo is ignorantly having fun, but the other elephants also go back and forth being strained by the work and smiling.) It's unclear if the song is genuinely from the workers' point of view. I'd argue despite singing the song, it's more about them. So, it's worth looking at the larger body of work from the studio and from the time.And yes, Song of the South gives hints to a view of Black nature and Black Labor that I think can help inform the scene although they don't offer 1:1 points of view.

And hell it shades some of the readings you're giving:

Uncle Remus posted:

The critters, they was closer to the folks, and the folks, they was closer to the critters, and if you'll excuse me for saying so, 'twas better all around.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 23:36 on Aug 18, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Schwarzwald posted:

No one's arguing that Disney wasn't a racist man who ran a racist company, racistly, but if your going to talk about a specific sequence in a specific movie it helps to actually talk about it.
... I did man.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Schwarzwald posted:

Your remarks on how the "Happy Roundabout Workers" presents a hopeless situation were solid, but to claim the presentation of such malicious needs more than calling the segment unclear and instead gesturing at how some other Disney movies were racist.
No, that's a mischaracterization.

I'm not just saying that it's unclear. It's unclear because someone were trying to present the scene as this universally brutal segment in which the workers can only be read as unhappy victims expressing their displeasure. That's not true. Dumbo is having fun. The other Elephants are sometimes laughing. The few animals who actually help, the camels are also not unhappy. It's unclear because the lyrics of the song are contradictory. But it is rainy and dark and there is a juxtaposition against the very childish train. I do understand how it can be viewed as an ironic song in which the the workers are in on the joke, but the self-depreciation betrays that a bit. The original reading was being way too selective.

And I'm not saying Song of the South is racist so this is racist. I'm saying that we can contextualize a film from 80 years ago in a larger body of work and the time. So when somebody is looking at it and says, "Well... they're clearly being ironic because who would be happy?" then we can look at this other movie the same studio made a few years later that is literally implying Blacks are happy with the state of slavery and reconstruction. That when we use comparisons between Blacks and animals to make our point we can look at this other movie that more directly makes that comparison between animals and humans. Because it informs us.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 14:36 on Aug 19, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

You have a real point with the use of the comparison to animals because that's an undercurrent that pervades a lot of period "funny animal" material, including mickey mouse, bugs bunny, goofy, speedy gonzales bosko, etc. And it's true dumbo and his mother (sometimes) are smiling, but I take that as nievete and trying to be a good mom. My point is more that the production, the sound and editing, dramatic claps of lightning, is what is emphasizing feeling and meaning. They are explicitly juxtaposed with the elephants in the scene, but the elephants are also our points of empathy, something recognizably noble and human.
Look man, your original post was scolding for not judging what's on screen. I understand the images you posted as paintings evoke something very clear, but its not consistent as a film. Like your read on Dumbo as a slave parable doesn't prove your point about the song being ironic, it proves mine. Dumbo is a blissfully ignorant worker, only scared when faced with death, and wins by becoming the best slave. If Dumbo is in parallel with the Black workers than the song isn't ironic. Our main character literally is a happy hearted roustabout.

And a bunch of white artists comparing their relatively privileged positions to that of animals and black men is racist.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

And FWIW, animation at that point was pretty much sweatshop labor. The minorities, immigrants, and women who inked and painted this cartoon probably felt like they were getting worked hard.
FWIW Disney didn't have Black animators until the 50s.

EDIT: Look, I'm not as salty as I seem because I think that there are actually interesting points that have come out of this. But you did imply I was ignoring what's depicted which was what I meant by scolding. It's fine for what you think is there, but I think both aspects of the film and context contradict this. And regardless the sentiment "But they're doing hard and awful work so that means they're not actually happy" is discounting historical sentiments about Black Labor that we can point to multiple examples of throughout history but are clearly alive in multiple Disney films.

Timeless Appeal fucked around with this message at 01:04 on Aug 20, 2020

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

If you ask me the "pinocchio" audio commentary is a little too G-rated
Pinnochio's hella bawdy.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

This, and they keep buttering everybody up and praising the technical achievement almost without acknowledging anything going on in the story at all.
I mean Pinocchio's story is still very moralistic and wholesome in its broad strokes. A big famous, "Did you know know?!?" internet fun fact is how the film tones down the unlikeability of the novel's characters. I think that a lot of early Disney is very comparable to Jim Henson's work. The subversiveness and bawdiness is there, but so is the sentimentality.

But it also finds butts very funny and Jiminy Cricket loves winking at the audience and saying, "MAN! These kids sure are JACKASSES!" Not to say stuff isn't being ignored, but there legitimately are parallel tones that similar to The Muppet Movie don't undermine one another.

I'm kind of curious about how the bawdniness evolves as it goes. I know it's still there by the sixties to some degree, but a lot of Fantasia and Bambi are so blatantly about sex that it's hard to not imagine a transition. Bambi in particular is straight up actually brutal with the big twist at the end that the Great Prince could've been like two as the most long living deer just like Bambi is when he takes his place.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

There is also a lot of children smoking cigars in pool halls, which may not be "Bawdy" but certainly is a scene of children smoking cigars in pool halls
There's also more butts from the kid being spanked to the can can dancer puppets flipping up their skirts.

It's not Fantasia which is like 70% Disney artists finally getting to show off all they learned at their nude modeling sessions and using the high-browness to justify drawing naked ladies or Bambi focuses in on Thumper's horny face. But it definitely has the adults more in mind than Snow White.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


FunkyAl posted:

Snow white's still pretty adult but in a vague mythic, german expressionist way. It's full of death (and life).
Snow White has a lot going on and is a film of two different beasts. You're right for some of the movie, but a lot of the movie feels like a shorts collection with a narrative backbone. And I know that sounds like I'm describing the concept of movies altogether, but Snow White harkens back to Disney's Alice shorts. While Snow White is technically an animated character, she is incredibly lifelike, but interacting with funny animals and the the Dwarves who invoke funny animals. Even the three main Dwarves (Grumpy, Doc, and Dopey) are pretty parallel to the dynamics of Disney's core three (Donald, Mickey, and Goofy).

A really great deal of Snow White is these extended bits that you could imagine being a short (Snow White cleans the house, the Dwarves have to wash up for dinner and have some fun, the Dwarves know someone has broken into their house and are deciding what to do).

Pinocchio is a bit like this as well. They go underwater and the film stops to become a quick little funny short about fish; Let's just look at fun clocks for a bit. Pinocchio and Bambi have more of a narrative through-line about growing up that makes their stories a bit more cohesive. And Bambi stamped down on the studio's tendency to go on little tangents.

I think with Snow White, you have some big swings, but the movie is doing a lot more to present traditionally Disney elements.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Sir Lemming posted:

Pinocchio is extremely like this, it's very much 3 stories taped together. (I know that's because of the source material.) Stromboli's bit has nothing to do with Pleasure Island, and Pleasure Island has so little to do with the Monstro segment that they literally just have a magic bird drop a note on the main characters saying "while you were away, a bunch of stuff happened, go save Gepetto"
Yeah, but like I said, there is a through-line. Pinocchio is easily distracted, duped, and kinda selfish in the first two segments you mention. And then in the third one, he finally realizes his actions have had major consequences not just on him, but Gepetto. The Monstro story is about him having to be brave, focused, and become a real boy by understanding what it means to love someone in contrast to the previous acts.

Snow White just spends a shitton of time on cleaning a house or dwarves washing their hands. The actual story of Snow White is really simple. That striking fairy tale that FunkyAI is talking about is there. But a lot of it is also just the characters loving around.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Yeah but they're horny for Snow White who acts like their mother.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Ghost Leviathan posted:

I kinda like how a lot of the movie is basically just them messing around, hanging out and having fun. You don't see enough of that in media I think, seeing what the cast get up to when they're not under some dramatic situation or life/world-threatening crisis, aside maybe from an establishing shot.
Yeah, I think's it fine. I think my point is more that the Mirror, the poisoned apple, the run through the woods, and stuff like that is really striking, but a lot of the movie is not that.

I think part of it comes from the shorts where you get stuff like Mickey's Birthday where it has a loose premise and you just come up with stuff for the characters to do. But part of it also harkens to more leisurely paced musicals.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


Ghost Leviathan posted:

I'm reminded of that deliberately terrible christmas movie in the Simpsons which has a ridiculously long love ballad which was apparently not that far off actual bad musicals of the time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mug1B1hBt5k
Yeah, it's actually a riff on March of the Wooden Soliders.

It plays on both Thanksgiving and Christmas on WPIX 11 and it's loving brutal. My mom demands we watch it for both holidays ever year. It also features an unauthorized appearance of a live action Mickey Mouse. Played by a monkey in a Mickey costume.

Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


paradoxGentleman posted:

I guess enough backlash can make even mighty Disney back off a bit.
My guess is they were always going to do the free release on Disney Plus, but were being shady about when because if it was a phenomenon they could extend the window for it being paid. I would bet the lackluster reviews combined with general grumbling led to them just announcing what they were always going to do.

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Timeless Appeal
May 28, 2006


I really really hope either through kickstarter or through Adult Swim having some kindness in their heart that they can pull together a movie to wrap things up.

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