Disney Animated Movies 28 – The Little Mermaid

While The Great Mouse Detective brought Disney Studios out of what some refer to as their first dark age, 1989’s The Little Mermaid kick started the Disney Renaissance. For pretty much the entirety of the 90’s, Disney released a major hit year after year. They became almost unstoppable, pushed the Oscars into finally starting the Best Animated Feature category and led the way to Disney becoming the monster of a company that it is today. Being their first fairy tale based movie in 30 years (Sleeping Beauty released in 1959), The Little Mermaid also marked a return to their roots.

The Little Mermaid was an immediate success, both financially and critically. It earned $84 million domestically on a $40 million budget in its initial run, and has earned a total of $211 million in theatres worldwide after a 1997 re-release. Some people refer to it as the movie that brought Broadway into animation. It spawned a Broadway musical in 2008. It’s also one of the movies with an upcoming live action remake planned.

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Disney Animated Movies 27 – Oliver and Company

Besides the World War 2 years, people tend to talk about various Disney animated movies from the past. Some are well-regarded as brilliant films, and others are usually good for kids but not as entertaining for adults. A handful of movies are often talked about because of how massive of a failure they were, like The Black Cauldron. I rarely see anyone talking about Oliver and Company though. Released in 1988, Oliver and Company is the first in Disney’s new schedule that called for an animated movie every year – a schedule they’ve hardly broken since. They’ve never broken it if you count Pixar, but I won’t be talking about Pixar movies in this series.

Oliver and Company can be summed up as loosely based on Oliver Twist, but with dogs. Well … Oliver is a cat, but all the other characters are either dogs or humans. It opened the same weekend as Don Bluth’s The Land Before Time, and although it lost to Land Before time on its opening weekend, Oliver and Company eventually earned $74 million on a $31 million budget. However the critical reception was very mixed, with a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average score of 5.4/10. These days, people regard The Land Before Time as a classic. It’s a movie I still enjoy today. Don Bluth’s dinosaur movie has 13 sequels and a short lived TV series. But enough about The Land Before Time – let’s talk about Disney’s 27th feature animated film.

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Disney Animated vs. 2 – The Rescuers vs The Great Mouse Detective

Disney Studios breakthrough began with mice. More specifically, it began with its first successful animated short, Steamboat Willie, starring Mickey Mouse. Yet throughout the years, there have only been a handful of Disney animated features starring mice. So now it’s time to compare the first two animated mice feature films from Disney Studios. It’s time to see whether The Rescuers or The Great Mouse Detective is the better movie. Well, more like which of these movies I prefer.

Just a note – I won’t be keeping score for which of the two movies wins more categories, because I don’t believe that all categorical wins are equal. If one movie wins more categories but all in tight races, while the other is vastly superior in a more important category, it’s the better film. Of course I’m still breaking this into categories to make this easier to follow, using the same categories as my first vs post.

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Disney Animated Movies 26 – The Great Mouse Detective

After The Black Cauldron turned out to be a financial disaster for Disney’s animation studio, the company was in trouble. They closed their original animation building, restructured the company and seriously considered shutting down their animation department entirely. However, they wanted to give it at least one last shot, especially since their next movie was already in production.

That movie turned out to be The Great Mouse Detective, which released in 1986. During the final production stages of The Rescuers, they already considered making movie based on Sherlock Holmes, starring a mouse. One of the veteran artists suggested adapting the children’s book series, Basil of Baker Street, by Eve Titus. Because some of the animators were disappointed with the direction that The Black Cauldron was heading (mainly a lot of cut footage that the animators worked hard on), the Disney president at the time approved this alternative project.

The Great Mouse Detective would end up being the directorial debut for Ron Clements and John Musker, who later kick started the Disney Rennisance with The Little Mermaid, as well as directing other famous Disney features. Their most recent feature and their first venture into pure CGI, Moana, released just last year. The Great Mouse Detective ended up being successful enough to save Disney’s animation studio from closure.

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Disney Animated Movies 25 – The Black Cauldron

Reaching their 25th animated feature film was a huge milestone for Disney Studios. As far as I can tell, very few other studios have yet to reach that point even today. Sure, there are studios with more animated movies behind their belt than 25, but many of those are straight to video, whether it’s a popular kid’s series like Vegie Tales or mockbuster shock studios like Vídeo Brinquedo.

Disney’s Animation Studio banked hard on The Black Cauldron, released in 1985. Based on the book series by Lloyd Alexander, Chronicles of Prydain, it’s a pure fantasy movie. Not only was it their first animated movie with a budget of more than $10 million, but their budget reached $44 million. They hired famed film composer Elmer Berstein for the soundtrack. They used new methods of animation that would process the animation directly on celluloid using a photo process.

Also, a lot of people mistake Beauty and the Beast as the first Disney Animated movie to use CGI. It’s not even the third. The Black Cauldron was the first, adding in bubbles, a boat, a floating orb of light and the cauldron itself using computers. Producer Joe Hale was so excited about the possibilities of CGI animation that he made sure Disney’s next animated feature, The Great Mouse Detective, would also include it somewhere. It’s also the first Disney Animated movie that wasn’t a musical at all. All of the previous animated movies had at least one or two songs.

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I Hate Fairyland 13 review

A while back I reviewed the first issue of I Hate Fairyland, and thoroughly enjoyed it. At that point I thought I wouldn’t review any more issues because while it’s a great comedy series, after a while, reviewing a comedy series would get repetitive. Each issue is good in pretty much the same way. I decided to review the previous issue anyway though, because it was about time to give I Hate Fairyland a bit more spotlight. So why am I reviewing issue 13 as well? Because it’s actually quite a bit different from the rest of the series. That’s not to say it isn’t still hilarious.

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Red Sonja 6 review

In the previous issue, Red Sonja and her new allies tried to figure out a way to remove a demonic monster from modern times before it tore apart New York City. Both Sonja and the monster are from Hyrkania, which seems to be based on ancient Eastern Europe. The fight led to a fair, where a young cop would try to use his hidden magical power to create a giant portal back to Hyrkania, with the aid of a ferris wheel.

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