Disney Animated Movies 6-10 – the World War 2 years

As of my previous Disney Animation Studios post, I planned to sum up Walt Disney’s World War 2 years by only watching the 6th and 10th movie, and I’d later touch on the rest. Well, when I looked deeper into the movies and learned firsthand how short they all are, I changed my mind. So today, we’re going to talk about all 5 Disney Studios animated features from the WW2 years. All 5 of these movies at least began production during World War 2

All five of these movies have several major things in common. One, they’re collections of either skits, music or both. Two – they’re hardly ever talked about anymore by Disney. Three, although they all made the studio a bit of money, they didn’t help Walt Disney recover all that much from Bambi’s financial losses, or Pinocchio and Fantasia’s for that matter. Also, while Disney produced a number of propaganda films and shorts during the Second World War, most notably Victory Through Air Power, they weren’t done by the main Disney Animation studio. As such, I won’t count those. By the same standard, I won’t be talking about any Pixar movies or any secondary or third party studio movies for this series. Maybe down the road I’ll talk about Pixar movies separately, but I’ll most likely do a Star Trek or a James Bond series beforehand. That is if I don’t take a break from talking about movies in general first.

6 – Saludos Amigos (1943)

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Batgirl 11 review

Since I only picked up four comics this week, I’ll just write a full review for each of them and skip the first impressions post. Let’s finish off with Batgirl 11.

The Son of the Penguin story arc concludes in today’s issue of Batgirl. It’s been kind of a fun arc, starting off with Batgirl going on a couple of dates with the technical genius who wants to take over the Penguin’s criminal empire. The mystery was very intriguing and the plot felt like it could go in a number of directions, including one where the Penguin’s son wouldn’t be evil after all. Too bad my thoughts on the conclusion are mixed.

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Jean Grey 2 review

Since I only picked up four comics this week, I’ll just write a full review for each of them and skip the first impressions post. Now it’s time for Jean Grey 2.

In the previous issue, Jean Grey fought the Wrecking Crew and almost beat them single-handily. Having telepathy and telekinesis really works well against a bunch of very strong but dumb opponents. However, a vision of the phoenix force coming for her distracted Jean enough that the crew escaped. This comic picks up shortly after that one left off, with Jean seeking help from pretty much everyone else who’s hosted the Phoenix Force.

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Detective Comics 957 review

Since I only picked up four comics this week, I’ll just write a full review for each of them and skip the first impressions post. Next up is Detective Comics 957.

Several story arcs ago, Batman’s team dealt with the victim syndicate. Calling them villains didn’t quite do them justice since they themselves were bystander victims from various points in Batman’s history. They still caused a lot of trouble, but they were far more sympathetic than most Batman villains. This story happened shortly after Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) apparently lost her boyfriend and co-crime fighter, Red Robin. She left Batman’s team at the end of the Victim Syndicate story arc and we haven’t seen much from her since, until now.

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X-Men Blue 4 review

Since I only picked up four comics this week, I’ll just write a full review for each of them and skip the first impressions post. First up is X-Men Blue 4.

X-Men Blue 4 takes place sometime after the previous issue, while also catching up on the backup story from X-Men Blue 1. The bulk of the issue shows the original 5 tracking down Jimmy Hudson, Wolverine’s son from the Ultimate Universe, who’s somehow ended up in their Colorado. The search leads to a quick yet fun battle between Jimmy and the team, where Jimmy shows some resistance to Jean’s telepathy and enough ferocity to almost kill Iceman, but he doesn’t fare as well against Jean’s telekinesis or Ice Hulk.

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Disney Animated Movies 5 – Bambi

After the success of Dumbo, Disney had enough money to increase the budget and the work behind their next animated feature, 1942’s Bambi. Of course like the previous three animated features, the European market was completely cut off because of the war, and now that the United States were involved, it negatively affected the market at home too. It didn’t help that, unlike the very positive reception with the first four Disney movies, Bambi received mixed reviews. I found one particularly nasty review from the New Republic archives reposted online for your enjoyment.

https://newrepublic.com/article/134248/saccharine-symphony

Personally, I remember enjoying Bambi as a little kid, but it was probably the first Disney movie I stopped watching. When my parents started selling our VHS tapes in garage sales, I felt sad over losing some of them. Bambi wasn’t one of them. Still, I’m glad that I finally got around to re-watching Bambi.

Even though I found Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs boring when I re-watched it last week, I still managed to sit through it no problem. That’s not the case with Bambi. I actually fell asleep during the first act and needed to continue it later that day, where I paused it several times to get a snack so I wouldn’t get too bored. Yeah, I didn’t really like this one very much.

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Disney Animated Movies 4 – Dumbo

While they’ve since more than made their money back, neither Pinocchio nor Fantasia were financially successful when they first released in 1940. The biggest contributing factor was how World War 2 started the year before, completely cutting off the European market. The disappointing results put Disney in financial trouble, and as such, they needed a quick hit. They drastically lowered the budget for their fourth animated feature, Dumbo, in favour of a more simplistic style of animation. They ended up releasing it in 1941.

Unlike the previous two Disney movie, Dumbo was financially successful upon its initial release. In fact, it was Disney’s most successful film of the 1940’s, even though the Pearl Harbor attack happened just over a month after the movie’s release. Critics loved it. Like all of Disney’s earlier films, it also saw multiple re-releases. Dumbo also holds the unique distinction of being the first Disney movie ever released on home video. At 65 minutes long, it’s also one of Disney’s shortest animated features, no doubt a side effect from the smaller budget.

In case you’re not aware, Dumbo is the story of a baby elephant with enormous ears. Besides his mother who loves him and a mouse who befriends him (a satire on elephants being afraid of mice), he’s a social outcast. The other elephants tease him at first, and then refuse to acknowledge him as an elephant after he’s forced to become a circus clown. There isn’t all that much dialogue in this movie, using the visuals and the soundtrack to tell the story. And it’s the visuals that really make this movie work.

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