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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Disney Animated Movies 3 – Fantasia

The same year that Walt Disney’s animation studio released Pinocchio, he also released another animated feature. While Pinocchio was marketed as a family film and was received very well, even though World War 2 seriously cut into its initial profits, Fantasia was different.

Fantasia isn’t really a movie. It’s more of a classical music concert with artistic animation. The concept is that the animation team interpreted the music in their own ways, through the animation. The original plan was to re-release Fantasia every few years with a different set of orchestrations and accompanying visuals, making Fantasia an ongoing project. It’s a fascinating, if risky idea at the time. It was loved by critics, but beyond the war overseas, a lot of the general audience didn’t know what to make of it at the time. It really didn’t make its money back at first, but it’s since gained a huge following, a lot of respect and a handful of alterations through the years.

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Superman 23 review

This story arc just keeps getting crazier and crazier, in all the right ways. What started off as a fun comic where Batman and Robin visited Superman’s family is now an intense, dark mystery where the entire town near the Kent hobby farm seems to be in on what’s going on. Even now it’s not entirely clear what’s happening, but there are some major reveals toward the end of this issue, at least with whoever is leading the charge. That I will not spoil, but he is a pre-existing character.

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Star Wars 31 review

Last week’s Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel 1 kicked off this crossover between Jason Aaron’s main Star Wars comic series and Kieron Gillen’s Doctor Aphra series. It was a fantastic gothic horror inspired story with a lot of great dialogue, some of the best art I’ve seen in a while and a spooky atmosphere that still fits with the Star Wars Universe.

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Generation X 1 review

I always read every comic I review twice. I try to do that with every comic I buy anyway, but I make sure to do it with every review. Part of the reason I do that is that for my first impressions posts, I read all the comics I picked up that week in one sitting. It’s easy to miss something when you do that. Even ignoring that, sometimes your opinion can change with a second reading. So the first time I read Generation X 1, I thought it was just ok. The second time through, I enjoyed it more, but not a huge amount more.

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Comics of May 17, 2017

We’re right in the middle of a five Wednesday month, which usually means the comics released in the next couple weeks will be spread so thin that unless you pick up something you don’t normally read, you’ll probably have a tiny pull list in one, if not both, of the next two weeks. For now, this is looking like my big week of the month. These days that’s still usually less than 10 comics. I think I prefer it that way over at least once a month where I’ve got 12 or more.

The comics I picked up include Generation X 1, Ultimates 2 7, Star Wars: Poe Dameron 15, The Mighty Thor 19, Star Wars 31, Super Sons 4, Red Sonja 5 and Superman 23. Here are my first impressions, and links to full reviews will be added when they’re posted.

Generation X 1 review

Star Wars 31 review

Superman 23 review

Also this past week I started a series where I’m looking at every animated Disney Studios movie ever, in order of release. If that interests you, I’ve posted the first two already – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio. I’ve now watched Fantasia for the first time, so in the next couple of days, I’ll be working on that post.

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