1 The Mickey Mindset: June 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #32: The Lion King

Disney Movie Review: 32/52 - The Lion King

Ryan Dosier- The third masterpiece in a row for Disney animation came in 1994 with the arrival of The Lion King. You would be hard pressed to find anyone born after 1984 that doesn’t positively adore this movie and connect it 100% with his or her childhood. The Lion King allowed a warthog to sing and delivered the biggest hit animation had ever seen. The impact and love for The Lion King can still be seen to this day. It truly is the king of them all.

After the unbelievable success of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin it seemed doubtful if not impossible that Disney could create a trifecta of masterpieces—but lo and behold, they did it. The Lion King is a powerful, resonating, joyful, dark, and astounding ride from start to finish. It is a triumph of animation, voice acting, layouts, music, and so much more. 

Simba is one of the truly fantastic characters created by Disney. He is incredibly real with emotions that connect powerfully with any audience. Simba goes from plucky kid to would-be king and his journey shows how we all must accept our place in the “Circle of Life.” Simba’s reluctance, acceptance, and power make The Lion King what it is.

The villain of the film, Scar, is one of Disney’s strongest. Cruel, contained, and crazy, Scar is willing to kill his own brother and nephew to get power. Watching Scar fail at being king and starving his people is a smart, subtle story point that I just love. Jeremy Irons provided Scar’s voice and it is amazing. Every line of Scar’s is sardonic or evil and it shows what a great actor Irons is. Andreas Deja, who animated Scar, also deserves special mention here for doing more masterful work with a Disney villain after his turns as Gaston and Jafar.

But once again my favorite characters in the film are those in the supporting cast. Timon, Pumbaa, Zazu, and Rafiki make for Disney’s funniest, wittiest, and most delightful cast of characters yet. Of course Timon and Pumbaa steal the show completely (most of the credit there goes to the fabulous Nathan Lane), even though they smartly don’t appear until 30 minutes into the film. Timon and Pumbaa are so funny and so enjoyable that it’s no wonder Disney chose them to star in a TV show and a sequel as well as countless promotional things. 

Zazu is my favorite character in the film. The put-upon British hornbill provides all of the comedy for the film’s first act and he does so brilliantly. Rowan Atkinson provided Zazu’s voice so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the bird is so funny. Rafiki the baboon is also a true delight. He only has one real scene of significance, but Rafiki turns it into one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Again, he is hilarious, but he is also powerfully wise and provides great guidance.

And for the third film in a row, a Disney filmed is packed full with amazing music. Elton John and Tim Rice created some of the most memorable Disney moments ever with “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata.” I cannot think of a more powerful, electric opening to a film than the “Circle of Life” sequence. Talk about breathtaking. “Hakuna Matata” created a phenomenon and made a Swahili phrase an international hit. “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” is incredibly fun, “Be Prepared” is the best Disney villain song, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” joins the long ranks of Disney love songs and stands high on that list.

The film’s score is the greatest of any Disney film, in my opinion. Musical mastermind Hans Zimmer orchestrated the film with unbelievable grace and power. The ever-present chorus of African voices throughout the film gives The Lion King a truly authentic and magnificent feel. Kudos to African singer Lebo M. and his choir for their impressive and under appreciated work. 

The Lion King boasts some of the most gorgeous and seamless animation in a Disney film as well. All of the characters are so fluid and lifelike and amazing to watch. Rafiki is especially amazing as he hops and runs and goofs around. Same with Zazu—a bird has never been animated as well as he is. And sequences like the wildebeest stampede, Mufasa in the clouds, and “Be Prepared” all stun with outstanding colors and animation.

The Lion King is a story of coming to terms with your past and fighting for your future. It is a story of family, friendship, love, acceptance, honor, power, greed, and a score of other themes. Rafiki illustrates the plight of Disney animation so well with one line: ”The past can hurt, but the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it.” Disney animation learned so much from their past misfires (The Rescuers, The Black Cauldron, etc.) and it took them to The Lion King, their crowning achievement. The film is royally fun, heartwarming, exciting, and just plain perfect. The Lion King is deserving of the endless praise and love it receives.

5/5 Batty Baboons

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Frozen Event Coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios This Summer

Disney's major blockbuster Frozen is finally making it's first major debut in the theme parks. Beginning on July 5th, Disney's Hollywood Studios will be hosting several major Frozen events, according to rumors, it will include six major events including a Sing Along, a Dance Party, and a Frozen Funland ending the day off with a fireworks show. Rumors are the event is meant to run from July 5th until September.

UPDATE: The event was made official by the Disney Parks Blog earlier. The event schedule is as follows: (from the official Disney Parks article).

(Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog)
  • Olaf on Summer Vacation – Olaf the Snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures. Plus, you can pick up your very own Take-Along Olaf from locations in the park, so he can join you on your summer vacation. And when you share your photos with Olaf on social media, be sure to tag them with #OlafSummerVacation. They may just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!

  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland.
  • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – Cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
  • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a Frozen Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
  • “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more! The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!
  • “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”

The event has officially been scheduled to take place between July 5th and September 1st. 

The Mickey Mindset: mickeymindset@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Disney Fan Project: Carl Barks: The Duck Man

The name Carl Barks doesn't quite ring a bell to the average person, but the impact he had on many Disney fans' lives were tremendous. From his work as an anonymous artist working for Walt Disney in the early days of the studio. Carl was one of the few people who developed Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Fans of the DuckTales series definitely have a lot to thank Mr. Barks for. Carl was behind creating the entire city of Duckburg, with the show's main character Scrooge McDuck, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Glander and many more.

Disney fan and filmmaker Geoffroy Koeberle hopes to capture and pay tribute to the life and works of Carl Banks, who worked to create some of the most beloved characters and stories of the twentieth century. Geoffroy Koeberle worked as an assistant director on several major Hollywood films, including some recent films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Midnight in Paris andThree Days to Kill. 

"Carl Barks: The Duck Man is a film that will look to the readers and fans of duck stories and Carl Barks artwork to tell the story of the strip and its creator." It's offical Indiegogo page says. "As we explore the art and impact of Carl Barks through this unique perspective, the undying appreciation and love of duck and the man behind it will be evident in the anecdotes, stories, and memories shared by readers of the strip and friends and colleagues of Carl Barks." The film is also to be narrated by John Goodman.

You can check out more details on this project through this link to their campaign page. If you are a fan of Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, or of DuckTales and would like to see Carl get the honor and recognition due to him, be sure to pledge your donation to the project in order to see this get accomplished!

You can watch the main campaign video right here. Be sure to check out their page for even more videos from the film.

NOTE: This project is not affiliated with The Mickey Mindset. For further questions, be sure to contact the team at carlbarkstheduckman@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Retro Reviews: A Goofy Movie!

Michael Wermuth- A Goofy Movie is a movie starring Goofy, and is more or less based on Goof Troop. I didn’t watch Goof Troop often, but knew enough of the show to know who Max and PJ are, enough to wonder why PJ and Pete weren’t in the commercials (and wondering if they’d even be in the movie), and enough to be confused by Max and PJ being older. I was also confused by Max being embarrassed by his father, but I still don’t know whether that was a normal character trait on the show.

Anyway, in A Goofy Movie, Max is a high school student. The tagline for the movie was, “It’s hard to be cool when your dad is Goofy”, and here Max is a laughing stock of most of the school due to his father’s reputation. On the last day of school, Max, with help from PJ and audio visual nerd Bobby, has a plan to show the school that he’s cool, and to impress his love interest, Roxanne. Max dresses up as Powerline, a big rock star, and turns a school assembly into a concert. Max gets caught, but it also makes him popular, and he gets a date with Roxanne to a summer party where they’ll be watching an upcoming Powerline concert on Pay-Per-View. However, the principal calls Goofy about the incident, and over exaggerates on what happened, leading Goofy to believe that unless action is taken soon, Max will be sent to the electric chair.

Remembering past trips with his dad as a child, Goofy decides to take Max on an cross-country fishing trip with no notice and against his sons will. Max does get to explain to Roxanne that he can’t take her to the party, but when she considers going with somebody else, Max not only lies that Goofy is taking him to LA to the Powerline concert, but that Goofy and Powerline are old friends and that Max will appear on-stage at the concert. The road trip doesn’t go too well at first, with an embarrassing experience at a possum theme park and an encounter with Big Foot, but Max soon finds the map and manages to change the direction to LA. Luckily for Max, after this Goofy decides to stop looking at the map and make Max the official navigator (which Goofy had refused to do earlier), and after this they start to bond better, but eventually they encounter Pete and PJ (who are also traveling), and Pete overhears Max and PJ talking about how he’d changed the map. Goofy at first doesn’t believe Pete, but ends up looking at the map and seeing that he’s right. This leads to a climax on the river, and then a happy ending, of course.

This is a great movie. Goofy and Max are both relatable characters – Max is relatable to teenagers embarrassed by their parents, and I’m sure Goofy is relatable to parents whose kids want to distance themselves from them. All of the songs are good (I used to have the soundtrack album), and I can’t decide which I like best between “After Today”, “On the Open Road”, and “Nobody Else But You”. I highly recommend A Goofy Movie.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Esther Senberg's Top Ten Disney Films

Today's article is written and sent in by reader Esther Senberg. Esther is thirteen years old and is a life-long Disney fan. 

Esther Senberg- I've always been a very big fan of Disney movies and I always watch Disney movies all the time. I've visited Walt Disney World dozens of times and I really like it too. My favorite ride is Expedition Everest. But I also like a lot of the rides based on movies, which I am going to list my favorite movies below:

10. The Muppets: The Muppets is a very funny movie. Also I liked it because I liked Walter and he was the main character in the last movie so it made the movie even better than it already was.

9. Air Bud: Air Bud is a very good movie because its about a dog and dogs are my favorite animal. It is also very cute to see a dog playing basketball.

8.The Lion King: I love the characters in The Lion King, Timon and Pumbaa are my favorite because they are really funny. The song Hakuna Matata is a really good song.

7. Lady and The Tramp: Lady and The Tramp is another one of my favorite dog movies. its cute and very funny.

6. Beauty and the Beast- Beauty and the Beast is a very fun movie because the songs in it are really good and the characters are really great and fun to watch.

5. Tarzan. Tarzan is very good because its a very different type of movie than all the other Disney movies. Its very cool that he grew up with gorillas. My favorite character is Tantor the Elephant.  

4. Toy Story. Toy Story is a very original movie because its live toys. the song "you've got a friend in me is a really good song. Toy Story 2 is a very good sequel because it has the bad-guy Al, who is very funny. Toy Story 3 is good and is very good because it has Lotso in it and he ends up being very mean. I like Ken because he has a lot of very cool outfits.

3. Monsters Inc. Monsters Inc. is really funny because the monsters are scared of kids. in the movie you see it from the monsters point of view. The best character is Mike Wazowski because he's very funny. That's Wazowski with one I.

2.Tangled. The songs in Tangled are really good, I love "When Will my Life Begin". Pascal is really cute. Flynn is really funny. Mother Gothel is the best Disney villain becuase she is very evil and she looks creepy and I love the song Mother Knows Best. 

1. Frozen. Frozen is the best movie ever! The songs in Frozen are amazing, especially Let It Go. The animation was really good and the ice and snow looked so real. Olaf was really funny, and the main reason why I like Frozen is because of the ending. The ending was really good and surprising and it wasn't like any other previous Disney movie.

Submit your favorite Disney movies in an email to mickeymindset@gmail.com! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Epcot- Honoring the Past of the Future

Mitchell Stein- Since it's opening on October 1st 1981, Epcot has been dedicated to discovering the future and the celebration of human achievement, but since it's opening day, EPCOT has seen dozens of changes throughout it's park, including it's own name, being changed from EPCOT Center to just plain Epcot in the late 90's. By far, I'd probably have to say that Epcot probably went through the most changes throughout the years and many of these changes have had quite a significant effect on the park. Right now, I'm going to pay tribute to the past of Walt Disney's most futuristic park.

Original Spaceship Earth Attraction:
Spaceship Earth went through many major changes since it's opening in 1981. The need to be constantly updating th attraction has led to many major refurbishments. The first version of the attraction featured just a few of the same elements found in today's version, albeit going through some major refurbishments.

The legendary Horizons attraction was probably known as one of the most beloved Epcot Center attractions of all time. Often referred to as the "sequel" to Magic Kingdom's Carousel of Progress, Horizons took guests on a voyage through technological advancements throughout time, and what may possibly come in the future, with a lot of really neat futuristic elements. The last section of the ride would allow guests to choose which type of video they would prefer to transport them back to their original time. It was a really neat dark ride located in the spot where Mission: Space stands today and featured the characters from Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress.  

Today known as Innoventions, Communicore was a pavillion dedicated to technological advancements. It featured some of the most high-tech gadgets at the time, including a SMART-1 robot which used some sort of voice recognition to interact with the guests. It was a lot of fun. Innoventions is great, but it may be lacking something that Communicore always had.

Original Journey into Imagination with Figment Attraction: 
When the attraction first opened in 1983, it featured a man dressed in a blue suit and top hat who called himself "Dreamfinder" and would use his Dream Catcher vehicle to catch all sorts of new things. He then creates his own Figment, which looks like some sort of cross between a dragon with the horns of a steer and the mouth of an alligator. Figment and Dreamfinder take riders on a journey through imagination and teach guests what your Imagination is truly capable of.

Oddly, the ride was revamped in 1999-2002, being replaced by Journey into YOUR Imagination which was basically the current attraction, minus Figment and Dreamfinder. The newly introduced character Dr. Nigel Channing sends riders through various different tests, attempting to prove that humans do not have imagination. In the end, he realizes his mistake and declares that humans do in fact have imagination.

Because of many complaints, the ride went through another renovation, this time re-adding Figment into the experience and renaming the attraction to add Figment's name into it. This time, Figment is now voiced by Muppet performer Dave Goelz (Gonzo, Beauregard, Zoot) after original voice Bill Barty passed away. Dreamfinder has been completely absent since the original version, except for a minor mention on an office door found on the ride which reads "Dean Finder".

Image Works! 
Another section of Journey into Imagination, Image Works was found on the upstairs of the attraction, where guests would be able to walk around and explore many different unique ground-breaking elements which was explained as being created by imagination. Currently, the upstairs section of ImageWorks sadly sits abandoned and unused. The steps leading up to the former ImageWorks can be seen from the Figment gift shop, but is roped off and off-limits to guests.
Not long ago, a curious WDW guest decided to go up those stairs and check out what remains in that spot today, which you can watch below:

NOTE: The Mickey Mindset does not endorse or suggest this action in any way. If caught, you may be fined or banned from the Disney parks. Attempt at your own risk.

Wonders of Life Exhibit:
This entire pavilion currently sits empty in plain sight, located right beside Ellen's Energy Adventure, the former home of attractions like Cranium Command and Body Wars and an entire pavilion dedicated to health and body topics. The pavilion stayed open until 2007, and was then closed up and the attractions were removed and the building only used for some occasional private events. It's quite sad to see an entire pavillion remain empty and in plain sight, so I'm really hoping Disney decides to do something with that large building soon.

 Original Test Track: 
The new updated Test Track (or Tron Track as I call it) is really cool, but I really miss the old Test Track. The new track doesn't really have much of a story to it. This track allow you now to design a digital car which follows you throughout the ride, which is a pretty neat update if you ask me. Overall, I really loved the previous version of Test Track. As you enter the ride, you pretty much become a "test dummy" for a new car that the people at General Motors (who were the sponsors at the time) are working on. You would be put through different tests, from speed to weather and more. The new track is really great looking, but it lacks the wonderful story element from the previous version.

World of Motion: 
The original attraction before the original Test Track replaced it, World of Motion was a slow dark ride taking guests on an adventure through the history of transportation. It was a neat and entertaining ride, but it was closed to make way for the thrill ride Test Track which Epcot desperately needed (and still need more of). The new Test Track at Epcot pays tribute to the World of Motion with the original Motion's logo scattered all over the attraction area.

Original The Living Seas: 
Before being known as The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends featuring the cast of Pixar's Finding Nemo, The Living Seas would take guests to "Sea Base Alpha" after a short video and elevator ride (or Hydrolator) guests would be brought down to an underwater tank where they felt like they were exploring in an underwater base. There would be a quick ride which would slowly move through an underwater tunnel to get a close up look of the marine life. It was Disney attraction story-telling at it's best.
While The Seas with Nemo is home to many fun new attractions (like Turtle Talk with Crush and an all-new dark ride) I can't help but look back at the original attraction and miss some of the incredible element that it was home to.   

Captain EO/ Honey I Shrunk The Audience: 
If the Honey I Shrunk the Audience would still be open today, I would be paying tribute to it's former attraction, Captain EO starring Michael Jackson, but after Jackson's death a few years ago, Disney temporarily re-opened a Captain EO tribute playing the film in the Imagination Institute theater (just minus the in-theater effects) and it's still open today. According to Michael Jackson: Grasping the Spectacle the seventeen minute show costed an estimated $30 million dollars to produce, averaging about $1.76 million per minute.

Personally, I prefer the show that originally replaced Captain EO, which replaced Magic Journeys, which is the beloved Honey I Shrunk the Audience. The 4D film was based off the popular Honey I Shrunk the Kids films (and it's two sequels) starring Rick Moranis reprising his role as Dr. Wayne Szawlinski. After some new science demonstrations go wrong, the shrinking machine goes out of control and accidentally shrinks the audience. There was this really great scene where one of the kids stick their arms into the screen and supposedly picks up the entire shrunken audience, which can also be seen on screen as he holds it up to a mirror. It was a really fun attraction with some really great 4D effects. Normally, it would seem unlikely for Epcot to bring that film back, but since Captain EO Tribute opened up, anything is possible.

Original Universe of Energy: 
I actually really prefer the current version starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy, (although I think it's a bit too long)  but it would be odd to not mention the original Universe of Energy attraction. The original attraction was home in the same building layout, but not nearly as entertaining as the Ellen version. You can watch the entire original ride-through online.

Muppet Mobile Labs: 
This isn't really an attraction per say and not exclusive to Epcot (it was also in Disney's California Adventure for quite some time) but I really loved the Muppet Mobile Labs, which featured an Animatronic Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, which drove around the parks interacting with guests. The characters lines were pre-recorded with fifty three different scripts for each case scenario, but the vehicle would be controlled by a cast member nearby. It was a truly great creation and at the 2009 Expo, they announced that a second unit featuring the Electric Mayhem was in the works, but no word has been hear about that project since.
I'm hoping that Muppet Mobile Lab can make a reappearance in one of the parks in the near future.

The Mickey Mindset: mickeymindset@gmail.com

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top Ten Toy Story Moments

Includes minor spoilers from the Toy Story films. 

Mark Hansen- I love the films of Pixar. Each one, to varying degrees, contains heart, humor and adventure. In particular, I love the Toy Story films. I cannot think of a trilogy that improves, one film to the next, the way these do. And in every possible way, from the quality of animation, to the story, to the performances. Now that I’ve seen each of these movies approximately 65 billion times (one the perks of parenthood), I’ve decided to list my favorite moments from each. Some of these are favorites for personal reasons, and I can’t really say that they’re in exact order, so keep that in mind when judging me harshly. Also, spoilers are present, so read with caution (or go watch the movies, seriously!)

10. “You are a toooooy!” The gas station showdown between Buzz and Woody really showcases the bravura performances of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Allen’s Buzz is terrifically committed to the Space Ranger bit, but it’s Hanks that really sells the scene here. His manic frustration, in a futile attempt to convince Buzz he is a child’s plaything calls to mind his early, more purely comedic performances. This is also one of three or four moments from the Toy Story films I like to reenact with my son. 

9. Buzz Lightyear Dies! Spoiler! Another spoiler- he actually doesn’t. But the whole intro to Toy Story 2, with Buzz landing on an alien planet and having the kind of adventures toy Buzz dreamed of in the first film is a blast. And while you know this isn’t going to be the true direction the film is going to take, it’s a fun reveal when you realize we’re watching a videogame that Rex is losing. And Buzz’s death is one of those shocking moments where you don’t know whether to gasp or laugh. So you do both.

8.  Playtime with Bonnie Mr. Pricklepants has the right idea, I think. Playtime for toys is like acting. The child is your director, and each one has their own unique directorial style. While Andy seems to have scenarios pretty well planned out, Bonnie’s style is looser and much more stream-of-conscience. Or, as Buttercup says, “We do a lot of improve here. Just stay loose, have fun, you’ll be fine.”

7. Sid’s Comeuppance I feel slightly bad for Sid. Only slightly, mind you, because he does seem like a jerk. But look at all those crazy hybrid toys he created! There must have been some former Sid’s at Pixar. Babyface, Legs, all those guys are really creative. This scene is a terrific showcase for them, just a bit creepy and hilarious. And Woody’s speech is fun to recreate, spinning head and all, with your Woody doll. Take it from me.

6.  Woody’s Round-Up Reportedly, all of Woody’s dialogue about the various Woody’s Round-Up merchandise was improvised by Hanks. I’m not sure if this is true, but it certainly feels like it. Plus, this scene gave us the line, “Hey Howdy Hey, I’m on a yo-yo!”

5. Woody’s Nightmare Another great fake-out moment from Toy Story 2, and another scene that’s lots of fun to recreate with your Woody doll. All those arms pulling Woody back into the trash can is a thing of nightmares!

4. I Will Go Sailing No More Buzz’s realization that he’s just a toy is perfectly scored by Randy Newman’s song. For a brief moment, you almost believe he can fly, and then your dreams are smashed on Sid’s steps. This scene has most definitely been recreated over and over again as well.

3. Buzz Vs. Zurg The climactic elevator showdown between the Evil Emperor Zurg and the Wrong Buzz is both harrowing and hilarious, and provides some much-needed closure for Rex. Thankfully, Zurg isn’t killed by his fall, so that Buzz can catch up with his dad. As it turns out, Zurg’s a great dad. Yippee!

2. The Last Five Minutes of Toy Story 3 By far the most moving moment in the entire series, we watch Andy grow up before our eyes and pass the toy torch on to the deserving Bonnie. The moment he’s deciding whether to give up Woody never fails to get me, and watching them play together is such a satisfying conclusion to the series.

1. The First Five Minutes of Toy Story 3 No kidding, despite what a great film follows, if all of Toy Story 3 were in the same vein as the first five minutes, I would’ve been utterly delighted. I mean, you’ve got it all: karate potatoes, orphan trolls, force field dogs, pigs in monocles, death by monkeys. The prime ingredients for a blockbuster! I seriously love this scene, and even though the rest of the film is amazing, I’m sad this scene had to end.
And I’m sad this list had to end. But end it must. Cue Randy Newman.

The Mickey Mindset: mickeymindset@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Disney Fan Art Spotlight: Kenny Durkin Part 2

Exactly one week ago we shared the fantastic and creative works of Kenny Durkin, and if you missed it, be sure to check it out now. Becuase there was just too much awesomeness to fit into one article, we decided to split the spotlight on Kenny's fabulous work and showcase it in a special two-part series. Without any further introduction, here is even more of Kenny's wonderful work featuring Muppets, Winnie the Pooh/Star Wars and Disney-owned ABC's LOST!

The Muppets' Latest Addition

Winnie the Hutt


Daniel Faraday- ABC'S Lost sketch

Ben Linus- ABC'S Lost sketch

The Ribbit- The Hobbit Parody

Muppets- World of Friendship

Thanks once again to the wonderfully talented Kenny Durkin for sharing his artwork with us! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #31: Aladdin

Disney Movie Review: 31/52 - Aladdin
Ryan Dosier- My favorite Disney film, one of my favorite films ever, and the first film I ever saw is Aladdin (1992). I don’t know enough good words to talk about this hysterical, magical, perfect adventure. To me, Aladdin stands as a showcase of what animation can truly be when pushed to its limits. If Beauty and the Beast is the pinnacle of animation as an art form, Aladdin is the pinnacle of animation as an entertainment medium.

Aladdin takes off to wild and exotic places with Disney’s funniest and most enjoyable characters ever and some of its best music. The film is packed to the brim with a modernity that pushed Disney forward in so many ways. The style of humor, the look of the film, and the sound of the music all brought Disney into the 90s in such a glorious way.

Aladdin himself is an outstanding character. He is smart, kind, witty, and clever. It takes a character of that strength to not get run over by the Genie and the other eccentric members of the cast. Aladdin is one of the most heroic Disney protagonists. He proves himself worthy of rising from street rat to prince by the time the film ends. Aladdin’s greatest moment is when he wishes the Genie free. It is a moment that says so much about the character so simply. 

Then there’s the Genie… boy, where do you even start? As soon as he appears on screen, the Genie puts the movie in a chokehold of comedy that he never releases. What the team of Robin Williams and animator Eric Goldberg did with the Genie has never been replicated or topped. The amount of ad-lib and humor that is packed into a single scene with the Genie thanks to Williams—and then somehow flawlessly animated by Goldberg—is unbelievable. Never before has a character so effortlessly and often stolen scenes. When the Genie poofs onscreen he is the only thing that is important anymore. He demands this attention because he is so outrageously funny and outstandingly animated. 

The Genie doesn’t have a greatest scene, he has the greatest scenes. One cannot understate how brilliant Robin Williams is in Aladdin. There is no Genie without Williams, period. Williams is manic, bizarre, and just plain amazing. Robin Williams’ performance is the reason that celebrity voice casting is so popular, but no one has ever reached the amazing heights that he did as the Genie. No character says animation better than the Genie either, who can (and does) transform into anything, anyone, and everything in the blink of an eye. I can’t think of a better representation of the entertainment value and, dare I say, magic of animation than the Genie.

This ridiculous adoration of the Genie should not be taken as discounting the other amazing characters in Aladdin. Abu the monkey, Iago the parrot, the Magic Carpet, and Jafar are my favorite supporting characters in any Disney movie. The burden of comedy falls on Abu and Iago before the Genie arrives and they are wonderful. Jafar is one of the great Disney villains with his slippery, sly, wicked tactics. He also has the best evil laugh of any villain, so that’s gotta count for something.

The music, mostly provided again by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken with a few songs given lyrics by the great Tim Rice, is yet again some of the greatest Disney music. Both of the Genie’s songs, “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” are awesomely fun. In fact, “Friend Like Me” may be the most fun Disney song period. However the most perfect song in the film is “A Whole New World.” The music and lyrics soar just like the magic carpet and succeeds for so many reasons. It is a beautiful, romantic, excellent piece of music. 

Story is also exceptional in Aladdin with a splendid mix of daring-do and comic nonsense. There are plenty of surprising moments, plenty of heartwarming moments, and tons of character developments that make the film stand out as one of the strongest written in Disney’s catalogue. The relationship between Aladdin and the Genie is the real heartbeat of the movie and their touching times are the film’s most emotionally satisfying.

As I see it, there is no good reason not to love Aladdin. It packs humor, heart, adventure, outstanding animation, beautiful songs, and magical everything else into one of the most fun times you can have watching an animated feature. Aladdin dazzles and amazes and it all looks completely effortless. Because of the talent, passion, and dedication of the filmmakers that created this, Aladdin stands strong and tall among the other true Disney masterpieces.

5/5 Magic Lamps