Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #7 Beauty and the Beast

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (

The current film I am re-watching is Beauty and the Beast. You can also find this on the 100 Greatest Romances and 25 Greatest Musicals of all time lists.

Beauty and the Beast is the second movie that Disney released after they revitalized their animated movies with The Little Mermaid. When I watch Beauty and the Beast I feel the musical genera, like Phantom of the Opera, spills out of the TV screen. This movie was also one of the first movies to use computer generated scenes with traditional animation overlaid on top of it. Being one of the first movies to do this, one would expect it to be choppy and not well done, however the background is almost flawless, if not obviously computer generated, during the big dancing scene towards the end of the movie. In regards to the story, I have often heard people decry the movie as showing a weak central female character hoping the brutish man would change for her. Instead, while I watch it, I see a very strong female protagonist who stands toe-to-toe with every man in the movie, never once backing down. If anything this is almost a female empowerment movie, showing women that they don't have to take what is given to them and that they can take what they want for their lives. On top of everything is the music. The music composed for this movie is one of those that gets stuck in my head for days and I'm not all that perturbed by it. I love the music for this and Angela Lansbury has a surprising nice singing voice to boot. Overall, a highly enjoyable movie which is not a misogynistic as I think people claim it to be.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #10 Finding Nemo

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (

The current film I am re-watching is Finding Nemo

     When I sat down to rewatch this movie after many years of not seeing it I was highly doubtful that Finding Nemo deserved it's place among the Top 10 Best Animated Movies of All Time. I mean, could it really be better than the multitude of movies that didn't make the list. Well, upon rewatching it, I have to say, Yes. Yes it does. Based on my memory, I had assumed that this was a shallow movie about a father fish trying to find his son. However, I found that it is about a group of fish trying to overcome their personal difficulties. Having a daughter with cerebral palsy, it hit very close to home as we (her parents) have been known to say almost the same things that Nemo's father says when he is being over protective of his kid. Nemo has a fin that is very much smaller than his other fin, causing him great difficulty with swimming. His father cautions him to be careful to the point of over-protection, not allowing Nemo to do anything. This sets off the chain of events where Nemo is captured and Marlin (Nemo's father) has to swim across the ocean to find him. And by the end Marlin, Nemo, and Dory all are able to get passed their own difficulties by believing in others and in believing in themselves. Not only was the animation on this movie outstanding, but the moral messages abound throughout the movie. My only qualm with it being on this list is I would have put it higher.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #4 The Lion King

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (

The current film I am re-watching is The Lion King

Although The Lion King is not the first of the revamped Disney animated lineup, which started with The Little Mermaid, it is often considered the best animated Disney movie ever made. Looking back on this movie it is easy to see why. The basis of the movie is another timeless story, Hamlet, which is also considered one of Shakespeare's best. So it is no wonder that The Lion King stands the test of time so well. But it isn't just the story that provides the movie with staying power. The animation throughout the movie is fantastic and often looks like an artist's interpretation of a Disney movie. The songs are some of the best to ever come out of a Disney musical, and I think it says something that although they were created by Elton John and Tim Rice, Elton John doesn't perform any of the music himself (within the main movie). This is likely a fault that is found in later Disney movies, where there is music just for music's sake and none of it progresses the story along. Overall, The Lion King is a beautifully crafted story from the animation, to the music and the story. A perfect movie if there ever was one.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #3 Bambi

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (

The current film I am re-watching is Bambi

Bambi is the 5th Disney animated motion picture and when you compare it to the first one (Snow White) it seems light years ahead. The animation feels much smoother, with the background and the characters integrating almost seemlessly. It has been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, to the point that I remember nothing about it. I was under the assumption that Bambi's mother died very quickly within the movie, but she makes it to the second half of the movie before the hunter gets her. And there is no portrayal of any humans in the entire movie. The hunter, along with any other humans who might be there, are all off screen and we only hear the guns or see evidence of their camp, nothing else. I wonder if this is because animals are much quicker and easier to animate than humans are, hence the reason Pixar didn't use many humans in their original cartoons. The story seems rather aimless at times and is just basically Bambi's life, from birth to the birth of his own children. A simple tale, but enjoyable non-the-less.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 2 Update

2 months in. Chugging along.


1. Finish 1st Draft of my Novel
Start - Again on the list.

2. Drop weight to 167
Start - This has also been on the list since the beginning. Starting at 183.3
Month 1 - 184.0
Month 2 - 184.3

3. Read 1 of the Top Ten Books on Zane's List
Start - In the middle of The Stories of Anton Chekhov.

4. Read 5 books on the Sybervision Book List (including 1 in the Science or Philosophy sections)
Start - Current count is at 85.
Month 2 - Started Don Quixote.

5. Finish 1 more Geological Movie Review
Start - Earthquake still looks like the best bet.

6. Watch 10 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time
Start - Current count is at 75.

7. Finish 50 things on the Blog/Website, with 25 specifically on my To Do list.
Start - My To Do list currently has ~150 things on it.
Month 1 - 4 things done. 46 to go.
Month 2 - 8 done. 42 to go.

8. Finish 8 things on the House Things to do List
Start - The list currently has 29 things on it.
Month 2 - Replaced the bathroom sinks. 7 to go.

9. Finish skinning the top of the hovercraft
Start - Hopefully I can make some time to get to it this year.

10. Get my 5K time under 25 minutes
Start - My current best is 28:32

11. Collect and photograph all of the Star Wars Comics
Start - I changed strategies towards the end of the year on this. Currently I have 3 comic boxes complete and with pictures. Now I need to finish collecting the comics and photograph all of them resulting in 8 total boxes. Currently the remaining 5 all are partially done.
Month 1 - Slowly collecting more comics. Almost finished off box #4.
Month 2 - Box #4 is complete. 4 boxes to go.

12. Submit my Masters Thesis for Publication 
Start - This was the last big thing I had left to get published which I wrote before.

13. Defeat 5 Star Wars Games
Start - With collecting so many games that I have not had time to play I want to set aside some game time.

--------------------------------------Other items of Note------------------------------------------

Nothing really exciting has occurred during February. Mostly just working on little things here and there across my website and my To Do lists.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #1 Snow White and Seven Dwarfs

I have been going back through and re-watching the Top 10 Animated Movies (as according to AFI) and reviewing them for my list (

The current film I am re-watching is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You can also find this on the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time and the 10th Anniversary 100 Greatest Movies of all time lists.

Snow White is mostly touted because it is the first feature length animated movie ever made. And although that is a worthy accomplishment in itself, is it a good movie? First off the animation is actually pretty good. It is amazing to watch how many things are moving across the screen during many parts of the movie, especially when forest animals enter the movie and are all moving around at the same time. Often, movies would skimp out on scenes like this in order to decrease production costs, but Disney seemed to go in the opposite direction, by adding in even more animals. Just trying to imagine how many man hours it would take to make such a thing is daunting. However, the story itself is severely lacking. Snow White is scared off into the woods because the Evil Queen wants to kill her. Why? Because Snow White is the fairest in the land, not the Evil Queen. I guess vanity is a good reason for the Queen's downfall, but it's a pretty weak reason. The pacing of the movie is also all over the place. Several parts of the story seem very rushed (Snow White immediately leaves with the Prince upon being woken up?), with many parts seeming to drag on forever (i.e. the celebration/party before bedtime). Overall, I would say this is an OK movie, but not one I enjoy sitting and watching multiple times.