Monday, May 18, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies #4 - Fantasia

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 final film in this list is FantasiaYou can also find this on the 100 Greatest Movies List.

   Fantasia is Disney's third animated theatrical release (after Snow White and Pinocchio, both on this list as well). I think it is telling, that of Disney's first five animated movies, four are on the top 10 animated movies of all time list. Nothing encapsulates that drive to create unique animated features more than Fantasia. This movie shows how Walt Disney was willing to break with normal traditions and go as far out there as he could think. This movie could in essence be considered the first music video, where eight different pieces of classical music are given animations that match the music. The themes of the animations range from nonsensical shapes and colors, through Greek Mythology, to scientific theories, to religion, and ballet. Each of the pieces has a unique style to it, but they all appear to have that "rough" animation style that was so prevalent on Pinocchio. I actually tend to prefer that style of animation, which gives the movie a more artistic feeling. And this movie definitely has an artistic feeling. At over two hours in length, it is one of the longest Disney animated movie ever made but it is broken up by a live action conductor and narrator, who introduces each of the segments to the audience. This movie also has one of the first interactions between a cartoon and a live actor, almost 50 years before Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Overall, I would say that this is an enjoyable movie, with interesting animated sequences, but it is very very long, and I definitely felt it dragging the latter half of the movie.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #2 Pinocchio

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 PinocchioYou can also find this on the 100 Most Inspirational Movies List.

Pinocchio is the second movie to be made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios, three years after Snow White. Having watched this movie immediately after Cinderella, I am amazed by the level of detail in the animation. True, the animation looks "rough", but it is immensely detailed, the humans actually have features, and the roughness actually gives it a personal feel. I would say that this movie may be even better animated than the majority of movies that have come before or after it. That being said, there is the story. Geppetto is the worst father figure imaginable, at least at the beginning of the movie. "Yay I have a son, 5 hours later you must leave to go to school though. Bye!". Jiminy Cricket is a horrible conscious, having quit the job 2 or 3 times over the length of the movie. And we haven't even gotten into the questionable content of the movie. To emphasize the bad behavior of the kids, I feel that Disney went places that no movie would go within a 100 miles of today, especially a kids animated movie. Young kids drinking and smoking? Kidnapping kids and sending them to a place called "Pleasure Island"? And the action sequences can be downright scary at times, like when the whale is chasing Geppetto and Pinocchio. And the story bounces all over the place, feeling more random than anything else. I mean really, all of the sudden Geppetto is swallowed by a whale, out of nowhere?  The songs are tolerable. The principle song, "When you wish upon a star" is one of the signature Disney songs now, so more than likely most kids would have at least heard that song without seeing the movie. Overall, this probably has some of the best animation in a movie of all time, the story line though has quite a bit to be desired.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Top 10 Animated Movies - #9 Cinderella

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 Cinderella

Unlike the other movies on this list, I have had extensive watching of this movie due to my child's adoration of the film, but I had not sat down and watched it from the beginning in I don't know how long. Even with my daughter's repeated viewings, there were still segments of the movie which I do not recall ever watching. It is possible I had not seen them since she always focuses on a few scenes and wants to watch them over and over again. In general about the movie, I am surprised that a story that is so well known actually focuses a good amount of time on the animals in the story. Perhaps half of the movie is just about the animals and their interactions with each other. This comes into play throughout the movie of course since Cinderella relies upon the animals to help her accomplish her goal of meeting the prince and then escaping from her room after her step-mother locks her in. However, the principle plot of the movie only encompasses a fairly short amount of time in the film itself. The songs are well done, much more in a musical theater type of way. However the animation appears to have stalled out by this point. Walt Disney had made may movies by 1950, and I was actually surprised to see how many when looking at the animation of the movie. I had thought it was earlier. The animals look well animated but human faces are all rather detail-less. They all have few distinguishing marks about them and their noses are pretty much just one or two lines. Some of the scenery scenes though, are absolutely picturesque, although I don't know if that is due to blu-ray remastering or if that was how the original looked. Overall, I'm not sure if it is because I know the movie so well at this point but I found myself pretty bored watching through it again for this review. Personally, I probably wouldn't include it on this list, and especially not ahead of Finding Nemo. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Personal Goals - Month 4 Update

4 months in. 1/3 done with the year.


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
Month 3 - 183.0
Month 4 - 183.5

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.
Month 3 - 13 done. 37 to go.
Month 4 - 14 done. 36 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.
Month 3 - Multiple projects in the works.

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.
Month 4 - 1 game done. 4 to go.

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

Very busy at work this month and a good chunk of time was devoted to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. The family and I headed out there for a few days.