movie

Be Happy With this “Inside Out” Critique (2015)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

This film must have been so hard to produce. And that is what makes it so enjoyable. It probably involved a lot of studies behind the mind and emotions.

There were actually going to be more emotions than the five the film created for Riley. But that didn’t work out.

Enough said on the introduction. Let’s get down to the critique.

First, the strengths:

1: The mind and emotion constructions

The mind is an abstract place. The creators made everything so literal, and that must’ve been very difficult. There was the train of thought, the core memories, islands representing Riley’s different interests and life essentials, and, of course, the emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

The emotions matured as Riley aged over time. When Riley was a toddler, the emotions would react strongly to broccoli and no dessert if she didn’t finish her dinner (which had no protein, by the way. But that’s another topic).

By the time, Riley was eleven, the emotions have matured even more. I appreciated how Joy could feel grief and pain as she was unable to make Riley happy throughout much of the film. She even cried in the “all is lost” moment. However, there is also a special feature of Riley without her internal emotions being shown. And I heard the viewer can understand why Riley can’t be happy.

2: Bing-Bong

Who doesn’t love Bing Bong? Or that cute little song Riley made up as a toddler? He was such an imaginative character as well as a fun one. I loved when he barged into Riley’s dream. But it was very sad when he died as Joy had to continue her way back to headquarters.

3: The “Triple Dent Gum” song

Why was that song so annoying to Riley and even the bus driver in the end credits? I found it amazing and funny. It was a great way to incorporate humor.

4: The boy’s emotions at the end

“Girl, girl, girl.” The emotions panic like crazy in his head. It was so hilarious. It is also realistic for boys if girls like them. Many have been nervous about impressing girls. The animals’ emotions were funny too.

Which brings me to the flaws…

1: Why do Riley’s parents have all male or female emotions while Riley has both?

This plot hole has been wondered so much by the general public. However, the creators revealed that it was just for humor. I guess that’ll work.

2: Why do the Andersons move?

When things go well, of course conflict has to happen. However, why did Mr. and Mrs. Anderson sell the house? Why did they move to a less-appealing building, both unattractive on the outside and the inside? Were they unable to afford the house in Minnesota? Did one of the parents get offered a new job in San Francisco?

It makes sense for Riley to unhappy with the move. At the end, one of her parents says that they missed Minnesota (but they were the one who chose to leave). Is it supposed to remain a mystery?

3: Would a pizzeria really only serve broccoli pizza?

It’s believable for a pizzeria to only to plain cheese pizza. But just broccoli pizza, only for plot convenience? I can’t imagine so. Also, couldn’t Riley have just removed the broccoli from her pizza?

4: “Child runs away from home and parents comfort them after” cliché

I don’t know why the media keeps portraying this. It’s not really credible, let alone allowing an eleven-year-old to walk to school unsupervised in the 2010s (which would get you in trouble with CPS). Riley also stole her mom’s credit card to pay for a bus ticket back to Minnesota. Add that to running away, Riley would’ve gotten the beating of her life and been severely punished for months if this were believable. But the parents had to feel sorry just for plot convenience. Kids, don’t try this in real life. You will most definitely get the beating of your life as well as be grounded for several months—at least.

5: Toddler Riley has no nipples

Okay, this might be a bit much, although they show topless Toddler Riley. And she has no nipples. When I saw this in the movie theater, I found it strange and was thinking “Maggie Simpson has nipples”.

And that’s all. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It must’ve been one of the hardest films for Pixar and Disney to create. I always found productions that look so challenging to make more enjoyable than those that look to easy to create.

movie, TV show

You’re Never Too Old to Love Something

As children in different stages of our youth (early childhood, grade school age, and adolescence) we all had different tastes in different pop culture and entertainment. When we were babies and small children, about ages 3 – 5*, we loved pretty much the same movies and TV shows, such as “Barney and Friends”, “Sesame Street”, Teletubbies” and “Blue’s Clues”. And as we got older, by around 6, our tastes split up as we discovered our personalities and differences. Some of us watched Cartoon Network, such as “The PowerPuff Girls”, “Scooby Doo”, “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Codename: Kids Next Door”. Some of us enjoyed Nickelodeon and their programs, such as “Rugrats” “Spongebob SquarePants” “The Fairly Odd Parents” and “Danny Phantom”. Some loved Disney Channel and their shows, like “Lizzie McGuire”, “Hannah Montana”, “Kim Possible” and “Phineas and Ferb”. And others mixed and matched channels.

By about 10 – 11, some kids might find those shows childish and watch to move on to older shows, which can be an issue as many are too inappropriate for children. Tweens might be a common time for kids to get attracted to unsuitable content (or at least was when I was that age). It’s probably gotten younger over the years as society changed kids’ tastes and how quickly their favors matured. But there probably is and never will be an average age a kid gets attracted to stuff that’s too inappropriate from them and adults have to stop them. It likely varies a lot from as early as 2.5 – 3 years old and as late as young teens. But that’s another topic.

By early teens, 13 – 14, depending on their parents or guardians’ rules, some may outgrow all kids shows as they are ready for PG-13 content, such as occasional swearing. At 15 – 17, a kid may be interested in R-rated movies. Parents might deny the film them at the younger end of that range. By 18, they’re ready for a purely mature taste in entertainment.

But that’s just an example based on psychological development as well as the individual’s environment and taught mindsets. In fact, many kids and adults do not follow that expected standard. I most definitely didn’t want to. Sometimes, I got to follow my tastes my way. But that was more recently in my early adulthood.

In fact, during my youth, I was constantly being judged by others. Worse, I was being pressured to “grow up.” As early as 10, I was taught that I was too old for family-appropriate movies. For instance, I was 10 when I saw the movie “Home on the Range” in the theaters. Six months later, I wanted to get it on DVD. But my mom was shocked and said I was too old. I was in sixth grade then, and I was really annoyed. She was treating like it was geared toward early childhood and was as young as “Teletubbies”. At 11, I was told I was too old for “Rugrats” (the spin-off didn’t matter in this case). At 12, I was told I was too big for Waffle Boy games (based of the Waffle Crisp cereal) and “The Fairly Odd Parents”. At 13, I was told I was too old for “Happy Feet” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” – the film.

For years I would believe that. I would even avoid many Disney movies because I was “too big”. It wasn’t until young adulthood I revisited my childhood cartoons and stopped considering myself too old for them. I wish I didn’t have to live with that insecurity for years. I would either avoid them like the plague, or watch them secretly, but insecurely. But I never should’ve had to.

In fact, many of my peers then enjoyed clean TV shows and movies such as anime and even Nick JR. I’m not kidding. Because of what I was taught, I would tell other kids they were too old for shows like “Dora the Explorer”. They were unhappy.

If only my family had empathized with me and understood that I did NOT choose to like the “childish” entertainment forms. Instead, they treated it like it was at least as bad as watching something inappropriate. It is not.

While there are negative psychological effects if a young person watches something inappropriate, there is nothing for watching something you’re “too old” for. Yes, children need to be taught what behaviors they are too big for. But they should get to watch what they love as long as it’s appropriate. And adults can watch anything, including clean entertainment.

It’s okay to love something that others believe are geared toward younger children. Just because something is clean and has no mature content, that doesn’t mean it’s only for little kids. Older kids and adults deserve the right to watch what appeals to them.

You should be able to watch something, regardless of rating or cleanliness, with no problem—with 100% confidence. Don’t let others judge you. In fact, I wish I had never been judged the way I was. For instance, I used to keep it secret from my peers in middle school that I liked “Danny Phantom” because I was constantly judged.

Now, with the exception of Disney, if I want to watch a family-friendly show or film, I go into another room and keep the volume low (this is only if I’m home). If someone comes inside, I pause the video and turn the device away from the other person. And I don’t like it. I want to be confident with watching a clean movie or TV show without someone criticizing me.

Don’t be afraid to walk into a bar with a “Mickey Mouse” shirt. Don’t be afraid to go into a casino with a “Shrek” tattoo in a visible area. It’s all right to love “The PowerPuff Girls” at 25 (my current age). It’s fine to love “The Fairly Odd Parents” at 30. And it’s more than acceptable to be passionate about “Shrek” at 60.

I am abandoning all the pressures to outgrow my likes for clean entertainment. But it’s very difficult and is going slow. It might take several years. Hopefully, it doesn’t. I am never too old for what I like. The only exceptions are stuff like “Barney” and “Teletubbies”, where there is little to no conflict and problems are resolved in a mild cute way. Those shows were definitely intended for early childhood.

And here’s a bonus fact: many “kid’s” TV shows and movies have jokes or references that only adults could get. “Bee Movie” is an example.

So remember, love what you love. Don’t be insecure. Don’t let others judge you. Don’t force yourself to stop enjoying something because people say you’re too old. Be who you want to be. And most importantly, who you are.

*This varies a lot, especially in recent years. It’s just an estimate. No two children of the same age are alike in their entertainment tastes.

movie

What Can I Say, Except, “You’re Welcome” for this Wonderful Review of “Moana” (2016)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

I saw this film a year after it was released in theaters. I watched it at my house. It was such a beautiful movie.

As a baby, Moana is interested in the story she is hearing in daycare about Maui stealing the heart of Te Fiti. All the other children are scared. Moana is somehow called to the ocean. But her overprotective father forbids her to go near it.

Years later, when Moana has reached her current age for the main part of the story, there is a shortage of fish by the reef. Moana suggests going beyond the reef. But her father gets angry and will still prohibit anyone going further than the reef. Moana’s mother reveals why her dad is so against going beyond the reef. Moana tries sailing, but it ends up not working out. Her grandma shows the story of her ancestors and how they used to go beyond the reef all the time. They stopped because there were too many dangerous monsters, especially Te Ka the lava demon. Unfortunately, not long after, Moana’s grandmother is dying. She tells Moana to sail out to the ocean, seek Maui, and return the heart of Te Fiti. Moana’s journey begins from there.

I really admired many parts of this movie, from the story to the characters, especially Moana. She is one of the few Disney princesses to have no love interest. The other two are Merida and Elsa (which is why fans were begging Disney to give Elsa a girlfriend in the “Frozen” sequel). Anyway, Moana was fierce, brave, and strong, which is what many expect for female characters today.

The music was also fantastic. Many songs sounded different from traditional Disney songs. Some sounded more like pop songs, such as “How Far I’ll Go” and “Shiny”. I particularly appreciated the rap section in “You’re Welcome” sung by Maui.

That being said, there were a couple flaws in this movie, such as some urine jokes and (sorry to disappoint some of you) the coconut pirate scene. I loved when Moana said that they were cute and then they went vicious. However, I couldn’t see how important it was to the story. I felt it was just a little filler to add conflict. And the story told in Moana’s daycare is really too mature for little kids. It was only used for plot convenience.

The ending was beautiful. After violence with Te Ka the lava monster, Moana figured out that she was really Te Fiti without the heart. The scene where Moana returns the heart and Te Fiti turns back into a beautiful Goddess and Island was heartwarming. It was also funny how Te Fiti looks a lot like Moana.

I would rate Moana 5 out of 5 stars. It is such a wonderful movie that I would recommend to all, especially with a strong, independent female lead.

TV show

All I Really Want for Christmas is Family Guy’s “Road to the North Pole” – Now onto the Review (2010)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

This is one of my favorite “Family Guy” episodes—not just their Christmas specials, but in general. I would even watch it off-season.

Stewie and Brian go to the mall to see Santa (a fake one, of course). However, there is a long line. By the time it’s Stewie’s turn, the mall closes and Santa leaves. Disappointed, Stewie makes Brian drive to the north pole. They stop at a Christmas festival, where Stewie blows up at Brian for taking him there and not the real north pole. He reveals the real reason he wants to go: that is to kill Santa.

The journey becomes tough and lengthy. But Brian and Stewie make it, only to discover something shocking about Santa. The types of gifts, as well as the amount, has overwhelmed Santa to the point that he is no longer jolly. He is sick and stressed out. The elves are inbred and some were born blind. The reindeer and vicious and eat the elves that have died. Santa’s health ends up in jeopardy. If he goes out to deliver presents, he will die. Brian volunteers himself and Stewie to give out the gifts. However, things end up ugly.

Everyone wakes up to no presents from Santa. Brian reveals the reason on TV and asks everybody in the world to request only one gift each Christmas. People are willing to accept that.

One year passes and Christmas turns out better. The north pole has had its place cleaned up. The elves and Santa are healthier. And the people enjoy Christmas, even with just one gift each.

There are many things I admire about this holiday special. First, there are the songs, “All I Really Want for Christmas”, sung at the beginning by all the characters. They express their wishes for Christmas. Then there’s the song, “Christmastime is Killing Us”, sung by Santa and his elves right after Stewie and Brian arrive at the north pole.

Speaking of which, I found this approach to Santa and his elves, as well as his workshop, to be the most realistic, compared to other TV shows and movies. Being destroyed by all the requests for Christmas, fancier gifts (like an iPod), and other factors made Santa’s stressed character more believable. I think this would, unfortunately, be the case if Santa Claus were real. But, as Stewie said, delivering gifts to the whole world in one night is inhuman.

There were some funny moments, as well, such as the Gary Busey scene, and the brief “Winnie to Pooh” scene, explaining why Eeyore is always in a bad mood, after Brian almost reveals to Stewie that Santa doesn’t exist (at that point, to Brian).

Overall, I would rate this special 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

Hey, Buddy, Check Out this Review of “Elf” (2003)

Thirty years prior to the film’s main time setting, an orphaned baby is put to bed in his crib. The infant sees Santa come down the chimney. The baby crawls into the sack while Santa is not looking.

Santa returns to his workshop, only to discover the infant coming out of his sack. An elf reads his diaper and sees the name, Buddy. An elder elf, known as Papa Elf, adopts the child and his name becomes Buddy.

Through the years, Buddy notices that he is different from the other elves. He grows much bigger than them. After realizing his differences, Buddy leaves the north pole to seek his father in New York City.

This film was absolutely funny. Buddy had such a great sense of humor by acting uncivilized in New York City as he has never been around humans, besides Santa Claus. He runs into a coffee place that says in its sign that it’s the world’s best coffee, and congratulates them loudly. He also tries to hug a racoon, drinks an entire bottle of Coke and burps for a long time, and screams happily in revolving doors.

But the funniest moment of all is when Buddy sees “Santa” at the mall and gets excited. Then he discovers that he was just an ordinary guy dressed as Santa. He rips off the beard, the kids scream, and he wrestles the man. So hilarious!

I would gladly recommend “Elf” as a great holiday classic and comedy. It is a definite 5 out of 5 star-rated film.

TV show

3… 2… 1… Got to Blast! This is the Analysis of “Jimmy Neutron”

One of Nickelodeon’s earliest CG TV shows has been loved by many, including myself. It all started out as a movie in 2001, where Jimmy and his friends wanted independence from the adults. Aliens even kidnapped the grownups. However, that ended up a nightmare. The children traveled to Yolkus, the other planet, and saved their parents.

Enough said about the film—onto the TV show. The premise is a young boy, named Jimmy, who invents things to make things easier and well for him. Even the community knows Jimmy and his talent for science and inventing. Things usually end up not as planned.

The name of the town Jimmy lives in is Retroville. It’s a city, yet, only about twenty people live there. Don’t believe me? It’s been proven in the third Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour Special (when “Jimmy Neutron” and “The Fairly Oddparents had crossovers) that a very small popular resides in Retroville. After every person you see on the show is sucked away, Retroville becomes a quiet ghost town.

Which brings me to my next point—if so few people live there, why wasn’t it just a small town? In fact, I think most small towns are much more populated than Retroville. Oh well. The tiny population probably saved money and time for the animators.

Another thing about the show is that it seems to take place in Texas, yet the geographic layout and climate are nowhere near accurate. Neither are the people and their culture. Interesting, huh?

Now onto the moments. From my observation, Jimmy is sometimes inconsistent with others. For instance, he and Cindy usually don’t get along. He is sometimes in love with this minor character, Betty Quinland. However, in the second Jimmy-Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy likes Cindy and wants to take her to the school dance. If he really likes Cindy, then why do they act like they hate each other, and why did Jimmy scream, “Noooo!!!” when he discovered his future-self married her. I was assuming that maybe the two grew and changed and decided to like each other, but it the creators just failed to show or tell that on their end. However, I think they fight to hide their care for each other. That’s what I heard.

In one of the specials, Jimmy stated that people don’t change. Um… of course they do. Otherwise, we’d all be looking and functioning like newborns. In fact, there was one episode where Jimmy turned into a Hulk-like monster. I used to nickname him the Julk. That was change… at least in some form.

One thing I found quite funny because it was unrealistic was when Jimmy wanted something badly, but couldn’t wait till his birthday, which wasn’t for three months. He “changed” his birthday to the next day. It was his birthday for over a week until his parents tried to send him off to college.

Another great moment was when Sheen discovered that he had a terrible singing voice. It was a huge disadvantage until the twankie-combined monster became so violent that Sheen needed to sing to make it fall asleep.

Who remembers that special? The twankies were cute and harmless until they heard music. Then they transformed into violent creatures and eventually merged into a huge monster. Only Sheen’s horrible singing voice kept the twankies from becoming dangerous.

Despite the show’s popularity, it only lasted for about three seasons. My family enjoyed this show and they used to be disappointed when there were no more new episodes. Oh well.

There was actually a spinoff where Sheen had his own show. But that didn’t do well. I didn’t even find it appealing just based on the advertisements.

That’s it for this analysis. Now it’s time to blast off.

 

 

 

movie

Let it Go… Can’t Hold These Thoughts Anymore… For an Analysis of Disney’s “Frozen” (2013)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I did not see “Frozen” in the movie theater. However, I did see it on my computer. I also saw the Broadway show, which I actually liked more. But this post is only about the movie.

I am not going to include thoughts on the shorts, such as “Frozen Fever” or “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”, as I did not see those. So here is the analysis.

Many of us know the story. As young children, Anna and Elsa play together until Elsa accidentally knocks Anna out unconscious with her ice powers. Anna’s memories of Elsa’s ice powers are altered and wiped. Elsa has to have a bunch of restrictions on her until she can control her powers. Anna and Elsa grow up mostly separate. Their parents die, and then three years later, Elsa is crowned queen. She accidentally does ice magic at the coronation and flees while creating an eternal winter. Anna goes out to look for her. I could go on, but I’m not going to.

So here are my thoughts. First off, I really appreciate how Elsa is developed. She is misunderstood by others, scared, and struggles to control her ice powers. That made her seem very real and likable.

Speaking of likable… did you know that Elsa was originally supposed to be the villain, in “Frozen”? She was going to be much older and use her ice powers for evil, like in the original story “Frozen” was based off: “The Snow Queen”. However, I am glad the creators changed it and had Prince Hans be the villain instead.

In fact, I think it was a smart move as standards have changed since Disney’s early days. Just because someone seems charming, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should love and trust him or her. It was also a nice, unexpected twist for the story, straying away from the traditional approach, where the prince the princess falls in love with is a good guy. Kristoff ended up being Anna’s love interest, even though he wasn’t as easygoing as Hans seemed.

It was also pretty unsanitary that Kristoff and Sven shared carrots. At least it’s not realism, otherwise, Kristoff would’ve gotten sick, as well as Sven.

While still discussing character development, I did find Anna too immature at times for her age. For instance, Elsa had to remind her that she couldn’t marry a guy she’d just met. But Anna had unrealistic expectations for romance. I knew better at Anna’s age (18) and even younger.

Now the most memorable character for me was Olaf the snowman. He was silly, enthusiastic, and comedic. I especially love his song about summer. It was cute to see how a snowman envisioned summer, especially when he didn’t know that heat melted snow.

The songs were all great. Many of them didn’t sound like traditional Disney songs. For example, I thought “Let it Go” and “For the First Time in Forever” sounded like “Wicked” songs.

The layout of the setting was executed well. Another fun fact is that the cast and crew had to go to Norway to study the land and architecture for the film. And it worked out well.

I would rate “Frozen” 4 out of 5 stars. While the story content was done with lots of effort, something about it didn’t engage me enough to give it 5 stars. In fact, when I first saw this movie, I found the beginning to be kind of boring. I only watched the whole thing because it was a big, popular film.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it very much.

 

 

 

TV show

“We’re Here to Fight Crime!” It’s “The Powerpuff Girls: Twas the Fight Before Christmas” – Review (2003)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

I first saw this special last year, when one of my friends wanted to play it at my birthday party. It kept me curious and engaged. I usually don’t review individual TV show specials. But for the holiday season, I will. And this is the first.

Townsville is getting ready Christmas, which is in two days. The children at the Powerpuff girls’ school, including the girls themselves, are getting into the Christmas spirit. Princess Morbucks is her usual spoiled self. The Powerpuff girls put her down for all the terrible things she’s done. Princess Morbucks gets angry and asks her servants if they think she’s naughty. But they won’t answer. Desperate for her wish to become a powerpuff girl, Princess Morbucks sneaks into the north pole and discovers that she is on the naughty list. And she’s the only one. So she alters the list titles, making herself “nice” and everyone else “naughty”.

Bubbles wakes up to discover coal in her stocking as well as Blossom and Buttercup’s and the other people on their street. Blossom and Buttercup give Bubbles a hard time about looking through the neighbors’ stockings. Then Princess Morbucks shows up as a powerpuff girl. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup chase her to the north pole. Santa feels upset that everyone, except Princess Morbucks, has been naughty, according to his list. The Powerpuff girls try to tell Santa that this whole mess was an error. Princess Morbucks brags about being nice. However, she gets so out of hand that Santa realizes that she has been so spoiled and bratty. He puts her on the permanent naughty board. Princess Morbucks flies away, but Santa presses his nose, and Princess Morbucks’s powers are removed.

Santa wants to give all the kids who’ve been good for Christmas their gifts. But there is chaos outside with the elves and reindeer. So, instead, the Powerpuff girls deliver the gifts. They return home by dawn, tired. But the professor wakes them up and then they have fun with their gifts.

After not seeing “The Powerpuff Girls” in several years, I found this to be refreshing and cute as well as a great way to catch up with the show’s premise and characters. This is one of those kids’ shows that was an easy watch.

The way the show brings on the Christmas spirit was done well. That being said, it seems that everyone in the PPG universe celebrates Christmas. No signs of anyone celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other holidays. I thought that was a bit inconsiderate to those who don’t celebrate Christmas in real life. I know a lot of people who don’t.

Also, it seems that the whole planet in the PPG universe is on the same time zone. That sounds confusing as the world in real life lives on different time zones, because… we should all know why. And the PPG girls is set in the US (I don’t know what state, though).

However, when the Powerpuff girls are chasing Princess Morbucks while she’s on her way to the north pole, they seemed to have left the southern hemisphere. That’s an inconsistency, unless there’s a secret made-up state south of the equator in the PPG universe.

Another inconsistency is that another villain, Mojo Jojo, was apparently on the nice list when preparing for Christmas. Um, hello? He’s evil too. Shouldn’t he and all the other villains have been on the naughty list too? Princess Morbucks shouldn’t have been the only one just for plot convenience. In fact, it seems unbelievable that she was the only naughty being in the entire world.

But now onto the strengths. The ending of how the Powerpuff girls delivered the presents was very well-thought out. The moment where the professor and the girls are trying to get the tree lights to work was clever. I also supported how Blossom and Buttercup put Bubbles down for using her X-ray vision to see through other peoples’ stockings. I considered that very wrong for Bubbles before her sisters scolded her for that.

Despite some of the confusing flaws and inconsistencies typical for cartoons like this one, I would rate this TV show special 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

Merry Christmas, Mickey! And a Happy New Analysis of “Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse” (2001)

Warning: Contains Spoilers***

 

It’s the first holiday post of the year, focusing on a straight-to-video holiday Disney special: “Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse”. I saw a couple clips of it in junior high at school. But then I watched the full film at a friend’s house last year and again recently.

Disney characters from different movies are at the House of Mouse, where Mickey and his pals have hosted a show. Mickey lets everyone go home until Goofy reveals that they are snowed in. Everybody tries to remain positive, except Donald. He remains grumpy. To keep the crowd occupied, Mickey plays some holiday videos of him and his friends.

The clips were great, although some concepts seemed outdated and wouldn’t pass for today. For example, in the “Nutcracker” clip, where Mini plays Maria (I don’t know why they didn’t call her Clara. Maybe for copyright reasons?), she acts as dependent on males to dance with. When the mouse king (played by Donald) captures her, the nutcracker (played by Mickey) fights and rescues her. It isn’t until the end that Maria puts in effort. She was pretty much a damsel-in-distress. When Mickey asks what everyone is thankful for, Cinderella says something that also reminds me of a damsel-in-distress. I can’t remember right now. But in 2001, wouldn’t that have been a bit insensitive?

Another element that I found odd was that the villains were there and out-of-character. Not a hundred percent, though. When Mickey shows clips of what he asked others for Christmas, Jafar asks for the lamp and Ursula asks for his voice.

However, during the moment Mickey gets everyone into the Christmas spirit, Jafar’s all-powerful snake staff turns into a candy cane and he gladly accepts it. Really, guys? If you were a sorcerer, and your powerful, magic-producing item turned into a powerless treat, would you really tolerate that? Probably not. In fact, if Jafar were true to his character, he would’ve used his snake staff to get back and Mickey and his friends, get furious and overly dangerous. Perhaps, he would’ve turned into a snake creature again and everybody would’ve erupted into panicking. But he had to behave because… you know… plot convenience. So why did Jafar and any other villains need to be there? During the song at the end, the villains took part as taking the good character’s sides. Pretty strange, huh?

But enough of the flaws. There are a ton of strengths and well-done moments. The song at the end that all the characters participated in was beautiful. The [good] characters’ attitudes were great and very much like them. I especially admired Kuzco’s appearance as a crying llama when Mickey asks what everybody wanted for Christmas. So funny. The Mad-Hatter was also hilarious when he was thankful for different hats. At the end, with the musical number, the mice bring back Cinderella’s old dress that the stepsisters have originally destroyed. Very satisfying.

Now onto the videos Mickey shows. The first one is where Huey, Dewey, and Louie are building a snowman while Donald is trying to skate. Donald struggles and ends up damaging his nephews’ snowman. The ice cracks and breaks different things, including very sturdy things, like a tree. I found that to be too silly. Yes, I know. It’s a cartoon. But what a silly concept for an ice crack to be that powerful.

There is also the clip where Mickey is getting a tree and decorating it for Christmas. Chip and Dale are in the tree. Pluto finds them and tries to hurt them. He ends up damaging the entire tree. Then Minnie, Donald, and Goofy come and sing “Deck the Halls”. Chip and Dale participate and Pluto howls. Mickey scolds Pluto for that. However, that’s normal for dogs to do when hearing high voices. But the clip’s ending had to be satisfying. Also, why didn’t Mickey recognize Chip and Dale? Why was he also accepting of them in his tree? Hmmm…

The decorating processes in that clip and the next one were too perfect. No errors whatsoever. Oh well. As long as we don’t try it in real life and expect the same outcomes.

After Jiminy Cricket cheers Mickey up, Mickey finally gets Donald to have a more positive attitude. Then he plays the “Christmas Carol” clip (based off Charles Dickenson’s play). Many people probably know the story. For those who don’t, here’s plot. Scrooge is grumpy, unthankful for Christmas, and is obsessed with making money. Four ghosts then visit him. The latter three show him his past, present, and future. Scrooge changes into a better person with a positive attitude for Christmas.

Not ironically, Scrooge McDuck plays the main character (although I don’t know if Scrooge McDuck is usually that grumpy). The characters were well-cast. Goofy did an amazing portrayal of the first ghost. The chains made me feel sorry for him. I found it sad when Isabelle (play by Daisy) cried because Scrooge called off his marriage. And she’d waited ten years. I guess that’s believable, but not sure how common it is.

At the end of that clip, when Scrooge has grown and changed drastically, he reverted back to his old self when visiting Bob Crachett (played by Mickey) to fool around. Then he returned to a good character. The song at the end of the “Christmas Carol” clip sounded kind of like “God Bless us Everyone” from the live musical version of the story. Of course, it wasn’t.

My final thought is wondering how all the different characters from different movies came together and knew about it as well as celebrated Christmas (including Timon and Pumbaa—there are no humans in “The Lion King”). I guess that’s supposed to be a mystery.

I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great holiday classic for everyone and I would gladly recommend it.

 

 

short fiction

She Will Survive: A Flash Fiction Piece

Once, up on a mountain, Lucy had lost her sense of direction. She’d come across a lady—only to discover that she’d been a witch in disguise. She’d trapped Lucy inside her home and had made her forget the moments she’d struggled in the wilderness.

            But that had happened two years ago. It was December, and Lucy neared the end of her first semester at college. She sat in her dorm and studied for her finals.

            Her roommate, Claire, burst inside. Her face turned red and she sucked in her breathed.

            “Claire, are you all right?” asked Lucy.

            “My grandma got lost in the dessert.”

            Lucy lowered her jaw. “No way.”

            “I… I could lose her, just like I lost my father in a motorcycle accident,” said Claire. “Can you help me find her?”

            Lucy said nothing. Arizona had a lot of dessert. So Lucy and Claire could get lost.

            “Please, Lucy.”

            “Okay, yes.” Lucy stood up.

            The two walked out of the dorm and away from the campus.

            “Claire, do you know where your grandma is?” Lucy asked.

            “W-well… I suppose…” Claire paused. “Wait a minute, didn’t you get lost in the wilderness two years ago?”

            “Yes, but some witch wiped my memories and told me that she made me forget all that.”

            Claire bent her eyebrows and tilted her head. “We’re eighteen. You sound like you’re five saying that.”

            “Oh, shut up,” Lucy said. “I wouldn’t lie about that.”

            “Lucy, stop it! We don’t have a lot of time!”

            “But why do we have to find your grandma? Isn’t there a—”

            “I can help,” said a woman.

            Lucy and Claire stopped. The woman resembled the witch from two years ago. She had pale-blonde waves falling past her shoulders and wore dark lipstick.

            “You… you’re not that woman I met in the mountains, are you?” asked Lucy.

            “No,” the lady said.

            “You look a lot like her,” said Lucy.

            “Perhaps, I’m just a doppelgänger,” the woman said. “Anyway, my name is Miss. Christie.”

            Claire turned to Lucy and said, “Lucy, I don’t think we should trust her.”

            “I can help save your granny tonight,” Miss. Christie said.

            “Are you sure?” asked Claire.

            “Positive,” said Miss. Christie.

            Miss. Christie texted on her phone.

            “Lucy, we need to go.” Claire grabbed Lucy’s arm.

            Lucy turned to Miss. Christie. Miss. Christie held her palm up. Light glowed inside it. Lucy gasped. “Miss. Christie, you lied to us.”

            Miss. Christie glared at Lucy.

            “You’re not Miss. Christie. You’re Miss. Blackburn, the same person who wiped my memories.”

            “Lucy, how could you!” Miss. Blackburn held her hand up. “I wiped your memories once. I can do it again.”

            Lucy and Claire screamed.

            “Leave them alone!” an old woman grasped Miss. Blackburn’s shoulders and knocked her down.

            “Grandma?” Claire asked.

            “Take that, and that.” The elder lady hit Miss. Blackburn with her purse.

            A bunch of cops nearby grabbed Miss. Blackburn and arrested her.

            “Grandma.” Claire hugged the old lady. “I thought I’d never see you again. Are you okay?”

            “Of course, Claire. What made you think I was—”

            “I got a text saying that you were lost in the dessert.”

            “Oh no, I wasn’t.”

            The two let go of each other.

            “What are you doing here?” asked Claire.

            “I was going to visit you,” the grandma said.

            “Where’s mom?” Claire asked.

            “She’s coming,” the grandmother said.

            Lucy introduced herself to Claire’s grandma. The three went back to the campus.