Hi everyone, it's me again. I have recently reviewed the so-called Golden Age Disney films, so now I am reviewing the Disney films from the so called "Dark Age". This was after Walt Disney died and the studio was kind of struggling. None of these films flopped at the box-office (except Black Cauldron), they just weren't as big of hits as Walt's earlier works. They did moderately well enough to keep Disney afloat as best as possible. Disney just wanted more glory is what it really comes down to. I should also mention that The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will not be in this blog since I have already reviewed it in my package film blog. So let's begin.
Most people think of The Aristocats as a cute okay movie or consider it Disney's worst. I think neither. I view the Aristocats as one of my cute childhood movies. Lady and the Tramp was my dog movie, but the Aristocats was my cat movie. I liked how this movie didn't need to be spectacular, it just needed a nice cute simple story. And that's all I needed and that's all it gave. My two favorite parts are the motorcycle chase scene with the dogs and the fight scene at the end. They were pretty entertaining. I also liked how these cats were sophisticated enough not to eat Roquefort the mouse. The movie was also good at it's interactions with other side characters like the geese and Scat Cat's gang, something I think 101 Dalmatians should have done better. And speaking of which, there has been a bit of arguing that this movie is a kitty cat version of 101 Dalmatians. Since I viewed this movie first, I liked this movie more. However, the different opinions have been more centered on the villains. Cruella is easier to hate because she wanted to make fur coats out of the puppies, while Edgar was overlooked in the will. I understand their points, but I still prefer this movie more. Overall, I recommend this movie to anyone who likes cute cats. I enjoy this movie.
Despite Robin Hood's box-office success, Robin Hood is sadly considered an embarrassment because of its mixed critical reception and constantly re-used animation. But heck with that! I don't care! Robin Hood is one of my absolute favorite Disney films! It's a great way to give families of any age the story of Robin Hood. This is one of those rare films where they use animal anthropomorphism creatively. They choose animals to fit the characters' personality such as a fox for Robin Hood because he's sly, lions for Prince John and King Richard because they're kings, and so on. It has adventurous scenes that keep adults' attention while making sure they do not scare the children. Robin Hood himself is entertaining and a brave clever hero. Prince John is also a fun comedic villain, entertaining for kids, but bad enough to be portrayed as a great villain. He is very funny when he interacts with his sidekick Sir Hiss, and sucks his thumb. The Sheriff is also entertaining, like when he steals money from the poor victims of Nottingham. The music is awesome; the score and songs which do greatly at the movie's climax. And speaking of which, the climax is awesome! It starts off quiet, tiptoeing, and whispering, but once the cover is blown, it's fast paced rushing and intensity! Everywhere Robin turns, there's something trying to kill him! So all in all, Robin Hood is entertaining and wonderful! The story is great, the characters are great, it's just awesome and I love watching it!
The Rescuers was the most successful of this so-called Dark Age period. It had a creative idea, sweetness, and an endearing story. Most would think that two small mice couldn't possibly help a human in danger, but this movie proves otherwise. I admit I was a little uncomfortable with the movie as a little kid, probably because of the artwork or it's creepy dramatic environment. But I watched this on Toon Disney when I was 13, the age where most kids would stop watching Disney films and I loved it much better, and became a fan of its sequel, The Rescuers Down Under in addition. Bernard and Bianca are likable characters. Bianca is sweet and brave, and having Eva Gabor, the voice of Duchess from The Aristocats helps too. Bernard is timid, but has good leadership skills when the time is right. Madame Medusa is a pretty cool villain too. She's got a hot temper and abuses her sidekick Snoops a lot, but also speaks softly. Brutus and Nero are pretty cool too, one of the few fairly competent henchman. The movie was also good at showing us that hope can be around the corner even through bad times. Penny was an orphan who had little to no chance of being adopted, but by having faith, she got past Medusa and got her happy ending. The story is what I think is the movie's biggest strength. It's sweet, has good story, good characters, just what a Disney film needs. I love it, and I will watch it plenty more times in the future.
The Fox and the Hound
Ugh, let's get this over-with. As most of you know, The Fox and the Hound is one of my least favorite Disney films. Even the opening credits were really creepy and boring! Nothing but a few animal sounds in the distance and wind blowing! What kind of way is that to start off a movie? I admit I did kind of like it as a little kid, but once that bear starting haunting me at every corner, that's when I started disliking it. This movie is one of those forbidden friendship stories and one that leads to an unhappy, yet modestly mature outcome. Poor Tod is losing everyone around every corner; first his mommy, then his best friend, and then his own caretaker! He gets a girlfriend, but it still feels sad that he doesn't get to go back to Widow Tweed or visit Copper. The environment is so dreary and moody. I admit, The Rescuers had a similar environment, but that worked because it had a good story and developed characters. THIS movie does not. And now I am going to rant what I despise about this movie the most-the bear! As I have said plenty of times before, that creepy bear haunted my thoughts and scared the crud out of me. Every time I watched the movie, I felt like that bear could appear out of anywhere. It was freaky, it's design was scary, and it made the movie's creepy moody environment even worse than it already was. That bear had a pretty bad impact on my life. The Fox and the Hound is too sad, too mature, and unentertaining. I don't mind maturity and sadness in a Disney movie, as long as there's a good balance of happiness and excitement. But for me, there really wasn't. Unless you don't mind this kind of maturity, this one is a skip.
The Black Cauldron
While most films of this "Dark Age" did okay at the box-office, The Black Cauldron was really the only box office flop. And sadly, this movie's box-office bombing is what made Disney hit rock bottom. I have never even heard of it until I saw its title on a list of Disney Mouse Work books. I saw this film years later on Toon Disney, and well, I didn't really think it was that bad. I admit it does have its flaws that obviously need work. The animation kind of looks dirty, and Taran has a rather annoying voice. Eilowny being a princess is pointless, since there is absolutely no evidence of her princess status, and the movie does not have a balance of darkness and comedy. There's a little too much evil score, and the Horned King, while a pretty cool villain, is too evil and creepy. I think he needs more personality to make the movie work. I was also very horrified to see Gurgi get killed to the Cauldron Born! How can they kill a comic relief character like that?! I did like the magic sword and how Taran chose the Gurgi over any heroic glory he desired. And that is a strong message to give across. So while I understand why this movie was a huge failure, I don't think it's that bad. I say it is at least worth a try. Nevertheless, the future of Disney animation was in danger. Disney needed more successful movies if they were going to keep the studio afloat. Could Disney get themselves out of Rock Bottom and make big hits once again? Well, take a look at The Great Mouse Detective next.
The Great Mouse Detective
As you all know, The Great Mouse Detective is my favorite Disney animated film! It's been with me throughout my whole childhood mainly because it stars a mouse! And most of you know how much I LOVE mice! Although this movie is often underrated (probably because it was only a moderate success and pushed aside at the box-office by that other mouse film An American Tail), it's often considered one of the best films of this era, at least by most people who know of it. As you remember from above, Disney Animation was threatening to close down after The Black Cauldron bombed at the box office. The Great Mouse Detective was much more successful both critically and at the box-office to get Disney to think "We can still do this!" Sure, it was only a moderate hit, but that's all it needed to do, sort of like an appetizer before the main Disney monster hit courses (which would be the Disney Renaissance). Let's look at the good stuff. Basil is an awesome character, he's clever, funny, egotistic but still very likable. He's a great mouse version of Sherlock Holmes. Ratigan is also an awesome villain! You probably expected me to say that because of my user name and my past praises of the movie's aspects. He's delightfully wicked, he loves being nasty, has a great design, and has a great voice done by Vincent Price. He is egotistical and funny most of the times, but vicious when angered. Fidget, though freaky in his "in your face" closeups is kind of cool too. He does scare us a couple times, but he redeems himself with his comedic clumsiness. The songs are enjoyable too; World's Greatest Criminal Mind, Let Me Be Good To You, and Goodbye So Soon. Toby is also a great dog. He assists in scenting down bad guys, likes Olivia, and chases away Felicia. But the scene most people remember from this movie is the Big Ben Climax, the real triumph of the film! It combines computer animated effects and hand drawn characters. I love how the music builds up with great intensity, leading to the action and fighting! I don't know what else to say about The Great Mouse Detective! I've praised it several times before in this wiki, it's just a wonderful Disney film! I've watched it a million times, and I will definetly watch it a million times more!
Oliver and Company
Oliver and Company on the other hand is a waste of time. This movie is too weird and undeveloped, like Disney fart; it happens, it's unenjoyable, and I don't want to remember it. I admit it fares better as an Oliver Twist, but as a Disney film, it doesn't do well- for me at least. Dodger is an annoying idiot, acting "hip" and "cool", and sings that song "Why Should I Worry?". I just don't enjoy that song! The other songs-I don't remember! The characters are forgettable too! The movie is just too modernly "cool" to be called a decent Disney film, like it's showing off. Bill Sykes in my opinion is the most forgettable Disney Villain on the Disney screen. I don't remember a thing about this guy- his voice, design, and plot are all boring! I admit his train wreck defeat is pretty rare, but that't it for him. The only thing that stands out about this movie is Dom DeLuise starring as Fagin in this movie. He was usually a Don Bluth star, but this was the only time he's ever starred in a Disney film; that's rare! Oliver and Company is just too weird and forgettable for me. Even though The Black Cauldron was a huge mistake for Disney, at least it was a MEMORABLE mistake. Oliver and Company just has doesn't have enough likable or memorable aspects. But did Disney's hard work finally pay off? Well, you all know the story involving The Little Mermaid and the Disney Renaissance glory. But as for Oliver and Company, I recommend you skip this one.