Monday, December 6, 2010

I sense Christmas soon! Part 2

Christmas, the season of giving. Of course, everyone loves receiving presents than giving out gifts (I suppose). However, if the present given was cherished, appreciated and meaningful to the other person, then I bet the happiness of giving presents will have doubled (or even trebled).

So don't let the opportunity in this Yuletide season to slide away, and buy a gift (a one with much consideration, thought and care) for your loved ones. Maybe, the present isn't that expensive (who cares, as long as the person accepting it knows our sincerity). And for those receiving presents (including myself), I believe we will always be thankful for whatever present that we received (which are not pranks, jokes or anything humiliating). Indeed, people who are creative or want an individual touch to their present can hand-make or personally design a gift for that special someone in this joyous festival.

And yes, the process of choosing presents during Christmas is not a piece of cake. First, we have to consider the other person's preferences. Next, the present's suitability for this season; and lastly the cost (only if you're on a present budget). Good news is Christmas is during the end of the year! (which is during the year-end sale, where there'll be lots of discounts and offers). For me, sometimes a Christmas card can compliment the present you give and make the present more valuable with a personal Christmas message. So everyone, Merry Christmas and have a fun time buying (or making) presents! (And please don't do last-minute shopping for presents, you'll be so hyped and tensed in choosing what to buy!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Disney's Magic (Finale)

The exhibition then focuses on the 2 latest films produced recently, that is the Princess and the Frog (2009) and Tangled (2010).

The Princess and the Frog movie poster
For the first movie mentioned, the Princess and the Frog, it was inspired by the fairy tale by Brothers Grim, The Frog Prince. Set in New Orleans during the 1920s, this movie signalled a return for Disney to hand-drawn animation. Since the movie was just released a year ago, I'll skip telling the story and proceed straight to the characters. Maybe, I'll just mention a bit. Tiana is an orphan (with only her mother) and is pursuing her dreams to open her own restaurant.Next, the reason that leads Prince Naveen becoming a hideous frog is due to greed (of his servant and Dr. Facilier) and in order to remove the spell cast upon him (according to Mama Odie), he needs a kiss from a princess.  Well, there's Tiana (the princess of this story, though she has no lineage to the throne), Prince Naveen (a prince that somehow has no money), Charlotte (Tiana's childhood friend), Dr Facilier (a.k.a. The Shadow Man, which is the main antagonist of the movie), Mama Odie (the blind voodoo), Ray (a Cajun firefly that sacrifices his life for the frogs' happiness) and Louis (the musically talented alligator). Be assured that this movie has a number of musical features and no doubt a happy ending where the princess and prince lives happily together (a signature feature of Disney productions).

Charlotte (who is to be wedded to Prince Naveen)
Dr. Facilier (the Shadow Man)
Louis, the alligator
Ray, the firefly
Mama Odie and her pet snake, Juju
So for those who haven't watched the movie, below are a few pictures to hint you about the movie:

Prince Naveen persuaded by Dr. Facilier to a voodoo session
Prince Naveen trying to persuade Tiana to kiss him
The kiss, the worst decision made by Tiana
Prince Naveen and Tiana both turns into frogs
The happy couple at the end of the movie
Tangled official movie poster

 Lastly, the exhibition comes to an end with the introduction of the latest movie, Tangled. Similar to Snow White, Cinderella and the Sleeping Beauty (unlike Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid), this movie is based on Brothers Grimm German fairy tale of Rapunzel. Disney's production did alternations to the original version of Rapunzel for the movie (you'll know this when you watch the movie trailer). So what are the characters in the movie? There's Princess Rapunzel, Eugene (a.k.a Flynn Rider), Pascal (Rapunzel's pet chameleon), Mother Gothel (the one who kidnaps Rapunzel), Galloping Maximus (Flynn's horse) and others (which I'm not sure of since I haven't watch the movie as it's not released in Melbourne yet). Anyhow, I do anticipate watching this 3D animation on the big screens (as well as the happy ending like any other Disney movie).

Walt Disney Pictures presents “Tangled,” one of the most hilarious, hair-raising tales ever told. When the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) hides out in a mysterious tower, he’s taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a beautiful and feisty tower-bound teen with 70 feet of magical, golden hair. Flynn’s curious captor, who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, strikes a deal with the handsome thief and the unlikely duo sets off on an action-packed escapade, complete with a super-cop horse, an over-protective chameleon and a gruff gang of pub thugs. In theaters this holiday season in Disney Digital 3D™, “Tangled” is a story of adventure, heart, humor and hair - lots of hair. (Source:

Rapunzel with her long, long hair
Flynn Rider
Pascal, the chameleon 
Mother Gothel
The tower Rapunzel is locked in
A scene of Rapunzel and Flynn

It's kind of fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney

Even though the Dreams Come True exhibition hardly (or did not at all) mention about other popular animations such as Aladdin, Finding Nemo, the Lion King and the Toy Story, Juan and me still had a magical moment reminiscing our childhood memories with Disney classic fairy tales. So, what's your favourite Disney movie?

Disney's Magic (Part 6)

The original poster in 1991
Another fairy tale that has no origins from the Brothers Grimm stories (such as The Little Mermaid) is Beauty and the Beast. This fairy tale is based on a story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which is known as La Belle et la BĂȘte (French word for Beauty and the Beast). [As extracted from the exhibition] In the Disney version, Beauty, called Belle, is the only child of an absent-minded inventor. She possesses the same selfless qualities as the original Beauty, but is far more independent. For the production of this film, film-makers even visited the French countryside as to seek reference for castles, medieval buildings and churches. Apart from that, they even went to the extent of studying works of great French Rocco paintersA fact that most people may not know about this animation production is that it is the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.This film, which was put onto big screens in 1991, even won 2 Academy awards and 3 Golden Globe Awards. In fact, Disney Studio also made a sequel to this film (apart from other classic films like Cinderella), Beauty and the Beast : The Enchanted Christmas, which also won 2 awards out of 8 nominations. 

Now maybe some people is wondering what animal does the Beast represent? The answer is no particular animal on this planet Earth. This is because the image of the Beast is a combination of various animals. The Beast has a face of a mandrill, brows of a gorilla, muzzle of a buffalo, tusks of a boar, neck hair of an ibis, body of a bear atop and finally legs and tail of a wolf. So as the Beast has such a ferocious outward appearance, thus Disney Studio featured the Beast with haunting eyes which would later make Belle fall in love with him. Other interesting characters in the film include Mrs Pott, Cogsworth and Lumiere (the flirty candle stand). And last but not least the antagonist of the film, Gaston, who is popular among the ladies in town and is interested to Belle who is indifferent to him. (I guess good looks, a muscular figure and a good voice just can't make Belle fall in love with Gaston who has a bad personality).
Belle and the Beast
Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Pott
One feature that makes Beauty and the Beast distinguishable from other fairy tale production is the way Disney Studio begins and ends the film. Unlike Snow White, this film does not start with a book flipping through pages. Instead, Disney's production team captures the period (14th Century France) through the use of medieval stained glass windows to recount the tale of the selfish prince who is placed under a spell that can only be broken if he finds love before the last petal of a magic rose falls. 
The start of the film in stained glass windows art 
The ending of the film
The magical rose in glass
Among the highlights after the Beast returns to his human form again that I find rather captivating (besides all the other cursed items in the castle becoming in to human again) is the transformation of the castle from an evil, dark and somehow creepy building (with statues of ogres and demons) to a bright and magnificent castle again (Well, of course the magical effect is as magnificent as in Cinderella but just that the musical effect isn't as good as in Cinderella).
Part of the creepy castle before transformation
The transformation from dark and creepy to a bright castle
What's a good Disney film without good songs? I bet most of us can definitely remember songs like 'Be Our Guest' and the theme song 'Beauty and the Beast' (pop version sang by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson). And yes, for the ending of the fairy tale, after the Beast finds true love despite his inhuman appearance, he lives happily with Belle in that castle, where they are seen dancing together happily at the end of the film. 
Belle and the now human, Beast
To end, I would like to share about a little thoughts of Juan who stated that the film is a love story between a human and a beast. Well, I wouldn't disagree with her statement but I do tend to think that the Beast is human, just in the form of a Beast due to a spell (whereby I interpret it like a human putting on a mask). So let's not make things complicated and simply treat this film as a fairy tale, which is fictional and sometimes never logical. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Disney's Magic (Part 5)

Movie Poster in 1989
Finally, a Disney princess that has no Brothers Grimm version, The Little Mermaid. Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of The Little Mermaid, the main similarity of both versions is the desire of the mermaid for immortality. However, Disney's version of this fairy tale has a major twist at the end, where instead of the little mermaid turning into bubbles and into a soul-like-existence, Disney made the fairy tale into one that has a happy ending, whereby King Triton, the Sea King, transforms Ariel (that has now returned to her mermaid figure again) to a human to be able to live with Eric. Furthermore, in this production, the reason the film's markedly lighter emotional tone is to make it a musical. Hence, there's the songs that is strongly associated with the film such as 'Kiss the Girl', 'Under the Sea', 'Part of Your World' and 'Les Poissons', that will ring a bell in our heads when we think about this film. To add on, famous songwriters, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken were engaged in musical numbers and co-create the film with Disney Studio. Ah, and before I forget, this film was produced in 1989, which was quite a few years ago (22 years ago to be exact).

Re-released poster in 1997

Apart from that, Disney studio added in extra characters into the film, such as Sebastian. the red crab (who is King Triton's trusted servant to care over Ariel), Flounder, the yellow and blue striped tropical fish (Ariel's best friend), Scuttle, the seagull (whom Ariel get advice about human facts) and Flotsam and Jetsam (2 moray eels that are Ursula's companion). Another main feature that Disney Studios altered from the original version of the Little Mermaid is the role played by the sea witch, Ursula. In the original adaptation, the sea sorceress is just a neutral enabler that turns the mermaid into human, but in the Disney's version, Ursula is modified into an antagonist that not only tries to ruin Ariel's happiness but in the meantime try to overthrow King Triton's throne as Sea King. By the way, Ursula is featured as part human and part octopus. Disney Studio had also put more emphasize on King Triton, in which the film shows a father's love towards his daughter, especially when King Triton was willing to hand over his powerful trident to Ursula to save her and when he allowed her to become human despite himself being xenophobic towards humans. Thus, not only audience get to embrace the qualities of good over evil but a strong bond of family (father to daughter) in this film, which is absent in Snow WhiteCinderella and the Sleeping Beauty.

King Triton
Ariel with Sebastian and Flounder
To me, I find the Little Mermaid to be rather rebellious. As she constantly fantasize about Eric and the world above the sea, thus leading her to have a strong desire to become mortal. She was even willing to seek the sea witch's help as to 'grow' legs in order to be able to meet her prince on land. In return, she exchanged her sweet voice via a contract signed with the worst enemy of her father, Ursula. Even though so, I still like watching the part where Ariel spend time with Eric and all the humorous things she does in the film (thanks to wrong advice given by the seagull).
Ariel with a statue of Eric
Ariel signing a contract with Ursula
Ariel has her vocal box removed in exchange for legs
 Anyhow, as a signature feature of Disney production, the Little Mermaid ended with a happy note, whereby Ariel is able to live with her love, Eric (even though she would not be able to be with her underwater family). I wonder how the plot may have changed if instead of Ariel becoming human, why not Eric become a merman (Then I bet the story will then focus on Eric instead of Ariel, which wouldn't have so much drama). Who cares, as long as the 2 love-birds live happily ever after!

Ariel and Eric on a boat
Ariel wedded to Eric