Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney. It’s been a while since I’ve done a countdown and Disney has had some good stuff and some not so good stuff. For the first time, this year I’m doing a Favorite & Least Favorite List of things from from 2014. I’m not calling this Best/Worst because not everything on this list is technically bad. Some are more personal and some may not disagree with me. I’ll be doing this list in two parts starting with 10 – 5. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Favorite – 10) Backstage with Disney: Celebrating 20 Years on Broadway
Anyone that knows me knows that one of my favorite things is Broadway and this year was the 20th anniversary of Disney on Broadway and ABC aired an anniversary special in celebration of that milestone. Overall, I liked it but it was a little too self-congratulatory. That’s fine and it was cool to go behind the scenes of these shows that were successes but they also needed overlooked the flops. That’s the biggest reason that it’s number 10 because for as good as, it could’ve been better and also what’s up with not using the cast of the musicals to preform the songs and making viewers go online to view some of the full performances. Lastly, I wished that it had focused on songs that were written for the stage adaptions but having said that, it was still really good. So yeah, it was uneven but overall I was rather satisfied with the special.
Least Favorite 10) Newsies Closes On Broadway
This one is a bit more personal and this ties back into what I was saying about some things not being bad. I know all musicals have their time, when they close but this one really stung as this is one of my all time favorite musicals and just learning that it was closing, really stung. It had a good and healthy run and sure, there is the National Tour but I don’t know, I was just disheartened, when it closed. At least, it reintroduced people to the little gem that the Fansies wouldn’t let go of and taught a whole new generation to Seize The Day.
Favorite 9) Classic Disney Starts Airing on TCM
I imagine for a lot of Disney fans that this is number one and totally understandable as it’s awesome Turner Classic Movies is now airing classic Disney movies like “Davy Crockett” and some of the Silly Symphony Shorts. It’s awesome to see these things on TV again or in some cases, the first time. This came in part because TCM is the new sponsor of The Great Movie Ride. Which is awesome enough. Now, I’ve only caught the first airing but I hope to catch more of it because if Disney Channel refuses to air some of the classic Disney stuff, at least TCM is willing to give them a home.
Least Favorite 9) Construction of Avatar Land Begins
I almost feel like this shouldn’t count seeing as Avatar Land isn’t open yet but I’ve been dreading the reality of it happening. Let me get this out of the way, I have nothing against the the movie, Avatar as I’ve never seen it and I have no interest in seeing in it. But this feels cheap and as though, Disney is only adding this land to Animal Kingdom to compete with Island of Adventure’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve heard the environmental message can work with Avatar but I have to question, why the Imagineers couldn’t add a land based on one of their animal based a la The Jungle Book or The Lion King. I think my issue is if this land were another park , say Hollywood Studios, this wouldn’t bug me so much. Also sidenote, why aren’t you guys just calling this land, Pandora?
Favorite 8) Proud of Your Boy Is A Part of Aladdin on Broadway
This was tough, it was between this or Johnathan Freeman reprising his role of Jafar on Broadway but in the end, I had to go with this. This is one of my all time favorite Disney songs and the fact that it now has a home on Broadway is wonderful. Because this song totally deserves more attention, than it had been given in the past and the stage is the perfect home for it.
Least Favorite 8) Muppets Most Wanted
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think this is a bad movie but when compared to the 2011 film, something felt lacking. Some of the jokes didn’t hit quite as well as in past Muppet films and while Jak did address that The Muppets have acted dumb before in the show, they seemed really dumb in this movie. The only two good things to come out of this movie were Constastine, being one of the most interesting Muppet villains and the prisoners preforming, “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line. But yeah, other than that, I’d just skip this movie altogether.
Favorite 7) Guardians of The Galaxy
This may just be one of my favorite Marvel movies since the first Captain America. (Yes, I think the first Cap is better than Winter Solider). This movie can be summed up in one word…
Seriously, it was so refreshing that a superhero movie was able to not take itself so seriously. And just be able to crack jokes. And this film probably has some of the best characters in a Marvel film from Rocket to Groot to my favorite, Star Lord. As soon as this movie started up, I knew I was in for a treat and this film was a great ride from beginning to end.
Least Favorite 7) Big Hero 6
Unpopular opinion here but I don’t think this movie was very good. I think this is the weakest movie that Disney Animation Feature has released in this new batch. The entire time watching this movie, I felt like I was watching a pilot for a new animated series and not a movie. What I’m going to say next is going to shock you, after seeing this movie, I re-watched The Incredibles and Pixar did the animated superhero film better. The Incredibles actually thought to flesh out all of the characters in the film, while BH6 fleshed out Hiro & Baymax and really didn’t give much character development to the rest of the team. And to top it off, Yokai is one of the weakest Disney villains since Alameda Slim from Home On The Range. I mean sure, some moments got to me but this movie to me is really forgettable. They didn’t really do anything with any of the character or make them more interesting except for really, Hiro, Baymax, & to a lesser extent, Fred but after that, this movie doesn’t have much to it to keep my interest.
Favorite 6) Guardians of The Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1
If there is one thing that was even better than Guardians of The Galaxy, the movie. It was the soundtrack. Seriously, this was one of the best film soundtracks in a long time. Every song just works so well. And whenever this generation hears, “Hooked On A Feeling”, they are going to think of this movie. But this film used other great songs such as “O-O-H Child”. This soundtrack has so many gems that are just great earworms and will get stuck in your head, after you hear them.
Least Favorite 6) Girl Meets World
I wanted to like this show as I liked it’s predecessor show and from the onset, it looked okay but it has been falling into the trappings of every Disney sitcom and relies too much on Boy Meets World to lure in an audience. It hasn’t quite figured out how to use the cast it has and barely uses some of the characters such as Topanaga and going back to what I was saying about relying on Boy Meets World, there has been quite a bit of BMW fan service such as Minkus and Harvey from the original series appearing on the show. And Minkus has kid that is friend’s with Cory’s daughter.
Stuff like feels forced and as though the show is afraid to stand on it’s own two feet.
Favorite 5) Feast
This is easily one of the most adorable shorts that I’ve seen in a long time and was easily the highlight of going to the theaters to see Big Hero 6. Following the adorable Winston and the relationship with his owner through every dish was rather cute and just inventive. It told a great story with little dialogue and used the visuals to great effect. This is easily one of the best shorts from Disney in a long time and one that I can’t wait to watch again. This short will get a Showcase review in the future as it’s just that good.
Least Favorite 5) Toy Story That Time Forgot
If you want a full review of this, I suggest Blockbuster Buster’s Honest Review of it. This was the follow up to last year’s Toy Story of Terror and in that regard, this is just disappointing. This special had a feeling of been there, done that. This special does the thing of toys not knowing their toys again. And also for a Toy Story special, it seemed rather violent with very little consequence for the villain. And it was never made clear, if he knew he was a toy or not. And while I understand that this was Trixie’s story, Buzz and Woody were barely in this. Also unlike last year’s special, which aired in October for Halloween, that one tied into the holiday. This one aired in December and was touted as a Holiday special but the only connection to the holidays is that it takes place two days after Christmas. And that’s it. And after seeing a commercial for toys based on the characters from this special while watching this special, it felt less like a genuine special and more of a toy pusher. And hey, I don’t have that big of a problem with that idea because MLP for all intents and purposes is a toy pusher but they aren’t as blatant as this special was with putting a commercial for these toys in during the airing of Toy Story That Time Forgot. This has to be one of the weakest things done with the Toy Story characters and makes me dread the 4th sequel all the more.
There you have it, Part 1 of my Favorite/Least Favorite countdown. Join me as I continue this countdown with the best of the best and stuff that was so bad , it almost broke the barrel.