Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney. Previously, I started my countdown of my favorite & least favorite Disney things from 2014. And today, I am continuing the list with numbers 4 – 1. But first, I have a few Honorable Mentions that almost made it onto the Favorites List. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Rapunzel’s Cameo on Sofia The First
I’ve made it no secret that I like this show and I’ve also made it no secret that Rapunzel is my favorite Disney character behind Mickey Mouse. So, the fact that Rapunzel was going to have a cameo on Sofia The First and that Mandy Moore came back to reprise her role was a great delight and on top of that, Rapunzel got a new song to sing was beyond awesome. And to top it off, Disney released the song on Itunes before the special aired, so I downloaded it and listened to it, multiple times. Now with all of this positvity towards this cameo, why didn’t I include it. It simply comes to the fact that this was a great year for Disney and as much as I loved seeing Rapunzel again, I wouldn’t feel right putting her on the actual list over some other great stuff that happened this year. I will say one of the biggest blogging regrets from last year was that I never got the chance to review it in 2014.
The Pirate Fairy
Now, I had written off most Direct-to-DVD movies from Disney, I have been pleasantly surprised by both of the Tinker Bell movies, I’ve seen Secret of The Wings and this year’s entry into the franchise, The Pirate Fairy. If you’ll recall, I reviewed this during my Summer Theme Event where A Look at Disney Set Sailed for Adventure and took a look at pirate related material from Disney. It was pretty much the origin story of Captain Hook and Tom Hiddleston delivered a decent performance and as I said in my review, this was pretty, Tinker Bell’s Magical Mystery Cure. Which was great. Oh, and not to mention that I was introduced to one of the coolest Disney characters in a long time with Fawn. I haven’t thought much about her since this review but she is the lead character of the new movie (and supposedly final movie), Legend of The NeverBeast.
Again, this was pretty much left off the list because there were was so much great stuff that came from Disney, this year.
Oswald Debuts As a Meet-&-Greet Character
This happened earlier this year but for the first time in 2014, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit became a Meet-&-Greet character stateside. This is a huge deal for Disney fans as Oswald is slowly making his way back into public consciousness. It’s a slow process but it’s a small start and I think the biggest issue is that while I’m happy that Oswald is now stateside, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s only on the West Coast at California Adventure, if they had also debuted him at Disney World, last year too, that would’ve most certainly made the list.
Now, with these three things out of the way, let’s get back to the actual list.
Favorite 4) Disney During World War II: How The Walt Disney Studio Contributed To The Victory In The War
This is one of the most fascinating Disney history books that I have read in a long time. A book dedicated the the contributions of Disney during World War II was such a great idea because there were quite a few things to go over, whether it be the shorts that they made, Victory Through Air Power, the never made Gremlins movie, which would’ve been based on Roald Dahl’s first story. This book covered this period of the company’s history in great detail and made me excited to read every chapter and has given me some new ideas for reviews in the future and I’m even considering a full on article about what could’ve been with Gremlins. You know, it’s funny that I got this book for Christmas because BBHM was my Secret Santa and he was having a hard time coming with something to do and one of the things was suggested to him was Disney during World War II. If you like Disney history or history in general and you are interested in World War II, pick this book up.
Least Favorite 4) That Creepy “Once Upon A Dream” Cover by Lana Del Rey
Yeah, what was up with this? Look, I’m no fan of “Sleeping Beauty” but even I’ll admit that the original version of this song was better. I get what they were trying to go for by making this sound ominous and dark but that doesn’t work and as my fellow Disney reviewer, DisneyOtoko, it doesn’t really fit thematically with the character of Maleficent. And the only reason that it was even used is because the song is from “Sleeping Beauty” but other than that, yeah, this is bad.
Favorite 3) The Frozen Arc on Once Upon A Time
Let’s not deny the fact that it was done to ride the Frozen hype train but having said that with all of the mandates that were forced on Once that they weren’t allowed to change the Frozen characters in anyway was a bit of a challenge for them but having said that, they did a good job casting the actors, I felt the cast of Frozen had just stepped out of the movie. Though, Elsa was in her “Let It Go” dress for the entire first half of season 4. Still with all of the restraints placed on this arc, they did a good job and made for one of my favorite story lines and a heartbreaking end with The Snow Queen sacrificing herself at the end.
Least Favorite 3) The Frozen Hype
Let me preface this by saying that I love Frozen, it still stands as one of my favorite Disney movies but I am so over Frozen being everywhere. It took me longer than others to be dragged down and this feeling didn’t kick in until around Christmas time. It likes Disney doesn’t even know that they have other movies in their library. Again, I love Frozen, I love Anna, I love Elsa. Heck, two of the Christmas presents I bought for people this year were Frozen. I got my sister, an Elsa Christmas ornament. This was after going to Hallmark and the cashier asked me if I was on the waiting list. A waiting list for a Christmas ornament. That’s crazy. I went to another store and they found next to Twilight Sparkle, Gene Simmons, and Elvis on a Christmas tree. (I’m with Les, that needs to be a Christmas special). And a Frozen book for my niece. And heck, I got an Elsa & Anna lanyard but even with all of that, I am tired of how hard Disney has been pushing this movie. It’s like they are afraid that their next few movies aren’t that good. Disney, Frozen was a huge event and it’s a great movie but take Elsa’s advice and “Let It Go” (Still, a great song BTW but there are other great Disney songs too like “When Will My Life Begin”).
Favorite 2) Into The Woods
Disney released 2 live action fairy tale movies, one good and well, we’ll get to the other one. Into The Woods was one of my most anticipated films of 2014 and yes, it was in part because it was a musical but I was curious enough to look into the original production and watched in on my IPad before seeing it and it was great and while the movie being a PG Disney production trimmed a few things down, I still enjoyed this film and this is now of my favorite musicals of the last few years. The music was handled well and I can’t wait to pick this movie up, when it comes out on Blu-Ray and this is one film that I’m seriously considering seeing again. Though I will say, one regret I have with the film is the omission of the song, “No More”, which I think could’ve worked even with the Baker’s Father’s role being trimmed down.
This song is just beautiful and it’s a pity that it was cut out of the film.
Least Favorite 2) Maleficent
Yeah, time to do some back pedaling here. If you read the In Too Deep cross over I did with Pretty Boy, I defended this movie and said it was better than the animated movie. Well, I was wrong and the more I thought about this film, the less I liked it and the more my thoughts reverted back to Disney just trying to do Wicked with one of their Disney characters but one of the major differences between a movie like this and something like Wicked comes from while both Elphie and Maleficent do embrace their evil side, it’s more understandable in Wicked because she was branded as a witch. I mean sure, I get it with Maleficent because for all intents and purposes, Maleficent was raped. (Something I never thought I would have to say about a Disney film). The other key difference between the two is that you never see Elphaba be accepted back into Oz unlike this film, where Maleficent becomes the hero. That just seems weird for a Disney villain. Even if she’s not one I’m a fan of. Also, here’s one other thing that really holds this movie back, the name. Maleficent fans have hard time with this movie because they don’t want to see this version as Maleficent but with it being so tied into the animated Disney film, I can see how it’s hard to ignore whereas with Wicked, that is never presented as the real story of what happened but just another story of what could have happened. Allowing Oz fans to enjoy Wicked without being told that The Wizard of Oz didn’t happen, the way we know it. This movie starts out with narration telling the audience that the story we know of Sleeping Beauty is a lie. And look, I may not be the biggest fan of that movie but that’s insulting to people that are fans of that movie. Again, I remember talking to DisneyOtoko after he saw this movie on Facebook and hadn’t seen him so upset over a movie in the longest time but this film pissed him off. I can’t say that I had that same reaction but this movie makes me dread some of the upcoming live action fairy tale films from Disney. Granted, I still think that Cinderella looks good.
Now with my number one, I want to focus on my least favorite before I get to the favorite because I want to end this list on a happy note.
Least Favorite 1) Frozen Christmas Celebration
This This… THIS PIECE OF GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was insulting to me as a Frozen fan and more importantly as a Disney fan. Every year on ABC, Disney airs a Christmas parade from the Disney parks but there was one element missing from this year. They barely showed the parade. Oh, we got to see some of the characters for 20 seconds. Mickey & Minnie weren’t in the parade. The performances of the songs from Frozen ranged from decent to awful. They couldn’t get any of the cast from Frozen to make an appearance. FOR THIS BEING THEMED TO FROZEN, THERE WAS A LACK OF FROZEN IN THE ACTUAL SPECIAL. Elsa & Anna, the big draw were only in the parade for the last five seconds, which resulted in some of the worst TV CGI , where Elsa froze over the Magic Kingdom. Olaf was in more of the special as Olaf along with some young dancers preformed “In Summer”. This was a slap in the face to anyone that is not only a fan of Frozen but also a fan of Disney. This ties back into what I was saying about the Frozen hype. Disney thinks they can just slap on Frozen on anything and people will like it. Well, this proves that’s not true. And also, where were Kristoff and Sven? If you are going to label this as a Frozen themed event, I’d like it if all the Frozen characters were in the parade. Oh, that’s right, you didn’t think that you needed to have a a parade because you just tried to coast by on Frozen. Which is an insult to that wonderful movie. Disney, Frozen deserves to be treated better than what you did with it here. I pity Anna and Elsa for being used like this. Yeah, they were used. If you didn’t see this, count yourself among the lucky.
Favorite 1) Figment (Journey Into Imagination)
If you had told me at the beginning of the year, that my favorite thing from Disney wouldn’t be a movie but rather a comic book. I’d be surprised but then you told me that it was going to star Figment and Dreamfinder,I’d ask when is this series coming out? I am one of the biggest fans of these two characters, they are two of the most beloved EPCOT characters and this mini series was an origin story of how they met and their first journey together. And it was a great ride and one that I’m looking back at reading again, when it’s released in trade. They perfectly captured the spirit of these two characters and it made me so happy to see Dreamfinder as he’s no longer at EPCOT. Now, this mini series did something right that I said that Girl Meets World did wrong with it’s fan references, they didn’t rely on them and when they were there, they didn’t overtake the story. And I thought that ending was rather sweet with these two friends flying off to a new land that looks awfully familiar. As it’s Spaceship Earth from EPCOT, which thinking about it now makes me weep because this is their origin story and they are finding their home but now Dreamfinder isn’t there anymore and now I just picture Figment looking back on the good times and missing Dreamfinder. Disney, why did you ever separate these two? Dreamfinder and Figment are one of the best duos, you’ve ever had and Jim Zub did a great job bringing these characters back and reminding me that why I grew to like these characters again in the first place. If you haven’t read this mini series, do yourself a favor and pick it up. You may not know these characters or be fans of them like I am but after reading this mini series, you’ll understand why these are so cherished and beloved.
There you have it, the conclusion to my Favorite & Least Favorite Things from the world of Disney in 2014. What are your thoughts and what are some things from Disney that you loved this year and what are some things that you really hated. Let me know in the comments.