A Look at Disney: Top 6 Disney Dads (Les, Pt. 1)
Moviefan12:Â I see your # 6 choice comes from a rather underrated Disney film in myÂ opinion. Â What is about this character that you like?
Les: Well, as a father, I actually relate to him and his wish to give his daughter a good life. What makes him interesting to me, is that while he doesn’t know what she’d really want in life, he’s still trying to make wise decisions for her. At the end of the film, he listens to her when it really counts and that’s when he redeems himself as a great father.
Moviefan12: Those are some excellent observations about this character. Â I will admit that I do find this film a tad forgettable but you have made strong points as to why he is a good father. Â He just wishes to see his daughter happy and coming from this at the angle of a child, we always feel the need the please our fathers and sometimes unsure of whether or not they are proud of us. I get that a little bit from this character and one that will appear on my list too but while he doesn’t say it, you can feel that he is proud ofÂ Pocahontas. Â This goes back to the old adage sometimes “People say it best when they say nothing at all”. Â Yeah, I know I borrowed that from a Country Music song about love but it does work here as well. Â Now Moving on.
5. Â George Banks – Mary Poppins
Moviefan12: Â Funnily enough, Â I had this guy on my original list until I saw that you had him as well. Let’s hear what you have to say about perhaps one of the most famous Disney Dads.
Les: Well first of all there’s the actor: David Tomlinson. A Disney staple in the ’60s he appeared in many of my favorite Disney Films: The Love Bug, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and, of course Mary Poppins. In each one, he brought such a flair to each character that they become unforgettable.
Then there’s the character. George Banks is a stuffily proper English Gentleman of 1910. As he’s fond of singing(Yes it’s a musical, and one of the best ever filmed, but I digress…) A British Bank must have order….A British Home requires nothing less…..Tradition, Discipline and Rules…Must be the tools…..(love the Sherman Brothers for great songs…) He also expects his children to snap to and fit perfectly into his notion of the perfect household.
Naturally, reality is quite different and he’s not that good a Father at the start of this picture. Throughout the picture, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to improve much, getting annoyed at how Mary Poppins has turned the household all topsy-turvey. Then, coerced by Poppins to take the children with him to the Bank where he works, He tries to get his son, Michael to open a bank account with his Tuppence. Mr. Dawes, Senior(Dick Van Dyke in makeup so good you’d never know it’s him until the credits) snatches the money out of his hands and when he screams to “Give it back!” incites a Run on the Bank! Frightened, the children run away(Don’t worry, Bert finds them and takes them home where they and Mary end up on the rooftops of London dancing with the Chimneysweeps) When George gets home, He’s really upset to find his home invaded by all the Sweeps dancing inside. He then gets a phone call from his bosses, and he understands he’s about to lose his job. Here’s where his character grows and starts to have an arc to it.
Bert (Dick Van Dyke) listens to him bemoan his fate and how it’s all Mary Poppins’ fault. He then sings a song telling him about how he’s been ignoring his children and how soon they’ll grow up and be gone and it’ll be too late for him to give. At the end of it. Michael and Jane come up to him and Michael hands him the Tuppence hoping it’ll make everything all right(This scene makes me cry every time I see it. That’s love, my friends…). Â Anyway, long story short, He’s sacked, Tells a great joke and runs out to go home and fix Michael’s kite so the family can go fly a kite and spend some quality time together. While there, his bosses inform him that the Senior Dawes passed away laughing at his joke leaving a position open at the Bank which they offer him. So good things do come to those who do good things, and George Banks ends the picture becoming the father his children needed all along.
|Doesn’t that lady looks like she is all about the love?|
Les: AH yes, Pongo the father of 15 of the 101 Dalmatian puppies. Voiced by Rod Taylor, this is a father who looks after his children(That is until his owner takes him for a walk and kidnappers break into the home and steal the puppies for their boss Cruella DeVil(One of Disney’s greatest villains) who is planning to kill them for their fur to make a coat! He does what he can to console his wife, Perdita(Kate Bauer)over the loss, and tries to hope that the human authorities can find the missing puppies.
However, when it seems that there’s no hope, He uses the “Twilight Bark”, a dog network to find where the puppies went. Finding out Cruella has kidnapped the children, he and Perdita break out of the house and rush to save their children. It’s really quite inspirational the depths to which they go to get to the puppies and then attempt to save not only theirs but the 86 orphaned puppies as well. I look at Pongo and I think that if I were in his position, I’d expect nothing less from myself. You stop at nothing to protect your children, and Pongo definitely gets top marks for his dedication to his kids.
Moviefan12:Â Another choice that I truly like.
Les: Now here’s a Disney/Pixar character who might just have the greatest character arc in the entire library of Disney Characters. A Clownfish voiced by Albert Brooks, Marlin starts the picture a really happy fish. He’s married to a wonderful girl, Coral(Elizabeth Perkins) settling down in the Great Barrier Reef on the verge of having their hundreds of eggs hatching and becoming parents. However, this is a Disney film so, Like Bambi’s mother, Coral and all but one of the eggs are devoured by a barracuda and he’s knocked out trying to stop it. Waking up, all that’s left of his life is his one and only son, Nemo(Alexander Gould). Marlin is so over-protective of him he literally goes out of his way to keep him from danger and in the process keeps him from experiencing life and learning from it.
On Nemo’s first day of school, Marlin freaks out discovering that the class is going to the drop off and barges into the class embarrassing his son to the point that he rebels against him, swimming out to open sea to touch a boat in defiance of Marlin’s orders for him to swim back. Then a sports diver capture Nemo and take him away in the boat. From here on, Marlin kills himself attempting to find and rescue his son. His dedication to overcome his fears of the ocean to get to his son is inspiring.
With new friend, Dory(Ellen DeGeneres), a Blue Tang with no short term memory, they brave sharks, sea mines, Angler fish, Jellyfish, Gnarly currents and in a really brave moment, letting go of a whale tongue in a leap of faith to get to Sydney Harbor where Nemo’s been taken. THEN he has to survive almost getting swallowed by a pelican and then about 100 seagulls trusting Nigel(Geoffrey Rush)A brown Pelican who’s seen Nemo in the dentist office fish tank to take him safely to the fishtank. Thinking Nemo’s dead(he’s pretending in order to get flushed since all drains lead to the ocean) Marlin starts swimming home utterly dejected. In the other Disney Tradition of the lost finding their way home, Nemo with Dory’s help catch up to Marlin just as a fishing net springs to capture Nemo and Dory.
And this is the part where Marlin really grows as a father. He trusts his son to go back into the net to save Dory’s life by getting all the fish in the net to swim down together, a trick he picked up in the fishtank. it works, the fish are freed, and Marlin gets his son back now encouraging him to live life and seek out an adventure daily. I particularly love the scene at the end where Nemo stops the school bus to swim back to hug his father goodbye before going to school.
Moviefan12:Â Those of you who have followed my blogs for a while should know that Â I hate this film. I don’t like this character either. Â Never have, never will! Also, this will be the only time anything from this film will appear on A Look at Disney. Â Therefore I’ll let LesÂ talk about this character but I won’t because it would be nothing but a rant on how I think he is a terrible father. Â To give you his thoughts on Mr. Incredible, I’ll let LesÂ take the reigns.
Les:: Which is one of the reasons I chose Mr Incredible, because one thing you’ll find on many of my blogs is concrete examples of polite civil debate done respectfully. However, I do like Mr. Incredible for the very reason that he really is a horrible father at the start of the film. Robert Parr(Craig T. Nelson)Is a superhero having a mid-life crisis(Which I actually understand having had one, myself). He barely functions in his role as a father, ceding all control to his wife, Helen(Holly Hunter)who wants the family to “fit in” with ordinary society. Robert, on the other hand is lying to her about going bowling with his best friend, Lucious/Frozone(Samuel L Jackson)in order to sneak out behind her back to fight crime as a vigilante.
When the opportunity comes for him to become a hero again, he jumps at it and the lies get bigger and bigger-however, where Helen assumes he’s having an affair, he’s really trying to fight crime like he used to. I’ll admit that’s not much better considering he’s still lying to her, but it is an important distinction, nonetheless.
Helen finds out where he’s gone and gets a jet on a favor to fly out to confront him, and the kids sneak aboard(They all have superpowers) Captured by his nemesis, Syndrome(Jason Lee) and thinking that his family has been killed by a missile, He becomes a man utterly defeated. Later on, when he finds they’re still alive, he goes on a rampage to find and protect them. When they’re captured together. He breaks down and has a really honest moment with all of them where he apologizes for ignoring them and promises to not take his family for granted anymore. That’s where he starts becoming a really good father. From there to the end of the film, he becomes supportive and appreciative of their skills and they rely on each other to do what’s right, where at the start of the film, Mr. Incredible only “worked alone.” I believed in his transformation that I think he’ll only get better as time goes on.