Misguided Reviews

Robin Hood

Considering that, as a non-Disney fan, I aimed to go my whole life without having to sit through any of their joyous motion pictures, I feel it’s quite a masochistic achievement that I’ve reached my landmark 20th film. In this 35 years or so (the timespan of the Disney films, not how long it took me to watch them, although it sometimes felt like it) I’ve been on quite a rollercoaster, from the very good (Lady and the Tramp), to the very bad (Donald Duck, José Carioca, Donkey-Slave-Children, disturbing ventriloquist dummies, attempted-puppy-skinning plots, pervy middle-aged Princes that sing, middle-aged-bitchy-prostitute-elephants, non-prostitute elephants doing ballet to classical music, middle-aged fairies, annoying miniature fairies, Toad of Toad Hall, sex-offender Snakes, random geese, pro-Latin Propaganda, Archimedes the owl, Night on Bald Mountain followed by Ave Maria and, last but certainly not least, Deer-snuff).

image 6Ok I’m exaggerating somewhat, it hasn’t all been bad. At the risk of being “real-man-shamed”, the pre-seventies Princess films I’ve watched so far have been enjoyable enough, and I’m still singing “Everybody Wants To Be a Cat” I much prefer finding moments I enjoy (or tolerate) in these films, as I’ve discovered there are lots of lovely, positive people in the Disney-loving community, and I’d much rather be able to share in their passion rather than constantly pissing on their parade (and all the inexplicable pink elephants that probably frequent it…) Happily, having just finished watching Robin Hood, I am pleased to add this movie to the shorter, yet treasured, list of Disney films I can speak positively about.

And not just moments either. The whole thing. I liked it all. My childhood self didn’t watch Disney films. Most of the time when one came on my television, I would turn it over quickly. There were two exceptions to this rule, even though I have no recollection of watching either. The first was Lady and the Tramp, which I still really liked when I watched it last month. The second was Robin Hood, and once again, my childhood and adult self are of accord. And I don’t think I can say I’ve been biased by nostalgia as I didn’t remember the content of either of them at all. There will be occasions when Kerry will say to me “this bit coming up is great” or “I used to wind this bit back over and over as a child”. I’d watch it and then turn to her and ask, “er… why?!!!” Then I realise that, actually, she still watches that particular bit in the exact same way she did when she was little and is far more easily entertained and ultimately, she’s recommending bits through the distorted lens of nostalgia. I’m free of such bias so while it makes me far more of a cantankerous bastard when watching these films, when I enjoy one of them, it has really earnt it. So, lets dig into what makes the movie a largely pleasurable experience for this Disney cynic, and as always, bad language and spoilers are inevitable…

image 8One more thing: Every time Disney includes something “predictably Disney” such as frolicking baby animals, an over-diluted chase scene, a random psychedelic nightmare or jailbait-princess grooming, I will award the film a ⭐ as a sort of “reward” for services to time-filling laziness. I’ve only been doing this for the last few films, but I imagine ‘The Three Caballeros’ must win with about 5 stars for “for the love of God, please try something different” moments so far. If you’ve never seen the “The Three Caballeros” …. don’t. Just don’t. I still have nightmares of Donald Duck swooping down on bikini-clad Mexican girls from a rudimentary flying-rape-carpet, to this day….

Back to 1973 and Robin Hood. The intro tune is called ‘Whistle Stop’. I know this because, firstly, it briefly mentions it in the intro and, secondly, this was a question in a pub-quiz I did pre-Covid, when doing stuff and going places was a thing. No-one doing the quiz knew the answer, and that included Kerry who has spent her life getting full marks in every Disney-based quiz going. That dropped point will haunt her… Anyway, this whistled intro tune is far better than any other Disney intro-tune I’ve heard so far. It’s also the first one that doesn’t feel too “typical Disney”.

image 1All the Characters are played by animals, because Disney. We are introduced to Robin Hood, who is a fox that lives in Sherwood Forest. As everyone knows, he steals from the rich, corrupt elite, and redistributes it to the poor. His cohort is Little John, that is played by a bear (odd, I didn’t think you found bears in England, let alone Sherwood Forest…). He looks a lot like Baloo from ‘The Jungle Book’ except he’s now brown. And wears a hat. He also sounds a lot like Baloo from ‘The Jungle Book’, most likely because they are both voiced by Phil Harris. Let’s face it, Little John IS Baloo from ‘The Jungle Book’ and Disney are barely making any effort to conceal that fact, so like hell I will. It’s lucky that Baloo is such a likeable character.

We are then introduced to Prince John. He is a lion (odd, I didn’t think you found lions in England, let alone Sherwood Forest…). His brother is King Richard who is off fighting in The Crusades. The fact that Richard is considered the likeable brother by the native peasants when he is overseas attacking those who don’t follow his own belief system, is testament to just how much of a prick John is… image 5John has a right hand man / assistant / special chum named Sir Hiss. Sir Hiss is a snake as the highly imaginative name alludes. They are both travelling in a cart pulled by rhinos (odd, I didn’t think you found rhinos in… you know what, forget it. It’s easier to just suspend my disbelief). Robin Hood and Baloo disguise themselves as women and beckon Johns cart to stop. Robin gives a crystal ball reading to John for some reason and sneakily steals his jewellery and money while Baloo waits outside for Robin to pass the ill-gotten gains to him. As they steal the gold hubcaps in the process, their getaway is fairly simple. Every time something goes wrong for John, he sucks his thumb and whines, sometimes for his mummy. This triggered a vague memory in my mind of me pissing myself laughing as a child whenever he did this. I still find it funny now. Maybe the nostalgia is subconsciously stronger than I realized…

⭐ First “typical Disney” moment of the film is awarded for frolicking baby bunnies!

The frolicking baby bunnies in question are part of a family in Nottingham. It’s one young boy bunny’s birthday. His name is Skippy. They’re very poor as the ruling elite keep (to use the technical term) taxing the fuck out of them. Yet the bunnies have all come together to give Skippy a coin as a present. But unfortunately, the Sheriff of Nottingham appears. image 4The Sheriff of Nottingham is a dick. He’s a sort of weird obese wolf. With a very strong American accent. There are a few characters in this film that come across extremely American, which is quite an achievement as they’re in Nottingham, England, as well as the small factor that America is still 300 years from being discovered. The Sheriff takes the coin from a sad Skippy as a rates payment, which is a pretty impressive way to introduce an antagonist and ensure you want to see him suffer greatly….

At least a fox in sunglasses shows up. Hmm… I wonder who the fox could be. It’s Robin Hood! Shook. He can’t get the coin back, but he does give Skippy a bow and arrow that he’s too small to use and a hat that’s too big. It’s the thought that counts though… Skippy seems happy. He then gives the mother a big bag of coins and it’s smiles all round. Robin tells them “Someday there will be happiness again in Nottingham!” Who knows, maybe one day there might be.

Next, we are introduced to Maid Marion. She’s a girl fox. And King Richards niece. She loves Robin and Robin loves her, but because she lives at the royal castle and Robin is an outlaw, they haven’t seen each other in years. Maid Marion has a scene where she pisses around with a load of animals in traditional Disney-filler fashion.

image 13Prince John organises an archery event and a ploy to lure and trap Robin Hood. Friar Tuck arrives at Robin’s hideout to inform him of the competition. For some reason, there isn’t really a collective band of “Merry Men” in this version. I guess they really wanted to focus on the foxes, Baloo and the other random frolicking animals. Either way, Robin and Baloo decide to go, but wisely have decided to turn up in disguise. After many hijinks, mainly involving Sir Hiss, Robin wins the competition which proves to be the giveaway as to his true identity and he is sentenced to death.

⭐ Typical Disney high-drama chase scene with many near misses’ alert.

Maid Marion reunites with Robin Hood and joins them in their high-drama escape. Much to John’s anger, they successfully get away.

image 17Later, Robin asks Marion to marry him. Now it’s Disney-cheesy-song time! It’s horrible. Actually, this film doesn’t contain much in the way of songs, which for me is a very good thing. But they stick three of the buggers together right in the middle of it for some reason. One of them sounds very ‘American deep-south’ which considering they’re in the English midlands, feels somewhat out of place…

In his rage at Robin’s escape, John decides to tax the living fuck out of everyone. Most of the poor in Nottingham couldn’t pay their taxes and end up in prison. And when baby bunnies are locked in prison you know shit needs to be sorted quick. John also arrests Friar Tuck and uses him as bait to get Robin to go to the castle. Imprisoned bunnies should be enough motivation really. So, Robin and Baloo go to the castle to rescue everyone. The Sheriff of Nottingham and the two vultures who are guarding the prisoners, are easily incapacitated or tricked into sleeping, mainly because they’re stupid.

image 12Baloo takes the key to the prison and helps the prisoners escape. Meanwhile, Robin sneaks into John’s bedroom where he and Sir Hiss are asleep surrounded by bags of all the gold they’ve taken in taxes. What now follows is one of the more ‘edge of your seat to the point of for-the-love-of-God-get-a-move-on’ scenes in the history of film.  Robin decides he has to retrieve every single last bag of gold and put it on a pulley system that goes out of the window, all the way down to Baloo, who is waiting to collect it. Every. Last. Bag. Whilst Jon and Sir Hiss sleep in the same room. I’m pretty sure if there weren’t kids in the house, I would have screamed at Robin to “HURRY THE FUCK UP!” several times. The very last bag proves to be one too many and it wakes the antagonists up. I’m pretty sure if there weren’t kids in the house I would have screamed “SEE! YOU GOT TOO GREEDY YOU DICK!” Fortunately, with another high drama chase scene, and with so many near misses it’s like Disney is parodying itself, they escape with all the prisoners and coins to boot.

⭐ Also, a predictable Disney star is to be awarded here for making it look like Robin has snuffed it, cute animals sobbing, only for it to turn out that he is alive and well. When it comes to emotional manipulation, Disney always reigns supreme…

image 16The film is wrapped up with Richard returning and locking up all the bad guys, pardoning Robin Hood and bringing an end to all the poverty. Question: If Richard was returning anyway to restore order to Nottingham, did Robin Hood and his Merry Baloo even need to bother rescuing the prisoners and all the bags of gold if shit was going to be sorted anyway? The main thing is though, that everyone is happy, and Robin and Marion got married. And Skippy learnt how to use the bow and arrow. All’s well that end well.

The last line states that with regards to the tale of Robin Hood, “this is what really happened”. Now, I can suspend my disbelief that Robin is a fox. I can suspend my disbelief that ALL of the characters are animals. I can suspend my disbelief that in 12th century middle England, half of the subjects involved have strong American accents and tendencies. I can suspend my disbelief that a snake can stick its head in a balloon and blow to make himself float whilst using its tail to steer. I can suspend my disbelief that Little John is Baloo. BUT. Am I supposed to believe that the fox Maid Marion is the niece to the lion King Richard?!!! No…

Think about it. You have the following scenarios:

  1. This involves a male lion how do I say this… fucking a female fox. The fox gives birth to two lions (Richard and John) in a no doubt harrowing ordeal, and presumably a fox that would go on to spawn Marion in the future.
  2. This one is very similar but involves a male fox somehow mounting a lioness and the lioness then giving birth to Richard, John and a fox that would go on to spawn Marion in the future.
  3. This involves Richard and John having a lion sibling that married a fox in a no doubt eye-raising move and their offspring included Marion.
  4. In the next two scenarios, Marion is Richards niece but not John’s niece. Firstly, Richard marries a fox. That fox has a sibling that gives birth to Marion.
  5. This scenario involves Richard marrying another lion who was the product of a lion fucking a fox. Richards partner therefore has a sibling who is a fox who gives birth to Marion.
  6. Finally, everyone in the family tree is a lion. Richard and Johns lion parents have three lion cubs. The lion cub that isn’t Richard or john grows up to marry another lion. The female lion of the couple gets pregnant. On the special day when she gives birth, the male lion looks down and exclaims “Darling, I can see the baby’s head! It’s… IT’S A FOX! HOW THE FUCK HAS THAT HAPPENED!!!!!!!”

Whichever scenario is true, it still involves a lion fucking a fox. And if it doesn’t involve a lion fucking a fox, it involves a king lion being in a sexless marriage to a fox or an inexplicable situation of two lions conceiving a fox. Maybe that’s why we have foxes? Explain that scientists.

image 14Crossbreeding or phantom-fox-births aside however, this was a fun film. Some parts of the film felt like typical Disney (hence the three stars for Disney predictability), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. There were elements that felt fresh and previously unexplored in the animation studios franchise. The most notable is the humour running throughout. In previous films although there have been some jokes and plenty of moments younger kids would laugh at, a Disney film would be royally pummelled by a Hanna-Barbera or Looney Tunes cartoon in the mirth stakes, and they’re just two examples of many. Disney previously has been far more concerned about patting itself on the back for its artistic skillsets or switching between emotionally scarring its viewer and convincing them to visit Peru, than filling its movies with outright hilarity. The previous nineteen films combined probably contained fewer jokes than puppies that have been nearly drowned and skinned. Robin Hood compensates for this very nicely. It was laugh-out-loud funny in places and generally carried a more relaxed attitude throughout. Finally, it was an enjoyable story with good protagonists and antagonists alike. I hope this is the new norm going forward…


Disney Predictability: ⭐⭐⭐

Ben 🙄

I can not believe that he mentioned the Whistlestop question. What will people think if they know that I got a question wrong in a Disney quiz! Bastard!

Ben, a female fox is a vixen. She sounds sexier that way too. Sexy… Disney… fox cartoon character… *tumbleweed*. Forget it. ‘Girl fox’ is fine.

I’m so glad that Ben enjoyed Robin Hood. Say it with me now, “It’s one of my favourite Disney films”. I feel I won’t be saying it in a post until The Little Mermaid now (which is my actual favourite Disney film, for the record), as we are about to head into the films from the late seventies to the late eighties and, Disney fans, you know they aint that good! It’s like the writers joined the punk movement and rebelled against creating good films. Urgh! It’s been a while since I watched them though, so they may be better than I recall.

As for Ben, moving forward, our next film is ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh’! A film about a boy, essentially, playing with his cuddly toys. It’s aimed at a much MUCH younger demographic, so I’m interested to see if he can watch it from that point of view, rather than that of a 37-year-old man. He’s an only-child, so I doubt it. We do love each other. Honest!

As for this film, Robin Hood is getting a definate:


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Aristocats

“George could you step into my office for a moment please?”

“Sure boss, what’s up?”

 “It’s about this draft of yours. You know, your idea for the next animation film?”

“Yeah, you happy with it?”

“Well… I don’t know really. I suppose the biggest problem is that you’ve given me a copy of Lady and the Tramp…. Except every instance of the word dog has been scribbled out, and “cat” has been written above it?”

“……… yeah?”

“You’ve also scribbled out any instances of the word ‘woof’ and written ‘meow’ next to it….”

“……… yeah?”

“You’ve also scribbled out things like ‘runs to the door with excitement to see who’s there’ and replaced it with ‘sits there and looks at people with distain or whatever the hell it is cats do’…”

“……… What’s you point boss?”

“Don’t you think the audience might find that a bit… too similar?”

“But we’re Disney!”

“I know, but this isn’t like a ten-minute filler of baby animals frolicking or an older guy laying one on a sedated teenage princess, George. The audience WILL notice if we do the same script but with different animals. What’s the film going to be called?”

“Duchess and the Hobo.”

*long silence

“No that won’t do. Ok… I’m going to need to see some changes here George before I give this the green light, I’m afraid.”

“Hmmmm…. We could give Duchess some bastard children to start with, throw in a contemporary swing band full of racial stereotypes and then we can chuck in a random side story involving Geese?

*long silence

“… Perfect!”

I’m probably being slightly unfair here. Although both stories are essentially about a stray male animal making a posh female pet moist, 1969’s ‘The Aristocats’ isn’t just an all cat (and some duck) version of ‘Lady and the Tramp’. However by following in its footsteps to at least some degree may be beneficial, as after watching the first nineteen Disney Animation Studio’s films that are either on its old terrible app or its new not so terrible app (Disney Life and Disney+), ‘Lady and the Tramp’ is so far, the only film I really like. It’s not a complete shocker that I’m one for nineteen so far (there’s half a dozen others that I didn’t mind by the way, I haven’t by any means hated them all) because, as a reminder, I’m a Disney-cynic being given a crash-course on Disney by my Disney-loving wife. And now I’ve just watched ‘The Aristocats’ for the first time, I shall share my experience. As always, that means spoilers and bad language are inevitable…

singingWe’re in France. There’s a posh lady, a butler called Edgar, a lawyer and plethora of cats. The cats (Duchess and her three kids) spend the days doing the usual cat things: eating, sleeping, being fussed by their posh lady owner, playing the piano and singing badly during vocal lessons… my god the sound is annoying. But this is Disney, and that’s what normal to Disney. Goddamn Disney… (speaking of which, I started a new ‘predictable things Disney does’ star rating for each film and throwing in an unnecessary song is the films first ⭐, and the kittens frolicking is the second ⭐. And we’re only ten minutes in…)

edgarThe reason there’s a lawyer present is that the posh lady is making her Will. She’s leaving everything to Edgar. Eventually. The cats get everything first. Now don’t get me wrong, Edgar is a dick as we shall discover. But if you dedicated your life to the servitude of someone which has made you the closest human companion that they have, and then discover that the fortune you were expecting will be delayed for a decade as it will sit in the bank account of some creatures that don’t have any interest or awareness of human wealth (and sing annoyingly to boot), then you may feel rather pissed off, yes? She could have given her wealth straight to him, and he can keep it on the condition that he feeds them daily and gives them a scratch behind the ear. Everyone’s happy. But he is understandably perturbed by this ridiculous turn of events.

That being said, his next move, which involves drugging the cats and driving them out to the middle of nowhere and ditching them does lower the sympathy for him somewhat…

dogsAt this point, we meet two very American sounding, old dogs. That are in France for some reason. Also, for ‘some reason’, they really want Edgars bike and sidecar. This nicely sets up them chasing the Butler (and with it, a third ⭐ on the ‘predictable things Disney does’ scale and we’re still only twenty minutes in). At some point the cats fall out of the sidecar into a ditch…

The cats wake up all bewildered. And lost. Fortunately, a streetwise tramp alley cat named Thomas O’Malley appears who can help… O’Malley is voiced by Baloo. Or rather the same actor that also voiced Baloo. I liked Baloo, and his voice very much in ‘The Jungle Book’, so I’m happy he’s returning here and this is a good voice for him to do as this is a very warm and comforting voice for a very likeable character. image 4O’Malley then hits on Duchess. Here’s an interesting difference between humans and cats: when a tramp tries to get it on with your mother right in front of you, your initial reaction isn’t to say “awwww! How sweet!”. Cats on the other hand…

O’Malley summons a magic carpet to get them to Paris quicker. Which actually involves scaring the crap out of a van driver so he stops, and then they can hop aboard. When the driver is frightened, did anyone else here him yell “FUCK!!!”?


On repeated listen I’ve been disappointed to learn he shouts “SACRÉ BLEU!”.


Back at the cats’ future mansion, rich-posh-lady is very worried about why her cats have suddenly disappeared. Edgar has realised that he’s left his hat at the scene of where he’s abandoned the cats and knows he has to retrieve it to cover his back (and head). image 10You know when you commit a crime and you foolishly talk about it in front of a horse and mouse? No? And Why? Because you’re not in a Disney film. And hopefully not a criminal. A loud mouthed one at that. Edgar is guilty of this most basic of mistakes and will no doubt pay for this later. Disney’s relentless humanisation of animals does sometimes have benefits.

Meanwhile, the cats have been discovered in the van and leg it. In a display of abysmal parenting worthy of Mowgli’s Mother, Duchess and O’Malley take the kittens on railway track high above a raging river. Slow clap. Unsurprisingly, after a train rushes through, one of the cats ends up in the river. If you’ve ever seen a cat in the bath, you can imagine how well a river goes down…. Fortunately, O’Malley saves her. What a good dude.

geeseThe writing team, sensing that all their viewers at this point are probably practically screaming at the screen “THIS FILM NEEDS MORE GEESE IN BONNETS!”, succumb to the will of the people and introduce two geese in bonnets. The Geese are named Abigail and Amelia who are on holiday from England and are completely fucking pointless to the plot. Anyway, the unnecessary geese decide to accompany the cats to Paris. Once they reach Paris, they meet Abigail and Amelia’s drunken Uncle Waldo. I realize at this point that I should have included alcohol and nicotine abuse in my ‘predictable Disney’ star rating system, as it happens with alarming frequency for a family film series, but I figure this trend will quickly die out as we move in the 21st Century. The two geese go off with their drunken uncle, and the random and pointless side-characters have disappeared from the plot as quickly as they had appeared.

Speaking of random and unnecessary side-characters, the two old American dogs have Edgars hat. He eventually retrieves it after many shenanigans, but I really struggled to keep my attention during this segment.

image 13What did keep my attention was the alley cat swing band. O’Malley takes Duchess and the kittens to meet his friends, who are said band. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not a fan of swing music, but this is really good. The “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” song has been stuck in my head constantly since its first introduction. Each of the cats are different nationalities, and with this being Disney (or old Disney at least), they racially stereotype each of them within an inch of their lives (so here’s the 4th ⭐). Duchess then starts singing. She starts by singing the line, “If you want to turn me on…” I know they say female cats have high sex drives but that’s really not messing around…

image 9Later, Duchess and O’Malley chat on the roof while the kids spy. Duchess tells O’Malley that although she likes him, she’s loyal to her owner (who happens to be leaving her fortune to her) so they can’t be together. The kids are really disappointed, which is understandable as they want her to settle down with this nice dude and put her whoring days behind her. They probably realized by the first line in her song that she was still “open for business…”

After O’Malley drops Duchess and kittens’ home, Edgar quickly hides them and prepares to box them up and post them off to Timbuktu. Roquefort the mouse alerts O’Malley to what’s happening, and with the assistance of the mouse and horse (who prove themselves to be far more useful to the plot than the geese) he manages to box up Edgar and have him sent off to Timbuktu instead. Having this as a “comeuppance” for a villain is a mixed bag. If you think about it, this could result in a number of different outcomes for the butler.

  • If the box is well soundproofed and airtight, Edgar suffocates. As he planned to inflict that fate upon the cats, he deserves it.
  • If the box is well soundproofed but he can breathe, he may well end up in Timbuktu. Trying to get back from early 20th Century Mali without money may be near impossible. So, a good outcome there.
  • Alternatively, if the box is well soundproofed but not airtight, he may well die of dehydration as a trip to Mali in the early 20th century wouldn’t be a quick one. Again, that serves him right.
  • If the box isn’t well soundproofed, someone will probably hear his banging and protestations long before he reaches Timbuktu. In this case, Edgar can probably make it back to Paris, where he will murder the cats in cold blood.

image 3O’Malley is adopted by rich old lady and written into the will and Edgar is written out of it, which makes me think that he did indeed suffocate, die of thirst or wind up stuck in the Southern Sahara. Which is good. Rich lady sets up a charity that provides shelter for racially stereotypical stray cats and they all live happily ever after. Unless a sunstroke afflicted Edgar reappears in a murderous rage at some stage of course…

To summarise, I didn’t mind this film, actually in places I rather enjoyed it. It was a tad predictable, hence a 4 ⭐ predictability rating, and was rather similar in places to ‘Lady and the Tramp’, but as I mentioned before, at least it was similar to a film that I actually liked. I found the earlier stages of the film tiresome at times, but once the geese buggered off and they reached Paris, I found the film came into its own, and was thoroughly enjoyable. If someone was to show a Disney film to a cynical friend or partner, there are worse films to put on than this one. Based on my history with Disney, that’s akin to high praise…


Disney Predictability star-rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Whilst watching the film with Ben, I didn’t think that he was enjoying it. So, I’m quite pleased to read that it entertained him more than I thought, which is good because (and here it comes…) “It’s one of my favourites”. I feel like I should make that my catchphrase. My daughter also sites this as one of her favourites (after Mulan, that is).

Our next film is Robin Hood, which I’m predicting a positive response from Ben on. Also, one of my favourites (seriously, though, I will recommend that one to Disney-cynics always).

Hope those of you reading this during the Covid-19 lockdown are doing well. Hope those of you that are reading this post-Covid are also doing well. Robin Hood review is due to be up next Monday, so make sure to ‘Follow’ either by email or on Twitter and/or Instagram (both @disneygftm)

Aristocats score (‘cause I almost forgot) 8.5/10

Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Jungle Book

So, imagine a film about a boy and a… let’s say dragon. This dragon is yet to fully mature, but when he has fully matured, there’s a reasonable chance that he’s going to kill the boy. Mostly just for the sport of it. Obviously, the best chance the boy has to protect his future survival is wipe out this dragon before he becomes a full-grown, killing machine. In this hypothetical film, you’re cheering on the boy, right? You would invest in the boy’s plight to protect his future and you will encourage him to slay that bastard dragon in cold blood so he can have that happy ending of a safer future.image 14

So that hypothetical film is very similar to 1967’s ‘The Jungle Book’. Except in this film, the boy is a tiger. And the dragon is a boy. And because of the human-centric attitudes of people, the potential future hunter is the hero and the future prey is the villain. This bias towards humans that we see in films is understandable to a point though, as we find it easier to affiliate with our own kind and have an innate ‘us vs them’ survival instinct. When you take a step back, you remember that humans are frequently dicks, especially to animals, and realise the ‘us vs them’ attitude is a dangerous one. As a result, I have to forget that the boy in ‘The Jungle Book’, Mowgli, could indeed grow up to be a heartless tiger trophy-hunter, and that the tiger is not giving Mowgli a fair chance to prove he will treat tigers with respect, even as an adult. The overriding moral of the story is probably that the tiger should not judge a book by its cover. But regardless, tying a stick to its tail and setting it on fire, is essentially cruel, to a creature just trying to protect its own future. I just remembered it’s a fictional tiger. My god I’ve got to stop overthinking things….

image 12It can be hard enough for this Disney cynic (and even after chronologically watching eighteen Animation Studios epics, I still say ‘cynic’ is an accurate term) to watch one of their films even before the moral philosophising starts. But as soon as I add in ethical suppositions about who I have a moral obligation to sympathize with, whilst experiencing my usual feelings of Disney-burnout AND try to do all this during a pandemic lockdown, it can all become too much to cope with.

On a more basic level, and I may have discussed this theory before, I can’t remember, I’ve concluded that Disney has four Modus-operandi that they work with:

⭐ – Princess falls in love very quickly to older dude and/or sings a song full of optimism to the world’s cheesiest melody at a flock of birds or some other poor animal

⭐ – Peril scenes with an obscene number of near-misses, usually involving the protagonist defying physics to escape, and the villain looking like an absolute moron

⭐ – Cute animals frolicking (often for the purpose of killing time), fighting, attempted to mate, or nearly being murdered / successfully being murdered

⭐ – Artistic indulgence: ‘Aren’t we good at animating’ sequences, often trippy as hell or just showing off their drawing skills with many bright, swirling colours. Also, songs that last for what seems like forever, sometimes involving a woman or some crooner that clearly love the sound of their own voice

There are two more categories that are more relevant to Disney’s past efforts:

⭐ – Racism /Sexism / Something eye-raisingly politically incorrect

⭐ – Pro-Latin-propaganda-dancing-shitfests


So, this film, plenty of the animals frolicking / fighting, a feature I ranted about at great length during the last film ‘Sword in the Stone’ as well as a heap of near-escape-peril scenes. So, I will give this film two stars on my all new ‘predictable-Disney-scale’.

Our hero and potential tiger trophy hunter, Mowgli, has been abandoned as a baby, in a jungle by a really shit mother. A panther called Bagheera wants to protect him and does the logical thing. Ditches him with some wolves. Although in fairness, the mother has just had a litter, so currently possesses maternal instincts.image 20

Ten years pass before one of the wolves finally says, “we’ve had a now-four-foot human among us for a decade, this is getting a little weird.” There is also a well-spoken English tiger (if the voice is anything to go by) called Shere Khan, who, as I mentioned earlier, wants to kill the boy for the reasons already discussed. So Bagheera decides it is the right time to take Mowgli back to the human village to be with his own kind. But Mowgli doesn’t want to. Probably because a bastard human had ditched him in a jungle with wild animals in the first place…. a further timely reminder that tigers are right on the money with this one. Humans are dicks.

So now the film descends into a game of pass the Mowgli among various different animals of the Jungle, which provides a perfect opportunity for Disney to go to town on having animals frolic, fight and sing. There’s a great range in how “bearable” these animals are. Do you see what I did there? “Bearable”. Because one of them is a bear. And the bear IS bearable. More than bearable in fact, I genuinely warmed to him. Baloo clearly has a good heart, he is charismatic, and there’s something about his voice that is calming and likeable.

There are elephants. That act like they’re in the army. Ok then…

image 3Then we have a snake that is on a sex-offenders register. He has to be. The dude doing the voice also does Winnie the Pooh. Take Winnie the Pooh’s voice, exaggerate the letter ‘S’ (like Parseltongue, for Harry Potter fans), add a healthy dash of slimy, sleaziness to the delivery and then direct it at a 10 year old boy and you have a snake that is one of the most uncomfortable to watch in the history of cinema.

Why would elephants act like they’re in the army? They’re in an Indian jungle with nothing to do all day but eat, hump and raise their young. What a waste of their time.

There’s also monkeys. They like bananas and really want to be like people.

How did elephants even know about army behaviour in the first place? Were the Indian military on a jungle retreat at some point, when they were spotted by the Patriarch of the elephants who thought, “YES! That’s what’s been missing from our regular and peaceful lives! Pre-war discipline! The rest of my tribe won’t be even slightly confused, annoyed or concerned for my well-being when I implement this lifestyle upon them all…” It’s all just too ridiculous. What next? The youngest elephant using its ears as wings?

image 21Then we have the Vultures. On the one hand, they appear to be caricatures of the Beatles. One of them definitely sounds Liverpudlian. But then a few of the others sound Cockney so perhaps they’re not supposed to be the Beatles, but this could just be The American generalisation of British accents…. Maybe they’re supposed to each be different famous English musicians of the era? I’d look into it if I… you know… cared.

Elephants live in a matriarchal society. Surely if some of them decided to run a weird-ass army in the middle of a jungle, then the leader would be female, not male? And why am I still thinking about this?!!!

For most people, there are plenty of iconic songs and famous scenes that will live long in their memory. The thing that I will remember? The song the girl sings at the end of the film. You see, after all of Mowgli’s protestations about re-joining other humans, the first girl he encounters (or to put it more accurately, pervs on), causes a rather rapid change of heart. And she sings this song:

Starts with lots of oohs and repeating the line “my own home” in a voice that sounds more fully-grown-adult than young teen….

“Fathers hunting in the forest

Mothers cooking in the home

I must go to fetch the water

‘Til the day that I am grown”

So, she likes to narrate her life through song, which although very convenient for both Mowgli and us to learn the necessary information about her in a very short space of time, could get very annoying for her parents.

“I am laying out the table, now I’m playing with the cat, now I’m walking to the kitchen, now I’m…..”


Anyway, back to her song. After some repetition, she spots Mowgli, gives him the eye, and adds a new verse to this very strange life-narrative ditty:

“Then I will have a handsome husband

And a daughter of my own

And I’ll send her to fetch the water

I’ll be cooking in the home”

image 22Then she deliberately drops the pot of water, for Mowgli to pick up for her. I think this song can be described as “coming on quite strong”. Especially as they’re like, ten or something. As Mowgli has had no interaction with other girls, he probably won’t realise that this quite an intense way to meet someone. But he’s probably thinking, Great! She’s fit, she wants to cook for me (whatever that is…) and she’ll probably put out (whatever that is…). The other alternative is that Shanti is really fucking lazy and is so desperate to not have to “fetch the water until she is grown”, she’s willing to start a family and reproduce as quick as possible so she can make someone else do it. At least that’s what her song is implying. Her methods work at least, as Mowgli follows her to the human village and with it, a happy ending. For the two new lovebirds at least. I expect it will be a pretty horrific shock for Shanti’s father when he gets home from hunting in the forest (tiger trophy-hunting probably…).

“Shanti, who is this?”

“Whilst you were hunting in the forest,

and mother was cooking in the home,

I went down to fetch th…”


“Fine! This is Mowgli. I picked him up when I was at the river earlier.”

 “For Christ’s sake, again?! For the last time, will you please stop picking up stray boys from the jungle and then trying to move them into our house so they can impregnate you so you don’t have to walk down to the river to fetch water every day?!”

image 11As I said earlier, this film has plenty keep kids entertained, and probably plenty of adults if they like family-orientated adventures, swingy soundtracks or sex-offender snakes.  I’m not really into any of those three things. Actually, one of those three things I’m really repulsed by. I fucking hate swing music. Anyway, I know it’s not a bad film, in fact I can see it’s a very good film. Yet I still found myself struggling to stay attentive throughout. After watching Bambi, I had to take a timeout from watching Disney for a bit, because my brain was telling me I was on the verge of a Disney-overload-nervous-breakdown as well as the fact I was EMOTIONALLY DESTROYED. Yet despite this film not being torturous or emotionally crippling, when I tried to sit down and write a review to another Disney action spectacular, I just felt like I needed a few weeks break. I’m sure it’s not the fault of this movie alone. It’s probably an accumulation of eighteen of the bloody things that have finally overwhelmed me. It could be that Covid-lockdown has strangled my tolerance to within an inch of its life. It could be that, at the moment, whenever I try to think about what I’m going to type, I’m distracted by a family that is always talking and because of lockdown, are always there. Right there. Bless them….  I’m going to plough on with these films. Perhaps somewhat slower than before though.

image 8To summarise, I think this film’s biggest problem was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Along with the quarantine issues, this film doesn’t benefit from being viewed straight after the preceding seventeen Disney Animation Studio’s film that weren’t considered too racially insensitive, in a relatively short space of time. For all its strengths, there are a lot of themes, ideas and fauna frolics that have already played out many other times some of the other movies that I’ve already seen. Often these themes have been finetuned and improved film-on-film but there’s precious few moments that feel new and fresh despite the addition of some cutting-edge swing music (hence my need to include a “Disney-predictability-star-rating). I suspect if I watched this film first, my overall rating would be higher. As it is, I feel and 6 out of 10 is the best I can do and going forward in order to continue doing these reviews, it’s my turn to wish upon a star:

“Oi, Star, please for the love of God do me favour for the sake of my sanity, and give a Disney film that changes things up a bit?”


Disney-Predictability-Star-Rating: ⭐⭐

Ben 🙄

Sorry, just needed to stop talking, to type this.

The Jungle Book. I know I say this a lot, but it is one of my favourites. See! This is why I’m a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic! I love so many of the films! They are so good AND they just keep getting better (see my ‘Frozen 2‘ and ‘Onward‘ reviews)

I actually thought that Ben would enjoy this one more, to be honest. I thought he would like more of the characters. Glad he liked the voice actor for Baloo (Phil Harris) though, as we’ve just watched ‘The Aristocats’ and are about to watch ‘Robin Hood’ in the next couple of days. Those Disneylogists amongst you, will understand the reference here. 😁

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Let’s see what he thinks of ‘The Aristocats’. I reckon he’ll enjoy it, as the storyline and characters are similar to that of ‘Lady and the Tramp’ and… he like’s kittens. We’ll see. I could be wrong.

My scoring of The Jungle Book:


Kerry 😁

Back to ‘talking too much around Ben’! 😜

New Releases

Lady and the Tramp – Live Action

A few weeks back, Ben and I watched ‘Lady and the Tramp’ for his Misguided Reviews (link to review here). The next day, ‘daughter’ and I decided that as we now have Disney+, we can watch the live action version. Ben had previously been adamant that he would not watch any Disney film out of sequence and would only watch the live actions when he was due to review them (which could be a few years down the line realistically, as there are a vast amount of live action films made by Disney). However, within 5 minutes of the start of the film, lured over by the high-pitched “Awwwww”s from myself and daughter, he quickly succumbed and watched the whole thing with us.

image 6The storyline for the live action is very similar to the original. A pedigree cocker spaniel from the upper-class neighbourhood meets a mongrel and after some disruption at home, runs off with him to be shown what life is like on the other side of the picket fence. If you haven’t seen the original, I highly recommend it.

In line with the current, ‘progressive’ direction that Disney seem to be going in, the film has had a few changes to allow for more diversity in its characters. This has had a mixed response from the fans. The notable changes are:

  • ‘Darling’ is now an African American.
  • ‘Jock’ is now female.
  • The Siamese cats are now Devon Rex cats and the song “We are Siamese” has been replaced with the song, “What a Shame”.

There are a few minor storyline changes, to make the film flow a bit better, but these were the three changes that really caught people’s attention and raised quite a discussion throughout the Disney community…. so, I’m now gonna put my two cents in… and try not to offend anyone (the expression ‘walking on eggshells’ seems appropriate right now).

So, Darling being African American. The biggest argument against this (rather than idiots just whinging “Stop trying to be so politically correct all the time, Disney!” in comments feeds, whilst firstly ignoring all the times that Disney has been the opposite of PC and secondly, how the world is changing and no amount of yelling, in fear of your privilege being taken away from you, is going to change that…. *breathe, Kerry, breathe*) is that Lady and the Tramp is set in 1920’s America, so a black woman would not be married to a white man and that black people in general would not be part of the upper classes. Now, I did also question this when we were watching it and have since concluded that It doesn’t change the film negatively at all. In fact, at least we get to see Jim Dear and Darling fully and that they have more character in this version.

image 3Onto the next ‘issue’. Jock being female. She was voiced by Ashley Jenson, who I feel brings so much character to any role she plays and didn’t disappoint here. Did they need to change Jocks gender? No, he was fine as he was. Did it make the character any worse being female? No. I felt it actually improved the character and gave them more to work with. Why did they change the gender? Don’t know and, frankly, don’t care. Next!

Finally, the last ‘issue’. The Siamese cats being replaced by Devon Rex cats and the song “We are Siamese” being replaced with the song “What a shame. Now, I can see why they did it. “We are Siamese” is quite racist and stereotypes the Siamese (or Thai, as they are now). However, Siamese cats are a breed of cats and I don’t think that they needed to change the breed. Surely the point of these animals is that they are pampered and entitled. Siamese cats, from a visual perspective, work well for these character traits as they are beautiful and are usually pedigree, which means that they would, indeed, be quite pampered in comparison to some felines. It progress’s the storyline well in the original version. They are constantly trying to eat the fish and eat the bird, which results in Lady trying to stop them and when they indicate that they may be heading to the baby’s crib, this leads Lady to get extremely defensive, barking and chasing them, resulting in the cats making it look, to Aunt Sarah, that Lady has attacked them. Due to Lady being a ‘wicked animal’, it is then that Aunt Sarah takes Lady to the pet shop, with the view to having her muzzled. When Lady then panics and escapes the pet shop, Tramp rescues her from some aggressive street dogs, which ignites their relationship. image 8In this version, Devon & Rex, act like interior designers and decide that the house needs ‘redecorating’. Aunt Sarah still thinks that it is Lady that has trashed the house, but there is no indication to anyone that she has attacked the cats. Why Aunt Sarah would put a muzzle on a dog because they trashed the house makes no sense. Surely a muzzle stops a dog from biting. It could still trash a house quite easily with the muzzle still on. Ok, so as my daughter just pointed out (as I read this out to her and Ben), muzzles also stop a dog from barking but, again, still wouldn’t stop them trashing a house. So, in conclusion to my ranty monologue, should have changed the song? Yes. Should they have changed the breed and character of the cats? No. However, once again, does it take away anything from the quality of the film, in my opinion? No. Finally, just a little addition to this point, I actually really enjoyed the song, ‘What a Shame’.

So, in summary, this adaptation was awesome and we all really enjoyed it. As I believe Ben mentioned himself in his Lady and the Tramp review, it made him rethink the really high score that he gave the original because, as much as he loved it, he actually thought the remake was better. Watch it and let me know in the comments what you thought.


Kerry 😁