Misguided Reviews

The Little Mermaid

It’s the big one. My wife’s favourite film. A review that not only determines if I’ve liked this film, but going forward, possibly how much my wife will like me

When I first started reviewing all the Disney Animation Studios films, I knew that my reviews would be coming from a vantage point that was somewhat different than that of most other people online. There are plenty of professional reviews. There are plenty of reviews from Disney fans. But reviews from Disney-cynics who are only doing so because they’re the glorified lab rat of a Disney-obsessed wife carrying out a madcap experiment on Disney-conversion? Not so much…

But I have also realised during the course of nearly thirty films dating from 1937 to near the turn of the 1990’s, I am in a rare and privileged position that nearly all the Disney fans that still draw breath have never got to experience. And that is to experience the Disney collection as a near blank slate in chronological order. It may not seem a big deal, but it’s fascinating to experience a much-beloved company’s ups and downs, as well as see their progression and development film-by-film, without prejudice (well, except for the small prejudice of having already decided I don’t like Disney, but you get my point). It’s not something that would be much concern to many fans, as they would watch films in a sporadic order, rave about the ones they liked and treat the ones they don’t like as if they don’t exist, and conclude that Disney is a mostly amazing film company…

But when you’ve watched every moment of every scene (with exception of those that were deemed too racist by ‘Disney +’, or those that I deemed too shit to bother concentrating on), you realise that Disney, for all its moments where you can appreciate how it could create such fanaticism among its fanbase, is ultimately as flawed at times, as most other things in life. And without a doubt, this is the case in certain decades far more so than others. As I may have mentioned once or a hundred times in previous posts, the 1940’s were largely less about plot than propaganda as well as annoying birds, creepy ventriloquist dummies and finally, ducks whose behaviour would almost certainly mean that it is on some sort of register that bans it from being in the vicinity of a high school (have you ever seen Donald Duck in a van or on a flying carpet near a high school? Exactly). And despite having plenty of films I personally didn’t enjoy throughout the subsequent decades, Disney appeared to drive off another proverbial creative cliff in most people’s eyes near the end of the 1970’s.

However, the other benefit of watching these films for the first time in chronological order, is that I can start to sense trends in the mindset of the higher-ups at Chez Disney, as well as the creative direction and some of the lessons that they are learning en-route. Even if I didn’t know the next film was Kerry’s favourite film of all time, I can feel that something is changing in a positive direction, and that lessons on how to make an entertaining film for Generation X (and even Y) are being learnt. Considering what’s at stake with the upcoming movie on a personal level, I hope my prediction is correct… The reason that I’m auspicious, is that there have been three things I didn’t like about older Disney films. Ok, there’s been hundreds, but three MAIN issues in particular.

  1. Lots of frolicking animals but at times painfully little character depth.
  2. Pretentiousness. “Look how clever our animation is! Aren’t we iconic! We haven’t made a successful film in a decade, but you must love our snooty highbrow approach to cartoons!”
  3. A lack of humour beyond the frolicking animals that at times borders on sheer misery.

As I mentioned in the previous post, whilst the last two films (The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company) were by no means classics, these bothersome qualities were finally showing some signs of being eradicated. I was pretty sure modern Disney and Pixar films would not have gotten away with accommodating these things as much in the eyes of the audiences of today, so the big question is, will this be the film to bring about the change I so crave?!

Regardless of that, this is still a Disney movie, so the film starts with frolicking animals. Not just animals, seagulls. I live on the coast. Seagulls are either trying to steal your food, wake you up at sunrise or attempting to crap on your shoulder. Disney, you like killing animals, where are the shotguns now?! We then get frolicking dolphins. Oh, by the way, you know when you want to catch a good shot of a fine sailing vessel but an attention seeking bastard of a dolphin fucks it up by photobombing it?

On the ship we meet Prince Eric. He’s a fine-looking chap. And within thirty seconds he has shown more personality and had more dialogue than the Princes were afforded in the whole of ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ combined. Meanwhile, under the sea (pun intended), we meet some merfolk. King Triton is having a concert held in his honour. The song is performed by Triton’s six daughters. There’s no sign of a mother, but this is Disney so not sure if that fact even has to be commented on anymore… Considering there’s six daughters, the mother probably succumbed to exhaustion. How do merfolk give birth? Do they lay eggs? How do they reproduce? How many people have asked this question already?! Millions no doubt. But the performance is ruined however, when it turns out that the Kings youngest daughter is missing….

It turns out that the youngest daughter, Ariel, has sneaked off with a fishy friend named Flounder to search the ruins of a ship. Within less than a minute it becomes clear that Ariel is sassy and full of personality. She’s nice, but nothing like passive, characterless homemaker Princesses that preceded her. And my god does she ooze sex appeal. This is slightly concerning as she’s only sixteen and I’m not sure if the fact she’s animated makes it ok, or a hundred times worse… Based on how many people in film and TV have commented on how hot she is, I going to assume it’s fair game. Sexy burlesque mice from ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ move over, you have nothing on this piece of… fin.

It turns out that Ariel has a slightly less than healthy obsession with humans and their artifacts, and she’s looking for things to add to her not-at-all-strange collection. Their scavenging is interrupted however by a shark, because sharks tend to roam in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and a small pocket of the North Sea coast near Copenhagen. Apparently. Happily, they don’t get eaten and escape alive and well, meaning at that point we don’t have to roll the ending credits to the world’s most pointless and depressing seven-minute film. Just imagine if that was the whole film. Would certainly get people talking…

Anyway, they swim to the surface where they meet a….ugh…. seagull. The seagull is called Scuttle. Ariel shows him the treasures she has found. He tells her that a fork is a dinglehopper used for styling hair, and that a smoking pipe is a snarfblat, an item used for making music. So not only do Seagulls steal your dinner, act as an unwanted alarm clock and use your shoulder as a commode, they’re also compulsive liars too. Dicks. It’s all really funny though.

We’ve had over ten minutes of a Disney film without an antagonist cackling insanely so I think it’s time that’s put right. We say hello to Ursula who is… I think a drag artist octopus?  With issues. Definitely many issue going on there. She has two eels named Flotsam and Jetsam. Triton banished Ursula from his court some years ago, so she wants revenge. And unsurprisingly, she will get to him through Ariel.

We return to Ariel who’s getting a bollocking from Triton about not being at the concert and going up to the surface where those bastard humans hang out. She then goes to her not-at-all-creepy, museum of human artifacts. Triton’s crab, Sebastian, is keeping an eye on her. We are treated to yet another song in which Ariel sings about wanting to be human. A few days after watching ‘The Little Mermaid’, I realised what a disproportionately high number of Disney films I’ve watched of late when I watched the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ and how it’s infiltrated my psyche. Early in the film when the female lead feels sad, empty and wants to expand her world much like a Disney princess, she steps outside to cinematic and emotional music… and doesn’t spontaneously burst into song. It bamboozled me. Isn’t that what happens in films?! We even improvised the song she would have sung, had she been in a Disney film. The whole thing was made even more disconcerting by the lack of birds, squirrels, fish and/or crabs pissing about around her as she goes about her business. Speaking of which, Flounder and Sebastian have quite the frolic during Ariels performance.

Back to the story and she’s gone to the surface to look at some fireworks, which turn out to be from a party on Eric’s boat. She pervs on him for a bit, whilst he talks about wanting to find ‘the right girl’. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Ariel will be that girl. If I’m correct, you’ll all be so impressed….

All goes wrong though, when a ferocious storm erupts with near implausible speed. After lightning sets the ship alight, Eric winds up unconscious in the sea. Ariel saves him though and pulls him ashore. She does what anyone would do in this perilous situation. She sings in his face. Even though she runs and hides before he wakes, he falls in love with the mystery girl based on her voice alone. At least this should make it easy to find her again, as it would take a pretty ridiculous scenario for a girl’s voice to completely vanish into thin air after all…

Unfortunately, Ursula is watching all these events unfold on her weird bubble television thingy, and concocts a most devilish scheme…

In trying to convince Ariel that life is better under said sea and away from humans, Sebastian sings her a song. Having not completely existed under a Disney free rock, I did know the song ‘Under the Sea’ was from the Little Mermaid. I actually rather liked the song even before watching the film, but when put in context of the story, it’s definitely my favourite Disney musical number to date. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get through to a hormonally addled sixteen-year-old girl, even with aid of a song and dance routine… So, Sebastian is left with the task of reporting back to Triton that his youngest Daughter wants to indulge in sexy-time with a human. Triton loses his shit about this and proceeds to give Ariel another almighty bollocking before destroying a load of items in Ariels creepy museum of human artifacts. Ariel responds by being every teenage girl who’s ever lived, shrieking “BUT DADDY I LOVE HIM!” before bursting into tears.

Flotsam and Jetsam take this opportunity to offer her some assistance with her problem. Ariel agrees to go with them. I mean, who wouldn’t look at these two and conclude that they can be trusted?

For fucks sake Ariel! Come on, even completely blinded by love for a dude you’ve just met, who in god’s name doesn’t have a few more reservations about these two? Look at them!!!

They lead her to Ursula who offers her a contract that would allow her to become human for three days. If she can get the Prince to make out with her, she stays human. If she fails, she’ll be turned into a…. a….. um….

… one of those things. Oh, and she has to give her voice as payment to Ursula (😮). Fortunately for Ursula, she has come prepared with a song complete with choreography to make her case for why Ariel should sign. Who could resist an argument made in song after all? Certainly not Ariel, who puts pen to paper….

Ariel finds herself ashore with legs. And a lack of clothes. So, her mission to lure a young prince is off to an auspicious start. It should be noted that throughout all this, and the rest of the film for that matter, Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle are never far away, because Disney must have cute animals nearby at all times. They are helpful though, for example in this case, they make a rudimentary dress to cover Ariel’s lady garden. Obviously, out of all the people in the world, Eric is the human who finds Ariel first. Erics mind is still on finding the girl with the sexy voice, but he clearly fancies Ariel even though she can’t talk. He brings her back to the castle. No, not like that. I think he’s concerned for her health and that she has lost her voice from the shock of being out at sea.

There’s a lovely moment at dinner time where she takes the fork, believing it to be a dinglehopper, and starts combing her hair with it. Whilst this is happening, Sebastian almost gets boiled alive by a psychotic French chef. How do I know he’s French? Because he is very, very French. You have to hand it to Disney; they go ALL IN on their national stereotyping. He also sings a fun little ditty about the joys of slaughtering sea creatures. Sing along kids.

Meanwhile, Triton realises that he has royally fucked everything up. He sends out search parties who can’t find Ariel anywhere.

The next day, Ariel and Eric do lots of fun stuff together. They’re clearly getting closer, despite Ariels inability to talk. That evening, they are on a small rowing boat when Sebastian senses the opportunity to create a romantic setting by singing a song. It’s rather familiar. That’s probably because ‘Kiss the Girl’ is Kerry’s favourite Disney song of all time and therefore I’ve heard her singing it quite a few times, to say the least. At this point, I need to talk about the songs in this film generally. While a lot of them aren’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m really impressed by how well they’re written, the lyrics, the vocal performances and how great the choreographing is that accompanies them. I understand that this film introduces a new song writing team (Howard Ashman and Alan Menken) and the difference cannot be overstated. For me, this is the biggest game changer that separates ‘The Little Mermaid’ with all that has come before.

The song appears to do the trick and they’re about to kiss. Unfortunately, Ursula is concerned about how well Ariel is doing and decides to tip the scales somewhat. Or at least gets Flotsam and Jetsam to tip the boat. The moment has been successfully (and literally) dampened.

I’ve mentioned in the past about how Disney seems to get carried away with endless scenes of frolicking animals, only to suddenly realise that they have most of the story to tell with about eight minutes runtime remaining. Snow White still remains the ultimate example of this. With a little over ten minutes to go, ‘The Little Mermaid’ does a fine job continuing this tradition… This is how the rest of the film feels:

Ursula entrances Eric and, for good measure, turns herself into a hottie and gives herself Ariel’s voice that’s contained in the necklace she’s wearing so he will marry her instead. Then they are suddenly about to get married on his ship until Scuttle and his bird friends attack Ursula, causing the necklace to break, meaning Ariel gets her voice back so she can tell Eric that that voice belongs to her, but before they kiss the spell breaks and Ariel becomes a mermaid and Ursula snatches her and takes her underwater causing Triton to give himself up to save his daughter which gets him turned into one of those…

…Ok pause, just what are those things?! I’m going to need to consult the Disney fandom site here, as these things are just plain odd. Ok, apparently they are called Polyp’s. That is absolutely no help at all. They appear to hold people’s souls. But my god are they weird looking…

…Anyway, Ursula gets Triton’s magic trident (try saying that three times fast) but when attacked by Ariel, Eric and their animal buddies, she accidently blows Flotsam and Jetsam into smithereens before becoming a giant, who ends up being killed by Eric, causing all the merfolk, including Triton, to turn back from those weird polyp things into merfolk again, leading to a scene where Triton sees how sad Ariel is and decides the kindest thing to do is fulfilling Ariels dream of becoming human, which results in her and Eric getting married. Roll credits.

So that was quite an action packed final ten minutes… While for me it did feel slightly rushed, it was lovely having a Disney film that I didn’t once find myself clock watching at any point, so I’ll take this ending instead every time. And to be honest, a rushed ending is a very minor quibble in a film where there were very few criticisms to be found. I mentioned earlier about how I was sensing an upward trend and was expecting this film to be a step up. I have to say I was surprised at just what a giant leap forward this film was. Everything about it from the story, to the characters, to the humour and the songs were consistently on point. It’s the first film that didn’t feel in some way dated, and it’s also the first film where I feel Disney truly conveyed that a sense of fun for the viewer was more important than the stroking of their own artistic egos. I would absolutely recommend ‘The Little Mermaid’ as must watch for non-Disney fans. Ultimately, this did feel like the film that completed the transition to a more modern style of presentation and possibly for the first time, I look forward to what’s coming next (I’ve just remembered the next film is another ‘Rescuers’ film, so scrub that previous comment…).

The most important thing for me however, is that when my wife says in a few years’ time “would you like to watch The Little Mermaid?”, I can look her in the eyes and honestly say “yeah, I’d like that!”.



Yes! He loved it! It’s almost made the months and months of him moaning about my beloved Disney, worth it. Of course it’s worth it. I had a hunch he would change his tune after seeing this one. In case I haven’t mentioned it, IT’S MY FAVOURITE FILM OF ALL TIME! I’m not sure I’d be such a good singer if I hadn’t sang ‘Part Of Your World’ over and over, from age of seven onwards.

A few things I would like to add, in response to Ben’s review.

  1. “When Will My Life Begin” from Tangled would’ve made aa perfect addition to the beginning of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
  2. When we worked together in an office, one of my best friends and I would sing ‘Les Poissons’ from start to finish, in the office. We are a delight.
  3. I wish that ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ had never been made because, A) The first film was shit, so why make a sequel, and B) Our next film would be Beauty And The Beast, which is amazing! See you on the other side, brother

In relation to The Little Mermaid, needless to say…

10/10 😁🧜‍♀️

Misguided Reviews

Oliver & Company

What could be more Disney than staring a film with an orphaned kitten nearly drowning in a cardboard box? He’s already bloody miserable as all his siblings have been taken and rehoused (no doubt leaving him to wonder if there’s some anti-ginger prejudice prevalent in New York City) and tomorrow he will discover that most humans are in fact bastards.

Yet despite this most depressingly familiar of introductions to the 1988 film ‘Oliver and Company’, something seems to be changing. After spending months trawling through the Disney Animation Studios back catalogue, experiencing varying states of enjoyment and torture (and because I’m not a Disney fan, mostly the latter), it wasn’t until the previous film ‘The Great Mouse Detective’, that I first started to detect a few hints of something that I would best describe as “modern”. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why that is, but I suppose a sense of playfulness and awareness are making their way through the usual strait-laced, stiff upper lip of vintage Disney. I think it’s more a sign of the times in which the films were made, that lead them to be this way. Modern animations tend to be far more casual. Well they tend not to have lectures on Latin American subculture, long deviations discussing advanced animation techniques, entire films that don’t crack a single joke or a dude in full suit and bowtie explaining how the animation perfectly symbolises the 19th century classical music piece that accompanies it.

If ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ had indications of a modern approach to kid’s films, ‘Oliver and Company’ ups that considerably. Ok, the music isn’t exactly modern, but MC Hammer is still more contemporary than Big Band Swing music, and if truth be told, a style I have a soft spot for. That’s not to say that either of the films are classics, and that’s something most Disney fans and reviewers all agree with, but I’ve found them an easier watch than most that have come before. And bearing in mind that this film is an adaptation of a Dicken’s novel, it has far more plot detail than most films I’ve reviewed and that’s impressive.

Trying to review this film invokes memories of when I had to review ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad’. When dealing with higher-brow literary classics, it doesn’t exactly offer many plot points that I feel compelled to rip the piss out of. Furthermore, due to the greater plot density, if I were to take my usual approach of a scene by scene deconstruction, I could be typing for days. But what I will say is that I definitely found ‘Oliver and Company’ a far easier watch than Ichabod and Mr Toad at least… Ultimately, there’s nothing particularly good or bad, nothing particularly outrageous or stupid and nothing especially memorable either.

So, forgive me for largely skipping over this film, but things are about to get far more interesting next time out for one reason or another. For starters, next time out we have ‘The Little Mermaid’, which happens to be Kerry’s favourite film of all time.  The stakes are high on this one. If truth be told, I’ve rarely been so worried about disliking a film! But furthermore, we exit the creatives downturn and enter what I’ve learnt to be the Disney renaissance. What this entails for a someone like me is yet to be seen. Will the modern classics be the films to finally win me over? Considering my review of the next film may determine whether I have the respect of my wife or not, I really, really hope so…


Ben 🙄

We’re watching The Little Mermaid tonight (Monday 23rd November)!!!! I’m so excited!!!!

Still, I digress from Oliver & Company. I have to say, I didn’t know what to expect from this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s actually really enjoyable. I already like the story of Oliver Twist and used to watch the musical a lot as a child (“Oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah that’s ow it goes!”, so I already knew it would be a good narrative, but the adapted characters were good and it had some really catchy, contemporary songs.

In conclusion, I would recommend it as a solid family film.

7/10 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Great Mouse Detective

We are now deep into the “Great Disney Depression” of the late seventies and eighties. This is an apt description for two reasons. Firstly, Disney are in a creative lull that has resulted in box office flops and reviews that aren’t just sycophantic love letters. So, if the Disney-loving critics have concluded that recent films haven’t been up to scratch, you can imagine how much I’ve detested them. Secondly, “depression” is an ideal term because recent movies have been just that. Depressing. For me, ‘The Rescuers’ had bleak undertones, yet zero humour or warmth to balance it out. ‘The Fox and The Hound’ went one better and didn’t just restrict the bleakness to its undertones. No Disney film prior had relentlessly felt so melancholy, and this is from the same company that brought you tales of attempted puppy-skinning. And Bambi… And to top it off, last time out we had ‘The Black Cauldron’, where the deliberate upping of the ‘dark and scary’ factor could have made it a memorable film for positive reasons, had it not been for the unfortunate obstacle of it being utterly crap.

Expectations then, are at possibly an all-time low coming into today’s film ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. Now, judging by the title, I have a gut feeling that this film will in some way involve a mouse, who is a detective. And is probably pretty good at it too. Just three films ago, we had the aforementioned ‘The Rescuers’, which also involved mice solving a mystery, and in about three films time, we will have ‘The Rescuers Down Under’. This leads me to believe that someone high-up at Disney HQ really gets their kicks from watching rodents solve shit. I just hope that this mouse is a lot more entertaining at doing his detective malarky than Bernard and Miss Bianca, possibly involving something that can actually raise a smile in the process….

The film starts in London circa 1897. It must be London because this is an American film, and this scene depicts cobbled streets, horse and carts and church bells which is pretty much how Americans depict London even in the 21st century. We find ourselves at a toy shop called Flavershams where we meet a sweet little mouse called Olivia and her father, Mr Flaversham. They are very Scottish. Mice don’t live very long so I find it very impressive that they’ve made it all the way from 19th century Scotland to London within their lifetime, let alone also having the time to set up a successful toy business once settled…. Mr Flaversham is giving Olivia a toy for her birthday. She’s very happy. But trouble lies ahead, can you guess what? Correct! A bat with a wooden leg swoops in and kidnaps Mr Flaversham. This is definitely Disney. A cute mouse who has clearly already lost her mother now having to witness her Father’s disappearance as well, resulting in her cries of “Daddy!” ringing out over the city… This sort of infant distress is bread and butter for the creative minds at chez-Disney. They must be moist with joy. Roll intro credits.

Next, we are introduced to a mouse who narrates with a VERY English accent. The Queens English obviously. Again, exactly how Americans always portray people in the UK. I wonder if he has a very posh English name? He’s called Dr David Q Dawson. Yes then. Plus, I imagine the Q stands for Quentin as I cannot think of any other male names beginning with Q… He may wish that we refer to him as Dr David Q Dawson, but the reality is that down the pub, his mates call him Dave.

Dave finds Olivia crying. After explaining her predicament, Dave takes her to Baker Street to see Basil, the great mouse detective. Anyone who has seen the 1980’s British cartoon ‘Dangermouse’ will be sensing some déjà vu around about now, as that also features a mouse on Baker Street that essentially rips off Sherlock Holmes. But of course, Disney will put its own inimitable stamp on this familiar scenario (less jokes and more frolicking animals with dead / wounded parents).

Initially Basil thinks it’s an inappropriate time to help Olivia. What a dick. But once he realises that Mr Flaversham was taken by a bat with a wooden leg, he suddenly becomes interested. Not because the why’s and how’s of a bat having a wooden leg (which would certainly arouse most people’s interest), but because he works for the evil Professor Ratigan, Basil’s arch enemy.

Let’s meet this Ratigan then shall we? Ratigan must be pretty damn awesome. How do I know this? Because a load of rodents declare this in a song. You don’t take the time to learn a song and dance routine unless you’re really invested in the lyrics you’re singing. He must be GREAT. Not only that, he’s also quite entertaining. Ok, so he feeds one of his drunken mouse lackeys to his pet cat (no, I’m not sure how a rat successfully has a pet cat either) because he was drunk and annoying, but there’s been far more irritating baddies than this. Of course he still possesses that typical Disney antagonist trait of revelling in doing evil things just because they’re evil, rather than the more realistic ‘doing bad shit that’s self-serving and/or mean and justifying it’s the right thing to do usually because of some self-entitlement, prejudice or pleasing some deity’.

Ratigan has a “diabolical” scheme. Basically this scheme involves kidnapping the queen and replacing her with a mechanical version that will declare Ratigan the king. I’m quite liking this plan, but more for the ingenuity than the actual questionable logic that it could work. So Mr Flaversham was kidnapped, it turns out, so that he would make this mechanical toy version of the Queen. Why is he doing this dastardly deed? Because if he doesn’t, some bad shit will happen to Olivia. Oh Ratigan you scoundrel.

Speaking of Olivia, she wants to go on the journey to upend the bad guys. Basil says no but she accompanies him and Dave anyway. By using Sherlock Holmes dog to sniff out where the Bat (who is called Fidget, apparently) has gone, they wind up in a toy shop where they discover Fidget trying to get parts to make the fake queen. Unfortunately, in what could only be described as a colossal fuck up, Fidget not only gets away, but also manages to kidnap Olivia in the process.

Now, it may seem that I have a very good handle on the storyline at this point. But that is a lie. The truth is that whilst watching the first half of the film, I didn’t. Here’s the thing, I find it quite difficult to concentrate at the best of times, but during Disney films I find I become even more easily distracted than usual. On top of that, Disney seems to have a habit of mentioning key plot points just once and then never addressing them again. Fortunately, the Disney fandom site provides a good synopsis to fill the moments that my mind goes a wondering. I also thankfully found this less of a problem during the films second half, as the pace picks up and generally more stuff happens…

Basil finds a note containing the list of things Fidget was stealing from the toy shop. He does some detective shit to discover it was written where the sewage system meets the river. So he and Dave go to a bar there, disguised as sailors. It’s a proper dive full of rough sorts who hurl abuse at the entertainment (in this case, a juggling octopus). I then wrote in my notes, “I suppose the cabaret is a juggling octopus, as the usual entertainment in a dive like that in that era would be a sexy burlesque dancer, and they couldn’t have that in a Disney film!!!”. But then out comes the singing mouse and her dancers…. If I was surprised at the sexy manner in which the mouse sings, I was even more shook at the partial striptease and sultriness of the dancing. Obviously not sexy enough to get a semi or anything. It’s a cartoon mouse and no-one gets a semi at a cartoon mouse, so stop talking about it. No-one got a semi, agreed? Good.

After spotting fidget, Basil and Dave enquire about “their old friend” Ratigan. It would seem that they were too obvious however, as Dave gets his drink spiked. In his daze, he jumps up on stage to join in with the dancing burlesque mice that caused no-one to become inappropriately aroused. In the confusion, Fidget escapes, but Basil and Dave follow him through the sewage pipes to Ratigan HQ. But alas, it is a trap. Ratigan is waiting for their arrival.

He decides to dispose of the heroes in true Bond movie villain style. Instead of a quick murder, perhaps involving the pet cat, he instead ties them up. And a whole series of murderous weapons will be triggered in the style of the game ‘Mouse Trap’, by a string that will only tighten enough to start the fucktitude of chaos once the arm of the record player it’s attached to reaches the end of the song Ratigan has written about his victory over Basil. That’s right there’s a song.

So think about this: Instead of taking 3 seconds to shoot them in the face, in the time that Ratigan knew that Basil would be attempting to infiltrate his hideout, he instead did the following: First he went to a hardware shop. There he would have bought all the materials needed to make the various weapons of mouse destruction. Then he would have to have gone on the black market no doubt to obtain a few of the more nefarious instruments required. Then, he and his team would have to laboriously set up the ‘mouse trap’ style mechanism.  Next, he would have to go to the trouble of writing a song (or putting an ad out to hire a songwriter to compose some music for him), then writing the lyrics that brag about his victory. Then he would have had to have hired a studio (in those days home studios were unheard of, especially among the rat community). Then he would have needed at least a sixteen-piece orchestra to perform the piece, assuming Ratigan had scored out all the parts for the hired hands. Then he would need to mix the resulting song. Following this, he had to have the track printed onto vinyl. I truly admire the trouble Ratigan went to in order to make the most entertaining murdering device possible. Now this is a proper antagonist. And the resulting song, genuinely made me laugh. My concentration had been wavering throughout the film before this point, but this bit came as close to winning me over as anything else I’ve seen Disney churn out, strangely arousing burlesque mice included…

Ratigan is now free to kidnap the queen and put a toy replica in her place. Mr Flaversham is forced to control this toy queen. She announces that Ratigan will be the new ruler over the rodent world. Now the only way this calamity can be rectified is with a Disney trope checklist to ensure all things end the way we have come to expect:

Daring escape from near certain doom for our heroes?  ✅

Stopping the bad guy in the nick of time?  ✅

Overblown chase scene?  ✅

The moment the bad guy meets his demise it seems like the hero is a goner too, only to for the scriptwriters to go “gotcha! He’s fine, lol”?  ✅

They all lived happily ever after (except for the bad guy who drowns if the impact of falling from a great height hasn’t already turned his insides to smithereens)?  ✅

The end.

So was it a classic film? No. But here’s the thing: I didn’t mind it too much. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low, especially following ‘The Black Cauldron’. Maybe it’s because my lasting memories of the film were Ratigan’s song and burlesque mice that DEFINITELY didn’t cause a semi. I’ve seen people suggest it was the worst ever Disney film, as well as people who have a soft spot for it. The film saved Disney from bankruptcy, but on the plus side, it apparently triggered an upturn in the quality of future the ‘Animated Studios’ films, so fingers crossed on that one. Overall, I think this film feels a lot more classically ‘Disney’ then many of the recent films. The film ends with Dave discussing how after their success, he joined Basil for many more adventures, just like Watson did with Sherlock Holmes. A reminder that ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ is an adaptation of the book ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. Which is an adaptation. Of ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Frolicking orphan animals and near-death chase scenes aside, it doesn’t get more Disney than that.


Ben 🙄

That song by Ratigan was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a Disney film in ages! Just needed to express that from the start.

I had seen parts of The Great Mouse Detective in the past, but never the whole film and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I think Ben’s covered my thoughts in his review.

I will add that we have ONE more film until The Little Mermaid!!!!! I’m gonna try and convince Ben to watch Oliver and Company this evening, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

6/10 (also)

Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Black Cauldron

I’ve noticed a good way to tell if I have really disliked a Disney film is by how long it takes for me to summon the motivation to persevere and watch the next film. It’s been a good month or two since I’ve sat in front of the TV with notepad and pen in hand, so suffice to say, “The Fox and The Hound” didn’t really do it for me. Instead, the film brought out all my tendencies of avoidance, to protect me from more arduous “frolicking-animals-that feel sad-and/or-die” experiences. I even wrote about a fictional trip to Disneyland to put off watching another film, for Christ sakes. And yet, as inevitable as Disney premature parental mortality and equally as painful, I drag myself back to the armchair with no remaining excuses but with much beer in hand, to embark on another journey through the Disney back catalogue. We’ve reached 1985, and we’re in the middle of the “great Disney depression”, full of titles that even some big Disney fans won’t waste their time on, and suffice to say, films I’ve never even heard of. There are even negative reviews and box-office flops (such as the film I’m reviewing today), which is something of a rarity it seems…

Kerry has informed me that this film “doesn’t feel very Disney-ish”. What I find funny here, is that she tells me this as if this is a bad thing… I’m not sure what she expects my response to be?

“Really? This film isn’t very Disney-ish? Well this is a most upsetting turn of events! Surely it must be a least somewhat Disney-ish otherwise what hope is there for the film? If it’s not at least a little Disney-ish how do you expect me to get my fix of nauseating ballads, frolicking animals and their shiny orphan tears? Why are you wasting my time here? I WANT DISNEY DAMMIT!”

But before I start whooping with elation however, I have another, extremely disturbing thought… What if this film introduces me to a style even more unbearable that the standard type of Disney feature? Not possible I conclude…

The film starts by stating: “There was once a king who was such a prick, even the Gods were scared shitless of him. So, they chucked him into some molten iron. But as you would expect when you chuck an evil king into molten Iron, his demonic spirit was captured into the form of a great black cauldron, which would mean in the future, some other bad dude would be able to summon a load of deathless warriors from it, and wreak some serious shit upon the world. Tut. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?” I admit, I’m paraphrasing slightly here. But the point is this: That is the stupidest plot introduction I think I’ve ever heard. It’s so tenuous and stupid, I feel like I may be about to sit down and watch a particularly bleak episode of ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class’.

We switch to some woods, and there’s a squirrel. Are we going to have five minutes of filler involving watching it frolic with all his woodland friends? No, we aren’t.  Wow. Kerry’s right, this really isn’t like Disney at all! We now go to a house with an old dude, a young dude and a cat. The old dude, Dallben (the first of many daft names in this film that my spellcheck is going have a hissy fit about) is the guardian of Taran who looks after a pig called Hen Wen. They talk about many a boring thing that doesn’t hold my attention. However, I find my focus is channelled again when I hear this:

Eventually however, my brain processes that he doesn’t say ‘cat urine’. In fact, he says:

‘Cat You’re in’ does sound a lot like ‘cat urine’ though.

Dallben feeds the cat. Next Taran feeds the pig. This is all exciting stuff. You know what this film needs to really spice it up? An extended pig washing scene. Fortunately, as luck would have it, we are now treated to an extended pig washing scene. This is how you use a films run-time wisely. Oh, and by the way, the Pig is magical and can create visions of the future in water. Thought I should put it out there just in case you hadn’t already assumed Hen Wen possessed this trait… Anyway, Hen Wen is spazzing out about something so she must be seeing something pretty horrible in the water bucket. Probably involves a barbeque and apple sauce.

Dallben and Taran take the Pig to a big water trough so they can find out what’s wrong. Dallben sees a vision of the Horned King in the water. I see a giant squirrel humping a Dragon.

Apparently, the Horned King (stupid name) wants to kidnap Hen Wen and make her show him where the black cauldron is. So Taran must take the pig into hiding. Ok, we are now way past ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class’ levels of tenuous stupidity now. We are quickly approaching ‘Malibu Ca’ levels of dumb now. If you’ve never heard of ‘Malibu Ca’, feel free to remain living under your rock of fine taste.

Scene change. We now see a dark castle. This must be where the “baddie” lives because only baddies live in dark spooky castles. It’s a classic home for an antagonist that requires no thought whatsoever. I would love to have seen what was going through the minds of those at chez-Disney at times with this film…

“Right George, as you know I wanted you and your team to make the Horned King a complex and multifaceted adversary, with psychological depth, reasoning and purpose.”

“I think you’ll be very happy boss”

“Good! So, what have you done to convey this then?”

“We’ve made him look like a skeleton!”


“Is that it?!”

“Not just a skeleton. A green skeleton!”

“God damnit George! I want depth of character! Where does he live?”

“A dark spooky castle”

“Of course he does”

“But not just a dark spooky castle. We did that psychology thing you said about to show the viewer just how bad the mind of the man is!”

“Oh? How have you done that?”

“We stuck some pictures of skeletons faces by the front door!”

“Ok… Erm… and what’s inside the castle?”

“Well we had a long discussion about the décor inside the castle and after several hours we think we cracked it!”

“And what did you decide?”

“More skeletons!”


“ Well we figured that skeletons are evil and we haven’t used many skeletons in Disney yet so when someone suggested a sofa, I suggested a skeleton, when someone suggested a suit of armor, I said “that’s great, but you know whats more evil? A skeleton!” and it sort of snowballed from there.”

“George, how long have you worked here?”

“48 years!”

“You used to come up with brilliance like Donkey Slave children and drunk elephants and now you’re resorting to a skeleton…”

“A green Skeleton!”

“… a green skeleton in a skeleton decorated castle that is full of yet more skeletons…. I won’t lie to you, I’m not sure this is really going to be a success… what other film ideas do we have at the moment?

“Another Rescuers film. But in Australia!”

“…OK keep going with the stupid skeleton. A sequel to The Rescuers?! We’re not THAT desperate!”

Seriously though, that skeleton king thing is so fucking two dimensional though. Even for Disney. And this is from the company that created Princes that could go an entire film without so much as a discernible facial expression. He talks about raising an undead army from the cauldron. What a shocker. Just one of these days, one of these films will curveball me, and the grand scheme of the sinister dude in the creepy castle will be the planning of a charity dinner followed by a raffle.

Back with Taran and the dipshit has managed to lose the pig. You had one job. So, he tries to lure her back with an apple. But what he lures isn’t a pig. Instead he’s lured a….. a….. um…… ok, what the hell is that?

Seriously. What is it?!!! Kill it with fire! I’m sure the Disney wiki page will clear this up…

“a strange creature named Gurgi, who likes apples.”

Not really the answer I was looking for. Maybe Wikipedia can help?

“he is described as being a cross between man and beast”

Hmmm, still not satisfied. If they said a cross between Boris Johnson and Shih Tzu, then we might be getting somewhere. Based on everything I’ve seen so far, I’m forced to conclude that this planet they’re on is really fucked up and the best outcome for this creepy world of skeleton kings, human-cum-cauldrons (I’m not implying the name of some weird bukkake film here), pigs emotionally scarred from their powers of precognition and Boris Johnson / Shih Tzu hybrids, would be an apocalyptic fireball that blows them out of existence.

Boris Shih Tzu first tries to steal said apple, but when an enraged Taran forces him to return it, he cheekily takes a bite before giving it back. It turns out apple theft is a serious no-no in Taran’s world. For the first time in a Disney film, I’m also taken aback by how BAD the voice acting is. Taran sounds like he’s reading from a script and more concerned with annunciating correctly than actually conveying emotion.

Hen Wen gets kidnapped by dragons. Nothing surprises me anymore. Taran is going to go and rescue her. But Boris Shih Tzu wants to make friends with Taran first. But we must remember that Boris committed the heinous act of taking an apple from him, which I’m guessing we are all supposed to consider as equally ghastly and unforgivable as Taran does. “You’re no friend of mine!” he ferociously tells him in that wooden, read off a page kind of way that I’m now becoming numb to.

Taran reaches the Horned Kings castle, sneaks in and discovers all the Kings henchmen having a debauchery laden party. The problem here is that is, although in reality the debauchery would be worthy of a Roman Emperors stag-do, Disney are somewhat hampered by the “family friendly” restrictions placed on them. Instead of scantily clad prostitutes, orgies and perhaps even a cheeky spot of buggery, the henchmen instead just feast on chicken. Oh, and watch a rotund lady flashes her undergarments whilst table dancing… I’d like to say I’m joking with that last part, and that Disney of course would not include something like that in one of its presentations. But…

Yeah. Sexy. Still, it’s not exactly Debauchery though is it? But if that’s what tickles their pickles, then who am I to judge?

There’s this weird green goblin thingy that appears to be the Horned Kings bitch. It brings out Hen Wen and tries to force her to tell the future by looking at the water. Taran appears but the Horned King threatens to kill the pig unless she does what he asks. He sees a black cauldron in the water but then Taran kicks the same water over The Horned King, causing an acid like burning effect on his skin for some strange reason before he can find out where this cauldron is, and Taran and his weirdly gifted pig make a run for it. Taran is captured but the pig escapes by falling from a great height into the moat. This should kill a pig. But obviously in this case it won’t. This film is stupid.

Taran is now in the castle dungeons when a girl appears with her pet orange ball of light… Apparently this is a magic bauble, but like many things in this film, we are not expected to ask too many questions about what, why’s, where’s and how’s, nor should we expect any answers. Her name is Princess Eilonwy. *sigh*. Please, could the next character please, please, please have a nice normal name that I can remember how to spell and that my spell-checker won’t get all angry-red-liney about?! Eilonwy was captured because the king thought the pet light could guide him to the cauldron. He’s fucking obsessed with this cauldron, isn’t he? Everything comes back to the bloody cauldron. Just like Maleficent was obsessed with Aurora and Cruella was obsessed with a puppy skin coat, Disney villains are one-track minded to an unhealthy level! If he put this amount of focus into the charity dinner and raffle, think just how much money he could raise.

I really don’t like Eilonwy. Not only is she cursed by another abysmally wooden voice actor, she sounds annoying and condescending. I think what annoys me the most about her though is her response to Taran telling her that he has a magical pig. Let’s play a game of guess Eilonwy’s response to being told that the boy she’s just met has a magical pig. Pick from the following:

  1. “Excuse me?!! What the fuck did you just say?!!!”
  2. “No, you don’t. That is obviously a lie.”
  3. “Is that a euphemism? Eugh… are you hitting on me?”
  4. “Is that a euphemism? Because if your pig does do its best magic when its near water, you should know that my pigpen is very, very wet….”
  5. Ok I think I’m going to go now. It’s one thing having a pet ball of light but this is just too fucked up..!”

If you said any of those things, then you’re wrong! But if you said option 4 then you and I shall be friends. The answer is in fact this:

Interesting. A magical pig is interesting. Not so interesting that its worth dwelling on though, or worthy of follow up questions. I wonder what would actually be worthy of a “wow!” or a “holy fucking shit!” in her world if a magical pig is merely “interesting”? I don’t like her.

Anyway, they don’t seem to be imprisoned very well as they start to wonder the lower confines of the castle without difficulty. They follow Eilonwys pet light, which leads them to a sword, which Taran takes. Then they find a prisoner, who is a minstrel (which is a medieval musical entertainer. Thank you dictionary) that is cursed so that every time he lies, a string on his harp snaps. Weird. Speaking of weird, I now need to find out if I will get my wish of the next character not having a weird name. Maybe Alan or David or Martin will do nicely? His name is Fflewddur Fflam…………. You know what, fuck this shit. I’m calling him Fred.

With the help of the sword Taran, Eilonwy and Fred manage to escape the castle, although Fred’s pants get ripped around the buttock area in the process. Once free, Eilonwy sews up the tear, to which a grateful Fred states that he would write a song about it to show thanks. Eilonwy says he should write a song about their heroic escape instead. Fuck that! I want to hear the ‘sewing up the pants song!’

Eilonwy (Ok, I’m seriously fed up of spelling her name wrong and having to correct it, so from now on I’m going to call her Ethel) and Taran (I’ve remembered his name but I don’t like it so fuck it, I’m going to call him Tim) have a really pointless argument where Tim gets all cocky about getting them out of the castle alive, resulting in Ethel losing her shit and walking off crying. Boris Shih Tzu then reappears and tries to take Fred’s hat.  Fred asks Tim if he’s friends with Boris Shih Tzu. But still reeling for the despicable apple theft, as well as the fact Boris wouldn’t go to a demented skeletons castle with him, Tim aggressively states “HE’S NO FRIEND OF MINE! HE’S A THIEF AND A COWARD!” He doesn’t forgive easily that Tim…

Ethel on the other hand really likes Boris Shih Tzu. And Boris knows where the Pig is, so he agrees to take them to wherever the hell Hen Wen is. But as usual, things go up shit creek when they’re sucked into the underworld. We’ve all had that happen at some time or another.

At this ridiculous juncture, I’ve just about had enough with this film. When it turns out this underworld is full of what look like “The Great Gazoo’s” from The Flintstones, that can take them to Morva, the land where the Cauldon is, I throw my notes down in despair. This is so crap.

And so, they visit Morva, where the cauldron is being kept by three witches. They trade it for Tim’s sword. There’s just one problem. There’s always just one problem in Disney films. And of late, these problems have become more and more tenuous and bizarre. It turns out the cauldron cannot be destroyed, but its powers can be diminished by someone jumping into it, which unfortunately, involves giving one’s life in the process. Bugger. Boris initially offered to chuck himself into the cauldron until he discovered it will result in death. Fair enough. I don’t like the fact that Boris is repeatedly portrayed as a coward for not wanting to risk his life by going to a really bad dudes castle because some kid he just met wanted him to, and for not being the one to give his life at the drop of a hat by jumping into an evil cauldron! Give him a break!

Now in possession of the cauldron, Tim, Ethel, Fred and Boris Shih tzu sit around a fire. We get a strong indication for the first time, that Tim and Ethel would like nothing more than to have a good hard shag on the ground beneath them. It looks like Fred and Boris find the idea of them doing that appealing too…

But before the show can begin, the bad guys turn up and kidnap them.

Finally, we’re in the home straight of this god-awful film! The Horned King releases his undead army from the Cauldron, Boris sacrifices himself which somehow stops them. The horned King gets sucked into the Cauldron, Tim trades back the cauldron to the witches if they bring Boris back to life and he and Ethel get to have their hard shag (presumably). For some reason in all of this, The Horned Kings castle starts to collapse, seemingly without reason other than visual effect. I stopped questioning things like this a long, long time ago, back when I thought things happened in this film for a reason, and also when I gave a shit. The film ends with Dallben (or as he’s now known, Dave), Hen Wen and one of those Great Gazoo type creatures, watching Tim’s adventures in the water trough. I’ve skipped over most of the bits involving the Great Gazoo type creatures in the film, as well as most of the bits involving the witches and The Horned Kings green goblin bitch, as to be honest, I couldn’t be arsed to talk about them. Dave says that Tim has done very well.

You may have gathered from this review, that I thought this film was crap. But I’m not sure if I successfully conveyed just how crap. Put it this way, I gave Bambi one out of ten, more because of the emotional scarring than the films actual quality. I want it to be in no doubt that for me, this is the worst Disney film I’ve ever watched. Possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen period. The characters had no depth. Their interpersonal relationships were woefully underdeveloped, and we were expected to invest in the happenings as if we somehow filled in the blanks ourselves. The film turned up the “scary” factor, which could have made The Horned King a truly iconic Disney villain had there been a well told story to go with it.

And I think that is what frustrates me most, is that there is a good story buried in there somewhere. I’ve been told that the book series is far better than the film. And I think the key word is ‘Series’. This film is loosely based on the first two books of a five-book series. As a result, they’re clearly trying to cram as much into the runtime as possible, which explains why everything feels rushed and underdeveloped. As always, this is just my opinion of course, and if someone out there loves this film, I’m slightly jealous that they get a far happier ninety minutes watching it than what I endured.

I can sort of see why Kerry says the film doesn’t feel very “Disney-ish”. To start with, the film has no songs. For me that’s a silver lining. But my earlier fears of a style ghastlier than ‘typical Disney’ appear to have been realised. If you’re looking to convert someone from being Disney-cynic to Disney-fan, then this film is a terrible place to start due to it not only being a weak entry, but also as it isn’t a good representation of the Disney brand. That being said, I can still see plenty of ways in which it definitely IS a Disney film. We still get usual chase scenes and production. The animation is good. The film struggles not to take itself too seriously. But most of all, when you watch these films chronologically, it feels like a logical stylistic progression that we’ve seen over the last decade. It also feels like the quality has consistently worsened as well. I can only hope and pray that this is a bell curve that we’ve just reached the bottom of, and that things will now improve. To be honest, it’s hard to see it getting worse!


Ben 🙄

I tried to like this film. I really did, I’d heard only bad things about it, but hoped the reviews were just overeacting. Nope. It’s just shit. It is a shit Disney film and, as much as the 80s haven’t been a great decade for the brand so far, this film could’ve finished it completely for them. I’ve got nothing else to say. I agree with every point Ben’s made and hope that The Great Mouse Detective (another film I’m familiar with, but don’t recall much of) fares better. I’ve been told by a colleague that it’s good, so fingers-crossed I share their opinion.


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

A Misguided Expectation of Disneyland Paris

It’s sods law that Covid-19 forced my trip to Disneyland to be cancelled, whilst no global pandemic could save me from watching Disney films week in and week out. As part of my education, the trip to the Paris theme park was the one part I was really looking forward to. But having watched their first fifty-odd years of Animation Studios films I started to think, “just what would Disneyland actually be like, and more to the point, would I actually enjoy it?!” Happily, I won’t have to wait too long to find out, as services are reopening, and we’re scheduled to go at the end of the summer (all be it in a very face-masky way but needs must). Until then all I can do is speculate based on all I’ve seen so far, and I have speculated A LOT. So, with the knowledge I’ve collected, here is how I expect my trip to go. So, join me on this fictional journey into the possible future, and if you do, I will sweeten the deal by including some ‘completely real and not entirely made up off the top of my head’ facts to boot.

N.B. With the tendency some people have in internet land of believing everything they read, I feel I should clarify that all that I’m about to write is entirely fictional and HAS NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Yet…

Day One: We arrive in Paris on a sunny summer morning. I’m relieved to discover that the temperature is cooler than usual at 102F, which is good news for my pasty British skin, as there’s now only an 80% chance of heat-stroke during the trip. As we make our way up to the front of the castle that will be our gateway into the magical Disney resort, we are chased by some crazy bitch who tries to block our path with some bushes and lightning because we didn’t invite her on the trip  with us, whilst threatening to curse the children with a needle. Apparently, this is all part of the experience. We hastily make our way through check-in and then make our way straight to the hotel rooms to drop off our luggage. Our suitcases are taken to our rooms by what appears to be a donkey slave child.

Fun Fact: Don’t worry! The donkey slave children are not really so. Disney have taken a very strong line in prohibiting the employment of Donkey slave children, and have rigorously enforced this rule for many, many months.

The rooms are designed to be reminiscent of a Princess’s chamber right down to woodland creatures bringing your clothes and towels. It’s only when you experience it first-hand you stop to appreciate that it’s actually creepy as fuck…

Once settled in, we head into the theme-park itself.

Fun Fact: In a reckless and deeply questionable move, over a third of the theme parks original design was dedicated to the Adventures of Mr Benchley and the sound-effects lady from the 1941 feature ‘The Reluctant Dragon’. When it became apparent that the film had only been seen by two dozen people, the plan was quickly quashed.

The park is so big, the question is which attraction do we visit first?! A quarter of the grounds has been dedicated to frolicking animals as a ‘space filler’, in the same way that a quarter of Disney films are dedicated to frolicking animals for the same reason. Maybe we should go to the Mermaid Lagoon so we can be on the receiving end of passive aggressive insults from its inhabitants? Maybe we should go to the ‘Pointing and laughing at the big-eared baby elephants’ exhibit? There are obviously many attractions dedicated to films post 1981 that I’m yet to watch, so I deem them not worthy of my attention and we’ll conveniently just skip over them…

After a busy afternoon, it’s time to head to an on-site restaurant for food and drink. It’s a little expensive, but if you’re happy to forego food and heating for the rest of the year you can order a second round of drinks. In fact, providing you’re not too bothered about having the resources to pay for college level education for the children, a woman can pick from a selection of delicious cocktails, which in Disney tradition, result in a state of unconsciousness that can only reversed by a kiss from one of the princes that roam the park.

Fun Fact: The parks princes that revive young ladies are not actually real princes. Princes would never be involved in such a thing.

After dinner, it’s time to enjoy some of the on-site entertainment. I recommend the comedy show from none other than the MC from Fantasia, the hilarious Deems Taylor. It’s rather raucous, at one point he even smiles, and his bowtie becomes five degrees off exactly horizontal. What a maverick. It absolutely justifies their decision to keep him cryogenically frozen for seventy years. If you haven’t seen it already, I thoroughly recommend watching Fantasia to see just how vibrant and full of personality he is.

After all the excitement of the day we fell asleep quickly and enjoyed a good night sleep. At least until those bastard birds and rodents opened our curtains and forced us into our clothes at the crack of dawn. I don’t know how those princesses tolerate it…!

We start the adventures of day two by going to the on-site arcade. It’s a regular arcade full of videogames but they have all been given a Disney makeover. For example, the shooting game involves trying to take-down wild animals but with the added caveat of every successful kill resulting not just in tickets, but also the sight of its offspring weeping before your eyes. If the intention was to create a very Disney experience, then they have succeeded admirably

Next, it’s time to go to Winnie the Pooh land! At least we would have if there wasn’t some fat-fuck bear’s arse blocking the entrance. To make matters worse, the next attraction was puppy-skinning which really wasn’t our cup of tea. But we weren’t going to let these disappointments ruin our day, and as luck would have it, we found Donald Duck wondering round the grounds trying to put smiles on people’s faces! Ok, maybe not all faces. He certainly was trying to put smiles on the female faces. He was really trying to put smiles on the female faces (which reminds me, the sexual harassment suit is scheduled for late November). Once we escaped moved on, we went to watch a show. It turned out to be the ‘who can do the best lazy impersonation of Cruella De Vil’ contest. What fun! If anyone’s interested, it was won by a woman called Madame Medusa….

Time for rides! The idea is, in order to recreate the wildest “out-there” experience for the customer, the park creators recognized the need to put the customer into the wildest “out-there” mindset anyone has been known to historically feel. That mindset, of course, is how the Disney animators felt before making the ‘elephants on parade’ segment of Dumbo. Have you ever flown through bubbles in the sky on a pink elephant with the rides theme song seemingly coming from inside your brain? Well at Disneyland you can. Because that’s the sort of magical place it is… (the lysergic acid contained in the sherbet lemons given on entry also helps. Just like it helped the animators all those years ago…)

I wake the following morning in my underwear, high up in a tree with nothing but a mouse named Tim and some racially stereotypically cigar smoking crows for company. I don’t stay with them for long though as we have more one day of adventure ahead of us…

Fun Fact: The fact that the crows are smoking has nothing to do with maintaining an authentic Disney-style experience. It’s because they’re French.

The one more day of adventure consists of a mandatory nine-hour lecture demonstrating the evolution of animation techniques that Disney has long been so keen to impress us with. Any of those two-dozen people that have watched ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ will know the sort of thing I mean. It was quite an enjoyable way to spend a sunny day at a theme park, although the lunch of half a cup of tea and jam on a clock was a questionable move…

Thanks to the unsatisfying lunch and the thrills and spills of finding out how historically Disney made cute little animated animals walk, talk, dance and die, by dinner time I was famished.

Unfortunately, after ordering the Italian special and waiting what felt like an age, I discovered that I would not be receiving my meal as the maniac chef decided to give it to two stray dogs that he was forcing into having a romantic meal. Apparently, this is the fourth time he’s done that this week. To make matters worse, the dogs started humping and knocked over the table and candle the chef insisted on laying out, which caused a large-scale fire throughout the Western portions of the complex. And some of East… And South.

Finally, it’s onto the princes’ ball which is the culminating event of the last day. We get dressed up, and make our way to castle, being sure to avoid both Donald Duck’s lecherous attentions and the now significant fire and two-dozen fireman on route. The ball mostly involves the parks princes passing critical judgement of all the attending females with much eye rolling (unless one is considered particularly attractive, in which case love at first sight is expected, nay demanded). It’s not really my cup of tea, but a lot better than our other option which involves watching a hippo ballet….

We couldn’t leave the following morning without being chased to within an inch of our lives (including many dramatic near misses) by the same crazy woman who still can’t let her lack of invite go. Fortunately, thanks to Kerry having a good rapport with small to medium sized fauna, she summons them to assist us in our escape, in true Disney fashion. After successfully getting away, it crosses my mind to file a complaint, but I know deep down that it’s all part of the joy and that this place is called Disneyland for a reason…

Fun Fact: The ‘Disney’ in Disneyland is named after Walt Disney. ‘Land’ comes from the English word ‘land’. Which means land.

I know Disneyland won’t really be like this. Primarily because my experience of Disney merely consists of twenty-two films between 1937 and 1981 so I don’t have comparatively that much to go on. But what’s really significant though, is if there had only ever been those twenty-two films made, I’m not sure I would have been a million miles away from the truth… (maybe hallucinogenic laced sweets and preying princes is a tad extreme admittedly). However, with a few months I will be able to provide a true Disney-cynic review, so I shall go with an open mind, and fingers crossed I will report back about something legitimately magical! Watch this space…

Ben 🙄


This was written back in July, when we were planning on rebooking our trip for the end of August. Unfortunately, due to all those returning from France to UK needing to quarantine for two weeks, and my daughter starting her GCSE school year the week after our planned return date, we have had to postpone the trip once again. However, we are planning on rebooking for May 2021. Fingers-crossed,

Kerry 😁