Misguided Reviews

The Fox and The Hound

If a film franchise you love goes through a “creative downturn” or your favourite band have a spell consisting of a couple of drab albums devoid of fresh ideas, you could compare it to travelling aboard a luxury cruise liner on a tour of the South Pacific, but encountering some turbulent waters in a force nine gale. As someone who is by no means a Disney fan, yet somehow finds themselves trawling through the series anyway, the company’s creative downturn of the late 70’s and 80’s feels like travelling over the same turbulent waters in a force nine gale, but in a garbage boat heading for Pleasure Island. Despite the, at times unpleasant, journey, I’m persevering on this rocky trip of watching through all things Disney, even if by continuing, I await a fate comparable to the obnoxious brats that end up on Pleasure Island. For those that aren’t as big a Disney fan as me (sarcasm), that means being turned into a Donkey-Slave-Child.

image 8With that in mind we come to today’s film, the world famous and highly renowned (again, sarcasm.) feature, ‘The Fox and the Hound’. As someone who is “misguided” when it comes to Disney, I look to offer advice to other “misguided” people who are nervous about which films to commit precious minutes of their life to, as well as to Disney fans who are trying to gently manipulate share their passion to their partners / spouses and friends. By advice, this mostly means saying which films will be tolerable to someone who doesn’t like the Disney approach to cinema, and a warning to those well-meaning Disney fans as to which films could result in break-up / divorce or unfriending on Facebook. If a friend decided I would enjoy and then made me watch “The Three Caballeros”, I would probably go a step further and block them. ‘The Fox and the Hound’ is a perfect example of a film I would not recommend to a fellow “misguided” person. I’m not saying it’s a terrible film, It’s just very, very…. “Disney-ish”. All the stereotypical characteristics that make up a film that is unmistakably Disney are present in abundance here. And if those characteristics don’t usually appeal, this film most definitely won’t be for you…

The one thing about the film that doesn’t reek of Disney is the opening credits. There isn’t that happy-go-lucky tune or warbling major-key choir. There’s a dark, ominous ambience. And a feeling that something horrible is about to happen in the woodland that we’re panning across…. Ok, maybe it reeks of Disney a little bit…

image 9We see a vixen running with her fox-cub as they’re being chased by hunters… It’s rather familiar. It reminds me of a certain Disney film involving deer. That’s never good. But surely they won’t kill a baby’s mother in the opening two minutes of film would they? Even Disney wouldn’t be that… Oh, they have. Just great. After taking the fox-cub to safety, she gets shot. This is going to be a long eighty-something minutes.

Now obviously by the title alone, I was expecting a plot that alluded to fox hunting, and by that fact alone, it was likely to be an emotional rollercoaster… but this in two minutes? Really? I wasn’t prepared for that. The only silver-lining is that it happens so early in the film, there isn’t chance to become invested in the mother / son bond, or the characters themselves, like you do in Bambi. That still doesn’t take away from the emotional fuckery that’s been put upon the viewer with so much of the film to go. I know there are plenty of films where a character dies, and death is a part of life, especially if you’re a fox dealing with bastard humans, but a death like this stands out for a few reasons. image 6Firstly, being a baby’s mother that dies, the viewer knows that the cub will always be an orphan, and never have protection from the one source that any person or animal most wants and needs. There is next to nothing that the film can do in its remaining runtime to cover the eternal loss. I give kudos for Disney giving him a loving owner, but later on they even have to fuck with that. Another reason that Disney takes a character death to the next level is that the fox-cub is ridiculously cute. Human empathy is always triggered more from the suffering of something cute. Especially if the animal has been slightly humanised. The other reason that this is hard to deal with, is that it’s in an animated family film. Even though I expect Disney to do this sort of shit, it’s still harder to deal with it in this setting rather than in a horror film and is a fairly grim start to a family cartoon that contains virtually no comedy, and repeatedly adds new grim or depressing aspects to it. The fox-cub named Tod is adopted by a nice old lady and befriends a bloodhound-puppy named Copper, and they play and frolic. image 4But once the bloodhound has been taught how to hunt, it inevitably ends up with Tod being viewed more as prey than a friend. And of course, sadness at the end of this friendship follows. Later on, in order to protect Tod, the nice old lady releases him into the wild, which of course leads to more sadness. There are a few instances where an animal nearly gets itself killed in true Disney fashion. And there’s the moment where Tod looks in the back of Copper’s owners hunting truck to see many, many fox skins, which becomes grimmer the more you think about it.

So, this has caused me to have an internal debate. I feel that usually, a family cartoon’s primary purpose is to be warm and light-hearted. I also feel that being funny is important because one of the main perks of a family film for any parent is seeing the children laugh. Tom and Jerry, this film isn’t. The debate I’m having is whether this should be a problem or not. Even Kerry, who is a major Disney fan, found the previous film ‘The Rescuers’ to be lacking in humour and light. I suppose a family cartoon can be a serious drama, but I would choose something more playful every time.

image 2To give the film some credit though, every low point has a high point after. After the mother dying, Tod gets a loving owner. After being left in the woods, Vixey (original name) proves to be a good love interest for Tod that ultimately makes him happy. And ultimately, despite wanting him dead, after Tod saves Copper from a bear, the two of them end up as good as they can be in the circumstances. But ultimately, this is still possibly the hardest film I’ve had to review, outside of Bambi. As I’ve said in the past, the easiest films to review are funny films, bad films and films with inexplicable headfucking moments, which Disney usually gives me in abundance. This is a serious film and, as I said before, isn’t even that bad (the low grade I’m giving it is purely based on my personal enjoyment factor) so this has been a slog. I’ll finish with my usual ‘predictable things Disney does’ rating:

⭐ For inexplicably cheesy songs. Also, in recent films Disney has taken to having lyrics that basically just say what is happening in the plot under the assumption most kids (and me) had stopped paying attention at some point.

⭐ Parent snuff. Say no more.

⭐ Frolicking animals. As always.

⭐ High-drama-physics-bending chase scenes.

⭐ To be honest, I’m going to have to start adding a star for Disney forgetting that a bit of light amusement goes a long way as that’s certainly been absent for the last 2 films…

So, all in all, this was a VERY Disney film. Black Cauldron next. The hits just keep coming…


Ben 🙄

I’m not shocked at Ben’s opinion of this film. I was, however, surprised at my own. I actually quite enjoyed it. Despite what he said in his review, I found quite a few bits funny and found a lot of characters very endearing. Yes, the fox-cub’s mum dies at the beginning. I can’t see how that could’ve progressed the story without the death, so she was essentially collateral damage for the greater good of the film.

image 7What I found interesting was, (and I’m sure a lot of people are aware of this, but the discussions have clearly bypassed me) how Disney have created a very good metaphor for institutionalised racism in society, particularly towards natives. Copper represents the white person and Tod represents the native, showing that as children, before being trained to hate by their parents or peers, they don’t notice any real differences between them and just see someone that they can play and become friends with. Then, once Copper’s owner takes him away to ‘train him to be a hunter’, he learns to see Tod as the enemy that must be destroyed.

Much like the theory behind Elsa singing ‘Let It Go’ because she’s had enough of hiding who she truly is, being a metaphor for coming out as gay, Disney’s broaching these subjects at all is welcomed and needed but could definitely do with being less subtle and a little more in-ya-face.

Or maybe it’s nothing to do with that and just a film about how fox hunting is bad. As a hunting-hating vegetarian and an anti-racist, I’m happy either way. Still look forward to the first openly-gay (and mentioned-is-actually-gay-rather-than-just-alluding-to-it-through-stereotypically-gay-mannerisms) lead (or even strongly supporting) Disney character.


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Rescuers

I’ve now watched the first 22 Disney Animation Studios films (not including the racist one that is hidden from history, at least on Disney+) and I’ve discovered that the franchise isn’t just one continuous success story of box-office smash hits, all renowned for their artistic mastery and exquisite storytelling. Ok, admittedly as someone who is a lifelong Disney cynic (or “Disneyphobe” if you will), and that is on a journey through their back catalogue, I’m unlikely to think that the series is consistently wonderful anyway, but it’s still surprising to discover that Wikipedia and most mainstream media group Disney Animated Studios cinematic releases into “golden era’s” and “periods of creative decline”…

The last film I watched was ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh’, which, although fine for kids under ten, was hardly the most gripping of stories ever put on tape. Today I will review “The Rescuers”, who’s title hardly carries a ‘Cinderella’ or ‘The Lion King’ level of head-nodding recognition. Next, I will review ‘The Fox and the Hound’, which sounds like a right barrel of laughs. Then it’s ‘The Black Cauldron’. One question: What the fuck is ‘The Black Cauldron’?! No really. Never heard of it. Then we have ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ and ‘Oliver & Company’… Hmmm. So, seeing as those titles aren’t exactly household names either, no wonder Wikipedia has stated that we’re entering a “period of creative decline” then…

But let’s deal with one creative misstep at a time, and so onto ‘The Rescuers’. From my experiences so far, Disney films have always started with a VERY Disney song and some VERY Disney intro credits. It’s a sure-fire way to reassure other people that they are about to watch something very Disney, and a sure-fire way to warn me, that I’m about to watch something very Disney… But this time it doesn’t start with the credits and a god-awful tune! It jumps right into the first scene. I’m disconcerted by this. For most companies to justify changing that tried and tested formula of decades, it would mean that they’ve written one hell of an impactful opening sequence involving fascinating scenery, intrigue and/or characters so enigmatic that the viewer is sure to stick around for the remainder of the movie. For Disney it’s so we can be introduced to an old ship containing what appears to be two BDSM sex-slave alligators….BDSM Sex slave Aligators

And then the intro credits start. I’m now hooked, what about you? 🙄

Maybe they decided it wise not to start the film with the opening credits, due to the fact the accompanying song is really rather bad. Even for them. It’s a reminder that we are now well into the 1970’s. It is also a reminder that for all the disco, rock, prog, funk and punk that made the decade special for musical innovation, it is also the decade that gave us this. And by “this” I mean a woman warbling over the top of some stoned dudes playing acoustic guitars and flutes. It’s the sort of whimsical folk music that sounds so dated because next to no-one has felt the urge to listen to it in the last forty years. And now the film’s opening credits have finally started, it appears that it doesn’t want to ever end. My god it’s long. And it repeats the line “who will rescue me?” many, many times. I’ll happily rescue her if she shuts the hell up.

Two days later and the opening credits draw to an end, and now the story can continue. Will we find out some backstory about our BDSM sex-slave alligators? I’m guessing no, seeing as the scene starts at the United Nations conference in New York (unless one of the delegates gets some interesting questions regarding his expenses later on). Obviously as this is Disney, we don’t find out the important, and no doubt significant happenings involving the people in the building. We find out what the mice are doing. Image 11.2It turns out they’re copying the humans and having a general assembly of rodents from across the globe. Which reminds me that I award a ⭐ for every time Disney does something that is so “predictably Disney”. And this is a doozy!

⭐ One star for the spectacular racial stereotyping of the nationalities of the different mice.

⭐ Another star for the mice frolicking and engaging in slapstick visual comedy, in that way in which Disney, bless them, have cornered the market…

As has been the case in a few of the Disney films since ‘101 Dalmatians’, I’m really not keen on the animation. Although probably more skilfully drawn, it lacks the bright warmth of the simple bold drawing that other companies and even Disney themselves often incorporate. With this sort of animation, I find I’m always aware that I’m watching drawn characters in drawn settings as the pencil outlines seem to dominate the visuals. It’s like someone in Disney’s animation department was desperate to make sure the viewer never forgets how hard they had to work in developing the end product you see in front of you…

Anyway, these mice are part of the International Rescue Aid Society. They have received a message in a bottle about a girl in trouble. And that they need to save her. Then they start singing. This is exactly why mice aren’t usually deployed in high-risk rescue missions. You have a young girl in peril and rather than rushing off to sort shit out, or better yet inform the authorities, they have a good old song and dance! Get you shit together mice. Eventually, they send the formidable sounding duo of Mr Bernard and Miss Bianca to solve the case… Sleep easy little girl.

image 13I can’t properly recall what happens next but in my notes, I wrote “Mr Bernard and Miss Bianca piss off a lion. Then we go to an orphanage because it’s Disney”. I’m sure that sums things up fairly accurately. The mice are in said orphanage. They speak to an old cat. We know he’s old because he has a moustache and glasses, as all old cats do… I’m zoning out throughout all of this because I’m incredibly bored. He tells them about a girl in the orphanage that went missing. Apparently, in the flashback we see from the cat’s memory (and why would we question the recollections of a potentially senile feline?), the missing girl’s name is Penny. She really wanted to be adopted but was ignored on adoption day. Typical happy fucking Disney. Not for the first time my mood is substantially lower now that it was before the film began… Interesting, Penny’s toy bear looks an awful lot like Winnie the Pooh, who just happens to be the star of Disney’s other release from the same year. That’s subliminal advertising for you right there. I wonder if Winnie the Pooh is carrying around a ‘Penny the Orphan’ doll and I didn’t spot it? Anyway, some bitch from a pawn shop once tried to lure her away in a car, so she’s a suspect.

image 8.2Now we go to the pawn shop, which will indeed almost certainly, contain the antagonist who took the girl. I know this will be the case because of the sinister music. You never get sinister music before a happy scene of frolicking baby rabbits. Unless one gets shot perhaps (although knowing Disney it would probably be one of the parents who snuffs it). But happily, inside the shop there are no dead animals, but there is a woman. It’s a white trash Cruella De Vil. The mannerisms are the same, facial expressions are the same. It’s as though they were sisters separated at birth, one was raised by English gentry in a manor house and the other in a trailer somewhere in Louisiana. The writers have clearly just made this woman a budget-Cruella here as the original one was regarded as a successful antagonist. It feels lazy. After yelling at someone on a phone, she packs her bags and is off on a trip to her boat on the Bayou.  Where she will probably do something mean and original, like skinning 99 kittens maybe. The two mice sneak into her car though, so they can keep track of her… until they are flung out by her terrible driving. Which means they need a new way to complete their journey.

image 6This leads us to what is most likely the longest ‘two mice planning their travel arrangements, then travelling in a sardine tin on an albatross’s back’ scene in the history of film. I haven’t researched it to confirm if it’s definitely the longest, but I’m confident that the scenes multi-day runtime will easily put it in contention. I didn’t time it either by the way, but that’s how long it felt.

⭐ I’m giving Disney another star here for the predictably horrible music that accompanies their journey. I hate the soundtrack for this film more than anything I’ve watched since I heard Snow White sing. And that was in the first film…

Now we switch scenes to find budget-Cruella along with what turns out to be her sex-slave alligators. She has a slave / servant / partner / bitch (not sure which) called Snoops. They are after a diamond but need someone small, like a young orphan for example, to retrieve it for them as they are too big to fit into the cave type thing where it’s hidden. This is a REALLY stupid story. Why not just use explosives or machinery to retrieve it? For plot purposes, they decide to use Penny instead.

image 12Meanwhile, the mice have fallen out of their sardine-tin-albatross plane and have ended up in depths of the Bayou. There’s lots of animals, such as rats and a dragonfly and more utterly horrific music. I’m done with this film. I haven’t found myself invested in a single character so far. None of them have any depth whatsoever. There’s no reason to care about the mice other than the fact that they’re trying to save the orphan. Not only that, but there’s no light in this film! Usually when Disney have a dark storyline, there’s always a lot of fun things to offset it. But here, the slapstick feels forced and dull and there’s no humour.

Budget-Cruella and Snoops are now making Penny retrieve the diamond. Clearly concerned that while kidnapping an orphan to retrieve a diamond is indeed bad, it’s still not a heinous as skinning puppies. So, they try to add further shade by having her tell Penny things like “no-one would ever adopt you”. At one point after Penny retrieves the diamond, budget-Cruella won’t give her teddy back to her, for literally no reason whatsoever. It all feels forced.

image 1With the diamond now in budget-Cruella’s hands, she turns on her slave / servant / partner / bitch (still not sure which) and tries to escape with said diamond and inexplicably, Penny’s teddy (seriously, why? What’s the point?). But yeay, here are the mice and some of the other random animals to sort shit out (I should point out that have been a few scenes involving these animals that I’ve completely skipped over. That is because most of them involved more horrible music which has caused me to repress them. It’s not as though these scenes contained anything of importance anyway).

⭐ Typical Disney high drama chase scene.

To cut a LONG story short, the teddy is retrieved, the animals save the day, they get the diamond back, and budget-Cruella is left angry, bounty-less, and for good measure her BDSM sex-slave alligators turn on her and try to eat her. There’s no explanation why her faithful sex-pets turn on her. Perhaps diamond theft is a line crossed in an alligator’s eyes. Penny gets adopted and Bernard and Miss Bianca get together. I get the feeling that the writers were intending this eventual mouse coupling to be a grand payoff that everyone was hoping for all along. Maybe some people were. I wasn’t. I know there was a couple of moments of foreshadowing some mutual attraction between the two during the film, but the way I see it, is that they’re mice. A mouse will hump its own sibling if you give it a couple of days, so the fact that two mice can spend as long together as these two have, and not have produced three litters already makes me think that they can’t be that into each other… So, when they get together at the end, I didn’t really care.

Image 10The other reason I didn’t care about the coupling of Bernard and Bianca is the same reason that stopped me caring about anything else in this movie. I wasn’t remotely invested. As protagonists, Bernard and Bianca were simply nice. Lots of characters are nice. There was nothing memorable about them. There was nothing to REALLY make me care about them. We had no backstory, no character development…. just nothing! Budget-Cruella was a rubbish antagonist. She wants a diamond and spends her time with BDSM sex-slave alligators and her bitch (because let’s face it, he was her bitch, nothing more, nothing less. She has BDSM sex-slave alligators so you can bet she’s the type to have a bitch), but other than that she’s painfully two-dimensional. I obviously wanted Penny to be rescued and be adopted by a nice family, because I’m not a sociopath, but the lack of personality and screen time afforded to the orphan devalued what should have been a more of a real feelgood moment.

As is probably obvious by now, I didn’t like the film. Disliking a film is nothing new to me, but this time rather than putting it down to my own personal taste, I really thought the story and characters were lazily handled. Furthermore, and the thing that really pisses me off here, is that Disney have forty years of filmmaking under their belt at this point, so they really should be at the stage where they can produce full length features of the quality that I’m assured their modern films possess. I know Walt Disney dying probably threw a spanner in the works with regards to their creative direction, but by all accounts, Walt never wanted this film to be made anyway, so the creative team have no one to blame but themselves.

The film ends with Bernard and Bianca setting off on another adventure, which tees up a sequel. Of all the films they could tee up a sequel, they went with this one first?! Seriously?! Will the characters develop some personality next time? I suppose it’s still better than the first sequel being “Bambi II: Now We Target His Wife and Kids”. Or Fun and Fancy Free II: Exponentially Funner and a Fuck-ton Fancier Freeish. Or Gloria Estafantasia: Animated stories set to late 80’s commercial pop music.

So, I’m not being a completely cynical bastard (despite the fact this film has made me one), I will finish on a positive: the film has a cute dragonfly. It’s a reassuring fact that despite how lazy and shit everything else around it gets, Disney knows how to draw adorable animals. And even more positively, on occasion they don’t injure them, make them cry or kill their family.

Disney Predictability: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (I gave a fifth star for them blatantly ripping off Cruella…


Ben 🙄

I realised about 10 minutes into this film that I don’t think I have ever actually seen it. If I did, I can see why I don’t remember it though. Ben’s right. It’s awful and for all the reasons he’s stated above. Very little character backstory, very little character development and a very basic plot line. I think it may have actually been me that mentioned how dark and unrelenting the film is. Sorry to those of you that like this film, but I agree with Wikipedia. It’s definitely Disney’s period of creative decline and I’m struggling to think of a film I’m having fond memories of until The Little Mermaid, at this point.

Still, must continue for the sake of this ‘experiment’. The Fox and The Hound next. Again, don’t think I’ve seen it. I wonder why my parents never bought me or my brother any of these films when we were children? Probably because they knew they were shit and wanted us to have positive associations with Disney (which we both still do, so good job Mum and Dad!).

I’m really not looking forward to The Fox and The Hound. I’m familiar with the story and as someone who is a ‘hunting-hating vegetarian’, it’s filling me with a sense of dread. I could be wrong. We’ll have to find out, won’t we.

As for The Rescuers…


Kerry 😁

Misguided Reviews

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

What the hell happened?! Disney seemed to be heading film-by-film in a direction that was rather positive. I’m a Disney cynic who’s reached his mid-thirties with no real knowledge or nostalgia for the magical, mysterious, romantic and fantastical world that is Walt’s multinational, publicly traded conglomerate and who is watching through all the Animation Studios films, one-by-one, in chronological order, because apparently a global pandemic isn’t enough of a punishment… After suffering greatly through the Forties and labouring through the Fifties and Sixties whilst seeing some rays of hope, the Seventies seem to be introducing a new era of Disney, in which ‘Aristocats’ and ‘Robin Hood’ put the days of Doe-snuff, paedo-princes and donkey-slave-children behind them, and allowed me to sit down to watch 80 minutes of animated entertainment with a smile (mostly) on my face… But then 1977 happened. And as anger was felt around the world and punk reared its nihilist head within society, Disney released ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’…

How I approach this review is conditioned by one key factor: To what demographic is this film intended?

image 11Every single Disney Animation Studios feature, to this point in time, regardless of plot, presentation or purpose (entertainment or wartime Pro-Latin propaganda), have fallen neatly into the category of “family film”. The presentation and stories were always developed enough for an older audience, and often contained some more mature themes along with the silliness that kids love. If that’s the intention with ‘Winnie the Pooh’, then I have a problem. If this is a conscious attempt from Disney to side-step from the familiar path of (for me sometimes torturous) family entertainment and adapt a story and aim it specifically at younger children, then I still don’t like it much, but I can forgive what they’re doing…

I’m sure there are some adults who grew up with Winnie the Pooh who are loving seeing characters from their childhood brought to life as well. But for a picky adult like me who is mostly unfamiliar with the lunatics, gluttons and bastards that frequent The Hundred Acre Wood, the unavoidable fact is that this film was not made for me. It’s not like it’s been the film I’ve hated the most so far. Granted, I definitely didn’t like it… Ultimately there was just nothing that was keeping my attention on the screen in front of me. A big contributing factor, at least for me, was the fact it was ‘The “Many” Adventures of Winnie The Pooh’. Therefore, many small, and not one big adventure. This means there wasn’t a singular plot that had the full attention of the films run-time to fully develop and evolve to a satisfying conclusion. Instead, the movie consists of three simple, short stories randomly plucked from the original book (or books) with a self-plagiarising elephant freak out chucked in.

image12Then we move onto the characters. Again, if you grew up with them, you probably have this special affinity with them, and their presence alone may invoke fuzzy feelings of comfort and warmth. I alas, have no nostalgia to cover my feelings of frustration, apathy and sometimes sheer dislike towards them. There have been many conspiracy theories rolling around over the years apparently, regarding “hidden meanings” about what the characters are meant to represent which could explain their peculiar and sometimes unpleasant behaviour. These were mostly theorized no doubt, by stoned students who were choosing to spend their time philosophising about the underlying representations of stuffed toys in an AA Milne children’s series, rather than study. A popular theory is that each character represented a different mental health issue. I’m not touching that one with a six-foot barge pole. And although some of the characters can fit nicely into that narrative, others don’t. The same can be said for the other popular conspiracy that each animal is addicted to and constantly under the influence of a different narcotic. Not only do you occasionally have to put square pegs in round holes to make the theme work, but substance addiction is again a rabbit hole I have no intention in going down. Or for that matter, be like Winnie the Pooh and get stuck in it with my arse hanging out.

For me, the connection between the characters is somewhat broader and simpler (and bear in mind whichever metaphor is accurate, they are still personalities that AA Milne decided to put his son in a fantasy world with). In my mind they are all what eventually became of various different dicks we knew, and if we were unlucky, befriended at school.

image 7Winnie the Pooh. He loves honey. He’s not addicted to honey. It’s honey. He just REALLY likes honey and is intrinsically greedy and selfish. He reminds me of the type of kid lots of people would know at school, that was just out for whatever he could get. The sort of kid that would randomly call round your house “to play” one day, even though he never had in his entire life until now… and it just so happened you had just bought a shit-hot new game for your PlayStation One. That he’s desperate to play. But just like Pooh and his desire for honey, he doesn’t just say his intentions outright. This bellend from your youth, will instead chat to you and hang out, and all is well. But then casually, and with a pronounced look over to the part of the room your games console is sitting, will say with an overdose of innocent surprise, “Oh! I forgot you had a PlayStation! I like PlayStations! Have you heard about that amazing game that came out last week? Wait, you have it? Wow! You’re SO lucky, I wish I could play it…” Eugh. Wanker.

Pooh displays the same tendencies. He goes round to Rabbit’s house, after some false amiability, convinces Rabbit to allow him to stay for lunch, and then manipulates his way into having access to the honeypot. And eats ALL of it.

image 2When reviewing this film, someone in internet land stated, “It’s not probable anyone with two-digit age would find it interesting, but it is sweet as honey and only someone without a heart could resist loving this chubby bear.” I very much agree with their sentiment essentially saying, “for people over nine, it’s possible you will find it pretty fucking dull”, but needing to be heartless to resist loving this chubby bear? Well when that kid comes round my house and after twenty minutes of pleasantries, worms his way into playing the game he’s desperate to try, and then doesn’t talk to you until your mum has to pretty much eject him from your premises, you won’t have feelings of love, you would think he’s a wanker. Because he is a wanker! And if he grows up and becomes a whore for sweet food just like he did for that computer game, and constantly heads round to people’s houses with one self-benefitting intention, and after some false pleasantries exclaims “ooh is it honey time? Say chum, do you have a cheeky bit of honey I could have?”, and then eats all of it even though it isn’t his, would your thoughts really be “I must be really heartless because I’m not feeling love for this self-absorbed-greedy-manipulative-piece-of-shit-bear that treats friendships as a commodity for his own gluttony!!! No, he’s a dick! Fuck you Pooh, fuck you! *exhale* Wow, I never thought I would write anything where I would be saying ‘fuck you’ to Winnie the Pooh…

Some people will argue, that Winnie the Pooh is very different to a shameless, self-absorbed schoolkid because he’s cute and furry with a podgy tummy. Well that podgy tummy is podgy, not just because of stuffing, but because of limitless greed from honey that wasn’t even his to consume. It’s a podgy tummy of excess and shame. People then may argue, yes but don’t forget that Pooh is a bear of “very little brain” and would therefore not have the intellectual capacity to comprehend cause and effect, social conventions or to question his own baser instincts. I bet that in his youth at The Hundred Acre Academy for Stuffed Teddies he could have developed his brain far, far more than he did. I bet that every day, the teacher would ask him “What’s 2+2 Pooh?” and he would reply “Oh I don’t know, 9? It’s so hard to think on an empty stomach, it must be lunchtime. Excuse me sir could you spare me a bit of your honey? Say Piglet, so erm… brought any new PlayStation games lately?” Ultimately Pooh is a case of wasted potential and greed. No wonder Rabbit pretended he wasn’t home when Pooh came a knocking.

image 1Now I would feel sorry for Rabbit if it weren’t for the fact that he was the biggest dick of the lot. He reminds me of the kid at school who would not show any discernibly positive qualities; no sense of humour, not particularly intelligent, not particularly fun to be around, but yet would be usually surrounded by sycophants that would bow to him because they knew he was enough of a sadistic sociopath and usually built like a brick-shithouse enough to literally be a danger to cross. The sort of kid that when there was a camping trip (if you like that sort of outdoorsy shit), there would be a scenario where one of the kids becomes tiresome to the other, became the victim of their practical jokes. So, the kids suggest hiding his hat, putting ants in his bag or trapping him in his tent or whatever it is that regular arsehole children do. And then the sociopathic kid in question pipes up by suggesting that they tie him up to a tree, set fire to his hair and then pack up and leave him. All with a look a sheer glee on his face. The one who takes it way, way too far, but may well get his wish because it’s too scary for the more cowardly kids of the group to say no. When Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) annoys Rabbit, his approach to dealing with his bouncy nature, is to get him so lost in a dark wood, that he becomes a fearful, destroyed shell of his former self and would no longer want to bounce. Pretty damn mean. Piglet and Pooh know its hideous, but like the cowards they are, they go along with it.

Usually if the sadistic kid has a brain, he will grow up to be a cut throat businessman who screws over everyone he can for pleasure as well as to enrich himself, until the day he retires all alone because of all the hookers and broke because of all the drugs. He has become Rabbit. On the downside, he still relishes the chance to be a dick when he can, and his peers, like Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) will suffer. But on the upside, he’s mostly just bitter and miserable that he’s no longer as powerful and important as he used to be. And if we’re lucky he may also have a bear stuck in the hole of his front door for weeks on end that he can’t remove, with his arse sticking out into his living room. And let’s be honest, I doubt that that much honey digests particularly well, in fact it probably goes in one end and straight out the other, and a few weeks is a long time….  Best get a mop Rabbit. Just saying. Karma, Motherfucker!

image 5Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) is the kid that was “the life and soul of the party”. He’s exhausting, will drag every conversation onto himself, interject in every single conversation, shriek a lot and in extreme cases will spell their own name a lot (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…) As an adult they are EXACTLY the same. But with their own YouTube “reactions” channel….

Owl is the kid that compensates for their lack of self-esteem by constantly promoting their own intelligence, even if it’s wildly misplaced. As he grows up this self-promotion expands to other areas too. Whenever you tell them that you’ve done something, this will also invariably lead to them telling a longwinded story in which they’ve done the same thing but much better. Even though they probably haven’t. If you’ve trekked across the Sahara, you can guarantee that you will hear a blow-by-blow account about how he trekked across the Sahara twice and became a hero by building a well in Timbuktu before helping a chap called Edgar get a plane ticket back to his hometown of Paris… Unfortunately for them, the innate dipshit-ness will be exposed from time to time. Like when they have to spell ‘Happy Birthday!’ but get it wrong. Twice.

image 3Owl also lacks the intelligence to build a sturdy home, which results in it being blown away. He eventually finds a new home to live, which turns out to be piglets. A true wise owl would not look at a Pigs home (or sty, if you will) as an adequate abode! Firstly, it’s on the ground. Secondly, when he heads inside and sees a piglet sized bed, a trough in the kitchen, pictures showing cousins Peppa and George on the wall and presumably a huge pile of mud to roll around in on the floor, you would think at that point that Owl would have the decency to say, “oops, this is clearly a pigs home, I’ll be going now…”

image 4The fact that Piglet doesn’t call Owl out on this, and basically gives away his own home for literally nothing, could suggest that Piglet is a kind, selfless hero, who put others ahead of himself. But Piglet can’t fool me! He’s the kid who attaches himself to the biggest bully in the playground because he is filled with such an innate sense of fear and self-doubt, that he cannot say no to anyone, especially someone who is overbearing, intimidating and sadistic. So, on the theoretical camping trip, Piglet will be the one to get the ropes for the bully to tie the poor victim to the tree, despite his misgivings, because the fear of not doing so is too much to bear. In this film, he goes along with Rabbits insane “let’s scare the living fuck out of Tigger (that’s a T and I, two G’s and an ER…)” plan, because he’s too cowardly not to. And when Owl takes Piglets home, Piglet doesn’t stay quiet through philanthropic nobility, he stays quiet because he’s too scared to rock the boat. Having to move in with a honey-whore seems like quite a fitting punishment if you ask me… You know who Piglet reminds me of? Wormtail from the Harry Potter series.

image13There was always a kid at school that would always find the negative in everything. They weren’t depressed or anything like that, just negative. If a group of you found a bag of gold, they would bring down the whole celebratory vibe by complaining about the dust on it. Or telling you about the time they lost a bag of gold… Essentially, it’s a bloody good way to divert the attention from the bag of gold, back onto them. If left unchecked this habit could lead them into growing up to become Eeyore. True, it would become fairly demoralising after a while if you kept having to have a tail with a pin essentially rammed back onto your arsehole, but you would adapt. Or just stop wearing the damn tail. But more than anything else, it just seems that Eeyore complains when the attention is diverted elsewhere…

You know that kid you went to school with that you completely forgot existed because they were so irrelevant to your existence, until you saw a class photo many years later? That’s Kanga, Roo and Gopher who I totally forgot were even in the film until I looked at Wikipedia just now…

So, to summarise, the main reason I’ve ranted about the characters for so long, is because I can barely remember the plot. That should tell you all you need to know about how much of an impression this film left. Probably about as much of an impact that Kanga, Roo and Gopher did. But it has been a while since I’ve really had a good old rant in a review, but I never thought that it would be Winnie the Pooh that brought that rage to the surface… And to answer the question of whether the film was aimed at young tots or at everyone, after much reading on the internet, I still don’t know. I’m not sure anyone does. Not even Disney.


Ben 🙄

Well there’s a surprise. My 37-year-old husband wasn’t enamoured with Winnie the Pooh. No real shocker is it.

I have a confession to make. I only saw this film for the first time a few months back. I enjoyed it for what it was. It’s cute and quite funny in parts. Our 6-year-old was half-watching it, whilst drawing, and found it funny at times (he’s a tough critic like his Dad!), so a child that actually likes films would probably enjoy it.

image 6However, the blatent copying of Pink Elephants on Parade, by the Heffalumps & Woozels song? What the actual fuck?! There are no words. There was absolutely no need for the song to be in the film and the entire, generally calm, feel of the film suddently shifted into a complete head-fuck. Unforgiveable, Disney!

Anyway, onwards and upwards. We’ve got The Rescuers next, which is a film that I have seen a few times during my childhood, but haven’t watched since. So, not only am I interested in Ben’s take on it, but am looking forward to seeing if I enjoy it as an adult too.

The Many Adventues of Winnie the Pooh score:


Kerry 😁

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 😁