Misguided Reviews

Alice in Wonderland

In a general life update, we have just had our planned trip to Disneyland Paris cancelled, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. On the upside, we get to rebook up until 15th October for the same price, so we will be going in the Summer Holidays instead! Silver-lining – better weather.disneyland paris I appreciate that having a trip to Disneyland Paris postponed is a real first-world-problem, but obviously I would much rather that than risk spreading a virus that can kill those with underlying health conditions. Additionally, though, seriously stop panic buying! It’s fucking ridiculous. Rant over.

I am absolutely delighted at how much Ben enjoyed Cinderella. I expected him to like some of the films that we have coming up, but I didn’t expect him to be so enamored with a Disney Princess! Result!

Now, onto Alice in Wonderland. I am so excited to see what he makes of this one, as it is bat-shit crazy and I think he’ll be amused by the randomness of it.

Based on the ‘Alice’ books by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland follows the title character’s trip down the rabbit hole into an entirely different dimension, where animals can talk, flowers can sing and every character appears to be completely crazy and without any sense of logic to their actions. It has characters that you will never forget, such as The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, The Cheshire Cat and The Queen of Hearts. So let’s see what Ben thinks of it.

In my opinion, it is amazing. It is truly one of the classic Disney greats. The creative team must’ve really enjoyed themselves with the script, as some of the lines are utterly astounding and the animation is truly beautiful. If you are planning on showing a Disney classic to someone that is a Disney virgin, I would highly recommend showing them this one.


Kerry 😁

Cinderella succeeded in making this Disney cynic at least a bit less apprehensive about continuing this journey through the Animation Studios films. Much like the post-war era that houses the Animation Studios films that we’re currently trawling through, there is now some optimism and hope going forward, with dreams of peace / good films, as opposed to the previous decade which was overshadowed by war / The Three Caballeros.

So 1951 brings us Alice in Wonderland. Oh boy. It’s hard to know where to start. I’m once again going to have to deviate from the normal ‘say the ridiculous things I see’ approach that I usually take to reviewing these films. I mean, I attempted to write notes during this film whenever something inexplicable happened, but within fourteen minutes my arm cramped up and my pen literally exploded (not literally). It was at this point I realised that I needed a change of tactics here, as this is no normal movie. My god is that an understatement. What’s the point of trying to find WTF moments in a film that is designed to be WTF, in some fantastical WTF world?

Furthermore, trying to note-take in a film like this, is contrary to how a film like this is supposed to be digested.  By that, I mean the viewer is supposed to either be a child with an imagination that is yet to be restricted by the confinements of the conditioned grown-up mind, or a student that is so off their face on narcotics that if they’re not totally transfixed by the pretty colours, or transcending to a place where the random sequence of events is processed in some life-altering way, they would probably be convinced they are a werewolf or trying to eat the fridge. As I cannot revert to a childlike state, and also think that the kids telling stories of that time dad went strange, watched ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and kept them awake all night howling at the moon, may be viewed by some as somewhat inappropriate. I had to find a different approach.

Cheshire CatI found this approach at around the twenty-five-minute mark. With my pad and pen set aside, I sat back and stared at the screen, with my body relaxed and my eyes slightly glazed, and let the experience vigorously penetrate my mind. Almost literally a ‘mind-fuck’ if you will. But by attempting to stop the forces that are compelling me to question and resist, as well as allowing the film to create its very own psychedelic haze around my brain, I’m in some way mimicking both the demographics I mentioned above and everything starts to make sense. Sort of.

After I watched ‘Bambi’, I entered what would become known as the ‘post-Bambi’ phase of my existence, where all joyous things were slightly darker around the edges and happy events were / are interrupted by the faces of scarred fawns (and now also cute little oysters, but I’ll come back to that later). If this review seems even more skittish and unfocused than usual, this is because I’m now in a phase known as ‘post-Alice-In-Wonderland’, where clocks are fixed with tea and jam (this bit is amazing, which I’ll come back to later as well) and animals have inanimate objects for faces. I apologize for my meanderings, but a surreal film deserves a slightly surreal review, so grab half a cup of tea and firework cake containing a mouse attached to an umbrella and go with it…

When I studied art at school, I was fascinated (well, reasonably interested. I know I paid attention rather than doing my usual staring out of the window until the bell rings at least…) by the surrealists, particularly Salvador Dali. I found it curious that, to me at least, despite all the pieces being things that were either not where they were supposed to be, with what they were supposed to be or they were supposed to be, some ideas seemed to make sense and others seemed forced. Some works felt tenuous and others, surprisingly, didn’t. For me, the same rings true with the scenes of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. mad hatter march hareDespite the absurdity of ‘The Madhatter’s Tea party’, there feels like cohesion and direction in amongst the chaos. I fricking loved this part of the film and it’s definitely my favourite Disney segment so far. I especially love the Mad Hatter proclaiming that the rabbit’s clock is exactly two days slow. The problem is apparently caused by the wheels inside it. His attempts to fix it involve pouring tea on it and spreading jam, butter and mustard (sorry, not mustard, that would be silly; lemon) inside it. I know it’s a famous scene and I can see why. But for every Madhatter’s tea-party however, there’s a story about ‘curious oysters’ or playing cards singing about ‘painting the roses red’ that didn’t hit the same spot. And that’s just my opinion. I’m sure every scene will float different people’s boats.

There are a few things that occur in this film that require extra attention, so let’s return to the start. It’s notable, just like in the adventures of Mr Toad from a few films back, that Alice and her mother are SO English, that the film must have been produced in America. That stereotypical ‘tea and cucumber sandwich’ English that Americans go crazy for. Sorry, apparently this is her sister, not her mother. Ok… I find that hard to believe. Let’s be honest here, this is her ‘sister’, which is basically just how people in Victorian times would cover up a pregnancy outside of marriage. talking to the daisiesAlice is bored of normality and wants her own world full of nonsense. Within 4 minutes she’s singing and taking to birds. Why is there always so much singing and talking to birds? She spots a white rabbit that is late for something and decides to follow him, without really giving a satisfactory reason of why she feels she has to. One can assume that the ‘what the fuckness’ of this occurrence would cause most of us to do the same though, so I’ll let her off. She runs after him with her cat in tow, and then we reach a moment that I feel needs to be discussed here. After chasing the rabbit into an unpleasantly tight warren, she falls down a seemingly bottomless hole. The normal reaction of falling down a seemingly bottomless hole would usually involve much screaming, cursing with perhaps a small amount of soiling oneself. The reaction to falling down a seemingly bottomless hole, will never be, and I repeat, never be TO LOOK AT YOUR CAT AND HAPPILY WAVE AT HIM WHILST EXCLAIMING “GOODBYE!”

Another thing that pissed me off: Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. I’ve heard the names many times, mostly when two people are being particularly stupid, but never knew really who they were or from where they were referenced. At least now, when someone mentions them, I can now say “Ah yes, I know them! They’re from Alice in Wonderland! Fuck me, they suck!” There are two reasons for this suckiness (goddamn spellcheck, leave me alone!) in my opinion. Firstly, the way they won’t leave Alice alone is too reminiscent of “the nutter on public transport”. By that, I mean the dude who comes and sits next to you on the bus or train and repeatedly talks at you, pays no attention to your lack of engagement, and invariably ends up telling you exactly why the police were in the wrong to have an arrest warrant for him. The second reason is the story they told about “The Walrus, The Carpenter and The Curious Oysters”. I don’t like this story. Here are the oysters:

ThOystersey’re cute little oysters. Innocent and… well, curious. Just like babies with their shell bonnets in their shell cots. They have happy smiles and big wide eyes; these creatures have been almost humanized and possess all the traits that people biologically find adorable and feel compelled to protect. The walrus eats them. The fucking walrus eats them all alive. We’re not at Bambi levels of “hey, let’s fuck you all up for shits and giggles”, but we still have another example of Disney joyously using animation as a vehicle for sadistic dickery. You can tell when something pisses me off as the cursing increases dramatically. I’ve cursed quite a lot in twelve Disney reviews…

At one point not long after, Alice walks into a Rabbits house, goes up to his bedroom and steals one of his biscuits. Not only throughout this film, does Alice react to the absurdity with almost soulless ease, she, at times, also really oversteps the mark in what would be considered socially acceptable. giant in houseThe biscuit makes her grow to the size of a house, which is problematic as she’s in a house, which results in her wearing the house like some sort of weird armour. She has no one to blame but herself. That being said, when a big bird comes along and starts singing about “smoking the blighter out” and generally showing zero compassion or interest in her safety, I can’t help but feel that they should be a bit nicer. But that is a recurring theme of this movie; It seems that most of the people she encounters are complete and utter arseholes. I think that this is supposed to interpreted that the moral here is ‘even if it is more exciting, nonsense isn’t necessarily better or for that matter, nicer’. Or ‘anything outside the norm is bad’. Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that.

After Alice eats a carrot to shrink herself, but manages to shrink herself too much (I’ve almost completely stopped overthinking occurrences like this even in this relatively early stage of the film), we get our next example of arsehole-ness. The flowers ridicule Alice for being weedy, and one flower lifts up her skirt. Not cool.

angry queen of heartsSpeaking of not cool, the Queen of Hearts. I really hate the Queen of Hearts. I know you’re supposed to hate her because she’s a dick, but I find I hate her in a way that makes me want her gone from my screen rather than being compelled to see her comeuppance. The other problem with this segment is that including a stronger and slightly more defined plotline here (at least compared to the previous segments) exposes the lack of depth throughout the film as both its strong point, and its weak point. Let me explain. The lack of substance really worked to the films advantage for most part, as not being given motives or understanding, the ‘wheres’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of people/animal’s actions made them that much more random and for, most part, funny. When you start including at least slightly more lucid plot points, such as a sham trial from a bad-tempered queen, that lack of depth makes it a damn sight harder to stay invested in how it plays out. I would have been happier if Alice had just met more good-natured lunatics that were involved in harmless meaningless shenanigans, such as the Mad-Hatter for example…

A CaterpillarElsewhere, Alice part-sings and part-cries her way through a song that I will skip through whenever I watch the film again, a caterpillar makes letters and shapes out of smoke from a shisha pipe and we have a mischievous cat that can turn invisible and stand on his own head. Events that are no more and no less absurd that happenings throughout the rest of the film.

In all, watching this film can certainly be classed as ‘an experience’. It’s not quite the sort of princess fairy-tale, cute animal in peril, nor Donald Duck squawk fest, that I have mostly been exposed to so far, but it was certainly unique, most definitely unforgettable, and in several parts enjoyable. Especially when Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle Dum and the Queen of Hearts were not on my screen anyway…




Misguided Reviews


So, Ben also thought that The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was also ‘meh’ (although he did enjoy Ichabod’s story more than I expected). Onto the 1950s!

Cinderella is one of my all-time favourite Disney films and despite The Little Mermaid being the first Disney film that I saw at the cinema, Cinderella really takes me back to my childhood. I didn’t realise how much, until I watched it this time with Ben. Upon reflection, I take back my labelling of her as another ‘young woman waiting to be rescued by a man’ in my ‘Evolution of Feminism Through Disney Princesses’ post. She wasn’t waiting to be rescued by a man. She was in a horrible situation she didn’t know how to get out of. She only wanted to go to the ball to get dressed up and go to a party. She lucked out by meeting the prince, who would’ve had the power behind him to get her out of that horrible household! And to be fair to her, despite how horrible her previous life was, she managed to stay positive and kind throughout the whole thing. She’s a role model, if anything.

The story is based on several folk tales throughout history. When I was looking into this, I came across the name of one of these collections of stories, ‘Lo cunto de li cunti’. I’m sorry, I couldn’t leave that out (and I need to grow up!). Disney’s adaptation appears to be most closely based on the Charles Perrault story ‘Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre’ (Cinderella or the little glass slipper), although I think the ending of Brothers Grimm’s ‘Aschenputtel’ would give Ben his closure on a suitable comeuppance for the stepsisters, though (they have their eyes pecked out by doves).

Anyway, let’s see if my high recommendation of the first film of the 1950’s has had the hoped-for reaction from Ben.


Kerry 😁

I have no doubt that Kerry’s cunning scheme by having me watch all things Disney was not just to fill the niche of ‘cynic providing counter-points’ to the millions of reviews by Disney-holics subconsciously seeking silver-linings on every surrealist-nightmare-indulgent-deer-slaughtering-donkey-slave-child cloud. I know she would love me to become a Disney-holic just like her, and challenge one, was to get me to watch the films. Although in itself that wasn’t an easy task, and it took about a dozen years to get me on board, she eventually succeeded as I’m about to review my 11th film.  The second challenge, however, was to get me to LIKE what I’m watching. This is where, thus far, my feelings have been similar to Disney’s attempts to sell Latin America to me through the medium of traditional dance and sycophantic parrots. I’m rather unimpressed. But, to be fair, Kerry was never really expecting the pre 1950 Animation Studios films to wow me, as for most part, they don’t wow her. But now we’ve reached the start of, what Kerry calls “Disney’s Golden Age”. It’s an era that she reveres, and if the second challenge of me liking some films is to succeed, then the next batch of movies will be full of possible contenders to make that happen. At least that’s what I’ve been told. The first of these golden entries is 1950’s ‘Cinderella’.

If I was asked to name a Disney film, the first that pops to mind is ‘Cinderella’. Is that a common first thought? It’s the first, and one of the only entries in the series where I already know the story before watching it. I’ve seen interpretations at least once in the form of a Christmas Pantomime and countless other mini versions and parodies on television. Yet I’ve never actually watched the Disney film version. Some people think that’s strange that I’ve never watched it at any time. Most people seem to watch it at least once when they are a child, but I never did. I suppose if you were to ask my childhood self (or my adult self) if I want to watch a story about a girl falling in love with a Prince, when there’s sports channels to compete with, we’re deep into no-brainer territory.

I don’t know if I was expecting the start of the film to be radically different to the previous ones as we’re now in a new decade and this film is much more highly regarded than the last few that I’ve endured (and I mean endured), but my god it’s not. It’s still dated, it’s still a slow crooner ballad, and I still hate it. I pass the time by looking for ‘Ub Tweeks’ in the credits (he was in the credits for the last film ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad’), but I’m disappointed to find that he isn’t there. Maybe he was the scapegoat for the previous films lack of commercial success and had to go to appease the company’s investors. Poor Ub (tries to resist temptation to make joke about what goes Ub must come down).

The story starts at a stately chateau, where Cinderella’s father decides to remarry so she gets a mother figure back in her life. The stepmother has two daughters and…. you all know this. Everyone knows this. I can never remember the stepsister’s names, so I’ll call them Stepsister One and Stepsister Two. And after Cinderella’s father dies, they and their mother treat Cinderella like shit. The actual term they use is “they abuse her”… Wow that term always darkens the tone. To like, a level that I’m uncomfortable with. I suppose it will make her eventual freedom feel that much more special though.

cinders and birdsCinderella gets woken in the morning by some extremely clever birds and mice. Is it going to be a Disney princess thing that they are all mates with stupidly advanced fauna? Snow White was the same. Still, give me a bird that can do rudimentary household tasks over a slice of Latin propaganda any day of the week. Within three minutes, she’s singing. Her voice isn’t as horrific as Snow Whites, but suffice to say, I’m rolling my eyes and preparing for the worst. Golden age, my arse. She has a bath whilst the birds cop a good perv. Then the mice start talking to her. I cannot understand a word of it. Kerry can. Once again, she demonstrates she is fluent is Disnish, much like when Donald Ducks talks, and I’m lost at sea, so she translates for me. Ooh, I just thought; there will be no Donald-sodding-Duck in this film! Unless there’s a highly unusual twist anyway. So that’s a good thing at least. Apparently, the mice are saying that a new mouse has been caught. Ah, yes, a mouse has indeed been caught. So Cinderella follows the usual protocol. She opens the humane trap, and then talks to him, and then puts a jumper on him and gives him a name… wait a second, she does what now?! All the other mice have little mouse clothes too. Ok, her imprisonment at the hands of her stepfamily have clearly sent her bat-shit crazy. Or maybe she’s just suffering the psychological effects of Lassa fever or the bubonic plague due to the fact she spends her days TRYING TO FORCE RATS INTO FUCKING CLOTHING! …Exhale.

LuciferCinders then takes her stepmother’s fatfuck cat down for breakfast. This cat is a dickhead. The fact its name is Lucifer should be a hint there. Makes you really wonder the mentality of the stepmother to name her pet Lucifer. Perhaps she had another cat named Beelzebub that got run over by a speeding horse and cart? There is also a dog in the kitchen. He is not a dickhead. Cinders tries to make them get along after discovering the dog was dreaming about chasing the cat (perfectly normal, people discuss their pet’s dreams with them all the time). The dog tries, but the cat is being a troll though. As I said. Dickhead.

Then we get about ten minutes of the mice (who some, especially Gus, already look like they have eaten plenty) trying to get food without being chased by the cat. In fact by the time we get to about 15 minutes in, I reckon at least ten of those have been focusing on the animals. At this point, I’m honestly wonder why the film is called ‘Cinderella’ and not ‘The adventures of Fatfuck Mice and Even-Fatterfuck Cat’.

The stepfamily starts to demand their breakfast, but Gus the mouse is hiding from Dickhead-cat in one of the stepsister’s teacups. Obviously, this winds up with screaming and Cinders getting punished for a presumed practical joke. This involves many chores. The stepmother really is a bitch.

Now we go to another castle. The king is wondering, to the Duke, why his son is still not getting together with a girl. And why he always hangs around with his good chum Gregory. I’m totally lying with that last part, but you can see what my initial conclusion is. Although if that is the case, I wish both the prince and Gregory a lifetime of happiness. However, unless this story takes a remarkably different direction to the other versions I’ve seen, then I suspect the Prince is merely waiting for someone who can fulfil his requirements in a partner by being sweet, well-practiced in household chores and act as a much needed translator for all Prince/wildlife communications. Never fear Prince Charming, your dream girl is just over the hill and cleaning carpets with a positive smile and talking to mice… Anyway, the King is going to hold a huge ball with all the local spinsters to tempt Prince Charming into providing him with a grandchild, and away from Gregory.

floor washingAfter hearing the stepfamily play horrible music, we cut to Cinderella who is doing her chores and singing. Then we go VERY Disney. Lots of bubbles with Cinderella’s face in them, etc, etc… The whole scene is a lot quicker than the meanderings in previous films, but there must be some sort of contractual obligation that animators get at least a certain amount of time to indulge in artistic wankery. An invitation to the ball is delivered. The stepsisters are very excited and scoff when they discover that Cinderella wants to go. The problem is that all single chicks must attend. So the Stepmother says Cinderella can go as long as she finishes her chores and can get something nice to wear.

Mice dressAs she has so many chores to do, she hasn’t got time to make her mother’s old dress fit for purpose, but fortunately that’s where the remarkably advanced mice and birds are at hand. They decide to surprise her by giving it a makeover. Then the mice start singing in their squeaky way, because God forbid they could just have a nice conversation whilst they do the dress maintenance. Beer time for me, I think. The mice also steal an unwanted sash and necklace from the stepsisters, despite Fatfuck Cat’s attempts to be its dickhead self and thwart them. Honestly, if the cat was named something like Fluffy or Buttercup or Sparkles or Kevin, rather than Lucifer, it wouldn’t be such a…. well, dickhead.

8 O’clock comes around, and Cinders tells her stepfamily that she isn’t going as she didn’t get time to get her dress prepared. She goes to her room to discover the animals have not let the lack of opposable thumbs stop them from getting her dress all spruced up for her. That does it, I’m going into the garden to stick some clothes onto some pigeons and hedgehogs, and let them save my skin next time I’m in a jam. Upon showing her their handiwork, Gus says “Happy Birthday!” Stupid mouse.

Cinderella original dressCinders then does something very stupid. I’m already establishing that Disney Princesses are naïve, trusting and see all the positive in the world. I like these rare sort of people and they give me feelings of hope for the world, but my god are they gullible dipshits. Rather than treading with caution and thinking, “my stepfamily probably don’t like me very much or want me to be happy as they ABUSE AND ENSLAVE ME, so I think I should wait for them to go out before leaving my room as it’s quite likely they will attempt to sabotage me.” No, instead, she takes a somewhat different approach and marches downstairs, basically calling “WAIT FOR ME, LOOK AT MY LOVELY DRESS!” You IDIOT! Quite frankly, as the stepsisters partially strip her, there’s a part of me that thinks, “what the hell were you expecting here?”. But even I am left feeling awful for that fictional drawing as it runs into the garden sobbing.

cinders and fairy gYou know when things are crappy, and the efforts of wildlife ultimately fail? Thank fuck for Fairy Godmothers! You think it’s all over, and then you see the twinkling stars in the sky and poof! There she is, showing you magic tricks with a pumpkin. That pumpkin is turned into a coach. The mice, who thought their work was done and were probably ready for an early night with a piece of cheese, find themselves turned into horses. Fairy Godmother also gives her a lovely gown and a pair of glass slippers.  Now she can go to the ball. But all these things will revert back into their original form at midnight. I have a question. Why? That seems to be cutting it rather close doesn’t it? Wouldn’t tomorrow afternoon make a bit more sense? There are so many potential dramatic pitfalls doing it this way. But then saying that, Fairy Godmother is very old and may have strict rules on sex before marriage, so wants to ensure that Cinderella doesn’t have time to get her end away that night.

At the ball, there appears to be several thousand women there. I think the animators made the crowd look a little too vast. We see Prince Charming being introduced to the stepsisters and it’s fairly clear what he’s thinking: Prince eye roll

“Oh good god these girls are ghastly. Why would Father ever think I would be interested in girls like that?  It’s bad enough I’ve got my thumb stuck under my belt and now I have to look at this. Oh what would Gregory say if he could see me now. I miss Gregory.”

But his thoughts of Gregory are clearly interrupted by someone over yonder. A girl that he’s actually attracted to! Who could it be? Spoiler Alert: It’s Cinderella. And they dance. The King clearly thinks his work here is now done and proclaims, “I’m off to bed!” Firstly, is he really that uninterested in the party he would rather go to bed? Secondly, and more importantly, isn’t that rather presumptuous that everything is going to work out? As in, they’ve just started dancing and he’s already decided that it’s a done deal that he’s getting Grandchildren?! Stop and think about that for a second. That is mental. Is he not even going to consider the possibility that after their first dance Cinderella might say, “that was fun, but alas you’re not my type. See ya”? so this is loveOr that during the evening Cinderella might start singing a horrible song and his son will leg it? Or that Cinderella will make a quick getaway at midnight when the magic from a fairy godmother starts to run out, in turn destroying her dress and transport? Why is the King not considering these things?! Fortunately it seems Prince Charming has left Cinderella rosy cheeked and moist, so no issues there. Also when Cinderella starts to sing, Prince Charming decides to join in, because Disney. However, the questionable, reckless and bizarre time regulations placed upon the spell come back to create much unnecessary drama when midnight rolls around, causing Cinderella to leg it, minus of course, one of her glass slippers.

The horses turn back into mice and she sits and reflects. She was just happy to be able to go. She’s a good role model. Interestingly the Fairy Godmother let her keep the other glass slipper as a memento. How lucky.

The King is furious that the girl disappeared. See what happens when you make assumptions? How do we find the girl? Well we have a glass slipper, and the prince will marry whichever girl it fits. Ok, we have a problem here. There aren’t a thousand shoe sizes for a thousand different girls. It seems the Disney writers were also aware of the quandary that the original story left them in to. But how to get out of it?

“Right guys, there are like 16 different shoe sizes that girls can have, including half sizes, and we need to somehow convince the audience that this glass slipper will only fit Cinderella. How do we get around this?


“Ok, George, this is why we’ve brought you back to the writing team. For that ‘donkey-slave, deer-killing, drunk-elephant, flying-rape-carpet’ creativity that has got us out of so many scrapes in the past. What have you got?

“Ok, what if…. She has no toes?”


No toes!She has no toes. Kerry thinks it’s because she’s wearing stockings. But that doesn’t make sense. If that’s the case, then why will the slipper only fit her? Simple. It’s because she has no toes.

The duke is visiting every girl in the area to see who fits the slipper. Cinderella meanwhile is singing the annoying song she sang with the Prince the night before. The stepmother puts two and two together and realises it was her she saw with the Prince the night before and locks her in her room. I don’t like her. The duke arrives and the stepsisters try to force their clown feet into the slipper. Meanwhile the mice once again try to help Cinders out by stealing the key from the stepmother’s pocket. Their attempts at doing so is something of a rip-off of the scene in the last film, where Mr Toad and Co, try to steal papers from weasels. That scene was a rip-off of Donald, Mickey and Goofy trying to steal a key from a giant from the film before that. So been there, seen it, no more please. I preferred this scene to the others though, as I was more invested in the story, as well as the plight of Cinderella.

They get the key, but dickhead cat stops them, so the birds summon the dog who eventually gets his wish in chasing the cat away. Cinderella gets the key, escapes, and calls down the stairs that she is there, just as they are about to leave. But thanks to the stepmother, the slipper is smashed. That’s why having footwear made out of glass is impractical. And a marvellous plot device. Speaking of plot devices, Cinderella being able to keep the other slipper pays off when she reveals it, and then puts it on her toeless foot. It fits perfectly, so there’s a wedding and she lives happily ever after.

My main criticism of the film is born out of this ending. Cinderella getting married and escaping the castle is all fine, but my issues lie in the fact that none of the stepfamily get a true comeuppance. In the real world, if you mistreat someone, watching them have a happy wedding isn’t exactly a standard “that-will-teach-you” punishment. Snow White’s stepmother was struck by lightning and falls off a cliff whilst being mocked by crows for Christs sake, and whilst Cinderella’s foes may not deserve quite as severe a fate, they are still dickish enough that they deserve to suffer for our entertainment and enjoyment! I also find Disney go back to the well too often with certain ideas, such as genius animals trying to retrieve something at great risk. I furthermore find that for the second time in a row, the Prince has zero personality or character development (perhaps except for realising that he is straight, or at least bi, but even that’s character progression I’ve had to ever-so-slightly manufacture in my own mind). With that being said, this was my favourite film so far. As I said further back, I actually invested in the story to a certain degree and I really like Cinderella, I thought she was a really sweet, positive person, and I really wanted her to have a happy ending. Who knows, maybe it’s the start of me warming to some Disney films a tiny bit. Or maybe it turns out that my bag is a good princess film….?


Ben 🙄

Misguided Reviews

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Figured that Ben would think that Fun and Fancy Free was ‘meh’. It was. So, on we go to the last film to come out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios in the 1940’s, ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’.

The film is made up of the animated adaptations of two classic stories, ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ by Washington Irving. It has the added wow-factor of the first story being narrated by British actor, Basil Rathbone and the second story by American actor and singer, Bing Crosby. Ah yes. I’m familiar with Bing. He was in Holiday Inn (and lots of other films, but I’ve actually seen Holiday Inn) and sang that Christmas song with David Bowie. As for Basil Rathbone, I’m not so familiar with him. I’m not familiar with him at all actually. Off I go to trusty Wikipedia then. Ok he’s seriously posh. His full name is Philip St. John Basil Rathbone MC. Who has St. John as a middle name? A proper toff, that’s who. And MC? So not only can he narrate, he can also rap! This would’ve been more entertaining if he’d rapped the story.

I have nothing else I can give you in my ‘pre-review’ (it’s almost like I’ve been trying to pad it out with nonsense), so I’ll just let you read Ben’s review below.

All in all, the film was fine. Nothing special. Probably wouldn’t watch it again (however, I do really want to watch Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp now). Next film’s Cinderella!!!!


Kerry 😁

P.S. Just quickly wanted to add something here. I call it, “Screwing over my husband”. I’ve just signed up to Disney+ (which will be available in the UK from 24th March) and it appears that Melody Time is on it. So, not quite done with the 40’s crap just yet, honey.

Film 10! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far! I feel like I’ve completed a triathlon but with a stronger feeling of exhaustion and pain. Speaking of exhaustion and pain, here is my experience of watching 1949’s ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad’.

The intro is just like all the previous ones. I really hate that Forties style vocal that has laced every film so far with its outdated wailing. I’ve just noticed one of the names in the opening credits is ‘Ub Tweeks’! Sir, you have a phenomenal name. You should be proud.

The film is introduced by the narrator. If some dude at Disney was set the task to find the poshest human on Planet Earth to narrate the film’s opening scene, they deserve a bonus for their roaring success. I wonder if it was Ub Tweeks job? Either way, poshest sounding dude? Check. Job done. So, the ‘haut monde’ of the narrating world introduces us to “the delightful book, ‘Wind in the Willows’”. We’re clearly still very much all in with adaptations, as opposed to original content then.

At this point it’s worth mentioning that this film is unusual compared to what I’ve encountered with Disney thus far. At least in terms of the effect it will have on my review. All my reviews have been something of a ‘scene by scene reaction’. And because most scenes have been filled with surrealist nightmares, bizarre storytelling, outdated world views that make the eyes widen, propaganda, scenes more disturbing than necessary in a kids film or just outright crap, one way or another there have been vast amounts from start to finish (or where I start to lose interest) that I want to reflect on, and to be honest, I’ve rarely been stumped with what to type next. Where I found this film unusual, especially during the WITW adaptation, was that the stories aren’t especially bizarre, the surrealism is lessened, the days of Latin American propaganda are long gone and there is isn’t a Donkey-Slave-Child in sight. And as you would expect with adaptations of two ‘literary classics’, the stories aren’t that bad either. The thing is that I was just BORED through most of this. I had to pause the movie on more than one occasion and ask what the hell was going on, because I had totally zoned out. As I result, I will probably review this with a less ‘play by play’ approach and write more of a general overview this time to save us all some tedium.

I do wonder why I didn’t really enjoy this film. After all, the critics think it’s good, a lot of people who have watched it (and granted there aren’t many) seem to enjoy it, and as mentioned before, these are literary classics. It’s just REALLY not my thing, but then, which films so far have been? So this may be a slightly shorter review compared to the previous ones, but I will be posting an article discussing the first ten Disney films and how I perceive them now the dust has settled, later in the week.

Mr ToadThe Mr Toad story focuses on his obsession to own a motor car, which in turn causes him to be tricked by some weasels into looking like he stole a motor vehicle, which results into his imprisonment, allowing the weasels to take control of his mansion, Toad Hall. With the help of the LUDICROUSLY Scottish McBadger, Mole and Rat, Mr Toad escapes prison and they start the journey for his vindication. The main thing I have taken from this story, and the thing I confidently think everyone will consider the most important talking point, is wondering if calling Badger ‘McBadger’ is common among Scottish Badgers, as well as fauna in general. Are there McSheep, McFoxes, McGoats and McWasps? In Ireland are there O’Cows, O’Butterflies and O’Llamas? Ok maybe not O’Llamas. The Llamas will be immigrants, so more likely Señor Pedro the Llama. In the Netherlands is there a Van Der Salamander or a Van Der Panda?

Disney have also gone out of their way to make sure there is no doubt that this is a British novel. But it’s very British in that way all Americans think that all British people are. Thatched cottages, monocles, tweed and high-tea-with-cucumber-sandwiches stereotyping, basically. Granted there are a few people over here that are actually like that, we normally call them ‘wankers’. I hope Americans will appreciate that little lesson in English culture and colloquialism.

One other thing to note is the scene where the four animals need to steal papers from the bad guys in Toad Hall is rather familiar to me. Probably because feels like they had almost exactly the same scenario in the previous film, Fun and Fancy Free, where other annoying animals try to retrieve a harp-woman from a giant. It feels like a copy and paste job to me. I’m onto you Disney.

Yet another thing to note is that I always need a protagonist I can strongly get behind, even if I cannot empathise with or relate to. My investment in any story is greatly increased by a hero you can fully invest in, like George Bailey or Zack Morris. I don’t want someone or something to be wrongfully imprisoned, but Mr Toad is such a materialistic, annoying bellend, so his fictional plight is of little importance to me.

Now normally, my reviews have to be spoiler ridden as I say what I see, and I go by the logic that anyone that reads this would most likely be a Disney fan that will have watched whatever it is I’m bitching about discussing. In this case, I think there’s a lot of even Disney fans that haven’t watched this film and haven’t seen or read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but want to check it out, so to be on the safe side, I’m keeping this spoiler free.

Now back to protagonists I can’t invest in. This dude.Ichabod Crane

How can I get behind that? How am I supposed to believe that the local ho-bag (more on her shortly) would be interested in him? He has a bow in his hair FFS! I think we aren’t supposed to like him very much, in fairness, as they don’t exactly hide his douchiness (again, I’m reinventing the English language).

So this story is blessed with the narration of Bing Crosby, which means we get Bing Crosby singing in that unmistakeably forties style too, which as you well know, is not really my bag. Mainly because I hate it.

The peculiar creature pictured above is Ichabod Crane, a teacher who arrives at Sleepy Hollow, somewhere in New York State. He can be an object of ridicule. No shit! Anyway the local girls seem to like him for some reason, however “one fateful day”, he meets this girl:Katrina and men

This is Katrina. She has no bladder, intestines or liver, as she has a four-inch waist. So that green thing she’s holding may well be a colostomy bag. Yet this hasn’t stopped her being the biggest prick tease in Sleepy Hollow. Look at those creepy bastards, the chap in the blue shirt has resorted to blatantly staring down her dress. The dude in green showing that men with bows in their hair may have been a fashion statement, so perhaps Ichabod is trendier than I gave him credit for. Bing Crosby describes her as “plump as a partridge. And ripe!” I wouldn’t call her plump. I would say she’s got a gigantic rack. And I think that’s what Bing is implying too, in a subtle, roundabout way. There is nothing subtle, or roundabout, about saying she was ‘ripe’, however. He may as well have said “she was ready for a good ploughing whilst she was wrinkle free…” Ichabod agrees with that sentiment and decides that he must marry her. Mostly it seems because she has a rich father though. See what I mean. Dick! But there is a rival for her affections. Someone who is a far superior specimen that Ichabod. So the story becomes a battle for her affections.

Headless HorsemanAs I said, I’m keeping this spoiler free, but this does turn into a horror tale. I know Disney are willing to take things in a very dark direction compared to most cartoons, and to their credit, they do a pretty good job here, maybe some younger kids may be a bit freaked out by it. Personally, I found this story is a bit restricted by being placed in a family film. The second half of the Ichabod tale is still the best part of the film by far though.

To summarise, if any of the ten Disney films I’ve watched so far were to convert me, this certainly would not be it. It did, however, leave me curious about the book and subsequent film adaptations of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. This version, with Bing Crosby’s singing and annoying music though, much like food as it reaches Katrina’s non-existent stomach, is hard to digest. Still, it was far superior to the adventures of Mr Toad, which I legitimately have almost lost from memory altogether. Good or bad, or to be more accurate, average or bad, I still remember the other films I’ve watched reasonably well. This however is a blur, and I have no problem leaving it that way.


Ben 🙄

Misguided Reviews

Fun and Fancy Free

No surprise that Ben disliked The Three Caballeros. As I said myself, in the review, it was truly awful. I honestly have nothing else to say regarding his review, so let’s move on.

Now, the Disneyologists amongst you will know that Fun and Fancy Free wasn’t the next film to come out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios after The Three Caballeros. The next release was in fact ‘Make Mine Music’, followed by ‘Song of the South’. However, neither of these films are available on Disney Life in the UK (in fact, ‘Song of the South’ isn’t available anywhere!). I looked into this on Wikipedia and found that this was related to a segment in ‘Make Mine Music’ featuring gun use and ‘Song of the South’ due to:

“the film’s portrayal of African Americans as racist and offensive, maintaining that the black vernacular and other qualities are stereotypes. In addition, the plantation setting is sometimes criticized as idyllic and glorified”.

A good call on Disney’s part in the 21st Century, I’d say. However, if either of these films become available again, we will give them a watch and let you know what we think (though, to be honest, I’m not in any rush to see them).

‘Fun and Fancy Free’ was the fourth of six films that had been created during the Second World War, whilst most of the WDAS staff had been drafted, and therefore had a considerably lower budget. The film starts with Jiminy Cricket (got a lot of time for Jiminy!), who introduces us to the first story, Bongo, about a circus bear that escapes back to wild (despite being bred in captivity). Following Bongo, we get the story of ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’, which is basically an adaptation of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.

Despite the two stories (which, in themselves, were entertaining enough), much like in Saludos and Caballeros, the film frequently goes off on tangents of random musical animations that bear little relevance to the stories supposedly being told and are quite hard to follow at times. By this point, those segments have just become tedious to me and Ben. Thankfully, we also don’t have access to the next release, ‘Melody Time’ (there’s no specific reason why we don’t have access, so I’m assuming that it must just be total crap), which looks like it’s in the same ilk as the last three watched. Let’s hope The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is better. If not, it’s Cinderella after that one! Woop woop!



Disney during the 1940’s was rubbish.  After watching seven films of dated indulgence mixed with child donkey slavery, deer snuff and plenty of birds that are almost moist with excitement at watching Latin American propaganda material, we’ve been able to mercifully skip two films either due to gunplay or scenes containing slavery. Without a doubt this is the only time I’ve had reason to say, “high-five for film racism!” In all seriousness, there has been a slight bitter taste in quite a few of the films so far, whether it’s normalising slavery, firearms, tobacco, alcohol or implying that women are only good for cleaning and Prince / dwarf nurturing. I will instead give a big high-ten for the progress we’ve seen since.

Unfortunately there are still two more Disney films to endure of their 1940’s era, and the title of the 1947 entry, ‘Fun and Fancy Free’, leaves little room for optimism. At worst, they created such a meaningless pile of crap that they felt compelled to name the film with as much positive connotation as possible to mask the shitshow contained within. At best, it’s a documentary about swingers. Given the past reputation of Disney films I mentioned above, a propaganda flick about the joys of dogging with the wife in Baía, seems perfectly plausible.

The intro tune is annoying and dated as always and…. bugger. Donald Duck again.  Could this guy just piss off? If we get Jose Carioca again, who bludgeoned the last two films with his Latin America sycophancy, I swear to God I will turn it off. I just had to get Kerry to wind the intro song back as I’m sure I just heard the line “If you should have a crummy cake”. Go listen and see if you hear that too. Now I’ve put that idea in your head, you probably will. Alas, on rehearing the line it actually says, “if you should have a crummy day”. I’m disappointed. A crummy cake will cheer me up I’m sure. I really want cake now. Subliminal advertising perhaps? Wait, are Disney now receiving backhanders from Latin America AND a Mr. Kipling? Is ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ going to be all about how your life must include Fondant Fancies maybe? I could go for a Fondant Fancy right now. Not sure I could cope with a whole film about them though, especially if that dick Donald Duck is going to be eating them. I’m thinking about cake an awful lot, so if this was their cunning plan, then it really is working a treat.

2020-02-23 (1)Hello! Sorry I got totally side-tracked there. Right so, ‘Fun and Fancy Free’. We start with Jiminy Cricket, who was one of the less annoying parts of Pinocchio. I’m realising that I’m just starting to build up pockets of knowledge about Disney which has resulted in a cacophony of feelings ranging from pride to nausea. He’s singing on a boat about being fun and fancy free. They’re really driving home the point about fun and fancy freeness through the medium of song already, and I still have no idea really about what it means. I want to know why they made this the film name. Now he’s in a house. We see the fish he attempted to molest in Pinocchio and his ardour for her is clearly still alive.  Next a cat tries to attack him after Jiminy pokes him on the nose with his umbrella. What a silly twat. Following this he chats with a drunk doll and an angry looking toy bear. He finds some records and a musical love story by some chick called Dinah Shore, which is so appealing he must play it. Jiminy and I are very different people / crickets.

The record starts playing and the audio suddenly becomes visual as well. Just because. We are informed this love story is about three bears. So presumably less “Romeo and Juliet” and more of a “Ron Jeremy” sort of love. The protagonist, Bongo the Bear, is the star of the Circus. He does all sorts of amazing things like juggling whilst upside down. On a unicycle. On a trapeze. The usual plausible stuff. Despite being literally the most talented being on the entire planet, he’s treated by the circus owners like crap. There are so many people in Disney films that I want to suffer hideous, grizzly deaths and to be honest, at least up to 1947, not enough of them do. In fact the number of villains and bastards that have met their maker total the same as deaths of sweet mothers of lovable fawns. So unsurprisingly he wants to leave and go back to the wild.

From his train carriage that goes from town to town, which more closely resembles a prison cell he manages to escape. It’s extremely satisfying considering his horrible and ungrateful owners. I feel a sense of joy as Bongo is reunited with the woods and his natural habitat, the only thing distinguishing his previous life from the other animals being his smile of appreciation. And his hat, bowtie, jacket and unicycle.

We then get many scenes of Bongo trying to adapt to the wild and generally having fun being free… That’s why the films called ‘Fun and Fancy Free’! Closure. Then, whilst Bongo has a bit of chill time in some flowers, we are treated to many scenes of trees and frolicking animals. Once again Disney doing its tried and tested art of killing time with cute drawings doing pretty much sweet F.A. and, as always, the song accompanying it is disgusting. Bongo 2After some struggles catching fish, Bongo meets a girl bear under a waterfall and immediately wants to do her. Or in Disney language, falls in love at first sight. She seems interested too. It must be that sexy hat, jacket and bowtie. This is an excuse for another hideous song with more indulgent animations such as cupid bears making a love nest out of pink clouds. I’m getting bored now.

The problem, it transpires, is that there is a fuck-off-big bear who also has an interest in her. Now, apparently if a bear likes another bear, they give them a slap. Does this actually happen or did the writers just decide this on a whim? Bongo being domesticated, doesn’t know this custom and so he doesn’t slap her about which means she thinks he’s not interested and goes off with the fuck-off-big bear instead. Now we get a song about how it’s “good to give them a slap”… I don’t think this song would be allowed in the 21st century somehow?! Just think how many impressionable boys of the 1940’s were inspired by the sentiments of this song! I wonder if the male writers that returned in distress from fighting the Nazi’s before making this film and wrote this ditty as retribution towards the women that stayed behind and didn’t have to experience the horrors of war.

Bongo decides to fight for his woman and with the aid of his unicycle, defeats fuck-off-big bear and lives happily ever after with her. It’s quite similar to Bambi, but better and far less distressing. I wouldn’t call it essential viewing, but there has been far worse in recent films.

We return to Jiminy Cricket who’s using a dolls bosom as a pillow. It was he who insisted we watch this musical story and then he slept through the bloody thing! Anyway, he sees an invite to a party across the way. As he travels to the party across the way, we get a song about going to a party across the way. I’m used to Disney doing shit like this now. Doesn’t mean I like it though.

The “party” it appears is in fact a congregation of the follow four people:

Creepy PartyIs this a party or the young girl’s WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE? “Mummy, Daddy I just had the worst dream where it was my birthday party and the only guests in the house were me, two elderly, drunk paedo puppets and an old man in a velvet pimp jacket making a mouth with his right hand!”

This is beyond creepy. Somehow the girl isn’t scared and even more inexplicably, Jiminy Cricket’s first instinct isn’t to call the police. I call bullshit. After doing research (or ‘nipping onto Wikipedia’), I’ve discovered the chap in the velvet jacket is comedian, actor and ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen. I question his ventriloquist skills though, mainly due to the fact when the puppets talk, Edgars MOUTH IS MOVING! Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of the main skills required to be considered a ventriloquist, not moving one’s mouth is pretty damn high on the list! Possibly ventriloquism has progressed a long way in the last 70 years, but I’m not impressed with this dude’s skills. Or his choice of dolls *shudder*. I get the feeling that most people would have known who Edgar Bergen was in 1940’s America or with the way he is presented, people are definitely expected to be familiar with his work. It’s yet another way the film feels so dated.

Here’s another thing that has blown my mind: that little girl died aged 57. Which was at the time of writing, over 23 years ago!!! Which has brought home the fact that just about everyone involved from the animators to the musicians to the actors to the dancers to George (see previous reviews), is now dead. Some have been for many years. Plenty probably died before I was even born. And yet thanks to the miracle of film, I get to endure some of the nonsense they created, even though our timelines never even crossed paths.

And on that note, Edgar and his creepy puppets tell the long since deceased girl Luana and story about a place called ‘Happy Valley’. He asks creepy puppet #1 to try and picture it. Creepy puppet #1 strains as if he is about to soil himself evidently proving that asking what is essentially sculped wood to produce conscious thought bubbles is a waste of time. Luana, as a sentient being, is on hand to help however, and Happy Valley is thunk thinked thoughted imagined into reality. Happy valley is a very… happy place. And why wouldn’t it be, after all it has a singing harp. Wait, what? I’m finding this sing harp annoying but each to their own. It should be noted that it also seems to be part harp, part woman. Ok then. To show how happy a place it is, we get more frolicking animals. Its feels like at least three quarters of the Disney animation films thus far have solely been frolicking animals.

One day the harp was taken and this basically caused famine and misery. The scientific reason for this should be so obvious I feel no need to discuss it further… We go to the house of Mickey, Goofy and OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, Donald. For the third film in a row. And if Donald could be annoying when he’s not hungry (granted he was extremely sexually frustrated), the levels of dickness he reaches when famished is inexplicable. He treats the others like complete crap, becomes hyper-aggressive and irrational which  culminates in his attempted eating of a live cow’s tail.

We return to the world’s most horrifying birthday party for a reminder of just how creepy the puppets are (as well as just how annoying that girl, Luana, is). After their hilarious capering 😒, the world-famous Edgar Bergen continues with the story. Mickey sells the cow for magic beans. At this point I realise we’re watching an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. The Disney films so far have done a lot of adapting rather than creating original stories. But then saying that, after seeing their original stories, I don’t really blame them. Unsurprisingly, the beanstalk grows, they climb it and there’s a giant house in the clouds. I reckon I know who stole the harp-woman.

So after entering the castle they realise there’s a giant there. Kerry has just suggested that the giant should say “Fe Fi Fo Fuck, I smell the blood of a stupid duck…” That would be amazing, so obviously he doesn’t say that. We return to “reality” to find creepy-puppet #2 pretending to be a giant. And apparently adorning a pirate hat helps this illusion. Ok then. The rest of the story passes by as I expected. They realise the giant has indeed stolen harp-woman, and they successfully steal her back and escape although there are quite a few near-misses. Around a thousand at a rough estimate. It does get a little “oh hurry the fuck up” if truth be told. The harp makes everyone happy and everything live again, the story ends, the film ends, and no lives have been changed by the experience that is watching ‘Fun and Fancy Free’.

And that’s the best way to summarise the film really. It wasn’t bad (Three Caballeros), Depressing (Bambi) or creepy (Pinocchio), but at the same time wasn’t exciting, overly rewarding or necessary (a film that isn’t Disney in the 1940’s) either. They just did it, and it just was. And now I just need a drink.


Ben 🙄



Misguided Reviews

The Three Caballeros

Looks like Ben liked Saludos Amigos slightly more than I did. Thing is, I’ve looked at the list of films to come and, let me tell you, we are about to head into Disney’s Golden Age. We have 2 or 3 films to go and then we get this list of beauties:

  • Cinderella
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Peter Pan
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Aristocats
  • Robin Hood

You see, Disney fans! These were THE films of my childhood. My brother and I used to watch them on VHS over and over, ‘ROFL’-ing about certain parts and then rewinding to ‘ROFL’ all over again! If Ben knew exactly what was coming, I think he might’ve given Saludos Amigos a lower score. In fact, looking back at that list, I’m now wondering if I should’ve given it a lower score. More like 3 out of 10. Yes, I’m changing my score of Saludos Amigos to 3/10.

Anyway, I digress (and I think it may become clear why, in just a moment.). The Three Caballeros. Like Saludos Amigos, it was first released outside of the USA, premiering in Mexico City on 21st December 1944. It was then shown to American audiences on 3rd February 1945. It has many similarities to its predecessor, also being made as part of the goodwill project between the US and parts of Latin America (particularly Mexico). It, again, features Donald Duck. The overall story is that it is Donald’s birthday and he has received a box of three presents from ‘His Friends in Latin America’. The first present is a projector and film, showing him a film about the birds of Latin America. The segment contains that best character in the whole of the film, by a long way. In fact, the only endearing thing about the film. The Aracuan Bird. I will leave Ben to tell you why. The second present is a book about Brazil, which José Carioca (the green parrot from Saludos Amigos) pops out of. He takes Donald on a journey to Baía. A new character, Panchito Pistoles (a red rooster from Mexico) pops out of the last box. The three birds give themselves the name The Three Caballeros and Panchito gives Donald his final present, a piñata.

Just like Saludos Amigos, this was another film that I had not previously seen. It’s not well known and I can see why. It’s awful. Truly awful. The first 15 minutes or so were ok, but the remaining 55 were painful to watch, if I’m honest. It’s a mess. It has very little storyline; the characters aren’t overly entertaining (except for the Aracuan Bird, who should’ve been given his own film!) and it is, quite frankly, a head fuck. I wanted to switch it off after about 30 minutes and it was actually Ben that insisted that we had to watch it till the end. It is like the storywriters at the WDAS were men, at that time, and they had all gone off to war leaving the women in the studio (who were the animators and musicians) to make this film on their own. Not saying that women couldn’t make a decent Disney film in the early 40’s, but this didn’t make them look good. At the risk of sounding like one of Ben’s reviews, I can imagine the conversation at the studio after the men were called away to fight:

“Now, Mary. As you know, our head writer George has been called up to help the British win this war. We’ve been given the task of coming up with another film to keep the Latinos happy. Now, what have you got?”

“This is a shock. I’m not sure if I’m any good at writing. Can we make it a bit like the last film? That went down well, didn’t it?”

“Well, not massively, but ok. So, we’re gonna have Donald in it again, yes?”


“Mary? You look worried. I know that it must be hard to transition to writing from animation, but my advice would be to write about what you like. So, what do you like?

“Oh, I don’t know. Flowers, dancing, LSD”

“Never thought I’d say this, but I miss George”.

That is ‘The Three Caballeros’ in a nutshell. A cluster-fuck of flowers, dancing and feeling like you are tripping. Sorry to any who liked it, but I hated.

1/10 (1 for the Aracuan Bird, obviously)

Kerry 😁

Evidently in circa 1944, Walt Disney was continuing to receive backhanders from either some Government to the south or The Latin American Board of International Airtravel, and as a result we get our second consecutive instalment fusing animated children’s characters with pro central and south American propaganda better known as The Three Caballeros (Three Horsemen). By the way, I don’t know if there is or was a Latin American Board of International Airtravel, but as the initials spell LABIA, I really hope there is.

The intro is just like all these other early Disney films, the music sounding just like the others, the animation looking just like the others.  The addition of being dudes singing about how they are “three happy chappies”, makes this intro feel even more outdated than the films that have come before.

The film’s opening scene features Donald Duck receiving some presents in a box for his Birthday. I really dislike Donald Duck. To be honest, I can’t remember if I really disliked Donald Duck before I started watching his cameos in these early films or not. I also find that having now watched through the first eight films in order, it feels that everybody is already expected to not just know characters like Donald Duck, Goofy and Mickey Mouse, but to actually revere them and long for the moments they decide to appear. I really don’t. Donald’s a dick. So the aforementioned ‘dick’ opens the first present in the box and it’s a film projector. Donald’s rabbiting throughout all this and I can’t understand a bloody word that he is saying. Kerry however, it appears, can understand every word, which makes me wonder if Disney fanatics subconsciously speak Disnish or Disnese, a bit like Harry Potter and Parseltongue.

A film starts playing all of a sudden, and clearly whoever sent the present to Donald is being paid off by LABIA as well. After a brief Pro-Latin introduction we inexplicably go to penguins in Antarctica. Frolicking penguins; sunbathing penguins; you get the idea. One Penguin doesn’t like the cold. There’s always one that has to be a bit of a snowflake (boom boom). He wants to go to the Galapagos islands. Fair play, I want to go there too, he’s a penguin after my own heart. After many failed attempts at leaving, he builds a boat out of Ice. Clearly penguins, or at least this penguin, should be commended for their growth mindset.

Mr Penguin, ah, I’ve just looked it up, he’s called Pablo. Wait! Pablo?! Ok, Pablo is off on his journey when he encounters a blanket of fog. Literally a blanket. Of fog. That made us chuckle. He passes the Magellan Straight, The Fernandez Islands, Lima, Quito, it’s turning into a geography lesson again just like in Saludos Amigos. Calm down children, you’re thrilled I know. After making it across the equator with Neptune’s assistance, his boat starts to melt (note that it didn’t melt while crossing the equator or any time before). The plausibility of the sketch has been compromised in my opinion. By once again displaying that growth mindset, he manages to use the shower nozzle to turn his bath into a rudimentary speed boat. Genius. Finally he makes it to the Galapagos Islands and gets a good bit of sunburn. Once there, he realises he misses the Antarctic and his friends. Might have something to do with the fact that a penguin moving to the Galapagos is FUCKING UNNATURAL! So what do you expect?! It was an enjoyable little story anyway.

AracuanNow to the Amazon jungle in Venezuela. Specifically Venezuela. And they decide to give introduce us to a load of birds with funny names. We also have Toucans trying and failing to make love. Yup, that’s the expression they use. Make love. We also get a bird that sings a “peculiar song”. It is one of the greatest things in the history of film. Someone else out there obviously agrees (credit to ‘BeauwithaBang’ on YouTube) and made what is now my favourite video (even if it is slightly short). To be honest, just give today’s kids 90 minutes of this bird singing and they’ll be happy as a fawn in the woods (until its mother gets brutally murdered, naturally). Kids do not want hear the Latin name for Venezuelan wildlife nor the customs of some remote part of Latin America, they want to see this bird making stupid noises while running maniacally back and forth across the screen. But alas, 1940’s Disney doesn’t possess such logic. Instead we go to Uruguay for a story about a boy hunting Hornero birds, that is being narrated by presumably his adult self. Either that or boys’ voices in Uruguay break at a ridiculously young age.

Whilst hunting birds he finds a winged donkey-child-slave from Pinocchio.  It certainly looks like a flying donkey (with testicles for a tongue apparently).

Flying Donkey

Its name is Burrito, which is little donkey in Spanish, so it definitely is a flying donkey. The writers have jumped the shark once again. To cut a long story, or what feels like a long story short, at the town’s fiesta the next day, there is a donkey race with a 1000-peso prize. After much training, the boy (Gouchito) wins the race after much mockery and many struggles to keep up. Overall, it’s an enjoyable enough story, and to be fair, so far this film hasn’t been too bad, and I can only hope that continues. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. The rest of the film is astonishingly crap.

You know how there are certain birthday and/or Christmas presents that get sent so frequently because they’re a safe option when ideas are thin on the ground? You know the sort: handkerchiefs; bath products; chocolates; a pop-up book containing a parrot playing an umbrella as a musical instrument; socks… Well I wish the good people of Brazil had sent Donald some socks as the pop-up book containing a parrot playing an umbrella as a musical instrument is the catalyst for our descent into astonishing crapness. JoseEven a reprise by the amazing peculiar-song bird can’t save it. The parrot in question is the Brazil obsessed Jose Curioca from ‘Saludos Amigos’. This time he takes his obsession to new heights by zoning in on the wonders of Baía (Wikipedia has informed me that they’re referring to the state of Bahia). Donald’s never seen Baía, so Jose kindly conjures a magic train from the book to take them on a trip there. I’ve noticed that the Disney films of the 1940’s dedicate a large amount of time to indulgence for the animators and musicians and their trip here is a prime example of that, with complex evolving animations that ultimately have no substance, set to long outdated musical compositions that ultimately suck. Their journey to Baía is guilty of that sort of indulgence, and yet this is merely a warning shot for what lays ahead…

The Baía segment. The woman selling cookies that sings for ten minutes whilst Donald pervs on her. The random street musicians who also perv on her. Jose saying “Baía” about a hundred times with near orgasmic euphoria. It is so indulgent and so long that even Disney-freak Kerry is watching with wide eyed astonishment. I hate Baía. Jose asks Donald for his honest views about it. He says it’s swell. I really hate him too.

After more psychedelic drivel, we get Donald’s third present, which is apparently the wonder of Mexico. Or rather a tour of Mexico for Donald and Jose (because it would appear that we’re blessed with his delightful presence for the ENTIRE REST OF THE FILM) by another annoying bird with Jingoist tendencies named Panchito Pistoles. PanchitoAh, it’s time for another song. We haven’t had one for almost 90 seconds which means we were in grave danger of needing a plotline. The song is all about how they are three gay Caballeros. They use the term gay many, many times in these early Disney films. It should be noted that ever since Baía and during the remainder of this film, there is nothing gay, at least in the contemporary sense, about Donald.  Every time he comes into any sort of contact with a female it becomes ever more apparent that he is on heat, to the point that surely Jose and Panchito must have thought his sex-pest tendencies would make him a liability.

Panchito blindfolds Donald. I’m not sure if it’s the wisest thing to do to a duck that’s in season. Ah ok, he has a Pinata as a gift. Panchito and Jose then proceed to make it very difficult for Donald to hit the pinata, owing to the fact they keep moving it. Oh what whimsical capering. Ultimately this is all leading to the inevitable payoff of animal heads and teapots exploding out of the Pinata once hit, and dancing. Did I say inevitable?

Now we get a song about Mexico City with a load of dancers. I wrote in my notes “WHAT KID TODAY WOULD WATCH THIS SHIT?!” Sums it up really.

Next Panchito shows Donald his favourite dance, which of course involves MORE singing and MORE dancers! It’s not my favourite dance that’s for damn sure. I’m also getting the feeling that any kid watching this film that possesses no knowledge of Latin America would assume that these countries are nothing but all singing and dancing utopias. As nice as they may be (away from the Favelas), the rose-tinted specs that these guides are viewed through are eye-rolling to the extreme.

After zoning out yet again, my attention is brought back into focus by the fact Donald, Jose and Panchito are suddenly travelling on some sort of flying carpet type thingy. Ah it turns out they’re travelling to another part of Mexico to watch even more dancers! And back to zoning out again. Kerry is despising all this as much as me. When a Disneyologist is loathing a Disney film, it must be bad.

After what feels like a week the dance finishes and they set travel again on their flying carpet/rug thingy to Acapulco. We take in many scenes of the beautiful beaches and we are also advised “to check out the hot stuff” that is sunbathing on it. “Have a good perv kids!”. Inexplicable. Donald cannot contain himself anymore it seems after seeing so much flesh through his telescope (yes, he’s perving through a telescope), and we then proceed through a good five minutes of attempted molestation and screaming, which bizarrely is preferable to the singing and dancing. This is a supposedly a FAMILY FRIENDLY FILM! Again, inexplicable. I know Kerry pointed out that a lot of the writers were probably at war and left it to the women and the elderly to write the script, which for most part seems totally accurate, but as for this scene:


“Ok ladies, you’ve done very well writing this Mexico segment. So, 95% of it is a dance routine but you’ve earned a firm palm to the buttock of appreciation from me for all your efforts. When the men return you can go back to making the tea with your heads held high. But we need something a bit different for the Acapulco  segment.”

“How about a nice dance in swirly dresses?”

“Mary, bless you my simple girl, I just said it cannot be another dance as seventeen dances in one segment is quite enough. Walt has told us we need to sell these places as beautiful tourist destinations as that’s what children enjoy watching and is in no way about accepting money from any governments. As good as your input has been, my dears, I feel there’s only one man who can get us out of our creative funk. I know some of his ideas were slightly avant-garde for a children’s cartoon such as deer murder and drunk elephants hallucinating, and the donkey-slave-children was just horrific but god dammit George knew how to draw in viewers. So I wrote to him asking for help and his reply arrived just 15 minutes ago. Let’s see what a great children’s writer suggests (opens envelope):

“Greetings all , hope we are all gay and dandy. Right, if we really want to make Acapulco seem like paradise, how about we pan a view of the beautiful sandy beaches and the gentle waves crashing on the shore” .

I told you he was good! Now he says,

“We close in on the beach and we see beautiful women sunbathing in the hot sunshine”.

You see, this is the creativity you all need to be aspiring to! And now he suggests

“Then we should have ten minutes of these women running and screaming in terror from three horny birds descending from the skies in an airborne rape blanket. Weathers awful here, Kind Regards, George”.


You know I think the war may have sent him a bit peculiar.”


Incredibly, this is what happens. Even more incredibly, it’s the easiest and most pleasant thing I’ve watched in the last twenty-five minutes.

Following this molesty (why does spell-check keep questioning these perfectly reasonable words?) interlude, we’re back to the singing and dancing and hallucinogenic animation for a final ten minutes of tedium, with Donald so horny at this point I almost want to see him get his end away or get shot, just so I can get some closure. It’s an obnoxious, indulgent crescendo to a largely obnoxious, indulgent film. It’s too much of a headfuck to describe so if you really want to try and figure out what the hell is going on without having to torment yourself with the film itself, read it here:

You Belong to My Heart and Donald’s Surreal Reverie
The skies of Mexico City result in Donald falling in love with singer Dora Luz. The lyrics in the song itself play parts in the scenarios as to what is happening as well. Then several imagined kisses lead to Donald going into the “Love is a drug” scene. Donald constantly envisions sugar rush colors, flowers, and Panchito and José popping in at the worst moments, making chaos. The scene changes after Donald manages to dance with Carmen Molina from the state of Oaxaca, from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The two dance and sing the song “La Zandunga”. Carmen begins by singing the song, with Donald “quacking” out the rest of the chorus with her. The “drunkenness” slows down for a second after Donald multiplied himself while dancing, but speeds up again when Carmen reappears dressed in a Charro’s outfit and uses a horsewhip as a conductor’s baton to make cacti appear in many different forms while dancing to “Jesusita en Chihuahua”, a trademark song of the Mexican Revolution. This scene is notable for providing the masterful combination of live-action and cartoon animation, as well as animation among the cacti.
The scene is interrupted when Panchito and José suddenly spice things up for the finale of the movie, and Donald ends up battling the same toy bull with wheels on its legs the day before from earlier. The catch is that it is again loaded with firecrackers and other explosives, following with a fireworks finale with the words “The End” exploding from the fireworks, first in Spanish (Fin), in the colors of the flag of Mexico, then in Portuguese (Fim), in the colors of the flag of Brazil, and finally in English, in the colors of the flag of the United States.

That was taken from Wikipedia because I just can’t explain it.

To summarise, I find it hard to believe that after the first third of the film I was actually thinking that I was going to be in for another ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ style unexpectantly pleasant surprise. I was ready to give it at least 6/10 at that point, but then Jose appeared, and it all went to hell. Donald’s libido was barely acceptable at times for a family film and even if the singing and dancing was what the kids of the 1940’s liked to watch, I do wonder if there’s a single one today that would sit through it all. Not to mention the quantity and length of some of the dances almost made me wonder if the writers were trolling us all. LABIA may have been delighted by it, but I certainly wasn’t. Still prefer it to Bambi though.