Misguided Reviews


Really pleased with Ben’s opinion of The Reluctant Dragon. When we were watching it, I thought it would be his sort of thing. The humour is a little bit more grown-up than some of the other early Disney films.

So, on to Dumbo. Coming out of the WDAS in 1941, many parts of the composition of Dumbo had been featured in The Reluctant Dragon, giving avid fans a sneak-peak of what to expect. It follows the story of a baby elephant born with abnormally large ears, highlighting the unconditional love and protection mothers have for their young and how greatness can spring unexpectedly from diversity, when it turns out that his large ears enable him to fly (wait, what!?). It can make the audience laugh (particularly when Dumbo and Timothy Mouse accidently get drunk), cry (‘Baby Mine’ *sob*) and wonder if they’ve smoked something dodgy (Pink Elephants on Parade, anyone?) resulting in an overall movie experience that stands the test of time.

Dumbo is one of my absolute favourite Disney films and I will enjoy it every time I watch it, without a doubt. However, I have my suspicions that Ben may not find it quite as endearing as I do. Dumbo is treated badly by many of the characters through no fault of his own and much like ‘creepy bad dude’ in Pinocchio, no one really gets their comeuppance, leaving a lack of closure following the films ending. However, I think that there will be characters that he will admire. He won’t hate it. Although, I could be wrong on all of these counts.

As I said, I love it.


Kerry 😁

It’s 10.30 in the morning and we are about to watch Dumbo. So no beer to help me here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m damn tempted but I will resist the best I can. This is another Disney film from 1941 so obviously the creative juices were flowing at Chez Disney in this period. Actually if the plot of ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ was anything to go by then ‘Dumbo’ was probably actually the artistic inspiration of another poor bastard like Robert Benchley who is treated like royalty by the staff at Disney Studios while they steal and recreate his brainchild from right under his nose.

The atypical Disney intro starts us off then, but with a distinctly “Circus-y” feel. I reckon a Circus will appear in the film. The film starts with a load of wind and rain. And big birds that I am informed are called storks, carrying bags in their mouths. They are flying over Florida. I know it is Florida as they are actually flying over a giant map of Florida. It’s like the animators looked at a Collins map of the world and went “So that’s what the earth looks like from space, well I never…”.

2019-02-06So the bags that the storks are bringing contain baby animals. Baby animals that are being brought for some Mummy animals. Now apparently there is an old-wives tale or a myth that “Storks bring the babies”, presumably to explain where babies come from to children who are not yet ready for the um… “details”. As someone who has never heard of this expression, this whole scene is somewhat confusing to say the least… also if storks bring the babies, how do you explain to kids the bloody great bump on Mummy’s tummy? To be honest, in today’s Jeremy Kyle environment (or American equivalent, Jerry Springer perhaps?) the only question children have about where babies come from is if the father is Steve or Dave?

All the mummy animals are now with their mail-order babies, except one. Mummy elephant’s baby didn’t arrive. But that’s what happens when you order your baby elephant online at the end of the day, and good luck trying to resolve the issue. Those Next-Day Delivery storks have always got some excuse… Also, as I sit here realizing that I’m attempting not to well-up over the unhappiness of a cartoon elephant, I remember how much I HATE the emotional manipulation that Disney thrives on and just how much I want to put these emotions back in the box at the back of my head where they belong.  You see, if I have a choice, I would want to see mummy elephants happy with their baby elephants, NOT mummy elephants deprived of their baby elephants! And I don’t need to see the disequilibrium of Mummy Elephant being without Baby Elephant to fully appreciate when Mummy Elephant ends up reunited with Baby Elephant later on in the film either. I can appreciate Mummy Elephant being with Baby Elephant regardless of previous trials and tribulations so just give me mummy elephants with their baby elephants and then I won’t be craving a Southern Comfort at 10.40 in the fucking morning!!!

2019-01-16The next day the same animals are being loaded onto a train. Oh yeah, and by the way, the train talks. Based on my experience with Disney thus far, I can only assume they’re being trafficked. At this point we have a fusion of narration and music, i.e. a singing narrator. It’s hideous. Although I love the idea of some dude singing about what’s going on for the entire film. Ah here’s the stork with the elephant, better late than never. He has been struggling to find Mummy Elephant but now he’s catching up with the train. A group of prostitute elephants wave at the stork and say “cooey!” from their wagon. Business must be bad if they’re trying to offer a stork a good time.

The stork enters the wagon and gives “Jumbo Junior” to his Mum. Apparently, he was brought to her from heaven and it’s his birthday. What, was he reincarnated? Was he actually born today?! All too confusing.

Jumbo is very cute. His, now very happy, mum (see, was that so fucking difficult?) and the prostitute elephants certainly agree. Then Jumbo Jr. sneezes and big ears pop out. Apparently, African elephants develop bigger ears by being very sneezy as infants then. #Disneyscience. The hooker elephants take the piss out of him because of it. He’s just a baby! What complete bitches. I know Walt likes to kill a cartoon animal every now and then, and I hope these whores are next.

So it turns out the train is transporting circus animals to the next town. We see the tent being erected in a storm by a load of faceless black men. In 1941 it evidently wasn’t deemed important enough to give black men faces…

The next day the animals get paraded through the town. I really, really hate circuses anyway and this shit doesn’t help me warm to them. All the people are laughing at Jumbo’s (or Dumbo’s as he’s now being called) ears. This sort of shit doesn’t make me warm to people much either, even if it is a cartoon. It’s a cute elephant and everyone’s being a total arsehole to him.

2019-01-16 (27)Later Dumbo gets washed and plays with Mummy, even though his big ears keep getting in the way. Some of the bastard children who were taking the piss out of Dumbo earlier return for another round of abuse. I feel that if they have nothing to better to do than track down an elephant with big ears so they can laugh at it again, they must have very boring lives. Is this what it was like before Playstations? The main kid dishing out the abuse looks remarkably like one of boys that was turned into a ‘Donkey slave’ in Pinocchio. Now if you happened to have read my previous reviews, you may have possibly noticed that I didn’t exactly warm to the donkey trafficking, as it seemed a horrifically over-the-top punishment just for being a naughty boy. However, if it turns out the crime was verbally abusing a cute baby elephant just because it has big ears, I will be forced to admit I was too hasty to judge, and those little shits deserve everything they get. I would also then happily add a point onto my score for Pinocchio as a reward, as it would have finally given me the closure I need. I’m deducting a point from this film however, as there’s too many bastards in it.

Fortunately, Mummy Elephant is on it and gives the kids what’s coming to them. Or at least tries to, as the circus folk intervene and take Mummy away, chain her up in a travelling cage and put a sign saying “Mad Elephant” on the front of it. This prompts Kerry to start crying. I hate Disney. Another point deducted.

The Prostitute Elephants all have a gossip and blame Dumbo for his Mother’s incarceration. Bitches. They all decide to ignore him. A random mouse then appears and scares the crap out of the elephants before enticing Dumbo out and befriending him. The mouse has an idea. He reckons if he can make Dumbo a star, he will no longer be a joke. The mouse then goes outside and hears two of the carnies talking about how they need a new “big climax” to the show. Well now isn’t that just convenient.

When the head carnie dude goes to sleep, the mouse tries a spot of sleep hypnosis in his ear. He tells the snoring man that he needs a climax and the perfect climax is “the little elephant with the big ears”. I question whether its wise to tell a sleeping man that he needs an elephant to climax. If it’s true that it’s easy for the brain to misinterpret subliminal messages, then there is a rather unpleasant rabbit-hole that can be fallen down here with this plan. Or elephant-hole. I really should move on…

We then skip to the following night’s show and the elephants are headlining proceedings and aren’t in therapy, so I guess the plan worked as intended. Actually, having started to watch their act I’m not so sure…

I mean it’s definitely a bit kinky.

Picture 1Definitely a bit angry.

Picture 2

Definitely a bit… ok seriously, what the fuck is going on here?

Picture 3

Eventually they pile up onto what I can only assume is the world’s first elephant-sex-wall, and the climax will be Dumbo flipping onto the top of it. The whole thing is eeever so slightly unrealistic but ok, the magic of cartoon and all that, I’ll let it go. Dumbo however, for some strange reason, is somewhat nervous about being flipped onto the top of a giant elephant-wall in front of a room full of people without any practice. As a result, he fucks the whole thing up a proper treat. It’s hardly his fault but I get the feeling he will be blamed anyway as it seems everyone else in this film apart from the mouse and his mum are total dickheads.

The next day, following this whimper of “a climax”, the elephants are doing their usual gossiping thing whilst covered in bandages. God, I hate them. They’re discussing how Dumbo is now going to be a clown in the show as punishment for ruining “the climax”. He got no training!!! Sick of this film. Apparently, him being a clown is a source of great shame and as far as they’re concerned, “he is no longer an elephant”.

The next night Dumbo is a weird-clown-elephant-baby in the performance, that is stuck on the top of a building while other clowns get up to all sorts of hijinks while trying to rescue him and put out the fire. The circus owners love it. I don’t. In a celebratory mood the owners all get drunk.

Dumbo is sad so the mouse takes him to see his mother. She hugs him with her trunk. I’m an adult male who is spending a morning getting emotional at the enforced separation of a mummy and baby elephant. I am not happy about this. Another point deducted. After the sad (of course it’s fucking sad, it’s fucking Disney) farewell, we re-join the clowns planning a new finale that is dangerous and reckless, but okay because “elephants don’t have feelings”. I expect them all to die (the clowns) or suffer horrific pain as recompense for this, for me to be satisfied with the film’s conclusion. Make the hooker-elephants suffer intensely as well. And the mean kids. Make them all pay! I want justice! But just like Pinocchio, I bet we won’t.

2019-01-16 (19)What we do get however, is a very, very drunk baby elephant and mouse. It comes about after one of the clown’s bottles of alcohol ends up being tipped into a water bucket. A thirsty Dumbo then goes and drinks from it. Really, the problem here is allowing animals to freely wander about, thus making such health and safety problems inevitable. The mouse then falls in the “water” and ends up equally battered. I don’t know the scientific implications of elephants and mice drinking alcohol, but the Disney writers have decided it leads to crazy-ass hallucinations. This hallucination scene is beyond words. I cannot do it justice with words either. It is…. fucked up. Really fucked up. Without giving too many spoilers it contains many things like contorting pink elephant bubbles dancing around while a song called “Pink Elephants on Parade” is sung. I urge everyone to go and watch this segment now…

The next morning Dumbo and his mouse buddy are asleep in a tree. Good effort on their part. That’s how you know you’ve had a good night. Some crows are above them in a tree acting very, very stereotypically black. At least they’ve been given faces I suppose. They decide to wake Dumbo and the mouse up by blowing cigar smoke in their face. Remember that one kids. If you’re at a sleepover and your mate won’t wake up in the morning, then you know what to do. And it must be okay to do so because it’s happened in a kid’s film.

Dumbo and the mouse fall out of the tree. I wish they had given this mouse dude a name as he’s a fairly prominent character, and I’m fed up of just calling him ‘the mouse’… I’ve just checked his name on Wikipedia, and it’s Timothy Q. Mouse. He has a full name including middle initial and they couldn’t be fucked to tell us what is was? Another point deducted.

Dumbo & TQM wonder how they got in a tree. With the help of the racially generic crows, they establish they must have flown with the help of Dumbo’s big ears. The crows then sing a song about how “they’ve never seen an elephant fly”. Ugh.

TMQ realises that he can make Dumbo’s career… take off (that was my joke, see, I could write crap puns for kid’s films…), by presenting everyone with the world’s only flying elephant. Okay hang on here, so this is how we’re going to get to Dumbo becoming a star and a fairy-tale ending, I get that, but I’m curious about the writer’s discussion that led us to this point…

“Right guys, now how do we end this film?”

“Ok ummmmm… How about Dumbo gets turned into a donkey and sold into slavery?”

“George, George, George, listen, I love your enthusiasm, I do. But we already did your Donkey-Trafficking thingy in Pinocchio. We can’t do it again.”

“Ummmmm… How about… ummmmm… I don’t know, Dumbo starts flying and becomes a star?”

“That’s… actually really good George, well done!”

“And he discovers he can fly after getting pissed up with the mouse to the point where he hallucinates pink, elephant-shaped bubbles before waking up in a tree!”

“Okay George, stop. You always take it a bit too far don’t you? Look, we can write a good way to get from A to B here, so let’s put our thinking caps on.”

(After four silent hours)

“Fuck it. Drunk baby elephant and mouse it is. Speaking of drunk, it happy-hour so let’s call it a day.”


After TMQ gives the crows a sob story about poor Dumbo, the crows agree to help Dumbo to fly again. As Dumbo is dubious, they use some cunning psychology, and give him “a magic feather” that will give him “the power” to fly. There’s about three minutes of the film remaining at this point, I get a very strong suspicion that they will be successful as there isn’t enough time for a plan B, unless the ending they’re going for is Dumbo falling to his death. Again, this is Disney, so I cannot completely rule out such misery. With three minutes remaining it also means there probably isn’t enough time to kill enough of the films many arseholes. So once again, too many people and prostitute-elephants are going to get away with shit that they shouldn’t.

Obviously The “magic feather” works, and Dumbo starts flying. Whilst airborne, he knocks over some telegraph poles.


“Hi, phone company? Could you please tell me why we didn’t have a working phone line for the previous two weeks please?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but our lines were brought down by a flying baby elephant……. You don’t believe me, do you?”


2019-01-16 (18)That night at the circus, “the biggest climax of all time” or whatever the hell it’s called, seems to involve throwing a baby elephant off something ridiculously high. After some moderate suspense involving the dropping of the “magic feather” whilst falling, Dumbo flies and becomes a mega-star. He gets insured for $1,000,000, reunited with his mum and TQM becomes his manager.

This is all very nice and a happy ending, don’t get me wrong. But it all happens in the last minute of the film, the hooker-elephants’ only punishment for their bitchiness is to have peanuts shot at them as Dumbo flies around. The circus owners’ punishment for their obvious cruelty and lack of empathy towards animals is to OWN A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL ATTRACTION AND GET RICH. Complete bullshit. Again, the problem with this film, just like Snow White, just like The Reluctant Dragon, is that the ending is rushed and unsatisfying in my opinion.

Most people regard this film as exceptional. It has a 97% average rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, I’m wondering why I just didn’t enjoy it?! Am I the only person? If anyone else feels the same way, then please let me know!  At the end of the day, I know I will struggle to enjoy any film with meanness to animals or mummy/son trauma, so I hope this won’t be a regular occurrence. Fingers crossed the next film will lighten the emotional load a bit. It’s Bambi next?

Oh fuck.


Ben 🙄


Misguided Reviews

The Reluctant Dragon

So Ben gave Fantasia a slightly higher score than I did. I suppose he has less to compare the film to than I do in the sense of ‘Disney films on-a-whole’. Little concerned by what he thought he was seeing on the screen for part of ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ segment (although thinking back to when we were watching it, it might’ve been me that mentioned the initial ‘fish-looking-like-sperm’. #madeforeachother.

Interested to see what we both think of The Reluctant Dragon’ as it was my first time watching it too, so let’s go!

The Reluctant Dragon was the fourth film to come out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS). The majority of the film is live-action and follows a man called Robert Benchley as he heads to the WDAS with the aim of persuading Mr Disney to make his book ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ into an animated film. He ends up having a tour of the studio, whilst trying to avoid someone (I can’t remember why… I zoned out briefly while watching and missed it) and is shown all the different components that go into making a Disney film (the animation, the music, the sound effects, etc…). Eventually he meets Walt and we get to see the animated film of The Reluctant Dragon.

I found this film to be a pleasant surprise. Robert Benchley was engaging (even if he did seem to hit-on every woman at the studio that was below a certain age, despite him being at the studio due to his wife’s encouragement) and it was genuinely really interesting to see all the components that go into an animated film in the 1940s. The cartoon in the middle about the baby I found to drag on for too long and not be an overly entertaining story. The real highlight of the film, for me, was the title animation. The ‘campness’ of the dragon was hilarious and the fact that the ‘brave knight’ was, at times, equally so just made the whole thing a delight to watch. All-in-all, I would recommend checking this little gem out.


Kerry 😁

For the first time, I have not been prepped or given any warning for what I’m about to encounter as Kerry hasn’t seen this film either. Why hasn’t she watched it? Why has a self-confessed Disney fanatic not been fussed enough to find this film? She sat through Pinocchio multiple times for crying out loud and has chosen to not watch this even once?!pic 1                                                      The intro starts in usual Disney fashion, except this time it’s so good they couldn’t even be arsed to make it in colour. The horns are making some really weird noises here as well. The very first screen we see of the actual film is this:

Erm… right. Is this the animation quality we’re dealing with here?! No wonder this isn’t part of the conversation regarding Disney classics. Is this why Kerry hasn’t watched it?! I can’t blame her. A couple of seconds later however, the camera pans out to this:

pic 2

Ah, it’s a woman holding a book! And it’s a real woman! My mind is blown right now. I mean, I know we had the much-beloved Deems Taylor and an orchestra in the last film, but I assumed we were back to animation here. Well with some real people to work with, maybe we’ll have a more sensible storyline with some more complex and relatable characters. We switch to the woman’s husband who’s shooting fake ducks whilst lying on a dingy in a swimming pool. Maybe not then.

The book the woman was reading turns out to have been written by the couple’s nephew and she thinks the husband should go to Walt Disney himself to see if he will buy it and turn it into a film. Why the nephew doesn’t get to do it, I don’t know. Anyway, off they go.

Mr and Mrs Benchley reach the studios and to his dismay she tells him she’s not going in with him and she’s going shopping instead. Oh that’s nice! Way to stay and show moral support for your nervous husband on what is potentially his big break!!! Appalling. I reckon she must be having an affair, and this is a sure-fire way to keep him out of the way. In a short while, the other man is going to be saying:

“How did you get rid of your husband this afternoon then?”

“I told him to take that silly book my Nephew’s written down to the Walt Disney Studios to see if Walt Disney will buy it.”

“Seriously, he bought that?! And he’s actually gone down there? What a dumbass!”

“Oh that’s nothing, did you know his latest hobby is shooting fake ducks whilst lying on a dingy in our swimming pool…?”


Mr Benchley meets a security guard who will take him to see Walt. The guard decides to tell him about the size of Disney studios and other fascinating facts like the chemical makeup of the soil it’s built on (seriously). No wonder this film is forgotten. As I’m typing this review, I’ve just totally lost my train of thought. The reason for this is that Kerry has just asked our six-year-old son what he wants to be when he is older. His response is “I want to be a fireman so I can climb trees and rescue cats. And dogs and hats.” Amazing. How can I concentrate now?!

I obviously lost concentration when watching the film as well, as in my notes, the security guard has vanished Mr Benchley is stumbling into a skeleton in the middle of an elephant drawing class. There’s a real elephant as a model too. Not quite sure how that happened. Basically, a load of animators are practicing how to draw Dumbo, which is the next Disney film they released. I’m starting to wonder if this movie is going to be one giant shameless advertisement for their next animation film. For some reason all the animators are asking for his opinion on their drawings! I’m pretty confident that if some random dude stumbles into your work unannounced, the first thing you would do would not be to ask him to CRITIQUE YOUR WORK! Furthermore, everyone is being really unnecessarily mean about elephants by saying how stupid they are. Dicks.

Robert (I’ve just looked up his name, so I don’t spend the whole film calling him Mr Benchley. Mr Benchley sounds like the name of a boss in a softcore porn film. I bet I’m the only person who thought this) leaves the animation room and somehow finds himself in the orchestra room. The lack of general security is questionable. He sits down, as you do, to watch the orchestra perform. A woman walks in.

Now I want to talk about this Woman. In particular, I want to talk about what she has on her head.

pic 3

Actually, I want to talk about her coat as well, but we’ll get to that.

I’ve come up with a few ideas as to what this thing on her head is supposed to be, and I think this is game that is fun for the whole family to try and answer. It could be water pouring out of a cave entrance. It could be a pigeon wearing a travelling cloak. It could be a Dementor from Harry Potter trying to cradle milk. It could be a silly hat. As to what her coat is requires no guesswork. It’s a fancy-dress Gorilla costume. That’s obvious. She walks over to a microphone and I was expecting her to start singing opera. Or some vocal monstrosity similar to Edith Piaf. She starts singing like a chicken and does a scarily good job (honestly, I think I prefer it to Edith Piaf. But then I’d prefer Snow White’s singing to Edith Piaf… Ok maybe that’s pushing it…). Then a guy starts singing with her in Donald Ducks voice. Very entertaining. When they finish, Robert asks if they can do a dragon’s voice for his story. To help them out, he gets down on all fours and pretends to be a dragon. I bet they were lost for ideas until he did this.

The security guard reappears however and leads him away. Until the guard loses him again. How irresponsible. Is nice to think guards could be so laid-back back then. The early 1940’s must have been a very peaceful time…

Robert then finds himself in the sound-effects room. Instead of telling him to bugger off, everybody in the room shows him how they do all their sound effects. We watch a train goi2019-01-15ng along a track on a screen as they do their demonstrations. This is actually fascinating to see and describing the effects won’t do them justice, but I strongly recommend watching this to see the ingenious ways various sounds that we take for granted in films were made before the age of computers. I never appreciated the lengths they had to go to in order to achieve these effects, and it gives me a new sense of appreciation for the resulting films (doesn’t mean I enjoy the stories though). There’s a woman there who is making the noises of a train using some contraption. The sexual tension between her and Robert is palpable. Well I think it is anyway. After said train crashes and the sound effects team drop hundreds of pots and pans to achieve a fitting sound effect, he asks her the apt line, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to wreck a real train?”

He wanders into another room and the film suddenly goes from black and white to colour! You mean I’ve been having to watch the first half of the film in black and white for no reason? They do this to demonstrate technicolour or something…

Ah, the train sound lady has reappeared again to show him round this room. I knew there was sexual tension, she cannot stay away from him. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Robert was forced to go down to the Disney studios by his wife only for him to meet a new woman that he starts having a fling with whilst he’s there? I predict the next room they end up in will be the broom cupboard. We see more interesting stuff with how they do the slides for a Donald Duck cartoon. I’m enjoying this more than any of the previous Disney films I’ve watch thus far.

2019-01-16 (80)They then take themselves and their presumably burning loins to the paint room next. Ok, I don’t say this often, but I really want to eat the paint. It looks delicious. We see how they draw Bambi. Robert says, “Aw, ain’t he cute!” I really want them to reply, “Yeah, next we’re going to draw his mum being shot!”

He moves on to yet another room, this time it’s the all important ‘baby-sound-effects’ room. Recognizing that that would be a bit unnecessary to dedicate a whole room to just that, they double it up as a ‘drawing-baby-in-top hat’ room too. The film was made in 1941. It’s now 2020. That baby is now about 80. Mind completely blown. Right now, that very baby is now probably going around to relatives’ houses complaining about his dodgy hips and ‘minorities’, or whatever 80-year-old white American males do.

The people in this room decide to show Robert everything they do in their work. Just like everyone else has done. I’m sorry but in reality, he would be told to get out, not be given a personalised guided tour! If I take my kids down to the studios, can I expect them to be given the same treatment?! No chance, they wouldn’t even get through the front door. THIS IS ALL LIES! He’s given a preview screening of their new cartoon. Its about a genius baby. It’s long and boring and I can’t be bothered to go into it any further…

When it mercifully finishes, he hides from the guard and walks into another room that is full of ducks on the wall. Once again, the dude in there seems grateful just to have some outside human contact and can’t wait to show him the cartoon he’s making. I reckon all the Walt Disney staff have balls and chains on their feet so they can never leave. This time it’s a long Goofy cartoon. Its about how to learn to ride a horse. It’s a lot more fun than the genius baby story but still drags on and isn’t worth discussing much further.

2019-01-15 (4)Finally after seeing a dude panting in a mirror to inspire him, before drawing Pluto, the security guard finally catches up with Robert and takes him to Walt Disney. So this is what Walt Disney looks like! An authoritarian pornstar. Sort of expected as much. Walt decides to give Robert yet another preview of an animation they’re making.

A town are extremely worried about a nearby dragon. We then switch to the dragon who is showering under a waterfall and, my, that is one camp dragon. As stereotypically ‘camp’ a dragon as you would ever likely see. A boy from the village, though, has appeared to warn the dragon that a knight is going to try and destroy him to save the village. Bearing in mind this is a village in 1941 I wonder if they want to attack him because dragons are a fierce danger or because they find him a little too ‘extra’?

The boy goes to ‘Sir Giles the dragon killer’ to try and convince him not to kill said dragon. Sir Giles is an old toff who evidently likes revealing himself. Once dressed, the boy takes him to meet the dragon.

2019-01-20 (4)The dragon, true to ‘camp and not at all fierce’ form, greets him by singing “Hello boy, I’m having a picnic!” The boy responds, “This is Sir Giles, the dragon killer.” The dragon packs up the picnic. To diffuse the tension the boy demonstrates how both dragon and dragon-killer share a love of poetry. So the dragon sings a song about upside-down cakes and Sir Giles responds by singing about radishes. Now bonded, they agree to have a fake fight, so the villagers are happy, Sir Giles looks brave and dragon isn’t dead.

The next day the villagers are cashing in on the upcoming fight by selling balloons and taking bets amongst other things. The dragon and Sir Giles have their fake fight; the dragon pretends to be defeated and Sir Giles claims to have trained and ‘reformed’ him so they can all live happily ever after. It was quite enjoyable, by far the best cartoon sequence of the film and probably the most enjoyable thing I’ve watched so far on this epic Disney slog journey.

The final scene is Robert being taken home by his now exasperated (yet presumably sexually satisfied) wife berating him for being too slow to pitch his idea to Walt Disney. For in that time he was wandering around the studio, the Reluctant Dragon had already been made. Which begs a few questions. Firstly, were the staff at Walt Disney Studios intentionally stalling Robert so they could pinch the idea and turn it into a film? Secondly, if Robert was only a few hours slow in pitching his idea to Walt, does that mean they made the whole cartoon in the time he was meandering around the studios? Thirdly, did Robert and train-noise-lady ever get to act on their mutual sexual desires before Mrs Benchley returned from shopping / other man?

So many questions and a slightly rushed, unsatisfying ending, slightly dampened what was otherwise a mostly fun film. The genius baby cartoon was rubbish and a few sections dragged but this was in my mind, a vast improvement on Pinocchio and Fantasia. The demonstrations on 1940’s animation-making techniques was interesting and delivered in a highly entertaining way. I think it’s slightly unfortunate that this is commonly regarded as a ‘forgotten’ Disney film, but I suppose it could be regarded as more of a documentary than as a full-length-feature, and certainly not a standard Disney classic. In my mind at least, that’s a good thing.


Ben 🙄

Misguided Reviews


So Ben didn’t like Pinocchio, eh. Never would’ve guessed from the eight A4 pages of notes he took during and his constant groaning throughout. If he thought that film was “trippy”, Alice In Wonderland is gonna blow his mind! On the upside, we agreed on our disdain. Still, onwards and upwards!

Fantasia. The third offering from the Walt Disney Animation Studios graced our screens for the first time on 13th November 1940 (I mean, didn’t grace my screen. I wasn’t born for another 43 years!). It was an interesting direction for Disney, it only being the third film released and possibly a bit risky, following the box offices smashes of Snow White and Pinocchio being so straight-forward and story-led (like your average film). The ‘film’ consists of 8 different animated segments, set to pieces of well-known classical music. The idea came about after Disney had created the Sorcerers Apprentice for their ‘Silly Symphonies’ (little short films they make of silly… little tunes and stuff) and it ended up costing them a lot more than planned. So, they decided to make an entire feature film around it, adding in another 7 short films to it, resulting in ‘Fantasia’.

The film is presented and narrated by the composer Deems Taylor and the musical pieces are performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, who are composed by Leopold Stokowski. The 8 films are as follows.

  • Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Nutcracker Suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas
  • Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
  • Intermission/Meet the Soundtrack
  • The Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli
  • Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky and Ave Maria by Franz Schubert

My overall opinion on Fantasia is that it is good for what it is, but just isn’t close to the entertainment value of many other Disney films. I can see what they were trying to do but with Disney generally being aimed at children (although obviously enjoyed by all ages), I can’t see how it would be enjoyed by the target audience.


This could be interesting.  I knew the first two films were long cartoons with a conventional (if donkey trafficking can be described as conventional) story to work from. This is classical music with some cartoons added? Ok, let’s see what happens.

The film starts with orchestra. Except it’s the orchestra sound checking. The film goes on for more than two hours so surely they could have trimmed this off. We are now introduced to the “Master of Ceremonies” for the film, none other than the one and only Deems Taylor. Who the fuck is Deems Taylor? He is exquisitely dressed. Seriously overdressed considering this is a children’s film. I mean look at him:


Is this the sort of character that enthralled kids circa 1940? If that’s the case, then this film really hasn’t aged well. You would NEVER have anything like this today. What you probably would have for today’s sensory-bombarded-five-second-attention-span-bastard-children is this:


I expect when Deems starts to lose the children’s attention he wins them over with his party trick of long division? Maybe when he wants to show his reckless side, he will remove his bow-tie? He looks like a Bond villain’s accountant. Considering the film is the edge-of-your-seats-rollercoaster that is classical music, at least this isn’t false advertising I suppose.

The first track is ‘Toccata and Fugue in D minorby Johann Sebastian Bach. Read that again bearing in mind this is a film designed for youngsters to enjoy. Clearly, this is an age where kids weren’t complete morons. Today he would be introducing Baby Shark performed by some patronising performing arts students. Evolution my arse. The song starts and there are shadows moving in time to the music. How can I review this?! I like the music but there is not much going on. It’s fairly hypnotic though. As the song progresses, I realize this is really artsy and pretentious, which I wasn’t expecting. I really like it though. It works. And it is extremely clever. The thing though, is that we are now in the age of digital visualizers that can instantaneously create generated effects very similar to this, and as convenient as that is for stoners the world over, it takes away the novelty factor for a feature film such as this. To emphasize this point, my daughter has just left the room in under fifteen minutes complaining it’s quite trippy and not very interesting. Definitely not for todays teenagers and she is a pretty damn intelligent one too.

For those of us that enjoy some classical music (and I very much do, although personally I am particularly fond of the modern, often referred to as neo-classical, music that would often be found on a soundtrack to a 21st Century film), this is a pleasure to listen to. However, in my mind at least, we have images of Penises in clouds accompanying it. When I was young, I used to look for the outlines of animals and faces in clouds, but never penises (Peni? Penii? A flock of Penis?). But that is what I’m doing here. While listening to Bach. Mind blown.

It finishes and Deems reappears to tell a joke. Ok he doesn’t tell a joke but his bow-tie is as straight as if it has been checked with a spirit level. That should keep the kids happy.

Next, we have ‘The Nutcracker Suiteby Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  The song sounds familiar this time2019-01-04 (27) and we are treated to a fairy pissing around with flowers. The fairy then proceeds to wake up another naked fairy in a flower. They both then piss around for a while before we cut to a family of Chinese toadstools having a bit of a jig. Following this we have flowers dancing to the music from the Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut adverts, that were common in the UK twenty years ago. The animation is all very good here and it shows a vivid imagination at work, but would I choose to watch it in my own time? Good God no!

As the song continues, we see various oddities in an underwater cave. The usual. Shy fish. What look like sperm dancing in a testicle. Black sperm making a vagina. A flirtatious female sperm fish with a resting bitch face. I am really interested to see when other people watch this if their minds go down this same “everything-is-sperm” rabbit-hole, or if I’m just interpreting the drawings this way due to some form of latent damage.

The piece finishes with a naked fairy turning loads of things gold. Great. Only just realized the piece has been taking us through the seasons. I think I got too distracted with sperm and naked fairies.

Ah, Deems is back to entertain us. Actually, he’s just here to introduce the next piece, Paul Dukas’s ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Actually, he doesn’t introduce it, he waffles on and gives a detailed description and complete spoilers to the entire upcoming piece. Thanks Deems. Anyway, Mickey Mouse is playing the apprentice here and the sorcerer is being played by… some old dude. Mickey Mouse has got a job carrying water but is too lazy to carry the water himself, so he bewitches a broom to carry the water for him.  The broom keeps spilling water, which begs the question why he couldn’t bewitch something with better dexterity. Mickey falls asleep and has a strange dream where he plays with the sky, not sure how else to explain this. He pisses around with the stars anyway (probably until the middle-aged fairy from Pinocchio transforms into her mythical spirit form and tells him to cut that shit out). When he wakes up, he realizes the broom has got all kinds of carried-away bringing water and caused a bloody great flood.

Mickey decides the only solution is to brutally murder the broom with an axe. Ok I know the broom went somewhat overboard but it was only following instructions and only had good intentions. Karma intervenes however and the shards of broom all spring to life and become brooms themselves, to continue to bring more water to the now truly flooded room. Fortunately, the sorcerer appears to sort shit out. Mickey is then sent back to work and receives a clout withMickey and Conductor the broom from the somewhat angry Sorcerer as punishment for being a complete dick. Mickey suddenly appears in 1940 to suck up to the conductor who gives him some love in return. End.

Happily, Deems Taylor has been prised away from the coke and groupies long enough to deliver his spoiler-laden introduction to Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring. This piece will take us on a journey from Earths beginnings through millions of years to the extinction of the dinosaurs. I better get comfortable then. Also, we are guaranteed the happy ending of the mass death of an entire species.

We start at the edge of the universe and we zoom in until we reach earth which is molten red. I’m not really liking the music in this one so far. In fairness, most of the music has all sounded quite similar hence my lack of talking about it. Also, and maybe this is just me, there is a limit to how much interest can be extracted from blabbering on about the interplay with the trumpets and violins etc. (If you want a meticulous account of the interplay between trumpets and violins, then you should look elsewhere as this blog won’t be aimed at you).

Time speeds up and we start to see the first signs of life appear on our planet. It is a very educational piece as prior to this I was completely unaware that the first life forms on our humble planet were green translucent robot sperm (if you want a review in which many of the animations are deciphered as man-spume then look no further as this blog is aimed at you!). We fast forward through evolution in the way we were all taught at school. You know, green translucent robotFlying dinosaur sperm > ugly fish > really ugly fish > dinosaurs. As the years continue to pass (and the music in this piece is boring me enough that it feels like it could be in real-time), the sky becomes full of Pterodactyl’s, which I believe is Latin for ‘Evil-sky-reptile-thingy’. They proceed to eat some green gunk to some horrible music.

We have some cute baby triceratops happily grazing (do dinosaurs graze?) with a load of other dinosaurs before what appears to be a giant robot dinosaur turns up to scare the shit out of all of them (I’m sure your local museum will provide further details). Eventually it gets really hot, the dinosaurs die. The end.

I NEED A BREAK!!! Fortunately, it’s now an intermission. We all need it. Pause button has been pressed.

So, what would be a good way to keep the kids who have already sat through 70 minutes of pure unadulterated classical music interested and stop them fidgeting? I know what you’re thinking. and I whole-heartedly agree, I’m thinking it too. And fortunately, so do the orchestra. Good, so we all agree then. ‘Free-form jazz’ it is!!!! Seriously. The orchestra are playing ‘free form jazz’.

Now the orchestra has got its wild craziness out of its system we can be reacquainted with the ‘wild-crazy’ King himself, Deems Taylor. He wants to introduce us to someone, but who could it be? I know what my guess is. He is introducing us to… the soundtrack. What? Ok, that’s weird. It’s a line that responds to noise from different instruments. It’s quite good fun, the kids would find it funny and takes us back to a time when a  moving drawn line was a technological marvel. Right now, I can’t believe I’m reviewing a line on a screen. In case you were wondering, my guess was that he was going to introduce us to his own personal Gimp. You win some, you lose some.

The next piece is “The Pastoral Symphonyby Beethoven. It’s a story about a day in the country. Beethoven set it in Germany but as a day in the country in Germany may be somewhat uneventful Disney have moved it to Mount Olympus. Naturally. So we are going to see many Unicorns and Centaurs etc. I know all this because Deems has explained exactly what will happen in explicit detail. He really must love the sound of his own voice or think that any element of surprise may overexcite the children a little too much.

We have baby unicorns. Really cute actually. Little fawn things playing woodwinds next. Less cute. And finally, we have Pegasus’s (or is it Pegasii?) They all have a good frolic. In the clouds. Deems promised us that this piece had a clear story but thus far I’m just staring at frolicking Pegasii so not convinced yet.

In the water we have some… yup… topless girls. Somewhat unexpected, but ok. As one of them walks out of the lake it becomes apparent that she has a body of a horse. It’s a bit like looking down and discovering a naked girl is in fact a ladyboy but even more disconcerting. From nude Centaurette’s to nude Cherubs next. They’re making a hat out of flowers and stick it on a girl Centaurette’s head. It looks stupid. They stick some flowers into it. Yeah that will help.

Here comes a Centaur. Looks like He-Man mixed with a gameshow host. Mixed with a horse. Other centaurs join him. One by one they pair up with Centaurette’s like some weird swinger’s party. The Cherub’s cheer up a miserable Centaurette with some music. It appears to have worked with the added side-effect of insatiable horniness. A Centaur exploits this aural Viagra and takes her behind a curtain for a damn good seeing to.Bacchus

A fat old drunken dude arrives on a weird donkey (presumably procured from Pleasure Island in Pinocchio), I think it might be a unicorn runt, but its hard to tell, and all the Centaurs and their Ho’s, Cherubs and Pegasii etc proceed to get drunk with him.

God of course appears, and he is very angry. I think its Zeus, but mythology was never my strong suit. Perhaps because I hate it. God is going to punish the heathens for having fun now. Those debaucherous bastards. For shame! The music has got really angry too. Makes you wonder what the hell went on in Beethoven’s afternoon in the German Countryside to warrant such aggressive music. Perhaps he tripped and rolled down a hill into animal faeces? Or maybe he was eating a beetroot sandwich whilst wearing a brand-new expensive white shirt when much to his dismay, as he takes his first bite, his wife gets trampled by cows? After wrecking shit, Zeus has a nap. Everything is nice again. Eventually the sun sets and everyone sleeps.

Our favourite Master of Ceremonies is back (or as the kids say, MC Deemz) to spoil the plot twists of another story. The next piece is “Dance of the Hoursby Ponchielli. And it’s a ballet. So, the first scene starts wi…. Wait, fucking ballet? I’ve sat through nearly one hundred minutes of this and I’m supposed to watch fucking ballet? If you have an aversion to bad language skip forward to the next piece as ballet deeply angers me.

So, the scene starts with a girl Ostrich. Doing ballet. I really fucking hate ballet so much, this is torture. What makes it worse is that it is not just fucking ballet but fucking cartoon fucking ostriches doing fucking ballet. Ok look, this isn’t working out, I tell you what, I’ll talk about something else while this is going on and I’ll only go back to it if something interesting happens.

So, I’m currently drinking an ale that has been made with banana of all things. It tastes a lot like liquid banana bread, and the flavour generally is surpri… Oh my god A hippo is about to be gangbanged by a herd of elephants. Ah, alas and alack they just do ballet together. So, the flavour generally is surprisingly nice, but I’m unlikely to buy it again. God I’m feeling peckish now, time for crisps. Ok I give up, there’s lots of stuff happening involving hippo’s, elephants and crocodiles but I just can’t focus on it. If anyone else out there is disappointed with my efforts on this piece, feel free to write your own review for it, email it to the wife at Kerry@disneyguideforthemisguided.com  and I’ll post it at a later date. But for now, I’m only going to add anything else for this particular section if something interests me…'Misguided' Image

The last piece is “Night on a Bald Mountain(wait, is it quoting nits that travel from my kids heads to mine?) by Modest Mussorgsky (who the hell is that? I’ve heard of all the other composers but ‘Modest Mussorgsky’?! Maybe he didn’t achieve as great a fame as he could have because he was too… what’s the word… humble), mashed up with “Ave Mariaby Schubert. I hate “Ave Maria” even more than I hate ballet. And if you hadn’t noticed, I really don’t like ballet.

So, we’re in what looks like a German town. As we already established in Pinocchio, that means nothing, and it could just as well be Italy, Turkey or Fiji. Wherever it is, Satan’s bored (I’ve just been corrected that it is in fact ‘Chernabog’, which is a demon) and tickling rooftops. Oh, and raising an army of the dead.  I really don’t like this song either, and we haven’t even got to ‘Ave Maria’ yet. I’m losing the will to live, so I’m going to write my conclusion, and let you know if anything important happens.

I really want to like this film. I think it’s a great concept but as I’ve already discussed, I think the kids of today will not respond to this film in the same way as the kids of yesteryear. Pixar and Marvel, amongst others, provide too many thrills and spills for Stravinsky and co to compete with. By the way the Chernabog looking quite scary here and would probably scare the crap out of some smaller children. Also, with modern technology, a lot of the animations look too retro and some of the ingenious drawing tricks of the age, now lose their novelty somewhat. Back to Mussorgsky and there are some weird creatures with their tits out on the screen.

I suspect most film critics would give this movie great reviews. Music critics tend to like to show they’re on the pulse and down with the kids, and as a result compliment trendiness and criticize pretention. Film critics on the other hand, love to show how they understand and revere art, and the more pretentious it is the better. And let’s face it, Fantasia is pretty pretentious. Fucking ‘Ave Maria’ is playing, I need to wrap this up. The fact is, it’s a difficult one to review as there is no overarching story and essentially its just been TWO HOURS of classical music, save for a free-form jazz interlude with some drawing’s underneath. The last two pieces in particular didn’t hold my attention, but I think you have probably already figured that bit out. The film is over, and I feel exhausted and mentally drained. And I really hate ballet.

Rating:  5.5/10

Disney Discussions

Evolution of Feminism Through Disney Princesses

During his review of Snow White, Ben questioned my integrity as a self-proclaimed feminist. Looking at the film from a newbie’s perspective in 2020, as opposed to someone that had watched it since they were approximately four-years-old, he does have a fair point. Let’s look at the evidence against the film from a pro feminist standpoint (and standby, there’s a fair bit). However, before we go any further, I just want to address the fact that I, personally, wouldn’t actually refer to myself as a ‘feminist’ but more of an ‘equalist’. Still, for the purpose of taking a polarised view of the film, I will take the role of ‘feminist’ today.

The film starts with the evil queen asking a mirror whether she is the fairest of the all:

Anti-Feminism Point 1 (AFP1) – The most important concern a woman really has is how physically attractive she is.

She asks this question to a magic mirror, who’s image and voice is clearly male:

AFP2 – Only a male can define a female’s beauty

The mirror tells her that, though previously she held the title, it is now her step-daughter, Snow White’ that is the fairest of them all:

AFP3 – As a woman, once you reach a certain age, you aren’t beautiful anymore. Also, be greatly fearful of younger women. They are a huge threat!

The next scene is of Snow White, dressed in rags (which is never really explained, other than through our assumptions that her paranoid step-mother makes her wear them to try and stop her looking so attractive), singing happily in a courtyard. Nothing too bad here, I guess (except the horrible pitch of her singing voice, but Ben addressed that). Then a prince arrives, serenades her with a song and they seem to instantly fall in love at first sight.

AFP4 – For a women to attract a man, she just needs to look nice (and sing).

AFP5 – For a man to attract a woman, he must merely exist and show some interest (and sing).

We then go back to the Queen, who has concluded that Snow White has got to go and has ordered a huntsman to take her into the forest and kill her.

AFP6 – Women are bitter and jealous of each other and will literally kill to get to the top.

From my experience, this isn’t far from the truth. #notallwomen

Snow WhiteThe huntsman takes Snow White into the woods, but finds her so lovely, that he can’t kill her. I could go for a AFP7 here (being pretty gets you out of anything) but ultimately, she is lovely and he doesn’t want to kill her for that reason. Fair enough. So he tells her what the Queen had ordered him to do and that she needs to run away and never return. Which she does. She comes across a little cottage in the forest, lets herself in, sees it’s filthy and wonders where the woman is to clean the house.

AFP7 – (I don’t even need to try with this one, do I) Women should be the only one’s that clean… anything… ever.

She then sets to cleaning the house.

AFP8 – Women can’t have things untidy and just have to clean if something is dirty.

We then cut to the dwarves in the diamond mine finishing up from their hard day of work and they head home. In the meantime, Snow White has decided to have a nap over three of their beds. Unsurprisingly, they are shocked to find their house clean when they get home and conclude that a monster must be in the house (????)….. stuff happens, but nothing happens in relation to AFPs. Let’s skip ahead.

The Queen has found out that Snow White isn’t actually dead and has poisoned an apple to trick her into eating, which will send into a sleep so deep, that others will think she’s dead. In order to trick SW, the Queen has also disguised herself as an old hag. The next day, the dwarves head off to work, but not before telling Snow White to not leave the house and not answer the door to anyone, as it could be the witch in disguise. Long story short, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing from the Queen to trick Snow White and she eats the poisoned apple.

AFP9 – Women are really stupid and you cannot trust them to look after themselves.

Dwarves find her, think she’s dead, put her in a glass coffin. Several months later (with no question from dwarves as to why she hasn’t decomposed at all), the same Prince rocks up and kisses her ‘corpse’. She wakes up, kiss and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after!

AFP10 – Women need to be rescued by men.

AFP11 – Women have no other aspirations in life, other than to get married. She’s 14! So, looking at the era the film is set in, she’s probably got another 50-60 years to live. What is she going to do in that time? Probably have some children, as that is another one of the few things that women aspire to do, apparently (I have 2 children, so no judgement from me, but it’s not exactly something that all women must aspire to do with their lives), but after that, what? She better get good at needlepoint!

So, Snow White. Not exactly a suitable example of feminism, is it. However, in it’s defence, the film was made in in 1937 and, at that time, that was the norm’ for women and men.

EricNow, I feel it would be unfair to men if I didn’t point our a few ‘anti-man’ points in that film. Specifically in relation to the dwarves. The implication that men living alone never clean their homes, as pretty unfair. That men living alone don’t clean themselves is quite unfair! Not to mention, that 7 adult men thought that there was actually a monster in their house, is making men look just as stupid as women are implied to be… but that’s it. Bearing in mind that this film was mostly likely marketed towards little girls, it does make women look rather pointless and stupid.

Disney ‘princesses’ followed this pattern with a few of the earlier films. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and my beloved Little Mermaid all followed the ‘young woman waiting to be rescued by a man’ premise. Then, in 1991 (54 years after Snow White) the release of Disney’s adaptation of the Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve classic, Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) commenced a change in the previously anti-feminist narrative of the Disney Princess film. The protagonist, Belle, is not in the slightest bit interested in finding a husband, with a real passion for literature and seeing the world. Finally, an ideal role model for the modern girl, you could say. However, it is made clear that this lack of wanting to marry, and her obvious intellect, results in the townspeople expressing that she is ‘strange’, ‘peculiar’ and ‘a beautiful but funny girl’. Disney are providing us with a young woman that neither wants nor needs to be rescued but are, arguably, at the same time pointing out that if you want to be like her, expect to be seen as a Belle and Gastonsocial pariah of sorts. Of course she then goes on to get Stockholm Syndrome. That will teach her for thinking she doesn’t need a man! If you’d let that lovely ‘Alpha Male’ Gaston marry you, you never would’ve ended up locked in a castle by a beast. So not sure if Beauty and the Beast really is that pro-feminist if we break it down.

Let’s move on to our next potential feminist ‘princess’. Jasmine. Ok we have a little bit to work with here. Obviously she is a lot more of an icon in the recent live-action Aladdin, but if we are purely focussing on the animated version… I suppose you could say that it is a feminist move to not agree to an arranged marriage but, if I’m honest, certain cultures throughout the world in 2020 don’t allow women to have the ability to decline who they are betrothed to. I wouldn’t say that this is a specifically feminist move, but more of an ‘entitled princess’ move. A girl in not so prominent a position wouldn’t dare challenge their father for deciding who they marry, as their lives would most likely be at risk for such a brazen mark of disrespect towards the patriarch of their family. So, no, Jasmine is not a feminist ‘princess’ (and, essentially, still gets ‘rescued’ by Aladdin).

Pocohontas. Daughter of the Chief of a Native American Tribe. Again, we have a young woman who’s father has plans for her to marry a man of his choosing. She defiantly falls in love with a white, British man. There’s nothing standing out that make’s Pocohontas a feminist role-model (however, obviously comment below if you can think of something she does that goes against her gender stereotype).

MulanNow we are on to Mulan. One male from every Chinese household must go and fight in the war against the Hun army. As Mulan’s father is elderly and she has no brothers, she dresses as a man and goes off to fight in her father’s place. Total badass feminist, this one. In fact, I would say Mulan was the first official feminist role-model in a Disney Princess film. The only thing that takes anything away from that is that they still feel she needs a love interest (and a strapping Alpha love interest, at that). I don’t have a problem with characters having love interests, I just don’t feel that it is relevant to the story or adds anything to it. Still, Disney has definitely started heading in the right direction and we applaud that!

Following Mulan, I believe that Disney has continued well with it’s princesses becoming stronger and stronger feminist icons for today’s much more equality-driven generations.

  • Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, 2009) is an ambitious waitress who hopes to open her own restaurant. A potential future entrepreneur. The requirement for a love interest is unavoidable due to the entire point of the film (otherwise the film would just be called ‘The Waitress’ and that’s not much of a fairy tale is it… unless that IS a fairy tale for you. Who am I to judge your life’s ambitions!? You do you!), so as progressive characters go, she’s as good a role model as she can They did well.
  • Rapunzel (Tangled, 2010), a stolen princess with magical powers, able to restore youth. Now we are taking a possible backwards step a little here, with Mother Gothel’s obsession with staying young. Just like with Snow White’s stepmother, it may be slightly leaning onto the ‘keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved’ narrative, but I reckon Mother Gothel’s reasoning is more along the lines of a fear of death, rather than of staying young and therefore beautiful. I don’t know for sure, as her motivation isn’t as clear as The Evil Queen’s in Snow White, but we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Arguably, Rapunzel get’s saved by a man, but does she really? She wants to leave the tower and could’ve left at any time, were it not for years of hardcore emotional manipulation by her ‘Mother’. Besides, she handles herself very well (don’t tell a woman to get back in the kitchen, as those cooking tools can double well as weapons, boys) when an intruder (Flynn Ryder) gets into the tower, not to mention the many scrapes she get’s them out of! The ultimate comes at the end of the film when we are told, by Eugene (Flynn), that Rapunzel has proposed to him. That’s our girl!
  • Merida (Brave, 2012) straight up refuses to follow the path that has been decided for her, by her parents (particularly her mother) to marry the eldest son of one of the neighbouring clans. Merida is the ultimate ‘tomboy’ with a love (and strong aptitude) for archery and being in the outdoors. By the end of the film she has bonded with her mother and has managed to get the ‘betrothal’ tradition changed.
  • Anna and Elsa (Frozen, 2014). From the offset, Anna doesn’t appear to be so obvious a feminist icon, in the sense that she falls very quickly in love with the first man that shows her any interest (but, hey, who didn’t do that in their teens, amirite!), but she is in the way that her character is clumsy (not the graceful ‘princess’ of yester-Disney-year) and that she is extremely brave. When Elsa accidently freezes Arendelle and exiles herself to the North Mountain, Anna has no hesitation when she heads off, by herself, to find her sister and bring her home. She does meet Kristoff on her journey, but other than providing transport, Anna does all the ‘heavy lifting’ on the mission. Elsa is the first Disney princess (although, is actually the only Disney Queen in the franchise) that doesn’t have a love interest at all! No betrothals, no guy trying to catch her eye (or girl for that matter, but I’ll be addressing that in a future post). She is the epitome of a strong independent woman that don’t need no man. This is huge for Disney and, in my opinion, probably the biggest step that they took in their feminist evolution, which leads me on to our final ‘princess’…
  • MoanaMoana (… well, ‘Moana’, 2016). The daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island nation, she will be inheriting the title no matter what and is being taught the ropes by her parents. When it becomes clear that a curse, caused by the theft of ‘the heart of Te Fiti’ by a demigod named Maui, is causing the island to essentially die, Moana sets off to sea, to find Maui and return the heart of Te Fiti.

With their more recent offerings, I feel that Disney have really taken huge strides in creating more positive role models for girls. It is truly an evolution of feminism, but I do want to point out that Snow White was released and 1937 and Mulan in 1998. It took them 61 years to give us a ‘princess’ that didn’t need to be rescued (although let’s not ignore the fact that the feminist movement didn’t even start till the 1960’s, so that’s 3 princesses we could discount from this whole argument, in reality). However, since then, they have given us 6 ‘sisters doing for themselves’ in only 20 years.

So I truly believe that Disney are a progressive company, with regards to feminism. Are they progressive in other areas, in particular with regards to race and LGBTQ+ issues? Keep checking Disney Guide For the Misguided for posts on these topics in the near future.

As always, please comment below with any points or opinions that you have on this topic (or just to say that I’m a social justice warrior who should get back in the kitchen, if you just have to get that off your chest!)

Kerry 😁


Misguided Reviews


Ok, so here we are with the next film. Glad that Ben didn’t hate Snow White as much as I thought he might. Yes, I agree. Her singing was questionable. Like she was sat on a washing machine, at times. The gender-stereotyping is something he’s just going to have to deal with (however, look out for my post on the evolution of feminism in Disney, which will be going up on Disney GFTM this Friday Sunday…. Oops!).

2019-01-04 (3)On 7th February 1940, Walt Disney Animation Studios released it’s second film, Pinocchio. Based on the 1883 book ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’, by Italian author Carlo Collodi, it tells the story of a woodcarver named Geppetto who creates a puppet that he calls Pinocchio. The puppet comes to life, acts like a little shit towards his creator and eventually gets hung by a fox and cat. Lovely! So naturally Disney said, “Brilliant! Let’s make it into a children’s film”. Ok, so he isn’t quite as much of a shit in this adaptation and doesn’t get hung at the end but, well.

Let’s start with the positives. Jiminy Cricket is entertaining and Figaro & Cleo are cute. I remember laughing out loud and then ‘whizzing back’ (video, y’see) the part where Honest John spots Pinocchio for the first time and casually says “Oh look, little wooden boy”, when I was a child. I remember my brother and I watching this film a lot back then.

Then, I remember being at the Walt Disney World, Disney Studios park, when I was 17, and walking through ‘Walt Disney Presents’. At the end you sit in a small theatre and watch ‘A Film Tribute in Walt’s Own Words’, where it show’s various scenes from some of the earlier Disney films. One of the scenes was the part in Pinocchio when Lampwick turns into a donkey, screaming “Help me! Help me! Mama! Mamaaa!!!” and I remember (despite being 17) feeling genuinely quite horrified. It seems that it’s only when you’re an adult you realise how utterly terrifying that scene really is. It changed my opinion of the film from then onwards and I’ve never felt the same about it. Thankfully, this opinion was validated when I told my friend that we were about to review Pinocchio and even she replied with, “Oh my god, that’s film’s scary. The boys turned into donkeys”. I need to add that this is someone who loves the ‘Saw’ film series, so she is not easily scared by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t like the fact that there is no closure on the ‘children-turning-into-donkeys’ part of the story. Yes, they were ‘stupid little boys’, but they are just that. ‘Little boys’. Savage!

Anyway, the film has some good points, but generally it’s just not a nice story.



So here we are again, film number 2 – ‘Pinocchio’.  Once again I will be providing a ‘say what I see’ review of proceedings, and once again it will contain spoilers throughout. I found Snow White bearable (in places), and I’ve even been brave enough to approach this one with just beer and nothing stronger.

The only pretalk preparation I’ve received regarding this film is that it’s quite disturbing.  What a great way to sell it to me.  I don’t ‘do’ disturbing.  I actively avoid disturbing.  I truly hate those women’s magazines packed with harrowing stories of wives being molested as they watch their husband fall off a cliff or explode almost as much as I hate the women who take perverse pleasure in reading it.  And here I am watching a film that’s “disturbing”.  A kid’s film at that.  Joy.

We have an intro that I can’t really distinguish from the intro of Snow White.  Maybe it will actually be Tom and Jerry this time?  Oh for Christ’s sake, Kerry is welling up as she listens to ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’.  I know it’s annoying and is going on far too long but…. oh, she’s singing, I think she’s enjoying it.  Each to their own, I guess.

2019-01-04 (12)We start with a dude that had one-upped the Dwarves for being vertically-challenged, so I’m guessing by film twelve we won’t be able to even see some of the characters.  It turns out he’s a cricket.  I’ll let him off.  He’s taking us on a journey to…. I want to say Switzerland?  It looks Swiss, but Pinocchio? Sounds Italian.  We go to the workshop of Geppetto, ok, definitely Italian then.  Or the Italian speaking part of Switzerland?  I am overthinking this way too much.  This Jiminy Cricket is an entertaining character. I already have a “Dwarf” level of respect for him and they were easily the best thing in ‘Snow White’.  He’s wandering round talking and poking toys in the penis with his umbrella and we switch to a cat and an old guy, presumably Geppetto…

He sounds slightly German, so perhaps he is Swiss after all, ok I’ve got to stop being side-tracked by this.  Whilst Jiminy Cricket pervs on a figurine of a woman with a phenomenal booty, Geppetto pisses around with a wooden-toy boy on strings.  As you do.  He wants to name him Pinocchio, but the pet Cat and Pet Goldfish don’t like the name.  They’re very intelligent pets then, but rather difficult to please it seems.  This whole scene feels a little creepy.  Geppetto singing whilst he plays with Pinocchio feels creepy.  Pinocchio looks a bit creepy, but not as creepy looking as his creator.  I wouldn’t be surprised if whilst in this room he makes toys, in another he makes centipedes out of humans.  He’s just moved a string to make Pinocchio kick the cat. Yup, confirmed psycho.

2019-01-04 (4)It’s the beginning of a new hour (in the film I mean, in reality it feels like time is crawling to a halt, can we really be only ten minutes in?) and a load of cuckoo-style clocks go completely apeshit.  Instead of cuckoos popping out though, instead they have things like someone repeatedly trying to behead a turkey and a boy being repeatedly spanked.  Good god this is getting more twisted by the second.

Speaking of twisted, it seems the fish fancies the cat, so Geppetto tries to MAKE THE CAT KISS THE FISH!

Geppetto gets into bed and looks at the toy and tells the cat, “He almost looks like a real boy. I wish he was a real boy”.  Right.  I’m really desperately trying not to take it in the obvious direction here but is this why the film is so disturbing perhaps?!!! I can’t think of many characters who have done more to disturb me in the opening ten minutes that’s for sure.  I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but then you realise how lonely he has to be to want his toy to come to life, so he has companionship.  That’s pretty heart-breaking!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still quite creeped out but at least I feel I’m warming to him slightly.

Now he’s talking to one of the stars in the sky.  Seriously.  And he asks the star to grant him his wish that Pinocchio will turn into a real boy.  I guess the reason we don’t have world peace right now is due to wishes only being granted to old maniacs who want their toys brought to life, whereas the selfless folks who want happiness and safety for all, will go wanting.  The warmth I had for Geppetto is fading away again.

Those bloody annoying clocks are ticking loudly once more as they all try to sleep. How can anyone cope with that?! Even Jiminy Cricket is at his wits end.  On a side note; Geppetto snores like my Dad snores.  Now back to the story.

Oh look, a star is dropping out of the sky to say hello.  The star has turned into what I’m guessing is a fairy.  A mutton dressed as lamb fairy at that.  I feel like I’m on a weird trip, this is a bizarre, bizarre film.  She decides to grant Geppetto’s wish as he’s such an upstanding dude.  She’s made Pinocchio real, but tells him that if he wants to be a real boy, rather than continuing to be a weird talking wooden thing, he has to prove he’s brave, truthful and unselfish.  She’s a sodding fairy so why she can’t use magic to make him a nice boy, God only knows.  If he fails then Geppetto will be the one who’s had his hopes raised and, through no fault of his own, have the boy taken away again.  That would be a horrible reward for being an upstanding dude.  She really hasn’t thought this one through.  Shame on her.

The cricket has now been made the boys conscience and will need to keep an eye on him.  Can’t see that going spectacularly wrong.  Although apparently, he needs a new suit for this task.  I didn’t think there would be a formal dress code for the job.  Not that I was aware that could be such a job in the first place.  A consciencitor?  She’s made this whole thing far too complicated. But then again, I can’t blame her for trying to be creative as it must be quite boring when your day job is just being a star.

Jiminy give Pinocchio a consciencitor-to-boy chat about staying away from temptations (crack, prostitutes, etc…)  But he can whistle for help whenever he’s in trouble.  And on that note, Jiminy starts singing.  Wondered how long that would take.  At least when he sings, he doesn’t sound like an old lady on a trampoline (see previous review).

2019-01-04 (5)It took a surprisingly long time for Geppetto to realise Pinocchio has indeed sprung to life but when he does, he accepts the unlikeliest of scenarios a little bit too easily.  As in, straight away.  The fish, who has quickly moved her affections from the cat to Pinocchio it seems, gives him a kiss.  Whore.  But can you be a whore when you have a five second memory?  Speaking of whore’s, Jiminy takes this moment to hit on another figurine.

Geppetto takes Pinocchio to bed with him (don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it), and tells him he will have to go to school tomorrow.  Despite the obvious questions about the absurdly quick enrolment process and assumption the school has available spaces, I definitely wonder how they will explain on the enrolment forms where the hell he came from.  I suppose there must be a ‘tick this box if your child was built out of wood and brought to life by a middle-aged fairy’ option somewhere.  Also, it’s worth considering that school children can be right little bastards, and if a child can be bullied and shamed for having ginger hair or wearing glasses, what the fuck are they going to do to a kid made out of wood?! He will be annihilated! The fact he’s dressed like a twat won’t help matters either.

So he’s sent off to school the next morning.  Full marks to Geppetto for forward thinking, as he appears to have all the necessary school supplies already bought in advance, just in case someday one of his toys became sentient.

2019-01-04 (7)In a rather coincidental twist, the worlds only wooden boy passes what is presumably the world’s only, slightly evil-looking, fox and cat couple that walk and dress like humans.  The fox delivers a beautiful line of “oh look, a little wooden boy…. A WOODEN BOY?!” and immediately smells a marketing opportunity.  I suppose when you’re a fox who walks and dresses like a human, there is less disbelief to be addressed regarding a walking, talking wooden boy.  They want Pinocchio to go into showbiz and work for “Stromboli’s Puppet Theatre”.  Singing a song to him should help seal the deal.  Ah, there we go.

Right now, despite a few fun moments, I’m not really enjoying the film.  Its all a bit too ridiculous and stuff is just sort of happening and I’m not really warming to any of the characters.  But I shall persevere! Because I have no bloody choice.

The Fox who is apparently called ‘Honest John’ sings a song about ‘an actor’s life for me’ for an extremely long time before Jiminy Cricket turns up, finally, to try and save Pinocchio from temptation but Pinocchio is quite frankly being a bit of a dick and goes with them anyway.

We now meet Stromboli.  Despite his Italian name, he sounds a bit Eastern European but looks as if he should be selling Kebabs in an Istanbul backstreet.  Add to the fact that Honest John and that cat thing act like the English gentry, it feels like the film has been made by Americans who don’t understand that there are many different European cultures and you cannot go and mash them up at will and expect it to be realistic.  His new star turn is about to make his acting debut.  It really has been quite a packed first day of existence for this young wooden boy.

Almost as soon as he starts to sing (horribly), he falls down the stairs on the stage.  The audience laughs hysterically, evidently the remarkable ability of a wooden boy having independent limb control wasn’t enough for them to let this go.  It also isn’t enough to prevent Stromboli from threatening to end him. But Pinocchio goes back on stage and delivers his hideous song to an adoring crowd.  This goes on for a long time. So bored right now.

Jiminy Cricket sees it all and wonders if perhaps this isn’t such a bad career move for Pinocchio after all. Also, we see Geppetto go out to search for Pinocchio as he’s worried.  You see! He’s already suffering because of the fairy’s batshit plan.  This is all her fault!

2019-01-04Back to Stromboli and he’s eating food straight off a machete.  Only baddies eat food straight of a machete. He has quite an anger issue and occasionally rants and raves in a language that again could be a bit Turkish or Greek or Slavic.  He’s decided to take the show around the world and locks Pinocchio in a cage to make sure he cannot escape.  This first day continues to become more and more absurd.   Stromboli leaves.  Jiminy Cricket finally turns up to help, rather on the late side being the rubbish conciencitor that he is.  Why he hasn’t just stayed with Pinocchio the whole day and done his job properly, God only knows. He’s a cricket for crying out loud. I’m sure he hasn’t got any other urgent business to attend to.  Anyway, they’re both sad about the mess they’ve gotten into. They have a sob and blow their nose. On the same handkerchief.  Disgusting. Even wood bogies have germs, you know!

Fortunately, the middle-aged Fairy turns up from her dayshift of being a star to sort shit out.  She says she’ll give them one more chance.  So she damn well should as she’s caused all this commotion in the first place!  This is also the famous scene where Pinocchio’s nose gets a hard-on every time he lies, btw.  And so, with Mrs Fairy’s help, they escape.

2019-01-04 (9)We are now at the Red Lobster Inn where Honest John is still singing that bloody annoying ‘an actor’s life for me song’.  No wonder the others look like they’re going insane.  Some dude turns up and asks if they would like to make some ‘real money’.  He mutters a barely audible plan to them before laughing so insanely that even Honest John looks creeped out.  Next morning Pinocchio again trusts Honest John far too easily and agrees to go to a place called Pleasure Island. The Cricket has failed again! They sing the bloody annoying song again, and the film is going around in tedious circles.

Next, we have Pinocchio and a load of bad kids travelling on a boat to an island that’s being led by the very same creepy bad dude that was offering to make Honest John some ‘real money’. The island appears to be a funfair with a creepy entrance gate.  All the children start smoking cigars.  Don’t quite know where to begin with that except to say I don’t really want my impressionable son watching it.  They also destroy stuff and “can be as bad as they want!”

As Pinocchio and some random New York kid play pool (the kid is a remarkable physics-bendingly good player by the way), Pinocchio gets taught how to smoke.  Again, I know they’re being “bad”, but this does not translate well into the 21st century.  Jiminy Cricket decides enough is enough and starts fighting the naughty boy.  About bloody time.

Afterwards, Cricket stumbles off and finds a shed.  The shed contains the creepy bad dude and he has TURNED THE CHILDREN INTO DONKEY’S AND IS TRAFFICKING THEM OFF IN CAGES TO A LIFE OF SLAVERY!”  Seriously, what the actual fuck is going on here!  1.  This is a family film and the children being so distraught is just disturbing and 2. Yeah I get it, the kids have been bad, but society can also be blamed, and some guidance could do wonders for some of them. Turning them into donkey’s and trafficking them into slavery IS NOT A PUNISHMENT THAT BEFITS THE CRIMES!!!!  There is not a punishment that will be satisfyingly big enough for Creepy Bad Dude to receive here!  Interesting that the original book doesn’t contain any of this so this clearly an addition created by the not at all damaged Disney writers themselves…

“Right guys, how do the boys on pleasure island get their comeuppance?

“Ok ummmmm… How about they get turned into Donkeys?

“go on…”

“Right and um, err, they get put into cages and sold into slavery!

“Well it’s an interesting suggestion George, but that all seems a little dark and, well… horrific.  We’ll call that plan B.

(After three silent hours)

“Fuck it, go with the donkey trafficking thingy. Next!

2019-01-04 (10)The New York kid has started turning into a donkey too which understandably creeps out Pinocchio a little bit. Fortunately, ‘Cricket’ manages to save Pinocchio and get him off the island with only having grown a tail and his ears having succumbed to donkeyness.  They return home to find Pinocchio’s Father (apparently, they’re at the father / son stage despite only ever having been together for roughly six hours) is not there.  A bird drops a note informing them that Geppetto has been swallowed by a whale and is alive in its stomach at the bottom of the sea (I. Can’t. Even…).

“Right guys, now what should Pinocchio rescue Geppetto from to show how brave he is?

“Ok ummmmm… How about Geppetto gets turned into a donkey and sold into slavery?

“Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your enthusiasm George, but I think one donkey trafficking event is enough in one film. Anyone else?

“Ummmmm… How about… ummmmm… Geppetto… Gets eaten. By a whale!

“That’s ludicrous. People won’t buy that. Come on guys we can think of something!

(After three silent hours)

“Fuck it, go with the swallowed by a whale thingy.  Now let’s go down the pub.

Also, at first, I misheard and thought the letter said Geppetto needed rescuing from Wales.  I was thinking needing to be rescued from Wales seems a bit extreme, after all, it’s a first world country and the people are generally nice in my experience.  Perhaps he’s in a rough Cardiff pub on a Saturday night?  But no, ‘whale’.

Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket go to the bottom of the sea to rescue him.  Why we are focusing on this nonsense when there’s a donkey-child trafficking ring to be busted, I have no idea.  Stuff happens, some fish lead them to the whale, they get inside the whale and end up reunited with Geppetto and his pet goldfish and cat who are inexplicably there too.  Yeay.  Now enough of this please, what’s going on with bringing that awful creepy bad dude to justice?!

Alas, instead we continue with this far less important storyline, and Pinocchio et al are trying to start a fire in the Whales stomach to make him somehow sneeze and enable their escape.  Naturally. it works, and as a result, they’re shot out of the whale’s mouth and into the water.  I quite frankly don’t give a fuck about any of this, there’s an island full of donkey children that need rescuing urgently and given urgent medical and psychological treatment here!!!!

They wash up on shore and it seems like Pinocchio is dead.  Again, one wooden boy drowning is not going to give me the feels when there’s an island of real children being…. oh forget it, clearly, we’re only supposed to care about this stupid toy-child.  Unsurprisingly when they get him home the fairy appears and turns him into a real boy for being brave.  Jiminy Cricket gets a badge for his services and has now been promoted to being a full-time consciencitor.  He was shit for most of the film and Pinocchio was a dick for most of the film but apparently, we’re supposed to forget about that as quickly as we forget about those poor ex-children who are now presumably in coal mines somewhere.

And the film ends. Just ends.  Resolving nothing of any real importance.   If you couldn’t tell, this film has pissed me off no end, one presumes that Creepy Bad Dude is still at large making millions out of selling children but at least some old guy gets to have his toy brought to life!!!!  It had some positive moments, mostly involving Jiminy Cricket or Honest John but my god did it drag in places.  I’m also aware it has fantastic reviews elsewhere and does carry quite a legacy, but I thought the plot was at times ridiculous and overly tenuous.  I also don’t believe it has aged at all well and parts I wouldn’t even want my kids watching without a huge disclaimer from me first.

Rating:  3.5/10 (would have been 4.5 but for the unresolved donkey horror)