Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Movie Review – Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

When it comes to classic tales of adventure, one of the finest family-friendly films is none other than 1960′s Swiss Family Robinson.

Swiss Family Robinson is a story about a family of colonists heading from Europe to a new home in faraway and exotic German colony of New Guinea.  Their ship is nearly sunk in a tremendous storm, and the Robinson family finds itself alone and shipwrecked off the coast of a tropical island.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - movie poster

The Robinsons salvage what they can from the wrecked ship, construct a massive treehouse to keep them safe from both the environment and dangerous wildlife, and they explore the local area.  The family is under constant threat of pirate attacks, and the welcoming of a girl into their home complicates matters for the family’s elder sons.

Directed by Ken Annakin, Swiss Family Robinson stars John Mills and Dorothy McGuire as Father and Mother, and James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran play the roles of the boys Fritz, Ernst and Francis.  Janet Munro plays the role of Roberta, a girl who later joins the Robinson family while stranded on the island, and Fritz and Ernst constantly compete for her attention.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) - The Swallow finally crashes onto some rocks.

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) – (c) Buena Vista Distribution

Swiss Family Robinson begins with the ship Swallow being swept through a powerful ocean storm.  The crew has already abandoned ship, and apart from the five members of the Robinson family along with a variety of animals, the ship itself has been deserted.  The Swallow finally crashes on some rocks and her journey is finished.  Down on the next deck, the Robinson family finally breaks free and escapes to the upper deck.

The next morning the storm is finished and the massive wind, rain and waves have finally calmed.  Led by Father (John Mills), sons Fritz (James MacArthur) and Ernst (Tommy Kirk) help Mother (Dorothy McGuire) and young Francis (Kevin Corcoran) to the upper deck.  There they see the extent of the damage to the ship.  More importantly, the family quickly discovers that their ship is just off the coast of a tropical island. Read more…


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm

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Movie Review – Treasure Island (1950)

Back in 1950, Disney released its first full-length live action film with the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Treasure Island is a classic seafaring adventure tale involving ruthless pirates, an exotic island, buried treasure, and of course, plenty of action along the way.  The film begins in England in the 1760s as we’re introduced to young Jim Hawkins, Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and Long John Silver.  Once a map leading to pirate treasure is discovered, the race is on to acquire a sailing ship, hire a crew, and chart a course to claim the lost stash of gold.  But as we see, treachery is afoot and Long John Silver has plans of his own.

Treasure Island (1950)

Treasure Island was directed by Byron Haskin and stars Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins, and Robert Newton in a memorable role as the mighty pirate Long John Silver.  Supporting them are Basil Sydney as Captain Smollett, Walter Fitzgerald as Squire Trelawney, Denis O’Dea as Dr. Livesey, and Geoffrey Wilkinson as Ben Gunn.

Don’t let the age of this pirate film fool you.  Treasure Island can hold its own against the popular pirate-themed movies from today’s generation of viewers.

Prepare yourself for adventure!

Treasure Island (1950) - Jim Hawkins pours Black Dog a drink of rum.

Treasure Island (1950) – (c) RKO Radio Pictures

Treasure Island begins in 1765 in western England.  A mysterious man named Black Dog (Francis de Wolff) enters an inn named Admiral Benbow and orders a drink of rum.  A young boy named Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll) serves the man his drink.  Black Dog asks Hawkins if he’s heard of a maned named Billy Bones, but Hawkins tells him no.  Black Dog spies an old chest with the initials W.B. carved into it, and then he suddenly leaves the inn.

After Black Dog leaves the inn, Captain Billy Bones (Finlay Currie) descends the stairs and asks Hawkins who it was that visited the inn.  He’s concerned about it being a man with one leg, but when Hawkins describes the visitor, Billy reveals that it was Black Dog.  Billy’s health is nearly gone as he asks Jim Hawkins to give him a glass of rum, which he does so reluctantly.  Hawkins tells Billy not to drink as the doctor told him that the rum could kill him, but Billy Bones is set on drinking away his worries. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

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Movie Review – Snowball Express (1972)

Here we are in the heart of winter, so it’s only fitting that it’s time to review a winter-themed movie or two.

The Walt Disney Company has been widely known for producing award-winning, feature length animated movies since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premièred back in 1937.  In addition to producing animated films, Disney also produces a wide variety of live action films, almost all of them being family friendly.  One such film is 1972′s comedy, Snowball Express.

Snowball Express (1972) - movie poster

Set in the early 1970s, Snowball Express tells the tale of a New York City family suddenly packing up and moving out into the wilderness of Colorado.  The family had inherited a hotel, and while the hotel’s information seemed promising back in New York, in reality the hotel is in a state of disarray and hasn’t seen customers in years.  It’s up to the family to face the challenges of cleaning the hotel and turning the deserted building into a successful business, all without anybody having any experience in the hospitality industry.

Directed by Norman Tokar, Snowball Express stars Dean Jones as John Baxter, father of the family and heir to the hotel.  Nancy Olsen plays his wife Sue, and Kathleen Cody and Johnny Whitaker play their children, Chris and Richard.  Keenan Wynn has the role of the evil banker Martin Ridgeway, Michael McGreevey is Wally Perkins, a local in town, and Dick Van Patten has a cameo as John Baxtor’s boss, Mr. Carruthers.

Snowball Express (1972) - John Baxter quits his job at the insurance company.

Snowball Express (1972) – (c) Buena Vista Distribution

Snowball Express begins in New York City as John Baxter (Dean Jones) arrives for work at the insurance company.  He’s greeted first by an unhappy boss, Mr. Carruthers (Dick Van Patten) and then a probate attorney.  The attorney informs John that his great uncle, Jacob Barnsworth, died, and John Baxter was the only kin they could find.  As a result, Baxter inherited Jacob’s estate, the Grand Imperial Hotel out in Silver Hill, Colorado.  The news of the hotel sounds even better as the attorney informs John that the hotel reportedly made a significant amount of money each month.

Seeing the hotel as a golden opportunity to make something of himself, John Baxter quits his job in a grand fashion.  Unfortunately, John’s family doesn’t take the news of him quitting his job that well.  His wife Sue (Nancy Olsen) is dumbfounded of her husband’s idea of packing up and leaving for Colorado to manage a hotel.  What’s done is done, and the family packs up their belongings and makes the trip cross country. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - February 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm

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Movie Review – TRON: Legacy (2010)

Back in 1982, the world was captivated and amazed by the computer-generated world of TRON.

Other computer movies came and went since that time, but the genre as a whole became dominated by The Matrix trilogy.  No complaints there.  But in a world that became fascinated with The Matrix, would it be possible to bring TRON back to life, keeping it separate enough from The Matrix?

Tron: Legacy (2010) - movie poster

Released on December 17, 2010, TRON: Legacy returned us back to the exciting virtual computer world of TRON.

Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Kevin Flynn, a gifted computer programmer and head of the ENCOM company.  Garrett Hedlund plays the role of Sam Flynn, Kevin’s son and primary shareholder of ENCOM following his father’s sudden disappearance.  Starring alongside Bridges and Hedlund is Olivia Wilde in the role of Quorra, one of the last ISOs and a warrior who fights with Sam and Kevin.  Bruce Boxleitner also reprises his role of Alan Bradley, an executive consultant with ENCOM.

Tron: Legacy (2010) - Kevin Flynn telling Sam stories from the Grid.

TRON: Legacy (2010) – (c) Walt Disney Pictures

Tron: Legacy begins back in 1989 as Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is telling his son, Sam, tales from his adventures in the Grid.  Before leaving for work that night, Kevin promises Sam that they’ll play his popular TRON arcade game again.  That night was the last time anybody saw Kevin Flynn.  We see several news clips that help fill in the gaps, such as the death of Sam’s mother in 1985, the ENCOM board taking the company away from Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), and a hinting that Kevin Flynn discovered something really important inside the Grid.

But that’s it.  Kevin’s disappearance is still a mystery. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - September 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

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Tilt-Shift Disney Videos

Here are two of the coolest Disney videos using tilt-shift photography that I’ve ever seen.

Tilt-shift photography, refers to the actual movement of the camera’s lens to limit the depth of field and create an area of selective focus.  This optical effect has a variety of uses, but one of the more popular trends is to create “fake” pictures of miniatures or models.  Having a special tilt-shift lens is not required to create these pictures as digital postprocessing techniques can easily blur areas of the picture and create a similar final effect.

The best tilt-shift pictures simulating miniatures occurs when you have a top-down, shallow to medium angle perspective of the subject.

In the Disney parks, finding elevated views can be quite tricky, especially if you’re not a cast member with special permission.

Each video shows a typical day at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, complete with going on a few rides and seeing the Illuminations fireworks show at Epcot and Spectromagic parade in the Magic Kingdom.


“A Model Day at Magic Kingdom”

Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - March 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm

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