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The fictional tale of the Danish poet and fairytale storyteller who's work has gone on to inspire virtually anything and everything for children...and Disney's cash cow. Its not a biographical film of course (the film even says that), its basically a fairytale of sorts that kinda focuses on Andersen's life at a certain point. At this time he creates 'The Little Mermaid' out of love for a married woman. In the traditional Hollywood style of the 50's and previous years the film is heavily narrated through song and dance and has clearly taken pointers from other classics.
The film is essentially a romantic tale with morals about Andersen going off to the big city of Copenhagen to try and start a new business there. Whilst there he falls for a married ballerina at the theatre whose husband treats her roughly. Andersen writes her a love letter in the form of 'The Little Mermaid' and dreams about rescuing her from her harsh husband. As we discover unfortunately for Hans he has misunderstood their relationship and returns to Odense.
The plot is much deeper than that though as the tale of the little mermaid, I believe, is suppose to mirror Andersen's heartbreaking situation. He is smitten with the beautiful French ballerina who appears to be living a life of angst married to the theatres dance choreographer. The mermaid is smitten with a Prince who ends up on the ocean floor when his ship sinks. The mermaid saves his life and falls in love at the same time, but like Andersen and his ballerina, they are both from different worlds. Andersen a poor cobbler, the ballerina a wealthy famous dancer, the Prince errr...is a Prince and the mermaid is a sea creature. So the mermaid seeks help from the sea witch who transforms the mermaid into a human so she can go and find the Prince. Andersen dreams of rescuing the ballerina and them both getting married living happily ever after. Alas when the mermaid finds the Prince he has affections for another and the mermaid must return to the sea heartbroken (I think she actually dies in the original story). The same for Andersen who eventually manages to speak of his affections to the ballerina but she too (much to our and Andersen's surprise) actually loves her harsh husband. So Hans must return to Odense for of sorrow but luckily there is a much happier ending of course.
This was one of the first classical films my parents showed me and my brother when we were very young along with other golden Hollywood movies. I won't beat around the bush though, this film will probably sicken most kids these days as its extremely soft centred and full of wonderful musical moments. What's more I'm pretty sure most modern folk these days will think this film dances gingerly around pedophilia the way Andersen is portrayed as a child obsessed loner. Anyway despite how excellent this film is I too cannot deny that some of it is really really sickly...almost vomit inducing, the 'Ugly Duckling' song for example.
The music isn't as sublime as other big Hollywood pictures of the time no doubt, but there are plenty of very catchy little tunes that you'll find yourself humming to once the credits have rolled. As said some will turn your stomach with the whimsical levels going through the roof, yet others are a joy to behold. Personally I always loved the sequence with 'Wonderful Copenhagen' (try making a song with that city name in it!), 'The King's New Clothes' is a fun little number with the kids at the start and who can forget 'Thumbelina'. As I'm sure you have noticed these songs, and others, are famous works of the real Andersen which have become films in their own rights. Most of these musical numbers are squarely aimed at the kids, fun bouncy and the kids can join in, but the adults do get some serious dance sequences too. Very much in the same style as some Gene Kelly dance sequences if you ask me, visually at least. These are mainly dream sequences dreamt up by Hans so they are much darker in tone at times with Hans fighting the ballerinas husband Niels. A stark contrast to everything else in the film but much more enjoyable now for me as an adult.
The entire film looks like an explosion from an old fashioned candy store followed by an explosion from an old fashioned toy store. Everything is bright colourful and bold, it almost looks like a comicbook. Like many films of the era most every scene is obviously a set with forced perspective and matte paintings/backdrops but it all looks so vibrant and alive, it all looks good enough to eat. I'm not really sure if there is any kind of historical accuracy in the film with things like buildings and costumes, I kinda doubt it because all the costumes are so deliciously loud and zany but at the same time they do seem to have a genuinely realistic dated appearance. All this and I haven't even mentioned the actual ballerina sequences in the film with the real ballerina/dancer Zizi Jeanmaire playing Hans crush. If you didn't think you'd ever be interested in ballet then prepare for a shock...because these sequences will grab your attention as you watch Zizi glide around like a beautiful swan...plus she could act and she's cute as a button!
I love Danny Kaye in the film because he really does come across as a nice guy and he really looks Danish in his outfit. He's a different kind of performer to Gene Kelly of course but he has a pleasant aura about him so what he lacks in dance moves he makes up for with vocals and looks. Other than Kaye and Zizi everyone else is kinda meh methinks, they all look good in their roles don't get me wrong but no one really blows you away.
I have always found this film hard to fully enjoy truth be told, one the one hand its a film for children and those parts are very sappy. On the other hand there are parts for adults which are obviously now much more to my taste as the kiddie parts fall away. So in affect you enjoy the film when you're young for some of the picture, and when you're an adult you enjoy the other sections of the film, unfortunately its hard to enjoy both. In fact there are some scenes I just wanted to spin through on fast forward. I think these days I'm more impressed with the actual dancing than anything else, the songs are cute, the casting is fair but its the dancing that really held me. The ballerina sequences are virtually inch-perfect in my book.
I can't be too harsh here because with a doubt this is a fantastic little fable, fairytale or folk tale...however you wanna look at it. To me it feels similar to 'The Wizard of Oz' in terms of visuals and being aimed at kids, yet its surprising how dark the film does delve at times. Yes the film is utterly outdated and the morals are presented in an extremely quaint and mushy way, but they do still resonate to this day to a degree...at least maybe for children. Overall the plot is a bit jumbled with bits for kids and bits for adults all centred around a tale of unattainable love basically...which is hardly what kids wanna see. None the less you simply can't help but be entertained by this sprightly multicoloured world with Kaye and his musical melodious lessons in life.
Bakshi's first foray into fantasy animation and the experience he needed to gain confidence for his vision of 'The Lord of the Rings'.
The story is simply about a post apocalyptic Earth where mutants live alongside new races of elves, dwarfs and fairies...yes. Two brother wizards battle each other, one on the side of the elves and dwarfs, the other with the mutants. They rage war to claim/save the Earth as you might have guessed.
This sure is a weird combination of ideas that's for sure, hand drawn animation of goblins, elves, wizards, knights, mutants etc...Rotoscoping used for many battle sequences which appear to show various winged demons, orcs/goblins, many more knights and various live action sequences taken from other films and historic footage.
The whole idea is the baddie wizard with his mutants discover ancient buried technology from our present day and use it against the good forces. This includes planes, tanks, machine guns and a film projector which projects footage of Hitler and his Nazi's. Certainly an odd inclusion for what was meant to be for youngsters as well as adults. Never the less this animated film shows how propaganda when used correctly can be devastating just as technology can be. There are a few allegories within this film which are quite clever and would clearly go over a kids head, I was never really sure who this film was really aimed at.
There are plenty of bloody moments throughout just like in Bakshi's LOTR, lots of creatures getting cut down with blades and shot to pieces by gunfire, even an arrow and meat cleaver to the head for two unlucky characters! Add to this hookers that hang around in the streets of the evil wizards city of Scortch and the good wizard Avatar has a sidekick fairy in training called Elinore who is dressed in a very skimpy breast revealing little number (Jessica Rabbit eat your heart out). Clearly for the adults and clearly Bakshi utilizing his skills from previous urban based animations.
A strange mix of different concepts but definitely no lack of imagination and flare. The animation is your typical 70's look which I'm OK with I guess, it does age somewhat naturally but reminds me of many tatty old foreign cartoons from my childhood which were slightly obscure. A strong colour palette much the same as LOTR incorporating nice dark cloudy skies, bleak murky landscapes and some decrepit dusty old cityscapes set the scenes nicely. The blend of animated characters and rotoscope is fine but not as natural looking as the later LOTR, this tends to look a bit crowbarred together, plus the animated characters look a tad too cartoonish in places.
Overall its hard not to compare to this to his other cult work, but the Tolkien adaptation probably wins due to the story for one and the fact visually its a more oiled machine. 'Wizards' is an interesting but not very novel idea about simple ways vs technology. All the archive footage from Nazi Germany is possibly not required along with the baddie characters having Swastika's on them, comes across more like a fascists wet dream from time to time.
I do like this film more for the artistic side really, the rest is somewhat dull with a lot of dialog that is uninspired. Some characters look really good like the thin soldiers wearing gas masks, whilst others look like something from a cheap kids flick. Certainly worth a watch but its nothing to rave about. A Bakshi oddity which remains a full cult with intriguing visuals but little else.
Haven't seen this for along time but really enjoyed seeing it again. Another brilliant Bakshi rotoscope animation which looks even better and more fluid than his famous Lord of the Rings film. The plot is basic and the whole thing plays out a little too quickly (1h 18min) but the direct and simple fairytale approach really seems to work well despite being silly.
The look of the film is like LOTR in design and colour schemes, its vibrant in places, eerie in others and shows nice clear details throughout. It does feel like there could be much more to see in this world, you just wanna see it expand further with more creatures and adventures. As said the film is kinda limited and short, a sequel would of been just the ticket.
Really this could easily be a chapter from the LOTR franchise with names like Fire Keep, Nekron, Darkwolf, Teegra, Larn etc...Bakshi's prior work obviously helped a lot here. His approach has been refined as has the animators skills and techniques. There is also a clear Conan feeling running through this too thanks to writers from Marvel, its pure 80's fantasy to a tee with great graphic novel visuals, a living comic way back before the likes of 'Sin City'.
Again like LOTR the voice work is great and really makes the whole thing more than just a cartoon. The rotoscoping is much better and looks more realistic (quite eerie actually), the film is much more adult in style and action, plenty of blood and killing. A pre-runner to modern adaptations if you ask me, not at all for kids, more along the lines of 'The Beastmaster' perhaps.
This is great fun and could really be a decent adult fantasy live action film if made correctly, but I stress ADULT only. Teegra must be running around in her skimpy thong and straddling a Pterodactyl if this is gonna work for live action.
A real sense of many barbarian fantasy films from back in the day including a taste of He-Man, of course Conan is more evident over everything else. That doesn't detract from this what so ever, as an original creation Bakshi has done an amazing job to bring this together with much quality and style. A true cult classic that is probably Bakshi's finest hour in animation.
Colour me amazed! what in the name of Greek buggery has happened here?! The first film was a complete and utter abomination which brought shame upon Hollywood, it wasn't good enough to buff the boots of the original. I still don't think anyone knows what Harryhausen thought of it.
So I didn't have high hopes for this sequel, which I think is understandable. But to my amazement this franchise has done a complete U-turn and actually come up with a semi decent film, well at least in looks anyway.
Bottom line this is a monster mash of epic proportions, its takes the concept of the original Harryhausen masterpiece and expands it ten fold with dazzling imagery. This is really what they should have done with the first remake instead of making crap up, but what I really can't get my head around is why this sequel looks SO MUCH BETTER than the first! The last film had the Kraken which did look damn fine, but even that doesn't come close to anything in this sequel.
All the monsters here look terrific, yes there is a time lapse between films of course but the divide between quality here is huge!! What can I say about Kronos...a colossus of an effect, eye popping! I haven't been so impressed by a CGI effect since Gods knows when, I can't remember. He just looked stunning, stunningly real, as if they actually did awaken a real god from the fiery depths of the underworld, colour me stunned! The only creature I didn't like was the Minotaur which looked like a naff character from 'Mortal Kombat' (Motaro without his horse back end).
To be brutally honest the film is kept alive by the effects, the rest of the film is filled with pitiful acting and some of the most bizarre collection of accents for ancient Greece ever. The hero has an Aussie accent, Bill Nighy for some reason uses a Yorkshire accent (Northern England), how on earth they came to that decision I don't know. Finally you have Agenor who is said to be a thief so of course they give him a London cockney accent! why?? what are they implying?
Yes the film is basic pantomime but so was the original classic. The cast list isn't quite as impressive as the classic but it suffices and everybody does their bit to try for that grandiose epic taste. The whole film does look really really good with lovely locations, great costumes, beautiful landscapes and a solid score.
In short I think they have finally captured the classic fun adventurous look of ancient Greek mythology just as they did all those years ago with classic films like 'Jason and the Argonauts'. Yes this sequel does follow pretty much the same pattern as the first, ending with a big monster to battle in the exact same way with virtually the same outcome, but because it all looks so crisp you really don't mind or notice too much.
This new film gives you exactly what we wanted all along and what the classic did perfectly...well created mythological monsters. For once the CGI does do the trick as it should and could if used properly. Ignore the first film this is what you've been waiting for, hopefully the third will continue the goodness.
I went into this film thinking it would be good...boy was I wrong! this is an epic failure of errr...epic proportions, in short I hated it, it is bad, very bad. For starters if possible its actually more hammy and cheesy than the original, the God scenes on Mount Olympus are awful and look like something outta Flash Gordon, I realise its suppose to be heavenly but the shiny silver armor?? come on! surely they could of been a little less gay.
That's just for starters, the acting from everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!!) is terrible, really bad and I see what people have been saying about Worthington now, a really poor performance here, almost TV movie standards. The less said about Neeson and Fiennes panto performances the better (the CGI on show that accompanied Fiennes was laughable, simply awful).
As for the film its just a jumbled mess and takes a totally different path to the original making it completely wrong frankly, as usual Hollywood MUST add or make up new stuff and ruin the entire story...why? Christ knows. For some reason we have a whole new species of blue eyed rock creatures or something, they look ridiculous, like something outta 'Zena Warrior Princess'. Plus we hardly see Calibos or Pegasus and there are just huge chunks missing in the story involving Calibos and Pegasus, I could go on.
The other stand out failure was certain scenes and the look of the film, the river Styx scene for example, in the original its filmed on location, its eerie, misty, you don't see much of the boatman which lends a nice air of spookiness, its a really nice setup. In the new version its clearly on a set, you see the boatman fully taking all atmosphere out of the scene and the boat is fudging huge! Second example, Medusa's lair, in the original its dark, tense, quite eerie and spooky, stone people everywhere.
Medusa is actually quite a scary creature and like in all good fantasy films she is hidden until the last moment. In the new version we see Medusa almost straight away, she has a human face which isn't scary, its not eerie or in the least bit tense, zero atmosphere. Clearly another tacky set with over the top CGI and its all over too quickly with silly big effect stunts and leaping around. I think the term less is more sums up the film comparisons perfectly here, this new version getting it lost in translation.
Only plus points...the Kraken is pretty wicked looking, Pegasus is smart looking despite being the wrong colour. His wings are the best CGI in the film and there's a lovely little cameo from Bubo thank God.
I can't recommend this, its an insult to the original classic, its terrible, no heart and soul and is just another overblown CGI mess. Such a shame and wasted chance, I really hope they don't remake any other classic Harryhausen films, stick to the far superior original.