THE CIRCLE OF MOVIE LIFE – Rich Paschall

The Lion King, a review, Rich Paschall

In the world of the Disney movie magic, what goes around will go around again. This is especially true for the beloved animated classics. You may have noticed this by their calculated re-release program.

Disney has employed what is is known as the Vault program. When they released a movie for video sales, first by VHS and then DVD and BluRay, it was limited in nature. The very fact that it was limited created an instant demand. When it was gone, it was gone forever.  OK, it was not really gone. Every 7 to 10 years they would bring it out of the vault, so to speak, for another limited release. There could be Gold editions, anniversary editions, Platinum editions. There might be interviews and other bonus material included. Each would be different and therefore the Disney fanatic would need the next version of something they already owned.

Original Snow White

Consider Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one of Disney’s oldest and most endearing classics. It was released in 1937 and re-released in 1944. The success of the re-release set the precedent for what would be crafted into the Disney Vault Program. Snow White came around for a visit in theaters again in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987 and 1993. In this time period, something wonderful happened for Mouseland. The VHS player became standard home equipment.

In October 1994 Snow White appeared in homes on VHS. She was also released on the short-lived LaserDisc format. Seven years later it was the Platinum edition on VHS and also on DVD. In 2009 it was the Diamond Edition with two discs on DVD and BluRay. What could be better than a Diamond Edition? The Signature Edition!

The Signature Edition came out on BluRay in 2016. Disney must have felt that they were missing out on a big piece of the audience and released a different Signature Edition on standard DVD in 2017.  In between all of these you can find some foreign language releases for other countries. Is a live version coming soon? What do you think?

Among the many Disney animated classics is The Lion King. The 1994 release is the 11th highest-grossing animated film of all time. What’s number 1? Hang on by your claws for a moment. We’ll get there.

Lion King was released on VHS and laserdisc in 1995 in various editions after its spectacular run in the theaters. Those editions were gone in a few years and into the vault went the King. Before he could come back to the home video market, The Lion King returned to the theater in standard and IMAX release in 2002. The following year saw various editions for VHS and DVD.

In 2011 the King came to life in a 3D theatrical release followed a few weeks later by BluRay release including 3D. The Signature Collection release came out in 2017 on HD Digital, DVD and BluRay. If you thought all bases were covered, think again. The Lion King was so popular, he came out again in 2018 in Ultra HD BluRay and 4K digital download.

You may think you don’t need any of these various Lion King media presentations.  You can stream it on Hulu or Netflix. But the Mouse King has a surprise for you. Disney bought a controlling interest in Hulu and has bought their way out of the Netflix agreement.  Why end the Lion King’s reign in the streaming world? Did you really think the King was going to run away to another land? Just like Simba, the film will return because Disney will soon have their own streaming service, Disney+.

The Lion King also rules over the Broadway stage. He made it there in 1997 and never left, but I digress. We were talking about movies, weren’t we?

This year we received the live action version. OK, it’s live action if you believe those animals are really singing and dancing. Disney has employed CGI (Computered Generated Imagery) to make a realistic looking version of The Lion King. This sort of thing was inevitable. Movies have been using CGI for years. Video games get their realistic look from this remarkable computer wizardry.

The 2019 version of The Lion King is actually an animated remake of the original.  The story is the same. Much of the dialogue is the same. The songs are the same, except they added one more to the mix. Some things are added or lengthened for affect, but you are getting the same story with a new kind of animation.

Simba

The Lion King, Mufasa, from the beginning of the story is the same. Let’s face it, James Earl Jones is so memorable in the role, why get another actor? He is King of the story. All of the other parts have been recast. Some are just as good or at least equal to their 1994 counter parts. Others are not.

Holding up their parts as the Warthog, Pumbaa, and his little friend meerkat, Timon, and Seth Rogan and Billy Eichner. They are the comic relief, which is absolutley needed in light of the darker, more realistic looking, death and fight scenes. While the original performers were great, these guys do quite well.

The villian lion Scar was Jeremy Irons the first time around. This time  it is Chiwetel Ejiofor as the scary one. Ejiofor sounds to me at times like Alan Rickman at his evil best.

Donald Glover does not match Matthew Broderick as Simba. Others fall short of the original all-star cast as well. Critics have not been kind to Beyonce as Nala. We know she is there both to add star power and to sing a song. The part is lengthened to explain exactly how it is Nala found Simba, but the voice work lacks the energy and passion of Moira Kelly as the original.

When you compare the casts, you may wonder why more than James Earl Jones was not retained from the original. In many places they did not do better. The Circle of Life opening is performed by different singers in the two movies, and the 2019 version fails to add the Elton John version to the soundtrack at the end. I think they missed the mark there too.

Still, this is a version worth the time, if only for the stunning visuals. By the way, I promised to mention the number one animated box office hit and here it is: The Lion King 2019.

Sources include: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (video),” disney.fandom.com

 

SEEING THE NEW “DUMBO” – Marilyn Armstrong

Release date: March 29, 2019 (USA)
Director: Tim Burton
Budget: 170 million USD
Producers: Ehren Kruger, Derek Frey, Justin Springer, Katterli Frauenfelder
Production companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Tim Burton Productions.


So what can you do in Uxbridge for four hours? We had the exterminators coming and I didn’t want to put it off again. This meant four hours outside for the dogs — and four hours for us to use up. If the day had been even a little brighter, we would have headed for the canal, but it was gray and dim. Not much of a shooting day.

So first, we went to the pot shop. I figured I’d take some new pictures, but there was a line. I was in no mood to stand in line. I suppose it’s like going to the liquor store on Friday. You need to buy enough beer for the weekend. I still wasn’t interested in standing in line, especially since I wasn’t intending to buy anything and I am never in the mood to stand in line. For anything.

Garry said, “Let’s go to the movies.”

“Is anything playing we want to see?”

“I have no idea,” he said, “but what have we got to lose?”

So we went to the movies. I didn’t want to see Captain Marvel. I have overdosed on Marvel movies. Garry didn’t want to see the one about the Black guy who gets into the Klan. That left a couple of things we never heard of … and Dumbo. I voted strongly for Dumbo. And that’s what we saw.

It was directed by Tim Burton. I’ve never liked anything he made in the past. If I’d known he was the director, I’d probably have skipped it. I’m glad we didn’t.

It’s the “Dumbo” that we needed. Happy endings, no need for a crate of tissues … and all the racism snipped out. They use just enough computer graphics to make the little (absolutely adorable) elephant fly, but not too much. It was a really perfect blend of  CGI and human casting.

The reviews were mostly positive and I think should have been even better. It’s an ideal “take the whole family” movie. It has a great cast including  Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Alan Arkin. Set in American in 1919, it’s about a family circus. It’s not the “real” America, but I like it better. Real America wasn’t all that lovely back then.

It isn’t as sentimental as the original and that was fine with me. It’s quite sentimental enough and no one kills any animals. Garry and I liked it just the way it way. Moist eyes without hysterical sobbing.

Between the dozen trailers before the movie as well as a few advertisements, we got out at the perfect time to get home to feed the starving puppies.

I don’t think they realized I decided against a sushi dinner because I knew they would be hungry. They don’t appreciate us.

SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT AND STRAIGHT ON TIL’ MORNING! – Marilyn Armstrong

YOU CAN FLY! – RDP-SUNDAY–TUNE

This tune has been running through my head all morning. Why? Maybe it was trying to get the birds to hold still for me? But I can’t get it out of my head, so TUNE is the perfect word for my morning.

You CAN fly!


Lyrics

But, Peter, how do we get to Never Land?
Fly, of course!
Fly!
It’s easy! All you have to do is to is to is to
Huh That’s funny!

What’s the matter?

Don’t you know?

Oh sure, it’s, it’s just that I never thought about it before

Say, that’s it! You think of a wonderful thought!
Any happy little thought?

Uhhuh

Like toys at Christmas? Sleigh bells? Snow?

Yep! Watch me nowhere I go! It’s easier than pie!

He can fly! He can fly! He flew!
Now, you try

I’ll think of a mermaid lagoon
Oh underneath a magic moon
I’ll think I’m in a pirate’s cave
I’ll think I’ll be an Indian brave

Now, everybody try one, two, three!
We can fly! We can fly! We can fly!
This won’t do what’s the matter with you?
All it takes is faith and trust oh!
And something I forgot Dust!
Dust? Dust?
Yep! Just a little bit of pixie dust

Now, think of the happiest things
It’s the same as having wings
Let’s all try it, just once more
Look! We’re rising off the floor
Jiminy! Oh my! We can fly!
You can fly! We can fly!
Come on, everybody, here we go!
Off to Never Land!

Think of a wonderful thought
Any merry little thought
Think of Christmas, think of snow
Think of sleigh bells off you go!
Like a reindeer in the sky
You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!

Think of the happiest things
It’s the same as having wings
Take the path that moonbeams make
If the moon is still awake
You’ll see him wink his eye
You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!

Up you go with a heigh and ho
To the stars beyond the blue
There’s a Never Land waiting for you
Where all your happy dreams come true
Every dream that you dream will come true

When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your cares goodbye
You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!

There it is, Wendy, second star to the right
And straight on ’til morning

Songwriters: Sammy Cahn / Sammy Fain
You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

I was almost six when this movie was released. It was the year my sister was born and it was playing everywhere. My Aunt Ethel and Uncle Herman took me to see the movie at Radio City Music Hall. It was the only time I was there and I loved the movie. Of course, I was 5, so you’d figure I’d love it. But then, my Aunt Kate took me to see it. Then my Aunt Yetta took me to see it too. Overall, I think I saw it at least five times in less than two weeks. So unlike other Disney movies, all of which I saw (Mom was a Disney fan), this one really lodged firmly in my brain.

There are some pretty racist sections in it about Natives and I can’t watch it anymore. There are sections like that in all the early animations and that’s no doubt why they are redoing almost all of those movies. That being said, I swear I can see every frame of this original movie.

I also had the book with the 45 rpm records that told you when to turn the page in the book with the sound of Hook’s clock ticking.

ANIMUSIC RESONANT CHAMBER

I woke up in the middle of the night with this music in my head. So, here it is again. For me, this is haunting music. and sometimes I really need a fix.

Animusic is music made visual. If music can be seen as well as heard, ANIMUSIC makes it so! Enjoy! I own several of their DVDs and they are wonderful. You can visit their website and see what’s available. The kind of music varies from classical to hard rock to “hard-to-describe,” but all of it has the same ability to let you actually see music, every note. If you don’t normally like music, you might like this because it isn’t like anything else.

I find this piece of music haunting and sometimes, I play it over and over again and can’t get it out of my mind. There’s something about it. Turn up your speakers, then watch, listen and be awestruck!

Click on the graphic (above) to see the entire production.

Animusic specializes in the 3D visualization of MIDI-based music. Founded by Wayne Lytle, it was originally called Visual Music. It became Animusic in 1995.

The company is famous for its futuristic computer animations in which the music actually drives the animation so that what you see and the music precisely correspond. This is as close to “visual music” as you can come.

Although other musical animation productions exists, there are differences. The models for Animusic are created first, then are programmed to do what the music “tells them.” Instruments appear to be playing themselves …  instruments that could never exist yet somehow seem entirely plausible. Many people, on first seeing an Animusic production ask if the instrument or instruments really exist. I thought it was real … strange and remarkable, but real. They are startlingly realistic. Sometimes funny, too.

See also on www.youtube.com

Animusic – Fiber Bundle

More from Animusic because quite simply, I love it. To be able to hear and see music makes my spine go all tingly. Resonant Chamber remains my favorite, but I think this is a close second. The quality isn’t quite as sharp, but if you don’t have a huge monitor, you can go full screen on this. Turn up the speaker and let it take you away.

 

ANIMUSIC — Resonant Chamber

See on Scoop.itIn and About the News

I published this a while back, but I thought it deserved another appearance. I find the music haunting. There’s just something about it. It is amazing and beautiful. Turn up your speakers, then watch, listen and be awestruck!

Click on the graphic (above) to see the entire production.

Animusic specializes in the 3D visualization of MIDI-based music. Founded by Wayne Lytle, it was originally called Visual Music. It became Animusic in 1995.

The company is famous for its futuristic computer animations in which the music actually drives the animation so that the visual and the music precisely correspond. This is as close to “seeing music” as you can come.

Although other musical animation productions exists, there are differences. The models for Animusic are created first, then are programmed to do what the music “tells them.” Instruments appear to be playing themselves …  instruments that could never exist yet somehow seem entirely plausible. Many people, on first seeing an Animusic production ask if the instrument or instruments really exist. They are startlingly realistic.

See on www.youtube.com

Animusic – Antimatter Raystorm, Jason Ward

 

Antimatter Raystorm Animusic style Animated Music Video New Age by Jason Ward

Okay. I admit it. I didn’t get it at first, but I can’t stop watching these. I find them fascinating. It’s as if I visualized the music myself, direct from my  brain. I can see from exactly where each sound comes, which animation is making every sound. Homage to the amazing people who do this, Here’s another one!

Animusic

This is NOT a real instrument. Everything you see and hear on this video is computer-generated.

It blows me away.

What makes this so unique and probably why it feels like it’s coming straight out of my brain is that the music drives the animation. Animusic creates the “instruments,” then the music drives the creations to do what they musically ought to do. This a treat for my brain: ice cream with chocolate sauce for my gray matter!