Memories – made by Disney

Latimer's Disney selfies - can you guess what movies they're from?
Latimer’s Disney selfies – can you guess what movies they’re from?

Latimer: Ah Halloween, it came and went and I am about half a stone heavier as a result (damn Trick r’ Treat leftovers!).

As it was Halloween season I had to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.

I love it, but it honestly scares me. Like, if I ended up in Halloween Town, with Dr Finkelstein, I’d start shrieking, smack him over the head with a gravestone and run, like my life depended on it (which it probably does at this point) to the forest and the Christmas Town door.

So scary!!!!
So scary!!!!

I like Jack and Sally, even the Mayor (just about), but not the Doctor… no…

Nightmare_Before_Christmas_Dr_F
The thing of nightmares!!

The thing is, as I watched (mumbling to myself, ‘oh the horror!’), I started to think, as I always do, that the Doctor isn’t actually a bad person. He just looks creepy… So yeah, it’s a moral (don’t judge people) – ah the moral, it’s a Disney thing isn’t it?

I don’t think there are many people in the world who haven’t been shaped by Disney movies in some way. Every generation has their Disney’s.

I come from the Disney Renaissance, animation wise – to me, that’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (my fave), The Lion King (such a big deal at the time my God!) and Toy Story (the first full-length CGI movie!), Aladdin and Mulan (LOVE Mulan, I entered a competition for a giant Mushu teddy – I lost but I’ve always wondered about that lucky sod who won it).

Hehe.... Cos she does!!
Hehe…. ‘Course she does!!

Way back when, I used to get these magazines every week, called Disney and Me.

uk_disney_and_me1

Yup. And I never read them, nope, just looked at the cartoons and tried to draw them. Funny thing, I wasn’t a big reader in my childhood… The extent of my reading?

“I’m going on adventure today!” I’d say, packing up the essentials – bread for the eating, dock-leaves for potential nettle stings and an illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland.

My copy did not look this cool... ah, I still wouldn't have read it though!
My copy did not look this cool… ah, I still wouldn’t have read it though!

I’d precede to the climb the trees around my estate and think to myself, “Today, I will read this book”.

It was a big book at the time. And… 5 minutes later, “Yup bored now.” How many pages did I read? None, ha.

Then I’d head to my friend’s house and watch, watch, and re-watch, her VHS copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. She hated me for that.

My mother’s friend had a copy of Beauty and the Beast that I used to borrow and watch… I spent a whole weekend watching it once and I cried when I had to give it back (seriously).

I can still hear Angela Landsbury singing in this scene... yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!)
I can still hear Angela Lansbury singing in this scene… yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!_

But, even when I was young, I felt there was one MAJOR flaw in this movie… The Prince… He just isn’t a good-looking man! My heart always dropped a little in disappointment! (It still does…!)

He's just... argh.... such a disappointment!
He’s just… argh…. such a disappointment!

This is a good looking ‘prince’…. 

Ah Flynn... Eugene... whatever, you're beautiful!
Ah Flynn… Eugene… whatever, you’re beautiful!

Anyways, when The Lion King came out, in 1994, I didn’t get to go to the cinema to see it. Back then no one was taking child-me to the cinema. I’d only been once in my life at that point – to see Jurassic Park.

Luckily, a girl in my class in school, her father worked overseas and he got a pirated copy of The Lion King (ohh… hehe). And the teacher said we could watch it! We were astounded (now that I think of it, the teacher probably just wanted to see it too – I know now that’s what I’d do!).

With the blinds pulled down in our classroom, we all got to watch the wonder of The Lion King. I was also madly in love with Jonathon-Taylor Thomas (voice of Simba) at this point, so it was the best movie I ever saw in my life at the time.

What ever happened to him? Hmm...
What ever happened to him? Hmm…

There was a girl in my class (we’ll call her Sara) – she was one of my art rivals (Everyone had one. But she never viewed me as her rival – ah ha, oh that’s cold!). Sara was the best at drawing Disney-style animals. And after The Lion King she was like a celebrity; “Draw a Simba on my desk!” everyone would squeal.

A years later, I did manage go to the cinema to see Toy Story. I have very vivid memories of standing in line, being so excited to see this movie. I think that’s why I cried so badly at the end of Toy Story 3 – I was finally saying goodbye to them after 18 years! It was pretty heart-breaking…. The scene where Andy plays with the toys for the last time! Argh, I… I just can’t….

How heart-breaking is this?!?!
How heart-breaking is this?!?!

Disney’s stamped all over my memories.

There came a point during growing up that I threw away the Disney cloak. That’s for kids, I thought, and I am a child no more! (ha, yup, that did NOT last)

The Disney Renaissance had ended anyways. But, then, it entered a revival era! The age of the CGI animated movies (Pixar) came into being and I was pulled back in!

By about Finding Nemo I was back on the Disney bandwagon. My counterparts on the wagon, who had stayed the course, eyed me with disdain; “We stayed true!”

I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!
I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!

The Incredibles is a brilliant movie.Tangled? Oh god, love it. WALL-E – how gorgeous is that movie?

I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!
I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!

Brave, Brave… yup… Disney’s back in my heart.

And now I’m waiting hopefully for Frozen.

Really looking forward to this! I’ve even starting doing some fan-art – take that Sara it only took… err a few (a lot) years! Ah, ha…

Kristoff and Anna... please let this movie be Tangled epic!!
Kristoff and Anna… please let this movie be Tangled epic!!

All those memories… Disney really is King of Childhood Dreams…

Everyone has a Disney favourite! Right :)?

 

(When we were in Tokyo a while back, we stumbled across the Disney store! It also brought back a lot of childhood memories!) 

Nineties Time Warp

Ridley: I adored the nineties. My brother says I’m stuck in a nineties time warp. The TV shows, the movies, the music, I still love it all. I definitely think I have a bit of that ‘back in my day’ syndrome. Who knows what I’ll be like later in life when I’m already like this in my twenties!

I’ve watched two films that were made in the nineties in the last few days, I have to say, I never grow tired of them. Even though it’s been many years since they were first released, people still sit down and become enthralled by them again. There were numerous epic thrillers and disaster films made during that time, but they also had heart. In the middle of the attacking aliens, stomping giant monsters and reincarnated mummies, there were also well told touching stories which centred around the characters. The heroes were flawed, damaged and vulnerable. The relationships were fantastic and over came all the odds.

What was not to love?

Does anyone remember these:

My my, did my obsession with dinosaurs ever start after I watched this film. It was just fantastic, wasn’t it? With the velociraptors learning to open doors; ‘Clever girl,’ to the scene where the giant T-Rex bursts out of the trees to storm after the Jeep? As Ron Weasley would say, ‘Bloody Hell’!

The funny thing is, I have the television on as I’m writing this and Twister is on on Sky Modern Greats. I’ve seen this film dozens of times, if I notice it’s on, I’ll grab a cup of tea, change over and watch it. It’s one of my favourites, with the rekindled love between the two main characters, the epic tornadoes and the team’s pursuit to gain information about them so they can save lives. This need is particularly heightened and made more personal for the audience when the main character’s loveable aunt, who we’ve already met, is caught unaware by a tornado and nearly killed. The ending, while more than likely quite unrealistic, is still fantastic!

Anna and the King is such a heart wrenching tale, but definitely one to watch. Plus Tom Felton (the guy who plays Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) is Anna’s son in it! He’s so young looking!

Ah, surely everyone knows Braveheart? The quotes from it are brilliant.

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”

Who knew a board game could be so dangerous. If you hear those drums, run, especially if they’re coming from a Monopoly box, who knows what would happen if you were pulled in there! Haha. No, seriously, think about it, it’s quite a unique storyline, isn’t it? (this is where about a dozen people tell me there’s a hundred other ‘the board game came to life’ stories out there!) Again, there’s action, adventure, overcoming the odds and a love story in the middle of it all. It may be fantastical with crazy knife throwing monkeys (i loved them), hunters and monsoons, but fundamentally we can all relate to the characters and how they’re feeling. The feelings we have are just because of more mundane less dangerous reasons, we generally don’t have stampeding wild animals bursting through our houses. 

Godzilla, he fed into my dinosaur obsession! I used to watch the old old Godzilla films too, where you could see the strings attached to the flying monsters! Haha.

Ah, Will Smith and Tommy Lee, could you ever fault a combination like that?? 

Magical tiny creatures fight against the giant, human loggers trying to destroy their home. Really great!

Another one up there on the pedestal with Twister. I’ve seen this a million times and I still get a bit teary-eyed when the president gives his speech as the soldiers are off to begin their aerial attack.

“Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day! 

This is played EVERY Christmas in my house, particularly as we’re putting up the Christmas tree. I love the music and the Muppets! Bit early in the year for this I know, still a great song though!

So creepy, the black rider’s teeth are like a shark’s fangs, he always made my skin crawl! Absolutely great though and while it’s another Gothic type film from Johnny Depp, it’s a good one. 

Honestly I got a bit tired of these films after awhile, but I still loved the first one when it came out. Da Da dada da….

The Lion King, need I say more? And every other Disney film that came out in the nineties should go here, I just figured it didn’t need to be said. 🙂

A Bruce Willis film, quite scifi-y and very different from his other movies, but brilliant nonetheless and a great ending!

The Mummy, I’ll include two and three in this, who doesn’t love them? They have an ancient love story, a modern one, magic, Egyptian everything (both Latimer and I at one point-separately too, we didn’t know each other at the time-both wanted to be Egyptianologists when we were younger! Crazy, eh?). There were also gun fights and handsome sword-wielding Medjai in these movies! While I’m aware they made four films, I only count the three with Rachel Weisz playing the mother as the proper ones, that last one, while it had Yetis, I didn’t really like it.   

Cult classic. If you haven’t seen this, then you’re really missing out. It’s a skilfully made stop motion animation, Tim Burton is behind it (another one he also produced in the nineties was James and the Giant Peach). Nightmare Before Christmas also had catchy songs! 

Loved the first film….I got lost though when I watched the rest of them 😀

Like Twister, but with a volcano!

Ah Pixar, I’ve loved all their films. This was the start of a fantastic trilogy. 

‘Yippie-kai-yay….’ I love all of them.

Brilliant sound track by Aerosmith came along with this. The end of the world is upon us and we follow the struggles of the oil drilling team to save us all. This film is fantastic, I still well up in parts when I watch it too. Another great Bruce Willis film!

Even though everyone knew the ending going in, the ship sinks, it’s quite a touching film. You couldn’t help but be moved, knowing that ultimately it’s a true story. Obviously not the part with Leo and Kate falling in love and her throwing off the shackles of her class, no it’s the bit where hundreds of people perished in the horrific accident all those years ago. Absolutely heart-wrenching.

Once my favourite Bond, Pierce Brosnan has since been replace by Daniel Craig, how fickle I am! Still, fun films to watch!

Ah Nick Cage, personally I think it’s one of his best films! And John Malkovich is in this, you couldn’t go wrong with him!

And that’s just scratching the surface of what we used to watch in the 90s! (there was also My Neighbor Totoro, The Rescuers Down Under, Dragonheart, My Girl, Home Alone)

As you scroll down through the movie posters, for the ones you’ve seen, you remember them, don’t you? You remember the people, the story, how it made you feel, where you were when you first watched it? I know I do! 

I’m not saying there aren’t good films being made now, there are, numerous ones, but for some of them these days, it looks like (not even trained!) monkeys pushed buttons and that was how they decided on what would happen in them. A lot of them really don’t feel like they’ll endure as long as some of the films made in the nineties have done-most of which have become modern greats.

Am I wrong? Do other people love these as much as me? No?

*sigh*  🙂

Dreaming of Disney

Our chance visit to the Tokyo Disney shop in Shibuya reminded us how much we love Disney. Being children of the late-80s, our love is focused on early 90’s ‘renaissance era’ Disney; that’s Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King. So, entering the magical world of Disney always brings us back to our childhood.

Latimer: We blindly walked the busy metropolitan streets of Shibuya and came across the amazing entrance to the Tokyo Disney shop. I have never seen a shop-front like it before! It was great! I was instantly a child again!

Stepping inside was like stepping into a cloud of fairy dust…

We were in heaven (even though we had no intention of buying anything- it’s freaky expensive). It captured the essence of being young, of stepping into a dream. The shop just spoke to your inner-child, completely ignoring boring adult you (perfect!).

It all reminded us that Disney is King of romance and happily ever-after. We were buzzing with happy memories. Our current selves, that aspire to write the perfect romantic adventure, were moulded in our youth by Disney stories. One of the favourites, was Beauty and The Beast.

The story is so perfect- the Prince cursed because of his cruelty, wastes away in his ruin of a castle, while the Beauty, Belle, chooses to save her father’s life by sacrificing her own freedom, becoming the Prince’s prisoner. And of course he is horrible to her (though really he is just misunderstood) but she doesn’t stand for it, a fierce heroine who stands up for herself. In time, they both realise their faults and find love in each other but not before the dramatic fight-scene with the rival man on the roof of the castle (in the middle of a dark storm, beautifully animated).

The story teaches us that cruelty rewards no one and kindness is a virtue that must be nurtured or it will whither. In fact Disney has always taught us valuable lessons through fantastical stories. We grow up and leave it behind one day of course (there’s no point in talking to me about The Princess and the Frog, or whatever else comes along thereafter), but we all have our Disney stories. And they create a little child within us that never really disappears.

A spark of fairy dust in our hearts, it’s why we write and draw and play, even if we grow up. Disney always brings a smile to my face. This shop was like being transported inside my own imagination for just a while. It was pure magic!

Ridley: It’s true, Disney is a master at invoking those warm fuzzy feelings, while always having imparted (unknowingly to our small minds) a valuable lesson at the same time.

My favourite Disney movie of all time is Mulan. A beautifully crafted tale set in China, where the Huns have begun to threaten the Chinese empire and the Emperor has begun to amass a defending army in retaliation. It’s a story filled with love, loyalty, friendship, forgiveness and courage. It also showed us young girls that it didn’t matter who or what you were, if you worked hard enough and believed you could succeed, then you would, even with severe obstacles hindering you.

 Again as with Beauty and the Beast, our heroine enters her current predicament because she wishes to protect her elderly father, Fa Zhou, from conscription into the army. Despite the threat of execution if she is discovered, she masquerades as a man and goes in his place. We follow her attempts at becoming a soldier, beginning as a truly abysmal recruit then progressing to a skilled and competent team member. During this she also gains respect and friendship from her fellow conscriptees and of course, Captain Li…

Even looking back at clips of it, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful, not to mention the music. To this day I still know the words of ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ (mainly because it’s on my ipod!)

This story still stands strong, even up against all the impressive 3D animation and special effects. We become truly immersed in her tale, we celebrate and commiserate as she does and of course, we clasp our hands together as we wait to see how her relationship with Captain Li develops.

As with all of the best Disney films, Mulan brings us on a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows, until it culminates into a dramatic ending where our heroine shows what she’s capable of against the Hun leader with the backing of her soldier friends, who have accepted her for who she is despite her previous deception.

When you enter the Disney shop, these are the wonderful happy memories that you instantly recall. All the fantastic relationships, the rollercoaster tales, the warm fuzzy feelings and without a doubt, the beautiful soldiers, princes and beasts, you remember everything. So Latimer and I couldn’t help wander the store with smiles on our faces, exclaiming over well loved characters (and the price tags on them!). 

Disney deals in dreams, possibly unattainable ones, but they’ve also taught us to strive hard for them no matter how difficult. For us, this really is why we write, to re-create these types of relationships, build these magical worlds and hopefully help to continue the dream for others.

While in the fantastic Harry Potter books, Albus Dumbledore said, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” I personally believe our dreams make the living part all the sweeter. I think Disney might just have thought this too.