Category Archives: Films

Frozen “In Summer” (2013)

Frozen has some genuinely funny moments scattered throughout its story, and one of the funniest happens with Olaf’s song “In Summer.” To recap, while making their way to Elsa’s ice castle in the mountains, Anna and Kristoff encounter Olaf, a living snowman that Elsa unwittingly made while fleeing Arendelle. Olaf is an interesting character in that he is a snowman fascinated with summertime and heat, two things that are definitely not healthy for a being made of snow.

Yet, Olaf seems blissfully unaware of the fact that experiencing summertime and heat is impossible for someone like him, as he breaks into song about all the things he can’t wait to experience when summer arrives.

Bees’ll buzz
Kids’ll blow dandelion fuzz
And I’ll be doing whatever snow does in summer

A drink in my hand
My snow up against the burning sand
Prob’ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer

I’ll finally see a summer breeze blow away a winter storm
And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm

And I can’t wait to see
What my buddies all think of me
Just imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer

Dah-dah, da-doo, a-bah-bah-bah bah-bah-boo

The hot and the cold are both so intense
Put ’em together, it just makes sense!

Rrr-raht da-daht dah-dah-dah dah-dah-dah dah dah doo

Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a…happy snowman!

When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream
Of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam

Oh, the sky will be blue
And you guys will be there too
When I finally do what frozen things do in summer!

Kristoff: I’m gonna tell him.
Anna: Don’t you dare!

In summer!

Olaf is so delightfully clueless throughout the entire song. It’s also really funny to see a snowman dancing through a field of dandelions. Of course the answer for what “frozen things do in summer” is evident throughout, but Olaf either won’t acknowledge it or just doesn’t get it. The funniest moment of all, in a semi-dark way, is at the very end when Olaf sings about “But put me in summer and I’ll be a…happy snowman!” The rhyme, of course, should be puddle to go with cuddle in the preceding line, but Olaf deftly sidesteps the rhyme and goes his own way.

“In Summer” is a really funny interlude before things start to get dark in the story. Let me know what you think about “In Summer” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Frozen “Frozen Heart” (2013)

Frozen “For the First Time in Forever” (2013)

Frozen “Love is an Open Door” (2013)

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Frozen II “All is Found” (2019)

I’ve mentioned before that Frozen II is full of music, and it doesn’t take long for the songs to begin. Right at the very beginning of the film we get a song from Queen Iduna as she sings to the young Anna and Elsa (in a scene that is clearly set before the childhood accident that kicks off the events of Frozen). To help her daughters sleep, Iduna sings a song called “All is Found.”

It’s a beautiful song, and one that foreshadows the main story to come, where Anna, Elsa, and company go off to find Ahtohallan, the “river of memory.” It foreshadows much more also, including Elsa’s dive for information on the past of Arendelle, and also take note of the line “when all is lost, then all is found.” If you think about it, things get pretty bleak for our heroes before the answers begin to make themselves known. I love that the movie starts with a song that hints at everything to come.

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a river full of memory
Sleep my darlings safe and sound
For in this river all is found

In her waters deep and true
Lie the answers and a path for you
Dive down deep into her sound
But not too far or you’ll be drowned

Yes she will sing to those who hear
And in her song all magic flows
But can you brave what you must fear
Can you face what the river knows

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a mother full of memory
Come my darling homeward bound
When all is lost, then all is found

This song also serves as a bridge between the past and present, as a swift reprise of the song brings us flying to Arendelle where Queen Elsa continues to rule (though not as free of doubt as she pretends to be). While “All is Found” isn’t anywhere close to the level of “Into the Unknown” or “Show Yourself”, it is a lovely little song and a fine addition to the Frozen II soundtrack.

Let me know what you think about “All is Found” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Frozen II “Into the Unknown” (2019)

Frozen II “Show Yourself” (2019)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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The Little Mermaid “Les Poissons” (1989)

As a general rule, I pride myself on having a pretty good memory where Disney’s animated films are concerned. Having grown up on them, and seen most of them dozens of times each, I can quote most of the songs in each film, if not entirely then at least their general premise. That’s why I’m so ashamed to say…I completely forgot about “Les Poissons” in The Little Mermaid. And when I say forget, I mean I completely forgot this sequence even existed (except for a vague memory of Sebastian being coated with flour).

Today I’m rectifying this lapse in memory by looking at a short song that would be purely funny in any other film, but actually takes on aspects of horror given the audience (Sebastian). The premise is simple: Sebastian, sneaking into the castle to keep an eye on Ariel, finds himself (to his horror), in the kitchen, where Chef Louis is happily preparing food for Prince Eric and company. Chef Louis was voiced by the late René Auberjonois, and at first appears to be a completely harmless character. That is until he starts chopping fish. Given how Sebastian has already sung a song to Ariel (“Under the Sea”) hinting at what happens to fish on land, this song is like all of the crab’s worst nightmares brought to life.

 

Nouvelle cuisine
Les Champs-Élysées, Maurice Chevalier

Les poissons, les poissons
How I love les poissons!
Love to chop
And to serve little fish.

(*Chop, chop, chop!*)

First I cut off their heads
Then I pull out their bones.
Ah mais oui, ça c’est toujours délice.

(Sebastian gags)

Les poissons, les poissons
Hee-hee-hee, hon-hon-hon
With a cleaver I hack them in two.

(Sebastian examines a dead fish’s head and gasps)

I pull out what’s inside
And I serve it up fried.
God, I love little fishes, don’t you?

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(Louis adds cooked fish to a platter)

Here’s something for tempting the palate
Prepared in the classic technique.
First you pound the fish flat with a mallet.

(Louis pounds the table hard)

Then you slash off their skin.
Give their belly a slice.
Then you rub some salt in
‘Cause that makes it taste nice.

Wow, for being a mere chef, Louis really does like to swing that cleaver around doesn’t he? Given how most of this song is scene from Sebastian’s perspective, the shadows, the entire scene really does come across as something like horror (and for a crab like Sebastian, that’s exactly what it would be). And like any horror film, it only gets worse for our little crab…
(Louis removes a leaf from the counter and finds Sebastian hiding underneath)

(Spoken) Zut alors ! I have missed one!

(Louis picks up Sebastian)

Sacrebleu ! What is this?
How on earth could I miss
Such a sweet little succulent crab?

Quel dommage, what a loss!
Here we go in the sauce.
Now some flour-I think just a dab.

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(Sebastian sneezes)

Now I stuff you with bread.
It don’t hurt, ’cause you’re dead
And you’re certainly lucky you are.

(Sebastian spits out the stuffed crab filling)

‘Cause it’s gonna be hot
In my big silver pot
Tootle-loo, mon poisson, au revoir!

In fitting Disney fashion, Sebastian quickly gets his revenge on Chef Louis, and a hilarious chase ensues, bringing the brief episode of “Les Poissons” to a close. Having rewatched the video several times, I can’t believe I ever forgot about this scene and I’m glad I finally revisited it. Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Little Mermaid “Daughters of Triton” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Part of Your World” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Vanessa’s Song” (1989)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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My Thoughts on: Underwater (2020)

*minor spoilers for the film can be found below

I was aware I was taking a risk when I chose Underwater to be my first theater visit of 2020. As I’ve mentioned many times before, horror films are not something I choose to see very often. But after the success of going to see Midsommar last summer, I was feeling brave, and the trailer for Underwater got me so curious…that I decided I had to see it.

Underwater is a science-fiction horror film, apparently set in the near future, when humans have built a seven-mile deep drill that stretches all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Nora (Kristen Stewart), a mechanical engineer, along with other survivors, is forced to fight for her life when something mysterious begins to destroy the drill.

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First things first, I can definitely state that Underwater is a scary film. The jump scares are the kind that kept my hands plastered in front of my face for a decent chunk of the movie. Another thing is that the film wastes very little time in getting started with the action (though given it only has a 95 minute run time that’s understandable). But by far the most important thing I took away from Underwater is that it appears to be heavily inspired, if not derived from, Ridley Scott’s Alien.

The numerous similarities are uncanny. The diving suits are quite similar to the Alien spacesuits. The location (bottom of the Mariana Trench) is so remote and hostile it might as well be outer space. There’s a pan shot of a seemingly empty station that reminded me of the opening shot of the inside of the Nostromo. There’s even a brief examination of a mysterious creature that reminded me of Ash examining the facehugger (though thankfully there is no chestburster scene in this film). If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the pitch for this film ran along the lines of “It’s Alien, but at the bottom of the ocean.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Alien is such an iconic story it’s understandable that people would want to imitate it even 41 years later. However, at the same time, Alien is so good, each similarity I saw in Underwater reminded me that Alien did it first.

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Still, if you like scary movies where the protagonists are chased by barely-glimpsed sea monsters, then you will probably like Underwater, though your mileage will definitely vary when you reach the film’s climax. That’s where the film got weird for me. In the last 10-15 minutes, something is introduced that…I’m still not sure how to describe. This thing looked like it came out of a completely different film. If I’m really honest, my first thought on glimpsing “it” (I won’t fully describe it because you really need to see it for yourself) was “is this secretly a film about Cthulhu?” I can’t say it ruined the film, because it held my attention every time “it” appeared, but it is definitely an out of left field moment given everything that happened up until that point. What I’m trying to say is, up until this point in Underwater, the story felt reasonably believable: the drill has undoubtedly opened up a place where a previously unknown form of sea life dwelt and they are royally pissed off at having their space invaded. Then this thing appears and, like I said, it got weird.

For the most part, I liked the film’s cast. Kristen Stewart especially stood out to me, I really liked her work as Nora. The thing with Vincent Cassel being in the film is, all I could see was The Night Fox from Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. That’s not a ding on Cassel, but it’s what I kept thinking of any time his character appeared. And on a random note: I love that the rabbit survived.

Ultimately, though I was terrified for most of it, I don’t regret going to see Underwater. It’s frightening, a lot of it is scarily plausible, and that last bit at the end makes me super curious to see if there are any follow-ups in the future. If they made another film in the same universe, I would be okay with it (mostly because I want to know what the frack that thing was).

Let me know what you think about Underwater in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

While I started the Tarzan films somewhat out of order, I did eventually make my way to Tarzan the Ape Man, the first Tarzan film starring Johnny Weissmuller all the way back in 1932. The film looks at how Tarzan and Jane first met, and establishes that the titular character lives way up high on an escarpment deep in Africa, a place filled with treasures that many from the outside world would crave if only they could get to them. Like an elephant graveyard loaded to the brim with ivory…

Now believe it or not, but I actually didn’t like this film as much as some of the others, particularly Tarzan and His Mate. Don’t get me wrong, Tarzan the Ape Man is a good film, and any film series has to start somewhere. But I think the fact that Tarzan and Jane’s relationship isn’t an established thing really bothered me while watching this film. Also, while Weissmuller’s Tarzan generally doesn’t talk very much, he speaks even less in this film. It’s just awkward, for me, to go from the later films back to the first one, where most of the things I’m used to seeing (Tarzan and Jane’s treehouse, Boy, Tarzan and Jane’s relationship) simply aren’t there.

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That being said, Tarzan the Ape Man does a good job of setting up the basic template that the rest of the Weissmuller films follow. One circumstance or another leads to a group reaching Tarzan’s escarpment, the group meets Tarzan, adventures of various kinds ensue, and the bad guys are suitably punished. It’s not a bad setup for a plot, and it does serve as a good opening for Tarzan’s adventures. Although if you’re hoping for an onscreen explanation of how Tarzan got to the top of the escarpment, then you’re in for a disappointment because it isn’t brought up. For all we know, this version of Tarzan is also secretly Lord Greystoke, but as it’s never brought up it doesn’t really matter where he came from either.

Also, I really like Jane’s introduction in this film. You can tell from her very first appearance that this is not the typical woman, in fact she’s just right for someone like Tarzan. If anyone else had gone into the jungle, the story just wouldn’t have worked out. So Jane is bold, adventurous (and she knows how to use a gun!), and willing to take chances the average woman wouldn’t.

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All told, you will like Tarzan the Ape Man. As far as origin stories for Tarzan and Jane, it does a good job of setting up the scenario. Neil Hamilton and C. Aubrey Smith do a good job of rounding out the main cast as Harry Holt and James Parker (Jane’s father) respectively. In fact Hamilton reprises his role in Tarzan and His Mate. Just be sure to watch this film first before you see the others.

Let me know what you think about Tarzan the Ape Man in the comments below and have a good night!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

My Thoughts on: Tarzan Escapes (1936)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: A Christmas Carol (1984)

Earlier, during the holidays, I sat down and watched the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol, with George C. Scott starring as Ebenezer Scrooge. As near as I can remember, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this particular version of the story, which is by far the most complete version of “A Christmas Carol” that I’ve seen to date. For context, I should mention that the version I’m most familiar with are Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Muppet Christmas Carol, both of which are good but they also leave out quite a bit of material as I’ve now discovered.

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A Christmas Carol includes sequences and details I never knew about before, including Ebenezer’s beloved sister Fan, and the fact that her untimely death is why Scrooge isn’t particularly fond of his nephew Fred (most versions I’ve seen omit that detail). And then when Scrooge is spending time with the Ghost of Christmas Present, I never knew he visited his nephew Fred’s home and watched them play games. All of these details have really expanded the story for me and made me love it that much more. This film also, in my opinion, has the scariest incarnation of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that I’ve seen in a long time. To be sure, I haven’t seen a version yet that doesn’t have a scary version of this character, but this one is particularly dark.

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I also really enjoy George C. Scott’s interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge. I know many famous actors have taken on the role, and given that I only know Scott best for his work in Patton, I wasn’t sure how he would do playing Scrooge. But after watching this film, I found myself really enjoying his performance. Scott’s version of Scrooge is particularly cold and nasty in the beginning, and even after being visited by the first two Ghosts, Scrooge doesn’t seem particularly close to being redeemed. It’s only after being visited by the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (who can only communicate with terrifying metallic shrieks), that Scrooge finally sees the error of his ways.

If you’re looking for a version of “A Christmas Carol” that is particularly faithful to the original story, then you can’t go wrong by watching this one. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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My Thoughts on: Tarzan Escapes (1936)

The next Tarzan film I decided to see is Tarzan Escapes from 1936. Like Tarzan and His Mate, this film once again sees outside forces attempting to return Jane to civilization, this time in the form of her cousins Eric and Rita. These two mean well, but their actions sure do cause a lot of grief for Jane and Tarzan, especially when a certain revelation is made at the end of the film (but I’ll get to that in a little bit).

Tarzan Escapes has two primary conflicts: one centers on whether or not Jane will return to civilization to sign some financial papers that will help her cousins, and the other involves Captain Fry, a big game hunter who has nefarious designs on Tarzan. The latter plays out as exactly the way you think it will (Tarzan does get caught but it doesn’t last for long and revenge is exacted). The big heart wrenching element in this film comes when Jane has to explain to Tarzan why she needs to go away for a few months to help her cousins. The only part of it that Tarzan understands is that Jane is going away, and it clearly breaks his heart. It’s enough to make me want to cry, even though I’ve rewatched the scene several times by now. Weissmuller’s Tarzan is so in love with Jane, even a temporary separation feels like the end of the world.

But what really bugs me about all of this, as I mentioned earlier, is that none of it had to happen. You see, early in the film Eric and Rita make it plain that Jane needs to come with them to provide her signature on some documents. However, once the status quo has been restored, it comes out that Eric and Rita were lying through their teeth: Jane never needed to come with them, she could’ve just signed a paper in the jungle and that would’ve been that. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but this revelation makes me more than a little angry on Jane and Tarzan’s behalf. Essentially, Tarzan’s heart was ripped out and stomped on (when he thought Jane was leaving) for no reason.

And I can’t leave a review of Tarzan Escapes without talking about Captain Fry, or more specifically what happens to him at the end of the story. After racing to safety through a treacherous swamp, Tarzan turns and forces Fry to go back the way they just came. He doesn’t say much, but he doesn’t have to, after everything that’s happened, it’s clear that Tarzan consider’s Fry’s actions to be unforgivable and nobody, not even Jane, can convince him otherwise. It’s a spine-chilling moment and a reminder that Tarzan is not one to mess with, for any reason.

Tarzan Escapes is another enjoyable entry in the series of Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films, and one that everyone should see if they get the chance.

Let me know what you think about Tarzan Escapes in the comments below and have a happy New Year!!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

My Thoughts on: Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Film Reviews

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