Category Archives: Films

Peter Pan “You Can Fly!” (1953)

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One of my favorite moments in Peter Pan is when Peter teaches the Darling children how to fly and they set off for Neverland. As a little kid, I loved the idea of just being able to launch into the air and fly like a bird (imagine my disappointment when all the happy thoughts in the world couldn’t get me off the ground). “You Can Fly” serves as a transition from the ordinary world of London to the extraordinary world of Neverland. This song is different from other Disney songs in that, apart from some half-sung verses at the very beginning, Peter and the Darling children don’t sing at all. Instead their journey to Neverland is narrated by a chorus.

Each of the children has a slightly different style of flying. Wendy is the most graceful, John uses his umbrella to turn corners, and Michael (being the youngest) has an almost clambering style (think of how little kids kick in a swimming pool). Naturally none of them are as good as Peter, who can do all kinds of tricks while he flies.

Think of a wonderful thought,
Any merry little thought,
Think of Christmas, think of snow, think of sleigh bells,
Off you go, like 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 a path that moonbeams make,
If the moon is still awake,
You’ll see him wink his eye (ohh…)
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!

I absolutely love the moment when Michael stops and notices Nana trying to fly after her charges. It gets even funnier when he grabs Tinker Bell and sprinkles some fairy dust on the confused canine, sending her soaring into the air bottom first. The only reason Nana can’t follow is because she’s tied by her leash, so she can only float awkwardly in the air as the children fly away. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Nana had been able to fly with them (probably she would have kept trying to take the children home).

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Off you go with a Hi and Ho
With 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 fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

Tinker Bell, being the jealous type, is not thrilled that Wendy is coming along. She’s already trying to sabotage the trip by messing up her reflection in the water but it quickly comes back to haunt the fairy as she’s nearly snapped up by several hungry fish. This won’t stop Tinker Bell though, as she’ll try again once they reach Neverland.

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 fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

The song fades away with Peter and the children well on their way to Neverland, “second star to the right and straight on till morning.” I can’t overstate how much I love listening to this song, it’s a perfect Disney tune. It’s full of joy, innocence, and a rising sense of adventure as they fly onward to Neverland.

What do you think about “You Can Fly!”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Peter Pan “Following the Leader” (1953)

Peter Pan “What Made the Red Man red?” (1953)

Peter Pan “The Elegant Captain Hook” (1953)

My Thoughts on: Peter Pan (1953)

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

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame “God Help the Outcasts” (1996)

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After successfully evading Frollo’s soldiers, Esmeralda unexpectedly finds herself a veritable prisoner inside Notre Dame. While Frollo concedes that he can’t arrest the gypsy inside the cathedral, the moment she steps outside his men will be waiting. Esmeralda is rightfully frustrated, but the Archdeacon points out that maybe Someone in the cathedral can help her (hinting that she should turn to prayer). Esmeralda does indeed begin to pray, and the result is “God Help the Outcasts,” one of the best songs to come out of this film. It actually replaced another song named “Someday” (which you can hear over the end credits) when the directors wanted a quieter song for the scene.

For the song, Esmeralda is voiced by Heidi Mollenhauer (Demi Moore provides her speaking voice). The song is quiet and somber, as Esmeralda reflects on the plight of outcasts like herself, asking for God to help them since nobody else will.

I don’t know if You can hear me
Or if You’re even there
I don’t know if You would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to You
Still, I see Your face and wonder
Were You once an outcast, too?

God help the outcasts
Hungry from birth
Show them the mercy
They don’t find on earth
God help my people
We look to You, still
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will

Esmeralda’s prayer for the outcasts is in stark contrast to the rest of the people praying in the cathedral. While Esmeralda prays for others, the wealthy parishioners pray for themselves, asking for wealth and glory. These scenes are intercut with some gorgeous animated shots of the interior of the cathedral and its stained glass windows (the animators spent a lot of time studying the real Notre Dame to make it as accurate as possible).

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I ask for wealth
I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can possess
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

Undeterred, Esmeralda insists that she herself wants nothing. Meanwhile, as this is going on, Quasimodo is slowly making his way down from the bell tower, lured by Esmeralda’s song. In all his life, I don’t think he’s ever heard a prayer like this before. The notion that someone would want to pray for people like him, I think this is the moment when Quasimodo really starts to fall in love with her.

I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and downtrod
I thought we all were
The children of God
God help the outcasts
Children of God

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One of my favorite details in this song is that Esmeralda finishes while standing beneath one of the famed Rose Windows. Given the intricacies of the stained glass, it’s replicated in stunning detail, including its colorful shadow cast on the cathedral floor. I’m hoping that someday I can go to Paris and see these beautiful windows for myself.

“God Help the Outcasts” is one of those songs that almost always has me crying by the end, because it’s such a beautiful moment. What do you think of this song? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Bells of Notre Dame” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Out There” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Topsy Turvy” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “Heaven’s Light/Hellfire” (1996)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame “The Court of Miracles” (1996)

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

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The Fox and the Hound “A Hunting Man” (1981)

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“A Hunting Man” might be one of the shortest Disney songs I’ve ever heard. It comes in the second half of the movie when the hunter Amos Slade (Jack Albertson) is returning from a long hunt with his two dogs Chief (Pat Buttram) and a now-grown up Copper (Kurt Russell). As he drives home, Amos is happily singing about his life as a hunting man.

I ain’t got no job, I’m a hunting man.

And I’d rather have a dog than a dollar.

So let’s go banjo ring-a-ling-a-ling, ho!

Give a little hoot and a holler!

This “song” is barely long enough to be a verse in a regular Disney song, but it does give an idea about the kind of man Amos Slade is. While the hunter is presented as the story’s villain more often than not, this song shows that he really isn’t a “bad” man. Hunting, for all its cruelties, is how Amos earns his living, and it truly makes him happy because he gets to spend time with his beloved dogs. The only reason he gets mean is when someone (like a certain fox) gets in the way of his hunting.

And that’s about it for “A Hunting Man.” Like I said, it’s one of the shortest Disney songs I’ve ever heard, but it does give some insight into the character of Amos Slade. Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Fox and the Hound “Lack of Education” (1981)

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

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The Fox and the Hound “Lack of Education” (1981)

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Unfortunately, I end up saying this about a lot of older Disney films, but The Fox and the Hound is yet another example of a Disney film that is all but forgotten. Loosely based on Daniel Mannix’s 1967 book of the same name, The Fox and the Hound follow a young fox named Tod (Keith Mitchell/Mickey Rooney) and a bloodhound pup named Copper (Corey Feldman/Kurt Russell) as they strike up an unlikely friendship. Tod’s other friends, including an owl named Big Mama (Pearl Bailey), attempt to convince Tod that being friends with a bloodhound (especially when you’re a fox) can only lead to trouble. This is the point of “Lack of Education” where Big Mama and the rest of Tod’s friends attempt to spell things out for the young fox: that if he continues trying to be friends with Copper he’s going to wind up dead.

You listen good Tod, because it’s either education or elimination!

Now, if you’re so foxy and old Chief is so dumb
Then why does that hound get the fox on the run?
‘Cause he’s got the hunter –
and the hunter’s got the gun
Ka-blam, elimination!
Lack of education!

If you pal around with that Copper hound
You’ll wind up hanging on the wall
Keep you nose to the wind –
and you keep your skin
‘Cause you won’t be home –
when the hunter comes to call

Oh, Big Mama, I know Copper would never track me down.
Well, Copper, he’s my best friend.

Ho ho, your best friend!

Now, Copper’s gonna do what he’s been told.
Suppose he won’t chase no fox in no fox hole?
Along comes the hunter with a buck shot load.

Ka-ka-blam!

Elimination.

Lack of education!

Tod seemingly makes a good point when he says Copper would never track his best friend down, but while this is true now, Big Mama knows all too well that with enough time and training, Copper will hunt anything down. She doesn’t want to upset the young fox, but in her mind it’s better if he’s made aware of the facts of life now. Of course, this being a Disney film, Tod doesn’t take the lesson to heart and tries to maintain his friendship with Copper, with increasingly disastrous consequences.

Unlike many Disney songs, “Lack of Education” is performed in more of a “speak-sing” style (meaning the performers are half-talking and half-singing) and Tod doesn’t sing at all. It’s a short, blunt moment that goes completely over Tod’s head, which makes sense, after all who wants to believe their newfound best friend will one day hunt them down and kill them?

I hope you enjoyed this look at an underrated Disney classic. Let me know what you think about “Lack of Education” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Fox and the Hound “A Hunting Man” (1981)

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

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

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The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride “My Lullaby” (1998)

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Zira (Suzanne Pleshette) is the big villain of The Lion King II. According to the backstory, she maintained her allegiance to Scar even after his death and was subsequently banished (along with her followers) to the Outlands, a barren area just past the boundaries of the Pride Lands. After all these years, Zira is determined to have her revenge on Simba no matter what, and “My Lullaby” outlines her thoughts on the subject. The song starts off innocently enough as a lullaby to Kovu, but it quickly turns into a song about how she dreams of Simba brutally dying and these thoughts are her own personal lullaby.

Hush, my little one.
You must be exhausted.
Sleep, my little Kovu
Let your dreams take wing
One day when you’re big and strong
You will be a king

I’ve been exiled, persecuted
Left alone with no defense
When I think of what that brute did
I get a little tense
But I dream a dream so pretty
That I don’t feel so depressed
‘Cause it soothes my inner kitty
And it helps me get some rest

The sound of Simba’s dying gasp
His daughter squealing in my grasp
His lionesses’ mournful cry
That’s my lullaby

Now the past I’ve tried forgetting
And my foes I could forgive
Trouble is, I knows it’s petty
But I hate to let them live
So you found yourself somebody who’d chase Simba up a tree
Oh, the battle may be bloody, but that kind of works for me

 

So this verse has just made it clear that this conflict will not end peacefully. Zira will never “forgive and forget” or “put the past behind her” (as Simba learned to do in the first film). She will have her vengeance no matter the cost.

The melody of angry growls
A counterpoint of painful howls
A symphony of death, oh my!
That’s my lullaby

Scar is gone… but Zira’s still around
To love this little lad
Till he learns to be a killer
With a lust for being bad!

Sleep, ya little termite!
Uh– I mean, precious little thing!
One day when you’re big and strong…
You will be a king!

The pounding of the drums of war!
The thrill of Kovu’s mighty roar!
The joy of vengeance!
Testify!
I can hear the cheering
Kovu, what a guy!
Payback time is nearing
And then our flag will fly
Against a blood-red sky!
That’s my lullaby!

In terms of style, “My Lullaby” is very similar to “Be Prepared” from the first film. In both songs, the villain is laying out their plan to take power in the Pride Lands (the only big difference is that Zira isn’t aligned with the hyenas who are conspicuously absent in this film). You can tell from this song that this is what Zira wants more than anything, to kill Simba and Kiara, and put Kovu on the throne. Not everyone is thrilled with this plan though. Zira’s oldest son Nuka (Andy Dick) is bitterly jealous and thinks he should be the one to take power when the time comes.

Let me know what you think about “My Lullaby” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride “He Lives in You” (1998)

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

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

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The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride “He Lives in You” (1998)

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In the late 1990s and 2000s, Disney went on a spree of creating sequels to all of their animated films, most of which paled in comparison to the originals. However, there were a few successful follow-ups and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride is one of them. The story follows Simba’s (Matthew Broderick) daughter Kiara (Neve Campbell) as she finds herself becoming friends (and later much more) with Kovu (Jason Marsden), the alleged son of Scar and Zira (a lioness who followed Scar, even after Simba returned to the Pride Lands), leader of a band of exiled lions. If the first Lion King is based on Hamlet, then the sequel is clearly Romeo and Juliet (only there’s a happy ending in this version).

 

The film starts, like the original, with a sunrise and the animals traveling again to Pride Rock to acknowledge the new heir to the throne. “He Lives in You” actually comes from the Broadway version of The Lion King and was initially sung by Mufasa to Simba (speaking of the Great Kings of the Past) and later by Rafiki. Like “The Circle of Life,” this song also mixes some Zulu into the lyrics.

Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala
Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala

Night
And the spirit of life
Calling

Oh, oh, iyo
Mamela (Listen)
Oh, oh, iyo

And a voice
With the fear of a child
Answers

Oh, oh, iyo
Oh, mamela (Listen)
Oh, oh, iyo

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Ubukhosi bo khokho (Throne of the ancestors)
We ndodana ye sizwe sonke (Oh, son of the nation)

Wait
There’s no mountain too great
Oh, oh, iyo
Hear the words and have faith
Oh, oh, iyo
Have faith

Hela hm mamela (Hey, listen)

He lives in you (Hela hm mamela, hela)
He lives in me (Hela hm mamela, hela)
He watches over (Hela hm mamela, hela)
Everything we see (Hela hm mamela, hela)
Into the water (Hela hm mamela, hela)
Into the truth (Hela hm mamela, hela)
In your reflection (Hela hm mamela)
He lives in you

As Kiara is presented to the animals of the Pride Lands, we can see Mufasa’s spirit watching over the proceedings, clearly pleased with how things are going. I think it really helps that this film opens like the original story, it provides a sense of continuity, the idea that this is a real follow-up to Simba’s story. This song is also a call back to Rafiki’s message to Simba in the original film (“That’s not my father, it’s just my reflection.” “You see…he lives in you.”)

What do you think about “He Lives in You?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Daniel Pemberton talks Gold (2016)

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Gold is a 2016 American crime drama film loosely based on a true story about a fraudulent gold mine established in Indonesia and the aftermath when the fraud is uncovered. The film was directed by Stephen Gaghan and stars Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, and Bryce Dallas Howard. The musical score for Gold was composed by Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs, The Man from U.N.C.L.E) and in this video Pemberton talks at length about how he got started with creating the music for this film.

 

Daniel Pemberton explains that his initial concept for the score was the sound of bells (which in themselves can create a myriad of sounds). What fascinated me about Pemberton’s approach to the score is the way he incorporated the sound of the New York Stock Exchange opening bell into the music. That sound is, as Pemberton puts it, the essence of capitalism and greed, which makes it perfect for the score. What’s also interesting is the way the composer manipulates the sound of the stock exchange bell. By altering the sound, the composer can create entirely different effects and meanings. This is one of the reasons Daniel Pemberton is quickly becoming one of my favorite film composers, he can take unusual sounds and instruments and fully incorporate them into the score (and you’d never know unless he told you).

Let me know what you think about Gold and Daniel Pemberton’s interview in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Daniel Pemberton talks The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015)

Daniel Pemberton talks Steve Jobs (2015)

Daniel Pemberton talks King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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