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My Thoughts on: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

I seriously can’t believe I almost didn’t go to see Thor: Love and Thunder in theaters. I meant to see it when it originally came out at the beginning of July, but between work stress and general burnout….well, let’s just say that didn’t happen. And were it any other movie I probably would have just let it appear on Disney+ and checked it out then.

HOWEVER.

I couldn’t let Thor: Love and Thunder pass me by like that because this movie adapts one of my favorite comic book stories, or rather it combines two of my favorite comic stories together. Namely, this movie adapts the story of Gorr the God Butcher and Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor (iconic helmet and all). The instant it was revealed that Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor would be appearing in the MCU, this movie had my full and undivided attention. I am a huge fan of the Mighty Thor and the opportunity to see this character realized on screen was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss. It was worth it too, because Natalie Portman absolutely KILLS it both as Dr. Jane Foster and as the Mighty Thor. I only wish that we could see more of this Thor on screen, but given that the multiverse is now a thing in the MCU…who knows? I won’t complain if we get to see the Mighty Thor again.

Then there’s Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. Actually let me back up for a moment: the bulk of this movie adapts the God Butcher storyline where Gorr is on a mad quest to kill all the gods and I do mean ALL of them, spurred on after he loses his only daughter and discovers his own gods don’t care about him. The film only loosely adapts Gorr’s story to the film, with some notable changes being made (particularly with Gorr’s ultimate fate) but I found that I liked these changes as the film fully explains them and makes it work in the context of the story. They’re not changing things on a whim, and in the end I found Gorr’s character arc to be immensely satisfying.

But before we got to that end….my god….Gorr has to be one of the most terrifying characters ever encountered in the MCU to date. I thought Wanda in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was the scariest thing ever…nope. It’s close but I have to give the nod to Gorr, he’s downright terrifying. Especially when he’s got that Necrosword in hand. The way he handles it….it just made my hair stand up on end. I’m so glad Christian Bale was convinced to take this role, I can’t imagine anyone doing it better than he did.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see more of the Guardians of the Galaxy than what we got, but I take comfort in the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is on the way. And who knows, maybe Vol. 3 will pick up where their appearance in Love and Thunder leaves off.

Battle sequences with Gorr aside, I think my favorite part of Thor: Love and Thunder is Omnipotence City where all the gods of the universe can be found. I was a little unsure about Russell Crowe playing Zeus, but within sixty seconds of Zeus opening his mouth I completely understood and approved of the casting because you quickly learn everything you need to know about this version of the god (none of it good). Now, this is a minor spoiler if you still haven’t seen it, but I’m very excited by the notion that Crowe’s Zeus will be appearing in future MCU films, at least I hope that’s what that one post-credits scene implied. But back to Omnipotence City itself: it was beautifully rendered. It’s like….it’s exactly where you’d imagine all the gods would live if they had a single home to go to, it’s like Mt. Olympus on steroids, etc. The point is, it’s beautiful to look at.

One other quick note: I giggled when the acting troupe from Thor: Ragnarok showed up, acting out a scene from that movie no less. I sincerely hope they continue to be a running gag in future MCU films, not just Thor films either, they’re free to appear in any of them as far as I’m concerned.

And finally, I am thoroughly in love with King Valkyrie. I think this is what will finally push me to go watch Thor: Ragnarok (yes, I know, I’m terrible for not seeing that movie yet), because I know that’s where she first appears and I want to see more of her. Seriously though, Valkyrie is an amazing character and I love pretty much every moment she has in the movie (particularly a few of her moments in Omnipotence City).

I’m not sure where Thor’s story goes from here, but the final credit promised that Thor would return so hopefully sometime soon we’ll see what’s next for the God of Thunder. I really hope that at some point Thor finds out that a version of Loki is still alive, that would be a fun reunion to watch.

Let me know what you think about Thor: Love and Thunder in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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Soundtrack News: ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 Available Now

Sony Music Masterworks has released the first volume of music from Horizon Forbidden West, the recently released PlayStation® game and highly-anticipated sequel to 2017’s PS4™ release Horizon Zero Dawn. Available everywhere now, the album includes music by a team of composers consisting of JORIS DE MANTHE FLIGHTOLEKSA LOZOWCHUK and NIELS VAN DER LEEST. The first of an eventual three-part album release with more than 5 hours of music from the game, today’s release reunites the original team of composers and musicians from Horizon Zero Dawn who developed the tribal soundscape of the game’s post-apocalyptic setting. 

Today’s album is the first of new music from the game and will be followed by two additional album releases next month. The second album in the three-part collection, Horizon Forbidden West (Original Soundtrack – Volume 1 & 2), will be released in full Friday, March 11. The third and final soundtrack, Horizon Forbidden West (Original Soundtrack – Complete Collection) arrives Friday, March 25 and will include over 5 hours of music from the game.

ABOUT HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST

The land is dying. Vicious storms and an unstoppable blight ravage the scattered remnants of humanity, while fearsome new machines prowl their borders. Life on Earth is hurtling towards another extinction, and no one knows why. It’s up to Aloy to uncover the secrets behind these threats and restore order and balance to the world. Along the way, she must reunite with old friends, forge alliances with warring new factions and unravel the legacy of the ancient past – all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a seemingly undefeatable new enemy. Explore distant lands, fight bigger and more awe-inspiring machines, and encounter astonishing new tribes as you return to the far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon.

HORIZON FORBIDDEN WEST (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK – VOLUME 1)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Whatever Comes (feat. Julie Elven and Melissa R. Kaplan)   
  2. Aloy’s Theme – Forbidden West (feat. Julie Elven)
  3. In the Flood (feat. Ariana Gillis)
  4. The World on Her Shoulders (feat. Julie Elven)
  5. Echo of You (feat. Melissa R. Kaplan)
  6. Unity
  7. Mother of All (feat. Julie Elven)
  8. Shelter from the Storm
  9. Built to Kill
  10. Rusted Sands
  11. Guardian of the Deep (feat. Julie Elven)
  12. No Footfalls to Follow
  13. Look Deeper (feat. Julie Elven and Melissa R. Kaplan)
  14. Trinity (feat. Julie Elven and Melissa R. Kaplan)
  15. As Certain as Stone (feat. Julie Elven and Melissa R. Kaplan)
  16. These Stones Unturned
  17. The Wings of the Ten (feat. Julie Elven)
  18. Second Chance
  19. This Place, This Moment (feat. Julie Elven)
  20. Resilience to Rise (feat. Julie Elven and Melissa R. Kaplan)
  21. In the Flood (Lovisa’s Version)
  22. A Promise to Uphold (feat. Julie Elven)
  23. Restless as the Weald
  24. The Trail We Leave Behind
  25. Edge of the Sundom
  26. A Steady Breath (feat. Julie Elven)
  27. Adrift
  28. Off the Trail
  29. Restricted Access
  30. Wither and Ache
  31. The Chorus
  32. Solace Beneath the Stars
  33. A Scattered Reflection
  34. Machine Made
  35. Figments of Time
  36. Riddles in Ruins
  37. Steel Bones
  38. Marvels Below
  39. By Choice, by Fate (feat. Julie Elven)

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Horizon Forbidden West- The Isle of Spires EP (2021)

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My Thoughts on: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

I’m so ashamed that it’s taken me 4 years to finally sit down and watch Murder on the Orient Express. Don’t ask me why it took so long, I honestly have no idea why I skipped out on seeing this film in theaters (though I imagine my school work played a major role in the decision). The good news is, I finally sat down and watched it tonight at the suggestion of my friends on YouTube and I’m so glad I did.

Murder on the Orient Express is adapted from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and sees the famed detective Hercule Poirot tasked with solving the murder of a passenger on the titular Orient Express while he is en route to another case in London. Given the circumstances, it initially seems like an impossible crime, but Poirot soon discovers that all is not as it seems with this case and his longstanding notion of justice will be strongly challenged by the time it is all over.

First of all, I’m blown away by the all-star cast in this film. This is an ensemble cast loaded with talent. There’s the legendary Kenneth Branagh playing Poirot (and playing him brilliantly), as well as Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom, Jr., Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench AND Derek Jacobi, to name a few. And everyone turns in an eye-catching performance, even Depp, who I admit isn’t my favorite actor to watch. Branagh as Poirot is far and away my favorite part of the film. I’m almost completely unfamiliar with the character of Poirot, so the character’s eccentricities were completely new to me, and I delighted in all of them, particularly his fascination with getting two boiled eggs that were exactly the same size.

Then there’s the setting of the film itself. From 1930s Jerusalem to Istanbul to the train itself, I love all of the visual details in this film. This is a sensual film in the best sense of the word: I can practically smell the bread in an Istanbul kitchen, I can feel the rumbling of the train, feel the textures of all these wonderful surfaces and fabrics, what more can I say to indicate how visually delightful this film is to me? Everything about this film captures a glimpse of a bygone era, when train travel was still luxurious in a way that it just isn’t anymore. That’s not to say that there isn’t luxury in train travel anymore, but it’s not the same thing. This was a luxury you could touch and feel in every detail, and I couldn’t get enough of it. This will be a film I rewatch just to enjoy those little details, I know it.

And then there’s the plot, which slowly but surely drew me in. For years I’ve been a staunch fan of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, but after seeing this film I’m starting to believe I was wrong for ignoring Poirot all of these years (nothing personal, I just never had a reason to check it out). I know the film has changed some details around from Christie’s original novel, but I know the solution of the case is more or less the same. If most of Christie’s Poirot stories are like this, or at least similar, then I think Hercule Poirot may soon become one of my favorite fictional detectives, or at least one I like just as much as Holmes.

But I digress, the murder plot that’s central to this story is very complex, and in a million years I would’ve never guessed the ultimate solution. This is a sign of good writing, because if the audience can deduce the culprit early on, that’s going to make the rest of the story boring. But what makes Murder on the Orient Express fascinating is that the plot twists and pivots to make you believe that a number of people can be the killer, leaving you no closer to the truth than Poirot until the very end of the film when everything comes together. Speaking of, the scene where Poirot spells out exactly what happened is very powerful, and I was mesmerized by Branagh’s performance. The solution will strongly challenge your notions of what “justice” entails, and I can imagine that some unfamiliar with Christie’s work may have been unsatisfied with how the story ends. But I loved it, it was the perfect conclusion to a gripping story and it serves as a reminder that not all criminal cases are black and white (in fact I believe a few Sherlock Holmes stories deal with justice in a similar way, though I can’t name the case off the top of my head).

I initially picked up this film to prepare for Death on the Nile (this is before the film was rescheduled to 2022). Now that I’ve finally seen Murder on the Orient Express, I’m more excited than ever to see Branagh’s Poirot return in Death on the Nile and I dearly hope this leads to a string of Poirot films, because I would happily watch all of them.

Let me know what you think about Murder on the Orient Express in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Trick r Treat (2007)

I honestly don’t remember how I first learned about Trick r Treat. But somehow, a few years back, I found a copy of the film online and watched it out of curiosity, not sure what to expect (and you know my general feelings on scary horror films if you’ve been following this blog for a while).

To my complete and utter surprise, I was HOOKED! Enough that the film remained in the back of my mind for years, until I finally decided to watch it for a second time this month to set down my thoughts on it.

If you haven’t seen it, Trick r Treat takes place over the course of a single Halloween night in Warren Valley, Ohio, and features four separate stories that overlap in a number of ways. The four stories in a nutshell are: Principal Wilkins carves a jack o lantern with his son; Rhonda and a group of bullies revisit the Halloween School Bus Massacre at a rock quarry; Laurie loses her “virginity” at a bonfire party; and old Mr. Kreeg learns the true meaning of Halloween.

That’s a big part of the film’s appeal for me. Because the stories intersect at numerous points, every time you watch the film you’re going to notice a new background detail that connects one story to another. And of course I have to mention Sam, the most pivotal character of the story. Sam is, for lack of a better word, the personification of Halloween. He is there to enforce the rules of Halloween, those including: Wear a costume, give out candy, and NEVER blow out your jack o lantern before midnight. Throughout the night those who disregard the rules of Halloween are punished in a horrifyingly brutal fashion.

And yet….that is also part of the film’s appeal. The victims, for the most part, are all assholes who deserved what they got (Principal Wilkins is by far the most notable example). There are naturally exceptions, but I don’t find myself feeling particularly bad for the victims at any given point (not even the asshole kids in the rock quarry, as far as that goes I identify with Rhonda all the way). My second favorite moment in this film is the climax of the rock quarry sequence when the bullies get what’s coming to them. I wasn’t pranked as badly as Rhonda was at that age, but I know exactly how she felt at times, so I was in full sympathy with her actions at the climax of that story.

My favorite moment, and the one I’d like to discuss in detail is the segment with Laurie and the bonfire party. This is the part that’s always stuck in my brain. From the start, you know that something is up with Laurie, her sister, and her friends. My initial guess was that they were all secretly vampires (and based on how their transformation starts can you blame me for thinking so?) but the truth was so much better. Watching Laurie and the others transform into werewolves to the tune of Marilyn Manson singing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is just spine-chilling and mesmerizing. The fact that their last victim, Principal Wilkins, is alive to watch this happen (and clearly about to die) just makes the payoff all the sweeter to experience.

And then there’s Sam, who I will keep coming back to given enough time to talk about this film. For most of the film Sam is a mostly adorable figure (in a creepy sort of way), who is clearly dangerous based on his actions in the prologue, but you don’t really see how until the last segment. Seeing what Sam really is underneath his burlap mask is, quite frankly, terrifying. I’d almost prefer the mask to stay on and preserve the illusion that Sam is this cute (but terrifying) Halloween creature, but I also kinda get why Sam would get unmasked (for that extra scare).

In conclusion, Trick r Treat is one of the best films to watch for Halloween. I guarantee by the time it’s over that you’ll never look at this holiday the same way ever again. (And you’ll definitely think twice about destroying jack o lanterns).

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

See also:

Film Reviews

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The 5th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon Recap!

At long last the time has come for the 5th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon, where we come together and talk about the films scored by the late, great James Horner and why we love them so much.

This is the official recap post where I’ll be listing this year’s entries. My entry may be slightly delayed as I’m currently under the weather, but I look forward to seeing the articles from everyone who signed up for this year. I’ll update the page as I can, but make sure you tag my blog in your article so I know it’s up.

Thanks again for taking part! Enjoy the blogathon!

Day 1

Plain Simple Tom kicks off the blogathon this year with his look at Glory (1989)

Day 2

MovieRob submits his first entry for this year with his look at The New World (2005)

Day 3

Tranquil Dreams joins in with a look at the incredible film that is The Land Before Time (1988)

MovieRob adds his second entry for the year with his look at Apocalypto (2006)

And finally, MovieRob adds his final entry for the year with The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)

6 Tips for Building a Career as a Violist

Building a career as a violist takes a lot of practice and passion. Thus, aiming to be successful in this career path doesn’t just happen overnight. Here are the best six (6) tips and advice that you can take from the experts in having a prosperous career as a violist.

Tip #1: Always take your mentors’ advice

The mentors you are with or you’ll be with have been on the same journey as yours. Always listen to their advice no matter how it may seem irrelevant or insignificant to you. The piece of advice they are sharing with you in every viola lesson was the advice they wish they have known when they were just your age. And besides, it wouldn’t hurt to take advice from someone who has been in the industry for quite some time. 

Tip #2: Always take your concerts seriously – whether big or small

One thing that most musicians take for granted is the opportunity to perform in small and big concerts. Just because it is not the place you imagine you’ll be performing or the kind of audience you want to perform to, you would just waste the chance to give the best version of yourself. Always showcase the promising musician in you. You may not know who would just turn up at that small concert.

Tip #3: Always use technology to your advantage

Technology has made our lives easier, especially on the aspect of being heard. Now, you can use various social media platforms to showcase your music, may it be a cover or an original composition, globally. Moreover, through the internet, you may be able to browse through some of your favorite violists on the tips and hacks they do to be the best at their craft. You can also purchase your instrument by checking violas online and have it delivered to your doorstep. 

Tip #4: Always practice

Probably the most important tip of all – do not stop practicing. Similar to what scientists do, they never stop learning and exploring. Just because you’ve been performing a piece over and over again doesn’t mean that you are already a good violist. It might take years to get out of the amateur status, but constant practicing would get you to places you’ve never been to and will help you learn more about your personal style of playing the viola.

Tip #5: Be your own teacher

While it is not advised to be too hard and critical of yourself, it wouldn’t be so bad if you’ll also become your own teacher. In a way, you’ll be objective of providing yourself points on aspects that you can work on as a performer. Always learn from your mistakes and see things on a positive note. Musicians, as beginners, commit a lot of mistakes and I wish I hadn’t done that memory, but if it weren’t for those misfortunes, they wouldn’t be where they are today. 

Tip #6: Build your stamina

Definitely the least, always keep a steady stamina in your practice and performances. Even during practice where it’s just you and your instructor, imagine as if you’re playing for several people. It helps you to play through the whole piece without stopping and keeping the motivation and concentration at bay.  

Bonus Tip: Always believe in yourself

Probably another takeaway as someone eager to start a career as a violist – always trust in your capability. Sure, there are already well-established violists, and there are better violists at your current level, but at the end of the day, you won’t have to compete with them – you create your own room for success. You build that door of success for yourself no matter how much you’ve been rejected.  As they always say, every closed door leads to a bigger and worthwhile one.

See also:

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

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The 4th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon-Recap!

Welcome to the 4th Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon, where we celebrate the life of legendary film composer James Horner (taken from us too soon). This whole weekend will see posts looking at films scored by James Horner (thank you to everyone who signed up, I can’t believe this is the fourth year already!)

This page will be a running recap of everyone’s posts (including a link to my own when I publish it). Thank you again for participating and I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts!

Recap:

MovieRob: Avatar -For his first review, MovieRob reviews Avatar (2009)

Plain, Simple Tom: Commando-For this year’s contribution, Plain, Simple Tom reviews Commando, a film Horner scored in the 1980s.

Realweegiemidget Reviews: Brainstorm-This year, Realweegiemidget Reviews looks at Brainstorm from 1983, another film from Horner’s earlier works.

Film Music Central (ME!): The Magnificent Seven– For my contribution this year, I looked at James Horner’s final film score, which was written for The Magnificent Seven (2016)

The Stop Button: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan-The Stop Button looked at Horner’s iconic score for The Wrath of Khan (arguably one of the best scores Horner ever created).

MovieRob: Deep Impact-MovieRob returns with a review of Deep Impact.

MovieRob: Unlawful Entry-For his final contribution this year, MovieRob reviews Unlawful Entry.

Tranquil Dreams: The Perfect Storm-For their contribution this year, Tranquil Dreams reviewed The Perfect Storm.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated this year and the blogathon will return next June!

My Thoughts on: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

*note: This review was requested by Patreon subscriber @AlienPizzareia as part of his reward tier.

Believe it or not, all this time I’ve never seen a Mad Max film before. I’m not sure if Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was the best place to start but for better or worse this was my introduction to the Mad Max series and I have…thoughts.

The one thing I did know about this film going in is that it’s set in a post-apocalyptic time, after nuclear conflict devastates the world. As a result, the land (Australia in this case) is crawling with insane gangs that ride around in souped-up ramshackle vehicles and dressed all kinds of crazy. As crazy as it all looks, it also feels scarily believable, like, if the world did exist past an apocalypse I could almost believe that it would be full of people like this, that dress and act like this.

thunderdome_1280x720

I love Tina Turner as Aunty Entity. She comes across as something of a b*tch, but if you think about it, as sadistic and harsh as her “laws” are, they DO preserve some semblance of law and order in Bartertown (though I do use the words “law and order” extremely loosely). She is such a badass though, I liked watching her do her stuff. (And am I crazy or was she wearing an outfit made out of chainmail?)

My favorite part in the whole film was the fight in the titular Thunderdome. I didn’t think I would like this scene at all but I found myself getting into it, especially when the combatants started springing up into the rafters to get weapons and fight. That fight shouldn’t have been as good as it was, but I liked it and it just worked. Also, the reveal of Blaster as being mentally handicapped came as quite the surprise, since it made me re-evaluate everything the character had done up until the reveal (he’s not really evil, he’s just doing what he’s told and I have a feeling he doesn’t really understand the ramifications of what he’s doing).

I have mixed feelings however, about the plot with the children. It’s not a bad subplot, it’s just, compared to everything you seen Bartertown before this, the sequences with the children and their tribal way of life feels like it comes from a completely separate film. I did like though, how the “tell” narrated for the audience (and Max) how the children got into this situation without making it boring. One wonders how long they’ve been waiting for someone to rescue them. I initially thought these were the children of the adults who left but given how they talk with such mangled English, it’s entirely possible these are the children of the children that were left behind. I just think this plot would’ve worked better as its own film.

I’m glad I finally watched a Mad Max film, I get now why many people like them (those car chases are insane!). I think I’ll have to watch more Mad Max films in the future just to see how they stack up to this one.

What do you think about Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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

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

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My Thoughts on: Frozen (2013)

Six years after the fact, I finally managed to watch Disney’s Frozen, loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. And, this should surprise nobody, I loved it. The story is set in the kingdom of Arendelle and follows the two princesses Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna. Elsa (for reasons never explained) is born with ice powers that she fights to control as she grows up. It’s very sad to watch Elsa go from loving her powers as a young child to being terrified of them as she gets older, refusing to let anyone in to help her.

Another part of what makes Frozen so great is the way it completely subverts the traditional Disney princess story. Anna, at the start of the film, is in so many ways the traditional princess we’ve grown up with: she believes in love at first sight, she’s perpetually optimistic, and she’s incredibly naive. Enter Prince Hans and after Elsa is crowned queen we have the typical courting/romantic song between Hans and Anna that quickly leads to a marriage proposal (that Anna immediately accepts). It feels perfect…until Elsa actually reminds her sister that “you can’t marry someone you just met.” It feels like a slap in the face but Elsa is absolutely right. That’s been the critical flaw in the classic Disney films (and even in the Disney Renaissance; think about how long Ariel knew Eric, or how long Belle actually stayed with the Beast). And I love that Disney finally put this out there in one of their films, the truth that real love doesn’t work that way!

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Another interesting part of Frozen is how Elsa is unintentionally setting herself up as the villain (at first). For example, when her ice powers are revealed at the party after the coronation, everyone’s reacting as if she’s doing it on purpose. People are screaming and running as if Elsa is trying to hurt people but she’s not. We can see that she’s actually just scared and acting on instinct. And speaking of villains, I love how transparent the Duke of Weselton (“Weaseltown”) is about wanting to take over and/or exploit Arendelle. It’s perfect for keeping us distracted from the true villain of the film…Hans!! Seriously, the revelation that Hans has been using Anna all this time is one of the best villain reveals that Disney has ever done. It genuinely made me gasp because I did not see it coming.

Now that I’ve finally seen Frozen, I’m very excited to see Frozen 2 later this year. I’m still hoping that we’ll get an explanation as to where Elsa’s ice powers come from, since the film’s only explanation is that Elsa was born with them. But there has to be more to it than that, ice powers don’t just arrive out of the blue.

Frozen is definitely one of the best Disney films to be released in the past decade and I’m glad I finally watched it. Let me know what you think about Frozen in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

Frozen “Let it Go” (2013)

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