Tag Archives: animated film

FernGully: The Last Rainforest “Toxic Love” (1992)

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FernGully: The Last Rainforest “Toxic Love” (1992)

It’s a shame that FernGully: The Last Rainforest is such an underrated film today because it features one of the more terrifying animated villains of the 90s: Hexxus, the spirit of destruction. Hexxus is voiced by Tim Curry (and I don’t think any actor could have done it better) and was originally sealed away in a tree by Magi many thousands of years ago. However, when that tree is cut down by humans, Hexxus escapes as a literal ball of slime and slips into the Leveler machine to regain his strength. Once inside, the dark spirit feeds off the pollution the machine gives off until he regains his form as an oily, black spirit. He’s so delighted with the Leveler that he sings about how this can help him get revenge at last.

Hit me one time!
Hit me twice!
Oh, aaah!
Ooohh
That’s rather nice!

Oil and grime
Poison sludge
Diesel clouds and
Noxious muck
Slime beneath me
Slime up above
Ooh, you’ll love my
(Ah-ah-ah)
Toxic love

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I see the world
And all the creatures in it
(All the creatures in it)
I suck ’em dry
And spit ’em out like spinach

‘Cause greedy human beings
Will always lend a hand
With the destruction of this
Worthless jungle land
And what a beautiful machine
They have provided
To slice a path of doom!
With my sweet breath to guide it

Filthy, brown
Acid rain
Pouring down like
Egg chow mein
Slime beneath me
Slime up above
Ooh, you’ll love my 
(Ah-ah-ah)
Toxic love

Now while Hexxus, in his spirit form, comes off as this suave (but thoroughly evil) being, let’s not forget that he initially manifests as a skeleton (a form he returns to at the climax of the film). Hexxus is the personification of destruction and pollution and he hates all living and growing things. If he had his way, the Earth would be reduced to a lifeless wasteland. It’s a scary thought and “Toxic Love” is a scary song. It’s a reminder that if we continue to build destructive machines, we in turn can release destructive forces that cannot be controlled upon the world.

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

See also:

FernGully: The Last Rainforest “Spirit of the Trees” (1992)

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

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Thumbelina “Let Me Be Your Wings” (1994)

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Thumbelina “Let Me Be Your Wings” (1994)

In one of Don Bluth’s last animated ventures (the studio closed the following year), Thumbelina follows the titular character as she lives a relatively happy life with her mother in the countryside. The one thing that makes Thumbelina unhappy, however, is the apparent reality that she is the only person her size (she’s only as big as a thumb after all). All of this changes one night when Thumbelina meets the fairy prince Cornelius, who is enchanted by her singing. The pair go for a whirlwind ride on the prince’s bumblebee where he proceeds to woo her with “Let Me Be Your Wings.”

Let me be your wings
Let me be your only love
Let me take you far beyond the stars

Let me be your wings
Let me lift you high above
Everything we’re dreaming of will soon be ours

Anything that you desire
Anything at all
Everyday I’ll take you higher
And I’ll never let you fall

Let me be your wings
Leave behind the world you know
For another world of wondrous things
We’ll see the universe and dance on Saturn’s rings
Fly with me and I will be your wings

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“Let Me Be Your Wings” is the quintessential romance song. As Thumbelina has no wings of her own, Cornelius vows he’ll be her “wings” instead and give her everything she ever wanted. Of course, this song does suffer from the flaw found in a lot of pre-2000 animated films in which we have a hero (Cornelius) professing love to a heroine (Thumbelina) that he’s only just met. Of course you can be attracted to someone right away, but professing eternal love and wanting to marry right away? It’s not exactly a realistic depiction of love is it? However, putting that aside, it’s easy to feel happy for Thumbelina as Cornelius shows her a night to remember. Given what happens next though, I’ve always found myself wishing that Cornelius had just whisked her away to the fairy kingdom then and there (which would have avoided so many problems).

What do you think of “Let Me Be Your Wings”? Let me know your thoughts about the song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Thumbelina “Marry the Mole” (1994)

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

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Thumbelina “Marry the Mole” (1994)

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Thumbelina “Marry the Mole” (1994)

Despite earning a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song (the only award Thumbelina picked up), I really like the song “Marry the Mole.” As the title implies, the song features Mrs. Fieldmouse (Carol Channing) convincing Thumbelina (Jodi Benson) as to why she should marry Mr. Mole (who is admittedly very wealthy but also cynical and blind as a bat). From Mrs. Fieldmouse’s point of view, love is highly overrated and it is far better to marry someone who can take care of you financially. I think Mrs. Fieldmouse really believes she wants the best for Thumbelina (even if she does call her stupid more or less later in the song) but it’s still depressing to think of a life where you marry someone ONLY for their money. After all, what’s the good of being fabulously rich if you’re locked up in a dark hole way underground?

Ms. Fieldmouse: Love? Love is what we read about in books, my dear.

“Here Comes the Bride” is a lovely little ditty

But marrying for love is a foolish thing to do

‘Cause love won’t pay the mortgage or put porridge in your bowl

Dearie, Marry the Mole!

True, it’s a fact, that he’s not exactly witty

He’s blinder than a bat, but at least his eyes are blue

His breath may be alarming, but he’s charming, for a troll

Dearie, Marry the Mole!

Romeo and Juliet

Were very much in love when they were wed

They honored every vow; so where are they now?

They’re dead, dead! Very, very dead!

Poor Thumbelina, your brain’s so itty bitty!

I hate to seem a pest, but I know what’s best for you

Just think of all the ways that you can decorate a hole!

Take my advice; I’ll bring the rice!

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Dearie, Marry the Mole!

Marry the Mole!

Mar-ry that Mole!

M is for money!

Thumbelina: Oh!

Ms. Fieldmouse: L-E!

I both love and hate that Mrs. Fieldmouse uses Romeo and Juliet as an example of why you shouldn’t marry for love. On the one hand, as soon as she mentions the couple you know where that verse is going (the lovers wind up dead). But then again, Romeo and Juliet is about the worst example of “love” you can possibly choose. Allegedly, Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love in a matter of days (and that’s being generous), get married and promptly kill themselves (that’s an oversimplification but more or less accurate). They barely knew each other so it’s doubtful they truly loved each other (but then again one could also make that argument about Thumbelina and Cornelius’s love since they’ve only met once but that’s besides the point).

What do you think about “Marry the Mole”? Let me know your thoughts about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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

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My Thoughts On: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

*note: To be fair I’m trying to keep spoilers to a minimum

I have a confession to make: while I’ve seen the original Spider-Man trilogy and I enjoy Tom Holland’s performance in the MCU, I’m actually not the biggest fan of Spider-Man (not sure why, it’s just not my first choice when it comes to picking a superhero movie to watch). On that basis, I was nervous going into the theater, because despite the critical acclaim surrounding the film, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. Now after having seen it, I can definitely say that I *do* like, love and enjoy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but it took me a little bit to get into the film.

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I’m convinced that I must suffer from secondary embarrassment (feeling someone else’s embarrassment/awkwardness as if it were my own), because without fail, every time I see a superhero go through that awkward phase where they’re trying to figure out what’s happened to them (like what happens with Miles), instead of finding it funny (which I think we’re supposed to), I find it all very awkward and hard to watch. Happily, the film doesn’t linger on this part for too long. But before I move on to what I loved about this film, I have to make it clear that I found the sequence (after Gwen loses some of her hair) where Miles is overwhelmed by the fact that the entire school knows what happened and is laughing at him to be very triggering for me (having gone through extensive bullying and isolation during grade school). Again, I’m happy and relieved that the film didn’t linger on this aspect.

Now for what I loved, which is quite a lot: first, I love the animation style of this film, especially after Miles is bit by the spider. Once Miles begins to change, the film resembles an actual comic book, down to thought-bubbles and commentary boxes. It’s incredible to watch and for the first time I felt like a studio had actually succeeded in bringing a comic book to life.

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Second, I’m in LOVE with the other Spider-People. To be honest, apart from Spider-Gwen, I didn’t really know anything about these other versions of Spider-Man but I loved all of them. Seeing Spider-Gwen in action makes me really excited for the Spider-Women spin off (which will include Gwen, Spider-Woman and Silk). I loved Spider-Ham a lot more than I thought I would (especially when he whips out the anvil and mallet during the final fight). I’d never heard of Peni Parker but it was cool to see a character drawn in an anime style

Third, the film certainly does not lack for surprises. In hindsight, I should’ve seen the outcome of that first Spider-Man fight coming. Anytime you hear a character say “No matter what happens, I always manage to get back up” that should tell you something bad is coming. I also was not expecting Liv to be revealed as Dr. Octopus (to be honest, that was the first moment I really began to enjoy the film). But the surprise that got me the most was the reveal of the Prowler’s identity. Composer Daniel Pemberton wrote a heart-wrenching piece of music for this moment that makes it just so devastating.

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A full-length review of Into the Spider-Verse‘s score will have to wait until I have a chance to listen to it again, but I can say the score is amazing. Daniel Pemberton did a fantastic job creating a score that is engaging and keeps you engrossed in the story. I also like that the score includes rap and hip-hop songs (meant to represent the music Miles would listen to).

In conclusion, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fantastic film, and I can see why it’s being called the greatest Spider-Man film ever made. Let me know what you think of this film in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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The Aristocats “The Aristocats” (1970)

I often feel like the animated Disney films made during the 1970s get overlooked far too often as they’re made after the passing of Walt Disney and before the Disney Renaissance began. However, there were several animated gems made during this era and The Aristocats is one of them (it also has the distinction of being the last film project approved by Disney himself before his death in 1966). Set in Paris in the year 1910, The Aristocats follows a family of high-class felines that live with Madame, a retired opera singer. When Edgar, the family butler, learns that the cats will inherit the estate before he does, the disgruntled servant kidnaps the cats and abandons them in the French countryside, leading the cats into an adventure to get back to Paris and their home.

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The Aristocats “The Aristocats” (1970)

The titular song was performed by Maurice Chevalier, a legendary French singer and performer, who was actually talked out of retirement to do the song (his final contribution to the film industry as he died in 1972). The song describes all the advantages “aristocats” possess (‘aristocat’ being an obvious play on aristocrat) over ‘common’ cats and ends with the cats out with Madame on a carriage ride.

Which pet’s address
Is the finest in Paris?
Which pets possess
The longest pedigree?
Which pets get
To sleep on velvet mats?
Naturellement! The aristocats!

Which pets are blessed
With the fairest forms and faces?
Which pets know best
All the gentle social graces?
Which pets live
On cream and loving fats?
Naturellement! The aristocats!

The song plays out while we’re treated to the opening credits, as well as animations of the cats that will appear later in the film.

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They show aristocratic bearing
When they’re seen
Upon an airing
And aristocratic flair
In what they do
And what they say!
Aristocats are never found
In alleyways or hanging around
The garbage cans where
Common kitties play, oh no!
Which pets are known
To never show their claws?
Which pets are prone
To hardly any flaws?
To which pets
Do the others tip their hats?
Naturellement! The aristocats!

I’ve always found it interesting that the film points out the year as 1910, as there aren’t many Disney films that specify a year. Perhaps I’m being morbid, but every time I see that date, I always remember that it was only a few years before the start of World War I, when the glitz and glamour of the 19th century disappeared. The year is also a reminder that this is a time of great change (even before the war began). For instance, while Madame is riding in a carriage, her lawyer drives up in a car (albeit a primitive one).

Also, fun piece of trivia: Hermione Baddeley, the voice of Madame, is also the voice of Auntie Shrew in The Secret of NIMH (1982) (another Disney credit includes Ellen in Mary Poppins (1964)).

I like “The Aristocats,” it’s a fun little song that provides a good opening to the film and I hope you enjoy listening to it. Let me know what you think of this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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

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Disturbing Bluth #6: Meeting Brutus in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I couldn’t leave The Secret of NIMH without talking about this one moment in particular. To this day it never fails to make me jump in surprise (though thankfully not in fear like it used to), and that is the moment when Mrs. Brisby encounters Brutus the rat.

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The Secret of NIMH (1982)- Into the Rosebush/Brutus

Up until this point, Brisby’s journey through the rose bush has only been mildly scary, but nothing close to disturbing (no mouse eating spiders this time). I’m still surprised that she got as far as she did without encountering any rats, but given we later learn that the rats are in a special meeting, it makes sense.

What makes the run-in with Brutus even more disturbing is, right before it happens, Mrs. Brisby discovers a beautiful garden (with awestruck music to highlight the moment). There are flowers everywhere and what looks like a jeweled brooch leading into the next part of the bush. But here is where Mrs. Brisby’s luck finally runs out. Just as she’s leaving this area, all the flowers around her close up and I’ve always taken this as a clue that something is about to happen because out of nowhere (literally, it’s a textbook jump scare) comes Brutus, a huge rat with a scary looking pike (that emits electricity when banged against the ground).

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It doesn’t help any that the moment Brutus appears the background turns dark and red. Even worse, Brutus doesn’t say a word to the terrified mouse, even when she plainly states her purpose is to see Nicodemus and that the Great Owl sent her. If anything, the words seem to provoke Brutus into striking out with the pike again. It’s terrifying, disturbing, and for many years I did not watch this film because of this moment. The house sinking couldn’t keep me away, Jenner or the Great Owl couldn’t either, but Brutus? Oh yes, he scared me plenty, even though a closer examination of the scene reveals that the rat is only chasing her away and not actually trying to kill her.

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The one thing about this scene that has always bothered me (besides its disturbing nature) is, why did Brutus stop chasing Mrs. Brisby? If he really wanted to make sure she was leaving, he should have chased her all the way back to the entrance. Instead he just…stopped. It just feels weird to me, especially since on the way back in with Mr. Ages, the pair of mice don’t encounter Brutus again (or if they do it’s not shown, but you’d think there’d be a scene where the older mouse would tell the rat “She’s with me.”)

That issue aside, what do you think of the scene where Mrs. Brisby encounters Brutus? Did it disturb you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

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Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #4: Jenner in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #5: The House is Sinking in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #5: The House is Sinking in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

*If you know anything about The Secret of NIMH then you KNEW this scene was going to be talked about eventually*

By far the most disturbing moment in The Secret of NIMH comes at the end of the film, though you don’t see it coming at first. This is because it appears that the big climax of the film has already happened: Jenner and Justin have just fought a huge duel that ended with Jenner dead (along with his associate Sullivan). With the rats now warned that NIMH is coming, Mrs. Brisby naturally heads back to the fallen house (which smacked into the ground rather hard when the machinery collapsed). The children are alright (WHY the rats didn’t take them out of the house before they started moving it I don’t know) and it seems like we’ve dodged a massive bullet….and then the music starts. This scene is a grade A example of why I study film music: even before the house starts sinking into the mud, the ominous suspenseful tone should tell you that something very bad is about to happen. Jerry Goldsmith, the composer for this film, put all his talents to work here and he did not disappoint.

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The Secret of NIMH (1982): The House Sinking Scene

I should note, this was actually foreshadowed earlier in the film. When the rats and Mrs. Brisby are traveling on the boat, it’s revealed that much of the ground under the farm is hollow, with Justin muttering that it’s all going to collapse someday. The implication then, is that the force of the Brisby home smacking into the ground caused a partial collapse underground which is why the house is now sinking.

As the realization dawns that the house (with the children inside!!!) is sinking into the mud, the music rises quickly into a turmoil that reflects the panic of Mrs. Brisby and the surviving rats. After all, given the esteem they have for Jonathan Brisby, they couldn’t live with themselves if they let his children die. There’s a frantic race on to attach the house (built into a cement block) to any number of lines and stop it from sinking completely. Meanwhile, we actually get a look inside the house as it’s filling up with mud. There’s no sign of Timothy (who, I remind you, is bedridden) and the other children are shrieking “Get us out of here!!” This in itself is disturbing as you don’t normally see children (in animation or live-action) put into such direct peril. Oh it’s been implied before (such as the huntsman nearly stabbing Snow White) but it’s never been so immediate a danger as what we see now.

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The worst moment of the scene comes when the final line keeping the block up snaps and the home is pulled down into a whirlpool of mud while Mrs. Brisby is hauled to safety by Justin. The implications are downright macabre: according to what we just saw, all the children (and Auntie Shrew she’s still inside remember) are dead and Mrs. Brisby has now lost her entire family. It’s heart-wrenching, disturbing and once I fully grasped what was going on, this scene screwed me up in the head for years. Now, even though this is set right less than a minute later (in a spectacular piece of animation I might add), that doesn’t change the fact that we the audience had to go through this first.

This scene is the perfect example of Bluth’s belief that children can take just about anything so long as there is a happy ending afterward. Given my experience however, I don’t think this is true. But what do you think? Is the scene any less disturbing with the happy ending that follows? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #4: Jenner in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

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