Tag Archives: Disney

Hercules “Zero to Hero” (1997)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Hercules is one of my favorite films from the Disney Renaissance era. By this time (1997), the Renaissance had been in full swing for almost a decade, and everyone involved really had gotten what they needed to do down pat.

Case in point: “Zero to Hero” is a prime example of the perfect Disney song. It picks up immediately after Hercules’ victory over the Hydra and consists of the Muses narrating the young hero’s rise to fame through song, unwittingly defeating all of Hades’ attempts to stop him in the process.

 

Bless my soul
Herc was on a roll
Person of the week in every Greek opinion poll
What a pro
Herc could stop a show
Point him at a monster and you’re talking S.R.O.
He was a no one
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero
Here was a kid with his act down pat
From zero to hero ― in no time flat
Zero to hero ― just like that

When he smiled
The girls went wild with oohs and aahs
And they slapped his face
On every vase (on every “vahse”)

Zero_to_Hero

From appearance fees and royalties
Our Herc had cash to burn
Now nouveau riche and famous
He could tell you what’s a Grecian urn

Say amen
There he goes again
Sweet and undefeated
And an awesome 10 for 10
Folks lined up
Just to watch him flex
And this perfect package packed a pair of pretty pecs

Hercie, he comes, he sees, he conquers
Honey, the crowds were going bonkers
He showed the moxie brains, and spunk
From zero to hero ― a major hunk
Zero to hero ― and who’da thunk?

maxresdefault

Who put the glad in gladiator?
Hercules!
Whose daring deeds are great theater?
Hercules!
Is he bold?
No one braver
Is he sweet?
Our favorite flavor

Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules
Hercules

Bless my soul
Herc was on a roll
Undefeated
Riding high
And the nicest guy
Not conceited

He was a nothin’
A zero, zero
Now he’s a honcho
He’s a hero

He hit the heights at breakneck speed
From zero to hero
Herc is a hero
Now he’s a hero
Yes indeed!

Now one thing you may not know about this song is that a live-action version was shot as reference material. Yes, even after all these years, in the 1990s Disney still used the trick of shooting certain sequences in live-action before animating them. And thanks to the wonderful creation known as YouTube, I can show that footage to you!

 

The sequence is intercut with the live-action muses and storyboards. What’s interesting, if you pay attention, is how the story change from the storyboard phase to the finished product. For instance, in the segment where Hercules takes down a giant serpent, it appears in the storyboard that they had the idea of having a Gorgon (Medusa maybe?) as his opponent. I love getting to see behind-the-scenes moment like this, and I hope you enjoy watching it as well.

It’s a great song, and it really makes it appear that Hercules is well on his way to becoming a true hero. But is he really? Well…this IS a Disney movie, so you know things won’t be quite THAT easy. However, that’s a story for another day.

Let me know what you think about “Zero to Hero” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Hercules “Gospel Truth” (1997)

Hercules “Gospel Truth II & III” (1997)

Hercules “Go the Distance” (1997)

Hercules “One Last Hope” (1997)

Hercules “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” (1997)

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

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John Powell talks Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

At the tail end of Disney’s short-lived attempt to produce a new Star Wars film every single year (a feat that I predicted wouldn’t last long), came Solo: A Star Wars Story, the second (and so far final) anthology film set in the Star Wars universe. As the title implies, the film gives us the backstory of Han Solo and gives us an idea of how he met up with Chewbacca, acquired the Millennium Falcon, and so on.

 

Given that Solo came on the heels of The Last Jedi, it surprised few people when this film didn’t do so well at the box office. Which is a shame, given that Solo has a particularly good score. John Powell did the honors, while John Williams helped by putting together the film’s main theme.

I’ll agree that Solo isn’t the best entry in the Star Wars universe as a whole, but that doesn’t mean its fabulous score should be neglected. John Powell really did the score justice, and proved that it is possible to have a good Star Wars score that wasn’t composed by John Williams (something we’ll have to get used to now that he’s retired from composing for Star Wars films).

To gain some insight into how the score for Solo: A Star Wars Story was put together, please enjoy this full-length interview that was conducted with John Powell last year. I found the interview to be full of great insights and i hope you enjoy it.

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

See also:

John Powell talks How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

My Thoughts on: Solo: A Star Wars Story (with spoilers!) (2018)

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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

The reprise of “For the First Time in Forever” is an interesting musical moment and an intriguing situation because there are several things happening at once. The most important thing is that Anna has succeeded in locating Elsa and is now attempting to persuade her to come home and undo the eternal winter she created when she fled Arendelle. On the surface, this seems like a great plan but it is automatically doomed to failure for a number of reasons.

Most of these reasons lie with Anna herself due to a problem that’s been developing since we first heard “For the First Time in Forever.” Here’s the thing: all this time Anna has been living in a completely different story from Elsa. Anna, up to this moment, is still the stereotypical Disney Princess: happy, bubbly, eternally optimistic, and a firm believer that “true love at first sight” can fix everything. Not only does this make her diametrically opposed to her sister and how she thinks, she also has no idea of what Elsa has been going through in trying to keep her ice powers hidden all this time, and is therefore going about her plan all the wrong way.

You don’t have to protect me. I’m not afraid!
Please don’t shut me out again
Please don’t slam the door
You don’t have to keep your distance anymore

‘Cause for the first time in forever
I finally understand
For the first time in forever
We can fix this hand in hand

We can head down this mountain together!
You don’t have to live in fear
‘Cause for the first time in forever
I will be right here

—————————–

Elsa tries gently to tell Anna to go home before she accidentally does something to make the situation worse, but Anna isn’t listening. She’s so convinced she can just “fix” this situation that she’s not taking in what Elsa is saying and, well, things get worse from there.

Anna…
Please go back home, your life awaits
Go enjoy the sun and open up the gates

Yeah, but-

I know!
You mean well, but leave me be
Yes, I’m alone but I’m alone and free!
Just stay away and you’ll be safe from me

Actually, we’re not
What do you mean you’re not?
I get the feeling you don’t know
What do I not know?
Arendelle’s in deep, deep, deep, deep… snow.

What?
You’ve kind of set off an eternal winter… everywhere.
Everywhere?
It’s okay, you can just unfreeze it.
No, I can’t. I— I don’t know how!
Sure you can! I know you can!

This is it, the crux of the entire scene and the climax of this reprise. We have Elsa and Anna singing two different songs at the same time. Anna’s convinced that her optimism will make this all better while Elsa is rapidly spiraling out of control with fear and self-loathing. She tries one last time to get Anna to stop forcing the issue (“Anna, please, you’ll only make it worse!”) but her sister still isn’t listening. And then it comes, the moment that gets to me every single time: Elsa’s second to last note (“I”) morphs into an almost primal cry of frustration before she finally snaps out “I CAN’T!” and loses her temper, setting the second half of the film into motion.

Anna: (Elsa:)
‘Cause for the first time in forever
(Oh, I’m such a fool, I can’t be free)
You don’t have to be afraid
(No escape from the storm inside of me)
We can work this out together
(I can’t control the curse)
We’ll reverse the storm you’ve made
(Anna, please, you’ll only make it worse!)

Don’t panic
(There’s so much fear)
We’ll make the sun shine bright!
(You’re not safe here)
We can face this thing together
(No…)
We can change this winter weather
(I…)
And everything will be all right…
(I can’t!!!)

I would never go so far to say that Anna brought this on herself, but this sequence does show why it’s not always wise to persistently offer help to someone when you don’t fully know the situation. Of course Anna means well, but her lack of information (admittedly not her fault since Elsa has kept her ice powers to herself since childhood) leads to catastrophic consequences in a sequence that is heart wrenching to watch.

Let me know what you think about the reprise of “For the First Time in Forever” 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)

Frozen “In Summer” (2013)

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

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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)

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

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

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

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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?

chef-louis1.jpg

(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.

chef-louis-little-mermaid.png

(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: The Mandalorian, Season 1 (2019)

As much as I love Star Wars, I will admit to being slightly dubious when I first heard about The Mandalorian, a show that is exclusive to Disney+. It’s not that I didn’t doubt the casting or talent behind the production, I was just more interested in learning if there would be any new productions featuring Ahsoka. Any doubts I did have quickly vanished once Disney+ arrived. One season in, The Mandalorian is a brilliant addition to the Star Wars universe, albeit one that’s currently left me with more questions than answers.

Let’s start with a few background details. First there’s the timing of this show: in the grand scheme of things, The Mandalorian is set 5 years post-Return of the Jedi. So the Emperor is dead, Vader is dead, there’s no Death Star, and nominally the New Republic is in charge of the galaxy. In truth though, taking out the Empire has left a power vacuum in large chunks of the galaxy, leaving many to scramble to get by as well as they can, which is where the titular Mandalorian comes in. He’s a bounty hunter, a good one too. But his bounty hunting lifestyle is turned upside down when he accepts one particular job.

mandalorian-2019-1.jpg

By the time the first episode was over, I was completely hooked on this show. The Mandalorian feels like Star Wars in a way that’s hard for me to put into words. From the gritty details, to the many, MANY hidden Easter eggs throughout the season, everything in this season just fits into the existing mythos. That being said, there are a few things this season left me thinking about, the first of which is baby Yoda.

I wish a camera could’ve recorded the look on my face when baby Yoda was first revealed (yes, I know that isn’t actually Yoda, but the name is cute). Of all the things I thought the asset could be…this wasn’t it. This is one of the details I have so many questions about: where did he come from? What is his name? What did the Client want with him? Was baby Yoda originally a youngling at the Temple? (hey, he’s 50 years old, that last one is technically possible) I’m hoping that at least some of these questions are addressed in season 2, because I need answers!

the-mandalorian-ep4-3-2700.jpg

Another major question, and one that I suspect will be answered next month: what the frack happened on Mandalore? Better question, what happened to Mandalore? I ask this question for several reasons. The first is that the Mandalorians are revealed to be few in number and in hiding, something that was not true the last time we saw any Mandalorians. The fact that the Darksaber is in the hands of an Imperial Moff (more on that in a moment) means that something really bad happened. Keep in mind, the last time we saw the Darksaber, it was about a year before the Battle of Yavin and it had been given to Bo-Katan Kryze by Sabine Wren. The latter was going to unite Mandalore against the Empire, a plan that obviously failed spectacularly. I’m hoping that the upcoming last season of The Clone Wars will give some insight into part of what happened to Mandalore, or at least lay the foundations for it.

Another thing, holy crap the Darksaber has made its live-action debut and I still can’t quite believe it. For those who might not know, the Darksaber is a legendary lightsaber made by a Mandalorian Jedi named Tarre Vizsla thousands of years ago during the Old Republic. Unlike traditional lightsabers, the Darksaber has a black blade, one shaped to look like a sword. The Darksaber eventually became associated with the rule of Mandalore itself, with would-be leaders challenging for the right to wield the blade and rule the planet. It cannot be overstated how important the Darksaber is to any surviving Mandalorians. Once it gets out that Moff Gideon has the Darksaber….oh heads will roll in an attempt to get it back.

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And speaking of Moff Gideon…who is he? How did he get his hands on the Darksaber?? And am I the only one who noticed that his armor bears a distinct resemblance to Vader’s? I’m secretly hoping Gideon gets introduced in the last season of The Clone Wars, because I need to learn more about this character as soon as possible.

Hopefully all of these ramblings demonstrate that I really, really liked The Mandalorian and I’m really excited for season 2 when it arrives this fall.

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

See also:

TV Reviews

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