Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Little Mermaid (NES) Here's a game where you'd think it was going to be only for four year old girls. But instead, the great game developer Capcom created this multi-level intricate platform game where you swim Ariel through six levels of undersea peril. This was the first video that I played all the way through and beat. That was about 20 years ago and I still talk about it...pretty sad, eh?
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (NES) Here's another Capcom Disney game that I beat. Based on the Disney Afternoon series of the same name, this game allowed two players at the same time running through the city and picking up and trowing everything in sight. This was a fast paced game with alot of tricky obstacles and challenging enemies. Even though the cartoon show took some liberties with the Chip `n Dale characters, the video game stayed very true to the spirit of the show. Just don't get me started on how we all got gypped out of a Rescue Rangers movie.
Popeye (Arcade) This might be the first arcade video game to feature a classic animated character and I think most video game aficionados would agree that Popeye is one of the all-time classic old school games. Popeye has to catch the little hearts that Olive Oil is tossing out. He's got to catch them before they reach the water at the bottom of the screen. Standing in Popeye's way is his ol' nemesis Bluto. Luckily, Popeye can always grab a can of spinach and punch Bluto square in the face, or he can hit a punching bag and drop a bucket on Bluto's head. The game even works the obscure Sea Hag character into the mix! Even the cartoons forgot about the Sea Hag!
Donald Duck in Goin' Quackers (Playstation/PS2) This game really blew me away because it's just as challenging and complex as any Mario Bros. game you'll ever play. There's level after level of frustrating situations to make Donald mad. One of the neatest features of this game is that they worked in the animation of Donald's trademark temper tantrum. There's also a full cast of supporting characters from Donald's hometown of Duckburg. An all around really well-done game that took me months to beat...but I did it!
B.C.'s Quest For Tires (Commadore 64) Perhaps the best game ever that you can play with the arrow keys on your keyboard. Thor the caveman must ride his stone unicycle while jumping over rocks, animals and holes in the ground all on his way to save his girlfriend from an evil dinosaur. Good times! A better game has never been put on one of those gigantic black floppy discs.
Sorcerer's Apprentice (Atari 2600) Mickey Mouse has starred in at least a dozen video games over the past few decades, this is one of the earliest and the only one I've ever really gotten into. Based on the sequence from the 1940 film Fantasia, this primitive game was made up of two screens. The first, pictured here, involves Mickey shooting and catching stars. I never really got this stage and never spent much time playing it, but if you exit the screen to either side you got to the meat of the game. On the other screen you had to stop the walking brooms from making their way to the bottom of a staircase and dump their bucket of water. The more brooms you missed, the higher the water lever rose in the room. Quick, simple game play that was also addictive and fun. (There's a new Wii game around the corner called Epic Mickey that looks pretty darn cool!)
The Simpsons: Road Rage (PS2/Game Cube) The Simpsons have had a long career in video games since the show debuted 20 years ago. I remember playing a game called Bart vs. the Space Mutants quite feverishly back in the day, and The Simpsons arcade game stands out as a classic. But I really loved this 2003 variation of the hit game Crazy Taxi. Road Rage is almost the same game except that it's filled with The Simspsons brand of humor and wonderful cast of characters. The game looks an awful lot like the TV show and you get to drive around town exploring all the nooks and crannies of Springfield. Probably one of the games I've logged the most hours on in my adult years.
Tiny Toons 2: Trouble in Wackyland (NES) In my book, when you mix amusement parks with video games there is much goodness to be had. Using a theme park as it's center, this game was a collection of mini-games based on different theme park rides. There was a roller coaster game, bumper cars, a train ride, and a log flume. They were all pretty addictive, if I recall correctly. I'm not sure how well the game captured the spirit of the Tiny Toons cartoon but it sure was a fun game.
The Flintstones: Rescue of Dino & Hoppy (NES) Like others on the list, The Flintstones have popped up in more than one video game. This Nintendo game was my favorite as it was built around the simple side-scrolling platform engine that I've come to adore in video games. Of course you've got Fred and Wilma and the whole cast of characters from one of my all-time favorite TV shows and there's lots of rocks and boulders to smash. I don't think I ever got past the end of level 2 where you had to beat Joe Rockhead at a game of basketball. Thanks Joe Rockhead!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
The Laff-A-Lympics is an Olympics style event, actually a parody of ABC's Battle of the Network Stars. In each episode, three teams compete in an assortment of athletic events at venues all over the world. The teams are: the Scooby Doobies - made up of Hanna-Barbera characters from half hour mystery shows like Scooby Doo, Dinomutt, Speed Buggy and Captain Caveman; the Yogi Yahooeys - featuring the gang from H-B's classic animated shorts like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Wally Gator and Quick Draw McGraw; and there's the Really Rottens - who look similar to other Hanna-Barbera bad guys but are mostly all original creations for this show. The teams compete in different events and are awarded points throughout the competition. Of course, the Really Rottens always try to cheat and it always backfires on them!
One of the coolest aspects of the show was the guest cameos that pop up from time to time. In the four episodes on this collection there are brief appearances from Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble and Jabber Jaw. The other fun thing about this show is how much my kids got into it! They both really got behind the Scooby Doobies and were cheering them on and hooting and yelling like they were watching something on ESPN. Myself, I'm a life long Yogi Yahooeys fan so the line was drawn down the middle of our house and the kids took great delight in seeing their team squash mine. I really like when my children appreciate the simpler cartoons from the past.
I also have to add that "Laff-A-Lympics" is a totally great title! I'm a big fan of 70's programing that incorporates the words "Laugh", "Comedy", or "Smile" into their title.
Here's a rundown of who's who on the Laff-A-Lympics teams:
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Extract (2009)[R] Another massive let down from a gifted filmmaker. Mike Judge is responsible for three very funny films: Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, Office Space, and Idiocracy. My hopes were a little high on his fourth movie especially since it didn't do well at the box office - I assumed the general public just didn't "get it". Well, I didn't get it either. Extract stars Jason Bateman as the owner of a flavor extract company who is unhappy in his marriage, so he hires someone to have an affair with his wife so that he won't feel guilty cheating on his wife. Haven't we seen stories similar to this a million times!? There's also a subplot about one of Bateman's employee's suing the company over workman's comp. Just plain not funny! There's supposedly some social commentary/satire hidden in this flick...but I couldn't "extract" it...get it!? See what I did there!?
American Pie Presents The Book of Love (2009) [UR] Believe it or not, this was my first foray into the world of American Pie made-for-DVD sequels. For those of you that lost track, Book of Love is the fourth DVD sequel making it part 7 in the overall franchise! I gotta say this about the movie, it is easily the most well-produced direct-to-DVD movie I have ever seen. The production values across the board are on par with any Hollywood blockbuster. The plot, of course, is minimal at best. Three friends stumble upon a legendary book full of notes on how to hook up with girls at their school. There's an attempt at some heart here...and the characters aren't all just two dimensional idiots. There's also the trademark American Pie gross-out scenes, which aren't quite as gross as I think they'd like to be, but the film doesn't push them in your face as aggressively as other comedies of it's type. This movie also boasts a great collection of cameos which I'd love to give away...but I won't! Overall, an enjoyable modern day teenage sex comedy that makes me wonder if I've missed anything in American Pies 4 - 6.
Up (2009)[PG] I'm happy to say that I didn't cry at the beginning or the end on this second viewing of the Pixar masterpiece. Read my original write-up from 7/5/09.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
And this set pictured here is pretty sweet with some of the Hanna-Barbera gang on it. I'm pretty sure I had this very set. Notice how the characters on the packaging are a bit off-model. Back then, toy companies only had to pay for the rights to reproduce the likeness of a character...nowadays the images have to be approved by the animation studio to make sure the characters look right.
Still, this toy is so much low-tech fun it's really a shame that kids today won't even know the joys of spending 45 minutes loading a vertical comic strip into a little plastic machine to read it frame by frame!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
The poster, KDFanPre91, took some old home video, slides and television commercials and edited them together into a tribute to the Virginia theme park pre-1991. There's several videos posted, each spotlighting a different section or two of the park. The video here is for International Street, Hanna-Barbera Land and Lion Country Safari. You'll see some great footage of the International Street fountains; the walk-around characters like Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear and even Hong Kong Phooey; and the old Monorail Safari ride...plus there's some great TV commercials sprinkled in (none of which I've found on YouTube before!)
If the video is too long for you, you can just scan through it and get the idea. There's a front seat POV of the Scooby-Doo Roller Coaster that's a bit long...it runs from 3:25 to 4:53 if ya wanna skip it. But make sure you don't skip past 5:59, for there you'll get almost one full minute of glorious footage inside my all-time favorite ride: Smurf Mountain! I've searched the internets high and low for some video of the interior of this attraction and this video gives you a good look inside the ride. It's pure Smurfy goodness! Enjoy...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The Hangover (2009)[R] The first movie to be rewatched by me since starting "My Week In Movies" early last year. (Isn't that exciting?!) This painfully funny movie is still alot of fun a second time around and now that it's hit DVD it's sure to become a "quotable classic". My favorite: "Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon."
Read my original write-up: My Week In Movies 6/28/09
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I thought this might make for an interesting subject: famous people I've met...or at least caught a glimpse of! Seeing a celebrity in a performance doesn't really count, like going to a concert or a show. Basically, you've got your celebrity encounters where you actually come face to face with someone and exchange words and/or you've got your Famous Person sightings, perhaps seeing a celebrity while you're out and about. Here's my list of both types...
...starting with my biggest and most thrilling one. In fact, I've already done an entire post about my meeting with my favorite singer, Debbie Gibson, at a CD signing in Washington D.C. back in 1995. Obviously, that was pretty exciting for me. I've been a huge fan of Debbie's since freshman year of high school. But let's move on...
One of my favorite filmmakers is Baltimore native John Waters. He made two of my all-time favorite movies, Cry Baby and Serial Mom. In 1996, I was standing in line to buy a movie ticket at the Charles Theatre in downtown B'mo and the friend I was with noticed and whispered to me that John Waters was standing behind us in line. I knew if I didn't at least turn around and say something I would spend the next several weeks regretting it. So I turned around and introduced myself and told him how much of a fan I was of Cry-Baby and how it got me interested in writing my own stuff. The only thing I actually remember was I said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I'd kick myself if I passed up this opportunity to tell you how much I've enjoyed your work." And he said, "Well, we wouldn't want you to kick yourself...would we?" Classic.
My other big, exciting Brush With Greatness was the time I not only met, but also got to work with Muppeteer Kevin Clash. At the time, I worked at the kids museum in Baltimore and we had a very large Sesame Street exhibit one summer. The museum had booked Kevin Clash to come and perform his most popular character, Elmo, to an audience one afternoon. Everyone at the museum knew how much of a Muppets/Sesame Street fan I was and so they kindly selected me to write a short script for Elmo to perform. The script even included me introducing and interacting with Elmo a bit...a very big thrill, indeed. Of course before the audience arrived I got to chat with Mr. Clash and ask him all sorts of nerdy questions about Muppets. He even video taped a short segment for my cable-access show with me. Pretty cool...no, very cool!
When I worked at the museum, we also had a few other celebrities drop by for one reason or another. Before the museum's grand opening, there was a media day where Rosie O'Donnell (who was in the middle of her run as host of her popular afternoon talk show) visited one Sunday afternoon for photo ops with some of the shinny new exhibits. I didn't actually talk to Rosie, but I was part of her security detail...which pretty much just involved holding a walkie-talkie and making sure too many people didn't crowd around her. We also had talk show host Montel Williams host a benefit at the museum. He taped a few segments for his show there but again I didn't talk to him.
However, on another occasion we had Maury Povich and his wife Connie Chung as MC's for some gala event that was going on there. Before the event, we were standing around waiting for things to get going and I was joking around with one of my co-workers. I was telling a (slightly off-color) joke and didn't realize that Maury was taking a quick walk-through of the museum before the event. As I was telling the joke, he happened to walk up the stairs behind me and overheard me telling the joke. I thought for sure my job at the museum was finished, but instead Maury Povich laughed and then leaned over to me and told me a joke that was WAY worse than anything I had just muttered. That was pretty cool.
At another point in the museum's infancy, Michael J. Fox was supposed to stop by for some photo ops. He ended up canceling at the last minute and sending some girl from the cast of Spin City in his place. Thanks. Also, one day when I wasn't working Antonio Banderas just showed up as a paying customer. He was apparently very nice and talked to everyone and answered all sorts of questions. I missed the whole thing. Of course I also missed the whole major film production set up across the street while his wife Melanie Griffith filmed an entire action scene for the movie Cecil B. Demented.
I have two minor Walt Disney World celebrity sightings. One time while in line for a Dole Whip in Adventureland, Harry Hamlin and his family were in line behind us. Thrilling, eh!? Another visit, I was in Downtown Disney and saw 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Strug getting out of a van to do some shopping. I know...jealous, right?
When I worked at Hersheypark's Guest Services department, WWE wrestler Nick Foley (a.k.a. Mankind) came up to our window for some comp. tickets he had on hold. This just gets more exciting, doesn't it!?
When they were filming the comedy For Richer or Poorer staring Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley in Baltimore I was totally excited because one night we stumbled upon where they were filming. They had turned the outside of some crappy old building in downtown Baltimore into the flashy facade of a Vegas casino. I went to the area everyday hoping to catch a glimpse of filming. After a couple of days of snooping around, I witnessed some honest to goodness Hollywood filmmaking. Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld) was shooting a scene one afternoon. He noticed my friend and I standing around and waved hi to us between takes.
And finally...I was a paid extra on the motion picture extravaganza Thomas and the Magic Railroad. I got paid like $50.00 to stand around on the set all day for something close to 12 hours. Anywho, I ended up sitting next to Mara Wilson on a train (not Thomas) as the train left the station, went about 30 feet, stopped, backed up and then did it all over again - about 13 times.
Leave your Brush With Greatness stories in the comment box. I'm sure they'll make for a great read!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
Bring It On (2000) Like any warm-blooded male, I have a special place in my heart for cheerleaders. This comedy has become sort of a cult classic at this point, but I was a fan of it when I saw it in the theater 10 years ago. Funny, energetic and who would have guessed it would have spawned FOUR direct-to-DVD sequels? Oh, also...one of the best closing credit sequences ever!
Best in Show (2000) There's something to be said for a movie that made me a fan of Ed Begley Jr. Christopher Guest's improved look at the world of professional dog shows is some of the best character driven humor you'll ever see. The film boasts an incredible cast of comedic talent like Eugine Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban, Michael McKean, John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Larry Miller and the amazing Fred Willard.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) Before self-referential humor became so common place that my 4 year old son got it, Kevin Smith's ode to his previous four movies was the last great hurrah for making jokes about other movies that you've made. Now that DreamWorks Animations has gotten in on making references to everything else they've already made - I'm kinda over the whole thing.
Monsters, Inc. (2001) Not quite as fondly remembered in the pantheon of Pixar films, I've always ranked this fast paced comedy as my favorite from the folks at Pixar. Billy Crystal's Mike Wazowski and John Goodman's Mike "Sulley" Sullivan make a perfect comedy team. It's one of those rare films that truly takes you to another place and it's funny as all get out in the process.
Lilo & Stitch (2002) The ads for The Princess and The Frog quote a critic as saying it's "the best Disney film since The Lion King." As somewhat of a Disney cartoon expert, I'd have to rank Lilo & Stitch as the best output from the studio in the 2000's. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the movie's Walt Disney World attraction Stitch's Great Escape...which has to be one of the worst ways to spend time in the Magic Kingdom.
Finding Nemo (2003) This is one of those movies that as an adult animation lover and a parent, you just have to let go of and let your kids watch it a million times until you can quote the entire movie. Even after having this film run a million and a half times in our home, I could still sit down and watch the whole thing from beginning to end and be amazed at how wonderful it is in every aspect.
Team America: World Police (2004) A perfect parody of big budget action films and also the strange marionette movies of the 60's. But I think it's inclusion on my list is best explained by the MPAA's official rating classification: Rated R for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets.
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) The recent Star Trek movie got a lot of credit (even from me) for hitting the nail right on the head as far as rebooting a classic movie franchise while still paying tribute to the original films. Fully Loaded was Herbie The Love Bug's first time on the big screen in over 20 years and it was just as fantastic and magical as the four films that came before it. Without ignoring the classic films, Herbie rode once again with style, grace, all the same gadgets, sound effects and attitude and squirted oil on the feet of anyone who dared to stand in his way!
Hot Rod (2007) Still an undiscovered jem, this off-beat comedy staring SNL's Andy Samberg and the easy-on-the-eyes Isla Fisher just zeroed in on my personal sense of humor and surprised me with how dead-on funny it was. For those of you with a more refined taste in movies...it also has Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek in it too!
The Simspons Movie (2007) Anyone who is a fan of the television series had waited 18 long years to see The Simpsons on the big screen. In my opinion, it happened at the right time and of course, Homer and family delivered. The Simpsons Movie was the perfect balance of bringing the elements of the TV show to the larger format of the feature film without alienating the spirit of the show but making it edgy enough to make it worth $9 bucks to see in a theatre. This is the ONLY film, in the last 7 or 8 years, that I saw in the theatre and then rewatched immediately when it was released on DVD. Mmmm...DVD!
Strange Wilderness (2008) The title of Stupidest Movie of the 2000's would have to go to Meet The Spartans, but the Stupidest Funny Movie winner is Strange Wilderness. This idiotic movie is so stupid that I laugh uncontrollably through the whole thing. Large chunks of this film are just stock footage of nature with silly voiceovers. Other highlights include a guy vomiting into a shark's mouth, a wild turkey clamping down on another guy's privates, and the accidental death of Bigfoot. This movie doesn't even have an ending. It goes on for about 80 minutes and then in the middle of a scene everyone starts laughing and then the credits just roll. Good stuff!
Here's to the next 10 years of cinema!
Thursday, January 07, 2010
I Love You, Beth Cooper was interesting and lighthearted enough to keep my attention but it's pretty bland and not very funny. The film puffs on for about 15 minutes longer than it needs to. Probably OK for older teens - there is much teenage drinking, drug references, and teenage sexual situations and of course, a healthy dose of cursing.
Scary Movie (2000) [R] The success of Scary Movie is directly responsible for the recent onslaught of parody movies at the cineplex. Scary Movie is good because it takes it's aim on a small handful of recent horror movies and then goes crazy making fun of them. The more recent parody films like Disaster Movie and Epic Movie try to cram too much into one movie. The two main targets are Scream (which was a parody itself) and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The jokes are fast and set up one after the other. There's some good running gags and some great goofy humor that you almost don't see anymore. When one of the victims is running from the killer she comes to a table in her house with a gun, handgrenade, cleaver, knife and a banana. She of course grabs the banana to protect herself. That kind of stuff just cracks me up!
The violence and gore is surprisingly minimal for a slasher flick, however it more than makes up for that in the vulgarity department. Be warned: there is quite a bit of full frontal male nudity in this silly comedy classic. Also be warned: Although Scary Movie 3 & 4 are both wonderfully hilarious and even more silly movies...Scary Movie 2 has got to be one of the worst drop off's in quality for any sequel I have ever seen!
The House Bunny (2008) [PG-13] I really like this fun flick about a Playboy Bunny who gets kicked out of the Playboy Mansion and ends up as a house mother for a rundown sorority. Anna Faris is probably one of the most gifted comedic actresses working right now and hopefully she'll take on more goofy roles in the near future. My favorite part about this movie is that it's almost a spin-off of one of my favorite shows E!'s The Girls Next Door. Hugh Hefner and the girls from the original cast of Next Door play themselves and appear in several scenes. Now that Holly, Kendra and Bridget have all gone their separate ways - this is the closest we'll ever get to a Girls Next Door movie...which would have been nothing short of fantastic!
Zero Hour! (1957) One of my all-time, Top 20 favorite movies is the 1980 comedy Airplane! which I contest is joke-for-joke hands down THE funniest movie ever made. I've seen it no less that 5,000 times. Most people don't realize that Airplane! is actually a remake of Zero Hour! a black and white disaster-style drama from the 50's. The makers of Airplane! actually bought the rights to Zero Hour! and used it as the frame work to hang zillions of corny gags on. As someone who worships Airplane! as much as I do, it was awesome to watch this older film and see where half of the jokes in Airplane! came from. Now only do they use the same exclamation point in the title, the main character in both films is named Ted Striker. The little boy that visits the cockpit is here...he's even dressed the same in both films. So much of the word play from Airplane! is clearly inspired from this movie also. Airplane! borrows and parodies a number of other films but most of it is all here in Zero Hour! Honestly, I thought it was a pretty good movie even without all the comparisons to Airplane!
If you can quote multiple scenes from Airplane! (as most men can) than you need to check out this old fashioned thriller, it will actually bring a great big smile to your face!
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Here's what we know so far:
-The Cast Tom Cavanagh, best known for his title role in the NBC series Ed, has been cast as Ranger Smith. I like that they didn't just go for a big name star. This Cavanagh kid looks the part, I think he can pull it off.
The wonderful Anna Faris is also cast as a nature documentary film maker. Faris is a very gifted comedic actress and she'll add a little star power to the cast - I like her addition to the cast.
When I first read that Dan Aykroid and Justin Timerlake were hired to voice Yogi and Boo-Boo I almost hung myself. But then I stopped and thought...I can hear the two of these guys nailing the voices of Yogi and Boo-Boo, so if they are actually going to mimic the cartoon voices I think it will be an interesting choice. If Dan Aykroid and Justin Timerlake are just going to voice the bears with their regular speaking voices...I might considering jumping into a bear den at a local zoo in protest.
-The Director Eric Brevig directed the recent money making Journey To The Center of the Earth in 3-D, and was brought onto the Yogi Bear project when it was decided that the big screen adaptation of the two-dimensional cartoon be shot in eye-popping 3-D. I'm not sure what to make of the 3-D decision. I guess after Avatar, 3-D has a whole new appeal to everyone, so maybe it will help the movie at the box office. If Yogi Bear swings in on a rope to steal a picnic basket (and he better!) and then flies out over the audience...I'm so in!
-The Plot From the Warner Bros. press release: Jellystone Park has been losing business, so greedy Mayor Brown decides to shut it down and sell the land. That means families will no longer be able to experience the natural beauty of the outdoors -- and, even worse, Yogi and Boo Boo will be tossed out of the only home they've ever known. Faced with his biggest challenge ever, Yogi must prove that he really is "smarter than the average bear" as he and Boo Boo join forces with their old nemesis Ranger Smith to find a way to save Jellystone Park from closing forever.
Sounds promising as long as they don't have Yogi and Ranger Smith being best friends or some nonsense like that. As long as they have Yogi Bear in his green tie and porkpie hat, they are half way home!
Stay tuned to WWoB for more exciting updates from Yogi Watch 2010!
Monday, January 04, 2010
I wasn't a frequent guest at this mall, but it was near my grandparent's house and then later in life I had some friends who lived near by, so I did visit the mall on more than one occasion. Harundale Mall was one of the nation's first enclosed malls and at the time of it's opening in 1958 - the only enclosed mall east of the Mississippi River. It was not a very large mall (by today's standards) but it was very grand. It had a unique layout and even when visiting it as a child in the 80's I could tell that the mall was from another era.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Now, is Princess as great as Disney would like you to believe? No, the film has some flaws. It follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest movies ever made like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Pinocchio. It also lives in the recent shadow of movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King - which are all beloved films that have become part of the American culture. These are all hard shoes to fill.
The Princess and the Frog is beautiful to look at. Set in New Orleans in the earlier part of the last century, the backgrounds are full of vibrant colors and rich detail while the character animation is flawless and fun to watch. Visuals alone can't carry a picture, and in the second act of this film the story starts to drag as it gets lost in the bayou. There are a handful of characters that are introduced which seem to serve no real purpose except to kill time. Some of the characters are completely forgettable, like a group of backwoods hunters who show up and still some of the other characters are really great: like Louis, an alligator with dreams of playing jazz and Raymond, a Cajun firefly who almost steals the show but again has no real purpose in the story.
The music is great and catchy and will probably add another two or three songs to the legacy of classic Disney music, but the music almost seems to fail to advance the story the way songs are used in true Disney masterpieces. The musical numbers are enjoyable and the highlight of the film, but they lack the storytelling/showstopping power of Disney tunes of the past.
With all the complaints and criticisms, I still found this to be an incredibly entertaining movie. It's just that the pieces don't quite fit together when compared to other Disney cartoon movies. It's still one of the best movies of the year. Hopefully, the talented Disney artists will have another chance real soon to make a trademark high quality picture like this one...but people need to go out and see it in the movies!!!