Thursday, March 29, 2012

King Triton, Single Dad

(c) Disney
I've been pretty hard on Ariel this week, so I thought I'd end my week of Little Mermaid posts with another angle on the story. Since I absolutely refuse to watch the prequel ("Ariel's Beginning"), I need to do a little guesswork here, so just go with me. Please?

As is the case with so many Disney movies, the central family in TLM is a single parent household. We have to assume that Ariel's mother passed away, when Ariel was quite young. Actually, I don't know enough about merfolklore to even try to figure out how they reproduced. Do you even need a mother and a father? Uhhh...yeah. Let's not go there.

So, let's just assume that King Triton is a widower, and having 7 daughters, I am not surprised that he is a little stressed out. However, some of his parenting choices greatly impact the way Ariel's life plays out.

First of all, Ariel is the youngest child, meaning she was the youngest when their mother died. She seems to be a loner, with her older sisters paying little attention to her. Does anyone find this strange? Fortunately, Ariel's resilient spirit allows her to remain hopeful. Perhaps her hobby of collecting shipwreck artifacts began as a means of dealing with her grief or loneliness. Clearly, it becomes much more than a hobby as her curiosity about the human world grows in intensity.

King Triton does nothing to engage this curiosity. Instead, he bans her from ever rising to the surface of the waters and explodes with anger whenever he finds out she has done so. He has some right to do this; I'm sure there are legitimate dangers for merfolk to come in contact with humans. Knowing humans, we would probably try to conquer them or put them in a zoo. Also, Ariel can be quite annoying, so it's understandable that he would lose his patience with her.

But still, I can't help but wonder if this blatant disapproval only serves as fuel to the fire for Ariel's teenage rebellion. What if King Triton had spent time talking with her and looking at the interesting things she had found and kept stored in her cave? What if he had helped her put her interests to a better use? (See my post "The Not So Modern Princess"). He would have never needed to blow up her cave (clearly not the way to get his message across, if he knew anything about parenting teenagers.) Also, I really think Ariel would not have felt it necessary to go to Ursula, whom she knew was bad, to solve her 'problem.'

I'm not a parent and I'm pretty far removed from teenagers (I'm thankfully not yet old enough to have friends with teenaged kids). But I really do think King Triton makes a few mistakes as a parent. Even towards the end, when he decides to let Ariel go, transforming her into a human so she can marry Prince Eric, I feel a bit torn. Ariel saw how her decisions caused her own near death, not to mention Eric's and her father's. And yet she doesn't seem repentant. She continues to wish away at her love for Eric. The sea king obviously loves his daughter, and it's one of the most touching scenes of the movie. But is enabling her to marry a man she barely knows really the best way of showing his love? I'm really not so sure.

We can't be too hard on King Triton. After all, he's the king of the sea - no small task, he has seven daughters, and they are motherless. It's a tough job. But I think this analysis gives some argument that Ariel may not be completely to blame for her foolish actions throughout the story. With better guidance, I think she had potential for a much more productive life, one that channeled her interests in a more healthy way.

What do you think? (I'm especially curious to hear from those of you who are parents!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Dangers of Following Your Heart

Disney's success thrives on the common belief that there is something better out there. Dreaming and wishing make the ‘magic of Disney.’ And this could certainly be spun as a positive message about hope for a better reality, a glimpse of the real hope we have through the Gospel. Maybe you have seen this more clearly by what I've written over the past thirty weeks (if not then I must not be a very good writer.)

But the message shifts in the Renaissance period, albeit ever so slightly. Disney films no longer focus on a simple, wistful hope, but a determined, uncompromising drive to achieve the heart’s desire. “Following your heart” sounds appealing and certainly produces more action and drama. But upon a closer look, it's full of holes.

For one, this message assumes that the heart is naturally good. If we take Ariel as an example, we see that the heart is often impulsive, selfish and foolish. As a 16-year-old, she has no idea what love means. Her feelings for Prince Eric look more like curiosity and attraction than love. They're certainly not feelings off of which to base big life decisions, such as making huge physical alterations to your body at the cost of your greatest talent. The “follow your heart” theme seems romantic, but disregards consequences and places a disproportionate amount of emphasis on self.

This new attention focused inward will continue to emerge in many of the films to come. Granted, some of our other heroes and heroines do a much better job of being both driven (not inherently a bad trait) as well as compassionate, in contrast to Ariel’s single-mindedness. But in all these examples, the shift in Disney’s messaging can be dangerous if we simply take it at face value. So let's proceed with enthusiasm (because there are some truly remarkable films coming up) but also with caution, as we navigate this new era of Disney.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fashion Update #1: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was full of potential for fashion! Here are my looks:
Flounder: Admittedly, the yellow tank top is new, but to be fair, it was only $5 and it's a fairly basic item I can easily reuse. There is a LOT of yellow in Disney characters so I'm sure you'll be seeing this tank again soon.
Prince Eric: It was 80 degrees out that day so I did not keep the whole outfit on the entire day. The boots were too warm! This is probably the most accurate outfit of the week. I have it down to a tee, except maybe the blue eyes. Also I'm pretty sure Eric didn't wear silver hoop earrings.

Cameos by Grete, who blogs her Tie Tuesday outfits and from whom I borrowed the white shirt, and my coworker Eric, who was walking by at the time. He makes me look like a midget. I thought it was fitting that I have an Eric in my Prince Eric picture. Although, he looks kind of annoyed and/or confused.
Ursula: I have two versions of Ursula. On the left is the "day" look that I wore to work. On the right is more of an evening look, with my fun purple tights. In both outfits I got to wear my new black patent pumps! It's fun dressing as a villain.
Ariel: I didn't have any purple seashell bikini cups so I went with something a bit more conservative. haha. Since Ariel's red hair is such an important part of her look, I threw in a red headband (dyeing my hair red would have been a bit drastic.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

#28: The Not So Modern Princess

The Little Mermaid, 1989
watched March 18, 2012

(c) Disney
The Little Mermaid holds importance in the Disney canon for so many reasons that it is difficult to narrow in on just one thing to write about. One notable aspect of this film is that it was Disney’s return to fairy tales. The last fairy tale to be brought to the big screen was Sleeping Beauty in 1959. Although this return was timely and effective, the gap of 30 years brought a lot of interesting changes in the way these tales were interpreted. What I find most intriguing is the shift in the portrayal of young women.

Past female characters were known not only for their propriety but also their relative passivity in regard to their situation. (Two of them sleep during the entire climax!) As culture has changed our ideals of women, this kind of heroine just doesn’t appeal to audiences anymore. Instead,we see the emergence of a ‘liberated’ woman, independent, and unwilling to wait on the sidelines while the boys get all the action, beginning with the fiesty redheaded Ariel. And this is the kind of woman all subsequent Disney films has featured ever since The Little Mermaid.

And I’ll admit--I do relate more closely to Ariel than Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. Yes, she's a trouble maker, but she’s also smart and curious about the world, she has a vivid imagination, and she seeks to live life to the fullest. This seems a great deal more interesting and admirable than the well-behaved, modest princesses of the past, who are so poised and perfect that it's hard to imagine myself in their shoes.

But isn’t it interesting that whether or not a princess is passive or rebellious, that we always end with the same happily ever after? Ariel does little that could be considered selfless or virtuous, and yet she reaps the rewards of all of our previous Disney heroines: the love of a handsome prince.

And so we see the irony in the so-called "modern" Disney princess. No matter what kind of girl you are, according to Disney, the ultimate "fairy tale" reward is still romantic love, marrying the prince, and living happily ever after. Ariel could have channeled her curiosity about the human world to become a merfolk-human relations ambassador, an archaeologist, or maybe an art history teacher. And perhaps with better guidance, she could have been encouraged to pursue these things. But choosing to depict Ariel with such a vibrant, adventurous spirit, only to have her end up as the wife of yet another "prince charming" seems unoriginal and kind of disappointing.

As I reflect on growing up with TLM, I can’t help but wonder how it and other similar stories have shaped my ideals. While these independent, strong female characters give a sense of empowerment, under the surface their fairy tale romances often tempt me to believe that I'm incomplete without a man by my side. It's an age old myth, perpetuated through even these modern Disney films.

Let me clarify one thing: I still love The Little Mermaid. As a movie, it's entertaining, engaging and timeless. Not insignificantly, it began a period of artistically and musically groundbreaking Disney films, with lovable characters and stories with heart. But as I work through this blog project and reflect on the narratives that have shaped my childhood, lots of questions are being raised, and I'm merely exploring possible answers. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the "modern" princesses and how they may have influenced you as children.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Renaissance, baby!*

Well, we've officially arrived. This is the Renaissance, folks! My absolute favorite Disney movies, the ones I grew up on and know best. Here are some of my Disnerdy plans for the next 10 weeks:

One of my current favorite blogs is, which is a Disney fashion blog that my friend Becky discovered and shared with me. The blog gave me the idea to dress in outfits inspired by characters from each of the Renaissance movies. Each week I'll post pictures of my outfits. (I expect the number of outfits per week will vary.) My goal is to use my existing wardrobe creatively without buying too many new items of clothing. Here's my Ariel outfit. :)

Every Sunday night I'll also be featuring special snacks based on the movie we are watching. This past Sunday, in addition to Mickey Mouse St. Patrick's Day cookies we had roasted seaweed while viewing The Little Mermaid (the seaweed is always greener, get it?). I have some very nerdy ideas for this, and I'm totally excited. :)

I'd like to invite you to offer ideas or write a guest post, since I'm assuming most of you also share with me a heightened familiarity with these films. Did you recently see a funny photo, an infographic, an interesting article? Do you feel passionately about a certain movie? Do you have special childhood memories you want to write about? Feel free to contact me with your ideas!

*Confused about which movies are included in the "Renaissance"? Check out the list on wikipedia. (My list is slightly different from the official, but more about that later.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Best. Day. Ever: Disneyland

we're wearing pins that say "Honorary Citizen of Disneyland" :)
After weeks of anticipation, I'm now experiencing major withdrawal from my day at Disneyland last week. As fun and magical as it was, these past few days I've mostly felt sad that it's all over, wishing there had been more time.

To cheer myself up, I thought I should write a post about the highlights of the day. Because I was trying to take it all in through my own eyes and ears (and hands and nose in some cases!), I didn't spend as much effort documenting the day with photos or videos (especially after the sun went down). I suppose you'll just have to use your imagination where there are no pictures provided!
bandleader mickey welcomes guests to disneyland; archimedes the owl stands watch at sleeping beauty's castle
We began the day running into the welcome band - Mickey and all his friends, including Pinocchio, Goofy, Donald, Pluto, and Chip & Dale. Alice and the Mad Hatter joined in too. I took a video (the only one of the day!) but I haven't had a chance to upload it yet.
mickey is joined by pluto, chip & dale, donald duck, goofy, pinocchio, alice and the mad hatter

Then we went on through Sleeping Beauty's castle to Fantasyland. I thought this would be a good place to start since it had all the classic Disney rides and characters. We rode Snow White's Scary Adventures, Peter Pan's Flight, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. I enjoyed noticing all the little details that were spot on from the films!

We had lunch at a Pinocchio-themed burger/pizza place, then went over to Tomorrowland for the best ride ever: Space Mountain! I'm so thankful for Fast Passes. That ride is always so fun! Could have totally went on it more than once if there had been more time.

Afterward, we were unsuccessful in getting onto Indiana Jones Adventure as well as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. They were both inexplicably closed! Boo.

We did get to go on Pirates of the Caribbean, though. They redid all the Jack Sparrows to resemble Johnny Depp's version. It was a little creepy how lifelike he looked! Was definitely a very fun (and pleasantly long) ride. Thought it was cool that there was a restaurant inside the ride.
loved the typography for the Pirates sign; Chip & Dale hats; Pineapple Dole Whip!
After that, we stopped at the Tiki Juice bar for some famous Dole Whip - which I had never heard of until that day. It's not quite ice cream, not quite frozen yogurt. But very delicious and pineapple-y! Sadly, Wendy did not get to have any because she gave up sweets for Lent. But her slice of pineapple was yummy!

On our way over to California Adventure we stopped for a photo op at the iconic Walt & Mickey statue. The Disney employee who took our photo loved our shirts. We noticed that it was mostly employees who noticed our shirts throughout the day. I suppose they are the true Disnerds. By the way, why didn't I ever apply to work at Disney World or Disneyland? Seriously rethinking my career options here.
We didn't get to spend a ton of time at California Adventure, but we did go to the Muppets 3D Vision show, as well as the It's Tough to Be a Bug (Bug's Life) 3D show. I had never seen the Bug's Life one and it was so fun! I won't give away the surprise, but it was truly a 3D experience. :) Outside in the waiting area they had all these punny movie posters, like this "Web Side Story" one. Loved them!
surprisingly, it was actually my idea to get my sister to pose as mulan.
We met up with my sister's friend, Benito, who was working at the Pier, and he gave us a couple of passes to get us through lines more quickly. With that we went on Soarin' Over California, which was my sister's most recommended ride. It was awesome! We were strapped into this contraption that hung us over a huge IMAX screen, and it felt like we were flying over California. Really fun! Also, Patrick Warburton (voice of Kronk in Lilo & Stitch) was the pilot in the intro video, which I found quite hilarious.

We attempted to go to Sorcerer's Workshop, recommended by Benito, but it was closed too. I guess that was a feature where you find out which Disney character you are, and then you get to record your voice in one of the animated movies! Sad, that sounded super cool.

So instead, we randomly went to this other thing called Animation Academy without knowing what it was. Turns out it was a classroom, with a Disney animator who taught us how to draw Chip (as in Chip and Dale). We each had these large boards with a piece of paper and pencil. It ended up being one of the coolest things we did all day!
awesome sketches in the waiting area; wendy & lynnette in class; our Disney animator teacher!
I was quite proud of how mine turned out, even though the ears and eyes are too small.
In the animation studios area they had this huge room with 360 degrees of large screens, where they showed artwork and clips of all the animated movies. It was so fun having watched a good number of them so recently, and being taken into each of those worlds with the beautiful art and moving musical scores. I probably could have spent much more time in that area. At the end of the day, it's the animated movies I love the most about Disney (if you couldn't tell).

After that, we decided not to go on Tower of Terror and head back to Disneyland. As we got back the parade was just starting. I got a glimpse of a few floats but we decided to try to get on some rides instead. We took the train over to New Orleans Square and got to go on Haunted Mansion, since there was basically no wait. It was creepy and fun! I liked the part where the floor of the windowless room lowers and you don't know how you're going to get out.
Parade - Princess & the Frog; The Lion King (Simba's mane is out of control!)
We were hungry (and cold) after that (I refused to wear anything over my awesome t shirt) so we got sourdough bread bowls and found an indoor restaurant to eat in. Afterwards, we stopped at a souvenir shop where I bought a blue Mickey key chain and what I thought was a cookie cutter. It turns out it is actually an egg/pancake mold! I've already made a fried egg and St. Patrick's Day cookies.

By then, it was nearly time for the fireworks so we headed over to the main area near Sleeping Beauty's castle. It was a wonderful fireworks show, despite the prominence of a certain, ahem, pantsless fairy. One of the best parts was when they played quotes of many different Disney characters talking about their wishes. Aladdin's "Genie, I wish for your freedom!" nearly brought us to tears. It was a magical way to end the day.
at the entrance before the sun went down; waiting for fireworks!
We stopped into one more souvenir store where I agonized over buying some other things but ended up not going through with it. I have the worst time making decisions when there are so many options! Next time I go to Disneyland, I really need to plan better.

I think I could have pushed myself to stay longer but we were all pretty exhausted by the time we left at 9:30. I'm so thankful for the whole day - it was one of the best days I've had in a very long time!

It's strange - I hadn't been to Disney World since 1998 and I never really had an urge to go back. But now after having had one day of Disneyland, I can't wait until the next time. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, especially for suckers like me.

Even though the day was full of fun, laughter and happiness, I had an overwhelmingly empty feeling as I flew back to Madison the following day. I realized that no matter how wonderful a day at Disneyland can be, it doesn't ever fully fill you the way you think it will. It was a reminder that there's only one thing that does.

Check out more pictures from my entire trip to California here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day, belated

Thanks to Disneyland, I now own a Mickey egg mold, which also works as a cookie cutter! You will hopefully be seeing a lot more Mickey-shaped food in the future. :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

#27: A Twist on Twist

(c) Disney
Oliver & Company, 1988
watched March 4, 2012

Admittedly, I have not read the classic Charles Dickens novel on which this movie is based. However, my research (aka skim of wikipedia), as well as my familiarity with Disney, tell me that this adaptation does not retain much more than a couple of character names and very basic story elements. So, with that in mind, I shall treat this film as its own work and not get too caught up in comparisons with the novel.

As is so often the case in Disney movies, Oliver & Company tells the story of an orphan looking for a place to belong. Though it's a tried and true formula, it only somewhat works in this instance. It's very easy to root for the main character, Oliver, a cute and innocent young cat. However, as the fifth in the canon to be set in present time, the film feels quite dated. While it may have worked for 1960s London in 101 Dalmatians, a 1980s New York City just isn't as timeless as Disney was perhaps hoping it would be. The most telling aspect is the music, featuring the talents of Billy Joel and Bette Midler. "Why Should I Worry" is catchy, but it's by far the best song of the soundtrack, which isn't saying much. The style of clothing and use of color also comes off as garish (bright blue eye shadow, anyone?).

The plot unfolds when Oliver finds himself in company with Dodger, a street smart dog, and his gang, who all work for Fagin. In this version of the story, Fagin is a hopeless thief, who currently owes a huge debt to Sikes, a ruthless bad dude with unusually large hands (seriously, they were humongous!). During one of the gang's street raids, Oliver is found by a kind girl who lives on 5th Avenue.  As Jenny and Oliver take to each other, the dilemma for Oliver is whether to stay in the comfortable, safe home of Jenny's family, or to return to the gang.

It's an easy choice for Oliver, but his decision is hurtful to Dodger and the rest of the dogs. When Jenny is kidnapped by Sikes, however, the gang does not hesitate to come to her rescue.  (Granted, I'm not sure the storytelling fully communicates the real pain of betrayal here, but it was a good idea nonetheless.)

Fagin has his shining moment as well. In a scheme to make some money, he sends a ransom note to Jenny's house for Oliver. When he discovers Jenny is the recipient of the note, his sympathy causes him to return Oliver without requiring payment, even though it means he still owes his debt and will likely be punished for not paying Sikes on time.

If you're willing to look past the scratchy animation and uncomfortably dated music, it's possible to grow fond of Dodger's gang, Fagin and Jenny, who each show courage, compassion and kindness to the helpless orphan cat. The themes of sacrifice and selflessness show up in a most surprising way. While this isn't Disney's best, it certainly still has some redeeming qualities, if only to serve as a preface to a truly significant era of animation.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Disnographic of the Month - Cats

Although Disney started with a mouse, believe it or not there are quite a lot of cats throughout the films. Here are some thoughts about my findings:
  • I counted Si & Am as one cat, since they are, after all, Siamese twins. Also I didn't want to skew the data.
  • Surprisingly, the number of good cats far outweighs the number of bad ones. I suppose cats typically get a bad reputation, which is why the bad ones may be more memorable. Make sure to vote for your 'favorite' bad cat in the poll!
  • When categorizing these cats into wild and domestic, I just couldn't figure out the Cheshire Cat. Any opinions?
  • I'm pretty stoked about the way I presented this info. In case you needed more proof that I truly am a Disnerd.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And the Disnerdy goes to...

Awards season ended a few weeks ago and I thought now would be an appropriate time to give out some of my own awards. I'm calling them the Disnerdies. What else would they be called?

Most Evil Villain: Lady Tremaine, Cinderella
While many villains are comical or outrageous, her calm, cold demeanor chills me to the bone. Sometimes the quiet ones are the scariest.
- honorable mentions: Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians), Medusa (The Rescuers)
Most Loyal Sidekick: Timothy Q. Mouse, Dumbo
I've already said it, but he wins major points for his loyalty and courage! He sticks up for his hero through thick and thin!
- honorable mentions: Baloo, Jac & Gus, Gurgi

Most Courageous Hero/Heroine: Bernard & Bianca, The Rescuers
Surprisingly, many main characters are either passive, naive or both; these two mice are anything but. Facing great obstacles, they show immense courage and admirable determination.
- honorable mentions: Robin Hood, Pongo & Perdy

Achievement in art: Sleeping Beauty.
While quite different from the cute-sie roundness that has become best associated with Disney animation, Sleeping Beauty's departure was a great success.
- honorable mentions: Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, Fantasia

Best Soundtrack: Cinderella
All the songs in Cinderella are the kind you find yourself humming days after watching the movie, the definition of a successful Disney soundtrack, in my opinion.
- honorable mentions: Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Jungle Book

And now for some fun categories:

Hottest Prince: Phillip, Sleeping Beauty
HELLO. Haha, I had to make this a category. There aren't too many princes in the first half (only 3) so it was an easy choice. Don't worry, ladies, I will do a full rundown of the prince lineup when we've gotten further along. :)

Lamest villain: Edgar, The Aristocats
I've already said my peace about this dude. I didn't want to have to give him an award for being lame, but, I needed to emphasize how utterly ridiculous he is.
honorable mention: Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)

Most annoying sidekick: Tinkerbell, Peter Pan
Did you even have to ask?
honorable mentions: Jiminy Cricket, Cyril Proudbottom

Most faithful Disnerd: Vicki
I've been keeping track of who has been coming to my Sunday movie nights and Vicki has attended the most weeks, 21 out of 26! She wins a... hmm, something. I'll think of a prize later. Congrats, Vicki!
honorable mentions: Kylene & Mimi tied at 17.

That's all for now! Congrats to all the winners of these prestigious awards. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Laura's Top 5, so far

Over the past months I've often been asked which Disney movies are my favorite. Well, my answer is slightly biased due to my ardent devotion to the Renaissance era (1989-1999). So, since we haven't gotten there yet, I thought I'd list my top 5, out of the ones I've watched and reviewed thus far--all the movies from 1939-1988.

 5. Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
why i love it 30 words or less: this one just edged out a few others, because remembering that this was made in the 1930s, the art, storytelling and music are simply groundbreaking.

4. 101 Dalmatians
why i love it in 30 words or less: i only need one word to explain this one: PUPPIES!

3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
why i love it in 30 words or less: Watching this movie is like revisiting my childhood, a place I love to go. I'm a sucker for nostalgia.
2. Lady & the Tramp
why i love it in 30 words or less: Racist cats aside, this movie was quite sweet. Considering they only have 80 minutes, the love story is well-developed. And the iconic spaghetti scene? Genius!

1. Cinderella
why i love it in 30 words or less: I've always had sentimental reasons for loving Cinderella, but now I also appreciate its humor, beautiful animation, great music, and message of hope.

Coming soon: my picks for favorite/least favorite hero/heroine, villain, sidekick, songs and more!

What are your favorites from the first half of the Disney canon?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#26: It's elementary, my dear Disnerd

(c) Disney
The Great Mouse Detective, 1986
watched February 25, 2012 

The story is a familiar one, based on a children's book called Basil of Baker Street, by Eve Titus, which intentionally draws its characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective. With all the recent Holmes adaptations, I think this movie stands up with the rest of them. Granted, the plot is significantly simpler than that of BBC's modern day series, or Guy Ritchie's effects-laden films. But the mouse detective has his own charm. (I wonder if Disney creatives sit around thinking, how can we make this into a mouse movie?)

Just like Holmes, Basil of Baker Street has that same quirky brilliance that makes his character lovable. It cracks me up that he can figure out the location of the villain's lair by the kind of paper used in a lost note, but cannot for the life of him get Olivia's last name right. It's Flaversham, if you were curious.

However, it is sometimes hard to distinguish if the detective's motive is to do justice, or if he simply can't resist a good mystery. For example, just before the climax, Basil nearly gives up as he lays tied to the mouse trap set for his demise, feeling completely humiliated and outwitted. This seems to be the action of someone who's more about appearing clever, and less about doing what's right.

Ratigan, on the other hand, has all the airs of your classic pompous villain whose sole purpose in life is to take over the world (or in this case, all "Mouse-dom"). At first, I was struck by the contrast of his over-the-top persona to the subtleties of Holmes' iconic villain, Professor Moriarty. I can hardly imagine Moriarty singing at the top of his lungs while swinging from chandeliers and drinking champagne.

But Ratigan does share with Moriarty the same denial of his real identity: a base, vulgar, completely corrupt bad guy. This is seen clearly in his adversity towards being called a rat, even though that's exactly what he is. (Apparently in Disney films, rats are bad and mice are good. Thank God for Pixar.) Additionally, Ratigan, wearing an elaborate tuxedo and cape, carries himself as someone very classy and sophisticated. This whole act is quite literally shed during the final scene, however, as Ratigan devolves into his true self, ugly and violent

And so, interestingly, we see both the protagonist and antagonist dishonest with themselves about who they are. Basil strives to be the smartest and cleverest, but along the way he saves not only a kidnapped child and her father, but also Queen Mouse-toria (yup, they went there) and all of Mousedom from an evil takeover. He becomes the accidental hero. Ratigan claims to be worthy of the power he tries to possess, but in reality, he's a rat - both literally and figuratively.

As much as we like to present ourselves as clever, moral, pretty, successful, rich, powerful, popular, or whatever adjective you prefer, ultimately our actions speak much more loudly. It's not what we say we are but what we do that defines us. How we act, the choices we make, these are a natural outflow of our true character. If you met the brilliant observer Basil, what conclusions might be drawn about you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Drum roll, please! An important announcement

As of this weekend I have watched #26 (of 51) - The Great Mouse Detective. This Disnerd Adventure is 50% complete!

I can't believe I've been watching a Disney movie every week for the past 6 months. I also can't believe I still have 6 more months to go... agh! What did I get myself into? :P But really, it's been a lot of fun so far; thanks to all who have participated with me by coming on Sunday nights, reading and commenting on my blog, and letting me nerd out in conversations with you.

To celebrate the half way point, I am going to Disneyland! No really, I'm actually going! It just so happens that I have a work-related trip to Long Beach, California this coming week. When I found out, I called my sister who lives in LA and asked if I could come visit her after the conference. The second thing I asked her was if we could go to Disneyland. teehee.

I'm super excited because I've never been there (unless you count the time I was a year old, which I don't, since I have no memory of it whatsoever). Also, my sister's friend is a Disneyland employee and is getting us in for free! Maybe there will be some behind the scenes tour or something; we'll see. It's already great that I'm going basically for free, since even my airfare is covered for work. :)

For those of you who have been to Disneyland before, what do you recommend? What's a must-see? I really have no idea what to expect, and I'd love some tips. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

I am also excited to premiere my new t-shirt that I designed and had printed. I will be proudly wearing this at Disneyland. Check it out: 
please excuse the 'it's still morning' face
Over the next couple weeks that I'll be traveling I may get a little behind on my normal reviews. But stay tuned for some special lists, disnographics and photos of my Disneyland adventure!