unshaved mouse

AD

MERCH!

My friends, the day at last has come when I cast off the lodestone of artistic credibility that I have carried on my shoulders for so long, and embrace the glorious freedom of unbridled capitalism.
I am selling out, and it feels so GOOD.
“Only capital can deliver freedom and prosperity to the working class!”

“But Mouse, what about your dedication to the eternal revolution!?”

“Only capital can deliver freedom and prosperity to the working class!”

“Only capital can deliver freedom and prosperity to the working class!”

“NYEEEEEEEET!”

“NYEEEEEEEET!”

I’ve partnered with the good folks at Ekki Ekki to bring you the Unshaved Mouse online store! Hoodies, mugs, T-shirts and more! We’ve got it all at the Unshaved Mouse store! That’s not our motto, simply a statement of fact. Simply go to the store, select a design, item (T-shirt, hoody, sweatshirt, tank top, mug or phone case) and colour and it’ll be printed to order and shipped straight to you.
What designs? At the moment we’ve got Unshaved Mouse, Spouse of Mouse, Mini-Mouse, Baby Mouse, Unscrupulous Mouse and BluCatt with hopefully more to come.
What better gift for your significant other/child/past self/evil doppelganger/mysterious foe who turned out to be Don Bluth in the end? It’s your only option really.
Mouse out!
Iron_Man_2_poster

“Like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your history…”

I’m still feeling my way around reviewing these Marvel movies. I was thinking that, when I review the first movie featuring a hero I’ll give you some history and overview of that specific character, and when the time comes to review the sequel I might take a look at their rogues gallery and what their villains say about that particular hero. Problem: Iron Man has quite possibly the worst rogues gallery of any major superhero. Notoriously so. Legendarily so. If you were to make a chart of superheroes by the quality of their rogues’ gallery it would be Batman at the top, closely followed by Spider-man and the Fantastic Four, then respectable mid-carders like Captain America and Superman and then waaaaaaaaaaaay way down at the bottom Iron Man and Wonder Woman are hanging out and getting sloshed on Ouzo. Yeah, yeah, no such thing as bad characters, only bad writers. True as far as it goes. Any villain, no matter how lame, can be made compelling with the right scribe working on them.
Some, however, take more heavy lifting than others.

Some, admittedly, take more heavy lifting than others.

But Iron Man’s villains probably require more heavy lifting than probably any other hero’s. Even Tony’s arch-nemesis, The Mandarin, while certainly a cool villain, doesn’t really have that much that sets him apart from similar bad guys like Doctor Doom or Baron Mordo other than the fact that in his early days he looked like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Oh sixties.

Oh sixties.

As for the rest, they were mostly just an interchangeable series of commies in robot armour and rival industrialists. I mean hell, when the time came to find a villain for Iron Man 2, they actually just slapped two of them together. Ivan Vanko is a mishmash of Whiplash and the Crimson Dynamo. And nobody even cared. Think about that for a minute. Can you imagine if they did a Batman movie and they just merged the characters of Joker and the Penguin into one guy and called him the Penker? My God, the fans would skin them alive and hang their carcasses in the online forums as a warning to others. That’s how lame Iron Man’s rogues gallery is. Not even Iron Man fans care enough to get mad about changes to the source material.  But, did it work? Were they able to reverse Iron Man’s traditionally awful luck with villains? Will our hero triumph over the Penker? Let’s find out! Right after these messages.

AD

(more…)

American_tail_fievel_goes_west

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

Hey everybody. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and for all you other religions…um…good luck with whatever you got goin’ on right now. Keep on truckin’. Yes it’s the night before Christmas, and despite belonging to a species that traditionally is known for not stirring at this time of year,  I’ve decided to review…
"Mouse...Moooooouuuuuse..."

“Mouse…Moooooouuuuuse…”

“Jacob Marley?”

“Jacob Marley?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“I wear the chain I forged in life! Link by link! Yard by yard…”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas carol thing. Sorry.”

“Stop. Stop. No. Look, this is not going to be a Christmas themed review. We’re not doing the Christmas Carol thing. Sorry.”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“But it’s a tradition…”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Yes. One that’s been done to death. Sorry, not happening. Get lost.”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Dude, I’m a ghost, you’re going to have to do better than “Get lost!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Sigh. AVAUNT THEE FOUL SPIRIT! RETURN TO THE NETHERWORLD FROM WHENCE THOU CAME!”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

“Oooh, nice. “Avaunt”. That takes me back.”

Right. So. Today’s movie is An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, a sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth. Now, “Sequel to a Don Bluth movie made without the imput of Don Bluth” is a sub-category of film with a slightly lower degree of prestige and respect than “Uwe Boll video game adaptation” or “hobo snuff film” and this film’s reputation is not exactly sterling.
40! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

40%?! There are Police Academy movies with higher scores than that!

So, following the stunning success of An American Tail (which, I remind you, was a big freaking deal) Stephen Spielberg wanted a sequel to be the first production of his new animation studio, Amblimation. Bluth by this time was based in Ireland and was working on The Land Before Time with Sullivan Bluth so Spielberg had to bring in a new team of animators under the direction of Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells. Amblimation is a weird little footnote in the annals of American animation history, tapping out after only three films (this one, We’re Back and Balto). I haven’t seen Balto and I do NOT care for We’re Back...
IT DID.

IT DID.

…but I think Amblimation could have been a real contender under different circumstances. Why? Because, if nothing else, the animation in these movies was SMURGES. Let’s take a look.

(more…)

M Payoff 1sht

“That’s how Dad did it. That’s how America does it. And it’s worked out pretty well so far.”

Iron Man is one of the five most recognisable superheroes in the world today and that is goddamn insane.
From pretty much the early forties to the turn of the millennium there were only two comic book characters that everyone knew, even if they’d never picked up a comic in their lives and that was the two DC icons; Batman and Superman. And despite the fact that Marvel’s actual comics had consistently outsold DC’s for most of their history, no one Marvel character had ever managed to achieve that kind of cultural purchase with maybe the possible exception of Spider-man. And if you were to pick a character that would upend that status quo and be the first Marvel hero to achieve that kind of instant, iconic, worldwide recognition…you probably wouldn’t pick Iron Man.
Here’s the thing, for most of its existence, the Avengers was not the cool kids’ table at Marvel. The Avengers comic book was a support network for characters who needed exposure and whose solo titles weren’t doing so hot (if they even had their own books). Know why Spider-man and Wolverine didn’t join the Avengers until 2005? Because their books were selling just fine thank you very much. So the fact that Iron Man is a founding member of the Avengers and has been with the team for almost its entire history should tell you a lot. This guy was kind of a B-lister, with more than his fair share of knocks from the bad story stick.
We do not speak of teen Tony.

We do not speak of teen Tony.

So how did this character go from perennial also-ran to the most recognised face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Sit down and I’ll learn ya.
The initial idea for Iron Man was Stan Lee’s because he is a massive, massive troll and we love him for it.
See, it was the sixties and Stan knew that most of his readers were college kids who hated the military and capitalism and bathing so he thought it would be an interesting challenge to sell them on a character that embodied all those traits.
iron man 160 b

He’s a capitalist arms-dealer in the shower. Can you handle that, hippies?

I don’t think this was really a political thing (Stan seems to be a fairly middle of the road Democrat) but simply came from Stan’s unwavering ability to find niches that hadn’t been filled yet. The great Jack Kirby did the cover and so created the character’s first visual design, and then the actual first issue that Iron Man appeared in was written by Stan’s brother Larry Lieber and drawn by Don Heck. Iron Man therefore had four daddies, which probably explains why he’s trying to form a gay polyamorous harem with Steve Rogers, Rhodey and Sam Wilson in every second piece of fan fiction featuring the character.
So why was this character chosen to launch Marvel’s massively ambitious experiment in inter-movie continuity porn? Basically, he got it by default.
By the mid 2000s Marvel had sold the movie rights to most of their major properties and were starting to feel like they were getting screwed. Sony had the rights to Spider-man, Fox had X-Men, Daredevil and Fantastic Four which combined represented a huge swathe of some of Marvels’ most iconic heroes, villains and supporting characters. When the time came for Marvel to set up their own movie studio they realised they were basically left with the Avengers who, at the time at least, were very much second stringers. It was deemed that the time was not right for another Captain America movie (too soon, we needed time to heal) and the corpse of Ang Lee’s Hulk was still warm. That left…Thor? Well, Thor’s great and all but…
Thor
Yeah, so they went with Iron Man. How did it turn out? Weeeelllllll it was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, completed Robert Downey Junior’s journey from washed up recovering drug addict to A-list superstar and created the future in which we now live. But does it hold up as a movie? Let’s take a look.

(more…)

Arena

MOVIE (AND TV SERIES) DEATHMATCH!!!

Before we get on to the fun part of unveiling which of the 123 (I’M SORRY I’LL REPEAT THAT AGAIN ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FRICKIN’ THREE) Movies and TV series that you nominated made the cut, let’s go through how this works again.

  1. Make a donation of $5 or $10 to the Joanna VR Kickstarter page.
  2. Leave a message on the Kickstarter page (or an email to unshavedmouse@gmail.com) telling me who gets your vote or votes ($5 counts as one vote, $10 counts as two).
  3. We’ll be running the Kickstarter for thirty-eight days. Every two weeks, the lowest scoring three movies/series will be eliminated in entertainingly gory ways.
  4. Highest scoring three movies/series at the end of the month get reviewed. Simple as.

Mouse? I’m rich, and I believe the rules do not apply to me.

Hades

How can I get you to review a movie or series I want and skip all this foolishness?

A $25 dollar donation and I’m yours for the night, baby. That automatically gets you a review of any movie or episode of a TV series your heart desires. Anything at all. Doesn’t even have to be animated or a comic book movie. Anything. I will review a damn sexual harassment training video if you want.

What’ll you do for $40?

Two reviews.

A hundred?

Anal.

WHAT?!

Oh what are you, a cop?

Ohhhhhkay… What if I buy a review for a movie or series that’s competing in the death match?

In the case of movies, if you give a $25 donation and request a movie that loses the deathmatch, you get the review anyway. If your movie wins the deathmatch then I will contact you and ask you for your second choice and you get two movies that you wanted reviewed instead of one. Fair enough?

In the case of a TV series  that wins the deathmatch, I’ll review an extra episode for every person that gave a $25 donation for that series.

 

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

So, without further ado…LET’S MEET OUR CONTESTANTS!

Darkwing_Duck_(animation)_title_card

Darkwing Duck

Age: 24 (Now don’t YOU feel old?)

Episodes: 91

AKA: “DW”, “The Killer Bill”, “Ol’ Motherducker”

A grim spectre of the night, Darkwing Duck brings peerless martial arts skills and cutting edge gagetry to the deathmatch arena. Coming face to face with DW, many fighters will turn tail and run when they hear three words: “Let’s. Get. Dangerous.” ELIMINATED

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Age: 18

Episodes: 78

AKA: “Dismemberer of the Night”

A savage and lethal combatant, Gargoyles swoops from the shadows, picking off unsuspecting opponents and tearing them to pieces before they have a chance to react. Temporarily allied with its Disney stablemates, how long can this fighter resist its own beastial nature before it turns on them? Not long. Not really…no, not long at all. Matter of minutes.

A Goofy Movie poster.jpg

A Goofy Movie

Age: 20

Run Time: 78 minutes

AKA: “The Super Goofer Trouper”

In a very Disney-heavy field this perennially overlooked and disrespected film has nothing to lose and everything to prove. And that may just make him the most dangerous fighter of all. “You want to get nuts with Goofy!?” he yells through bloodied teeth “C’MON! LET’S GET NUTS!” ELIMINATED

Gravity_Falls_logo 

Gravity Falls

Age: 3

Episodes: 38 and counting

AKA: “The Inevitable G”

 No movie or series entered this contest with more hype. No other fighter has as much love from the crowd. And perhaps, no other fighter is as big a target or has as far to fall. Beloved though it may be, Gravity Falls should remember the fate of The Iron Giant, another highly popular fighter who was favoured to win and then got blown up by a nuke. Makes you think.

The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_II

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Age: 17

Run Time: 69 Minutes

AKA: “Ol’ Worse Than Cancer”

Guys, I’m just going to drop the schtick for a second. This movie can’t win. Do not let this movie win. Don’t be stupid now. This thing will be the death of us all.

Pacific_Rim_FilmPoster

Pacific Rim

Age: 3

Run Time: 132 minutes

AKA: “The very confused one”

“Help!” Pacific Rim yells, banging furiously on the bars of its cell “There’s been a terrible mistake! I’m not an animation or a comic book movie! I shouldn’t even be here! Let me out!”

“There is only one way out.” a wise old movie tells him “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.” ELIMINATED

swat-set

SWAT Kats

Age: 22

Episodes: 23

AKA: “The Hanna Barbarians”

SWAT Kats steps into the arena with cutting edge weaponry, EXTREME ATTITUDE and a total disrespect for spelling convention. It’s like the nineties never went away, baby. ELIMINATED

STTAS

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Age: 42

Episodes: 22

AKA: “The Terror From Beyond the Stars”

“Captain’s log, stardate…unknown. My crew and I have found ourselves transported to a strange alternate dimension where it appears we are to be made to fight for the amusement of beings of incredible power. Of course, the taking of sentient life in arena combat is barbaric and anathema to the code of any Starfleet officer but…well, that’s never stopped us before. Mr Spock, it’s time to choke a bitch.”

“Logical, Captain.”  ELIMINATED

Steven_Universe-all_characters

 

Steven Universe

Age: 3

Episodes: 73 and counting

AKA: “Cruisin’ for a Fusion”

Another highly favoured fighter, Steven Universe will stop at nothing to win the Deathmatch and return Earth to Homeworld Gem control.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Age: 6

Run time: 114 Minutes

AKA: “Most Righteous Death Edge of the East” 

Word of the Deathmatch has traveled even to the Far East. A lone warrior, masterless and taciturn, Summer Wars comes to test its skill against the mightiest warriors the West has to offer. Only then, will it finally be able to quell the rage that dwells within its heart.

The_Lego_Movie_poster

The Lego Movie

Age: 1

Run Time: 100 Minutes

AKA: “The Brick Shithouse”

The youngest of our fighters, The Lego Movie eschews speed and skill for pure, brute power. As anyone who’s stepped on a lego brick barefoot  in the dead of night can attest, Lego is lethal business.

Turtles_Forever_Poster 

Turtles Forever

Age: 6

Run Time: 73 Minutes

AKA: “Lean Green Machine”

Combining the techniques both old and new, Turtles Forever is an excellent all round fighter that just might have the skill and tenacity to come out on top. ELIMINATED

***

So there you have it. Head over to the Kickstarter page and let’s get some blood on the sand. Be sure to check in on 04 December to see who’s gone to their eternal reward.

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 8

CHAPTER 8: SURGERY

She lay on the table, arms splayed, her breathing shallow.

“Mistress Angela.” one of the students whispered.

Angela turned to look. The student was pointing to Marie’s chest.

There was a bulge, visible now even beneath the fabric of her blouse, a protrusion in the middle of her chest that seemed to grow visibly.

“There’s something inside her.” Angela whispered.

The “customers” were now slinking one by one out of the cellar. They were all like Gameral, bald and wretched looking.

“Mistress.” another student whispered to her “What are they?”

“Devils.” she said simply.

“Actually.” Gameral purred as he approached the table “We dislike the term “devil”. It’s so generic. We are the Rikitatae-el-Goli, the people of envy, the ninth legion.”

“Imps.” said Angela.

“Indeed yes.” said Gameral “And how is the lady Angela? Returned many sheep to the fold, as it were? I must enroll in your school one of these days. As you know, my people are always looking for a way to return to Heaven…”

“We’re full.” said Angela coldly.

“Yes. I’m sure.” Gameral sneered “I’m sure they’re breaking down the doors for the chance to repent and face their sins. You know, I have been coming to this city for a very long time now. And each time, it only gets bigger.”

There was a hideous sniffing laughter from the clump of imps in the corner.

“Gameral.” said Hoss “The girl?”

“Ah yes, yes, your little…”

Gameral stopped dead as he saw Marie.

“Oh…my…” he breathed.

There was a rustling as the other imps flocked around the table to get a better view, they hissed and spluttered incredulously and began conversing in their own language, which sounded like snakes writhing in acid.

(more…)

Anastasia-Movie-Poster-Hiddem-Gem

Anastasia (1997)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

I love reading history. I have a copy of Tacitus’ Annals on my bedside table (because I’m just that kind of pretentious prick) and as a modern reader there’s something really bizarre about reading history written in ancient times.
See, you’ll be into a very serious passage about corruption in the Senate or the war against the Parthians (those Parthians, buncha troublemakers I tell ya what) and suddenly ol’ Tacitus will veer off into describing all the dire portents about Nero’s future rule and it’s all dreams of blood, and visions of locusts and more virgins giving birth to two-headed snakes than you know what to do with.
And then he’ll talk about taxes.
As if the previous stuff was just perfectly mundane. But here’s the thing; for Tacitus it was perfectly mundane. Magic and visions and miracles and supernatural powers were just an accepted fact of life back then. And as a modern reader, sure, we might be a bit sceptical but…we kinda just have to accept all that stuff as part of the historical record. Because Tacitus said it happened and he’s our guy on this stuff, you know? You going to call Tacitus a liar? Did you write one of the greatest works of Latin literature, serve in the Senate and later become governor of Asia?
Yeah. That’s what I thought.
Rome

It’s less impressive when you realise that “Asia” was just a chunk of Turkey back then.

Of course, when you start getting into more recent history, magic and mysticism aren’t part of the picture anymore. Or, at least, they’re not supposed to be.
I think that’s the reason I was always fascinated as a kid by Grigory Rasputin. Here was a twentieth century figure who seemed to come from a time when magic was still real. In the early years of the twentieth century, the Russian royal family had their own wizard.
Wizard
That is awesome.
In secondary school I actually did my final year project on Rasputin and the Romanovs and I’m something of a buff on this whole period of Russian history. And that low sound you just heard is all the Anastasia fans (of which there are a great many) in the audience groaning “Oh God. He’s going to pan it.”
And sure. I can get why you might think that. I mean, if I tore Saving Mr Banks a new one because PL Travers was crying for the wrong reason, I’m probably not going to look too kindly on the February Revolution being started by zombie Rasputin. Or am I? Maybe not. Or maybe yes? Ha ha ha ha! Which door do you choose, Anastasia fans?! Which door?!
“Ugh. Is this some kind of joke? I thought you were going to review one of my good films?”

“Ugh. Is this some kind of joke? I thought you were going to review one of my good films?”

“But…everyone loves Anastasia! It’s one of your most critically beloved movies! It made the most money of all of your films!”

“But…everyone loves Anastasia! It’s one of your most critically beloved movies! It made the most money of all of your films!”

“UGH. Yeah. And google it and see what comes up.”

“UGH. Yeah. And google it and see what comes up.”

Ooooh...thats gotta hoirt.

Ooooh…that’s gotta hoirt.

“Fox asked me to make a Disney princess movie. I was desperate for the cash so I sold out. How was I supposed to make a good movie under those circumstances?”

“Fox asked me to make a Disney princess movie. I was desperate for the cash so I sold out. How was I supposed to make a good movie under those circumstances?”

I dunno Don. But I’ve seen where you can go with unfettered creative control and it often involves trolls and penguins with teeth. If it wasn’t for artists just doing it for a paycheck we wouldn’t have I, Claudius, Sherlock Holmes or half of Shakespeare’s stuff. Maybe, just maybe, you managed to make an accidental classic.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at Disney’s Anastasia.
"UGH."

“UGH.”

Sorry. That just slipped out.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 7

CHAPTER 7: THE CUSTOMERS

She was awake and she was screaming.

In the darkness she tried to marshal her thoughts. Why was she screaming?

Not a dream, she didn’t have those anymore.

She felt like hot lead was being poured on her chest.

The pain had gotten worse while she had been sleeping.

It had gotten steadily more painful since her arrival in the City, and that had been four days ago. Now, it felt like it was killing her. Whimpering, she stumbled out of bed and felt her way down the corridor. Through a skylight over her head she could see the sky. It was early morning judging by the slightly lighter shade of grey. She did not know what made day or night pass in this place. It had been a long time since she had seen a sun.

The pain was now so bad it almost felt like her feet weren’t touching the ground, like she was being suspended in the air by a swarm of stinging hornets. Angela will know what to do, she has to.

There was a ball of fire in her chest.

She struggled on down the corridor, and came to the top of the stairs.

Her legs gave out and she tripped, rolling down the stair way, bruising her stomach and back on the hard wooden steps one after the other until she came to rest on the grey stone floor.

She lay there in the pale morning half-light, limp as a rag doll, unable even to move.

“Do not turn your back to the guilt. Do not push it away. Do not try to protect yourself from it. Guilt is the pain of the soul. It is the bleeding scar tissue left by your sin. It wants to hurt you. “

Angela’s clipped voice could be heard in the furthest corner of the hall, it cut into the last dusty grey nook in the rafters.

“Let it.” she said simply.

(more…)

DuckTales_the_Movie_-_Treasure_of_the_Lost_Lamp

DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

Eighties kids have a tendency to loudly proclaim that the cartoons they grew up with, your Masters of the Universe, your Transformers, your My Little Ponies were so much better than the cartoons made for kids today.

Why do they say that? Lead. Lead was in everything back then. Paint, exhaust fumes, you name it. And lead is well known to have a harmful effect on intelligence. Couple this with the radiation from the hole in the ozone layer frying their brains and the still lingering effects of Chernobyl and quite frankly it’s a wonder that your typical eighties kid can tied their own shoes, much less attempt an objective assessment of the state of made for TV animation then and now. God love them, they’ve suffered through so much. Now, I am an eighties kid by birth but I converted to the church of 21st century animation a looooong time ago so let me put this one to bed. No. Cartoons were not better in the eighties than they are now. Know how I know? Because cartoons have never been as good as they are now. Pretty much every cartoon made for television from the nineteen fifties to late eighties was garbage. Sure, there were talented people working on them, but they were people, not gods, and there simply was no way to contend with the forces of microscopic budgets, corporate mandated toy-schilling and stiflingly conservative broadcast standards and create something consistently excellent or even good. Yes, occasionally an episode of Transformers might get through that still holds up today but these were very, very rare exceptions (I’m talking exclusively about American TV animation I should hasten to add). Contrast that with today: American animation studios are consistently making shows for kids that are better than most of the stuff they make for adults. Pearl from Steven Universe is one of the most fascinating, layered, tragically flawed characters on television right now, period. Gravity Falls is unfolding an ongoing mystery plot with a skill and intelligence that The X-Files and Lost could only dream about. Adventure Time takes Twin Peaks to school with its pure surrealism. Eighties, I hate to break it to you, even our remakes of your shows are a tenfold improvement. You have Transformers? We have Transformers: Prime. You have Thundercats? We have Thundercats 2011. You have My Little Pony? We have Friendship is Magic.  

GIJoeHeader

You have an army?

We have a HULK.

We have a HULK.

So what happened? Whence came this huge leap forward in quality?

Where else?

Where else?

 

So some time in the late eighties Disney rolled up their sleeves and decided it was time to show these chumps who the big dog was. Disney began producing high quality TV animation intended for syndication. Critics scoffed, saying that this was an expensive folly that would bring the Disney company into bankruptcy.
"Ha. Motherfuckers never learn."

“Ha. Motherfuckers never learn.”

Instead, these shows completely revolutionised the American animation TV landscape. Soon after, Warner Bros also got in on the act with Tiny Toons, Animaniacs and Batman the Animated Series to name a few. In essence, all modern TV animation owes its existence to Disney’s gamble in the late eighties, and in particular to their most popular show; DuckTales.
The massive popularity of DuckTales is something that’s always confused me a little. I mean sure, I watched the show and I liked it fine, but what is it about this story about three duck kids and their miserly grunkle that made it to 100 episodes? Couple of things. Firstly, simply by dint of the fact that it wasn’t terrible it was already head and shoulders above pretty much any other cartoon on the air. But I think another key to its longevity was the fact that it’s quite similar to Doctor Who. One of the reasons that show is older than Jesus is because, aside from the fact that they can recast the main actor, the Doctor has a machine that lets him go anywhere in space or time. There is literally no end to the stories you can tell with that basic premise. And in a way, Scrooge McDuck also has a TARDIS. He’s so wealthy that there’s literally nowhere on Earth he can’t afford to go. Want to do a story on the bottom of the ocean? Scrooge buys a submarine. Want to take him to space? Scrooge buys a spaceship. Want to do a story with dinosaurs? Scrooge gets his personal mad scientist to build him a time machine. Want Scrooge to meet Satan? He has a heart attack and goes to hell because it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to see heaven. Again, you will never run out of stories.
Another thing to consider is that DuckTales was based on a hugely popular comic book, by the legendary Carl Barks. Although Donald Duck was of course created by Walt Disney, it was Barks who did more than anyone else to flesh out everyone’s favourite psychotic waterfowl, creating Duckburg and a whole host of supporting characters; Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica deSpell (it truly was a duck blur). The Duck comics have never really been huge in the States where the comics scene is of course SUPERHEROES SUPERHEROES SUPERHEROES NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME but they’re very popular in what I like to call “Asterix country”, Europe, Latin America and Asia. In fact, I even tried to get my hands on a copy of The Many Lives of Scrooge McDuck for this review from my local comic shop. This lead to the following exchange. I swear to almighty God I am not making this up.
Comic_Book_Guy_WEE

“Sorry, it’s sold out. We sold the last copy to Killian Murphy.”

“…Killian Murphy? The actor?”

“…Killian Murphy? The actor?”

“The Scarecrow himself, yes. He came in here and asked specifically for anything pertaining for Scrooge McDuck. Who were we to refuse him?”

“The Scarecrow himself, yes. He came in here and asked specifically for anything pertaining to Scrooge McDuck. And who were we to refuse him?”

I SWEAR TO GOD.
But yes, Donald Duck comics are a big effing deal in many parts of the world. Personally though, I always found the entire concept of DuckTales the TV show to be really depressing. Think about it. Hewey, Dewey and Louie get sent to live with their uncle, Donald. I don’t think we ever found out why in the show, but there is no good reason that happens. And then, after losing their parents, Donald passes them off on his uncle, a miserly one-percenter who clearly cares more about his money than his nephews while Donald is off in the navy. Those three little ducks must be carting around a metric ton of abandonment issues. The reason why Donald isn’t present in the series apart from a few cameos is that Roy Disney didn’t want any of Uncle Walt’s classic characters getting TV stink on ’em. Instead, the character of Launchpad was created to fill the role Donald usually did in the comics. Today’s movie, Treasure of the Lost Lamp, came out in 1990 and served as a season finale of shorts to the beloved series. Did DuckTales go out with a bang or a whimper? Let’s take a look.
Saving_Mr._Banks_Theatrical_Poster

Saving Mr Banks (2013)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

Previously on Unshaved Mouse: After learning that he’d been secretly manipulated into destroying the career of Don Bluth, Mouse swore revenge against his former mentor Walt Disney, promising to review “The Worst Disney Movie”. However, it seemed that the two had finally buried the hatchet after Mouse reviewed Big Hero 6 in an attempt to boost his flagging page views just ‘cos. But then, Walt was kidnapped by Mouse’s entire rogue’s gallery who it turned out had been led by none other than…Mouse.
Now read on.
“You’re kidding. Saving Mr Banks? That’s your pick for worst Disney movie?”

“You’re kidding. Saving Mr Banks? That’s your pick for worst Disney movie?”

“Yup.”

“Yup.”

“Not one of the straight to video sequels? Not the High School Musical movies?”

“Not one of the straight to video sequels? Not the High School Musical movies?”

“Nope.”

“Nope.”

“Pff. Lemmings. Who cares? Buncha racists.”

“Pff. Lemmings. Who cares? Buncha racists.”

"FUCK YOU, MAZERUNNER!"

“FUCK YOU, MAZERUNNER!”

“Saving Mr Banks was a critical darling! It grossed over a hundred million dollars! How can it possibly be the worst Disney movie?”

Saving Mr Banks was a critical darling! It grossed over a hundred million dollars! How can it possibly be the worst Disney movie?”

"Well, "worst" can have very different meanings."

“Well, “worst” can have very different meanings.”

Pamela Lyndon Travers, born Helen Lyndon Goff was a remarkable woman who led a remarkable life. At various times a Shakespearean actor, a scholar of Native American cultures, a propagandist during the second world war, a member of the literati who rubbed shoulders with the likes of AE and WB Yeats and the creator of Mary Poppins, one of the most popular children’s characters in English language literature. She was also, by most accounts, a bit of a pill. In fact, it’s been said that she died “loving no one, and loved by no one.” Who said that? Her own grandchildren. Yikes.
A question I got asked a lot after my review of Mary Poppins was whether I had read any of the original books and the answer was “No.” I have since had a chance to rectify that, or at least, I’ve managed to read the first book, the one that the 1964 film was based on. In my opinion it’s a charmingly written, often very witty book that’s let down by a somewhat ramshackle episodic structure and the fact that the main character is WORSE THAN HITLER.
Sorry, I know a lot of people love these books and prefer the literary version of Mary Poppins but oh my God, no. No, no, no, no, no, She is awful. Vain, mean, borderline emotionally abusive, contemptuous of everything and everyone, snobbish, nakedly hostile to anyone who is not on their knees kissing her very shoes and she sniffs. Constantly. “Mary Poppins sniffed…” it was like a goddamn tic. By the end of the book I was like…
Sniff again
And today’s movie, Saving Mr Banks, is about how that book  and its fairly unlikable author and its deeply unpleasant main character were somehow corralled into making one of my favourite movies by one of my favourite film-makers. You could not engineer a safer audience for this movie than me. So how badly do you think they had to fuck it up for me to hate this movie, to hate the Disney corporation that made it and even for a little of that hate to wipe off on my memories of the original film? How hard do you have to try to fail that badly?
Let’s take a look.