#Musical Monday Review #21 Aladdin

Overview: Aladdin is an orphaned teen running around Agrabah with his best friend and pet monkey Abu. He dreams of a better life inside the palace walls. Princess Jasmine, longing for a normal life outside of the palace walls, runs away from home and meets Aladdin. The two have a romantic moment, before being caught by the palace guards and he was arrested under the orders of Jafar. Jafar is the royal advisor and sorcerer, who is on a quest to find a magic lamp. Inside the lamp is a genie that will grant three wishes (within certain guidelines). Problem is the lamp lies in the Cave of Wonders and only a “diamond in the rough” can enter. Jafar tricks Aladdin into going inside to retrieve it, but Abu gets greedy and the Cave collapses. Aladdin rubs the lamp and becomes Genie’s master. They get out of the cave, and Aladdin starts to make his wishes, but finds that he just needs to be himself to get what he wants. Jafar learns Aladdin has the lamp and attempts to steal it, takes control over everything. Then makes a fatal mistake, that aids in his downfall and giving a happy ending.

Opinion: I love classic Disney. This was one of my favorites growing up. Jasmine has been my favorite Princess because she tried to stand up for herself. She still needed help being rescued, but she had tried to fight. Plus I always thought she was the most beautiful.

This is probably my first introduction to two of my favorite actors: Robin Williams and Gilbert Gottfried. I loved Iago’s crotchety anger and frustration, he was such a great comedic relief. Genie was amazing at moral fiber, and friendship. I don’t know why but Robin also brought a bit of a Jewish feel to his role. Maybe it has something to do with his freedom speech and wanting hummus, but I could be wrong.

My favorite song would have to be “Prince Ali.” Who doesn’t love a parade?

Then of course “Whole New World.” One of the most romantic songs ever.

#Musical Monday Review #19 Beauty and the Beast

Overview: A selfish prince is cursed by a witch for not helping her. His curse is for him to be disfigured as a hideous beast, and all those who dwell within his castle are also transformed into animated household items until his 21st birthday. In town Belle is a normal girl who enjoys reading more than trying to attract suitors, so the other townspeople believe her to be odd. Her father is known as a crackpot inventor, and is believed to be the source of her weirdness. Gaston, local playboy and jerk, has set his sights on Belle simply based on her beauty. Spurring his affections, she focuses more on helping her father look after the farm while he goes to an investor’s convention. Belle’s father soon becomes trapped by the Prince and sends his horse, Phillipe to find Belle and rescue him. Gaston plans to have him committed once he is back in town, after Belle trades places with him. Once the beast has Belle, he tries to be nice but she only sees a kidnapping monster and he sees a stubborn girl. Over time they grow close and learn to love each other, but Belle has to leave to save her father from Gaston. Finding the beast is real and won the heart of Belle, Gaston leads a mob back to the castle in order to kill it. The house fights back, but the beast has been mortally wounded. With one kiss from Belle, the curse is broken and everyone lives happily ever after.

Opinion: Who doesn’t love a good Disney Princess Movie (DPM)? This one is my mom’s particular favorite. As a kid, I would watch it over and over but I can’t say it was my ultimate favorite. I do think it was my first DPM though.

It is a good story to learn that appearances don’t matter, don’t be selfish and that people are different. Then if you look past the Disney filter, things become a bit creepy. For instance, Belle has wicked sisters in the original and the beast allows her to go home for a visit as long as she is only gone a week. The sisters become jealous and try to talk her into staying longer, so when she returns the beast will (hopefully) eat her. Then there’s the witch cursing a boy of 10 or 11 because he wouldn’t let her into the castle. This why they invented “Stranger Danger?” It’s a bit excessive if you ask me. Disney covered it up by making it seem as if the boy was a teenager or so, but the original story says something about a ten year gap between the beginning of the curse and the time Belle goes to him. If the spell has to be broken by his 21st birthday, given the time gap, the curse began at 10 or 11.

While Disney tried to cover the creepy, they made it creepy by making the beast seem evil. In the original he was kind and giving to Belle and asked her to marry him every night, only to be turned down because she regarded him as a friend.

Back to the movie.

Being the practical child I was, Cogsworth has always been my favorite character. He is the one person that seems to make any logical sense as everyone else is trying to manipulate Belle or her father in the beginning. He was the voice of reason and I identified more with him then the others for that reason. Plus he was smart and because of him I wanted to learn more about the baroque period and have flying buttresses in my house.

3

Before I reveal my favorite song, I’d like to rant for a minute. The Special Edition that was released in 2003, and the version I happened to watch for this post, irritates me. Back on the cutting room floor a song was taken from the film and released without it because it didn’t add to the show and just stalled the story line. When they released the Special Edition, the editors decided to add the song in order for the consumers to get more for their money. The movie was perfect with out the song “Human Again” and instead of just adding it as a special feature they put it on the main feature forcing you to watch it. I know it’s not that big of a deal but it is annoying to fast forward through it. Then I feel sorry for the little children who won’t be able to see the movie in all of its original glory, instead being subjected to the pointless scene.

Favorite song is ” Something There.” It’s a short song when they are starting to fall for each other. They are running around and playing in the snow, genuinely getting to know one another. It is such a sweet scene and the song is beautiful.

Favorite choreography has to go to “Be Our Guest.” One there isn’t much choreography to begin with and two it is just an amazing scene. Silverware, pots, pans and flower vases dancing and putting on a show for Belle for dinner.

Favorite scene is the battle at the end because I love it when the wardrobe let’s out a battle cry, jumps through the air and lands on a man who comes out dressed as a woman.

#Musical Monday Review #18: I Kissed a Vampire

Overview: Dylan is bitten by a Vampire and started transforming into one. He struggles with his new fangs, weird dreams and not biting the girl he loves. Then Tray shows up to teach him how to be a Vampire and get the girl. His girl Sarah is bitten and starts changing too. She wants to embrace new life, but than also wants to find a cure, while Dylan is in denial and trying to stop it. They go to see Dr. Dan Helsing and find that the Vampire who bit Dylan wasn’t too powerful so he may not change completely. Sarah on the other hand was bitten by a very powerful very Vampire and will change as well as belong to Tray. In order to make the cure, they just need a drop of Tray’s blood. The two are pulled apart in their quest for blood and giving into their true selves. In his love for Sarah, Dylan’s powers start to emerge and we learn Tray is obsessed with Sarah because he has mommy issues. Sarah breaks the the spell and they are able to create a cure. Sarah almost died but is brought back with a kiss. The cure failed, but the couple found happiness together.

Opinion: Though the lyrics leave a bit to be desired, the music is cool. For a girl who wanted to break away from the goody-two shoes personality, she really wanted to find a cure and change back to normal. Its like here is her chance and she chickens out. I thought that was a little unrealistic or uncharacteristic of her. Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind with the duality if Sarah’s fighting good vs evil inside of her, compared to Janet’s similar struggle.

Really over all it looks like something Disney would put out during their 13 Days of Halloween. For me that’s good, I love those movies.

Lucas Grabeel shows a darker side than when he was in High School Musical. He embraces the emo look, foregoing his scary pink attire.

“Just a Little Bit of Nibble” is my favorite favorite choreography. We see Tray teasing Phillip about getting his first kiss and Phillip struggling between kissing, biting and keeping Tray away from Sarah.

“Just a Drop” is reminiscent of “Your the One That I Want” from Grease. I’m not sure why, it just popped in my head as I watched Sarah, the good girl next door type, sing about how she wants to break out of her shell and take a bite out of life (pun intended).

Note: Some people may have seen the mini episodes on YouTube or another website, but a lot of people have had issues finding the whole musical. I found it on Hulu if you are wanting to check it out.

#Musical Monday Review #13: Hercules

Before I start, I’d like to say today is my one year anniversary!! 1 year ago today, I started this blog. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Overview: The narrators of the musical are 5 muses and open with the story of the gods and how they came into power. Then jump to the birth of Hercules and learn about his uncle wanting him dead and ties to turn him mortal. As Hercules is now mostly mortal, he has to live on Earth and go through his childhood. He learns that he is a demi-god and his father is king of the Gods, Zeus. In order to shed his mortal life, Hercules must become worthy of being a god and Hades wants to stop him so he can be the next ruler. Throwing different monsters at him, Hades tries his best to kill Hercules, who has been trained by a satyr named Phil, a famous (or infamous) hero trainer. In trying to destroy him, he finds a weakness and exploits for everything he can almost bringing an end to Hercules and the fall of the gods. Hercules saves the day, but decides to stay on Earth instead of joining his parents on Mount Olympus.

Opinion: While it is a good fish out of water and under dog story, I also see elements of other Disney movies in it. Tarzan, boy found and adopted by another species (humans instead of gods), Lion King (Uncle has to kill nephew to rule), Mulan (clumsy protagonist has to train to prove himself), Aladdin (becomes so cocky its a downfall). I don’t know a lot of Greek mythology, but this is a sweet story. Of course the true story may be darker, as Disney made a reputation for taking dark stories and making them light. I don’t know Hercules’ true story, but this version is better geared toward children than the other incestuous, bestiality-filled Greek god stories. Disney usually has hidden meanings or a moral behind their movies, an in this one I’m not quite sure what it is. With hero stories it is normally that anyone can be a hero, but here the hero is a god turned mortal. It could be love is worth fighting for  but that doesn’t sound right either. Or that famous isn’t the same as being a hero.  So history aside, the songs are pretty good for a kids movie. I particularly like “Never Admit I’m in Love.”

#Musical Monday Review: Mulan

Overview: Ancient China is under attack and Mulan’s already battle worn father is drafted into the army again. Foregoing her duty to marry a man of great honor, she cuts her hair, dons her father’s armor and with the help of her ancestral guardian, she joins the army. Under the name Ping, she trains to become a warrior and defeat the Hun’s. Once her captain is certain the troops are ready, they set out to meet his father and instead find a burning village and his father dead. Following the Hun’s path, there is an epic battle where Mulan saves the day. However, she is struck in the chest and her secret is out. Her ruse is one punishable by death, but as she saved her captain’s life, he spares hers and leaves her on the mountain. Not quite as dead as they seem, the Hun’s pop out of the deep snow and head for the capital. Mulan observes this and heads off to warn her friends. They do not believe her, because she is a woman and are attacked. The emperor is taken hostage as everyone is sealed out of the palace. Using skills taught in training, Mulan gussies up the boys as concubines and sneaks in. Underestimating them, the guards are quickly disarmed and the emperor is saved. Mulan kills the leader of the huns and brings great honor to her family.

Opinion: This is the second Disney movie where the girl doesn’t have to be rescued by the man. In 1995, the first Disney Princess movie to do this was Pocahontas (Mulan came out three years later), before this girls were being taught that they had to be rescued by a man in order to survive. Mulan taught us that we could be just as strong and independent as men. Mulan also teaches us that no matter what the laws are, you should always do what is right. Her father was slightly disabled and would not survive another war, but because he had no son the honor of fighting was on him. Mulan felt it was right to take his place, but that would never had been allowed in this time period.

Favorite song is “Make a Man” where Shang is singing about making men out of the worthless boys he was sent to train.

“Honor to Us All” gives great insight to the time period and what the expectations were of women.

List of Musicals Up for Review

A couple of days ago, I decided to branch out and also write some music reviews, but like an idiot, I did not not give a list of what I plan on reviewing before I asked for suggestions. So here is a list of those I do plan on reviewing, and if there are more suggestions please feel free to comment. May not be in exact order that I review them.

1. Sound of Music

2. RENT

3. Mary Poppins

4. Little Shop of Horrors

5. Evita

6. Jesus Christ Superstar

7. Repo! The Genetic Opera

8. The Phantom of the Opera

9. Oklahoma!

10. Grease

11. Grease 2

12. Hair

13. Hairspray

14. Blue Hawaii

15. GI Blues

16. Spinout

17. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

18. Selena

19. Rocky Horror Picture Show

20. The Beatles: Yellow Submarine

21. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipmunk Adventure

22. Beauty and the Beast

23. Aladdin

24. Sleeping Beauty

25. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

26. Fiddler on the Roof

27. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

28. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

29. Across the Universe

30. Hello Dolly!

31. Cry Baby

32. Labrinth