Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Feature Presentation (3/49) -- Cinderella (1950)

Part of the reason I decided to do this series (other than a dearth of good ideas and penis envy) is that there are a great many Disney flicks I just flat-out haven’t seen. I did grow up with a fair few of them, and have seen even more thanks to Netflix, but there remain a select few that have still managed to evade me after all this time. There also exist several that I have only mostly seen. That is, I’m familiar with the goings-on and plot points and characters, but just haven’t been able to see the whole experience all the way through. One of these films is today’s entry, Cinderella.

We’ve all heard the tale of “Cinderella,” that paragon of working diligently and keeping your head in the clouds. Heck, thanks to years of rereleasing and constant marketing, I’m pretty sure more people are familiar with the Disney version than the traditional version, which is just as well, as the OG one is a trifle short. As such, I knew mostly what I was in for going into the movie, but was still pleasantly surprised in places that I did and didn’t expect.

Our tale begins with a wealthy man named Tremaine and his beautiful daughter, Cinderella. Tremaine and Cinderella have a nice, father-daughter relationship where she brings him joy and she receives “everything her heart desired” (as you can see, the Daddy’s Little Girl trope extended even further back than we may have initially guessed), but Tremaine is lonely, and wants his daughter to have a mother figure. In a great twist of Famous Last Words irony, he marries a woman (bringing her two daughters into the family), then promptly keels over, setting up the whole “wicked stepmother and two ugly stepsisters” bit that distinguishes this tale.

Eh. They could be worse.

We flash forward an indistinct amount of time. The narrator informs us that Cinderella was put into servitude since her father’s death, but she is still good-natured and kind, despite being harangued around and forced to constantly do the bidding of her other family members. She wiles away the time, singing while she works (effectively one-upping Snow White, who apparently can only whistle) and making friends with the household, er, vermin (whom she also makes clothes for, btw; she’s either rather considerate or rather mad).

One day, as we can recite by heart, the king calls for a ball to find his son a wife, and all are invited, including Cinderella. However, thanks to some sleight-of-hand manipulation by her stepmother (and exceptional cattiness from her stepsisters), Cinderella is left behind, without a dress or any trimmings to go to the ball.

Just then, Cinderella’s fairy godmother (read: plot device) appears to her and grants her not only a dress, but a coach, coachman, and four white horses to go along with it! She must be back by midnight, however, because the spell is broken “on the stroke of twelve.” Cinderella goes to the ball, catches the interest of the prince, and could have daaaaanced all night when the clock strikes twelve. Knowing what will probably happen, she GTFOs without telling the prince her name, leaving behind only a glass slipper (heaven knows why these were a good idea; maybe it’s the arch support).

Couldn't they bother to sweep that stuff up first?

Will the prince be reunited with the fair but obedient Cinderella? Will the other broads try to make the slipper fit on their feet? Will Cinderella be the only one whom the shoe fits in the whole kingdom? Oh, what do you think? If I sound like I’m hatin’, I’m not; while the story is full of plot devices and catches, the idea for Cinderella has been around for so long that it’s best to just take it at face value. Not only that, I rather enjoyed my time with this one.

Probably the biggest thing that stands out for me is the tone of this movie. From as soon as the film segues out of the storybook portion and into the main experience, it has an overwhelming sense of joviality and cheerfulness that is absolutely infectious. In a day and age when so much of the entertainment industry has become exceptionally cynical (heck, even read the plot synopsis of this entry!), it feels quite refreshing for a movie to be completely unironic about a character who spends her morning’s getting-ready period being assisted by the birds. The music, art style, colors, and plot progression all contribute to a wonderful sense of levity, and I found it to be quite catching.

For a character that is, for all intents and purposes, a non-entity in her own film, I found Cinderella to be a surprisingly endearing. You could argue that she seems rather bland, and that her character isn’t terribly fleshed-out (and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with you), but I found her portrayal appealing for some reason. I saw her as making the most out of her lot, realizing that there’s not much she can do to fight city hall, so she holds herself with an air of serenity, waiting for a good moment to seize the day. Passive? Perhaps. But she was a heroine who I ended up rather liking, of only to probably satisfy my deep-seating male chauvinist side.

She's a bit of a looker, too, isn't she fellas?

The music was also quite fun, both score and songs. I’m a fan of the pop-music stylings of the 40’s, and many of the songs have certain melodies and –isms that couldn’t have come from anywhere else (the mice’s harmonies in “Cinderelly” come to mind). I’m a fan of nonsense-words and list-making songs, so I really enjoyed “Bippity-Boppety-Boo,” and appreciated the rhythmic spoken word sections said aloud by the Fairy Godmother (who sounds like she has a slight Irish brogue). The score makes use of string-plucks and bassoons, and sounds like many other Disney shorts of the era, and is used to accentuate the timing of several jokes.

There are a few other elements that helped make the film for me. I’m generally not a fan of flat art styles, but I found the backgrounds to be quite attractive (the interior of Lady Tremaine’s bedroom is especially well-constructed). In addition, there were a few scenes that were just pretty and impressive, like the “Sing Sweet Nightingale” scene, where Cinderella cleans the floor and her soap bubble reflections harmonize with her. The voice cast is also nice, with the standout being Eleanor Audley as Lady Tremaine, who is clipped, harsh, and just this side of reasonable, making her a perfect authority figure villain. Lastly, and it’s a bit odd, but I found the design of Cinderella’s bird friends to be unreasonably cute.

Seriously, look at these little guys!

The movie has a few sticking points for me, though. For the first part, the mice have a fairly good-sized chunk of the movie to themselves; there are at least three major sequences involving Jack, Gus, or the whole mousy troupe. This got a little frustrating, as they seemed to get in the way of the story (though the story of Cinderella is admittedly not the deepest narrative and could use some padding), and I got a bit peeved at Gus constantly having pratfalls and otherwise messing things up for the mice. The issue of the mice talking with Cinderella kinda got to me as well. Cinderella “talks” to her animal friends, but it seems to be more of an excuse to vocalize her thoughts. When it comes to the mice, though, they speak in an odd, repetitive bit of English, and I couldn’t tell if Cinderella could hear them or not.

Um, yeah, what's not not to like?

These are small quibbles, though, and Cinderella is ultimately a satisfying experience, surprisingly so for a male in his early twenties. The optimism and pep-in-step vibe of the film helps it stand out, and the ending is gratifying, even after so many renditions of the tale have been told. This movie almost single-handedly brought Disney back from the brink when it first came out, and it deserves a place in any Disney fan’s catalog.

Top 3 Songs:

  1. Bippidty-Boppety-Boo
  2. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
  3. So This Is Love

Favorite Scene:

  • "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes"/getting ready

Favorite Character:

  • Lady Tremaine

The Jar Jar:

  • Gus

How I Watched It:

Acquiring my copy for this entry was a bit of an adventure. The price was hovering around $25 on Amazon for several weeks, so I found one on eBay for around $16 with shipping. Unfortunately, the disc case, packaging, and movie itself seemed, well, a bit pirated (the risk you take buying things on the internet, especially eBay), and it wouldn’t play in my DVD player (neither the PS3 or Xbox 360 recognized it as playable). I was able to get my money back (which is the only reason why this particular eBay vendor is going unnamed), but I was still rendered without a copy. Fortuitously, my parents happened to have a copy on DVD, so I borrowed it for this particular viewing. Worry not, dear readers, I ordered a new one with my refunded money, and will own it again soon.

Anyway, this is another Platinum Edition, similar to The Lion King’s release last time. The movie has been restored, apparently, and while there’s no real visual splendor, the colors and art look good even on a large TV. The first disc doesn't have a commentary, and basically can be skipped if you're foraging for extras (but for heaven's sake, watch the movie!). The second disc has an extensive 40-minute doc on Cinderella and various aspects, including story origins, musical composition, and historical significance. There are also a few other featurettes, but I didn't get a chance to watch them yet.

As with most of the out-of-print DVD market, the price for a copy of Cinderella fluctuates wildly, and being a “beloved classic” certainly doesn’t help with its occasional foray into sky-high cost territory. However, at the moment, you should be able to find several copies on Amazon for around $13-$15. Get ‘em while they’re reasonable.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our Feature Presentation (2/49) -- The Lion King (1994)

As I mentioned in my Atlantis piece, I was a child of the 90’s, and you’d better believe The Lion King was everywhere when I was a kid. It sold jillions of copies on VHS, had a spin-off TV show (a fate that many of its successful contemporaries shared), and sparked Hakuna Matata as a way of life. AFI recently placed it near the top of their 10 Best Animated Features list in 2008, and it was a staple for millions of boys (and probably girls) who grew up during one or both Clinton administrations.

But enough with the accolades, let’s get to the damn movie. The plot (as if you didn’t know) centers around Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), a young lion cub who was born to be king of Pride Rock, the local pride of lions, and basically the entire Savannah. He thinks this is pretty sweet, but his uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) would rather have the throne for himself. In that nice fratricidical pattern that accompanies most programs about royalty (or royalty in general), Scar orchestrates the death of present-king Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and attempts to do-away with Simba. Simba escapes, however, and finds himself wandering through the desert (think Exodus, but less Promise Land).

Simba nearly dies whilst desert-spelunking, when he befriends meerkat and warthog duo Timon (Nathan Layne) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), two outcasts whose motto is in essence “when the world’s got a problem with you, eff ‘em.” This leads to a sojourn of ramblin’ man years where Simba grows into adulthood (and is now voiced by Matthew Brodrick), all while Pride Rock goes to hell in a hand basket under the reign of Scar. Simba is sought out by his childhood friend Nala (Moira Kelly), who tells him he needs to reclaim the throne and give Scar the ol’ what’s-what. Simba recoils at first, but soon comes to his senses, returns, and steps up as the one true king.

Oh hell yes.

You already know that. Of course you do. If you are reading this blog, there is absolutely no way you or someone you know hasn’t already seen this. Hell, my little brother’s about six and a half, and he still watches it on the same VHS that my mom bought for me when I was his age (ironic for a movie whose primary theme is the Circle of Life). As such, I will dispatch with any complex theme analyses, Hamlet comparisons, and conspiracy theories (controversial dust-letters and anime plagiarism are two glasses of Kool-Aid I do not drink from), because, let’s face it, you’ve already heard them. No, instead I’ll be talking about what jumped out at me from my most recent viewing.

The biggest thing I noticed about The Lion King was how incredibly GORGEOUS this movie is. I’ve always balked at the flossy effects-animation in the Don Bluth movies, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the flossiest movies in the Disney canon in terms of effects, visual tricks, and flat-out looking pretty. The movie’s opening scene sets the tone for what’s to follow; we’re greeted with shadows, dust clouds, water splashes, depth-of-field shots, and that awesome, sweeping camera movement as we follow Zazu (Rowan Atkinson) over the pride lands and gawk at all of the animals below. This high bar of non-pretentious “We put more into our effects animation budget than you did into your whole movie” mentality carries throughout the entire experience, culminating with a climactic fight on a burning Pride Rock (check out the ash floating around!) and Simba’s ascension to his throne amidst the rain and steam. This movie gets released onto Blu-ray next fall, and watching it will probably trigger something that was mentioned in a Lonely Island song.

Pretty doggone impressive, if you ask me.

The second thing that I really appreciated was how the film sets up Mufasa and Simba’s relationship from early on in the movie. Mufasa is a noble, strong character, but he still is able to be warm and caring with his son; many kudos go to Jones for being able to command such respect with his voice, then softening it the very next moment. Simba basically acts like a regular kid from the 90’s; JTT plays him straight, with no forced cutesiness, making him easy to identify with, especially for someone who remembers what it was like being a regular kid in the 90’s. Between the two, they create a very real, very touching father-son relationship, making Mufasa’s death later in the film that much more tragic (Simba trying to wake his father, then hopelessly curling down beside him is way more affecting now that I’m older).

One of my favorite aspects of The Lion King that has drastically improved over time is the music. Yes, everyone loves “Hakuna Matata,” “The Circle of Life” is probably one of the coolest ways to kick off the film, and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” went on to become one of the most ubiquitous love songs of the 90’s. Now that I’m grown, however, and listen to more film soundtracks (makes concentrating on writing easier), I have a newfound appreciation for this score. There are many things that can be said about Hans Zimmer’s composing style, but I think it works perfectly for a movie of this grandeur. It sweeps when the movie needs sweeping, excites when the movie calls for excitement, and steps back when the movie wants us to goggle at the animation. In particular, I love the African-inspired touches, like certain unusual percussion instruments, or that wind-flute thing that the main theme is played on. Also, can I give a shout out to “Be Prepared” as one of the most fun villain songs of the Renaissance?

The ambiance the music adds to scenes like this is something else.

I would also like to call attention to the casting in this movie. If you’ve read the parentheticals in this entry (and you could probably chop your reading-time in half if you skipped them), you’ll have noticed a few big names. Oh heck, let’s just reiterate them: Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopie Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas (eight seasons of “Home Improvement” say he’s a big name, okay?!). You’d think with all of this talent, this movie would turn into a Shark Tale-esque game of I See What You Did There With The Voices, but the one thing that always fascinates me about Disney is that their celebrity stunt-casting never sounds like celebrity stunt-casting. Each star brings their considerable talents (yes, even Nathan Lane) without sounding like an actor behind a microphone, and the characters shine because of it.

In particular, I must give props to Irons’ performance as Scar. Cool, calculating, but with a hint of a smirk, the guy is just plain bad. The “oh s@$#” moment that stood out for me this time is how he capitalizes on Simba’s sorrow after Mufasa’s death. Simba is reeling from the shock of seeing his father killed, and Scar steps up to pin the blame solely on him; “Simba, what have you done?” he demands, with mingled horror and gravity. He tells Simba to run away “and never return,” then when Simba takes off, he remorselessly and without expression tells his hyena protégés, “Kill him.” So cold.

"Long. Live. The king."

A few key scenes, then I’ll wrap up. I still love the scene where Mufasa appears in the sky to Simba, with distant thunder rumbling and the outline of the once-mighty king appearing in the clouds. I also now think that the wildebeest stampede is one of the most thrilling animation sequences I’ve ever seen; the timing, the animation, the music, and the outcome all come together in one sublime and exhilarating ride. Lastly, I appreciate the ending shot of the coronation of a new king, as if the movie is saying, “This is where we came in.”

The Lion King has received its fair share of hype (and, as such, its fair share of haters) over the years, but I truly think it is one of Disney’s best. The animation quality, the characters, the music (two words: Lebo M), and the story help make this a complete, excellent package, and well-deserving of the praise it has garnered since its release.

Top 3 Songs:

  1. Be Prepared
  2. The Circle of Life
  3. Hakuna Matata

Favorite scene:

  • The wildebeest stampede (and aftermath)

Favorite character:

  • Scar

The Jar Jar:

  • Zazu

How I Watched It:

I picked this up in 2008 at The Movie Dungeon in Bozeman (formerly Bad Taste Records), well after it was out of print, and running me a tab of $28. It was pretty damn worth it, however, as the thing looks absolutely gorgeous on a decent TV (all the better to view the flossy effects animation). It also has a commentary from directors Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, as well as producer Don Hahn (I double-taked when I read that; this guy obviously has a flare for the epic). The commentary is pretty insightful, and it’s fun to listen to all three banter back and forth about the different scenes.

The Lion King was the third in Disney’s Platinum series of DVDs, and as such it’s chock-full of bonus features (though they’re scattered all over the second disc, making watching them less of a casual viewing and more of a dedicated procedure). Most of these are on the second disc, but the first disc has an alternate cut of the movie, with a new song “The Morning Report” (it goes in the place where Zazu is making that series of animal-related puns in the form of a news story). The song’s okay, but because I’m up my own ass about nostalgia, I generally opt for the theatrical cut.

As I mentioned above, this DVD set will run you a pretty penny, as it went back in the moratorium way back in 2004. However, Disney has announced that they are re-releasing The Lion King next fall on Blu-ray and DVD, so if you can stick it out for a year, I would do so.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You are the Wind Beneath My Wings -- Hey Monday - Beneath It All

Since my first entry on Hey Monday and their debut album Hold On Tight, my affinity for them has grown from a casual flame to a fanboy fire. Their awesome blend of tight melody, wild energy, and a heaping helping of sugary sweetness has become a staple on my iPod over the course of 2010, and I’m happy to report that Hey Monday’s new EP, Beneath It All, upholds the torch of previous excellence, though in ways I didn’t quite expect.

Rather than a continuation of the punk-y power pop that propelled Hold On Tight to new heights of guilty pleasure-dom, Beneath It All is an expansion of Hey Monday’s sonic palate. This does not mean that they’ve immediately overblown their sound with a backing orchestra and too many instrumental layers (an exercise in restraint I wish many of their pop punk peers would also try), but this does mean that none of their songs come as fast and (cheerfully) furious as “Set Off” or “Run, Don’t Walk.”

However, this also means that Beneath It All sounds much more unique overall and less same-sounding than many tracks on the first one (I love them, but I recognize some similar elements between “Hurricane Streets,” “Josey,” and “Arizona”). In particular, “Hangover” creates a slower (though still rousing) stomp-clap backdrop for a song that’s equal parts remorseful and hooky, but undeniably HM. The lead single and current world-dominator, “I Don’t Wanna Dance,” sounds like they just dropped any pretenses of sounding “punk” and went for the pop jugular, and it plays all-the-better for it. And my favorite from the EP, “Wondergirl,” is probably the best Avril Lavigne song ever that was never written by Avril Lavigne.

Yes, I'm putting my picture of Hey Monday playing "Wish You Were Here" at this year's Warped Tour up. No, it's not bragging. Well, maybe a little.

My biggest fear going into Beneath It All, apart from the aforementioned overdubbing of strings, was that they would scale back their energy, sounding slick, but ultimately flaccid (this is the part where I would take a cheap shot at All Time Low, but I’m bigger than that). To an extent, the energy has been tapered back, but each song still crackles with life, with Cassadee Pope giving a strong, pretty vocal delivery on each, and the rest of the members giving their all to keep up.

Lyrically, I really like this EP. I don’t usually pay attention to lyrics when I listen to power pop (many songs’ meanings are often too nebulous for me to understand), but most of the songs are thematically strong. “Wondergirl” is about a girl trying to tell her significant other that she can’t solve his personal problems for him (“don’t say you love me when you hate yourself”), something I can definitely relate to. “I Don’t Wanna Dance” is about trying to rebuff various pick-ups from douchers (“I don’t wanna dance, so let it go, you’ll never take me home”), which is both atypical for this sort of music and delightfully ironic, considering the actual song is so damn danceable.

A screen-cap from the video for "I Don't Wanna Dance." One of the better "you're not gettin' none" songs of the past few years.

Probably the only thing to gripe about with Beneath It All is the fact that there are only six songs. Because this is an EP, this isn’t really a flaw at all, but I want more, doggonnit! That said, this is a great placeholder while waiting for Hey Monday’s alleged new full-length album that’s coming in 2011, and an excellent product in the besides.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Feature Presentation (1/49) -- Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Because of the timing of when it came out, I actually didn’t end up seeing our first movie, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, until fairly recently. Atlantis came out in 2001, a year after I had moved to Bozeman, away from my cousins, my old friends, and basically anyone who I would have gone to see a Disney movie with (the last one I saw in theaters was Fantasia 2000 with my dad, and would not see another until Bolt in 2008). I remembered the marketing campaigns, though, with McDonalds Happy Meal toys and the inevitable Movie Surfers sneak previews on the Disney Channel. In a way, I’m glad I waited to see it, because I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much back then as I do now.

Allow me to explain. Even though I was well into my anime phase back then (which, in terms of action and pacing, is what Atlantis most resembles), I’m fairly certain I would have written off Atlantis as just another action cartoon, and not seen it for what it really is: one of the best damn adventure movies to come around in quite some time. Sure, it has its share of flaws and missteps, but if you’re in the mood for a rip-roarin’ flick filled with close calls, epic discoveries, and everything that makes 30’s movie-serials great, Atlantis is a sure bet.

The movie starts literally with a bang, as we witness the titular city sinking beneath a Poseidon Adventure-esque tidal wave. The plot then jumps forward to 1917, where we meet Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), a cartographer and linguistics expert from the Smithsonian Institute. Thatch has been looking for an ancient artifact called the Shepherd’s Journal, a book that supposedly reveals the location of Atlantis. His colleagues at the Institute aren’t having any of it, though; Milo’s grandfather spent all of his life searching for it, and the rest of the professors are quite sick of hearing about it.

The resemblance is curious, no?

Milo then receives a (rather sexy) invitation to meet with Preston B. Whitmore (John Mahoney), a reclusive (rather unsexy) billionaire who has found the book and wants to fund Thatch’s expedition. Before you can say “under the sea,” Milo finds himself with a crew, headed up by commander Rourke (James Garner, smooth as silk), a mess of digging equipment, and a tricked-out submarine that is equal parts Nautilus and Enterprise.

All is not smooth sailing, though, and Milo and the rest eventually find themselves stranded underground (the original pitch was an adaptation of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”), and they must find their way there by digging. That they eventually find the place goes without saying, partially because it’s par for the course in these sorts of scenarios, but mostly because it’s the title of the movie.

Something wicked this way swims.

The movie’s second half transitions from Raiders of the Lost Ark terrain into more Avatar territory, with the crew learning about the Atlanteans and helping them learn about themselves (their reading abilities have atrophied a trifle in the 3000 or so years they’ve been underwater). There is also a twist that some will probably see coming, but it helps set up for the climactic and exciting third act (anymore than what I’ve said here I will not spoil, though if you’ve seen Stargate, you might have a good idea of what’s coming).

I eat this stuff up. I really do. I know that this story has been told at least 3.2 kajillion times with different details, characters, and scenarios, but I feel like it’s a durable story, and that it’s surprisingly Disney. Many of Disney’s stories are about self-discovery and following your heart, and Atlantis carries this element swimmingly (bahaha). I think it’s reasonable to balk at the traditional (and some would say unoriginal) setup that Atlantis hinges its plot on, but I love the sense of discovery and Gee Whiz enthusiasm brought to the table by films like these.

I also love the broadly-sketched characters that make up the crew. They’re often defined with one or two attributes (the homesteading cook, the tough-girl teenager, the Jar Jar, etc), and aren’t characterized incredibly deeply, but they definitely lend some color to the picture, and give Milo a chance to express different aspects of his personality. In particular, I’m a huge fan of fast-talking doctor Sweet (Phil Morris), and demolitions expert Vinnie (Don Novello, who uses his Fr. Guido Perducci character to hilarious effect).

Novello was also a writer and cast member on "Saturday Night Live" for a few years in the 70's.

What impresses me the most now vs. how I might have seen it then is the art style. Simply put, Atlantis is a pretty frickin’ movie. The city is an imaginative blend of Aztec-like stone structures and brightly-colored landscapes, and, unsurprising for a movie about an sub-aquatic city, the water effects here look really good. I also like the character designs, who look less rounded than other Disney films at the time and strive for a flat, comic book-style appearance. And the movie is in WIDE SCREEN, which looks damn impressive on a decent-sized TV.

The movie loses a bit of momentum between when the expedition reaches Atlantis and that thrilling third act I mentioned above, and I admit the whole Adventure Formula movie is one that may not necessarily appeal to everyone (and make no mistake, it is definitely a formula movie). However, in just the same way I enjoyed the hell out of Romancing The Stone, “Ducktales,” and both Uncharted games for the PS3, I also had a grand ol’ time with Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It’s been largely forgotten about in recent history, but do yourself a favor and check out this underappreciated gem in the Disney canon.

How I Watched It:

For a brief stint in 1999-2001, Disney released limited edition 2-disc versions of their new movies in addition to the single-disc versions (the only other time they would do this would be in 2003 for Brother Bear; even Princess and the Frog doesn’t have this luxury), and this is how I experienced Atlantis. The picture quality looks great 2.35:1 widescreen, and there’s a feature-length commentary by producer Don Hahn and directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (for those keeping score at home, these are the same guys who did Beauty and the Beast 10 years earlier).

One the second disc, there’s a feature-length, two-hour documentary on Atlantis, which you can watch all at once or in nine different segments. It’s broken up into different aspects on the making, including inventing the mythology, designing the characters (including collaboration with “Hell Boy”-creator Mike Mignola), and voice work (which, as a fan of voiceover, I always appreciate). Also, for those who are into it, there are art galleries, test footage, and deleted scenes.

For those who are interested in the behind-the-scenes, I would recommend this version without hesitation. This edition is out of print now, but fortunately, because Atlantis isn’t necessarily the most popular Disney flick out there, you can score it used on Amazon for around $11.