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September 1996, Week 3


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 10:20:36 -0600
text/plain (46 lines)
David Ezell comments:
"I wanted to take THE LION KING thread on a slight detour.  I thought the
movie was pathetic, way below par for Disney Studios.  Anyone agree?
Anyone love it?  If so, why?"
While there are some good bits in the film, and it's fairly typical in
the quality of the animation, I agree that it is one of the lesser efforts
of the newer Eisner-era Disney (not as weak as POCAHONTAS, which looked
depressingly like a throwback to the flat cut-out 50s Disney style, eg.
But what do I know?  This is the single biggest-grossing cartoon!
I can imagine that the fact that the lead is a young *male* lion has something
to do with it--that and perhaps that the story line is relatively uncomplicated,
if not archetypal (but aren't they all?).  Still, it perplexes me.
In a rather different vein, I found myself wondering why CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF
THE THIRD KIND became one of the Top Ten Grossers.  The FX are wonderful, of
course, and (again) there are a number of cute "bits" in the film (and this
probably *is* the best of John Williams' scores), but  there is so little
*narrative* to the film: Folks are visited by aliens--long to return favor--
meet a few obstacles (mostly artificial ones)--and succeed.  Not much of a
story there.
Any thoughts on that?
Finally, to return to THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, I have to admit that I liked it,
in spite my misgivings about Murphy's play on stereotypes.  One factor is that
fat Sherman is the real hero of the film, while Buddy Love is increasingly
obnoxious.  If Jerry Lewis was playing Buddy off Dean Martin, or Sinatra, or
someone else, Murphy had the class to play the joke on himself.
But then, I've rarely enjoyed Murphy all that much and always found him
overrated, even on SNL.
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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