Sunday, 25 July 2010

John & Ron

I don't know much about the current Disney directors (but here are all the facts I pretty much know): John Musker & Ron Clements, except that Clement's first screen credit for Disney was as character animator on The Rescuers, and that John Musker's first screen credit was on The Fox and the Hound.

John Musker (left) and Ron Clements (right). Smiling chaps!
However (I think) the two together became partners and went on to make their first-feature: The Great Mouse Detective, and the film was pretty much unsuccessful and it was made at that Disney period when the films weren't making a lot of money and it just brought back the film's budget, but the BIG bomb was The Black Cauldron which lost money. But I quite like The Great Mouse Detective and the film was inspired by veteran Disney story man and brother-in-law relative of the man Walt Disney, and that person was Bill Cottrell, and according to Disney Legends, Cottrell was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and Musker and Clements made it into a film, using rats and mice as the characters which is quite clever!
After, The Great Mouse Detective; both directors went on started production on The Little Mermaid and the film was actually in production during the Walt Disney years, and when illustator Kay Nielson was around working on the Fantasia segment Night on Bald Mountain, Kay did some conceptual designs on the early Mermaid production, here it is!
That's Kay Nielson's design on the Little Mermaid back around very late 30's/40's. However, Ron and John used some of Kay's original designs and started work on the film, and it wasn't released until 1989 (some 50 years after Walt adapted the rights!!!)
However, the Little Mermaid proved to be successful and it won 2 Academy Awards for Best Music and Best Song (The 2nd of the Disney films to win those categories, other being Pinocchio, others being Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, I think).

The Little Mermaid is okay to me, I mean the songs have mood and some catchy stuff, but too me, the dialogue is really weak and not very strong, however some story stuff is fine, and its just an ordinary, manufactured film I think, but it has its moments, despite some annoying moments. But it prove the Disney Company to be a success, so I might be wrong.
I find the character design of Ariel really look and she really is nice-looking even though she's just a cartoon drawn by the supervising animator, Glen Keane. The Little Mermaid isn't bad, but it was a big improvement from the other Disney films in the 1980's.
After the success of The Little Mermaid, Ron Clements and John Musker went on to start working on their third feature, Aladdin, and to tell you the truth: I find Aladdin the best of the John & Ron films, I find some of the jokes very funny and I find the Genie played by Robin Williams one of the funniest characters ever, and he has a very good caricature of other famous celebrities like he portraits a wrestler, fashion designer, Joan Rivers even!, etc.
However, the songs are really catchy and a big upbeat, and I believe it was the last film to be worked by songwriter, Howard Ashman who died in 1991 before the film was released of complications of HIV/AIDS. RIP.
I think that Aladdin was an improvement from The Little Mermaid, with fine animation from both Mermaid and Aladdin, and I think they've marked a great era for Disney. Aladdin, AGAIN won 2 Academy Awards for the same categories (Best Original Score and Best Song)
However, as for the other films like Hercules, Treasure Planet and Princess and the Frog? Well, Hercules was quite good with some funny humor in it, and I don't have much to say about it, since I'm too keen on it and its sort of an update from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Treasure Island.
However, as their lastest film The Princess and the Frog, the truth is I've not seen that film in the cinema or in DVD, and to be honest with you, I'm not really that interested in watching it, since I don't go to the cinemas all the time and I've got better stuff to do, and it just doesn't appeal to me, like people say: you can't judge the book by its cover, well...That's what I'm doing. Hoping to see Toy Story 3 when it reaches cinemas in the UK.


Eric Noble said...

Trust me, with The Princess and the Frog, you're not missing much. The songs by Randy Newman are dull and forgettable, there isn't any strong character development, and some characters feel like they should have been left out of the movie. Somewhere along the way, Ron and John lost their touch as directors.

Steven Hartley said...

Yeah Randy Newman isn't one of the greatest songwriters you know!!

Heather said...

Once Ashman died, there really hasn't been anyone else who can write like that--until Tim Minchin who just did "Matilda." Ron and John can only do so much when the talent pool, tragically, dies off.
Aladdin was Ashman's last film. Some of his songs were cut and Tim Rice came in to work with Alan Menken to fill in the blanks.