Monday, 20 December 2010

Alice in Wonderland Mosaic: Part 14

Here is an eccentric sequence directed by (one of the bests) Wilfred Jackson.

This sequence is a bit of fun; and the game is very entertaining; and also clever; with the fact that Alice thought that this would be just some easy game; but it's harder than she thought. Instead of mallets; they used flamingos instead; hedgehogs as the ball, and the cards are the hoops. Although, the Queen of Hearts is more experienced than Alice at the game; but she tends to cheat, and so do the cards. What a bad sport the Queen is; and a real cheater: whenever a card (as a hoop) misses the ball; she orders them to be executed, also if she misses the ball, the King would sneakily tap the hedgehog to move; and when ever Alice misses the hoop, the Queen does nothing but worry about Alice winning or not, that's cheating!

Poor Alice chose the wrong sort of flamingo as a mallet; while the Queen chose a flamingo who is rather fierce looking and just acts like the Queen does; while Alice got a very dippy flamingo. Alice thought that the Croquet game would be a little fun and relaxing, after being persecuted by the Garden flowers or pigeon; almost burnt by the Dodo mistakingly. Poor Alice; after all the hard stuff she's going through; and still the Croquet Game is causing nothing but trouble, as the flamingo won't do what it's been told; or very clumsy as well.

It's nice to see Wilfred Jackson come back again; and we haven't seen him in the film until very early in the film; when Alice first encounters the White Rabbit; and trips down the warren. His sense of fast-action and timing is great; and I like how quick the animation goes here; and it all goes well. Although, at times I think the animation has went over the top, as some of the key animators like Thomas or Kahl have exaggerated a little with the characters; and I think they (at times) got carried away with the characters; but some of the scenes have a lot of appeal; perhaps too much appeal.

Frank Thomas' animation of the Queen of Hearts is superb here; the acting is great and that's always something Frank Thomas was good at; personality and acting scenes. He also handles the flamingos as well; and he uses a lot of squash and stretch for the Queen; and in some of the earlier scenes; Thomas went carried-away with the character. For example: in shot 327, Thomas drew the Queen's mouth WAY too large; and Larson's one before wasn't as huge; and in shot 323; I'm not too much of a fan with the reaction shot of the Queen; I find it disturbing to watch; and the animation is just ugly. Although, the Queen of Hearts; is meant to be a fat; ugly woman; but watching that small scene doesn't feel suitable for a Disney production drawing.

We see a bit more of Eric Larson handling the Queen of Hearts; but that's when the scenes also show the Chesire Cat; and no; we certainly don't see Ward Kimball handle the character at all; and his only stuff was in the sequence when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat. However, Larson handles the character a bit more differently; in shot 437.1 Larson handles the Cheshire Cat a lot differently; the pupils in his eyes are much wider and thicker; and the skull of his head is much thinner; and compare it to some of the other shots; Larson  handles the Cat just fine.

The Cheshire Cat is back again; and this time he is trying to set Alice into trouble; and I'd say that he is really a Disney villain before; and a very cunning character; as I've said before. He's trying to get Alice to be executed by the Queen, or prosecuted in trial; and Alice is so naive that she had to answer back to the Cat as he was making poses on the Queen. He has been up to something from the very first time he saw Alice; and that's why he always keeps on coming back in the film; he disappears and then comes back. Very mischievous character he is; and he's the one who started the trial for Alice; who got the flamingo's beak down to her dress; and the Queen accidentally goes flying and does a back-flip and her knickers are showing.

Gee, the Queen of Heart's wears red-hearts underpants? What a coincidence. These extra, extra large undies she is wearing must be so rare; and the brand certainly doesn't come from Marks and Spencer's.

I love the Alice animation here: Alice is so appealing here; and Milt Kahl certainly used a lot of appeal here; and he got some of the fun stuff with Alice struggling because of the flamingo; and I love the scenes so much and they always gave me a smile. Alice's lips and grin here are superbly animated; and it was actually inspired by later animator Glen Keane who was working on Arial in The Little Mermaid; and thought Alice looked really believable, and she DOES.

I like shot 392 a lot; the staging, the fast timing, and exaggeration a lot; Alice is greatly drawn; and I've never seen Alice so appealing before; and no guess that it was Milt Kahl animating it. He was such a great draftsman; and at times he didn't think he was a great artist when one time Woolie looked at his rough drawings of Madame Mim and Merlin in The Sword in the Stone, Woolie said "These are beautiful; this could hang in a museum", and Milt replied "Aw, you're full of it [crap]". Milt often preferred broad scenes; and I think here Milt got a mixture of broad and acting; because he got the heroine; and also the flamingo to work on, and the flamingo was a very dippy character (like a Dopey), although some of the shots was animated by Hal King.

Hal King's hedgehog ball and flamingos are fun to watch; they're full of energy and I wonder what it was like animating hedgehogs rolling like a ball; and the fact that it would have been difficult to stage and do poses because the hedgehog sometimes turns in wrong directions, and skids to the cards; and I thought that a pile of drawings; that have great movement into it.

Another animator on Alice, who we don't know about and is rather unknown is Harvey Toombs; and he does  some of the best Alice drawings in the film; him (compared to Kahl), does some of the greatest Alice drawings here; I love it because of the appeal; and it strikes me when I watch those Toombs scenes. We don't know an awful lot about Toombs. Alberto's Page says he was born on February 6 1909, and first worked at the Disney Studios as an assistant animator in 1937, and a year later he was promoted and worked on features like Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, The Three Caballeros, Song of the South, Melody Time, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and (obviously) Alice in Wonderland. It says that he left Disney in 1959 (probably one of the many Sleeping Beauty layoffs), and he worked at several studios animating on Spider-Man, he died around March 1968, aged 59.

Ollie Johnston's scenes of the King of Hearts is fine and amusing to watch; but I'm more interested in the character development of the King because he always seems to be sticking up to his spouse, and the fact that he's a very tiny person; while the Queen is a much larger than he is. He thinks that he can tell people what to do; while the Queen has a horrifying voice; and the King's voice is rather wimpiesh; and people would think, "Yeah, yeah like we're scared!", he's a pretty over-confident person. He is very subdued by the Queen in terms of popularity. He taunts the other cards when the Queen beheads them as if he ordered them to. I like how his town is really tall, to oversize his length.

Judge Whitaker's cards are alright; but they're not as good as the marching cards in the previous sequence; and the Cards are a lot different than the Cards that were painting the roses red; probably the head shape is a lot different; probably because of the fact that they are guards and the guards seem to have a different face than the card painters. However, I'm not a fan of the way Whitaker's changed the size and width of the cards here!

Always feel free to comment folks. ;)


Eric Noble said...

Well done. I love Frank Thomas' broad animation here. Milt Kahl's scenes with Alice are superb. I'm glad he gets to let loose with Alice a bit with the flamingo. I bet it was a little more fun for him than say, Prince Philip in Sleeping Beauty.

Steven Hartley said...

I heard that when Milt Kahl found out he got the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, he roared, "DAMMIT, doesn't any bastard here know how to draw?!?!"

Probably because he was such a good draftsman that he was the only person good enough to do these characters.

RedderZeroOne said...

"These extra, extra large undies she is wearing must be so rare; and the brand certainly doesn't come from Marks and Spencer's."

No wonder Alice is so horrified when the Queen flips over!

"I didn't know they made knickers in that size!"

Steven Hartley said...


Torgo25 said...

Interesting how we get to see both Alice AND the Queen of Hearts' bloomers over the course of the film. Alice's bloomers are certainly more *ahem* dignified and elegant than the Queen's heart-patterned ones, I must say. Ha ha!