Jim on Film
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My Disney Christmas List
When I was growing up, my parents would always tell my sister, my brother, and me that Santa would bring us three things for Christmas. It always confused me how the kids in the large family next door (with about nine children, if I remember correctly) only got one present each from Santa while we got three, but nevertheless, we always got our three presents. So, I continue that tradition with my Disney Christmas list, three Disney-related things I wish I could get this Christmas.
Of course, as with any such list, I really need to weigh everything out. There are those really important things I have wished for in previous columns. I’m still awaiting the announcement of a faithful film version of Aida starring all the leads from the original Broadway cast—Heather Headley, Adam Pascal, Sherie Rene Scott, John Hickok, Damian Perkins, and Shele Williams. Perhaps if the Rent film, which is apparently starring Adam Pascal, is a hit, this will be more than just an item on my wish list.
I’m also eagerly awaiting CD soundtracks from Babes in Toyland; The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band; the package films of the 1940s; and for all the remaining animated features that haven’t had CDs of their soundtracks released to have soundtracks released. I’m also still hoping for the day Leonard Maltin updates his book The Disney Films, making an edition in which he writes extensively about all the Disney releases, including those after Walt Disney’s death. And I’m also still waiting for the day when unedited copies of Fantasia, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, and other of the edited features are available for home viewing.
While I’m wishing, I do have time to be thankful for all the former wishes that have come true. I still remember the days when I never expected for little-known treasures like Saludos Amigos and Make Mine Music to ever see the light of day. I’m still repeating how thankful I am for Leonard Maltin and his Treasures releases which have allowed me to see films I could only read about before, such as Victory Through Air Power and unedited black-and-white Mickey Mouse shorts. I also love my soundtracks for The Happiest Millionaire, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Pete’s Dragon.
But alas, I’ve written about those wishes before, and it is time to wish for new things (though I can’t help but mention one repeat wish).
Atlantis: The Lost Empire,
Treasure Planet, and Brother Bear
I wish that people would stop bashing Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, and Brother Bear. To me, these films (particularly the latter two) are the Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, and Sleeping Beauty films of today. In their original releases, these three classic films were panned by critics and failed to make money, only finding success and classic status upon reissue. Perhaps when these newer movies are reissued for home viewing sometime in the future, they will find their rightful places among the studio’s crown jewels.
Treasure Planet will probably most easily find that honor since it received largely positive reviews in its original release, despite being squashed at the box office by the second Harry Potter movie, the Santa Clause sequel, and a monstrously awful marketing campaign. It’s a smart, exciting, and mature film worthy of a larger audience.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire was misunderstood. Reviewers hated that elements of it felt familiar; however, they didn’t understand that it was a film made in an attempt to remind people of the classic adventure stories of their childhood. Personally, it is one of those films I love more and more every time I watch it. Visually, it is an astounding film, and it’s also extremely fun and engaging.