inside the allegorical world of Disney
by Gary W. Wright
Like the other major film studios, Walt Disney Studios has taken an active and resigned role in the allegorical Zone Wars that broke out after the helicopter crash that killed actor/director/writer Vic Morrow and child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le on July 23, 1982 on the John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced, Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, Landis and Steven Spielberg produced and always allegorical Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). Heck, Dis even created a ride called the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney World to openly acknowledge the TZ disaster and the dread Zone Wars. This was no surprise, as the studio was a seasoned veteran of allegorical warfare. Indeed, the first tentative glimmerings of the hand-animated film art collectively released under the name and signature of Walter Elias Disney-the Can-Am kid with his Canadian father and American mother-being used for allegorical intent were seen in THE ALICE COMEDIES (1923-27).
THE ALICE COMEDIES were one reel hand-animated cartoons which chronicled the mischievous and music accompanied adventures of the first of Disney’s anthropomorphic animals, birds and trains on land, sea, underneath the sea and in the air with brief appearances by a living girl, Alice-played variously and chronologically by Virginia Davis, Margie Gray, Dawn O’Day and Lois Hardwick, respectively-whose youthful and exuberant presence implied that Disney was using the cartoon shorts to satirize the youthful and exuberant spirit of the Roaring Twenties in the United States after World War One unexpectedly allowed the U.S. to emerge as a new world power. Significantly, THE ALICE COMEDIES often centred around the tragicomic adventures of a black and white tom cat who resembled and was clearly a forerunner of Mickey Mouse. Indeed, like Mickey, this mischievous cat was voiced by Uncle Walt, linking the mischievous cat to the equally mischievous mouse. A Mouse who soon appeared in the Temple Theatre on November 18, 1928 in the Disney and Ub Iwerks hand-animated short, ‘STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), the world’s first one reel cartoon with an innovative and creative soundtrack, a soundtrack which linked well with the lack of financial or physical constraints of the hand-animated medium to create a new art form which could be anything its exuberant and dedicated artists imagined-and one free of live action film conventions like the shot-reverse shot approach to conversations between characters. An innovative film that also implied that live action film artists and their film film art would be a favourite target of Disney and company, as the film was a satirical reply to the allegorical Charles F. Reisner film, STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928). Not long after, in 1929, Disney answered critics who dismissed the studio’s Alice and Mickey cartoons as childish nonsense by creating a more serious and artistic line of allegorical cartoon that Dis called the SILLY SYMPHONY, which fused animation with symphonic music. The Mouse House affirmed it was on a more serious allegorical mission with the first Disney and Iwerks SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘Skeleton Dance’ (1929).
For the spooky sight of four skeletons climbing out the their graves in a graveyard and dancing away implied that Disney and Iwerks were sending a macabre message to audiences that the demoralizing and embittering current events in Korea, Europe and China were causing the skeletons of the soldiers of the Great War to writhe in their graves as these dire events were erasing all of the hard and bloody efforts of World War One and heading the world relentlessly towards another horrific world war even bigger than the last that would lead inexorably to millions of more skeletons of soldiers. In fact, given that the four dancing skeletons evoked the four counter-clockwise arms of the Nazi swastika flag, Disney and Iwerks implied that they were warning the Nutzis in particular that their evil nature would lead to more death and destruction. Or were the four dancing skeletons a bitter and furious roast of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Hideki Tojo, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in 1929? At any rate, this implication that Disney was using the SILLY SYMPHONY to address contemporary events was affirmed later that year in the allegorical lwerks SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘Hell’s Bells’ (1929).
For ‘Hell’s Bells’ took place in the underworld of Satan, and saw a dancing devil contort itself into a swastika shape. This implied that the Mouse House was indeed now roasting Hitler and the swastika flag of his National Socialist party. Soon after this swastika evoking contortion, the sight of a tiny and Mickey Mouse evoking devil leading Satan over a cliff to his fiery doom, in the end, also implied that the Walt Disney Studios were warning Hitler that he would ultimately destroy himself if he was not careful. Significantly, the more serious allegorical intent of the SILLY SYMPHONIES did not impress all viewers. For a disgusted Fritz Lang implied that the Mouse House was killing off the finer sensibilities of children with their hand-animated film ‘art’ as surely and implacably as Peter Lorre’s despondent Hans Beckert killed children in the allegorical film, M (1931). Indeed, at one point in the film, Beckert looked into a mirror and molded his face into all sorts of monstrous expressions, reminding us that Disney animators no doubt to this day kept a mirror handy by their drawing tables so as to look into it and more accurately draw the expressions they wanted on the characters they were animating in an implicit affirmation of the link of Hans Beckert to Walt Disney-and of ‘M’ to maus as well as morder. However, Disney ignored the critics, and implicitly reaffirmed that it was using its SILLY SYMPHONIES to roast the Nutzis a few years later when the studio released the cheeky and allegorical Burt Gillett SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘Three Little Pigs’ (1933).
‘I’ll be safe and you’ll be sorry.’
For the humourous tale of three pigs harassed by a voracious Wolf-voiced by Billy Bletcher-implicitly warned France-symbolized by the first pig, voiced by Dorothy Compton-and the United Kingdom-symbolized by the second pig, voiced by Mary Moder-that the wolfish and evil Nazi Germany that was elected earlier that year would eventually attack their countries. Forcing them to turn to the stronger and more prepared United States-symbolized by the third pig in his overalls, voiced by Pinto Colvig-for help. As this was exactly what happened in 1940, the cartoon was shrewdly prescient for a SILLY SYMPHONY released in 1933. Indeed, as the implicitly U.S. linked pig not only rescued the implicitly France and U.K. linked pigs, but also gave the big bad Reich linked Wolf a sound thrashing, ‘Three Little Pigs’ was very prescient. Audiences and the august Academy also clearly agreed with Disney, as ‘Three Little Pigs’ and it’s catchy Frank Churchill tune, ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?’ (1933), were both very popular and were awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The red shirt and pants, white collar, black cape and belt and Satanic visage of the Tudor Williams sung Pluto also evoked the swastika flag and Hitler in the allegorical Wilfred Jackson SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘The Goddess of Spring’ (1934).
This implied that Disney was reassuring the world that light and life would return to the world with the defeat of Nutzi Germany as surely as Spring returned to the world after Pluto released the Jessica Dragonette sung Persephone from captivity in Hades in this retelling of the myth of Pluto and Persephone. The sight of the Evil, big bad wolf evoking, and, hence, implicitly Third Reich linked Captain Katt-voiced by Bletcher-being defeated in the end by the three blind Mouseketeers-the tall one implicitly linked to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the chubby one to Canadian Prime Minister William King and the small one perhaps to the Vice President at the time, one John Garner-reaffirmed the implication that Disney was roasting Nazi Germany in the allegorical Jack Cutting and David Hand SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘Three Blind Mousketeers’ (1936). As the showdown with the Third Reich that would lead to its defeat became more likely, Dis pragmatically addressed that likelihood and warned the Third Reich again that they were going to get thrashed in the implicitly allegorical Jackson SILLY SYMPHONY, ‘The Old Mill’ (1937).
For in the furious storm that swept away a sunny day and lashed a decaying old windmill-as decaying and decrepit as the amoral Third Reich, despite all of its sound and fury-Disney implicitly warned German audiences that the furious storm of another world war was soon going to lash the country. Indeed, the four arms of the windmill spun counterclockwise when the storm hit, evoking the four arms of the equally counterclockwise swastika in the flag of Nazi Germany, affirming the implicit intent of ‘The Old Mill’. As the storm came and went and the birds and bats that lived in the old windmill began their lives anew, Dis also reminded Nazi Germany that one day the storm of war would be over, and they too would be forced by defeat to start anew. Fittingly, given that the beauty, colour, detail and dramatic force of ‘The Old Mill’ paved the way for Disney’s feature length animated film art, that same year Disney implicitly turned from roasting Nazi Germany to roasting live action Hollywood in their first animated feature film and one of the first colour feature films, the allegorical Hand film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937).
‘…And they lived happily ever after.’
For the triumph of Snow White-implicitly linked to hand-animated film art, and voiced by Adriana Caselotti-and the Seven Dwarfs-with Dopey implicitly linked to Walt, Doc linked to his brother Roy, Grumpy linked to hot tempered Iwerks and the rest to four of the other main animators at Walt Disney Studios-over Snow White’s arrogant and self-absorbed Wicked Stepmother, the implicitly live action film art linked Evil Queen-voiced by Lucille La Verne, a then prominent live action film actress-implicitly symbolized the hoped for triumph of animated feature film art like SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS over the arrogant and self absorbed world of live action film art. Indeed, the sight of the Evil Queen constantly staring at herself in her magic mirror evoked actresses staring into their makeup mirrors, affirming the implicit intent of the film. Luckily for Dis, this hope came true, as SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS was the box office smash hit of the year. Encouraging the Mouse House to make another and more assured allegorical animated feature film, this one continuing the Nutzi blasting spirit of ‘Three Little Pigs’ and ‘The Old Mill’ by implicitly roasting Hitler. Albeit in a strangely mild, gentle and even wistful way as being not only childish but not even human in the form of the Dickie Jones voiced Pinocchio in the curious allegorical Hamilton Luske and Ben Sharpsteen film, PINOCCHIO (1940).
‘But remember, a boy who won’t be good, might just as well be made of wood.’
For the tragicomic tale of the wooden puppet boy who favoured red shorts and suspenders, white collars and gloves, and a black vest recalled the equally tragicomic tale of the German chancellor who enjoyed dressing in similar Bavarian folk gear and flying a red, white and black swastika flag. The fact that Pinocchio was helped twice by a glowing Blue Fairy who resembled Leni Riefenstahl-voiced by Evelyn Venable-affirmed Pinocchio’s implicit link to Hitler, reminding us that Hitler’s cause was helped twice by Riefenstahl in the allegorical films, TRIUMPH DES WILLENS/TRIUMPH OF THE WILL (1935), and OLYMPIA (1938). Indeed, the sight of the Blue Fairy twice descending out of the mountains in a ball of blue light to help Pinocchio reaffirmed her link to Riefenstahl, for the sight reminded us of Riefenstahl’s role as an implicitly Hollywood linked witch named Junta who lived in a cave up in some Hollywood Hills evoking mountains where a mysterious blue light glowed on nights when the moon was full in the Riefenstahl and Bela Balazs film, DAS BLAUE LICHT/THE BLUE LIGHT (1932), a film that implicitly responded to the implicitly Hitler roasting James Whale film, FRANKENSTEIN (1931). However, not all of the characters in PINOCCHIO were implicitly German, for Pinocchio’s wood carver father, Gepetto-voiced by Christian Rub-evoked President Roosevelt, his reluctant conscience and sidekick, Jiminy Cricket-voiced by Cliff Edwards-evoked Benito Mussolini, the wily and persuasive Fox, J. ‘Honest John’ Worthington Foulfellow-voiced by Walter Catlett-evoked Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, while the gleefully Evil Coachman-voiced by Charles Judels-evoked Winston Churchill. Thus, the implication was that Disney was wistfully roasting Chamberlain, Churchill, Hitler, Riefenstahl and Roosevelt and hoping that the five bumbling characters would somehow manage to avoid another monstrous world war, implicitly symbolized by the escape of Gepetto, Pinocchio, Figaro the cat and Cleo the goldfish from Monstro the whale, in the end. Wistful allegorical meditations that continued when Disney replied again to the caustic critics who dismissed his studio’s film art as mere cartoons and reminded a dark and depressed world poised on the brink of another and larger world war that there was still beauty and light in the world with the earnest and SILLY SYMPHONY evoking allegorical film, FANTASIA (1940), directed by Hand, Jackson, Luske, Sharpsteen, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norman Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Bill Roberts and Paul Satterfield.
‘Suddenly, the orchestra bursts into a brilliant finale, in which the hours of darkness are overcome by the hours of light.’
SILLY SYMPHONY evoking, indeed, as the film was a collection of mostly light and colourful, and sometimes abstract and impressionistic, animation enhanced symphonic pieces. However, unlike the SILLY SYMPHONIES, each piece in FANTASIA was prefaced by a hilariously stiff and awkward introduction by one Deems Taylor, music critic. This human introduction and the equally human Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and its conductor, Leopold Stokowski, fused live action with animation for the first time in a Disney feature film, creating an unique animaction film. Indeed, the blue and red light that turned the orchestra into animated shadows on the wall behind them and Maestro Stokowski on his podium into a moving Oscar statuette underlined that live action was being transformed into animaction in FANTASIA. While mostly sweet and amusing, with the sugar plum faeries of Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ (1892) piece noticeably anticipating Tinkerbell in a film to come, and the dancing elephants of Amilcare Ponchielli’s second to last ‘Dance Of The Hours’ (1876) piece also anticipating an elephantine film to come, several pieces implicitly meditated on Hitler and the coming world war as in the earlier SILLY SYMPHONIES.
For the sight of bumbling and Uncle Walt voiced sorcerer’s apprentice Mickey Mouse being overwhelmed by legions of marching and water fetching broomsticks when a spell he cast backfired when his sorcerous Master was gone implied that Disney was warning Hitler that his marching legions were going to lead to his downfall in the allegorical third piece, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ (1897), by Paul Dukas. Indeed, the red, white and black colours Mickey was wearing linked him to the swastika flag, implicitly affirming the intent of the piece. In fact, Mickey had been linked to red, white and black from his first colour cartoon, the allegorical Disney and Jackson piece, THE BAND CONCERT (1935), perhaps as a way to defuse the negative connotations linked to those three colours as a result of the swastika flag. The fourth act of FANTASIA, Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ (1913), a sweeping and moving look at the evolution of the Earth and its organic life, reminded audiences that cataclysmic changes were the norm on Earth-and even hinted that the age of empire would disappear in the upcoming and equally cataclysmic world war as surely as the age of dinosaurs and its imperious T-Rexes disappeared in their global cataclysm. The light hearted and humourous second to last ‘Dance Of The Hours’ piece that saw the hours of light trying to sweep away the hours of darkness was an implicitly satirical roast of the upcoming battle against the Axis-particularly Italia. The final ‘A Night On Bald Mountain’ (1867) by Modest Mussorgsky fused with Franz Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ (1825) piece, with its nighttime gathering of disciples of Satan on a forbidding mountain swept away by soothing and elevating bells, prayer and daylight, evoked the implicit triumphs of Good over Nutzi evil in ‘Hell’s Bells’, ‘Three Little Pigs’, ‘The Goddess of Spring’ and ‘The Old Mill’, implying that another implicit and hoped for triumph of Good over the Third Reich was being symbolically staged, in the end. A reassuring message for millions of people by that time, as Germany had overrun Western Europe and was bombing the U.K. from the air by the time FANTASIA was released in November of 1940.
Curiously, Disney developed the animaction film style in more detail the following year with the allegorical Alfred L. Werker film, THE RELUCTANT DRAGON (1941). For unlike the few stiff and formal live action segments of FANTASIA, THE RELUCTANT DRAGON was predominately a live action feature film in both black and white and colour that made clear that the creative, free wheeling, satirical and slapstick style of its animated film art would continue in its live action film art. THE RELUCTANT DRAGON was also a fictionalized documentary that followed real life actor/writer Robert Benchley on his exploration of the campus of the Disney Studios that gave audiences a behind the scenes look at the making of Disney films. Interspersed in the live action exploration were some animated segments like ‘Baby Weems’ and ‘How To Ride A Horse’. The most significant of the animated parts was the concluding and eponymous allegorical piece, ‘The Reluctant Dragon’. As this tale saw the dragon slaying Knight, Sir Giles-voiced by Claud Allister-clad in swastika flag evoking red, black and white cordially defeat the reluctant green dragon-which evoked Gertie the dinosaur in the allegorical Winsor McCay film, GERTIE THE DINOSAUR (1914), and voiced by Barnet Parker-in battle, causing the dragon to give up on being nasty forever, the implication was that Disney was shrewdly noting that the ongoing battle with Nazi Germany would be so difficult that the U.K. would give up its Empire and turn a new leaf when and if it won the Second World War-which is exactly what happened, in another bang on prediction from the Mouse House.
Significantly, pensive and wistful meditations on Nutzi Germany were missing in the next allegorical Sharpsteen film, DUMBO (1941), wherein was implied that the triumph of ‘Dumbo’ Jumbo Jr., the tiny but big eared flying circus elephant who evoked Jumbo the mastodon in GERTIE THE DINOSAUR, over the larger elephants at the circus symbolized the triumph of the equally tiny Disney studio over the larger Hollywood studios. Indeed, the sight of the Mickey Mouse evoking Timothy Q. Mouse-voiced by Edward Brophy-helping Dumbo achieve his victory implicitly affirmed the link of Dumbo to the Mouse House. The brooding circus clowns who stormed the tent of the ringmaster-voiced by Herman Bing-at one point demanding more money for their work reaffirmed the link to Disney, reminding us that most of the studio’s animators went on strike during the making of the film. The interest in animals continued in the allegorical Hand film, BAMBI (1942). Curiously, BAMBI was perhaps a roast of Canada, given that the sight of Bambi-voiced by Donnie Dunagan as a child, Hardie Albright as an adolescent and John Sutherland as an adult-being forced to find his way after the death of his Paula Winslowe voiced Mother reminded us that Canada was too attached to Mother England at the time. The relationship that Bambi developed with Faline-voiced by Connie King as a kid, and Ann Gillis as an adult-may have also symbolized a hope that Canada would become more attached to the U.S. after World War II-which is what happened.
However, after the U.S. declared war on the Third Reich in December of 1941, Disney was free to come out openly against the Nutzis, and also the Italians and the Japanese, and did so in such memorable propaganda films as the allegorical Jack Kinney film, DER FUEHRER’S FACE (1942), the allegorical Clyde Geronimi film, EDUCATION FOR DEATH (1943), the allegorical Bill Roberts film, REASON AND EMOTION (1943)-which urged Allied audiences to unite a sound reason with a deep emotion to defeat the Axis!-and the allegorical Jack King film, COMMANDO DUCK (1944). Significantly, in DER FUEHRER’S FACE, EDUCATION FOR DEATH, and REASON AND EMOTION, Hitler was depicted with a long and Pinocchio evoking nose, reaffirming the implication that Pinocchio symbolized Hitler in PINOCCHIO. EDUCATION FOR DEATH also included a scene filled with Pinocchio evoking Hitler Youth in shorts held up with suspenders, implicitly reaffirming the link of Pinocchio to Hitler in PINOCCHIO. Alas for Disney, no sooner did the Second World War end than a new and even more pressing and urgent battle against the infernal television sets that would keep families at home and away from film art in the Temple Theatres began, a battle that Disney implied that it would not take lightly in the allegorical Geronimi, Jackson and Luske film, CINDERELLA (1950).
‘Have faith in your dreams…’
For the desperate battle at the decaying suburban mansion of the film’s Wicked Stepmother, Lady Tremaine-voiced by Eleanor Audley-that pitted sweet and full colour Cinderella-voiced by Ilene Woods-against the infernal black and white cat, Lucifer, throughout the film implicitly symbolized the determination of Disney to battle black and white television with full colour film art like CINDERELLA. Indeed, the implicit link of Gus and Jaq, the two leaders of the friendly mice who helped Cinderella battle Lucifer-and who were both voiced by James MacDonald-to Roy and Walt Disney affirmed Disney’s implicit intent to battle infernal television with full colour film art like CINDERELLA. The defeat of Lucifer by Cinderella, Gus, Jaq and Prince Charming-voiced by William Phipps and sung by Mike Douglas, respectively-also affirmed the implicit intent of Dis to defeat television, in the end. Disney reaffirmed their commitment to defeating television that same year with its first live action and equally full colour allegorical Byron Haskin animaction film, TREASURE ISLAND (1950). Significantly, Disney also implied that they would continue their implicit political satire in TREASURE ISLAND, as the sight of Walter Fitzgerald’s Prime Minister Clement Attlee evoking Squire Trelawney being led astray by Robert Newton’s nefarious and Joseph Stalin evoking pirate Long John Silver before being rescued by Basil Sydney’s Churchill evoking Captain Smollett implied that the Mouse House felt that Attlee’s socialist minded Labour government was leading the U.K. astray in the post-World War II era. A dim view of Attlee’s Labour government and a determination to defeat infernal television that returned when Disney had more adventures with a new Alice in the allegorical Geronimi, Jackson and Luske film, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951).
‘Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.’
For the hilarious and vibrantly colourful spectacle was the perfect excuse to lure audiences from their sedentary suburban mansions and helevision sets to experience full colour film art in the Temple Theatres. And to join Disney in roasting the topsy turvy world of post-war Labour U.K. in ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Indeed, the resemblance of the Bill Thompson voiced Dodo to Prime Minister (Un)Clement Attlee affirmed the additional implicit intent of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. The film also featured a Caterpillar-voiced by Richard Haydn-who evoked Noel Coward, a Cheshire Cat-voiced by Sterling Holloway-who evoked Salvador Dali, a Mad Hatter-voiced by Ed Wynn-who evoked Albert Einstein, and an imperiously petty Queen of Hearts-voiced by Verna Felton-who evoked Judy Garland, a national heroine in England since her appearance as Dorothy Gale in the allegorical and implicitly Wallis Simpson bashing Victor Fleming film, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). Indeed, a musical allusion to the tune of Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg’s ‘It Really Was No Miracle’ from THE WIZARD OF OZ shortly before the appearance of the Queen of Hearts, affirmed the latter’s implicit link to Garland. A commitment to creative, vibrantly colourful and satirical film art that would draw audiences back to the theatres that returned in the allegorical Geronimi, Jackson and Luske film, PETER PAN (1952), which implicitly roasted Charles De Gaulle in the form of the hapless and Hans Conried voiced Captain Hook. Curiously, with its allusions to CINDERELLA and PETER PAN, and with a human Tinkerbell in the form of Audrey Hepburn’s Sabrina Fairchild, Billy Wilder implied that he was gently roasting Disney in his allegorical film, SABRINA (1954).
Significantly, Disney’s battle with infernal television took a curious new form with the arrival of the Mouse House on television on October 27, 1954, allowing Dis to not just defeat, but take over television. However, despite this implicit determination to take over helevision, the same year Dis reaffirmed its determination to lure audiences back to the Temple Theatre with the full colour, live action and uncharacteristically serious and despairing allegorical Richard Fleischer animaction film, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954).
‘…A strange twilight world opened up before me.’
Indeed, the gripping and moving look at James Mason’s brilliant and idealistic, but tormented and doomed Captain Nemo and his attempt to end the age of empire by destroying its ocean going trading vessels and warships with his sea monster-evoking submarine, the Nautilus, and its loyal Foreign Legion crew-which implicitly symbolized the anti-commercial film rants of Fritz Lang-was perhaps the most serious film ever made by Disney. And successful, a success that combined with the arrival of Disney on television to ensure that Disney vanquished infernal television in the Fifties. Indeed, the triumph of the valiant Prince Phillip-voiced by Bill Shirley-over the implicitly television linked Evil Sorceress, Maleficent-her headdress horns evoking rabbit ear antennae for televisions, and voiced by Audley-that saved the pretty Princess Aurora-voiced by Mary Costa-for marriage at the end of the allegorical Geronimi film, SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959), implicitly affirmed that Disney was hopeful that they had slain the threat of maleficent television by the end of the Fifties. However, given that their first hand-animated film of the Sixties, the allegorical Geronimi, Luske and Wolfgang Reitherman film, 101 DALMATIONS (1961), featured another implicitly television linked villainess named Cruella De Vil-voiced by Betty Lou Gerson-who wickedly wanted to use the fur of the eponymous dalmations for fur coats evoked Wicked television’s desperate lusts for any and all content-including Disney film art-to broadcast so as to sell products to audiences, perhaps the Mouse House was not so confident that it had slain the threat of maleficent television as it implied in SLEEPING BEAUTY.
Curiously, the Mouse House then kicked off the Sixties implicitly reaffirming their hope that their animated and animaction film art would triumph over Hollywood by having Fred MacMurray’s Professor Ned Brainard and his extremely animated and flying rubber ‘flubber’ triumph over Keenan Wynn’s Alfred Hitchcock linked Alonzo P. Hawk in the allegorical Robert Stevenson animaction film, THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961), which was also an implicitly sarcastic reply to the allegorical Hitchcock film, VERTIGO (1959). Indeed, the fact that the middle aged Brainard succeeded in the end rather than his students implicitly affirmed Disney’s hope that the middle aged studio would succeed in the Sixties rather than the young guns of New Hollywood who were starting to arrive on the swinging scene. Unfortunately, however, Disney’s animated film art of the Sixties lacked the high quality, attention to detail and creativity of the earlier classics, including the allegorical Reitherman film, THE SWORD IN THE STONE (1963), which was an implicitly gentle roast of President John F. Kennedy-or was that Walt?-in the form of the young and naïve Wart aka King Arthur-voiced by Rickie Sorenson. Curiously, by the mid-Sixties Disney anticipated that a new generation of film and telefilm artists was poised to rock the world and implicitly replied to SABRINA in the allegorical Stevenson animaction film, MARY POPPINS (1964).
‘Never judge things by their appearance.’
Indeed, the opening departure of old, harassed and harried nanny, Katie-played by Old Hollywood veteran Elsa Lanchester-from the Banks household, and her replacement by the young pretty, exuberant and magical nanny, Mary Poppins-played by New Hollywood ingenue Julie Andrews-implied that Disney realized that a young and exuberant new generation of film and telefilm artists was arriving on the scene. A New Hollywood generation that Disney implicitly hoped would create film art for art’s sake, given the triumph of the magic of Poppins over profit obsessed and film studio executive evoking London bankers in the film. The inclusion of live- and stop-motion animation segments in the live action film also implied the hope of the Mouse House that New Hollywood would not allow animated film art to die. A hope that was rewarded, as such New Hollywood figures as Dante, Spielberg, George Luas and Robert Zemeckis, and younger associates like CalArts and Disney alumni Tim Burton, not only embraced but advanced animation by acting as both directors and/or producers of allegorical animated film and telefilm art. With its many allusions to the allegorical and implicitly Hitchcock roasting Stanley Kubrick film, LOLITA (1962), Disney also implied that same year that they were triumphing over Kubrick in the implicit form of Eli Wallach’s Greek baddie, Stratas, and bringing harmony back to the Temple Theatre, in the allegorical animaction James Neilson film, THE MOON-SPINNERS (1964). Intriguingly, Disney also implied that they were blasting Lucas and Francis Coppola in the form of the spacey and surfing loving teen, Canoe, and hard boiled kidnapper, Dan-played by Tom Lowell and Neville Brand, respectively-in the allegorical Stevenson animaction film, THAT DARN CAT! (1965), which, if so, made it the first time Coppola and Lucas were roasted in an allegorical film.
Regrettably, the lower quality of Disney’s hand-animated film art continued when Mowgli the man-cub-voiced by Bruce Reitherman-evaded the insidious coils of Kaa the boa constrictor and the voracious claws of the Tony the Tiger evoking Shere Khan the tiger-voiced by Sterling Holloway and George Sanders, respectively-to become master of the jungle, implying that Uncle Walt, in the last animated film he inspired before he passed on, was urging budding young animators to go the distance and evade the insidious grip of television and its voracious commercialism to become masters of the animated film art jungle in the sweet and MARY POPPINS evoking allegorical Reitherman film, THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967). Curiously, the emergence of animatronic ‘people’ at Disneyland infuriated and worried Philip K. Dick so much that poor old PKD implicitly raged against Disney and the android menace in his allegorical novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968). Indeed, PKD affirmed the implicit intent of the novel with the name of the monthly Sidney electric animal catalogue that protagonist Rick Deckard constantly consulted, for the name of the catalogue was simply an anagram for Disney. That same year, Roman Polanski implicitly went a step further and likened Disney to the Satanic Overlord of money lusting blockbuster pap in his allegorical film, ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968).
The lower quality of Disney animated film art at this time continued in the allegorical and 101 DALMATIONS evoking Reitherman film, THE ARISTOCATS (1970), which implicitly and gently roasted Coppola and his attempt to rescue film art again in the symbolic form of cocksure alleycat, O’Malley-voiced by Phil Harris-and his rescue of the beautiful and sophisticated cat, Duchess-voiced by Eva Gabor-and her brood of kittens from the dastardly and money lusting clutches of the implicitly Hitchcock linked Edgar-voiced by Roddy Maude-Roxley. The film also implicitly roasted underground comix bad boy R. Crumb in the form of the jazz loving, trumpet playing and bow-tie wearing Scat Cat-voiced by Scatman Crothers-somehow fittingly, given that the Crumb inspired and allegorical Ralph Bakshi film, FRITZ THE CAT (1972), a hip and hilarious satire of the Sixties full of drugs, nudity, sex, swearing and violence that was as far removed from the sweet and gentle satires of Disney as could be was released two years after THE ARISTOCATS. Indeed, it was possible that the eagerly salacious Fritz-voiced by Skip Hinnant-was a raucous and satirical roast of the less salacious but more cocksure O’Malley. At any rate, the Mouse House was definitely the target, as horny Fritz also resembled the less salacious but equally mischievous tom cat of THE ALICE COMEDIES.
Significantly, and despite its American and English accents, THE ARISTOCATS was set in the gritty everyday reality of Paris 1910, as if to signify that the magic of Disney film art with its vibrantly coloured fairy tale settings had indeed died with Uncle Walt in 1966. Eerily, Disney also anticipated that the magic of film art in general would die with the TZ disaster in the allegorical Reitherman film, ROBIN HOOD (1973).
‘Too late to be known as John the First,
He’s sure to be known as John the Worst.’
For the sight and sound of the implicitly Lucas linked and Brian Bedford voiced Robin Hood and the implicitly Coppola linked and Harris voiced Little John battling and robbing the miserly Prince John and his sibilant vizier, Sir Hiss-voiced by Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas, respectively-for the liberation and welfare of Nottingham presciently anticipated the sight of film artists around the world battling Landis and George Folsey jr., his friend and producer on his set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, after the TZ disaster. This prescient link to Folsey and Landis was increased by the fact that the first allegorical, Folsey produced and implicitly Kubrick roasting Landis film, SCHLOCK (1973), was released the same year as ROBIN HOOD. At any rate, the drab and nonmagical everyday world of Paris seen in THE ARISTOCATS was even grittier, grimier and switched to New York by the late Seventies when the Mickey and Minnie Mouse evoking mouse Rescue Aid Society members Bernard and Miss Bianca-voiced by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor, respectively-were sent on a desperate mission to rescue Disney’s orphaned animated film art in the symbolic and personified form of the orphan girl, Penny-voiced by Michelle Stacy-from the insidious clutches of the curiously and implicitly Barbara Streisand and Woody Allen linked Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops-voiced by Geraldine Page and Joe Flynn, respectively-in the despondent but hopeful, 101 DALMATIONS evoking and allegorical Reitherman, John Lounsbery and Art Stevens film, THE RESCUERS (1977).
That same year, Dis implied that they were both replying to FRITZ THE CAT and trying to return harmony to the Temple Theatre after the gleeful excesses in that film in the allegorical Lounsbery and Reitherman film, WINNIE THE POOH (1977). For the obsession of the Sterling Holloway voiced, muddle headed, cute and cuddly Winnie the Pooh with honey evoked the obsession of Fritz-almost as horny as Crumb!-with young free loving hippy honeys who would consent to have exuberant sex with him in the first graphic sex scenes in hand-animated film art, particularly one set in a bathtub that was hilariously ‘…transformed into a space capsule of truth and love.’ Significantly, the following year Disney became one of the first film studios to reply to the allegorical and implicitly Spielberg roasting and Ozian themed Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977), when they implicitly roasted Lucas in the allegorical Don Chaffey animaction film, PETE’S DRAGON (1978).
‘A little sip of Wizard was so nice to visit!’
For the sight of Jim Dale’s implicitly Lucas and Great Oz humbug linked, and wily Fox of PINOCCHIO evoking, snake oil salesman Doctor Terminus roaring into the Hollywood linked town of Passamaquoddy in his own homemade landspeeder crafted from fusing a sailboat with a carriage, dressed like the magician in the logo for the Lucas effects firm, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), and frantically trying to rip off the initially wary but increasingly gullible townsfolk with a Forceful snake oil remedy implied that Disney thought that Lucas was not everybody’s hero but just another shyster using Jedi mind tricks to rip off gullible audiences. The fact that madcap Doc Terminus was eventually defeated by the ironically Forceful quartet of good kid Pete, sweet Nora, bearded old Lampie and another reluctant and sometimes invisible dragon, Elliot, the implicit symbol of animated film art-played by Sean Marshall, Helen Reddy and Mickey Rooney, and voiced by Charlie Callas, respectively-reaffirmed the implicit Lucas bashing intent of PETE’S DRAGON, as they recalled the equally Forceful quartet of good Luke Skywalker, pretty Princess Leia Organna, bearded old Ben Obi Wan Kenobi and the heard but unseen Krayyt sand dragon of Tatooine-played by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness, and voiced by sound designer Ben Burtt, respectively-in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
Significantly, with PETE’S DRAGON, the Mouse House left behind its obsession with roasting and dismissing television, and turned to roasting Lucas and the other members of New Hollywood in their allegorical film art. In fact, as the TZ disaster had a greater impact on the world than the arrival of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Doctor Terminus and his older sidekick, Hoagy-played by Red Buttons-also ominously anticipated Landis and his older sidekick, George Folsey jr., his producer on his episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, in another eerie memory of the future. At the time, however, Disney was so implicitly irritated with Lucas and the popularity of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE that they roasted Lucas again and embraced the burdgeoning new world of computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced film art seen in the first STAR WARS film in the allegorical Gary Nelson animaction film, THE BLACK HOLE (1979).
‘How can one not be overwhelmed by the deadliest Force in the universe?’
Indeed, the red digital opening titles over a sickly green three dimensional CGI schematic of a black hole that sucked audiences into a new and digital universe as free from the physical limitations of cameras and sets as the previous hand-animated era, immediately confirmed Disney’s new interest in CGI. However, as Disney approached CGI in THE BLACK HOLE in its usual wry and satirical way, the implication was that the Mouse House was roasting Lucas and dismissing the hi-tech and CGI embracing first film of the Classic Trilogy as a money wasting black hole. Indeed, the film revolved around confronting and defeating a brilliant but dark, tormented, Great Oz and Nemo evoking and Lucas resembling scientist named Doctor Hans Reinhardt-played by Maximilian Schell-perched on the cusp of a black hole in deep space in his huge and gothic spaceship, the USS Cygnus, affirming the implicit Lucas roasting intent of THE BLACK HOLE. The sickly green black hole seen in the opening titles reaffirmed the implicit Lucas roasting intent of THE BLACK HOLE, for they recalled the equally sickly green and falling opening titles of the allegorical Lucas film, THX 1138 (1971). Reinhardt’s ruby red police robots and his huge and menacing ruby red robot bodyguard and servant, Maximilian, also reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lucas, for they evoked the police robots of THX 1138, and the Stormtroopers and the equally huge and menacing Darth Vader-played by David Prowse and voiced by James E. Jones, respectively-in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-with the latter also pointing the way to the even larger Recognisers of a Disney film to come. The fact that the flying robot V.I.N.CENT. I. e. 396 was voiced by Roddy McDowall also reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Lucas, as McDowall had played the persnickety Gregory Benson in THAT DARN CAT!, one of the first Disney films to implicitly roast Lucas.
As Dr. Reinhardt was merged with Maximilian and turned into a machine-man overlord of a hellish and fiery netherworld after being pulled into the black hole and being taken on a hyperdrive evoking space/time journey, in the end, Disney implied that Lucas was not only in danger of being destroyed by his obsession with hi-tech film art, but also in danger of losing his humanity and the humanity of his film art-a fate the Mouse House implicitly hoped would not happen to them. Disney also implied their hope that they would be able to weather the STAR WARS storm that drew away so many young viewers from the Mouse House, for good protagonists Captain Dan Holland, Lieutenant Charles Pizer and Doctor Kate McRae-played by Robert Forster, Joseph Bottoms and Yvette Mimieux, respectively-who had stumbled upon the USS Cygnus while exploring space in the USS Palomino, survived their own tumultuous hyperdrive-like journey through time/space via the black hole and reached a Lucas/Reinhardt free new world of film art at the end of the film. Curiously, though, after being so implicitly and initially worried about Lucas and the Classic Trilogy, Disney soon implied that they had changed their mind about both. For, after teaming up with Paramount to have the implicitly Landis linked Popeye-played by Robin Williams-triumph over the implicitly Stanley Kubrick linked Bluto-played by Paul Smith-in the allegorical Robert Altman animaction film, POPEYE (1980)-an ironic support of Landis, given that the TZ disaster was just two short years away-Disney then rejoined Paramount and fused ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ segment of FANTASIA with the dragon slaying quest of Sir Giles in ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ segment that closed THE RELUCTANT DRAGON in order to implicitly salute Lucas in the allegorical Matthew Robbins animaction film, DRAGONSLAYER (1981).
‘You can’t make a shameful peace with dragons.’
For DRAGONSLAYER often evoked STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, the determination throughout the film of Peter MacNicol’s eager young sorcerer’s apprentice, Galen, to join forces with Caitlin Clarke’s feisty brunette, Valerian, to take on and defeat a blockbuster beast of a dragon after the death of his sorcerer Master, Ulrich-played by Ralph Richardson-evoked the determination of the eager young Jedi apprentice, Luke Skywalker, to join forces with his feisty brunette sister, Princess Leia Organna, to take on and defeat the beastly blockbuster Empire after the death of his Jedi Master, Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. The criticism and even imprisonment Galen received as he attempted to succeed in his valiant quest reaffirmed that implication, as it evoked the criticism that was being heaped on Lucas at the time by critics who did not like the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy. Galen’s resemblance to young Skywalker, that fact that his name evoked Dorothy Gale and the Ozian theme of the STAR WARS films and the fact that Leia was hidden in the name of Valerian reaffirmed the implicit intent of DRAGONSLAYER. The appearance of Ian McDiarmid as an exorcising priest named Brother Jacopus who was incinerated by the fire breathing dragon also presciently affirmed the link of DRAGONSLAYER to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, given that he would soon reappear as the insidious and implicitly Spielberg linked Emperor Palpatine in the Lucas executive produced and implicitly Spielberg roasting and Ozian themed allegorical Richard Marquand film, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983). Thus, given the link of DRAGONSLAYER to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the implication was that Disney had changed its mind and was now rallying in support of Lucas after roasting him in THE BLACK HOLE.
Not that it mattered, as DRAGONSLAYER was strangely unpopular with audiences, despite being a fine film and despite the fact that Lucas was at the peak of his fame in 1981, the Last Good Year of film. Despite this curious and disappointing unpopularity, Disney again came to the support of Lucas and the CGI enhanced film art that Lucas championed in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy in the allegorical Steven Lisberger animaction film, TRON (1982).
‘On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.’
Indeed, the sickly green and digital opening titles that appeared before audiences were briefly pulled down into a mesmerizing and colourful digital world that was even more free of the physical impediments of cameras and sets than ever before evoked the sickly green opening titles of THX 1138 and the red digital titles over the sickly green and less advanced CGI black hole that audiences were pulled down into at the beginning of THE BLACK HOLE, immediately affirming the implicit Lucas addressing intent of TRON. An implicit interest in Lucas reaffirmed by the sight of the molecules of the implicitly Lucas linked and disgruntled ex-Encom employee, Kevin Flynn-played by Jeff Bridges-transformed into digital data by the Wicked Master Control Program (MCP)-voiced by David Warner-and sucked down into the electric circuits of the digital world and the consensual hallucination of CGI enhanced film art. Significantly, this molecular journey down into the digital guts of the brave new world of cyber cinema happened in a longer and more elaborate sequence than the teaser seen at the beginning of the film, a colourful and mesmerizing trip down the digital rabbit hole that evoked Alice’s fall down to Wonderland at the beginning of ALICE IN WONDERLAND-a fitting link to the latter film, affirming that Disney was as committed to a new era of television thrashing film art as it was with the release of ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Down in Cyberland, the new digital form of Flynn joined the implicitly Spielberg linked independent security programme, Tron, of real world Encom user Alan Bradley-both played by Bruce Boxleitner-in a battle to defeat the Wicked MCP and his head Nikko evoking slave, Sark-played by Warner-so as to return to the real world. This battle against the ahuman and inhuman CGI enhanced blockbuster machine and its simpering digital minions implied that Disney used TRON to caution Lucas and Spielberg to be wary of CGI enhancement, lest they lose the humanity of their film art, implicitly symbolized by Cindy Morgan’s Lora Baines in the real world and Yori in the digital world.
Unfortunately for Lucas and Spielberg, however, TRON made them both look out of touch as the film’s creative, dynamic, mobile and three dimensional CGI was much more advanced than the more basic and static CGI, stop-motion animation and matte painting enhanced physical sets featured in the Classic Trilogy the allegorical Spielberg films, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982). Indeed, the feature film length embrace of CGI in TRON was so enthusiastic and unexpected that the Mouse House, long derided as old fashioned and out of touch with the rebel Boomer times, was now the most advanced cyberfilm studio in the world-fittingly, given that Disney started off with the equally animaction THE ALICE COMEDIES, and that digital animation would be the most prominent feature of the brave new world of cyber cinema so as to prevent further film set disasters with realistic special effects created entirely with CGI. In fact, TRON joined Forces with the ILM supplied CGI sequence that created the brave new Genesis world of CGI enhanced film art right in front of audiences in the implicitly Spielberg roasting and allegorical Nicholas Meyer film, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982), to boot up the new era of death defying and allegorical cyberfilm art-and paved the way for a truly Matrix blasting film to come. How appropriate that the complex and painstaking multi-layering compositing process that was used to create TRON gave all of the actors pasty white faces and mascara ringed eyes that evoked the powdered faces and mascara ringed eyes of silent film actors and actresses, underlining that a whole new era of film art had begun.
Curiously, TRON was released in early July of 1982 only weeks before the TZ disaster, as if the Mouse House had a premonition of the nightmare to befall film on July 23, 1982. Indeed, the last command Flynn typed into a computer at Encom before his molecules were taken apart by the MCP and he was sucked down into the digital guts of the compter world was ‘…Code Series LSU-123…Activate’, a command that eerily anticipated the July 23, 1982 date of the TZ disaster. A date with the Zone also anticipated by a comment by Sark late in the film, when he worried aloud if ‘…the MCP doesn’t blast me into a Dead Zone’. Twilit premonitions also reappeared after Flynn helped Tron defeat the MCP in an eucatastrophic triumph that liberated and reharmonized the digital world and the real world and returned Flynn back to reconstituted human life and a triumph over income lusting Encom. For Flynn’s computer terminal now displayed a message reading ‘…Encom MX 16-923 User # 0176825’, a message that again eerily anticipated the 23782 date of the TZ disaster. Thus, Flynn’s time in and successful battle to escape the digital underworld presciently anticipated the battle of Lucas, Morrow and other film artists to escape from the rictus grip of the TZ disaster and the dread allegorical Zone Wars and bring harmony back to audiences, film art and artists, and the Temple Theatre with the help of death defying CGI. A prescient implication, indeed, given that Disney took a leading role in the CGI enhanced and always dread Zone Wars after 1982, so that dangerous on set special effects sequences like that involving the fateful helicopter on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE could be done with realistic but harmless post-production CGI visual effects enhancement in order to avoid any more traumatic set fatalities. A determined allegorical battle that Disney was already poised to succeed in given that the Mouse House, with its own stable of actors, animators, directors, producers and writers, was not tainted by any links to crass and twilit Old or New Hollywood, and that began with the twilit, despondent, CGI enhanced, and allegorical Jack Clayton film, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983).
‘Don’t they teach you reading in this town’s Academy?’
Not surprisingly, the film saw the peace and quiet of the all American town of Green Town disturbed when Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival creeped into town in the middle of the night, reminding us that the TZ disaster disturbed the peace and quiet of Hollywood town when it happened in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982. This implicitly linked Jonathan Pryce’s Landis resembling Mr. Dark and his Pandemonium Carnival to Landis and his film crew on his episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Thus, the climatic triumph of the two boys, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade-implicitly linked to Morrow and George Folsey jr., the producer of the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, and played by and Vidal Peterson and Shawn Carson, respectively-over Mr. Dark and his Pandemonium Carnival implied that Disney was putting all of the blame for the TZ disaster on Landis and symbolically attempting to exonerate Folsey and Morrow from any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, audiences-particularly young audiences-were so angry about the TZ disaster, the poor quality of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI that year and the infuriating decision of Lucas to appoint Kennedy and Marshall producers of the allegorical Spielberg film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), that they furiously rejected this sweet and gentle film.
However, despite this lack of popularity, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES was a fitting choice for the first Zone War salvo from Disney. For the Ray Bradbury scripted film reminded us that Mr. Dark in his black suit evoked Rod Serling, the Halloway surname evoked Hollywood, and Jimnight Shade had the same cadence as Twilight Zone, implying that in his eerily prescient and twilit novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962), Bradbury was already exploring the Dark struggle between Hollywood film art and the bodysnatching TWILIGHT ZONE series on television decades before the TZ disaster. As for Dis, thinking that the failure of SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES was due to the fact that audiences had not liked that it was a Disney film rather than that the film had not appealed to the fury of audiences at the time, they tried again the following year under the imprint of Touchstone Pictures with the twilit, Ozian themed and allegorical Ron Howard film, SPLASH (1984).
‘Don’t touch my hat! Don’t EVER touch my hat!’
Significantly, the sight of a beautiful blonde mermaid girl befriending a boy named Allen Bauer-played by Shayla MacKarvich and David Kreps, respectively-off the coast of Cape Cod in 1962 at the beginning of SPLASH evoked the beautiful blonde teenage girl swimmer off a similar coast at the beginning of the allegorical Spielberg film, JAWS (1975), and another beautiful blonde woman swimmer off the coast of L.A. at the beginning of the allegorical Spielberg film, 1941 (1979), both played by Susan Backlinie. These allusions to JAWS and 1941 were implicitly affirmed by the arrival of Daryl Hannah’s grown up and Dorothy linked blonde mermaid, Madison, looking for and romancing the adult and implicitly Tin Man linked Allen in the Ozian wonderland of New York City. For the adult Madison looked even more like the beautiful blonde swimmers at the beginnings of JAWS and 1941, both implicitly symbolizing Old Hollywood film art. This implied that Howard was gently roasting Spielberg in SPLASH in the implicit form of the adult Allen Bauer, played by Tom Hanks. Indeed, Allen’s first name reminded us that Allan was Spielberg’s middle name, affirming the implicit link of Bauer and Spielberg. The appearance of John Candy as the implicitly Cowardly Lion linked Fabulous Freddie Bauer and Bobby Di Cicco as the implicitly Scarecrow linked Jerry also reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Spielberg, as Candy and DiCicco had appeared as Private Foley and Wally in 1941.
The film’s shameless product placement and eager embrace of shopping in a scene set in Bloomingdale’s also affirmed the link to Spielberg, reminding us of the equally shameless product placement and odes to shopping in the film art of Spielberg, particularly E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. The sight of Madison learning about human life and how to speak English while watching television in the electronics department of Bloomingdale’s also reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Spielberg, reminding us that he had begun his career directing telefilms for Universal Studios. Indeed, the name of Madison evoked the advertising agencies of Madison Avenue, implying that Disney was not too subtly urging audiences not to be too disaffected by the TZ disaster to give up on placed products and movie tie-in merchandise in SPLASH. Thus, the triumph of the love of Bauer and Madison over Eugene Levy’s Evil and Wicked Witch of the West linked dentist, Doctor Walter Kornbluth-the sight of the Wicked Kornbluth spraying the Dorothy linked Madison with water and transforming her into a mermaid in the end a creative and funny spin on the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ-implied that Disney hoped that Spielberg and his film art would triumph over Landis and the TZ disaster, in the end.
Disney also implicitly hoped that Spielberg would continue to advance the cause of CGI enhanced film art, symbolized by the TRON evoking underwater city Allen and Madison were seen swimming toward at the end of the film. The sight of Madison exploring a crowded and neon lit New York City also evoked the equally crowded but dark, decaying, depressed and despondent streets of a future L.A. in the eerily prescient and twilit allegorical Sir Ridley Scott film, BLADE RUNNER (1982), which was released only weeks before the TZ disaster in the early summer of 1982, implying that Howard was also trying to exorcise that nasty and negative film from the Temple Theatre with SPLASH. Indeed, the choice of Hannah as Madison affirmed that implicit additional intent of SPLASH, as Hannah played a replicant named Pris in BLADE RUNNER. Dis and Howard also implied that they were trying to exorcise Slava Tsukerman’s equally Ozian themed and New York City set, savagely satirical, and allegorical film, LIQUID SKY (1982), given the resemblance of Madison to Anne Carlisle’s equally tall, leggy, beautiful and Dorothy linked, Margaret.
Curiously, despite their continued outrage over the STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI and TZ disasters in 1984, audiences appeared to accept the openly manipulative message of SPLASH, given that the film was more popular than DRAGONSLAYER, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, THE BLACK HOLE or TRON. Perhaps in part due to the fact that DRAGONSLAYER, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, THE BLACK HOLE and TRON came across as crass and formulistic Hollywood genre films, whereas SPLASH was a gently satirical and fairy tale-like allegory that recalled CINDERELLA, SLEEPING BEAUTY and SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, even if it hid behind the banner of Touchstone Pictures rather than proudly displayed the Disney logo to remind audiences that the Mouse House was a safe and trustworthy film studio. At any rate, SPLASH was Disney’s most popular film since MARY POPPINS. So popular that when I started working as a Library Technician at the Peel District School Board in Mississauga, Ontario in 2002, I discovered that dozens of teen girls had been given the name Madison by their Gen X parents.
The unexpected triumph of SPLASH was a perfect time for Michael Eisner and Frank Wells to arrive at the Mouse House as the new CEO and COO, respectively, in September of 1984 and usher in a brave new world of CGI enhanced film art. Indeed, Uncle Mike and Wells oversaw the greatest turnaround in Disney history, a turnaround that saw Disney become the top film studio in the world by 1988 as James B. Stewart chronicled in his tome, Disney War, before Eisner was led astray by a lust for fortune and glory. A turnaround that was not without some gaffes, as Uncle Mike and Wells turned down an offer from Pixar head Ed Catmull to buy half of Pixar in the late Eighties for only fifteen million dollars that they were urged to take advantage of by Mouse House cyber cinema proponents Roy Disney jr. and Stan Kinsey when the Great Divorce of 1983 from Marcia left Lucas desperate for cash. This would prove to be one of the costliest mistakes in Disney history, as Dis paid billions of dollars when they eventually purchased Pixar from Steve Jobs early in the new millennium (Stewart 54-98). But that was in the uncertain future, and this was the now where the success of the Ozian themed SPLASH was a perfect time to revisit Oz in the Lucas executive produced and allegorical Walter Murch film, RETURN TO OZ (1985).
‘I wish all of us from Oz to return there safely, and for the Emerald City,
and all the people in it, to be restored to life.’
While a fine and beautifully realized film whose look was based on the original William W. Denslow illustrations for the L. Frank Baum novels rather than THE WIZARD OF OZ, RETURN TO OZ was too sweet and gentle for audiences at such a righteously furious time, who shunned the film like they shunned SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. And, while implicitly a triumph of Faizura Balk’s Dorothy Gale over a cruel dictator who had taken over Oz, the implicitly James Cameron linked Gnome King-played by Nicol Williamson-for succeeding with the twilit and allegorical film, THE TERMINATOR (1984), the year before, in retrospect Dorothy’s victory over the Gnome King and the restoration of life, health, happiness and harmony to the Emerald City and its citizens presciently anticipated the triumph of the film art of Disney and the restoration of life, health, happiness and harmony to the Mouse House and its dedicated cast members by the end of the Eighties. Looking back, the appearance of Jack Pumpkinhead-puppeted by Brian Henson and Stewart Laringe, and voiced by Henson-paved the way for the arrival of an equally pumpkinheaded character in a nightmarish Christmas tale to come. RETURN TO OZ also dovetailed neatly with the allegorical Paul Mazursky film, DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS (1986), which also implicitly but more gently roasted Cameron as the rough hewn Beverly Hills invader, Jerry Baskin-played by Nick Nolte-under the Touchstone imprint the following year. The same year rogue Disney animator Don Bluth and company also implicitly showed the Mouse House how CGI enhanced hand-animated film art was done in their twilit and allegorical film, AN AMERICAN TALE (1986).
A film which implicitly likened Spielberg’s struggle to find his way in Hollywood after the TZ disaster to the struggle of sweet and innocent Russian immigrant mouse boy, Fievel-voiced by Phillip Glasser-to find his way in New York City after a dark and stormy night at sea swept him away from his mouse family and off the ship steaming him to America. Indeed, the fact that Fievel had to also escape from the fiendish clutches of the implicitly Morrow linked mouse, Tiger-voiced by Dom DeLuise-while searching for his lost family affirmed the implicit Spielberg supporting intent of the film-what a surprise that AN AMERICAN TALE was executive produced by Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg. The tragicomic efforts of Eisner and Wells to work with the ghost of Disney to wring in a new era at the Mouse House was implicitly satirized under the Touchstone imprint in the form of the efforts of the implicitly Wells linked Jack, the implicitly Eisner linked Michael and the implicitly Disney linked Peter-played by Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck, respectively-to watch over a baby girl left on their doorstep in the allegorical Leonard Nimoy film, THREE MEN AND A BABY (1987).
Then it was off to implicitly roast Dante and Spielberg in the form of Fagin and Sykes-voiced by DeLuise and Robert Loggia, respectively-in the allegorical George Scribner film, OLIVER & COMPANY (1988), the last of Disney’s animated films to be set in gritty real world reality. For the vibrantly coloured fairy tale style that was the famous characteristic of Disney animated film art during the life of Uncle Walt suddenly returned when Disney contrarily implied that they were dropping Spielberg and now coming to the defense of Landis with their next mermaid tale-perhaps due to all of Spielberg’s implicitly guilty admissions in his post-1982 films of being at the Landis set on the night of the disaster but doing nothing to stop the nightmare. For Disney was one of the first studios to implicitly embrace Landis again after he and his four co-defendants were found not guilty of manslaughter at the end w the TZ trial in 1987, symbolized by the triumph of the implicitly Landis linked Eric-voiced by Christopher D. Barnes-over the implicitly Morrow linked Ursula-voiced by Pat Carroll-at the end of the allegorical John Musker and Ron Clements film, THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989).
Disney also quietly ushered in a new era of CGI enhanced traditional hand-animated film art in their next film, when intrepid mouse Rescue Aid Society members Bernard and Miss Bianca-voiced again by Newhart and Gabor, respectively-returned to rescue the implicitly Lucas linked boy, Cody-voiced by Adam Ryen-from the insidious clutches of the implicitly Spielberg linked Percival Q. McLeach-voiced by George C. Scott-in the twilit and allegorical John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman and Art Stevens film, THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER (1990), set in the real world-in this case the Australian outback-like THE RESCUERS, but a real world done up to look like a fairy tale. Now the Mouse House left behind the hand as well as the camera and set, and moved in any direction in their traditional animated films, as they did in CGI enhanced animaction films like TRON. This was seen most spectacularly in the opening sequence that saw Cody flown on the back of an eagle pal off cliffs, over rivers and through canyons in the Australian Outback, CGI shots that evoked Glinda the Good linked cosmic defender Taarna soaring over an extraterrestrial landscape on her loyal flying mount in the ‘Taarna’ episode of the allegorical and Ozian themed Gerald Potterton hand-animation film, HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE (1981). Significantly, after travelling Down Uner, Disney then implicitly used its first animated film in the new decade to send a sympathetic warning to the cocky and all conquering Cameron by linking him to the arrogant and bad tempered Prince who was turned by a knowing Enchantress into a blockbuster Beast of a man-voiced by Robby Benson-in their allegorical and CGI enhanced Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise film, BEAUTY AND BEAST (1991).
‘…I want much more than this provincial life.’
An implicit link that Cameron did not miss, for the spellbinding rose that would wither and die, leaving the Prince a Beast forever if he did not fall in love with a woman who fell in love with him in turn by the age of 21, returned as a rose that figured prominently in the next allegorical Cameron film, TRUE LIES (1994), and as an equally spellbinding Rose in a titanic film after TRUE LIES. Curiously, like THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST also alluded to HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE, as if Disney hoped to recapture the Skyrocking spirit of the Last Good Year of film before the TZ disaster in the tenth anniversary of the release of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE. If so, it was a good hope, for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST revived the animated film fortunes of Disney. How also fitting that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST saw the implicitly Cameron linked Beast triumph over a group of minor characters linked to New Hollywood film artists like Dante and Spielberg, a group led by the arrogant and implicitly Lucas linked blowhard, Gaston-who was voiced by Richard White, and evoked the perhaps Lucas linked and Eugene Levy voiced Captain Lincoln F. Sternn in the ‘Captain Sternn’ episode of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE-given that Lucas would try and fail to topple Cameron in the new millennium with another STAR WARS trilogy. And how appropriate that the love of the implicitly Bigelow linked Belle-voiced by Paige O’Hara-inspired the love inside the Beast that freed him from the spell of the beautiful, blonde and implicitly Hollywood linked Enchantress, as Bigelow had become the latest wife of Cameron.
Intriguingly, Disney reaffirmed their interest in Cameron in the allegorical Disney animaction film, NEWSIES (1992), which saw the implicitly Cameron linked Francis Sullivan aka Jack Kelly-played by Christian Bale-successfully lead an irrepressible mob of implicitly New Hollywood linked New York newspaper boys in a successful strike against the implicitly Spielberg linked newspaper baron, Joseph Pulitzer-played by Robert Duval. Disney flew again in the allegorical Stephen Herek animaction film, THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1991), which, with its many allusions to such David Lynch fare as the twilit and allegorical TWIN PEAKS telefilm series (1990-91) and the twilit and allegorical film, WILD AT HEART (1990), implicitly and gently roasted Lynch and his efforts to whip New Hollywood into shape in the form of cocky young lawyer Gordon Bombay-played by Emilio Estevez-and his attempts to get a New Hollywood linked team of misfit kid hockey players into shape in order to beat the implicitly Folsey linked Coach Reilly-played by Lane Smith-and his intimidating Hawks. The Mouse House also reaffirmed its commitment to CGI enhanced hand-animated film art and its implicit support of Landis with the allegorical Ron Clements and John Musker film, ALADDIN (1992).
‘Aw, Rule Number One: I can’t kill anybody, so don’t ask.’
Indeed, the full colour and memorable CGI enhanced prologue that led audiences through desertscapes and Middle Eastern cityscapes in a way that a camera could not do reaffirmed the new vistas Disney would be able to achieve in traditional hand-animated film art with CGI enhancement, recalling the opening of TRON and the trip through outback canyons at the beginning of THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER. In addition, the waxing crescent moon seen floating in the sky over the desert when the prologue ended reminded us that a similar moon was floating in a cloud scudded sky when the TZ disaster occurred in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 ten years earlier, implicitly affirming that ALADDIN was a tenth anniversary meditation on Landis. Indeed, the Scott Weinger sung and voiced Aladdin was implicitly linked to Landis throughout the film, implying that his battle to save the Linda Larkin sung and voiced Jasmine from the nefarious clutches of the implicitly John Waters linked Jafar-sung and voiced by Jonathan Freeman-with the help of the implicitly Morrow linked Genie-sung and voiced by Williams-symbolized the battle of Landis to free himself from TZ disaster and the ghosts of Morrow, Le and Chen and succeed with his film art again in the Nineties. The following year, Disney reached out to ex-employee Tim Burton to celebrate the triumph of Burton’s own creepy and unique style of Hallowe’en Town artbusters when Burton acted as designer and producer of Henry Selick’s macabre and musical allegorical stop-motion animaction artbuster, TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993).
‘What is this?’
Curiously, this film, which came across as an extended and full colour remake of Burton’s allegorical short film, VINCENT (1982)-complete with the return of production supervisor Rick Heinrichs-saw the cutesy creatures of Hallowe’en Town-led by the film composer Danny Elfman sung and Chris Sarandon voiced Jack Skellington and his faithful, jack-o’-lantern ghost dog, Zero-fail in their creepy quest to take over Christmas Town-led by the Ed Ivory voiced Santa Claus. This amusing assault on Christmas Town recalled the similar assault of Danny De Vito’s Penguin and his Red Triangle Gang on Christmas celebrations in Gotham City in the allegorical Burton film, BATMAN RETURNS (1992), a link affirmed by the fact that both assaults ended in failure. However, while failing to force dark, decaying and nightmarish Hallowe’en on light, sweet and virtuous Christmas, Skellington and the rest of Hallowe’en town did defeat the buggy, blockbuster and gambling loot mad ghost, Oogie Boogie-voiced by Ken Page. This implied that on one level, Burton and Selick were telling the world that in spite of their commitment to returning harmony to the Temple Theatre with healing film art, they would not shy away from macabre and non-commercial film art that would remind audiences of the TZ disaster.
On another level, given that the stiff and awkward Mayor of Hallowe’en Town, with his two expressions-voiced by Glenn Shadix-evoked the equally stiff and awkward newly elected Democratic Vice President Al Gore, there was another possible explanation for TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. And that was that it was an allegorical message to newly elected Democratic President Bill Clinton-symbolized by Skellington-not to go so crazy with his left leaning inclinations that he would turn the sometimes dark and nasty United States-symbolized by Hallowe’en Town-into a clean, polite and safe, but dull, stodgy and torpid place like left leaning Canada-symbolized by Christmas Town-with the triumph over evil ghost Oogie Boogie a symbolic celebration of Clinton’s victory over the colourless and uninspiring ex-CIA spook Bush sr. in a rare double political allegory for Burton, and the first political allegory in a while for Dis. The following year, the Zone Wars hit home when COO Wells was killed in a helicopter crash. That same year, Disney than surprised everyone by collaborating again with Burton-via Touchstone Pictures-and transformed Los Angeles into Hallowe’en Town in the more serious, thoughtful and animated allegorical artbuster, ED WOOD (1994).
You’re wasting your life making shit! Nobody cares-these movies are terrible!’
Curiously, ED WOOD opened with an introduction from a coffin by the ‘psychic’ Criswell, played by Jeffrey Jones, evoking his performance as the implicitly Lynch linked Charles Deetz in the allegorical Burton film, BEETLEJUICE (1988). An intriguing reminder of Lynch, as shortly thereafter Sarah J. Parker’s beautiful blonde Dolores Fuller descended on wires from a theatre ceiling as an angel bringing peace to embittered American G.I.s on a Pacific Island battlefield in World War II with a hilariously heartfelt cry of ‘…I offer you mortals the bird of peace, so that you may change your ways and end this destruction’ in a ‘play’ by her enthusiastic but untalented boyfriend, Edward D. Wood jr.-memorably played by Johnny Depp. The sight of Fuller hanging on wires bringing peace to the world reminded us that such allegorical Lynch films as TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992) and WILD AT HEART ended with beautiful angels descending on wires to bring peace to the main characters of those films. Thus, Burton implied in the opening moments of ED WOOD that he was blasting Lynch again as in BEETLEJUICE, no doubt for the critical and popular thrashing he had received for TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME two years before the release of ED WOOD. Indeed, the black and white film’s many allusions to the equally black and white and allegorical Lynch films, ERASERHEAD (1977) and THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), reaffirmed the implicit intent of ED WOOD. The fact that the title of ED WOOD also evoked the mighty WOOD, the radio station in Tim Burton linked Lumberton in the allegorical Lynch film, BLUE VELVET (1986), also reaffirmed the implicit Lynch roasting intent of ED WOOD.
In addition, Burton implied that he was roasting Bigelow again in the symbolic form of Wood’s film wrecking associate, Maila ‘Vampira’ Nurmi-a good symbolic link, given that Bigelow had directed the twilit and allegorical vampire film, NEAR DARK (1987), and played by Lisa Marie. Burton also implied that he was roasting Dante again in the symbolic form of another Wood associate, Paul Marco, played by Max Casella. In addition, Burton implied that he was also roasting actor/director/writer Bartel and himself in the form of Wood’s other film wrecking associates, Bunny Breckinridge and Conrad Brooks, played by Bill Murray and Brent Hinkley, respectively. However, while ED WOOD was an excellent and hilarious roast of some real life film art characters on both the literal and symbolic levels-with a moving and memorable Academy Award winning performance by Martin Landau as despondent and drug addicted Bela Lugosi, another dog lover, which he called his ‘children of the night’, who lived in a L. A. suburb similar to the ones seen in VINCENT and the allegorical Burton films, FRANKENWEENIE (1984) (made while Burton was still with Disney) and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), a performance helped along by an Academy Award winning hair and makeup transformation by Rick Baker-likening Lynch to Wood was not credible. Lynch was a far better film artist than Wood, and also showed no interest in wearing women’s clothing. In fact, despite the implication that Brooks symbolized Burton, Wood evoked Burton more than he did Lynch.
Indeed, the giddy, irrepressible, eternally optimistic and transvestite child-man Wood always recalled Pee Wee Herman-played by Paul Reubens-in the allegorical Burton film, PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985), as Herman also dressed up as a woman to evade the law early into his big adventure. Wood’s love of horror films and novels was shared by Burton, and his harebrained and shoestring approach to film art also evoked young Frankenstein’s freshman effort MONSTERS OF LONG AGO in FRANKENWEENIE. Wood’s irrepressibly upbeat and sunny outlook on life also no doubt summed up Burton’s giddy and irrepressible artbusting mood with the success of BATMAN RETURNS, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, TIM BURTON’S NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and the allegorical Burton film, BATMAN (1989). Wood also loved Hallowe’en Town as much as Burton, hanging out with Lugosi one Hallowe’en night watching Vampira and the allegorical Victor Halperin film, WHITE ZOMBIE (1932)-fittingly starring Lugosi as Haitian voodoo zombie master, ‘Murder’ Legendre, perhaps linked to even creepier real life German zombie master, Adolf Hitler-on television and scaring trick or treaters with the Count. Indeed, there were so many similarities between Burton and Wood, one wondered if Burton was admitting to a penchant for wearing women’s clothing that he was too shy and coy to openly acknowledge in public. This coyness was not shared by fearless Eddie, who not only openly wore women’s clothing in public and on film in his allegorical classic, GLEN OR GLENDA (1953)-the title evoking the sight of Sheryl Lee’s Glinda the Good falling gently from the sky on wires at the end of WILD AT HEART in another nod to Lynch-but also boasted that he had fought his way through the bloody beaches and steamy jungles of the Pacific War wearing women’s undergarments. Way to go, Eddie! And way to go, Timmy! For the real world depth that was missing in Burton’s film art prior to ED WOOD had finally arrived, implying bigger and fuller Hallowe’en Towns to come for Burton. A real New World that literally arrived when Disney implicitly and contrarily roasted Burton after working with him on ED WOOD and TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg hand-animated film, POCAHONTAS (1995).
‘This New World’s gonna be great, John.’
Indeed, after implicitly roasting Lucas in the symbolic form of Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Disney now implicitly reached out sympathetically to him and likened his quest to create a brave new world of CGI enhanced film art with the help of ILM that aspired to something more to making money to the quest of the implicitly Lucas linked Captain John Smith-who resembled Luke Skywalker, and was sung and voiced by Mel Gibson-to embrace, live in harmony with and save the New World and the beautiful Pocahontas-voiced by Irene Bedard, and sung by Judy Kuhn-from the gold lusting and implicitly Burton linked and Captain Hook evoking Governor Ratcliffe-his suit of armour and cape evoking Michael Keaton’s Bruce ‘Batman’ Wayne, and voiced by David O. Stiers-in POCAHONTAS. A curious implication, indeed, given that Burton was the one committed to film art for film art’s sake, and Lucas was the one committed to CGI enhanced blockbuster profits. And a hypocritical implication, given that that same year Dis and Pixar affirmed their lust for CGI enhanced blockbuster profits with the world’s first all CGI and allegorical John Lasseter animation film, TOY STORY (1995).
‘All right everyone, this is a stickup! Don’t anybody move! Now empty that safe! Hoo hoo! Money money money!’
For from the very first lines of dialogue quoted above, TOY STORY was one of the most shameless and cynical filmmercials for movie tie-in merchandise and product placement ever made, even worse than BATMAN. So shameless that the allegorical intent of the piece, that the sight and sound of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear-implicitly linked to Pixar head Catmull and director Lasseter, and voiced by Tim Allen and Hanks, respectively-putting aside their differences to triumph over the Erik Von Dotten voiced psycho kid Sid-who resembled and was implicitly linked to Dis CEO Eisner, a link implicitly affirmed by the fact that his name was ‘Dis’ spelt backward-and returning to their kid owner, the implicitly Jobs linked Andy-voiced by John Morris-equated with Catmull and Lasseter putting aside their differences to work with Jobs to inspire Pixar’s cyberanimation film art to triumph over Disney’s CGI enhanced hand-drawn film art, was lost in the filmmercial fulminations. Making it understandable that Dis would attempt to reassure the masses that it was interested in more than money by working with Burton and DiNovi again-and with Randy Newman, who provided notes and words-on Selick’s allegorical animaction artbuster, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (1996)-based on the allegorical 1961 Dahl novel of the same name-a curious film which was another implicit and rare political allegory from Burton and Selick that recalled their equally political collaboration on TIM BURTON’S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
For the film was a more artsy piece that, despite its Cameron evoking title, was more likely a surprisingly gentle and sympathetic nod of support to George W. Bush jr. and some contemporary international leaders, given the resemblance of Paul Terry’s James H. Trotter to Dubya, of the scrappy and Richard Dreyfuss voiced Centipede to Prime Minister Jean ‘the Scrapper’ Chretien of Canada, of the Jane Leeves voiced Ladybug to Queen Elizabeth II, and of the Simon Callow voiced Grasshopper to presumably Prime Minister John Major of the United Kingdom. These links also implied that the voyage across the Atlantic from England to New York in the giant pumpkin evoking giant peach-with a victory over a Skellington evoking and, hence, implicitly Clinton linked pirate along the way-and the final triumph of James and his insect friends over the Wicked Aunts Spiker and Sponge-played by Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes, respectively-that allowed them all to go on to happier lives, symbolized Dubya triumphing over the two administrations of President Clinton in an upcoming election. While implicitly ignoring Cameron in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, the following year, Disney again implied their support for Cameron-and for Landis-when the bells of Notre Dame recalled the Belle in BEAUTY IN THE BEAST in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Trousdale and Wise hand-animated film, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996), inspired by the allegorical Victor Hugo novel, Notre-Dame De Paris (1830), which was perhaps a satirical meditation on Edgar A. Poe in the implicit form of Quasimodo.
‘Haven’t you caused enough trouble already?’
For the film saw the implicitly Cameron linked Captain Phoebus-voiced by Kevin Kline-collaborated with the implicitly Landis linked Quasimodo-voiced by Tom Hulce-and the implicitly Burton linked Clopin-voiced by Paul Kundel-to triumph over the implicitly Lynch linked evildoer, Justice Frollo-his implicit link to Lynch affirmed by allusions to WILD AT HEART, and voiced by Tony Jay-and win the love of the implicitly Bigelow linked Esmeralda-voiced by Demi Moore and sung by Heidi Mollenhauser. Significantly, while THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME had little implicit effect on Cameron, POCAHONTAS and TOY STORY clearly did, for he implicitly replied to both films in two of his own films. In the second, Cameron remade POCAHONTAS by sailing another Caucasian gentleman to a beautiful but dangerous brave new all CGI world where he would fall in love with another beautiful and strong local maiden in the twilit and allegorical film, AVATAR (2009). In the first, Cameron used the tragedy that befell another Captain Smith to warn against rushing into the brave New World of all CGI enhanced film art too quickly in his twilit and allegorical film, TITANIC (1997).
Despite the popularity of TOY STORY, Disney continued to use CGI to enhance hand-drawn animation film art in such films as the allegorical and CGI enhanced Clements and Musker hand-animated film, HERCULES (1997), which curiously fused the legends of Hercules with Perseus and also implicitly saw the Lucas linked and Donovan Tate voiced Hercules triumph over the implicitly David Cronenberg linked and James Woods voiced Hades. Disney also satirized the brave new CGI enhanced world in such films as the allegorical Les Mayfield film, FLUBBER (1997), a remake of THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR. But implicitly expressed hope that the insidious bugs that were preventing cybercinema from fully emerging and being embraced by all film artists would be conquered in the symbolic form of a determined and united humanity’s bloody but triumphant war over the bugs in the allegorical, CGI enhanced, gung ho, surprisingly ultraviolent Disney/Touchstone and Paul Verhoeven animaction film, STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)-you apes want to use celluloid forever? The implicit support for Lucas continued the following year, when the implicitly Lucas linked Captain John Smith-voiced by Jim Cummings-again rescued Pocahontas-voiced and sung again by Bedard and Kuhn, respectively-who again implicitly symbolized the brave New World of CGI enhanced film art from the still blockbuster gold lusting and implicitly Burton linked Governor Ratcliffe-again voiced by Stiers-in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Bradley Raymond and Tom Ellery hand-animated telefilm, POCOHONTAS II: JOURNEY TO A NEW WORLD (1998)-despite the fact that Lucas affirmed his lust for CGI enhanced blockbuster profits with the release of the CGI enhanced STAR WARS Classic Trilogy the year before.
The same year, the Mouse House again implicitly came to the defense of Landis in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Tony Bancroft, Barry Catz and Niki Caro film, MULAN (1998). For the resemblance to Landis of Fa Zhou-voiced by Soon-Tek Oh-the father of the titular heroine, the Ming-Nan Wen voiced Fa Mulan, implied that the climatic triumph of Mulan over the Miguel Ferrer voiced and implicitly Stanley Kubrick linked Hun commander, Shan Yu, symbolized a triumph of the film art of Landis over that of Kubrick, in the end. Indeed, the fact that Eddie Murphy voiced Mushu, the diminutive lucky red dragon companion of Fa Mulan, affirmed the implicit Landis supporting intent of the film, recalling Murphy’s appearances in such twilit and allegorical Landis films as TRADING PLACES (1983), COMING TO AMERICA (1988), and BEVERLY HILLS COP III (1994). The fact that Chi Fu, the right hand man of the Chinese Emperor, was voiced by James Hong also affirmed the film’s interest in the twilit and disastrous events of 1982, for Hong played eye expert Chew in BLADE RUNNER. That same year Pixar implied that the triumph of the Dave Foley voiced Flik, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus voiced Princess Atta, their fellow ants and their idiosyncratic insect friends over the intense and demanding grasshopper leader, Hopper-voiced by Kevin Spacey-and his demands for more tribute symbolized the triumph of Pixar and their CGI animated film art over the equally intense and demanding Disney head of feature film production, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and his demands for more films in the allegorical Andrew Stanton and Lasseter film, A BUG’S LIFE (1998). Curiously, as the sweet and cuddly bugs of the film were the exact opposite of the pitiless and homicidal extraterrestrial bugs that attacked Earth in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Paul Verhoeven film, STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997), the year before, Pixar may also have tried to bring peace and harmony back to the Temple Theatre with A BUG’S LIFE.
Then it was back to the shameless toy promoting filmmercial for Dis and Pixar, a shameless promotion that obscured the fact that Buzz and Woody-again implicitly linked to Lasseter and Catmull, and voiced by Allen and Hanks, respectively-led their fellow toys in a triumph over the implicitly Lucas linked prospector, Stinky Pete-voiced by Kelsey Grammer-and the insidious and Vader evoking Emperor Zurg-voiced by Andrew Stanton-in the all CGI and allegorical Lasseter, Ash Brannon and Lee Unkrich animation film, TOY STORY 2 (1999). Indeed, the implicit Lucas roasting intent was reaffirmed by the fact that Lucas returned to the Temple Theatre that year with his implicitly Cameron and Spielberg bashing allegorical film, STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), a film that also ironically and implicitly roasted Disney, Pixar and TOY STORY. An anti-Pixar theme that implicitly returned the following year when Disney renegade Bluth joined forces with Gary Goldman and Twentieth Century Fox in the CGI enhanced allegorical hand-animated film, TITAN A.E. (2000), a film that evoked HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE, STARSHIP TROOPERS, the STAR WARS films, and TREASURE ISLAND.
For the dread, all CGI and implicitly Pixar linked Evildoers the Drej were defeated by the hand-animated Good guys at the end of the film. Curiously, TITAN A.E. began with a CGI sequence that saw the Drej destroy the Earth in a reversal of the CGI sequence that creation the Genesis moon planet in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. This implied that Bluth and Goldman felt that the promise of a brave new world of higher minded and CGI enhanced film art had been destroyed by the TZ disaster and the rise of ahuman, profit lusting and all CGI enhanced blockbuster beasts like TOY STORY. Significantly, however, the film ended after the triumph over the dread Drej with the implicitly Lucas and Sofia Coppola linked Cale and Akima-voiced by Matt Damon and Drew Barrymore, respectively-successfully recreating the Earth in another CGI sequence. Thus, Bluth and Goldman implied their hope that the brave new world of higher minded and human CGI enhanced film art would arrive in the new millennium. For their part, Disney rang in the new millennium with the allegorical Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag film, DINOSAUR (2000), a film which evoked THE JUNGLE BOOK and the allegorical Bluth film, THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988), and which was the Mouse House’s first mostly all CGI animaction film since TRON.
A curious choice of film to kick off the new millennium, for DINOSAUR saw the implicitly Cameron linked and D. B. Sweeney voiced iguanodon, Aladar, outlasting the implicitly Eisner and Katzenberg linked dino herd leaders, Kron and Bruton-voiced by Samuel E. Wright and Dick Zondag, respectively-and safely arriving with his fellow herbivorous dinosaurs in the mythical nesting grounds after an embattled journey through a drought wracked wasteland that necessitated fighting off two implicitly Lucas and Spielberg linked carnotaurs, implying the cheeky hope of Leighton and Zondag that Cameron would defeat Disney, Lucas and Spielberg with a mostly or all CGI enhanced film in the new millennium-an implicit hope that came true with AVATAR. An implicit support for Cameron that returned in the twentieth anniversary year of the TZ disaster when the implicitly Cameron linked Jim Hawkins-voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt-triumphed over the implicitly Luc Besson linked pirate, John Silver-voiced by Brian Murray-and over any hope that the new world of CGI enhanced film art would lead to blockbuster profits at the end of the allegorical and CGI enhanced Clements and Musker hand-animated film, TREASURE PLANET (2002), a film that replied to TITAN A.E. and the allegorical Besson film, THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997), remade TREASURE ISLAND, and alluded to HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE. Curiously, after Disney purchased Pixar, Pixar also implicitly and cheekily celebrated beating Disney at its own animated game in the allegorical Brad Bird film, RATATOUILLE (2006).
‘Now, imagine every great taste in the world being combined in infinite combinations, a taste that no one has tried yet, discoveries to be made!’
Indeed, the sight of the Patton Oswalt voiced master chef, Remy the rat, hiding under the chef’s hat of the Lou Romano voiced Linguini and guiding him so well in the creation of creative new culinary classics by pulling and twisting his hair that the two succeeded in restoring the name of Gusteau’s restaurant evoked CGI expert Catmull guiding traditional Disney hand animated film expert Lasseter so well in the creation of creative new all CGI animated classics that the two succeeded in restoring the name of Disney animated film art. The ghostly and supportive presence of the Brad Garrett voiced French master chef, Auguste Gusteau, and his insistence that anyone could learn to cook reaffirmed the implicit intent of RATATOUILLE, reminding us that Uncle Walt liked to appear on his World of Disney television program and explain the art of animated film to audiences. Then two years later, the Pixartists implicitly roasted Lucas in the allegorical Stanton film, WALL-E (2008).
‘Attention, shoppers. Try blue. It’s the new way.’
With its many allusions to the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy and THX 1138, Pixar implicitly and satirically likened the desolate and Tatooine-like desert sterility of the future Earth to the sterility of the new STAR WARS trilogy. Indeed, the fact that the eponymous main robotic character of the film evoked a robot seen in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the fact that the name of the Burtt voiced WALL-E-an acronym of Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class-evoked Walton, the middle name of Lucas, and the presence of longtime Lucas and STAR WARS sound designer Burtt as sound designer on the film implicitly affirmed the Lucas roasting intent of the film. And that the Pixartists implicitly hoped that Lucas would find his human touch again, given that WALL-E and his flaccid and chubby human pals on the THX 1138 evoking AXIOM space station-with its Lucas resembling and Jeff Garlin voiced Captain-began the laborious process of returning life to Earth at the end of the film. For their part, the Mouse House implicitly summed up the general consensus that Lucas had shot his bolt with the new STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy with THE RESCUERS evoking and all CGI animated tale of the dog named Bolt-voiced by John Travolta-who thought he was more powerful than he actually was in the allegorical Byron Howard and Chris Williams film, BOLT (2008). After roasting Lucas, the plucky Pixar Rebels then implicitly grappled with being swallowed up by the Disney Empire in the allegorical Unkrich film, TOY STORY 3 (2010).
‘Welcome to Sunnyside, folks.’
Indeed, the fact that Buzz and Woody-again implicitly linked to Lasseter and Catmull, and voiced by Allen and Hanks, respectively-and the rest of the toys struggled throughout the film to escape from the Sunnyside Daycare after being abandoned by Andy, implicitly affirmed that Pixar was uneasy with the new union with the Mouse House after being sold by Jobs, and determined to escape from the dominant Disney culture and maintain their unique creative spirit, for Sunnyside could be used in anagram fashion to create ‘Disney’. Alas, the implicit allegorical intent of TOY STORY 3 was missed, as yet again the film came across as a shameless filmmercial for movie tie-in merchandise. A crass shamelessness that Disney implicitly avoided when they successfully united the allegorical fairy tale style of old-indeed, the film evoked CINDERELLA-with the all CGI animation of new to create a cyberfilm that was more than a Pixar film with the Disney name on it, and sympathetically reached out to John and Deborah Landis again in the implicit form of Flynn Rider and Princess Rapunzel-voiced by Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore, respectively-in the allegorical Nathan Greno and Howard film, TANGLED (2010). Curiously, Disney implicitly made it a double creature feature year by having the implicitly Landis linked Dasdan-played by Jake Gyllenhaal-save the sacred CGI enhanced and time altering dagger the symbolized the new age of CGI enhanced film art from the Evil and implicitly Lucas linked Nyzam-played by Ben Kingsley-in the ALADDIN evoking and allegorical Mike Newell film, PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010). A commitment to Landis that overshadowed the Mouse House’s latest collaboration with Burton, Depp and Elfman for more adventures with another Alice and implicitly addressed the emerging threat posed to the status of Disney as the top animated film studio in the world-now that they had purchased arch rival, Pixar, and Marvel Comics-by the CGI animated films being released by rival Dreamworks SKG in the mostly CGI enhanced allegorical animaction artbuster, ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010).
‘The nightmare again.’
Significantly, the sight of Mia Wasikowska’s Alice Kingsleigh interacting with CGI creatures and environments in Under-Wonderland throughout most of the film reminded us that Disney had begun its film art journey with another real life Alice interacting with hand-animated creatures and environments in THE ALICE COMEDIES, implicitly linking Kingsleigh to Disney film art. As Carter’s rude and imperious Red Queen evoked the equally rude and imperious Jeffrey Katzenberg, the ‘K’ in Dreamworks SKG and once the head of feature film of Disney, and her right hand man, Crispin Glover’s Red Knight, evoked Spielberg, the implication was that the triumph of Kingsleigh and the forces of Anne Hathaway’s White Queen over the Red Knight and Red Queen equated with a triumph of Disney CGI film art over Dreamworks SKG film art. Unfortunately, the film was more Disney blockbuster than Burton artbuster. It also ridiculously ended back in England with Alice and Tim Piggot-Smith’s implicitly Cameron linked Lord Ascot deciding to join forces to expand their company into China, a country that the Mouse House was eager to expand into in real life. This improbable and implicit union with Cameron and brash expansion into China underlined that ALICE IN WONDERLAND was more of a blockbuster filmmercial for Disney than it was a Burton film. At any rate, ALICE IN WONDERLAND implied that its new union with Pixar made Disney confident that it had mastered the new world of cyber cinema, a confidence that inspired the Mouse House to again descend deep down inside the digital world of TRON to affirm how far it had come in the CGI age in the twilit and allegorical Joseph Kosinski film, TRON LEGACY (2011).
‘In there is our destiny!’
Indeed, the TRON-world version of the new CGI Disney logo prologue that preceded TRON LEGACY immediately implied the conviction of Disney that they had become one with the new world of cyber cinema. Dis also implicitly reached out to Lucas again in the form of Flynn-played again by Bridges-trapped in the even more spectacular digital world of TRON LEGACY as a cyber messiah battling his computer program form, Clu-also played again by Bridges-back from the derezzed dead as a haunting ghost from 1982, as haunting as the poor old Gardevil who had emerged with his 1982 obsessed Zone War website the year before. As Flynn died defeating Clu so as to help his son, Sam-played by Garrett Hedlund-save and escape to the real world with Quorra, the implicit symbol of cyber cinema-played by Olivia Wilde-in the end, it was fitting that Lucas would also symbolically die the following year when he sold the moisture farm to Disney in 2012.
Unfortunately, before passing ILM and Lucasfilm on to Disney, Lucas also chose Kennedy to lead Lucasfilm and ILM into their new partnership with Dis. This was a shock decision, for Kennedy and her then boyfriend and now husband Marshall had helped Folsey and Landis illegally hire and use Chen and Le on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE the night of the disaster. Thus, one of the people most responsible for the TZ disaster was now in a senior position with supposedly kid friendly Disney. Even worse, working with Kennedy was not unusual for the Mouse House, as Disney had contracted Kennedy and Marshall to produce films for them by the mid-Nineties because ‘…they were great with kids (?!)’ (Stewart, 286). Reaching out to Kennedy again outraged many people, confirmed that Disney had indeed lost its way in an insatiable and insidious lust for fortune and glory at any cost-including human life-during the Eisner and Bob Iger years, and no doubt caused Uncle Walt to roll and moan angrily in his grave. Screamin’ Stephen King shared the righteous fury, implicitly linking Kennedy and Lucas to Rosie and Grandpa Flick, two leaders of the insidious True Knot, a group of psychic vampires that psychically drained children of their life essences in his twilit and allegorical novel, Doctor Sleep (2013).
Luckily, one day Kennedy would retire, taking her odious presence with her, and harmony would return again to the Mouse House. Indeed, the little animation film studio that survived and thrived in the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War and the dread Zone Wars, and had also survived and thrived despite the worst decisions of Uncles Walt, Mike and Bob and the rudeness of Katzenberg, would no doubt survive and thrive in the Rosie Kennedy era. Until then, the commitment of Disney to CGI enhanced film art would continue, as in such allegorical fare as the ROBIN HOOD evoking Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell film, BRAVE (2012), which implied that the sight and sound of the Peigi Barker and Kelly Macdonald voiced Princess Merida evading three suitors and triumphing over Mor’du, the blockbuster beast of a bear who was perhaps linked to Sir Peter Jackson and his spectacular CGI enhanced THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, symbolized the hope of Pixar that their all CGI film art would never be mastered by any one suitor or taken over by blockbuster lusts; the Rich Moore film, WRECK-IT RALPH (2012); the Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee film, FROZEN (2013)-another all CGI tale in the classic Disney fairy tale style like TANGLED, and which implied that the teary reunion of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa-voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, respectively-in the end symbolized the successful union of the new CGI animated Disney; and the old hand-animated Disney-and the Jon Favreau animaction sequel, JUNGLE BOOK (2016), which implicitly vanquished the poor old Gardevil in the triumph over Idris Alba’s insidious tiger, Shere Khan, as the intimidating tiger evoked the equally intimidating Tigers of Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, where I worked as a Library Technician. Or did Neel Sethi’s man-cub Mowgli symbolize Gardevil, given that he brought the red flower of seering enlightenment aka fire to the dark denizens of the New Hollywood linked jungle with its strangely silent elephants, making the triumph over Shere Khanada a triumph over Gardevil’s bitter and nasty Dark Side that finally allowed him to become fully human, in the end?
At any rate, Disney’s commitment to CGI enhanced film art continued that same year with a new reluctant dragon in the sweet and gentle allegorical David Lowery animaction sequel, PETE’S DRAGON (2016), which saw Oakes Fegley’s Pete looking and acting like Emil Minty’s Feral Kid in the allegorical Miller film, THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981), and collaborating with the film’s implicit symbol of CGI enhanced film art, a CGI dragon also named Elliot in a triumph over twilit Evildoers. This implied that Lowery was responding to THE ROAD WARRIOR, which was alluded to in PETE’S DRAGON, or to the more recent allegorical Miller film, MAD MAX FURY ROAD (2015), as if to exorcise the Temple Theatre of that latter ultraviolent film. No doubt on top of all of the super CGI enhanced satirical films made with Marvel-delved into in the essays on the various film artists on this site, as the superheroes are implicitly linked to them-one day Dis would also release a CGI enhanced remake of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA that would link the doomed and vengeful Captain Nemo to either Cameron, the intrepid solo submariner, or the poor old Gardevil, the equally intrepid and solo film allegory revelator, to reaffirm their mastery of cyber cinema. At any rate, delving past the superficial illusion of life in order to arrive at a deeper knowledge of the allegorical world of Disney-with a spoonful of maple syrup to help the allegorical medicine go down, in the most insightful way-was necessary to truly understand Tricky Mouse.
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