Movie Review: The Reluctant Dragon

Hey there Sifters! I thought I would write up another movie review! I’ve been stopping by my library and taking out old often forgotten Disney movies and documentaries. Last time it was The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story. This time it’s the Reluctant Drago. This is a movie that was made entirely to explain the behind the scenes magic of how a Disney Animated film is made at the Disney Studios. Some parts of the movie are shot in black and white and others are in color. It’s a very witty film with a grand appearance by Walt Disney himself in the end of the film. In true Disney fashion, the behind the scenes magic is told through a story. The film begins with a man and his wife, who wants him to take the story The Reluctant Dragon to the Disney Studios and pitch it as a film. He is quite doubtful that it will work but his wife makes him go anyway. Hilarity and education occur simultaneously as the gentleman attempts to hide from his studio guide who is supposed to be walking him around the studio before taking him to meet Walt.

The gentleman goes through the sound effects department, the storyboarding department, the animation department, the sculpting department the ink and paint department and more. He keep accumulating souvenirs as he evades his overly eager guide. In the end, the audience does get to see the story of The Reluctant Dragon.

It’s an amazing film that I think everyone who loves Disney movies and the behind the scenes magic should see. It’s got great bonus footage if you get the right edition and it’s fantastically entertaining as well as educational. It has all the charm of the 40s, which is when it was made and getting to see Walt on screen is always a real gem. My favorite part was getting to see how the multi-plane camera worked. I knew the basic concept but had never really seen it in action. It was nice to get to see how massive they really were.

The film is unique in that it tells two stories, the story of the man on a mission from his wife to pitch The Reluctant Dragon and the actual story of The Reluctant Dragon, which is just darling! It’s an animated short about a Dragon who wants to write sonnets instead of fight against the knights of the kingdom. The cartoon itself is in full color even though some of the live action scenes are in black and white. The live action and animated characters are charming and reflective of their time, the story is wonderful and it’s an amazing look at the making of an animated film as done by the best of the best. I definitely highly recommend tracking down a copy and watching it, it’s Disney magic at it’s finest during an era right before animation fell apart for a bit because of WWII, which gives it an interesting context.

Thanks for reading and keep Sifting Through Shelves!

Time Travel vs. Nostalgia

1264092_10152240965547818_837053240_oI hear a lot of people saying how they long to go back to the days of old Hollywood, or how they wish they had been at the signing of the Declaration of Independence or something of the like. What they don’t realize is that unless they would like to give up things like technology, modern medicine, and for ladies, your basic rights, going back to a time period other than the one to which we have become accustomed would kind of suck. If you went back to the 1700s or the Civil War era and you became ill, because your body wouldn’t be able to fight the diseases that were so rampant. Now, many people now a days have been vaccinated, but there are lots of things that we don’t get vaccines for simply because the disease isn’t around anymore. So, for one thing, your likelihood of dying of an illness that the 21st century body isn’t prepared for is fairly high. And to ladies who would like to go back to the antebellum or revolutionary era, news flash, say good bye to voting, literacy and having a say in anything, and good luck birthing all those kids without the benefit of a hospital.
My major, as I have mentioned in previous articles, was history, so I’m quite well acquainted with the past and why it’s fascinating. It wasn’t until I had a professor ask my Jazz in American History class one day what era we would like to have been born in. I said Revolutionary America because of all the excitement and intellectual development. I was shocked when he said “Ok, none of which you are a part of because you are a woman, you have 5 kids, at least 2 of which probably died in child birth or shortly thereafter of disease and that’s only if you actually made it to 23.” I was taken a back and then I realized he was right.
It was then that I began to realize the difference between nostalgia and actually wanting to be born in another time or be transported to another time. We go to events like the renaissance faire, visit 20s speakeasies and go to Dapper Day because there are things about those eras that we like. I love the IMG_1308dresses and glamour of the 20s-50s Hollywood and the manners that people had back then. I love the corsetry of the Renaissance and the hearty food and archery. But the difference between the nostalgia I have for other eras and actually wanting to transport myself back to them is that I like studying and experiencing parts of these times from the comfort of the 21st century, where we are blessed with the technology and events to visit these eras and return safely with all of our medical health and rights in tact.

Just as there are things we don’t like about the 21st century such as the dependence on technology, war, and a general laziness about the culture, there are far more things we wouldn’t like about the other eras the world has gone through. Every time period has its faults. If you are interested in other time periods, find events centered around them and read about them. Then realize that while they are nice places to visit in your mind and from the comfort of the 21st century, there are many reasons you wouldn’t want to actually live in them. If you don’t believe me, check out a show called Colonial House. It was a show on PBS that placed people in a colonial town and they had to live the same way that people would have lived back then. There is also a show, the precursor to the show called the 1900 House where a family had to live as they would have in Victorian times. Check out the links below and keep sifting through shelves! You never know what you’ll find!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1900_House

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonial_House_(TV_series)

It’s a Small World

 

Sun collage It's a small world

I will always defend the truth in this song. It was written by the Sherman brothers for the 1964 World’s Fair and it rings with truth now as it did then. The world is, if it could be, smaller now than it was then. Social media has made connection with everyone who uses it instantaneous. The distance between myself and friends in the UK is nothing with Twitter, Instagram and Skype. The oceans only divide us physically and everyone sees the same sun, moon and stars, but what makes people amazing is how we can all see the same thing so differently. This point is made fabulously in the It’s a Small World attraction by showing a different representation of the sun in every area of the world that your boat goes through. With every day the world gets smaller. It was massive when we had to travel it on foot, it was huge when we had to travel it by train, carriage, car and boat. Now that there are planes and the internet, we can get anywhere we want in as little as the time it takes to Skype a friend, turn on a Youtube video, log in to Twitter or Facebook or the length of a plane ride. I could hop on a plane now and be in Japan by tomorrow if I wanted to. This used to be impossible less than a century ago. Think about that for a second. The world is a paradox, it’s so big that some of us only hope we get to see a fraction of it, yet it’s so small in that we can travel it in an instant from the comfort of our own homes. As the Sherman brothers said, this song is a prayer for peace. It’s a small world, and it gets smaller every day, coexistence and peace and harmony are crucial and yet still seem to evade us. I can only hope that eventually, the prayer for peace is answered with harmony between the people of this very small and ever shrinking world.

“It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears.

There’s so much that we share

That it’s time we’re aware

It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all (3x)

It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun

And a smile means friendship to everyone

Though the mountains are wide

And the oceans divide

It’s a small world after all…”

Keep sifting through shelves, it’s one of the best ways to explore the small world, after all.

 

The Term Genocide and the Israeli Conflict

This article will probably make a lot of people incredibly angry, I may lose followers, I’m ok with that. I would like to address the recent treatment of all of the Jewish people and the media portrayal of the conflict over the Gaza Strip. Now, I’m not even remotely going to pretend I have all of the facts here, it’s a lot to keep up with. What I do know, is that no matter how you feel about the conflict, the current treatment of the Jewish people on social media is appalling. I’m not talking about what is going on in the Gaza Strip, that’s a complicated issue that goes back thousands of years, see the link of the timeline below, and has only gotten hotter as time goes on. What I am here to address is the huge current wave of anti-semitism that seems to have taken over social media.

I have one HUGE question to those who are calling Jewish people (those in the USA and abroad) Nazis (which is about the worst thing you can call them), committers of genocide and other insults that are just as bad. Really, check instagram and twitter if you don’t believe me. My question is…what do the American or European Jewish people have to do with the conflict in Israel? They aren’t there, they aren’t the ones involved in the war, and whether or not you agree with Israel or Palestine, the Jewish people in America aren’t committing any kind of crime, yet they are taking brutal bullying over the whole situation. I know several people of Jewish descent who feel unsafe in their own skin because of the protests and hashtags taking over the internet. One of them believes that the world would like to once again try to annihilate her people because of something she isn’t even remotely involved in.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but make it an educated one. If the hashtags and protests were about people of Asian descent, African American descent, Native American descent or the like, everyone would be condemning the people hosting the protests and allowing the racial slurs to escape their keyboards, there would be no tolerance for it and the people posting them would be reported immediately and be held accountable for their racist commentary. I know these protests have happened in the past, I’m not denying that.  I’m not saying at all that racism towards the other people I mentioned isn’t still alive and well, and that disgusts me, I’m just saying, the fact that some of these protests are allowed to continue is baffling to me.

Now to address calling the Jewish people Nazis. Seriously, are people really this stupid? The Nazis committed systematic mass genocide sweeping across Europe, I don’t think the Jewish people living in Europe and the United States (I’m not saying that the  Jewish people of Israel are either, but here, I’m just talking about those in the USA and Europe) are committing such acts. It’s as cruel as can be to compare someone of Jewish descent to the group who systematically wiped out over 6 million of their people. If you wouldn’t call a Native American a Jacksonian and you wouldn’t call an African American a Slave Driver or a member of the KKK and you wouldn’t call someone of Russian descent, Stalin or a Communist…why in the name of all that is historically sane would you call a Jewish person a Nazi?! Just as there are still members of the KKK alive and well, there are still a group of people called NeoNazis alive and well. I really cannot understand what people are thinking when they attack those who literally have nothing to do with the battle over the Gaza Strip. It’s not right or sane to call anyone a Nazi outside of speaking of the events of the Holocaust and WWII, but it’s especially cruel to call someone of Jewish descent a Nazi. All you need to do is read a book about the Holocaust or go to the museum in Washington DC to realize why this is more wrong than people seem to imagine.

One more thing I want to address is the use of the word genocide in regards to the Gaza conflict. It’s not genocide. I spent a fair amount of time in my college career studying the various genocides that have occurred throughout history (which was my major) so I don’t speak about it lightly. You will never hear me using the term outside of its intended context. My genocide studies professor defined genocide as follows “mass, systematic, killing of people by the govt. because of their group membership” (keep in mind that the man has his doctoral degree and was a professor of Genocide Studies and Russian History among other things at my university). Dictionary.com defines it as such “the deliberate and systematic extermination of national, racial, political, or cultural group.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/genocide). Now, from what I’ve read, Israel is not invading the Palestinian state and systematically exterminating all of it’s people. What Hitler did to the Jewish people during the Holocaust was genocide, what happened in Rwanda was genocide, what happened to the Armenian people, was genocide. What’s happening in the Gaza strip…is war. It’s tragic and I’m not pointing fingers and saying that either side is right because I don’t have enough information for that, but they are at war, there’s no mass extinction of a particular group of people happening. They aren’t being rounded up and taken to death camps or systematically starved out. If you can give me facts to prove that the textbook definition of genocide is happening, feel free to put them in the comments below, but until then, I stand my ground. 

There are several hashtags that say “hitler was right” or “down with Israel”. I fail to see how defacing American and European synagogues is going to have any effect on the conflict over Gaza…they aren’t involved, so leave them out of it. They aren’t part of the Israeli government or the American government. So before you pick up your sign and join the world wide protests or take to your keyboards and try to start a new anti-jewish hashtag, do your research, remember how many innocent people you are hurting with your words and remember that the majority of the people who see your twitter post have nothing to do with this conflict. War sucks, I know, I’ve spent a lot of my time studying it and its effects. I don’t pretend to know how bad, since I have been lucky enough to have never been in a country torn apart by it. I have loaded the area below with links, one that proves that the Nazi party is alive and functional, two about the explosion of anti-semitism recently, one about the creation of the state of Israel, one about whether or not the Gaza Strip conflict is a genocide, one that outlines the conflict time line, and a few others. Please read them. Don’t be the kind of person who spreads hate over social media. Social media can be used for good in so many ways, but lately, I hear far more about it being used to spread tragedy and hate.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/09/4280988/two-men-sought-in-fatal-shooting.html

http://www.athensnews.com/ohio/article-43137-blood-bucket-challenge.html

http://www.americannaziparty.com/about/

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/13/4287481/europes-frightening-explosion.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/03/europe-anti-semitism-rallies_n_5758580.html

http://www.answers.com/Q/Is_the_Israeli-Palestinian_Conflict_a_genocide

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/israel-genocide/

http://israelipalestinian.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000635

http://www.answers.com/Q/Why_was_Israel_created_after_World_War_II

A Teacher Gave A Student An ‘F’ And A Smiley Face. But She Wasn’t Making Fun Of Him.

This woman is beyond brilliant, there need to be more people like her in the educational system. She knows that while the test matters, it’s about what you show you can do, not about what the test says you can’t do. If there were more people like her in the school system, I might not be as terrified as I am about the future of education in America. Bring people up, don’t tear them down. If we taught that, maybe kids wouldn’t tear each other down so much. I was lucky enough to be taught by a lot of people like her and receive an amazing education. I’m grateful for that every day.

Interview with Logan Sekulow: Director of As Dreamers Do

In addition to seeing the As Dreamers Do film, I was lucky enough to interview the director of the film and ask him a few questions. He was so kind and it’s clear that Logan has dedication to the Disney story! Enjoy!

Kaitlyn: What was the research like for the film? Where did you do most of the research?

Logan: I’ve been a huge fan of Walt my whole life and I had specifics points I wanted to hit. Much of the extra research was done by my screenwriter but I knew the beginning the end and a few specific scenes. The Mouse scene, the projector scene that were largely fictionalized but then moments like recreating Alice’s wonderland were the most amazing. It was a real time travel experience for me. Lots of research but Wendy (screenwriter) and I are just big fans so it helped.

Kaitlyn: Did you film in Marceline, MO?

Logan: No – we almost did but our schedule had us shooting in January. January in Missouri is bad news – of course we ended up having the coldest winter in 30 years in Tennessee where we shot. Also – we shot most of the film in Franklin, TN. It’s a largely unchanged civil war era town. So in someways it was more authentic than Marceline. I still would love to go there soon though and show the movie.

Kaitlyn: How did you know you found the perfect Walt?

Logan: We got the audition tape from Olan and everyone else – which some were great – were just not even in the same zone. Olan was great on camera, looked a decent amount like Walt and just had the perfect attitude – not to mention he’s just an amazing actor. I hope we can put of the tape one day.

Kaitlyn: Do you intend to make a post Mickey movie?

Logan:  Good question. I hadn’t but due to the success of this one there is interest. I have a few projects I still and to do and we may get too it. I think getting Olan on board for a sequel may be tough right now. I’ve talked about doing a making of the Haunted Mansion movie. That I would love.

Kaitlyn: I think the Disney family would be incredibly touched by the movie, have any of them seen it?

Logan: People at the Walt Disney family foundation have seen the movie. I haven’t heard directly from any of the family. The foundation couldn’t approve the movie due to their connection to the Walt Disney company – however I heard really kind things from them. Disney legend Alice Davis came to our UCLA screening – she was an imagineer and worked directly with Walt. She enjoyed it – so no official word, but only positives from anyone in the company.

Kaitlyn: What was the most difficult part of the movie to uncover since most of this story is so unknown to the public?

Logan: It isn’t hard to find. Just people haven’t been exposed to it. The hardest thing was deciding to believe. Historians have their versions where they claim Walt was elaborating and changing things to make a better story. We just said forget that theory – if Walt said it we are taking it as gospel.

But characters were difficult. We had photos of most but their speech and movements was up the writer and actor. Even Ub Iwerks was very hard to find audio recordings etc.

Kaitlyn: How difficult is it to shoot a movie about Disney given how strict the company is? I would love to see more of these from fans of Disney history! Did you need to get the rights to anything?

Logan: Short answer – we are unauthorized. We are telling a story a man who has passed away and was a well known public figure. No one owns history. I get much more into detail – but no. Everyone we know on the inside of Disney really loves the film and actively supports it.

Kaitlyn: Has the positive response to the film inspired any new ideas?

Logan: Yes. More than you can imagine. I’m both the most worn out and most excited about work I have ever been. The next few movies – this one I said expect magic.. well from Logan Sekulow expect insanity.

As Dreamers Do: Movie Review

I recently saw an amazing film made by a gentleman named Logan Sekulow, written by Wendy Ott and starring Olan Rogers and released by Vision Films. The film is a biopic about Walt Disney called As Dreamers Do. The film tells the story of Walt Disney from his early days moving to Marceline, MO until he first drew Mickey Mouse. It covers his often glanced over childhood and introduces the viewer to his family and friends. It tells the not always happy story of the genius before success strikes. His journey was definitely not easy, but the film is incredibly inspiring.

The movie does an excellent job with one foot on the side of documentary and one foot on the side of a period piece. The film is narrated by Travis Tritt and all of the music is original. It feels like someone who truly knew Walt when he was alive is sitting with you telling you the whole story. They did a lot of filming on site in Misosuri and there was clearly a lot of research done into both the characters and the story. The authenticity is fantastic!

I got to watch the movie early because I pre-ordered the digital download of the film and I also got the commentary. The director is clearly passionate about the project and put a lot of work into it. The writing is great, as is the acting from the whole cast. Young Walt just makes me want to hug him and take him to Disney World to show him what his dreams and his art become. Olan Rogers, who plays Walt as an adult has all the enthusiasm that we have grown to believe Walt possessed and his relationship with Roy in the film is nothing short of a real brotherly relationship. They but heads at times but when it really comes down to it, they care deeply for one another.

The film is having several premieres throughout the country and the pre-sale of the film has ended, however, the film is set to have a full release but there has been no set date as of yet. The official website for the movie is www.waltmovie.com. When you go to the site, the trailer automatically plays and I guarantee, you will immediately be sucked into the story. I am an avid fan of Walt and all things Disney history and this movie told a beautiful story of a man who changed the face of entertainment, but as of the end of the film, he just doesn’t know it yet. The movie also has a Facebook page that keeps fans updated on the premieres with photos from the viewings and is a great way to interact with the amazing people who made this film. This is by far the easiest and best way to keep up to date on the happenings of the film; when they decide on a release date for the movie, this will be the place it is posted first. If you don’t want to miss out on the movie, I highly suggest following them on Facebook and signing up for email alerts from the filmmakers on their website.

 

(Photo is from http://www.facebook.com/waltmovie)