Author Topic: Disney films and thunderstorms  (Read 3312 times)

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wiley207

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Disney films and thunderstorms
« on: May 06, 2012, 07:28:47 pm »
Lately I couldn't help but notice that almost EVERY Disney animated feature made up to the end of the renaissance has some kind of electrical storm, or some other kind of thunder/lightning involved. Usually it's for dramatic effect (like during some final showdown), but sometimes it's also just there, as if it were a certain mood. These are the Disney movies I have seen that have thunderstorms or something similar...

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (accompanies the Queen's transformation, then put to good effect during that final chase of the Dwarfs versus the disguised Queen.)
"Pinocchio"
"Fantasia"
"Dumbo"
"Bambi" (the whole basis for the Little April Shower song, this was also the first feature-length Disney movie to use the Castle Thunder sound effects to accompany the storm.)
"Make Mine Music" (most famously during the climax to the Willie the Operatic Whale segment)
"Fun and Fancy Free"
"Melody Time"
"Lady and the Tramp"
"Sleeping Beauty"
"101 Dalmatians"
"The Sword in the Stone"
"The Jungle Book" (complete with a bolt of lightning starting a fire!)
"The Aristocats"
"Robin Hood"
"The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh" (during the reused "Blustery Day" segment)
"The Rescuers"
"The Fox and the Hound"
"The Black Cauldron" (the first Disney feature in years that did NOT use "Castle Thunder," instead using more modern-sounding lightning effects)
"The Great Mouse Detective" (Disney used "Castle Thunder" again in this one, then pretty much abandoned it afterwards)
"Oliver & Company"
"The Little Mermaid"
"The Rescuers Down Under"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Aladdin"
"The Lion King" (it even does the same lightning-starting-fire bit as "The Jungle Book" did!)
"Hercules"
"Tarzan"
"The Emperor's New Groove"


Just felt like sharing this somewhat unusual Disney movie cliche. It seems that there's always a lot of cold fronts and warm fronts clashing in the Disney universe!  :P

Mac

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Re: Disney films and thunderstorms
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 06:11:50 am »
I'd never noticed that before, but you're right. My favourite Disney cliché though is the old 'everyone cries over a dead character only for them to not be dead after all'. Think about it...

Snow White So beautiful – even in death(!) the dwarfs can't find it in their hearts to bury her. Along comes the prince and brings her back to life with a kiss. This use is pretty legitimate – The witch's sleeping death spell is an integral part of the Disney version of the story. The scene where the dwarfs cry over Snow White genuinely reduced some audiences to tears and, following from that dip into sadness, it makes the happy ending even happier. Trouble is it worked so well that the same idea was used in just about every Disney film after.

Pincocchio The puppet dies from exhaustion, but just while Geppetto is weeping over the death, The Blue Fairy rewards Pinocchio's unselfish act by bring him back as a real living boy. I don't mind this because of the funny bit where Geppetto tells Pincocchio to lie back down "You're dead Pinocchio"!

Bambi Bambi thinks his mum is dead only to find out... No, wait. Maybe not that one.

Lady and the Tramp Trusty gets run over and Jock howls in sorrow. But he's back for Christmas with nothing but a bandaged leg.

Jungle Book Baloo dies in this one and makes Mowgli cry. Luckily it was just a funny jape to trick Bagheera or something.

Robin Hood Skippy and Lil John weep over the death of Robin Hood who lies dead at the bottom of the moat with presumably 18 arrows in his back, arms and face. But! Look it! Look it! He'd just gone for a swim around the burning castle after all.

The Black Cauldron Gurgi makes the ultimate sacrifice for his friends, but when that's too sad some witches bring him back to life.

Beauty and the Beast Belle cries over the dead Beast. Luckily her love for him turns him not only into a human, but an alive one!

The Dogfather/Toadette

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Re: Disney films and thunderstorms
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 09:34:33 pm »
Just felt like sharing this somewhat unusual Disney movie cliche. It seems that there's always a lot of cold fronts and warm fronts clashing in the Disney universe!  :P
The thing that makes many of these thunder sequences even more clichéd is the fact the first several films continuously used, as you said, Castle Thunder. It might not be my favorite thunder effect (I prefer the WB/DFE thunder fx), but it's memorable nonetheless. And as for...
My favourite Disney cliché though is the old 'everyone cries over a dead character only for them to not be dead after all'.
I indeed thought about that, and yes, that may be the most tired cliché in film history. This was why I was fascinated when I heard that Ray had died for real in "The Princess and the Frog", and that there were no other possibilities of the cliché happening in that movie.

wiley207

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Re: Disney films and thunderstorms
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2012, 06:20:42 pm »
The thing that makes many of these thunder sequences even more clichéd is the fact the first several films continuously used, as you said, Castle Thunder. It might not be my favorite thunder effect (I prefer the WB/DFE thunder fx), but it's memorable nonetheless.

Eh, I prefer Castle Thunder over the WB/DePatie-Freleng thunder sounds (maybe because I'm also a Disney/Hanna-Barbera fan?), but the WB thunder sounds work pretty well at times like in "What's Opera, Doc?" Though I wasn't too keen when they were overused outside of Treg Brown's supervision, like in some DePatie-Freleng cartoons (an episode of "What's New Mr. Magoo" was like this) and even on "Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown!" (which used many of the same sounds DePatie-Freleng was using at the time)
Even "Fiesta Fiasco" from 1967 at WBA used them ad-nauseum, despite them using Hanna-Barbera sound FX at the time (they obviously did not pick up Castle Thunder, along with other Hanna-Barbera sounds.) I did a montage of the Castle Thunder effect in modern animation, right here (a lot of clips from WBA show up!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z6tq_Y5_Ao

As for the whole other cliche Mac mentioned, I remember it also being seen near the end of "The Great Mouse Detective," after Ratigan and Basil fall off the clock tower due to Big Ben striking 10 PM (the vibrations of the noise caused Ratigan to lose his balance and grab Basil in the process), after a few seconds of silence (except Big Ben still chiming), Olivia starts crying because she thinks Basil is long gone, but stops when she sees Basil floating back up using the pedal-powered propellor from Ratigan's blimp. Cue the happy music and cheering from Olivia, her father and Dr. Dawson!  :P

Mac

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Re: Disney films and thunderstorms
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 02:33:03 pm »
It would have been a much better twist if Olivia had started crying, heard the squeaking propeller, looked down in hope and wonder to see, emerging from the clouds, Ratigan! Who would of course then hope onto the balloon and start beating the snot out of all the surviving good guys. I don't know why no one at Disney thought to do that.

The earliest example I can think of for a Disney example of th it's sad, he's dead, he's not dead, it's happy cliché is the Silly Symphony Busy Beavers. In this one the heroic little beaver is apparently crushed by a tree before emerging unscathed amongst the branches. Some how though it's played out in a much cheerier, sillier way than in any of the features though.