Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Well, there's some nasty business that's done. I now own chaosinabox.com for another two years. Ahh, I remember two years ago.... "No, I think I only need to get chaosinbox.com for two years. True, I've got a ton of money saved up right now thanks to my job in Japan, but two years from now, in 2005, I'll have a ton MORE money from my first job in radio! Two years is all I need!" Boy, was I young and stupid.

Anyway, got some DVD news for you Disney-philes. Disney is going to release wave 5 of its Walt Disney Treasures collection this December. This is their series of DVDs that compiles their animated shorts and various episodes of the Wonderful World of Disney TV show. There are two in this new wave that caught my fancy.

The first one is called Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts 1920s-1960s. This is the collection of animated short films that really don't fit into any category. They're not Silly Symphonies. They're not Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck cartoons. These are the "others." I want it because they've already mentioned that it'll include one of my favourite Disney shorts: Lambert the Sheepish Lion.

The second one is called Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox: Legendary Heroes. I want this set for The Swamp Fox. It's set during the American War for Independence, and Canadian star Leslie Nielsen played war hero Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. I want it for 2 reasons: (1) When I was a kid, they started showing The Wonderful World of Disney every night at 5 and I was enamored with The Swamp Fox. But number 2 is the more interesting reason.

The Swamp Fox was the only Disney product ever banned in Canada.

I actually saw Leslie Nielsen explain this in an interview on the CBC one time. As you know, the Walt Disney Company has always had a reputation of "re-intepreting" classic fairy tales, historical events, and darn near anything in order to make for a more compelling tale. It's like my dad always says, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." Anyway, for their Swamp Fox series, Disney felt that they needed a rather dasterdly villain, so they chose to make villains of the Loyalists. Now, we all study the Loyalists in elementary school history. When the American Revolution broke out, they wanted to remain loyal to the crown, but also understood the American desire for independence. So, in a classic Canadian compromise, they simply packed up and moved to the Canadian colonies. The Swamp Fox show, however, portrayed the Loyalists as a crooked wealthy elite who plotted to re-conquer the USA for England from the safety of the Canadian colonies. Which just wasn't the case. So, for this gross misrepresentation of Canadian history, Parliment banned The Swamp Fox.

And now I can buy it on DVD!

I'm still kind of tempted to seek out the one Walt Disney Treasures DVD called On the Front Lines. This is a compalation of all the propaganda cartoons Disney made during WW2. A lot of them are highly racist towards the Germans and the Japanese, and a lot of people were stunned when Disney actually released them.

Anyway, speaking of Disney on DVD, I should mention that yesterday was when Disney released wave 3 of their dubbed Studio Ghibli films! Now, you can run down to your local store and pick-up the Studio Ghibli classics Pom Poko and My Neighbours the Yamadas. These two films come from the mind of Isao Takahata, who also gave us the classic anime Grave of the Fireflies. Anyway, these two films:

My Neighbours the Yamadas originally came out in 1999. It's based on the manga of the same name, and follows the adventures of the Yamadas, a typical Japanese family.

Pom Poko came out in 1994. It's about a tribe of Tanuki (Japanese racoons) whose forest is threatened by a construction project. So, they unite all the Tanuki tribes to fight off the construction workers. Yes, it's Braveheart with racoons.

Actually, a lot of people are curious to see how Disney dubbed Pom Poko. Part of the Disney/Studio Ghibli deal is that Disney can't alter the Studio Ghibli films in any way; Disney can only translate. And, apparently, one of the characters in Pom Poko has large, legendary testicles. This character always brags about it. It even becomes a plot point.

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