About dreamstobecome

I'm a writer and actor based in Chicago.

Disney Odyssey #38 – Flying Whales Are Neither Pines Nor Roman: Discuss

For this installation of the Disney Odyssey we turned to a couple of real experts: Maureen Smith and Daniel Johanson of Chicago’s own Scapi Mag! Two trained opera lovers and performers, Daniel and Maureen have made it their mission to seek out and promote independent artists, companies, collectives, and projects of all kinds in the city of Chicago, whether it’s theatre, poetry, music, opera, or beyond. As I have never seen this movie and don’t know a whole lot about which classical hits are included, I thought it would be neat to get an inside perspective from these two phenomenal music nerds on what pieces are included, why they’re unusual, and how well the animations play along (or don’t). 

 

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The Film: Fantasia 2000  (2000)

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“The Lesson of the Hunter and his Stepchildren” – a new folktale for The Blackwood

My good friend Eli Kurtz has spent this month of May running a Kickstarter for his brand new setting for Savage Worlds, a wuxia/folktale inspired world called The Blackwood. He has spent the last several years building this world and preparing to bring it to the public, and his Kickstarter is fully funded at this time, but with PLENTIFUL stretch goals yet to be reached in the last home stretch here (including more fiction from yours truly). Eli asked me to write a folktale for the game book, and so I chose a few interesting threads from various world folklore traditions to weave together into a new glimpse into the dangerous world of The Blackwood.

If you’re so inclined, please CLICK HERE to check out their Kickstarter and contribute if you can!

I give you “The Lesson of the Hunter and his Stepchildren.” (Extra points if you can name some of the influences on this story!)


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Disney Odyssey #37 – Unrealistic Parkour and Male Hairlessness: A Musical by Phil Collins

As we wrap up the Disney Renaissance with #37, we were happy to finally have someone with us who we’d been looking forward to teaming up with for a while now. Justin Blankenship is a pretty talented guy we met here in Chicago when working on “A Klingon Christmas Carol” in 2016. Since then, he’s been gaming and hanging with us on all sorts of other fun things… but this is his first Disney Odyssey appearance. He also did a really hilarious (somewhat sweary, slightly NSFW) webseries called “Muggled” and we highly recommend it! Additionally, you can catch Justin on our brand new weekly live stream through One Shot Podcast Network, a Fate inspired game called Warda: Curiosities!

TL;DR – Justin’s cool and he came to watch Tarzan with us. Get hype.

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The Film: Tarzan (1999)

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Disney Odyssey #36 – The Great Stone Dragon Victory Tour 1998

The thirty-sixth installment of the Disney Odyssey brings us to the year 1998 with an exquisite example of Disney’s growing awareness that women can kick just as much trash as men and don’t necessarily require overt romance or a wedding to satisfy their movie destiny. I have long been deeply-rooted in my love for Mulan as a Disney Princess, as she is the only Official Disney Princess to date to be made so for extreme acts of courage instead of a royal bloodline or marriage.

Heck yes.

It is an interesting film, more on the dark and mature side of the Disney spectrum, especially in the latter years of the Disney Renaissance. It deals with war very openly for the first time in any of the animated feature films, and yet it still holds a great deal of quotable levity and heartfelt sweetness.

This time, Drew and I were joined by fellow Disney dork and performer Kat Geertsen!

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The Film: Mulan (1998)

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Disney Odyssey #35 – This is Basically Just A Damn Yankees/Superman Greek Myth AU Fanfic by Disney

If I’m going to say only one thing about Disney’s Hercules, it’s that it is nowhere near as dirty, bizarre, or epic as the original Greek myths it draws from… BUT…. it was still my very favorite Disney movie right up until 2016. That’s right, folks. I said it. Hercules is the best Disney movie of all time until Zootopia.

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Deal with it.

I grew up obsessed with Greek mythology (a skill which may have been useless to a child but as a teenager would serve me well and help me not only pass but ACE my one semester astronomy class). I knew the myths, I knew the variations, I knew the different stories that were later written and inspired by them. I even knew something about the Trojan War thanks to Wishbone and a glimpse of early Greek theatre through various picture books and tons of Renaissance paintings. Complex, weird, disgusting, insane stories about people who were not always good or bad but sometimes were both… and lots of bizarre magical combination animals (pegasus! chimera! hippogriff! hippocampus! sphinx! basilisk! cockatrice! THE LISTS GO ON PEOPLE). I loved all of it. Especially puzzling out how to say their names out loud (Eurydice eluded me until high school, but I was especially proud of figuring out Bellerophon and Halcyone and Persephone myself). I love that the stories are found echoed throughout history, across different civilizations – as most good stories are. I didn’t discover Norse, Egyptian, or Hindu mythology until much later, and although my excitement for old stories continued on those paths too… the Greeks were my pantheon. My favorites. Never mind the Romans who literally couldn’t even be bothered to do their own thing but they just renamed everyone… I mean really: Athena becoming Minerva?! Go home, Caesar.

So Disney’s Hercules hit theatres in 1997 and I exploded with joy. Somehow, even in spite of my brain pulling a total BBC Sherlock while I watched it the first time…

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…somehow, SOMEHOW, I enjoyed it immensely anyway. The animation is gorgeous. The color palettes are all perfect. The witty one-liners are the punchiest. This is arguably one of the most quotable Disney movies in my opinion – a feat which combines both the excellence of the screenplay and of the voice actors. Danny DeVito. James Woods. Rip Torn. Charlton Heston is the NARRATOR for a hot second. Not to mention the Muses – Roz Ryan, LaChanze, Cheryl Freeman, Lillias White, and Vaneese Y. Thomas. They almost had the Spice Girls but scheduling was a beast.

The bottom line here is that somehow this movie clings to the deepest joyful parts of my imagination and I love it with a passion. I fully admit that I may overlook some faults because I like it so much. My apologies for any biases that may sneak into this post…

 

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The Film: Hercules (1997)

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