Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Animated Adventures From Around the World

I spent most of the morning dubbing some of the movies I picked up this weekend and over the last few months. Started with the one I knew the least about, The Snow Queen. TV and radio personality Art Linkletter introduces the US dubbed version of this Russian animated fairy tale. Unlike the Disney movie Frozen that's set to be released in November, Snow Queen more-or-less follows the same plot of the original story. The only really major change is here, it's the Snow Queen herself who causes the glass to get in Kay's eye after he claims he's not afraid of her, rather than some random goblin. Sandra Dee is the voice of the determined Gerda; Tommy Kirk is Kay.

I have no idea if this is available anywhere besides videos from the 80s at press time. If you run into it on video or on cable, it's not that bad. In fact, it kind of plays like a Disney film from the 90s with more limited animation. I especially loved Jan, the feisty kid thief who at first wants to keep Gerda with her "pets," then finally agrees to help her.

Watership Down takes us from Russia to England for a very different, and far more realistic, animated tale. A group of rabbits flee their warren after one of them has a vision of their extermination. Their journey to find a new home is fraught with danger, including attacks from predators and the discovery of a warren that hides a deadly secret. Even after they find the perfect place for them, they realize that they need females to populate their new land...and their attempt at bringing some from a near-by group pits them against the nasty General Woundwart, who runs his warren like a totalitarian state.

I was surprised and very impressed at how true to the original, equally realistic novel this 1978 production is. (The original author having a lot of control over it probably helped.) In fact, for many audience members, it's a little too realistic. A healthy helping of blood, lots of adult themes, and a fair amount of violence (especially towards the end) makes this absolutely NOT for young children, and even some older ones who don't handle blood and death well. For teens and adults who have read the novel, despite the somewhat limited animation typical of the time, this is a thoughtful, well-done adaptation with a fabulous cast (especially Zero Mostel as the helpful seagull) and is recommended.

Worked on things around the apartment while the movies ran. I baked Strawberry Muffins from my breakfast recipes cookbook. I cut the sugar to 1/3 cup from 1/2, cut down the milk, and added orange juice for extra zest and more sweetness. Lovely, not too tart or sweet, flaky and buttery. The honey mustard tilapia I made for lunch came out well, too. I also did some crocheting. I'm currently working on some new dishrags; the ones I'm using now are getting a bit old.

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - quiet when I went in, quiet when I went out, and only really busy during rush hour. There were no major problems, and I was able to leave with no relief.

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