2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the world’s most loved Disney classics – Mary Poppins. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it is quite simply about two children from a privileged background who are given a new nanny – Mary Poppins. Not only is Mary Poppins well spoken, well dressed and excellent at singing she also possesses magical powers where she can slide up a bannister or tidy a room with a click of her fingers.
This week I will be focussing on two legendary Disney films that are sitting in our collection at the Information Store! We have a great animation section with the very best films from Pixar, Dreamworks, Aardman and Studio Ghibli.
Peter Pan (1953)
Peter Pan is the story of Wendy, Michael and John Darling, who are entranced by stories of the mythical Peter Pan, a boy who will never grow up living in a far away world where he swims with mermaids and battles pirates. Little do they know that Peter Pan is real. He sneaks into their bedroom looking for a needle and thread to sew his shadow back onto his shoes and Wendy catches him. His sidekick, Tinkerbell, sprinkles the children with magical fairy dust which enables them to fly and they are whisked away to Never Land.
There they meet the Lost Boys who are followers of Peter Pan, they are all children who will also never grow up. The boys, while out adventuring get kidnapped by some Indians, they attempt communication with them and smoke a peace pipe together. Peter takes Wendy to meet the mermaids but they are unkind to her, splashing her with water and pulling her hair. Meanwhile, the evil Captain Hook is seeking revenge on Peter Pan and wants Peter to suffer at the hands of the crocodile that roams the waters around the island. The children can’t stay in Never Land for ever and deduce, on Wendy’s orders that they all come home before they end up getting hurt. Kidnap, bombs, Indians, romance, intrigue, magic, pirates, fairies and peace pipes make Peter Pan an unforgettable childhood memory and a timeless Disney classic.
The Jungle Book (1967)
Also in the collection is the glorious Jungle Book based on the childhood story by Rudyard Kipling. Mowgli is a only a child when he is abandoned by his Mother, he retreats to the woods where he is raised by wolves. When the wolves hear that the ferocious tiger Shere Kahn is nearby the Wolves decide it’s best for him to return to the village from whence he came. On his way he meets a bear called Baloo whom he befriends. Mowgli doesn’t want to return to human civilization and Baloo’s sense of humour and relaxed attitude towards life is even more appealing to him. Mowgli is kidnapped by King Louie who suggests that if he teaches Louie how to make fire, Louie will make sure Mowgli is safe to live in the jungle, but since he was not raised by man, he doesn’t know how to make fire. Baloo and Bagheera the panther rescue him and end up destroying Louie’s ruins at the same time. Baloo decides it’s time for Mowgli to return to the village as Shere Kahn’s become increasingly present and Mowgli, upset that Baloo doesn’t want him around anymore he runs away.
The resulting showdown takes place during a thunder storm as Shere Kahn finally tracks Mowgli down, Bagheera and Baloo step in to try and protect Mowgli but as lightening causes fire, the fight appears to take a catastrophic turn.
With a hypnotic snake, catchy Jungle songs and a beautiful story with a strong moral, The Jungle Book is essential viewing for any adult or child looking for a little bit of escapism on a rainy day.