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The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:

The Haunted Mansion - Comedy Ghost Film

If Ever there was a Theme Park ride, that was turned into a Comedy Ghost Film, then that role belongs Solely, to Disney's - the Haunted Mansion:

The Haunted Mansion - Disney's Comedy Ghost Film
The Haunted Mansion - Disney's Comedy Ghost Film

As I have rode the Haunted Mansion ride (in Magic Kingdom) many times, I felt that this Fantasy Film, had a steep milestone to live up to (or is that a steep Gravestone to live up to?) ... For starters, it is hard to have a Haunted Mansion, just by itself. You need a storyline, and this film's storyline, of a love triangle (with a twist), really fits the Raven's bill! The film starts properly (for me), at the Iron Gates of the Haunted Mansion - which are of course, padlocked. Yet with some Ghostly magic, do the Mansion's Gate's then open ... And it is here, that I raised an eyebrow - as would I have been brave enough to enter? Probably not! Fortunately, such concerns are not faced, by the adventurer's of this film: the Evers Family :) And through those Iron Gates? Well ... First and foremost, I love this film's Fantasy Location - the Haunted Mansion itself :) There's Haunted Hallways, and Ghostly Stairs - with Spooky Curtains, and Guardian Knights. There's Spectral Ballrooms, and Darkened Bedrooms - with Glowing Candles, and Spying Portraits. There's Mothballed Libraries, and Marbled Studies - with Secret Passages, and Gothic Fireplaces. For this Haunted Mansion's, all Shroud in Dark - with Shimmering Cobwebs, and Scurrying Spiders, to Sleepless Tombs, and Spectral Carriages! For this Haunted Mansion's, all Cast in Light - with Flickering Candles, and Fiery Chandeliers, to Maleficent Green, and Whispered Balls! And of this Mansion, do I feel - no finer home, for Ghostly Haunts :) And it is here that I found, the next part of this Ghostly Tale, that I quite like ... As the Mansion itself, plays right into the variety of Ghosts, that are found within it's Haunted Halls :) There's Apparitions (both Touch and Wraith). There's Ghostly Balls (both Soul and Guide). There's Musical Instruments (both Sound and Chase). There's Replay Memories (both Masquerade Ball - and Locked in Time). There's Hitch Hiking Ghosts (both Speak and Hide). There's Suits of Armour (both Haunt and Axe). There's Spectral Horses (both Cart and Gallop). For in this Haunted Mansion - there's always My Way, You Know! Yet in all of this, did I find - three particular Ghosts, that are my favourites. First: is Ramsley (the Butler). For his Fantasy Character (being both straight faced and straight backed), helps guide the film, and is fundamental to it's storyline. Added to this, is the fact that Ramsley, made me jump three times: i) when he appears from the Knight's Corridor (in flashes of lightening) - would you hold your ground? ii) when he appears right behind Mr Evers (making him jump). iii) when he appears right behind Mrs Evers (making her jump). In all three, does Ramsley appear - to be Lending a Hand ... Second: is Madame Leota (the Gypsy Tarot Reader). Who for me, provides much of the comedy - whilst also guiding the Fate of both Mr and Mrs Evers (in a more helpful way). Madame Leota, is also responsible for some of the best footage, that's found within this film (in both terms of plot, and special effects). And of this best footage, do I have a favourite scene ... It's where Mr Evers first meets Madame Leota - and is soon being flown around the room: with Dancing Trumpets, Drums, Harps and Tarot Cards! Which eventually leads to, Mr Evers being chased down a corridor, by a whole ensemble - of Musical Instruments :) Third: is the Ghost Ball (which appears to Mr Ever's son and daughter). I liked the fact, that the Ghost Ball, is really a Will-o'-the-wisps - that has an honourable Quest, for the two children to undertake (even if it would have scared me, in reality!). I also enjoyed the humour, that surrounds the Ghost Ball - where the sister would follow it (being Brave), whilst her brother would not (shaking like a leaf). Even so ... There was one part of this film, that I found a little scary (especially the first time I watched it). It's where Mr Evers, undertakes the main Quest of the film (once he arrives at the Mansion), and goes down into the Mansion's Crypt. I was surprised by the Walking Dead (that he encounters down there), and felt that it would take a very brave person indeed, to Willingly Dive, Under the Water! Mind you, I now suspect that Ramsley, was solely responsible/behind this (in a bid to prevent Mr Evers, from completing his Quest). Although, if you don't like Spiders - then you'll probably be squinting, right after the Walking Dead scene, as well :) Overall: I feel that this is a lively Ghost Film, which brings the Haunted Mansion to Life - in a way that captures the fun side - of the original Haunted Mansion ride :) Yet at the same time, do I feel that the film, also contains an important message, about the need to maintain - a work life balance :) It took Mr Evers (as played by Eddie Murphy), several interactions with Ghosts - to fully realise/remember this ... Added to this, is the fact that several sub-plots of the film, are about Facing Your Fears, together with: You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail - But You Only Truly Fail, When You Stop Trying! And you get a Fantasy Film, that has much more on the Inside of the Mansion, than on the Outside :) Finally ... I just loved the comedy scene in the Library/Study - as we all want a large Painting of Ourselves, hanging above the Mantelpiece - don't we? And if you should decide to join us ...

| Victorian HawkPermalink | Web: The Haunted Mansion Film Ride

Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

A classic Theme Park ride that I remember viewing the City of Atlantis within, is Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (within the video, skip to six minutes fifteen seconds to see Atlantis):

Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Mermaid and Sea Serpent
Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Mermaid and Sea Serpent

This used to be my favourite Magic Kingdom ride - until it was closed/depreciated in (circa) 1994. I loved the fact that this ride combined five distinct fantasy themes. First: There was a fantasy submarine - the Nautilus (which you rode in). Second: There was the concept of living underwater - the harvesting of Kelp Beds and Sea Life (both for food). Third: There was a Ruined underwater City - the Lost City of Atlantis (which the Nautilus just-so-happens to discover). Four: There was a reminder of just how rough the Sea/Weather can be from the point-of-view of earlier Sea Explorers - the Graveyard of Lost Ships (the wooden hulls of Pirate Ships, Viking Longships, etc. located near/under the Polar Ice Cap). Five: My personal favourite - was the fact that this ride portrayed two of my favourite Mythical Creatures: Mermaids and Sea Serpents. As such, I approved of the idea of Mermaids having Sea Serpents as their pets - as is suggested within the ride (when the Sea Serpent is on leads). I also approved of the way that Mermaids were represented - with long flowing hair and their lower half modelled by a fishes tail, moving gently on the currents, but still being somewhat stationary (watching the Nautilus). I think that the Sea Serpent was suitably sized - as I got the impression that it could have sunk the Nautilus (if it wanted to), although, within this particular ride, it was the Giant Squid/Sea Monster that attempted this! As for the City of Atlantis - I enjoyed seeing the Classical Ruins appear from the dark: the white Stone Pillars, Temples and Statues being gradually revealed/highlighted in white/green, all intermixed/overgrown with Seaweed and Kelp. I also remember that the ride left you with a good impression/feeling of having (actually) been on a submarine! For the most part, this effect was achieved by the use of air bubbles - bubbling up along the side of the Nautilus, to suggest the fact that you were diving. The narrator also played into this belief - especially when he orders the Nautilus, to dive, as deep as possible! I also enjoyed the narration that's related to the Green Sea Turtles - especially the suggestion, that they are descendants of the Dinosaurs (living in the Modern Age). The Sea Bed itself? This created a good impression/illusion of realism - especially with the inclusion of Giant Clams and Lobsters/Crabs (both of which, were also, animated). The Nautilus herself? The two most striking parts about the Nautilus (that I remember) was: 1) The shear amount of rivets present upon her hull form. 2) The steep stairs when you entered/left the vessel. As for the rivets: I feel that these helped to capture the concept of an Earlier Time in Sea Exploration - as most (if not all) modern ships/submarines only make use of welding, when constructing their hull forms (as welding is much more watertight). Overall: this was a great water-themed ride, that I rode many times within Fantasyland (as a young Dragon!). It's a ride that left something of an impression on me - as I have hoarded a ninety-six litre freshwater aquarium, that just-so-happens to feature some Temples of Atlantis, a Viking Longship and a Nuclear Submarine model. Alas, as the Disney ride is now no more - I shall have to make do with watching my Mermaids swim between the Ruined City, that's found within my aquarium!

| Victorian HawkPermalink | Web: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Ride)

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Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the SeaThe Haunted Mansion - Comedy Ghost Film