Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Magic! Heroine's Bracket Round 1

Can you smell the excitement in the room, ladies and gentlemen? Why are the bumps on your arms all goosey? Why are the neckhairs on your... ehm … neck standing on end?

The First March Magic Tournament starts today!

I'm here, you're here, and the heroines are here to rumble, so let's get started.

Our first match:
Ariel vs. Wendy Lady
It's just a match of legends here in the first round.

On the one side, we have Ariel. A mermaid. A princess. A ginger. The lady who started a whole new generation of Princess fans down the path toward wishing for thingamabobs of their very own. What a beautiful voice. What an incredible team of talking fish.

On the other, we have Wendy Lady... The sweet, generous voice of reason in the youthful, immature world of Peter Pan, the terminal boy. Wendy was often the only person to call Peter on his BS, and make him stop being such a jerkface. She even went nose to nose with the vicious and terrifying Captain Hook.

Honestly, though, what it all comes down to is this... Who's the more enduring character? It's hard to argue against Ariel the trailblazer princess of the new golden age of Disney. I literally don't know a single girl around my age who doesn't know every word of Part of Your World. I love Wendy, but let's face it... Even within the confines of Peter Pan, she's not the first female character folks think of.. So the winner here is
Belle vs. Lilo
If I really plan on contending that Lilo could win this, I should probably take a scientific approach, rather than going with my gut, and just simply announcing Belle as the winner. I'd love it if this were a tighter battle, and I do think that Lilo would have a better chance in other match-ups, but Belle is the perfect woman. Super smart, beautiful, brave, honorable, open minded, sweet... I mean... she's incredible. And she sings like a damned dream.

What if she's too perfect? Who can possibly live up to her standard? Maybe it's better to be a little damaged. And sassy. And in love with a very bizarre, blue dog... Like Lilo!

No. ..It's
Lady vs. Jasmine
Lady has a lot going for her. She was based on a real dog. (many think it was Walt's dog, but in fact it was the dog of animator/writer Joe Grant.) She saves the baby from that crazy rat. She also is half of one of the most romantic moments between two dogs ever put on film. Not to mention... Who doesn't love a cocker spaniel?

Jasmine is another beauty of the new guard. Headstrong, idealistic, adventurous. Plus, she has a really cool pet tiger. I love that tiger. Here's the thing, though... Jasmine is the reason for a lot of the action (the kerfuffle in the market, the prince parade, the whole hour-glass thing..), but she's not really a decider in the action. She's a damsel in distress without the glowing personality of say a... Snow White or Cinderella.

I'm actually kind of shocked at even myself, but the winner is
Lady. Because she's a cute puppy and rats are gross.
Cinderella vs. Princess Atta
One of my Twitter followers was pleased I included Princess Atta. I actually find her inclusion a no-brainer. She's very heroic and, I think more importantly, she's the only princess who really has ruling to do. Hopper is a real threat to her people (ants). She makes real choices that affect her people. She even makes mistakes that truly matter.

Cinderella is basically the quintessential Disney Princess. Beautiful, beloved, heartbreaking backstory. Aside from that, I'm not sure I have much to say about her. I feel like it's blasphemy, but I mostly find her boring. Her movie is basically a straight romance, where the true star is the story, and less the stars themselves. I know there's the whole business with the animals all loving her, and the insanely abusive family, but it's not all that interesting.

The winner? Perhaps shockingly...
Princess Atta.
Rapunzel vs. Snow White
I really love Tangled, and I think Rapunzel is a funny, unique character. She's also one of the only characters in this bracket with actual super powers. I just think that at this point, she's not the juggernaut of animated film that Snow White is. Snow White is the Grande Dame of this bracket, and while I don't think her historical importance is going to carry her through every round, but it's gonna get her past Rapunzel. Snow White with her totally obnoxious voice... Wait..

I know that Snow White is like super charming or whatever, and all of the creatures in the forest instantly love her, and the dwarves are entranced and the huntsman sees her beauty, but what does she DO? She runs away and she's kind and treats the special dwarf like he's just a sweet regular guy and got Grumpy to love, and made all of the dwarves cry their dwarfy eyes out, but... I mean... It's kinda boring, too, right?

And there's Rapunzel! She has Flynn Ryder, and a frying pan, and that beautiful lantern festival, and that adorable chameleon, and all of the crazy villains who just fall madly in love with her...

See? This is my personal preference in film making (Tangled is more entertaining to me than Snow White) interfering with my judgment here.
Snow White is the winner. I just can't bring myself to knock out the most important heroine in all of Disneydom in the first round. I just can't.
Merida vs. Vanellope Von Shweetz
I like this match-up, because there's no advantage of history. These ladies starred in movies that came out in the same year and are both part of thee same era of film making styles.

Merida is a fantastic character. She's... ehem.... brave. She's capable. She's got a sharp intellect. She's clever. Vanellope is a dreamer. She's plucky. She's the underdog.

This is such an even match on its face. Both of these ladies are fantastic heroines, so I've gotta base it on how these characters fit into their respective films.

Unfortunately for our Vanilla friend Vanellope, she can't match-up to Merida. Brave is Merida's movie. It's about her. It's about her discovering her own path while also learning to appreciate her place within a certain society. Vanellope is in a movie called “Wreck-it Ralph”, which happens to be about a guy named... Wreck-it Ralph. She's a great supporting character, and she's soooo endearing, but when the match is as close as this one, I have to use something to choose. And I choose
Tiana vs. Alice
I like Alice and all, but she's really not long for this tournament. She's probably only the 50th most memorable or interesting thing about that movie. She makes all kinds of dumb decisions (who stumbles across a bottle found in a hole and thinks “I should totes drink that?”).

On the other side, we have Tiana. She's got a historical value all her own, being the first African American princess. She's the first American princess at all (that I can think of), actually, unless you count Pocahontas. Also, it should absolutely be mentioned that she's a great role model and a great character. She doesn't dream of riches and castles. She simply dreams of opening up a great restaurant. She's a hard worker even.

Lastly... I have this fondness for The Princess and the Frog, because it's just a fantastically drawn, beautifully realized movie that never really gets the attention it deserves..
Tiana is the easy winner.
Aurora vs. Mulan
Maybe I'm biased for the characters from my own childhood and teen years over the ones from the “old days”, but even by the standards of those movies, I'd venture to say that Aurora, or “Sleeping Beauty”, is a pretty poor excuse for a “great character”. She mostly just avoids danger. She meets Phillip, obviously, but let's face it... Sleeping Beauty is a classic because of Maleficent. She's one of the most memorable villains in all of film history. It's difficult to grade a character very high when her most lasting attribute is that she sleeps.

Mulan, on the other hand, is a total badass. She's a feudal princess AND a warrior. She's incredibly beautiful, and yet also capable of credibly passing as a man for most of the movie. She sings great songs, she becomes a Samurai.. She FREAKING SAVES CHINA. Also? She has a dragon. I think we all know at this point after 2 seasons of Game of Thrones that having a dragon or two around gives you some serious cred.
Mulan in a landslide.

So there you have it folks! Round one of the Heroines Bracket is in the books with some surprises emerging.

Our random match-ups for Round 2 are:
Snow White vs Mulan

Ariel vs. Belle

Princess Atta vs. Tiana

Merida vs. Lady
The difference for this round and for every round from here on is that while I'm still going to randomly pair the winners, you get to vote!

The polls open Monday for Round 2.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

March Magic! "Selection Saturday"

Hello Disney Fans, and welcome to the first Disney Character Tournament, or as we here at WDTV affectionately call it "March Magic!".

I'm your host, founder, and judge the Beefy Muchacho.

Before we get to announcing our brackets, let me take a minute to bring all you fans up to speed on this event.

Not long ago I read a tweet from FOTB (Friend of the Blog) @DJPhob , who suggested a Heros vs. Villains Tournament. Having never seen an idea I couldn't make almost too unwieldy, I decided to expand  this idea into a "Greatest Disney Character" tournament, which brings us to TONIGHT!

Much like a certain basketball tournament that shares this same magical month, our bracket is divided into four regions of 16 contestants each. All of them itching to carve out their own Cinderella Story. (See what I did there?)

Those four regions are:
Heroines: A region where all of our favorite Disney leading ladies, Heroines, and Princesses will duke it out for a chance to compete in our Fantasy Four.

Heroes: The bracket where all of the famous dudes in our Disney universe battle to make their way to outshine those princesses for once.

Sidekicks: All of these side-kicks, or side-kick duos have dreamed for years of taking the spotlight for their own, and now they have their chance. Which Second Banana will rise above the rest?

Villains: The Duke Universities and New York Yankees of our little melee, which Villain will have a shot at taking down all of these do-gooders once and for all?

Unlike that other tournament in March, we don't have seeds. The matchups are selected at random from our fields of 16 competitors per region. Oh, and it should be mentioned that original legends like Mickey, Donald, Goofy and other stars of shorts and compilations like Chip and Dale, the Three Pigs, and other stars are not eligible this year. This tournament is for Animated Feature stars only..

Each match-up will be judged by me, based on entirely arbitrary and inconsistent criteria, so we all can be sure there'll be plenty of dissent, and I wel.... Wait! I'm getting word in my ear piece that the selection committee has emerged from the ready room and are about to announce our first region, the Heroines!

In the Heroines Region, the first round match-ups will be:

Ariel vs. Wendy Lady

Belle vs. Lilo

Lady vs. Jasmine

Cinderella vs. Princess Atta

Rapunzel vs. Snow White

Merida vs. Vanellope Von Shweetz

Tiana vs. Alice

Aurora vs. Mulan

Wow... Those are some truly interesting match-ups here. To imagine that one of Wendy or Ariel won't make it out of the first round! Young superstar Rapunzel has to go up against the legend Snow White herself! What a rough draw..

Oooohhhh I'm hearing some of the ladies who weren't selected are pretttttty upset at their exclusion from thsi year's tournament. Let's throw it to our affiliate Donald Duck who's standing by with Pocahontas.

Donald: &#)D*((&&@##

Pocahontas: Man... this is Bull#%!t.

Whooaaa now, we're sorry you're taking it so badly Princess. We have nothing but respect for you. I'm sure that EVE, Bianca, and Duchess are all pretty mad too, but we don't have time for that now. We've got to get on with the next bracket.

Our next bracket is for the Heroes... The first round match-ups will be..

Hercules vs. Aladdin

Peter Pan vs Flik

Simba vs. Jack Skellington

Ralph vs. Robin Hood

Mowgli vs. Dumbo

Pinocchio vs. Buzz Lightyear

Marlin vs Carl Fredrickson

Woody vs. Wall-E

Wow folks! What an incredible set of match-ups we have in store for you. It's a real shame we can't include everyone, because there are some truly shocking "outs" from the list. Heroes I believe could have done real damage in this tournament. After Pocahontas' outburst, let's not bounce to Goofy who's with Tom O'Malley and Tarzan at a local bar. Just know that they're not pleased.

This is so exciting folks! We're halfway done with our bracket and we have another 2 regions to go... Right after these words from our sponsor...

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Aaaaaand we're back, folks. Man, that pizza from Pizza Planet sure is the best, isn't it?

Anyway, we're halfway through the announcement of the March Magic Bracket and we've made our way to the unsung region... The Sidekicks. So many of our favorite Disney movies wouldn't be half of what they are without these plucky folks to do the dirty work. What's really great about this region is that we can have side-kick teams!

Here we go...

Timothy Mouse vs Tinkerbell
Seven Dwarves vs Rhino
Jiminy Crickett vs Baloo
Little John vs. Dori
Flounder & Sebastian vs. Iago

Lumiere &Cogsworth vs. Bugs from A Bugs Life
Timon & Pumbaa vs. Mushu
Stitch vs. Flotsam & Jetsam

Amazing matchups! The sidekick bracket is just absolutely loaded with legends. So many great characters going up against each other early on in the tournament! Timon and Pumbaa vs Mushu! I mean COME ON!! There are so many great characters who didn't make the cut. Our sources tell us that this region gave us two of the toughest exclusions in Rhino, the incredibly funny hamster from 'Bolt' and Dug & Russell from 'Up'. What a tough job the selection committee had! Goodness!

Alright folks... one more region to announce, and for many it's going to produce some of the most intriguing of match-ups! The guilty pleasures that are Villains... or at least Guilty, am I right?  Let's get to it, huh?

Starting us off are:

Evil Queen vs. Dr. Facilier
Maleficent vs. Hades
Cruella vs. Lotso
Captain Hook vs. Shere Khan
Queen of Hearts vs. Prince John
Ursula vs. Syndrome

Jafar vs. King Candy
Hopper vs. Gaston

What an exciting tournament this is shaping up to be! So many fantastic characters... What's that? I hear that our colleague Mickey Mouse himself has mustered up all of his courage and is waiting in the Villains waiting room where some of the ousted Villains are steaming!

Mickey - "Huh-ha! Well there Darla. How do you feel about not being included in this year's tournament?"
Darla- FISHIES!!!! I want FISHIES!!
Mickey - There ya have it Muchacho! Darla's doing just fine! Huh-ha!

Thanks Mickey! I have a feeling you're lucky that Shan-Yu and Bruce the Great White Shark weren't available for comment.

So there ya go folks, that concludes our WDTV telecast of Selection Saturday for this year's March Magic Tournament!

Stay tuned as we work through the match-ups in each region and determine our regional champions before making our way all the way to our Fantasy Four!