She wrote, " years young. Like any good sibling, Dylan, tried to one-up his sister with his own Instagram post: "Happy birthday Pappy years!!! Though you are adored by millions, my love for you is by far the greatest. Love you forever and always. And Cameron Douglas, Michael's son from his marriage to Diandra Luker, added his own tribute with, "Happy birthday to a gentleman's gentlemen, with a true heart of gold.
Michael Douglas has been staying out of the spotlight lately, as sexual harassment allegations swirl. He has denied the claims. This is only the first among four titles here that feature soldiers as the main animated childhood objects of attention. They're a popular theme, the tin type being the action figures of their era, and perhaps allowing their adventures to be a bit more daring than the average toy.
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This is one of the oldest of our film examples. It's a version of Victor Herbert's musical Babes In Toyland , well known to Americans, as it airs annually in almost every state either on Thanksgiving or during the Christmas holidays. Their hopes of raising the mortgage money for Mother Widow Peep are dashed when their boss finds out they've made a mistake and instead of making wooden soldiers at one foot tall, they've made soldiers at six feet tall.
Although these soldiers don't technically come to life, they do come to the rescue when the Bogeymen attack Toyland and Stannie and Ollie are redeemed. And any soldiers who can fight the gnarly bogeymen deserve to be here. The few songs may be a bit saccharine, but there's so much charm, plus Laurel and Hardy, that the film has remained a favourite all these years. It also has the ingenious casting of a real monkey in a mouse suit who looks remarkably similar to a mouse named Mickey , and an impressive for its time stop-motion animation sequence as the soldiers head out to do battle with the Bogeys.
Our second soldier entry, this is the tale of a solider with only one leg who falls in love with a ballerina who's posed en pointe, leaving the soldier to believe she too has just one leg. The Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, first published in , has been interpreted many times in films and a ballet and each handles what is a quite poignant ending a little differently.
In the original story, the soldier falls from a table and goes on adventures before returning to the playroom where he's thrown by a young boy into a fire, melting into the shape of a heart. And the ballerina, made of paper, gets blown to his side and perishes with him, with only her metal spangle remaining. It's quite a bleak, romantic ending for small children, and a Ub Iwerks cartoon short version even has the soldier facing a firing squad before burning in the flames. As if simply frying wasn't enough! An alternate and happier ending features in Fantasia , where the tin soldier defeats the evil, lecherous Jack-in-the-box and he and the ballerina live happily ever after.
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Of course. The story uses a motif we'll see again, as the toys in the playroom come to life at the stroke of midnight. Since that time there have been numerous adaptations on the story of toys again, mostly soldiers coming to life to defend young Clara from an army of mice on Christmas Eve.
So have Macaulay Culkin and Barbie. Our favourite is the version because of its costume, creature and set designs by children's book author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, probably best known for Where The Wild Things Are. Additional to the familiar theme of animated soldiers, the production also employs the stroke of midnight to kick off the action, and even if you're not a fan of ballet, each set looks like a scene that's danced off the pages of a Sendak picture book.
A very brief bit of narration by Julie Harris makes this version more accessible to the younger fans in the family. Unlike our hero soldiers above, half of the toys in Small Soldiers pose the biggest threat to their owners, when ordinary action figures are given X microprocessors, making them capable of thought and violence as The Commando Elite fight the peaceful monster Gorgonites and any humans who get in their way.
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Despite a raging war scene, this film may be one of the least frightening here, as the action is always infused with humour and the combination of live actors and animated toys lessens the threat to manageable proportions. It also makes this film as much fun for adults as for the kids. When the two leagues of action figures are imbued with critical thinking skills, the Commando Elite go A-Team on the Gorgonites, who prefer hiding to fighting. Highlights of the Joe Dante-directed film are when the soldiers arm themselves with whatever they can get their hands on, with everyday objects in the garage becoming warring weapons, and the Frankenstein esque scenes where Gwendy fashion dolls are mutilated and brought to life, all to a Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack, with a great use of War, and a Spice Girls track used as psychological torture.
The animatronic design and effects no doubt made more complicated by human beings and animals also in the scenes are by the late, great Stan Winston, which all adds up to a very worthy romp and inclusion here. Based on a Russell Hoban novel for children, The Mouse And His Child is an animated adventure of father and son wind-up toys, attached at the hands and built to dance in circles.
The story uses the enchanted midnight hour to bring the pair and the rest of the toyshop to life, where they meet other clockwork characters and learn the strict rules of their existence, including 'no crying'. When they're knocked to the floor and discarded, the Mouse and his Child try to reunite with the seal and elephant. All they want is to become self-winding, and not rely on someone turning their key to advance in the world, and to form a little family of their friends. On their travels they meet a villainous rat, Manny, who abducts broken clockwork creatures and makes them slavishly forage for food for him.
They have miserable lives and, what's worse, if they complain or shirk their work, Manny has them ripped apart and dismantled into spare parts.
This is quite an upsetting situation for children and, at one point, the father and son face the same fate, although they enjoy a happy ending with the help of a psychic frog and mechanically inclined muskrat, defeating the rats, finding their friends, and becoming self-winding individuals. Although the slightly awkward animation makes the film appear directed at young children, the story touches on philosophical themes that are explored further in the book.
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The film, directed by Frank Oz, is all live-action and tells the story of Omri, who's given an old cabinet and key for his birthday and discovers that the combination breathes life into anything put into the cabinet. Being a modestly-sized cabinet, he tries the small toy figures in his closet. Through a series of events in which he also makes a plastic cowboy live David Keith as Boo-hoo Boone , injuries occur and it's here where the first real worry is visited amongst the adventures.
It's also the entrance of Steve Coogan in his first film appearance, playing a British medic toy soldier who renders aid to the wounded. Omri becomes aware that actions have consequences, no matter how much fun you're having, especially when he learns that the act of Little Bear becoming real has wrenched him from his own world where he was hunting with a nephew, who's now left on his own, and there are a few moments of genuine peril in the film to drive the cautionary message home.
In the end, Omri remedies most of his mistakes with his new friends and returns them to their worlds and plastic state.