Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bedknobs And Broomsticks

I'm pretty sure I'd seen Bedknobs And Broomsticks once or twice before but it was so long ago I may as well have been watching it for the first time today.
It's the story of a woman, Miss Price, who has been volunteered (basically) to care for three orphaned children during the war (World War One, I think?). She doesn't want to be their care taker and they don't really want to be her wards, so they decide to sneak out and head back to London. But on their way out the window they see Miss Price flying on a broomstick, figure out she's a witch and the oldest kid, Charlie, decides to blackmail her into being nicer to them. Or into not making them wash for supper or something.
Anyway, Miss Price is merely an apprentice witch and her witching school has just closed down, before she receives her final lesson. So she and the kids ride a magic bed to find her school's headmaster so she can get her final spell for Substitutiary Locomotion.
Bedknobs And Broomsticks is more than two hours long and I spent the whole movie feeling happy and small and nostalgic. Nobody makes movies like it anymore. Every "family" movie these days is CG animation and fart jokes, and if there are any musical numbers they're usually pretty terrible.
I love old Disney movies. Love them. Love them.
It was pretty cool to see David Tomlinson as a sort of incompetent P.T. Barnum instead of a rich, stuffy, uptight dad. And I love Angela Lansbury in just about anything.
Side note: Wouldn't it have been cool if Angela Lansbury and Peter Falk had a kid? It'd be a an unstoppable crime solving machine!
The other thing old movies (...well, some old movies, but this one certainly) used to have that don't seem to exist anymore was child actors who actually seemed to be human. Nowadays it doesn't matter how young the kid is, they always have Angelina Jolie lips and a plastic sheen and human emotions seem to be completely lost on them.
The kids in Bedknobs And Broomsticks, though, looked like people. They acted like people, they had emotions and I bet they did things like go to school and play ball games with friends. At one point I noticed the girl looked like what Jennifer Lawrence would look like if she was twelve years old and had life in her eyes and a genuine smile.
More than any of that, though, Bedknobs And Broomsticks is just fun. It's ridiculously long but I didn't mind that. If there was any part I didn't like, interestingly enough it was the animated part, which was the only thing I had any memory of from when I was a kid. It seemed sort of ... I don't know, rough maybe? None of the animals were very nice and it went on too long.
There's something about Bedknobs And Broomsticks (and in some ways, old live action Disney movies in general) that really ... I don't want to say it gets under my skin because that sounds negative, but that's really the only phrase to describe it. It just makes me feel so calm and happy. It's a good story, a well told story, it's funny without being "funny" (forced goofiness and fart jokes) and it's appropriate for all ages without being saccharine, pandering or false-edgy. It's more honest or something. It wants to entertain you and your family so it has children, witches, cartoons, singing and dancing, flying beds and clothes that dance by themselves.
It's wonderful. It could be a little shorter, but it's wonderful anyway.

End of line.

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