Music Break – Favorite fairy tale music inspired by ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’

I just started catching up on the ABC show Once Upon A Time this past weekend, so that inspired me to pick the music for today’s Music Break. I’ve only watched two episodes from the first season but I quite like it so far, though some of the acting is a bit over the top. As someone growing up with Disney fairy tale movies, the premise appeals to me so we’ll see if the show has enough going for it to keep me interested. Nice to see Robert Carlyle in it as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold. The Glasgow-native is easily the best actor on that show, and no I’m not just saying that for my penchant for Scottish actors 😉

Anyway, inspired by that show, here are three favorite fairy tale music from the classic and current fairy tale movies:

SNOW WHITE (1937)

You can’t beat the classics. Even 75 years later, Snow White is still hot property, what with two films made with that character this year alone! There are really too many to choose from as the whole soundtrack is great, but I love this finale of Love’s First Kiss. It’s enchanting, sweet and full of hope, the kind of stuff Disney music is known for, and the choir singing Someday my Prince will come really warms the heart.

Original music by Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith, with Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell as the voice of Snow White and Prince Charming, respectively.


P.S. My all time favorite music from Disney ‘Princess’ movies is actually Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty, which I’ve highlighted in a stand alone post a year ago.

TANGLED (2010)

Tangled is Disney’s 50th animated feature and it boast the maestro that is Alan Menken as the composer. I grew up listening to his Disney songs, it’s amazing how he could keep churning up beautiful music for every piece that fits the theme of the film so perfectly! According to IMDb trivia, he’s currently tied with famed costume designer Edith Head for third most Academy Awards won, with eight Oscar win. He has won best score and best song for four Disney animated movies: The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and Pocahontas (1995).

This romantic piece is by far my favorite from the film. I always tear up every time I watch it. The scenery with all those lanterns are pure Disney magic, I love Rapunzel’s face as she watches them fly to the sky. I LOVE both Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi’s voice in the duet, I had no idea he could sing so well! I was rooting for this to win Best Original Song at the Oscar, but ironically, Randy Newman’s We Belong Together for Pixar’s Toy Story 3 ended up taking the trophy.

BRAVE (2012)

I was thrilled when I heard that Scottish composer Patrick Doyle was going to work on this film! I LOVE his work in Sense & Sensibility and Thor, among others (see my tribute post). Per Wiki, in order to bring some of Scotland’s native flavor to the music, Doyle used native Scottish instruments such as bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, flutes and the bodhrán, with an electronically treated dulcimer and cimbalom to give it a more contemporary feel. “I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic,” said Doyle.

Well the result is a gorgeous and lush Celtic music that adds so much to the authenticity of the film. I like the joyful and rousing Touch The Sky that matches the exuberance of Princess Merida, but my favorite is the instrumental piece that captures the Scottish theme so well. I LOVE this one called Legends Are Lessons, especially after the 2:35 mark when the bagpipes start playing. I wish I could be transported to the Scottish Highlands as I’m listening to it! 😀


I hope you enjoy these songs. What are YOUR favorite Disney/Pixar soundtrack?

Top 10 Fave Pixar Characters – Vote for your favorites

With thirteen films so far, Pixar continues to create films with fun, intriguing characters. That includes the latest one, BRAVE, with Princess Merida. So in her honor, I thought I’d expand my list of FIVE Favorite Pixar Characters I did a couple of years ago, and expand it to 10.

The beauty of Pixar movies is how wonderful the characters are. They’re so well-written and tug your heartstrings, it’s amazing how we could ever care so much about a bunch of toys, a waste-eliminator robot, or a one-eyed green monster. Within mere seconds into a Pixar movie, I’ve become so emotionally-invested in them right away that make the viewing experience so worthwhile. They’re even more affecting than a lot of real human characters in a life action feature.

I didn’t rank them on my original list, but after much deliberations, I decided to do so this time. Yes it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it 🙂

Anyway, I’m going from number 10 all the way to my ultimate favorite:

10. Russell (Up)

No matter what mood you’re in, it’d be hard pressed not to be captivated by this 8-year old kid’s endearingly exuberant charm. Determined to obtain his final badge to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer, the chubby munchkin ends up being swept off his feet (literally!), up, up and away with Carl in his balloon-hoisted house. Nothing seems to dampen the kid’s buoyant spirit. He and the gloomy and disillusioned makes an unlikely pairing that’s as odd as they are delightful.

9. Remy (RATATOUILLE)

You’d think that the idea of a little rat in a kitchen to be kind of gross, but leave it to Pixar to make Remy, the rat who dreams of becoming a great chef so endearing. Despite being raised in the slum and eating garbage all his life, Remy likes things gourmet style.

If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.

He somehow ends up in Paris, the city full of celebrated culinary heroes, including Remy’s own, Auguste Gusteau. As fate would have it, he forms an unlikely friendship with Linguine and together they made the most of Remy’s culinary talent. It’s enough to make me wish I have a creature like Remy to help me cook around the house, though preferably not in the form of a rat, ahah.

8. Rex (Toy Story)

The hilariously hysterical t-rex is a minor character but every time he comes on, it’s always a hoot. Remember the Jurassic Park nod in TS2 during the car chase in the toy barn? ‘Object is closer than they appear‘ Ha! He’s supposed to be menacing but Rex is such a wimp that gets agitated by even the slightest hitch, but I love him best when he starts squealing like a little girl.

7. Dory (Finding Nemo)

The blue tang fish that steals every scene she’s in is voiced by the inherently likable and goofy Ellen DeGeneres. From the moment Nemo meets Dory, something is just a little off. Soon we realize she’s suffering from short-term memory loss, which makes for a one riotous scenario after another. Dory delivers the biggest laughs and her compassionate and gentle spirit makes you wish she’s your best friend. There are too many favorite scenes of Dory but when she imitates the whale with that slow, deep voice I just about fell off my chair.

6. Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)

Starting out as a main rival turns BFF, the spaceman action-figure is the perfect complement to Woody even if Buzz’s delusional self sometimes exasperates his more-grounded friend. The Tim Allen-voiced character initially thinks he’s the real Buzz Lightyear, not a mere toy like the rest, which explains his extra gung-ho attitude that’s so fun to watch. I thought the duel scene with Darth Vader-like Zurg at the end of the first sequel was my favorite scene of Buzz, but no, it’s when he’s accidentally reset and becomes the Spanish Buzz that had me in stitches. The pent-up feelings he has for Jesse is now on full display as he’s become unabashedly romantic Don Juan. The tango sequence with Jesse is priceless and sooo much fun. Te quiero señor Buzz!

5. Flik (A Bug’s Life)

Firstly, I love Dave Foley, he’s just so cute and funny in Kids in the Hall and News Radio, so maybe that’s why I took immediate liking to Flik. Foley’s voice just naturally suits the geeky, bumbling, but ever-so-endearing protagonist. The ‘engineering-minded’ ant always wants the best for his colony by trying to come up with his various inventions (i.e. a dew telescope, automatic harvester, etc.), though they often end up with disastrous results. But as his BFF Dot will tell you, he’s really a nice guy  who really is just trying to help. Like Dot says, “you’re weird… but I like you.”

4. Princess Merida (BRAVE)

No, I didn’t put down Merida simply because she’s the first Pixar fairy tale princess. I put her here because I LIKE her. The spunky redhead who rivals Katniss and Robin Hood with her bow and arrow is just sooo much fun to watch. Forget Rapunzel, Merida’s glorious orange-red curly hair should earn her best movie character hair of all time, and not just in animated features.

I like her adorable Scottish accent (natch!), her wide expressive eyes, and most importantly, her personality. Like Katniss, Merida is strong-willed, independent and a capable heroine, she doesn’t need her Prince to define who she is, but at the same time, she’s not an annoying know-it-all. If she were real, I’d LOVE to be her BFF 😀

3. WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class)

In my original list, I put Wall•E in the honorable mentions list but he really should’ve been in my top 5.

I’m not ashamed to admit that this movie not only make me tear up, but I was practically sobbing! The small trash compactor robot that barely said a word is so affecting that within minutes of seeing him on screen, I want to run over there and gives the lonely robot a big hug. In a dismal, silent post-apocalyptic world, Wall-E is a beating heart that gives such hope amidst all the gloom and doom. When he falls for a far more advanced robot Eve, he goes to great length to woo her. Believe it or not, it’s a genuine love story that is as heartfelt as any human connection.

2. Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc.)

Oh, who doesn’t love the one-eyed monster, voiced with wisecrackin’, smarty-pants sensibilities by Billy Crystal. He’s got more expression with his one giant eye than most characters with two. His green round shape is quite possibly the cutest, most adorable Pixar creation yet, not to mention his toothy grin. And he’s charming and smooth, too, just as Celia Mae (Jennifer Tilly), his girlfriend with Medusa-like hair and high-pitched voice. The minute he sang, “you and me… me and you… both of us togethaaa…” I’m done for! LOVE ya Wazowski!!

1. Woody (Toy Story)

The leader of the pack of Andy’s toys and the emotional core of the franchise, Woody the Cowboy is just so darn likable. That’s why you got someone like Tom Hanks to voice him and let his playful personality shine. Woody is funny, caring, optimistic, and wise almost to a fault. And he’s fiercely loyal, too, even as much as he loves his college-bound owner, he’s torn to be separated from his buddies and a trait he’s carried with him from the beginning of the movie until the very end of the franchise. No wonder he’s Andy’s favorite toy, because there ain’t no Toy Story without Woody!

I have to include this video of Tom Hanks explaining the process of doing voice work of Woody in the Graham Norton show. It’s absolutely hilarious and makes you really appreciate his voice work even more.


Special Honorable Mention:

The BRAVE redheaded triplets!

Do I even need to explain? Just look at them! If you have seen Brave, then I’m sure you’ll agree there’s no denying how adorable these three lil’ buggers are. They steal every single scene they’re in, I don’t even mind Pixar doing a spin-off or short movie just with these triplets alone!


Now your turn! Vote below for up to THREE favorite characters. Feel free to select ‘OTHER’ if your pick(s) aren’t listed and let us know which ones they are.