There is probably no other list in animation that is more intriguing– or more argued over. In fact, it was the creation of this list that was the impetus for even creating the Big Cartoon DataBase… MY friends wanted to know what films were considered on— or off— the “official” list. The official list really got going with the advent of home video.… and Disney’s promotional ties to other Disney animated films. Who can forget the narrators’ voice before the main film announcing the impending release of Disney’s 22nd animated film that fall.
With all the talk over the weekend about Frozen, many are missing the little gem of a short that precedes the big, cold monster. While Lauren MacMullan’s Get A Horse! first released last June at the Annecy Film Festival in France, it was not until it was paired before Frozen that it many of us got a shot at seeing it, much less even knowing it existed. And a lot of fun it is– but by the end of the feature, many of people may forget about this wonderful little gem that lead off the movie.
As the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend winds to a close, Disney’s Frozen is freezing out the competition. Placing second for the extended weekend at the box office, both first place The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen beat the previous Thanksgiving box office record holder, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Within its own little world, Frozen blew away every previous record for an animated film opening from Disney. The animated musical grossed a gargantuan $26.9 million on Friday (this after earning $26.3 million on Wednesday and Thursday). The film will end at about $68 million over the weekend frame, which would give it about $97 million after its first five days in wide release.
Frozen is definitely Disney– perhaps Disney Junior better describes this ‘tween movie. There are bits and pieces of what we know and expect from Disney here, but when it is all put together, a little Disney does not a great film make. This film is obviously aimed squarely at girls 12 and under, with very little for anyone outside that target audience. The music, and much of the film, is confused, unfocused and bland. The artwork, while beautiful, sets no new Disney high-points for animation, and the acting does not stand out at all. Frozen has all the elements we expect in a Disney film, but limited in scope; they do not attempt anything new in this movie. While it is definitely no Chicken Little, it also does not come close to the classics like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King; it is more one of the more forgettable films in the Disney oeuvre, a young girls version of The Rescuers.
Pixar’s misfortune associated with the ill-fated animated film The Good Dinosaur seem to be continuing. A short two months after announcing that the feature would be held back a year– and only three since changing up the films director– Pixar is laying off 50–60 artists associated with the film at its Emeryville, Calif., headquarters.
The Simpsons is a massively creative show, with years of great parody under it’s belt. Many of their fans wait excitedly each week for the show open, or “Couch Gag”- which varies many scenes for many little surprises. On occasion, the whole open is redone for a massive surprise. Such is the case this week when The Simpsons crew completely rework the open in an homage to Disney classic cartoons, Silly Symphonies cartoon series and Music Land specifically.
It could be the best of films.… or it could be the worst. Disney is revisiting one of their scariest characters in this tale of Maleficent, complete with a new back story that re-writes a lot of what they first showed us in 1959 with Sleeping Beauty. Abandoning the original back story is one reason to be scared; having Angelina Jolie re-create this classic character is another.… but should Maleficent really scare us? We have a peak now to make that judgement.
Three short years after opening it’s first satellite studio in Vancouver, Pixar announced that the studio is to be shut down. The studio was located in the Gastown area of Vancouver, which has seen a recent boon in animation shops that have recently moved to the Canadian town. “A decision was made to refocus operations and resources under the one roof,” said Disney spokesperson Barb Matheson from Toronto. Disney is the parent company of Pixar. Approximately 100 artists and employees are now unemployed by this unexpected news.