Disney’s New Superhero Flick

Strangely enough, this post won’t be about Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, or any of the other characters from the Marvel universe (let’s still hope for a Black Widow or some female superhero film, though). November 7th will bring us Disney’s newest animated film, Big Hero 6, featuring the squishy and lovable Baymax. You can’t not love him!

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ summary says it all:

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

Enjoy the trailer, and keep a few hours available around the holidays. This looks to be another good one!

What’s all the Hullabaloo?

It seems these days that 2D animation has gone to the wayside. What a shame. CGI animation is beautiful to see, but there is still something beautiful and special about the 2D animation that started it all. And so I bring to your attention a project that could reignite this gorgeous art form, as well bring some new and exciting ideas to the forefront.

Disney creators and animators of the past and present are coming together to raise money to create a (hopefully) feature-length steampunk film (though currently the focus is on a collection of short films that could potentially lead to a feature-length film) of Hullabaloo. Not only would the concept of a steampunk film be something new for Disney creators to make, but there are two female protagonists that would lead the journey into imagination (Sorry, I had to do that). According to their Indiegogo page, where the creators are hoping to raise enough money to create the film(s):

Hullabaloo is a 2D (hand-drawn) animated steampunk film that hopes to help preserve the dying art of 2D animation; and by supporting this project, you get to help save 2D animation from an untimely demise. We want you to join us in making a short film that will showcase the world of Hullabaloo, which we can show to investors to fund a full length 2D feature. 2D animation is a beautiful but dying art form that the animation studios have all but abandoned. But if we can fund this film with your help, we will be able to show investors that people really do want to see a feature length animated steampunk film, allowing us to get the tremendous amount of funding needed to complete Hullabaloo as the full-length feature we believe you want to see.

In addition to helping save 2D animation, Hullabaloo aims to encourage girls to explore science and adventure. The film’s two protagonists are both young women and both scientists who use their intellect, wits, and courage to fight greed and corruption. We hope that Veronica Daring and her friend Jules will serve as positive role models for girls of all ages and encourage them to get excited about science, engineering, and sci-fi.”

The current art for the film is beautiful, and I think these two protagonists will help to break the Disney spell, so to speak, of the Disney princess obsession. Though the Indiegogo campaign has already far surpassed its initial goal of $80,000, the page is still open to donations. The filmographies of the creators of the project are listed on the Indiegogo page, and it’s quite an impressive list. If this film goes to theaters, this could be a great project. Let’s hope that this project eventually sees theaters!

Click here to reach Hullabaloo‘s Indiegogo page to learn more and/or donate to the campaign:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hullabaloo-steampunk-animated-film

As a lover of Journey into Imagination, I was extremely excited to hear about this:

Figment and Dreamfinder to get their own Comic Book

I hope that this comic is a well-done tribute to a set of characters I have come to love. I plan to pick up the first volume when it’s released in June, and I’ll make sure to review it if/when I do.

Maybe this means the Dreamfinder will be resurrected at the attraction as well? A girl can dream. Well, as they, “One little spark of inspiration…”

Link

Cover of “Let It Go”

Check out this cover of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Personally, I think I like it better than the original version. Simply beautiful.

Saving Helen Goff

 

Saving Mr. Banks represents an interesting frame of Mary Poppins’ P.L. Travers, played by the wonderful but maybe overly gorgeous Emma Thompson. Stodgy and difficult to deal with, the Disney company tries to work with “Mrs. Travers” to make her beloved book into the still-popular musical movie with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. However, the script writer, score writers (the amazing Sherman brothers), and even the “big cheese” himself, Mr. Walt Disney (convincingly played by Tom Hanks), constantly butt heads with the author as they try to get the rights for the book from Travers. As the story unfolds, Mrs. Travers’ past is revealed, and her reasons for being obstinate about the book’s portrayal come to light in a sweet yet heartbreaking reverie. Colin Farrell’s performance of Travers Goff as the author’s loving but troubled father brings the story together to explain Mrs. Travers’ connection to her novel, and Paul Giamatti as Mrs. Travers’ ever-caring driver could soften even the hardest heart. Saving Mr. Banks brings an interesting historical Disney story to light while weaving together the story of why Helen Goff became Mrs. Travers.

The movie is a beautiful portrayal of Walt and his kingdom of a company. However, I suspect the best way to describe the film is as historical fiction. Though I do not claim to know the whole history of Mr. Disney versus Mrs. Travers, it has been said that P.L. Travers always distanced herself from the Mary Poppins film. Of course, Saving Mr. Banks concludes with the typical Disney happy ending, and there is not much evidence to show that Mrs. Travers was upset very much about the film portrayal of her novel. Though tension is more than present in the film, the animosity between Travers and Disney is most likely downplayed for a good story, and Walt appears as a (mostly) patient (though exasperated) and persistent creator who is simply trying to put his favorite book on film. But, as the movie concludes, it is evident that there is something about the true story that must be missing from this telling.

As a third party observer of this history and Mary Poppins in general, I ask: Is there anything wrong with either version, book versus film? Certainly there is the legal issue of copyright, especially when making a book into a film. However, there is art in both versions. Though very different representations of the same basic subject, Mary Poppins is now an icon in both literature and cinema. And both versions keep true to the heart of the story: a woman comes to save a family from falling apart through her strangely caring but sometimes distant nature. She is not there just to take care of the children, but to help the parents see their own faults as well. Mary Poppins comes to save Mr. Banks. A family is reunited with hope, a spoonful of sugar, and a little bit of magic.

Spoiler-Free Review of Frozen

As the cold weather and the Christmas holidays approach, it’s a great time to hit the movie theaters. A Black Friday tradition for me, tonight I went to the movies, this year to see Disney’s newest film, Frozen.

Before I get to the review of the actual movie, the short Get a Horse! was a great re-imagining of animation. The classic and the innovative are combined in a flawless design, bringing back archived voiceovers by Walt Disney himself while also utilizing 3D elements. It’s a beautiful homage to what started the Disney company while also paying tribute to what’s popular today. Like last year’s short film Oscar winner Paperman, Disney again shows that they know how to tell a story with new technology without forgetting that the story itself is most important.

The musical chanting drew me in as Frozen began, very similarly to the introduction to The Lion King with “The Circle of Life.” The animation is beautifully done, and I would say it is Disney’s best CGI film to date. Just watching the ice crystals forming on objects, land, and architecture is entrancing. The voice acting and singing are also fantastic, and I was very impressed by Kristen Bell’s singing voice (she did the voice of Anna). I wasn’t aware that she is a skilled singer, but she certainly has proven herself in this film. Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa, previously the Wicked Witch in Wicked on broadway) is flawless as usual, and she gives Elsa’s character the perfect balance of edge, timidity, and love. Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) is overly silly but endearing, providing cute comic relief. Overall, the film focuses on true love, but not just romantic love. In fact, this is more of a sisterly love story — a pleasant breath of fresh air in a Disney film. Frozen does follow many of the typical Disney conventions with silly gags and songs, as well as a cute love story, but, in this case, it all works together. Though I certainly wouldn’t call the movie flawless as there were plot holes that could have used more explanation, I would definitely suggest it for any person to see it. It has a fun but meaningful plot with a nice ending. And make sure to stay for the credits! Trust me, you’ll be rewarded. Disney recaptures the magic of some of their older films (think the 1990s heyday), and Frozen is sure to become a classic.

And, in case you haven’t checked it out already, below is another trailer for Frozen. Enjoy!

The Cartoon That Started It All

The newly-completed Mickey Mouse short “Get a Horse!” will be premiering before the new feature-film Frozen, in theaters November 27, 2013. This cartoon features Walt Disney’s voice for Mickey Mouse from archived recordings.

But before that short debuts, see the cartoon that started it all. At least for a certain mouse…

Enjoy!

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