Saturday, November 20, 2010

'Tangled' World Premiere in Hollywood

I cobbled together some media footage from last weekend's premiere of Tangled at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. This is somewhat of an experiment as I don't do a lot of video editing, but I liked the results and hope you do too. My apologies in advance for the murky voice over. I'm working on a microphone upgrade as we speak.

I was skeptical at first of Tangled, but I have to admit a few days prior to its U.S. release that it's growing on me. I was leery of Disney purposely distancing itself from The Princess and the Frog by changing the title to Tangled from Rapunzel and I didn't feel comfortable at all with the early trailers focusing mostly on Flynn Ryder. Disney seemed seriously afraid of making another "princess" flick. As more movie material has been released, however, I'm relieved to see how Tangled could work not just as a fairy tale, but as an action adventure with a sense of humor. The animation looks rich and the characters benefit from a talented voice cast. The early buzz is excellent with Tangled scoring a 100% rating from a handful of critics already on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm looking forward to seeing it this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christopher Robin Gets Botox: A First Look at 'Winnie the Pooh'

This week, Disney released a new trailer and stills for next year's Winnie the Pooh film coming out on July 15. Fans of the original shorts Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day are going to love the look of the new Pooh movie, which recreates the simple hand-drawn animation and lush watercolor backgrounds that helped make the originals so appealing. The movie will also get back to its roots, adapting story lines directly from A. A. Milne's series of children's tales.

The only thing noticeably different about the look of Winnie the Pooh is Christopher Robin, who's gone from the solid dark eyes of the earlier films . . . 

. . . to a more doe-eyed appearance:

It looks like Chris discovered Botox, but actually it's the Disney animators enabling him to be more expressive. Pupils are everything. It's a minor change that should work just fine. 

Another nice element to the new Pooh film is the casting of Monty Python alum John Cleese as the narrator. Cleese's style and delivery (and yes, the English accent) will be the perfect nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up on the dulcet tones of the first Pooh storyteller, Sebastian Cabot.

Also, this will be the first time since 1977's The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (itself an edited compilation of the first Pooh shorts) that a Pooh feature film has come under Disney's premiere film label. More recent releases like The Tigger Movie (2000) and Piglet's Big Movie (2003) were produced by DisneyToon Studios, Disney's on-the-cheap creator of (mostly) direct-to-video releases. While these movies were generally entertaining, they lacked the richness in story and appearance that the earlier films had. Credit Winnie the Pooh executive producer John Lasseter (who knows a thing or two about reviving classic Disney properties) and story supervisor Burny Mattinson (who animated the original Pooh films) for giving the denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood the attention they deserve. After 34 years, it'll be great to have them back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

D23 Launches 'Armchair Archivists'

Disney's official fan club, D23, has launched a new online video series called Armchair Archivists.  Each week, D23 staffers Josh Turchetta and Steve Czarnecki go inside the Walt Disney Archives to discover new items and artifacts rarely seen by the public.

In the first episode, we see the last ever film footage shot of Walt Disney in the fall of 1966 and we meet Archives director Becky Cline, who shows off a few of Walt's personal items dating back to his teen years.