Roger Ross Williams’ Life, Animated is an emotional 90 minutes of a heart-warming story that will likely give your tear ducts a good workout. It’s also not a particularly good movie. This is a frustratingly directed film that details the life of Owen Suskind, a young man whose early predilection for Disney animated movies allowed him to revert out of his shell and prosper into young adulthood. Williams has adapted the non-fiction book by Owen’s father, Ron – a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist – who, alongside his wife Cornelia, feature prominently throughout telling in wondrous detail of the miracles that have come their way since discovering Owen’s passion with a viewing of The Little Mermaid...
Entries in Disney (135)
Here's Tim to continue our mini Kirk Douglas fest. The actor turns 100 this Friday.
And now, a little change of pace. I don't think the cinephile lives who'd argue that Kirk Douglas's performance in the 1954 sci-fi adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is his best, or anywhere particularly near his best. It is, however, quite possibly his most fun, as is to be expected from a star turn as the meathead sailor hero in a live-action Disney film.
Douglas gets first-billing in the movie, though he's probably not the first thing you'd think about if you looked back over the film in your mind...
How did you spend Thanksgiving weekend? I watched Moana again with the honorary nieces, saw a preview of Things to Come (yet another Isabelle Huppert triumph) with cinephile friends and caught up with a screener or two.
What did you see over the holiday weekend? The actual box office results are after the jump...
by Nathaniel R
Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them -- all five are now playing in theaters.
Moana (Clements, Hall, Musker & Williams)
Story: A chieftain's daughter sails the ocean to right an ancient wrong and save her people
Review: The episodic plot is ungainly and repetitive but the rest, from animal sidekick, to magical animation, to the heroine's self awakening and theme song ("How Far I'll Go") sure is dazzling. Disney's most resonant and hypnotic climax in forever and ever. "This is not who you are..."
Oscar Chances: A nomination seems certain but Zootopia will be a tough film to dismount from this year's throne. It's worth noting that composer Lin-Manuel Miranda will complete his EGOT if he wins the Oscar.
Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Disney's magnificent Beauty and the Beast, which is my favorite animated movie of theirs and I have a feeling I'm not alone in feeling that way. I mean Belle is clearly the greatest Disney Princess, Gaston is clearly the sexiest villain, and THAT LIBRARY. Yes, Yess, and YASSSSSS.
We've still got a few months before the live-action remake with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (not to mention notedly hairless Luke Evans) hits theaters, which seems strange to me - doesn't it seem like right here and right now, at this anniversary and in time for the holidays, would've been the perfect time to drop the film? Well nobody asked me to run Disney (not yet anyway) so I suppose they will make their own decisions - if I was running Disney and someone had come to me suggesting they remake perfection I probably would've beaten them out of my office with the nearest candlestick anyway.
PREVIOUSLY Fantastic Beasts won the weekend box office handily but more importantly Harry Potter kicked Voldemort's butt in last week's contest here, taking just under 80% of your votes. Said LadyEdith:
"Jason you are definitely hitting a nerve here, I've been using a lot of HP for this election. Hermione was a great stand in for A student Hillary Clinton. Considering the rise of death eaters I think more of us are choosing Harry."
Manuel here with news of what has to be the curious-est film in Disney's quite crowded animation-to-live-action slate of films. As we await the carbon-copy version of Beauty and the Beast and keep worrying that somehow the execs will manage to screw up the upcoming Mulan feature film, news broke last week that the Mouse House had tapped Marc Forster (World War Z, Quantum of Solace) to direct Christopher Robin.
Yes, Winnie the Pooh's Christopher Robin is getting the live-action fantasy film treatment. (This is not to be confused with the current filming A.A. Milne biopic.) Here's the brief description of the project:
The story catches up with Christopher Robin – the character based on author A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne – as an adult who has grown out of the joyful imagination he had as a child. Now a businessman, he prioritizes his work life over his wife and daughter, and must find his inner child once again.
I know I'm supposed to get Finding Neverland vibes (given Forster's involvement) but I also couldn't help think back to this year's The Little Prince which also aimed to reimagine a beloved childhood favorite into a meta-story about finding one's inner child-like wonder. Though, perhaps the most curious thing about the entire project is its screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry. Yes, that Alex Ross Perry.
Can the Queen of Earth and Listen Up Phillip screenwriter manage to make this cloying-sounding project have the edge it might need to set itself apart? Or is this (yet another) craven cash-grab by a studio intent on pilfering all of its properties?
We've reached the penultimate episode of our Tarzan series. Now sailing into Disney wilds...
by Nathaniel R
For over half a century in film and television storytellers didn't think Tarzan needed an origin plot but when the movies told it (Greystoke, 1984), it was as if everyone had always wanted to. Why not Disney then? Disney hadn't quite run out of classic fairytales to adapt by the mid-nineties but they were shifting their focus to boys. This was arguably due to their gargantuan back-to-back biggest-ever successes of Aladdin (1992) and The Lion King (1994), two animated features that deviated from their princess focus. Enter Hercules and then Tarzan. Neither were girly fairytales but both were still firmly embedded in fantasy and heightened enough for musical numbers.
By the time Tarzan rolled into town, Disney executives had clearly begun to wonder if audiences were done with the musical part of their Animated Musicals because Tarzan is only a musical in the sense that non-diegetic adult contemp ear worms keep popping up. They arrive without warning, with all the subtlety of a slasher movie jump scare.