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Entries in Disney (138)

Monday
Nov212016

Beauty vs Beast: Beast vs Gaston

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."

Monday
Nov212016

Live Action Christopher Robin Flick Coming Your Way

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?

Thursday
Nov102016

Swing Tarzan Swing: Disney's 1999 Animated Take 

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.

Sort of.

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.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep282016

Review: Queen of Katwe

by Eric Blume

Usually adjectives like “inspirational” and “crowd-pleasing” make most serious moviegoers want to go running straight for the hills, and indeed the trailer for Disney’s Queen of Katwe made me shudder.  This true story of a poor Ugandan girl (played here by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) who becomes a candidate master at chess has all the markers of the usual Disney underdog story, and you expect all the typical manipulation that comes with it. 

But most films aren’t directed by Mira Nair, and she turns Queen of Katwe into something rare:  a true story that plays authentically and simply.  Nair shot this film in the actual slums of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, and her love for the place, the people, and the culture is unmistakable...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep012016

More Early Looks at "Beauty And The Beast"

Chris here with more early looks at next year's live action Beauty and the Beast revamp.

While we've only had the briefest of glimpses at what's in store for Disney's next reimagining/bastardization (potato, potahto) of a favorite, we have already been given enough to incite both excitement and dread. However, what the trailer was missing was any kind of hint of how the characters might visually borrow or differ from the original animated masterpiece. Now it looks like we'll be getting a little of both...

Yep, that's Dan Stevens as the transformed Beast in human form giving a very literal interpretation of the open-chested flowy frock of the original. But the design of Lumiere and Cogsworth (voiced by Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen) is, shall we say... certainly different - any concerns of reliance on CGI will not be abated by this reveal. Whether the film will take the approach of "more is more" (Cogsworth is walking filigris) or "less is less" (human Beast wasn't so modest, Mr. Stevens) is still to come.

What do you think of the character design? Would you rather see the characters close to the original or an entire new take?

Saturday
Aug132016

Review: Pete's Dragon

By Chris Feil

It's at the outset of David Lowery's reinvention of Pete's Dragon that the titular beast is intended more as a puppy to our namesake hero. What follows is a sharp left turn from the original's vaudevillian slapstick, with the "boy and his dog" approach used as a distinguishing characteristic from the aimless original and as an easy emotional access point for the audience. Gone are the musical numbers (though the hipster rock is cranked up to 11) and the buffoonery in favor of something more genuinely wraught straight from the heart.

But more importantly, this iteration of Elliott the dragon serves to stir more than just cutesy, cheap surrogate affection. Lowery is unafraid of scaring the kids and making the grown ups weep along the way. What remains is a family film about coping defenses, especially how we lean on our furry friends in the face of trauma.

This nuanced angle is made plain in the film's stunning prologue, confidently announcing those stark differences from its source and the emotional rollercoaster to come. The film is fascinated by moments of magic in the real world, and luckily Lowery has conjured a film that does just that, from Elliott's reveal to the organic emotions it creates. Yep, we finally have some magic at the movies this summer.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug082016

A Real Life Gaston

Presented without commentary because what is there really to say other than "Do the whole musical!"