Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
The Ropes at Disney's - 1943 Employee Handbook. The good old days when women got twice as much sick leave, the Penthouse club was accessible by "men only! - sorry gals...", and a violation of the U.S. Espionage Act could get you fired.
To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
Vladimir Jankijevic is a technical oriented artist at ‘Elefant Studios’ in Zürich. Here’s are his Various Fluid Experiments, Walts Rubber Mask, The Osiris project. His Vimeo channel includes other silent shorts. More examples of the Lagoa Multiphysics Simulation Software. His website [more inside]
Every Disney Princess has an inner queen, girl. slyt belleganza
40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics, created by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke (with some help from Bob Ingebretsen) in... wait for it... 1972!
Requiem for a Mermaid. Requiem for a Lion King. Requiem for Pocahontas. Requiem for a Hunchback. (Previously: Requiem for Ferris Bueller, Toy Story Requiem.)
Stephen Strange was an arrogant doctor, until a car accident damaged his hands, leading him try every cure possible. Eventually he made his way to the East, where the story progressed, and now he's Doctor Strange, master of magic! His thrilling tale is set to be the first Marvel superhero movie since Marvel was purchased by Disney. But there has been much history behind the latest movie, including a period when Guillermo del Toro was involved and wanted to include Neil Gaiman, a draft script by Alex Cox (1990, 5.1 mb PDF; review), and a draft script by Bob Gale (January 21, 1986, 3.5 mb PDF; review). Along with these incomplete attempts, there was the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie, which you can watch online (full movie with Portuguese subtitles, or YT playlist). If you'd like another take, head to 1992 for the direct-to-video movie Doctor Mordrid. Depending on who you ask, it's a more or less entertaining/accurate take (warning: spoilers) on Dr Strange. Modrid is also online.
Donald in Mathmagic Land is a 27-minute Donald Duck featurette released on June 26, 1959. As Walt Disney said, "We have recently explained mathematics in a film and in that way excited public interest in this very important subject." (Wiki)
Weekend At Kermie's: The Muppets' Strange Life After Death. Elizabeth Stevens asks:
What if, in 1990, instead of recasting Kermit—something that had been done to Mickey and Bugs Bunny before him—the Muppets had continued on Kermit-less, as "The Simpsons" did after Phil Hartman died. Recall Susan’s words on "Seasame Street" about Mr. Hooper in 1982: “Big Bird, when people die, they don’t come back.” Let’s say Robin showed up saying his uncle Kermit had passed away? Or, if that was too dark for Disney, what if Kermit had left show business to go off to start a family with Piggy? Someone else could lead the gang of weirdoes..
It would’ve made more artistic sense than what happened
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
Shoomlah illustrates Disney Princess in historically accurate costumes, givs explanations for her choices, and shows us her process. [more inside]
An unfinished Donald Duck comic story, designed and roughed out with story complete, by Don Rosa! Written to promote the grand opening of Disney's MGM theme park, for one reason or another they dropped it before it could be completed. It's interesting because, in the comic book universe, Donald Duck isn't a movie star, but Mickey Mouse is -- so the duck seeks out his autograph. It even makes an explicit reference to a certain other duck....
Walt Disney Co. has filed an application to trademark the name "Seal Team 6", the Navy Seal team that killed OBL in Pakistan earlier in May. [more inside]
Dr. Fuchs’s Donald was no ordinary comic creation. He was a bird of arts and letters, and many Germans credit him with having initiated them into the language of the literary classics. The German comics are peppered with fancy quotations. In one story Donald’s nephews steal famous lines from Friedrich Schiller’s play “William Tell”; Donald garbles a classic Schiller poem, “The Bell,” in another. Other lines are straight out of Goethe, Hölderlin and even Wagner (whose words are put in the mouth of a singing cat). The great books later sounded like old friends when readers encountered them at school. As the German Donald points out, “Reading is educational! We learn so much from the works of our poets and thinkers.” [more inside]
Russian designer Egor Zhgun (LiveJournal) remixes pop culture and politics, to humorous effect. His latest is a mashup of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"; the game Angry Birds; and current Middle Eastern politics into an animated political cartoon: Three Big Pigs.
via Eathan Zuckerman and Cartoon Brew
via Eathan Zuckerman and Cartoon Brew
“Is it possible to talk you out of doing a live action movie adaptation? Would you consider doing a traditionally animated adaptation? In my heart I think the musical needs the medium, and I think the medium needs your musical. I just love them both so much and hopefully that shows through in the story reel.” [more inside]
"I've always loved the music from the Saturday matinee serial, and I figured a short that was animated to this music could be a really cool piece. I designed the character mixing all the traits from my favorite Superman actors from the past, and then looked at the work of Hugh Ferriss for inspiration on the background design." - Superman Classic (yt) - A Superman fan film by disney animator by Disney animator Robert Pratt.
The Lord of the Rings wasn't the only movie featuring The Beatles that never happened. Very early in their career, the group signed a three-movie deal with United Artists as a way to get increased publicity, with A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965) being completed in short time. An early contender for their third film was a western comedy. Going quite a different direction was a "morbid and dull" work called Up Against It, seen by others as dated satire that read "like a rather mediocre early [Monty] Python movie." Continue on in for more ephemera from other rejected film projects by The Beatles. [more inside]
In the 1940's, Walt Disney Studios produced a series of animated public health films for distribution in South America. [more inside]
The intro to Duck Tales in Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. (MLYT) [more inside]
Early in 1903, the success of the New York production of the musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz got composer Victor Herbert and librettist Glen MacDonough thinking. They thought that it might be possible to duplicate that success by applying a Christmas theme to Baum's story and then sprinkling in a few Mother Goose characters. Later that year the resulting show, Babes in Toyland, was a rousing success. Thirty years later it was made into a movie starring two of the greatest motion picture actors of the era, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, produced by Hal Roach. But this post isn't about either of those productions; it's about the worst production. [more inside]
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing. Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree (while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention). The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic to Icelandic to Zulu gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog, debuted in more than forty tongues. Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes and one-line comparisons, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights: "One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali," and "A Whole New World" (Aladdin) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata," and "Luau!" (The Lion King) - "Under the Sea" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" (The Little Mermaid) - "Belle" and "Be Our Guest" (Beauty and the Beast) - "Just Around the Riverbend" (Pocahontas) - "One Song" and "Heigh-Ho" (Snow White) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella) - Medley (Pinocchio) - "When She Loved Me" (Toy Story 2) - Intro (Monsters, Inc.)
Cubic Mouth is a series of plush dolls and toys designed by Satoshi Fumihara, creator of MTV Japan's The World of Golden Eggs and some rather interesting ads for Nissan. (previously) If the dolls look familiar, it's not a coincidence nor is it an artistic imitation; these are legitimately licensed Disney products. (most links in Japanese but self-explanatory) Oh Disney, why do you have to be so buttoned up at home?
Right Wing Radio Duck "Donald's life is turned upside-down by the current economic crisis and he finds himself unemployed and falling behind on his house payments. As his frustration turns into despair Donald discovers a seemingly sympathetic voice coming from his radio named Glenn Beck. "
The Muppets at Walt Disney World is a television special starring Jim Henson's Muppets at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This was the last Muppets project that Jim Henson worked on before his death. parts: intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 [more inside]
Always wished you could listen to a scene from Full Metal Jacket [imdb] with the voices provided by Disney(tm)-sounding characters? Well, then you'd like Full Metal Disney. (SLYT - nsfw - swearing).
Take a solo trek through the back streets of toontown or gaze upon pastoral fantasia. You'll find an astonishing variety of familiar and fantastic locales at Bob Richards' Animation Backgrounds blog. [more inside]
Chilean graphic designer Juan Pablo Bravo (Flickr profile, blogspot blog) makes some pretty awesome character infographics. (Warning: the following links go to large sized flickr photos) 70 Disney Villains : 250 Disney Characters :
100 200 Pixar Characters (sorta previously) : 50 Movie Cars : and his most recent (and my personal favorite) 600 Hanna-Barbara Characters (via). [more inside]
Those old Disney cartoons too slow-paced for you? BLAM! (Original.) Are you confounded by physical humor? BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.) Does a cartoon without wisecracks leave you unsatisfied? BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.) BLAM! (Original.)
Daft Punk's Tron Legacy Score Leaked Online Youtube user alexdaft26 has uploaded the entire soundtrack in nine films on youtube.
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Joshua Glenn and anti-middlebrow blog Hilobrow present their generational periodization scheme: from the Prometheans born in 1844-53 and the technologically transformative Plutonians born in 1854-63, to the hiply earnest Revivalists (those who were teenagers in the 90s) and the Throwbacks (my generation, and an article that horrifyingly includes pictures of tweens and the Mickey Mouse Club). [more inside]
Disney restyles "Rapunzel" to appeal to boys. Disney is wringing the pink out of its princess movies. After the less-than-fairy-tale results for its most recent animated release, "The Princess and the Frog," executives at the Burbank studio believe they know why the acclaimed movie came up short at the box office. Brace yourself: Boys didn't want to see a movie with "princess" in the title. Dear Disney: Boys Aren't Stupid, but renaming "Rapunzel" is.
Mean (Disney) Girls [SLYT]
David Lynch's A Goofy Movie (slyt)
Last spring Young Jean Lee, an American playwright and director, spoke plainly on the state of American theatre to the Nation. She described it as "our most backward art form."
Coloring the Kingdom: the story of the all-female “finishing school” of hand-drawn animation that worked behind the scenes to create the first animated full-length Disney feature, Snow White. (via.)
Roy E. Disney, son of Disney Company co-founder Roy O. Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, and the last Disney family member actively involved with the company, passed away today from stomach cancer. While he worked for the Disney Corporation on and off over the course of his life, he produced some of the "True-Life Adventures", and heading the Disney Animation through a second golden age (Little Mermaid, Alladin, Beauty and the Beast, etc). He was also integral in replacing the head of the company not once (his cousin's husband and Walt's son-in law, Ron Miller in 1984), but twice (Michael Eisner in 2006, ironically, the person he helped install in 1984). For those of us born after Walt passed away in 1966, Roy's uncanny resemblance to his uncle helped created a public face to keep the Disney ideals alive for later generations.
River County, Disney's first water park has been shut down since 2001 and permanently closed since 2005. It has not been dismantled. It was smaller than the two other (currently operating) water parks, and frequently much less crowded. In only a few years, relatively, weather, growth and neglect have damaged the slides and pools, many of which are still full of water. The entire thread with many more pictures is here [more inside]
Oh hai here's a flow chart showing the creative/organizational process of a (Walt) Disney film. Stay away from the morgue.