9 items from 2014
Snow White was a risk that could have finished Disney. Ryan looks at how the world's first animated feature changed the landscape of cinema
In 2013, Walt Disney Animation Studios released Frozen, its 53rd animated feature. With takings of well over $1bn and counting, it ranks as the most successful animated film of all time, eclipsing the previous title holder - Pixar's Toy Story 3 - by around $200m.
For a generation who've grown up with such films as The Lion King and Tangled, Disney probably seems like an immovable cultural force: as recognisable and unchanging as Mount Rushmore or the American flag. But Disney has survived a series of peaks and troughs since its founding in the 1920s, from its decline in the 1970s and early 80s, its revival in the 90s, and its second burst of creative energy in the 2000s.
From its inception, Disney Animation Studios has moved with the times, »
Entertainment Geekly is a weekly column that examines pop culture through a geek lens and simultaneously examines contemporary geek culture through a pop lens. So many lenses!
Last week, I asked a simple question: Is the DC Cinematic Universe–the Warner Bros. back-of-the-napkin plan to launch an all-out assault on Marvel Studios by unleashing a double-digit boatload of superhero movies between now and 2020–actually a thing? Will the Man of Steel-verse actually transform into a cape-ier alternative to the Avengers-verse? Or is this a Valiant-Comics-in-1992 thing–a situation where all the elaborate and ambitious universe-building plans will ultimately dead-end »
- Darren Franich
A slew of classic Disney movies are hitting for the first time on Blu-Ray, including one double-pack release, and you’re going to want to make sure to pick these up. You haven’t paid attention to some of these titles for a while, and it’s about time you got the chance to catch them on Blu-Ray. The best part is that there’s a great mix of releases hitting. Bedknobs and Broomsticks is all but lost in the cultural consciousness, and it deserves a return. The Academy Award-winning movie from the year I was born is filled with a lot of fun and adventure, and like most Disney films, holds up well for a whole new generation.
The rest of the group covers a great spectrum, including two animated “big” titles, and a 10th Anniversary release. There’s a lot to expose your family to here, so check out all the info below, »
- Marc Eastman
Sure, you've seen "The Lion King" dozens of times. You own the soundtrack and you've caught the Broadway show. Maybe you even had "Lion King" sheets and went to bed singing "Hakuna Matata."
And what "Lion King" fan doesn't know about the scene where stars supposedly spell out "Sex"? We bet there are still some things you didn't know about the beloved Disney classic, which turns 20 on June 15.
2. Disney believed that "Pocahontas" (which came out in 1995) would be the bigger, more prestigious film and put all its key animators on it instead. Story artist Brenda Chapman (who went on to direct "Brave" and "The Prince of Egypt") thought the story "wasn't very good" and writer Burny Mattinson declared, "I don't know who is »
- Sharon Knolle
Finding Nemo encompasses a tremendous amount of positive imagery that makes up Disney and Pixar’s populous appeal. From learning how to trust family and friends, to overcoming biggest fears and obstacles, Finding Nemo understands how to tap into the audience’s heartstrings and neatly ties in a meaningful message for the viewer to take home. Yet with every good side, there is a dark presence that even Disney can’t back away from. Like many Disney films, from Bambi to Frozen, Finding Nemo deals with a story whose basis stems from a broken household struggling with a great deal of separation. Why does Disney cling onto threads of such despair and heartache? Perhaps it’s a factor many can relate to. Or perhaps it’s a working formula that sweetens the arc of a happy ending. Either way, separation is a tapped fountain of which Hollywood has dipped into time after time again. »
- Christopher Clemente
But even if you’ve already watched the nuvo-retro Mickey movie, which combines an old-school 1930s hand-drawn style with state-of-the-art digital animation and 3-D effects, you probably haven’t seen everything the Oscar-nominated short has to offer.
EW has an exclusive clip of the Walt Disney Animation Studios film – when things go from flat to flat-out crazy. Director Lauren MacMullan walked us through all the little details, hidden and otherwise. »
- Anthony Breznican
“I think we’re all glad that they changed the name to Fantasia,” states Steve Martin dryly during his introduction of Fantasia 2000 regarding the film’s predecessor, which was originally called The Concert Feature. (Fantasia may be a slightly cooler-sounding title, but it’s not much more inviting to the average audience member than The Concert Feature.) That single line of dialogue represents the key to the creative struggle at the heart of Fantasia 2000, a perfectly entertaining film with no identity of its own. Though Martin is funny in his few moments on screen (all of the celebrity introductions in this new film are mildly charming in their own way, though they vary in tone from Martin’s wacky fourth-wall-breaking humor to regal sincerity, as with Angela Lansbury’s climactic appearance), the fact that a recognizable comedian needs to be one of our ushers into a world of »
- Josh Spiegel
The concept of the work of art that is unappreciated by the masses immediately, but gains a passionate and overwhelming following decades later is almost as old as time itself. A book, or piece of music, or painting, or sculpture, or film is unveiled to an indifferent public, save a few devout fans, and is only revived once newer generations approach it with fresh eyes. So many films we now consider to be the greatest of all time were not as warmly received (if they were received warmly at all) upon their initial release. Some classics, such as Citizen Kane and Vertigo, benefit now primarily from home media releases, repeated airings on Turner Classic Movies, and the impassioned voices of critics and historians to emphasize to general audiences how important and daring and dramatically satisfying these films truly are. Then there are the films that received a second wind of »
- Josh Spiegel
One of the bright spots this past film year was the success of Disney’s Frozen. On the strength of it’s more modern princesses and an infectious score, the film set box office records and has garnered two Oscar nominations, Animated Feature and Best Original Song for “Let It Go”, its infectious hit. In honor of Frozen’s nomination, we figured it was time to take a look at the history of animated movies in Original Song.
The history of animated films picking up nominations and wins in Best Original Song is a tale as old as time (see what I did there?). Since the 1930s, animated films have won this award 13 times and over 50 nominations, which you can see below. This is an even greater feat when you think about the consideration that animated films get when lists of musicals are made (they »
- Terence Johnson
9 items from 2014
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