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Disney Hipster Meme

24 Feb

Who knew there was a whole meme going on out on the interwebs about Disney hipsters? And no, I don’t mean trendy themepunks . . . I mean photoshopping and captioning Disney characters into hipster status.

I’m lucky enough to have a teenage son to clue me into these things, and he sent me these as a bit of a sampler (click on the images for larger versions):

And hey, if you’re inspired, here’s a palette of Disney hipsters, all ready for you to caption.

Disney Hipster Pallete

Rumor has it there’s a little place called MemeBase where people churn this stuff out every day. In fact, right now there’s a pretty nasty caption on a Buzz Lightyear drinking cup posted there. But you didn’t hear it from me.

Vinylmation: Pink Elephants on Parade

11 Feb

I’m loving these new Vinylmations, inspired by Dumbo‘s Pink Elephants on Parade.

I can stand the sight of worms
And look at microscopic germs
But technicolor pachyderms is really too much for me

Kudos to The Princess and the Frog

8 Jan

Amazing what one finds when cleaning out the old blogreader in the post-holiday lull! The Feministing blog has a nice piece about The Princess and the Frog, going so far as to call it a feminist fairytale.

The more rumors I heard about Disney’s Tiana, the more I was turned off. But as finals week died down and the reviews came in from trusted peers, I decided to look past the whole princess/amphibian bit to see for myself what the first black princess was really all about.And… I really enjoyed myself. That’s because the themes of entrepreneurship and division of labor in the household were so crucial to the film it was kryptonite for any red-blooded feminist. The idea that men can and should play a role in food preparation and that women can own their own business while building viable, healthy relationships was so groundbreaking for a movie with the word “princess” in the title. For this, Disney deserves their props.

I second that emotion.

****SPOILER ALERT*****

The Princess and the Frog busts open the old “someday my prince will come.” Instead, we are given a heroine who many of us can identify with, who wishes on a star, while still saving her tips in coffee cans to work towards that dream. We’re shown a relationship between equals, where she teaches him to work, and he teaches her to dance. And despite the hard work and pragmatism, we’re still treated to a healthy dose of voodoo magic, including one of the most enjoyable villains in recent years.

I can’t help but believe that the increased scrutiny Disney reasonably expected for their first African-American princess led to an improved process in character development. But however this came about, I’m glad it did.

Disney’s Animation Clones

9 Apr

YouTube user Seriousstas has put together a mesmerizing compilation of cloned behaviors in the Disney animation catalogue:

It makes perfect sense that they would re-use some basic choreography and series of movements. After all, who doesn’t love a good jazz square?

Hat tip: Dark Roasted Blend, which also has some stills demonstrating the clones,

Can’t Tell the (Disney) Players Without a Scorecard

5 Sep

Honor Hunter of Blue Sky Disney has created a couple excellent cheat-sheets for those of us who might confuse Ollie Johnston with Eric Larson, or somehow even forget who Ed Catmull is.

Those with opinions on Tony Baxter (or wishing to form some) will want to read the comments on the Suits vs Creatives post fer sure.

Congratulations to Lou Mongello and The WDW Radio Show!

16 Aug

The 2007 People’s Choice podcast awards were announced today, and The WDW Radio Show has taken top honors in the Travel category. (Hat tip to 2719 Hyperion.)

If you love Disney trivia and history, and have a few spare hours each week (sorry Lou, I couldn’t resist!), you really owe it to yourself to check out The WDW Radio Show. This week’s show is a great example of the high-quality, in-depth content.

I am also going to introduce the first in a recurring series entitled, Legends of Disney Imagineering. My first guest certainly qualifies to bear that title and introduction. He is George McGinnis, who played a large part in the creation of the Mark VI monorail, Space Mountain, Horizons, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and countless other attractions and vehicles in Walt Disney World. In this exclusive, one-on-one interview, Mr. McGinnis shares stories of being personally hired by Walt Disney, the triumphs and challenges in creating such attractions as the WEDWay PeopleMover, Space Mountain, Communicore and countless others. He reminisces about working with not only Walt Disney, but a who’s who of Disney legends, including Dick Nunis, Marty Sklar, John Hench, Bob Gurr, Roger Broggie, Claude Coates, and so many others. It is truly something special that I think you’re going to enjoy and was a personal privilege for me to do. And listen very carefully, as he also shares a secret about a change that is likely coming soon to one of his Walt Disney World attractions.

If you have any time left after listening to WDW Radio, there’s a wealth of other great podcasts on the list, in categories ranging from Business to Gaming to Education. Or if you simply can’t get enough Mongello, he’s a frequent co-host on WDW Today. (And no, I’m not just sending you there because they plugged my blog this week . . . I’m also sending you there because yesterday’s episode was wonderfully weird. Hey Matt Hochberg, you might want to drag yourself out of your sickbed soon, those guys are going off the deep end without you!)

Ratatouille’s Success: A Crossroads for Disney Animation?

2 Jul

Now, those of you who read my blog regularly know that Mr Broke Hoedown’s not a big fan of Disney. But Pixar? Well, that’s a whole other story.

In his blog today, Collateral Damage, Mr Broke Hoedown raves about Ratatouille (warning, spoilers below):

It never takes the obvious route. It is never hack (which is what comedians’ name for the easy and cliche). It isn’t “HEARTWARMING.” Every choice made by the people involved is true to the story and the characters and not just what the audience expects. As a result it gives the audience so much more than mere easy laughs. The big challenge that our hero (voiced by the wonderful Patton Oswalt) overcomes is not will he become a chef, it’s how to make peace between being a rat AND being a chef. When his family comes to his aid it’s not a big sweeping emotional moment, it’s a much more realistic “yeah we’re family and this is what family does even when they’re angry at each other” moment. In other words: It’s a true moment, not a Hollywood one.

One of Ratatouille’s greatest strengths is that it never forgets that rats and people eating food are not something that go together. Even when the rats ride to the rescue and run the kitchen, the movie is smart enough to include a stomach-jarring shot of rodents swarming. If this had been made just by Disney Ratatouille would have had an ending where the restaurant is saved, the rat and the human both get the girl and snoooooore. That sort of happens, but not in the predictable way that ruined so many of Disney’s later animated movies.

Also it’s hard to imagine the later Disney movies including the wonderful scene where our hero and his father walk by the exterminator’s shop in the Marais whose window is decorated with dead rats in traps. (I’ve been by that store a number of times, it is quite wonderful.) Pre-Pixar animation at Disney long ago gave up being willing to actually upset the audience. For all that Lion King was willing to show the father’s death, it did it without the terror and darkness that makes Pinocchio one of the greatest and scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

John Frost of The Disney Blog also found Ratatouille a significant departure from the usual Disney fare, and in a good way:

. . . I had convinced myself that Pixar had strayed too far away from the traditional animated children’s film with Ratatouille. But what is a traditional animated children’s film? That is decided anew with every genre busting film that’s released. All you can do is to find what you love and keep doing it to the best of your ability. That’s the lesson of Ratatouille and the philosophy behind Pixar. That Walt’s Way and it’s a recipe for success for us all.

Earlier in his article, Frost relates this back to earlier days of Disney:

With Ratatouille, animated film, at least the way Brad Bird and Pixar produce it, stands at a cross-roads similar to where Walt Disney stood after Pinocchio and Fantasia. They can go on along the path they’re following and convert the medium into something new that appeals to adults while not being tethered to the ‘family film’ rules. This is the fiscally risky route (see the initial box office results for Fantasia). But the greater the risk, the greater the reward (a theme common to Pixar films, not coincidentally I imagine).

Alternatively, they can return to something more appealing to the kid in all of us (and more entertaining for those who actually are kids). Think Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty. When those films were released they were anything but conventional. Indeed Sleeping Beauty stands as a singular masterpiece of art. The irony is that while they’re all commercially less risky, that’s not to say they were all box office successes. Nor is it to say there is a simple formula to follow. It’s harder to swing for the fences when you’re deliberately using a shorter bat as Walt Disney found out during and after WWII. In modern day animation this method isn’t resulting in any box office gold right now either (see recent Dreamworks and WDAS releases).

Let’s hope that the success of Ratatouille emboldens Disney Animation to take more chances, and bust a few more genres themselves.

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