Posts Tagged ‘Bugs Bunny’

Disney Classics Goes 3D

November 3, 2011

After the success of the re-release The Lion King in 3D, Disney announced that it will re-release Beauty and The Beast, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid and  Monsters, Inc. in 3D.

I guess I blogged too soon about there being intelligent life in Hollywood. (See Kimosabe, Uncle Walt Says Stop) I must admit I thought re-release The Lion King in 3D was just a one time deal before it goes on to Blu-Ray DVD. Rather it was more like a test for the folks at Disney. Now instead of making original animated 3D films, Uncle Walt’s crew is retro fitting older animated films with 3D effects.

Of course, the 3D retro fitting idea can be traced back to George Lucas doing that to the Star Wars films. I suspect that the folks at Disney found out what he was doing and thought “Gee, if Lucas is doing that for the Star Wars films and there are only six of them, just think what we could with our back catalogue of animated films.” Then The Lion King in 3D did so well, the folks at the Mouse Factory were singing Hakuna Matata all the way to the bank.

Still, 3D isn’t as great as the studios would have us believe and it’s an effect that won’t work for every movie. What’s next? Will Dreamworks’ animation department jump on the bandwagon and start retro fitting all the Shrek and Madagascar films in 3D? What about Warner Brothers? Will we be treated to Bugs Bunny being hunted by Elmer Fudd in 3D? (Quick duck, Fudd has a gun!) Oh Don Bluth*, where are you when we need you the most?

Most of the time, the only thing 3D adds to a film is that it adds more money to the admission price. What makes Disney’s animated films so great is that while the stories they are based on are classics in and of themselves, Disney added the artistry and the storytelling elements that made them their own. When it comes to Snow White, people don’t think of The Brothers Grimm. No, they think of Snow White dancing with the Dwarves and singing Someday My Prince Will Come.

Disney has the resources at its disposal and then some to create another classic animated film, so it has no excuse when it comes this. So, come on Mickey, start whipping your minions into shape. They produced animated films that were grand artistic achievements in the past and they can do it again.

*Don Bluth, a former Disney animator who in 1979 left to establish Don Bluth Productions. His company was responsible for such animated films as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Titan AE and let’s not forget the video game Dragon’s Lair.



Unexpected Pairings in Movies Or That’s Odd

September 15, 2010

Recently, I learned that Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton will be in a movie together. Titled Joyful Noise, Latifah plays the mother of two kids who are in a church choir. The choir director dies and Latifah takes over as choir director. Parton plays the widow of choir director and she wanted to be the choir director, which sets up a rivalry between the two. The film is set to start production in 2011.

In case you didn’t know, Queen Latifah is a rapper and Dolly Parton is a county singer, so it will be interesting to see how well they work together in a movie. Why did the studios do it? There is the novelty factor and seeing what it looks like when opposites star in the same film that attract moviegoers. Of course, this is not the first time seemingly mismatched co-stars have been put together in a film. There have been others, such as:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
It’s Los Angeles 1947 and private eye Eddie Valiant is hired by Roger Rabbit to prove that his wife Jessica is cheating on him with Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and the owner of Toontown. Soon Acme is found dead and signs point to Rabbit.  So, Rabbit urges Valiant to help clear his name. What’s so odd about that? You ask? Just another private eye story or is it?

What makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit? unique is that this movie combines live action with animation. In fact, the title character is an animated character. Other animated characters are part of the film, such as, Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Droopy Dog and more. There is one memorable scene where Donald and Daffy are dueling pianists and Daffy says, “That’s the last time I share the stage with someone with a speech impediment.”  So, the oddness comes from the genre/animated character mash up and it worked. Critics loved it and it did well at the box office.

Stop or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
What happens when you bring together Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty? No, that is not a dream that is the byproduct of falling asleep during a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime after you ran up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. The answer is a movie about a cop (Stallone) and his mom (Getty). Stallone is a bigmouth Los Angeles cop whose methods of crimefighting don’t endear him to his fellow police officers. Then his overbearing mother (the kind that shows baby pictures to his colleagues at LAPD) and comes to visit and she happens to witness a crime. So, it is up to the two of them to catch the bad guys. Critics weren’t kind to this film and many said that Stallone should stick to action films, and not follow Arnold into comedy genre.  Stallone agreed and didn’t make another comedy after this film.

Twins 1988
Speak of the devil, Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his first foray into comedy and his co-star is none other than Danny DeVito. They play fraternal twins who were separated at birth and find each other after 35 years. While this could have bombed like Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, it didn’t. It could be due to Schwarzenegger actually being better at comedy than Stallone (check out the one-liners Schwarzenegger delivers in Pumping Iron to see what I mean).  Also having a co-star like DeVito, who has good comedic timing, helps.

Well, that’s all folks. What will the next unexpected pairing from Hollywood look like? Hey if I knew, then it wouldn’t be so unexpected.


Animated Movies—They’re Not Just for Kids Anymore

July 21, 2010

There were three animated movies released during the 2010 summer movie season. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, they are:

Toy Story 3
Shrek: The Final Chapter
Despicable Me

Usually during the blockbuster movie season (summer or winter/holiday season), one, maybe two animated films are released. What has lead to so many animated films being released at one time?  Here are my theories on the subject:

  1. It’s the economy.  The Dow is more down than up and unemployment is still high. In a situation like this, escapist cinema does well at the box office and what can be more escapist than an animated film. The films are visually appealing and the voices are stars like Steve Carrell, Tom Hanks, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz who know how to bring a character to life.
  2. It’s a reminder of childhood. If you are of a certain age, you can remember being camped out in front of the television set on Saturday mornings watching such cartoons as Bugs Bunny, Fat Albert, Superfriends and let’s not forget The Smurfs. While the Saturday morning cartoons aren’t as visually appealing as their feature length cousins, they were fun to watch. Bugs Bunny got away from Elmer Fudd, the Superfriends got the bad guys, Fat Albert and his friends had fun and learned a lesson, and the Smurfs outsmarted Gargamel everytime. Bravo cartoon characters, you entertained me and a million other kids.
  3. It’s art. Don’t look at me like that. I’m serious. From Snow White to the current crop of computer generated animated films, it takes a good eye and great storytelling skill to create an animated film that both kids and adults will enjoy. Also, creating art means taking a risk. Speaking of Snow White, Walt Disney took a huge gamble in making that film in 1937. Before Snow White was released, no one thought people would watch an animated feature for more than a few minutes. Well, Disney proved the naysayers wrong and showed than an animated film can be as engrossing and artistic as a feature film. Whatever you think of the Disney studios now, would there be a Toy Story, Shrek or even Despicable Me in 2010 without Walt talking that chance in 1937?

Something to think about as you go to see the latest animated film.