Tag Archives: Disney

Tangled (2010)

Rapunzel

Rapunzel

Tangled marks an interesting point in Disney’s evolution. For a decade, Pixar had produced more creative and more artistic films. It had produced more memorable characters and more impactful stories. With that company’s acquisition in 2006, Disney also bought the brains behind Pixar’s magic in John Lasseter.

With Lasseter in charge of all creative for both companies, though, the vision behind each set of films began to meld and slowly become indistinguishable from one another.

Tangled marks a clear beginning of that process. It is the first film that Lasseter oversaw from start to finish. The film was announced a year after Lasseter took hold of the reins and Pixar became part of the Disney family of companies.

With a budget of $250-million, Disney bet big on Tangled being a huge success. Given the box office gold that had come with Lasseter’s previous projects, it was more than likely a safe bet. But it was still $100-million more than anything Disney had spent on a film in the past decade.

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Walter Elias Disney, 1901-1966

“I’d rather entertain and hope that people learn, than teach and hope that people are entertained.”

Walter Elias Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966 during the production of The Jungle Book. He was a chain smoker, suffered from a chronic cough that alerted others to the fact that he was in the room, and eventually died from complications from lung cancer.

Little more than a month before his death, he checked into hospital to undergo surgery related to what he thought was an old polo injury. But x-rays revealed a large lesion on his left lung, which turned out to be a tumour. Doctors performed a pneumonectomy — removing the entire lung — and estimated that Walt would return to work four-to-six weeks later.

“There is no reason to predict any recurrence of the problem or curtailment of his future,” doctors told United Press International. That article was printed on Nov. 23, 1966. Within two weeks, he died of acute circulatory failure.

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Lady and the Tramp (1955)

A spaghetti dinner for two.

Lady and the Tramp is a sharp turn from classic Disney film making, while staying faithful to the emotional and fantastical storytelling tradition. The film marks the first time an original story was told, as well as the biggest shift in animation technology since the multi-plane camera used in Snow White.

Walt Disney spent much of his childhood in Marceline, Missouri. He moved there from Chicago as a young boy and it was in Marceline that he made his first friends, began animating and fell in love with small town farm life. Marceline was a railway town, relatively prosperous, had a local cinema and shops along a downtown corridor. It was a piece of heaven in the middle of no where, connected only by dirt roads and the railway, and although never explicitly stated, many believe Marceline to be the inspiration for the town in which Lady and the Tramp was set. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Ichabod woos his lady

Disney’s last multi-story effort before diving back into full-length animated features, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, covers the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind in the Willows, respectively.

The introduction borrows a page from Winnie the Pooh, the camera browsing through a collection of storybooks while the narrator sets the scene. But instead of talking about the importance of friendship, this narrator talks about the wealth of great characters in American folklore.

It’s a theme continued from the company’s release the previous year, and once again chooses a cheery style of animation to retell classic tales. Knowing that the following year’s release, 1950’s Cinderella, was in co-production with these stories, it’s no surprise that B-level artists and story-tellers were relegated to drawing Ichabod’s cumbersome nose and Mr. Toad’s spastic explorations of the human world.

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Walt Disney’s war effort

This is the first in a planned series of supplemental posts that we’ll write occasionally in between our regular film updates.

Disney at warDumbo was released in late fall 1941. Little more than a month afterward, though, Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and the United States immediately joined the Second World War. Walt Disney, sometimes at the request of the U.S. government, was prepared to use the considerable force of his studio to help the Allied Forces. The studio’s characters quickly appeared on posters and in films to promote war-related causes and to help spread propaganda, uniting the country against the Nazis and the Japanese.

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