Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wild Things 1983

To end the year with a bit of a bang, here are some pertinent pages from the June 10, 1983 internal Disney Newsreel. They outline the "Where the Wild Things Are" test, which can be viewed on YouTube here. There is also mention of the Brave Little Toaster, a film that ultimately was made outside Disney, directed by Jerry Rees (who was, with Bill Kroyer, one of the animation directors on TRON).

I find this article especially poignant as I have just yesterday revisited Glen Keane's baby Rapunzel (now called Tangled, to make it more appealing to a male audience) in 3-D, which has a trailer for John Lasseter's Cars 2 in front of it (also Smurfs and Mars Needs Moms - Oh, boy, I'm countin' the days - NOT!). Whereas Cars 2 seems to be all about car racing (and thus selling toys to boys), Rapunzel was without a doubt the most beautiful, poetic and luscious CG movie I have ever seen, with amazingly controlled acting and animation, believable characters that never move like puppets. MoCap should turn around in its grave after this one!

My favorite scene? It's a tough call, but I really enjoyed the last scene of the reprise of the Mother Knows Best number. The controlled, scary poses capture the evil Mother Gothel's villainy while at the same time being subdued enough to not scare Rapunzel witless. But I also truly enjoyed the fun spirit of Rapunzel herself, and Maximus' dog-like behavior is hilarious, and very well received by the youngest audience members. For the first time I see acting as controlled as live-action can be, and with a simple twitch of a cheek or so, we understand the inner emotions, mostly of our main character--a huge step forward from Image Movers' stop motion of virtual corpses.

That said, I do feel the film has some inherent story problems that result in my not getting "hit in the gut" by it, as in Dumbo ("Baby Mine") or as Pixar has been able to do in films like Toy Story 2. First, the film takes a long time to get started, and could well have begun, after some explanatory narration and quick shots, with Flynn entering the tower. The "I Want" song could have followed it somewhere, preferably less a High School Musical number, and the film would have jump-started. Worse, Flynn Ryder does not ever get to show REAL authentic feelings, so Rapunzel's love for him, and the climax, seem rather postulated. Flynn's attempts to show these feelings are always either sidetracked or made fun off, as if the directors themselves were afraid of showing emotions. His one full attempt sounds so hollow it needed repeating "no, really, thank you!" and is immediately deflected. In the boat, he would rather do something obscure (to us) than kiss the girl. In the end, noone seems to care about him, so neither will we. Rapunzel herself is a fun girl, full of life and emotions, a great character, beautifully animated, but when, during the climax, we are asked to root for someone whose looks have changed radically, we disassociate ourselves and just look at the film with our eyes, not "with our heart." With her hair, it seems her free spirit is cut down, too, and she ends the film as a show-n-tell doll. I feel that all this could have been fixed with some cutting and pasting in the script - in my mind it is what will turn out to make all the difference at the box-office...

Still, with its lush Fragonard color scheme, its great use of 3-D, and especially its wonderful acting, it is a beautiful film that shows great promise for the future of CG animation. As a gentleman behind me in the theater said, beaming, as the credits had ended: "I didn't think they could make films like this anymore!" Yet with the rumored demise of the fairytale, the Disney Marketing Dept. may well have cut down the promising future in its prime. Let's hope not.

I hear the original story reel had beautiful hand-drawn animation and story sketches by Glen Keane. This I hope to see on an upcoming Blu-Ray, dear folks at Walt Disney Home Entertainment!

(Note: the scans are full 300 dpi, 2550 x 3300 px!)
Lastly, a nice little piece on Eric Larson being the first employee
(only at the parks they are Cast Members) to hit the 50 year mark.
[Bill Cotter reminds us that Larson actually was NOT the first to hit 50, for though Eric Larson was hired 6/1/33, Bill Cottrell's hire date was 2/15/29, and, as it stated on his Disney Legends page, he retired in 1982 "after 53 years of service" making him the first to hit 50 in 1979, four years earlier!]
Going into my own 49th year today, I wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and a GREAT 2011!

Labels: ,


Anonymous David Nethery says...

Happy Birthday , Hans ! (from your fellow Dec. 31 birthday boy ... you have one year on me ... I'm 48 today). As always I appreciate your blog very much. Thanks for posting all this fascinating historical material.



Friday, December 31, 2010 at 5:05:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Zartok-35 says...

Thats quite an interesting article! The backgorunds in this tes talways struck me as being rather sterile, but if The Simpsons movie has taught us anything, computers can generate some very good background settings and props.

Eric Larson stayed at Disney the longest!

Anything else in the pipeline? I remain vigilant. Enjoy the newyear!

Friday, December 31, 2010 at 5:23:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

Have a Happy Birthday and New Start to 2011 - Hans. ;)

Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 2:15:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Didier Ghez says...

Thanks for this treast Hans. Happy New Year to you and Stacia!

Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 2:49:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, guys! David, you youngster, Happy New Year to YOU - hope you had a great birthday - I did!

Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 1:32:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Bill Cotter says...

The article stating that Eric Larson was the first to receive a 50 year award is a tad misleading. I believe Bill Cottrell had started at Disney about 4 years before Eric did. Cottrell moved to WED, so perhaps that technically took him off the WDP payroll, but he was still an active worker at that time. I used to get his mail and vice-versa!

Bill Cotter

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 9:28:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Hey, Bill! Happy New Year etc.!
You are right, of course: Bill Cottrell's hire date was 2/15/29, and, as it stated on his Disney Legends page, he retired in 1982 "after 53 years of service."
Eric Larson was hired 6/1/33.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 11:52:00 AM PST  

Post a Comment

<< Home