Frozen (5)

Frozen started off as a pretty straight-up adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Snow Queen. But, as we detailed earlier today, it mutated to become something rather different. Now it is a story of “two sisters torn apart by a big family secret,” with Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) as the elder sibling, who cursed her kingdom to be permanently on ice, and Anna (Kristen Bell) as the younger, who tries to find Elsa after she flees the kingdom.

Based on some of the concept art we’ve seen, I expected one thing from the film — something rather grand and pretty. But this first teaser trailer doesn’t deal with family or curses, and it isn’t “grand,” exactly. It has a much smaller conflict in mind. Take a look for yourself below. Read More »

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If you don’t have plans for the next couple of summers yet, you may be tempted to take some theme park trips after you read this post. After the jump:

  • Disneyland Paris will get a Ratatouille attraction in 2014
  • Check out the first model image from Shanghai Disneyland
  • Disney’s Imagineers will be the subject of a new documentary
  • Universal Florida‘s Transformers ride prepares for its launch
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem opens in Hollywood next year
  • Stephen Chow is making a Journey to the West-themed park

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Brave Logo Art

This weekend saw the release of Pixar’s latest film, Brave, a movie that easily won the weekend, garnering an overall “A” CinemaScore from appreciative audiences. Still, at only 74 percent on RottenTomatoes (Pixar’s second worst), and a 7 out of 10 from Germain Lussier, it is clear there is a bit of room for dissent.

Out there in audience-land, did you notice something a little “off” about Brave? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned, or conversations to engage in?

To provide some context, and on the off chance we have completely different taste, here are my top five Pixar efforts:

1. WALL-E
2. Up
3. Toy Story
4. Finding Nemo
5. Monsters, Inc.

Until now, the only Pixar film I flat out didn’t enjoy was Ratatouille, though I admit to only having seen it once, and folks say I’d like it much more if I were to re-visit. Even Cars 2 had redeeming qualities. I can truly say I’ve never found a Pixar film entirely lacking, and that statement includes Brave. There’s no question the film had amazing visuals, setting a new standard for excellence within the animation genre. Unfortunately, the story lacked a bit of … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ooomph. As such, I’m compelled to break down where I feel the problems were, if only to restore everyone’s favorite animation house to the glory they so richly deserve.

One final note, just to head off the obligatory “comparing Brave to the rest of Pixar’s work isn’t entirely fair” argument, we’re in complete agreement there. It’s not fair, and in many ways Pixar’s own ambition and commitment to excellence have raised the bar for all movies. So no, Brave isn’t a bad movie on merit, it’s merely an average one, which animation houses make all the time without compelling anyone to write a 3,000 word article on the subject. But within the greater context of Pixar’s previous work, Brave does come up short, and I think we’ve got a bead on the reasons why.

Note: Massive SPOILERS follow, naturally.

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LOL: Darth Vader Goes to Disneyland Commercial

As part of the promotions for the recently revamped Star Tours, Disney has unveiled an amusing new spot featuring the great and fearsome Darth Vader and a couple of his Stormtroopers taking a tour of Disneyland. In it, the Dark Lord arrives at the park with the intention of checking out the new Star Tours. When he sees that it’s not open yet, he takes his Stormtroopers around the rest of the park. It’s kind of an obvious joke — scary Darth Vader acting goofy is a concept that’s been done in countless parody videos — but it’s still pretty charming. Watch the commercial after the jump.

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Tron Flynn's light cycle

Here’s the central irony of Comic Con: because of the absurd Hall H admittance policies and the vagaries of scheduling, I didn’t get to see the new TRON Legacy footage. But I did interview the director, Joseph Kosinski. The full transcript of that interview will be posted shortly, but I did want to share a quick tidbit that fans of Steven Lisberger’s original 1982 film might like.

The film will feature a sequence set in the ’80s — not in the 1982 time period of the original film, but sometime later in the decade — with slightly retro stylings, and there will be a second ‘new’ light cycle design seen in that sequence, upping the new ‘cylce designs in Legacy to two. We’ve seen both of these light cycles in concept art posted today, and the ’80s sequence is what justifies (or introduces) the Flynn light cycle v2. Read More »

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