Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Disney Treasures -- Wave Seven News

There's an interview with Leonard Maltin up at Jim Hill Media. The main topic of discussion is the upcoming 20th edition of his annual movie guide, but more interesting (to you and me at least) is the brief mention of the upcoming wave seven of the Disney Treasures DVDs (which come out December 11):

"First up is 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit,' " Maltin continued. "This two-disc set will feature several newly restored versions of these black & white silent cartoons. Some of which will now have an full orchestral track while others will feature just organ accompaniment. This DVD will also include Leslie Iwerk's great documentary, 'The Hand Behind the Mouse,' about her grandfather Ub Iwerks."

Also included in this "Disney Treasures" release is the oft-delayed "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic" as well as "The Chronological Donald -- Volume 3." Which will include intriguing extras like a featurette that documents Donald's many cameo appearances in feature films as well as an interview with noted Disney character sculptor Rubén Procopio. Who will demonstrate how you take a two-dimensional character like Donald Duck and change him into a 3D sculpture.

More on the Alvin and Horton trailers

At his blog, Mark Mayerson has posted his thoughts on the recently released trailers for Alvin and the Chipmunks and Horton Hears a Who. His blog post is titled "Two Trailers; Two Tragedies" -- can you guess what he thought of them? About the Chipmunks, he says:

What is it about toilet humour and animated films? We've gone from fart jokes to characters defecating on screen in Open Season to characters eating each other's waste material now. When did family films look to John Waters and Pink Flamingoes as a model? When did a porn fetish become children's entertainment? And who, at the MPAA, approved this trailer for all audiences?

My objection is not to the obscenity, it's the complete and total lack of imagination. In a medium where characters can do anything, they choose to do this? With the entire history of film comedy to draw on, this is the best they could do?

He's not much kinder to Horton Hears a Who:

Furthermore, whoever is behind the screenplay doesn't understand how to write for animation. There's way too much dialogue and the animators are stuck looking for gestures to keep the characters alive while the dialogue drones on. I don't envy the animator stuck with that Steve Carell scene. It's a tough challenge, but he or she is making it worse by using gestures to illustrate words and phrases as opposed to thoughts. The character is overly busy and the gestures are mostly empty of emotion.

At his own blog, Michael Sporn gives some of his comments on the trailers. Here's some of what he says about Alvin and the Chipmunks:

My immediate reaction to the ugly cg chipmunks was absolutely negative. There is nothing that could make me go to that film. The designs of the characters are completely off kilter. To think back to those limited animation but beautifully designed Format film originals, I can only sigh when I look at what a bastardization of ugly design people do today. It’s sad, really.