Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stay Brave, Merida

There's a lot being said on the Internet about Disney's recent portrayal of Brave's lead character Merida. The uproar is basically over corporate Disney now trying to pass off a tarted-up image of Merida. After some initial protest they appeared to have backed off somewhat but it's not entirely clear yet if they have backed off all the way. More background on this issue can be read at the A Mighty Girl blog and at Has Disney Taken the "Sex Sells" Principle Too Far?.

When we already have South Park making allegations of Disney trying to package messages of sexual promiscuity in a wrapper of "wholesomeness" (Wikipedia quotes regarding the South Park episode "The Ring," which parodies Disney: "Mickey explains that the [Jonas Brothers' purity] rings allow him to sell sexual stimulation to young girls while giving the false appearance of innocence and purity," and, "The episode portrays Disney as a corporation using the ruse of family-friendly morals to disguise their primary motive of profit.") does Disney really need to be adding ammo to their detractor's argument?

In addition to this being a protest against sending a message to little girls that their sole value lies in sexual allure it's also a matter of not wanting corporations to overrule artist's decisions, and, as an animation fan, wanting to see characters always portrayed in a way that feels true to their personality. For me, it perhaps even goes deeper, because as a Disney fan I am constantly finding myself dealing with two Disneys: the true, artistic side and the false, evil, robber baron corporate side that engages in questionable business practices (e.g., trying to declare residential areas adjacent to Disneyland as a societal blight) and charges $2.79 for water at its parks (unless it's gone up since my last visit). There's some hope that petitions such as the Merida-related one at can help tone down the less reputable aspects of Disney that its consumers have to begrudgingly put up with to get to the real stuff, the stuff created by the genuine artists. My feeling is that if you trust the artists then the business will take care of itself. If the petition doesn't succeed in changing corporate Disney's mind then it'll be interesting to see if consumer purchases (or lack thereof) does. It could end up being like the Disney merchandisers in 1989 who didn't think anybody would want a doll of a mermaid with bright red hair so they made Ariel dolls with strawberry blonde hair. Those dolls sold poorly but when the merchandise was modified to correctly reflect the vision of the artists then sales went through the roof.

Beyond all this it's a further personal affront by Disney to the creator of Brave, Brenda Chapman. First her movie was wrested from her and now the portrayal of her character is also being taken from her. So we have a situation where corporate Disney disrespects its consumers and its artists.

Of course, one upside to all this is that it shows that Disney/Pixar fans are deeply invested in these characters.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Springfield Comes to Life, Food Included

In another animation/food crossover it has just been learned that Universal Studios Orlando will be building a whole area at their park modeled after the town of Springfield as seen in The Simpsons and that many of the famous food items seen on the show will be included.

The burning question on everyone's mind: Will it have staged holdups of the Kwik-E-Mart by a Universal cast member dressed as Snake?

Read the full article at FoodBeast.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Oliver & Company 25th Anniversary Edition

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary Tale of the Beloved
Kitten Oliver and His Adventure to Find a Home
Available for the First Time on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def, August 6, 2013
And Features Amazing Music of Billy Joel and Bette Midler

Synopsis:                                     Celebrate the 25th anniversary of a Disney classic with the stunning Blu-ray debut of Oliver And Company, featuring perfect picture and sound. Relive this charming animated adventure, packed with excitement, fun and unforgettable songs by Billy Joel, Bette Midler and Huey Lewis.

In the heart of New York City, Oliver, a mischievous orphaned kitten, is befriended by Dodger, a carefree pooch and his ragtag family of misfit mutts. Life gets even better for Oliver when he is adopted by a lonely little girl named Jenny. But when tough guy Sykes and his Doberman sidekicks try to keep Jenny and Oliver apart, the spirited kitten and his newfound friends discover the meaning of courage and find a home where they truly belong.

Voice Cast:                                 Joey Lawrence (Summer Rental, Urban Legends: Final Cut) as Oliver, Billy Joel (Hangover Part II, 13 Going on 30) as Dodger, Cheech Marin (The Lion King, Grindhouse) as Tito, Richard Mulligan (Little Big Man, Trail of the Pink Panther) as Einstein, Roscoe Lee Browne (Treasure Planet, Babe) as Francis,  Dom DeLuise (All Dogs Go to Heaven, History of the World: Part I) as Fagin, Natalie Gregory (Alice in Wonderland, Wait Until Spring) as Jenny, Bette Midler (Fantasia/2000, Beaches) as Georgette

Directors:                                    George Scribner (Heavy Metal, The Black Cauldron) & Dan Hansen (Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Groove)

Writer:                                         Jim Cox (Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest, The Rescuers Down Under)

Release Date:                            August 6, 2013 (Direct Pre-book: 6/11; Distributor Pre-book: 6/25)
Packaging:                                  2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD + DVD)
Ratings:                                        G
Feature Run Time:                  74 minutes
Blu-ray Aspect Ratio:             1.85:1
Blu-ray Audio:                           English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Blu-ray Subtitles:                     English, French & Spanish
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

UP Gets Way More Real

A day or two ago I was wondering if I'd ever see any more examples of things from Pixar's UP being brought into the real world (I think this stream of consciousness may have started when I saw a dog that reminded me of Dug while I was on a walk). Then I thought. "Nah... there's probably not going to be anything else." Well, I'm happy to say I've been totally proven wrong. Following a pin on my niece's Pinterest board I was led to this blog entry of a real life couple at the UP house I've mentioned before where they even go inside the house and pose to recreate various scenes from the beginning of the movie. You have to go there to see all the incredible pictures (they've even recreated the cane with the tennis balls on each foot). Here's just two photos as a very brief tease:

More photos here at Rock and Roll Bride. And here at OC Mom TV.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WALL•E Slide Show

Found this interesting photo album on flickr by user itsagiraffe:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Click here to go directly to the photo album. When you're there you can click on "Slideshow" to see it even bigger.