Tag Archives: Walt Disney Pictures

Vincent

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Image via Wikipedia

Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Rick Heinrichs
Written by Tim Burton
Narrated by Vincent Price
Music by Ken Hilton
Cinematography Victor Abdalov
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Touchstone Home Video
Buena Vista Distribution
Release date UK 1982
Running time 5 minutes 52 seconds
Country USA
Language English

I saw Vincent last week as a part of the Tim Burton exhibition that is currently on at ACMI in Federation Square, Melbourne. (I also have it on DVD as an extra on The Nightmare Before Christmas) It’s a great six-minute stop motion animated film that shows where Burton would be headed in his career. It features great narration from Vincent Price and the animation is very good.


Destino

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most f...

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Directed by Dominique Monféry
Produced by Baker Bloodworth & Roy E. Disney
Written by Salvador Dalí, John Hench & Donald W. Ernst
Music by Armando Dominguez
Music Adaptation: Michael Starobin
Editing by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
Studio Disney Studios France
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date USA: December 19, 2003
France:  June 1, 2003

Destino was a collaboration between Disney and Salvador Dali that commenced in 1945/46 but was unfinished. They had storyboarded it but due to financial difficulties and the war the project was cancelled. It was resurrected in 2000 by Roy Disney and finally premiered in 2003.

It has not been released onto DVD yet, although it could be an extra release with the forthcoming Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 release next year. It was supposed to have been a part of the Walt Disney Treasures line but that never came to fruition. It is quite interesting and very Dali-esque. Destino was a part of the National Gallery Of Victoria‘s 2009 Dali exhibition; Liquid Desires.


Toy Story 3

Directed by Lee Unkrich
Produced by Darla K. Anderson & John Lasseter (Executive)
Nicole Paradis Grindl (Associate)
Written by Michael Arndt
Starring
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Ned Beatty
Don Rickles
Michael Keaton
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Estelle Harris
John Morris
Jodi Benson
Emily Hahn
Laurie Metcalf
Blake Clark
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Ken Schretzmann
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date June 18, 2010
Running time 103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English

The final adventure of Woody, Buzz and the gang is undoubtedly their best yet and I think is the best film that Pixar has made. I think that Pixar has raised the bar with TS3, especially with the personality of their characters. They connect with the audience in a way that other animated characters… even live action characters… are unable to. They have such a great depth that when they are in very real danger towards the climax of the film that many in the audience are weeping and blubbering like babies (shut up… I had something in my eye).

The film starts a bit slowly as we are re-introduced to the gang and they get us up to speed on what has happened since we last met. There is a lot of comedy, especially when the toys go to Sunnyside and we meet Ken, who is the funniest character in the film, but towards the end of the film things get serious and the toys are in very real danger of becoming a melted blob. It is here that you notice just how good this film is because you have become emotionally attached to a bunch of animated toys. The film has a lot of emotional depth, more than even your average live action film, and the toys, especially Lotso the strawberry huggin’ bear, have issues that have caused them to choose their life’s role. (I hope this makes sense)

Basically you should really see this film.


Toy Story

Directed by John Lasseter
Produced by Ralph Guggenheim & Bonnie Arnold
Written by John Lasseter
Pete Docter
Andrew Stanton
Joe Ranft
Joss Whedon
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Starring
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Don Rickles
Jim Varney
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Annie Potts
John Morris
Laurie Metcalf
Erik von Detten
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Robert Gordon & Lee Unkrich
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date November 22, 1995
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
It’s hard to believe that Toy Story is 15 years old. Woody, Buzz and the gang are still fresh after all that time. Now with Toy Story 3 being released today I thought that I would relive the first two adventures.

Toy Story was the first feature-length CGI animated film and unlike Dreamworks’ Shrek, it doesn’t feel dated at all. I think that this is the great thing about Pixar in that they don’t just concentrate on pop culture references or fart jokes (unlike Dreamworks) but actually create characters that an audience can care for and a story that is engaging. It’s a bit hard to review Toy Story as it is a film that almost everyone has seen and I am sure enjoys. There is a lot of great humour and the characters, such as Woody, have real emotions that we can really empathise with.


Pollyanna

Directed by David Swift
Produced by Walt Disney (uncredited)
Associate Producer: George Golitzen
Written by Novel: Eleanor Porter
Screenplay: David Swift
Starring Hayley Mills
Jane Wyman
Karl Malden
Richard Egan
Adolphe Menjou
Agnes Moorehead
Music by Paul Smith
Cinematography Russell Harlan
Editing by Frank Gross
Distributed by Buena Vista
Distribution Release date May 19, 1960
Running time 134 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Pollyanna was released into cinemas 50 years ago last Monday. You would think that Disney would be making a big song and dance about this popular and well remembered film reaching the half century mark but it seems that the Walt Disney Company does not really value its past live action films. Heck, Disney doesn’t really value its animated classics either, and simply views them as a cash cow to be released on video or DVD every seven years. In fact it is pretty obvious that all Disney cares about these days is making horrendous live action teen comedies that can sell heaps of merchandise. I doubt that a film like Pollyanna would be made today as it would be difficult to fit in any fart jokes or sell merchandise with the sweet story.

One thing that I think needs to be said is that despite Disney’s reputation today as being just kids stuff, he could still get the biggest stars to appear in his films. Fine actors such as Jane Wyman and Karl Malden appear as do Agnes Moorehead and Ed Platt, who went on to play the Chief of Control in Get Smart but played supporting roles in a number of major films (including a brief part as Cary Grant‘s lawyer in Hitchcock’s North By Northwest). However the real star of the film is Hayley Mills, who played the little girl whose positive attitude brought a whole town together. She is really good in this film and went on to become a huge child star in the 1960s, mainly in other Disney films.

This is a very entertaining film, in the Disney tradition, it’s just a shame that Disney today doesn’t really care at all about it.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Directed by Richard Fleischer

Produced by Walt Disney

Written by Jules Verne (novel) & Earl Felton (screenplay)

Starring Kirk Douglas
James Mason
Paul Lukas
Peter Lorre

Cinematography Franz Planer

Editing by Elmo Williams

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures

Release date(s) December 23, 1954

Running time 127 min.

When one thinks about Walt Disney they usually picture Mickey Mouse, Snow White or perhaps Jimminy Cricket. Disney and animation are two words that are synonymous, so it’s understandable that the live action films that he made aren’t as well-known as his cartoons. That’s a shame because many of them are very good. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea from 1954 would have to be one of my favourite Disney live action films.

Though 20,000 Leagues Under the see features a fine cast it is James Mason who dominates the screen as the iconic Captain Nemo. Even alongside stars of the quality of Peter Lorre and Kirk Douglas it is Mason whose performance becomes indelibly etched in the viewer’s mind. This is simply his film and he is always excellent as Captain Nemo, especially when he shows the mental anguish that Nemo goes through when he seeks his vengeance on mankind and those who imprisoned him and tortured his wife and child on the prison island of Rura Penthe. He does not relish having to commit murder until the deed is done, and this shines through with Mason’s performance.

The same cannot be said for Kirk Douglas, who is hamstrung with a truly annoying character. Usually Douglas is a fine, dependable actor, but here he is burdened with some really clichéd seafaring jargon and typically Disney-esque happy-go-lucky attitude that becomes grating after about twenty minutes. It is only when he briefly shows his frustration at being Nemo’s prisoner that he gets to show any substance with his performance. This is not Kirk’s fault, as his Ned Land character was brought in to counter-balance the mood of the film opposite Mason’s tortured soul in Nemo. As this is a Disney film, and their primary target audience has always been families, they needed a goofy, lighthearted family friendly hero.

Another thing I should mention here is the special effects which were considered to be awesome back in 1954. They still hold up well today, especially the underwater photography and shots of the Nautilus streaking through the water. Less successful is the fight with the giant squid, which to 21st century eyes looks a little bit lame. Still if you can overlook that it is quite menacing and the fight is quite well staged.

Overall I think that 20,000 League Under The Sea is a terrific movie suitable for all ages. This is not only Disney’s finest live-action film but one of the best adventure movies of the 1950s, one which still stands up well today over 55 years since it was first released.

* This movie was not released in Australia until 22 December 1955, 364 days after Americans first got the opportunity to see it.