It’s pretty much fair to say that the Walt Disney animated movie musical isn’t what it used to be, but, according to the early rave reviews, Frozen just might join the classics like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Cinderella littering the Disney vault.
Though The Princess and the Frog and Tangled certainly have their fans, the modern heyday of Disney’s animated movie musicals is still linked to the films of the late 80s and early 90s like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. On paper, Frozen does seem like a return to form. The tale of two sisters (voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) and a kingdom covered in ice is loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen story like The Little Mermaid was, and is a full-fledged musical with a Broadway pedigree. But having all the credentials does not necessarily yield the magic that Frozen apparently brings. How did Frozen master the formula?
It was up to the effects wizards who work at Walt Disney Animation Studios to come up with ways to artificially age the brand new animated short “Get A Horse!” to make this modern day Mickey Mouse cartoon look like it had actually been made back in Walt’s time.
“That was the real challenge with this project. Making the first two minutes of ‘Get A Horse!‘ look like this cartoon really was some sort of long-lost Mickey Mouse short that Disney had just been pulled out of its vault,” explained Lauren MacMullan, the director of this new WDAS production. “I mean, when you look at the Mickey cartoons that Disney Studios actually produced back in the late 1920s, there are all of these visual cues — scratches on the film, gate weave, emulsion flicker, dust & cel damage — up there on screen that then tell your brain that this animated short really is 80-something years-old. So in order to get the audience to buy into the idea that ‘Get A Horse!‘ actually was made back in 1928 or 1929, we had to create a bunch of ways to digitally simulate film damage.”
Tony Baxter, who began his Disney career as a Disneyland host serving ice cream and went on to help define the modern Disney theme park as an Imagineer, was honored today with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. In a ceremony hosted by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn and Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, family members, friends and Disney Legends recognized Tony for his significant contributions.
Tony’s window, located above the Main Street Magic Shop, states: Main Street Marvels, Tony Baxter, Inventor, “Imagination is in the Heart of our Creations.” The last line is a creative nod to “One Little Spark,” the memorable song written by Disney Legends Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman for the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot – a project spearheaded by Tony for the park’s original lineup of attractions in 1982.
In 2007, I wrote an article for Visions Fantastic called The Disneyland Effect in which I attempted to describe the sense of tranquility that comes over me when I enter Disneyland, which is sometimes near-overwhelming — bordering on Stendhal Syndrome I cast rather a wide net, searching for sources who are better at outlining the indescribable than I. Mythologist Joseph Campbell recalls scholar Friedrich Max Müller telling him, “The best things cannot be said. The second-best things can only be hinted at. He unimportant things… Ah! Now there’s a conversation!”
Among my sources for the article was philosopher and author Eleonora Duvivier, whose blog, From Mars to Marceline, I had been reading at the time. Here was an author who had been writing about the same personal experiences I was attempting to describe. For her, Disney’s works not only bring a sense of life and personality to the inanimate, or sense of reality to the artificial, but takes both to an even higher level of “life above reality.” My article about Disneyland party hinged on a quote from her.
We recently friended each other on facebook, and when Duvivier learned of my Disneyland article she sent me a very special present…
A five-year-old boy was tonight ‘fighting for his life’ after an accident on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland Paris. The child from Montpellier is in a critical condition at Necker Hospital in Paris after ‘falling under a machine’ at the end of the ride at 4.50pm local time (3.50pm GMT) today, local media said. Emergency services were called when the unidentified boy became ‘trapped between a platform and a boat’.
The child had lost his balance and fallen overboard, reported the Europe 1 radio network. He then became stuck under the boat behind the one carrying him, before his father jumped into the water and managed to free him.
A Disneyland spokesman has confirmed the accident happened. He told American Foreign Press: ‘The incident took place in late afternoon. Our first aid services quickly intervened to provide him first aid. The attraction is temporarily closed and we stand with the family.’