Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bits Journal #2

Again, this is sort of an experiment for my blog… It's not necessarily news articles, but just bits of news that I feel don't need full articles based on each. It's like a collection of thoughts, really. Almost like my "tidbits" stuff, but done in a much different way. Anyways…

Remember Sausage Party? That R-rated animated send-up of current animated family films that'll written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg? Well, we recently got some news on the cast: Jonah Hill and James Franco will provide voices in this raunchy, ridiculous tale. Sounds like it'll be the animated This Is The End, a film that had completely caught me by surprise. I walked in expecting a dumb movie with some occasionally funny parts, but it was actually really well-written, it was delightfully over-the-top and above all… It was freakin' hilarious! I hadn't laughed so hard in a while.

Now that leads me to ask… How come there isn't a release date for this thing? Many small-scale 2015 films are getting their release dates as we speak, and the year is not too far away. I wonder what's taking Columbia and Sony so long to announce a release date…

Speaking of adult-oriented animation, here's the trailer for Seth MacFarlane's new film A Million Ways to Die in the West… And no, it's live action, I know…

Now I got a kick out of this, and I know it's unsafe to admit to liking a Seth MacFarlane-related thing on the Internet, but I thought this trailer was hilarious. I also really enjoyed Ted, and when watching it, I felt that it was what the last couple of seasons of Family Guy should've been. But hey, I guess that's what happens when the creator isn't as involved with the show as he was before. The recent episodes I've come across only left me saying, "Really?" When Brian Griffin died, I looked at the episodes that were in development. I knew it was a ratings trap…

Anyways, I think when Seth himself is around and heavily involved, the show or film works. He stepped into the theatrical film world with a solid, actually funny comedy so I'm sure this will probably be just as good, if not better. Just because it's lowbrow and offensive doesn't mean it can't be funny. Case in point, the first couple of seasons of Family Guy. However, if you despise Seth's work, that's fine too.

Color me excited though, and maybe Seth will end up getting a shot at directing/writing a big budget adult-oriented animated film. You know, one that doesn't have Family Guy's boring, bland animation and is… Actually really funny! Seth's next is the Ted sequel, so hopefully that doesn't turn out to be a big disappointment. Will his first feature-length animated film, if he ever makes one, be a Family Guy movie? Or something original? I'm hoping on the latter, but the former could work and be what the current seasons aren't… Plus it could also finally end the show. Well, one would hope! The Simpsons Movie didn't end the series.

Moving on.

Remember a week or two ago when people speculated about a Frozen sequel being made? Well, after doing some reading and some thinking, here's what I predict…

Frozen 2 will not happen… But yet it will happen…

So how is it happening and yet not happening?

Easy. Frozen is Tangled 2… It just doesn't star Rapunzel, Flynn, Maximus, Pascal et. al. No new villain for them to face, no new adventure for them. Instead it's set in another land, it's about two sisters, a mountain man and his reindeer, a silly snowman, a cunning suitor/diabolical genius and it involves snow and ice… Lots and lots of snow and ice.

Basically, Frozen can be seen as Tangled 2 much in the same way Cinderella can be seen as Snow White 2. Also, for what it's worth, Rapunzel and Flynn cameo in Frozen. Little shared universe goin' on there, eh Disney?

Good Steve Hulett pointed this out, and it's very, very true. Walt didn't like the idea of making sequels, arguing "You can't top pigs with pigs" after the sequels to the Three Little Pigs cartoon short didn't do as well as the original. Walt was smart, he satisfied wet appetites in a different way. Instead of continuing Snow White's adventures, he gave audiences a different fairy tale story with a different set of characters and themes. People also loved Lady and the Tramp, so he gave them One Hundred and One Dalmatians a few years later. Stories of each film's characters were continued through comics, books, LPs and other merchandise. Walt had the company do what they could to avoid making sequels to the animated classics.

Did Walt Disney Animation Studios stick with that tradition after Walt died? Well, it's hard to say because all of the 90s Renaissance hits got direct-to-video sequels instead of big theatrical sequels. Why did Disney do this? Well, The Rescuers Down Under (the studio's first animated sequel, why mid-80s Disney commissioned a Rescuers sequel is material for another story for another day) didn't go over well at the box office in 1990 so Disney's policy was to make sequels for the home video market, make them on the cheap and make them for kids only. This is why people don't like the direct-to-video sequels, it's why John Lasseter put an end to the sequels that were closely related to the originals. (i.e. Lady and the Tramp 2, Lion King 2.)

But then people say, "But! Tinker Bell and Planes!"

Tinker Bell is still going, but I assume that Mr. Lasseter didn't plan for the series to cross over onto Peter Pan territory. When he came to Disney, he specifically didn't want the first film - which was a very troubled production for multiple reasons - to have anything to do with Peter Pan. That was the best possible option, and as such, Tinker Bell wasn't "Lasseter going back on his promise." He vowed to stop all the crappy hand-drawn DTV sequels that were direct sequels to the originals featuring the characters and story lines. That he did; we got no Dumbo II or Aristocats 2, and thank goodness…

The upcoming Tink flick features Captain Hook, the crocodile and several other characters from the Disney classic. The first one didn't, and to my knowledge, the others one don't star Peter Pan characters either. But I have feeling the Hook in this one is not the Hook in the Disney classic, just a different one. But of course, it's been almost eight years since the first one came out, and money talks, so…

Also, Planes has nothing to do with Lightning McQueen and Mater's everyday adventures. Lasseter was heavily involved too, and… Money talks. So that explains that.

Anyways, back on topic. The 90s Disney films might've gotten sequels had The Rescuers Down Under performed well at the box office. That would make for an interesting and probably frustrating alternate history… I mean, just imagine Disney sucking in billions left and right with a big budget theatrical Lion King sequel in the late 90s. Or maybe Eisner and co. would've had some integrity in the scenario and stuck to Walt's mindset, and just make similar films that recapture that success. Instead of a theatrical Lion King 2, they just ready another animal picture for a late 90s release. Brother Bear ended up being that, despite arriving in 2003.

Nowadays, the studio seems to be sticking to what Walt wanted. Tangled was big, but are/were they planning to make a second adventure featuring Rapunzel and Flynn? No, plus it would be too late because original films are planned for release between 2016 and 2018. A Tangled 2 arriving in 2019 at the earliest would be weird, it would simply be overdue.

So what will be Frozen's semi-sequel? Well, if you've been reading this blog or following animation news for more than a year, you already know. For those of you who don't know, that very film will be... Giants. This is Frozen 2, or Tangled 3 if you will. It's based on a classic fairy tale, it's going to be a musical and it will probably be similar in tone to those two films.

If Big Hero 6 breaks out, you probably won't see Big Hero 6 Continued, you'll see a superhero film based on a different Marvel property. Big Hero 6 is probably Wreck-It Ralph's semi-sequel. I heard it's very similar in design and tone. Plus, it's risky and is much more action-oriented than other Disney films and shouldn't have a hard time appealing to boys. (Many noted this when the wrecker was coming to theaters.)

So yes… The further adventures of Anna and Elsa probably won't be told via a roughly 90-minute film, but perhaps rather short films and specials, books, comics and whatnot. Just like the good old days! Tangled's story was continued in the 2012 short Tangled Ever After, so I wouldn't be surprised if a Wreck-It Ralph or Frozen short show up in the coming years.

It's also possible that Disney might revisit their 90s routes and make shows based on these characters. The Little Mermaid was the first Disney animated film to get a television series, and that was in 1992 when Disney Television Animation was on a roll with shows like Darkwing Duck and Goof Troop. In 1994, the Aladdin series debuted. The Lion King, oddly enough, didn't get a show… Well Timon and Pumbaa did, but that was it. Hercules' TV series ran up to the 65-episode limit, Tarzan got a series as well.

Anyways, Disney could make a Frozen series. Maybe they can do it in hand-drawn, because scaled down CGI wouldn't fit the setting, plus if they go the route that Pixar goes with their shorts, it would probably be costly… But there's a probably a way to do it, DreamWorks has their shows done in CGI much like their movie counterparts, though different studios make those happen. Disney could probably do the same, I'm not saying they should, but it would be a better way to keep making moolah rather than making a second film. The Broadway show is a start.

Pixar, on the other hand, could also benefit from this. As I explained before, they should make more specials and shorts based on Toy Story and Monsters and whatnot instead of making theatrical sequels. We all don't want a Toy Story 4, right? Well, Pixar could keep the series going with even more specials (the second one is coming this Christmas) and perhaps a TV series, or spin-offs about the different characters. Remember that short-lived Buzz Lightyear of Star Command TV series? Maybe a new Star Command-themed show could happen, or a show based on playtime fantasies much like the opening sequence of Toy Story 3. Pixar or whoever makes it could pull off some truly imaginative stuff with that concept. Better that than a fourth film, plus it would definitely keep Disney happy.

I think we'll be seeing more of Anna and Elsa in the coming years. Just not in theaters, that's all.

1 comment:

  1. I could also see a short film based on Frozen being in development as well. If a short like that ever came to fruition, I'd like to see it focus on the wedding of Anna and Kristoff just like Tangled Ever After did with the wedding of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.