The year draws to a close in a matter of hours... The Mouse House happened to let some things out of the gates...
First up, they unveiled their complete 2015 slate... But this slate has been in place for months now.
Strange Magic - January 23, 2015
MacFarland, USA - February 20, 2015
Cinderella - March 13, 2015
Monkey Kingdom - April 17, 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1, 2015
Tomorrowland - May 22, 2015
Inside Out - June 19, 2015
Ant-Man - July 17, 2015
The Jungle Book - October 9, 2015
Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Thriller - October 16, 2015
The Good Dinosaur - November 25, 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - December 18, 2015
Aside from Pixar's films, the two Marvel films, The Force Awakens and two particular live-action films, this slate is unexciting to me. If you've been here long enough, you'll know that I'm not fond of Disney's newfound love of having the live-action studio make nothing but re-imaginings of stories that Disney Animation already told. Cinderella looks like a straight-up remake of the Disney classic, though I'm sure some filler will be thrown in or something. The Jungle Book on the other hand is a wee bit interesting because Jon Favreau is directing (on a side note, I recently saw his latest film Chef. A definite must-watch!), the cast is strong, and since Walt's film didn't really follow the Kipling stories, it makes me wonder if this film will.
While I love Walt Disney's The Jungle Book despite its issues, I do wonder what could've been had the studio had made The Jungle Book during a different era. Maybe during the Golden Age when Walt was super-ambitious with films like Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi. The Jungle Book pretty much borrows a few elements from the original story, including the characters themselves, but I'd like to see an adaptation that's closer to Kipling. I haven't seen the 1994 live-action Disney film in a while, but that one is hardly anything like the Kipling original. This new film will have music and the animals will talk, so it seems like the Walt film but simply redone. But will the story be the same? Or will it be more like Kipling? Who knows.
Tomorrowland has me stoked for a number of reasons: Brad Bird writing and directing, sci-fi, original, inspired by the real Tomorrowland, Brad Bird writing and directing. I sincerely hope that Disney handles this film correctly, and by that I mean: I hope they successfully get audiences to think when seeing the trailer, "I wanna see that!" I want this film to break out and prove to Disney brass that money can certainly be made in fresh live-action films that aren't rehashes.
Steven Spielberg's untitled thriller has me intrigued as well, because it's Spielberg. Should be good, and it seems like his future films will be Touchstone/DreamWorks releases. First War Horse and Lincoln, now this, The BFG (coming 7/1/2016), and perhaps Robopocalypse if that gets made.
But now onto the biggies and what Disney has unveiled...
Here are a couple of cool new images from Pixar's Inside Out...
They look great, as always with Pixar. I wonder what that bag of candy of the first image is for. I also love how the library of memories looks, very colorful and it of course resembles the spacey aesthetic of the brain interior itself.
The Good Dinosaur has a new logo, too. It's nothing to write home about, they basically just altered the original logo a wee bit, changed the green to white, and removed the Arlo silhouette. It's kind of boring if you ask me, but a logo is a logo... I want to see a fully-rendered still from the film! To quote another Pixar dino: "The suspense is killing me!"
Some details on the Avengers: Age of Ultron plot have surfaced, via leaked promo artwork featuring The Vision and Ultron. (Mild spoilers ahead...)
It appears that The Vision is created by both Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, or partially. In the comics, Ultron creates The Vision. Maybe he does this in the film as well, only for Stark and Banner to reprogram it to fight the robot menace. Another thing worth noting is that Ultron's bio says he is Tony Stark's creation through-and-through, and that he was built around a Chitauri computer program that was found in the New York battle wreckage after the events of The Avengers. So basically Hank Pym isn't Ultron's creator at all in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, eh?
Until now, I had predicted that Pym would've been Ultron's de facto creator. Edgar Wright, when he was at the helm of Ant-Man, didn't want Pym to be Ultron's creator since he was essentially making his version of the character. Marvel Studios kowtowed to those wishes and wrote out a key element of the Ultron origin, but I do think Tony Stark being the creator of a massive threat to all of humanity is a very strong alternative. That tells me that Marvel Studios wasn't anti-creativity or that they "bullied" Wright, but if you've been here in the past, you'll know that I have not written Ant-Man's obituary. I'm still psyched about the film.
Speaking of Ant-Man, take a look at this...
Holy crapola, look at Yellowjacket's suit! It's really neat, and those claws! Yep, that's an awesome villain suit right there. The final Ant-Man suit doesn't look too bad either! I'm really interested to see what kind of visuals this film will have, and how Peyton Reed will pull it all off since the film will apparently have some of the DNA of Wright's vision. So basically we'll be getting a hybrid of a Wright film and a Marvel Studios action flick, with the usual wit and humor to spare!
Now, notice anything missing from that slate?
No Aladdin 3D re-release!
I guess those rumors were... Well... Rumors.
I was really hoping that Disney would've learned their lesson and gave the re-release thing another go, this time re-releasing classics that people want to see on the big screen. Films like Aladdin and other pre-2000 Disney animated classics. I think The Little Mermaid would've been the next Lion King 3D, but Disney prematurely pulled it and now we'll never know. I guess that ship has sailed, with the only possible future re-release being The Incredibles, but that's a Pixar film and as much as I'd love to see that film on the big screen for the sixth time (yep, I saw it five 5 times in theaters back ten years ago!), I want classic Disney animation dang it!
Seriously Disney, consider re-releasing Aladdin in theaters sometime next summer! August, September, somewhere around there!
Oh well... Here's to 2015 and the exciting animation and film events it'll bring! Happy New Year!