Before we get started, this is a SPOILER FREE review of Disney’s Tangled Before Ever After animated television film.
Back of DVD Sleeve
Let’s start with the positive. The animation is well done for a television release. It captures the original charm and energy of the original film while using the more limited animation of a video budget.
The original characters are all present and accounted for with a few new faces added, most notably Rapunzel’s friend and the villain. The banter between Rapunzel and Eugene is present as well.
Now on to the negative. This is a very generic princess story with the female lead unhappy with her place in life. The male characters are, as usual, unreasonable and ineffectual which is often done in modern Disney Princess movies to promote the girl empowerment message.
The pendulum has definitely swung to the other side and I for one can’t wait until we have a more balanced view of male/female relationships and interaction. Especially between parents, which I feel is completely missing in this movie!
So if you want a nice bit of fluff with some laughs for your younger child viewer, this could be it. For the rest of us, I’m afraid Tangled Before Ever After offers only more of the same obvious stuff.
COOL FACTOR: 2.5/5
One nice thing that comes with the DVD release of this movie is a Rapunzel Diary:
This has some nice scenes from the movie (careful, these may contain spoilers!)
The last several pages of the diary are blank so your little Princess can record her adventures as she chases her ‘destiny’!
Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life is a book by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two Disney Legends of animation counted among the famous group of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men. The book topped the list of “best animation books of all time” in a poll at AWN, and is still used as a reference for inspiration on character animation.
I have this book and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants to better understand the animation process. After reading it, my own drawing skills improved noticeably!
In 1980, they appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to plug the book and chat about animation. Here they are on stage:
During the interview, Carson mentions that they are almost unknown, despite the fact that they had worked on some of the most famous animated films of all time. They replied that they liked it that way!
They mentioned that when they would sit in a theatre to watch their films with children, they would almost die. Why? Because children could be so cruel! No wonder they preferred to hide back in the studio.
Carson asked about the rumors that Walt Disney was a cold man and hard to work for, among other things. Both men answered that he was all of those things. However, they clarified that it was also a great pleasure to work for Walt because he was so inspiring, albeit awfully tough! Perfection was expected at all times.
Carson next marvels at how animators are able to give life to even inanimate objects, so Frank and Ollie pulled out the following drawings to illustrate the point:
And last but not least:
Who Wouldn’t Be?
It was great to see these Disney Legends chat about their passion for animation. But it almost wasn’t to be! Frank wanted to be a landscape artist and Ollie was heading towards a career in magazine illustration. But Disney put out a casting call and both answered, arriving at the studio to become lowly In-betweeners before rising in the ranks to full-fledged animators.
The Interview Ends
Look to the left in the above picture and you’ll notice another Disney Alumni, Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008). You may remember her for her roles in The Ugly Dachshund, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and The Shaggy D.A.
Also, if you look to the far right in the above picture, you can see Carson holding up the book in question (blurry though it is).
For the full interview (5:54), please take a listen. It’s well worth it:
I was walking through Sears the other day and happened upon a cashier corridor, a switch-back lane you have to travel down to reach the cash register. This is something stores use to entice you with impulse buys as the corridor is filled with low priced items you didn’t know you needed but now must have. At the entrance to this fast lane to poordom, I found two series of Viewing Eggs.
One set featured Marvel comic characters, and the other featured Disney films. They were on sale for only $1.00 each, so I just had to splurge and buy them… impulsively.
But wait, you say! What in the world are Viewing Eggs? Behold:
Finding Dory & Cars 3
There was also one Viewing Egg left that featured the Disney movie, Frozen. I didn’t pick it up for two good reasons: 1) I hate the movie. 2) It was missing the outer wrapper.
These Viewing Eggs work much like any other toy viewer. You look through a hole in one side, hold the egg towards a strong light source, and push the top button to toggle around the images. In this case, there are twelve to see.
But there is still more to enjoy here! These viewers also give you candy and a sticker.
The Surprise is Underneath
A small package of jelly beans and one themed sticker:
It was all but impossible to get clear shots of the scenes inside the eggs, but I did my best with the Cars 3 version:
Trust me, the scenes look better when using the naked eye! But I hope you get the general idea. The Cars 3 had a more graphic look to the images while the Finding Dory images where more like screen-captures from the movie.
Like me, do you like finding strange and wonderful things in unexpected places?
For more egg-shaped fun with the Finding Dory characters, check out this post featuring Kinder Surprise!
Pixar has been pretty regular with the milking schedule for the Cash Cow that is the CARS franchise. The first movie was a sensation, the second movie had to grow on you, and who knows how Cars 3 will be received?
But already the merchandise is filling toy shelves! What I noticed right away is that all of the old characters are simply being enclosed in Cars 3 packaging and sold as if they were new. They aren’t. No new poses or paint jobs for the most part.
So I kept looking and found a few new characters that were interesting enough to add to my Radiator Springs diecast collection. The first being:
Here is the story synopsis for the movie: Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!
Mr. Storm appears to be the main competitor that McQueen will have to face.
Rather Generic Packaging
So just who is this guy? Jackson Storm is fast, sleek and ready to race. A frontrunner in the next generation of racers, Storm’s quiet confidence and cocky demeanor are off-putting—but his unmatched speed threatens to redefine the sport. Trained on high-tech simulators that are programmed to perfect technique and maximize velocity, Jackson Storm is literally built to be unbeatable—and he knows it.
Well, okay then!
The next racer to challenge McQueen for Piston Cup supremacy is Tim Treadless:
A Face Only a Mother Could Love
Same Uninspired Packaging
Very Nice Paint Job
Not much is known about this character as yet. He isn’t even mentioned on Disney Wiki in the list of characters for the movie. He’s probably the right-hand car or at least a good friend of Jackson Storm.
Next we have another character, who although mentioned on Disney Wiki, isn’t given a bio:
Seriously. Just a Cars 3 Logo?
Just on first blush, I’d have to say that this guy looks like a counterpart for Mater.
I Just Love Old Trucks!
Will He be Friend or Foe?
Cars 3 hits theaters on June 16th, 2017. I’ll be in the audience hoping that this third trip to the motor pool will be a successful one. I’m sure the toys will be! These diecast models were made by Mattel.
For more racing fun, check out an issue of Collecting Toys magazine that features slot racers.
We’ve covered some of the other Princesses in an earlier post, and now it’s time for the original, the fairest of them all, to have her turn. In this post we have Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (what can I say, they go everywhere together!)
I am featuring two different lithograph releases. The first has four prints:
The envelope that contains the prints is made of a very heavy museum-quality paper with a nice texture. The prints are also rendered on better quality paper than some Disney Store lithographs.
And speaking of lithographs:
‘Hi Ho’ and there you go! Even though Snow White was released back in the 1930’s it still contains some of the most breathtaking imagery of any Princess movie!
Above is the back of the folder which sports a very famous fruit.
The set above was released in 2001 to commemorate one of the many re-releases of this most classic of classics. The single lithograph below is an earlier release from 1994. Neither release coincides with a major anniversary of the film:
Unfortunately, this lithograph has been damaged by moisture. However, it is unique in that it’s one of the few releases to be bigger than the 8×10 format of most other Disney Store prints.
Lithograph & Back of Frame
So when asked which lithographs are the fairest of them all, I think you will agree that these ones, featuring Snow White, are certainly the front runners!
Who remembers what Flubber is? Well, it can make Model T Fords fly, basketball players jump higher, and in the 1997 reboot, it can even dance! In this version, Robin Williams stars as the renamed Prof. Philip Brainard.
But Flubber first appeared in The Absent-Minded Professor, a 1961 Disney live-action film based on the short story ‘A Situation of Gravity’ by Samuel W. Taylor. The film stared Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard, the accidental inventor of Flubber.
The film was a huge success at the box-office, and two years later became the first Disney film to have a sequel, 1963’s Son of Flubber. But the lithograph in this post promotes the 1997 remake called Flubber:
Front and Back of Envelope & Rear of Lithograph
This is the only lithograph I have from The Disney Store that is lenticular. And what is ‘lenticular’ you ask? Lenticular printing is a technology in which lenticular lenses (a technology that is also used for 3D displays) are used to produce printed images with an illusion of depth, or the abilityto change or moveas the image is viewed from different angles.
The latter part of the definition applies here. Look at the lithograph one way and the Flubber couple are dancing:
Getting their groove on!
Turn the lithograph slightly, and the Flubber couple are in a full dip:
While this makes for an interesting print, it makes it a lot harder to photograph! It’s quite possible that Disney put a little more tech into this lithograph because of the scientific nature of the movie.
Who knows, maybe these little green blobs will bring back Disco. But let’s hope not!
Everyone knows Paul McCartney from his time in the Beatles, and afterwards, his own efforts and popular work with Wings. He has also dabbled in scoring movies and writing classical music. Enough for anyone, right?
Enter the Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection:
Enchanted Animated Tales with Original Music
This set contains three original animated tales featuring one famous bear (who is not named Pooh), one book adaption, and one completely original effort (my favorite!)
But before we go on, below is some information about the two men who led the teams that created these wonderful pieces:
McCartney was definitely the man behind the music but equally important was the man behind the animation, Geoff Dunbar. Between them, I believe they produced some Oscar-worthy material!
Here you can select to play all three animated films in sequence, or select them one by one. There are also many extras to choose from, which we will touch on later.
You can choose from Rupert & The Frog Song (1984), Tropic Island Hum (1997), and Tuesday (2002).
Let’s have a look at each in turn:
Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel. He first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert was a childhood favorite of McCartney and a natural selection for his first foray into animation.
Perhaps not as well know outside of the British Isles as Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, Rupert is still a very popular character.
McCartney himself introduces the tale:
The book he is dusting off is presumably his own childhood copy of the original children’s book.
Shush! ‘The Frog Song’ is about to begin…
The Frog Song, actually called We All Stand Together, happens only once every 200 years or so, so listen now for you won’t have a chance to hear it again! It was released and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in 1984.
This animated film about Rupert stumbling upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hearing The Frog Song is animated in a simplified style but with beautiful imagery. The highlight of the film, however, is the music.
One scene of the frogs swimming to the music is reminiscent of some of the work done for Disney’s Fantasia. Given how both collaborators praise Disney in the Special Features section, this homage is not surprising!
I just wonder why McCartney never did any more of the Rupert Shorts?
The next film is:
A squirrel is saved by a hot air ballooning frog and taken to a tropical island where animals of all sorts have gone to escape slaughter by man. Upon arriving, the two new friends are welcomed with a song.
Tropic Island Hum is a catchy, imaginative, animated musical romp! By far my favorite of the set. The single of the title song reached #21 in the UK. The animated Short accompanied Disney’s Hercules movie in theaters in 1997.
The final film in this set is:
This film is based on a children’s book by David Wiesner but contains no words, only images to convey the story. Other than croaking and a few comments from confused humans at the end of the story, and a final piece of narration by Dustin Hoffman, the film pretty much follows that storytelling device.
Flying Lilly Pads
The story takes place on a Tuesday around 8pm. Frogs are lifted into the air, much to their surprise, and enabled to fly. They do so, right into town, where they cause all sorts of mischief.
Like knocking on windows…
… and crashing houses to watch TV.
The town is left littered with debris and lily pads. The mystery is never solved. But this is not the end! It seems that this occurs every Tuesday, but not just with frogs:
Even pigs get a turn to fly!
And why now pigs? The closing narration tells us:
“The events recorded here are verified by an undisclosed source to have happened somewhere, U.S.A.. on Tuesday. All those in doubt are reminded that there is always another Tuesday.” So… why not, I guess?
The Special Features are interesting:
This is a nice collection of extras that round out the DVD collection. The set comes with a 16-page booklet with details about the production:
COOL FACTOR: 5/5
I love Paul McCartney’s music. I love animation. So having the two together is just amazing! The quality of animation is Disney-worthy and the soundtracks and original songs are obviously good. McCartney himself provides most of the voices for all three films with an assist by wife Linda for one female character.
If you are a Disney fan, an animation fan, or a music fan, this collection is for you! If only to hear Tropic Island Hum. Man, that’s one catchy tune! See for yourself:
Today’s post has really gone to the dogs, quite literally! We are sharing six Disney Store lithographs that were offered to promote the video release of 101 Dalmatians.
This envelope has a nice synopsis of both the film and the film-making process on the back. The 1961 animated version was the first to use the Xerox process for copying the many spots needed to render the 99 puppies and two adult dogs in the film.
The six lithographs from this set are among the few I’ve seen with captions describing the scenes. Let’s have a closer look. We begin with the announcement that Pongo is going to be a father:
“After all, dogs were having puppies long before our time.”
We then skip to the birth where there is a slight problem:
“Nanny! Fifteen! We still have fifteen.”
Here we see the reviving of the last puppy born, whom Roger saves, and so gives the name of ‘Lucky’. Life resumes as we see the proud parents watching some quality television with their puppies:
“Ol’ Thunderbolt’s the greatest dog in the whole world.”
But things don’t stay tranquil for long after Cruella De Ville arrives with her own reason for loving the puppies:
“Yes… yes, I must say… such perfectly beautiful coats.”
Jumping ahead we rejoin the story after the puppies have been stolen and the dogs of the city are using the Twilight Bark to relay the message that help is needed:
Peg, Bull, and the Twilight Bark
In this scene, we are treated with guest appearances from Peg and Bull from another animated Disney film about dogs, Lady and the Tramp.
Later the puppies are found, but now there are 99!
“This way, children, around this way.”
All’s well that ends well as the farm animals help free all of the puppies. In the end, all 101 Dalmatians live together on a big farm in the country. The end!
This was the 17th feature-length animated film released by Disney and it did very well at the box office. After all, who can resist 99 cute little puppies?
For more fun with the 101 Dalmatians film, check out our earlier post entitled Could This Be Cruella De Ville’s Real Car? which shows a vintage 1929 Auburn 8-120 automobile that just may have inspired the animated copy.