Welcome one and all to my new animation blog. Here I will express my thoughts regarding animated shows, films, and other aspects of animation that pop up on my radar. I'm no industry insider, and many of the technical aspects elude me, but I am a guy who cares passionately about cartoons and wants to share that love with the world. Hopefully you will want to come along for the ride.
Let's start out with Disney's announcement of their new film Maleficent. While not an animated film per se, it serves as a prequel of the classic Disney rendition of Sleeping Beauty. The only plot details released so far are that the movie will provide the lead up to the original Disney film, only from the perspective of Maleficent as a misunderstood user of the dark arts who, presumably through a series of tragedies and misunderstandings becomes the villain for which she is so well known.
Basically it's Wicked but with Sleeping Beauty. That alone is enough to turn me off. It may be an immensely popular show, but I reject Wicked on principle because it takes one of the most famous and iconic movie villains of all time and makes her much less interesting by giving her all of the foibles and motivations that everyone has. I don't want to see this happen to one of my favorite Disney villains. Maleficent is so deliciously evil that I don't want to understand her or feel empathy. The woman condemns a child to DEATH because she wasn't invited to a party. She is the self-described mistress of all evil. That doesn't happen because your true love was turned into one of those little pig people or whatever they have cooked up. I just don't see a lot of wiggle room for a nature vs. nurture debate.
Sleeping Beauty was one of the last great Disney animated films (at least until the animation boom in the nineties). It was the last Disney film to use hand painted cels before xerography worked its wicked tendrils into the production process. Eyvind Earle's medieval-inspired art design made it look nothing like what had come before. Best of all, despite an initially poor performance, the film has become one of the most revered animated films to date. It did what great classic Disney movies did best: they pushed the artistic boundaries of animation and nearly bankrupted the studio in the process. Maleficent feels like just the opposite to me; a desperate attempt to cash in on the recent upswing in fantasy movies and the popular trend of humanizing villains. I'll try and reserve full judgment until the film comes out in 2014, but it has a real uphill battle ahead of it. Oh, and it stars Angelina Jolie...so there's that.
More info and pics here at Entertainment Weekly: