Sometime between July 16th and July 30th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Seven short tales, all based off of Disney tales, but far darker than what you’re used to….

She was always kind, but she was no longer good.

Snow White didn’t remember how she ended up in the forest. She remembered her stepmother’s huntsman leading her into the forest to gather flowers, and setting the flowers aside so she could speak with a lost bird. The next thing she knew, she was wandering alone, feeling colder than she had ever felt before.

Well, no, they don’t. However, they sure seem to be encouraging it, even if that’s not their intent.

This morning, Prairie and I went to see a matinee showing of The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s latest traditionally animated film. The film itself was a lot of fun, and we both loved being able to go out and see real animation on the big screen, something that happens all too rarely in these days of CGI and 3D gimmickry.

Unfortunately, as much as we enjoyed the film itself, we’re running out of reasons to bother with actual theaters, rather than waiting for video. The latest eye-rolling bit of obnoxiousness? It seems that AMC Theatres has discontinued all “small” sizes of drinks and candy.

When I went to the snack bar, planning on getting a small soda, the menu board had a blank spot under the “small” column for both drinks and candy. Scoping out the sales stations, I noticed that while they all had spaces for three sizes of cups by their soda fountains, only two were stocked. Asking the soda jockey behind the counter confirmed it: AMC is “reconfiguring” their snack bar options, and there are now only two sizes of drinks, medium and large.

While even the small drinks weren’t all that small before hand, it appears that now, the smallest size fountain soda you can get is a 32oz bucket, for $4.25. I have no real idea what they’ve done with their candy lineup, but I’m betting they just re-labeled all the “small” boxes to “mediums”, and knocked the larger “medium” boxes up to “large”.

Just one more reason (along with the barrage of ads euphemistically described as “pre-show entertainment,” the crappy customer service provided by the staff of most theaters, and the absolute lack of public decorum from the majority of other moviegoers) why my theater-going experience is going to be ever more rare. On those rare occasions when I do go — both Prairie and I are thinking that we want to see the 3D version of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which will be our first modern theatrical 3D experience (no, I’m not planning on seeing Avatar in 3D…at this point, I’m not planning on seeing it until it’s out on DVD) — I’ll be taking advantage of Prairie’s largest purse and bringing in my own snacks and drinks.

12/21/09 Update: According to this Get Satisfaction customer support thread, small sizes of soda and popcorn do still exist, bundled together into a “Cameo Combo”. A combo doesn’t thrill me, as I’m not big on popcorn and would only want the drink, but the representative did say that it should be possible to buy the small drink on its own. I’m still not entirely thrilled by this (it seems ridiculous that this is the only way to get a reasonably sized drink), but at least it’s an option (assuming that the kids at the snack bar know about the option).

A couple weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Jaime Weinman, who writes for Macleans (in her words, “sort of Canada’s TIME and NEWSWEEK”), asking for a quote for an article she was working on about Pixar’s future. I agreed, and in my usual style, sent her a small book. The final article was published late in June, and — proving yet again that I just cannot write for soundbites — my quote was boiled down to one simple line:

[Non-Pixar animated films] follow the Pixar example in some respects; they’ve especially learned from the fact that Pixar’s movies all focus on male characters and appeal the most to boys. (Michael Hanscom, a computer analyst who blogs at michaelhanscom.com, dubbed WALL-E “MISOGYN-E” and says that while he likes Pixar, he’s not going to see their movies in theatres “until we see some evidence that they’ve let a girl into the clubhouse to play.”) But for the most part, these movies are far away from Pixar’s artist-oriented approach.

Heh. Not at all inaccurate (except, perhaps, for titling me a ‘computer analyst,’ as flattering as that is) — and believe me, this is not a complaint, I don’t envy Jaime or her editors the task of boiling my response down to something that would fit within the scope of the article — but for the sake of completion, under the jump is my full response to her question. If you’ve read my earlier posts on this matter, there are no big surprises awaiting.

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It was one of the most notorious images on the ‘net when I first got online back in ’91, one passed around in various low-resolution copies, found here and there in various directories of “naughty” images — a black-and-white drawing of many of the classic Disney characters involved in a mass orgy.

Disney Memorial Orgy

Boing Boing just pointed to an LA Weekly story by Paul Krassner detailing the source of the infamous image, which dates back to 1966 and was drawn by Mad Magazine illustrator Wally Wood.

When Walt Disney died, in 1966, I somehow expected Mickey and Donald Duck and all the rest of the gang to attend the funeral, with Goofy delivering the eulogy and the Seven Dwarfs serving as pallbearers. Disney was their Creator, and he repressed all his characters’ baser instincts, but now that he had departed, they could finally shed their cumulative inhibitions and participate together in an unspeakable Roman binge, to signify the crumbling of an empire.

On behalf of my magazine, The Realist, I contacted Mad’s Wally Wood and, without mentioning any specific details, told him my general notion of a memorial orgy at Disneyland. He accepted the assignment and presented me with a magnificently degenerate montage….

The best news in the article, though, comes at the very end, when Paul reveals that he recently found a crate of posters of the image that he’d had printed back in 1967 — and they’re for sale on his website! $20 for a 14.5″x23″ poster print of one of the earliest and most notorious pieces of “Disney Porn“? Oh yeah — that baby’s mine!

It’s nice to wake up on a Monday morning to some good news.

Word broke a while ago that Disney was working on moving ahead with creating a third sequel to the popular Disney/Pixar CGI Toy Story films. However, due to the currently strained relationship between the two companies, Disney would be doing this third film entirely on their own and without Pixar’s involvement, as they hold all the rights to the property under the terms of the current agreement between the two studios.

Few, if any, of the people I know thought this was anything remotely close to a good idea, given Disney’s current inability to produce anything of quality and tendency to pump out cheap direct-to-video sequels to their classic films in lieu of any real creativity. The only animated films that have come out of the Disney empire for the past few years that have really been worth seeing have been the Pixar collaborations, and Disney trying to continue a Pixar success sounded like nothing but trouble.

Apparently, though, my friends and I weren’t the only ones to feel that way, as Disney is having problems finding anyone willing to sign on to the Toy Story 3 project.

No one wants to direct ‘Toy Story 3.’

That’s the word in Hollywood’s animation world, where the third installment of the incredibly successful Pixar series has no director, writer or, possibly, stars.

My sources in the animation biz tell me that Disney, which will make ‘Toy Story 3’ without Pixar, cannot find a director to guide the project.

[…]

Disney has the right to make sequels to all the Pixar movies it distributed, including ‘Toy Story,’ ‘The Incredibles,’ ‘Finding Nemo,’ etc. But there’s a hitch — since Pixar developed all the animation materials to create the movies, it also gets to keep them.

In other words: Disney is now trying to hire another team of animators to recreate Buzz Lightyear, Woody and all the other ‘Toy Story’ characters so that they look the same. It will have to start from scratch to reproduce Pixar’s creative work.

The next step, of course, is to find a writer and director for the project. With Lasseter gone, my source says, “Every single animator of note has turned down the director’s job. They don’t want to cross Pixar. They’ve become the only deal in town.”

Good news, indeed!

(via Luxo)

iTunesHeresy” by Rush from the album Roll the Bones (1991, 5:25).

The continuing animosity between Disney and Pixar amuses me to no end — it’s amazing how snarky the comments have been getting. For instance, this one, from a post about the possibility of Disney making sequels to the Pixar films that they have the rights to on MacMinute:

“The unproven writing and graphics quality of Disney’s work with computer-guided-image animation may have an unintentional ‘contagion’ impact since consumers may subconsciously associate these films as Pixar product,” Reif Cohen said in a report Thursday. “In addition, too many releases may fatigue CGI’s scarcity value, which has created consumer intrigue for this ‘event’ animation format.” Her comments mirror those made by Pixar (and Apple) CEO Steve Jobs. “We feel sick about Disney doing sequels because if you look at the quality of their sequels… it’s been pretty embarrassing,” Jobs said during Pixar’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February.

He’s certainly not wrong, though.

iTunes: “Bless You” by Orlando, Tony from the album Pop Music: The Golden Era 1951-1975 (1961, 2:09).

Wow. Okay, so it’s been fairly obvious that Disney isn’t what it once was (how many recent Disney movies can you think of that were really worthwhile that weren’t Pixar productions with the Disney logo stamped on them?), but this is still a fairly amazing development. Roy Disney himself has left the Walt Disney company, and includes a call for Michael Eisner’s resignation or retirement in his letter of resignation.

It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from the Walt Disney Company, both as Chairman of the Feature Animation Division and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.

You well know that you and I have had serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management in the company in recent years. For whatever reason, you have driven a wedge between me and those I work with even to the extent of requiring some of my associates to report my conversations and activities to you. I find this intolerable.

…I believe your conduct has resulted from my clear and unambiguous statements to you and the Board of Directors that after 19 years at the helm you are no longer the best person to run the Walt Disney Company. You had a very successful first 10-plus years at the company in partnership with Frank Wells, for which I salute you. But since Frank’s untimely death in 1994, the company has lost its focus, its creative energy, and its heritage.

[…]

In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me. Accordingly, I once again call for your resignation or retirement. The Walt Disney Company deserves fresh, energetic leadership at this challenging time in its history just as it did in 1984 when I headed a restructuring which resulted in your recruitment to the Company.

I have and will always have an enormous allegiance and respect for this Company, founded by my uncle, Walt, and father, Roy, and to our faithful employees and loyal stockholders. I don’t know if you and other directors can comprehend how painful it is for me and the extended Disney family to arrive at this decision.

(via aeire)