Disney Animation

The first Planes is barely out of theaters, yet already we’re on the receiving end of a trailer for the Pixar-no-more franchise’s sequel, Planes: Fire and Rescue. If anything, it’s a testament to how efficient Disney is at cranking these things out, even if no one in particular actually wants to see them (excluding, of course, the entire Earth’s population of eleven year-old boys). But the first Planes cost $5om to make and pulled in more than quadruple that amount, so it’s a safe bet that we’ll be seeing the trailer for Planes 3 before Fire and Rescue is even in theaters.

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Disney

There’s a scene in this movie, Disney’s Planes, in which a group of international superstar propeller-driven racing planes come together for a massive race round the world. One of the planes is from Mexico, wears a luchador mask and calls himself El Chupacabra. We watch as he spies a sultry, well-painted, French-speaking plane. She’s Rochelle, the rally champion from Canada. He falls in love and must serenade her with a mariachi version of The Miracles’ 1976 hit “Love Machine.” Heavy emphasis on the “chhhh” sound in “machine.” As you might imagine, this wins her interest and they fall head over heels for each other, a love that involves lipstick marks on his wings and pet names between them such as “Chalupa” and “Chimichanga.” In a movie so haphazard with its horrible stereotype-driven character creation, this is actually one of the less offensive moments. And that’s pretty bad. Because as we discover within 30-seconds of Planes, this is the laziest brand of kid’s film: the kind created by a bunch of marketing executives in a 90th floor boardroom. It’s sad to see it pillaging the strong, if flawed brand built by Pixar’s Cars.

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bigherosflarge

Back in July of last year it was reported that, following the big acquisition of Marvel Comics by the Disney Corporation, the first collaboration between Disney Animation and Marvel Studios on any sort of superhero cartoon was going to come in the form of an adaptation of Marvel’s semi-obscure team of Japanese heroes, Big Hero 6. At the time it seemed like kind of a strange choice. Wouldn’t you want to kick off a partnership this important with something a little bit bigger, something with a little more name recognition? Well, it looks like the guys in the suits must have had their reasons for wanting to go forward with Big Hero 6, because today Disney Animation officially announced [via the LA Times] that the film is in production—and they even gave us a glimpse of what their animators have come up with. Hit the jump to see what they’ve created, but be prepared, because it’s a little weird.

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Jennifer Lee

Seeing as Wreck-It Ralph was Disney Animation’s most well-received movie in quite a while, the studio has wasted no time in getting one of its main creative talents to work on a new project. Today they announced in a press release [via ComingSoon] that Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee is not only going to be handling some writing duties on their upcoming animated feature, Frozen, but that she will also be serving as co-director alongside studio vet Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up). Frozen is an adventure tale about a magical kingdom that’s suffering under a spell that keeps it trapped in a perpetual winter. Its main characters are a brave young girl named Anna, a burly mountain man named Kristoff, and a reindeer sidekick named Sven. The main thrust of the film’s narrative is said to be this trio’s journey to find the Snow Queen and find a way to reverse her spell, which of course leads to them encountering treacherous mountain passes, all sorts of magical whatsits, mystical trolls, comical snowmen, and who knows how many other examples of weirdness along the way. Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Kristen Bell and Enchanted’s Idina Menzel are already on board to supply voices.

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Ever since Pixar’s Toy Story brought CG animation to the mainstream and dropped everyone’s jaws with the amazing visuals that the process makes possible, traditional, hand-drawn animation has taken a serious backseat. Which makes sense, because the last couple decades of animated movies have used computers to push the artistry of these films to places that never seemed possible before. But hand-drawn animation has its charms, and is still very versatile in how it can be used, so it would be a shame if it went completely extinct in the wake of all the new computer whatsits. Disney has recently tried to keep the art form alive with releases like The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh, but those films largely failed to find the commercial success of most of the modern CG releases. Could it be possible that today’s children just don’t want to go see a movie that looks hand-crafted and old-fashioned? Or have moviemakers just not found the right vehicle with which to have old-school animation make its triumphant return? DreamWorks Animation seems to be willing to bet that the old way of doing things isn’t dead, and they may have found the best possible way to reintroduce hand-drawn work to a new generation of film fans. The studio’s next project, Me and My Shadow, will blend traditional animation with the more modern stuff. Over on the film’s Facebook page (found via ComingSoon) they’ve posted its first bit of concept art, as well as an […]

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When it was first announced that Disney had purchased Marvel Comics, the holy grail endgame of such an acquisition that instantly popped into every film fan’s head was that now the group of acclaimed artists working over at Disney’s Pixar wing could get their hands on a Marvel property and make an animated superhero movie that would blow everyone’s minds. With Pixar’s already full slate of projects and the murky details of who owns the film rights to which Marvel characters in what context, the idea was something of a long-shot, but when you get a couple companies under the same corporate umbrella like this and give executives the chance to start throwing around words like “synergy,” eventually anything becomes possible. The news that broke today isn’t quite that holy grail of Pixar making a Marvel movie, but it’s a team-up that brings us one step closer to that reality. For the first time ever, Disney is going to be making an animated Marvel movie. But, instead of Pixar, the artists handling this one are coming from that other wing of animators who work under the Disney corporate banner, Walt Disney Animation Studios. This is the studio that’s most recently brought us Tangled and Winnie the Pooh, and have Wreck-It Ralph set up for a release this fall.

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Disney

Mister Hand is excited to see what happens with a live-action adaptation of Disney’s Mulan — provided they ditch all those not-so-sweet tunes.

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The Princess and the Frog

This Christmas, Disney returns to its beloved 2D animation with The Princess and the Frog. A lot of buzz has been surrounding the main character’s ethnicity, because this Disney princess… is black.

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Disney and Pixar Logo

Yesterday we ran down the upcoming slate that was announced by Disney and Pixar, which included the upcoming animated tales of Bolt, Tinker Bell, Pixar’s Up, Toy Story 3, Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, Newt, The Bear and the Bow, Cars 2 and King of the Elves. Today, Disney released a bunch of cool promo photos from these upcoming projects.

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Disney and Pixar Logo

Worried that the wizards at Disney and Pixar are fresh out of ideas after Wall-E? Well, I can’t imagine why you would be but if you are, allow me to quickly put that fear to rest. Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, and John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios sent out a press release yesterday of their queue of future projects all the way through 2012.

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There are few movies that take me back to my childhood the way that 101 Dalmatians does…

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Walt Disney Animation Studios

Take a look at some never-before-released animation cells from legendary Disney artist Marc Davis.

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Walt Disney Animation Studios

Resident Disney historian David Smith gave us a peek at some of the correspondence between Walt Disney and Dodie Smith, the author of the original book “The One Hundred and One Dalmatians.”

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ter showing advanced clips of the film to press in February 2008, producer Jeannine Russo and director Brad Raymond were on hand to answer some questions about the film.

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tinkerbell01.jpg

After being shut down then resurrected, the TinkerBell movie is back up and running.

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FSR’s Kevin Carr invades the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank and learns how to draw Dalmations.

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