Points of Interest in New “Aladdin” Remake Trailer

Of the three big Disney live-action remakes of their Animated Canon coming out this year (two if you discount the photorealistic CGI of “The Lion King”), “Aladdin” seems to come across as the weakest link. Its first teaser was minimalistic, and a later follow-up sort of “scarred” viewers who criticized the SFX work for Will Smith as the blue-hued Genie.

While “Dumbo” and “The Lion King” worked interest consistently with their previews, “Aladdin” was considered to be flubbing its own promotion. But when Disney finally released a full trailer for the movie on Tuesday, a vocal part of the criticism shut up; it was beautiful.

Let’s list some talking points:

  1. Aladdin (Mena Massoud) evading the palace guards (surely leading to the “One Jump Ahead” number) was pretty frenetic, with parkour choreography that would recall videogames like “Prince of Persia” (also adapted by Disney) or “Assassin’s Creed”
  2. Jafar’s (Marwan Kenzari) recruitment of Aladdin for the Cave of Wonders; rather than disguising himself thoroughly he appears to play himself in pitching the lamp-fetching to our hero; he still sounds kind of squeaky, but he doesn’t look overly sinister, which might explain why he’s trusted in Agrabah
  3. The first appearance of Genie (Will Smith) sees him act like the classic Arabian Night archetype rather than Robin Williams’ manic standup comedian…at first, then he gets to the funny dazzle
  4. “A Friend Like Me,” nuff said
  5. Aladdin discussing his Prince wish to Genie has the latter point out the vagaries of it – between “Make ME a Prince” and “MAKE me a PRINCE” – by conjuring a Prince that talks like he came from Bel-Air
  6. Genie giving “Prince Ali” wooing advice for Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) calls to mind Smith’s role in 2005’s “Hitch,” but with magic powers
  7. “A Whole New World” would like to point out to viewers that Scott is a singer
  8. Short snippets like a(n apparently authentic) Middle Eastern dance with Ali and Jasmine, and Ali being tossed into the sea while bound to a chair, show that this movie will not carbon-copy scenes from the 1993 original animation
  9. More action sequences like Aladdin doing parkour on an icy chasm, plus being chased by an apparently enlarged Iago the parrot help add an epic live-action scale to the narrative
  10. On an aside that’s not included on the trailer, Iago in this film will be voiced by Alan Tudyk rather than Gilbert Gottfried; whether he’s fitting or not remains to be heard

Disney’s “Aladdin” arrives in theaters this May 24.

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Disney Might End “Media Vault” Practice to Make “Everything” Available on Disney+ Streaming

One practice that has been prevalent on Disney over the decades was its tendency to put a number of its productions in a “vault.” This means making home video releases of individual films available at only limited intervals before putting them on moratorium. This causes past Disney movies to languish from lack of tape and disc copies in circulation, at least until the company decides to do a limited re-release.

A recent statement by Disney CEO Bob Iger will apparently turn that practice on its head, when he claimed that many – possibly all – Disney movies placed in the vault will gradually be made available on their upcoming streaming program Disney+, starting sometime after its launch.

The Disney Vault has been conceptualized as a method by the House of Mouse to control its media market and ratchet up consumer demand with every limited-time release of new films and re-release of old.

Disney fans have long soured of the practice, which eventually extended to the matter of digital distribution via online streaming. With Disney+ as an exclusive platform, the company sees merit in releasing their vaulted media there, the same way they’ve removed their media from other streamers turned competition like Netflix.

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News of Iger’s vision for offloading the Disney vault on Disney+ received positive reactions from fans on social media as well as investors. Doubled with the promise that a Disney+ subscription will cost less than for Netflix, it’s no wonder that people are getting excited.

Not everyone is raring to jump on Disney+ yet though. Others remain cautious until the platform finally launches. And regarding the matter about opening the company’s media vault, they’ll wait for an acid test in the form of, perhaps, releasing the 1941 live-action-animated movie “Song of the South,” notorious for past accusations of depicted racism.

A possible launch date for the streaming service is being anticipated with Disney’s investor day event this coming April 11.

New Release Date for “Maleficent” Sequel, and List of All Disney and Related Major Film Releases for 2019

If fans of Disney and its connected film studios are paying attention, they’d realize that this 2019 is turning out to be one of the most release-heavy years for the media giant in terms of movies. It’s easily shaping up to be one of their most packed schedules yet devised.

For instance, Disney has three remakes of their classic Animated Canon (two in live action, one live-action-looking). Their second-busiest filmmaking arm (Marvel Studios) matches that output. And let’s not forget new animated pictures, and “Star Wars.” If you think that’s bloated already, then apparently Disney thinks one more won’t hurt.

According to Vanity Fair, Disney’s sequel to “Maleficent,” the 2014 live-action remake (more like retelling) of “Sleeping Beauty,” has been moved earlier from its original May 2020 premiere to this coming October. Now it’s like almost every month there will be a Disney production debut.

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To better illustrate this weighty schedule, here’s a list of all Disney and related-studio films coming this 2019. Fox isn’t included for now, because as of this writing the acquisition deal isn’t even finalized yet. Only major cinematic releases count:

Disney Pictures

  1. Dumbo (March 29) – live-action remake
  2. Aladdin (May 24) – live-action remake
  3. The Lion King (July 19) – “live-action” CGI remake
  4. Jungle Cruise (July 24) – new “based on Disney theme park attraction” live-action movie
  5. Artemis Fowl (August 9) – live-action based on children’s urban fantasy adventure book series by Eoin Colfer
  6. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (October 18) – sequel to “Maleficent” (2014)

Disney Animation Studios

  1. Frozen II (November 22) – sequel to “Frozen” (2013)

Pixar

  1. Toy Story 4 (June 21) – fourth installment, following end of “trilogy” in 2010

Marvel Studios

  1. Captain Marvel (March 8) – prequel set in the 1990s
  2. Avengers: Endgame (April 26) – last part of MCU Phase 3, and “end” of overarching storyline from Phase 1
  3. Spider-Man: Far from Home (July 5) – first part of MCU Phase 4

Lucasfilm

  1. Star Wars: Episode IX (December 20) – last part of Sequel Trilogy and conclusion of Skywalker family story

That’s 12 movies in all. Starting from March, at least one will be premiering every month except for September. That’s just incredible. Disney really dominates in 2019.

List of Visual Tweaks in Repeat Scenes Between First and Second Teasers of “The Lion King”

While the 91st Academy Awards was going on in the evening of Sunday, February 24, and Disney managed to get its slate of Oscars for the year among its list of nominees, they also managed to showcase an extra treat for fans during the telecast.

That was a new teaser trailer for the remake of “The Lion King” directed by Jon Favreau that’s slated to premiere after “Dumbo” next month and “Aladdin” on May. Footage featured there are some repeats from the first teaser, plus some more CGI conversions of the original 1994 animated intro.

Eagle-eyed observers have noticed though, that there are subtle adjustments in the repeated teaser footage from the first to second.  Screen Rant also took notice of the differences. Here we’ll list what have been seen:

  1. Sunrise – change in cloud patterns in the sky
  2. Simba and Mufasa’s footprint – changed light shading on Simba’s fur
  3. Gathering at Pride Rock – new teaser features less clouds, more substantial grass; there has however been speculation that this shot is taken from the end of the film instead
  4. Simba in Sarabi’s “Lap” – altered Simba’s facial angles, lighter fur color and more visible forehead spots
  5. Anointing of Forehead – Simba’s facial fur looks fuzzier like down; he also sneezes at the end of it
  6. Rafiki Presents Simba – changed view angle, changing background from cloudy sky to Pride Rock
  7. End of Teaser – zooming out from Pride Rock, an altered color palette is also visible

You can check out the differences for yourself by watching the two teasers down below.

Disney also released online a new promotional poster for “The Lion King” which features not only Simba but Mufasa as well, against the familiar big African sun backdrop. Favreau, who received accolades for his live-action remake of “The Jungle Book” in 2016, looks ready to convince critics that the new Disney adaptations aren’t as horrible as naysayers claim they are.

“The Lion King” arrives in cinemas this coming July 19.

List of Disney Nominees – and Winners – at the 91st Academy Awards

The 91st Academy Awards were held in Hollywood this past Sunday, February 24. Ratings for the broadcast were reportedly much improved from last year, apparently because of the choice to go host-less. As expected, Disney managed to score a number of nominations for its 2018 films from its various studios. Several of them were lucky in winning their Oscars too.

Here we have a list of all nominees under the Disney umbrella for the latest Academy Awards, with notations indicating if they won an Oscar.

Walt Disney Pictures

  • “Mary Poppins Returns”
  1. Best Original Score
  2. Best Original Song (“The Place Where Lost Things Go”)
  3. Best Production Design
  4. Best Costume Design

Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • “Ralph Break the Internet”
  1. Best Animated Feature Film

Pixar Studios

  • “Incredibles 2”
  1. Best Animated Feature Film
  • “Bao”
  1. Best Animated Short Film – WON

Marvel Studios

  • “Black Panther”
  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Original Score – WON
  3. Best Original Song (“All the Stars”)
  4. Best Sound Editing
  5. Best Sound Mixing
  6. Best Production Design – WON
  7. Best Costume Design – WON
  • “Avengers: Infinity War”
  1. Best Visual Effects

In addition to these, Disney CEO also praised the strong performance of movies from 20th Century Fox during the Oscars, in a show of full confidence in the company’s impending acquisition of that studio and other assets from Fox.

The combined domestic box office output of all Disney nominees from 2018 in the Academy Awards this year is around $3 billion. If the Disney-Fox merger had already happened, then their combined worldwide earnings would be $10.2 billion. Perhaps we’ll be looking at numbers like that by the 92nd Oscars.

“Pirates of the Caribbean 6” Development Halts with Departure of Writers; Franchise Might Be Over for Disney

A great deal can be said about Disney’s film series “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which was based on one of their theme park rides. The very first movie in 2003 can be argued to have revitalized the pirate movie genre, and in over a decade and a half the film franchise achieved a $4.5 billion global box office gross.

Recent entries haven’t been as lucrative in earnings, doubled with problems trying to keep on actor Jonny Depp who plays the “Pirates” face character Captain Jack Sparrow. Disney has bounced ideas of a reboot without Depp/Jack, even tapping some writers for it. But things have stalled.

Fortune tells us that Disney has fallen back into a rut regarding the production of a new installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which would also serve as a reboot to the film franchise. That is because assigned screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, best known recently from 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster “Deadpool” movies, are announced to no longer be attached to the “Pirates” project.

With the departure of the writing team, and with now update on anyone else picking up where they left off, it appears any production for more “Pirates of the Caribbean” may no longer be on.

The genesis of the “Pirates” franchise had been a very unusual story of unlikely success in itself. As already stated, it was originally a theme park ride. And when the initial movie “Curse of the Black Pearl” came out, it was under the shadow of prevailing moviemaking wisdom that pirate films don’t sell at all.

To this, “Black Pearl” had answered with an astonishing $300 box office blitz in the US for 2003. It also netted a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp, crystalizing his characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow as the new-age archetype of a romanticized Caribbean pirate.

Disney had been frantic to revitalize the “Pirates” film series as a possible alternative should its current reigning subsidiary franchises “Star Wars” and the MCU begin to falter. But with the loss of their writers for a sixth film, and the feasibility of making such a movie without the iconic Jack Sparrow character, it may be time for the studio to figuratively bury the franchise.

“Frozen II” Trailer: List of Points to Discuss

When Disney’s 2013 animated film “Frozen” became an avalanche of an international blockbuster and fountain of memes, talk immediately turned to making a sequel for it; and not just any home-video follow-up like of old but a true theatrical-release continuation. True, there have been two shorts during the interim, but fans are really looking forward to “Frozen 2” which Disney pegged for 2019.

After a disappointingly hilarious “teaser” after the end credits of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” last year, “Frozen” followers can finally bask in the glory of the first official preview for the second film, released Wednesday, February 13.

In just about a minute and a half, the “Frozen II” sticker may have just cured some fans who may still have franchise fatigue from the original film and its subsequent shorts, plus intrigued bandwagon detractors by its more action-packed sequences and foreboding visuals. Let’s list the trailer’s important scene points and talk about them.

  1. Elsa’s new getup – from the prim and restrained royal gown to her ice dress with thigh-high slit, Elsa in “Frozen” evolved from a paranoid fidgety lady to a sassy woman reveling in freedom; her reconciliation with her sister Anna aside, Elsa maintained her snowflake-pattern dress fashion with only minimum seasonal modifications; for the sequel the Queen of Arendelle finally goes significantly different with what appears to be an ice pantsuit with leggings, for greater mobility
  2. Elsa’s sea run training – the escape across from the coronation was one of the many stunning visual sequences from the first film, done by a scared witless Elsa across a relatively calm fjord; having already worked past her issues Elsa looks more confident in testing the potential of her ice powers further by trying to navigate a stormy sea; but why her intense physical exercise?
  3. The strange ice diamonds – as Anna is witness, Arendelle palace seems to have been suddenly surrounded by numerous snowflake-like diamonds; perhaps they have something to do with her sister; but where did they come from?
  4. Kristoff’s reindeer army – yes, Kristoff is never too far from his trusty reindeer mount Sven; but now it seems they have to answer a situation that needs lots of hoofed reinforcements; what do you think?
  5. Anna’s “Cliffhanger” act – famously remembered for initially failing at rock climbing in “Frozen,” Anna certain seems to match Elsa for picking up some action girl physical skills; is there a motivation for their peak form?
  6. The unquenchable fire – there has never been a physical flame that Elsa’s ice cannot quench, until now; and if she can’t put out these strangely-colored fires, Olaf might pay the price
  7. The girl and the figure – we see a new brown-haired girl walking along an autumnal forest until she’s startled by a figure bursting through the leaves, as if yanked up; could the first one be the “girlfriend” desired by LGBT Elsa-fans for their queen?
  8. Where are they going? – Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven seem to be taking leave of Arendelle in order to go into a new land that is in autumn; what could be waiting for them ahead?
  9. The ambush – great danger instincts, reflexes and swordplay on Anna’s part; but who or what was that which tried to ambush their adventuring party at the end of the teaser?

“Frozen II” premieres this November.

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Fans Slam First “Aladdin” Remake Trailer Showing Genie Will Smith

 

As everybody who follows the Disney hype train knows, there are a series of films coming out in this year alone that are all live-action remakes of their celebrated Animated Canon. Taking after the frenetic production and release pace of its sister film franchise the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no less than three of these “conversions” will hit theaters before 2019 is out.

First the wonder of the flying elephant “Dumbo” in March, Disney will follow up in July with “The Lion King”. And between them is the magical remake of the 1993 classic “Aladdin”; at least that’s how Disney wants the movie to come across.

So far, many fans are unconvinced. The major sticking point of course has been the casting of Will Smith as the Genie of the lamp – a role many insist can only be performed by the original 1993 voice actor, the late Robin Williams. Disney must have hoped that finally showing Smith in CGI as the live-action Genie will quell discontent. But as BBC goes, opinion may have only gotten worse.

A new teaser from Disney was put up by Will Smith himself on Instagram, re-spinning visuals already shown in its predecessor and adding new sequences: Aladdin in the collapsing Cave of Wonders, the “Prince Ali” entrance number, and finally Aladdin rubbing the lamp to release Will Smith as the Genie.

“I told y’all I was gon’ be Blue!!” Will wrote on his Instagram page. “Y’all need to trust me more often!” His Genie self says on his first scene in the trailer, “You really don’t know who I am? Genie? Wishes? Lamp? None of that ring a bell?” While some of his comments there are somewhat supportive, the rest of social media is just up at arms with the depiction.

Several of the Twitter rants on Genie Smith paint his CGI look as the stuff of nightmares. Others on the other hand are willing to be patient until the “Aladdin” remake release this May, in the hope that Disney will clean up the special effects. Until then, it looks like this blue guy has also become the stuff of memes.

 

List of Disney Media Arriving on Australian Streaming Service Stan

When Disney began pulling out its content on the online streaming giant Netflix, followed by the eventual announcement of their own digital streaming platform Disney+, it seemed to signal to everyone that the entertainment juggernaut will in future offer streaming of their movies and shows only within its own backyard.

But this latest development seems to debunk that theory. Disney has apparently stuck a new deal with a streaming service based outside the US. This is Stan, one of Australia’s homegrown streaming platforms, and the first to have an original program to score a nomination at the Logies (Aussie Emmys).

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This partnership will see Stan carry an astonishing number of films and TV series from Walt Disney and its various subsidiaries. Here’s the full list:

Disney-Pixar

  1. Toy Story trilogy
  2. Finding Nemo
  3. Frozen
  4. The Lion King
  5. Cars (1 and 2)
  6. Monsters (Inc. and University)
  7. Big Hero 6
  8. The Incredibles
  9. Up
  10. Wall-E
  11. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  12. Maleficent
  13. The Little Mermaid
  14. Cinderella (2015)
  15. Coco
  16. A Wrinkle in Time

Marvel

  1. Iron Man trilogy
  2. Thor trilogy
  3. Captain America (First Avenger and Winter Soldier)
  4. Avengers films (up to Infinity War)
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
  6. Ant-Man
  7. Black Panther

Lucasfilm

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  2. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Disney Channel

  1. Sofia the First
  2. The Lion Guard
  3. Tangled: The Series
  4. Star Wars Rebels
  5. Andi Mack
  6. Ducktales (2017)

All these Disney goodies should already be available on Stan throughout Australia by December 14. So no, the House of Mouse isn’t hogging all its media for streaming yet.

List of Names Attached to Live-Action “101 Dalmatians” Prequel Spin-off “Cruella”

While many of Disney’s live-action versions of their Animated Canon are faithful adaptations to the original plotlines with certain embellishments, others are more imaginative retellings like Alice in Wonderland (with Johnny Depp) and Maleficent (with Angelina Jolie), a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty in the point of view of the antagonist.

It looks like Disney may be investing in another adaptation in that vein, as they’re set to tell the story of sinister dognapping fur diva Cruella De Vil, villainess of 101 Dalmatians. The thing is, they’re developing it as a prequel; and being live-action, it will apparently go off the interpretation of the first 1996 film adaptation where Cruella was portrayed by actress Glenn Close.

The movie’s still being negotiated but a number of names have been tentatively attached to the project. They are:

  1. Emma Stone (Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man films) cast as (young) Cruella De Vil
  2. Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) as director (replacing original choice Alex Timbers
  3. Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) as writer
  4. Andrew Gunn
  5. Marc Platt and
  6. Kristin Burr as producers

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The live-action Cruella prequel is said to be set in the 1980s and driven by a “punk” vibe. No further details have been shared.