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.
It turns out that Will Smith’s #Aladdin Genie will haunt my nightmares
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.
Visuals look good and I'm glad they made Genie blue. Of course Will Smith has some big shoes to fill but I'll wait to see the film before casting any judgements! #filmtwitterhttps://t.co/aSRlLXNA2u
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).
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:
Toy Story trilogy
The Lion King
Cars (1 and 2)
Monsters (Inc. and University)
Big Hero 6
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The Little Mermaid
A Wrinkle in Time
Iron Man trilogy
Captain America (First Avenger and Winter Soldier)
Avengers films (up to Infinity War)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Sofia the First
The Lion Guard
Tangled: The Series
Star Wars Rebels
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.
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:
Emma Stone (Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man films) cast as (young) Cruella De Vil
Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) as director (replacing original choice Alex Timbers
Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) as writer
Marc Platt and…
Kristin Burr as producers
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.
By now, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet is close to being two week into its cinematic premiere, where it’s breaking some current box office records. It’s no surprise, knowing all the geeky stuff included in it whether as shout-outs or integral plot elements. The Disney Princesses fall on the latter.
Trailers hype the fact that they befriend Ralph’s (John C. Reilly) friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), and she in turn introduces the Princesses to modern casual clothes. Not to spoil by giving in-depth details, but the Princesses help Vanellope with her own internal issues, and save the day after the climax.
Do not read further to avoid SPOILERS: After Ralph and Vanellope defeat what’s close to being the movie’s major antagonist, Ralph falls down the virtual internet city, despite efforts to catch him. Fortunately the Disney Princesses see him and swing into action to rescue the “Big Strong Man” this time around:
Moana uses her “friend of the ocean” blessing to animate water from a fountain, causing it to fly in the air.
Ariel dives into the animated water and uses her mermaid swimming technique to shape it into a corkscrew spiral before “diving out”.
Jasmine pilots the flying carpet with Elsa as passenger. They catch Ariel from her dive while Elsa freezes the watery screw into an ice slide. Ralph slides into the ice, the spiral shape serving as a “holding pattern” while…
Rapunzel gives some of her hair to Aurora, who uses a spinning wheel to spin the hair into strings. Cinderella’s birds thread the strings through Snow White’s gown, with the ends tied to two arrows notched in a bow held by…
Merida. She shoots the arrows – carrying Cinderella’s mice Jaq and Gus – across a gap in buildings underneath Ralph. The arrows strike the opposite wall where…
Anna and Cinderella lay two more Princess gowns on the suspended hair-strings, which Jaq and Gus sew into place. Merida has also positioned another pair of gowns on the ends of the hair-strings on her side of the gap, with Snow White’s gown now suspended in the middle.
Snow White pitches her poison apple to Belle, who bats it into the air with a frying pan.
Mulan jumps after the apple and cuts it into four pieces. The pieces fall on the arrows and wooden supports that hold the gown-hair-string parachute in place (yes it’s getting complicated), causing them to dissolve. Ralph finally gets past the ice slide and falls into Snow White’s dress. The motion jerks the other gowns free from their anchors and balloon into parachutes. (Ariel vocalizes during this part.)
Pocahontas uses her affinity with the wind to blow Ralph in his improvised parachute up onto another rooftop, landing on a bed.
Tiana approaches the unconscious Ralph, moves as if to kiss him…then has Naveen (as a frog) do it instead, waking Ralph up.
Ralph Breaks the Intenet is still showing in theaters.
Only a year following the “Colors of the Wind” volume for Disney Sing Along Songs, the long-running home video cartoon karaoke series returned with another collection of songs. Like its immediate predecessor this is primarily tied to another major Disney Classic release during year 1996, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Again, there are significant alterations between the original US version of this Sing Along Songs volume, and those released elsewhere. In fact, the UK and other international versions use the title of the movie this ties to, and some of the songs had lyrics that either got changed or cut.
Without further ado, here’s what to see in the Disney Sing Along Songs: “Topsy Turvy”:
Topsy Turvy (from 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – lines with religious references altered; stanza referencing Esmeralda and her pole-dancing scene cut
You’ve Got a Friend in Me (from 1995’s Toy Story)
Stand By Me (Timon and Pumbaa music video produced and directed by Steve Moore)
Streets of Gold (from 1988’s Oliver and Company)
The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song (from 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Out There (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – Frollo part (also called “Stay in Here”) cut
Family (from 1996’s James and the Giant Peach)
The Unbirthday Song (from 1951’s Alice in Wonderland)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Variant Songs (replacing “Stand by Me”, “The Dwarfs’ Yodel Song”, “Family” and “The Unbirthday Song”)
Father and Son (from 1996’s Aladdin and the King of Thieves)
On the Open Road (from 1995’s A Goofy Movie)
Mine, Mine, Mine (from 1995’s Pocahontas)
Sing a New Song (from “Ariel’s Undersea Adventures” VHS Collection)
Forget About Love (from 1994’s The Return of Jafar)
What’s This? (from 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas)
A few years after British author J.K. Rowling began churning out her Harry Potter books, Irish novelist Eoin Colfer also began his book series Artemis Fowl, featuring the titular protagonist, a child criminal mastermind, and his adventures/misadventures with the underground fairy civilization. Now his story will be told by Disney.
Celebrated filmmaker Kenneth Branagh gets behind the wheel of the film adaptation of the first Artemis Fowl novel, detailing Artemis’ plot to make money from the fairies to fund his search for his missing father by kidnapping a fairy police officer. This magical crime would be the beginning of a grander quest and a most unlikely partnership between different species.
Here is a list of the main cast for the 2019 movie announced thus far:
Ferdia Shaw as Artemis Fowl II, a criminal mastermind aged 12 during the first book, seeking to find his missing father and restore his family fortunes with a heist on the fairy “People” under the earth
Lara McDonnel as Holly Short, fairy and Captain on the Lower Elements Police Recon (LEP-Recon) who is kidnapped by Artemis for a fairy ransom
Nonso Anozie as (Domovoi) Butler, Fowl family butler and Artemis’ bodyguard/muscle
Judi Dench as Root, Commander of the LEP
Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums, dwarf and incarcerated criminal
Miranda Raison as Angeline Fowl, Artemis’ mother grieving for her lost husband
On Thanksgiving last week, the world was introduced to the first teaser of Disney’s 2019’ adaptation of their 1994 animated classic The Lion King. For anyone who was left utterly hanging following the bare-minimum teaser for Aladdin coming out in the same year, this preview was definitely on another level.
The sequences shown in the Lion King teaser were actually shown well before the teaser premiere, when the whole “Circle of Life” sequence was shown behind closed doors to attendees of the previous D23 convention. The song also takes center stage here, but shares the limelight with a speech from Mufasa and some new scenes.
After the title card, the teaser included a quick sequence showing the names of the movie’s primary cast. Here’s the list:
Donald Glover (Solo: A Star Wars Story) as Simba
Seth Rogen as Pumbaa
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) as Scar
Billy Eichner as Timon
John Oliver as Zazu
Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, a new hyena character replacing Ed from the 1994 film
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala
James Earl Jones as Mufasa, reprising from the 1994 film
Cast members not named in the trailer include:
John Kani (Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther) as Rafiki
Alfre Woodard as Sarabi
Florence Kasumba as Shenzi
Eric Andre as Azizi, a new hyena character replacing Banzai from the 1994 film
By now, Ralph Breaks the Internet is being a hit with audiences as they get to see the fruition of Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope’s adventures online, especially the latter’s encounter with the Disney Princesses, so heavily hyped in the trailers. Who didn’t want to buy the Princesses’ modern clothes afterwards?
While Disney is keeping mum on whether there will be a clothing line featuring the awesome ensembles worn by the Princesses in the film (sucker bet on Elsa’s “Just Let It Go” sweater selling out first), they do have some epic merchandise for Ralph Breaks the Internet breaking (ha-ha) now.
There will be a 13-doll collection featuring Vanellope and the Disney Princesses coming out priced at $99.95 on shopDisney. Quite obviously the Princesses are featured in the modern getups they wore while hanging out with Vanellope in their Oh My Disney lounge. Spoiler alert: they were inspired to make the clothes after admiring Vanellope’s outfit.
Aside from Vanellope, here are the Disney Princesses included in the set, with descriptions on their distinctive clothing logos or slogans, and any accessories included:
Snow White – “Poison” under poisoned apple; with reading glasses
Cinderella – “G2G” on carriage; with glass slipper
Despite current news in the entertainment section about female celebrities expressing their disdain for the more “traditional” characters in the Disney Princess lineup, the fact remains that many more people – children, especially – think Princesses are cool. The recently-released Ralph Breaks the Internet film should only add more fuel to the fire of Disney Princess mania.
In that regard, online cable service database CableTV.com recently did a survey on the most popular Disney Princess according to each of the 50 States, with help from Google Trends. The results were quite eye-opening, and proof perhaps that not everybody has “Let it Go”.
By that, you know who the most popular Disney Princess in the US is. Here’re the rest of them listed:
Elsa – 20 (17 states alone, 3 states tied)
Anna – 11 states (9 states alone, 2 states tied with Elsa)
Snow White – 4 states (3 states alone, 1 tied)
Mulan – 3 states
Esmeralda – 3 states
Jasmine – 3 states
Ariel – 3 states
Pocahontas – 2 states
Rapunzel – 2 states (1 alone, 1 tied)
Belle – 2 states (1 alone, 1 tied)
Cinderella (tied with four Princesses, even)
A few random bits of trivia: Many of the States that named Elsa their favorite Disney Princess gets lots of snow during winter. Two States that voted for Jasmine have desert areas. Tiana is obviously popular in the State where her story takes place. Ariel being top Princess in Florida makes sense with the sun and beaches. Utah… couldn’t seem to make up its mind, with five Princesses tied for favorite.
Finally, only the Princesses up to Merida are officially part of the namesake franchise, “crowned” in Disney theme parks and everything. Anna and Elsa are usually just included despite not being invested, and they are part of the group in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Two of the characters here have never been recognized as Princesses (Esmeralda and Megara). And Moana…hasn’t become popular enough for any one State (even Hawaii!) to vote for her at all.
A third series of “Disney Sing-Along Songs”, that delightfully musical home media karaoke collection featuring mostly songs from Disney films and series, began in 1994 with “The Circle of Life”, as usual timed in its release with its primary song source the Lion King film.
In that vein, another “Sing Along Songs” volume was rolled out in the following year, to coincide with the premiere of the Disney animated film Pocahontas. As with its predecessor, its song list varies depending on whether or not it was an English release, and even the latter has differences depending on the region. Here is the list of songs:
Colors of the Wind (from 1995’s Pocahontas)
Cinderella Work Song (from 1950’s Cinderella)
Why Should I Worry? (from 1988’s Oliver and Company)
Little Wooden Head (from 1940’s Pinocchio)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from 1994’s The Lion King)
Higitus Figitus (from 1963’s The Sword in the Stone)
Non-US English Addition
Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing (from Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room) –UK, Australia etc. versions
Hakuna Matata (from The Lion King) – replaces “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing”
Casey Junior (from 1941’s Dumbo) – replaces “Cinderella Work Song”
Ooh-De-Lally (from 1973’s Robin Hood) – replaces “Why Should I Worry?”