Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday by @DTDBabyCakesNYC

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

: @RoraBorieAlice & @SquE_Z #SquEZTastic Contest!

I swear I am not doing this for the 5 extra contest entries... Ok I totally am but guys and dolls this is a cool contest for a product I would have never heard of if it weren't for Aurora!

Lovingly copied from Rora's blog. :-)
She explains it WAY better than I do here on her blog.  But from what this little Dragyn can gather it is a case for your lemon or lime wedge that keeps the seeds out of your drink and helps the juice from getting all over. Cool right?! And if you enter Rora's contest you get entered into a chance to win a set of 4. Here's how you enter (lovingly copied and pasted from Tales of a Frumpy Mocha Princess):

Go to the SquE-Z Facebook, "Like" them & let them know that "RoraSquE-ZAlice sent me"
and then come let me know you did so!! +1
( make sure you come back and let me know)
Go to the SquE-Z Twitter Account and Follow them +1
Send a Tweet To @RoraBorieAlice AND @SquE_Z with the hash tag #SquEZTastic +1
Tweet about this Giveaway with the Hash tag #SquEZTastic +1
Add My Button ( it's over ->) To Your Blog +1
Blog about this giveaway with Links +5
So go and enter! Right now! And even when there aren't contests you should read Rora's blog! It's so much fun. :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Star Wars Weekends: My First Ride on Star Tours

Until recently I have never ridden Star Tours... Wait that doesn't make sense does it? Let me try again. I have never in life ridden the original Star Tours... That's better. I missed out. Truth be told I wasn't into Star Wars as a Kid and I had only been to Disney 2 times before the ride was shut down forever. 

So when I went to Disney this May I really wanted to make sure I stayed long enough to experience what my Disney friends call "Star Tours 2". Actually I think the real title of the ride is "Star Tours the Adventures Continue" but really that's just semantics. 

Well I loved it! It was probably one of the best rides I had ever been on. What's nice about it is if you are not into roller coasters this ride has all the motion but doesn't really go anywhere. It is basically a 4D movie experience even more than it is a ride.

Below I have copied an article I wrote for and it basically describes the ride experience:

How three act structure is helping take fans on a whole new Star Tours… Was originally going to be the title of this piece but I think it’s a bit wordy and long. Don’t you? So for the sake of argument that is my thesis statement and now I have to prove it.

As most of you know I am a film student in my normal life. I love watching and studying film. One of the main subjects that keeps coming up while learning film is the three act structure. What is that you ask? Simple! Every film must have a beginning and middle and an end.  Now I know this is where some of you might point out that not all films follow this perfectly and try to give me examples. Trust me even movies that start at the end still have 3 acts.  I have a point about Star Tours in here somewhere… I think I lost it. Oh wait. No it’s back.
So what Disney has done with the new Star Tour which is interesting and a lot of fun is that they monopolized the three act structure and  used its simplicity to create a very complex ride. Each time you ride there are options of different beginnings, middles, and ends. The ride randomizes these and you get a new ride every time… Ok not every time. In fact I know people who have gotten the same ride several times over. But the idea is that the ride can feel new even after multiple rides. This keep Disney from having to upgrade the video to keep fan from being bored.

By separating the experience of Star Tours into three acts fans can start the journey, build the adventure and come to their final destination with favorite characters and locations from the films.  I will now use examples from the ride to explain so SPOILER ALERT!!!!

Let’s say the beginning you get is Vader (yay!) You start the adventure knowing you have an enemy spy on board and that Vader is now out to get you. In the middle you land in Hoth and fight the At-Ats. Then General Akbar tells you your mission (This part isn’t an act. It’s what is known as a turning point. Basically it is the point in the film where you change direction. Or in this case the point in the ride where you go from a peaceful touring vessel to a group for the rebel alliance. )  Lastly you land in deep space and take on the Death Star. And with those three simple acts you have been taken on a fantastical journey and what I consider to be one of the best rides at Disney World!

The 2 pics in the middle were provided by Daniel Wanderman @DanielWanderman on Twitter.

I think I look pretty awesome!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rated A for Awesome

There's a new show on Disney XD I love called Rated A for Awesome. It is about 4 kids who take the ordinary things in their lives (school, the dentist, even sleep) and make them awesome. I love the characters and the stories are simple but fun. My question is have you seen the show? What do you think of it? And how do you try to make every day awesome?!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Final)

Beauty and the Beast has its largest historical significance when it comes to its award nominations and wins. The film broke ground in ways that no animated film had ever done before it and changed how every animated film after it was awarded and nominated. Curiously Beauty and the Beast open doors in some ways but locked doors in other ways. Even though animation was garnering respect it seems as though there was a fear that animation would be treated equally to its live action counterparts.
            First up were the Golden Globes. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for four awards including two for best original song, one for best original score and one for best motion picture, comedy or musical. It one three out of the four awards it was nominated for mainly because it was in one category twice. This was a huge turning point in Beasty and the Beast’s history and the history of animated film. With these big wins under its belt the hope was the Beauty and the Beast would go on to win the Academy Award for best picture.
Next came the Academy Awards and Beauty and the Beast had six nominations. It had three nominations for best song, one for best original score, one for best sound. There was one nomination out of the six that completely changed the course of animated film history. Beauty and the Beast became the first ever animated film to be nominated for best motion picture by the Academy.  This was an amazing accomplishment and showed that the film was considered to be just as good and maybe even better several of its live action counterparts. Beauty and the Beast won two out of the six awards it was nominated for. It won best original song for the title song “Beauty and the Beast” and it won best original score. Beauty and the Beast lost out to Silence of the Lambs. But that was alright because it changed the way that the Academy would view animated film, or so one might think.
The very next year the Academy instituted a new category to the awards. Now there was a Best Animated Feature award. What is hard to figure out is whether or not this was a show of respect to animated film that it deserved its own category. In a way it shows that animated films should win awards and every year since Beauty and the Beast at least one animated film walks away with an Oscar.
However it could be argued that this was to put animated films in their place so to speak. By creating the animated film category the Academy almost insures that no animated film will win best feature. Even in recent years when animated films have been nominated for best feature they win best animated feature instead. In this way Beauty and the Beast completely changed how animated films are seen by the Academy. It made it so the Academy wanted to recognize animated film but as its own separate category away from film.
Beauty and the Beast still has an affective grip on popular culture today. It was the first Disney animated feature to be turned into a Broadway musical in 1994 (Andi Stein, 39). It is also part of the ever growing “Disney princesses” franchise. This particular branding tool creates short films, dolls, and children’s clothes based on the popular Disney princess characters (Stein, 57). Beauty and the Beast has also been rereleased to video and even on the big screen several times. In fact when it was rereleased in 2002 there was an originally deleted song included in the film. Beauty and the Beast is still being rereleased in video format which will include a special 3D blu-ray edition of the film October of 2011. It is still viewed by many as one of the best animated films of all time and is often compared to many animated films today.
In conclusion, Beauty and the Beast came in to the world in a time where the history of animated films as uncertain. Its critical and commercial successes paved the way for the films that came after it. Beauty and the Beast in its first year change how the Academy viewed animated film, how Disney perceived its own brand, and how the world saw animated film.  It is unique and inspired which is why it is still popular today.
  1. Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale. 2002. DVD. Buena Vista Home Video.
  2. Waking Sleeping Beauty. Dir. Don Hahn.  2009. DVD. Buena Vista Home Video.
  3. Stewart, James. Disney War. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. Print.
  4. Stein, Andi. Why We Love Disney: The Power of the Disney Brand. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2011. Print.
  5. Surrell, Jason. Screenplay by Disney. New York: Disney Editions, 2004. Print.
  6. The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers 1999. Print.
  7. “Beauty and the Beast.” Internet Movie Database, nd Web. 31 July 2011.
  8. Ebert, Roger. Review. Chicago Sun Times. Beauty and the Beast. Nov. 22 1991.
  9. Maslin, Janet. Review. New York Times. Beauty and the Beast. Nov. 13 1991.
  10. Haithman, Diane. Article. Los Angeles Times. “Unfinished ‘Beauty’ to Make Splashy Debut.” Aug. 17 1991.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Part 5)

Later trailers would go on to say the Beauty and the Beast was making history with its award nominations and achievements. The trailers showcased how the film had multiple layers and wide audience appeal. Also highlighting the critical acclaim of Beauty and the Beast was a way to get the adult audience interested in the film.
Another way Beauty and the Beast was advertised was through its music.  Beauty and the Beast had a traditional soundtrack but unlike some of the animated films that came before it there was also a popular culture rendition of the title song. Sung by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson who arguably are not two artists children of the time would recognize but their parents would. There was even a music video made for the song. This was advertising in a new way since the video could be seen on music video channels and on tv. Animated film was breaking new ground as a pop culture event more than just a children’s film. Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney animated film to do this but popular music for the soundtrack and a video to go with it has become common place for Disney animated films.
Beauty and the Beast also received publicity through behind the scenes style scenes on other video releases. At the beginning of the Jungle Book VHS there is a clip of Jeffery Katzenberg. He is introducing himself as well as promoting the latest and greatest animated film Beauty and the Beast. He discusses the film in terms of how it fits into the history of Disney animation but also is advancing Disney animation. Arguably this is also a bit of shameless self-promotion on the part of Mr. Katzenberg but it harkens back to the Walt Disney tradition of giving the audience a sneak peak and a feeling of being an insider.
Two types of posters were often created for Disney’s contemporary animated features. Beauty and the Beast was no exception. Disney knew it wanted adults as well as children to see the film. The first poster type was kept very simple and included silhouettes of the characters. This simplistic design often appealed to the adult audience. The second type of poster created was often bright and colorful. It highlighted the cartoonish aspects of the film. Once again Disney was attempting to draw a large age spectrum for their audience. The hope being that Beauty and the Beast could make history not only critically but commercially as well.
The advertising attempts by Disney must have worked because Beauty and the Beast grossed $145 million in its first year. It would be the third grossing film of that year (Stewart, 122). Also the advertising campaign seems to have drawn the adult audience Disney wanted. The Times reported that in theaters adults viewing Beauty and the Beast outnumbered children at a ratio of ten to one (Stewart, 122). This shows that Beauty and the Beast was able to be respected and enjoyed by audiences of all ages. It had exited the realm of cartoonish kiddy fair and was seen as a great animated film.
Because of the commercial success of Beauty and the Beast Disney was able to make changes inside the studio but also had some issues that were being ignored. By the time the film was its most popular Disney decided that its focus should be on the success of animation. Michael Eisner especially wanted to focus on what animation had accomplished. As such he decided to build the animators a brand new studio (Stewart, 121). Beauty and the Beast also ensured that 1992 was a record year for Disney financially (Stewart, 124). But as a consequence of the animation doing so well Disney’s live action films suffered (Stewart, 142). This shows that especially within Disney studios Beauty and the Beast made strides that helped pave the way for animation getting more respect and attention.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Lair's 1st Birthday!

Hey guys and dolls! In honor of the Lair being a year old now I decided to do "a year in review" so to speak.

I'm going to list the top 10 most read posts of all time and I was hoping we could figure out why they were (some still are) so popular! I'd like to keep blogging for a long time. Really I love it so much and sharing my thoughts and views with all of you. So without further ado the top 10 Lair posts in order are:

10. The Disney Online Community as High School
9. Tales of a Disney Nobody
8. Blog Contest! AKA Help Me Name My Teddy!
7. Vinylmations Artist Jim Valeri
6. This is My 99th Post!
5. Da Rulez!
4. I want to @GetMyMagic!!!
3. Dream Shows: Villains Tonight
2. What's a @Mousevent?

And the number one most viewed Lair post of all time is.....

1. Jonathan Warner Cars 2 the Video Game Producer: An Interview

An interesting mixed bag of topics if I do say so myself... Please let me know your thoughts. Which of these posts do you like best?

.@rwmead's Review of Phineas and Ferb Across the 2nd Dimension

DragynAlly and I "met" through Phineas and Ferb, so to speak. Back when the Phineas and Ferb fanbase was curious as to the details of the TV-movie- heck, we didn't even know when it was going to air- I found footage of an event that she had attended in New York City where she got to try out the video game based on the movie. I posted the link to the Wiki and the questions came flooding in. Thankfully, she was a good sport and answered them to the best of her ability, and through that we found each other on Twitter. And now she's asking me to review the movie itself for her blog. In a way, our "friendship" has come full circle.

And I'm proud to do it. I've been a fan of Phineas and Ferb for almost one and a half years now, and Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is a culmination of everything that makes the series great. Much like the song written by Slash which closes the film, writers Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and Jon Colton Barry- along with the talented gag writers and storyboard artists- have really "kicked it up a notch" in all aspects of the series- comedy, action, emotion, and just plain fun.

For those unfamiliar with the series, most of its humor comes from the fact that every episode follows the same basic formula and that the show is aware of that formula and knows how to tweak it in just the right way to get humor out of it: the optimistic idea man Phineas and his stepbrother, the usually-silent builder Ferb, try to make each of their "104 days of summer vacation" the best ever by building something extravagant. Their sister Candace always tries to "bust" them by getting their mom to catch them in the act. But for some reason, she never is able to and ends up looking insane (not that she needs any help in that department). While all this is going on, the boys' pet platypus, Perry, is secretly off on his day job- working as Agent P, the secret agent who is assigned to defeat the not-at-all-threatening Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his bizarrely pathetic "evil" schemes which are usually meant to rectify some emotionally scarring memory of his childhood- and which always just so happen to get rid of Phineas and Ferb's project at just the right time.

That last paragraph was probably confusing to someone who's never seen the show, but those who have were probably smiling in recognition at the characters and situations that have become as memorable as, say, the Road Runner chasing Wile E. Coyote or SpongeBob finding a new way to have fun on the job while irritating Squidward. And just like those classic characters of yesterday and today, Phineas, Ferb, and their ensemble cast of Danville- which may rival the Simpsons' Springfield in terms of sheer number of distinct personalities which inhabit it- find new ways to take the same old situation (or just outright make fun of it) and make it funny, all the while mixing in funny dialogue, sight gags, slapstick, running gags, pop culture references, funny music, occasional (but never too disturbing) lowbrow humor, and just plain insane stuff. Not surprisingly, this made-for-TV movie gives us all of that, as well as a really interesting and entertaining story which plays on everything we know about the universe of Phineas and Ferb and mixes it up while literally creating a second universe for the characters to play in.

Phineas and Ferb decide to celebrate the fifth anniversary of their adoption of Perry the Platypus as only they can- by building a giant "platypult." Due to Perry going off on his daily mission, they end up off course and crash-land at Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. Never having met the would-be evil mastermind, the naive Phineas assumes the best and helps the good evil doctor repair his latest invention. The entire group soon finds themselves in an alternate dimension where they meet alternate versions of themselves with personalities similar to their own, but somewhat different- Phineas and Ferb are somewhat timid and have never heard of summer, Candace is still overprotective but more in a militaristic sort rather than a neurotic one, and most importantly, Doofenshmirtz has actually succeeded in conquering the tri-state area, which is why the universe is the way it is. Perry is forced to reveal his secret identity to his owners in order to protect them, which only makes matters worse. The gang must team up with their alternate selves in order to save not only the second dimension, but their own as well.

A lot of the fun from this movie comes from the way the characters we have become familiar with interact with their second-dimension counterparts. Doofenshmirtz in particular, who always seems to be the character who steals the show, is fun to watch as he interacts with his second-dimension self and discovers what makes him so different (as well as what makes him so alike, as we discover in one of the more amusing musical numbers). Also amusing to see is how Phineas reacts to Perry revealing his true identity, which brings out a side of him we haven't seen before. Although his mistrust of Perry is misperceived (but justified), we rarely see Phineas angry, so it's funny to see him lash out.

The writers crafted a story which is full of action, but never losing the signature Phineas and Ferb style of humor. Even the more exciting scenes have their share of one-liners. I'd love to see the reaction of someone who's only somewhat familiar with the series or have never seen it- a good number of the jokes seem like the sort that are funny on their own, but have an added layer of humor to those who are familiar with the series as they call back to previous events or episodes. The climax of the film, which brings back practically every invention the boys have built over the course of the series, gave me a giddy, child-like feeling. It's just cool to see all of these inventions come back and band together to fight these robots in the middle of Danville, and I'm sure someone who's not as familiar with the series would think so too, even if they don't know where the inventions originally came from.

Across the 2nd Dimension is incredibly entertaining, and sums up everything that's made Phineas and Ferb the (well-deserved) hit it is. The only question I have is...what have they got for an encore?

"Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension" airs again on August 13 at 10am Eastern on Disney XD and August 20 at 8pm Eastern on ABC and will be available on DVD August 23 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Part 4)

The critical acclaim for Beauty and the Beast started in September 1991 when an unfinished copy of the film was screened at the New York Film Festival. Beauty and the Beast was the second animated film to be shown at the New York Film Festival but the first ever Disney animated film to be shown (Diane Haithman). This shows that Disney was breaking ground for animated films and in particular its own brand.
On the Diamond Edition DVD of Beauty and the Beast there are special features that discuss this event. The producer of the film Don Hahn says that they did not know what they were getting into and that it was really risky to show the unfinished film to an audience. What several people interviewed pointed out was that this New York Film Festival Audience was an adult only audience. Some go further to say that this was a “cynical New York” audience. The likelihood was that the audience was there to ridicule and scoff more than to enjoy Disney latest animated feature. The viewing ended in a standing ovation which was rare for the New York Film Festival. 
James Stewart argues in his book Disney War that Disney knew exactly what they were doing by showing the unfinished film to a large film festival. Disney studio chairman Jeffery Katzenberg decided to show a print from two months earlier (119). Stewart argues that it was part of an elaborate plan to get the audience of critics and academy members buzzing about the film. This would hopefully get Beauty and the Beast recognized by the academy and ensures its award nomination.   The main problem with this argument is that there is not guarantee that the audience would like what they saw. Even if Disney believed it had one of its best films it was still a gamble that could have led to failure for the Disney Company and a step back for animated film in general.
Two critics of Beauty and the Beast have reviews that echo each other. Roger Ebert and Janet Maslin write at two different times but seem to have a lot of similar feelings and likes about the film. They both commend Ashman and Menken for their beautiful scare. Ebert even goes on the call the title song “haunting”.  Maslin and Ebert also discuss how the film is innovative and speaks to a new era of Disney animation and animated film in general. Both critics also discuss how the film fits in perfectly with the Disney tradition. Arguably these are traits that the film’s creators hoped would shine through. By creating a film that is a nod to the traditions of Disney but still making advancements it was ushering the Reissuance of Disney animated film in a big way.
Beauty and the Beast seems like it is off the great start. It has great story and characters. The latest advancements in animation were used. Critics love it and it got a standing ovation. But now the real test. How do you market Beauty and the Beast for the average market? Honestly the screening at the New York Film Festival was part free publicity but there were other ways Disney spread the word about their latest animated film. Disney obviously wanted their latest animated film to cross age and gender boundaries and the advertising used reflects this.
Disney released several different trailers and tv spots for Beauty and the Beast. Each one had a different tone and feeling about it. Disney highlights different aspects of the film from the love story between Belle and the Beast or the adventure and danger of being chased by the villain of the film Gaston. The highlighting of both romance and action adventure appears to be an attempt by the Disney company to get Beauty and the Beast to cross gender boundaries. If this film was just for little girls Disney would lose half of their potential audience.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perry the Platy-bus Pics from @rwmead!

Hey guys and dolls! Our friend Ryan (aka @rwmead on twitter) got us a present! Ok not really a present but he has some really great pics from the Perry the Platy-bus tour in NYC! Take a gander and let him know what you think. Also stay tuned as Ryan will be doing a great guest post soon reviewing the Phineas and Ferb movie! (Eeep!!!)

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Part 3)

The original fairytales that Beauty and the Beast is based on were static in terms of story. Jason Surrell says that one of the problems with the original story is that the second act was mostly a dinner party where the Beasts asks Beauty to marry him night after night (20-21). This works well in a fairytale that is only a few pages but in terms of film it lacks a visual presence. Enter Linda Woolverton who was called in to write the screenplay for Beauty and the Beast. Her first attempt at the story was very melodramatic and dark. Too dark for children (Surrell, 20). Howard Ashman and Alan Menken were called in to help lighten the story with song (Surrell, 20).
When the story and song collided it created a beautiful but simplistic plot that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Woolverton notes that Ashman called himself the “simplicity police” and that the story in the film was simple and should stay that way (Surrell, 20).  Each scene now has emotion that is simple and recognized by the audience and the songs add to the heightened feeling.
As important as the story and songs are the characters in Beauty and the Beast. In the original fairytale there was nothing to motivate Beauty and the character was one dimensional and flat. Woolverton worried that such a character would feel outdated in the 90’s. So she crafted Belle. Belle is well read, determined, and dreams of more than her poor provincial town. In fact she is smarter and more determined than any Disney heroine that came before her (Surrell, 21). In similar fashion to the fairytale she does stay with the Beast to save her father. However Belle does not quietly accept the Beast’s rules and often stands up for herself.
Even the Beast becomes multi-dimensional in this story. He is no longer a poor cursed prince but the Beast is a stubborn and spoiled young man who must overcome his temper and selfishness to free himself from the spell and get the girl of his dreams. One could say that the Beast keeps Belle against her will and she somehow tames him (Henry Giroux,100). However this ignores Belle and the Beast as agents in their story. Belle has opportunities to leave but decides to stay because of her good heart. The Beast is not so much tamed as he learns that he cannot remain spoiled or selfish. Modern audiences want more complex characters and this story delivers.
Finally the new technology that ties it all together. Computer animation has been used sparingly in past Disney projects. According to Waking Sleeping Beauty, The Rescuers Down Under uses a lot of computer animation to make sweeping flying movements and a sense of grandeur. Even though that film was very unsuccessful the technology used would help create one of the most memorable scenes from Beauty and the Beast.
The ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast ties together all of the elements discussed and creates a true sense of character and story development. When Belle and the Beast dance together Mrs. Potts sings the story of their love, we see Belle take control and ask the Beast to dance and we see the grandeur of the ballroom in a sweeping camera shot that was created by computers.
So what did critics think of Beauty and the Beast as a film? The critics saw all of the elements come together and were able to appreciate what Disney was doing. More than once critics describe Beauty and the Beast as more than a children’s or an animated film. Many saw it as a return to classic Disney animation. Others saw it as the emergence of new Disney animation. In any case critics seemed to be fans of Beauty and the Beast. In a way Beauty and the Beast’s critical reception was better than any animated film that came before it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Part 2)

Starting off with the actual film and using it as a text analysis will be done of the film to show that the story, songs, character and technological advancements made it accessible across age and gender lines that allowed for its popularity at the time. Using critic reviews of Beauty and the Beast during its time in theaters will examine how it was critically during this time. This will include its original showing at the New York Film Festival before its release date and see how Beauty and the Beast was received by that audience. Box office records will also be examined to see how well the film did nationally. An examination of the nominations and awards Beauty and the Beast received along with the prestigious Academy Award nominations and wins will help determine how it was accepted as an art form. This information will also show that Beauty and the Beast changed how the Academy considered animated films and whether or not that was positive or negative.  Using current books and articles to see how the film is still being culturally interpreted and received. This will also include how the Beauty and the Beast brand is being used in modern times and how it is translated across media.  In summary the analysis presented will show that Beauty and the Beast was treated with more critical respect and cultural acceptance than any animated film that came before it.
The first step to understanding the significance of Beauty and the Beast is to take a moment and analyze the film as text.  To do this the film must be understood in terms of story, song, character, and technological advancements. Beauty and the Beast is different from most of the animated films that came before it. Its story is more complex. The songs are bigger and more emotional.  Its characters have more motivations. Lastly its technological advancements pulls everything together. Simply put, Beauty and the Beast is Disney Animation Studio’s attempt to raise the bar for themselves.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Paper on Beauty and the Beast (Part 1)

Hey guys and dolls! Recently I finished a 6 week summer intensive learning about film. I am working toward my MFA in Screenwriting and completed 2 more required courses. In one of my classes we learned about film history and cultural impact. What's really cool is I got to write a 10 page paper about my favorite Disney film. So over the next few blog posts I will post it bit by bit and you can let me know what you think. I will ask that for the sake of what little sanity I have left that you not point out grammar and spelling errors. I can't edit it and it is already turned in for a grade. Also I'll let you know the grade I got on the paper and in the class. :-)

Beauty and the Animated Film
The late 1970’s and early 1980’s were a dark time in Disney’s animation history. Animated films were falling out a favor with the public. The animation studio was going through some growing pains as some of the older animators and younger animators kept bumping heads. Disney started hiring big name executives such as Michael Eisner and Jeffery Katzenberg to help get things back in order. Later during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s Disney animated film went through what most would consider a renaissance. In 1989 Disney had its first big animated hit in years with The Little Mermaid. This film was one of the most critically and commercially successful for Disney in years. The Little Mermaid would help Disney refocus on their animation and opened the doors or one of the most historic animated films of all time.
 The second film to come out the Disney renaissance was one of the main films driving the renaissance. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was even more successful than its predecessor and was also nominated for awards including Academy Award for best feature. Beauty and the Beast can be placed in a larger cultural and critical context. By further asking the questions of why Beauty and the Beast is so popular, did it change how Disney films were culturally and critically received, and did it change the way the Disney brand operated it will become clear that Beauty and the Beast temporarily changed the way animated films were received in popular culture for the better.
Starting off with the actual film and using it as a text analysis will be done of the film to show that the story, songs, character and technological advancements made it accessible across age and gender lines that allowed for its popularity at the time. Using critic reviews of Beauty and the Beast during its time in theaters will examine how it was critically during this time. This will include its original showing at the New York Film Festival before its release date and see how Beauty and the Beast was received by that audience. Box office records will also be examined to see how well the film did nationally. An examination of the nominations and awards Beauty and the Beast received along with the prestigious Academy Award nominations and wins will help determine how it was accepted as an art form. This information will also show that Beauty and the Beast changed how the Academy considered animated films and whether or not that was positive or negative.  Using current books and articles to see how the film is still being culturally interpreted and received. This will also include how the Beauty and the Beast brand is being used in modern times and how it is translated across media.  In summary the analysis presented will show that Beauty and the Beast was treated with more critical respect and cultural acceptance than any animated film that came before it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Star Wars Weekend Caption Contest!

I LOVE the pic you see here! LOVE it! That Bounty Hunter was the coolest sexiest thing I saw all Star Wars Weekend!

So here's the deal guys and dolls. I have three very awesome Star Wars pins I need to giveaway. The rules are simple each person who wants to be entered can come up with a caption for the picture above. Something funny and PG13 tops! We will then leave it up to a vote to see which one is most popular. Top 3 pics get pins. Savvy?