Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, March 22, 2010

Something Old, Something New

If there's one thing I'm sure you've learned by reading this blog, that's that a Saturday in the city is usually followed by a Sunday on the couch watching all the DVDs I bought. And this past weekend was no exception.

Had to grab a couple of animated films that had a little something in common. First up, was the all-new computer animated version of Astro Boy. As I said in my original review, it is an animated film that offers nothing new. The plot is by-the-numbers, and borrows from dozens of other much better sci-fi films about robots. But you know what? My childhood nostalgia for the character was so strong that I thoroughly loved it.

The other one, of course, was Disney's triumphant return to traditional animation, The Princess and the Frog. Again, as I said in my original review, the plot is very by-the-numbers. If you've seen any other Disney animated film, you've seen this one. However, it was so good to see Disney back to doing what they used to do best, that nostalgia made it easy to overlook the flaws. It was their first time taking the boat back out on the water...best not to rock it.

And that's the one thing that those two films have in common. There is just nothing new in them...nothing to really push the limits of animation and what kind of story can be told in the medium

Which is why I thoroughly geeked out when, among the previews on the Princess and the Frog DVD is a trailer for a forthcoming, all-new, super-special edition of The Black Cauldron, one of Disney's most notable efforts to push the limits.

My jaw dropped when the trailer promised that this new special edition would boast deleted scenes. The Black Cauldron is the one Disney animated film with the most infamous deleted scenes. See, at the film's climax, the evil Horned King unleashes his army of "Cauldron Born," essentially a zombie army. In a demonstration of this power, the Cauldron Born kills a few members of the Horned King's army, and these dead members instantly spring back to life as Cauldron Born. The infamous deleted scene concerns the rapid decomposition of these dead soldiers, as they turn into Cauldron Born. The scene was sloppily edited out of the film...you can hear the jumps in the music and everything.

Disney already released The Black Cauldron as part of their "Gold Collection" of DVDs around 6 or 7 years ago. It's rare to find Disney DVDs in the discount bin...what, with their practice of the Disney Vault, DVDs tend to go out of print and off store shelves before they get to the discount bins. So when I saw the Gold Collection of The Black Cauldron in a discount bin a couple of years ago, I had to snatch it up. It was pretty good for just a Gold Collection...it even feature a gallery of Tim Burton's conceptual art.

Yes, Tim Burton got his start as an animator at Disney. Burton has gone on record many times as saying it was one of the least creatively-satisfying periods of his career. One of the final blows was when all of his conceptual art for The Black Cauldron was deemed unusable. It was just...too Tim Burton-y, and not Disney.

All the trailer for this special edition says is that it's coming in 2010. Most of my favourite DVD sites have no info yet, some are suggesting it's coming in June. I'll keep my eyes open.

And speaking of animated films that are different, I can't forget that Fantastic Mr. Fox comes out on DVD on Tuesday. I'm wondering if I should run out and buy it as soon as it comes out. I'm still very upset that I missed it in the theatre, especially if it's as good as everyone says it is. If it is that good, I'll probably wind up owning it anyway.

Still want to see 9, too. Rent them first? I don't know. So many busy weekends coming up, not enough time to rent movies....

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