Saturday, July 25, 2009

Disney's "Rapunzel" - Still "Unbraided"?

OK - a confession. Unlike most of my posts you may find a teensy bit of an opinion being expressed in this post today... :D

In case you don't already know, Disney has another fairy tale scheduled for a late 2010 release: "Rapunzel" (sometimes referred to as "Rapunzel: Unbraided") and a little blog just told me they very recently (like, last week) had their production kick-off party. That means they're just starting the serious animation production phase 'now'! I feel for that crew. That's a very tight schedule to be working on, whether or not they've completed rigging and layout.

2 OF THE DRAWINGS BELOW ARE NOT FROM DISNEY'S PRODUCTION BUT ARE 'FAN ART' BY TALENTED FRENCH ARTIST DAVID GILSON (who use to work for Disney). RATHER THAN REMOVE THE DRAWINGS I HAVE ADDED HIS CREDIT ABOVE THEM. You can see more of his 'fan art' (many of which are often mistaken for real Disney production images) in a previous post HERE and at his
WEBSITE. Thank you to the anonymous commenter who pointed out my mistake this morning. :)

The image below is not a production image but fan-art by DAVID GILSON

The image below is not a production image but fan-art by DAVID GILSON
This particular feature film has a bit of a troubled history having been batted around in development for nearly ten years (at least since they announced it publicly) in story-hell, changing producers, directors and even approaches (you can see some of the old vs new artwork in this post). It was supposed to be the big 'all-CG-fairy-tale" film for Disney, proving they could do hand drawn and CG just as well. Now it's got even more pressure being the big number '50' full-length feature for Disney animation.By now, those of us who follow such things are feeling a little skeptical about it all, wondering if they can pull it together in time to meet the announced release. My guess is, if things are going well we'll see a sneak peek during the trailers shown before "Princess and the Frog". Still, just like everyone else, we can't help but be drawn to what they're doing.Apart from the whole "think of what we could do with all that hair! - and in CG!" angle being pitched to the execs, it started off with the interesting idea of basing the artwork on the famous painting 'The Swing" by French Rococo artist, Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Then we heard it was all about a modern girl who got switched with the real Rapunzel (who got turned into a squirrel) and... yikes! But all reports are that it's on a much better track now - more classic and true to the original (all you fairy tale scholars out there must be thinking that's a ballsy thing to do but what they mean by this remains to be seen).

From Wikipedia:

Doeri Welch-Greiner, the production manager for the movie, says that "The original version was that a girl got pulled from the modern world and replaced Rapunzel (Kristin Chenoweth), and Rapunzel got turned into a squirrel. But we’re on a clearer, more classic fairy-tale sort of track right now with Dean Wellins as co-director; he was one of the story guys on Iron Giant and a Disney animator for a long time. It really plays on the mystery of the girl in the tower, and I think it’s really going to be great with Dean’s story sense and sense of staging, and the artistry that Glen brings to it, we hope we can bring the artistry of the movie to a different place."

Keane also promises that he’s going back to Rapunzel’s literary origins to do a traditional, character-driven fairy tale that speaks to a modern audience. “It’s a story of the need for each person to become who they are supposed to be and for a parent to set them free so they can become that. It will be a musical and a comedy and have a lot of heart and sincerity. I think that’s what Disney needs to do right now. No one else can do it. We should not be embarrassed or make excuses for doing a fairy tale."
Of course, this was added to Wikipedia before Mr. Keane was removed from the project but John Lassiter (who is determined to return Feature Animation to its glory days of good films and great returns) assures us (via press releases) that Rapunzel is now a solid movie and one worth making (deletes comment about ridiculous numbers of dollars already spent and keeps blogging).

But there's hope. Here's an uncredited source (because the person who visited the studios and blogged about it, just quoted an artist and didn't mention their name):

"Rapunzel has really, really come together. Before it was a series of really nice moments, some really funny sequences. But now it has a real epic sweep to it. To me it has the feel of those early Disney features from the forties..."

Despite all this we'll be watching keenly and closely to see just what happens with this. We'll also be rooting for it to suceed (as a film, as well as at the box office), because, quite frankly, we want more fairy tales! Here's the most recent artwork I've scrounged from around the web which shows a little development art and one scene but doesn't give away a whole lot. You can be sure if I find anything else, I'll post it!
Get Paid To Promote, Get Paid To Popup, Get Paid Display Banner My Ping in