Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mangled



I came across this poster image earlier today for the upcoming Disney release, Tangled. Now, having seen both this and the recent theatrical trailer for the film, I have to say that I am not too impressed with what it's shaping up to be. As most of you know, Tangled is the new title for the film formerly known as Rapunzel. Why the silly title change? Well, it seems that the Disney brass are nervous about putting out another animated film with a girl's name as the title out of fear that it will turn off the boys in their targeted demographic. Personally, I think their decision is ill-advised.

When the trailer came out about a month or so ago, I was not very happy with what I saw (and heard). Overall, there seems to be a jokiness to the film - particularly a "cool and hip" sarcastic quality to the dialogue and expressions of the hero, Flynn Rider. Also, the trailer includes an inane pop/rock song playing over the action, which really has me worried about the mindset of this film. Interestingly, in the comments I've read on sites like Cartoon Brew and The Animation Guild blog, several commenters who claim to have worked on the film are doing their utmost to assure us all that the pop/rock song is not in the soundtrack, and that all of the music score is provided by Disney stalwart, Alan Menken. They also claim that the scene where Rapunzel traps Flynn limb by limb in her long golden locks is not actually in the film either, just animated for this "teaser" trailer. Fair enough, I suppose, although I wonder why they would spend all that time and effort to animate something exclusively for the trailer when I'm sure all of the artists are working long hours just to get the film completed on schedule. Doesn't make much sense to me, I'm afraid.

They go on to say that Tangled will be sincere in its storytelling, just as previous Disney fairy tales have been. If what these commenters say is true, then why is Disney's Marketing department so hell-bent on promoting this film as what it is not, instead of what it is? Because judging from both the trailer and this poster, the film seems more cynical than sincere, with all of the hip attitude that many of us have come to loathe in today's "entertainment". I'd like to believe that the film will be more in keeping with its classic hand-drawn predecessors in tone rather than emulating the schlocky Shrek saga. But frankly, I'm not convinced, and I suspect many others aren't either. And that's a real problem that the Studio is going to have to address head on.

I make no claim to know anything about the pecking order at Disney, but I'd assumed that, as head of Disney Animation, John Lasseter was the man in charge, answering only to Disney CEO, Bob Iger. If this is so, then John needs to get tough with Disney's merry Marketeers because, due to their misguided marketing they are undermining the integrity of this film and putting at risk all of the hard work of the animation staff in trying to create something of worth. John should be fighting them tooth and nail, using whatever professional clout he has (and I have to believe that's a formidable amount). And Bob Iger needs to support him on that, and not just go along with Marketing's efforts to promote this like a stupid teen comedy. Honestly, I really wonder about Disney these days.

"They just can't get my 'tude right!"

25 comments:

RooniMan said...

It's sad to see Disney go down the drain with this garbage.

Pete Emslie said...

Well, I wouldn't call it "garbage", but this contemporary "hip 'n' cool" mindset is definitely affecting the sincerity of the storytelling, in my opinion.

Sam Amanfi said...

I feel the same Pete, but his sorta thing was inevitable considering the box office success of dreamwork's Shrek. Gone are the days...

Daniel Caylor said...

Unfortunately it's only people like us that seem to be getting tired of it. There's a definite market for it and everyone I know that just loves Disney films for Disney films would expect nothing more. I don't see it changing.

Lester DiLorenzo said...

I saw the "tangled" panel at San Diego Comic Con the other week, not expecting much. I was actually a bit distraught when they showed the original concept art, story boards and animatics.. they were SO much better than the final stuff! it was painful to see how the male character "developed" and "matured"...

The panel itself was OK and there's no doubt the drawings were great, but overall.. dissapointing.

Ke7in said...

Pete the first thing I thought when I saw the trailer was that they were trying as hard as possible to get away from the marketing they did for Princess and the Frog. They marketed that as classic Disney, a return to the tradition of early 90s and before, and then at the box-office they got thumped by Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeequel. Yeah maybe the marketing won't be truly representative of what the film is really like, but at least they'll get the kid audience they lost out on last time.

Alberto said...

What I've seen of the trailer itself is deeply troubling. However, I have heard the artists defend the movie as you said, and i've also seen some of the concept art (which is just incredible) to also suggest a less 'too-cool-for-school' mentality. I just have to wait till reviews come out to make up my mind to see it or not... at the second-run theatre for 3.50 not whatever it is the charge now.

Alex_Munguia said...

Ke7in's comment above is a possibility. Animators or others in similar fields will likely still go watch this, so the marketing shouldn't necessarily target us... should it? Here's hoping.

Alexander said...

Is it just me or does the hero has the exact same face as Aladdin?

Martin Juneau said...

I seen myself the trailer and even see a other one from Princess and Frog's DVD and i think they really miss the boat with all of those cheap hip 'n' cool poses. The 'Tude pose from the hero makes me worrying to what this final picture will came out.

Patrick McMicheal said...

At least they made Rapunzel a pretty blonde haired , bright-eyed girl!!!
The PC police will be all over that one. If anything, they will sell a lot of dolls to the little girls this holiday season.

Roberto Severino said...

I said this on John K.'s blog, and I will say it again for good measure.

This poster is genius! How could you guys possibly not like something so brilliant and original which doesn't have a formula that hasn't been used a thousand times in animated films, especially with that hip, never before seen 'tude expression that Prince Charming character and the even sexier leading lady, Rapunzel, have on their shiny, realistic faces. I'm pretty sure that this picture will break new ground in animation, and will even be better than all of classic Disney's best animated features, which all seem poorly drawn and primitive compared to this.

Did you catch the sarcasm and my real sentiments toward this? I seriously hope you did.

Bill Drastal Blog Mode!! said...

I agree with Lester. I saw the same panel at CC and the animatics and storyboards had a much better timing to them, but when they had been translated to CGi, it felt rushed and a lot of the sketches Glen Keene had done to give the animation more feeling, were lost because it was moving to fast. There was no time to feel the punch of a joke or even have it set up properly.

Kristi O. said...

I'm trying not to pass judgement before I see the movie, sortof with the hope that maybe the film isn't all that bad, it just has crappy marketing.

Still I have to admit, the only reason why I'm remotely interested in the film is because of Glen Keane's involvement, and not really because of anything I've seen in the trailers or promos. So maybe the fangirl in me is hoping the movie will be good just because Glen had a hand in it.

DarkRoar said...

John Lasseter was at Pixar before the merge. I've been at companies that merge and deep down people still are trying to make the old company they came from the better one. He might subconsciously enjoy watching Disney fail while Pixar seems to keep turning out good films. Of course it's in his best interest not to be like that, but who knows.

John A said...

Kinda sad looking really-It looks like two decapitated doll's heads lying at the bottom of a toy box.

J C Roberts said...

I think we've all seen enough to be able to distinguish an actual product from it's marketing style. although it shouldn't be the case, these films are frequently made to seem quite different in feel than they turn out to be. Along with the studio's reluctance to try anything really new, or even tried and true but declared "out of fasion", the marketing arms feel the need to cast films and TV shows as close to current trends as the material allows.

Never mind if it's misleading, if the audience for sassy eyebrows is in the mood for more of the same, they'll be happy to lead you to believe that's just what they've got for you. Even if the actual film's sensibility is quite different. The problem is, they're little scheme often works well for them, so there's people out there validating their methods. It's a hard, slow cycle to break. We're at the mercy of the mass audience to prove to them when their methods don't work, and that same mass audience is never given a chance to prove we might like something fresher if they'd just let some real fresh talent and ideas sneak through. And even though I'm just as weened on the classic hand-drawn look I'm not quite on the anti-CG bandwagon. I like the look that can be achieved, I'd like to see it taken in the direction of the old "Puppetoons" and other stop motion classic rather than the follow the leader approach they're all taking now.

As for this particular movie, it seems like the first real hybrid of post-Little Mermaid Disney with CG, but so far it only looks like it was poured out of a bottle labled "formula". I'm also less prone to throw around the "garbage" proclamations and prefer a simple "not for me" approach. This one looks like it'll fit into the latter category

martinus said...

John Lasseter can't save Disney. He said American Dog was too quirky for it's own good. How can a cartoon be too quirky for it's own good?

kurtwil said...

If memory serves this Gen-Xer correctly, one of J. Lasseter's first actions at the helm of Disney/Pixar animation was to stop production of sequels to Disneys' classic films. Granted, some of those sequels were pretty bad, but some, like Cinderella III, had a good story and look despite their low budgets. Given these cutbacks hurt the merchandising units (less product to sell), I keep wondering what internal political battles are raging at big-D, and how those might affect marketing of current films?

As for 'Tude, a lot 30's and 40's films, including animation, had 'Tude all over the place. Perhaps the difference is their 'Tude was directed at other characters and outlandish situations, rather than today's tired 'Tude mantra of "I'm great, you're not, I'm great, you're not..." espoused by many artists and comedians today.

Ricardo Cantoral said...

"Honestly, I really wonder about Disney these days."

Oh you seem more like disgusted Pete. I certaintly would be and I am as big a Disney fan as you. I wanted to someday make an animated adaptation of The Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge but not when things are like this. I'd work for this company if not only when pigs fly but when they open their own airport.

Alexander Roman said...

Your thoughts were more eloquent than mine have been on the project.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to ask a marketing fellow from Disney about it in a Q&A after a screening of "Waking Sleeping Beauty".... He dodged my question. or rather, said a whole bunch of things without *really* answering the question.

After reading some of the other responses I'm going to hold off of my judgement until I see it. There have been many movies marketed wonderfully that have been disappointing, and many other movies marketed 'incorrectly' which threw me for a wonderful loop.

So! Here's hoping. Fingers crossed. The artists arguing for the good of the film has me hopeful.

Nolen Lee said...

"There have been many movies marketed wonderfully that have been disappointing, and many other movies marketed 'incorrectly' which threw me for a wonderful loop."

You're telling me... This one really caught me off-guard. :P

I'll wait for Tomatometer before I make a judgment.

Paul Schnebelen said...

I'm going to withhold judgement 'til I've seen the film, too, but not so with the trailer.

I'll give Disney points for not doing the usual trailers they've done for their animated features.

You know the two types they usually did. One type was the "in our great tradition of animation" trailer, where they brought up their classic films and tried to convince you that this film would be one, too. The other typeof trailer was the "ten dumbest jokes" trailer, where the marketers chose the gags they thought would appeal most to kids (and inevitably, there's be at least one butt joke and one or two slapstick jokes)and show those in the trailer without really explaining what the film was about.

Disney tried both trailer types with "The Princess and the Frog", and IMO that and splitting their marketing energy between "Princess" and "A Christmas Carol" were what really hurt the movie, not boys seeing the poster, saying, "Eww, princesses!" and staying away.

Whether they can sell this movie as "not a princess movie" to boys with it, I don't know. Lotsa luck, guys.

Floyd Norman said...

I'm fully aware a lot of fantastic artwork goes into these films, and kudos to all the talented artists who do such great work.

But, for me the end result is still somewhat synthetic and I can't seem to get past that.

All my best to the team in any case.

Aaron said...

That guy looks like Ben Afleck to me.