I had the privilege of going to the D23 Expo in Anaheim this year, and in terms of getting into presentations and panels, this was my most successful trip yet! I was able to make it into all of the major ones I wanted: Animation on Friday, Live Action and Parks and Resorts on Saturday, and Gaming on Sunday. I;m not going to go over everything here, but if you want a more detailed play-by-play, my boyfriend and I did 2 podcasts, one regarding Friday, and the other for Saturday.
I skipped on dressing up this year. As much as I love doing it, it's very time consuming and we were already getting up incredibly early to see things. I am hoping to procure a live action Cinderella ballgown at some point in the near future, though :)
Speaking of which, the Kenneth Branagh directed film exceeded my expectations. The marketing for the film seemed to play up the camp, but the film feels honest and true, and is a very worthwhile re-telling of the classic story that we all know and love. Audiences agreed, too - the film did exceptionally well at the Box Office. I am eager to add the film to my Blu-Ray collection soon.
Cinderella and Maleficent are some of the first few live-action re-tellings of classic Disney animated films, and while some reported titles have made Disney fans nervous (I, admittedly, being one of them), I am happy to report that what little I did see for The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast have me very excited to visit theaters when they are released. In the hands of the right writers, directors and producers, these films can be truly magical.
Beauty and the Beast has a strong celebrity cast, with notables such as Emma Watson and Josh Gad, and is appropriately a musical - it will be taking many cues from not just the animated film, but possibly even more so from the Broadway version. The film will most certainly be a beautiful spectacle, and if Cinderella's performance was any indication, I have faith that the film will do exceptionally well at the Box Office. But we have a while to wait - the film is not coming out until 2017.
Jungle Book is coming sooner, with a release date of April 15th, 2016, and folks, the film looks wonderful. I was especially nervous about this film before, but the footage that I've seen is truly magical. There's definitely a lot of TLC that has been put into this project, and it is obvious that Disney is really making sure that everything comes out just right. They have had to essentially double-shoot everything with their Mowgli (Neel Sethi) to get the look of him interacting with the animal characters and the environment of the jungle just right. But what struck me most is how they are truly keeping the spirit of the animated film with this new version (yes, you will hear a mention of "bear necessities"), and going so far as to re-creating some of those classic shots, but now with a truly living, breathing and wild jungle.
|One of the fabulous freebies from D23|
Well, the good news is that this film looks to be shaping up to be Disney's next Little Mermaid, and I mean that literally - it's the same two men that shaped the 1989 favorite that are helming the Moana project as well. And it takes place heavily on the ocean. And you have a young girl who is eager to explore the world while her father, the chief, wants her to stay home where it's safe. And the mother is dead. Formulas.
Be excited for the Rock, who plays Maui, a burly demi-god that is trying to prove himself by helping Moana on her journey to be a navigator. Be excited for Moana's adorable piglet. Be excited that Moana looks to have more realistic body proportions! And definitely be excited for the animation. All accross the board, Disney has truly stepped up in the animation and CGI department. The realism is truly astounding. We're in for a treat.
There was a lot of new information and cool things at the Expo, and these are just some of the highlights. If you're looking for something more in-depth, I really encourage you to listen to the two podcasts I made (the details were more fresh in my mind when I recorded), and there's a lot of other details and films that I didn't mention here.
Stay tuned for one additional post regarding the Parks and Resorts news from D23 - lots of photos to come!