One last cavalcade of linkage for 2007, beginning with Kerrie Murphy's think-piece on quality 'toons through the 20th century:
To fund such a lavishly illustrated piece ["What's Opera, Doc?"], [Chuck] Jones and crew siphoned money from the cheaper Road Runner cartoons, and it was worth the effort. It's almost impossible to hear Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries without singing "Kill the wabbit" to the tune. There's something about jamming pop culture into the highbrow arts that makes it timelessly funny. It captures the spirit of opera so well, it's also a little moving, as Elmer the Wagnerian warrior loses his love, Bugs in a dress.
The Simpsons Movie, already making Fox News Corp a very happy conglomerate, now comes to dvd ... with extras!
... It's rare to find a DVD commentary track worth listening to at all, but The Simpsons Movie is blessed with two. The first commentary packs producer/writers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, and Mike Scully; director David Silverman; and voice actors Dan Catellaneta and Yeardley Smith into a recording booth ...
Pixar animator Jim Capobianco disses animation schools that abandon hand-drawn animation:
"I believe that, to learn computer animation, you need to learn the basics of animation itself," Capobianco says. "And, in its purest form, it's doing it by hand.
"I think it's a shame that some schools are actually getting rid of their traditional animation programs and just going directly into computer animation. I think you need to learn the basics before you can jump to the next level ..."
Business Week predicts what won't happen in Hollywood during 2008:
DreamWorks isn't going to leave Paramount after all. ... I've got the feeling that Spielberg's business partner, the endlessly imaginative David Geffen, may just have another game plan in mind. Sure, he'll take meetings with NBC ... But pique is really a Geffen ploy to bring Paramount parent Viacom (VIA) and its chairman Sumner Redstone back to the table and maybe to get him to buy the other piece of DreamWorks (DWA), its animation studio, that Redstone didn't buy in 2005.
Disney Animation unveils its all-new look of a doggie named Bolt, coming to a multiplex near you in approximately one year's time (assuming the release date holds):
For super-dog Bolt (voice of John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue—at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet—a cross-country journey through the real world.
"Animation vs. Animator" is a year-and-a-half old, and 4 million people have seen it. But I toss it in here at the tail end of '07 because in the past month two studio execs have sent the piece to me. (And the Associated Press has just gotten around to discovering it...)
Reuters and others take note that DreamWorks has put Paramount on top of the box office heap for 2007:
Paramount Pictures will end the year as the top Hollywood studio in terms of market share at the North American box office, thanks largely to its uneasy alliance with DreamWorks, which produced the year's No. 3 movie "Transformers..."
DreamWorks Animation, a separate publicly held studio run by another DreamWorks co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has its own deal to have its movies distributed by Paramount through 2012. The firm contributed to Paramount's coffers with "Shrek the Third" ($321 million, No. 2) and "Bee Movie ... "
The Hollywood Reporter informs us that a whole lot of international box office records were smashed in '07:
The six Hollywood majors will set an all-time record at the overseas boxoffice during 2007, raking in about 15% more than last year with a peak of nearly $10 billion ...
Lastly, Box Office Prophets reviews ancient Disneyana -- the "Alice in Cartoonland" series from the twenties. And this description of the "best short" in the package caught my eye:
Alice's Egg Plant features the sole series appearance of Anne Shirley, the only 'Alice' who would continue her film career as an adult (Shirley appeared in such classics as Three On a Match, The Devil and Daniel Webster, and Murder My Sweet before retiring in favor of married life in 1944). As for the film, it's one of the best on the disc, and revolves around the revolt of the local henhouse, whose occupants are required to fill a last minute order for 5,000 eggs. Providing commentary on labor issues and even factory farming—these chickens punch a time clock and go on strike ...
Ah yes, Walt Disney, labor agitator. Have a glorious New Year.