This week's obsession? Disney, Disney, Disney, Disney, Disney, Disney, Disney. Animation, to be more precise. I'll even take Pixar.
I want to watch animated Disney movies, I want to listen to their music, hell, I want to write for Disney (I've got lots of ideas!). I mean, since January I've started watching all the movies, and I've worked my way through Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Toy Story (which was partially written by Buffy's Joss Whedon! Imagine that!).
Now I'm seriously considering watching the older films - those I've tended to shy away from, because I'm more a fan of the Alan Menken musicals, but hey, I can't afford to be picky. It takes four years to make an animated feature, and the next best thing, Disney's Enchanted, isn't out until November and I'm going to have to wait until 2009 for The Frog Princess. I've never even seen Sleeping Beauty. Or The Black Cauldron, though I'm a little iffy about watching that one because I'm quite attached to Lloyd Alexander's books and Disney's live-action "adaptation" of Ella Enchanted had me spitting blood.
Still...I just finished watching the Making-Of featurettes on The Little Mermaid DVD, and I was fascinated by the process that brought Little Mermaid into being. Did you know that Ursula was originally intended to be King Triton's sister? How does that work? Let me imagine:
Seahorse OB/GYN: Congratulations, it's a girl!
King Triton's Mom: Honey, I can explain...
King Triton's Dad: She has tentacles.
Triton's Mom: I don't think it's such a big deal...
Triton's Dad: Tentacles, woman! With suckers!
Triton's Mom: You know, when she grows up I'm certain it'll be a very sensative issue for her so...
Triton's Dad: Since when has anyone in my family had tentacles?
Triton's Mom: I'm really starting to object to your tone, mister!
Triton's Dad: YOU CHEATED ON ME WITH AN OCTOPUS.
Triton's Mom: You mean squid.
Triton's Dad: ....
Triton's Mom: Cause, she has, y'know, six tentacles, not eight...but...oh crap.
Triton's Dad: But, but, our gardener is a squid.
Triton's Mom: I'm pretty sure my great-great-uncle's step cousin was a squid, it could be a recessive gene...
Triton's Dad: I WANT A DIVORCE.
Triton's Mom: I GET HALF.
Triton's Dad: YOU CHEATED ON ME WITH A SQUID.
Triton's Mom: YOU CAME HOME WITH CRABS.
Triton's Dad: Those crabs were personal friends of mine! And they were finally acquitted of those date-rape charges!
Triton's Mom: FINE.
Triton's Dad: FINE. (You get the kids.)
Triton's Mom: What?!
Triton's Dad: Dibs out! *exit Ocean left*
Baby Triton: *sniff* I really hope my little sister doesn't try to overthrow me...
Anyway, another nice surprise on the Little Mermaid DVD was the animated short The Little Matchgirl. It was one of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short. Seven minutes long, traditionally hand-drawn with some CG touches, completely silent, it kept perfectly to the Hans Christian Andersen Story. At the last minute, I was afraid they would change the tragic ending (since the fact that the real Little Mermaid died didn't really go over all that well with the makers of that Disney adaptation), but they didn't. I absolutely cried my eyes out. I kid you not. I've heard that story about a million times, but this particular animated version had me runny-nosed and bawling. So sad, so wonderful - see, that's why when Disney gets it right, they really get it right. That's why I'd kill to write movies for them.