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Rapunzel is Disney's latest Groundbreaking movie

Jul 18, 2008
What's new on the horizon for Disney? Judging by the incredible amount of buzz surrounding both Bolt, set for release in 2008, and Rapunzel, set for a Christmas 2010 release, Disney is poised for greater glory. Both films are breaking new ground in the realm of animation and both are enjoying a new cultural hunger for fantasy and entertainment. Indeed, many believe these films could spark the next Disney Renaissance. Whereas Bolt is an original story, Rapunzel, of course, sees Disney revisiting the familiar realm of the fairy tale. Upon its release, it will be the 49th film in Disney's animated feature canon.

The original plot of Rapunzel, according to inside sources, revolved around two real-world lovers who are transported into a fairytale realm. The two lovers are soon set-up by a witch who has come to despise happy endings. This version of the production was halted in 2004 for various reasons. Glen Keane, the co-director of the project, promised the new version of the film will be an unabashed animated fairy tale, thereby jettisoning the old real-world plotline.

Disney hopes to get back to its animation roots, regardless of the fact Rapunzel will be predominantly a computer-generated feature. There is talk that Disney will allow the Pixar sub-division to take the reigns on all future computer animation features, allowing the Disney Animation Studios to return to their signature hand-drawn animated style.

With regards to Rapunzel, Keane notes, "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 making excuses for doing a fairy tale." He confirmed the visual style of the film will be in line with the look of Jean-Honore Gragonard's "The Swing." The Rococo piece inspired Keane to get the studio to return to a traditional hand-drawn methodology.

Upgrades in computer technology have changed the basic principles used in traditional animated features. There is now something like a new middle ground in animation. Keane explains he has been actively trying to "bend its knee to the artist" rather than allowing the computer to dictate the terms of creation and expression. Though the film will be made with computers, Rapunzel will resemble an oil painting on canvas. Keane states, "There's no photoreal hair. I want luscious hair, and we are inventing new ways of doing that. I want to bring the warmth and intuitive feel of hand-drawn to CGI."

Rapunzel promises to be a tremendous return the classic storylines and animation that put Disney on the cultural map. We can only hope its lush animation will deepen the landscapes of storytelling, fairy tale or not. Look for it in 2010!
About the Author
Steve Collins is an author based in Encino, CA. A huge Disney Fan, he uses the Disney Movie Club to complete his collection. Read his articles about the movies he buy at the Disney Movie Club here.
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