Recently, Disney announced plans for a movie based off the ride, It’s a Small World. Recently, the ride has been making headlines for the 50th anniversary of its debut at the 1964 World’s Fair. The company has been releasing an animated web series based on the show through Disney interactive on the main disney.com.
Don’t get me wrong, It’s a Small World is a great ride. I’ve loved it since I was young, and I will continue to love it, I anticipate, for years to come. However, doesn’t it feel like this is almost a late “April Fools” joke? If you asked me back in 2002 whether or not Pirates of the Caribbean would succeed as a movie franchise, I would’ve made the wrong prediction, as would many others I expect. Even that franchise has run its course and died down now. Honestly, I do not see the public clamoring for more fare based off of Disney amusement parks. The long-rumored Jungle Cruise movie has thankfully stayed dormant, and in spite of the addition of the Barnabas T. Bullion company to Big Thunder Mountain in Walt Disney World, we have yet to see that attraction hit the small-screen on ABC.
I get it: creating a franchise out of an existing ride attracts those movie audiences into the parks without spending any more money to develop an E-ticket ride. But it’s almost like a slap in the face at this point. Though I am a traditionalist when it comes to Disney parks, I am not opposed to tasteful upgrades and updates. Sadly, we know that whatever characters Jon Turteltaub directs will then be directed straight into the ride by corporate. That is not under my definition of a tasteful update.
As a massive entertainment company with more properties under its wingspan now than ever in its history, one would hope Disney has the decency to look a little harder elsewhere before resorting to turning another one of its own classic, core theme park rides into an ugly, disposable franchise.
For some strange reason, some folks are getting pretty wound up over the upcoming 2015 Blue Sky picture Peanuts. In particular, animation news site cartoonbrew.com has taken a particularly hostile stance towards this movie. Although author of the article Amid Amidi certainly is entitled to his experienced and professional opinion, my years of experience with Charlie Brown and friends are giving me a particular feeling that there is no reason to fear any “blandification” of the Peanuts gang in this film.
I am a traditionalist. I hate the idea of Disneyland adding a Frozen overlay to the Matterhorn, I hate(d) the idea of Iago and Zazu taking over Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, and I hate the idea of, for lack of a better description, “smurfing” up a timeless icon of American culture. That being said, there is a time when revisions and updates, tastefully done, are necessary, and even laudable. For example, Planet of the Apes was a wonderfully provoking-yet-frightening movie in its time. It hit the right notes of the time and scored big in becoming a timeless classic, but the effect of its ending has lost its impact in a time when nuclear war is no longer as foreboding and pressing on the public mind as it once was. That’s why today the prequels are preforming well due to not only a modern relevancy to auds facing insurrection and rebellion in established society, but an update in technology and the way we see the fury of these apes.
Just so, Charlie Brown needs an update. Jokes from Schulz’s fifty-year career just aren’t cutting it with modern viewers most often, and anything that’s written for the occasional new “specials” that follow the holiday classics can never live up to the genius he invested in his work. I do not expect anything as brilliant as the original strips, but instead I happily anticipate the coming of a new generation of Peanuts, different from the comic strips in the way Disneyland is different from Walt Disney World: not necessarily better, rather simply updated and remolded. When I see the artwork for the new Peanuts, I am encouraged by, what looks to me, to be a true effort to incorporate the atmosphere of a comic strip into a moving picture on screen. This screenshot says it all.
The blend between three dimensions and two dimensions will be an interesting take, but I feel it will create a beautiful comic strip feel to the picture. From cartoonbrew.com.