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Toon Tuesday: Wanna see what the first few minutes of "Enchanted" looks like?

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Toon Tuesday: Wanna see what the first few minutes of "Enchanted" looks like?

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Given that "The Game Plan" was No. 1 at the box office for the second weekend in a row, I'd imagine that Oren Aviv (i.e. the president of production at Walt Disney Pictures), is feeling pretty happy right about now.

Of course, that's probably because this Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson comedy was the very first thing that Oren greenlit when he first came to power back in July of 2006. And even though this Andy Fickman film got fairly miserable reviews (Rotten Tomatoes only gives this Walt Disney Pictures release a 30% freshness rating) ... At this point, that doesn't really matter.

Why For? Because -- given that box office numbers for "The Game Plan" only fell off by 29% between Weekend No. 1 & Weekend No. 2 of its domestic release ... Well, that means that this sports comedy has some great word-of-mouth going for it. That people who caught this film during its first week in release then went and told friends & family that "I really enjoyed that movie that the Rock just made for Disney. You should go see it too."


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Which was just the sort of audience reaction that Aviv was hoping for. Given that -- in one of the very first interviews that he did after being elevated to president of production at Walt Disney Pictures -- Oren was quoted as saying “... I want to make movies like ‘The Pacifier.’ ” ... Well, it's not like the guy hasn't been upfront about the sorts of pictures that he pictures the Mouse Factory making from here on in.

Though -- the way I hear it -- Aviv isn't actually using that 2005 Vin Diesel comedy as a template for what he wants to do at Disney in the future. From what company insiders have been telling me, Oren's supposedly looking to replicate the sorts of pictures that the studio used to produce back in 1987 and 1988. You know? Lots of affordable family comedies like "Three Men and a Baby" as well as the occasional high profile, big budget project like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."

Which brings us to "Enchanted." Another project that Aviv personally put into production. All because Oren felt it was very important that Walt Disney Pictures show the world that it could still make movies like "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty & the Beast" and "Aladdin" (Or -- for that matter -- like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty").

 
Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Now it's important to understand here that Walt Disney Animation Studios didn't actually do any work on "Enchanted." The eight minutes of traditional animation that bookend this Kevin Lima movie were produced by James Baxter Animation (Though -- that said -- WDAS veteran Andreas Deja did work on a few scenes for this film)

But given the limited amount of animation there is in "Enchanted" (More importantly, given how important it is to establish how the animated world operates before the action all shifts over the live action world), this Walt Disney Pictures release really hits the ground running.

As "Enchanted" opens, we discover Giselle in her cottage deep in the woods of Andalasia. Where this pretty young maiden is interacting with her animal friends.


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

These creatures bring her objects like acorns, flowers and twigs -- even rare jewels ...


 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... -- just so Giselle can then create a statue version of her one true love. Literally the man that this maid has seen in her dreams.

 
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pip (i.e. Giselle's talking chipmunk pal) isn't entirely convinced that this statue project is such a hot idea. Which is why he asks the maiden "Honey, do you really think your 'dream boy' exists?" Giselle responds that "I know that he's out there somewhere."


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And this heartfelt conversation would have probably continued. If not for the 20-foot-tall troll who first peers into Giselle's cottage ...


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... and then rips the roof off of the building. All because this hideous forest creature now wants to consume the fair maiden.


 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pip tries to fight off the troll. But he's no match for this enormous beast.


 Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Luckily for Giselle, Prince Edward (i.e. heir to the throne of Andalasia) is riding through the forest just as this troll is about eat this "girl yummy." So Edward comes to Giselle's rescue ...


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... And then ... Well, if you've seen that great "Enchanted" trailer that Walt Disney Pictures put together, then you already know that Giselle gets pushed into a wishing well ...


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

... Which then transports this fair maid to our world. Which (obviously) is very different than Andalasia. And yet -- at the same time -- seems very familiar to Giselle.


Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Look, if you'd like to learn more about "Enchanted" ... Well, this film's official website has just started to come to life this week. And if you head over there right now, you'll be able to view two behind-the-scenes features. One that talks with the cast & the film-makers about the actual making of the movie, while the other is an interview with Susan Sarandon. Where she talks about how much fun it was to play "Enchanted" 's villain, Queen Narissa.

Anyway ... That's a quick look at the first few minutes of Walt Disney Pictures' big holiday release for 2007. So what do you folks think? Could "Enchanted" really be Disney's next "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"? As in: The film that gets audiences excited about traditional animation again.

POSTSCRIPT:

After this article was originally posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2007, I actually got an e-mail from Oren Aviv himself. Which read:

Dear Jim:

Thank you so much for writing your story on “Enchanted” today. It’s a movie we’re very proud of, and is a perfect example of the types of films we will continue to make at Disney. You mistakenly gave me credit for greenlighting the film, however. The film was in fact greenlit by Dick Cook and Nina Jacobson in 2005. Special credit should also be given to the outstanding creative executive on my team, Jason Reed, who has been passionately and tirelessly shepherding this project over the last 4 years, and who deserves major props for his accomplishments on the film. Of course, the ultimate credit for the film turning out so well goes to an amazing group of individuals both behind and in front of the camera, specifically our very talented director Kevin Lima, who brought to life a fantastic script by Bill Kelly… to producers Barry Josephson and Chris Chase…to the perfect performances by Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon and James Marsden… to the amazing music from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz… and to the hundreds of exceptional people who are responsible for the film, which combines all of our company’s strengths with a mix of traditional 2-D animation, CG animation, live action and visual effects. We are truly privileged to be working with this high caliber of talent.

Thanks again for your “Enchanted” piece, and I’d appreciate it if you could set the record straight going forward.

Best regards,

Oren Aviv

An executive who -- rather than hogging all of the credit for himself -- insists on others receiving recognition for all their hard work?! That's almost unheard of in Hollywood ... But also kind of refreshing, don't you think?  

Anywho ... I just thought that I'd share that e-mail with JHM readers. Just so you guys can then get some sense of the kind of guy who's now driving the bus over at the Walt Disney Pictures.

Your thoughts?

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  • Looks nice. I am looking forward to it. My main concern, however, is how and when is it going to be promoted. If Disney really wants to make this a hit, they would have to be promoting it RIGHT NOW!

  • I am really looking forward to Enchanted... from what I have seen, it looks like its going to be a big hit for Disney.  That said, I hope that Disney continues to produce original, high-quality movies.  It worries me somewhat that Aviv is using "The Pacifier" as a template for future Disney projects.  I think that its important that films have wide-appeal, but its important that they're high quality and are well-received by critics.  Thoughts?

  • I was lucky enought to catch "Enchanted" last weekend in L.A. and I can tell you that Disney has a big hit on its hands. The gentleman that introduced the movie said it was a final print and it's a good thing because I wouldn't change a thing. The songs are catchy and the lyrics are hysterical! Amy Adams is going to be a much sought after actress with this one on her resume.

    Most importantly to all the Disney fans out there (and if you are reading this then I know you are), this movie is chock full of "easter egg" references to some of Disney's biggest animated feature films. I don't want to spoil them, but look for references to Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid, just to name a few. I can't wait to see this one again and truly hope this is just the beginning of Disney's move back to traditional 2D animation!

  • I'm really excited about "Enchanted". I think I am desperate for good, old-fashioned Disney storytelling. The animation looks great and I can't wait to hear the music! I really hope this is a big hit for Disney as I want to see Disney helming more 2D projects.

  • I'm enthusiastic .... but really ... 8 minutes of animation is hardly enough to get me ... or anyone else "excited" about 2D animation. I'm guessing the animated scenes will feel rushed ... and faster paced than the live action parts ... I hope not.

    Another thing .... too much "comedy" ruins it for me. The classics didn't have to be over the top funny.

  • I'm so excited for this movie!  Thanks so much for posting the pictures & their descriptions, Jim!  

    Disney has already started to market the film- I've seen the trailer on TV quite a bit.

  • Early screeners have been less than positive (see "Ain't It Cool News").  My biggest fears (that this is more "Shrek + Princess Diaries" and less "Beauty and the Beast + Who Framed Roger Rabit") seem to have been confirmed.  I'm nervous this will be a film that laughs at the classics rather than with them... a less than auspicious attempt to bring back 2-D fairytale stories to 21st century audiences.

  • I think people are putting too much emphasis on the animation in this movie and using the box office performance to judge whether 2d animated films can do well.  It's nice that there's some animation, but with only 8 minutes I'd hardly compare it to roger rabbit.  For the most part this is a disney live action flick, not an animated one.

  • I'd agree with minderbinder... it will, at most, put animation in the collective consciousness of a lot of people, but I'd be very surprised if it actually does more than that.

    That said, the trailers have looked hilarious.

  • Bhb007 said: "I'm nervous this will be a film that laughs at the classics rather than with them... a less than auspicious attempt to bring back 2-D fairytale stories to 21st century audiences."

    Yes, this is a concern I share too. The ironic humour, the cutting off of a song as it's just starting - these are ploys generally used by people who consider themselves too hip to really like Disney musicals. I will likely see "Enchanted", but it is more because I am starved for seeing new Disney traditional animation than I am in seeing what could be too much of a parody of the genre for my liking.

  • It's going to be a big budget sit-com... nothing more, nothing less.

    From the looks of the trailer it belongs on the Disney channel, not on the big screen.

  • Please!  Two short 'bookends' that aren't even created by Disney can't hardly be considered the 'return' of Disney animation.  Like others have mentioned, this looks to be another Disney 'filler fluff' that seems to work to fill-in between weightier fare.  I have no doubt it may be enjoyable, but 'enjoyable' ain't the same as 'classic'.

    And is a good thing The Rock's flick is doing well domestically because it's going to tank overseas.  Just the American football references on the poster is going to cause a lot of people to move right on to something else.

  • "Early screeners have been less than positive (see "Ain't It Cool News")"

    That sucks because people who read AICN are EXACTLY the kind of people who Disney is hoping would see this movie.

  • I concur with several points that I will reiiterate because I can.

    This is a live action movie that should not be compared to "...Roger Rabbit" nor compared to any animated movie (eight minutes doesn't count). Don't make it into what it clearly is not JHM.

    Plus, I fail to believe that one movie will make it or break it for the animation division. It should be the cumlative effect that a number of pictures does that matters, not riding one's faith on one picture.

    I do hope the pic does well.

  • I desperately want this movie to do well, since it seems to be becoming a test case for Disney's future in animation, although as everyone else has said, 8 minutes of 2-d not even made by the in-house studio can hardly be used as a harbinger of how well the Frog Princess movie and others will go over.

    IMO, Enchanted could go either way... yet another imitation "Shrek" or a genuinely light, funny flick.  The trailer has peaked my interest, and I'll most likely see it, but good old Rotten Tomatoes will determine whether I head to the theaters or catch it on the Disney channel when it eventually ends up there.

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