Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friggin' Aussie release dates...

I was all fired up to tell you I was going to check out this new Princess and the Frog movie. But as usual, because I live in Australia, I will not be able to see it until after every single American who is waxing lyrical about the bloody film in journals right now. I will have to wait until January 1st. Who the hell watches a movie on New Year's Day?
Oh well. It could be worse - Australians are forced to wait, invariably, for at least six months to see every Pixar movie that comes out, six months after Americans have hyped it to the point where I don't even want to see it anymore. Up is probably good, but I haven't had the desire to seek it out, even if I am a Pixar fanboy.

Let me tell you what my first thoughts about this movie are. Hopefully, I will be wrong.
Throughout the nineties, Disney Corporation had mutated into a horrible parody of what it once was, as a result of the slimy Michael Eisner ensnaring control of the board, replacing creatives with corporates and kicking the last Disney off the payroll. During this time of chaos, the studios pumped out some really sorry films that, let's not mince words here, sucked balls. Probably the last good 2D Disney animation that I have seen was The Lion King. After a bunch of box-office failures that frankly looked uninspired and forced even from the promotional posters, Eisner more or less claimed that 2D was a dead art and needed to go. Pixar was making squillions and all the other major studios were vomiting out horrible imitations like Shark Tale and Robots that served no more purpose than to employ a bunch of Maya wizards.
They only got bums on seats because the audience didn't have a choice. 2D was dead, apparently.

Now Disney pulls an about face and says they want to make a 2D film. Admittedly and forgivably, this is probably as a result of John Lasseter getting on the board. Like him or not, John Lasseter can at least be credited with giving a fuck about animation, a rare treat at the controls these days.
Whether or not he had anything to do with it, however, this huge revival of 2D films is... a princess story.
Alright, so Disney are famous for them. But it's been done. All they've done this time is made them black. My thoughts keep diverting to The Cleveland Show, but surely it can't be that bad.

All my American friends are praising the film enormously, and I feel an obligation to check it out. I'm not going to judge this film based on previous failures, but I will admit right now that my expectations are low. In 2010, I will be putting up a review that will reveal - at least from my personal point of view - whether this truly is a return to form for Disney, or the only 2D film that has come out in a substantial period of time that hasn't made people want to kill themselves instantly, and thus reaching the status of "the best 2D film of the decade" by default.


  1. I think I've told you this before but for anyone else reading here's the scoop: Pixar films are released in Australia 6 months after the American release is because Disney are so tight they don't want to spend money processing new film, so they have their films run in the US and once they are done they send their leftovers to Australia and Europe.

    You might wonder what the point is, considering that Pixar films are usually the most successful films Disney distributes every year, but that's just it - the rest of their films are so hit-and-miss that Pixar become their crutch to lean on and they need to milk as much as they can from them.

    There might be a change if films start going digital. Upon the release of James Cameron's Avatar I have counted over 40 cinemas who have suddenly gained digital projectors in Queensland alone, even the small regional independent cinemas are jumping on board. So far the release dates match up for Toy Story 3 but we'll have to wait and see.

    As for Princess And The Frog, Boxing Day and New Years Day are both cut-throat days for film distributors, all of them are releasing something on those days (except Universal for some reason), and there's a whole thing about lining up family-movies with school holidays as well. Nobody is touching December 17th though because that's the weak Avatar goes out, and after that I guess the Australian Disney guys decided January 1st was the best time to unleash their new 2D masterpiece.

  2. Thanks for the info, Jim - I actually totally forgot about the reusing film thing. Terrible!!
    I know Boxing Day is really popular but I frankly never noticed New Year's Day specifically as a big release date. I guess I was too busy with the Boxing Day movies to notice. I can't wait to see if Avatar is really all it's cracked up to be or just a huge waste of money and time.

  3. That sucks movies aren't released earlier because of cost. It's such an annoying reason.

    "Hey, why don't you do this?"
    "Because we'll lose some money. That's business."

    Money's important and all, but how about this for the consumer?

    "Am I really going to spend my hard-earned $18 to see another movie about a princess?"

    I haven't seen the movie, but for my taste, it bores me to death.

  4. That's always the way of big business, though.
    Digidesign make you pay for every single extra feature you might use in ProTools, including exporting files as MP3. But they aren't going to stop because studios have enough money to buy it, so they do, and the only ones who suffer are the low-end individual users. But what do Digidesign care? They don't have any money. |D