Disney’s New Fairy Tale A Welcome Addition To Disney Fairies Franchise

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios announced before the release of its 2010 movie, Tangled, that the movie in question would be the last of its princess movies for the foreseeable future.  It noted that it wanted to focus more on male audiences.  This announcement sent waves through the entertainment world.  While Tangled may have been the last of Disney’s princess movies for the foreseeable future, young female audiences did still have movies aimed at them in the form of the new Tinkerbell adventures.  These movies have seen their own level of success.  Now another new movie has been released featuring Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick.  It’s called Secret of the Wings

The Secret of the Wings is another good addition to the Disney Fairies franchise.  The first thing that stands out about this new release is that it carries on the long held Disney tradition of emphasizing the importance of family.  The continued tradition is directly linked to the secret that Tink discovers when she sneaks across the border into the Winter Mountains.  She meets “The Keeper”, and another fairy who as it turns out, will change everything that she ever knew about her life.  The secret that she learns the first time she goes to meet “The Keeper” is only one secret.  As a result of this first revelation, Tinkerbell also makes an even bigger revelation at the story’s end.  That revelation is tied into another familiar element that makes this a good movie for its audiences.

As already noted, Secret of the Wings will impress viewers as it maintains the theme of family importance that the company’s older works have held.  There is another long held element that makes this movie just as good as its previous princess movies.  Whether it was princess Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel, or any of the others, Disney has always made its princesses relatively headstrong.  That headstrong nature has helped lead to change in their kingdoms.  Tinkerbell is much the same way in Secret of the Wings.  It’s because of her determination to overcome the old ways that change eventually comes both to Pixie Hollow and the Winter Mountains.  Of course, that headstrong nature is also the catalyst for the conflict that would eventually lead to the change, too.

The conflict caused by Tinkerbell’s determination leads to another positive factor for the feature’s audiences.  It teaches audiences about the values of not only teamwork, but also of friendship and the importance of family.  The value of teamwork and friendship is something that both male and female audiences can appreciate.  And in terms of the value of family, young female audiences will especially appreciate this message as it’s directly tied to the secret that Tinkerbell learns in this story.

The central themes of Secret of the Wings are important elements in this feature’s success.  They go a long way toward making a story worth watching again and again.  The computer generated world created here will especially keep audiences watching.  The lush colors of Pixie Hollow and the contrast of the Winter Mountains are expertly designed.  They come together to stand out quite well against Disney’s other CG based features that have previously been released.  The people behind this world’s creation are to be commended for that, as it’s nice to see a CG based movie that doesn’t serve as a mirror image to so many others in its genre. 

So much work went into bringing Secret of the Wings to life.  Both the writing and the time spent creating the computer generated world had to have been intensive.  There is one more element that helped to make Secret of the Wings a success.  That element was the voice acting.  The voice cast for this movie reads like a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers.  Veteran actor Timothy Dalton (James Bond, The Rocketeer) joins Anjelica Huston (50/50, The Darjeeling Limited, Martian Child) who returns again as the voice of Queen Clarion.  Dalton lends his talents as the voice of Queen Clarion’s love interest, Lord Milori.  They aren’t the only well known names on board for this ride.  Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels, Kung Fu Panda, Kill Bill Vol. 1), Raven-Symone (The Cosby Show, That’s So Raven) and pop star Jesse McCartney are all on board this time around.  The chemistry between the cast adds another element of enjoyment for audiences of all ages.    That chemistry mixes with all of the aforementioned elements to make a feature that audiences will enjoy both the first and hundred and first time they have seen it.

Secret of the Wings is available now on DVD, DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and a four disc set including the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, a 3-D Blu-ray, and a digital copy of the movie.  It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online store at http://www.disneystore.com

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Cinderella Still One Of Disney’s Finest After More Than Six Decades

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Walt Disney’s take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella is one of the most important stories in the history of Hollywood’s vast arena of animated features.  It is also one of the most important movies in the equally storied history of Disney’s company.  Cinderella was for all intensive purposes, the movie that saved Disney Studios.  Don’t believe that?  Just watch the special features on the brand new upcoming Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack re-issue of this classic Disney story.

Disney Studios’ debut animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was a hit.  But as noted in the bonus features of this new re-issue, the two movies that followed—Pinocchio, and Fantasia—paled in comparison to Snow White.  Yes, they were successful movies.  But they never reached the heights of Snow White.  Audiences learn here that until Cinderella came along in 1950, Disney had to rely on military training films for income.  It’s fitting that when Cinderella finally debuted in 1950, its very first musical number centered on dreams and wishes.  Cinderella sings that a dream is a wish your heart makes while you sleep.  When Walt Disney first started up his company, he had a dream; A wish if you will.  And fittingly, Cinderella helped to make Walt’s dream come true just as Cinderella’s dream came true.  As one of the figures interviewed notes, it is in its essence, a rags to riches story.  Take away the romance element of the story, and Cinderella really is an underdog story.  Taken from that angle, it’s a story that every viewer can appreciate.

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

The success of Cinderella can be attributed to a number of factors.  It’s not just that underdog/rags to riches story that makes it enjoyable.  It was the work that went into bringing the story to life that still makes it a success today.  From the animation itself to choosing voice talents to live shoots, the extensive bonus features included in this new re-issue show why despite all the knockoffs over the years, there is still only one Cinderella.  Audiences will be amazed to learn that before pen and pencil even hit paper, Disney actually shot a live action version of the story.  That live action shoot would become the model for Disney’s animators, the famed “Nine Old Men.”

Speaking of models, one animator even proudly displays his physical model of Cinderella’s carriage.  Anyone who has any interest in theater production will be in awe of how he came up with the model that would eventually become its own on-screen legend.

Along with discussions on live shoots and models, also included with this new re-issues is a discussion on Mary Alice O’Conner.  O’Connor was married to animator Ken O’Connor, who was charged with designing Cinderella’s fairy godmother.  It was Mary Alice who would be the model for the beloved figure.  The story of Mrs. O’Connor depicts a woman who was an exact fit for this iconic figure.  O’Connor gave of herself so selflessly throughout her life, expecting nothing in return.  She gave because she wanted to make people happy and took joy in seeing others take what she started and make something even greater from that start.  Anyone who is dry-eyed after watching this feature simply isn’t human.

The feature on Mary Alice O’Connor brings things right back to the feature focusing on choice of voice talents.  By now, audiences should see why Cinderella was, is, and always will be one of the most important works in the history of animated features.

Cinderella will be available Tuesday in a brand new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in both DVD and Blu-Ray packaging.  Fans can order it online at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment review and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.