Disney Animated Movies 49 – The Princess and the Frog

Although Bolt was fairly well received by critics and even better by fans, it was only mildly successful. After a string of box office bombs and mild success stories, Disney Animation Studios and John Lasseter, head of Disney’s entire animation department, decided to go back to their roots. As such, the next two animated features are both Disney Princess movies. The first of which, The Princess and the Frog, is also a return to traditional animation after three CGI movies in a row. It returns Disney to its animated Broadway style movie with its musical aspects, which served the company extremely well during the Disney Renaissance. They brought in co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who also brought us The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. It felt like a surefire way to get Disney’s Animation Studio back into business.

It partially succeeded. The Princess and the Frog received positive critical reception with 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 73% on Metacritic, the highest rating any animated Disney movie earned since the turn of the century at the time. It earned $267 million on a $105 million budget. Although it wasn’t a massive success, it definitely made the studio enough money to convince them to release a traditionally animated movie every other year or so. Considering only one other traditionally animated feature has come out since, we all know how long that plan lasted.

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Disney Animated Movies 48 – Bolt

I talked a bit about how Disney bought Pixar in early 2006 in my previous post. Although John Lasseter did help improve Meet The Robinsons a bit, he took over the entire animation department a bit too late in production to make it a good movie. Bolt is the first Disney Animation Studios movie to release with Lasseter’s full supervision. And it shows.

Bolt released in November of 2008 to a generally positive critical reception. It earned 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, the same number as both Tangled and Frozen. Most critics agreed that it’s a fun and pleasant experience with strong visuals and likeable characters. It opened in third place between the two major film releases, Quantum of Solace (released less than a month before) and Twilight (released the same week), but actually performed better in its second weekend and bumped up to second place. It ended up earning $310 million on a $150 million budget, and it sold very well on home video on top of that.

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Disney Animated Movies 47 – Meet The Robinsons

Before we get into this movie, let’s talk about Pixar for a moment. Pixar was first founded in 1979 as the Graphics Group, part of Lucasfilm’s computer division. It separated to become its own company in 1986 with funding from Steve Jobs, who became the majority shareholder. For years they distributed most of their movies through Disney, whether it was their many earlier short films or their features, starting with 1995’s Toy Story. John Lasseter directed most of their earlier features and short films, and would move on to be the studio’s CEO.

In the early 2000’s, the relationship between Pixar and Disney became strained due to distribution disagreements that started after the release of Toy Story 2. Disney originally wanted Toy Story 2 to be straight to video, but Pixar had nothing of it. Considering how profitable Toy Story 2 was, Pixar was definitely in the right here. Their attempts at an agreement fell through in 2004, and for a while it looked like the two companies would permanently separate by mid-2006, their last partnership being Cars 2. Finally in early 2006, Disney and Pixar came to an agreement. Disney completely bought Pixar, and Lasseter would become head of Disney’s entire animation department.

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Disney Animated Movies 46 – Chicken Little

Around the time that Animated Disney movies weren’t doing so well in the early 2000’s, DreamWorks was coming out with a number of mega hits. Probably their most well-known early hit, 2001’s Shrek, won the very first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and it earned $484 million on an $80 million budget. Its sequel, 2004’s Shrek 2, was the highest grossing animated movie ever at the time of its release, and still remains in the top 10, with $920 million earned on a $150 million budget. That same year, Disney released Home On the Range (I hate that movie). It bombed, earning $103 million on a $110 million budget. Chicken Little, released the next year, kind of feels like Disney surrendering to the DreamWorks formula.

Chicken Little has two unique distinctions for Disney Animated Studios. One: It’s the first fully CGI movie Disney released without any assistance from Pixar. They put half of their traditional animators through a rigorous 18-month course in digital animation early in production to help make it happen. Two: as of this writing, it’s the worst rated Disney Animated Studios movie in history. It’s got a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 48% on Metacritic. Despite the harsh critical response, it earned $314 million on a $150 million budget. After watching this movie, I really need to ask,

How did this movie make a profit?

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Star Wars Poe Dameron 17 review

The seventh issue of this series flashed back further than the main storyline, and introduced a freelance journalist Suralinda Javos. Suralinda at first wanted to expose The Resistance for her own fame, but eventually decided that the galaxy needed the resistance and joined them instead, quitting her journalism career. Since then, she’s mostly been performing janitorial work. While she doesn’t enjoy it, she considers worth it for the fact that they took her in even though she first intended to betray them. Ten issues later, she’s making her second appearance.

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The Mighty Thor 21 review

The previous issue of Mighty Thor mostly focused on Volstagg taking care of kids in the middle of a war situation. It started off as hopeful and optimistic, but turned tragic when the kids were killed. The ending showed Volstagg picking up the ultimate Universe’s Mjolnir and becoming The War Thor. I was somewhere between excited to see what would become of this and nervous about what writer Jason Aaron is doing with Volstagg, a normally upbeat and optimistic character. Whatever you feel about it, this issue focuses mostly on him unleashing his newfound power.

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Superman 27 review

The reason I fell in love with this series from the start was because of the general family feel.  It started off as more of a family drama than a superhero title, setting it apart from your average mainstream comics. While I’ve still enjoyed the more intense story arcs as of late, I started to miss the quieter, optimistic tone that writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason started off with. So when I heard that a family road trip would begin for the Kents this month, I got excited.

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