A New Twist

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Dis­ney TV An­i­ma­tions finds an open­ing for an am­bi­tious and com­plete story about Ra­pun­zel, Eu­gene and the rest of the gang in By Tom McLean.

When ap­proached with the idea of com­ing up with a se­ries based on Dis­ney’s hit 2010 CG fea­ture Tan­gled, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Chris Son­nen­burg says it’s all been de­fined by a mo­ment in the fi­nale where Eu­gene says that after years of ask­ing, he fi­nally agreed to marry Ra­pun­zel.

“I know he was jok­ing, but let’s say for in­stance that there is a few years in be­tween when they meet and when they get mar­ried,” says Son­nen­burg. “That was the first time where we were like, that’s an in­ter­est­ing story.”

The re­sult is an am­bi­tious 2D se­ries that kicked off March 10 with a 55-minute Dis­ney Chan­nel movie ti­tled Tan­gled: Be­fore Ever After. The movie sets up a new sta­tus quo for Ra­pun­zel and Eu­gene: Re­united with her royal par­ents, Ra­pun­zel yearns to ex­plore the world with Eu­gene, but when the forces be­hind her orig­i­nal ab­duc­tion resur­face — restor­ing her magical hair in the process — her fa­ther tries to pro­tect her by for­bid­ding her from leav­ing the cas­tle. The half-hour se­ries picks up the story start­ing March 24.

In­spired by watch­ing his own teenage daugh­ters be­come in­creas­ingly in­de­pen­dent of him, Son­nen­burg teamed up with Shane Prig­more to de­velop a new look for Tan­gled and to plan out a story struc­ture un­usual to an­i­ma­tion.

“It’s about how does this mythol­ogy re­ally af- fect who Ra­pun­zel is and who she’s go­ing to be­come, and how do we best il­lus­trate those things through the story,” says Son­nen­burg.

The first sea­son will fea­ture a mid-sea­son dou­ble episode and a dou­ble-length fi­nale — both episodes will fea­ture ma­jor turn­ing points in Ra­pun­zel’s arc as well as mu­sic from Os­car-win­ning com­poser Alan Menken and lyri­cist Glenn Slater.

Son­nen­burg, who has a back­ground in both fea­ture an­i­ma­tion and in TV pro­duc­tion, says Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion An­i­ma­tion was look­ing for some­one who had ex­pe­ri­ence in both medi­ums and could keep the per­for­mances on the same level as in the fea­ture.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges was find­ing a look that evoked the CG work in the fea­ture but also would work for a tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion bud­get and sched­ule, says Ben Bal­istreri, su­per­visi ng pro­ducer and lead char­ac­ter de­signer, who came on board the pro­duc­tion after Prig­more took over as VP of cre­ative af­fairs at Dis­ney Tele­vi­sion An­i­ma­tion.

Prig­more and Son­nen­burg came up with the idea of bas­ing the look on the mu­rals Ra­pun­zel drew on her tower walls in the fea­ture.

“The idea in the­ory is that our show in some way is ac­tu­ally the hand of Ra­pun­zel draw­ing these char­ac­ters,” says Bal­istreri. “We try to make it like her hand is touch­ing ev­ery lit­tle bit of the whole vis­ual el­e­ment.”

As for trans­lat­ing the CG char­ac­ters into 2D, the process was about em­pha­siz­ing the iconic de­tails in each one. Restor­ing Ra­pun­zel’s hair was im­por­tant, but other el­e­ments were es­sen­tial in trans­lat­ing those looks. “You’ve got big­ger eyes than nor­mal princesses (on Ra­pun­zel) and that specif­i­cally is be­cause she’s out there con­stantly wide eyed look­ing at the world,” says Bal­istreri.

Art di­rec­tor Alan Bod­ner says the am­bi­tion in the sto­ries is what drew him to the se­ries, a qual­ity he’s con­tribut­ing to by cre­at­ing a color script for each and ev­ery episode.

“It’s like we’re en­ter­ing the world of a fairy tale Golden Book,” he says. “We’re look­ing at a lot of Mary Blair work, and that was be­ing done by the fea­ture it­self. I’ve al­ways loved to work in high style and de­sign, so I think this one re­ally pushes the shapes and style and a lot more.”

That style veered to drop­ping the out­lines on the char­ac­ters, which posed some prob­lems for the an­i­ma­tion, which is be­ing done by Ot­tawabased Mer­cury Film­works.

Son­nen­burg says he knows how the show will un­fold and what its fi­nal shot will be. “We know they get mar­ried,” he says. “So this is ba­si­cally about tak­ing this time and re­ally telling a com­plete story.” [

Tper­form as ex­pected at the 89th an­nual Academy Awards, even as the cer­e­mony de­fied all con­ven­tions with a rau­cous fi­nale.

he fi­nale of the 89th an­nual Academy Awards was the wildest in the ven­er­a­ble org’s his­tory, cap­ping an other­wise solid and pre­dictable cer­e­mony that saw Zootopia win the Os­car for an­i­mated fea­ture.

The Dis­ney movie about a bunny cop and a con-man fox team­ing up to solve a se­ries of crimes in a di­verse ur­ban an­i­mal com­mu­nity sur­prised no one by tak­ing the top prize. Zootopia, re­leased March 4, 2016, had earned high crit­i­cal praise, box of­fice suc­cess and nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades, in­clud­ing the top honor at the An­nie Awards.

“This is an in­cred­i­ble honor,” says di­rec­tor By­ron Howard back­stage after ac­cept­ing the award with di­rec­tor Rich Moore and pro­ducer Clark Spencer.

“We are so grate­ful to the au­di­ences all over the world who em­braced this film with this story of tol­er­ance be­ing more pow­er­ful than fear of the other,” says Moore.

Dis­ney’s Pixar An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios won its first Os­car in the an­i­mated short film cat­e­gory since 2001 for Piper, a heart-warm­ing short film about a young sand­piper who over­comes its fear of water in learn­ing to find food. The last Pixar short to win this cat­e­gory was For the Birds. As with Zootopia, the win for Piper — directed by Alan Bar­il­laro and pro­duced by Marc Sond­heimer — sur­prised no one after it, too, won its cat­e­gory at the An­nies.

“The art form was just the pencil,” says Bar­il­laro back­stago. “We ig­nored the word re­al­ism and just went for the artis­tic choices.”

The Jun­gle Book won the vis­ual ef­fects Os­car for its elab­o­rate and con­vinc­ing all-dig­i­tal nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments and re­al­is­tic talk­ing an­i­mals. Also a Dis­ney film, The Jun­gle Book beat out the fully an­i­mated Kubo and the Two Strings for the honor; both films won their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories at the VES Awards.

The an­i­mated con­tenders in the Best Orig­i­nal Song cat­e­gory, from Trolls and Moana, lost out to “City of Stars” from La La Land. Both movies of­fered per­for­mance high­lights as Justin Tim­ber­lake kicked off the cer­e­mony per­form­ing Trolls’ nom­i­nated tune “Can’t Stop the Feel­ing.” “How Far I’ll Go,” from Dis­ney’s Moana, was per­formed by Auli’i Cravalho with an orig­i­nal in­tro rap by com­poser Lin-Manuel Mi­randa. (Poor Cravalho had a flag brush through her hair dur­ing the per­for­mance, but kept on singing with­out miss­ing a beat.)

The cer­e­mony was capped with the strangest end­ing in Os­cars his­tory, as pre­sen­ters War­ren Beatty and Faye Du­n­away read from the wrong en­ve­lope and de­clared La La Land win­ner of best pic­ture. After the speeches had be­gun, a mis­take was dis­cov­ered and it was re­vealed that Moon­light was the Best Pic­ture win­ner. The an­i­ma­tion and ef­fects cat­e­gory win­ners are: An­i­mated Fea­ture Film: Zootopia. By­ron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer Vis­ual Ef­fects:

Piper – Pixar An­ima-

Re­turns after a 12-year hia­tus for a fi­nale sea­son, set 50 years later.

Dan Poven­mire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

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