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How Frozen Should Have Ended

Watch and be amazed as the visionaries at HISHE provide us with the alternate ending we didn’t even know we wanted to Disney’s Frozen.

Don’t conceal not feel this video by sharing with the people you love!

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

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The Pixar Detective: Chapter 1

Hey everyone! Welcome to The Pixar Detective, a serial novel I put together based on the Pixar Theory. The following is a fictional story that explains the theory that all of the Pixar movies are connected and exist within the same universe, using original characters and artwork. The story answers a lot of questions you may have about this theory, but through its own ongoing narrative.

The story originally launched in April, and we’ve recently completed Part 1!

It is available as an iBook on iTunes, which you can check out here. If you can’t use iBooks, you can also download the PDF version. 

Once you’re finished, check back to our Table of Contents, where we’ll be continuing the story through Part 2. A new chapter is released every two weeks on Tuesdays. And please be sure to leave your feedback in the comments for us to read through. Enjoy!

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Chapter 1: The Great Detective

Written by Jon Negroni. Illustrations by Kayla Savage. 

     The most brilliant detectives in the world are not the individuals with the biggest brains or even the most advanced gadgets and gizmos, although having a magnifying glass with an electronic interface is always useful for finding your way around a particularly messy crime scene.  The best detectives aren’t necessarily organized, tidy, punctual, or easy to get along with. Even the most successful detectives tend to find themselves relying on more than just being familiar, easygoing crime-fighters. No, the world’s greatest detectives are the most imaginative risk-takers that have ever decided to look through a magnifying glass, and we know this for certain because a great detective doesn’t decide to live a life of solving mysteries.  The greatest detectives have the truly important mysteries thrust upon them, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ready for more? Click here to access the Table of Contents, or check out the e-book.


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‘Wreck-It Ralph’ May Be Getting a Sequel

It wasn’t the biggest hit Disney has ever made, but Wreck-It Ralph was still a very important film for a variety of reasons, starting with its ambitious incorporation of video gaming’s pantheon of characters and ending with its implementation of a new set of characters that we ultimately fell in love with.

The movie sold me on the idea of seeing classic video game icons and tropes together onscreen, but a sequel sells me on the promise that I’ll get to once again experience the adventures of Ralph, Vanellope and the rest of the arcade gang.

Well according to film composer Henry Jackman, a sequel is already in the works, though that doesn’t mean it’s official quite yet.

This means that the script is in preproduction, and the future of a potential sequel will be determined by how much faith Disney has in this franchise that took us all by surprise just a couple of years ago.

Wreck-It Ralph was a hit with both audiences and critics, and it managed to overshadow Pixar’s Brave, which was released that same year (though Rango won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature that year).

Financially, however, the film wasn’t as big of a success as Disney probably hoped it would be. It wasn’t a flop, as it did manage to turn a profit, but that means a sequel will be under even more scrutiny, especially because we now live in a world where a movie like Frozen is capable of breaking all-time box office records.

And yet I’m still excited about the possibility of making another trip into the rich world of video games and what makes them so much fun. One of the first movie’s biggest flaws, of course, was that it spent the majority of its time exploring “Sugar Rush,” which was endemic of the film’s budget constraints more than anything.

wreck-it ralph sequel
AKA “Diabetesville”

This time around, it would be great for us to visit more locations with new blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos that made the first film so much fun. The best part is that we’ve gotten to know Ralph at this point, making a sequel a prime opportunity for giving him more to do and new faces to meet.

Unfortunately, speculation is all we can do right now until official news is released one way or the other. Are you excited about the potential Wreck-It Ralph sequel, or do believe it will be game over for this franchise?

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

Do We Really Need A Sequel For The Incredibles?

Disney CEO Bob Iger recently made it public that Pixar is working on The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3, an announcement that is likely to divide Pixar fans right down the middle.

Why? Because they essentially combined “probably good news” with “bad news.” Cars may make tons of money in merchandising and box office totals, but it’s still Pixar’s weakest link in terms of audience reception.

In other words, most of us don’t really care about Cars. We just don’t.

But The Incredibles is a vastly different story. Considered to be one of the top-tier Pixar films, this movie could actually be akin to Toy Story 2, rather than Cars 2.

Unfortunately, my best guess is that we’re getting another Monsters University, a decent, even good, movie that lives up to the original, but doesn’t come close to surpassing it.

Pixar sequels are tricky business. Toy Story is really one of the few franchises in film history that actually improved with each sequel, so it makes sense that the executives at Disney have faith in milking their Pixar properties during the coming decade. Even the best studios need time to rest, after all.

So I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about The Incredibles 2, if only because the great Brad Bird is once again behind the film, and I have faith in his ability to evolve simple concepts into fantastic narratives (see The Iron Giant, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Ratatouille and oh, the first Incredibles).

If you recall, the world of The Incredibles is rich and ready to be further explored. The film excellently combined vastly different aesthetics: the retro-future technology in an alternate 1960s mixed with superheroes and even James Bond references.

And it would be great to see what happens to the Parr family as a superhero team, a dynamic we actually didn’t see until the third act of the movie. There’s plenty to see here, so a sequel really does make a lot of sense.

What do you think? Will The Incredibles 2 break the Pixar sequel “curse,” or do we have another excellent Pixar trilogy on our hands?

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

The 7 Deleted Songs From “Frozen” That You Haven’t Heard Yet

One of my few complaints about the movie Frozen was that it seemed to be lacking 1, 2 or even 3 music numbers, at least toward the end. So imagine my surprise when I was told that there were SEVEN songs that didn’t make it to the reels.

Fortunately, YouTube exists, so we are able to listen to the songs online and let our imaginations fill the blanks. Let’s listen!

(WARNING: There are some spoilers in this, so don’t keep reading unless you’ve watched the movie!)

1. We Know Better

This first video features the song “We Know Better.” It would have explored more of the background between Anna and Elsa, before Elsa accidentally freezes Anna during the actual first few scenes of the movie.

I like this song because it shows us more of the deep bond the sisters have before Elsa has to become a recluse, making the following song – Do You Want To Build A Snowman – that much more depressing.

2. Spring Pageant

The next song is “Spring Pageant,” which was deleted for a pretty good reason. It turns out that an early version of the movie featured a prophecy surrounding the main characters. I would have liked something like this to explain more of why Elsa has powers – which the movie doesn’t elaborate on – so excluding this song from the final version makes sense.

But it’s still pretty great.

3. More Than Just a Spare

This next song was meant to help us get an idea of what it’s like to be Anna, the “spare” princess. Because she isn’t the heir – Elsa is – to the throne, she feels deep down like a spare.

“More Than Just a Spare” was probably removed because it would have added an extra plotline that doesn’t really get answered later on. That said, it would still make a great plot device to explore in a possible sequel.

4. You’re You

This was originally the predecessor to “Love is An Open Door,” which is the moment that was meant to establish the romantic relationship between Anna and Hans.

Though I don’t prefer it, it does make a deranged bit of sense to hear Hans saying somewhat mean things about Anna that are actually revealing about his true intentions…

If they did keep it, the song would have probably fit in better when Anna said goodbye to Hans before embarking on her journey to save Elsa.

5. Life’s Too Short

I really wish this song had made it to the movie, as it is a far more dramatic representation of the conflict between Elsa and Anna before Elsa accidentally freezes Anna’s heart. In my opinion, it makes Anna and Elsa’s later act of love feel vastly more meaningful.

What especially caught my attention is how Anna tries to get Elsa to put her gloves back on, which makes Elsa flip out “Let it Go” style.

6. Life’s Too Short – Reprise

This next one is the reprise of “Life’s Too Short,” which is clearly the sadder version compared to the upbeat one we just heard. It’s supposed to take place while Anna is freezing and Elsa is in prison.

In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of song that was missing during the final act.

7. Reindeers Remix

Finally, we have the song that was meant to be the movie’s final song, featuring the under-utilized Jonathan Groff. I love it because it would have left the movie on a funny note that captured the fun of the song Groff sings earlier about Sven.

And that’s it! If we’re lucky, these songs will appear in High School plays all over the world for years to come.

Thanks for Reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

Is This What Pixar Movies Will Look Like One Day?

We’ve gotten pretty used to CGI animation. So much so, the idea of animation evolving even further doesn’t always get brought up, at least not in my mind.

But the truth is that innovation is always happening. It’s always…innovating (unlike my vocabulary.) When I was doing research for the Pixar Theory, I couldn’t help but notice just how far we’ve come since Toy Story, though the technological advancements have only been incremental.

Well, that may change in the not-so-distant future. Pixar recently published a video showing off a completely different animation style for our viewing pleasure. You can view the full video below:

Stylizing Animation By Example from Pierre Bénard on Vimeo.

What gets me excited about this type of style is how close it sticks to the original Disney movies. It feels more drawn.

One major complaint about CGI, at least from me, has always been that it has a knack for lacking expression. It just takes way too much time and effort to make computer animated films be as fluid as the animated movies from just 15 years ago. Wow I feel old.

This fusion of art and pixels, however, provides a new twist on how onscreen characters can be rendered. The crisp frame-rate combined with other big words I’m not going to pretend I know could promise to deliver movies we’ve never imagined before.

Of course, these are just white paper innovations, and Pixar probably isn’t close to incorporating them in upcoming movies. In the meantime, we still have the fortune to enjoy the already masterful animation Pixar (and other great studios) have privileged us with.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog via the right sidebar. You can also connect with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome.

Review: ‘Frozen’

Disney is a strange company, but in the best way possible. They’re bold enough to buy the Marvel franchise, hire Pixar’s mastermind as their creative director of pretty much everything at this point, and continue crafting movies that stay true to the Disney tradition, at least by most loose definitions of the term.

By this tradition, I mean the continuation of the Disney princess phenomenon, including its most recent renaissance (as they say) of the classic Disney Princess movies reinvented to capture the cutting edge animation that reached new heights in the late 80s with The Little Mermaid, only to reach full form thanks to breakout 90s hits like Beauty and the BeastAladdin, and Mulan.

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The rise of Pixar brought on a new age, however, with the onslaught of yet another renaissance in animation — one that rendered any other offering by Disney (ironically) obsolete.

Pixar was their critical and family-driven darling, and the mouse studio didn’t really have the creative direction to answer this problem for quite a while, even when DreamWorks came into its own with the introduction of Shrek and those frankly despicable minions.

This is all to say that Disney plays the long game when necessary. After the tempered success of Princess and the Frog in 2009 and Tangled a year later, it became more than clear to me and others that Lassetter’s Disney was on a true comeback, beginning with Bolt and carrying on today to Frozen.

You see, Disney has been experimenting over the past few years with what I call the “Disney-Pixar-Dreamworks” trilogy. They’ve taken the strongest elements of each animation studio and developed full-fledged Disney movies with them.

One might argue that this all started with Meet The Robinsons or the aforementioned Bolt, but these movies were mere precursors to what Disney would ultimately settle on creatively. No, this all started with Tangled, a new take on a classic Disney character named Rapunzel.

The checklist is simple:

1. Does the movie have a Disney Princess and/or fantasy setting?

2. Are the animation and storytelling in sync, as it is with Pixar?

3. Does it contain lovable side characters that shape the marketing campaign akin to Dreamworks?

This list is a complete yes to the “trilogy” that is Tangled, Wreck It Ralph, and Frozen. And it shows in how Frozen in its most basic components is a mixture of several movies and concepts: It has the character relationships of Shrek, the plucky female from Tangled, and the Broadway musical effort of Wicked (complete with the plot of two sisters at odds with each other).

This is no complaint, as Frozen manages to also maintain its own originality and charm between the pages, mostly thanks to the ambitious retelling of The Snow Queen (though the similarities between stories is slim at best), a story that isn’t told often enough complicated by Disney’s best soundtrack in years, perhaps since Mulan or Lilo and Stitch if you’re an Elvis fan.

 

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The Snow Queen is an old Danish fairytale most audiences have never heard of, centering around two sisters who happen to be princesses living in a kingdom Disney has deemed Arendelle. The oldest sister, Elsa, has magic powers of no explanation: she can turn anything into snow or ice for reasons the audience is never clued in on, thankfully. As she grows older, her powers become harder to control, and for reasons I won’t spoil, she shuns her doting sister, Anna, for the majority of their childhood.

The opening sequence to Frozen is clearly gunning for the same emotional beats of Up and its first eight minutes, offering a lively, albeit sad look at the broken relationship between these two girls. You don’t have to be a sister or have one to feel the cloying sentiment in this number, aptly called Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

frozen

After an unfortunate incident, Elsa unintentionally curses the kingdom with an eternal winter (even though it’s summer), covering the land in snow and paranormal snow creatures. She runs away in order to isolate herself and is pursued by Anna and some of her new friends, a group of misfit characters to put it kindly.

Plot-wise, the story is strong and well-written, focusing more on its comedic timing than anything all that dramatic, but the music seems to be the tool that delivers the film’s most poignant moments, including some key lessons meant to empower young girls, including a twist on the romantic love story that is sure to delight parents.

The characters, for the most part, are likable and effortless in their inclusion as this is Anna and Elsa’s story.  When we are introduced to Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, who have a friendship reminiscent of Han Solo and Chewbacca, the movie succeeds at making them a worthwhile addition without distracting from the main plot. Even Olaf, who should have been annoying in hindsight, provided the levity and fun required of him in a film that could otherwise be deemed dark and heavy-handed.

frozen

The only complaint worth lodging at Frozen in my view is the ending, as it goes with many animated movies of recent years. It’s not terrible in any sense, but it is a slight let down in how the film builds and executes, aside from a minor twist on the material involving the impact of the two sisters and their relationship. For every other character, there’s little for them to do by the final minutes.

Other than that, Frozen is a fantastic installment in the Disney archives, providing a new and fun adventure that children and nostalgic young adults like myself will enjoy thoroughly.

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