Disney does tremendous animation and it has only gotten better since bringing Pixar into the fold. One of the items I have noticed most, and it may be entirely unrelated, is the castle opening in their movies.
For years the opening of a film served mearly as branding for the film company; a quick little advertisement that showcased the company’s logo. This was the standard for years, decades even.
During the late 1980’s early 1990s, however, some studios took it as an opportunity for expanding the brand and opening up the standard logo. Columbia Pictures was one of the first I can recall. It was a simple parallax move from behind the logo and moving back so that she was standing tall with torch in hand at the resolve of the animation.
Universal Pictures was another great one. There opening to Waterworld was fantastic. It depicted the logo as usual, but then animated the polar icecaps melting to create the world of the movie. I daresay it was the best thing of that picture.
Disney though, has to take the cake for their recent upgrade. The camera moves along a path as a train whistles in the distance. Then at once we are above the castle flag with fireworks blasting around. Slowly moving down to the water’s edge where the familiar castle brand of the Disney Company resolves and a particle throwing pixie makes her familiar circuit into the night’s sky.
It may seem like a simple thing, but that magical interlude sets the stage for what is to follow. Those of us who are old enough remember to The Wonderful World of Color and an earlier blast of pixie dust from Tinkerbell evokes the same feeling of wonder and amazement with this new introduction.
The first time I saw this it actually took my breath away. Having worked for the company, as an artist, I am always awed by the ability of Disney to tell a compelling story regardless of the medium. I do not know who in the company was responsible for this one, but I have my inklings it was John Lasseter (I am convinced is Walt reincarnated) who was behind this.