Monday, October 27, 2008

Best ever year for Disney movies? (In terms of success, if not always quality)

Walt Disney Studios have had an up and down year this year - almost entirely up in terms of both the quality and success of their movie releases, but with one particularly notable down (in terms of quality, anyway).

They started the year brightly with the US box office number 1 movie, the daft-but-fun "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" (which was released and first went to number 1 at the end of 2007). They then released the fairly enjoyable "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" movie in February, which also went to number 1 at the US box office. That was followed by yet another US number 1 in May, the well made but slightly disappointing Narnia sequel movie "Prince Caspian".

Then came the utterly enchanting "WALL-E" from Disney's Pixar Animation Studios, one of the loveliest cartoon movies ever. In June it too became a US box office number 1 movie. Lovely! But then Disney completely spoilt their "year-to-date quality record" by releasing the appalling "Beverly Hills Chihuahua", which somehow managed to be the US number 1 movie for two weeks running earlier this month. Good grief! Must have been something to do with the ongoing Global Financial Crisis, lol!

Currently Disney have yet another US number 1 movie (their 2nd this month and 6th - count 'em: six number 1's! - this year) with the reasonably enjoyable "High School Musical 3: Senior Year". That will be followed on November 21st by the promising-looking CG cartoon movie "Bolt".

Given that Pixar's John Lasseter has been overseeing the development of Bolt, and that John Travolta provides the voice of the eponymous star character (with Miley Cyrus also providing voice talent in the movie), it seems likely that this will also be a US box office number 1 upon its release. If that does turn out to be the case, it will be Disney's 7th number 1 movie of 2008 (and Miley Cyrus's 2nd - she's only 15, and will be 16 two days after the release of Bolt, bless her). But even if it doesn't make it to the number 1 spot, Disney have already had a mighty fine time of it this year. I can't find any definitive information to confirm the fact, but I feel sure it must be their best ever year, in terms of the number of number 1 movies, if nothing else. :-)

I have to say that I love Disney and Pixar - they bring a lot of joy into an ever-increasingly tumultuous world. Okay, so a lot of the purely Disney stuff is really cheesy, but it is always fun (Beverly Hills Chihuahua aside). And everything from Pixar has so far been pure magic.

Interestingly, after trawling around all over the web for current and historical information about Disney and Pixar movies, I discovered from a number of news articles that appeared on September 24th (don't know how I missed them at the time) that Pixar's "Cars 2" movie will now be released in 2011 and not the originally intended 2012 (having bumped 2011's planned "Newt" back to 2012 instead - see my post from June about the original release schedule here). Make of that what you will, but it seems to me that there is perhaps a hint of this having been money-motivated, given the massive merchandise sales that resulted from the first "Cars" movie. I really hope that's not the case though. Still, for now things seem to be fine, and next year's Pixar offering "Up" sounds like it will continue where "WALL-E" left off in the quality stakes.

To help keep your mind on happy fantasy things and away from unhappy real-world financial crisis-type things, here are some quality Flash games based on Disney's better movies of the year (each game includes desktop wallpapers plus links to even more games based on their respective movies):

  National Treasure 2: The Platform

  Prince Caspian - Target Practice

  WALL-E: Space Race and Space Ball

  High School Musical 3: Pinball

  Run Bolt Run

As always, you can find these and dozens more great Disney and Pixar games at my (cleverly named) "Disney and Pixar Games" site. Enjoy! :-)

P.S. Okay, so there must be some of you out there that actually liked Beverly Hills Chihuahua, otherwise it wouldn't have been the US number 1 movie for two weeks running at the beginning of this month, would it? For those of you who are fans of this very silly movie, here is a very decent Flash game based on it:

  Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Follow That Smell

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