Saturday, August 31, 2019

The 2019 D23 Expo: Highlights, Part 3

The second day of the Expo was a busy one; the first part of the day is recounted here.

As the day wound down, I made the decision to skip The Musical Journey of Disney's Aladdin to see Leonard and Jessie Maltin discussing favorite Disney films to watch on the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. I'd only learned about their talk after the Expo began; my daughter loved the ALADDIN concert but I likewise had a wonderful time listening to the Maltins "talk movies"!

Attending seemed especially fitting as Leonard Maltin's THE DISNEY FILMS was one of the first film books I owned as a kid, after wearing out a library copy with repeat check-outs! Here are Leonard and daughter Jessie at the Disney+ stage:

Many classic Disney films will be available on Disney+ at the time of its November launch; D23 has posted a partial list here. The Maltins recommended some of their favorites, including some relatively lesser-known titles such as THE RELUCTANT DRAGON (1941)...

...and THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRIE MEN (1952). Jessie also put in an enthusiastic plug for one of her childhood favorites, the animated ROBIN HOOD (1973).

They also mentioned 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954)...


...and, of course, Walt Disney's masterpiece, MARY POPPINS (1964).

In each case they mentioned some of the things which made each film special, such as Walt's willingness to spend extra money getting special effects right in 20,000 LEAGUES, the skilled use of perspective to effectively film the "little people" in DARBY O'GILL, and Walt's tenacity in getting MARY POPPINS made after negotiating with author P.L. Travers over many years.

At one point they asked who in the audience had seen a multi-plane camera and many hands shot up, prompting the comment that they were definitely speaking to a "D23 audience"!

The most important point the Maltins made is that they hope Disney+ will "dig deep" and make available the things many Disney fans want to see, including animated shorts, MICKEY MOUSE CLUB serials, and Leonard Maltin's introductions from the terrific Treasures From the Disney Vault limited edition DVDs.

At present it is unclear when or if this kind of programming will be available, and they emphasized that it's very important for viewers to let Disney know what they'd like to see on the service.

And for those who might be wondering, the buzz I've seen online is that while virtually the entire Disney feature film library will be on the service, it will not include SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946). Disney's paranoia regarding that title is tiresome, and I hope that one day they'll change their mind, perhaps providing it with an introduction by Mr. Maltin.

On the up side, the channel will have a documentary on the women of Ink & Paint, inspired by Mindy Johnson's great coffee table book, as well as programs on film props and Imagineers. There will be many things of interest to classic film fans on Disney+, along with newer films and brand-new shows; I've previously shared information about the latter.

The Maltin panel was the conclusion of a great second day at the D23 Expo. Coming soon, a look at the third and final day, along with posts on two costume exhibits.


Blogger Robby Cress said...

Thanks for the run down Laura! That's some good news regarding the classics. Here's hoping that Disney really digs into their library and takes full advantage of what they have.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Robby,

I agree, I would love to see them use the deeper catalog stuff. It would be wonderful if, as you say, they take full advantage of their library. I believe it would appeal to many potential viewers.

Best wishes,

7:28 PM  
Blogger 8traxrule said...

There is still no word on how the interface will handle the PRESENTATION of the material. After seeing Netflix turn into an unusable mess, I now have to make sure any streaming service I subscribe to doesn't do the same things. The main question is will Disney Plus actually let me watch the ENTIRE show/movie from beginning to end with NO interruptions, or will they use the same type of software Netflix uses to automatically insert menu options or promos onscreen once the end credits start rolling? At the very least if they're going to do this, I hope there will be a simple on/off setting for it, otherwise I simply won't support it.

4:59 PM  

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