On thursday night I went on date up to El Capitan to see The Little Mermaid's new digital cut along with a very informative and fun panel before the film. I impromptu met up with CrazyLegs, CaptPhoebus and Al as I was picking up my tickets. The system screwed up and apparently the VIP tickets I ordered weren't actually available, but at least the staff was accomodating and gave me and my date pretty good assigned seating with a great vantage point of the panel. Before the panel, an organ player entertained the masses inside, while Ariel herself posed for pictures outside. The panel itself was very informative. I found it interesting to know that the recording was done more like a theatre setting. The director was right in the booth giving the actors lines from behind them to make it simple for them to react. This isn't at all how most original animation is done nowadays which is the main challenge of acting under what's basically sensory deprivation. I'm glad though that the experience pushed Jodi Benson away from theatre and into voice acting, as she wonderfully displays his vocal talent in plenty of video games and cartoons nowadays; nevermind the fact that she still continues to be the official voice of Ariel for all Disney material (A lot of characters nowadays have official voicematches when the original actor won't come back to reprise the role). Kingdom Hearts wouldn't have been the same without her. I also found it interesting to see the building process. The voices were recorded, those voices were then used by other actors to give the characters movement, and then the videotape of said movements is used to animate the character. This truly makes the voice actors performance shape the characters full expressions and body movements as opposed to japanese animation where the voice actors are the last ones brought in, making their interpretation limited. The animators become the central piece in this instance as opposed to the voice actors. A great example is the way Pat Caroll (Ursula) says "Life just isn't fair, isn't it?". It truly provided beautiful mannerisms and personality for the animators to embue into Ursula just from Pat's interpretation. Genius indeed. My greatest wish to reach that level someday.
Anyway, after the panel ended, Alan Menken played the piano while Jodi Benson sang "Part Of Your World". Truly a once in a lifetime occurrence and thankfully captured on video for everyone else to enjoy. They even showed a short after the film called "The Little Matchgirl", which was originally created for what would have been a Fantasia 2000 sequel. I did not get that on film, but I believe CrazyLegs did.
It was truly a magical night you all deserve to see as well. So without further ado:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCVq1siCpcw - Part 1 of the Panel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v6Vm8QjEDw - Part 2 of the Panel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPAuW3dEFn0 - Part 3 of the Panel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_HVoUbnZAc - Part 4 of the Panel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXTWDXN7Es - Part 5 of the Panel (Includes live performance of "Part of Your World")
The Marquee shines brightly outside the theater
Everyone is anxious to get their tickets!
Posters adorn the side of the ticket counters
Posters even adorn the streets
Meanwhile, inside the theater, an organ player entertains the anxious moviegoers
And in the lobby, Ariel greets her fans
Flyers announcing the dates and details of this limited run
And we already have details for the Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D run (Apparently there will be panels held for both showings on opening night)
And get ready for another Santa Clause film in January at El Capitan