Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney's Classic Fairy Tales
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Saturday 23 April 2011
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walter Disney.
On its final weekend in Melbourne, ACMI's Dreams Come True exhibition was bustling with people. After five months on display the exhibition would close on Tuesday 26 April 2011.
For so many of us, Disney animations were a treasured part of childhood (and perhaps adulthood as well), so it was a genuine privilege to sneak an insight into their production through this wonderful exhibition.
Dreams Come True features 600 original artworks from classic Disney fairy tales including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid. Visitors were treated to original sketches, storyboards, animation cels, concept art and film excerpts. The films were arranged in chronological order, so as visitors moved through the colourful gallery they toured the evolution of animation technology.
The exhibition began with a timeline of Walter Disney's (1902 - 1966) achievements and a display of European storybooks which provided inspiration for Disney's fairy tale classics. Following this was a section on Silly Symphonies, a series of Disney's early animations that drew on classic legends such as "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Ugly Duckling". "It's pretty cool seeing how cartoons can start off like simple sketches," said 12-year-old Ben while looking at a storyboard of Mickey and the Beanstalk.
Visitors were fascinated by information panels which described quirky details of the developmental process such as the way animators created Belle's beast from Beauty and the Beast by combining a mandrill, gorilla, ibis, wolf, buffalo and boar. There were also profiles on key artists including Retta Scott Worcester, Disney's first female animator, and Ken O'Connor, an Australian illustrator.
Throughout the gallery, large screens played the featured Disney movies while grandparents, toddlers and teenagers alike sat captivated by the films. Visitors often stopped in their tracks, drawn in by the magic on screen and unable to control a goofy grin.
Towards the end of the exhibition, digital artwork from recent movies The Princess and the Frog (2009) and Tangled (2010) demonstrated the way animation technology has advanced over the last century. Digital prints were displayed alongside rough sketches and a brief film clip explained the complicated simulation software used to animate Rapunzel's 27 metres of hair in Tangled.
The entire exhibition was interactive. There were sounds and sights coming from every angle and all of them gave an appreciation of the enormous efforts devoted to developing every detail of a Disney animation. As a hardcore Disney fan, my highlight was discovering some inside secrets. For example, I saw early sketches from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) which revealed that Snow White originally resembled Betty Boop.
I left after an hour, but my sentiments were echoed by 45-year-old Leanne, who said, "It's a fabulous exhibition, I wish I could spend longer." Sometimes behind-the-scenes secrets ruin a classic, but I found that a little insight into the world of Disney made it all the more magical.
4.5 out of 5
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Articles Written by Namita
Reviews written by Namita
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