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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Disney's "The Little Match Girl"....Finally saw it.

   
Author Topic: Disney's "The Little Match Girl"....Finally saw it.
Greg B
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I'm a major fan of Hans Christian Anderson's works and finally got around to seeing Disney's 2006 "The Little Match Girl".

I was totally blown away. It was like what Disney is supposed to be doing.

Any chance on any new shorts like this? The story is too grim for a feature and too much of a tearjerker to flesh out into some major feature with singing and dancing.

Maybe some new original stories in short form would be worthy of production.

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E. Allen
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I too was excited about this short when I first saw it on AWN a couple years ago. I don't think it's too grim when you consider Disney's involvement with Pirates 3: At World's End, but yeah, the realism shocked me to my core. Usually something I'd expect an independent to get away with, as opposed to a major production house, so even then I suppose major changes were in the offing for the Mouse House.
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Greg B
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Actually I think it's the best story adaptation Disney's done in decades if not more.

Just no nonsense storytelling.

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E. Allen
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If only they could've made it feature-length . . .
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Greg B
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Feature length???

No way, it would have ruined it! It's perfect just the way it is. I say it's the best piece of animation Disney's done in decades and I ccan see why it took forever to get produced because of the tearjerker factor.

We're 200 years since the birth of HCA and his imaginative stories are still favorites told around the world.

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E. Allen
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Sure Greg, why not?

Even the Germans turned it into an opera. I figured there still was enough material there for seventy-five minutes.

I also agree it's fine the way it is, but a feature would have gotten just as many raves, if not more! (If the ending were kept intact, that is.)

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Mr. Fun
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More than likely these short films were going to be part of a larger film. Possibly a second "Fantasia." Once that idea died, these little gems were simply tossed aside.

A lot of work, talent and creativity tossed on the scrap heap by the clueless, self indulgent management of you know who.

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pud
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As mentioned by Mr Fun, they were originally to be a part of a 'feature'. Having worked on the short 'one by one', they were a great idea, keeping the crew still employed and busy inbetween the main feature.

Small crew making the projects more intimate. Usually not having any supervisors for animation as well, so the animators were able to work directly with the director of the short. This gives the animators { not the leads or the supervisors} a chance to stand on their own, not having to go through another pair of eyes before the director sees your work.

I know that they were still producing 3D short{s}? inbetween the main projects. They stopped for a while {inbtwn management change}.

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E. Allen
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That's awesome to learn, pud and Mr. Fun.

But I still would've liked to see a full Matchgirl standalone feature, and think it could've been the next Snow White. only darker of course.

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EustaceScrubb
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I'm glad to see this Roger Allers' film (produced by Don Hahn) getting some love. I thought it was a beautiful looking film with art direction from the likes of the great Hans Bacher. Very muted color palette, but appropriate for the cold winter setting.

I thought the film was good when I saw it in dailies and the screening of the finished film , but I remember at the time it was being made there was griping from some people on the crew about how it was "depressing" and such a "downer ending" , not a good "Disney film" , blah, blah, blah...

I didn't agree at all. I was glad to see something being made at Disney that wasn't just the same ol' tacked-on happy ending.

I don't really see how it could be stretched out to feature-length. It's a short story and it works fine the length it is . Shorts are not "less" than feature films. It's not like shorts are the minor leagues and features the big leagues. Some of the greatest animated films ever made are shorts.

"One by One" that Pud mentioned was another good one from that time . And "Lorenzo" .

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E. Allen
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So right, Eustace.

But the truth of the matter is, shorts just don't get the same love features do. Most times, shorts usually get ignored (even as topics of discussion) by all but the most avid of the medium's enthusiasts.

When we talk about the films we love, they're usually features and not shorts. One of my favorite films, for example, without being prejudiced by running length, is Six Shooter; also, I really like The Accountant, which was only recently released on DVD. Both are short live-action films.

Of course, I'm not saying that alone should be a reason to make something feature-length, but Matchgirl would have automatically been moved to a higher-profile status had it not been for its length, regrettably.

One of those existing stigmas we must also work on combating.

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Greg B
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Eustace, "The Little Match Girl" is the bravest and impinging work Disney has done in decades, all for the reasons you've stated and more.

Yes it's depressing. So is the original story. No one gets more depressing than Shakespeare, Dickens, the Bronte Sisters, Mary Shelley, and the master of depression, Poe.

I hope they didn't put this short as filler on a DVD of The Lion King or Tarzan. It should have been shown in theatres and brought the house down in tears. The story is as relevant today as it was when Anderson penned it. People can be cruel and heartless and this story reaches into the worst we can be.

It's the best punch in the gut since Bambi.

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pud
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Greg B ... I was totally surprised when I saw this in production. And was even more so when it was able to be produced as it was boarded.

It can almost confuse the viewer at the end with the the thought :' Did I just see that right? ...Did they just do that ? '

Great moment for them to keep it as is. Powerful stuff.

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PHIL
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quote:
I hope they didn't put this short as filler on a DVD of The Lion King or Tarzan. It should have been shown in theatres and brought the house down in tears. The story is as relevant today as it was when Anderson penned it. People can be cruel and heartless and this story reaches into the worst we can be.
Well Greg you'll be pleased to know here in the UK it ended up on the Little Memaid DVD released a few years ago. Completely under the radar.

Matchgirl, along with the likes of Lorenzo and John Henry are shorts I'm eager to see in their entirety and not hidden away in the DVD extras.

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Greg B
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Phil, how could they put TLMG in the same package as TLM? They're both Anderson stories for sure but leagues apart in storytelling power regarding their Disney incarnations.

That's like giving a kid a chocolate cake but putting broccoli icing on it. It's good for you but the contrast will shatter the intentions of the two.

Anyhow, TLMG is what Disney should be doing and not just ONE version but try different approaches to it. It had that modern day Disney look which is the only drawback as I think what would it have been like had it been done in the 50's? It would have destroyed audiences. You wouldn't have had a dry eye for a hunnerd miles around.

There are a number of animated versions of TLMG from over the years I'm hearing about but considering it as a powerful tool to emphasize the plight of orphans, the homeless, etc. no wonder the story got hidden so much over the years.

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Animagus
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"Matchgirl" was a bonus feature on the "Little Mermaid" DVD in the states (region 1?), as well, so I think it was pretty standard.
I you're craving more Andersen by way of Disney, there's always the development artwork for the unrealized feature that was being planned, I think well before the Danny Kaye movie, and I understand they're going back into production on "The Snow Queen". If I'm wrong, someone can set the record straight, but here's a link to some developement art:
http://artofdisney.canalblog.com/archives/2009/10/21/15514537.html

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Mr. Fun
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Disney should really put all these wonderful shorts on a special disc instead of burying them on other DVD releases.

I find it a major pain in the ass to locate these little gems because they're "hidden" on other DVDs. It's as if the studio just threw them away.

I remain infuriated by Disney's total disrespect of their many talented artists.

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Paburrows
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I don't think that Matchgirl would have made a good feature length film. stretching it would have turned it into another Hunchback of Notre Dame that tried to strattle both its true theme and pleasing the mass audience and would have just been a mess. I loved that story before and was pleased that it came out so intact. Hollywood has a bad habit of taking books with 10 pages and slapping on and hour and a half worth of unnessisary stuff. IE Grinch, Cat in the Hat, Wild Things, etc, etc, etc. I think that the true vision came through because it was small and less supervision.

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Greg B
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Ohhhhhhhh! I could just bite the enamel off my teeth when classics meet great animators and something doesn't work out.

TLMG is just fine. I didn't know it was added to TLM I just saw the thing while smoochin' on a date and next thing I know there's she's got tears all over the place. I took a double check and had to watch the thing.

Anyway, It's the classic, well done work that lasts through time and Hans Christian Anderson's tales have been enjoyed for across over 3 centuries now and are still favorites. Were it not for the use of certain technologies used in the stories they'd be up there with Aesop's tales.

Bottom line is TLMG deserved it's own spotlight instead of being mixed up with TLM. I know I'll get clobbered when I say this but TLMM just didn't grab me animation-wise. Only a few scenes really amazed me. The songs, script, design, all were fine but the animation itself just left me cold. In comparison to the well done work on TLMG it makes the rest of the 2D stuff of the past 20 years look bland and that's not a slight to the 2D movies it's just that TLMG is such a powerful story that even bad animation can't screw it up. So when you add great direction you get something so superior it stands on it's own legs.

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Striker
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I had plans to do a short of this story a few years back. I had the prelim boards done and designs. Then I saw Disney's version and burned everything [Smile]

Seriously good adaptation. I was completely moved.

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Greg B
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Striker, don't let it hold you back. It should inspire you to strive harder.

Every artist worth their salt owes it to themselves to do their own versions of the classics. It builds a very robust and confident portfolio as the stories are so well ingrained that others can truly see how unique your abilities are.

There's a wealth of source material out there from Anderson to Verne to Shakespeare and on. It takes research however to study the costumes and props and languages of the times to get the authentic look.

12 years ago Madeline Robbins, author and editor for Tor books asked me to do a comic book about Mozart of all people. It was part of the old Timewalker comic book series. No one else wanted to do the book because of the research they had to do. It was an emergency job and we had to make do. The story was written by Steven Brust and it was tough to do but I still get fan mail from it.

Anyhow, if you want to see an awesome adaptation of a classic to comics, check out Bernie Wrightson's adaptation of Frankenstein. Just outstanding work. Maybe one day AN will be able to do adaptations of the classics.

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E. Allen
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Cool story about producing Mozart, Greg B.

I could just picture my own version of either Match Girl or Cinderella. I get chills!

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Greg B
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E. Allen, I figured when I reached old age I could sit back and enjoy doing my versions of the classics.

As I said earlier, an artist owes themselves the fun of interpreting the classics.

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Greg B
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Oh for cryin' out loud literally!

I mentioned "The Little Match Girl" to my friends and college alum group and they didn't know it was done by Disney. They found a clip on YouTube and the cryin' and boo-hooin' ain't stopped yet.

They wanted to know where they could buy it on DVD and so on. I found out my college actually has original works and does a course or two about Anderson.

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GaryClair
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I'm surprised there isn't a Disney's Little Match Girl 2: Adventures in Heaven and
Little Matchgirl 3: Matchsticks made in Heaven
then
Matchsticks adventures
then:
Color swatches with dogs barking in the background

...part 4

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E. Allen
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That's what I'm talking about, Greg, in the case of your college alum group. Word of mouth eventually leaves no good work unheralded, but it seems to take longer for short films to benefit from it.

We won't be seeing any sequels to this one Gary, anytime soon. The film itself is already an ill fit with Disney's brand (with its "downer" ending); the Match Girl definitely does not lend itself well to merchandising. A Match Girl lunch pail? Match Girl headband & bracelet? Whaaaaaaaa . . .

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