A titan in Hollywood and one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, the Mouse House is looking back at their rich history in a very interesting way.
For instance, Get a Horse, the dazzling new short that plays before Frozen in theatres, is the first original Mickey Mouse theatrical cartoon in almost two decades.
But more than simply being a reintroduction to a beloved character, it’s also a deft marriage of old and new techniques that features, through some technical wizardry, the first vocal performance from Walt Disney since the 1960s.
In the live action roster there’s the Oscar hopeful Saving Mr. Banks, the story of the making of the classic Mary Poppins, and Tomorrowland, an epic sci-fi saga that was allegedly inspired by the contents of a mysterious box found in the Disney archives.
The ninety-year-old company has one eye on the past and the other very much on the future.
“We like to think of our legacy as a springboard to the future and not something that anchors us so you can’t move your feet,” says Walt Disney Animation Studios General Manager and Executive Vice President Andrew Millstein.
“There is a great wealth of characters and visual material but in its day the best of Disney was innovative and moved with audiences. We should do the same. Whether it is Get a Horse or Frozen or Big Hero Six, in terms of our approach to stories or animation or technology, we’re building on our legacy for our future.”
So what should audiences can anticipate from Disney in the next few years? Millstein says audiences should, “expect the unexpected.”
“We have to be fiercely original. We have to give audiences things they haven’t seen before. We want to surprise audiences. We want our stories to be compelling, the worlds to be great, the technology and the visuals to be stunning. If we do our jobs well, that is what’s going to happen.”
Millstein knows what he’s talking about. He’s been with Disney since 1997, when he started there as a production executive in the studio’s motion pictures group.
“It makes me feel very proud that I am part of a company that is creating content and films that you know are going to live for a long, long time,” he says. “We’re part of the zeitgeist of modern history.”