Walt Disney was a lifelong fan of fairytales. When he started as an animator, he decided to animate some of those fairytales. He made short films first. Later he made feature films. A lot of planning and development went into making them.
You can see some of Disney’s best work on display at a new exhibition. The exhibition is called Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairytales. It is on now at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
Works on display
There are many different works on display. They include:
- Pencil, ink and charcoal sketches
- Painted animation cells
- Video demonstrations
- Film clips
- Movie posters
- Original merchandise
- Walt Disney’s collected fairytale books.
The works are from many different movies. They include:
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Little Mermaid
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Princess and the Frog
Retelling the classics
Traditional fairytales often have dark themes. Disney had to change the fairytales for a family audience. You can see from the displayed work how humour was used to lighten scenes. Funny moments between characters were created. This made them more accessible to families. It also made them more entertaining.
Filmmakers put a lot of thought into creating each shot. They carefully create every frame so each tells the right story. Painted cells of the wicked Queen from Snow White show her with a pet panther. The panther was not in the final film. The animators removed the panther because it overshadowed the Queen. In the final film, she powerfully stands alone.
Dreaming up characters
Disney animators put a lot of work into creating characters. The work on display shows how much thought was involved in creating them.
The exhibition also shows that characters do not have to be people. The film Snow White has a good example. When Snow White was wandering through the forest, the trees had subtle but menacing eyes. The animators made the forest a character.
You can take an audio tour of the exhibition. You can download it for free from the ACMI website (opens new window). You can also hire an iPod containing an audio tour for a fee.
For the animators
This exhibition is best for people who are interested in animation and film. I noticed many art students attending. If you are interested in storytelling like me, you will also enjoy it. I learned some new facts about animation I did not know before.
Accessibility is excellent
Accessibility at the venue is excellent, including manual wheelchair users. ACMI is a modern building located at Melbourne’s Federation Square. ACMI has elevators and accessible toilets. Staff are helpful and eager to assist.
Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairytales Exhibition runs until April 26. It is open daily. Tickets are $16 for adults, and $12 concession.