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Disney In Depth: The State of the Disney Animated Short Film
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For decades the Disney animated short films, starring the classic gang of Mickey and friends, dominated the screens with innocence and cheer. But that era is not one forgotten. Merely it exists in the past tense, just like the blockbuster musicals that made Disney, Disney. Nevertheless, Walt Disney Animation Studios is experiencing a period of re-growth, what some would argue could be the “third renaissance.” Tangled and the forthcoming Wreck-It Ralph are believed to represent that new beginning. In any case, the art of the short film within the studio is also undergoing a fantastic period of re-interest and ingenuity.

For much of the last decade, when Disney animation was arguably struggling in producing quality features, both in their theatrical and direct-to-video releases, developing short films was placed on the back-burner. Perhaps not intentionally, but they were relegated to little-seen pictures, film festivals, and bonus features on DVDs. The Annie Award-winning short Lorenzo, a charming little tale about a cat’s tail that takes over its life, is utterly creative. But where was this long-delayed piece played to audiences? Try the 2004 Kate Hudson romantic comedy Raising Helen, which underwhelmed at the box office. How was it decided that a short like this be paired with a PG-13 comedy starring Goldie Hawn’s daughter? Though each of these films is adorable in its own right, one must wonder why these were paired together.

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Disney’s ‘Prep & Landing’ To Return With ‘Operation: Secret Santa’
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Last year, Disney premiered Prep & Landing, a half-hour television special about an elite unit of Santa’s Elves known as Prep & Landing.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is planning to bring the unit back in a 7-minute animated short called Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa, with Betty White as the voice of Mrs. Claus.

Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa will air on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) during the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. Both programs will repeat on Thursday, December 16 from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET.

The original Prep & Landing was the first television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and premiered last December.

Aside from being from Disney, which is enough right there to get me to check it out, the original Christmas special also had Dave Foley as the voice of Wayne, one of the elite elves, and Foley is back for this new adventure! I totally loved the first Prep & Landing and was hoping by now it would be out on DVD, as I think it’s a great holiday story that I’d love to see every year. I actually still have it saved on my DVR (luckily!), and have watched it a few times already, so I’m really looking forward to this follow-up. I only wish it was longer than just 7 minutes.

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