Disney’s magic extended in Melbourne

December 19, 2021 BY

“Disney: The Magic of Animation” has 500 original artworks from films from the 1920s to the present day. Photo: ACMI

Disney fans of all ages can take a peek inside the House of Mouse and see how some of its animated classics were made at a now-reopened exhibition in Melbourne.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is welcoming back visitors, families and fans of the artform with the extension of Disney: The Magic of Animation until January 23, 2022.

Celebrating nearly 100 years of Disney’s most iconic animations, the internationally acclaimed exhibition was originally scheduled to close on October 17.

As many missed out on visiting during Melbourne’s lockdown, ACMI and the Walt Disney Animation Research Library worked together to ensure the exhibition’s 500 original artworks from the 1920s to the present day would be able to remain in Victoria for a few months longer.

Disney: The Magic of Animation includes original paintings, sketches, models and concept art that have been specially selected by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library in Los Angeles, California.

The rarely-seen works reveal the development of stories and animation techniques from some of the best Walt Disney Animation Studios films and shorts, including Mickey Mouse’s first talkie Steamboat Willie (1928), Fantasia (1940), Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Lion King (1994), Frozen (2013), Moana (2016), Frozen 2 (2019) and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).

Fans of Disney’s films from the 1970s and most of the 1980s (such as Robin Hood or Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) will miss out, unfortunately, as there is a large and unexplained gap between The Jungle Book (1967) and the start of the “Disney Renaissance” in 1989 with The Little Mermaid.

The five sections of this exhibition each focus on a different era of innovation, from perfecting the technique of bringing two-dimensional drawings to life in the 1920s, to the creation of the first animated feature films in the late 1930s and 1940s, the stylistic innovations of the post-war years, the renaissance of the 1990s to the digital revolution and advances of the present day.

The young and the young-at-heart alike can explore the five kingdoms of the world of Kumandra from Raya and the Last Dragon through a giant projection, experience the depth of colour in animation through an immersive room featuring scenes from The Lion King and Pocahontas (1995), or step inside and become part of a scene from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

“We’re thrilled to welcome visitors back to our national museum of screen culture – and what a way to celebrate,” ACMI director and chief executive officer Katrina Sedgwick said.

“It was magical seeing fans of all ages get lost in the wonderful world of Disney during the exhibition’s opening weeks. We’re excited to extend the opportunity to experience these enchanting artworks from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library and hope they bring people joy as the city reanimates after a challenging few months.”

Over the course of the summer, ACMI will also present a variety of Disney-themed events.

For tickets and more information, head to ACMI’s website.

The writer was a guest of Visit Victoria.

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