Things seem to be looking up these days at the Mouse House, with last week's Best Picture nomination for Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story 3" and this week's 60th anniversary release of "Alice in Wonderland" on Blu-ray DVD.
The films represent fine examples of both the new Disney/Pixar and the old Disney (even if "Alice" is one of the weaker animated classics, and its Blu-ray version seems meant to capitalize on Tim Burton's successful 2010 interpretation of Lewis Carroll's surreal trip down the rabbit hole).
Timing is everything, even when it's unintentional. Which is why we're getting an extra kick out of our two favorite viral videos of the past week, variously lampooning classic Disney of now and then: a princess flick featuring pop bad girl Ke$ha and a mock movie trailer reimagining "Up" as a 1960s live-action Disney comedy.
In Ke$ha's twisted world, Cinderella's helpful bluebirds are eaten by vultures, and her "critter crew" includes rats, bats and an overly amorous, anatomically correct skunk. The face in Snow White's mirror is the wicked queen, derided in song as "some genie slut" and dismissed with an obscene request. The language gets a lot rawer than that – and so does the animation, including one shot too (hilariously) disgusting to mention here.
The parody, which has racked up more than 1 million views on Funny or Die, displays an alternately loving and irreverent eye for detail in cleverly poking bawdy fun at the Disney princess genre. As much as we like the Ke$ha video, we're far more impressed with the less-viewed (not quite 400,000 hits) "Up" takeoff, which features old movie clips mashed into a trailer for a circa-1960s Disney flick, ala "The Absent-Minded Professor" and "The Love Bug."
The genius of the short is that the bespectacled white-haired Carl Fredricksen is brought to life by his live-action doppelganger, Spencer Tracy, as seen in the actor's final film, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." The Charles Muntz character, who was apparently based on Kirk Douglas in the first place, is realized with clips of the dimpled star.
The so-called "premake" of "Up" is great for games of spot-the-movie, thanks to almost seamlessly interspersed footage from multiple films ("The Red Balloon," "A Boy and his Dog" and "Benji" were among those we quickly picked out).
The faux trailer, with its pitch perfect narration ("You'll believe a house can fly in Walt Disney/Pixar's 'Up!'"), was created a YouTube user with the handle “whoiseyevan,” whose previous “premake” mashups include one of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," re-envisioned as the kind of 1940s movie serial that inspired Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' creation.
Disney, we hope, is certainly big enough to take a joke – either way, we're glad to share. So check out "Disney's Princess Ke$ha," which is NSFW, and the 1965 “premake” of "Up," which is fine viewing for movie fans of all ages:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.