REVIEW: Prop Culture
This morning, I binged all eight episodes of Disney+'s new show Prop Culture. What's interesting is that, unlike their other shows, Disney dropped all their episodes at once. I am kind of opposed to the bingeing model because I like to look forward to other episodes. That said, I was hooked and watched the whole thing in one sitting.
I am a big fan of movie props and can't help getting weepy when I see them in person whether it be at the D23 Expo, at the exhibit when they had it at the Ronald Regan Museum, or on the Disney lot itself. So, I was so excited to watch this series and it really did not disappoint.
The show is hosted by prop collector Dan Lanigan as he crosses the country in search of props from various Disney movies. Each episode looks at a different movie. In this season, we see Mary Poppins, TRON, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and The Muppet Movie. Lanigan speaks with various filmmakers, actors, prop collectors and other creatives. The nice thing about doing this is that you really feel that connection to the props through their eyes and stories.
Some of my favorite moments include when Mary Poppins costume designer opens a box to see Matthew Garber's outfit in the Jolly Holiday sequence. His eyes just light up and it's such a special moment. Another moment is when several of the TRON production artists gathered around the helmets and talked about how they created them. I got a chance to see the helmets recently at 80s Nite at Disneyland and just marveled at them.
Then, I enjoyed seeing the kids from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe and how much they loved seeing the props they used, especially Anna Popplewell who played Susan who gasped every time something was revealed. Seeing Rick Moranis for the first time in
decades was also a treat and to see him touch his glasses that he wore in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. And, finally, seeing Paul Williams, the man who wrote my favorite song (Rainbow Connection!) and many a tune for the Muppets over the years, holding Kermit's banjo that he played in the opening number of The Muppet Movie. There were just so many special moments.
The only thing that I was irritated by were some of the forced interviews where it seems almost scripted. I appreciated when they finally started talking about the props and don't need the interviews set up the way they are. But, honestly, that is just a minor quibble that would never prevent me from watching it.
I hope there will be a season two. I would love for them to look at some Star Wars and Marvel films in the next one. Whatever they do, I know I will be excited!