Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lookie Here...

More proof that George Lucas is borrowing from Tokyo DisneySEA's Indy attraction for the "Man with the Hat's" further adventures...

Lego released some publicity photos of the toys that are supposed to come out by April and look at this particular one. Distinctly South American in nature and judging by some pics we've already seen of ziggurats, you have to wonder, don't you?

If they make a fifth, could Indiana Jones go hunting for "The Forbidden Eye"?

Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Story Versus Story...

Variety has a really good interview with Brad Bird were he waxes on about animation, film making and the respect that should be given to animation writers. Brad seems to feel there's not much difference between live-action and animatiion... A story is a story is a story.

I tend to agree with him. Give it a looksie.

Hat Tip: Upcoming Pixar

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mouse For Rent?

It appears right after it was announced that Fox will begin renting movies from Apple's upcoming rental service through iTunes, that Disney is prepared to go with the service as well.

This isn't surprising since Disney was the first company to sign up for Apple's selling of movies on iTunes. Having Steve Jobs as your biggest single stockholder and a seat on the Board also ads weight to the logic in joining such a band wagon as well...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bolt Appears...

It appears we have our first shot of "Bolt" on the web.

Rope Of Silicon has grabbed the first shot of the little doggie. It looks a little different than what I've seen, but then again, what I saw was a line drawing... hope you enjoy!

Hat Tip to Matt... much thanks.

Largest Entertainment Company In The World?

There is speculation that Jeffrey Bewkes, who is about to take over as CEO of Time Warner Inc. next week, will break the company up and sell off its publishing assets(Time, Sports Illustrated, ect.).

That would leave Warner with the film studio, cable-TV networks and a few other interest making its size look like that of rival, Viacom(owner of Paramount).

What would this restructuring look like for the world's largest entertainment company? It would still be quite big, but the "Number One" mantel would fall to the second largest entertainment company in the world:

The Walt Disney Company.

It would become the top of the heap without really having to grow more than what it already is. This would be mainly a feather in the cap of perception, really. No change would happen at the Mouse other than adding the line about being number one in the annual report. Something that Iger can quote in his speeches and lay claim to as CEO of the Walt Disney Company...

Y'know, about being the largest entertainment company... IN THE WORLD! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dis The Season...

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas from myself, my Bothans and everyone else here at Blue Sky Disney.

May you get more than you wished for...

May your mind be clear...

May your body be healthy...

May your spirit be right...

And lastly...

May your heart be full and your home be filled with family, friends and happiness.

- Honor Hunter

Monday, December 24, 2007

Disney Finds Treasure At The Box Office...

The sequel to "National Treasure" was number one at the box office this weekend. The Nicholas Cage starring "National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets" pulled in $45.5 million dollars over this pre-Christmas weekend. Not bad.

No doubt helped out by all the Disney Geeks that went to just see the new Goofy short...

But seriously, it's a good movie. It's a fun movie. Most of all, it's a profitable movie for the Mouse. Not a bad way to end the year for Bob Iger and Oren Aviv. Oh, and of course John Lasseter for bringing back the shorts. Here's to a bigger, better and brighter 2008 at the movies for Walt Disney Pictures. Lots of news coming soon for the film division...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Carl...

As we come close to Christmas I thought it would be nice to also celebrate the creation of one of Walt Disney Comics most famous creations...

Uncle Scrooge.

A half a century old, the grumpy duck is! Fifty years ago. All the way back in 1947 Carl Barks wrote and drew a story called "Christmas on Bear Mountain" in Donald Duck comics. Dell Comics actually published it in "Donald Duck #178". It marked the first appearance of Scrooge McDuck of the Scottish clan of McDucks. He didn't have all the familiar personality quirks that we would come to love, but the core idea was there.

The story follows Donald, broke and unable to buy any gifts for his family. He gets a surprise invitation to his Uncle Scrooge's mansion way up on Bear Mountain. Scrooge has sent for his nephew so that he can test his character. He plans on scaring Donald by dressing up as a bear. But nothing in life happens as planned and a baby bear wanders into the living room while they're out and falls asleep beside the warm hearth of the fire place. Hilarity ensues and through a series of unintended consequences Scrooge believes that Donald has past his test and comes the next day to have Christmas with them.

Carl Barks never intended on using the character for other than that one issue, but he soon realized the fun he could have with ole' Scrooge McDuck and the rest is history.

Scrooge is my favorite Walt Disney comic book character. I remember as a child having my Pappaw take us out to a late dinner at a diner in my small, home town. When we would get up to pay the bill at the front counter there was a comic book rack across from the register. You know the kind, whole batches of comics placed in clear bags with three per bag. He'd always have me pick out a collection and I always picked a few Uncle Scrooge comics. I'd tear open the plastic wrapper as he drove us home and scan through them giggling. It's some fond memories I have of my Pappaw and that McDuck...

If you get a chance to find a copy of Donald Duck # 178, don't hesitate. It's a great story with wonderfully rendered Barks artwork. If you've ever read any of Don Rosa's work you'll notice he pays tribute to Barks tales, particularly "Bear Mountain" in his enormously entertaining stories.

So as you gather round to celebrate the holidays this week, remember that another thing we have to be thankful for is that rich, old Scrooge McDuck and the three cubic acres of wealth in his Money Bin. He looks pretty good for fifty, doesn't he?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Odds & Ends, Bits & Pieces...

A lot of you have written in thanking me for the YouTube links in some of my articles. Several of those have asked if I have anymore that they could look at...

There are far too many to list right here and I won't be able to put links to them all, but I thought we'd try and give you a taste of what can be found out there. If everyone likes this we may occasionally do another post with new links. So without much further ado...

Here is a video of the making of Hong Kong Disneyland. It's taken of a screening of the opening, but really fascinating. You can see the anticipation of everyone involved in the project.

This is the train station at Hong Kong Disneyland that someone took video of. It shows you the care and detail that went into the park... even the monorail/train station. Let's not loose sight of the fact that HKDL is greatly detailed, just too small. That's it failing, which will hopefully be remedied shortly(hint, hint).

If you'd just like to get a sense of the atmosphere and detail that can be found in Hong Kong Disneyland, then take a look at this video of Adventureland.

This is a video that shows you what Fantasyland in Hong Kong Disneyland is like.

What a great professional looking video this is of Tokyo DisneySEA. The first few minutes give you a glimpse of the astounding detail that can be found there. The shots of Mysterious Island are one of the reasons it's my favorite part of the park and holds my favorite attraction "Journey To The Center Of The Earth".

Here is a video of a sampling of the parades and entertainment that can be found at the Tokyo Disney Resort... one of my favorites.

The wonderful stage shows at Tokyo DisneySEA are something one should not miss while visiting the park... this here video is a prime example.

Here's a video a group shot of their experience at Tokyo DisneySea that gives you a "guest-view" of the park that is interesting. The video isn't the best, but it's quite nice to experience.

You can see with the advancement in Web 2.0 technologies that there are going to be more and better quality videos like this in the near future. I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing videos of DCA's Makeover in the next few years of the construction progress. It's sites like YouTube and others that are bringing the Disney community together and making the Disney World a smaller, more familiar place for everyone around the globe. The "Convergence" continues...


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Fairest Of Them All...

On this day, seventy years ago...

At the Carthay Circle Theater, Walt Disney premiered his new animated feature: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Nothing like it had ever been attempted before. The film was a box office and critical hit. The film made so much money for Walt that he used a good deal of it to purchase a plot of land in Burbank to build a new, larger studio than the one he occupied at 2719 Hyperion.

The world we live in today has many, many animated films and people sometimes take it for granted, but back in 1937 it was a bold risk to take. The other studios had thought Walt was crazy and labeled his idea of turning his shorts into a full length motion picture "Disney's Folly".

They underestimated Walt...

It was something people would continually do to him...

History shows how visionary Walter Elias Disney was. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go put a certain film in my DVD player. I've left my HD Television waiting and it's calling me. I think this movie will go perfectly with this big soda and freshly popped bag of buttered popcorn I'm holding.

Iger Slips Russia A Mickey...

Bob Iger's Mouse March across the world continues...

The Walt Disney Co.'s international TV licensing arm, Disney-ABC International Television just signed a major, multiyear deal with Channel One, the Russian state-run television network. The deal will include movie titles, live-action series, animated series as well as telefilms. Also of note is the launch of a monthly family film timeslot for "The Wonderful World of Disney." Some of the movie titles would include "Dead Man's Chest(yeah!) and Wild Hogs(those poor Russians!) as well as some future features.

So as well as expanding into formerly Communist China, now the Mouse is looking to create more Disney Geeks that speak Russian. Let's just hope that Vladimir Putin's strong arm tactics don't include muzzling Mickey Mouse. Hey, POTC: Dead Man's Chest could refer to Russia's punishment for speaking out against the government. You never really can tell in this crazy, Disney world.


Goofy Weekend...

For those of you that attend the new "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" film, you get that added bonus of seeing the new Goofy "How To Hook Up Your Home Theater" short.

In a word, brilliant... it's like going back in a time machine. They got the animation and tone absolutely perfect. It's been updated slightly of course, but for the most part, it's a walk back into the classic past of wonderful Disney shorts. I look forward to many more of these in the future... particularly the one Eric Goldberg is working on with Mickey, Donald and Goofy.

Go see the film, it's fun, not great, but it's an entertaining two hours of action with a little history education tacked on to boot. The Goofy short alone is worth the price of admission.

How Walt Disney Cartoons Are Made...

On this day, as we celebrate the premiere of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", I thought you might enjoy this short that RKO released describing how the film was made. This was to theaters goers what the extras we see on a DVD today would be. Remember, this is the birth of animated features, something we take for granted now, but Walt Disney was a blazing pioneer when he developed this. No one thought he would succeed...

They were all wrong of course.

This should be a lesson to everyone. Don't listen to the negative people in life that always tell you no. The ones that always say you can't do it or it can't be done. One thing about life you should remember is that walls aren't made to keep you out... they're there to keep all the others out... those that don't have the will, the drive or the ambition to persevere.

You have to be the one to work on, smarter and diligently seeing what you believe through to the end. So the next time you face a wall in your life, if you truly believe in what you are doing then don't look at it as a wall keeping you from getting to that opportunity you've been working at. Think of it as a wall preventing those that don't have your drive or your focus and keep going.

Moving forward.

That's what Walt did... that's what we all should do.

Now that I've said that, I'll get off my soap box and get back to the video.

Click it.


What would we do without YouTube?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Other Side Of The Mouse...

On this day, thirty-six years ago, the other brother, Roy O. Disney passes away only months after opening up his brother's dream project: Disney World, which Roy had renamed as "Walt Disney World" in his brother's honor...

Roy Disney leaves this earth at the age of seventy-eight years young. While Walt was the showman of the two, Roy was the business mastermind responsible for getting the funding for his brother's sometimes strange, creative endeavors... he ran the day to day aspects of the Studio which Walt wasn't very good at. He was a talented, underappreciated, very kind and modest man.

With his passing the company has to find a leader that isn't named Disney... something that they've never had to do in its over forty year history. It's the beginning of "The Wilderness Years", where Walt Disney Productions had to search for an identity for itself. Without it's iconic leader and his brother to guide it, the company will meander forward until Michael Eisner, a Paramount executuve and Frank Wells, a former Warner Bros. executive are hired to revive the company and the mythic "Disney" name.

Bless you, Roy. You were a wonderful man like your brother, and you will be missed...


Today, Was A Blustery Day...

On this day, thirty-nine years ago, "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is released in front of one of Disney's live-action features. It is the second of the three "Winnie the Pooh" shorts that will eventually make up "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" film. It wins the Academy Award for Best Animated Short... and it's my favorite of all the Winnie shorts.

Pure Disney Magic.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The "Field Of Dreams" Principle...

"If you build it, they will come."

That famous quote from the movie "Field of Dreams" is a very powerful statement. Not only in the film, but in theoretical, Imagineering terms. These are lessons learned from the failures of the 90's. The new management Suits over at Team Disney have learned from the mistakes(we hope, we pray) of building parks too small or too unthemed.


Think we would have been having all these discussions right now about how to fix DCA if they would have done it right in the first place? Probably not. And this is not just another ranting against Eisner and his crew, although they deserve the scorn that has been heaped upon them. I like many others would have liked to have seen WestCot built where California Adventure stands and I would have loved for Port Disney, with its Disneysea to have been built in Long Beach. I also feel that While Eisner was wrong to go the skimpy route and build a park on the cheap, if he had built a park with the detail and cost of Tokyo DisneySea the company would have had a horrible time recovering from that expenditure after 911. It would have been worse, much worse than Euro Disneyland. So, that being said, it still would have been possible to have created a great park from the start. One with a more unifying theme and more detail to satisfy the discriminating Californian park goers. No, this post is not hear to rain on poor Michael Eisner's stinginess during the second have of his career at the Mouse... This post is simply put, an article that states "if you build a great ride... the lines will follow and the guest will spend more time at the resort, buying more souvenirs, more food(after-all, they have to eat something while waiting in a five hour line, right?) and more nights in the hotel rooms". In shorter terms, more money for the Mouse. And that's what it all boils down to my friends and fellow Disney Geeks. You would thing that something so simple would be clear to see. Wouldn't you?

You would be wrong.

Ever been to Disneyland in Anaheim? Have you ever traveled down to Critter Country and stood in that long line for "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" ride? No? Me neither. That's because there isn't one... there's rarely a long wait to get onto this ride, even during busy times like summer or Christmas. If you have waited longer than thirty minutes for this ride, it's because you let others cut in front of you. This ride opened to luke-warm reviews at best. And sadly, it opened up after the ride in Tokyo. If it had opened up before, then we could explain the design of "Pooh's Hunny Hunt" as an improvement over the original. Instead we are stuck with a de-evolution of the ride, one where it's taken down to its most basic concept and everything about it that is unique or dynamic is washed away. It's plain to see that we didn't get a basic variant of the deluxe version in Tokyo, we got treated like any new ride is to be thankful for. Which is definitely not true as it would have been better to have kept the Country Bears than suffer through the mediocrity that took its place. Some people will like the ride. Some guest will ride it and find it's great to see the characters come to life. None of those people have every seen, much less ridden on Hunny Hut... after doing so, it's hard to feel we didn't get the shaft on this one.

There are other stories like this. Other attractions with the same outcome, almost all of them from the late 90's on... Frank Wells, sigh... where oh, where are you? This wouldn't have happened were he there to temper Eisner's ego, but alas. Is there no one who understands the need to build rides and attractions that draw you in and keep you there, demanding more of your attention and more of your money, naturally. No one?

Of course, now there is. The Mousestro does. And to a slightly less of a degree, so does Iger, but he's got his mind rapped around ten times as many decisions to make as John does, so we're going to leave him alone for right now.

Now, we all know the story of what happened when Lasseter came over to WDI during one of his early meetings and we remember the much paraphrased statement he made: "We won't be making any mediocre rides, anymore." I've talked to people that heard him, and it may not be the exact words, but it is the heart of them. Just like the approach John takes at Pixar, he's trying to instill those values in Walt Disney Animation AND Walt Disney Imagineering. Quality is what they plan on selling... because quality is what differentiates Disney from Universal, Six Flaggs and Knotts. Not that those parks don't have some nice rides and even good theming, but it's like comparing Tiger Woods and another player that is competitive in the world of the PGA. It's not the same. Disney makes parks, rides and shows like no other. And when they mess up, we notice. When they only try half-heartily, we notice. DCA being the primary case. I won't mention WDS Paris, because this isn't a case of them trying... it's a case of falling on your face. DCA is like Disneyland compared to that park. So what John Lasseter and his circle of confidants intend on doing is creating attractions that don't ask you to come see them... they demand it. I know it's hard to grasp this because it takes so long to design, build and implement these things, but let's just say that the halls of WDI in Glendale are alive with creativity again. People that used to go in and do the daily grind, who didn't agree with the direction the company was going, didn't believe in the crop of projects the Imagineers had undertaking... well, that creative fire had been stoked, in some cases re-lit, in some cases redirected. It's going to be a while before you see concrete proof of this plan. Let's just say that in about two year you'll finally start getting a glimpse of it in America and around the World. By the time Phase One is done for our Second Gate here in California, you'll see what I'm talking about. And I'm not just talking about DCA. Come the turn of the next decade you'll notice some interesting things overseas and maybe even in the middle of Florida.

Lasseter and the band of brothers he's gathering around him in Glendale realize that it is as simple as the whisper that Ray Kinsella heard coming from his corn field...

If you build it, they will come.

Well, when it comes to the guys in charge over in the Glendale Kingdom right now...

They shall and they will.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wall-E Teasers Us, I Mean Teases Us Again...

The folks at Pixar have given us an early Christmas gift and posted a new, exclusive Wall-E teaser trailer over on MySpace TV that is... amazingly cute, hauntingly beautiful and incredibly funny.

Hey, it's Pixar. Whadayaexpect?

Have a looksie.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

An Imperfect, Perfect Life...

On this day, fourty-one years ago, Walter Elias Disney passed from this world into the next.

The night before he had been visited by his brother, Roy Disney. Roy was relieved that his brother said he was feeling better. He even talked about work and returning to the studio, which he could see just outside the window of his hospital room. The next morning he was gone...

But he will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wanna Buy A Duck?

Walt Disney Home Entertainment releases another Walt Disney
Treasures collection today.

Walt Disney Treasures: Wave 7

Three new 2-Disc DVD sets:

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Chronological Donald, Volume 3
Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic

Of these three, the one I'm most excited about is Volume 3 of Donald Duck. I've wanted to have all Donald's shorts since I was a wee, little tyke and I'm almost there with this tin.

Go out and get one for yourself... enjoy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Emperor Premieres...

On this day, seven years ago "Kingdom of the Sun" premiered. Wait, that's not right... I'm sorry. On this day seven years ago, the unfunny, incoherent mess that came from too many Suits messing with Roger Allers' film premiered. Sun, or as its other-worldly inept clone would be called "The Emperor's New Groove" would go on to disappointing box office and continue to plant the brilliant idea in Suits heads that audiences didn't want to see hand drawn animation anymore... what they want is 3D. Yeah, that's the ticket. It couldn't have anything to do with the turds WDFA was turning out... nooooooo.


Burton To Leave Audiences In Stitches...

Tim Burton talked to Sci-Fi Wire about his Frankenweenie project for Walt Disney Pictures:

"We're going to do that real low-budget. The thing that excites me about it and that will make it different is that when I look at my original drawings, there are certain things that are in those that I couldn't get in the live action when I made the film. So I'm quite excited to try to get a certain emotion and other characters in the new version, and I want to make it a slightly bigger story."

It appears Burton is really excited about the possibilities of exploring his pet project from his formative years on the Disney lot. I can't wait to see some artwork for this film.

How To Make A Movie Out Of A Theme Park Attraction...

USA Today is out with some more of the plot to the new Indiana Jones film and it sounds more and more like the movie will follow closely the attraction at Tokyo DisneySEA. How so?

Producer Frank Marshall has confirmed, according to the article:

The story is about a quest for South American relics with supernatural powers. Sounds like it could be placed in the Lost River Delta of TDS, doesn't it?

The artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.

Marshall says: "The theory is they are shaped by higher powers or alien powers or came from another world, or an ancient Mayan civilization had the powers"

Mayan, huh? Kinda like that Ziggurat building that the attraction is within in Tokyo... the tie-ins are going to be very interesting. I have a feeling the executives at OLC are a bit giddy right now.

Wanna read the article? Have a look for yourself.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Win, Lose Or Tie...

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has come out with its winners and in the Animation Award, Ratatouille" and "Persepolis" have tied for the win. I guess sharing is better than losing, eh?

On another note, the Boston Society of Film Critics have given out their awards and Brad Bird has won for Best Screenplay with "Ratatouille". That's not bad, considering it beat out the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men", which took home Best Picture, but not screenplay. It appears that unlike the Academy, the BSFC consider animation to be of equal value when it comes to awards. How nice.

This all adds to the awards roster that Remy and his friends have been receiving lately. Brad Bird's film got the National Board of Review Award for Best Animated Feature the other night and the awards season is just getting started. I have a feeling that the Director will have to make a lot of room on his trophy shelf early next year.

My congratulations to Brad Bird, John Lasseter and the entire crew at Pixar.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Under The Influence...

For those that don't remember, Walt began Disneyland as a private project. It wasn't as much a product of Walt Disney Productions as it was a product of Walt. He funded a majority of it by borrowing against his home and funding from the ABC network mainly. He risked his fame, his fortune and that of his family for what he believed in.

He even borrowed the designers from the animation department to start WED, which really wasn't a part of the company until later. While Roy ran the business side, Walt dreamed. Roy, a master salesman had the difficult task of finding the money to build his brother's dream. And even while this was going on, Walt was making a new live action film that was costing him an enormous amount of money... far more than he'd intended. If it had failed, "20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea" would have sunk his pet project down in Anaheim. But it didn't and Walt forged ahead. All those around him believed in him and his vision. That kind of influence is difficult to come by, and even harder to sustain.

And when he passed away there was no one at the company that had that kind of influence. No one that could inspire loyalty or faith in the belief that what he was doing was right. Not Card Walker. Not Ron Miller. No one. Even in Eisner's Era, no one including the brash CEO could inspire such faith and influence. The only one close was Jeffrey Katzenberg over in WDFA and even he, still couldn't be considered in the same league as the master himself. When they were pitching stories to Katzenberg for new projects, everyone would continually say: "What would Walt do?"... his shadow took a long time to fade from the studio lot. Jeffrey Katzenberg did the right thing by telling them Walt is long gone, we can't know what he would have wanted. We have to find our own way. And so they did. More often than not, the company made productive decisions. There were some glaring mistakes along the way, but until Frank Wells died in that helicopter crash the company mostly was firing on all cylinders.

But that influence that Walt had... it still wasn't there.

Until now. Now, you say? What are you talking about. Well, first let me say that no one will ever have the influence that the Maestro had. No one. But some may come close... and right now, someone actually does. The Mousetro himself, as I call him. Or as I referred to him in my first article about him: "Walt Disney 2.0".

John Lasseter.

I know, I know. Some of you roll your eyes and say that he's just a man. Why would you stick him so high on a pedestal. I don't really look at it that way. John will make mistakes like everyone, but that doesn't take away from his tremendous record, his power, his ability to inspire loyalty and the mystique that has been generated around him. Steve Jobs is the only other person that I know has such an influence and he happens to be on the Disney Board, but he doesn't meddle too much right now. He's concerned more about his fruit company... but John, he's got those qualities we've always admired in Walt. He's got tremendous power within the Walt Disney Company. Power that's not written into any contract. It's an ability that transcends his job description.

Examples of this, Honor? Let's talk about faith.

When Bob Iger made the deal to purchase Pixar, there was a clause in the deal he and Steve Jobs signed that stated if John Lasseter or Ed Catmull passed away before the completion of the agreement, Iger had the power to nullify the entire arrangement. So, without our Uncle John the Mousetro... what would Pixar be worth to Iger? To Disney? Not much, really. Pretty powerful belief in the Moustro's skills, don't cha think?

It was this belief in Lasseter that has made him have the faith in expanding DCA and various other projects. He gives a great deal of influence to John on creative matters, while Iger has bent the ear of Jobs regarding business matters(Jobs' influence is something we'll deal with another day).

Many people have wondered how his influence would change once Pixar became an independent arm of the Walt Disney Company. Critics wondered what would happen once Pixar had its first failure. Those same critics are still wondering because that first failure has yet to appear. With "Ratatouille" doing spectacular at the box office, Lasseter's influence continues to grow. He's now able to silence some nay-sayers that were questioning his strategy for the parks... his strategy for animation hasn't been seen yet, and won't be till Bolt next November. From what I've heard, we don't have much to fear... although Bolt will be the first, the next few offerings are where it appears we may see Disney animation shine again.

The hat building, despite being a place not conforming to Lasseter's liking, has been a much happier place of late. Everyone has a lighter step as they walk around. Although he's not trying to clone Pixar, he's trying to create the same positive atmosphere... and it's working. No scooters have been seen puttering down the halls, but give it a little time. There may even be a few secret places like the Pixar's famous "Hidden Bar" built into the new complex. Everyone is starting to realize the possibilities. And I'm not talking about the new furniture they have. John Lasseter has made the entire group of animators there realize they have to raise their game. He expects better stories from them. He respects them. He challenges them. His influence over the Burbank lot has been very positive. It should be even more so in a couple years when he moves to Glendale with the rest of the animation department. Then he'll be walking from the animation department, across to the Imagineering department instead of having to drive. This way he'll be able to take a more active and engaging role with the Imagineers.

The virus of negativity that had been allowed to spread over the last decade still needs to be weeded out. Suits that are on the lot will feel they're in foreign terrain and realize that just like in Disneyland, this is another world. John Lasseter is the leader here. No policy of letting the Suits control the story will come down to the Glendale Kingdom... not in a long while. His influence is that great. The only thing that could shake it is an external problem, not an internal one. Governments. Economies. Those kinds of things.

Almost all animation that the Mouse does gets his watchful eye. He's been involved in the remaking of the "Tinkerbell" movie that DisneyToons is doing and has guided it away from the disastrous direction it was headed. The second Fairy movie has been screened for him and the third is being prepped for his critique. It's hard to argue with his success... he learned it by watching the Master, Walt Disney.

He's learned how to make a great story and he's also creating one for himself down in Burbank and Glendale. Let's hope this one ends "Happily Ever After".

Friday, December 7, 2007

The OC Register is reporting today that Prospera Hotels turned in proposals to the city last week to build two 12 stories tall hotels, one with 400 units, the other 466 units. A short article... nice blurb about Disney in there. Not entirely acurate, but they're close, I believe. We'll see what comes of this.

Very interesting. Very.

I, Iger...

Fortune has a nice article entitled "How Bob Iger works" about the Mouse's CEO and how he starts his day, his philosophy and outlook on life. Nice read... give it a look.

A Day That Will Live In Infamy...

This day, sixty-six years ago...

On a lazy, Sunday morning while most were asleep, the United States suffered a surprise attack by Japan in our naval port, Pearl Harbor. 2,403 people lost their lives, 1,178 were wounded in that attack and America was plunged into the second World War the very next day when Congress, at the urging of President Roosevelt, declared war on Imperial Japan.

We honor those that lost their lives and thank them for their sacrifice.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Narnia: 1300 Years Later...

The new preview for "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is up over at Yahoo Movies. It's clearly more epic and slightly darker in tone than the first film. Go over and take a look at Disney's big summer release for 2008.

Born In America...

Inside a small cottage on Tripp Avenue in the bustling city of Chicago, one hundred and six years ago today...

Walter Elias Disney, a son, was born to proud parents Elias and Flora Disney. For that bundle of joy, the world owes them a debt which can never be repaid.

Happy Birthday, Old Maestro!

Monday, December 3, 2007

More Treasure?

Before it's even released, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" has already got Nicolas Cage excited about doing more sequel. He tells Coming Soon that "With 'National Treasure,' I believe that it should become more and more 'International Treasure'. I was very happy to see that we went to London, England and Paris, France, but I'd like to see the movie go wider still" He elaborated on that" "I'd like to go into Africa, Egypt, Asia, and keep going. My hope is that Ben is recruited and he gets a dossier from these other countries about their history, and has to download it and learn it, and then try to go on these hunts on their behalf. That would be a lot of fun for me."

The first movie was a bit of a surprise for the Mouse. Although they thought it would do decent numbers, the Suits were initially surprised that the film got a PG rating. The plan had been to release it through the Touchstone label until that happened. Once that happened, the Suits made the decision to move it over to the Walt Disney Pictures label. It worked far beyond their expectations with a box office return that padded the coffers of the Disney Vault to the tune of $173 million domestic, $174 million international and a global total of $347 million. Not bad...

And a sequel was obvious. Is it good? Well, we'll find out in a few weeks. I know quite a few Disney Geeks that will attend this film just because of the short that's attached to it. That could help boost its box office, but not enough to make it a success... that will depend on how many theater goers feel it's worth seeing again and again...

And again.

That'll also determine if Nicolas Cage gets to fulfill that quote about wanting to make more sequels. Come December 21st, we get to determine ourselves if Benjamin Franklin Gates goes on more adventures.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Devil's In The Details...

For every Disney Geek or Fan in Southern California, if you've had a chance to visit DCA lately...

you've gotten a real treat.

Getting to see the construction of "Toy Story Midway Mania" is a wonderful hobby for architectural and Disneyana fans. Walking down to Paradise Pier and staring at the building coming to life is like watching Steve Austin get bionic legs. Too old a metaphor for some of you? Well, just imagine all the detail that was missing when DCA opened...

Now imagine the opposite.

All the stucco and exposed beams compounding the lack of theming when the gates opened are in direct contrast to what is happening beneath California Screamin' right now. The detail is simply of another quality compared to what Paul Pressler's vision of the park was supposed to be. The shingles, the clap board, the ornate woodwork are all a startling break with the past.

By next summer when TSMM opens everything between the Maliboomer to the Carousel will give guest an idea of what the Makeover will bring to the rest of this park. If you have a chance to go to the Resort and decide to take walk down to the construction area, take a deep drink of what is happening to the Disneyland Resort's Second Gate...

It's becoming Disney.

And it's only the beginning...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Warning Signs...

Hey Guys,

Just a note to inform you that posting throughout this month will be lighter than normal due to the holidays and my determination to have a life outside of Disney(must find gifts, must find gifts, must find...).

Not that there won't be any... or even a small amount of postings, but there probably won't be at least one a day like there is usually. After the New Year, posts will return to normal.

Honest. What? You don't trust me? I mean it...

Scout's Honor.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Buy Your Car Online...

Until we see that sequel to "Cars" sometime early next decade, it looks like you will be able to experience them online. Bob Iger was quoted the other day discussing a new "Cars" online game that lets you roam around the enviroment of Radiator Springs and experience the world that Pixar and John "The Mousetro" Lasseter created.

It's supposed to debut sometime in 2008.

Now, as for the sequel, there is talk about it, but it's only whispers. My Pixar contacts are not as extensive as my Disney ones, so I can't verify this, but I can tell you that with Disney's marketing muscle and the "Cars" characters pulling in about 2 billion this year, you can bet Lightning McQueen and company will be kept on the forefront of kids and kids at heart for the next few years. It's worth it just to create awareness for the Cars Land that DCA is getting in 2012. That alone is reason enough for the Mouse to keep everyone up to date about the characters.

So come next year, you could be buying your car online...

Or at least renting it from the Mouse.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Cat's Meow...

Although it is nowhere near my favorite...

The first Disney film I can remember going to a theater to see was "The Aristocats". My parents couldn't take me, but my cousin offered to take me. So I rode with her into town to see it at the only theater we had in town. It was wonderful for a kid to experience. Watching that film in that rickety old, darkened movie house was my first theatrical enjoyment with the Mouse and the beginning of a life-long love of all things Disney. Now, about the film...

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman(The Jungle Book, Winnie The Pooh and The Blustery Day, Robin Hood), the story of Duchess and her three kids, errr kittens, Berlioz, Marie and Toulouse. Their Parisien Millionairess Owner bequeaths them her entire estate. The nasty butler has other plans and schemes to swindler her fortune for himself. He takes them away and tries to dispose of them. Out in the French countryside they come across Thomas O'Malley who helps them find their way back to Paris. it has a wonderful jazz score(by the great Sherman Brothers) and a hilarious chase scene that I could watch time and time again.

Walt Disney Home Video just announced that the film will get a DVD release on February 5, 2008.

As well as the classic movie, the disc will include several extras: A Never-Before-Seen Deleted song, Games and Activities: Disney Virtual Kitten ROM, English Read-Along, Disney Song Selection and a bonus short – “Bath Day”, a cartoon short from 1946 featuring Figaro. A Backstage Disney Scrapbook of The Aristocats will be on the disc as well.

More cash for the Mouse it appears, but at least it's a worthy reason to give Disney some green...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Best Picture Or Best Animated Picture?

The New York Times has an article about the problem the Mouse has regarding "Ratatouille":

"As the awards season heats up, the Walt Disney Company and its Pixar Animation Studios unit have been wrestling with a conundrum posed by their warmly received, computer-animated fable about a rat who aspires to become a Parisian chef: Any move to promote it as the year’s best picture might lead to ballot-splitting that would diminish its chances of getting the less prestigious but more easily won Oscar for best animated film."

This is another case of the Academy diminishing the art of animated films and how they shouldn't be considered for best picture since they are, after all... animated. Thus, they need to be subcategorized in an inferior award. This all came about years ago because "Beauty and the Beast" got nominated for a Best Picture and some in the AMPAS didn't feel a cartoon film deserved it, so they created the special category of "Best Animated Film"...

I've heard Brad Bird talk about this, it's a real shame when Oscar thinks that animation is a second class citizen in the world of film. Just as comedy never really makes it onto the Best Picture nomination list, animation gets to sit in the back of the bus because of a bunch of high-brow Hollywood types that think they know how to define what culture and class is.

This isn't something new, Walt Disney was never really treated like an equal when he was doing his shorts. He was laughed at when he decided to create the first feature length animated film, "Snow White" and many were skeptical about his entry into live-action because he "made cartoons". While times have changed, there is still enough resistance to the idea that the medium doesn't define art... the art is defined by the results. It shouldn't matter if it's live-action, animated, comedy or drama... tell that to an out of touch Hollywood. Tell that to the producers and moguls that run these companies. Tell that to a public that seems to be at odds with a entertainment industry that doesn't seem to know where its bread is buttered.

Another interesting paragraph:

"The studios’ reluctance to advance their animated wares as candidates for best picture is enforced by a perception that actors, the academy’s largest branch, with about 20 percent of the membership, are reluctant to honor movies without live performances. Additionally, the academy has a definite allergy to family fare, like the G-rated “Ratatouille”: 28 R-rated films have been nominated for best picture in the last 10 years, while only two PG-rated movies — “Finding Neverland” and “Good Night, and Good Luck” — have. And none with a G rating have made the cut."

It seems if a movie makes money, is made for the entire family and also happens to be animated, well... that's three strikes for that film. Very sad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There Be Pirates Ahead...

By Pirates, I mean Suits acting as pirates and hijacking Disney animation, of course...

On this day, five years ago, Walt Disney Pictures releases its 42nd animated feature "Treasure Planet". The film is loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel "Treasure Island". This is a film that was pitched to Jeffrey Katzenberg several times... he rejected it everytime. After he leaves the Mouse, apparently no one listened...

It does very badly at the box office.

While not nearly the worst film released by the Mouse over the last decade, it was not up to the caliber of "Mermaid", "Beauty" or "Lion King"... and was well known within the halls of the animation building as having been heavily interfered with by Suits. A bunch of animation executives that didn't know story, didn't know how to draw telling a bunch of animators how to tell story and how to draw.

And when it was a failure, who got the blame?

The animators. Sigh...

How Long Before More Shorts?

All right...

By now, everyone knows that the new Goofy short will premiere before "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" next month, but the real question is what is next? And when?

Well, from what my sources tell me, there are at least five shorts in active development. Three of which are well into production. The next one we will see after Goofy, may not be until next summer, but right now it looks as though the debut of "Bolt" a year from now will yield the next one. There has been talk of having a summer release of the next one, but as of right now there is no definite decision as to place one before next summers offerings.

So what will come in front of "Bolt"?

Well, that movie is being directed by Chris Williams and the short that will play in front of it will be one directed by...

Chris Williams?

Yup. Chris Williams got the job taking over the directing chores on "American Dog", now known as "Bolt" when John Lasseter saw the story reels for his new short, "Glago's Guest". So he not only has the pressure of being the first film released under The Mousetro's reign, but he also has a short that he directed attached to the front of his directorial debut. Not much pressure, eh?

From what I'm told "Glago's Guest" will be a very beautiful, artsy tale about a Russian guard out in the in the middle of nowhere that is visited by an extraterrestrial. It was good enough for Lasseter to trust him with a major animated feature. And before you ask... yes, it is CG.

So what else can we expect?

Well, as well as the short from Goofy's "How To", "Glago's Guest", we have "The Ballad of Nessie" and "Prep And Landing". There are another couple that are in preliminary stages. Yes, Disney's classic characters will be in some of these... in fact one short that is being planned will be directed by Disney Legend Eric Goldberg involving the classic trio themselves. There is a chance that the "Nessie" one could be ready by fall next year, but I don't think we'll see it before "Glago"... just my own intuition, schedules could change. The "Nessie" short(about the Loch Ness Monster, of course) should be interesting, it's being done by the directors of the Goofy short, it's hand drawn like the "Goofy" short and is very much in the style of Mary Blair's drawings. The story of "Prep" is about some very inept elves that prepare Santa's sleigh for Christmas Eve to disastrous results... do you think Disney will plan on releasing this one during a certain holiday season? There are many, many shorts being prepared for pitches, not all will make it into production, of course. The goal will be to have at least two a year by the end of next year... if things go well, they may try for three a year, but we'll have to see how they go and play for the audience.

But come December 21st, we'll get to see a new Disney short, and trust me...

It won't be the last.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bolt Into Theaters, One Year From Today...

Walt Disney Pictures "Bolt" will be released one year from today. This will be the first true test of of John Lasseter's Magical Wand of Success... we'll see if he can translate Pixar's success into Disney's own animation.

I'm betting he can.

I think "Bolt" will do just fine, but I believe the true greatness of what he's done reworking Walt Disney Feature Animation into Walt Disney Animation Studios will truly start with "The Frog and the Princess" and then be expanded even more so by "Rapunzel". From what I hear, these films are a return to the Second Golden Age films like "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast". If that's the case, I believe that "Bolt" will turn out to be the new "The Great Mouse Detective"... and that's no insult. I happen to love this Disney film and if next years animated film is as good as the one starring the Basil of Bakers Street, I'll be a very happy Disney Geek.

But 365 days from now we'll get a taste of what "The Mousetro" has in store for us...

Congratulations, Imagineers!

Walt Disney Imagineers took home two awards within the themed entertainment industry for creating outstanding new experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure Playtest at Epcot won an award.

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland also was a recipient of the 2007 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Congrats to all involved.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Walk In The Park...

Although the Makeover won't really start until next year and the exact date of the entrance keeps shifting as Operations and WDI work to find the right mix of attractions and walls, I thought it'd be nice to visit the park we walk into four and a half years from now.

In this part, we'll just start at the entrance...

It's a lovely, warm summer day in Anaheim and we're just passing through Downtown Disney. As we come across the Esplanade we look over and see the new entrance to Disney's Second Gate. The architecture in front of the turnstiles reminds us of the Pan-Pacific Amphitheater. We approach the gates and notice all the lovely foliage and plant life around the entrance... already we sense a difference from the park we remember. I admire their new period costumes as the cast member takes our ticket we push through the turnstiles and see the new Partners statue in front of the pole that is flying the California flag. We walk over and stare at the statue. It's a lovely homage to the original Partners statue across the Esplanade. Walt, looking young and wild-eyes as he stares out at Southern California and the opportunity it holds for him, all the while hanging on to his dear friend, Mickey. After a moment we hear a noise and come out of our dreamstate.

Turning we see a Pacific Electric Red Cars pull to a stop on our right. As it's passengers get off we stare ahead at the rest of the entrance. It's almost as if we've walked back into the late 20's or early 30's Los Angeles. We stare at the Spanish architecture that was so prevalent at that time and move on down the entryway with the rest of the crowd. As we walk towards the new Carthay Circle Theater, we notice the new stores along the way.

Not all of them are new, but their facades are much different and they've been re-branded with new names. We smile as we admire the vintage Oswald’s Gas & Oil station on our left. A clear homage to Walt's forgotten creation and a bygone era. Mortimer Market is on your right. Nice... the theming is top notch. Over to our right is Carolwood Trains, Craft & Hobby, the new train station that sells Disney merchandise... this store has far more theming and atmosphere than the pop culture concoction that was here before.

I look directly across from where I stand and see Seward’s Five & Dime, a charming representation of an early Southern Californian shopping store. Right then I notice Horace’s Pawn Shop and walk in to take in all the trinkets and baubles that are available in the re-branded park. Nice merchandise, I say... cool new logo. Maybe I'll pick up a new shirt before I head out of the park. Coming up to Walt Disney Plaza, I can't help but wonder if I've passed into the past looking at that classic theater staring across from me as I peer over the fountain, past all the foliage and trees. Could "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" be showing? An old car putters by. A bell rings, startled, I watch the Red Car head back down the tracks, rounding the circle in the plaza, it heads into the Hollywood area. As it passes I notice the Elias & Co. Department Store with its big glass windows. I smile at this nod to Walt's father.

Maybe I'll takes some pictures? Unfortunately, in my hurry down here I left my digital camera at home on the coffee table. I look around and see Kingswell Camera and decide to go and purchase a disposable camera so I can take some pictures. As I exit I look around at what I want to shoot first. The theater? No, that's too obvious... maybe the Duesenberg limo that is passing by? Nah, I'll wait till I ride in it later today and shoot photos from it. Whoa! How about that nice looking place over there, Doc Sherwood Apothecary. I start snapping shots off trying to take it all in, I look at the camera and realize I'd better take it easy... I've used up half my roll of film and I'm not even out of the entry plaza yet. Wow. I'm gonna have to buy more film... this could get expensive!

I'm getting kind of hungry so I head over to Clarabelle’s Corner CafĂ© for a little bite. Along the way I pass Julius & Sons Tailors and notice a snazzy new jacket. Maybe I should stop and... no. I must eat first. We've got way too much to see before I start spending money. There's so much to see and I haven't even gotten down to the Pier yet. Wait a minute, my stomach is growling.

Now, about that sandwich...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Blue Sky Disney Review: Enchanted


Does Disney have a hit on its hands or what?

Walt Disney Pictures' "Enchanted" isn't what I was expecting. I was thinking I'd see a smart-elect parody that makes fun of the classic Disney Princess films with a nod and a wink. It's not a satire so much as it's really a twist on the old formulaic Disney/Happily Ever-after tales.

The script by Bill Kelly(Blast from the Past, Premonition) is really clever. It gives respect to all those films we love(Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc.) while striking out new territory that plants it in the 21st Century for sure. I think Kevin Lima(Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians) was perfect to direct this film. He has the right sensibility to take a movie that moves from animation to live-action following a Disney frame of mind. Amy Adams is the new Julie Andrews... really. This is her "Mary Poppins". She leaps off the silver screen and practically says: "I'm a star, world! Look at me!". Patrick Dempsey is great as the real world Prince Charming, grounded in reality as a divorce attorney that doesn't believe in fairy tales, yet winds up falling in love with a literal one. James Marsden has never been cast in a role that was so perfectly fit for his otherworldly good looks. He's perfect as a perfect prince that really doesn't turn out to be what you expect him to be. Or what others expect him to be. In fact, all the cast are great... even the underused Susan Sarandon as the evil Queen.

I won't go into spoilers, it would be like turning to the last page of a children's storybook to find out what happens. But C'mon. Let's face it... we all know what happens in tales like these.

This is a perfect date movie. This is text book example of a film to take your little girl to. Fathers all over the world will be sitting down with their daughters watching this on DVD for years to come. It's a film like they used to make before Hollywood tried to create movies for nitch markets. It's a film that appeals to all segments of an audience while not talking down to any of them. Disney's been having a banner couple years at the Box Office of late, and it's going to continue with this one. I hope that the Suits at TeamDisney don't make unnecessary sequels to this just for the all mighty dollar. Not that I'm against one for this film. If they find a great idea or come up with a great screenplay, then by all means make it... but don't tarnish this diamond ring by having a Cracker Jack ring follow it. Let it stay out there and become the classic Disney tale it was meant to be and don't make a "cheapquel" to it. John Lasseter has already put an end to those over at DisneyToons, I hope Iger doesn't let them start up a new batch over at Walt Disney Pictures.

Now I'll get off my soap box and finish by saying don't wait for the DVD for this one. You really should find a couple hours on this holiday weekend to see "Enchanted"... it's truly a movie to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...

To you and yours on this Great Day from Blue Sky Disney...

May you have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and may there be much for you to be thankful for in the year to come.

See you on the other side of the holiday weekend...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bolt Teaser Display...

Those of you that have visited the Animation Building in DCA recently got the pleasant surprise of seeing a teaser display for Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Bolt".

I know most people are looking forward to "The Frog and the Princess" and "Rapunzel", but from what I hear, "Bolt" sounds like it's going to be a very good film for the Mouse. Perhaps they should attach a warning label to it that says: "Absolutely no interference from Suits was provided on this film". The Mousestro himself has worked with Chris Williams and Disney's own Story Trust to make sure this will be an entertaining and compelling story filled with heart and bound in emotion. Naturally, it will be scrutinized quite a bit since it's the first film Lasseter has extensively had his creative hands on it(Meet The Robinsons was not a test of his box office magic). Not long before we find out, I hear they're working on a teaser as we speak...

Original Hat Tip: Animated News. Photo: John Darling

Enchanting Reviews...

The guys over at Aint It Cool News have posted a wave of reviews of Walt Disney Pictures "Enchanted". From Harry himself, Massawyrm to several others that attended the Austin screening. Almost all of the reviews are not just positive, but extremely positive. There's only one that puts a downer on it. Check them out for yourselves. Click over to have a looksie...

Also of note, the Mouse has changed its plan to attach the new Goofy short to "Enchanted"... instead it will be premiering in front of "National Treasure 2". So Nick Cage gets the honor of appearing after Goofy...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bob Iger, Repairman...


Someone call for a repairman?

That's figuratively what happened in 2005 when Robert Iger took over as the head of the Mouse. Though we don't want to put into our mind the image of Iger bent over a kitchen appliance with his butt-crack showing as we hear him banging on some broken pipes... that's essentially what he is. And what is happening.

You see, the last manager, Mr. Eisner, left the Mouse House in much need of repair. This is no job for the Maytag Repairman here... we got some serious work to get done and luckily for us, it looks like this Iger guy we called... he's capable of handling the job.

While Michael Eisner will be remembered as the one who saw Walt Disney Productions as something that needed to be exploited(he was right about this), the man who turned the Mouse into the Walt Disney Company, a global Goliath and transformed WDW into a huge entertainment mecca... Iger will be different.

The mistakes and problems of Eisner's last decade will be the foundation of most of Iger's domestic reputation. Instead of building a Third Gate for Anaheim or Fifth Gate for Orlando in the next decade, he'll set his eye on fixing much of what has gone wrong since the late 90's. DCA specifically, but WDW as well and the overseas tenants need some makeover and repair for Paris and Hong Kong also. If there is any place he will leave his legacy in regards to expansion, it's the Far East.

When Iger pulls off the expansion of HKDL in a few years, he's going to be looking inward and westward. Mainland China will be a prime prospect for expansion in the next decade. Further past China is the other emerging economy and growing middle-class of India. Both of these countries are prime areas for development for the Mouse. To a lesser degree, countries such as Singapore and several other Far East nations could see Disney properties(be they theme parks,DVC units or a mixture of both) pop up in the end of second decade of the 21st Century.

But while that's being planned, expect the cheery sound of hammers and saws and all manner of construction. The next five years are going to be feverishly busy. With DCA's Makeover providing the impetus for the inevitable others that will follow. From Disney's California Adventure to the important re-branding and remaking of Disney-MGM, Hong Kong Disneyland becoming a full day, must see park with attractions even state-side fans will want to see, or the finally, fully realized Second Gate that emerges in Paris... Bob Iger, repairman, is on the job.

And in a couple years we'll be able to get a look at his workmanship.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Disney To Create Surrogates...

It appears the Mouse will have Bruce Willis star in "The Surrogates", a science fiction thriller that Jonathan Mostow will direct for Disney's Touchstone Pictures. The studio is eyeing a February production start in Boston.

Scribes Michael Ferris and John Brancato("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" and the coming " Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins") wrote The Surrogates from a graphic novel from Top Shelf Comix.

The tale takes place in the near future, where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots who are better-looking and acting versions of themselves. Willis will play a cop who, through his surrogate, investigates the murders of others' surrogates. Eventually Willis' cop is forced to venture from his own home for the first time in years to unravel the conspiracy.

Shooting is supposed to begin early next year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Willie Is Seventy-Nine Today...

On this day, seventy-nine years ago...

Walt Disney and an associate sat in the back of a darkened theater watching people's reaction to their new cartoon, "Steamboat Willie". Although this is the third Mickey Mouse cartoon, it's the first to actually have sound. Walt made a gamble on new technology(something he will do the rest of his life) to get people interested in his new creation. The first two shorts, don't provoke much audience interest...

Not tonight. This time, they laugh. They cheer.

This one proves to be a huge hit. And although his third cartoon, this is actually considered Mickey's birthday. Walt and Carl Stalling, Disney Studios Music Director breath a sigh of relief as they leave the theater very happy men. The whole world now awaits Walt and his creation.

And it all started with a mouse...

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Wall-E Posted Poster...

Well, those fine folks at Pixar have released another poster for "Wall-E". It appears that IGN was the first to nab it, but that's not where I saw it first.

I like it. Simple. Understated. I'm hearing great buzz about this from some people I know who've seen an early cut of it.

Hat Tip: Upcoming Pixar

Interview With The Cook...

Not an interview with Skinner, actually... and this is not even a post about "Ratatouille".

Box Office Mojo has a good interview with Dick Cook, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, that talks about the coming films, his philosophy and other interesting items. He even addresses the coming "Jungle Cruise" a bit:

"There will be a family involved. The skipper will play a very important role. He'll be more of an Indiana Jones kind of guy, with a little Jack Sparrow in him, who's going to be able to take this family on an adventure that they never dreamed they were going to be on when they first got on board. In true Disney fashion, it will definitely have the adventure and the intensity—but also the heart and the fun. We hope we have a good outline of where we want to go and what we want to do with it in the next year."

And in regard to having seen Alfred Gough & Miles Millar's script:

"Not yet. It's being worked on. David Hoberman, whom we have asked to produce it, has been hard at work. He knows that it's a top priority for us—one that we're very, very excited about. It's a real tentpole [picture]. He'll deliver it and when he does, it will be something special."

That is a script I am actively trying to obtain, just so you know...

The rest of the article is a good read. I'd recommend going over and taking a looksie. Although I have problems with the Head Suit of Disney's theme parks, Jay Rasulo... I have none with Dick Cook. He's not only a nice guy, but a smart guy and one whose strategy I believe in.

Let's hope the writer's strike doesn't throw a monkey wrench into that "Jungle Cruise" tentpole idea...