Thursday, September 25, 2008

Disney Open House...

Sorry I didn't put up all of the info that the Mouse released the other day at the Walt Disney Studios Showcase...

I've been feeling a little under the weather and just haven't had the energy or time to do it justice. That said...

Wow. What a display Walt Disney Studios had, huh?

First off, this is one of the reasons I really like Dick Cook. As much as I have a distaste for Jay Rasulo, I have the opposite for Cook. He's warm, friendly, smart and highly intelligent. He's got a very good relationship with many in Hollywood and is well liked by most if not all. He's put out some smart special events over the last few years that really put a spotlight on what the studio has coming out. And this time out, it sounds like an extravaganza many of us Disney Geeks/Fans would have loved to attend. If you want to see more coverage, check out our friends over at Ain't It Cool News here, here and here.

From all the press and a few friends that have sent me e-mails, you can tell the Mouse is really excited about its upcoming slate and it was prepared to put out the moola to show that pride. There were a few glaring omissions not mentioned(), but all in all it was a fantastic presentation. Heck, the free screening of "Bolt" alone would be enough for me since they got to see almost an hour of footage more than me. Grrrrr. But enough...

Disney went through what would almost be their entire line-up for the next couple year, minus a film or two that's in development. Let's go over the highlights that are of interest to Blue Sky:

"Bedtime Stories" - I've been curious to see more information about Adam Sandler's new film and they played the trailer for the guest attending the event. It sounds very much like a Sandler film, while also being very much a Disney film. Now that Adam has kids and a family he wants to do films that his kid(s) can see. This could be a very good thing(It worked for Johnny Depp pretty well, didn't it?). Suffice it to say, the trailer played well with the audience.

"Race to Witch Mountain" - The Rock on Witch Mountain as it might be called is something I'm perplexed about. While I loved the original and don't consider it a classic that can't be touched, I really don't know what to think till I see a new trailer. The one shown here was the one from Comic-Con. While it looks interesting and better than most sci-fi fair, I feel that there needs to be more shown, hopefully in the new trailer that's supposed to be coming out later this year. There has to be a better reason to remake/re-imagine this film than what we've been shown. I'm kind of rooting for this film, yet I don't know why.

"Up" - Pixar. Yeah, the Lamp was here to promote its upcoming slate starting with Pete Docter's "UP". This was basically a rehash of what was said at Comic-Con, but it looks interesting and shows Lasseter and Co. are not afraid to venture into unknown territory in search of a good story. I'm looking forward to the trailer for this one as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

"The Princess and the Frog" - Now, it's my feeling that this one is when Disney animation kicks back into high gear(after the good restart with "Bolt"). They announce the casting of Oprah as we talked about earlier. Then they played one of the six new songs that Randy Newman wrote for the film. Everyone who e-mailed me seemed to like it.

"Cars 2" - A big surprise is that they've moved up the release date for this by a whole year. Directed by Brad Lewis, this sequel will travel the literal world of Cars. And in between now and then you can expect to see several new cartoon shorts known as "CARS Toons". They premiered the first one and naturally it was with Mater. We can expect to see these on Disney Channel and even possibly in the theaters over the next couple years. Along with a ton of merchandise for those little kids to buy.

"Toy Story 3" - They finally revealed a bit more about the plot of this film and described it beginning with Andy going off to college. Everyone should return for the voices along with a few new voices(Memo to Mr. Beaks, Michael Keaton will be the voice of Ken). It's going to be interesting to see this film... especially when it premieres over in DCA's Paradise Pier. There was a lot of emotion at this one, for obvious reasons it's the film that started it all for the Lamp.

"Bolt" - The lucky guests actually got to see the final and unfinished film. While the last act is still in the story board phase, the reaction from the audience and those friend that contacted me is good. Very good. It's a much needed step up from the past decade and it's only going to get better.

"A Christmas Carol" - I don't know if I'm looking forward to this for the story or the morbid fascination that Robert Zemeckis can actually make me interested in a story that's been done and done again, and again... but the designs are very unlike what we've seen before so maybe he'll create a film that I haven't seen before.

"Alice In Wonderland" - Any film by Tim Burton is something I'm always interested in and if you throw in Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter that makes it doubly so. The film will be a combination of live action and motion-cap CG that will blend the real world of Tim Burton with the bizarre world of Lewis Carroll... I'm there.

"Surrogates" - Strangely, I've gotten quite a few e-mails from people that really enjoyed the new trailer for this new Bruce Willis film. The story sounds much like "Blade Runner" meshed with "Minority Report", but I'll wait to see the trailer... and film.

"Earth" - Disney's first foray back into the world of nature, coming from its "Disney Nature" brand is the earth and apparently looks as good as you would imagine. I really hope this line of films does well as I've always been a big fan of the "True-Life Adventure" series.

"National Treasure 3" - Nicholas Cage is back and this time he's out to find even more money. While these films are "Raiders-lite", I actually enjoyed them for the escapist fluff that they were, while actually building in real, historic events into the story. Not a bad way to get kids that don't like history to get to know it, hmmm? I have a feeling the third one won't be the last...

"Confessions of a Shopaholic" - I don't really know why this film intrigues me other than I feel that this one is going to be this years "The Devil Wears Prada"... Girls, start lining up now.

"Prince of Persia" - This Jake Gyllenhaal film will attempt to do for Arabian action films what Pirates did for... uhm, Pirate action? If things go well, this could be a very cool film that turns into a new franchise... notice the subtitle below Prince of Persia: "Sands of Time". Just like "Curse of the Black Pearl, this could be the start of a new cash cow for the Mouse... Maybe.

"Tron 2" - The sequel to the classic Tron(TR2N), is a film everyone I know will be lining up to see. I only hope the script is much better than the original. The news that Lasseter is secretly guiding this project is very good news and if there is any trailer that I want to see it's an official one for this film.

"Pirates of the Caribbean 4:The Search for more Booty" - Captain Jack Sparrow will return... Let's hope that the original writers and director will also. I don't want it being made without Terry, Ted and Gore since they played such an integral part of the trilogy. As for Keira and Orlando, I think we've seen the last of them and any further Pirate adventures will focus on Jack. I do hope that Geoffrey Rush returns as Barbossa because he is the perfect foil to Depp's Sparrow... plus it'll be fun seeing him show up halfway in the movie after chasing after Jack and that the map he store. Wouldn't it be funny to watch Sparrow and Barbossa after having drank from the Fountain of Youth? Two kids playing pirates? What a motif that would be! I don't think we'll be seeing this for at least a few years... like 2011/2012. There goes that year(s) again.

"The Lone Ranger" - Hey, they got the USC Marching Band to play the theme for this, how cool. I was shocked to hear that Johnny Depp was playing Tonto... as much as I love him, he's not as Indian as I was expecting for the Lone Rangers pal/best friend(Although he is part Cherokee). The other news not officially announced, but being thrown around is that George Clooney is being sought for the role of the Masked Man himself. Now a film starring Clooney and Depp produced by Bruckheimer and written by the fellas who wrote "Pirates of the Caribbean" is enough to make theater owners drool... Bring it on.

All in all, a very comprehensive list that the folks who set through this six hour publicity event got to see. While it wasn't everything, it was a great example that Disney Pictures/Studios is not the budget minded, strictly controlled studio it was a mere three years ago.

Let's hope for a bright, bright future.


Anonymous said...

I am uber excited about this slate!

Anonymous said...

what about "aida" long rumored to star beyonce?

Doopey said...

Didn't they also confirm that Depp will do a 4th POTC?

Also, looks like there was no mention of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (Narnia 3). That's a bad sign. After the success of the first Narnia film it looked like Disney had it's Harry Potter/LOTR franchise. Very dissapointed that they fumbled it with Prince Caspian.


Anonymous said...

I only hope the script is much better than the original.

Come on. It's a great movie. Even the cheese-factor is wonderfully delivered by a near-perfect slate of actors.

David Warner was brilliant. Every line was delivered brilliantly. Could barely be improved upon. Barnard Hughes as Walter Gibbs/Dumont . . . he was great, and I've got zero problem with any of his dialog.

Some pacing limitations, more or less imposed by the newness of the medium, but on the whole--it was a great script for that movie. Certainly, I don't want them to make the mistake of Superman Returns and regurgitate the plot of the first movie--it should definitely go in it's own unique direction--but the first one was a perfect, weird confection of new effects processes, new ideas, and a very odd soundtrack. I just loved that movie as a kid, and I still do.

Don't hate on the script. I've watched Tron recently. It's a solid film, even if it had trouble at the box office during original release. They did a heck of a job. That being said, of all the things on the slate, TR2N is the thing I'm most excited about.

Anonymous said...

Depp as Tonto? You have to be kidding me? I thought we got rid of all this racism in the 50's and 60's when more enlightened people realized that it was foolish to let white people play native Americans. I guess Walt's racism didn't die with Walt. Did it?

Anonymous said...

Honor, do you have any thoughts on why Dawn Treader wasn't mentioned at the event? As far as I know, the project is still on. Do you think Dawn Treader wasn't mentioned so that folks wouldn't think about Prince Caspian's disappointing U.S. performance?

Honor Hunter said...

Narnia will continue for at least one more film...

If Dawn Treader does good, there will be more. If not, then it will end as a trilogy and that's that.

Of course, there are many other fantasy projects that the Mouse has in development based on popular books it owns. But those weren't announced today because they're probably nowhere close to being made. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report Honor, great job once again. although I have to disagree with you regarding POTC sequel. I think the last two films were not entirely good, especially At World's End. I really wanted to love them but in all honesty were way too long and they painted Jack Sparrow to be a coward and idotic, rather than the clever free spirited pirate we met in the first. For me the writers can stay but the director needs to change. I think Guillermo del Toro would be a great director to bring to do this and to give this franchise new life.

Anonymous said...

will confesions of a shopaholic be nething along lines of drama queen. im already psyched for another pirates and national treausre

Anonymous said...

Sounds great.

Question: Does anyone know if other studios do this? Showcase their film slate all at once?

Mr Toad said...

che wa - Your ignorance is showing. The urban myth that Walt Disney was some sort of racist - born out of the 1940s strike and House Un-American activities of the 1950s - is pure BS. There are countless Disney veterans who can attest to Walt Disney being open to people of all backgrounds.

Anonymous said...