Sunday, August 31, 2008
On this day, sixty years ago employees of Walt Disney Products get a memo from the Old Maestro describing an idea he has for a little project he's been working on entitled: "Mickey Mouse Park"...
On this day, seventy yeara ago the Disney brothers put down a ten thousand dollar deposit down on a plot of land in Burbank, California.
The 51 acres will become the future studio for the growing animation company. Here's a layout of what the original plan was for this project as it appeared in Valley Progress magazine in 1939...
On this day thirty-six years ago, a legend leaves Walt Disney Productions...
Animator Ward Kimball retires from the company after decades of creating Disney myths and magic. One of Walt Disney's original "Nine Old Men", Ward's like will never be seen again. He's a true giant in the world of animation.
Once the lights went off in the halls of the animation building that night, a historic chapter in animation and Disney itself, closed...
To say he would be missed is an understatement beyond comprehension.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Notice something different in the advertising for Disney's new animated offerings?
They're no longer using a certain word...
Walt Disney Pictures "Presents" has slowly became just the simple Walt Disney Pictures.
A subtle change.
One that most people won't notice...
But it's just the latest in a long line of changes for the better.
And that's a good thing...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
From the Mouse, regarding those long awaited DVD re-release dates and additions of Blu-Ray versions of their classic animated films:
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Announces Expansive Slate of Upcoming
Pinocchio * Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs *
Fantasia * Fantasia 2000 * Beauty and the Beast
Each Available For the first time on Blu-rayTM Hi-Def
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Launching Disney’s New
BD Live Network - Worldwide – Fall 2009!
Berlin, Germany, August 28, 2008—Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) proudly unveils five additions to the celebrated Platinum Collection of animated features to be released on DVD and for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray Hi-Def. These include some of Disney’s most beloved classics Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and the Beast. Each will be available for a limited time only, in new multi-disc sets featuring rarely seen footage and an array of new bonus features.
Fittingly the one that started it all for Walt Disney, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature length animated film ever made, will be the title that will mark a new era in home entertainment around the world, launching Disney’s worldwide BD-Live Network, a revolutionary technological breakthrough in home entertainment that will connect family and friends, allowing unprecedented interactivity and ease, from anywhere in the world.
Disney’s BD-Live Network will be initially launched in the U.S. only, with the first Platinum Edition Blu-ray release, Sleeping Beauty 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition, available on October 7, 2008.
Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Worldwide President, commented, ”We are excited to announce a magical slate of Platinum titles for the first time on Blu-ray high definition, this celebrated collection of animated features demonstrates Disney’s commitment to deliver great content.”
“The landscape for the Blu-ray format is very healthy, and we believe that the enhanced movie experiences that the format provides, such as Disney’s BD-Live network, offer consumers the chance to reinvent the experience of watching movies in their homes, and the interactivity and connectivity that is being provided will truly make the family room relevant again,” continues Mr. Chapek.
Gordon Ho is Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) adds, “Disney’s BD-Live experience will enrich and deepen the overall consumer experience, and we are delighted that, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be the one that will launch Disney’s BD-Live network worldwide.”
The Platinum release roll-out will be:
Pinocchio, the beloved story of a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy, comes to Platinum Edition DVD and Disney Blu-ray in spring 2009. Disney's second full-length animated movie, Pinocchio won two Oscars®, one for Best Score and another for the unforgettable song "When You Wish upon a Star.” It returns for the first time since 2002.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, honored with a special Academy Award® for screen innovation this movie has been unavailable since 2001. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Platinum Edition will be released in the fall of 2009.
Walt Disney’s experimental masterpiece Fantasia won two honorary Oscars for its innovative use of animation and music. Most recently released in 2000, the restored and remastered Fantasia Platinum Edition will be available in 2010. Alongside this release, a newly restored and remastered Fantasia 2000 Platinum Edition, will be available. Fantasia 2000 begins where its predecessor, Fantasia, left off, with seven completely new segments and the return of the popular “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, featuring breathtaking images coupled with classical music favorites.
In conjunction with these releases, Destino, the unfinished animated feature film created by Walt Disney and famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali will release. Begun in 1946, it was rediscovered in 2003 and completed by Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney. The collaboration between these two legendary artists will be available to own for the first time along with an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney.
Beauty and the Beast, the only animated film ever nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture, earned a breathtaking six Academy Award® nominations and won two Oscars®. Beauty in the Beast Platinum Edition will be available in fall 2010.
And many more to come after this first wave...
Good stuff. Good news.
Tokyo DisneySEA is amazing...
I'm sure you've all gotten tired of hearing Blue Sky Disney report on that. But it's true... you have to see it to believe it. The pictures, as amazingly, stunningly beautiful as they are don't do it justice. It's like hearing that Paris is lovely and only seeing it through a postcard... You have to experience it to appreciate what Imagineers are capable of if given the proper budget and simply allowed to dream.
I thought I'd take the time to focus on specific elements of the park. Particularly, my favorite port out of the seven at TDS; Mysterious Island. And even more specific, the iconic weenie of the port, the entire park even:
Just what is it and how did WDI design and build such a structure?
It's the largest, man made rock structure ever built by the Mouse. 750,000 square feet, 2,000 pieces of ruble rising 160 feet into the air. 10 rocket burners, each weighing 3,000 pounds that shoot fire over fifty feet into the air. Pools of boiling water which are really thirty thousand gallons of water pressurized to look as if you're in an active volcano(again, the attention to detail is numbing at times). The "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction is within this area and the "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" attraction is right beneath the mountain...
And below that ride is the restaurant, "Vulcania," with a ceiling constructed on springs so as to cushion the vibrations of the attraction and diffuse the sounds from guest eating in the dining area. Keeping with the South Pacific theme of the area Mysterious Island is supposed to be in, the food served is Chinese(cooked with Geo-thermal steam, just like how Nemo would have cooked his food). Even the food carts and gift shops are so detailed as to just marvel at. Not to mention the ability to have dinner at the Nautilus Galley!
And this post has only focused on this one port... there are six more, larger ports that we could discuss. But the great thing about walking around this port, this park, this resort is that it shows you what Disney can do.
Over the next decade it's going to be a challenge to the new management of WDI and the Mouse in general to show us that they can reproduce similar quality attractions of these kinds elsewhere in the world. Not because we don't believe they can do it...
But because we know they already have.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Forty-four years ago today, Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins" premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in a most delightful way. It will be released to the general public in two days...
The film would go on to win Academy Awards for Best Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Song, Best Special Visual Effect and make a star out of a lovely, talented lady named Julie Andrews.
I'm starting to hear a lot of people complaining about the design of the characters of the new WDAS "Bolt" and although I agree that they're not as quirky as the ones designed by Sanders, they are very appealing characters. Just so you know, I've seen about two minutes of finished animation of this upcoming film that a Bothan let me look at and it looks far better than what we've been presented with so far. I also got to see enough structured, unfinished work to tell you that if you like well thought out characters then you have nothing to fear. And those of you that are worried about Disney's return to animation glory have no need to worry. It's a truly beautiful film.
That said, I'll tell you out front that there's one character that will steal the show...
Rhino, the ADD Hamster is going to be a fan favorite after this film is released.
If you read my article about Pixar's Secondary Characters that tend to steal the show you'll understand what I mean... the little Hamster in the ball is this film's scene stealer... he's got true heart.
Just like the film itself...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The Alphabet Network has announced the addition of five(5) new shows to its fall line-up...
Three new dramas...
"Castle" is a comedic crime procedural about a famous mystery novelist, Nick Castle, who has gotten bored with his success. When a real-world copycat murderer starts staging scenes from Nick's novels, he's teamed up with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, and the challenge gets his blood pumping as he steps in to help solve the crime. Nick and Beckett's styles instantly clash and sparks begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance. Castle is kept grounded by his Broadway diva mother, quick-witted teenage daughter, and his long-suffering ex-wife... who happens to be his editor. "Castle" stars Nathan Fillion as Castle, Stana Katic as Beckett, Molly Quinn as Alexis, Susan Sullivan as Martha, Monet Mazur as Gina and Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Capt. Montgomery. Produced by ABC Studios, Andrew Marlowe serves as executive producer/writer along with executive producers Laurie Zaks, Armyan Bernstein and Rob Bowman.
"Cupid" is a romantic dramedy about Trevor, a larger than life character who may or may not be the Roman god of love Cupid, sent to earth to bring couples together. As fate would have it, Trevor is under the care of famous psychologist and self-help author Dr. Claire Allen, who is also dedicated to helping lonely hearts find their soul mates. While she agrees with his cause, she questions whether he's crazy or really is Cupid. "Cupid" stars Bobby Cannavale as Trevor, Sarah Paulson as Claire, Rick Gomez as Felix and Camille Guaty as Lita. Produced by ABC Studios, Rob Thomas serves as executive producer/writer along with executive producers Jennifer Gwartz, Danielle Stokdyk, Dan Etheridge and Bharat Nalluri.
"The Unusuals" is a unique comedic procedural set in a New York police precinct. As a cop it helps to have a twisted sense of humor, because every moment could be your last. Just ask Casey Schraeger, who started her day as an NYPD vice detective, before unexpectedly being transferred to the homicide division. She quickly realizes that not only does everyone in her new department have a distinct sense of humor, but also their own dirty little secret. "The Unusuals" stars Amber Tamblyn as Det. Casey Schraeger, Jeremy Renner as Det. Joe Walsh, Terry Kinney as Sgt. Harvey Brown, Kai Lennox as Det. Ed Alvarez, Harold Perrineau as Det. Leo Banks, Adam Goldberg as Det. Eric Delahoy, Monique Gabriela Curnen as Det. Allison Beaumont and Joshua Close as Henry Cole. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Noah Hawley is executive producer/writer.
And two new comedies...
"Better Off Ted" is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs a research and development department at a morally questionable corporation, Veridian Technologies. No achievement is too far fetched and no invention too unorthodox for Veridian. Need a suicidal turkey? Done. Need a metal that is hard as steel but bounces and is edible? Done and done. Ted loves his seemingly perfect job; he loves his super human boss Veronica, and colleagues Lem, Phil and Linda, but he's starting to take a closer look at the company's extremely questionable practices...especially when they try to cryogenically freeze one of Ted's scientists for testing purposes. Starring Jay Harrington as Ted, Andrea Anders as Linda, Portia de Rossi as Veronica, Jonathan Slavin as Phil, and Malcolm Barrett as Lem, "Better Off Ted" is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Victor Fresco is executive producer/writer.
"Single With Parents" is a comedy about Lou, a woman in her mid-30s who is determined to have her own life despite her crazy blended family getting in the way. She's thrilled that her divorced parents are leading exciting lives really she is except both of them rely on her way too much. Dad needs her as a surrogate parent and Mom counts on her 24/7 as a shrink and confidante. Lou has resolved to finally find a fulfilling life for herself. The series stars Alyssa Milano as Lou, Annie Potts as Elizabeth, Beau Bridges as Joe, Amanda Detmer as Sasha, Meagan Fay as Nancy and Eric Winter as Charlie. Based on her own experiences, "Single With Parents" is executive produced and written by Kristin Newman. Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Matthew Carlson are also executive producers. The show is produced by ABC Studios.
Today "The Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning" is released...
It's supposed to be the last release of the infamouse "Cheapquels".
The Cheapquels are dead...
Long live the cheapquels*.
* But not really...
Monday, August 25, 2008
"The sky's the limit right now... We haven't had this kind of positive feeling around here in well over a decade." - A Bothan from deep inside the bowels of WDI
I thought I'd take a bit of time and go over(in summary) exactly how the Disney Empire of theme parks could/would look in a few years time...
If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll have noticed I've mentioned a lot about 2011. "There goes that year again..." is a statement I've said in many of my updates that people have wondered about. Well, it's truthfully "2011/2012" because a lot of things won't be done when that year is done and over. But it is an important time for the Mouse and should the economy keep going some, if not most of what I say will come to pass...
Let's travel the globe, shay we? Starting in our own backyard...
In the place where it all started we'll find the most activity. Come 2012 the Disneyland Resort will still look much as it does today. There will be some changes that are obvious. Like the New hotel(not necessarily a Disneyland Hotel) that Disney is operating. There should be at least one other hotel under construction by then(maybe two). Downtown Disney will be almost twice as large if expansion plans have moved forward by next year. The Resort's Second Gate should look dramatically different in 2012. The small, little McPark that Eisner and Pressler put together will still have problems(which will start to be fixed in Phase 2 starting in 2013, economy upholding), but for the most part it's going to be a much more "Disney" experience. As everything keeps changing, one thing that has bothered Disney Fans all along will finally go down in 2011... Malibooomer. That's right, it's not leaving next year as some have thought. It's going to be one of the last things removed before construction finishes on this phase of the resort.
The new theming and attractions, particularly "The Little Mermaid" should be bringing them in creating long, long lines(the center room in Mermaid is almost as big as the entire Golden Dreams building!). But in 2012, when the Cars Land(please change that name!)opens up this park is going to see crowds like it has never, ever had. It will truly make this park a destination of its own. The fact that it's 20% of the park when it opens up alone will create a dramatic difference for those entering the gates. Most who showed up on DCA's opening day will find most of the park unrecognizable. All who show up will find everything more enjoyable.
The park that started it all should see the Star Tours update done in time for the anniversary in 2010, while plans for a remake of Tomorrowland won't be done by then, the plans should have already begun to be completed by the 2012 time frame. Another E-Ticket is in line to be built by then, but hasn't gotten to an approval phase so I don't know which ideas will make it through the Blue Sky phase yet. Rest assured, what is proposed will dazzle Disney Fans/Geeks far more than anything proposed during Pressler's tenure.
Once all this is done and the Resort is firing on all cylinders then, and only then, will the embryonic focus on a Third Gate move forward.
Across the country in that humid jungle known as Florida, the Walt Disney Resort will look somewhat different as well, just not as dramatic.
In the Magic Kingdom, work on the renovation of Fantasyland will have been completed. Should all the proposals get approved the area will look quite different from today. At the very least the addition of the Little Mermaid ride will have visitors to WDW experiencing something they haven't seen before and giving this park the most amount of new attractions it's had since opening in 1971.
Epcot will be receiving at least one new E-Ticket by 2012, but my Bothans say that the choice hasn't been finalized yet and we may see a couple smaller tickets as well. There are proposals to add at least one new Pavilions by this time should attendance at the parks continue to remain at current levels.
The park getting the most love and attention, of course will be Disney's Hollywood Studios. Although the amount of money is a little more than half of what DCA is getting it will be put to use giving this park a more definite theming change than any other. Gone will be the Studio Tram Tour(it leaves by 2010), and in its place will be an expanded "Monstrously Big" Pixar Place. The park should have it's own updated version of Disneyland's Star Tours revision up and running by then. There is at least one new E-Ticket that's slated for construction and several smaller attractions. An update is planned for the Great Movie Ride and at this time there is the possibility of a new E-Ticket based on a very big film to combat Universal's opening of Harry Potter. You didn't think they were sitting around twiddling their thumbs, did you? Alas, no news yet as to if/when they will remove the Hat from in front of the GMR. Not that I hate the hat, I hate the placement... it blocks view of the parks one true weenie. Here's hoping it gets moved by then to a, uhm.... more appropriate(new) location.
By 2012, Disney's Animal Kingdom should have the area for that the Pocahontas show replaced up and running, delighting many a fan with the new theming that's been put around this new attraction. Hopefully, by then plans will have gone forward with moving the Lion King show where it really belongs: Africa. There is supposed to be one new E-Ticket in addition to this and talk of a new land to buttress the current Asia and Africa is well, progressing...
All those rumors you've heard about a Fifth Gate are True. While I don't think this strategy would work at Disneyland, it should do well here where there are many more international travellers willing to fork over that kind of cash. When Disney's Jungle Trek(a name I don't like, btw) opens it will cater to a more discriminating clientele(read: loaded). Almost like a luxury extension of DAK, it will offer fans of this wild kingdom a little closer look at the uhm... well, wild.
Across the pond, Disney's European Kingdom will be experiencing a much needed growth as well. After the upswing in attendance and growth from the fifteenth anniversary of Disneyland Paris, things have never been brighter.
The original European Mouse park, Disneyland Paris is scheduled to receive it's own additions by 11/12 and it shows that the "If you build it, they will come" principle works. The Paris resort has had a great year and the additions to the WDS have really helped that. Four years from now we may no longer be talking about this park losing money, it may actually turn a profit for a change. I know that's a funny thing to say, isn't it? But people are asking about Disneyland Paris and when/if it will get a new attraction...
There are several proposals right now and it appears that there will be at least one D-Ticket or possibly an E-Ticket by the time it celebrates the twentieth anniversary. I know that many people are focused on getting a version of the Indiana Jones ride, but my Bothans don't see that happening(not impossible, just improbable). If it does wind up being Indy there's going to have to be a redressing of the Indiana Jones roller coaster as WDI and park management have no desire to have two attractions in one park focusing on the same theme. The most probable ticket would be in the expansion of Fantasyland with a certain clone of a clone that I'm selfishly against(remember?)... Should the good times keep rolling expect the E-Ticket to get the nod. There are several projects in the Blue Sky phase and nothing is permanent so we won't know for another year or so what they'll approve... so your "Guest" is as good as mine...
Most of the focus on the resort will be Paris' Second Gate because it is the Walt Disney Company's weakest park. Most of what we see over the next few years will be on bringing this park closer to the detail of Disneyland Paris. This is a hard problem since the DLP park is so rich in detail compared to its ugly sister park. WDI has several attractions planned for WDS, with at least two C/D Tickets definitely planned for the next few year and one really nice E-Ticket(possibly another).
The one ride I can tell you that the park is getting for sure is the one that's been most discussed. The "Ratatouille" attraction is coming. It's going to be a very nice ticket, with technology similar to the "Pooh's Huny Hunt" attraction's "trackless" vehicles in Tokyo. Guest will be involved in a chase right out of the film... many have talked about this being a clone of the Crush Coaster, but the attraction will not involve drops so much as it will twists and turns. And it will be a highly detailed attraction(The beautiful queue alone will be amazingly cool!), which used to be a rare thing to say about a Disney attraction in the late 90's, but will become common over the next four years. As well as this there is talk of expanding the Pixarification throughout the park, specifically an area of the park devoted exclusively to the Lamp's creations. I know this will please many of you that complain about that in the domestic parks, but you have to remember Pixar is now a part of Disney and it will reflect so in the attractions we see at the parks both here and abroad.
By the time we see the twentieth anniversary of this park comes around the complaints we have about the Paris Resort will be mostly answered... mostly.
Later this week I'll have part two of this report focusing on Asia. It's an interesting time for the Mouse and its world... Stay tuned.
On this day, nineteen years ago "The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular" attraction opened at the Disney-MGM Studios(now Disney's Hollywood Studios) in WDW. It appeared before the Indy ride in Disneyland and along with Star Tours was the beginning of Lucasfilm's long and continuing involvement with the Mouse.
Michael Keaton is joining the cast of "Toy Story 3" as Barbie's main male squeeze: Ken. Barbie herself will be played again by Jodi Benson(Ariel's voice in TLM). IESB is reporting this interesting casting news...
Quint over at Ain't It Cool News has posted about another visit he had over at the Walt Disney Animation Studios watching the animating process on Lasseter's first official "Disney" film evolve...
Take a look for yourself...
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Thirty years ago today, Louis Prima, the voice of King Louie in the "Jungle Book" passed away at the far too young age of 67. He was a famous singer, composer, trumpeter and bandleader well before being immortalized as the endearing character in Walt's last film. I'm sure when he crossed the pearly gates, the angel Gabriel got some competition playing his horn...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It appears we know what one of Disney XD's first programs will be...
Variety is reporting that "RoboDZ", an animated television show co-produced by Walt Disney Television an Toei Animation will wind up being broadcast on the newly rebranded channel early next year. February, to be exact.
The story is about three three robots that protect humanity(and robots) from alien invaders...
Friday, August 22, 2008
A warning... if you don't want to know the stories and a large amount of details about these adventures then read no further. This isn't a review, it isn't a synopsis, it's more of an example of what's known as a scriptment. I will try to tell the story the screenwriter wrote as detailed and quickly(or not) as possible.
SPOILERS WILL BE TOLD.
Still with me? Good...
This is a script that Lucas commissioned back after "Last Crusade" and is from 1995.
Indiana Jones and Saucer Men from Mars by Jeb Stuart
Our story begins in Borneo, 1949. Indy is on one of his typical adventures down a dark river with his trusty pal, Kabul(this film's sidekick version of Short Round). They're being chased in their little steamer by a PT Boat filled with river pirates.
Cut to the PT Boat up next to Indy's steamer. They've taken possession of Indy's cargo. A Belloq-type character named Baldassare takes maps from Indy that obviously leads to some treasure. A battle ensues with the pirates trying to feed Jones and his friend to crocodiles. Baldassare leaves with the boat ready to blow up. Indy saves Kabul and his boat as they talk about how Baldassare got away with their treasure. Indy pulls out a small golden idol and they laugh. Indy says he's getting too old for this kind of thing.
Cut to them back in a small harbor town at the wharf, Kabul reminds him that he's promised Brody that he would escort a female linguist up the river looking for a mythical temple lost in time. He doesn't feel like doing it after these adventures and tells Kabul to go sell the steamer. He then goes looking for the linguist to tell her so. Once he sees her as you would expect, he changes his mind...
Dr. Elaine McGregor is a beautiful and smart professor looking for a guide to help her navigate the area and Indy can't say no as he feels an immediate attraction to her. We can tell the feeling is mutual, even though she is quick to point out that she's engaged. Kabul comes back telling him he sold the boat. Indy responds that "I told you to sell the goat" as he motions toward Elaine. Kabul runs off to get the boat back.
Cut to weeks later with Indy, Elaine and Kabul once again captured by Baldassare who realized he was fooled by Jones. They're all hanging upside down waiting to be devoured by ants(familiar?). Indy tries to convince Baldassare to save Elaine and himself by pretending there are more secret maps that only they can read. It only works halfway. Baldassare saves her and leaves Indy to die saying he doesn't need him. They head off, Indiana winds up having to save himself and Kabul. They head off for Baldassare's boat.
Cut to Indy arriving, fights ensuing and the river pirates and Baldassar fleeing off their own boat over to Indy's steamer. Indy thinks he scared them until he turns to see the boat heading toward a giant waterfall that will surely crush the boat if it goes over the falls. Indy, Kabul and Elaine wind up barely making it back just as they notice their own steamer passes by toward the falls. Indy notes they should have fixed that gas gauge as the pirates jump from the ship and the boat plummets over the falls. After all this, Indy turns to Elaine, swooning in her eyes and asks her to marry him(Nooooooooooooooo! Sorry, that was me.).
We now move to America. A wedding is about to commence... Indy and Elaine's wedding. Elaine is preparing to Marry Indy. In another room Henry Jones Sr. is helping Indy tie his tie and criticizing him for getting married so quickly, peppering him with questions like: "How long have you known this woman, Junior?"... (Very Sean Connery).
As we see the chapel, the brides side is may up of many well dressed, respectable people. Indy's side is quite the opposite. A few rag-tag friends, among whom we see Willie Scott, Marion and Short Round(Cringing here). They're about to begin with Indy and his father standing there waiting as the music starts up. We see Elaine about to come up the aisle just as a man walks up to her and Indy and his father get into some nervous banter. Elaine's father shouts: "she's gone!" Indy runs outside and sees a black sedan head off with his future bride in the back. He bolts over to the wedding car and jumps in, chasing after her.
A chase ensues across the university campus(familiar?) over the football field, through the streets and ... alas, when the black sedan carrying Elaine goes around a corner it drives up into the trailer of a semi. As the trailer doors close Indy comes screeching around the corner only to find the sedan and his future wife gone(kinda a reversal of the market scene in Raiders). He goes back to the chapel and says the kidnapper got away. Elaine's father tells him she wasn't kidnapped, but went willingly. Indy is heartbroken.
Cut to Indy at a bar starting to get hammered. We notice that he is drinking with Marion and Willie as they try and console him(More cringing here). Indy walks home and goes to Elaine's office. He goes in and starts to rummage around. Eventually he finds a document with a picture of the military man who looks remarkably like the one she fled with. He also finds her passport with the last name Bollander and a telegram. Then Dr. Jones finds a marriage certificate and he notices the man in the photo has a name plate on his chest with the name Bollander... her husband. Indy reads the telegram. It list something about needing urgent help on a discovery in White Sands, NM.
Back at his house, Indy is arguing with his dad about just finding out that Elaine being married. Jones tells his dad that it's a front and he's going after her looking for answers. He tells his father that he knows she's a spy and wants to find her because he still loves her. The traditional Indy montage across a map until we land in...
New Mexico. Indy pulls into a small diner in the middle of nowhere. Indy goes in asks the waitress shows pictures of Elaine and Bollander. She doesn't recognize Elaine, but identifies Bollander. Two cowboys(one Indy's age, one younger) over to the side ears perk up at this mention and look at one another. She tells him he's the second person to ask about him today and turns to the cowboys... they're gone.
Indy follows a convoy of trucks to a military base. He tries to get the MP's to let him through to see Bollander. It doesn't work. Indy turns and heads away. Cut to Indy on horseback riding across restricted government land. Indy goes across the plains noticing a long black streak where something crashed. He rides on...
Cut to Indy watching a large procession of trucks. trailers, tents and generators(think the end of Close Encounters) as a plane goes by and spots him. He runs off on his horse as Jeeps with machine guns roll after him. After a series of turns and jumps evading them he's finally caught. And winds up in an interrogation tent facing...
Bob Bollander, the military man who stole his wife along with a General McIntyre grilling him with questions(familiar?). They ask Jones what he's seen. What exactly does he know? After a bit a scuffle Indy gets knocked out. And wakes up to see...
Elaine over him. They argue, she comes up with an idea to allow him to stay. She convinces the General that he can help her decipher what she's been working on. Bollander objects, but is overruled. He's taken to a massive operations tent. Indy's introduced to Dr. Bernard who goes about showing him pieces of the crash. Strange alien metal and then a refrigerated coffin with a dead alien inside. A sceptical Indy starts to believe there's something to this. He's shown a long stone cylinder with various runic symbols on it. This is what they are trying to decode. They note that it is some strange power source and it was found among the wreckage of the crash whose site Indy saw earlier. He agrees to help them figure out what this thing is.
Cut to the edge of the base. The two cowboys show up and kill the MP's at the post. They turn to each other and speak in Russian. They mount their horses and head off across the dessert. We focus on Indy and Bollander staring off into the night watching the sky glow... they're testing the bomb off in the distance.
Indy and Elaine figure out what they believe the symbols mean. They meet with the General and Bollander. It appears that the symbols are longitude/latitude symbols and they correspond to various mountains about the world. They talk about how perhaps this ship was taking device back to the mountain.
A commotion happens across the site. It appears that one of the crude computers blew up. Indy notices something unusual and Elaine is missing. He goes over to find out what's going on. He stumbles into the Cowboys. They stick a gun to his back and pull him into a tent. The Cowboy we find out is a Russian spy named Cheslav... and Indy and he have a history. Elaine is tied in the tent. A fight ensues and Cheslav and the other Russian escape with Elaine in tow as Jones stumbles after her.
A chase happens across the dessert base as the General and Jones both go looking for him. There's a huge missile test area where the Russian hide their car amidst a hundred others. Indy goes hunting for them and goes down a cavern to battle one of the Russians. He winds up battling the spy on top a missile testing sled(familiar?). The sled shoots off and heads out at a blinding speed. When it comes to a stop, the Russian is dead and burnt to a crisp. Indy is barely conscious and notices figures come up to him speaking in Russian. Someone knocks him out before he can see what is happening clearly.
Cut to Indy in the car's trunk next to the body of the dead Russian trying to pick the lock. They're going across the base, one is reading a map and they notice he was reading it wrong. They see a small town(Boomsburg) up ahead and pull into a gas station. Indy sneaks out of the trunk and sneaks around the side. Indy runs into a house and tries to find a phone. Everything is strangely sterile and quite. He sees some people and notices they're mannequins. About this time the Russians realize this and start to get out of town as quickly as possible(This scene plays out exactly like the one in Crystal Skull except the fridge scene is a bit different. He goes into the cellar and covers the top with the open fridge).
Cut to Indy being scrubbed off(Just like Crystal Skull). Cut to interrogation with them accusing Indy of helping the Russians(Just like Crystal Skull). Indy and Bollander are arguing as Indy tells him he has a mole on the base and it's someone that speaks Russian with a German accent. They only have two hundred German scientists helping with this project so it should be easy to find the General says sarcastically.
Cut to Indy under arrest. He's taken down to be locked up. He hears Dr. Bernard arguing with some people. Jones eyes go wide as realizes that Bernard is the voice he heard. Indy escapes from his MP escort and goes after Bernard. He climbs onto the top of one of the trucks in a convoy. The convoy pulls into a deserted gas station as a car pulls up carrying Elaine. Suddenly a huge Russian flying fortress swoops down from the sky and lands. They're fueling the plane as they load cargo. The guy loading the fuel notices it's stopped and goes looking for a kink in the line... you can guess what happens next. Jones dressed in a Russian outfit boards the plane as it's starting to take off. He looks around for the cylinder and runs into some Russian soldiers and gets in a fight when they realize he's not one of them. Indy looses the fight.
Cut to Indy being taken to the pilot's compartment. He and Elain embrace. We notice that the cylinder is starting to glow(giving us the impression of it being like a time bomb). Bernard takes him to the back and opens bomb bay doors to throw Indy out. Before they can throw him out they discover they have a visitor. Something is trailing the plane... something not American, not human. A flying saucer. They get caught in its tractor beam. Two American jets come into the fight after having seen the saucer on radar. They fire at the saucer and it released the plane. A fight ensues as the plane starts to head down. Elaine tries to get the device, but gets sucked out of the plane. Indy goes after her and grabs her as he pulls his parachute. The plane explodes. They land. She has the cylinder as she and Indy walk into an almost deserted town near dusk. They go into a shop. No one around. Indy goes to try and find someone leaving Elaine inside. Things happen and a spider-like alien comes after her(feels very much like the house scene from CE3K). She runs out of the shop as Indy pulls up in a truck. She jumps in and tells him to go.
It's night as the truck drives down the road toward a drive-in theater. They pull in and park their vehicle, hiding around the other cars. On the screen is some cheesy alien invasion movie that plays out while all the teens around them make out. Indy and Elaine talk until she and he start to make up or make out just like the rest of the teens. The rod's runic symbols continue to light up and expand. A shadow appears over the drive-in... no one notices, including Indy and Elaine as their car starts rising.
The truck is lowered onto the ground. The alien ship(not the one that shot down the plane, this one's smaller) lands and a bug-like alien comes out and tries to get the door open with them inside. Indy tries to draw the thing away as a small alien appears in the doorway of the saucer. It says something that sounds like what Elaine heard the spider-like alien say and being a linguist she starts to decipher what it was saying. It's saying "Dangerous". Indy and she try to give it to the creature, but even the creature doesn't want it. About this time an explosion happens on the saucer. Tanks are firing at the spacecraft. Bollander pulls up with the General. They put Indy and Elaine under arrest and Bollander takes the cylinder, looking at it almost like a lover. The convoy heads back to the base as dawn approaches. The clouds above move and shift... something is in them following the convoy(very much CE3K).
A huge windstorm is kicking up. Suddenly a beam of light destroys one of the trucks in the convoy. The large flying saucer is back as the storm gets worse. The ship destroys more vehicles. Elaine and Indy escape again as the Army does battle with the saucer. Bollander takes off with the cylinder in his jeep as the burning sandstorm buries the entire convoy of Army vehicles. Bollander is riding up the mountains. Bollander reaches a runic alter(a cairn) up in the mountains as three saucers come out flashing green lights all around the cairn. Indy and Elaine are going toward Bollander when suddenly they're stopped by Cheslav. Fights happen, Cheslav runs for Bollander and the cylinder. Bollander is holding the rod, it glows and he starts to glow. He becomes drunk with power. He takes the cylinder and melts Cheslave before he can get to him. Just then the sun rises and Bollander feels the power start to drain from his body. He explodes. Blinding light everywhere. When the storm settles and the light goes away the cylinder is missing. Everything is back to normal now that the cylinder has been returned...
Cut to the church from before. Indy Sr. fixing Indy Junior's tie again. Indy and Elaine get married and run over to get into the car. Everyone is around cheering them... Sallah, Marion, Willie and so on. As they get in the driver, Short Round says: "Where to Dr. Jones?". He tells him the airport and they speed off. Indy says: "I love you". Elaine say: "I love you". They kiss. The wedding car roars off toward the airport.
Would this have been better than Crystal Skull?
You be the judge.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
On this day eighty-eight years ago Daphne Milne and A.A. Milne welcome to the world their newborn son:
Christopher Robin Milne...
The "real" Christopher Robin, that is. He will go on to be forever immortalized in the children books that his father writes about a silly, ole' stuffed bear named Winnie the Pooh. Christopher lived a full life as a husband, father and writer like his father before him, until passing from this world on April 20, 1996.
Somewhere right now in the Hundred Acre Woods, candles on a cake are being blown out...
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Bidding that is...
ESPN is likely to bid for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games over the course of the process that will end in October of 2009. The Mouse could have stiff competition though, as NBC, Fox and CBS are thinking of going for the gold themselves...
It looks like Miramax and Rocket Pictures are finally moving ahead with "Gnomeo and Juliet"...
The project has been at the Mouse for close to a decade at least and has moved forward in fits and starts, but it always kept getting put on the back burner. It was placed into turnaround once Lasseter took over Disney's animation department and got a good look at the mess that was the original story... but like so many other projects it refused to go away.
James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are in talks to play the animated(CGI of course) couple fall for each other. Think, "Shrek" meets "Romeo and Juliet". Wait a minute... wasn't that what "Shrek" was to begin with? The story seemed a lot more original before Shrek came out. Hopefully the script is very good.
This has been a film that is dear to the heart of Elton John, who has shepherd it since its conception a long time ago...
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Ok, let's not be Pollyannish here...
I'm not trying to sound overly optimistic but the buzz is really good and the future looks bright.
Animation. Disney Animation specifically. Theatrically, exactly.
You see, over the past couple of months I've had several of my contacts, Bothan and the like, contact me as to how they felt things were going. John Lasseter has been in charge of Disney's animation division for almost two and a half years and many people are asking:
"How much is different?"
A lot. A whole lot.
And I'm not just talking about the swanky new furniture that they've got or the layout that the artist cubicles are now in. The perceptions that artist have there is a world away from where it was just three years ago. I have a feeling that the feeling today is a world away from where the feelings, perceptions and reality are three years from now. And by that I mean in the positive.
Not only have people I've spoken with had good things to say about "Bolt", they've had even better things to say about the next few films down the Disney animation pipeline.
The screenings that have occurred with "Bolt" have had animators talking about how much more heart, humor and depth this film has over the last four or five Disney animated features. When general audiences get a look at the film this Thanksgiving they'll also note the change in quality and perception too. And with the new animated shorts that WDAS is making it's going expand what audience can expect from Disney in the future.
Everything I've heard about "The Frog and the Princess" is really glowing. About a third of the film is finished animation right now and the first act is a return to the classic films of the Second Golden Age... one that reminds us why we love Disney animation. The story men are still working on the second act and third acts, tweaking and tightening the story structure so that the film dazzles the audience, both boy and girl, child and child-like... and it's something the animators over in the Hat Building are very, very proud of.
From what I've heard regarding "Rapunzel" is promising as well. Glen Keane and Dean Wellins' movie has an enchanting first act. The second act is getting stronger and they're working on the third act... but don't worry, there's still two years before we see this gem. The animation though, is jaw dropping with its painterly quality. It's a moving painting and while "Princess" may be evoking comparisons to "The Little Mermaid", this film is getting comparisons to "Beauty and the Beast"... considering that's my favorite animated Disney film that's something I'm really looking forward to seeing.
As for "The King of the Elves", well that film is truly in the embryonic state and although the story structure is being worked out and they've produced some beautiful concept art, the film is a long way away. Four years is a long way off and things on the project could go in different directions. As of now, the project is scheduled to be CGI, but that's not written in stone. But it's still likely, though...
The great news is that hand drawn animation is no longer a subject that is taboo, it's encouraged and actually respected as the art it should always have been. When "Princess" comes out Christmas next year I have a feeling that there are going to be a few things greenlit that Disney Geeks/Fans are going to just love... but a great deal is riding on that film. Not that I have doubts about it, just that I'm trying to explain how much pressure is on the shoulder of this film and its directors.
There are a few ideas that animators and artist are working within the walls in Burbank after that, but we won't start to hear anything solid on new projects until we get closer to the "Princess" release. But I can tell you that the people that are pitching projects inside Disney animation no longer have the fear that Suits will wind up diluting or destroying the ideas they have. Because like me, they know the future's bright...
I've said it before...
It's easy to be negative. For some reason it's easier for humanity to focus on doom and gloom. Even when it's not always the case. Although we're not in the "Goldielocks Economy" anymore, we're not in another Depression. When it comes to the Market, it's a lot easier to be a Bear than a Bull. Someone is always there to say something like: "Yeah, but..." Many people see the glass as continually half empty. I tend to see it an opportunity to open another bottle, but that's just me. A lot of people in the media are trying to say that Disney is going to cut back because of a world-wide slowdown. That there is no way to continue to live this Cinderella story. Is it really a fairy tale? Will the Mouse start to slash and burn it's movies, parks and other sources of revenue for the sake of the bottom line? So far, that's not the case.
Bob Iger did an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC's Mad Money the other day that focuses on this point. Interesting article. Don't forget to watch the video interview as well...
It appears that Disney's ABC Family Channel is getting another super-hero series(remember Middleman?)...
Will all the success that comic book films are having the Mouse appears to have optioned another little known comic book for adaption to television. Devil Due Publishing's "Will Triumph Fights Alone" is being planned by the Mouse for adaption.
What is it?
The story follows a novic superhero Will Triumph(clever huh?) who is the son of a powerful superhero team known as the "Dynamics" until they were killed fighting their arch-enemy , Dr. Loricas. He gets hold of his parents' Rings of Power. The catch is these rings only work for a married couple(Holy matrimony, Batman!). The story finds Will hunting for Dr. Loricas to avenge his parents death and also trying to find that "special girl" who will help him unlock those rings so he can be the super-hero he's always believed he would become.
Will it be any good? Tune in next year when it premieres on ABC Family and find out... same bat time, same bat- ahhh, you get where I'm going here, don't you?
Monday, August 18, 2008
It seems like the Mouse is about to sign a deal along with other major studios with American theater chains to heavily invest in 3-D technology...
All the studios have growing slates of films that are being planned for this technology and Hollywood wants to make sure audiences will be able to experience a showing of these films in the right environment. Disney and Paramount are about to join 20th Century fox in an investment deal with Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a consortium made up of the AMC, Regal and Cinemark theater chains. Be kinda hard to watch "Toy Story 3", "A Christmas Carol", "Alice in Wonderland", "The Bow and the Bear" and possibly "Prince of Persia" without those glasses handy, eh?
Hollywood is banking on this as the next big thing for event films. The film industry has a track record of doing things like this... Back in the early days of film making studios added sound to get more people watching the silver screens in the 30's and widescreen (or CinemaScope) was to created so as to keep people coming to theaters when television started competing with the local movie houses. Now that televisions have HD, televisions have the same aspect ratio(screen shape) as motion pictures and home audio systems are getting as good as professional chains, the industry has to do something to keep butts in the seats. This may be it. Iger, Katzenberg and a few others think it is... and it might. I, for one, just don't like wearing glasses while watching a film... or theme park rides for that matter.
Time will tell.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Here's what the reviews for George Lucas' "Clone Wars" are saying...
"It's difficult to say whether the dialogue or the characters are more wooden." - Charlotte Observer
"Has it come to this? Has the magical impact of George Lucas' original vision of "Star Wars" been reduced to the level of Saturday morning animation?" - Chicago Sun Times/Roger Ebert
"An enjoyable escapade and a great introduction to the forthcoming series - just not the seventh Star Wars film fans were hoping for." - Empire
"George Lucas is turning into the enemy of fun." - Entertainment Weekly
"In the absence of any extensive innovation, the video game-ready results play more like a feature-length promo for the imminent TV series of the same name than a stand-alone event." - Hollywood Reporter
"Despite some absolutely gorgeous animation and adjusting expectations for what Clone Wars is meant to be, the Force is not strong with this one." - Los Angeles Times
"The Clone Wars is minor to the point of irrelevance, nothing more than a stylized direct-to-DVD shrug projected onto a big screen while Lucas launches two more TV series filling in prequel blanks better left empty." - LA Weekly
"Dear George Lucas: Stop ruining 'Star Wars'!" - New York Daily News
"Expectations were set so low by George Lucas’s lousy trilogy of “Star Wars” prequels that the latest from the Lucasfilm factory comes as something of a surprise: it isn’t the most painful movie of the year!" - New York Times
"... It's more of a problem when a film feels like a videogame, which implies a story that's more fun to play through than watch. Unfortunately, there's no interactive option for Star Wars: The Clone Wars" - The Onion
"The best that can be said about the movie is that it's harmless and mostly charmless." - Philadelphia Inquirer
"The animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" movie is out today, and Lucas seems to be more in touch with his inner Ewok than ever. The movie's tone will probably send original-trilogy loyalists over the edge, the final shove that sends their Hoth Ice Planet action play sets into exile on eBay." San Francisco Chronicle
"The movie gets more cluttered and confused as it moves along, though it's dotted with so many generic battle scenes and paint-by-numbers light-saber combat sequences that you can see how it's at least attempting to mimic the illusion of excitement." - Salon
"The story lacks narrative tension. The dialogue is stilted and overblown, a problem also in some of the live-action incarnations. That, combined with visuals that consistently lack punch, leaves little to engage us." - USA Today
"... there's little doubt this stuff will look more at home on the tube than it does on the bigscreen, since one thing is for sure: This isn't the "Star Wars" we've always known and at least sometimes loved." - Variety
"Clone Wars will appeal only to the most tolerant, galactically minded children and their parents." - Wall Street Journal
"Unfolds with all the entertainment value of watching somebody else play a video game." - Washington Post
Is Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and the Walt Disney Company's Largest Share Holder, really the master of the universe?
A while ago, Michael Dell told people he thought Apple should be broken up and given back to investors... last year Apple passed Dell in market value. Now, Apple Inc. has moved ahead of Google, Inc. as the most valued company in Silicon Valley too...
Earlier this week Apple's total stock value went to $158.84 billion versus the leader across the valley, Google which had $157.23 billion.
It's hard to imagine that only a decade ago the little fruit company was being left for dead by most in the know...
Think when Steve goes to the Walt Disney Company's private board meetings people don't value his suggestions and ideas?
Saturday, August 16, 2008
While I thought I wouldn't be reviewing this, I figured that after I devoted as much time to posting about "The Clone Wars" as I did, that I at least deserved to give you my opinion of the film...
Could have been worse... could have been a whole lot better...
Three years ago today, the animation world in general and Pixar in particular, lost a really talented man. A very nice man... a man whose compasion and caring were as big as his talent.
Joe Ranft, one of Pixar's story artist and a lead in story development at the Lamp was killed in a car crash while doing what he always had done... helping others. Joe is survived by his wife Sue, and his two children, Jordan and Sophia. He will be remembered for all the good work he had done, both at home with his family and the office with Disney and Pixar.
Joe's story pitches are greatly missed inside the halls of Pixar...
Friday, August 15, 2008
Today the first Star Wars film to not have the 20th Century Fox logo on it opens nationwide.
It's the first Star Wars film to come out that doesn't begin with the crawl rolling up describing what has happened before.
It's the first fully animated Star Wars theatrical film.
Let's hope it has a good script, because for one of the "prequels"...
That would be a first.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
One year ago today the names on the Disneyland Hotel towers all changed...
Gone were the Marina, Sierra and Bonita. In their place were the Magic, Dreams and Wonder.
Gone were the last traces of Jack Wrather, the original owner of the hotel. Of course, the actual hotel is still there... and despite the memories people have of the structure, it is one of the ugliest hotels around. Both that hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel clearly look like they weren't designed by Disney, but Wrather's hotel is especially bland.
The three concrete blocks that hold the name of the park Walt built were supposed to get a renovation that was to start almost a year ago. But the aged hotel has posed a challenge to the renovation as it might actually cost more than building a brand new hotel.
Will they or won't they? Unfortunately, the last time I talked to my Bothans there was no decision as to what to do about this abomination to architecture. Now Blue Sky would simply like to offer a couple words of advise...
The best place to build a Disneyland Hotel is right in front of Disneyland. Or at least as close as possible. Like the Esplanade... where the transportation hub where buses, trams and taxis pull up? Imagine a lovely, themed hotel that can be seen from Harbor boulevard outside the resort. Just imagine what walking beneath this structure and coming out into the Esplanade to see Disneyland on your right and the park formerly known as Disney's California Adventure on your left?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Walt Disney Productions "Bambi" premiered on this date in 1942 in London, England. The following week it would open in America, distributed by RKO Pictures. The classic motion picture was Walt's fifth animated feature. It was the last full length feature until Cinderella in 1950(the other features were collections of shorts or combination live-action).
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Thirteen years ago today, Walt Disney Pictures releases "Runaway Brain", the first Mickey Mouse short in over thirty years. While not the sweet, innocent shorts Mickey is known for, the animation is pure Disney... the antics may be Warner Bros., but the short has a charm that has grown on me over time and will tide us over until a new Mickey short goes up on the silver screen...
Sunday, August 10, 2008
George Lucas' new Clone Wars film will have its American premiere at The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood this evening with a discussion panel afterwards with CW director Dave Filoni, producer Catherine Winder and several others.
I wonder if one of the questions during the discussion panel will be: "Why does the story revolve around Jabba the Hutt's son?"...
Saturday, August 9, 2008
If you visited the new Walt Disney Animation Studios website yesterday you got to see a real surprise(No, not that it had opened)...
If you clicked on their projects(here is the full size P and F concept art), Disney put out a bunch of "visual development" concept artwork for "The Princess and the Frog" that gives you an idea as to the breadth and scope of the story...
All artwork is copyright Disney for those that don't know, duh.
As "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" inches closer, Lucasfilm is putting out more and more publicity comes out about it.
Apple has released a new trailer for the film...
DVD Times has two featurettes you can watch about the making of...
Hat Tip to Animated News.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Have you ever stayed through the credits of a film?
An animated film in particular.
Ever wondered what all those credits meant? Particularly when you saw one that said "Supervising Animator" or "Animation Director" on a specific character. Well these gifted artist are responsible for giving the physical representation of the character that an actor is voicing its personality. Eric Goldberg, you remember we just talked about him a short while ago? He's as much responsible for the Genie from "Aladdin" as Robin Williams is... he brought that character to life. This is the job of a supervising animator.
Now, have you wondered who was doing each character on Princess and the Frog? Wonder no more...
If you want to know who's animating the characters in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog", then I suggest you take a look at Rhett Wickham's article over at Laughing Place.
No sooner did I put up the link to the new Disney Animation website which had nothing really on it...
That they suddenly put something on it.
What an interesting future we have in store for ourselves...
No sooner did I put up the link to the new Disney Animation website which had nothing really on it...
That they suddenly put something on it.
What an interesting future we have in store for ourselves...