Friday, June 29, 2012

The World Thinks Different...

 One more thing...










Five years ago today...

Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. Your way of communicating would never be the same.  And neither would Microsoft, Google and even the industry leader at the time, Research In Motion.  They should have done a little more research on what a phone could be.

Too bad there wasn't an app for that...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Big Ideas...

Surprised to know...






Ok, many of you wanted to know this and now you shall...

I promised my Bothans that I wouldn't reveal much about the Marvel project that Walt Disney Animation Studios was working on, that I would only allude to it until something else broke about it. Well, now a website has let the cat out of the bag. Remember that I mentioned that the property would be unlike anything the Mouse had done before? I also mentioned to some that inquired about it, that Marvel owns 4000+ characters and everyone was thinking it was an animated "Iron Man" or "X-Men" or even "Power Pack." Well, it's not. It's not one of the top 100 or 200 characters even. The actual title is much more obscure than most people know. In fact, most comic book fans will not even know the title, or most of the characters. So, what is the title/characters that Disney is adapting into an animated film?

Big Hero 6.

What??? Yes, I know. It's not exactly a top title that many would remember. There have been, I believe, two series runs of this group and neither were very well known. If you want to know more about the characters then click on the link and read up. You may be seeing them in the near future. And if you want to know how soon? Well, after "Wreck-It Ralph" this year, next year is the Snow Queen adaptation, "Frozen" for 2013, but the slot that is set for 2014 has been put aside for Don Hall's project. Don Hall is the director of "Big Hero 6." In fact, he's the one that pitched the idea to Lasseter, who liked his take on the subject and approved it for development. Now, it's not fully green lit. The project is story boarded and has been deemed strong enough to tentatively put in the production line. So, if the story and script work out then you can expect this project to be the FIRST DISNEY ANIMATED MARVEL FILM.

And there you have it...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chinese Adventure...

Another kingdom in the Middle Kingdom...




With the focus now off on Anaheim for the time being, eyes turn East...

Shanghai Disneyland is progressing along with a tentative opening date of late 2015/early 2016. As many have said before, it will have a different vibe than the traditional "Magic Kingdom" styled template that everyone is used to. It will still be Disney, but the areas will have a much more culturally specific tone than what we've seen before. If there is an overriding theme that you can take from what is coming, it is this:

Adventure and water.

What's that you say? Well, I can't reveal everything, or even a great deal of what my Bothans have told me, but I can express a few things that are happening. There will be a great emphasis on water in the park in many of the areas and attractions that are designed for this gate. From fountains, geysers, pool, ponds, waterfalls and water rides, this place will be decked out in aqua. The designs are quite elaborate, and the detail of each area will rival the detail that Hong Kong Disneyland had, albeit the attraction list will be much more interesting.

Another thing that will be noticed in the park, is the amazing amount of adventure attractions and layered theming this resort will have. Even the names should give you a hint. How about Adventure Island in Adventureland? Or a tropical area of the park featuring a dense jungle attraction known as Jungle Challenge. Lavish water and fog effects will be placed around these areas that will deepen the atmosphere of the experience. And if it doesn't get cut, the rock work of the amazing dinosaur attraction, Lost World Roaring Rapids will simply stun you. It's really impressive and I hope that Iger and Staggs don't skimp on the budget and let this sculptured mountain disappear into legend.

The front entrance will be unique as we all know because there won't be a Main Street like every other park has had since the original was opened by Walt. But the beautiful and hypnotic trees, plants and flowers that lead up through the Fantasia Gardens toward the Dumbo attraction will provide a fantasy-like surrounding that will make you feel like your in an imaginary world that is decidedly Disney, but decidedly different.

The attractions will have the detail and quality one would expect from the Mouse, but may take on a slightly unique presentation that I find refreshing, as I hate clones and want each gate to have its own identity. So far, the design work being done by Imagineers is something that will make fans very proud of what can be done to immerse you in a manufactured world. As the plans move forward, we can expect the final design to be ready sometime late next year. After that it will take between two and three years to bring the ideas and dreams into brick and mortar.

And then there are the hotels...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Looking In The Mirror...

Mirror, mirror on the Esplanade...







It's been a very bizarre week at the Disneyland Resort...

Not only has DCA been doing better than expected, it's been doing better than Disneyland. Take Sunday for instance. The projected attendance for the day for California Adventure was a mind blowing 58,000 guests. All this while Disneyland was supposed to get a more moderately high 30's figure. It's like a reverse image of a month ago. And just getting 30,000 would have been a very busy day for DCA. Not anymore. Mid to high 40's are the norm and lately it's teetering on the 50,000+ level.

It's amazing the success you can achieve when you do something right.

The bean counters that smacked Disney's name on the mess that was DCA in 2001 couldn't grasp this simple concept that the company's founder put forth as a business model. They were the antithesis of what the man, and his company was. The majority of the new management in Burbank realize this now. Not all, but most, and that's as good as can be expected. After all, 12% of the nation believes Elvis is still alive. You can't get everyone on the right issue, but as long as you can get the majority of them with you, then you're doing alright.

Now, I don't want you to think that I believe DCA is perfect. It's not. It still needs work, and it will still get work. But it will be incremental, not dramatic like what has come before. It will have some interesting improvements, but that is/will be a talk for another day. In another post. For the next couple years, lets all walk down Buena Vista Street and enjoy what the company does best when it does its best. Let's take a stroll through the Pacific Wharf area and head beneath that arch for a breathtaking view of how you can be consumed by an idea. It's the best representation of entering the world embodied in a film. It's mesmerizing. Even if you're not a fan of the film, "Cars", Cars Land is a sight to behold.

And the new found success of DCA is good for everyone...

Five Comics DC Should Make Into Films...

My hero, DC Heroes...




So Warner is looking in unusual places for comic book film possibilities...

With all the talk about Warner Bros. actively trying to put many of their comic properties into a film adaptation, I thought we here at BSD should look at several lesser known character(s) that would make great films.

Sure, there will be another Batman film, and likely another Superman film. Even with the disappointment of Green Lantern, it'll likely get a sequel or reboot in a few years. But what about the characters they have that aren't as well known by the public? Like Marvel, DC has a treasure trove of characters to mine for potential film/tentpole material. Sure, there's Barry Sonnenfeld's "Metal Men" and the fictional effort of James Cameron to make "Aquaman," but where else can Warner go? Who else can they use?

Leave it to Blue Sky to give them the answer. Just remember, when the films go into production, all I ask for is an executive producer credit. If you want to finagle me down, I might settle for an associate producer credit. But that will only happen if I read the script and it sucks. So without further ado, the list:





#5: The Spectre - The story of Jim Corrigan, a detective brutally murdered, whose soul isn't allowed into the afterlife. He instead walks the earth delivering justice to people who have been wronged and punishing evil. This could be done in a similar vein to what "Constantine" was. In fact, I'd follow the same type of route. Perhaps even hire the same Francis Lawrence. Unfortunately he's doing the Hunger Games sequel. Still, this could be a very deeply entertaining tale featuring a character that most people don't know about.



#4: Justice Society - If we can have an "X-Men" film set in the 60's, why can't we have a Justice League type film set in World War II? Imagine a superhero team set in a film themed with the same tone as "Captain America" from Marvel? These teams can focus on characters other than Batman or Superman. Or even Green Lantern or the (Barry Allen)Flash. Imagine characters like Doctor Midnight, Wildcat, Sandman or Obsidian? Dark tales of superhero-noir wrapped up in a tale set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany? Bring it on.



#3: Blackhawk - Janos Prohask aka: Blackhawk is a Polish American that forms his own squadron of pilots that fight against Nazi pilots in a fight for freedom and democracy. Imagine a story like "Red Tails" but with a much better script, or something featuring the aerial aspects of "Empire of the Sun" with a thrilling adventure/romance yarn. I believe that Howard Chaykin's version could be the template from which a great story could spring forth. And some nice, black WWII outfits, not a pair of tights in the bunch.




#2: The Adventurer's Club - Yes, very similar to Disney's own Adventurer's Club. A semi-anthology series that debuted in Adventure Comics that focused on a group of adventurers gathering together to brag about the exciting journeys they've had. It could essentially play on Disney's own property since the Mouse doesn't seem to realize the potential it has. The comic could simply be set up as jumping off point for a series of adventure films designed to be the next Indiana Jones or Mummy.



#1: The Doom Patrol - A collection of characters with powers and abilities dealing with being misfits and ostracized in a world of dark, danger. The Doom Patrol would be a wonderful twist on another superhero book. Essentially imagine them as an occult version of the X-Men. Imagine a story of secret societies and global threats that impact the world above we see, but through sinister forces like the Brotherhood of Dada, Red Jack or the Scissormen. Of all the odd or unusual properties, this would be my most desired one to make it to the silver screen.

Honorable Mention:



Phantom Stranger - A mysterious figure that controls fate and plays a role in the decisions that people make. He'd make an interesting film, or at the least a mini-series on HBO/Showtime.

Adam Strange - An archeologist that is transported to a foreign planet known as Rann, he becomes the protector of this planet from alien forces. This is very much like a sci-fi Edgar Rice Burroughs tale. Epic adventure in a futuristic atmosphere.

Sgt. Rock - A World War II era tale about a sgt. and his rag tag group of troops as they face Nazi Germany battling throughout Europe. Think "Saving Private Ryan" with a more "Dirty Dozen" type plot line.


And yes, I know that Disney owns Marvel, so you want to know where are the Marvel Characters?

That's another post coming a little later...

30 Years Of Noir...

Dreaming of sheep...





Thirty years ago today I saw the future's past...

"Blade Runner" was released on this day in 1982.  It's my second favorite film of all time and when I inititally saw it, I was underwhelmed by the story, but mesmerized by its beauty.  As the years went on and I discovered classic film noir movies, I realized what the story was, and how brilliant it had been.  Harrison Ford was at the top of his game, and Ridley Scott was just getting started in his career, but even with his third film, he was already revolutionizing science fiction.  As the years go by I value each time I sit down in a darkened room to see a future that both invited me, and frightened me.

Unlike the Replicants in the story, this film and it's story will live forever...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Framed Today...

Shave and a hair cut...







Hard to believe it's almost been a quarter of a century...

Twenty-four years ago today, Walt Disney Studios under their Touchstone Pictures banner, released the film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" to audiences across America. The live-action/animated hybrid film directed by Robert Zemeckis was an instant hit and a Disney classic.

With it's glowing reviews and box office success, a part two would be inevitable, right? The sequel with Tom Cruise never happened, but there has been talk that Zemeckis would do a sequel with today's technology. Let's hope if it's made, they don't forget story.

But like "The Rocketeer," if you walk down Buena Vista Street you'll see reminders of that classic film when the Red Car Trolley rolls by. And if you're down near Oswald's, look around at some of the mail boxes there. A certain detective named "E. Valiant" resides there.

Maybe someone will hire him to find out what happened to that sequel...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Original Iron Man...

You look like a hood ornament...







Twenty-one years ago today...

Walt Disney Pictures released the film, "The Rocketeer" on audiences across America. Sadly, it didn't light the world on fire, and was considered a disappointment by the Suits up in Burbank. This was the Mouse's attempt to replicate the success of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with a much more unfortunate outcome. It has grown to become a cult classic, and despite flaws, is a sweet, earnest story that is rarely told anymore with a deeply nostalgic, almost Capraesque view of the world. In a sense, it's a prequel to "Captain America," which is ironically by the same director, Joe Johnston.

While I dream of a sequel to it, I still have the film on DVD and the memories of seeing it at the El Capitan opening weekend with my Mom and Dad. It's a fairly faithful adaptation of Dave Steven's beautifully drawn, comic mini-series that I still love to see to this day.

If you are a fan of this and happen to be walking down the gorgeously detailed Buena Vista Street of DCA, stop into Elias & Company. Take a look at the mannequins up in the second story of the department store. All are decked out in 30's attire, including one fella that happens to be dressed in a familiar suit belonging to a pilot named Cliff Secord. A smile will appear on your face as you dream. Hey, if they can make a sequel to "Tron," then why not this?

If only I had one of those jet packs...

Brave Answers...

What's up, Red...










The Lamp's first princess film is out tomorrow and the reviews are starting to pour in...

What say our favorite film critics about Pixar's latest effort, and will its thirteenth film be a lucky or unlucky number?


If you have kids, you’ll want to take them to Brave, and they’ll almost certainly have a good time. If you’re an animation buff, you may have quibbles with the film, which looks great but isn’t up to Pixar’s high standards in terms of story. That’s the problem with creating so many innovative and memorable movies: when you do something that’s “merely” pretty good, it feels like a letdown. - Leonard Maltin
If the Walt Disney Studios logo were the only one on "Brave," this film's impeccable visuals and valiant heroine would be enough to call it a success. But "Brave" is also a Pixar Animation Studios film, and that means it has to answer to a higher standard. - Los Angeles Times

For all its pictorial and vocal beauty, the film's emotional line and dramatic contrivances are both more familiar and less inventive than what's usually delivered by the studio. Younger kids won't mind, but many viewers accustomed to relying upon Pixar for something special will feel a sense of letdown due to the lack of adventurousness. - Hollywood Reporter

Walt Disney began his feature career with a princess story. Now Pixar gives princesses a go after making a dozen other toons, and though the studio brings its usual level of perfectionism and heart to the assignment, "Brave" seems a wee bit conventional by comparison with, say, how radically "The Incredibles" reinvented the superhero genre -- not that Pixar's eager international following will object.
- Variety

The film's greatest strength comes from being emotionally direct and not layering on any post-modern spin. This is not a film like "Shrek" that spend its whole running time winking at the fairy tale form. Instead, it plays everything straight, and in today's media landscape, that feels almost groundbreaking. - Motion Captured

"Brave" is the latest animated film from Pixar, and therefore becomes the film the parents of the world will be dragged to by their kids. The good news is that the kids will probably love it, and the bad news is that parents will be disappointed if they're hoping for another Pixar groundbreaker. - Roger Ebert

No one seems to review a Pixar film without comparing it to other Pixar films. OK, Brave isn't The Incredibles or Toy Story. So? It's still a rousing, gorgeously animated good time. - Rolling Stone

Gorgeous visuals, terrific message, but a decidedly second-tier plot and not a single unforgettable character. - Richard Roeper

This is less a film in the lustrous Pixar tradition than a Disney fairy tale told with Pixar's virtuosity. As such, it's enjoyable, consistently beautiful, fairly conventional, occasionally surprising and ultimately disappointing. - Wall Street Journal


And now, we go back to school next year...

The Alchemy Of DC's Properties...

Will DC strike gold or lead...








Warner Bros. is still trying to exploit its DC properties on the level of Disney's Marvel properties...

The Vulture has revealed what the property that Barry Sonnenfeld teased everyone that he was working on:

The Metal Men.

I've read some comments around the Net deriding this as something not to be taken serious. But it actually sounds like a good idea to me. If you know the characters, then you know that this is a comic that is perfectly in tone with the kind of films that Sonnenfeld does. I can picture a film of the same type of action and humor as "Men in Black" coming from this property. Now, it's all going to depend who they hire to write it(Ed Solomon, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman or Damon Lindelof, anyone?), but I believe that this could be a great idea for DC to quietly bring some of their lesser known characters into the mainstream.

There are dozens of characters that are not name Superman or Batman that could be made into a compelling, intelligent and entertaining story inside the DC vaults. I mean, when it comes to Marvel, who would have thought "Blade" would have turned into such an entertaining film? Or even the new film that has... never mind. Forget I said that.

For those of you that don't know much, or anything about the Metal Men, click on that descriptive link and you'll find all you're looking for.

Now if only they'd get to work on a few other properties I would like to see...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Filmed Noir/Pulp Sci-Fiction...

Why unicorns...









Interpretation of something one loves by others can take many forms...

 Artist Timothy Anderson has taken many films from my childhood and made them into dime store/pulp story novels.  Both things I love immensely.  This tattered cover of a worn out pulp fiction story done for "Blade Runner" is amazingly awesome.  Check out his website for more new takes on old media.

Now, if they can get someone to start writing some more sci-fi noir fiction...

Hat Tip: How to Carve Roast Unicorn via Colonel Kurtz.

Higher Learning...

How Sully and Mike met...







So today we got our first preview of Pixar's first prequel...

The Lamp released a teaser for the upcoming "Monster University" animated feature scheduled for 2013. Not only did they release the teaser, they released it in four different formats with slight variations.

Teaser One.
Teaser Two.
Teaser Three.
Teaser Four.

Now you know what it's like to learn how to scare to care...

Lucky Rabbit Ears...

Are you marketing guys paying attention...






You're looking at one of the most asked for items in Buena Vista Street...

And it's not for sale. It's not even available. But the Cast Members working at Elias & Company as well as other stores/shops like Oswald's gas station have been telling guests we don't have any. Not that they're out of stock, but they don't have any Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Ears.

This is actually a giveaway item that the makers of Epic Mickey 2 were handing out to people at E3. Little did they know they'd create such a demand for something. These are now collector's items that are selling for between $80 and $400 on ebay right now. And still people are asking where they can buy them.

It doesn't help seeing all those people walking around the park wearing them. It makes people think they can be purchased there. And if all those Cast Members keep telling their managers, and those managers tell their higher ups, then we might see some of these available in the parks sometime in the near future. It's not like the Mouse doesn't like to make money on something.

Especially when so many people are willing to spend the cash so they too can walk around the park wearing a pair...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Art School...

How many years before they graduated...




As the release date gets closer, we get to know more about the Lamp's 2013 film...

Here is a piece of production art that was released today. Sully and Mike going through the gates as they learn to scare. Well before they became the championship team at Monster's Inc. they had to learn how to. And this film will apparently tell that story. Enjoy this as a small peek beneath the curtain. Tomorrow the first teaser will be released.



And we'll get our first animated look at what this film looks like...

Hat Tip to Big Screen Animation.

The Horn Era Has Begun...

If it's not on the page, it's not in the mousetrap...





So Alan Horn has been in charge of Walt Disney Studios and everyone is watching for is first purchase...

Is this it? Well, even if it is his first purchase, there's not much to go on as it's not titles and is only described as an action comedy. The script isn't even written, but it must have gotten the Mouse excited enough to pony up a seven figure sale price. And being as he's in charge now, I can't imagine him having no say over something that is costing a million plus.

Scott Rosenberg(Hauntrepeneur, Pain And Gain) is the one who pitched and will write the script. John Jacobs will produce, but everything else is under wraps. Over the next few months it's going to be interesting seeing what Disney buys and puts into production.

If Horn is able replicate his record at Warner, or even close to it, Disney is about to have a very exciting run...

First Look At A Dark Fairy...






But is she a good, dark fairy, or a bad one...










Walt Disney Pictures, or as marketing calls it, Disney Pictures has something for you...

Your first look at Angelina Jolie as Maleficent has been released by the Mouse. And she looks like a very enchanted dark fairy. Still, I pictured her, more uhm, greenish? I am looking forward to seeing the sets and design of this world, particularly her castle. Will the film be good, stunning, a classic even?

We'll have to wait till 2014 to find out...

History Captured...

The past comes alive for a brief moment...






More than any other entertainment company, the Walt Disney Company is about honoring history...

There is no bigger example of that than D23, which appeals to the Ubergeek that values the legendary history of this company and what it represents to pop-culture and posterity.  Recently D23 did an amazingly geeky thing.  They found old drawings from a proposed animated short entitled: "Harem Scarem" staring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and they pieced them together for fans to see. 

While it's just a micro scene of what was to be, it gives you a great walk back into a period of history that built the footsteps of Pixar, DreamWorks and the Mouse itself.  After all, it didn't all really start with a mouse.

It started with a lucky rabbit...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Carmageddon...







I can't wait to see that animatronic Whoopie...



It appears that the Suits in Burbank finally got the crowds they were expecting for the Second Gate...

Not that you couldn't tell it was going to be a success, and long lines couldn't be have been see months ago. I'm sure Paul Pressler felt that Superstar Limo was supposed to have a six hour wait, but the park he planned wasn't what people expected out of a Disney theme park. Even with the warning signs, Eisner and his team went forward with what they thought was a surefire hit: California in California.

It wasn't.

Especially the idea of a contemporary, extreme sports type park that became dated before it opened. The Imagineers have taken that concept and twisted it into something that not only actually works, but appears as though it was actually planned that way. A view of California the way it was while Walt was here. Each area were nostalgic representations of the Golden State that no longer exist. From the Roaring Twenties when he arrived, to the Idealist Sixties when he left this world for the next.

Imagine what a child walking into this park over the next decade will think? The presentation they will experience and the attractions they will get to enjoy are an entirely different kind than guests got in 2001. Imagine what the park's fifteenth anniversary will bring? The improvements, plussing and additions that will further make DCA a worthy sister to Disneyland. The long lines we saw yesterday are an example of what happens when you create something that people desire to see. This was something lost on the bean counters a decade ago. But it wasn't lost on WDI when the rope dropped yesterday. You could tell that from the smiles on the Imagineers faces as they watched guests head into the reborn park. They did a great job turning a piece of coal into a diamond.

Good job, daydreamers...

Buying Honey...

Honey changes everything...




On this day...

Walt Disney acquired the rights to make a film based on children's book that was very popular in Britain, but not as widely known in America. The author's widow, Daphne agreed to license the stories and characters after much wooing by Disney.

But it would take five years before this agreement would bare fruit. And it wouldn't start out as a film, but a short. A rather large short at twenty-six minutes, but a short none-the-less. Walt would go on to approve two other shorts for production, but he passed before they were put in to production.

Once completed, they were combined into a single story and thus, the animated film that was planned over a decade and a half ago would finally happen.

And now you know it as the classic "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" film.

Oh, bother...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Comic Appeal...

The World of Tomorrow, today...







With all the media attention today surrounding DCA, one obvious question was asked...

What about Marvel?

Tom Staggs was giving a press interview at the Golden State Winery, he was pressed about the matter and was honest without being too revealing.

"We were hard at work on attractions using Marvel characters previously, and that work has only intensified given (the film's) great success,"

Yes, there are plans to work the characters into every park in some way or form, but the thing I like is he emphasised about it being in a proper way. So you won't have to worry about Sleeping Beauty and Thor walking out for a photo op. Or don't plan on seeing the Hulk and Belle walk through the castle opening to greet guest, while the Other Guy says: "Hulk Happiest When Smash!"

But you might see something along the lines of the Fantastic Four in Tomorrowland, or maybe Iron Man and the Avengers in a Stark Expo there... theoretically, of course. But time and place will still mean something. While Bob Iger has spent more on parks in the last few years than his predecessor, spending will tapper off a bit as Burbank settles in to see how guests react to the Extreme Makeover. Disney California Adventure will enjoy its new place in the Resort, while next year the Big Sister starts to get some much needed attention. And I don't believe you'll see many Marvel characters at the Second Gate, but in a couple years some interesting events/shows/attractions mights start to show up in other areas of the park here in Anaheim and the world.

Orlando and Yunib─üsaru Sutajio will just have to wait and watch, for the meantime...

The Adventure Begins...


Now let's start on 2.1...We've only just begun...









Today is the day...

From this day forth, from now on, Disney California Adventure starts off with a new, fresh slate. For all of us entering the park that were there at the beginning, it's a new day. For those entering the park for the first time, it's a blessing. They get to start off the park from a completely different perspective.

Walking through that first land, it's going to be an experience that sets the tone for an incredibly fun journey. While Buena Vista Street is the flip side to Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A., Cars Land will be to DCA what New Orleans Square is to Disneyland. And Radiator Springs Racers will be its Pirates of the Caribbean.

So if you enter through that new front entrance today, enjoy the stroll, take it all in and drink from the canvas that Imagineers have painted.

It's going to be an adventure...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reborn...


Now let's start on 2.1...






Today the media gets its first look at the new DCA...

While the Disneyland Resort's Second Gate doesn't officially reopen for guests until tomorrow, this marks the beginning of the rebranding as a park that can now truly be said to be a Disney Park. There is no such thing as perfection, and there are areas of the park which need to have more plussing, but people that come to the resort will no longer hesitate when they think about buying a ticket just for Disney California Adventure. It will finally be worth the admission price.

In fact, Buena Vista Street and Cars Land succeed so well at putting you in a Disney world, that they make the rest of the park pale by comparison. Not that there aren't great areas or detailed places in the park. It's just these new additions are so beyond what is/was expected that they leave the modest creations that Imagineers put in a decade earlier in the back of your mind.

Walking down that recreation of 1930's Los Angeles is going to create an entirely different impression for guests experiencing this park. People who have never been here will be amazed by the beauty, and people returning will be stunned at how different it is. The level of detail with the hidden treats waiting for you to find are indescribable and have to be experienced. Main Street's sister had a very successful plastic surgery and her sibling is in the same league for a change.

Cars Land is a wonderfully immersive environment. If you walk down the Mother Road toward the land you will feel yourself drawn into an animated film like no other experience you've had at a Disney park. But if you really want to feel the transformation, go through the entrance at Pacific Wharf. Going under that archway and entering the land there actually is more revealing and successful than the main entrance, IMHO. Even if you're not a fan of the film, your senses will be overwhelmed by the detail. You can't help but be impressed by the experience.

It's been a long road, but after a decade of disappointments, the park is finally the destination Suits expected and fans deserved...

Fifth Season, It Begins...

Five seasons away...





The trailer for Cartoon Network's "Clone Wars" has been released...

Has it really been five seasons already? Wow, time flies. I can't remember if George Lucas said how many seasons the Clone Wars would comprised, but I keep thinking I read somewhere that it would be five seasons or at least a hundred episodes. But this could also be in articles where he was talking about the rumored live-action series which he mentioned desiring to have that number as well. While, there are structural problems I have with the show, and characters I don't really care for, the storytelling in this series is far superior to the Prequels (at least the first two, and part of the third). With the new Star Wars series from Seth Green on the horizon and the continual talk of the live-action Star Wars series it appears that this universe still has a lot of life left in it. Hopefully, not just on the small screen, but the big screen as well.

And that gives me a new hope that someday we'll find out what happened after the Empire fell...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Sheet/Many Characters...

Please deposit one peso, mark, whatever...







As the marketing campaign gets more focused we'll see more of the Mouse's next animated feature...

One such way for characters from a new film to be known is for the studio to release posters for individual subjects in a film. And Walt Disney Studios has just released some international one sheets for "Wreck-It Ralph" that give you a better look at what these 8-Bit creations look like behind the cabinet. Head over to Cine1 to see the collection.

Looking forward to pumping in a few coins for this one...

S.M.A.S.H.ing Success...

Hulk want to make more green...









The Other Guy was also in the news...

In addition to the announcement that "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," comes the news that Bruce Banner's alter ego has some new friends in a new show. While I've never liked the idea of alternate Hulks, I have hopes for this series. I loathe the idea of a She-Hulk just like I've never liked the idea of Supergirl or Bat-Mite. It's just milking for the sake of milking something. I prefer the Lamp's model, which is if you have an idea for another story featuring these characters, then a sequel is fine. The one hope I have for this show is the involvement of Paul Dini, whose involvement will at the least will increase the quality of the stories. Will this Hulk series be a smash?

Time will tell...

Disney Legend...

The stuff of dreams...





Now this sounds very interesting...

Could this be the first purchase and beginning of the Alan Horn regime? He's only been on the job for a short while, so we don't know how involved he was in the deal, but if he gave the go ahead for this it shows a promising future for his tenure at the Mouse.

Walt Disney Studios has made a preemptive bid for a series of graphic novels called "The Stuff of Legend" with Pete Candeland (The Beatles Rock Band Commercial) attached to direct and Shawn Christensen (Abduction) attached to write the script.

The story is of a young boy in 1944 who is abducted by the Boogeyman and taken into his closet. The boys dog and toys go into the closet, a land known as The Dark and proceed to do battle with the Boogeyman to rescue the boy. Sounds like a dark twist on Winnie the Pooh, doesn't it?

If this is the first deal under Horn, I look forward to his first slate of films...

Alienated...

From Space Child to Space Jockey...







One of my most anticipated films of this summer was "Prometheus" from Ridley Scott...

And if you've read this blog, then you might have seen Decadent Dave's review of the film. Well, let's just say that he and I are of differing opinions on the film. There's a lot of discussion going on around the web and elsewhere over this Alien prequel. Some of it is very deep and much of the conversation is very intellectual... profound even at times. Whether you like it or not, the film brings up many questions. The main problem I've seen from the majority of those that dislike it is that it doesn't answer all of those questions. I actually like that. It makes me have to think about things. It's very cerebral. I believe that it will become this generation's "2001: A Space Odyssey." It resonated with me that much, and in that way.

But if you like that type of conversation and want to see some interesting analysis and interpretation then check out this article by Cavalorn, entitled: "Prometheus Unbound," which focuses on the religious parallels in the film. A great read. And then there is this post by m15m, entitled "Prometheus in Fifteen Minutes," who offers another revealing look at the subtext of the film. Remember, this is for people that have seen the film. There are huge SPOILERS and if you don't want the film ruined for you, please don't read these conversations.

But for those that have seen it and wish to marinate in the tale of what happened to the spaceship Prometheus?

Enjoy...

Hat Tip to Ain't It Cool News for the Cavalorn article.

Avengers Defeated By Avengers...

Assemble again...




I don't know if this is a stupid decision, a good decision or a badly conceived one...

I first heard this yesterday, but didn't get confirmation other than a couple website reporting rumors of it happening. For those that don't know, Disney XD's great animated show "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" has been cancelled. And it's not for ratings apparently. It's due to the success of the film apparently. I don't know why they can't both exist. They've already said in interviews that the films and television shows are separate universes, so why bow to the pressure of mimicking the success of the film? I've thought since the show premiered that it was to Marvel what "Batman: The Animated Series" was to DC. I don't see a need for a reboot. And from what the producers and writers of the show have been talking about, the series was plotted out for at least another season.

I hope that they don't fumble what is a really good thing. The only critique that I had about the series was it's animated style. I preferred the more detailed example of "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" which sadly, was also cancelled. If the stories are of the same caliber and the animation is better then all will be forgiven. But the phrase: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.

When this series premieres I hope they that phrase doesn't come back to haunt them...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Unthawing...

A great script without the royalty in it's name...






Walt Disney Animation Studios let out who would be playing in the next year's animated feature...

While "Wreck-It Ralph" is having its finishing touches worked on as we speak, the Mouse is hard at work on 2013's release. Disney's "Frozen," also known as "The Snow Queen" now has a queen and a heroine. Here is the press release with the details:



Walt Disney Animation Studios presents an epic tale of adventure and comedy in Frozen, a computer-animated feature film slated for the big screen in November 2013. Directed by Chris Buck (Tarzan,Surfs Up) and produced by Peter Del Vecho (Winnie the Pooh,The Princess and the Frog), Frozen features the vocal talents of film/TV/stage star Kristen Bell as Anna, a young dreamer about to take the adventure of a lifetime, and Tony Award -winning actress Idina Menzel as Elsa the Snow Queen. The movie will feature original songs by Broadway greats Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

In Frozen, a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, so Anna (voice of Bell) must team up with Kristoff, a daring mountain man, on the grandest of journeys to find the Snow Queen (voice of Menzel) and put an end to the icy spell. Encountering Everest-like extremes, mystical creatures and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.

Bell has starred in a variety of films, including the comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat, and the upcoming films Hit & Run, Some Girls and the Farrelly BrothersMovie 43. On the small screen, Bell is currently starring in the Showtime series House of Lies alongside Don Cheadle; she has also starred in Heroes and Veronica Mars. Broadway credits include The Crucible and Tom Sawyer.

Menzel, who won a Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Elphaba in Broadways Wicked (2004), landed her first role on Broadway in 1995 in the Tony Award-winning musical Rent. Film credits include Enchanted and the feature film Rent. She has appeared in a recurring role on TVs Glee and recently released Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, a live concert with an orchestra led by composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch. Menzel is currently on a North American concert tour.

Robert Lopez is a three-time Tony Award-winning writer of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, which was co-written with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park), and the musical Avenue Q, which ran for six years on Broadway and four years in Londons West End. Lopez teamed with wife Anderson-Lopez, whose Drama Desk-winning show In Transit is Broadway-bound, to write original songs for 2011s Winnie the Pooh, a stage version of Finding Nemo and a new musical called Up Here.



Word is that the script for this one is very good, and it was one of the reasons it was moved ahead of "King of the Elves" in the production line before Elves got put in turnaround. But the one I'm truly looking forward to is the one that is scheduled for release after 2013.

It's truly unlike anything WDAS has ever done before...

Worldwide Developments...

One more thing...





Today, the WWDC begins in Moscone West for the Fruit Company...

Tim Cook and his crew will take the stage and introduce secrets and surprises for the Apple developers/fans in attendance. I was invited to one of these by a programmer a few years ago and wasn't able to attend. It would have been nice because it was one of the last attended by Steve Jobs and that's a bit of history I would have liked to be able to tell my grand kids some day.

Personally, I'm looking forward to iOS 6 with the new Maps and more integrated Siri results. I don't believe we'll get any news on the Apple TV/iTV that is rumored to be out late 12/early 13, but I'm sure there will be plenty of info and updates for techno-geeks like myself and other to drool over.

I wonder if Bob Iger ever attends these now that he's on the Apple Board...

Update: Tim Cook's Keynote has been posted for anyone wanting to watch it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Full Plate...

Yummy...









Disneyland
has released a list of all the entertainment that will be offered at DCA over the summer...

It's quite a collection, between all the good entertainment that was there and the new or returning offerings. This park is a long way from where it was a decade ago. Imagine where it will be a decade from now.

And that's a good thing.

Here's the list:

Starting June 15, 2012 when Disney California Adventure's new hours will be open/close 8:00 am-11:00 pm
Continuing Entertainment/Returning Entertainment/New Entertainment


World of Color - Paradise Bay
9:00pm , 10:15pm

Pixar Play Parade - Performance Corridor
2:00pm, 5:00pm

Phineas and Ferbs Rockin Rollin Dance Party - Performance Corridor
9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am,12:30pm,2:55pm,3:55pm

DJ's Dance and Drive - Route 66 (Cars Land)
3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm

Disney's Aladdin a musical Spectacular - Hyperion Theatre
11:55am, 1:35pm, 3:20pm, 4:45pm, 6:20pm

Five and Dime - Carthay Circle
8:30am, 9:30am,10:30am,12:30pm,1:30pm, 3:30pm ,4:30pm, 6:00pm, 7:15pm , 8:15pm

Red Car News Boys - Carthay Circle
10:00am, 11:00am, 12pm, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm

Disney Junior- Live on Stage - Disney Theatre
10:15am, 11:15am, 12:15pm, 1:50pm, 2:50pm, 3:50pm

Minnie Fly Girls Charter Airline - Condor Flats
10:50am, 11:50am, 12:50pm , 2:35pm , 3:35pm, 4:35pm

Instant Concert: Just Add Water - Paradise Bay
11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm

Dancing' With Disney - Stage 17
1:00-5:00pm

Mad T Party - Hollywood Land
7:00pm ,8:00pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm


It's nice to not see Disney Dance Crew and Disney Channel Rocks on that list...

Hat Tip to Lighttragic for his compiling this list for Disney fans to enjoy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blue Sky Disney Review: Prometheus...

This one is not a bughunt...









"If a watch implies a Watchmaker, then who made the Watchmaker?"





These are the kinds of theological questions director Ridley Scott asks with his quasi-prequel-to-Alien-but-really-kinda-isn't-but-kinda-sorta-thinks-it-is blockbuster. Prometheus is a film that suffers from an acute identity crisis. It can't decide if it wants to be a serious thought provoking science fiction film ala Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or just another suspenseful Alien film in its pretentious struggle to attain both.

Ridley uses the Alien universe he created as the framework to ask such intriguing paradoxical questions about where humanity came from and our evolution, but the questions themselves are a conundrum that go absolutely nowhere and only serve as ambiguous McGuffins to the narrative plot. Ultimately they are of no importance and abandoned as the film then desperately tries to make some kind of vague narrative and suspenseful connection to the original Alien franchise which is precisely its very undoing.

Prometheus would have been better served as a stand-alone science fiction film that made no references at all to the Alien franchise. Everything feels forced and contrived as Ridley attempts to provide some narrative linkage while simultaneously trying to do something completely new and different but he's really just treading on old ground. We've seen it all before only he did it immensely better the first time around.

A word of caution: You will never be able to watch the original 1979 classic Alien the same way again after watching Prometheus. All of the mystery and suspense about the Space Jockey, who and what it was, where it came from and why it was carrying a creepy derelict spaceship full of deadly Alien eggs, is irreverently answered much like Lucas and the Star Wars Prequels. Ridley fills in the back story while abandoning any of the brilliant and poignant ideas he postulates in a desperate attempt to make some subtle (and not-so-subtle) connection to Alien and ultimately suffers from the same case of Prequelitus. It's not exactly like we hadn't already filled in the blanks ourselves and deduced what it was with our imagination while watching the original Alien, yet Ridley has had the ideas gestating inside him for years and feels compelled to show us more than we either wanted or needed to see in a way like Spielberg revealing the inside of the mother ship in Close Encounters to satisfy the studio's demand but unlike Spielberg it would seem that Fox lured Ridley back to help them "resurrect" their historically successful Alien franchise without any creative restraint.

The production design and special effects for the most part are incredible, but it is all too clean, sophisticated and high tech compared to Alien's dark, grungy, and worn universe. Prometheus lacks the suspenseful atmosphere Ridley meticulously constructed in the first film and relies more on action and visuals than spine-tingling mood and ambiance. It was the combination of carefully executed pacing, editing and lighting combined with Jerry Goldsmith's eerily suspenseful score that created the texture and atmosphere in Alien that is sorely lacking in the visually excessive Prometheus.

The characters feel under-developed. Charlize Theron plays the stereotypical cold corporate bitch for the infamous Weyland corporation, a name that is synonymous to the Alien franchise and its conspiratorial connection to those films. The only character that is really interesting to watch is Michael Fassbender's android David who is so unemotional and inhuman with his intentions that it is quite sinister and unsettling and his performance is absolutely fascinating to watch as he attempts to emulate human emotions and mannerisms by mimicking the performances of actor Peter O'Toole. Noomi Rapace's Shaw just isn't quite up to par as the strong female protagonist of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. She's Ripley-lite. A woman who holds onto her faith in God and her beliefs about our evolutionary existence even when they seem to conflict. She's driven blindly by her faith but ultimately it makes no difference what she believes nor does it really matter who lives or dies. The characters just aren't as compelling as the Nostromo's rag-tag band of weathered Space Truckers which I credit mostly to the strong performances of Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, Ian Holm, and Veronica Cartwright in the original 1979 Alien.

The final shot of the film is divisive but I won't spoil it. When the film ended after seeing the 12:01 Imax screening, there was no applause, not enthusiastic excitement and chatter, just confused looks as everyone looked around to gauge others perplexed reactions. I simply found it to be somewhat of an insult to the original film. I'm sure Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger would still like to know where his royalty check from Twentieth Century Fox is with interest fully due and payable.

If there is one truism about an Alien film, or proto-Alien film as it may be in this case, it's that Darwinism is in full effect. It's survival of the fittest and the most perfectly evolved or engineered organism will prevail. Humanity is a genetically engineered experiment that failed and so are the crew of the Prometheus. It's a wonder that we ever survived at all.

I hear Sir Ridley is is already prepping a sequel of sorts to his 1982 cult-classic Blade Runner. God save the Queen and us all. He should just leave it alone. Like Lucas and Spielberg, it's time for Sir Ridley to retire gracefully and leave their original masterpieces untarnished. There comes a point when we should just take away the brushes from Da Vinci's palette and say, "It's finished."

Tron: Uprising 2.0...

This is starting to show a lot of potential...









I am really starting to like this series...

The animation is first rate, some of the best I've seen on television... ever. The story is good, the characters are compelling and there is a whole world we're seeing that the films only glossed over. "Tron Uprising" is a great reason to watch Disney XD along with all the Marvel shows, and it's a great example of how there's still life on the Grid.

If you haven't seen the first Episode: "Beck Begins" then you need to watch it. And for those that have seen it, here is the second episode: "Renegade Pt. 1" for your viewing pleasure. I wonder what else we'll see on Disney XD in the coming years?

I have a few ideas and have heard a few rumors, but that will be for another post in the future...

Relaunched In 7 Days, Reborn In 11 Years...

California Adventure actually is an adventure now...








In a week, those entering Disney California Adventure will get an amazing experience...

Let me just say that Buena Vista Street and Cars Land are so detailed, and so amazing that the rest of the park looks bland by comparison. Not to put down all the detail and improvements that have happened over the past five years, but it's truly another level of immersion when you walk down these lands compared to what was there before.

There will be modest improvements over the next few years, but any major adjustments will come later. None are officially approved yet. And they won't until the Suits inside the Team Disney Building have seen the figures, but I don't think they have anything to worry about. This new front entrance and new land are great and take you to a Disney park that fans have hungered for since walking into Sunshine Plaza over a decade ago.

I imagine the wonder in a young child's eyes on that Friday morning, next week...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Home Improvements...

Not game over, man...





The official website of "Wreck-It Ralph" is up...

Take a look at it. And while there put in a quarter (metaphorically, of course) and play the actual "Fix-It Felix" game that Ralph is a part of. It's a nice site packed with all kinds of 8-Bit Eighties goodness. I look forward to more and more content being added.

Disney animators seem to be in very high spirits right now and deservedly so...