Monday, September 30, 2013

Echoes From Echo Base...

The success of ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.IE.L.D." seems to be rubbing off on the Mouse

While the show had an impressive debut, resulting in the largest audience for a drama in four years, the network and studio seem to be wanting to generate more internal content from all these acquisitions.  Remember that there was talk of a "Star Wars" television show for many years, and it was supposed to be a more mature take, a sort of "Sopranos" version of a galaxy far, far away reportedly titled: "Star Wars: Underworld".  But George Lucas and Rick McCallum squashed those fantasies with the reality of how much it would cost to make each episode (up to five million per episode).  Now with Disney's money behind it, many have hoped that those adventures might happen again.

From what I hear behind-the-scenes, Bothans are telling me that this is a good possibility. Although, it might not be the dark brooding adventure that was described. There is talk going on, but nothing definite yet as to what a new series could entail.  In fact, it may not even happen in the time it was originally set.  Again, preliminary talks are still going on so many things could change but right now there's a debate as to whether or not a television show would take place in between the Prequel Trilogy and the Original Trilogy, or should they go forward with a series that's between the Original Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy.  This way they could play on the new mythos this new trilogy is creating.

Really right now it's just batting ideas around and seeing which ones work and which ones they want to pitch to the network.

They might still go with the "Deadwood in space" themed setting, but being as it would be on ABC it is unlikely that Disney would want it to be that dark. Not that they would want it to be for the little ones only, they just have a brand to protect and don't want to go too far outside it (it's a four billion dollar investment after all).  Kind of like a television version of in the movies Disney really doesn't want to go beyond PG-13 (R's are out of the question as it's kind of a family company).  But the narratives being discussed right now go back between making a series out of the stories they originally got written which will be set at the dawn of the Empire, or creating a whole new set of adventures after the destruction of the Galactic Empire set at the dawn of the New Republic.

Alan Horn and Bob Iger will likely weigh on on this but it will all be up to the decision of Kathleen Kennedy as to what direction they decide to go.  ABC wants to work with Lucasfilm and has had preliminary discussions on creating a series for the Alphabet Network.  Nothing is likely to be done before next year since the "Star Wars Rebels" and the ramp up for "Episode VII".  But if the brainstorming leads to a story they want to present, things could move faster .  I believe that Kennedy already has a lot on her plate and wouldn't expect to hear anything about a live-action till 2014 at the earliest.  In fact, I believe they want to get the Sequel Trilogy going before setting too big a foundation in television.  But this is Hollywood.  This is the entertainment business and rules don't always apply.

Sometimes magic happens when you least expect it...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Business Of Building Dreams...

Six decades ago today the seeds were planted...

Walt Disney's dream of building a themed park for the family that he wanted to build in California got started on this date.  In New York, Walt's brother, Roy Disney met with financiers with a presentation for a park his brother wanted to his next big project.  Roy was the man with the skills that allowed Walt to dream as big as he did.

In a meeting with the three networks he pitched his plan.  CBS and NBC aren't interested in being an owner in an amusement park.  The fledgling ABC network, looking to boost its fortunes against the other two, more established rivals, is willing to make a deal.  Leonard Goldenson and Roy work out a deal for a weekly television show, investment in the upcoming park and a line of credit for Walt Disney to build his dream.

The deal will not be finalized until early next year.  When it does, it set the stage for the new show entitled "Disneyland" will provide new content for ABC as well as provide the public with updates about the park as construction continues.  Originally, someone else was to intro the show, but at the networks insistence Walt himself will host the show.  The program will cement his image as Uncle Walt over the duration of the years as families across America welcome him into their living room.

And it will also allow him to build his dream so that we can experience ours...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Marin Fairy Tales...

Somewhere between the Presidio in San Francisco bay and Skywalker Ranch in Marin County a story is unfolding…

It's a story that Gary Rydstrom is telling, and it might involve tiny creatures with little wings and magic.  Now, Disney and Lucasfilm have to keep things legit, they have to make sure it's all legal.  So when a company wants to claim something as part of its intellectual property, one of the things they do is copyright it.  Well Lucasfilm recently copyrighted a new name for something that it's working.


There was also the mention of something with "Big Rock", which might translate to an area of Skywalker Ranch known as Big Rock Ranch.  One of the interesting things about the location of this area of the ranch is that it is where Lucasfilm's animation department worked on "The Clone Wars".  Could they be working on some other animated project there?

If you want to go further into the Pixie Hollow then you have to examine what is a Primrose?  Does it have anything to do with this mysterious project supposedly about fairies.  Well, for those that don't know, a Primrose is a flower in Ireland and Wales.  It is known as the "fairy flower" and it's supposed to have mystical properties that can grant someone the power of invisibility.

Is this the name of Lucasfilm's secret animated project?  Could it involve Irish/Welsh fairies with some aspect of invisibility?  I honestly don't know.  But Lucasfilm copyrighted the name for a reason.  They're currently working on a film about fairies.  Perhaps, that's the reason?

Time will tell…

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Shortage Of Shorts...

Animated shorts are a wonderful entertainment medium...

From the earliest stages of my childhood, I remember watching shorts.  From Sundays watching the Wonderful World of Disney, to afternoons viewing Warner Bros. shorts, I grew up getting my fix on short narratives of iconic characters that entertain me both day and night.  I especially loved Disney shorts, because they were so rare.  Unlike Warner Bros. cartoons, the shorts from the Mouse rarely aired as often and were much more cherished then the daily dose of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck that I was overdosed on after school every weekday.

Disney still makes great shorts, as you'll see this fall when "Get A Horse!" comes out in front of "Frozen" in theaters.  It's a perfect example of how shorts are still relevant in these modern times.  And the Lamp was the only animated studio that kept the shorts alive for the most part since the mid 90s.  There have been other shorts, but they were few and far between until the public began to notice The continual inclusion of shorts in front of each new Pixar film.  It became a habit, and the habit became a standard.  And when John Lasseter took over Walt Disney Animation Studios, he started a shorts program that began to put them into production for future animated films.  Slowly, they're becoming standard for the Hat Building's features as well. And that's a very good thing.

But it's not enough.

A couple of shorts a year is simply inadequate for entertainment consumption.  Sure, a short from a Pixar film and a short from a Disney film are great to watch, but never enough.  What about all the other live-action films that Walt Disney Studios makes?  Remember when "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" had the Goofy animated short "How To Hook Up Your Home Theater" in front of it?  It added a lot of value to seeing the film.  Not that it was a bad movie, but it was an additional part that justified seeing it and getting more for your money.

Imagine shorts in front of every, or at least most of Disney's films.  It would differentiate itself from the competition by adding extra value to each film.  While other film studios would only give you the movie, Disney would give you the movie and a bonus as well.  And they all don't have to be from Mickey or Luxo.  Remember, the Walt Disney Company has many divisions even within the film division.

Pixar's Cars Toons:

Consisting mostly of shorts about Mater and his imaginary adventures, the World of Cars as much room for growth.  As well as having Maters Tall Tales, there could be other adventures in Radiator Springs or around the world with Lightning McQueen and other mechanical creations.  And from what I hear there will be, but not soon enough or enough in quantity.

Toy Story Toons:

With a fourth Toy Story film well off into the future, John Lasseter and Ed Catmull have found a way to continue the adventures of these beloved characters for audiences across the world.  The three shorts (Hawaiian Vacation, Partysaurus Rex, and Small Fry) done so far have been in next way of extending the franchise beyond the most perfect trilogy ever made on film.  The new Halloween special "Toy Story of Terror" is another way to have a longer form animated short, while still building on the stories.  One other short is actually in production now, and at least one more is being developed. I hope that they continue and hopefully expand the shorts for their endearing quality is greatly desired. After all, Pixar Canada needs more work right?

Walt Disney Animation Studio Shorts:

The Hat Building has slowly, but steadily been making shorts available for each of the current animated features.  While "Get A Horse!" is the latest creation, it's simply the latest in a line of jewels that has come out of the main division.  From "Tick Tock Tale" to  the longer form "Prep & Landing" specials, or the charming "Paperman" the work coming out of WDAS is top notch.  Now if they'll just make another hand drawn one as we'll crafted as "The Ballad of Nessie" I'll line up.  Perhaps a new Mickey Mouse cartoon, or is it dreaming too much for a Donald Duck short?  Animators start knocking on John's door a little louder please.

Pixar Animation Studios:

The Lamp is the one that gets the credit for making shorts cool again.  Not that they weren't, but suits at Disney and elsewhere would simply stick the shorts made at festivals and not even think about placing them before a film.  Pixar changed that.  They proudly put them in front of their latest release and audiences became use to that special feeling of getting something more, even when the film was enough.  From "Geri's Game" to "The Blue Umbrella", the shorts from up in Emeryville have pushed the technology to show why animation is such a unique medium.  More is a good thing here.

Marvel Studios:

Marvel already does shorts with its One Shot program, but they tend yo be extras on the DVD/Blu-Rays.  While I loved the "Agent Carter" short, it was about fourteen minutes long,  That might be too long in front if a feature, but a five or six minute animated adventure of Blade, Daredevil or Luke Cage might hit the right spot.  They've had success so far with their live-action ones, maybe it's time to gauge the publics interest with some other characters not seen yet (hello, The Runaways anyone?). Remember that two of their shorts, "Item 47" led to the series, "Agents of Shields" and a potential series, "Agent Carter" based on the short.  More Marvel magic could/should happen.


Disney's newest acquisition doesn't have any plans for making shorts, but they should.  Imagine a short in either live-action or animation featuring adventures in that galaxy far. Far away.  I believe seeing a live-action one , but an animated one would be awesome.  The current craze at Disney North is CG, but I'd prefer a hand drawn short.  I know that there is a lot if talk about a Han Solo film, but without Harrison Ford I wouldn't find it believable in live-action.  But an animated short of Han Solo meeting Chewie for the first time?  Yeah, that I'd buy.  And they could also make shorts featuring a certain archeologist if they wanted.  I'd be in line to see that.  Or even an animated Boba Fett short in a stylized Anime design.

The possibilities are infinite...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Steam Powered...

Be cautious PS4 and X-Box One...

I've always thought that Valve a prime example of the kind of company that the Mouse should have acquired instead of the midsize companies it pursued in a failed internet strategy.  It was a
long shot given the independant nature of the company and it's head suit, Gabe Newell.  

Now, I think the best shot at owning a proper gaming company within the Disney Interactive construct is EA.  Hopefully Bob Iger will bite the bullet here and take the initiative like he did when he paid for Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.  In the gaming area he chose to go after mid-range companies with mediocre results.

But Steam isn't happy being on just Windows, Mac and Linux.  Valve now wants to have their own OS, and now they do.  Introducing: Steam OS.  It is a Linux variant, but it is powered by Steam for more than just games (even if over 3000+ titles will eventually be available).  The purpose is to have your media on the OS (think movies, videos and music).

The announcement today was the first of a three part plan introduced this week.  Part two will be announced on Wednesday and part three will be revealed Friday.  Will this new Steam OS have a hardware announcement?  Something other than this supposed Piston computer?  If so, what will it be called?  May I suggest the "Steam Engine"?  Kind of catchy.  But I believe in competition and the more the better.  So I wish Gabe the best of luck.

Now, if we can get Iger to buy the company he's let make games for his valued new property...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Agent Carter Of Pre-S.H.I.E.L.D...

Or maybe that should be Agent Carter of the super-secret agency that becomes Shield...

If you haven't seen the Marvel One Shot: "Agent Carter" (a jewel of an extra on the "Iron Man 3" Blu-Ray/DVD, even the snazzy credits are cool.) then you've missed a fun little slice of female butt kicking.  It tells the story of what happened to Peggy Carter after the war ended.  At least thirteen minutes of it.  And it left me wanting more.

And it did the same to Marvel's Suits as the news comes that Marvel Studios is wanting to take the character and build a period series around her.  Forties espionage show?  Count me in.  Watching the beginnings of the spy agency could be a great idea for a show depending on how good the story is.

And that is where we are now with Marvel looking for writers to help them develope the pilot.  No confirmation that Hayley Atwell will return to play the character.  I hope that the beautiful and talented actress does play the role, unless they plan on making the show not part of the MCU.  But if they don't make it part of it, Marvel television would get very confusing quickly.  Can you imagine trying to figure out which shows are connected to the films?


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Countdown To Extinction Bumped...

Nobody ever remembers that you slipped a film, but they will remember a bad film.
- Ed Catmull

The dinosaurs have dodged the meteor...

The prehistoric creatures will live to star in the Lamp's next film.  Just not in 2014.  The film "The Good Dinosaur" that was scheduled to open on May 30, 2014 will now open on November 25, 2015.  If that date sounds familiar it's because that was the release date for "Finding Dori".  And I mean was because it has now been bumped to summer 2016.

There still has been no decision on who will take the helm, although an announcement should be coming soon.  This leaves 2014 without a Pixar film.  But don't feel sad for long as you'll get two films in 2015.  John Lasseter and Ed Catmull are ultimately concerned about getting the story right, not meeting a release date.  If they could have met the original date they would have.

Now the dinosaurs have a little breathing room having escaped extinction...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Savage Past, Savage Future...

Shane Black moves forward with his/my dream project...

The director of the biggest box office hit of the year did an interview with IGN about the status of his next fim, the big screen, authentic, period themed "Doc Savage".  He goes on to discuss the problems of adapting a pulp character that makes Superman's goodness look gritty (think Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Clark Kent).  Add to this the problem of finding an actor able to carry the physique of this pulp icon and you can see the challenges that exists for this film,

But all films are a challenge; filming some movies are akin to going into battle with an army.   Star Wars was an extremely difficult shoot, any production that Stanley Kubrick mounted was a mental and physical challenge.  And the obsticles sometimes make the film better.

Black seems to have an honest take on the character and genuinely knows the material.  It's not like many productions that twist and contort a character until he's unrcognizable to the audience you're aiming for.  With his newfound clout, Shane Black is the perfect person to adapt this classic property.  He's a geek that's been made.  If anyone can make the film pulp fans have wanted, he fits the mold.

Now he has to find an actor who fits the mold...

Hat Tip to /Film.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Successful Flight...

I know a great many Disney fans were passionate about their dislike of "Planes" from DisneyToons...

Or maybe the correct word would be dispassionate.  Many have decried the effort to make this film.  Many of the same didn't even bother to see it.  A great argument was made that it would fail, with a few openly wishing as much.   Websites, blogs and commenters have written about its opening box office as proof of its failure.

And those that were bragging about this have turned out to be way, way wrong.

Success for the Mouse or any other studio isn't determined by what we like or what we want.  It's what the market wants.  It's what the world likes.  It what life has a taste for, not how we want an image of something we love to appear as.

The direct to DVD film which got a theatrical release cost around $50 million ("Elysium"which came out the same week cost twice as much) to make and has generated around $138 million so far.  This is in addition to the merchandising sales, home video sales and interactive media.  So all this is essentially gravy to the suits in Burbank.  This is why the property is considered an evergreen IP.  Which is why the sequels to it are on the way.

This is the future of the DisneyToons production schedule.  It's the structure that was set up when John Lasseter took over most animation at the company.  The plans for the Cheapquells was scrapped and a plan was constructed to have the studio handle Disney related properties that weren't the main iconic characters of the films.  They wouldn't tred on the main story, but instead would sort of dance around it.

This was how the Tinker Bell series was resurrected from the ashes of the original plan and this is how the Planes idea came to pass.  As well as the upcoming stories this division makes in the future.  While it's not my cup of tea, it does have an audience and the quality of the films is far above what we were getting with "Cinderella III" and most of the other offerings that came out of the company before the Lamp's bosses took over.

It's not the films I watch, but not everything the Mouse does is.  We should all remember that the studio makes entertainment for many people. We can all have our own piece of the pie without having to worry what others are eating.  

After all, there are plenty of films for us to enjoy over the next few years as Blue Sky let you know a couple months ago.  There are plenty of films and new series coming from Walt Disney Pictures for us to critique without having to worry about these little toys.

We have plenty to play with in the toy box...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Warner's Wizarding Worlds Wanted...

You had to know this was going to happen...

The Bunny's Head Suit Kevin Tsujihara announced that the studio was expanding it's relationship with best selling author, J.K. Rowling yesterday.  It seems both are satisfied with the way the books have been handled in he screen.  And why wouldn't they both be happy?  The "Harry Potter" franchise has generated billions of dollars for the studio/author.

The series is one of the best adaptation of a novel even translated.  Other than Dumbledore being replaced because of the sad passing of the great Richard Harris the casting stayed consistent through all the films.

Fans around the world have wanted more of that world and although we know that the young wizards story has ended, the world Rowling created is so rich with possibilities.  The Warner Suits have wanted to find a way to exploit this more.  Now it looks like they've found a way.

Here's the official press release:

Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment. 
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”

In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.
The Studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter activities, including the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts (currently in Orlando, FL; opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan), digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games, 
consumer products and visitor attractions.

In addition, Warner Bros. will serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the U.K.) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences. This miniseries begins production in 2014.
The relationship will be managed in London by Neil Blair of The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, and Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, who will serve as Warner Bros.’ chief business contact for all J.K. Rowling initiatives going forward.
             Rowling’s expanded quote regarding “Fantastic Beasts” is below:
“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.
As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

It'll be interesting seeing what the actual story for this turns out to be because it begins after Newt Scamander completes his book.  So will his adventures be told in flashback or will it involve what came after?  Just like the Star Wars Universe, this magical world is boundless and ready for exploring.

Soon, we'll all be exploring it again...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dead Men Tell No Tales In Summer 2015...

The voyage has been postponed...

The fifth Pirates adventure of Jack Sparrow has had the wind knocked out if its sails.  Jerry Bruckheimer announced that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" was still having script problems and wouldn't join the incredibly long list of blockbustets coming out in 2015.  At the very least it will be delayed till fall of 2015, but more likely summer 2016.

The real problem is the script (too bad that didn't stop them on POTC 4), but also there are budget factors as well.  The Lone Ranger's shadow is cast high above this production.  Even Depp with his star power isn't enough to just blindly go forward.  Which is a good thing to me.  I'd rather them focus on getting a solid script with a compelling story and engaging characters.  The Pixar mantra: story, story, story should apply here and everywhere, always.

But for those wanting to set sail with pirates, you'll have to wait longer to plunder...

UPDATE:  The guys over at Bleeding Cool have a new article that reveals what could be the plot line for the script.  Just keep in mind that the script is currently being rewritten so any and all of these details could vanish with the completion of another draft.  Time will tell...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jurassic For Viewing...

Well, the upheaval at Universal isn't the only news about the studio today...

If you hadn't heard, the sequel known as "Jurassic Park 4" is no longer known by that title.  It will now be known as "Jurassic World" instead.  Could this be so they can open up an entire theme park or resort (like Disney World, hmmm?) based on the property?  Not likely.  More probable, it follows the scripts narrative, which is co-written be screenwriter Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow.

I've heard that the screenplay for this sequel departs quite a bit from the original three films.  How far we'll have to wait and see.  It'll be interesting if they can revive the franchise from the disappointment that was the last film.  I don't blame Joe Johnston so much as the producers accepting a subpar script to meet an opening release date.  If the original film was sixty-five million years in the making, that film could have used another year or two to get the script in shape.

The long delay in this film coming to the screen could be a good sign...

Giant Steps...

The Hat Building shuffles the future a bit...

A couple of films have shifted their schedules since we last exclusively broke the news announcing the line-up for Walt Disney Animation Studios 2014 - 2018 back in July.  Those of you that read our report will remember that "Moana" was to be late 2018 following the last release of "Giants" in 2016.

Well, that has been confirmed.

Giants and Moana have official dates.  This isn't because of any trouble the productions have, only that Giants has progressed to a point where it has earned an earlier slot.  There was a time when Moana was thought to be put ahead of Giants, but the goal is to advance projects as their status changes.  Slots open up and slots get moved around.  Think of this as solidifying of tentative plans.

Ron and John's film is steadily moving along, but it's taking its own sweet time, and the powers that be have decided to give it more time for the story and structure to settle.  In film, particularly in animation, anything can happen and schedules can still change as well as films can be canceled, but as of right now this is the order:

The full line-up of Mouse/Lamp films (sans DisneyToons films):

Frozen (11/27/13)
The Good Dinosaur (5/30/14)
Big Hero 6 (11/7/14)
Inside Out (6/19/15)
Finding Dory (11/25/15)
Zootopia (3/4/16)
Untitled Pixar Film (6/17/16)
Giants (11/23/16)
Untitled Pixar Film (6/16/17)
Untitled Pixar Film (11/22/17)
Moana (3/9/18)

Again, life is fluid and animation is the very definition of that statement.  Films are in flux until they are finished, and then they're either glorified or excused.  But it's a good time for Disney animation.

For the company and its suits, the animators and fans...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Adventure At Sea...

Last week one of the commenters asked if Tokyo DisneySEA had added anything new...

Of course.  Like any Disney Park, they are always adding to, or expanding their attractions: be it rides or shows.  The Suits at OLC are continually expanding and repositioning the parks in Japan to meet the needs/wants of its guests.  

When the park opened it had about the same number of attractions as Disney's California Adventure, but it was the quality of those attractions that was what set it appart from other Disney Parks.  DCA had a list of clones and off the shelf rides that NEVER should be anywhere near a Disney park, much less the original, Disneyland.

Tokyo DisneySEA had 27-28 attractions upon opening and only two of them were clones.  A much more elaborate version of the Jumping Jellyfish ride, and a clone of the Indiana Jones Adventure set in South America (the Lost River Delta port), and if you are going to have a clone Indy is a great one to have.

This doesn't mean the park was perfect.  When it opened with its seven ports, there was some areas lacking.  The American Waterfront port was a beautiful area that brought you back to a turn of the century New York ambiance.  But it had no attractions.  There was nothing to do there other than walk around and take pictures.  Now, a decade later it has quite a few attractions:  Tower if Terror, Turtle Talk with Crush, and the recently added Midway Mania, not to mention the musicals you can enjoy.

And just when this commenter inquired about this subject the Tokyo Disney Resort announced two new projects, one for Tokyo Disneyland and another for this amazing Second gate:

At Tokyo DisneySeaNew production at Mermaid Lagoon TheaterThe attraction, Mermaid Lagoon Theater, will be revamped, and a new musical production themed to Disney’s The Little Mermaid will be presented. 
Mermaid Lagoon Theater will be renovated with upgraded stage and lighting technology, as well as new display screens to be installed at the rear of the audience seating area. As King Triton hosts a musical concert, familiar Disney characters, such as Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian, will present a mesmerizing world under the sea, just as in the movie, with lively music, songs and dynamic performances.
Show Facts
  • Duration: About 15 minutes
  • Opening Date: Spring 2015 (tentative)
  • Investment Amount: Undecided
Please note that the musical production “Under the Sea,” currently presented at Mermaid Lagoon Theater, will close permanently on April 6, 2014. Mermaid Lagoon Theater will be closed from April 7, 2014 to spring of 2015 (tentative).
The attraction, Mermaid Lagoon Theater, will be revamped, and a new musical production themed to Disney’s The Little Mermaid will be presented.
Mermaid Lagoon Theater will be renovated with upgraded stage and lighting technology, as well as new display screens to be installed (tentative).

So as you can see there are attractions in the planning all the time.  There are many that have been planned only to be canceled months later.  

There are still projects that are slotted to be put into undernourished parts of the park over the coming years.  And a few if these should make the gorgeous park even more beautiful (hard as that is to believe).  Especially by 2015.

There's that year again...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Raiders Of Lost Games...

Lucasfilm licensed their Star Wars gaming rights to Electronic Arts recently...

And even though the company is primarily known for that property, and it's primarily why the Mouse bought the company, it's not the only property they are known for.  Kathleen Kennedy was the mover/shaker behind this decision with EA, dispite everyone thinking it was motivated by Iger or Horn.  They did sign off on it, but the decision was hers.

She's the one who initiated the deal for the three games (yes, three) that EA are working on.  But one has to wonder where the deal will go.  Again, Lucasfilm isn't known just for these characters.  Kennedy knows that and wants to expand the brand within the Disney empire over time.  It's one of the reasons she is moving forward with Gary Rydstrom's animated film.  Hopefully somewhere down the line she'll get to work on cultivating more Man in the Hat possibilities.

You all know my long wished dream of an animated series/movies based on George Lucas' inspired hero.  But there are other uses for him. The last decade has shown that Lucasarts didn't know what to do with this property.  "Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings" was a waste of an amazing character and a squandering of time for anyone playing it.  If you wanted to play an Indy game, you had to have a PS3 and you needed to own a copy of  "Uncharted".

I've talked about this before, but if only Naughty Dog were in charge of coming up with a game or series of adventures for the famed archeologist, then we would get the game we've all been waiting for.  Now that Lucasfilm has handed over the rights to their most famous creation, what will they do with their next most famous IP?  Now this is speculation combined with geek dreaming.  I have no knowledge that anything like this will happen.

But what if Kennedy likes what EA is doing?  The direction that the games they're working on could lead to alternative opportunities.  The idea of licensing other properties could be suggested.  Maybe even game designers in the companies many divisions could pitch a form of this to her.  Would it be out line to think that someone at DICE or Bioware wouldn't want to create their own Uncharted?  And with the original character that inspired it?

With teams that have worked on "Battlefield 4" and "Mass Effect 3" with all their talent, couldn't this become a possibility?  How many game developers with the various divisions wouldn't jump at the chance to create a game like that?  Imagine the mythos they would be working with?  The stories could involve old characters on new adventures, recreations of old adventures, or expansions of entirely original stories.  

What about a new game on Raiders of the Lost Ark with expanded story elements, Temple of Doom where you could play as Short Round, or an adventure with Indy finding the Spear of Destiny or the City of the Gods?  The possibilities are endless.

The treasure awaits someone willing to go on the journey...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seven Ports, Twelve Years...

A dozen years has past since the unveiling of a beautiful jewel...

On this day in 2001, the Oriental Land Company introduced the world to Walt Disney Imagineering's masterpiece of theme park design: Tokyo DisneySEA.  It was a prime example of what can happen when you let brillliant Imagineers dream, and dream BIG.  This park is what happens when ideas win out over bean counters and unimaginative Suits.

For those that have never heard or seen this magical place, you can check out Blue Sky's extensive catalog of articles on the Park and the Project that was its inspiration: Port Disney - The Long Beach Project.  If you want to see what is possible, and not improbable, check them out.  

For someone like myself that loves the ocean as well as Disney, it's a magnet of adventurous fun.  Of only more Disney Suits would not only go see this place, but embrace its philosophy.  It redefines what a theme park, not just a Disney theme park can be.  So, from everyone here at Blue Sky I want to wish DisneySEA happy twelfth birthday.  It doesn't need any gift though, it's a gift to you.

May I suggest you go there, open it up and enjoy...