Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wayne Enterprises Leaves Gotham, Relocates To Burbank...

Looks like Batman will be looking for a new Batcave...

It isn't too surprising with almost every other part of DC Entertainment in California along with Suit/Creatives Geoff Johns and Jim Lee already West Coast planted.  For those that haven't heard or didn't care, DC Comics has announced it is moving out of New York City.  Burbank, California will be the new home of the famed comic company.  This also happens to be the home of the company's owner, Warner Bros.

The plan is a gradual one which won't be completed until 2015.  We don't know how creative decisions will be affected by hue change.  Will Superman tanning himself in Malibu make him less likely to travel around saving lives?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Here's the internal e-mail that DC Comics suits sent out to their employees explaining the decision:

Dear DCE Team,

As I hope you know, I and the entire DCE exec team work hard to offer transparency about as much of our business plans and results as we possibly and responsibly can.  In an effort to continue to do that where possible and to ensure you are hearing news from us, rather than a third party, I am proactively reaching out to you this afternoon to share news about our business.

I can confirm that plans are in the works to centralize DCE’s operations in 2015.  Next week, the Exec Team will be in New York for a series of meetings to walk everyone through the plans to relocate the New York operations to Burbank.  The move is not imminent and we will have more than a year to work with the entire company on a smooth transition for all of us, personally and professionally. 

Everyone on the New York staff will be offered an opportunity to join their Burbank colleagues and those details will be shared with you individually, comprehensively and thoughtfully next week.  Meeting notifications will be sent tomorrow to ensure the roll out of this information and how it affects the company and you personally.

We know this will be a big change for people and we will work diligently to make this as smooth and seamless a transition as possible. 


I'm wondering where Bruce Wayne's new West Coast digs are...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Multiple Solos...

Yes, if it wasn't for rumors we would have no news at all...

Well, that's not entirely true.  We did have the announcement last week that Michael Arndt was moving on from his work on Star Wars and J.J. Abrams and OT scribe Lawrence Kasdan would do the heavy lifting the rest of the journey.  Now comes an interesting rumor about a certain space smuggler.

Jedi News is reporting that the deal to have Han Solo in the Sequel Trilogy has been finalized.  And by that, it would include more than just "Episode VII".  So the stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder could wind up being seen in the entire trilogy.  At least he'll be seen in "EpisodeVII" and "Episode VIII" if the rumors are to be believed.

From the Bothans I've talked to say that Ford was looking for finality to his character.  The resolution the actor wanted in "Return of the Jedi" appears to have been the price for his signing on.  Those of you that don't know what I'm talking about can simply Google it.  That said, I would have thought it only requires one film.  I guess they want to stretch the character out over a longer period.  Could this be the reason for Abrams and Kasdan's taking control of the current/final drafts?

It was also noted that the actor wanted a guarantee of "Indiana Jones and the Quest for the Platinum Wheelchair".  The article says he didn't achieve that.  This doesn't mean I'm against another Man in Hat film, it just means after the last adventure I'm a little worried about seeing an aging archeologists and his unconvincing spawn of a Mutt.  How about a prequel to Crystal Skull so as to not have to deal with that?

But I'm looking forward to seeing the Millenium Falcon's owner again...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"NO"ing Your Enemy...

After five episodes of "Agents of Shield" it's time to start figuring out who the threat is…

The ultra, super-secret, global espionage organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. has many missions and many threats, but who is the nemesis of the new television series?  When the series began it was thought that the hactivist organization known as "The Rising Tide" would develop into the primary threat, but that has not happened.  Tide has turned out to be, so far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe equivalent of Greenpeace/Anonymous.  Essentially a group with an agenda, but not a worldwide threat to freedom.

So who is that threat?

Who is the group that is researching the Extremis Serum? Who is the one distrubuting the Centipede device; with shadowed individuals searching for a way to create more super soldiers.  Could this be a newly active A.I.M. under mysterious leadership after the death of Aldrich Killian?  Might possibly the Mandarin actually have been the real leader of A.I.M.?  Was he a brilliant deception, not only playing the "out of work actor "Trevor Slattery", but actually playing the actor playing the actor?  In which case the Ten Rings would/could possibly be the organization behind Advance Idea Mechanics.

We all know that the show AOS operates in the Marvel Cinematic Uuniverse. And we also know that Sir Ben Kingsley has filmed a secret project for Marvel, possibly one of their One Shot films.  Were he to be revealed to actually have been the Mandarin then that would open up opportunities for the organization in the television show. Either A.I.M. or the 10 rings could wind up being an organization if the upcoming short/project that Kingsley filmed reveals this aspect.  Just a unlikely possibility, but an interesting one.

Then there is the other possibility.

Could the organization behind all this be Shields ultimate threat: HYDRA?  Let's face it, in the world of pop-culture G.I. Joe has Cobra to contend with, and in the Marvel universe Shield has Hydra as it's foil.  Could the organization behind all this, and much of the activity in Ironman 3 actually be Hydra?  It may have been working behind the scenes all these years without the world knowing it.   Having failed at taking World War II from the Allies and the Axis, perhaps it sought a more stealth route to power?

If it's tentacles have been working silently to strangle the world could we see one of its many leaders surface in the series?  Will we see, say Baron Zemo, Commander Kraken or Madame Hydra show up on the show, or are they reserved for the films, presuming Hydra shows up within the present day MCU.  Will then they be based on Hydra Island ?  All manner of comic geekiness would then explode.

If not these groups what about a variation of Zodiac?  They've already played a role in Shield's past in the Marvel One Shot: "Agent Carter".  Perhaps a strain of the organization survived into the modern world?  Another group to not rule out would be the Masters of Evil as they are an Avenger villain group.  If they're an enemy of Earth's Mightiest Heroes then they could be an enemy of the Agents of Shield.

There are several great organizations that can't be used unfortunately.

Disney may own Marvel, but the comic company licensed out their rights to several properties that prevent the Marvel Studios films/television shows from using them.  Anything related to Spider-Man, X-Men or the Fantastic Four are off base.  No mutants.  So the chance of seeing the Hellfire Club are nil.  With the Web Head out to Sony there would be no sightings of the Sinister Six.  Without Reed Richards and his associates no Galactus and no Victor Von Doom.

Or does Agent Coulson and his crew have another, unknown force to reckon with?  One not seen in the comics?  I would doubt this simply because there are so many villains and threats in Marvel's catalog to be used without having to create entirely new ones.  The opportunities are there waiting to be opened.  Of course, this is all speculation and could turn out to be fanboy ravings.

At least that's what Hydra told me to say...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Few Months Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

So the earth shattering news is that "Episode VII" moves quietly forward...

It appears that after almost a year working on the next Star Wars, Michael Arndt is stepping away.  J.J. Abrams and veteran Lucas collaborator, Lawrence Kasdan are taking over screenwriting duties.  Some will take this as a sign of doom while I take it as just building on what has already been constructed.  Remember that Leigh Brackett's script was tossed out and Kasdan was brought in to fashion the best chapter of the series.  That is another reason I'm not worried.  This man wrote "The Empire Strikes Back" and the Greatest Film of All Time.

Here's the official press release from the Mouse's Lucasfilm division:

As Episode VII continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and serving as co-screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams’ credits include Super 8Mission: Impossible IIIFringe, and Lost. 
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”

Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on Episode VII. A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel (Mission: Impossible IIIStar TrekStar Trek Into Darkness), production designers Rick Carter (LincolnAvatarForrest Gump) and Darren Gilford (OblivionTRON: Legacy), costume designer Michael Kaplan (Star Trek Into DarknessMission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolFight Club),special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (Skyfall,The Dark Knight RisesInception), sound designer Ben Burtt (LincolnWall-EStar Wars: Episodes I-VI), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom (Jurassic ParkSaving Private RyanToy StoryMission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood (Star Trek Into DarknessThe MasterThere Will Be Blood) of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett (Star Trek Into DarknessPirates of the Caribbean: At World’s EndStar Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith) of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolJack RyanStar Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin,War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII. 
Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.

Of course, this delay could mean the release date will change to the holidays meaning that light sabers will likely battle big blue smurfs (possibly Episode VIII at least).  Which doesn't bother me at all.  I care that that get the story right.  If it's December instead of May, I'm happy with that.

It'll be a really wonderful Christmas gift...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Third Model Of Popular Automobile...

It appears someone has let out the secret that the Lamp has "Cars 3" in development...

Really?  This is shocking news?  You weren't thinking that all those  "untitled" films would remain that way forever, we're you?  Now, it's not an official release confirming the film.  It is a statement from the Sheriff, and you need to respect the law officials here at Blue Sky (and Radiator Springs).

The news comes courtesy of an interview with Michael Wallis, a historian who also happens to be the voice of the police car in the two Cars films.  It's doubtful we'll hear an official confirmation for a while.  It is apparently in the early stages, and we don't know if John Lasseter will be back as director or will simply guide the film as producer when they take the cars out for a spin.

The Lamp has a mixture of films in development right now.  No, from what I hear no "Incredibles 2" yet.  Brad Bird is a busy man, and it will all have to come with his approval.  Even if his ideas are ready to be put in development it doesn't mean he will be director, but it will require his blessing.  Each Pixar film is filled with so many layers I look forward to whatever they want to show me .

If Pixar has a car show, I'm there...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Origin Of Species...

To lose your parents would truly be a tragedy of unfathomable comprehensions...

Pain and the adversity of dealing with it are something we are drawn to as humanity.  All good drama in life is conflict.  Happy go along to get along makes for boring stories.  This might be one (of many) reason why we are drawn not only to Batman, but his origin as well.

Which explains why the new game; the third game in the Arkham Series, deals with a young Bruce Wayne dealing with the repercussions of a life left off.  A childhood interrupted.  A dark hero being born.  And with the game's release very soon(October 25) we have a new trailer to show us the birth of the Batman.

A very violent birth it is...

Playing With Imaginary Friends While Growing Up...

I am a HUGE fan of the "Calvin & Hobbes" strip...

I have the entire collection(and will eventually get the Ultimate Collection) and frequently turn the pages to reflect on life as an adult.  It is an example of the sardonic genius that ink and paper can have.  Bill Watterson is a hermit who happens to be a brilliant storyteller.

And for what seems like forever I've wanted to see an animated film of this high spirited little fella and his vivid imagination.  I never thought I would get it knowing how Watterson was against marketing his creation outside of the newspaper pages.  It's not like he needs the money (he 's worth a reported $300 million just from the comic strip).  He's rejected offers since C&H was in syndication , which is why no child has been able to fall asleep with their very own, plush Hobbes to protect them.

The artist/author is notoriously recluse and has done less interviews than you could count on one hand.  Surprisingly, he has agreed to an interview with Mental Floss Magazine in which he talks candidly about his work, ripoffs and the possibility of a film of his famous creation.  He doesn't outright say no, but he makes it clear he doesn't believe there will ever be a film of his definitive work.

But isn't that what P.L. Travers said about her famous work, "Mary Poppins"?  She was stern, absolutely adamant  in her desire to not let Walt Disney make a film of her best selling book.

And yet it got made...

Hat Tip to /Film.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mighty Marvel...

As a DC Guy I don't like to admit this...

Marvel is simply cleaning up.  They are Pixar in tights and a cape really.  With all the success they've had in film, they've started to move into television.  First they moved into animation a few years ago and now they've taken their first step into live-action with "Marvel's Agents of Shield".  Development is starting to gather steam on a possible adaptation of the Marvel One Shot short, "Agent Carter".  Now, according to the trades they're about to go for a BIG expansion.

Deadline Hollywood says that Marvel is in the early stages of putting together a package of four television series and a mini-series totaling 60 episodes (presumably four series with 13 episodes each, and an 8 episode mini-series = 52) that it plans to take out to several media outlets.  Netflix, Amazon and WGN America are the services being eyed for the pitch of the unnamed shows. Whoever does bite will be asked to carry the purchase of all four shows and the mini-series.  No meetings have been scheduled yet as Marvel Television is reportedly packaging the projects and talent has yet to be finalized.

We have no idea which characters will be the focus of each/any of these shows but Marvel has thousands of characters to choose from (look how WDAS chose the little known group Big Hero 6).  There are several characters that I believe would be great properties for small screen adaptation.

One group if characters that this type of project screams for is "The Runaways".  It would almost play like a teenage version of "Supernatural" via superheroes in the place of paranormal.  Another property that might make for an excellent transition to television is "Cloak & Dagger".  The drama surrounding these two characters could provide a dark representation similar to something like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".  Lastly, a cult classic like "Power Pack" could provide an alternative to most of the Marvel programming audiences are used to seeing.

Not that I have any knowledge as to what shows they are trying to develop.  This is just some friendly, unwanted I'm sure, advice.  Oh , and if they want to hire me as a consultant just e-mail me.

Developing (literally)...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Peek Into Pandora...

My favorite park in Florida's Walt Disney World is Animal Kingdom...

Not so much for what it is, but for what it could be.  There is a great deal for everyone in the Resort.  But the Magic Kingdom is not my favorite Disneyland clone.  Even with its expansion it still echoes that it's a copy.  Paris has one of the best designs and my favorite castle.  But not enough rides and not enough upkeep.  Tokyo's is a cleaner copy of Florida's, with a bazaar (both literally and figuratively) front entrance, but it feels even more of a clone than the one near Orlando.  Hong Kong?  A shadow of the original (but it's getting better.).  Shanghai?  Time will tell.

Epcot is a place of so much potential and undelivered promise.  Enjoy it for what it is, and for what I wish it were. But there have been compromises made over the past two decades that have misdirected what could've been a much better park than is. It is in no way the Epcot that Walt Disney envisioned, but it was built as a promising place for ideas he might've liked.   Over the years the bean counters and suits have made glaring errors that have watered down what Imagineers had originally intended/envisioned.  There are great things in the park, but there are also flawed things as well. Too many things unfortunately.

Disney's Hollywood Studios is a mixed bag. Starting out as a clone on the Mouse's competition: Universal Studios, it has morphed back-and-forth trying to find its purposes for guest.  While there are a lot of things that are right, there are many things that simply don't belong. Again, mainly the product of bean counters and not Imagineers. WDI has had clear plans from the beginning which were altered for business/economic purposes that have caused the part to stray from a more pure example of Hollywood movie love.   There have been proposals over the last decade or so that if implemented will make the former Disney-MGM Studio a much more attractive gate bringing it back on track as a "movie" park.

Which brings us to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Now, I'm certainly not saying that this park is perfect, but it does offer promise. And it does offer a much more unique Disney experience than any other park, and certainly any other Disney park.  It is different than a normal themepark, and different from a zoo like San Diego's famous destination.  It is a mix of message, environment, and entertainment all moving into one. For the most part is successful, but not entirely.  Michael Eisner and his bean counters are major players in the fault of the park's original purpose.

Those of you that follow Disney or happen to be regular readers of Blue Sky will know the background of this park and it's storied history.  Being as it is an "animal" park it was supposed to encompass all animal experiences.  By that I mean: living animals (the zoo part, with a Disney spin), extinct animals (Dinosaurs), and mythic animals (Dragons, unicorns, and fairies, oh my.).

Only two of these were actually built.  And for the most part it is a great experience in an amazingly lush and beautiful environment.  The one area that is the sore spot is Dinoland U.S.A.  An atrociously guady kids land that is a blight on the serene scenery everywhere else in the park.  Do they really have to make it ugly just for the young ones?  A revamp of this area so that it shares the same detail, and removes the "carnie" image that clashes with the rest of this hypnotic park would be welcome.

Beastly Kingdomme was the land of mythical creatures that got cut.  It was to be a place where all mythical creatures came to life.  There was an immensely detailed roller coaster revolving around the ancient, ruined castle inhabited by a dragon that would've thrilled guest. There was an enchanting ride called "Quest for the Unicorn" that would've merge guest in the whole haunting world of these magical creatures. A giant garden maze for guests to walk in and even an area along the river where a dragon which you have flames upon unsuspecting guest.

Delightfully themed, intricately detailed shops and joyfully whimsical restaurants were planned to accentuate and accommodate the experience were all included as well.  This mythic part never came to be other than the Dragon on the logo for Disney's Animal Kingdom.   The area it was to go is ironically the same place in which the new land based on James Cameron's film will go.   The area with camp Minnie-Mickey.

For months Disney fans have talked about this new addition.  Many had spread rumors that the project of been canceled, (which we told you months ago it was not) really just hoping that it would since they didn't believe it belonged in Disney park.  And to be fair, it doesn't seem at first glance to be a proper fit. If you think it is from the standpoint of the main characters both human and Na'vi, it seems you're placing it in an entirely different park (Disney's Hollywood Studio is where most think it should  go, if they think it should go in a Disney park at all).

But, if you look at the world created in the highest grossing film of all time in the world, it's the environment that they are selling.  The creatures and locations that are in the science-fiction epic or what Walt Disney Imagineers are trying to convey.  The park, just like the movie has an environmental message (although I will admit that avatars message was a little heavy-handed).  The science-fiction creatures on this far-off world are what you experience which is why the area will be called "Pandora", or the "World of Pandora", and not "Avatar Land" as everyone is referring to it.  

Even though we haven't yet gotten those mythical dragons and other creatures, Joe Ronde's goal is to provide that mythic experience which was missing from the opening.  They will simply be science fiction imaginary creations instead of ancient lore creations.  It will finally helped develop the park into three divisions: living, extinct and imaginary animals.  And before you complain too much, this doesn't mean that we won't get something like Beastly Kingdomme.  It just means that it (and the proposed Austrailia area) will come later.

From what I've heard the Bothans tell me, this new land will be an incredibly immersive experience.  As we've said before, the land will be approximately the same size as Cars Land is in Disney California Adventure. There are at least three attractions, many restaurants and shops, and immersive surroundings which will startle guests throughout the park.  It'll also finally turn the park from a part-day to a full-day park. In fact, from what has been shown, and from what has been told to me, when this area opens in 2017 DAK will be the "must go to" park in the entire Walt Disney World Resort.  

I don't say this as hyperbole, I say this simply as someone conveying what people have told me. Imagineers are extremely happy, and proud of what they have done and are working on to create an experience unlike any other for guests to enjoy.  When I said nighttime experience, I meant "nighttime" experience. There simply will be no more beautiful place to be in than Animal Kingdom,, particularly Pandora at nighttime in Disney World.  It will be a hypnotic trance inducing trip for the young and the old alike.  

And even Hogwarts will be jealous...

UPDATE:  It looks like that Walt Disney Imagineering let D23 release the video presentation for everyone to see.  I guess you didn't have to travel to Japan to travel to Pandora after all.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Star Wars: Return Of The Subtitle's Revenge...


There are so many things Star Wars fans are wondering about Episode VII...

Right now I think the most obvious question on fans mind's is what will it be called?  We had a rumor a few weeks ago that it might be "A New Dawn".  Now comes a rumor from Latino Review that George Lucas had two working titles before he sold it to the Mouse.

Return of the Sith

Rise of the Jedi

Kind of on the nose don't you think?  I mean, it would seem in line with what direction we expect the story to head, but could these really be the actual ones?  I doubt it.  It's not that some of the actual titles don't sound cheesy.  Phantom Menace?  Attack of the Clones?

To be fair, Star Wars is inspired by the old Flash Gordon serials and serials in general.  And many of these weekly chapters has corny titles.  So they might turn out to be correct.  But I wondered what other titles could be used?  What would I use? What would you title it?  Here are just a few cheesy titles I came up with.

A New Empire Rises

Dawn of the Republic

The Dark Encircling

A Galaxy in Peril

Battle for the Republic

The Chaos Factor

War of the Sith

Feel free to leave your own subtitle, it can't be any stranger than what is out there...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Secret Agent Plans...

Marvel's first foray into the small screen continues to unfold...

Three weeks and three adventures out and "Marvel's Agents of Shield" is slowly evolving into another Whedonesque narrative.  Almost all Joss Whedon's shows start off slow and cautiously adding layers of character and plot; building a story-like snowball that rolls down a mountain gathering momentum until it crashes into what becomes the season finale.

It took me till season two of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to finally become addicted.  By the fourth episode of "Firefly" to need my fix of that series (my favorite Whedon show, "Objects in Space" was a great, sadly last story for the Browncoats of Serenity).  Something like "Dollhouse" took till the second season to grab me, although I feel it never found its true footing.

MAOS' Pilot started off setting the table in an intriguing world filled with pretty, bland characters that I wanted to like, but who seemed too distant to care that I cared.  The second episode "0-8-4", moved us out of the confines of New York and pushed the characters out into a broader world.  And it teases that there might be something to care about after all.  In its third episode "The Asset" appears to finally make me care about both the agents and the story.

And the story not only had double the villains, but also an origin issue of a super villain: Graviton.  I hope this means we'll have another episode featuring the repercussions of this one.  The character of Skye finally finds a purpose and chemistry with Ward starts to take affect (but he needs to unwind a bit to let us in).  The locales and globe trotting have continued to expand the perception of the reach of this super secret organization.  So the show is starting to grow on me after falling short of its huge expectations.

But is it good?

Or perhaps a better question would be: "Is it what I expected?"  The show is not perfect, but as long as it grows and gets better I 'll keep watching.  There are problems witht the show.  For one, the fights are badly choreographed (Buffy's were much better realized).  Bring in some choreographers to spring the fights to life and edit it a little tighter for the action, please.

Also, I know it's a television show so the budget is limited, but couldn't they have a couple of matte paintings/digital shots set up to show us what they're talking about?  The villain's Malta resort is shown on medium shots and we kept hearing the Shield Agents talking about how big it was.  Didn't buy that.  How about an establishing shot showing a ginormous structure to add to the believability?  It would help to show the expanse of this world.

The characters were stiff in the first episode, but have begun up loosen up each outing.  This is good and if it continues that'll help myself and the audience go from liking to loving the crew aboard the bus.  I do find it interesting that each episode teases what happened to Agent Coulson.  I hope they don't reveal it too quickly and expect they won't.  My own thoughts are that Coulson is the product of a Petrie dish.  He's a clone or some variant thereof implanted with the memories of the dead agent of The Battle of New York.  And then I wonder/dream that the eco-terrorist group The Rising Tide will be revealed as a cover group for HYDRA.  Don't worry, I won't be hurt if I'm wrong.

But I do like wandering around in a world of super heroes.  It's fun watching how the governments of the world react to their existence.  I also get a kick out of seeing an idealized organization made up of good intentioned government workers working for a benevolent bureaucracy.  Only in Hollywood (and comics, I guess) could this exist.  It does come from a company that is known for telling great fairytales.  And I happen to like enchanted dreams.

I look forward to each episode of this show praying it doesn't turn into a pumpkin after midnight...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Hong Kong Marvel..

The world now has an announcement for the Mouse's first marvel...

I mean Marvel.  There have been many things proposed, many thing cancelled, and many things reworked.  The first thing that could have been announced posssibly earlier this year was a Stark Expo type of experience where Innoventions now resides.  But the late purchase last year of Lucasfilm scuttled those plans in favor of something else (I bet you can guess what with).

Now, via the Wall Street Journal, we find out that China will get the first Marvel attraction: "The Iron Man Experience".  Hong Kong Disneyland precisely/specifically, that is.  The attraction seems to share parts of what was to go in Anaheim, but not all.  There have been rumors of an entire land, but budgetary issues and the economy seem to dictate that's not in the cards near term.

The ride will be built in Tomorrowland with an opening set for 2016.  It'll be a simulator thrill ride akin to Star Tours, but with newer technology.  But in less than three years the Chinese will get to enjoy Iron Man saving the Hong Kong skyline from evil foes bent on conquering the world - Asia first.  Too bad they didn't go with the Baxter Building Experience.

Well that could come later, or elsewhere...

The Rebellion's Dawn...

So we now have our first look at this nasty Rebel Alliance...

By now I'm sure you've seen Lucasfilm's teaser(really a micro-teaser) for "Star Wars Rebels" that'll premiere on the Mouse's Disney Channel next fall.  Hopefully most fans won't be disappointed in its shortness. You have to remember that this thing is just being animated right now and not much is in a fished enough state to show.

We probably won't get a decent trailer showing the narrative until the beginning of the new year since there is so much to animate.  It doesn't mean that we won't get news. In fact, I think will be seeing artwork and character designs before you know it.  I've heard impressive things about the designs of the show.  Really looking forward to watching it unfold piece by piece, rebel by rebel, ship by ship.

The Force is strong with this one…

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pirates of the Caribbean: Black Flag...

I've loved pirate adventures since I was old enough to hold a toy sword...

Honestly, I believe my first experience with pirates was the "Swiss Family Robinson" film with my mom and uncle.  Followed by watching and then reading "Treasure Island" as an adolescent.  The ultimate experience of riding Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I remember seeing old pirate films on cable growing into my adulthood.

In college I read the screenplay for the remake of "Captain Blood" that was to star Alec Baldwin when he was at right age with the right amount of buzz to star in it.  The adventure and excitement of being a pirate and sailing into the unknown with the chance of finding treasure was so alluring.  An aquatic Indiana Jones type of adventure almost if you think about it.

So when Disney announced that they were going to make a film adaption of their famous attraction I was both excited and worried about how it would turn out.  And when I saw it, I loved it.   I even like the slow, heavy layered story, but visually exciting sequels (the second was good, but overblown, and the third was bazaar and filled with bloated fun, the last one was simply an experiment carried too far in the wrong direction).

And then they began videogame adaptations of the films.

And most of what Disney Interactive came up with was disappointing to uninspired; a collection of mediocrity, with the exception of the Lego game.  It seems all Lego games are fun or at least playable.  From the original Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl for Gameboy to the Pirates of the Caribbean Online game, nothing was inspired, everything was average to unworthy.  With a franchise of so much potential, nothing was worthy of the film(s) they were trying to exploit.

Sounds a bit like Lucasarts with Star Wars doesn't it?

And then there was Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned and Pirates of the Caribbean: Master of the Seas.  Monumental games with hugely ambitious goals.  Put together by teams that were filled with disfunctional supervision and divided goals.  The companies that we're doing these games were not up to the task of such an epic scale.  Studios like Naughty Dog and companies like Electronic Arts should have done these, not the middling companies that Iger acquired as part of his digital strategy (still his greatest error as CEO).

So it looks like we'll never see a great Pirates game.

But it seems we will.  But it's actually not a Pirates of the Caribbean game, and it's not even made by Disney Interactive.  It's made by Ubisoft.  And if you want to see what a POTC game could/should have been, this is it:

Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag.

For anyone wanting to see the potential of what could have been, or someday might be, then check out the latest trailer for it.  Or check out the reviews and you'll know that it is possible to make a pirate game worth playing.  And therein, worth purchasing.  Are you watching Disney Interactive?  Here is solid proof that there is treasure out there if you care to find it.

You now have a map to find that treasure...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Choosing A Doctor..,

Iconic characters are very delicate properties...

Casting the right actor to convey in body, mind and presence is essential to getting not only the character right, but the story as well.  Such is the case with characters that have rich histories like Doc Savage.  Although he is not as well known as Superman or Batman, he is as much of a cornerstone of Twentieth Century pop-culture.  He is not only as important albeit less known, he is the inspiration for those characters.  Parts of Superman come directly from this pulp hero (just as the Shadow has elements that went into Batman).

There are only so many actors that would be able to portray The Man of Bronze.  So I thought we'd look at a few (the few) that could play this character well, but also do justice to him.  So what does he look like?  Who is he really?  Here are several actors that Blue Sky believes would go along way toward creating a believable adaptation of one if the last century's first super heroes.

Chris Hemsworth - If you want to cast from the James Bama interpretation of the character them Hemsworth would fit the bill.  Yes, I know he is known for playing another famous pop-culture creation, but if Harrison Ford can be both Han Solo and Indiana Jones, then this actor can be both the God of Thunder and the Man of Bronze.

Armie Hammer - Another very good actor with the size (Hammer is actually taller than Hemsworth at 6'5" to Thor's 6'3") to play the character.  Hammer has shown that he can play a goodie two shoe before, let's just hope they don't make fun of the character like they did with Kimosabe.  But Black appears to understand Clark Savage Jr. and if Armie Hammer got the job he would have excellent direction.

Alexander Skarsgard - If you 're not going the James Bama route and focus in the classic 30's look then Skarsgard might fit the bill.  Maybe he doesn't display the hulking presence of those Sixties reprints, but he carries the intelligence and intensity needed to make the icon believable.

Joel Edgerton - A much lesser known actor, Edgerton would carry a smart presence reflecting the calm authority of a man trained to be a perfect man from childhood.  While not as well known as others, Shane Black may have to use some of his newfound power if he goes with a lesser name like Joel Edgerton.  But getting the right person for the role doesn't mean that this actor wouldn't make an interesting choice, and the right choice

These are by no means the only choices to play Doc Savage, but they are an example of how to cast the role.  Knowing who will play the pulp figure will give us a look into the world that Shane Black is working to create.  That world is buried in the pages of many adventures that have been going on since the early 30's.

I can't wait to visit it, and welcome it to a new century...

Hat Tip to Paul Malmont for his pulp perspectives.