Friday, July 31, 2009

Disney (and Pixar, of course) Link Roundup

With Up's release far behind us and Toy Story 3's release getting nearer but still far off, the Pixar news is beginning to shift in favor of new things. To prove my point, here is the big news; Jim Hill Media has discovered that the domain of has been recently picked up by Disney. This could only mean one thing: a Monsters, Inc. sequel! The site contains nothing right now, as does any other news regarding the previously-rumored sequel. But, as if that wasn't exciting enough, the Mouse has also purchased the following, very intriguing domains (each with several variations):

  • (and other variations)
  • And, the weirdest... The

Ponyo, the latest from genius Hayao Miyazaki, has its full-length trailer right here for you to see. It is a re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Mermaid, although this tale is one of a goldfish who wishes to become human and finally gets his wish granted. Watch the trailer above. The film will be released later this month, courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures, and will feature the voice talents of Noah Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White.

Here is a picture straight from Lee Unkrich's (director of Toy Story 3's) Twitpic page. It is pretty cool: a countdown of Toy Story 3's release.

That's about all the updates there are for now... Except one last thing I will leave you with. If you have any love or interest in early Disney ventures and things, you will find the story of Carl Stalling very interesting--I discovered it only a few days ago and was very surprised. Although he is famous for his wonderful arrangements and scores he wrote for Looney Tunes (where he wrote a score a week for 22 years), that isn't where the musical genius got started. He broke into showbiz when he befriended a young and bright-eyed Walt Disney who needed a composer for Plane Crazy and Gallopin' Gaucho. Stalling fit the bill and got the job. Disney and Carl then went on to discuss whether the animation or music should come first; this led to the breakthrough of Silly Symphonies where Stalling wrote the music before the animation took place. This seems very odd, but is very interesting when you think about it. Later on, in 1936, Stalling left with his friend from his Disney Days, Iwerks, to go work for Warner Bros. and Leon Schlesinger...

Funny story, eh?


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Toy Story' Double Feature Trailer!

Here is what you've been waiting for! A full, funny and great trailer for the re-release of Toy Story and its sequel as a double feature in 3D. Note that, unlike all previous 3D features, this specific release will be exclusive to 3D theaters and not have a 2D alternative. Visit the official site (which has a really funny Little Green Man wearing the 3D glasses--which is a great promotional image for the whole 3D thing) or, even better, watch the trailer right here (might wanna make it full screen...)!

I am very excited to see this! I am completely against 3D and everything about it, also, don't expect to see it around in 4-5 years. Still, I can't wait for this release--especially the double feature aspect.

Looking forward to Fall...


Monday, July 27, 2009

A Rare Glimpse of Disneyland's Creation

Here is a really great set of videos which are astounding. The set is almost all never-before-seen, and is primarily a time lapse of Disneyland's construction. It is really great to see exactly how they transformed a simple orange grove into the Happiest Place on Earth in just one year. The video is very, very interesting with great narration; I encourage you to watch the entire playlist of 5 videos. And, featured in the videos, is an incredibly unprecedented sight: Roy Disney, the stressed out and overworked partner to Walt who was skeptical about the whole theme park venture, has a wide smile spread across his face. Enjoy this rare glimpse into Disneyland's wonderful past:

Source: The Disney Blog


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pixar at Comic-Con (Great Reviews, and More!)

Comic-Con, the biggest film, comic, and television convention in the entire world, is underway! And, in my opinion, no one makes better films than Pixar. So, of course, they are there!

First, here is a great interview with John Lasseter, courtesy of /Film. Interviewed at Comic-Con, he talks about his approach to Pixar villains, as well as what the future holds for Imagineering! (Another great quote from John Lasseter at today's Pixar demonstration: "Toy Story came out in 1995. Think of how many kids were born since then. They only know us from the home videos. These films were meant to be seen on the big screen.") Enjoy the interview:

Here is another Comic-Con interview from /Film. This one's an interview with Lee Unkrich, director of upcoming Pixar film Toy Story 3:

This last bit of Comic-Con/Pixar news is the most exciting! Here are the pictures of the official LEGO minifigs of Toy Story set to be released next year:

Here is a small tidbit courtesy of Pixar Planet. It isn't really SDCC-related, but is Pixar merchandise related...

Here is an action figure of Carl Fredricksen, set to be released soon! Hot Toys of Tokyo, Japan will release a full line of these high quality Up action figures later this year!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

New 'Rapunzel' Pictures

A Brazilian blog, Animations, has several magazine scans featuring the first photos of Rapunzel, the new CG Disney film which will transport audiences to “to a stunning CG fantasy world complete with the iconic tower, an evil witch, a gallant hero and, of course, the mysterious girl with the long golden tresses. Expect adventure, heart, humor, and hair, lots of hair.”

The film is being directed by two bigwigs from Bolt: Byron Howard and Nathan Greno.

As you can see, the style of the film (as made by Glen Keane) is very interesting. It is said to be in the style of the painting "The Swing" by Rococo artist Jean-Honore Fragonard. The film 'uses a non-photorealistic rendering technique which will make the surface look like it is painted but still containing depth and dimensions.'

The animated film will come out on Christmas of next year (with the first trailer most likely surfacing as an attachment to the summer release of Toy Story 3), and is rumored to have a cast consisting of David Schwimmer, Kristin Chenoweth, and David Fogler, among others.

Source: /Film


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Here is the Teaser for Burton's 'Wonderland'!

<a href="" target="_new" title="Trailer">Video: Trailer</a>

Here it is! The long-awaited teaser trailer for Burton's newest film, Alice in Wonderland! Also, we finally get a release date of March 5...

(If the video gets pulled, they should update it with a new one here).

Read more about this whimsical fantasy here.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Space Mountain and the Staircase

What follows is a brief rant of mine after I just completed my annual visit to Disneyland.

Space Mountain is in Tomorrowland. It features an incredibly futuristic space ride, a queue within a huge, chrome spaceship, and even more things which help to create the illusion of your transportation into the future. However, upon exiting the ride, you are suddenly transported back to the land of today when you are greeted with a staircase.

I have nothing against staircases. I'll run up and down one all day if I need to, but one thing's for sure: they won't exist in the future. This is why I am always taken aback when I see the above photo at the end of the (mostly) futuristic ride.

Heck, even the end of Haunted Mansion is more futuristic with its long, angled, moving platform which doesn't even require your taking a step. This contrasts greatly with the stone age-ending to Space Mountain: stairs.

I know it isn't that big of a deal, but the imagineers are supposed to be magicians who transport you to other places and worlds and time periods. The staircase just completely distracts from that.

Just an observation.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Disneyland (and California Adventure) Updates

I was at Disneyland yesterday. It was tons of fun, as usual. There was a lot of construction over at California Adventure, but that didn't matter; the new Mickey on the Ferris Wheel looks phenomenal, the boardwalk games are much better (but still not perfect), and I went on Toy Story Mania 7 times.

So, here are a bunch of Disneyland (and California Adventure) updates straight from my trip and the corners of the internet:

  • This first bit of news is depressing, but reminds me of one of the simplest and best parts of my favorite Frontierland ride, Big Thunder Mountain. Dallas McKennon did voice over work for Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmations, The Jungle Book, and Mary Poppins, but that isn't why anybody who's anybody knows him; he's the one who warns you that Big Thunder is the "wildest ride in the wilderness!". I know that that warning always makes you smile as it does to me as well. Sadly, Dallas, who has warned millions of guests within the attraction, has passed away just days away from his 90th birthday. He will be remembered forever on the wildest ride in the wilderness.
  • This piece of news didn't sound true when I first heard it. You know how several attractions get makeovers for Halloween (Haunted Mansion gets Nightmare Before Christmas-ized, etc.)? Now Space Mountain, arguably Disneyland's best thrill ride, is getting a makeover for Halloween. The "Ghost Galaxy", as put by the LA Times, 'features a new soundtrack and ghostly and ghoulish projections.' The “Halloween Time” event runs from Sept. 25 through Nov. 1 and includes Space Mountain's makeover, a new fireworks show, and more villains strolling through the park.
  • Also, take a look at the above sign which was located on Main Street yesterday notifying guests that they were filming a Halloween commercial. (Space Mountain image courtesy of Blue Sky Disney.)
  • Weird Al is one of my favorite musicians. His songs are catchy, incredibly well-written, and very, very funny. The parodies he does are some of my favorite songs I have ever heard, and his original songs may be even better. He has just released a new video accompanying his new single, Skipper Dan. The song is Disneyland-related, but I'll let you listen for yourself and see how hilarious it really is, especially for the Disneyland fan. Watch it here and enjoy!
  • Sadly, the Blue Sky Cellar located within DCA which showcases all of the changes coming to Disney's California Adventure, was closed during my visit and opened just today. Luckily, however, they have just launched a virtual Blue Sky Cellar which you can explore right here from the comfort of your keyboard. It has videos and images all about Buena Vista Street, the Carthay Circle Theater, Cars Land, the Little Mermaid dark ride, the upcoming Light and Water show, and more! Explore it all right here. Also, read some more about the changes coming to DCA here.
  • While we are looking at all of these changes to everybody's favorite theme park created on a napkin by Michael Eisner, I might as well show you these couple of pictures I took which show all of the spouts and fancy underwater controls for the Wonderful World of Color show.

This is all I have to report for now, but come back for even more Disneyland updates as the construction gets further down the line.


Universal's Animation First: 'Despicable Me'

Briefly: Universal is getting in on the animation industry with a film called Despicable Me. See the trailer here for the film, which presumably follows the misadventures of a criminal mastermind starring Steve Carell, Danny McBride, and Julie Andrews, among others.

I hope the film is good. The trailer was very odd; the animation is very fresh and stylized although it seems like they may be going a bit overboard with the slapstick comedy. We'll see come its release.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

3D Not So Popular Anymore... Surprised?

It begins. I didn't think that it would happen this soon, but articles are starting to appear stating the decline of 3D! I have always stated how much I dislike 3D, and I have always predicted its inevitable decline, as well as everybody's realization of its gimmicky nature. I thought this would happen in a few years, but, luckily, we may not have to put with 3D for much longer--at least that's what the LA Times thinks...

According to them:
As more movies play in digital 3-D, there’s evidence that audiences are becoming
less interested in the ballyhooed format that many in Hollywood have predicted
will stem the long-term erosion of theater attendance.
And, their data states that:
The ratio of grosses in theaters with 3-D screens to those that are 2-D only has
declined significantly and fairly consistently since “My Bloody Valentine,” the
first film this year to play on a mix of both, suggesting audience interest in
the new format is waning.
Well, there's much more to read in the article here, but I would just like to say that I have predicted this all along. And I say, good riddance. There's a place for gimmicks and that's carnivals, the circus, and theme parks. They can have all the 3D and even 4D they want--just keep it out of my movie theaters! 3D is OK I suppose, but I definitely prefer brighter colors and no glasses. Simple is best. 2D is perfectly fine without another dimension butting in.

Source: LA Times


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Disneyland and California Adventure Updates

I'm here in California once more and set to visit Disneyland and the California Adventure park in about a week. I will be sure to take a lot of pictures of the changes being made to California Adventure, but, for now, we'll have to settle with pictures taken by others to satisfy our curiosity for the rapidly changing California theme park.

First off, here's a brief timeline courtesy of Al Lutz at MiceAge:

  • July 16, 2009 – New Blue Sky Cellar Exhibit

  • August, 2009 – First Disneyland Hotel tower begins refurbishment

  • September, 2009 – D23 Expo, Grand Californian DVC wing opens, New HalloweenTime fireworks

  • December, 2009 – New Mr. Lincoln Show debuts

  • March, 2010 – World of Color debuts

  • April, 2010 – Silly Symphony Swings debut, Paradise Pier shops makeover completed

  • Spring, 2010 – Disneyland 55 Anniversary entertainment and decor debuts

  • Summer, 2010 – Route 66 makeover completed

  • December, 2010 – Goofy's Sky School debuts

  • May, 2011 – Little Mermaid E Ticket / Star Tours 2.0 debuts

  • December, 2011 – DCA Main Entrance/Buena Vista Street debuts

  • Spring, 2012 – Disneyland Hotel refurbishment completed

  • June, 2012 – Cars Land debuts

I am very excited to see the completed park in 2012. It should be amazing (although it should have been amazing on opening day 9 years ago). I love the Blue Sky Cellar and am very pleased that they are updating it so quickly since everybody already knows about the new boardwalk games and Toy Story Mania! and everything else it has showcased. The Little Mermaid ride should be fantastic from what I've seen and heard about it, as will Cars Land.

Speaking of Cars Land, according to the OCRegister, construction of the largest component of the $1 billion dollar expansion has already begun. They claim that the Timon parking lot has been shut down for good to make way for the 12-acre land that is sure to be filled with thousands of Lightning McQueens and Maters. And, don't worry, they have already made sure that there is enough parking for everybody. Besides, I would gladly give up my parking space in the Timon lot for Mater or Doc Hudson to park there instead. Wouldn't you? Read more about Cars Land here.

Also, Blue Sky Disney (who also created the above photo) is reporting that the folks over at Disney are trying to create an exclusive club within the California Adventure Park similar to Disneyland's Club 33. I think that this is an interesting idea, but nobody will ever be able to beat the exclusivity or legacy of the timeless Club 33 in New Orleans Square, not even the Imagineers.

Read all about Disney's California Adventure refurbishment (as well as changes within Disneyland) here, here, and here!


'Up' Videos and Box Office Updates

Up has been in theaters for well over a month now and is still as wonderful as ever. Its box office numbers are very strong with $264,816,694, and it is the second best-grossing Pixar film of all-time, second only to Finding Nemo which raked in $339,714,978 domestically. So, in celebration of Up's glorious achievement that it is more than worthy of, here is a really great Up featurette featuring the film's composer Michael Giacchino:


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

'Up' in FoxTrot

Briefly: I love FoxTrot. It is one of my favorite comics that I can still find in the Sunday paper. The strips are always original and very funny. I love all of the characters. Anyways, Amend has, in his most recent strip, not only mentioned Pixar's Up, but he based the entire strip on it. Read it above.

Funny, funny stuff.


Six 'Princess and the Frog' Featurettes

I cannot tell you how excited I am that Disney is returning to hand-drawn animation. Hand-drawn animation, if you ask me, is absolutely wonderful. Don't get me wrong; I love computer animation, but I don't think it is a suitable replacement for the animation of Walt Disney's age. CG animation and hand-drawn animation are just different, I think we should have both (unlike a certain ex-Disney CEO...). Anyways, Disney is returning to the classic animation of Walt Disney with their upcoming film The Princess and the Frog. So, since I know how excited you are to see this film, here are six, count 'em, six featurettes all about Disney's newest film which is bringing back the magic to Disney:

This last featurette comes from AWNTV and is all about the fact that The Princess and the Frog signifies Disney's return to classic animation. It is a very short, very good video. Watch it here.

Well, I hope that all of those will hold you off until December 11 when the film is finally released. It will be Disney's 49th animated feature, and their first 2D film since 2004's Home on the Range. It is being directed by Musker and Clements who also directed The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules--all truly great animated films, some of which I am proud to call my favorites.

Read more about The Princess and the Frog here. I hope you enjoy the film this December. I think you will...