Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Surprise: I Disagree with Jeffrey Katzenberg

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Jeffrey Katzenberg discusses the new 3-D "enhancement" that he is now adding to all future DreamWorks releases. He talks about how 3-D is "going to create a whole new immersive feel to (every film's) world".

I completely disagree.

It seems to me that Katzenberg, in addition to many people at Disney and other animation studios, believes that 3-D will be as big an advancement as color was to movies. In the interview, Katzenberg elaborates: "When color came along, Technicolor, in the 1930s, 10 years later, people stopped making movies and going to movies in black and white. Why? Because we see in color. We also see in 3-D. I do think it's more natural for us."

When did animation suddenly have to be realistic!? If I want to see something naturalistic, I will go to a live action feature. If I want to see stylized artwork and quirky cartoon characters which shouldn't be realistic, I will go to a two-dimensional animated film. If animated films continue going down the same path, they will evetually fail to transport us to different worlds since they are trying so hard to make what's on the screen match the real world around us.

And another thing, I think that it is completely outrageous to say that 3-D is equal to Technicolor in technological advancement. 3-D is a cheap device that doesn't enhance the film in anyway. Color allowed for more diversity, beauty, and realistic feeling to be displayed on the screen. All 3-D does is bump up ticket prices and make it so you get a headache if you take the annoying little glasses off.

I think that 3-D was brought back a few years ago by some marketers from who-knows-where who had a sudden epiphany while watching that member of Bif's posse from Back to the Future who wears the 3-D glasses, and realized they could charge moviegoers more money for something they could easily dish out: 3-D.

I'll concede that when 3-D technology is drastically improved to the point where the audience actually feels immersed in whatever it is they're watching, studios should (maybe) start making their films in 3-D. And even then, they should use the 3-D story-enhancing techniques that Pixar has already discussed for Up. This is the only way that I can see 3-D being a positive device used in films: if it helps to tell the story.

But even then, it is obvious that 3-D remains a marketing ploy which simply bumps up ticket prices and gives people false illusions that what they are watching is more realistic.

And do you want to know what the best part about all of this is? Jeffrey Katzenberg, in one point of the interview, inadvertently agrees with me! He said: "But (in) the vast majority of films, it is used just as a trick, a gimmick, a theme-park attraction, and it is meant to take something that is fundamentally not particularly good and put this sort of gimmick overlay on it as a marketing push." (Such as Monsters vs. Aliens, Mr. Katzenberg?)

See? Even Walt Disney used 3-D as a gimmick at one point, but quickly realized its many faults.

I think that the past attempts at 3-D speak for this: the Golden Era of 3-D was from 1952-1955, after that it was revived in 1960 but didn't last for just over a decade, it was then revived again in 1980 but lasted only 4 years then was quickly forgotten about once more. After 1984, it was revived once more a few years ago and will, I believe be forgotten about as quickly as it re-emerged.

Bottom-line: 3-D will not be around in 5 years. I believe that people will realize (especially if it costs extra money to get into a 3-D theater) what a hassle 3-D is and what a cheap and empty gimmick it provides to an audience that can get just as good a story and visual out of a good old-fashioned 2-D feature.

In the words of Roger Ebert: "To those that compare 3D to sound: the jury is still out on whether 3D can expand the artistic field like sound or color. Can 3D be used in a unique way that brings the author closer to the subject instead of merely a showy gimmick?. . . What can 3D do that 2D can't?"


'Toy Story' and its Sequel to be Released as a Double Feature!

Disney has just announced at ShoWest that instead of re-releasing Toy Story in 3-D on October 2 and waiting 4 months to re-release Toy Story 2 in 3-D on Febrary 12 of 2010, they are going to release both films as a double feature on October 2nd of this year!! This re-release, however, will be considered a "limited engagement", so you had better go out to the theaters and see it within a week or two of October 2. The February 12, 2010 spot has now been filled with a re-release of the animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast in 3-D (how they're managing this, don't even ask. . .).

Seeing as John Lasseter was the main man behind these two great films, it seems fitting that he gets the quote from the press release:

"The 'Toy Story' films and characters will always hold a very special place in our hearts and we're so excited to be bringing these first two films back for audiences to enjoy in a whole new way thanks to the latest in 3D technology. Disney Digital 3D offers lots of great new possibilities for the art of animation and we will continue to use this new technology to push the boundaries in telling our stories. With 'Toy Story 3' shaping up to be another great adventure for Buzz, Woody and the gang from Andy's room, we thought this would be the perfect way to let audiences experience the first two films all over again. To see the movies back to back will be an amazing treat as well. This is certainly nostalgic for me and reminiscent of my youth when double features were the norm."
How great is this!? Not only do we get to see Toy Story on the big screen in only 6 months, but we also get to see Toy Story 2, and both will be in 3-D (although I hope you know how I feel about that...)! In addition to being excited about seeing these films back-to-back in October, you can also expect to see Toy Story 3's long-awaited trailer right before them! I hope that we get to see Tin Toy and Luxo, Jr. as well as perhaps a new short in-between the features as was customary when double features were the standard in movie theaters. I can't wait for October!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nicolas Cage is the Sorcercer

Jerry Bruckheimer is adapting the famous Fantasia segment, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, into a full-length live-action film that isn't looking too great so far. I didn't much like the idea of recreating one of the most iconic Disney scenes of all-time in the first place, but I guess you can't stop that crazy Bruckheimer. The first images regarding this upcoming feature have been leaked through Film Drunk. Here's the best one, but you click through to see more of what I think will be a pretty bad movie. (Here's hoping I'm proven wrong)...


Even More 'Up' Clips

Today we have two more Up clips for you to enjoy!

The first features the first we see of Kevin the Bird. The scene is absolutely beautiful; Russell and Carl are animated fantastically and the bird is very colorful, and the background, as well, is wonderful. Here is the clip of Russell encountering this exotic bird:

Here is another video about Up. It is a fabulous video about Pixar and general, and, mostly, Up. It features great clips and art from Up, as well as an interview with Pete Docter. Here it is:

is Docter's second film in the directing role, his first being Monsters, Inc. The film is released on May 29 of this year. See more about Up (including more clips) here!


What if Andrew Stanton's Films Had a Human Cast?

Everybody loves Pixar, and some of the best Pixar films have been directed by Andrew Stanton. His films include Finding Nemo and WALL-E. Both of these films center around either robots or fish, but, what if, in order to make the films more relatable, they rewrote the main characters as humans instead? Here are two artist renditions of what they might have come up with, and they are pretty funny.

Source: /Film


Friday, March 27, 2009

Two Great New 'Up' Clips

As we get ever closer to the release of Pixar's next movie, Up, we are going to continue to see many more great promotional images and clips. Today is no exception, for I have discovered two more clips sitting around the Internet waiting for you to watch them.

The first can be found on Disney's home page. It is a short featurette that discusses the 3D aspect of Up. The video includes John Lasseter, Pete Docter, among others, as well as fantastic, never-before-seen clips from the movie that make me even more excited to see it. As John Lasseter describes it: Up is "a big adventure" and is "stunningly beautiful"and even more "breathtaking in 3-dimensions." The clip also has one of Pixar's 3D guys talking about how Pixar has managed to use 3D to their advantage storywise; on sad and solemn scenes the 3D effects make the scene appear condensed, and when there is a lot of excitement the 3D gets used to its full potential so the audience feels like they are actually within the scene. Although I have never really liked 3D, this video makes it sound like Pixar has managed to promote it from a cheap gimmick toa story-enhancement tool. Leave it to Pixar to do something as ingenious as that. Check out this great video here (but beware: a Hannah Montana video starts directly after it).

The second clip is one taken from Up. Remember the hilarious intro to the final Up trailer where Russell asks Carl if he needs any assistance? Well this clip begins the same, but goes on to finish the entire scene. It can be seen here, but you have to sit through a boring commercial first.

Up comes out on May 29 of this year. Read more about it here.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Walt Disney's 'Lord of the Rings'

Here is a pretty funny fan-made picture of what Walt Disney's Lord of the Rings would look like.

In fact, there are plenty of rumors surrounding the fact that he did at one point own the rights to Tolkein's classic series of novels, but obviously never did anything with them. This was presumably due to their somewhat dark subject matter and the fact that it would have been very difficult for Disney to make them his usual "family-friendly" Disney film.

This fan-made mock-up features Merlin as Gandalf, Grumpy as Gimli, Peter Pan as Legolas and Pinocchio as Frodo. Very, very cool.

I wish that Walt had made a Lord of the Rings movie, even if he did cast it similar to the above photo...

Source: Cinematical


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fantastic Pixar Sketches

Blue Sky Disney has a collection of very, very cool sketches from previous Pixar movies. There are sketches of Buzz Lightyear labelled "Lunar Larry" to pictures of the rats of Ratatouille who look much more realistic than they ended up. Even though Pixar's films are all generated on computers, each film and character starts with an idea, and the idea is represented with good old-fashioned pen, pencil and charcoal on paper. . .

See plenty more of these beautiful sketches by clicking "Read More..." below!

Images copyright Pixar Animation Studios


'Toy Story Mania!' Coming to Wii in 3D

Disney Interactive Studios has announced their upcoming game for the Wii, Toy Story Mania!. It will, of course, feature the familiar characters from Toy Story, but it will also be in 3D!

The game will have the same premise and mood as the ride of the same name which can be found at Disney's California Adventure Park, as well as in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

As put in Disney Interactive Studios' announcement:

In Toy Story Mania!, players experience the fast-paced, zany fun of the Toy Story Mania! theme park attraction, which is an interactive experience requiring 3D glasses and involving rapid or quick-firing shooting galleries. In addition to galleries adapted from the attraction, the game includes new and original galleries and a series of mini games, all hosted by beloved characters from the movies. The thematically-connected levels are designed for up to four players of all ages with competitive and co-operative multiplayer options. Toy Story Mania! also includes bonus 3D features, transforming the game experience with eye-popping visuals.
The game's release will coincide with Toy Story's re-release in 3D on October 2.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Win 'Bolt' on Blu-ray!!

I finally received my review copy of Bolt (the day before its released, no less). I am very excited about this release. It is the first movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios that John Lasseter worked extensively on. This is one reason why I believe the movie was so great, but also was so similar to Toy Story (read my full review of Bolt here).

Anyways, the Blu-ray is really great. It is a 3-disc set of two Blu-rays featuring the film and its features and a digital copy of the film, which are paired with a normal DVD which only has the movie on it. This is in line with Disney's newest generous gift (however selfish it may seem to be when you think about it) of offering a DVD of each film coupled with its Blu-ray release in an effort to boost the more expensive disc format's sales.

First off, let me say that the quality, as usual with Blu-ray, is stunning. The picture and sound quality truly blew me away. Now on to the exciting features!

The best feature, in my opinion, is the new short Super Rhino, featuring, yep, you guessed it: Rhino the Hamster! It is a very good short; although I am not surprised due to Lasseter's apparent brilliancy with past animated shorts...

Other features include deleted scenes, several different perspectives of the making of the movie, a music video, games, an art gallery, and more!

Other formats of Bolt being offered are: a 2-disc edition with most of the features mentioned above, although some of the last ones listed are Blu-ray only, and a single-disc DVD release featuring a couple of special features (including Super Rhino!!)

Well, now that you are all excited to get the new Bolt Blu-ray, I am going to give you a chance to get it right now!!

To win a copy of the 3-disc Bolt Blu-ray being released tomorrow on March 22, just leave a comment below on or before March 26. You can comment about Bolt, John Lasseter, Walt Disney, or your favorite type of lasagna. Any comment will do, but please only enter once. (In order to comment you must register with Blogger so that I can have your e-mail information in order to contact you if you are the winner!)

Estimated prize value=$39.99. No purchase necessary to enter. Legal residents of the 50 United States may enter. Entrants under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian's permission to enter. Limit one online entry per person or email address per day per internet location. Contest Sponsors and their dependants are not eligible to win. Winners will be drawn at random and mailed their prize. If I do not get a reply from said winner within 24 hours of my contacting them, I will select another winner.

Any questions? Good. Now get commenting!