Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mickey's "A Christmas Carol" Re-told on Main Street with Shop Window Displays

Here is a short video showcasing the shop windows of Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney World. They are all very cool, telling the entire story of Mickey's A Christmas Carol (possibly my favorite Christmas special of all-time, and certainly the best re-telling of Dickens' classic tale), and even includes a panel at each window scripting each scene. The Imagineers certainly put as much creativity as possible into every nook and cranny of each and every theme park. Read more about this and other shop window displays at Kevin Kidney's blog.


Disney Parks Merchandise Online is Nice, Wrong

Within the past few months, has been adding more and more items to its "Disney Parks" section of online merchandise. I am somewhat peeved about this section of the site--it makes the hunting for souvenirs at the actual park seem much less special. Allowing anybody to purchase a "Disney Parks" product anywhere at anytime suddenly makes it just an item--it isn't a Disney Park item anymore. They should keep online merchandise online and theme park merchandise in the theme parks. Otherwise, separating the items into these categories is completely meaningless.

That being said, I am very interested in some of the items that they have in their Disney Parks section. Don't get me wrong, I am completely against Disney having this section in their online store, but I am still willing to look and start my budget for my next visit. I would never purchase something from this section--it would just feel wrong. Anyways, here are some great items that I have found from the "Disney Parks" section of that I thought you might like. You can look, but I don't recommend buying unless it is when you're face-to-face with a cast member. Well, I'd better start saving now...

''Partners'' Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue, $135. The infamous statue replica is 9" tall.

Walt Disney World Resort Main Steeet U.S.A. Window Replica: Elias Disney, Limited Edition 250, $50. One of the great and well-known windows from Main Street that gives homage to Walt's father. 9" tall.

Walt Disney World Resort Main Steeet U.S.A. Window Replica: Roy E. Disney, Limited Edition 250, $50. Another one of the Main Street windows for good ol' Roy. 9" tall.

Wishing Well Sleeping Beauty Sculpture, Limited Edition 750, $75. Very nice and simple design. 9.5" tall.

I'd briefly like to point out something funny that I noticed. You can see it above. On the item page for both of the above mentioned Main Street windows, Disney has titled them "Main Steeet Windows," instead of "Main Street Windows." Even Disney makes mistakes.

There are plenty other items on the site, but even more at the actual parks. The "Disney Parks" section of is nice to look at and a good tool to get excited for an upcoming trip to Disneyland, but I am firmly against purchasing any of the items online. I'll wait for when I am at the happiest place on earth, thank you very much.


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Muppets Perform Bohemian Rhapsody

And that's all there is to say about that.


ABC Brings You A Christmas Special and Pixar Short Films

ABC always kicks it up a notch when the holidays come around. Well, the holidays have come around, and kick it up, they have. First, I'd like to talk about the new Christmas special that will be premiering on December 1. It is called Prep & Landing and is the story of an elite group of covert elves that prep the homes before Santa's arrival. It is the first special created by Walt Disney Animation Studios that will be shown on ABC. And, since it was created there, John Lasseter has had quite a bit to do with its production, so we should all expect great things from the half an hour long, computer-generated special. Watch some great behind the scenes videos at this link. They have some great interviews, clips from the special, and some really interesting animation secrets revealed. Look for Prep and Landing on ABC this 1st of December at 8:30/7:30c.

Also coming up on ABC is a two-hour special showcasing, for the first time ever on television, the Pixar Shorts! They will show every short from The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. to Boundin', the Cars Toons to Presto. Even though I have them all on DVD, I look forward to watching them all in a row; I hope there are introductions and perhaps some behind-the-scenes footage, as well. But, even if there isn't, it should be very nice to see all of my favorites again (my top three are For the Birds, Presto, and Boundin'). This special will air on December 2 as a part of ABC's 25 Days of Christmas. Check out the press release at AWN. Even though it isn't entirely Christmas-related, those two straight hours of Pixar shorts will be a wonderful watching experience... So nice to know there are jackalopes around.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Traditionally Animated Short Film by Pixar: George & A.J.

Remember the two Shady Oaks employees that went to Carl's house to retrieve him, only to watch as he floated off to Paradise Falls? Well, their troubles didn't end there. Watch this great 2D short entitled George & A.J.. It is pretty funny.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Docter's Original 'Monsters, Inc.' Pitch, New Docter Project

The Creative Screenwriter Magazine's Podcast recently interviewed Up and Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter. The entire podcast is very interesting, and I recommedn hearing all of it, but the most fascinating part was when Pete revealed his original pitch for my favorite Pixar movie, Monsters, Inc. And believe me, this film turned out quite differently than originally intended:

Well, my idea was that what it was about was about a 30 year old man who is like an accountant or something, he hates his job, and one day he gets a book with some drawings in it that he did when he was a kid from his mom, and he doesn't think anything of it and he puts it on the shelf and that night, monsters show up. And nobody else can see them. He thinks he's starting to go crazy, they follow him to his job, and on his dates, and all this- and it turns out these monsters are fears that he never dealt with as a kid. And each one of them represents a different kind of fear. As he conquers those fears, the guys who he slowly becomes kind of friends with- they disappear as he conquers those fears. It's this bittersweet kinda ending where they go away, and so not much of that sounds better as a pitch than it did at the time- anyway.
As you can see, they must have reworked the story hundreds, if not thousands, of times to get to what we eventually know and love as Monsters, Inc. Very interesting.

Download the podcast at the Creative Screenwriter Magazine Blog.

In addition to this recent audio interview, Pete Docter also did an interview with the New York Entertainment section Vulture about his work. He had this to say:
I’m mostly focused on the next film that I have in development already. ...I just started. We finished Up, I took some time off, spent some time in Europe and Japan doing publicity over there, so I’ve only been on this for like a couple weeks," he says
When asked if this upcoming work was the long-rumored sequel to Monsters, Inc., Docter replied:
"I'm not working on [it]... I'm working on something else, but I cannot announce what it is."
The fact that he is not working on it makes me want to think that perhaps the sequel is indeed in the works, just not headed by Docter. Especially since there is a lot of evidence that points to a sequel for Sulley and Mike. Also, what is this secret project of Docter's that should be released around 2013/2014? Whatever it is, I'm sure that it will be wonderful, and I cannot wait to see what it will be. Read the great and complete interview right here.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

For Your Consideration: 'Up'

The Oscar campaign for the animated film of the year has begun. Up is being offered for the academy's consideration in the categories of:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Animated Feature
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Editing
  • Best Original Score

I think that it definitely deserves Best Picture, Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Art Direction, and (especially) Best Original Score, even though I would most likely give it almost all of the other awards, as well, over the competitors.

Above you will find one of the advertisements released by Disney to promote at the Academy Awards. Partly Cloudy is also being promoted "For Your Consideration in All Categories," even though all it can really win is Best Animated Short.

I sure do hope that Up is able to win Best Picture at this year's Oscars. It surely deserves it. In fact, the chances are even better for Up than they are for WALL-E due to the recent rule change.

The Oscars will air on Sunday, March 7, 2010, and the nominations will be announced in three months on February 2.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'How to Train Your Dragon' Trailer from DreamWorks

Above you will find the first official trailer for the next DreamWorks flick, How to Train Your Dragon. I'm still not sure what to think about it. The animation (or should I say MoCap), looks pretty decent; the people are certainly a step up from the rubbery beings from the Shrek universe. The dragon looks pretty weird, and I don't know about a main character named Hiccup, but at least I didn't see any pop culture references in the trailer. I hope that DreamWorks has finally decided to focus more on story than gimmicks, although the pushing of the 3D-ness of the film is not a step in the right direction. We'll see come March 26...


Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to host the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

After much deliberation and guesses within the media, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have been selected to cohost the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, which will air live March 7 on ABC. I predict that they picked Steve Martin because he is funny and everyone loves him, and Alec Baldwin because he is in 30 Rock. Another reason may be that having the two stars of the upcoming comedy It's Complicated in somewhere so prestigious together will allow them to promote the thing like crazy.

Anyways, Steve Martin is one of my favorite actors and comedians. As you may know, he is deeply rooted within Disney, having started his career as a magician in the Main Street Magic Shop and recently being the narrator of the "50 Magical Years" show that was all about the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. I don't have much to say about Alec Baldwin, except that I hope he doesn't hog the spotlight away from Steve. I think that Mr. Martin is a perfect fit for the position of Oscars host (he has actually done it twice before), and I cannot wait to see his performance (banjo and the arrow, anyone?...). After all, he is one wild and crazy guy.

Source: Variety