January 30, 2012

Rope Drop. It's a Disney Thing.

'The Walking Dead' - Midseason Teaser

"We all know this is not gonna end well!"

AMC: The Walking Dead

'Game of Thrones' - Season 2 Trailer

"A very small man can cast a very large shadow."

HBO: Game of Thrones

January 25, 2012

US military raid in Somalia frees American, Dane | General Headlines | Comcast

U.S. Special Forces troops flew into Somalia on a nighttime helicopter raid early Wednesday, freed an American and a Danish hostage and killed nine of the kidnappers in a mission that President Barack Obama said he personally authorized.

US military raid in Somalia frees American, Dane | General Headlines | Comcast

January 24, 2012

Rediscovering [Walt] Disney: Disney's new Burbank Studio ready to open (1940).

From Boxoffice Magazine, January 6, 1940. The first article announces the soon to be opened Walt Disney Co. Burbank Studios. In the second, Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is sited as one of the factors in a surge of animated features going into production. Click on the images to enlarge.

And in related news...

And I quote... Steven Moffat (Sherlock & Doctor Who)

"They are very clever shows, but they also fetishise cleverness. Cleverness is the superpower. So I get irritated when people say on Twitter: 'It's too complicated. I'm not following it.' Well, you could try putting your phone down and watching it."
When Moffat took over from Davies as Doctor Who's head writer, he was in Hollywood, having been contracted to write three Tintin films for Steven Spielberg. He walked out on Spielberg – what a thing to have on his CV! "I felt really guilty. Far from swaggering out of the building saying, 'I don't care about your damn movie', I felt haunted with guilt because I was the villain. I'm glad they used some of my script in the first film. Steven was lovely about it. He could have sued me."
Isn't choosing British TV over Hollywood nuts, career-wise? "Not really. I think TV is pushing ahead. It used to be we make TV on video and they remake it on 35mm. We all now work in high-def, we all have the same cameras. You can get things made the same year you think of it, rather than 12 years later. We can make three Sherlock films in the time it takes Hollywood to have lunch."
You can read the entire interview at guardian.co.uk.

January 23, 2012

Disney's Animal Kingdom photos - 2010 pt.2

On our second trip to WDW and DAK in 2010, I was able to take more photos 'cause Maddy needed less hand-holding. Here are the "best of" pics from that day.

January 21, 2012

January 17, 2012

Magic Kingdom news - Presidential Visit UPDATE - Main Street USA to be closed for most of Thursday

Magic Kingdom news - Presidential Visit UPDATE - Main Street USA to be closed for most of Thursday

Pixar’s awards hopes may lie with its short film, not ‘Cars 2’ - latimes.com

Pixar’s awards hopes may lie with its short film, not ‘Cars 2’ - latimes.com

Obama’s Going to Disney World - ABC News

Obama’s Going to Disney World - ABC News

George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits - NYTimes.com

George Lucas Is Ready to Roll the Credits - NYTimes.com

I guess he told me.

The following was written in response to my critique of 'The Great Mouse Detective.'

TonyWDA Jan 16, 2012 08:00 PM
So because your three-year old daughter couldn't sit through a film that wasn't in the usual Disney convention -- something you should've looked into BEFORE watching it with her -- you think it's the worst of the animated feature canon?

The Great Mouse Detective was a film made to break away from the traditional Disney fairy-tale formula, so don't judge it for something you wish it was as opposed to what it is: A tale of mystery in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, NOT Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, told through artwork you should've given more credit for. Especially considering many of the people who'd worked on this film had yet to fully master their crafts. Your apathy towards the film's plot and characters is most likely the result of your disdain for the kind of story it's telling in the first place, so don't belittle these two elements just because this isn't your type of film to begin with.

Please do your homework next time, and learn to critique a film for what it is as opposed to what you wished it was.

So, TonyWDA...
THANK YOU for reading my Blog, and THANK YOU for actually taking the time to leave a comment. Not too many folks would pause to leave such a passionate response to something I wrote.

I really don't have some snappy, snark-filled or venomous retort to this. Instead I think my assessment of the film is pretty accurate, and I know I'm not alone in my opinion, and I have no plan to post any kind of apology or retraction. BUT in defense of what I wrote, my opinion, and my LOVE of all things Disney I WILL say this:

My three-year old wasn't offended by the movie, and it's not that she "couldn't sit through a film that wasn't in the usual Disney convention," but her FATHER was offended. To her credit she did sit through the movie, beginning to end, was not negatively effected (that I can tell), and quite frankly, I don't think she gave it a second thought once it was over. And I know that because, like the equally disappointing Disney•Pixar 'Cars 2,' she has NEVER asked to see it again.

That right there should tell you something about the quality of this Disney classic.

I'm not sure I can list every Disney animated feature we have in her collection, but I can tell you we have some great and not-so-great movies on those shelves. And she has sat through and even asked to watch again (and again) some that I feel ain't too great. And most Disney animated features are NOT in the "traditional Disney fairy-tale formula."

Yes, I admit it, she loves her princesses. What three-year old girl doesn't? And yes, her first love was the [truly] classic 'Beauty and the Beast.' But she also loves 'Bolt,' 'The Incredibles,' '101 Dalmatians,' 'Cars,' 'Mulan,' 'Lilo & Stitch,' 'The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,' 'Tangled,' etc., etc. She even likes 'Mary Poppins,' 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' and 'The Love Bug.' So I'm pretty confident that my wife and I have given her a wide and varying selection of Disney classics to watch and to decide (for herself) if they're good or not.

Do I need to police my daughter's movie and TV watching choices? Yes. And to that; have I let her watch 'The Black Cauldron' yet? No. Will I? Yes. Why not yet? Because, it's a pretty dark and scary movie that was definitely NOT in the "traditional Disney fairy-tale formula."

As for 'The Great Mouse Detective,' my "apathy towards the film's plot and characters" is not my "disdain for the kind of story it's telling in the first place," but, rather, my disdain for poor writing, bad casting, bad songs, and an animation style that was flat, uninspiring and jarringly out of place when combined with the computer-animated gears sequence inside the clock tower.

And YES, I know there are a lot of folks out there who love this movie and even critics that liked it too. Some even say that it was this movie, NOT 'The Little Mermaid,' that actually led to the great Disney animation renaissance of the 90's.

Okay, where was I going with this? Oh yeah.
I was raised on Walt Disney movies, trips to Walt Disney World, hours of 'The Mickey Mouse Club' and 'The Wonderful World of Disney,' and I even survived the ups and downs of Michael Eisner's Disney years (it's a love/hate kinda thing). So I am VERY confident in my critique or criticism of what is and is not a good Disney property for me and/or my daughter.

It appears Tony, that you and I will agree to disagree, and that's okay.

January 14, 2012

The Octonauts - Seaquest DSV for the Disney Junior set

Or maybe Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, or Sealab 2020, or maybe The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteu, or even Stingray with a little bit of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (and a dash of the Thunderbirds) thrown in for good measure.

The Octonauts is a Children’s TV Series, produced by Silvergate Media for Cbeebies and animated by Brown Bag Films. The TV series is based on the children’s books written by Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy of Meomi Design Inc. [See more below]

This latest offering from Disney Junior, is a fun, flashy, action-adventure pre-school show. The Octonauts are eight explorers who live, work and play aboard their mobile under-sea base the Octopod. Each (very) short episode finds them living their mantra of "Explore, Rescue, Protect."

These episodes are tiny science lessons as they introduce the audience to real under-sea creatures and habitats. There's also a catchy wrap-up tune that recaps what they learned about that episodes sea creature, much like Bob Ballard did at the end of SeaQuest DSV. But, you know, minus the singing and dancing.

And, my three-year old seems to love it! Which is cool because it takes me back to my own childhood hopes and dreams and the sort of books, shows and events that shaped them.

For a brief period during my youth I wanted to be an oceanographer, just like Jacques Cousteau. I met Mr. Cousteau -- as many of you did -- in the 70's, on board the Calypso during one of his many televised adventures. We also had, in our household, a subscription to National Geographic magazine and those awesome Time-Life science books (which would also spark my interest in space travel and perhaps becoming an astronaut).

I was also huge fan of Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954), Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) and Hanna-Barbera's Sealab 2020 (1972).

It wasn't until much later that I would discover the incredibly fab Stingray (1964), from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, creators of the Thunderbirds (1965).

And even later on of course, there was SeaQuest DSV Season 1 (1993). No, I do NOT count seasons 2 & 3, and I will not discuss it further.

ANYWAY... Back to The Octonauts!

The Octonauts are the creation of Meomi.
MEOMI is Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy. Vicki and Michael both write and illustrate the Octonauts books.

Meomi's artwork has been featured in numerous illustration and design books, while their art has appeared on a wide variety of merchandise worldwide. They are the designers of the beloved Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic mascots (Quatchi, Miga, Sumi and Mukmuk).

The Octonauts appeared in a series of four books were first published in the USA by Immedium in 2006, and were republished in the UK by Harper Collins in 2009. They were; The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster, The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade, The Octonauts & the Frown Fish, The Octonauts & the Great Ghost Reef.

The TV series was later co-produced by Chorion and Brown Bag Films for CBeebies (a BBC television channel for the 7-and-under range) where it first aired on 4 October 2010. And now, the series has debuted on Disney Junior, airing daily at 11:30 AM est.

Again, my three-year old loves it. And if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me! "Octonauts at ease, until the next adventure!"

You can read more about the Octonauts here:
Disney Junior
The Octonauts
ABC For Kids

Sources: Octonauts.com, Wikipedia and IMDb

And here is some bonus video fun...