Tag Archives: disney

Marvel Legends EU Disney Exclusive

After about a month and a half of speculation, Hasbro has released two official pictures of the Marvel Legends European Disney Exclusive set. The set features five figures from Avengers: Age of Ultron including Iron Man, Hulk, Ultron, Thor, and Captain America.

B3625EU50_5010994895594_main_15[Large 300DPI] B3625EU50_5010994895594_pkg_15[Large 300DPI]

Movie Review: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland_poster

First let me get his out of the way – Brad Bird is a genius! If you don’t believe me you can check out Disney-Pixar‘s two most distinctive animated films i.e Ratatouille and The Incredibles, not yet convinced? Check out the fourth installment in the Mission Impossible franchise Ghost protocol, a film which revived the always awesome yet lagging Tom Cruise’s career. Tomorrowland is clearly an offspring of his brilliant ideas. Even though the trailers kept the film as much hush-hush as possible, which is usually not a really good sign, but with Bird‘s direction, the heart of the story and strong performances, this film is extremely memorable, even if it isn’t ground-breaking as summer blockbusters usually are! The story follows Frank Walker (George Clooney), who once upon a time, we learn in flashback, went to the World’s Fair in 1964. Wide-eyed, brim full of big ideas, excited about the future, Frank is the spirit of the early Sixties poured into the body of a kid. At the Fair he meets two people who will change his life: a tech giant by the name of David Nix (Hugh Laurie) and his bright as a factory full of buttons daughter Athena (Raffey Cassidy).

Via them, Frank is given a glimpse of Tomorrowland, a world as shiny and hopeful as himself. Cut to several decades later we get to meet Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who despairs at the way her age sees space travel as a costly dream, and teachers who tell her constantly that the world is going to hell in a hand cart economically, environmentally, and every other way, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Casey is tired of hearing about problems. Where are the solutions, she demands. Yes, she is rather annoying. What brings Frank, now bitter, cynical and a recluse, and Casey together is the basis of Brad Bird‘s film. This film is true Disney fantasy epic, full of intense action, emotional heft and imaginative creativity that only Disney could create. The film, though, takes the “ride” to unbelievable heights, and I’m curious as to why there’s so much hate surrounding the film. Like the idea of the place, the film doesn’t focus on resolution. No, it focuses on tomorrow, what comes after. So, if you think the second act of the film drags quite a bit, it’s because you’re watching it as a traditional movie with traditional story-telling. This isn’t that at all. We have finally got an original concept movie not based on books/stories/previous materials. The movie never ceased to amaze me from start to finish. Admittedly there are moments which does make one a little impatient. But right then something would happen and drawn me into the movie again. To be fair, I probably enjoy it more because of above average familiarity with Disney parks/history/movies. But there are plenty of humor and ideas in the movie to fascinate everyone. There is one strong message being delivered throughout the movie &t it never tries to shove it down your throat as it just wants to inspire hope! The story of this film was truly unique. It fells the tale of two unlikely characters that come together, bonding in some truly amazing character connection, and chemistry against a group of cyborgs that refuse to allow them into the hidden land, only available for those who connect the clues, and figure the secrets of Tomorrowland. It’s a story that executes amazingly, sending the audience on an amazing thrill ride of entertainment, action, comedy; as well as a ride of conflicted feelings that proves to not fail. In this case, audiences all around, no matter what age will enjoy the pleasantly unique story, as well as the characters.

All characters combine amazingly, creating amazing chemistry, as well as acting. The film, here, also possesses an amazing sense of style. It has many, many visual effects that will fill the audience with a sense of adventure, and inspiration. It also widens the eyes of audiences everywhere with its complex – like story that explains itself through out the film, opening some mysteries, and twists that will guarantee to brighten up anyone who watches this. Its a pleasure to see George Clooney drop his charming ladies man act & try on something more depressing and darker in tone. Without saying too much, an otherwise ridiculous relationship turns out to be one of the more believable and memorable one due to his acting. Britt Robertson is very likeable, while Hugh Laurie is wasted! The real stand out performance comes from 12 yr old Kathryn Hahn, who manages to steal the show in every frame she appears. In truth though, they couldn’t have found a better man for the job. Taking the warm ’60s nostalgia of The Iron Giant, the quick-fire pace and ’toon energy of The Incredibles and the elaborate yet taut action of Ghost Protocol, Bird blends everything into a thoroughly modern slice of vintage Disney. The fact that you leave the film with more questions than answers is sort of the whole point. None of which takes away from the gleeful, heartfelt, old-fashioned spirit of adventure that keeps your head spinning in a good way. Following up his live-action debut Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Pixar veteran Brad Bird‘s sci-fi opus buzzes with fresh ideas. After the summer flops of the much-hyped John Carter and The Lone Ranger, Tomorrowland is a big gamble for Disney. So all credit to the Mouse House for letting Bird throw his ideas at the screen! On the whole, Tomorrowland is a truly meaningful film that had depth. It also possesses true adventure, and inspiration. It’s an amazing ride for anyone, no matter the age, as the film also possesses some mature humor. It also has a truly unique sense of style from visual effects, character development, plot, and story. Making this a truly nice film that I had the pleasure of seeing early. I truly recommend this to anyone. You won’t be disappointed! Indeed, if you’re willing to let a few things slide, this is one of the best family blockbusters in years!

Overall Rating: 8.5

Director – Brad Bird
Starring – George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie
Rated – PG
Run Time – 130 minutes

Check Out this 11-Foot Iron Man Hulkbuster Replica

Disney and Marvel‘s Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in China this week, but that didn’t stop middle-school art teach Xing Yile to go all Tony Stark and build his own Iron Man Hulkbuster suit. The 26 year old and his friends were so impressed with seeing the trailer for the film in March, they spent two months building their own.

But, the Hulkbuster suit wasn’t enough, Xing also built his own mini version of Iron Man’s suit as well. If you’re wonder where and how, the replica is built using fiber-reinforced plastic components and the construction took place in an underground parking lot in Zhengzhou, China.

That’s dedication and impressive.

China Hulkbuster China Iron Man(via Business Insider)

 

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for this week?

Around the Tubes

The Outhousers – No, Disney Did Not Confirm An ‘Indiana Jones’ Sequel – I swear, it’s us and the Outhousers that understand these things.

CBR – Martin Freeman Joins “Captain America: Civil War” Cast – Guesses as to whom?

Bleeding Cool –Dan DiDio And Jim Lee Address Gerry Conway’s Concerns, In Letter To Creators – Progress?

ArtsBeat – Daniel Clowes’s ‘The Complete Eightball’ Comes Out Next Month – Want.

Penn State News – Penn State announces winner of Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year – Congrats!

Doctor Who Seasons Two through Four Come to Disney XD

New-Doctor-Who-Logo-doctor-who-8521729-550-465Well this was unexpected. It has been announced that the BBC‘s Doctor Who will be coming to Disney XD beginning Saturday, May 9 at 9pm ET. Seasons two through four will be shown on the channel beginning with season two, episode one New Earth.
In New Earth, the Doctor and Rose board the TARDIS for new adventures in time and space. But when they visit mankind’s new home, far in the future, they find gruesome secrets hidden inside a luxury hospital. And an enemy thought long since dead, the paper-thin Cassandra, is out for revenge.

Season two will continue to rollout on Disney XD beginning Saturday, June 13. The special week-long programming event will give fans eight episodes, airing daily Saturday, June 13 through Saturday, June 20. Beginning June 14, episodes will also be available on the WATCH Disney XD app, which allows folks to watch on tablets, phones, computers and connected TVs.

Review: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #2

bigthunder002When turning its rides into works of fiction, Disney usually gets a free pass in the initial steps of the story.  This is because the creative minds behind the adaptations are usually adept enough at capturing what makes the ride so fun to begin with, even without the roller coaster effects.  If one remembers the opening scenes of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, they will remember the wealth of visual reminders about the rich environment in which they are populated.  The same can be said for the first issue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Instead of playing pirates, it instead looks at another iconic realm of childhood fantasy, the Old West.  As Disney is occasionally known to do, it cast a female lead character in place of the male protagonist better known to the same period, and it paid off with a different angle told to a familiar enough story.

This second issue follows Abigail after she has been trapped in the mine’s rumblings.  As with the first issue there are again a few things that are out of place with the story, such as the ease by which she causes a fissure in a humongous rock, but this is a story that is not meant for the analysis of the minor details.  It is an avenue to fun, and it carries on with it as she manages to find her way back to the surface with the aid of the masked man, only to find out that her savior is also a thief, having made off with the load of gold on the eponymous railroad.  She chases the train down with the help of her faithful horse, but it leads her into another unexpected conflict.

After escaping from the fertile ground caused from a mixing of the Old West with the Disney property, the series still proves that it has a lot of heart, even if the story falls off a little bit.  This is not an edgy comic, but it also doesn’t try to be, instead going for a family level of fun.  If the latter is indeed its goal though, it really does succeed, and doesn’t let up.  Those that are used to comics for other genres and attitudes might find this series a bit trying, but for those that like the medium as a whole for all that it has to offer, they are likely to find a title to love here.  It is innocent and fun, but executed pretty well, and deserves more praise than just being a good children’s title.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

A Short History of Turning Disney Rides Into Fiction

Tower_of_Terror_VideoCoverOne of the common criticisms of modern media is that people have run out of ideas, and that everything that we see is a repetition of something that came before. While this is a contentious enough claim based partially in an over-analysis of tropes and truisms, it is true that those looking to create popular culture stories for movies have looked elsewhere for inspiration in recent years. There have been movies based on blogs for instance, which is a form of media copying another.

In terms of media, many people don’t consider theme park rides to be a form of media, but under certain circumstances they can be. Of courses roller coasters are not really a form of media, but some rides are. After all at Disney World and Disney Land many of the rides consist of a moving vessel which undergoes some mild thrills in the form of chutes or slides, and a story of sorts being told through the depiction of various themes.  In short it serves as a sort of moving theater without a real plot, and is thus is kind of its own form of media (or at least a weird version of theater).

Country_bearsWith the crossover of almost all forms of media from on into another, it thus stands to reason that eventually that someone at Disney would get the idea to base some stories on their own rides, which doubled as extra incentive to take children to the theme parks (if they actually needed more incentive). Surprisingly though, with one notable exception, the transfer to other forms of media has been pretty mediocre, yet recent developments with Disney and Marvel might indicate the path forward for these ventures.

The first movie in this short history of Disney attractions is the Tower of Terror, released in 1997. Featuring Disney staple Steve Guttenberg and pre-Spider-Man Kirsten Dunst, this is the only film of this kind that was released directly to television. It is also notable for its use of the actual ride as a set for the filming as opposed to the other movies which have relied on different settings. This features a fairly typical ghost story and was filmed for a younger audience as it originally appeared on the Wonderful World of Disney.

The second movie in the sequence is the Country Bears, a film based on the ride/show Country Bear Jamboree. This film was released in 2002 and mixed animatronics with real life actors to tell the story of one of the youngest of the Country Bears who discovers his true destiny after being raised by human parents. This was another Disney movie aimed at a younger crowd as it contained rehearsed dance numbers by children and a silly enough premise. Not surprisingly the film grossed back less than half of its budget in ticket sales.

piratesOut of two mediocre films that were either failures or forgettable came Disney’s greatest success. Although it might have seemed absurd at the time, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a film which ventured well past what was offered in the ride. Although the plot was perhaps a little basic in certain respects, it was equally a movie that was full of a lot of elements that make a movie exciting. Special effects provided a realistic enough supernatural element, but the movie is tied mostly to the over-the-top role played by Johnny Depp, which resulted in an Academy Award nomination for best actor. Additionally the movie helped to make stars out of its other two leads, Oralndo Bloom and Keira Knightley, who while already known well enough in Hollywood, had not yet been considered to be proper A-list actors. The 2003 film was followed by sequels in 2006, 2007 and 2011 with another sequel expected in 2017, with the latter to each featuring one half of the married couple of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.  It is by far the most successful of the Disney rides turned into movies, with gross ticket sales surpassing $3.5 billion.

haunted mansionAfter the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, some thought that Disney might be entering into a period of success for these adaptations, but the follow-up to its big hit was another poorly received movie as the Haunted Mansion failed to gain critical success, even if its box office draw was not as bad as the others. Starring Eddie Murphy in a story that was once again loosely based on the ride, many criticized it for now being scary enough, or funny enough considering that Eddie Murphy was involved. Despite its lackluster final product interest rests in retelling the story by Guillermo del Toro, who might be able to realize a stronger concept considering some of his previous works.

In a bit of a twist, the next movie in the Disney catalog, is not one based on a ride specifically, but rather an entire section of the park, known as Tomorrowland. Although it is still unreleased, it holds a great deal of promise, telling a broader story as Pirates of the Caribbean did, and it doesn’t hurt either that big names like George Clooney and Brad Bird are associated. While there are also rumours of a movie based on “It’s a Small World” (which would presumably be somewhat Carmen Sandiego-like), this is maybe not the way forward for Disney films.

big thunderSince 2009 Disney has owned Marvel Comics, and while speculated on what that might mean for the future of Marvel, it has mostly remained unchanged in terms of the Marvel universe of superheroes. What is in interesting possibility though is the new miniseries Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. After the hit-and-miss (though mostly miss) run of fiction based on rides, this is a chance for Disney to test ideas in a safer market without investing millions of dollars into an idea that might make back less than half of the money invested.  If this is the case, Marvel could also act as an incubator for movie ideas which Disney thinks might fail on the big screen, and this could be a place to see if they could succeed and to fine tune the idea before putting it into production.  Thus maybe if there is to be a “It’s a Small World” movie, it might show up at Marvel first.

Review: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1

big thunderIf Disney is looking for a modern evolution of its princess characters, then Abigail from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad very well might be it.  She is introduced as a headstrong and capable young woman, one that even refers to herself as a princess at one point, but at heart she is nothing of the sort.  Although forced into conformity due to her gender at this specific point in time (the Old West) she does not let this stop her from living the life that she wants to live, a life of adventure and exploration.  It helps of course that she has been sent to live with her father, a fickle though not necessarily cruel owner and operator of a potentially prosperous mine which has not yet found fortune.

It takes no longer than the first few pages to throw her into an unexpected action sequence which works to help build her character as much as it does to raise the pulse of the readers a bit.  This works much better to introduce her character, as she reveals her knack for being feminine while also being head strong and inventive.  The story follows her into the town, which is a place full of characters that one would expect to see in the Wild West, but the focus remains Abigail.  She first sneaks into a saloon and then figures a way to sneak into the mine where she is forbidden from entering.  There are a couple of things out of place (a standing dinosaur fossil) but mostly the story proceeds at a quick pace and keeps the fun going.

Of all the Disney rides expanded to a story elsewhere, this one has as much potential as Pirates of the Caribbean.  Disney put a lot of resources into 2013’s The Lone Ranger, but this single issue is proof that this focus should have been placed on a concept such as this one.  As it stands, this is an exciting and fun issue from the very first panel and doesn’t let up throughout, and promises a solid future of adapting theme park rides into stories, provided that the creative team thinks outside the box.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Rogue One in December 2016

star wars featuredStar Wars fans have a lot to look forward to over the next few years. At Disney‘s annual shareholder meeting which took place today in San Francisco, details have emerged as to what we can expect for the future of the franchise and was announced by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.

Announced at the meeting, Star Wars Episode VIII will be released May 26, 2017 and be written and directed by Rian Johnson. That release date is forty years and one day after Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977.

The bigger news is that the first standalone film will be released December 16, 2016. The film will be called Rogue One, and is based on an idea by a visual effects supervisor, John Knoll, and written by Chris Weitz. There’s also another standalone film in development. The film will be directed by Gareth Edwards, and so far Felicity Jones has been cast to star. The film will begin shooting this summer.

Big Hero 6 Wins for Best Animated Film

big hero 6Disney and Marvel aught to be happy tonight, as Big Hero 6 won at the Oscars for “Best Animated Film.” The film had some decent competition including The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tales of the Princess Kaguya.

The film is loosely based on a Marvel comic series created by the Man of Action team.

The category had some controversy as The Lego Movie was skipped in the category, though it was well reviewed and was one of the top grossing films of 2014.

Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Zoe Saldana presented the Oscar. Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli accepted the award — a first Oscar for each of the men — and thanked Disney’s John Lasseter, calling him the “best boss in the world.”

The film continues to earn, bringing in an additional $553,000 in its 16th week at the box office. The film has earned $220.2 million domestically, and globally $546.2 million. The movie’s blu-ray/dvd release is this week, so it’ll be interesting to see if its earnings drop the following weekend, or if Oscar gold will give it a boost.

 

 

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