Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2018

DISNEY HISTORY PODCAST: EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow! NathanC and Ryan talk about the park! Yesterday, today and tomorrow!




Walt Disney had a vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a city he'd build from scratch with businesses, living spaces, arts, science, universities, etc... And we got an amusement park. NathanC and Ryan delve into the history of EPCOT from concept to execution to today to tomorrow! Are we nostalgic for the future?
 

Music
Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno
Innoventions - Future World - EPCOT park soundtrack
The Universe of Energy - EPCOT park soundtrack
Promise - Leaving EPCOT song - EPCOT park soundtrack
On Some Faraway Beach - Brian Eno


Disney History with NathanC

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

PODCAST! DISNEY WATCH! The Black Cauldron (1985)


Watched:  08/19/2018
Format:  DVD from San Antonio Public Library
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's


NathanC returns to discuss Disney in the 1980's! Ryan is kinda sick and grumpy! We talk Disney's 1985 misfire that "almost took down the studio". It's high fantasy adventure for the kiddies, but Disney's first foray into PG territory, all while Disney underwent corporate reshuffling!




Get your audio episodes at:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

PODCAST: NathanC and Ryan talk Disney's curious 1980s - "The Black Hole", "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "Never Cry Wolf"



Nathan Cone joins us to discuss what the heck was going on at Disney in the 1970's and 80's that led to The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes and Never Cry Wolf. It's a fun ride full of Disney history and rife with 80's-ness!




On Stitcher:

On Google Play: Listen on Google Play Music

Monday, April 2, 2018

Disney Watch: Never Cry Wolf (1983)


Watched:  04/02/2018
Viewing:  Second or third
Format:  Amazon streaming
Decade:  1980's

We're saving this one for a podcast

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sci-Fi Watch: The Black Hole (1979)


Watched:  03/24/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  2 and 1/6th
Decade:  1970's

(saving this one for a podcast)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Today is the 89th Birthday of Mickey Mouse

Today is the 89th anniversary of the debut of Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey cartoon to be released. We'll celebrate that next year on the 90th, but this year let's watch Plane Crazy, the first Mickey cartoon worked on by Walt and Ub Iwerks, but held off on release until they could add sound, after Steamboat Willie.



I may have an affection for all eras of Mickey cartoons, but the early, chaotic rubber-hose-armed early era holds a special place in my heart. The ingenuity of story, art, ideas and character is all there from the beginning, just popping off the screen. Yeah, there's influence from contemporaries like Felix and Koko, but Mickey and Minnie are a force unto themselves.  And these cartoons are as funny today as they ever were.  Just great stuff.

Happy B-Day, Mouse!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cartoon Short as Promo for Pixar/Disney's upcoming "Coco"



Love the combo of classic Disney character animation with 3D.  Could have been a "Pluto" back in the day.

Hope this one is as good as the last few Disney features.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Disney Watch: Moana (2016)



This will be an easy movie to write up.  (1) I assume most of you who are the target audience (parents of young 'uns) will have seen this movie, and (2) I sort of lost any critical eye I might have had for the movie about five minutes in.

I just straight up liked this movie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Disney Re-Watch: Zootopia (2016)



I was glad to get a chance to re-watch Zootopia (2016), which I'd last caught on a plane from Austin to London, and that's never an ideal viewing environment.  You can read my write up here.  I also think that whatever version I saw on the place was the British version, which was maybe called Zootropolis, because in the version we watched last weekend I'm pretty sure they called the city Zootopia.

Whatever.

Anyway, I still liked the movie just as much.  It's not the same instant myth-making as Frozen or Beauty and the Beast (and did y'all see that trailer for the live action version?  Pretty keen.), it's too high concept and plot-driven.  In it's way, it's dealing with a lot of cultural abstractions that, pretty clearly, a lot of people are not quite internalizing and dealing with in the adult world, which makes the all-ages nature of the film kind of a peculiar fit.

But, yeah, I still like the movie quite a bit.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Disney Watch: Zootopia (2015)



I guess my biggest question about this movie is why it's called "Zootopia (2015)" to begin with when the name of the city in question is "Zootropolis".   Further confusing the point, I think that in England the movie was released as "Zootropolis", but I'll let someone from across the pond confirm or deny that notion.

We're a number of years on from Disney's Home on the Range, the worst Disney film I can remember ever seeing, and the one that threw the future of Disney animation into question.  No, there's no glorious return to 2D hand-drawn animation, and I suspect we've seen the last of that artform on the big screen from any major studio.  That's okay.  Walt would have wanted innovation and character.  And gags.  And, Zootopia delivers on all fronts.

What's different now is that, I think, you can feel the impact of John Lasseter's influence spread from Pixar to Disney, and not just in animation technique.  He's as much Disney as Pixar these days, and I can only think it's helped put Disney on a better track, and the sensibility of story coming first now lives at Disney as well as their cousins in San Francisco.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Disney Watch: The Jungle Book (2016)



As kids, most of us caught Disney's post-Walt release of The Jungle Book, based upon the works of famed British writer Rudyard Kipling.  When it comes to Kipling, I have no real opinions.  After all, I've never Kippled.

But thanks to a love for Disney animation and Jamie's deep fondness for the movie, I've seen the 1967 cartoon a number of times.  It's not my favorite Disney animation, and my appreciation for the movie swings between adoration and annoyance, depending upon the sequence.  Balloo = Yes.  Kaa = irritation.

It does have one of the strongest sing-along soundtracks of any of the movies, and is up there with the best when it comes to "Bear Necessities" and "I Want To be Like You", even if the latter is in a portion of the movie I found just kind of confusing as a kid.

But it's also got an underrated villain in Shere Khan.

I've also seen the 1990's Jason Scott Lee version of the movie (but don't remember it in the slightest), and a good portion of a 1942 release, which is much better than you'd guess.

I wanted to be skeptical of this version, but Jon Favreau's name was attached as director.  As goofy and normal as Favreau comes off in his roles and in interviews, he's a smart guy and already turned into as solid a director as you were going to find way back when he put out Elf, and then two Iron Man movies in a row that I quite liked (yes, I like Iron Man 2.  Shut up.).

But, man, that's some tough source material, and these days, when it comes to family entertainment, the forces at work seem to be a mix of risk-averse accountants, shrieking parents groups terrified their kids might find out how things work outside their carefully helicoptered environs and a fear of being seen as anything less than a perfect exemplar of safety first.  The idea of a story taking place in a world ruled by tooth and claw seems like it would catapult this kind of story into the same PG-13 arena as the Marvel superheroes.

The first trailer made me more skeptical than excited, but a very recent trailer that came out maybe a week or two before the film's release turned me around a bit, and, of course, I was cheered by a very positive Rotten Tomatoes score (floating around the mid-90's last I checked).

I'll be honest, I loved this movie.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dog Watch: Air Bud (1997)



I really have no explanation for why I watched about 90% of Air Bud (1997) on Saturday night.  I was supposed to be at a baseball game for our local minor league team, The Round Rock Express, but I was taking my 86 year old uncle, and once its tarted drizzling, we just went and grabbed dinner instead.

Well, that meant I was home by 8:15, because 86 year olds like to eat dinner kinda early.

So, I walked in the door and Air Bud was on TV, and I started watching it ironically, but, you know, I kinda liked it.  It's not that hard to believe it got watered down into the movies we eventually got and spun off into the Buddies series.  But, yeah, it was okay.  And it was generally better in execution than most low-budgety stuff made for kids.

I really thought I'd seen it before, but I think I caught maybe the last five minutes.  I really hadn't seen it.

It's a movie about a sad kid living with his mom and baby sister in a new town who meets a dog that can shoot baskets.  Like, there was a real dog that could do that, and they filmed him and we had a movie about a kid overcoming some minor obstacles, the meaning of teamwork, friendship, bad coaching, sports dads being jerks, responsible pet ownership, the evil of clowns and how cool it really is when you train a Golden Retriever to shoot baskets.

It wasn't going to win any Oscars, but it wasn't totally stupid.

Weirdly, I still haven't watched my BluRay of Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet.  Toonight, maybe?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Disney Watch: Dumbo (1941)



"Get ready to cry your eyes out" I said to Jamie as I was putting the BluRay in the player.  The movies was Dumbo (1941), and, man, if you don't get a little choked up when Dumbo's mom picks him up in her trunk during the "Baby Mine" sequence, you may want to run a magnet over your skull and check to see if it attaches to your skull, in which case you are, in fact, a robot, you unfeeling monster.

As a kid, I had a fondness for Dumbo, but I couldn't tell you where or how I saw the movie.  The sharpest memory of the character from my childhood is (a) riding the Dumbo ride at The Magic Kingdom in Florida with The Admiral and (b) taking home a Dumbo stuffed toy from The Magic Kingdom.  So, I'm thinking, I had a pretty firm attachment to ol' Dumbo from back in the day.

Then, during my tenure at The Disney Store, we could borrow copies of the Disney movies from a lending closet (they wanted us to actually be familiar with the Disney cartoons.  Good on them!), and at 19 or so I was reminded of how much I liked the movie as I cried my way through a cartoon.

Poor lil' Dumbo.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Signal Watch Reads: Walt Disney - The Triumph of the American Imagination (2006) by Neal Gabler



A while back NathanielC suggested this book to me, and after 33+ hours of audiobook, I am, at long last, done.*

I've written about Uncle Walt before, and I've read up on the man and his work in bits and pieces over the years, including The Art of Walt Disney, which is on a shelf about ten feet from me as I type this.  Full disclosure as well - my second job as a teenager was as a fresh-faced "Cast Member" at The Disney Store when it was still a prestige sort of store in the halcyon days of the early 90's (and I could have done far worse.  I learned a lot between the Princess Dresses and Dalmatian snowglobes.).

The name "Walt Disney" is a name that conjures up a wild array of ideas for anyone.  It's a universal brand anywhere in the world, which is really pretty amazing.  As children we love Disney, as teen-agers we get cynical and start feeling clever when we find out that maybe Walt Disney's cartoons aren't the same as the dark and often bloody fairytales which inspired them.  We retain fond memories of cartoons and live action movies, the theme parks and TV shows and everything else Disney can mean.  We wink and nod, no dupes for the product of Walt Disney, right up until we pick up that BluRay or take our kids to another movie or buy that t-shirt, watch anything on ABC, or see a movie produced from a Disney subsidiary making straight up regular movies.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Disney Watch: Pete's Dragon (1977)



Last week I noticed Disney had put out a trailer for a new version of Pete's Dragon starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford.  "Hey, that's a movie that could stand a re-make," I said to myself.  And then I realized - I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the actual Pete's Dragon (1977) since its theatrical release or sometime pretty close to it.  Honestly, I only really had a memory of a Disney record and picture book we had around when I was very small, and it's entirely possible that's all I remember, and that I never saw the movie at all.

Here's a link to that new trailer.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disney Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)



On Nathaniel Capp's recommendation, I'm currently reading Walt Disney: Triumph of the Imagination, a Disney biography from a couple of years ago (and, spoiler: it's fantastic).  Naturally, part of reading the book is the reminder it is that I haven't seen a bunch of Disney films and cartoons in years and years.

The last time I remember seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) was during a theatrical run in summer of 1993 when I was working at The Disney Store and we were semi-required to go see the animated films so we could talk to customers about them.  Don't worry, they paid us to do so.  Terrific perk, and I would have been going, anyway.  And while it's likely I've seen it since then, it had to have been on VHS, to date the last screening I took in.

You guys can be cynical and weird about Disney's feature films, but I only feel that way about certain eras of their movies, and even then - not entirely.

But it all started, first, with a mouse.  And then with Snow White.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sci-Fi Watch: Tomorrowland (2015)



Before typing up anything, I had to re-read NathanC's take and Gerry's comments on Tomorrowland (2015).  Both are parents, both have an affinity for the Disney Parks that I get, but I am not in the same league.  I'd highly recommend you guys read their posts as Nathan and Gerry cover both the Disney aspect and other aspects of the context of the film in a way I'm just not going to.

Frankly, this movie is a mess - something that explained itself immediately when I saw the name Damon Lindelof appear in the credits as soon as the movie ended.  But it was the beginning of the movie, the clunky framing device of George Clooney's Frank Walker talking at the screen and being unable to decide where to start the story, where I felt my hackles first rise.  The conceit feels like an in-joke, like the creators couldn't figure out how to start their movie, and made their indecision part of the film.

From there on, I'd argue we have two or three completely different scripts competing for screentime, something I felt to be true of Lindelof's Prometheus script as well.  Is this a straightforward sci-fi thriller where we have a Chosen-One who has to outrun the baddies until the mystery of their special-ness is explained and they fulfill the prophecy?  Is it a talky sci-fi film exploring deeper ideals?  Are the characters wacky 2D stand-ins or three-dimensional people with motivations?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pixar Watch: Toy Story (1995)



Well.

I sure as heck am not bothering with a plot synopsis on this one.  If you're old enough to read, you've seen this one.

Disney had a special on Thursday evening talking about the production and legacy of Toy Story (1995), and it was well worth catching.  I'd forgotten Joss Whedon was on scripting duties for the movie, and its actually a bit of fun to remember the state of technology and animation from the era.  If you get a chance to catch the special on TV or on a DVD extra sometime, I suggest giving it a whirl.

This year marks 20 years since Toy Story hit the big screen and changed animation and entertainment forever.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Uncle Walt


Today marks the 114th Birthday of Walter Elias Disney.  Maybe you've heard of him?

Since the 90's it's been both fair game and fun for the internet to point out Disney's many flaws from a modern context.  Yup.  The man was a product of his times, both in the best and worst ways, and his influence on the world magnified those traits considerably.  Also, if you think Walt was somehow unique in those questionable opinions, it's both a testament to the progress of American culture that we've reached a point where the documentable sexism, classism and racism seems weird, and - if that surprises you - maybe a sign you're not much of a non-fiction reader.

I recently watched the American Experience doc on Walt Disney, so you can probably pick up my opinions from that.

In the meantime, as we consider the absolutely gigantic multimedia empire Disney has become (TV networks, cable carriers, movies, innumerable TV shows, print and web, Amusement parks, cruise ships, private islands, that Frozen Freefall game Jamie plays non-stop)...  it all started with a Mouse, and one I have a lot of affection for.