Archive for January, 2008

Cloverfield Secrets Revealed

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Although Cloverfield was released by some other movie studio, Disney’s special effects department was intimately involved in certain aspects of the film. In particular, the fact that Cloverfield was filmed entirely with a consumer video camera made it impossible to insert conventional computer animated special effects, so former Jim Henson Productions creature specialists were called into create a 900-foot-tall puppet that could be used in the movies more dramatic sequences.

“The movie’s conceit is that huge amounts of the secret ingredient for a popular soda are released into the ocean, causing this enormous baby monster to be over-stimulated by caffeine and just go nuts,” says Jimmy “J.J.” Jaybrams, supposed head of Disney’s Imagineering Creature Shop, Gigantor Division. “We went through a lot of concepts for this one. We eventually settled on a creature by thinking of what Lucky the Dinosaur would look like if he were horribly mutated, angry, carnivorous, gigantic, covered in parasites, and lived on the bottom of the ocean. The final puppet was a real masterpiece. It took more than seven hundred dedicated operators to control the thing for filming, and at one point one of the guys sneezed and accidentally knocked a couple of floors off an apartment building. You should have seen the company insurance guy’s face!”

Those who pay close attention to the film may notice the sly reference to a certain Disney mascot. Says Jaybrams, “If you look at the traditional Disney silhouette of Mickey Mouse, it looks kind of like a mutated three-leaf clover. So many Disney people worked on this film that at one point the director said it looked like a ‘field of Disney’ — which, because of the clover-look thing, became ‘field of clover’ or ‘clover-field.’ So there you go.”

Since we had him on the line, we asked Jabrams for the solution to a number of frequent questions about the film:

What happened to Marlena? “She exploded. On the set we joked that she’d eaten too many churros. It was really funny! Seriously! Okay, I guess you had to be there.”

What is the whispered phrase after the credits? “It’s dirty. We Disney folks always like to put hidden dirty messages into films. It’s jus t part of who we are.”

What falls out of the sky into the ocean at the end of the movie? “I’m surprised anyone even noticed that. It was a model of Michael Eisner’s private plane — a bit of in-joke wish fulfillment from the crew.”

Wendy the Disney Psychic

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Since 1966, Wendy the Disney Psychic has been probing the boundless realm of the supernatural and retrieving news of Disney-related events before they take place. Fans who have been following her career will remember such amazing predictions as:

  • Disney’s California Adventure will continue to be unsuccessful unless significant improvements are made.
  • Roy Disney will eventually settle his differences with the Walt Disney Company.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean II will be successful.
  • Financial analysts will have inflated expectations for the next Pixar film. is proud to announce that we have entered into an exclusive contract with Wendy. We will be featuring her predictions on this blog as they become available, and will make a big deal whenever one of them comes true.

Windmills Rendered

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Pixar announced that its animated version of the classic novel Don Quixote will be released in 2009. For marketing reasons, the film will be titled Up — apparently 97% of Americans are unable to pronounce “Quixote” correctly, and 17% of those who even try actually end up injuring themselves.

The novel’s story will be followed very closely. As it is summed up in the official press release: “Up follows the adventures of Dog Quixote and his constant companion Sancho Panda as they imagine themselves enjoying the ‘night life’ in their uneventful Spanish village.” Sounds like fun to us!

Fuel for Tomorrow

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Indy Speedway’s vehicles’ engines’ fuel has been going through some experimental changes of late. Imagineers have been testing a number of vehicle prototypes for possible future use in the attraction, including vehicles that run on ethanol (from plants grown in Epcot’s The Land pavilion), electricity (generated by the movement of guests in the attraction queue), and natural gas (from the WDW stables).

According to reports, initial tests have been successful. But, surprisingly, guests overall preferred the nitrous-oxide-powered vehicle to any of the more energy-conserving vehicles. Who knew?

Submarine Dinosaurs

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Last week, we posted a controversial report in which it was implied that dinosaurs could be seen in Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction, thanks to a possible tear in the space/time continuum. It turns out that we were a little more incorrect than usual in this report.

The Finding Nemo attraction includes views of many sunken lost civilizations and relics of past times. Due to the attraction’s high speed, it is easy for guests to misidentify objects passing by, and it appears that the identification of dinosaurs was this kind of misidentification. For example, take a look at this attraction panorama (click for a larger view):

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage dinosaurs (detail)

What some may identify as an ichthyosaur or other sea-going prehistoric beast is, on film, clearly nothing more than a common skin diver.

Sorry about that!

Little Mermaid on Broadway

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Disney’s The Little Mermaid musical premiered on Broadway last week, pleasing much of the crowd, but causing concern in those who did not realize that the theater would be filled with water.

The new production differs from the film version in a number of ways. For example, the actors are real people, and not just drawings of real people. Also, there are a dozen new songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater — creators of such musical triumphs as the music you hear in the background during some Disney Channel commercials. These new songs include Ariel’s “Wish I Had Feet to Put Shoes on,” Ursula and King Triton’s rollicking duet, “Gonna Punch You Inna Face,” and a clever scat number by Prince Eric’s dog.

Unfortunately, critics did not review the shows premier well. New York Times critic Pan Loudly called the show, “A soggy concoction with all the life of a filleted flounder.” The New York Post’s Bornina Barnes complained, “Like bad sushi, the show is raw, ugly, and potentially fatal.” USA Today did not have a review as such, but summed up other papers’ reviews in a colorful pie chart.

Song of the South Director’s Cut

Monday, January 14th, 2008

In January, Disney will release, for the first time on DVD, Song of the South ‑ the Director’s Cut. The name of the project is a bit of a misnomer, in that this brand-new re-editing of the controversial animation classic was not created at the behest of its original director, but by Disney’s marketing department.

The new cut includes no scenes that anyone could possibly find offensive. “We don’t want to offend anyone,” said imaginary Disney spokesperson Polly Sensitive. “This is a kinder, gentler film, with no troublesome imagery and a running time that is more in keeping with today’s on-the-go lifestyle.”

The film, now approximately four seconds long and consisting entirely of the Buena Vista distribution logo reveal, will be available at Staples in spindles of 100 for use as blank DVD media.

First Complaints about Bolt

Friday, January 11th, 2008

A few weeks ago, the first single frame of animation from the new Disney film Bolt was released, and reaction by die-hard online Disney animation fans has been — to put it mildly — extreme. “It’s a bunch of crud,” said LuvDaMOUSE on the discussion board after his grammar, spelling, and punctuation were cleaned up. “I can’t believe that we’ve waited so long for this. It’s not animation, it’s crudimation. You can tell that the whole story is going to stink to high heaven from soup to nuts after seeing just one forest for this tree.”

DisFanbaoy4FR on the discussion board added, “There are no evil cats with eye patches anywhere in that frame. This bites like a stinking pile. I don’t even have my masters in art yet and I could do better than this. I don’t care when it comes out, I’m not even going to ask my mom to take me.”

Frame from Disney’s animated feature Bolt
Bolt — the story of a dog who thinks he has super powers but finds out he is wrong and gets over his depression about not being able to fly like Underdog with the help of his cowboy friend Woodie the Hamster — will be released in November. Based on their comprehensive reaction to what little information is available about the film, bitter fans are already lining up at theaters in great numbers to not buy opening-day tickets.

Hong Kong Disneyland Milestone!

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

As attendance figures for its second year of operation are finalized, Hong Kong Disneyland welcomed its 10,000th visitor yesterday, with great fanfare and ceremony. “It took us a little longer to reach this milestone than anticipated,” said Disney spokesperson Hector “Optimist” Prime, “but we are pleased to have reached this milestone only some 730 days later than originally anticipated.”

The Lak Hung family was selected as the lucky 10,000th visitors. They were presented with certificates at a ceremony attended by both of the park’s other guests. The family was also offered lifetime passes to Hong Kong Disneyland, which they declined.

Disney Messes Up Home Theaters

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

There have been a number of complaints related to Disney’s new documentary, “How to Hook Up Your Home Theatre.” A number of people who have seen this training video have written to us saying that the instructions were incorrect, incomplete, or (in a few cases) just plain dangerous.

Said one guest (Edward Poochface, who prefers to remain anonymous), “Disney needs to stay out of the business of creating home improvement videos if this is how they are going to go about it. People were actually laughing, the whole thing was so ridiculous! And what’s with the guy they got to demonstrate the thing? Is he supposed to be dressed up like a dog or is he just ugly or something?”

It is hoped that this video will not lead to a rash of lawsuits, as was the case with Disney’s 1960 offering, “How To Tell If Your Neighbor is a Communist.”