Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Alice Opening a Disaster for Disney

Monday, March 8th, 2010

In its first weekend, Disney’s Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland raked in an estimated $210+ million worldwide, causing an uproar in Disney’s corporate offices.

“It’s an unmitigated disaster,” said Penny Pinscher, Disney’s marketing department’s Chairman of Deniable Quotations. “Profits like these for a first weekend are almost unprecedented, and the ramifications are so terrible and widespread that it’s hard to know where to begin. First and foremost, it’s an embarrassment for the Walt Disney Company as a whole. If the film isn’t stopped — and quickly — it might end up lingering at the box office like Avatar, which, in case you haven’t noticed, has been hanging around the box-office top 10 like a creepy old uncle who doesn’t know when to leave. I mean, the thing came out months ago and it’s still in theaters? Who wants that? We’re going to put the DVD release of Alice into high gear and, hopefully, cut its theatrical run short before it becomes any more humiliating.”

Part of the problem with the film’s success is that it gives even more power to Alice’s star, Johnny Depp. Said Percy Filmpackager, Disney’s motion picture department’s Director of Baseless Information, “We’ve about had it with Depp around here. Already he’s pressured us into making a fourth — that’s right a fourth — Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and frankly we’ve been ready to move on to other things since #2. Now we’re getting word that he has set his sights on playing the title character in a remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which is problematic because we hadn’t planned on remaking that film, don’t own the property, and had already offered the part of the Child Catcher to up-and-coming entertainer Johnny Weir, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish because the original Child Catcher was played by Robert Helpmann who played the Mad Hatter in an Australian version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which sort of brings the whole thing full circle, so you can see what a problem it is.”

“And don’t get me started on Tim Burton,” Filmpackager continues. “We’re fine with his plans for a live-action remake of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which, as I understand it, will be much darker, in keeping with the original books — imagine the 100 Acre Woods being more like the forest Snow White runs through before she finds the dwarfs’ cottage, and you get the idea. But now that Alice is such a hit he has ‘suggested’ that Disneyland should do an overlay of its Alice attraction to make it like the new film. This would just involve making the red queen’s head bigger, aging Alice a bit, and putting a few severed heads here and there, so it’s not a big deal and we’re going to go ahead and do it, but really, it’s the principle of the thing. Who does the guy think he is? Pixar?”

Stay tuned to the for more on this disaster as news develops.

John Carter of Mars

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Filming has begun on the Disney’s John Carter of Mars, based on the Edgar “Rice” Burroughs novel APrincess and a Pea of Mars. Because the original novel was first serialized in 1912, producers felt that it would not necessarily connect with either modern audiences, and there were some concerns about how easy it would be to get a film about a human killing giants multi-armed green guys into theaters with the G rating it needed to draw in family audiences. To help address these concerns, Disney has reportedly made a few changes to the original story. For example:

  • Instead of being a veteran of the U.S. Civil War, the film’s John Carter is a veteran NASCAR driver.
  • The ten-legged, multi-tusked creature — faster than a greyhound and strong enough to rip the chest off a bull ape — that is tasked with guarding Carter will appear in the film, but it will be fuzzy and adorably clumsy, always getting into wacky situations with its silly antics.
  • Mars will not be referred to as “Barsoom” (which sounds too much like “bar room”), but as “Kaboom”(which sounds all cool and “actiony”).
  • Although pretty much everyone in the novel runs around semi-nude, folks will have clothes and Dejah Thoris (“Disney’s first bright-red princess!”) will be radiant in a flowing gown, even during combat.
  • The 12-foot-tall warrior green Martians will be muppets. Though at first they prefer to solve their quarrels in mortal combat, this will all change when Carter teaches them basketball.
  • In the novel, all intelligent Martian creatures have a certain amount of telepathic talent. Because of the difficulty of representing something so subjective in film, the Martian facility for telepathy is being replaced with a Martian tendency to break out in spontaneous song.

An interesting bit of trivia: The movie is based on the first John Carter novel, A Princess of Mars, which is now in the public domain. However, the movie’s title comes from the last book in the series which, having been published in 1964, is still under copyright. (Though Disney did not have to pay for the rights to the novel, they had to pay an enormous sum to Burroughs’ estate for the title.) If the movie is successful, the next novel — The Chariots of the Gods of Mars — will be filmed using the title of the second-to-last novel, Llana of Ggathol, with only Mister Master Mind of Mars in the middle filmed under its own name, until, finally John Carter of Mars is filmed as A Princess and a Pea of Mars, even though there’s no princess in it.

The Other Side of Mickey

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Even though his version of Alice in Wonderland hasn’t even hit the big screen yet, rumors are flying about Tim Burton’s desire to darkly remake yet another Disney classic. If word on the street is to be believed (and, as usual, it positively, definitely is), Burton will be turning his creative eye toward “Steamboat Willie.”

“Burton will retell the classic story from Pegleg Pete’s perspective,” says some guy we ran into at the grocery store. “It’ll be a full-length feature film, and the first ever to be recorded entirely in 3-D sound. It’s not clear whether Johnny Depp will be playing Pete himself or perhaps simply cameo as the cow with musical teeth.”

Filming of Steaming Willie is said to be scheduled to begin in 2014, after Burton finishes the first run of his live-action stage musical version of Frankenweenie.


Sunday, April 26th, 2009

The team spent the weekend in repeated viewings of Disney’s latest film, Earth. This is certainly a marvelous effort on Disney’s part, and we had a few comments:

  • First and foremost, this is by far the best computer animation that Disney has produced! It’s superior even to Pixar’s best efforts. The animals looked positively real (with the exception of some “birds of paradise” which were just too ridiculous to be believable).
  • Although the common theme of appreciation for nature was strong, it would have been better brought through if the plot were more linear. This felt a little too much like a Tarrantino film in terms of plot line.
  • We saw the film at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood, California, and very much enjoyed the little pre-film presentation in which some of the film’s stars were introduced to the audience (the penguins were particular favorites, but honestly we could have done without the starving polar bear).
  • Disney apparently intends to make a whole series of these films. If they go through with that promise, we suggest that they a) come up with some better names for the main characters (having three characters named “Mom” was confusing, even if they were all different species), and b) try not to be so depressing! Okay, “circle of life,” we get it — but why so many cute animals getting eaten? Wasn’t Bambi enough?

Freaky Friday four

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

We’re busy gearing up for an upcoming Disney Lies research trip to Walt Disney World, but a bit of news came across our desk that we are unable to keep under wraps.

According to a close friend of the dog groomer of a reliable source in a business near Disney’s corporate office’s caterer, Disney will be remaking Freaky Friday yet again! But this time Disney will do something it never has before — it will replace the story’s main characters with existing Disney characters.

In the new Freaky Friday (to be released in 2010), a crazy bit of ironic magic will cause the mind of normal teenager Miley Stewart to swap places with the mind of popular singing star Hannah Montana! Hilarity will ensue as they attempt to live each others’ lives. Will Miley, in Hannah’s body, be able to perform at the big concert? Will Hannah, in Miley’s body, be able to protect Miley’s secret that she spends her nights performing as popular singing star Hannah Montana? You’ll have to see the film to find out!

Continuing its remakes of mid-1970s films, Disney is expected to also release The Jonas Brothers Dumpling Gang late next year.

Hurricane Dolly

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

As a massive storm prepares to do extensive damage to Texas and Mexico, Disney marketing is rethinking their decision to promote WALL*E’s love of “Hello, Dolly!” by having a hurricane named after the film’s title character. “We probably should have thought it through a little more,” said recently fired director of Disney weather marketing Stormy Klutz. “But the weather bureau called at the last minute and we had to make a snap decision. It was just one of those things.”

Only time will tell if this will become a fiasco on the scale of Bambi’s pro-NRA ads or premiering High School Musical 3 at Columbine High School.

New WALL*E Controversy

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Even as the U.S. domestic box office receipts for WALL*E pass the 27 trillion Zimbabwe dollar mark, new controversy is brewing over some of the film’s more disturbing content. “I was really surprised by all the cannibalism,” said Stew Eaton, dubious spokesperson for Americans Against Theaters Exposing Youth to Outrageous Ugliness. “The robot steals a dead robots shoes, which is bad enough, but then we see that he has this trailer filled with containers of parts of his fellow beings, and he uses those parts to feed his own desire to survive — literally cannibalizing the dead so he may live! At the end of the film Eve is dragged into the circle of hideousness and feeds WALL*E bits of his fellows until he returns to life, but when he returns his mind is gone — because he has succumbed to what is obviously prion disease, a condition common among cannibals who eat brains!”

Eaton paused for a moment and asked us why we had stopped eating our lunch, then continued without waiting for answer. “And it wasn’t just the robot! Think about all those people on that space ship. They’ve been there 700 years, we don’t see signs that anyone ages, but there are babies being born. Why isn’t the place bursting at the seams? Because they’re drinking soylent green Slurpees, that’s why! The evidence is everywhere, clear as the Fourth of July. This might as well have been the Donner Party cartoon.”

We contacted Disney’s Ethics Officer for comment, but he was at lunch — and his secretary was missing. Coincidence? We hope so.

Wall*E and copyright infringement

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

We have received several e-mails discussing the possibility that Pixar’s latest star, WALL*E is a proponent of copyright infringement. And it’s not just our readers who see the problem.

According to reporters at Unsubstantiated Rumor Magazine, former Disney CEO and Pixar unaficionado Michael Eisner has accused WALL*E of fostering music piracy by recording the soundtrack of a video tape. Noting that by making a copy of the music for himself WALL*E has “duplicated copyrighted content and distributed it to every sentient being left on the planet.” Eisner says he is willing to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that, “the movie suggests to people that they can create theft if they buy WALL*E robots.”

Disney legal analyst and unofficial spokesperson Bill Manyhours responds to these allegations. “In the context of the film,” says Manyhours, “Hello, Dolly! would have been out of copyright for more than 700 years. Under these very specific, rigidly defined conditions, Disney does not see a legal problem with a user making a single copy of the soundtrack of the film for personal use, so long as no copyright protection schemes are circumvented. For the same reason, we do not see Wall*E’s attempt to hold Eve’s hand as theft of intellectual property even though he is clearly doing so in an attempt to recreate the action depicted in the film and this might, in another context, be considered an illegal digital-to-analog conversion.”

Manyhours added that, although he stands by his statements at this time, they may be impacted by pending Disney-sponsored legislation which would extend corporate copyright protection “into the foreseeable future.” He also asks us to remind our readers that making a copy of the portion of theWALL*E soundtrack that includes only the sounds of the portion of Hello, Dolly! that were copied by Wall*E is curently a violation of copyrights held by both Disney and 20th Century Fox, “so don’t even think about it.”

More WALL*E inspirations

Friday, June 27th, 2008

In an interview with Underwire magazine, filmmaker Andrew “Mr. Stanton” Stanton revealed that not only was his new feature Wall*E a sequel to the classic Silent Running (as we discussed yesterday), it was also inspired by other classic Sci Fi films. For example:

Alien: This inspired the scene of WALL*E being chased through air ducts by overweight people armed with flamethrowers. The movie also inspired Stanton to cast Sigourney Weaver as a voice that “bursts from the chest” of a computer system.

Blade Runner: Referenced in WALL*E’s bizarre unicorn-dream sequence (which, at press time, it appears has been cut from the final print of the film — look for it to appear in a DVD “director’s cut” release).

2001: A Space Odyssey: The first half of WALL*E has no dialog because there is so much poetic silence in 2001.

Outland: Wall*E was clearly modeled after Sean Connery (though he’s armed with a fire extinguisher instead of a shotgun).

Planet of the Apes: WALL*E is cleaning up after the “damned, dirty humans.” Also referenced in the scene at the beginning of the film where WALL*E is dismantling the fallen Statue of Liberty.

Star Wars: WALL*E is actually Eve’s brother, but they don’t discover this until after they “kiss.” Also, WALL*E’s movements are based on those of actor Kenny Baker.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Stanton claims that “a close encounter of the fourth kind involves robots cleaning up after encounters one through three.”

Tron: As a nod to this film, Stanton suggested that Disney purchase Pixar.

So now that you know all about the film, go out and see it!

WALL*E trivia

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

You may be interested to know that Pixar’s new film Wall*E isn’t a standalone feature. Although it is not widely known, this feature is actually a sequel of sorts to 1972’s Silent Running, which starred Bruce Dern as a space-faring gardener armed with nuclear weapons.

Silent Running is largely about three robots who are taking care of what is left of Earth’s plant life while certain other robots — not mentioned in the film — are trying to clean up the planet so that the plants can be reintroduced. The Disney connection is made clear by the robots’ names — Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

There are parallels in the films’ dialog as well. Silent Running: “Take good care of the forest, Dewey.” WALL*E: “Take good care of the planet, WALL*E.”

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a few more classic films that served as inspiration for WALL*E.