Friday, December 12, 2008

Goofy's 'How to Be a Detective'

Exactly 56 years ago, this cartoon was released. It is a great Goofy cartoon. So, for your enjoyment, here is the 1952 Walt Disney short cartoon, How to Be a Detective:


Monday, December 8, 2008

The Awards Season Loves WALL-E Almost as Much as He Loves EVE (Updated)

WALL-E was a truly awesome movie. (Check out my full review here).

Apparently, the rest of Hollywood thinks so, too. Here is a brief list of what recognition, awards and nominations WALL-E has received thus far:
  • WALL-E topped Time Magazine's list of the top 10 movies of 2008, saying that it "still connected with a huge audience. Great science-fiction love stories (there aren't many) will do that. So will futurist adventures that evoke the splendor of the movie past."
  • WALL-E was a part of Roger Ebert's list of the best movies of 2008; he commented that: "The best science-fiction movie in years was an animated family film. WALL-E is a solar-powered trash compacting robot, left behind to clean up the waste after Man flees into orbit. Hugely entertaining, wonderfully well drawn, and, if you think about it, merciless in its critique of a global consumer culture that obsesses on intake and disregards the consequences of output."
  • WALL-E has been nominated for 3 Grammys, which include: Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (Thomas Newman); Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (For the track "Down To Earth" Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman); Best Instrumental Arrangement (For the track "Define Dancing" Peter Gabriel & Thomas Newman)
  • It also received 8 Annie Award nominations! They are:
  • Best Animated Feature
  • Directing in an Animated Feature Production (Andrew Stanton)
  • Animated Effects (Enrique Vila)
  • Character Animation in a Feature Production (Victor Navone)
  • Production Design in an Animated Feature Production (Ralph Eggleston)
  • Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production (Ronnie Del Carmen)
  • Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (Ben Burtt)
  • Best Animated Video Game (Heavy Iron Studios/THQ)
  • WALL-E was named one of the top 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review and given the Best Animated Feature award
  • UPDATE: From "The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. has named Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E" the best picture of the year, marking the first time in its history that it has given its top prize to an animated film." Woo-hoo!
Well that about sums up the total recognition WALL-E has received thus far (other than the fact that they are campaigning for the Oscars). I am glad that eveybody is appreciating the sheer greatness of WALL-E. And I expect this awards season to get even crazier in the weeks to come...

Sources: Upcoming Pixar, The Pixar Blog


Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Walt!

Briefly: It was 107 years ago that Walter Elias Disney was born. He didn't know it at the time, but he would grow up to produce the world's most beloved animated features, the universe's best theme park, and the most recognizable mouse of all time: Mickey Mouse.

Today, I'd like to wish Walt a happy birthday. He was an animation and imagination pioneer. He was one of the first great thinkers in entertainment, and he took the first big steps toward where we are today. Without him, who knows what our world would be. I don't want to imagine a world without Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, or Walt Disney.

Happy Birthday, Walt!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

'Bolt' Review

Bolt is the first movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios that has been under the "Lasseter/Catmull Regime" from beginning to end, and you can tell. Bolt has loads of laughs, tears, action, and, best of all, heart.

The movie starts out in the heat of the action, then you suddenly realize that all of this action is completely falsified for a TV program. After that, you are thrust into the story of a dog named Bolt. He is the star of a hit TV show, and believes all of his powers to be real. He escapes from his trailer one day after filming, and our adventure begins.

The whole adventure follows Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) as he finds his way back home to his human Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). Along the way he meets some hilarious pigeons and he befriends a sarcastic cat named Mittens and a hyper hamster named Rhino.

During their adventure, Mittens convinces Bolt that he is not a superdog. This starts one of my favorite parts of the movie, a cat has to teach a dog how to be a dog. Mittens shows Bolt how to play fetch, stick his head out of the car window and do all kinds of other dog things. It is very ironic and entertaining.

One of my favorite characters is Rhino the Hamster. He is a big fan of Bolt, so he tries to help him take out the bad guys. It is really funny how the tiny rodent in a plastic ball acts so tough and confident for the entire movie. Rhino is my favorite character.

During the movie, I could really see that John Lasseter worked on it. For one, there was way more heart and story than Chicken Little or Meet the Robinsons. Also, there were two certain instances that were especially Toy Story-esque. When Mittens is convincing Bolt that he is not a superdog, it is almost identical to the scene in Toy Story where Woody tries to convince Buzz that he is a toy, not a space ranger. Also, when Mittens talks about how she was left behind and forgotten by her family, it is very similar to the part in Toy Story 2 when Jessie tells her sad story of being left behind to Woody. Here is Jessie's Story from Toy Story 2, and it is almost identical to Mittens' story in Bolt:

Bolt was a truly great movie. As Walt Disney put it, "for every laugh there should be a tear"--and there was. It was full of hilarious moments caused by coincidence, circumstance, and characters (mainly Rhino). A lot of the jokes were so funny because they were based on "pet things" that we encounter every day. It was much, much better than Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, which were also Disney Animation Studio films. The only difference is that this was the first film under the new "regime", so hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and I know it will be, since Lasseter focuses mainly on the thing that matters: story. During Bolt you really cared and about each one of the characters, the movie had a lot of heart. I am also glad to see the classic Steamboat Willie Logo for Walt Disney Animation Studios before the movie (although the short before it was oddly missing). Anyways, I'd give Bolt a 9 out of 10.


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Video Tour of John Lasseter's Awesome Office

John Lasseter, as you know, is now the Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios. has a really great tour of Lasseter's office led by John himself. He shows off the awesome art that covers his walls, talks about bringing the studio back to its roots, and speaks about Walt Disney Animation Studios' new movie, Bolt!.

Another awesome thing from the video is the stationary set that John Lasseter has. In addition to having a cool, vintage letterhead, each sheet of paper has an original sketch on the back of it. They are amazing!

Be sure to check out the really interesting video of John Lasseter's office. You can find the video here.

Also be sure to check out these interviews with Lasseter from /Film and

Source: Upcoming Pixar


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doc Hudson and Slinky the Dog are Getting New Voices

Pixar is in some trouble. The actors who voiced Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) and Slinky the Dog (Jim Varney) are both deceased. Pixar is in the planning stages of Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, so the obvious question arises, "What to do about the lack of voice actors for your characters?"

MTV got the answers from John Lasseter.

He starts off by commenting that Paul Newman was unable to record any dialogue before his death. He has this to say about Mr. Newman:

It's been really sad because I had a great friendship with Paul, and he was so impressive to work with in 'Cars' — [he] really made that character. So I have fond, fond memories of him. Not only did he make a great character, but he became a great friend of mine too, so I'm gonna really miss him.
John Lasseter says that they still don't know what they will do about Doc Hudson's voice in their upcoming feature, Cars 2. He comments that they aren't even sure if the mentoring automobile will make an appearance in the 2011 release.

Toy Story 3 has a similar problem. Jim Varney, the voice of Slinky the Dog passed away in 2000. Pixar still doesn't know how they'll deal with this dilemma either, but Lasseter comments that "we found actually an old friend of [Varney's] who sounds an awful lot like him — another actor that's going to be doing that voice."

Jim Varney (left) voicing Slinky the Dog for 'Toy Story'

So, there ya have it, another possibility may be a replacement, or they could write him out too, which would be an awful shame; I like Slinky the Dog.

It is very sad that two talented actors passed away so suddenly, but I am curious to see how Pixar will deal with this predicament. But, whatever the case, I am sure that Pixar will continue to make quality movies for everybody's enjoyment; they always have and they always will.

Source: The Pixar Blog


Friday, November 7, 2008

New 'Up' trailer Released

Here's the trailer for Disney/Pixar's newest feature film, Up. This teaser is awesome and will appear before Bolt on November 21st. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pete Docter Sketches

I sent Pete Docter (the director of Monsters, Inc. and Up) a letter. I told Mr. Docter about how much I admire him, my aspirations for a possible career at Pixar, and I asked if I could get something small signed by him. (I have done this with several other great people as well--John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Ralph Eggleston, and more--you can see the scans here).

Well, this time I got more than I expected. Here is what I received from Pete Docter, one of the most influential and important people at Pixar, the best animation studio on the planet. Here is what Mr. Docter sent me (click for a high res version):


'WALL-E' Oscar Campaign Begins

In my opinion, WALL-E, while not being Pixar's best work, was definitely one of the best movies of the year. It had romance, comedy, action, and a robot that you couldn't help but fall in love with (read my full review here).

Due to the fact that critics and moviegoers alike all loved WALL-E, Disney has started its campaign to make Pixar's most recent feature eligible for all categories of the Oscars, including Best Picture. The campaign's first step was an add of the cover of today's Daily 'Variet•E':

I am glad that WALL-E is attempting to break the Academy out of their animated film bias tendencies. There is no reason in the world as to why an animated movie can't be better than a live action one.

So, For Your Consideration: WALL-E, in all categories, including Best Picture and Best Animated Feature.


Source: The Pixar Blog


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Iron Man News Galore!

What is your favorite movie of the year? What about your favorite superhero movie of the year? How about your favorite movie featuring Robert Downey, Jr. of the year? I can guarantee that you answered at least one, if not all, of these questions with the answer of Iron Man.

Iron Man was a truly great movie. It had a strong plot, great character development, superb acting, and stupendous effects to top it all off. The movie, not surprisingly, grossed $578 million worldwide while in theaters (and that figure doesn't even include DVD/Blu-ray sales). No moviegoer can resist the charm of Downey, the action of a flying superhero, or the brilliance of the awesome Mach 2 suit.

For this reason, among others, Robert Downey, Jr. has extended his deal with Marvel; this deal will result in an Iron Man 2 (set to bow on May 7, 2010), an Iron Man 3, and The Avengers, all of which will feature Mr. Downey as your favorite playboy Tony Stark, and his red-suited alterego.

This is great news! This deal will help out everybody; we get to see more of the amazing Iron Man franchise, Robert Downey, Jr. gets well-deserved boffo bucks, and the studios get to reap the benefits of yet another superhero franchise. Hooray! Everybody wins!

The Avengers will feature Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor, all of which will have their own feature film(s), some of which already do. This already amazing movie, The Avengers, is set to be released on July 15, 2011--I can't wait!

The Iron Man franchise, as well as The Avengers, however, will feature Don Cheadle, instead of Terrence Howard, as Col. James Rhodes.

In addition to Downey's return, Joe Favreau, the director of the first Iron Man, will return to direct Iron Man 2, as well as be the executive producer for The Avengers.

In addition to these exciting superhero roles, Downey is set to play Sherlock Holmes in a 2009 feature film, and is rumored to play Hugh Hefner in a bio pic. Very interesting....

Source: Variety


Friday, October 24, 2008

John Lasseter Named Innovator of the Year

Briefly: The Hollywood Reporter has named their Innovator of the Year, and guess who it is! John Lasseter! He definitely deserves this title, having turned around Walt Disney Pictures and the Disney Parks which were slowly declining in quality. As put by The Hollywood Reporter: "Lasseter has become not only the most prominent successor to the Nine Old Men, but arguably the most important figure in animation since [Walt] Disney himself."

The article also notes his key role in the development of the upcoming Disney movie, BOLT!, and in the recently released Pixar movie, WALL-E.

Good job, Mr. Lasseter! You certainly are the Innovator of the Year!


'BOLT!' Soundtrack Details Announced

Briefly: 'BOLT!', Disney's new CG movie to be released next month, is highly anticipated. It features the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. Here's the track list of its soundtrack (But beware! Spoilers are present!):

1. I Thought I Lost You - Miley Cyrus and John Travolta
2. Barking At The Moon - Jenny Lewis
3. Meet Bolt
4. Bolt Transforms
5. Scooter Chase
6. New York
7. Meet Mittens
8. The RV Park
9. A Fast Train
10. Where Were You On St. Rhino’s Day?
11. Sing-Along Rhino
12. Saving Mittens
13. House On Wheels
14. Las Vegas
15. A Friend In Need
16. Rescuing Penny
17. A Real Live Superbark

The album will be released on November 18th, but is available for pre-order now. To learn more about 'BOLT', click here!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The G1 Review for the iPhone Owner

We received our G1 today, and its awesome. Here are the unboxing shots. It is officially released this Wednesday, but most people who pre-ordered on the first day they became available are receiving their phones today. Keep in mind that over the course of the review, I'll constantly be making comparisons to the iPhone, seeing as I have one, and the two phones are now competitors. Now on to the review!

Hardware: At a glance, the G1 is big. It is significantly larger than the sleek iPhone 3G. The G1 weighs almost 1 ounce more, and is much thicker. This is a trade-off, however, for the physical keyboard that is a must have for many users. The G1 features a brilliant screen that is slightly smaller than that of the iPhone, but is still bright and very user-friendly. The keyboard feels sturdy, as the rest of the phone. Another thing worth mentioning is that the camera on the G1 is 3-megapixels, compared to the iPhone's 2-megapixels. Another major difference between the G1 and the iPhone is that the G1 has a removable battery, when the iPhone doesn't; this is a major inconvenience for iPhone users, and it doesn't really make sense to me that Apple would do this... Our reviewing unit is Black, but it also comes in White and Brown. Overall, we give hardware a 8/10, due to some nuisances while typing on the keyboard, and the bulkiness of the phone. Oh, yeah, and no headphone jack!

Software: This is the main difference between the iPhone 3G and the G1. The G1 is Open-Source, iPhone is proprietary. This is a fancy way of saying that Apple has locked up all of their units so they can regulate what is put on them, where Android doesn't regulate anything, and doesn't care. This is an awesome thing because it makes the phone extremely customizable and allows any apps to be installed. And, although it isn't fully integrated into the apps yet, the G1 features an accelerometer similar to that of the iPhone. The G1 does beat iPhone in 2 more major ways: all applications can run in the background, and MMS is included. The G1's tight integration with Google applications is another nice feature. Another place that the iPhone beats the G1 at is the iPhone's UI and multi-touch capability. No-one can compare with Apple's clean design and intuitive controls. They are flawless and are beautiful. The Android's UI is nice, but its nowhere near Apple quality. Also, one of the main features of the iPhone is its multi-touch functionality, which allows for the "pinch zoom", etc. Multi-touch is incredible to use, but is nowhere to be seen on the G1. We give the software a 9/10 because of its openness and cleanliness (but Apple's UI still kicks butt).

Final Thoughts: The G1 is a great phone. It comes packed with great apps (Go, Compass Mode!), and more apps can be added through the ever-growing Android Marketplace. Although it is chubbier than the iPhone, it makes up for this with physical keys and a removable battery. The Software is also revolutionary in the sense that it is completely open source, which is great for functionality and customization. But the software, as of right now, lacks the basics of an accelerometer, multi-touch functionalities, and an Apple-level User-Interface. Overall, we give the G1 a 7/10, and the iPhone 3G an 8/10.

The G1 does beat the iPhone in many ways, but the iPhone beats the G1 in more ways: multi-touch capabilities, sleek design, smooth UI, and the overall awesome feel of using Apple's cellular platform. So, I think I'll stick with my iPhone 3G for now, but definitely swap it out for a G3 or G4 after the basics are added, the UI is worked on, and the kinks are worked out.

Here is a comparison chart between the iPhone 3G and the T-Mobile G1 made by Fortune:

(Now that you've read the review, check out the unboxing!)


T-Mobile G1 Unboxing

Here's our G1 that arrived via UPS today! Here are the unboxing photos, and a review should be up very soon.

Keep checking back for a comprehensive review of the G1!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Disney's California Adventure is Finally Getting a Facelift

Have you ever been to Disneyland in California? Well I hope you have. And, if you have, you know that you spend most of your time in Walt Disney's original theme park, Disneyland, and not so much time in the cousin park: Disney's California Adventure.

Did you ever wonder why you don't spend so much time in that park? For me, the main reason is almost all of the rides are off-the-shelf, generic rides, and the park doesn't transport you to any different places, time periods, or magic lands; you go from Southern California in the modern day, to Southern California in the modern day.

Good news! This is all about to change... Disney's California Adventure is getting a $1 billion makeover which will be taking place through 2012. This change will encompass a total renovation of Disney's California Adventure, the park will be transformed into California during the roaring 20s when Disney first came to California to start his animation company. The park and attractions will follow his journey through California and his journey up the ladder of success.

One of these new pieces of the park will be a recreation of the Carthay Circle Theatre in California from 1937 where Disney premiered Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They are hoping this building will be an icon similar to Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland.

There will also be additions of red trolley cars at the entrance, renovated boardwalk games to make them more nostalgic and Disney character-related, a Little Mermaid ride, a World of Color fountain and lights show, a 12-acre Cars Land, among other attractions and decor added.

"We're putting a lot of focus on that feeling, that emotional connection," Weis said. "And a big part of what we're bringing in is more Walt."

Update: Here are a serires of Photos and Maps from the article that give some more information on the exciting renovation!

Source: LA Times