Friday, August 21, 2009

Disney and more Time machine - Back in time to 1957 : Disneyland's House of the Future

The Monsanto House of the Future was a Disneyland attraction sponsored by Monsanto Company and today let's have a tribute to the "House of the future" with pictures and a real treasure video!

The attraction offered a tour of a home of the future, set in the year 1986, Built of plastics, a revolutionary material at that time, the four wing"ultra-modern" House of the Future was on display from 1957 to 1967 at the entrance of Tomorrowland.The House of the Future featured the latest in furniture and appliances along with intercoms and other gadgets that were not common in 1957. For instance, it featured household appliances such as microwave ovens, which eventually were invented and became commonplace.

The house survived the introduction of New Tomorrowland in 1967, but closed shortly after, as Monsanto's attention shifted to their new sponsored attraction, Adventure Thru Inner Space. The building was so sturdy, that when demolition crews tried to knock out walls with a wrecking ball, the ball bounced off. Hacksaws were required to take the building apart, piece by piece.

However, it didn't remove all the house. The support pillars were rated for earthquakes, so when the construction reached them, most couldn't be removed. These few remaining pillars are still visible in Neptune's Grotto, the location of the exterior gardens of the house.

This last picture shows the great replica designed by Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily for Disney for Disneyland 50th anniversary

And now, here is a great document with this two part Monsanto video that will show you how amazing - specially in 1960's - the House of the Future was. Don't miss it, it's just like if you were there, inside the House of the Future, 50 years ago!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Photos: copyright Disney

Video: copyright Monsanto and Disney

All my thanks to Macmouse4 for the great Youtube video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Editor's Note: TWO great "movie" articles today! Do-not-miss the unbelievably awesome trailer of James Cameron's Avatar - the most awaited movie of the year. Next, a great artwork article on Disney's 20000 Leagues under the sea! Enjoy both of them!

James Cameron " AVATAR " - First Trailer of the most awaited movie of the year!

James Cameron's AVATAR is without any doubt the most awaited movie of this year, and there is a good reason: it's James Cameron first "real" movie - not a documentary - since Titanic! You will find the incredibly awesome trailer below, but first let's learn a bit more about the story line.

Here is what IMDB tell us about the story: "A band of humans are pitted in a battle against a distant planet's indigenous population. In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture."

And Here is another plot summary, released by Fox: "Avatar is the story of an ex-Marine who finds himself thrust into hostilities on an alien planet filled with exotic life forms. As an Avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he finds himself torn between two worlds, in a desperate fight for his own survival and that of the indigenous people."

And more from Wikipedia: "The story’s protagonist, Jake Sully, is a former Marine who was wounded and paralyzed from the waist down in combat on Earth. In order to participate in the Avatar program, which will give him a healthy body, Jake agrees to travel to Pandora, a lush rainforest environment filled with incredible life forms – some beautiful, many terrifying. Pandora is also the home to the Na’vi, a humanoid race that lives at what humans would consider to be a primitive level, but are actually much more evolutionarily advanced than humans. Ten feet tall, with tails and blue skin that sparkles, the Na’vi live harmoniously within their unspoiled world. But as humans encroach on Pandora in search of valuable minerals, the Na’vi’s very existence is threatened – and their warrior abilities are unleashed.

Jake has unwittingly been recruited to become part of this encroachment. Since humans are unable to breathe the air on Pandora, they have created genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. The Avatars are living, breathing bodies in the real world, controlled by a human driver through a technology that links the driver’s mind to the Avatar body. On Pandora, through his Avatar body, Jake can be whole once again. Moreover, he falls in love with a young Na’vi woman, Neytiri, whose beauty is matched by her ferocity in battle.

As Jake slides deeper into becoming one of her clan, he finds himself caught between the military-industrial forces of Earth, and the Na’vi – forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world."

More than 10 years in the making, “Avatar” marks Cameron’s return to feature directing since helming 1997’s “Titanic,” the highest grossing film of all time and winner of 11 Oscars including best picture. WETA Digital, renowned for its work in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “King Kong,” will incorporate new intuitive CGI technologies to transform the environments and characters into photorealistic 3-D imagery that will transport the audience into the alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures and characters."

Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and many others are playing in the movie which will be released in 3D - and even IMAX 3D - next December, and you can count on stunning digital effects.

Here is a picture of Sam Worthington with "his" Avatar...

One of James Cameron in the "Avatar" chamber...

And a last one of James Cameron with Sam Worthington.

In December 2006, Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough. The director planned to create photo-realistic computer-generated characters by using motion capture animation technology, on which he had been doing work for the past 14 months. Unlike previous performance capture systems, where the digital environment is added after the actors' motions have been captured, Cameron's new virtual camera allows him to directly observe on a monitor how the actors' virtual counterparts interact with the movie's digital world in real time and adjust and direct the scenes just as if shooting live action; "It’s like a big, powerful game engine. If I want to fly through space, or change my perspective, I can. I can turn the whole scene into a living miniature and go through it on a 50 to 1 scale."

Other technological innovations include a performance-capture stage, called The Volume, which is six times larger than previously used and an improved method of capturing facial expressions. The tool is a small individually made skull cap with a tiny camera attached to it, located in front of the actors' face which collects information about their facial expressions and eyes, which is then transmitted to the computers. This way, Cameron intends to transfer about 95% of the actors' performances to their digital counterparts.

Before you have a look at this awaited trailer, a great news: tomorrow friday 21st there will be a special screening of 15 minutes of Avatar - yes, FIFTEEN! - all around the world - not only in the U.S! Look on internet to find which theatre near your home is part of this special event!

And now, let's discover the first images from Avatar! As you will see it is over awesome, no words exist to describe this amazing, stunning trailer! Highly recommanded to watch it in full screen, and remember that all "Blue" creatures are digital creatures... amazing!

If the video below was disabled from Trailer addict, please go on Apple Movie Trailers to watch this awesome trailer!

Picture and Video: copyright 20th Century Fox

20000 leagues under the sea tribute : Part two : movie original artwork

As promised, here is the part two of this special 20000 leagues under the sea tribute , and this time it is a special "movie artwork" , full of original paintings, as well as the original posters.

The first artwork below is by John Steel. Images 4,5,7,8,9, 17 from the top are painting by the great Harper Goff, who as we know, designed the Nautilus (as well as the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland).

The two next pictures are matte paintings by genius artist Peter Ellenshaw.

A series of pictures of the original posters...

If you like 20000 leagues under the sea, i strongly recommand you to go on the great web site where you will find a lot of production pictures , art work, and many more at:

And now here is the original trailer for the movie!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Artwork and video: copyright Disney

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

20000 leagues under the sea tribute : Part one : The WDW extinct submarine ride

Here is the first part of a 20000 leagues under the sea tribute.

Today, let's remember the beloved and now extinct Walt Disney world 20000 leagues submarine ride with great photos and a video of the ride itself. Please click on each pictures to see them in big size.

In 1959 the Disneyland submarine ride opened along with the Matterhorn Bobsleds and the Monorail. As the Disneyland submarine ride became extremely popular with guests, Walt Disney Imagineering began to work on an even more ambitious version for what would become Walt Disney World. However, it was not going to be a simple ride clone. The idea was to make as best use as possible of the larger space the company now owned in Florida, and what became 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea did indeed do just that. At 11.5 million gallons of water throughout, it would be one of the biggest and most expensive Disney attractions ever conceived.

Below, a wonderful painting by Leo Svendsen for the WDW 20000 Leagues ride.

Despite the best efforts of the construction and installation teams attached to the 20,000 Leagues project, the attraction would ultimately open two weeks after the Magic Kingdom due to infrastructure problems with the lagoon. On October 14 1971 however, the first guests boarded one of the twelve (the ride is sometimes cited as having fourteen, which would be correct if counting the two submarines grappling with Giant Squids on either side of the track) submarines to take the ten minute voyage of discovery that would cover the surface of the earth from underwater, without ever leaving the state of Florida.

The completed attraction covered almost a quarter of Fantasyland, with the lagoon and caverns-hidden show building surrounded by palm trees and volcanic rock, meant to evoke the impression of Captain Nemo's Pacific Ocean base Vulcania. A storage facility at the back of the show building served to house submarines removed from the main line during day-to-day operation, and also included a dry dock for repair work.

Along the shores of the lagoon, small beaches were built, one with a chest of abandoned pirate treasure.

One of the signature pieces of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was the fleet of twelve passenger vehicles, adapted for theme park use from Harper Goff's Nautilus design for the 1954 Disney live-action version by Disney Imagineer George McGinnis. The basic hulls were constructed by Morgan Yacht in Clearwater, Florida, with the final building work being transferred to Tampa Ship mid-way through. This massive project was overseen by another veteran Imagineer, Bob Gurr. Upon delivery at Walt Disney World in August 1971, the vehicles weighed some forty tons, and were installed into a concrete guide (track), mounted on top of a mechanism to limit "bumping" accidents.

The attraction vehicles were not actual submarines, but instead boats in which the guests sat below water level. The interiors were a mix of metal paneling, rivets and bolts, as well as Victorian-esque fittings in the form of passenger seats that can flip outwards, and arm rests beneath the portholes, in keeping with the Harper Goff concept from the 1954 feature film. Each "guest" aboard the Nautilus had his or her own seat, as well as a round porthole to look out into the attraction. A small button located in the porthole recess was intended for defogging the window if needed, but this rarely worked.

Above the seating area was the sail (As it was known to the employees) where the "helmsman" stood and controlled the vehicle's operation. The "diving" effect that became so much of a part of the ride was actually produced by bubble machines located throughout the attraction, as well as using the waterfalls at the entrance to the show building.

Despite the extensive 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea overhaul the attraction was given, essentially it was still the same as its Californian counterpart Submarine Voyage, in both its underwater show scenes and narration, except for a few occasional differences.

The adventure began as the guests made their way down into the back of the submarine, bending to miss the low-level raised rear hatch, and finding a place onboard. Throughout the voyage, an eerie organ version of the Disney film's main theme would play on a never-ending loop, allowing for a narration backing as well as a piece of stall music if required. Following the standard Disney-style introduction and safety notes from the helmsman, the narration would be switched on and the voice of Disney voice artist Peter Renaday doing an impression of James Mason's Captain Nemo would fill the interior.

With the submarine clear of the dock, the diving sequence would begin, with hundreds of air bubbles filling the porthole view, creating the illusion of descent. Once clear, the Captain introduced himself to his passengers, and then introduced them to the underwater plains around Vulcania. In the lagoon, guests could see moray eels, crabs, lobsters, sea bass, clams and turtles as well as a host of smaller, tropical fish.

Minutes later, in another tribute to the Disney film, an "underwater party" of divers would come into view, as animatronics wearing replicas of the Harper Goff-designed deep sea diving equipment worked kelp beds and wrangled with rebellious turtles.

With the bubbles from the waterfall at the cavern entrance simulating a surface storm, the Captain would order the submarine down into the depths as a precaution, and the guests enter the show building section of the attraction. Within minutes, the devastation such natural phenomenon can create was made clear with the ominous Graveyard Of Lost Ships, with shipwrecks from various centuries littering the sea bed, guarded by the silent, gliding figures of sharks.

Leaving the destruction behind, the Nautilus would reach the North Pole, circumnavigating the Polar Ice Cap from below the surface, and narrowly avoiding large icebergs stabbing through the water. Venturing deeper, the Nautilus entered the eerie world of the Abyss, where guests viewed examples the many weird and strange species of deepwater fish that thrive in such an environment.

Rising slightly, one of the final discoveries made is the ruins of Atlantis, along with a typical Disney-fied sea serpent, accompanying mermaids, and a treasury bursting with jewels and gold. With the ruins of the ancient civilization soon left behind, the Nautilus would enter the final phase of its journey, with a tribute to the most iconic and memorable part of the 1954 Disney film: The attack of the giant squid. After seeing a much smaller sister Nautilus trapped in the clutches of one such creature (Curiously marked XIII on the tailfin), the passenger submarine would be attacked itself by long, thrashing tentacles.

With a final push to the surface, the Nautilus would clear the caverns and the dangerous squid, and enter the safety of the tropical lagoon, on its way towards the dock.

20,000 Leagues became as much of a part of the Magic Kingdom as any of the other attractions that remain there today, and the idea of it being closed struck many as being untrue. When the attraction closed on September 5 1994 "temporarily", it was assumed that Captain Nemo and his crew would soon be sailing again. However, the Nautilus submarines sat silently exposed on the lagoon to park guests until 1995, when the vehicles were removed to be transported to the backstage areas of Walt Disney World.

In 1996, a couple of props such as the sharks had been removed from the caverns, while plastic coral and sets were removed from the lagoon and eventually destroyed or sold on Ebay. Walt Disney World announced that the attraction was never going to re-open.

Despite many protests and complaints, the ride remained derelict. The infrastructure was abandoned, however the long green queue building was re-themed to serve as a character "meet n' greet" called "The Fantasyland Character Festival". The empty lagoon slowly lost its tranquil clarity, and the exotic palm trees and volcanic rock around the lagoon area would be slowly removed over the years. The show building was abandoned in place, with the complete show scenes and several major animatronics remaining underwater untouched and to rot for about a decade.

In 2004, Disney finally announced that the skeleton (lagoon and caverns) of the attraction would be completely destroyed, and the land reclaimed for an unspecified future project.

Now we know that most of the new Fantasyland expansion will be build there and although the lagoon don't exist anymore soon WDW visitors will go back "under the sea" thanks to the Little Mermaid ride!

And now let's dive again one last time with this great video of the full ride!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the part two with a special artwork from the movie itself!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Photos: copyright Disney

Text: Thanks to Wikipedia

You tube Video: Thanks to widenyourworld!