Saturday, May 29, 2010

D&M Exclusive report on " Inception ", most awaited movie of the summer !

As i often do on week-ends here is a non-Disney report. But don't go away as it is an exclusive report on one of the most awaited movie of this summer: Christopher Nolan's "Inception".

Chris Nolan is a brilliant film director and he's the one who did the excellent Batman's "The Dark Night" and also another one that i liked a lot "The Prestige", about a "fight" between two magicians in Victorian London. Inception, which will be released in July is for sure highly awaited but also one of the most secret movie of the year. For months, no informations came out of the shooting, and even now the only synopsis on IMDB is this one:

"Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved.

Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible: inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime."

Inception and his brilliant cast - picture above - had four days of shooting in Paris last August and as i was in town i've filmed the shooting. Note that at that time i knew nothing about the storyline so, as i did the editing seven months ago, part of my comments in the video may be not totally accurate. But you'll get rare shots of the filming, a really big one as around 400 people were on the sets!

You might want to see Inception's trailer first to understand a bit more about it, so here it is:

One last note: the music that i've put at the beginning and the end of the two-part video below is not the one from Inception. But i don't doubt that you will guess where the music is coming from!

Inception trailer: copyright Warner Bros

Video: copyright Disney and more

Pictures: copyright warner Bros

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prince of Persia Review

Jerry Bruckheimer's Prince of Persia is released today in France - french poster above - and Friday in the U.S. I saw it at Paris press screening one week ago. It's a typical Bruckheimer summer movie and as usual the production is pretty good. Beautiful decors - even if most of the gorgeous oriental cities are digitally created - and those of you who like Adventureland theming should like them a lot. The movie photography and original music score are very good too.

As we know the movie is inspired by Prince of Persia's video game and should delight the fans. And what about the actors? Ben Kingsley is once again playing the bad guy and he is generally good playing villains. But for me the problem is Jake Gyllenhaal. He is generally a good actor - remember him in Oscar winner's Brokeback Mountain? - and he is obviously trying to do his best in Prince of Persia, but sorry, he didn't convinced me and I even think he's a casting mistake. Now, may be it's not totally his fault as the story line remains extremely primary. Really. The movie is well directed by Mike Newell and SFX are as good as we can expect but it's a pity that the movie didn't had a better script.

It supposed to be a "A" movie and for Jerry Bruckheimer it's may be his "Lawrence of Arabia" but not anyone can be David Lean and in fact it's a deluxe "B" movie, that's what it is. You won't have a bad time watching it but you'll probably forget it as fast as you saw it except may be the beautiful decors and costumes that will remain in your mind. I don't expect the movie box-office to be huge - not bad either but just a medium success - and i'm not even sure there will be a sequel, but who knows, I may be wrong!

Anyway, you understood that i'm not extremely enthusiastic about Prince of Persia but if you want to know more about it here is some video interviews - with french subtitles for my french readers! - beginning by actor Jake Gyllenhaal playing Dastan...

...Gemma Arterton playing the beautiful Princesse Tamina...

...Sir Ben Kingsley, playing the "traitor" Nizam...

...And director Mike Newell & producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Picture and videos: copyright Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer

Epcot Living Seas Pavilion : The Nautilus Exhibit

Editor's Note: This article is part of my new (and great!) Tom Scherman web site. Tom was the worldwide Nautilus specialist and worked as a WDI Imagineer on many 20K attractions. His master-piece being the full size Disneyland Paris Nautilus that you can discover in a brand new video filmed by me last month at DLP's Discoveryland.

When Epcot Living Seas Pavilion opened to the public in 1986 it was the largest man-made underwater environment in the world at its completion. WDI Imagineer Tim Delaney was the show-designer and you can see lot of great artwork that Tim did in one of my previous Disney and more article HERE. The concept of the attraction was to take visitors under the ocean to "Sea Base Alpha". Guests then would ride the Caribbean Coral Reef Ride in a "seacab" along an underwater tunnel through the aquarium. From there guests would ride around 'Sea Base Alpha' getting an up-close view of the marine life. They would then disembark into the main exhibit area where they could interact with various multimedia displays.

But before guests take an elevator ride to the ocean floor thanks to the "Hydrolator" they would enter a pre-show area and part of it was a 20000 Leagues under the Sea exhibit created with the precious help of Tom Sherman who provided a perfect replica of the Crew Diver suit.

When i was at Epcot fifteen years ago i had the good idea to shoot plenty of pictures of the crew diver suit and here they are in high-res. Click on each picture to see them in larger scale.

On this rare picture kindly provided by Richard Allsmiller, Tom is carrying outside of his apartment a diving tank he made up for the mock-up diving suit with a fiberglass helmet. This might have been the one he sold years later to Walt Disney Imagineering for the Living Seas pavilion.

On the right of the crew diver suit guests could see a great Nautilus model. The model shown there is the studio's 11-foot "hero" miniature used for filming the underwater shots of the Nautilus in the movie.

In December of 2003, Disney started re-theming The Living Seas pavilion with a new ride based on Pixar's film Finding Nemo. Most of the transformation started in exterior elements, but in January of 2004, the interior began to see change as well. On November 16, 2004, Turtle Talk with Crush opened in what was once Module 1C, or the Earth Systems exhibit. Turtle Talk with Crush was just the beginning of changes to The Living Seas. On August 21, 2005, The Living Seas closed for its transformation into a new pavilion called The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Throughout 2006, construction walls hid away the undergoing-reconstruction pre-show area. The Seas with Nemo & Friends was rededicated on January 24, 2007 and the 20K exhibit with Tom crew diver suit was gone forever. But Andrew, a kind reader of the Tom scherman's web site found back Tom's crew diver suit, now in storage in Florida and sent me these pictures shot in 2007.

While we are at Walt Disney World, let's go to the Disney MGM Studios where, in another exhibit, guests could watch a diver helmet replica as well as a replica of the underwater rifle!

Vulcania Volunteers is doing a great replica of the Captain Nemo's underwater rifle and you can find it HERE.

Discover more articles about Tom Scherman and 20000 Leagues under the Sea with lot of gorgeous pictures on my new web site HERE.

All pictures: copyright Alain Littaye, except Tom Scherman picture: copyright Tom Scherman Family Collection from Rich Allsmiller

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Editor's Note: That's it, as promised three days ago i'm back on Disney and more for weekly articles and this first one is talking about - guess what? That's right: Imagineering! with a full review of the new and fantastic Imagineering book.

Walt Disney Imagineering " A Behind the Dreams Look at Making MORE Magic Real " Review !

Let's put it like this: the new Walt Disney Imagineering book "A Behind the Dreams Look at Making MORE Magic Real" is simply GORGEOUS. No kidding, folks. A totally "can't live without it" book for any Imagineering fan. And, as i've worked in publishing the last 30 years and did the Disneyland Paris "From Sketch to Reality" book you know that i know what i'm talking about when i do a book review, don't you?

No, frankly, this book is really fantastic. It's important to say that it's a totally brand NEW book, and NOT an updated edition of the first Imagineering book published ten years ago. All the artworks and pictures were not in the first one and this one is totally complementary with the first book.

Melody Mahlberg and all WDI Imagineers who designed this beautiful 192 pages Imagineering tribute did a superb job. From the size - the book is bigger than my DLP book which is already big - to the layouts, fold-out pages, and gorgeous printing the book is "technically" perfect. But of course what is the best is what is inside it! Lot - and i mean really a lot of WDI artwork, most of them never seen before (yes, even on Disney and more!), fantastic behind the scenes pictures (also released for the first time), sketches, rare blue-prints, etc... a pure treasure!

Okay, let's have a closer look at it: there is three parts in the book: Part I is called: Theory and this first part explains how Imagineers creativity requires "a few - a very few" ground rules. Here are some pages from this chapter beginning by the chapter opening...

You'll find gorgeous artwork even on double pages, whether it's this rare sketch for "Soarin' over California"...

...Or a first concept for Tokyo Disney Sea's Port Discovery.

Mind you, normal pages don't have only one picture, but a lot!.. like this one explaining how important is the "Previsualization"...

And others even have fold-out attraction storyboard like this one for the Disneyland's Submarine Nemo ride.

Part II of the book is: Tools and explain how Imagineers make use of a variety of resources to create the magic of Disney Resorts and attractions whether it's tools to visualize or analyze, explain and build.

If you look well you will also learn WDI secrets from rare theme park plans like this double-page with a early DLP plan (on the right) revealing that a "flying saucers" attraction was envisioned where DLP guests now ride Autopia...

Another example with this double pages talking about attraction gags imagined by Imagineers...

...or how important the WDI sculpting section is.

Part 3 is called: Portfolio and you'll have an inside look at the mosaic of people, talents, ideas, and projects from Imagineering.

Just like in the Part 1 and 2 you'll find great pictures and artwork.

You'll find also pages about the Disney Cruise Line - including a giant fold-out of the ship design - and several pages on the awaited Little Mermaid attraction, including a Mermaid ride concept i've never seen before! (no, it's not on the picture below, i've kept the surprise for you)

Except if you're blind you probably have already understood why this new Imagineering book is an absolute must-have for a Disney super-fan like you (or me!). And, good news, although the book is now released and ready for immediate shipping the Amazon $37.80 (instead of $60) special price is always available. And frankly, considering how great this book is it's truly the deal of the month!

You'll find below - or in the Disney & More Amazon Store - the direct link to order the book on Amazon, and if you could use these links for your order i will be thankful to you as i really need your support! Thanks by advance!

Also, talking about books, find back all the "spirit" of Disney and more in the gorgeous Disneyland Paris book! With 750 pictures including 250 WDI renderings this 320 pages book was acclaimed as "the best book ever done on a Disney theme park". See my special offer below to don't miss the last copies!

All pictures: copyright Disney Editions, Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney Enterprises Inc