Saturday, May 21, 2011

New " Back into Cars 2 " Featurette !

Pixar relleased a new featurette about Cars 2, and there is plenty ofnew clips from the movie inside it! and specially new shots of the Paris and Italy sequence! Have a look!

The Cars 2 poster above is coming from a triptych. Here is the two other parts, related to the Japan and London sequences...

...and the original triptych with all three together.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney-Pixar
Editor's Note: LOT of new Star Tours 2 articles today on my Star Tours 2 web site! gorgeous wallpaper high-res pictures, new videos of the pre-show movies, and always the Grand Opening and full-ride videos!

Star Tours 2 High-Res "Wallpaper" Pictures

Disney released a selection of gorgeous Star Tours 2 high-res pictures. Let's begin by the one showing the decor of the Starspeeder room, Captain Rex and one of the AA droids of the second room.

There is 14 more high-res pictures awaiting you on the D&M Star Tours section, and it's HERE!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Star Tours Grand Opening ! First Official Star Tours 2 Video ....and more !

Here it is, the first official video showing the Star Tours queue decor and clips from each destination! Have a look at it, and then jump to the D&M Star Tours 2 section for more about ST2 Grand Opening, Disneyland ST2 "early departure" event as well as the first FULL RIDE video!

Video: copyright Disney - Lucas Film Ltd

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Universal Studios Singapore Madagascar Flume Ride Finally Open ! Full Ride Video

The awaited "Madagascar, A Crate Adventure" flume ride is finally open at Universal Studios Singapore! The ride was expected to open last year but some problems were responsible of this long delay, and 14 months after the park's opening the ride is now open at USS.

It's a major six minutes long flume ride, with a lot of audio-animatronics, projection effects, smoke and water effects, and much more. And it's probably one of the major flume ride of the year. Thanks to dejiki you'll be able to see the full ride video.

I have a problem to have an opinion about this Madagascar ride as i've never seen the animated movie! Apparently the ride is full of scenes inspired by the movie, but as i never watched it, i am not in the best position to appreciate if they did a good job or not. Those of you who know the movie better than i do - it won't be difficult! - are welcome to leave a comment in the comments section. If just like me you don't know the plot of the original story, then jump to Wikipedia HERE to know more about it.

The Audio-Animmatronics may look less impressive than the one created by WDI but we must remember that here it's AA of animated characters - i mean, not humans. More surprising it seems there is no drop but one of the comments on the Youtube video said that "originally there was going to be a drop on this ride. But unfortunately, the drop caused water to get on the animatronics. They tried over and over again, and there was even a fire once..." If that is true this may be the reason why the ride looks more like a slow flume ride like It's a Small World than Pirates of Caribbean. Still, according to dejiki who did the video the families seems to enjoy the ride very much, and for him, Madagascar, A Crate Adventure is "better than Winnie the Pooh and It’s a Small World at Hong Kong Disneyland" nd that "Some have said that overall, MCA can be compared to the Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! at Disney California Adventure".

Anyway, you're probably curious to discover this new flume ride so here is the full ride video thanks to dejiki, and once you've watched it jump on his web site where you'll see more pictures and comments on the ride!

Video: copyright dejiki

First Star Tours 2 Commercial !

Editor's Note: Want to see the first Star Tours 2 commercial featuring many Star Wars characters like Darth Vader, Admiral Ackbar, Chewbacca as well as a host of other characters in the background, including Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, Jawas, Ewoks, Emporers Imperial Guards, a Tusken Raider and even a member of the Cantina Band? Then, jump to the D&M Star Tours section HERE!

Picture: copyright Disney - Lucas Film Ltd

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides" Review

I was invited last monday at the press screening of Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides" and here is my review. So, did i liked it? Yes i did - not as much as the first POTC movie, though, but i think it was pretty good. I specially enjoyed the Rob Marshall filming that i found a bit more "stylised" than the three first movies. I will try to don't spoil in this review the whole story but i warn you that there will be some inevitable spoilers below.

What i can say is that the storyline is a bit like "Treasure Island" - a group of people are sailing overseas to find an island - except that in this case they are "three" groups who don't look for an island with a treasure but with the fountain of youth. Which, i agree, is a different kind of "treasure".

I liked very much the beginning in London - an old 18th century London to be precise. Captain Jack Sparrow try to help one of his friend to escape...only to discover that someone else is using his name to enroll sailors for a long trip overseas. However Jack is captured and it's in this opening sequence that we also see the return of Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush. Below, a short clip of Jack's escape in London in front of the king of England.

The trip to the fountain of youth island will not be that easy, specially considering that they need to capture a mermaid for a reason i don't disclose here. The mermaids sequence is one of my favorites and i think they did a pretty good job on this one. More adventures awaits Jack and his friends before they arrive at the fountain of youth and i let you the pleasure to discover them.

About the actors, now. Johnny Depp is playing Jack Sparrow just like the filming didn't stopped since the third movie, but there is nothing really surprising in the way he plays it. Ian McShane is playing a dreadful Blackbeard - who is able to create zombies - and is very good, and Geoffrey Rush playing Barbossa is absolutely formidable. But Geoffrey is such a great and enjoyable actor that each scene he's in is saved by the way he acts. Penelope Cruz is not bad at all, actually. She is Blackbeard's daughter and she is doing a good job, just like Astrid Berges-Frisbey who plays one of the mermaids.

There is less supernatural elements than in the three previous POTC movies - the part with the zombies is very short - but the production of the movie is really good. Actually, they even succeed to place a scene from the POTC attraction, and it's the one that DLP guests can see at the end of the ride when you're in the treasure grotto scene. Just in front of the treasure there is the "captain cabin" scene with a skeleton sitting in an old luxurious bed, and you will see the same scene inside the Ponce de Leon ship, a spaniard ship who disappeared since 200 years and that everyone is looking for for reasons you will see in the movie.

This next video will show you some scenes with Blackbeard and also the zombies and the mermaids.

A few last words about the 3D. As usual 3D is used to give some depth and there is just a few pop-up effects, but not mre than five or six. Personnally i think that in this case the 3D, although well done, doesn't brings a lot to the movie and i even think that i would have prefered to watch it in 2D. If you can't see it in 3D, don't worry, you won't miss a lot.

Just let us know in the comments what you think of this Pirates of Caribbean "On Stranger Tides"!

Pictures and videos: copyright Disney

Star Tours 2 Pre-Show Videos - Plus: On Ride Audio !

Disney fans who were at WDW last week-end had the luck to try the awaited Star Tours 2 and it seems that everyone is pretty enthusiastic about the new version of the ride. Videos were not allowed inside the attraction whether it was in the pre-show or the ride itself but the will of transgression was too strong for some of them and on my latest post on the D&M Star Tours website you will find some videos that will show you more of the pre-show decor. AND also the full on-ride audio of one Star Tours 2 trip!

Jump to the D&M Star Tours website to watch and hear all this!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WDS Ratatouille Dark Ride Artwork and Blueprint Unveiled !

The always excellent Mouetto from Disney Central Plaza forum found the blue-print and some artwork of the awaited Ratatouille dark ride, expected to open at the Walt Disney Studios in 2013. If everything goes well, i.e if the park succeed to have the agreement of the banks for the needed amount of money.

It's a great find from Mouetto who found these documents at the Chessy City Hall. The construction permit has been approved and is now - according to the french law - available to be seen by anyone.

The artwork above shows how the area will look and, as you can see, when WDS guests will enter the Ratatouille area they will see Paris building facades as well as a fountain. You'll note also the Gusteau sign on the top of the left building, identical to the one we saw in the animated movie. On one of the building a "patisserie" sign might indicate that a food store will be here but this can change. One thing is sure, there will be a restaurant and if there is a logic it should be a table service restaurant with a decor identical to the Gusteau's restaurant. Note that this is my own thoughts about the decor but once again this would be a logical choice. Close to the restaurant, on the right, the entrance of the Ratatouille dark ride.

The next document is a blueprint showing the location of the Ratatouille area. As expected it is located near Toy Story Playland, behind the costuming building and near the back exit of TSP through the giant blue barrel. The facility is really big and my feeling is that there is not more than 40 meters between the TSP exit and the entrance of the Ratatouille ride. Also, i'll be curious to know how they will hide the back of the costuming building which is very near from the Ratatouille facility.

This last document is perhaps the most interesting as it shows the whole mini-land in 3D. As you can see the main building - which will be used mainly for the ride is really huge, not only in length but also in height as it's even higher than the four storeys Paris facades. Even if the part in the foreground is kept for the restaurant and shops the main building is really big and the question is: why is it so high? Will the attraction vehicle go up and down? We'll know more about this in the future but for now let's have a closer look at the entrance - on the bottom right - where we can see that an outside queue area has been designed to protect WDS guests from the rainy days that can happen in Paris in the winter.

In a previous report i've posted pictures of the road going from the main entrance of TSP to the Ratatouille area. The road is already designed like a Paris street - with cobblestones and typical Parisian benches and lampposts - and i re-post here these pictures.

Click on the panoramic picture below to see it in larger scale.

A sculpture of Gusteau - Ratatouille's chef - was sculpted on the arch sticked to the blue barrel. It is now hidden but as you can see on the picture below it's really the case and it's really a sculpture of Gusteau.

The picture above was shot by Alexandre Rosa, a former Disney and more contributor, during the cast member TSP preview days. Two days after the land opened for annual passholders soft-openings Gusteau's sculpture was hidden as you will see on the pictures below.

At that time there was a good reason for that - there is always a good reason for anything done by WDI Imagineers! - and it was that DLP execs prefered to keep secret for a while the future land which will open during DLP 2013 fiscal year. No more Gusteau's sculpture means no questions from the guests, etc...

Unfortunately, all signs related to Ratatouille couldn't be hidden beginning by the face of Remy, Ratatouille's main character that anyone can see on EACH bench of this Parisian street. Have a look at the picture below...

Don't see Remy? Okay, let's have a closer look. Do you see him now?

The next panoramic, shot from the Parachute Drop attraction, will show you the area where the Ratatouille ride will be build. The building you see on the right is actually located backstage and is the "costuming" building where cast-members come each morning to pick their costume - a Paris backdrop is supposed to hide the building along the street when the Ratatouille ride will open. And on the left of this building, behind the blue barrel, is the land reserved for the Ratatouille ride and Paris area.

Christian, from sent me this picture showing the land where the Ratatouille ride will be build. Note that there is on the left more land that you don't see on the picture. As you can see it's a pretty big area and I wonder if they will keep the big trees located at the center of the land... my feeling is that they will keep them and it will be a good idea.

Now, when will Ratatouille open at WDS? Of course it all depends of when the works will begin. And the sooner will be the better as i've learned that WDI Imagineers needs apparently two years to build everything and one year to install and test the ride. One full year to install and test the ride might seem a long time to you but i remind you that Ratatouille will use a trackless vehicle system, will have a lot of 3D projections effects and that, basically, it's a new kind of ride for WDI Imagineers. The Little Mermaid which will open June 3 at DCA is a classic onmimover ride in comparison.

Even if eventually they can reduce the timing to 21 months they need to begin the works next September to have an opening Summer 2013. And to begin the works they need the money green light from the banks. And so, you ask? Well, from what i've been told, the Ratatouille budget - for the whole area including the restaurant - is close to $165M, if not more. That makes 116M euros right now and the park needs probably more money for the 20th Anniversary events. Which, i agree, is quite a lot of money for a park that is always in a difficult financial situation. So, we better cross our fingers that the banks will give their green light for the Ratatouille ride and as soon as possible if we want to enjoy in 2013 what will be an amazing E-Ticket ride!

Pictures: copyright Disney or Disney and more

Arch with Gusteau's sculpture picture: copyright Alexandre Rosa

New DCA Attractions Posters !

Disney parks unveiled three new attraction poster swhicg will appear soon at DCA Blue Sky Cellar. From the top: posters of the Little Mermaid, grizzly River Run Rapids and Goofy's sky School. Click on each to see them in bigger size.

Also released, the visual of a Larry Nicolai painting created in tribute to the ride. Larry said: "I really wanted to do a commemorative painting of Ariel that was both a portrait of her and also summed up the attraction in an allegorical way. I couldn’t cram every fish from “Under the Sea” into the composition, but her friends Flounder and Sebastian are there, along with some specific props that reference back to the attraction". Prints of this artwork will be available at a Disney's The Little Mermaid Product Debut & Signing event Saturday, June 11, 2011 between 10am to 1pm at Treasures in Paradise at Disney California Adventure. Larry also said that "a print of the concept painting that I did a couple of years ago for the attraction’s 86-foot-long load area mural" will also be available.

All pictures: copyright Disney

Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Star Tours 2 Reviews

Editor's Note: The first Star Tours 2 reviews are appearing on the web, mostly from cast members or from Disney fans who are currently at the WDW Destination D event. You can read a selection of them on the D&M Star Tours web site HERE and i also remind you that the ST2 Grand Opening will have a LIVE webcast next Friday May 20th at 10am Florida time!