Friday, June 17, 2011

Tokyo Disney Sea Wallpapers HD application, now available for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch !

Since i've done the Disneyland Paris "From sketch to Reality" book i don't count all the people who asked me to do the same kind of book about Tokyo Disney Sea. I would love to do it and may be it will happen someday, but for now i've designed this great application which is a tribute to TDS which is largely considered as "the most beautiful theme park in the world".

The application works great on all iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it includes hundreds of gorgeous high-res pictures of TDS and and is available now on the iTunes Appstore for the very low price of $1.99 or 1.59€, which should be an affordable price for everyone.

The app is called in the Appstore "TDS Wallpapers HD" and the app features include:
1. NEW user interface. Categorized Wallpapers. Ability to sort the wallpapers by land.
2. Optimized wallpapers for each iOS devices. Fast wallpaper download.
3. HD Pictures designed to take full advantage of the new iPhone 4 and iPod Touch retina screen! Looks gorgeous on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch screens!
4. Ability to save each picture to enjoy them offline
5. Save your favorite pictures in the favorite section
6. Caption for each picture and Wikipedia link for each land or attraction for full infos about each site
7. Ability to zoom in each picture. Simple swipe to advance / revisit the pictures
8. Share with your friends on Facebook!

You will find in the app fantastic pictures of each land and here are some examples: First, on the menu page - picture above - you'll have the choice between ten buttons designed as scrolls and depending of your choice you'll access to "all pictures" or pictures of each land. If you choose this last option then the first land will be Mediterranean Harbor with either pictures of the Renaissance Fortress and Galleon...

...or the great Venitian area, and many more...

The app includes day and night pictures and the night pictures are awesome! Here is two night shots of Mysterious Island, one with Mysterious Island volcano in the background...

...and the other one, a close shot of the Nautilus.

Approximately half of the photos were shot by me when i was invited at the press event, one week before the park opened, which means that the park was absolutely brand new, and the other half by a good friend of mine who is a brilliant photographer and a big TDS fan, too. Next examples pics are about the Arabian Coast with great view of the land...

...or closer shot on the Arabian decor. I remind you that these are just examples and that there is many pics for each land.

Considering that it is a wallpaper app we did the best possible picture choice so whatever the picture you'll choose to put on your device front page they will look great. Next land is Lost River Delta and you'll find many outside pictures of the land but also great pics of the unique Indiana Jones ride queue decor.

Some examples of the pictures you'll find in the Port Discovery section with this large view of the land...

...or the TDS elevated tramway arriving at Port Discovery station.

The Cape Cod part of the park is also present in the app with day or night pictures like the one below.

No need to say that American Waterfront and its gorgeous decor have dozens of pictures in the app whether it is the S.S Columbia...

...the amazing architecture of TDS Tower of Terror...

...or the great American Waterfront elevated tramway.

In addition to the day pictures the section also include fantastic pics of the land at night like this one...

...or this one of the S.S Columbia.

Depending of your computer screen the pictures above will look probably good but i can assure you that it's nothing in comparison of how they look on an iPhone or an iPad screen thanks to the screen devices technology. And for each picture you'll find a Wikipedia link for more details on each land or attractions, not to mention the other features listed above.

TDS Wallpapers HD is also a GREAT app for those of you who are planning to visit the park and there is links to the TDS site for your reservations, if needed.

TDS Wallpapers HD is now available on the iTunes Appstore for $1.99 or 1.59€ and you will find it HERE. One last important thing: after you've downloaded the app thanks to leave a comment on iTunes, as we know good comments are always needed and welcome. Thanks by advance, and enjoy the app!

Pictures: copyright Park Lane Editions

"Cars 2" safety video reminds drivers to not drive distracted

The Department of Transportation, Disney, and Pixar have teamed up to help fight distracted driving with a new “Cars 2” video.

The 30-second video with a special editing is called "Only the bad guys drive distracted" and with the help of the Cars characters it advises viewers that "No calling, no texting, nothing that can take away your focus while you're driving". This special ad will be available in more than a dozen countries with various translations, and you can discover it right now below.

Picture and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

First Concept-Arts of Andrew Stanton's John Carter of Mars

Disney released a teaser poster as well as two concept-arts of the awaited John Carter of Mars, directed by Andrew Stanton, the great Pixar director of Wall-E. There is not a lot to say of the teaser poster above but the concept-arts are more interesting.

The first one below shows a city on Mars...

..and this next one shows an airship on Mars known as Barsoom. There is more to learn about the movie, and from Andrew Stanton himself in a good interview that you can read HERE.

The movie is supposed to be released on March 9, 2012 so we will certainly know more in the coming months even if Disney has chosen to don't show even a few minutes of it at San Diego upcoming Comicon.

Pictures: copyright Disney

Ever seen a Jungle Cruise Elephant Flying ?

Once every 7-10 years, the Disneyland Jungle Cruise elephants are given a "check-up" which takes about 7 weeks. When her refurbishment is complete, they will return to the Jungle Cruise and will once again be what the skippers call, "the largest and most feared animal in our jungle - the mother-in-law!".

But to achieve this elephant check-up they need to remove them from the now "real" jungle of the Jungle Cruise, and there is no other way to do it than with a helicopter! So, have a look to the short video below and you'll be able to say that you've seen a Jungle Cruise elephant flying...

Picture and video: copyright Disney

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Already tired of 3D movies ? Don't worry, 4D Theatres are opening soon worldwide !

Disney is probably "happy happy" today as Pirates of Caribbean 4 is Disney's highest grossing ever at the international box office with $695.9 million. Not bad for a movie which is far to be perfect...may be this surprising success happened because the all world love Johnny Depp, or may be because everyone needed a new shoot of good ol' pirates stories, or may be it was the 3D effects (what 3D effects?)...who knows?

But for the movie industry it seems that it's time to jump to the next level of in-theatre effects. If you're already tired of all these 3D movies i'm sorry to say that the next generation of special effects for movie theatres is arriving anytime soon. Say hello to 4D movie theatres for "normal" movies as the first one in America will open in Los Angeles late August. Actually, these 4D theatres already exist in South Korea and a new one will open in Bangkok in two weeks from now with Transformers 3.

And that's the essential point: these 4D theatres will be equipped with the same kind of effects you usually find in theme parks but instead to have movies specially designed for them the in-theatre effects will work with regular movies, mainly blockbusters i presume. The 4D theatre opening July 1st at Bangkok Siam Paragon Cineplex (where you'll find some of the best movie theatres i've ever seen in my life) will add to a normal screening experience moving seats, smells of explosives, sprinkling water, laser lights and wind. Think about the same 4D experience than the one you had at "Honey i schrunk the Audience", without the moving floor, and that's how these new 4D theatre effects should be.

Below is an article posted in the Thai newspaper The Nation which will tell you more about all this and about the company CJ 4DPlex and it's state-of-the-art 4D technology. Because it's one thing to design a 20 minutes movie for & theme park attraction - as the whole movie is designed from the start with the in-theatre effects in mind - and it's something else to have 4D effects with a normal movie which has not been filmed with these in-theatre effects in mind. Which means that CJ 4DPlex probably invented a technology which locates in a normal movie different type of moments (for instance explosions, rain sequences, etc...) to be able to launch each in-theatre effect simultaneously with what is happening on the screen. CJ 4DPlex used its technology in Korea last year with James Cameron's Avatar and it was a full five-senses experience with more than 30 effects during the 3D film's 162 minute run. Okay, all this looks pretty cool, but i only hope that if there is a 10 minutes scene under the rain we will not have 10 minutes of in-theatre rain effect!

Anyway, i will probably test the new Bangkok theatre with the Transformers 3 when it will open early July and you will have my personal review about these new 4D theatres. In the meantime, have a read at the Nation article below.

Major Cineplex taking viewers into the fourth dimension.

Major Cineplex Group has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with South Korea's CJ 4DPlex, an independent subsidiary of CJ Group and the global initiator of four-dimensional cinema technology.

Vicha Poolvoraluck, chairman of Major Cineplex Group, said the company is converting one of its theatres at Paragon Cineplex, located on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon shopping complex, into Thailand's first 4D theatre, named 4DX, using CJ 4DPlex's state-of-the-art technology.

Andy Park, CEO of CJ 4DPlex, said 4DX represents the world's first type of cinema where commercial films are converged with sophisticated motion and environmental effects. Compared to ordinary 2D and 3D theatres, 4DX enables the audience to feel the on-screen action and "ultimately provides the most immersive movie-watching experience", he said.

In South Korea, 4DX performances exceed by at least 1.5 times the occupancy rates for films shown in regular cinemas.

CJ 4DPlex will also open its first programming lab for 4D cinemas in Los Angeles at the end of August. Many Hollywood studios have shown great interest in experiencing 4DX once this lab is established, Park said.

"With the opening of the 4DX programming lab, we believe this will be the start to further developing our business into the homeland of movies, the United States," he added.

With 13 4D screens in South Korea during the second year of operations, CJ 4DPlex has expanded its 4D cinemas via overseas joint ventures in China and Mexico. The company will also open another five 4DX theatres in South Korea by the end of this year.

Vicha said the Thai operation represented the third overseas JV for the Korean company. "We are always looking for something new and innovation for our customers," he added.

The company last month started a US$1.5-million (Bt45.7 million) reconstruction at Paragon Cineplex, converting one of the cinemas into a 4DX theatre.

The 180-seat auditorium will be officially opened on June 29, with the first blockbuster featuring in 4D being "Transformers: Dark of the Moon". Tickets will cost between Bt350 and Bt400.

"We are looking for a proactive expansion of 4DX theatres in strategic locations in Bangkok such as Pinklao, Rangsit and Bang Na, as well as in some major provinces such as Chiang Mai," Vicha said.

Major Cineplex also plans to increase the number of its digital theatres from 36 to about 100 by the end of the year. The overall number of theatres in the group will rise from 370 currently to about 385 in the same period, including at new locations such as Phitsanulok and Chon Buri.

"We also expect to have 200 digital theatres by 2012," said the company's chairman. Major Cineplex expects to operate 500 cinemas in total by the end of 2014, of which almost 80 per cent will be digital.

"We plan to invest between Bt600 million and Bt700 million next year to open another 40 theatre screens in five or six new locations," said Vicha.

Theodore TY Kim, CJ 4DPlex's vice president and chief operating officer, said the partnership with Major Cineplex is also in line with his company's strategy to expand its 4D theatres in potential markets around the world, including in the US, Latin America, China, Russia, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia.

"We plan to open about 600 4D theatres in 12 major markets within the next three years. We are in discussion with more than 10 exhibitors about joint-venture possibilities to open 4D cinemas in their markets," he said.

Kim added that the global demand for 4D cinemas is currently expected to reach about 1,200, with the company planning to achieve such a total within the next seven to eight years. In South Korea alone, the demand for 4D theatres is expected to reach about 25.

"We are very happy to have Major Cineplex as our partner. Thailand is a very important market for us. We strongly believe 4DX will be a great success with the best innovator in the region," said Kim.

In South Korea, 4DX theatres have enjoyed 56-per-cent occupancy on average, which is much higher than two-dimensional cinemas, which have an occupancy rate of just 25 per cent.

"We expect the 4DX theatres to have a payback period of less than three years on average," he said.

CJ Group also owns CJ CGV, the largest multiplex cinema operator in South Korea. CJ CGV operates about 1,000 screens with a 54-per-cent share of the country's overall cinema market.

Nation article: copyright The Nation

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

" Super 8 " Review

I saw today J.J Abrams' new movie "Super 8". The movie is produced by Steven Spielberg and as we will see there are good reasons for that. In the middle of the 1970's a group of young teenagers, movie fans, are filming a short horror movie - at a time of the now extinct Super 8 cameras. They will be the witness of a major train accident while they're filming a sequence, and apparently it was not an ordinary train. The train was one of the U.S Air Force and "something" was moved in the middle of the night from a top secret army facility to another one.

I won't tell you more to don't spoil the storyline but to like the movie - and i liked it a lot - you must know that the whole movie is a tribute to the 1970's Spielberg's movies. The story, the photography of the movie and even the theme are all very "Spielbergian" and we understand instantly why Spielberg agreed to be the producer of Super 8. In fact, the whole movie could have been filmed by Steven, and if you want to enjoy it you really must remember this "tribute to the 70's".

For people of my generation it's very enjoyable as it is a kind of teleportation back in time but for young people who are born in early 1990's and who don't have necessarily the 1970's movie culture i'm curious to see if they will be sensitive to the stylization of "Super 8". You'll let me know if you liked it or not in the comments. And one last thing: all the effects are of course perfect, with a special mention to the train accident which is incredible!

Edited: Did you know that Leonard Nimoy appears in the movie? How about that another one of J.J Abrams’s Star Trek stars plays “the monster”? Did you spot the references in Super 8 to Lost, Alias and The Twilight Zone? Slash Film compiled 16 hidden easter eggs which can be found in the movie and you can read this HERE.

Below, the final trailer and a short video interview of Steven Spielberg.

Picture and trailer: copyright Paramount - Amblin Entertainment

First Trailer of Disney's " Planes " Animated Movie

A first trailer of the coming amimated movie "Planes" appeared on Youtube yesterday and then was removed by Disney and it looks not that bad. just like i Cars, the planes have eyes, mouth and talks and it will be interesting to see the quality of the animation when it will be released by Disney in 2013, directly on DVD.

Planes takes off with an international cast of the fastest air racers around, in a comedy packed with action and adventure starring Dusty, a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race... despite his fear of heights. With the help and support of a fleet of new and hilarious characters, Dusty wings his way into the biggest challenge of his life.

The trailer shows him on an aircraft carrier

...surrounded by jet fighters.

John Frost on the Disney Blog noticed how the trailer looks like Top Gun and he's right. Although Top Gun is not my favorite movie - it's the least i can say - i'm curious to see more of this "Planes" movie. But for now, have a look at the trailer, not available any more on Youtube as i've said, but i find it on another site for you.

Pictures and video: copyright Disney - Pixar

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New WDW Fantasyland Story Book Circus Artwork, and more...

Disney Parks just reveals this new great rendering of WDW new Fantasyland Story Book Circus area, scheduled to open next year. "Casey Jr, has rolled into town and brought the grand Storybook Circus with him. The area will be filled with colorful circus tents and nods to the famous film. Guests – especially little ones – will be welcome to cool down with Casey Jr., who can be found near the train station, getting splashed by playful circus animals.

Just past Casey Jr., guests will encounter big-top circus tents that lead to a “double” version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Also, in the tradition of classic air shows, Barnstormer will take on a new look and theme, becoming a spiraling stunt plane built by The Great Goofini".

Two others artworks related to Beast Castle...

...and Maurice's Cottage were also released recently and as i didn't had the time to post them, here they are. For more infos about these two artworks please visit the Disney Parks blog HERE.

Artwork: copyright Disney

Why Steven Spielberg next movie " The Adventures of Tintin " is one of the most awaited movie of the year

Until now, for most of the Americans, the name "Tintin" didn't mean that much, but when Steven Spielberg new movie will be released at the end of the year this might change a bit. Actually, America is probably the country in the world where The Adventures of Tintin is the less known. But come in Europe and ask anyone if they know the hero and they'll look at you and say: are you kidding? i know him almost since i was born, everyone here knows Tintin!

And not since yesterday, but at least since 60 years! Actually, i think that Tintin, a globe trotter reporter, was more popular - specially in Europe - than Mickey was since the 1950's or even before. What is really amazing in fact is how the Adventures of Tintin never succeeded to be popular in America! There is a lot of good reasons for that and i could spend a lot of time explaining them but instead i'd like to come back to the Spielberg adaptation, incredibly awaited in Europe as everyone is looking to see how Spielberg will succeed to do a movie from this immensely popular comic book series, almost impossible to adapt.

Mind you, in the 1960's two live action movies were done and an animation studio was created in Belgium to produce animated movies of Europe's most beloved comic book hero. Considering the era these movies were not bad but the problem with an adaptation of Tintin is that the dozens of millions of readers who've read his stories have their own mental image of Tintin as well as the others characters of the stories. And because Hergé - the creator of Tintin - was a genius - definitely a genius, really - each character have so much humanity and that doesn't help when you try to do a movie out of the Adventures of Tintin.

The good point is that it's two highly talented directors who've decided to do the impossible: Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Right now, three movies are planned, the first one is directed by Spielberg, the second one will be done by Peter Jackson and we still wait for the director's name of the third one. Spielberg movie will be based on the "Secret of the Unicorn" album, but as Steven wanted to introduce the others main characters, the beginning of the movie will be inspired by another album called "The Crab with the Golden Claws".

Spielberg got the rights from Hergé widow in 1984 - why it took so long to him to do the movie is a long and interesting story that you can read HERE - and he thought that a live action movie was not maybe the best way to adapt Tintin. Instead he choose to do the movie in motion capture computer animation - the same techniqe used by Robert Zemeckis for his "Scrooge" last year or more recently "Mars needs Moms". Although i am not a big fan of the Zemeckis movies i think Spielberg did probably the right choice. It will be interesting to see the result next December.

Recently, a first trailer was released and i must say that it looks not bad at all. Interesting, really. So, have a look at this first Tintin trailer - until the end if you want to discover the "digital face" of Tintin - and let me know what you think of it.
I, personally, can't wait to watch the whole movie next December to see if Spielberg has succeeded to find the right "spirit of innocence" for Tintin and each of the beloved characters.

Pictures and video: copyright Sony Pictures

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three new clips of Cars 2, and more...

Three new clips of Cars 2 today, just released by Pixar - you can feel that the movie is released in the U.S in less than two weeks! - and the two first clips are directly related to the "espionnage" part of the movie...

Next clip is called "Lewis Hamilton/Jeff Gorvette Cameo" and apparently the action is in Japan during a Tokyo party.

Last but not least, here is a few seconds of Pixar awaited new short animated called "La Luna", directed by Enrico Casarosa who gave an interesting interview to Animation World Network that you can read HERE if you want to know more about this mysterious short.

Picture and videos: copyright Disney - Pixar

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Want to know why Indiana Jones Adventure is not built yet at Disneyland Paris ?

Among my readers comments one special question is coming back regularly: when WDI Imagineers will build Indiana Jones Adventure at DLP Adventureland? In previous posts i've tried to answer to the question saying that, basically and although the room to build the ride is kept in Adventureland, there was two reasons why IJA is not yet built at DLP: the ride cost which is probably now at least or over $150M and the maintenance cost which is huge.

How huge, you ask? Well, for the first time, an article from the Orange County Register will answer this question. The article won't give you the cost in dollars but when you'll read that "Hundreds of employees are trained to work at Indiana Jones, including 12 machinists and mechanics. At any given time, 18 operators are on duty. In a year, employees receive 27,000 work orders, such as fixing hydraulic leaks, replacing light bulbs and installing tires..." then you'll understand that DLP probably can't afford the maintenance cost of this beloved attraction.

27000 work orders per year, can you believe that? I know, it's hard to believe, but there is more to learn in the reading of the OC Register article, so jump HERE and then you'll understand why we might not see - unfortunately - an Indiana Jones Adventure ride anytime soon at DLP, at least until WDI Imagineers didn't find a ride system which cost less in maintenance.

Picture: copyright Disney

What about having a free trip in real Adventureland places ?

As i've told you i'm currently on a break, but as i thought there was no reason i was the only one to travel i've got a little gift for you today. Actually, it's a gift for those of you who own an iPhone, an iPad or an iPod Touch as this about a new application which will take you all over South-East Asia thanks to hundreds of HD wallpaper pictures! And the app is FREE on the iTunes Appstore!

Asia Wallpapers HD is now available on the Apple Appstore and you'll find below some examples of the hundreds of wallpaper pictures that you will find in the application. You can use each picture as wallscreen for your iOS device, share on Facebook, choose your favorites, etc...

The pictures shows fantastic places from different South-East Asia countries like Thailand, Burma, Laos, and each of the pics have a web link to know more about the places.

You can find the Asia Wallpapers HD App for free on the Appstore HERE.

And if you wish to bring your support to Disney and more, a "Premium Edition" also exist which include a different and fun interface, all the pictures of the normal edition AND hundred more pictures of gorgeous Asian places including what is probably the most "Adventureland" temples in the world - which also has served as inspiration to WDI Imagineers - the famous Angkor Wat temples. The Premium Edition is $1.99 or 1.59€ and it's also an easy way to bring your support to D&M! HERE is the iTunes Appstore link to this Premium Edition of Asia Wallpapers HD and below the App Features and some pictures of Angkor Wat that you will find in the app. Enjoy the Apps!

Premium Edition App Features:

1. NEW user interface. Categorized Wallpapers. Ability to sort the wallpapers by country.
2. Optimized wallpapers for each IOs devices. Fast wallpaper download.
3. HD Pictures designed to take full advantage of the new IPhone 4 and IPod Touch retina screen! Looks gorgeous on the IPad screen!
4. Ability to save each picture to enjoy them offline
5. Save your favorite pictures in the favorite section
6. Caption for each picture and Wikipedia link for each location for full infos about each site
7. Ability to zoom in each picture. Simple swipe to advance / revisit the pictures
8. Share with your friends on Facebook!
9. NO Ads in this Premium Edition version of the App!

Asia Wallpapers HD Premium Edition is also a GREAT app for those who are planning to travel in Asia and to Discover a lot of not-to-be-missed places all around Asia!

All pictures: copyright Park Lane Editions