Saturday, November 8, 2008

Editor's Note: It's all about movies this week-end on Disney and more! First, four trailers below of awaited animated movies, and right after, all you need to know about the new exciting Star Trek movie - a prequel with youngs Kirk, Spock, Scotty, etc!

First UP! trailer , Final Bolt trailer, and more...

Let's end this week-end with four trailers of awaited animated movies, and the first one is the first trailer of Pixar's "UP!".

The second one is the final Bolt trailer - remember the movie will be released soon, on Nov 21!

Here is the first trailer for the Dream Works animated "Monsters Vs Aliens". It will be released March 2009, in 3D, and it looks good!

Universal's production called "The Tale of Despereaux" will be released this Christmas, and the animation looks good, too. It's a modern medieval fairy tale from filmmaker Gary Ross, together with directors Sam Fell & Rob Stevenhagen.

And a bonus one just for the fun - it's not an animated movie trailer, but "Fanboys" is the ultimate Star Wars fans movie! It's 1998 and Star Wars fanboys across the globe eagerly await the release of Episode I. But for Eric, Linus, Hutch and Windows the term "fanboy" is more than just a title, it's a badge of honor. Spurred by impatience and an undying loyalty to their cause, these former high school friends reunite to undertake the road trip of their fan-tasies. Traveling West across the country to visit their Mecca - George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch - the plan is to break in, steal the film and stake their claim as the first fanboys in history to watch it!

You got the idea? Okay, it's gonna be dumb, but probably fun.

Trailers copyright disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, Universal Pictures, Weinstein Company

Friday, November 7, 2008

Star Trek , A New Beginning ?

I don't know if you think like i do, but i've always been surprised that Disney never acquired the rights to build a Star Trek attraction. Frankly, in the 70's the Star Trek universe would have fit perfectly in Tomorrowland, and later in the 80's it would have been also perfect for a Space pavillion in Epcot.

I know, Paramount got the rights and Universal studios Hollywood did the Star Trek Adventure FX show in the 80's, but when you see how well themed was the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas - now closed - i can't stop thinking that there was really the material for a big futuristic attraction at Disney theme parks.

Now, of course, it's too late, the Star Trek license is not as strong as it was before, although the new Star Trek movie which will be released May 2009 have some exciting elements.

If you know nothing about the story, here is what IMDB tell us about it:

"From director J.J. Abrams ("Mission: Impossible III," "Lost" and "Alias") and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci ("TRANSFORMERS," "MI: III") comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, "Star Trek," featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.

Explores the early Starfleet careers of future Enterprise officers Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Amanda Grayson (Winona Ryder), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), McCoy (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekhov (Anton Yelchin). A Romulan, Nero (Eric Bana), and a much older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) are influences, as well as Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood), the first captain of the USS Enterprise."

In two words, this new Star Trek movie will be a prequel where we will have the pleasure to discover the Enterprise crew when they were young. And how these young Spock, Mc Coy, Scotty, Sulu and others do they look? Well, just like this. ( Click to see each picture above and below in big size )

A closer shot on the young Spock

...on the young Kirk

...and on the young Sulu

Of course, even young they need to fight a villain, and it's Nero, a Romulan.

It seems also that this young Mr Spock may have to fight with a traitor inside the Enterprise...

...and the young Captain will also be in jeopardy on what could be an ice planet...

But one of the most brilliant idea of this new movie is definitely the sequence of the making of the Enterprise. Well, the Enterprise is so huge that i should say the "building" of the Enterprise. You can see more of this amazing sequence on the first teaser below.

Here is some beautiful shots of the new Enterprise.

Of course, as new as it will be, the Enterprise will suffer some attacks, but, hey, we know the future, so we shouldn't worry too much about this magnificent space ship!

The movie was previously supposed to be released at Christmas 2008, but the release date was "pushed" to May 2009. In the meantime, you can have a look at the teaser below, or in High-Def HERE

One last picture for the road with a wallpaper picture, just like the one on the top.

All pictures and video: copyright Paramount Pictures

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Disney and More Time Machine : Back on October 1, 1971 at WDW Grand Opening

It's been a while since the Disney and more Time Machine took you back in time, and today we'll be back on october 1, 1971 for the walt Disney World Grand opening thanks to the original Wonderful World Of Disney opening show.

Where were you on this memorable day? Some of you watched the grand opening on TV, others learned about it in magazines, and many of you were probably not even born yet!

So, for all of you, here is the full WDW opening show. A show where you'll see the Magic Kingdom like you will never see it again, whether it's totally empty - not one people at the exception of Julie Andrews and the dancers or characters - or with the biggest marching band ever during the opening celebration.

It's fun also to watch big champions like Jacky Stewart - legendary Formule 1 champion - along with others Indy 500 champions racing on....Autopia! Or Bob Hope delivering his jokes inside the Contemporary Resort concourse...

Enjoy this great video!

Photo and video: copyright Disney and Walt Disney Productions

Life Magazine cover: copyright Time-Life

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mickey Ville , The Toon Town that never was

After yesterday's introduction to the talent of Hani El Masri, here is the part two of this article.

At the end of 1990, Hani was asked by Walt Disney Imagineering to work on the creative development of a new project "Mickey Ville" which was supposed to be a new land for Tokyo Disneyland.

It was the first study for a "Toon Town", but much different than the one we know, as the architectural style was more "medieval". For a very good reason: this Mickey's Ville was supposed to be a tribute to Mickey's "medieval" cartoons, like "The Brave little tailor" or "Mickey and the Beanstalk".

Hani's team was under the direction of imagineers Yoshi Akiyama and Bob Weis - yes, the same Bob Weis who designed the Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's America and who is now in charge of the huge placemaking of Disney's California Adventure.

Here is a first rendering of the Mickey Ville project. For the design of this artwork, Hani was also slightly inspired by the architecture of Pinnochio’s Village.

At the entrance, guests would have find at the left of the porch a nice fountain with Daisy...

But Mickey Ville also would have include a "Mickey's Music Store" with chimneys who looks like pipe organ. Inside the music store, CD’s, sheet of music, and all kind of merchandise items related to music would have been on sale.

Also envisioned, a "Minnie's Candy" house, which looks like a real candy house, and was supposed to be.....that’s right: a candy store.

Another interesting concept was this "Donald's Dock" where Donald's house and boat were mixed all in one.

In fact , Donald’s dock would have been the departure point where guests would have embark in small boats for a little cruise on a small river all around the village.

But the project also include this beautiful Mickey's Theatre - artwork above, on the top. Because the Oriental Land executives knew how popular Tokyo Disneyland is, they wanted a big theatre,. So, instead to design one big facade, Hani and the imagineers thought it would have been more interesting if all the facade was designed like a little village. With on the right side the house of Mickey and Minnie - not to forget Pluto’s doghouse.

And in the front, another cute fountain, with Minnie on the top.

The entrance of the Mickey’s Theatre was on the middle of this little village facade...

And inside the theatre, guests could have watch old Mickey’s cartoons - like “Plane Crazy”, Steamboat Willie”, etc..but also others animated shorts with Pluto, Donald, etc...

By the way, when i saw this Mickey's Theatre artwork, it reminds me the facade of Mickey's Philarmagic theatre at Hong Kong Disneyland. I remember when i was at HKD being surprised by the architecture, but may be HKD imagineers took their inspiration from this concept - who knows?

To come back to the Mickey Ville story, and always back in 1990, another team lead by Tony Baxter and imagineer Joe Lanzisero was working on another Toon Town concept, this time for Disneyland, Anaheim. And it seems that when the executives of Oriental Land Company heard about it, they decided to wait and see how this "other" Toon Town will look once it'll be built at Disneyland.

We know the end of the story: Toon Town opened at Anaheim, everybody loved its great "cartoon" style, and so did the Oriental Land executives who decided to build it at TDL.

This marked the end of the Mickey Ville project, and Hani moved from one team to another to work with Joe Lanzisero's team where he created the Toon Town concept-arts you saw yesterday.

In a future article we will talk about Hani's work for Dream Works Animation, as he did wonderful paintings on the three animated movies "Prince of Egypt", "El Dorado" and "Spirit", and also his extensive work on the 'Thousand and One Nights'.

You can see some of his work for animation on Hani's site, where all the renderings you saw today and yesterday were previously posted.

All Artwork by Hani El Masri and copyright Disney and Walt Disney Enterprises Inc.

Many thanks to Hani El Masri for his great help in the making of this article.

The Day America entered the 21st Century

Editor's Note: The World is proud of America, and today America finally entered the 21st Century, a century where intelligence must triumph over fear, where people must be judge on their heart and intelligence instead than the colour of their skin, and where, finally, the words "citizen of the world" will have a meaning. A meaning which include a responsability to the other peoples and the planet which is hosting us.

It's the perfect day to introduce to you Hani El Masri, great painter and former WDI Imagineer. Hani is Egyptian AND American, he helped to design wonderful concepts while he was at WDI as you will see today, and even more tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Discover Hani El Masri, wonderful Designer, Illustrator, and former WDI Imagineer

Today, i would like to introduce to you Hani El Masri. Not only Hani is a highly talented designer and illustrator, but he was a WDI imagineer some years ago and did creative concept for many WDI projects.

Hani is Egyptian, but he was raised by French Jesuits in Cairo. Thanks to this, he spent most of his childhood reading european literature, and so, at the surprise of others WDI imagineers, he was familiar with the world of European tales, myths and architecture.

And, as an Egyptian, and after five years of academic studies at Cairo's school of Fine Arts - the oldest in the Middle East - he is of course also familiar with Oriental tales like the famous tale of "One thousand and one nights". So, it's naturally that in the mid 90's Walt Disney Imagineering asked for his help on the design of Tokyo Disney Sea's Arabian Coast.

In fact, Hani, it's more than twenty-five years of an award-winning creative career in illustration, graphic design, advertising and promotion of an unusually broad array of consumer products, as well as children's books and theater productions.

He arrived to the United States in 1987 and freelanced until being hired by Walt Disney Imagineering in March of 1990. We will have a look to his work for Walt Disney Imagineering, but while he was in California, Hani did some beautiful watercolor paintings like this one of Los Angeles Chinatown - picture above, on the top - who look also like a decor study for a Disney theme park...

Or this one of the San Juan Capistrano mission. By the way, this reminds me that San Juan Capistrano was part of the inspiration for some of the Zorro series decors...

In 1995 Hani was hired as a visual development artist by Dreamworks SKG - Steven Spielberg's studio - to work on the animated "Prince of Egypt", and stayed on for another two animation movies "El Dorado" and "Spirit". The September 11 attack was devastating for Hani, as he always dreamed of being a cultural bridge between Orient and Occident and thought his work on the 'Thousand And One Nights' could be of some help in this dream...
He then came back to live and work in Egypt in February of 2005 and was awarded Best Egyptian illustrator of 2004 by the National Council for Children Books, headed by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt First Lady, in may 2005.

At walt Disney Imagineering, Hani, as i've said, worked on many different projects, whether it was the Blizzard Beach concept - here two concept study for the Summit Plummet chalet and the Merchandise shop.

Or these boat concepts for Tokyo Disney Sea....

Not to mention this beautiful Nautilus artifact who was supposed to be placed outside on TDS Mysterious Island. The imagineers idea was that, when a guest will use the telescope to look at other places of the park, a green laser ray coming out of the telescope would have point the place the guest was looking at. Great idea, unfortunately never realized.

For Tokyo Disneyland, Hani - and it was one of his first work for WDI - did the concept-art for the Grandma Sarah Restaurant located in Critter Country.
He did also amazing concepts of "Critter Cars" that Tokyo disneyland wanted to use as photo-ops in the land. The first rendering below was inspired by the shape of an old Rolls Royce - totally transformed in a vehicle you will only see in a Disney theme park!

Hani also worked on the Disneyland Toon Town project and ended up designing Minnie's House and Goofy's Bounce House, and here is the concept for his Goofy's house...

And pictures of the model that was done inspired by Hani's concept art

This color rendering was Hani's concept for Minnie's house...

Here are the preliminary black and white study for Minnie's house

And, too, pictures of the model inspired by the concept arts

But there is much more to say about Hani's work for Toon Town... And this is why i invite you to don't miss tomorrow's part two of this article, as you will discover something you've never seen before!

All Artwork by Hani El Masri and copyright Disney and Walt Disney Enterprises Inc.

Many thanks to Hani El Masri for his great help in the making of this article.
Editor's Note: The least that i can say is that my endorsement for Barack Obama did provoke some reactions. I am not surprised, and this is a good sign that we're still living in a democracy.
The daily Disney article is back today, and the first picture below fits perfectly with the U.S issue of the day, i.e that we all live on the same planet, and everything is linked, not divided. The decision of any nation has effect on all the others, specially when it is the most powerful one. And we all know's a small world, after all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Good Old Time of Disney LP Records

Good news for those who didn't like my endorsement for Obama yesterday, my Disney articles are back!

More seriously, and less provocative, today we will have a look back at the glorious time of Disney LP vinyl records and the first one above is the one which was released more than forty years ago with the song of It's a Small World and 18 favorite folk songs from 13 countries.

For each LP you will find the picture of the front and the back of the album. Photos are in high-res, so if you double-click to see them in big size, you'll be able to read the text in small letters on the back! Below, the back of the It's a Small World album.

Next one is the "Pirates of Caribbean" record with a fantastic cover! On the side 1, the "Pirates of Caribbean Adventure" was narrated by Thurl Ravenscroft.

This one is the rare "Firehouse Five plus Two" record...

And this one was a picture disk released at the time of the "America on parade" parade.

Let's end with pictures of the record of "the Haunted House" and a good news: this record was re-released recently on ITunes, and you can buy all the tracks on the ITunes Store!

Tomorrow, i will post the first par of a great artwork article and part two will be thursday, don't miss it!

LP records photos: copyright Disney