Disney Posts

2014 Year in Review

Well, what a year it has been for Disney and its whole company.  This year will be remembered for Big Hero 6 and Guardians of the Galaxy for certain, but there are many other moments that are worth sharing for Disney.

When our year opened, Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks and Thor: The Dark World were in theaters.  Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was building a fan base despite the boneheaded move to put it up against NCIS.  January was a cold month, but first business was first.  The premiere of Festival of Fantasy, the parade that replaced the decade old predecesor at Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World.  This brand new parade truly lit off the year with excitement, as it was beautiful and incredible to watch.

Next Disney released their first movie of the year Muppets: Most Wanted, though exciting at first, it seemed to not capture audiences like the original, but did do amazingly well.  Though Disney hasn’t announced a sequel for it, the Muppets aren’t dead.  Even for a short time, Constantine from the film made appearances in the pre show of Muppet Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure. He even made an appearance at the Villains party in Hollywood Studios.

Frozen continued to gain traction that now opened up ridicule from people, for the good movie was gaining ground as it went on.  Next though came April and May the months of Marvel Domination.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had us on a wild chase for the Clairvoyant that played into Captain America: The Winter Soldier when S.H.I.E.L.D had been infiltrated by Hydra.  Almost everybody gasped at this, and we were waiting on the edge of our seats to see what would happen.  With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past in the theaters, Marvel was the top studio of the month. But asking a more pertinent question, with X-Men redoing itself, and X-Men merchandise showing up at the parks, are the X-Men joining the Marvel cinematic universe.

In the world of theme parks, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopened in March of this year after an extensive refurbishment.  A new ending showcased an explosion and really added a bit of excitement to the already classic thrill ride. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage drained to do maintenance and Alice in Wonderland would close down to address problems plaguing the ride since 2010, mainly getting rid of that stupid scaffolding.

In Florida though, guests loved the brand new addition of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland of Magic Kingdom.  The new gentle coaster has already proven to be a hit.  Meanwhile, Disney tried to encourage many park goers that My Magic+ was going to make their vacation worthwhile.  After having spent 1 Billion dollars on it, they kind of had to.  The question is, when did Disney become the government?  Seriously 1 Billion dollars for a program that an intern could’ve made for a year supply of Totino’s Pizza Rolls.  Not the smartest move if I was Iger, I wouldn’t have spent more than 1 million on the program.  I am being serious.

Television wrapped up its 2013-2014 season with Tom Bergeron announcing that he would leave America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Once Upon a time in Wonderland finishing up. Along with Suburgatory and The Neighbors leaving ABC as well. The summer shocker was Castle, who disappeared on his wedding day in a fiery crash.  On Disney Channel Good Luck Charlie left the airwaves, giving us more space for Girl Meets World, an upcoming series being the sequel to Boy Meets World.

The summer opened with Maleficent, that took audiences by surprise.  Despite initial reactions of bloggers, the film proved successful as it led the way into a dull summer.

In Paris, Ratatouille opened in Walt Disney Studios Paris.  Giving guests a unique and fun ride, and the prize winning Chez Bistro de Remy opened up as well.  Alice in Wonderland emerged from behind tarps, and Legends of Frontierland premiered with huge success.  Yet, the summer’s story was once again Marvel’s, for Guardians of the Galaxy became the number 1 box office hit of the summer.  Shocking all the crittics and studio execs, but not us audience goers who wanted movies.  Summer also saw the good sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue that people liked better than the original.

For ESPN, this was a good year as well.  The World Cup proved to be Olympic level, and that there were other things for the Beer companies  and Viagara to finance as well. ESPN also launched Sports Entertainment Center.

This summer saw the addition of Four Seasons, a brand new hotel that featured a small waterpark and perks for high paying customers, a great addition to Walt Disney World.

School went back into session and ABC premierered its newest tv shows. While How to Get Away with Murder seemed to be the number one hit, Forever and Black-ish also did as well.  Meanwhile Manhattan Love Story and Selfie disappeared into the quiet.

October saw Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day roll into theaters.  Audiences weren’t quite taken to it, but it did manage to hold on along with Guardians of the Galaxy.  The real battle came in November when Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar took on Big Hero 6.  The winner, Big Hero 6.  Baymax and Hiro became favorites and Marvel proved that there was no medium they couldn’t do well in.

Disney had announced plans for the 60th anniversary of Disneyland, as well as started selling tickets to D23 2015 expo.  Thanksgiving saw excitement for a blip of a trailer with Lucas vs. Spielberg when it came down to Star Wars VII trailer vs. Jurassic World Trailer.

A brand new Christmas special in the Toy Story world premiered in December, and Christmas day saw the release of Into the Woods.  This has been the year for Disney.

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Disney Posts

Disney’s Christmas Carols

It’s that time of year again, where we break out our disc collections of our favorite Christmas specials and movies.  There is no story more done than Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.  There are multiple versions of this, some more famous than others, a few that we would like to forget.  Several actors have played Ebenezer Scrooge, from Alastar Sims, to George C Scott, Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammar, Michael Caine and Jim Carrey, to other comedians such as Bill Murray.  It has also inspired many differing spin offs from Christmas style to even American style.  Yes this story loosely based upon Joseph Smith being visited by the Angel Moroni, was so popular that it even inspired the modern Christmas that we know and love.  At the time this book was published, the United States of America didn’t celebrate Christmas, nor did they have any intention of celebrating it.  When Charles Dickens wrote it, he confused his fellow Englishmen, for Christmas at the time was remembered as a lewd and depraved celebration much more in common with Mardi Gras and Carnival.  It was this story that brought about our modern Christmas.  It took a while for Hollywood to adapt the story, but with the musical version of the 70’s and many people complaining that it embellished upon the book.  Many more people set out to do more accurate portrayels of it.  From the television movie starring George C Scott, to eventually Patrick Stewart doing a one man show of the story.  However, Disney did their first version in 1983 with Mickey Mouse.

mcduck

This short version brought to the screen Scrooge McDuck from the comics.  Incidentally, Scrooge McDuck made his first premiere in December comics and was named after Ebenezer Scrooge.  So it was him who would play the miser, with Mickey Mouse playing Bob Cratchitt, Minnie Mouse playing his wife, Donald Duck playing Fred, Daisy Duck playing Belle, Goofy playing Robert Marley, Jiminy Crickett playing the Ghost of Christmas Past, Willie the Giant playing the Ghost of Christmas Present, Pete playing the part of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Ratty and Mole playing the parts of Poole and Hattie, and finally J Thaddeus Toad playing the part of Fezzywig.  This short was Mickey’s first screen appearance in close to 30 years and proved an instant classic.

caine

1992, Disney now partnering with Brian Henson who controlled the Muppets, did a version with the Muppets.  Since no muppet was found to play Scrooge, Michael Caine took on the role.  Kermit the Frog played Bob Cratchitt at Miss Piggy’s recomndation, while she would play Cratchitt’s wife.  Fozzy played Fozzywig, Gonzo portrayed Charles Dickens, and Rizzo the Rat kept his usual role as Gonzo’s friend. Statler and Waldorf portrayed Jacob and his long lost literary brother Robert Marley.  Sam the Eagle played a professor, and many other beloved muppets snuck in there.  The ghosts were brand new Muppets that have never appeared again.

jim

In 2009, Robert Zemeckis joined with Disney to do a Motion Capture version of the story. Starring Jim Carrey, who is the only actor to play all of Ebenezer Scrooge.  Remember, in past we see the younger version of Ebenezer.  However, like in plays and movies up to this point, the actors portraying prime Ebenezer and ghost stood off to the side and watched the scene unfold.  So usually a younger male that could resemble the main actor was cast, but in this version, Jim could play all of these ages.  He also portrayed the three spirits.

So how do these three versions line up with the written story.  First consider this, two of these were heavily intended for children.  Since children are too young to grasp the problems of a solitary life.  Scrooge had to be portrayed as more selfish and greedy, so children can get that this is a bad thing.  Most children who are bothered by siblings would like solitary.  So Scrooge had to be upgraded.  Also, gift giving wasn’t a custom of the time.  At that time Santa didn’t deliver to anywhere outside of Scandanavia, and parents didn’t give children presents on Christmas.  So Scrooge buying presents at the end is a way for modern children to grasp a changed heart.

Perhaps for adults as well.  The constant theme of the book is death.  A reminder that once dead there is nothing you can do. You are finished, your probationary life is gone.  As bemoaned by Jacob Marley’s ghost.  So when Scrooge sees his corpse, that he refuses to look at it, the signs of his demise, he refuses to accept them.  Because it means he can no longer change. When he confronts the death of Tim Cratchitt, and immediately sees his tombstone, he sobs because he can no longer change.  Obvious in Dicken’s days, but lost on modern audiences. The themes of hellfire are put into children versions to drive the message home.

So how does the modern motion capture compare to the book.  It actually does so better than almost any version.  For one, the lines aren’t watered down, being very surprising for Disney. Next, the ghost of Christmas Past was never anthropomorphical, it literally was a flame that would occasionally have a face of someone from Scrooge’s past.  In essence the past can’t be rid of, no matter how much we try, it is a pesky reminder of who we are.  The ghost of Christmas Future literally was a shadow, only it’s hand ever took form.  It only took real form at the end when Scrooge begged mercy from it.  As for the rest it is up to you to decide to like it or not.

knockers

So this Christmas season watch a version, I always watch multiple versions of this story every Christmas.  For it is one of my favorites, and this story captures the spirit of Christmas better than any story I know of. To my 5th grade teacher miss Stoneman.  I have read the book finally, when are you going to? Because Scrooge is barely based on the book.

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