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  • Blog Post: Mist Direction or How DAK Operations just slipped Joe Rohde a Mickey

    Folks who visited Disney's Animal Kingdom late last month got something of a treat. In that -- for a while there, anyway -- most of " Expedition Everest " 's effects were actually working. The scenic mist that's supposed to drift off of Forbidden Mountain top actually did that. The fog bank that your...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch : Has WDI solved all of "Toy Story Mania" 's problems? Not Yeti

    By now, you've probably heard about the Mr. Potato Head that's been installed in the queue area of " Toy Story Mania ." How this 5 foot, 2 inch AA figure (Which reportedly cost a million dollars to build) will actually address individual quests as they stand there, waiting in the attraction's queue area...
  • Blog Post: Why the Imagineers are still tinker(toy)ing with "Toy Story Mania"

    Have you seen that clip on YouTube ? The one that shows how the Mr. Potato Head AA figure that you find in the queue area of Disney's " Toy Story Mania " can actually pull off its own ear? Well, that's nothing. Wait 'til you hear about how the Imagineers are now pulling out their hair as they try &...
  • Blog Post: Disney Consumer Products isn't getting its hopes up for "Up"

    Following up on last month's article about how Children's Place is getting ready to sell the Disney Store retail chain back to the Walt Disney Company ... I spoke with the managers of a number of New England-area Disney Stores over the past few days. And while none of these folks wanted to go on-the...
  • Blog Post: As Disney begins to get nervous about "Narnia," Pixar now sets its sights on "Mars"

    Last week, the trades were full of stories about how Brad Bird was getting ready to make his live action debut. How the director of " The Incredibles " and " Ratatouille " would soon be helming the big screen adaptation of James Dalessandro 's " 1906 ." Now some animation fans had initially assumed that...
  • Blog Post: The winter that won't quit really makes me want to split

    Let's take a quick look at the weather, shall we? For Central New Hampshire, the forecast calls for ... Some areas of light snow or mixed showers will move in tonight. A spotty light accumulation is possible, but will move quickly out of the state early Friday morning. After a fairly quiet, but mostly...
  • Blog Post: "WALL * E" trailer soft-pedals the more controversial aspects of this new Pixar film

    Hey, have you heard that there's a new " WALL * E " trailer up on the Net? Copyright 2008 Disney Pixar. All Rights Reserved As I understand it, this is the official theatrical trailer. The one that will run in theaters now through June 27, when this new Andrew Stanton film finally reaches the big screen...
  • Blog Post: Oscar Watch '08: Miramax maxes out while the Mouse gets skunked

    "Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day ..." -- lyric from "The Man I Love" by George & Ira Gershwin Well, if you worked on the Miramax Films side of the Mouse House, Tuesday definitely was a "good news day." Disney's art house arm snagged Academy Award nominations for four of its most recent releases...
  • Blog Post: Animation fans prematurely shoot off their mouths about "Bolt"

    How many of you know the story of the blind men and the elephant ? I bring up this ancient Indian fable because ... Well ... I have to admit that I was highly amused by what happened last Wednesday. When the on-line animation community went completely bananas over those "Bolt" pre-release images . Copyright...
  • Blog Post: The Pixar TV special you never got to see, "A Tin Toy Christmas"

    In response to this week's Toon Tuesday column , CC writes in to say: " Pixar wanted to produce a holiday special back in the 1980s?! Come on, Jim. You've GOT TO write an article about that." Ask and ye shall receive. But please keep in mind that the Pixar that I'll be writing about will not be the great...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: The story behind "The Pixar Story"

    It's going to seem like "Old Home Week" at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater tonight. What with acclaimed filmmaker Leslie Iwerks sharing the stage with industry legend Roy E. Disney during the Q & A portion of tonight's screening of " The Pixar Story " at the American Cinematheque . You see, if it hadn...
  • Blog Post: A special "Where's WALL-E" edition of Why For?

    Bernie W. writes in to say: Jim -- Can you please help me win a bet at work? A co-worker of mine says that WALL-E makes a brief cameo appearance in " Ratatouille ." More importantly, this guy has bet me $100 that I'll never ever be able to find that robot in this movie. Copyright 2007 Disney...
  • Blog Post: "To Infinity and Beyond!" is an entertaining look back at Pixar's first two decades

    There's this genuinely eerie passage in Karen Paik 's " To Infinity and Beyond! The Story of Pixar Animation Studios " ( Chronicle Books , November 2007), which talks about how a single book basically changed the course of John Lasseter 's life. In ninth grade, Lasseter was searching the art section...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch: Is there really such a thing as putting too much Walt into a Disney theme park?

    Last month, theme park fans the world over rejoiced at the news that the Walt Disney Company would be spending more than a billion dollars to redo DCA . With a large chunk of this cash being committed toward the retheming of the entrance portion of this troubled theme park . Which will soon be turned...
  • Blog Post: Instead of a Why For this week, how about a Where For ?

    Natalie Dressed writes in to say: Thanks for plugging ASIFA-Hollywood 's upcoming screening of " Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure ." That was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. And if I actually lived out in LA, I would definitely have made the trip over to the American Film Institute...
  • Blog Post: A special "Toon Much of a Good Thing" edition of Why For

    First up, Danny writes in to ask: Jim, Any reason that you know of why Pixar started skimping on their DVD packages? Up to and including " The Incredibles ," no company did the medium justice better than Pixar. But the discs for " Cars " and " Rataouille " (which I have an advanced copy of) are pathetic...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch: Will live action productions really help Pixar deal with its brand fatigue problem?

    I know, I know. Pixar diehards keep insisting that " Ratatouille " is this enormous success. That there's no possible way that anyone could ever be disappointed with the way this Brad Bird film has performed to date. Well, if that's really the case, then someone should probably tell Brad that. For -...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday: Why "Ratatouille" 's good-but-not-great box office numbers are now causing problems for Disney's marketing department

    By now, you've probably heard that -- over this past weekend -- " Ratatouille " finally officially achieved really-for-real blockbuster status. Earning over $200 million during its initial domestic run. Mind you, it did take this new Brad Bird film quite a while to reach that milestone. As you can see...
  • Blog Post: Toon Tuesday : Want to help chart Pixar's future? Then be sure and take that animation studio's online survey

    As part of their classic comedy routine, " The 2000 Year Old Man ," Carl Reiner asked Mel Brooks what he attributed his amazing longevity to. To which Mel replied: "I never, ever touch fried food. And I never run for a bus. There'll always be another." I bring up Brooks' bus joke for a reason. In that...
  • Blog Post: "Why must you always be so negative when you write about Pixar?"

    As a direct result of some of the "Ratatouille" -related pieces that I've posted on JHM over the past few weeks, I have received a number of ... er ... colorful messages from Pixar fans recently. Here's one of the more family-friendly examples. Which came from Patty T. of Haines City, FL : Why must you...
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