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Frozen’s Future in the Parks?

August 22, 2014 3 comments

Disney’s Frozen has proven to be a much bigger hit than they or many others ever imagined it would have been. Raking in more than $1.2 billion in 2013 at the worldwide box office, it’s popularity didn’t just stop there. In the parks, demand for Anna and Elsa has been huge, especially at Walt Disney World, where waits to see the sisters quickly exceeded 5 hours most days and stayed in this range throughout the day. The long waits have actually led Disney to change the way guests wait at the Magic Kingdom to see these two and try something very similar to the old Fastpass method, where everyone would get a paper ticket indicating a return time. Disney also added some summer festivities at Disney Hollywood Studios, called, Frozen Summer Fun Live with several events and activities featuring characters  from the movies. Originally, this was supposed to end September 1, but it was recently announced (as many expected), that it would be extended thru September 28th. Many are speculating that it might go away for a little while but be brought back around Christmas time in some form or another.

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And, if all that isn’t enough, there have been several rumors in the wild stating that Disney will soon shut down the Maelstrom attraction at the Norway pavilion in Epcot and re-theme/design it around the movie. Personally, I think the attraction is long overdue for an update or some kind of refresher. However, I’m not sure how I feel about a re-theme to this movie. Not that it couldn’t be done well and make for an enjoyable new attraction, but ideally, I think an update that was more representative of Norway and it’s traditions would be the best move. But, I’ll wait until this alleged re-do is completed before casting judgment. 

Regardless of the rumors, and what some seem to think might happen, I’ve had my own thoughts I’d like to share. I started thinking about alternative ideas for adding Frozen themed attractions, after I heard the rumors regarding Maelstrom. Nothing from the movie really popped out at me right away other than maybe the sleigh ride scene with Kristoff and Anna, being pulled by Sven, the reindeer. Thinking about this a little more, it might just be in the realm of possibilities for what Imagineering is thinking of doing with the Maelstrom ride, considering the ride tracks and style of vehicle. And, even though I kind of like this idea, it wasn’t the first one that came to mind for me.

I was actually thinking of something a little more festive and formal that would re-create Elsa’s coronation ceremony. I’ve never been in the restaurant Akershus in Norway, because every time we’ve looked at the menu, it just didn’t sound very appealing. But, if the area is big enough, why not transform it into a royal hall to celebrate the coronation. They could make it a premium kind of experience with light snacks (especially chocolate), h’orderves and drinks served, and then Anna and Elsa would come out to greet everyone. Set it up for about 100-200 guests at a time, and repeat every hour throughout the day.

Disney is wise for trying to capitalize on the popularity of this movie, in fact, I think they would be foolish not to considering it’s made more money than Pixar’s Cars from 2006, and has been called the best Disney movie since The Lion King. Hopefully, they will find a way to give the movie a somewhat permanent park attraction that will be enjoyable for years to come.

UPDATE 8/27/14: Inside The Magic reported yesterday about a special event called “My Royal Coronation Character Breakfast” coming September 24th, 2014. This seems to be a one-time event put together by travel agencies, A Time to Treasure Travel, Family Fun Travels, Go See Mickey and Magic of Mickey Travel in co-ordination with Disney as they are providing/sending official Anna & Elsa characters to meet and greet at the event. 

 

 

 

 

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The Santa Clause 4: The Substitute Clause

September 10, 2010 106 comments

Note: If you’ve arrived here looking for information about Disney’s, The Santa Clause 4, I’m sorry to disappoint,  but  I have no such news. However, I would like to ask that you at least give your opinion of a 4th movie by voting in the poll I have created. To date, this page has been searched for and viewed over 95,000 times!  Hopefully, with enough votes, maybe someday someone from Disney Studios will see this and choose to make another movie. So, whether you like or even read my concept below for a fourth movie, please vote.

Disney’s, The Santa Clause  are some of mine and my family’s favorite movies. My daughter and I were talking recently about the second one and a thought crossed my mind that I believe would make for a good premise for at least one more movie. It’s a story that seems to have been hinted at in the previous movies. Charlie, Scott Calvin’s son, seems to have a real interest and affection for the role of Santa in the movies, so, why not give him a shot at it.

In my idea for this 4th version of the popular movies, it opens right before Thanksgiving with Santa (Scott Calvin) appearing before the Council of Legendary Figures (Mother Nature, Father Time, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Cupid and Sandman). Apparently, he’s been sued by the elves union or Jack Frost  or somebody else, it really doesn’t matter too much. The point is, he’s grounded and cannot perform his duties this year as Santa, or until the Council has had time to adequately investigate and rule on the matter.

Given that Tim Allen has (allegedly) expressed that he’s not interested in doing another one of these movies, this story line might could work without him, or at the least with his role being minor. If he refused to do the movie, it might be nice if they could bring back David Krumholtz, who played the part of Bernard, the head elf in the first two movies. The story would be that he’s now head legal counsel for Santa and speaks on his behalf. Bernard would come and find Charlie and explain to him that his dad has been barred from flying and being Santa for this year. However, there is a clause on the original card, that allows for a substitute Santa, but that person must be a relative. So, in an effort to save Christmas and quite possibly his Dad, Bernard tries to get Charlie to agree to fill the suit for this year and be Santa.

Only, there are problems with Charlie being Santa. Number one being, he’s finishing his last year of college and getting ready to graduate. He already has numerous time constraints and really can’t work it in to his schedule. However, he agrees to do it for his dad and to save Christmas. Soon after the fun begins. Much like in the first movie where physical changes began happening as Christmas approaches, Charlie will experience similar changes. The fun twist to the story occurs in the fact that Charlie is in college. Of course, being in college, none of his peers nor his professors believe in such a childish thing as Santa Claus. Especially sour on the Santa belief is his roommate who apparently had a pretty bad experience as a young kid.

Along the way, Charlie manages to re-ignite the belief in Santa and the joy of Christmas for his roommate and at least a couple of his professors. Either thru an accident or some kind of interference by Jack Frost (or someone else), Charlie winds up stuck somewhere and has to call on someone to help. As it turns out, his roommate is the only one who can help, and in the process discovers that Charlie is in fact Santa Claus. In the end, Charlie saves Christmas, as well as vindicates his Dad from the charges that were filed against him.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the strongest story, and the fact that it moves away from the actor/character that made it such an enjoyable movie for the first three weakens it substantially. In fact, I almost cringe at the thought of a sequel that doesn’t use the original actor. Thoughts immediately come to mind of poor sequels with a replacement actor like Daddy Day Camp where Eddie Murphy’s character was played by Cuba Gooding Jr, or Dr Doolittle 3, a film based on another Eddie Murphy movie, only it has a similar premise as what I’m proposing where the character’s child is taking on the lead role. However, in spite of these other poor movies, the Dr Doolittle series must have appealed to someone because they made 3 of them without Eddie Murphy, which means somebody bought them. So, I think if done well, another Santa Clause movie, even without Tim Allen could do reasonably well if they were to incorporate the same magic and fun of the original movies. Besides that, it’s a Christmas movie which means it is going to have a mass appeal that sometimes can drive sales for many years. If nothing else, the story could work at least for a direct to video or maybe TV special.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

June 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I can’t say enough good about this film, if you haven’t seen it yet, go now because it’s probably going to start disappearing from theaters very soon, since so many other big films are out now and coming out soon.

My wife and I and our 13 year old son saw this a couple of weeks ago and were highly impressed! None of us were really enthused about it going in, but we all came out thrilled and happy we saw it. It’s a typical Jerry Bruckheimer film with lots of action, but it’s quite fun and has a great story. The action and adventure in the film are on par with other Bruckheimer films, Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure.

I’m not a film critic, and it’s not really what I want the focus of my blog to be about, but since it is Disney-related, I may occasionally venture into this territory, if the mood hits me.  However, I’m not going to critique this film or even try to add anything to it, but I would like to offer an analysis of the film’s performance at the box office for the U.S. I think the writers, producer and director did a fantastic job putting this story together, and I genuinely believe it’s one of the best films so far this year, even better than Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Unfortunately, and curiously to me, the film has done the complete opposite at the box office as what Disney was hoping.

Fourth week estimates at Box Office Mojo, put the movie at 15th on the list so far this year, behind Sex and the City 2 and Percy Jackson & The Olympians. I would like to hope that it has the possibility of catching a second wind and taking off like How to Train Your Dragon did, but with Toy Story 3 now out, I just don’t see that happening. I really don’t get why this movie didn’t catch on better than it did. My guess would be that it’s due mostly to competition. There are several big movies this summer all competing for movie-goers bucks. What I find odd, is that Disney studios are partly to blame for the tight competition this summer. Toy Story 3 started Friday, just 4 weeks after Prince of Persia, then next month, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice will make its debut. That’s a lot of strong competition with your self.

Marketing

While I don’t have any complaints or additions to the movie and story itself, I do think Disney missed the target on marketing the movie. Whether intentional or not, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a live action telling of the Aladdin story. There were a number of elements from Aladdin that worked quite well for the movie and made it fun to watch but left me wondering if this wasn’t supposed to be the live action retelling of that story and if marketing might’ve done better trying to take that angle with trying to sell this film. I know the Prince of Persia video games have been very successful and I’ve heard that Disney wanted to capitalize on them and the stories behind them, however, I personally have never played any of them, so I wasn’t too familiar with the characters or story line. I really enjoyed Dastan’s character though, and I think they could’ve marketed him better by showing more of the opening scene of him as a young boy in the market place and his bravery and acrobatics trying to escape the guards, it’s essentially the same scene as in Aladdin where he’s trying to escape the guards in the market place as well. It’s a fun scene that pretty much defines the tone and pace of the rest of the movie and one that I believe could’ve helped sell the movie.

Casting

Overall, I think the cast performed admirably. Everyone was believable in their roles, and I liked Jake Gyllenhaal in the starring role as prince Dastan. I should add that Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina were also cast and performed quite well for their roles. However, even though I liked Gyllenhaal in the starring role, I’m not sure his “star-power” was high enough to drive the box office.  So, who might I have picked? If possible, I might have chosen Orlando Bloom for the starring role, and then maybe cast Gyllenhaal as the younger brother and perhaps Viggo Mortensen, one of my favorite actors, for the older brother. Their are other casting changes I think could’ve been made to make the film more appealing, like perhaps a different, better known actress to play the role of Princess Tamina of Alamut. Again, I don’t think any of those that were cast did a bad job in their roles, it’s just that there weren’t any names with what might be considered “big star status” in the film to draw in the masses, like Pirates or National Treasure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I think you need big status stars to draw people into a movie and make it a hit, but it definitely helps with creating a hook for the audience even before they come into the theater.

3D

As much as I hate to admit it, the lack of this movie NOT being in 3D, when everything else coming out right now IS, might possibly be a factor in its weak box office performance. I’m not a fan of 3D. I see it as a gimmick that Hollywood is using right now to try and milk more money from movie goers. However, five of the top six movies for 2010 were in 3D, number two, Iron Man was not, but had enough synergy going for it that it probably wouldn’t have made a big difference. I don’t know that 3D would have made a huge difference, but it could’ve created a bit of a dilemma for theaters as some would have had to bump Shrek Forever After to show Prince of Persia. It’s anybody’s guess how that would have worked as it could have meant an even poorer box office if theater owners went with Shrek instead of Prince Dastan.

Any one or all three of these reasons or any others could have been reason for the low turnout for this movie. What’s even more interesting to me in all this, is how the movie is performing in other markets overseas. It has made over $225 million so far, in comparison to only $86 million here int he U.S. Perhaps its international performance will be big enough that it will help it finish with respecatable numbers.

So, go see it, and then come back and tell me your thoughts. Maybe you think I’m totally off-base here on my thoughts, but I’m still curious about why it’s not performed better and would love to hear others’ input.

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IronMan 2

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment
This is kind of a departure for me, as I’ve never really reviewed, or in this case offered up my ideas on enhancing a movie before, but since seeing Iron Man 2 a couple of weeks ago, a few thoughts have been wearing on me about how I might have done it a little different if I was the story writer. Mind you, I think the movie was well done, and I will probably see it again, or at the least buy it when it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, but there were just a few points where it seemed lacking. I wrote this right after seeing the movie, and I’ve been sitting on it for a couple of weeks so as not to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it, but, if you haven’t seen it yet, turn back now, there be spoilers ahead.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and thought it was good, just  not quite as good as the first, and still enjoyable even without being done in 3D. For the record, I think 3D is a fad/gimmick that the movie studios and theaters are using to separate us from more of our money when we go to the movies. I don’t think it adds anything of value to the movies, and could really care less if a movie is in 3D. Enough said about that, now back to the movie. I thought Don Cheadle did okay in replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey, but the role/character still just felt kind of flat. I can’t put my finger on it, but Rhodey’s role in both of the films just doesn’t do what I think his character should. I know, he’s a secondary character, and he’s supposedly good friends with Tony, yet I’ve never really felt that in either of the movies. I think a better choice for Rhodey might have been somebody like Cuba Gooding Jr., or maybe Jamie Foxx, both of whom are a little bulkier in size, and might have felt more realistic as War Machine.

I don’t know why, but the story just felt that everything was a bit rushed, the defeat of Ivan/Whiplash, both at the race track and at the finale, finding the new element/power source, etc. I think these events could’ve been drug out a little bit more and dramatized to show a weaker, more human side of Tony Stark that we would sympathize or feel empathy for, think Spiderman. Maybe they could’ve delved more into his Father, Howard and his relationship him. As it was played out,  the only feeling I had was for a poor, spoiled little rich boy, that didn’t feel loved by Daddy. Awww, so what, boohoo, give me a break!

So, here’s where I thought it could’ve been improved upon.

Tony never really faces uncertainty, for very long, at least not as much as he did in the first movie. He always seems to figure things out, by himself, usually with plenty of time to spare. Where’s the drama? I understand, that’s part of the character of Tony Stark, he’s brilliant, but I think it could’ve been more dramatic if they had pushed the end of his life to the “edge”. Maybe the scene at the race track could’ve been more dramatic if Tony was closer to dying, delay Pepper and Hogan’s (his chauffeur) arrival a little longer. You’ve got a crowd of people looking on while Tony is getting a whooping, but then he’s able to end it pretty quickly when they arrive with the suitcase suit. Also, this should’ve been kept top secret by the producer, they should’ve never revealed it in the trailers nor in the movie up until the point where he’s almost unconscious or near dead.

Or, maybe they could’ve stretched out the story line of him trying to figure out the solution for a new power source. Make it so he’s desperate and then make Nick Fury even more instrumental in saving his life by waiting until he was on his last (plutonium ?) power chip, deftly ill and the blood toxicity was higher than 95%. Add on the drama by allowing Pepper to find him near dead again, as in the first movie, and telling of her love for him, and how he couldn’t die, that she needs him, the world needs him (again, think Spiderman), then Nick Fury doing only what Samuel L. Jackson does best by giving him a real “pep talk”, getting in his face and going mad ballistic on him about solving this problem.  Which leads me to another issue I had; Samuel L. Jackson’s character was far too subdued for him, it needs more punch, more flare, more anger, I mean why bother putting him in a movie role if you’re not going to use him to his full acting ability, let’s see that famous yelling rage that he’s become famous for in movies like Pulp Fiction, The Negotiator, Snakes on a Plane, and many others.

Another option would be to give the government more authority in the Senate hearing when they fail to get him to turn over the Iron Man suit. It could have been a lot more dramatic if the government placed Stark Industries on suspension for all contracts, assuming they still had any, and then Hammer was able to take their contracts. Or, they could have at least threatened this, which would’ve put Pepper in a position of having to choose what was best for the company in her new role over her loyalty/love for Tony as well as Rhodey and the U.S. government.

As for the finale, the way it played out it was almost as if Tony didn’t really need Rhodey to help with fighting off the droids, however, he did need him to help fight Whiplash. So, why not tie Rhodey up with a fight of his own, delaying his arrival at the fight with Whiplash so his help was more crucial in saving Tony, thus making him further realize how much he needed his help.

There were other points where I thought they could’ve gone deeper, but it would have made for a much longer movie that might not have been as enjoyable as it was. Again, I still enjoyed and will be adding it to my DVD Blu-Ray collection, just felt a bit cheated in parts and wanted to see more character development.

How about you? I would love to hear what you thought about the movie?

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