Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 08-03-2015 - Disney's 'Descendants,' 'Star Wars,' 'Spider-Man' and Saving the Midget Autopia

By Tim Callaway

The cast of Descendants (l. to r.): Booboo Stewart,
Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson,
Mitchell Hope and Sarah Jeffery
Disney's Descendants was a huge hit on the Disney Channel last Friday, attracting over six million viewers. But, was it any good? 

I vote no, but then I'm not in the movie's age 9-14 demographic. 

Still, it's hard to like a film with a dumbed-down story that turns the most evil of Disney's animated villains into buffoons and then adds a rap sequence to "Be Our Guest." 

No. Just, no.

Unlike Descendants, very little is painful about this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle. There are even a few things Anthony and I like:
  • Is Star Wars coming to Netflix? All the signs point to yes. We're hearing as many as three new series from Lucasfilm could be in development for the online entertainment service.
  • Rumors abound about who will make up the supporting cast of Marvel's Spider-Man movie in 2017. It could just be wishful thinking, but we'll play along for now. Robert Downey, Jr. returning as Tony Stark, Hugh Laurie as J. Jonah Jameson, Forest Whitaker as Robbie Robertson, Billy Zane as the Vulture, Jason Biggs as Scorpion, Miranda Cosgrove as Betty Brant. We're on board for all of them if the rumors are true.
  • Josh Gad has wrapped up shooting on Disney's live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. He's playing LeFou, sidekick to Luke Evans' Gaston. We're going to miss Gad's social media dispatches from the set. 
  • What's the deal with Bob the Musical and why are so many big names attached to the project? The Hollywood Reporter says Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) is working on the script for Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist). Meanwhile, Oscar-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie ("Man or Muppet") will pen the songs for the film about a man who can hear the inner music in everyone's heart. Oh, and did we mention Tom Cruise might star in it too?
The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki.
  • Animation fans, especially fans of the great Hayao Miyazaki, are going to love the new Blu-ray box set from Disney and Studio Ghibli. The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki will include all 11 of the master's animated classics including Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and The Wind Rises. It will be available only on Amazon.com and will be released on November 17th.
  • In 1966, Walt Disney donated the Midget Autopia attraction at Disneyland to his boyhood home of Marceline, MO, the only time a Disney attraction was ever moved to a non-Disney location. The Midget Autopia stopped operating in the late 1970s, but now the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fully restore the cars and track. You can help by visiting www.bringbackautopia.com
  • Going to the D23 Expo this month? Download the app that will help you navigate the crowds and presentations at the epic Disney fan event. Get it for free now on Apple iOS and Android.
  • We don't know a lot about what will replace Luigi's Flying Tires at Disney California Adventure, but now we have a name for it: Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Mouse Castle Lounge 07-31-2015 - Snow White, Silly Symphonies and the Disney Music Group

By Tim Callaway

The D23 Expo is coming up August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center. At a Disney fan gathering where the Walt Disney Studios and Disney Parks and Resorts typically get the lion's share of attention, the Disney Music Group this year will have a much higher profile. DMG oversees the various Disney recording labels like Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records and also runs Disney Music Publishing. In addition, they manage a very cool website where you can purchase all manner of Disney collectible music items, the Disney Music Emporium.

The Silly Symphony Collection
At the D23 Expo, the Disney Music Group and the Disney Music Emporium will present a concert called Disney in Concert: A Silly Symphony Celebration. They’ll screen a selection of Walt Disney’s famous musical cartoons backed by a 32-piece live orchestra. How cool is that? The concert will tie in with the release of an epic musical boxed set—on vinyl—called The Silly Symphony Collection. Contained in the set will be remastered audio recordings of all 75 Silly Symphony cartoons released between 1929 and 1939. Expo attendees will be the first people able to pre-order the Silly Symphony set. After that, it can be ordered online at the Disney Music Emporium beginning on August 17. The set will list for $399.98 and will include a free digital download. If you pre-order it, you’ll also receive a 10” vinyl single with "The Skeleton Dance" on Side A and the "Three Little Pigs" on Side B.

The Snow White Master Score
Recently, I paid a visit to the Walt Disney Studios and sat down with Jon Heely, director of music publishing and concert licensing at the Disney Music Group. We talked about Silly Symphonies, of course, but we also talked about an amazing limited edition book release from the Disney Music Legacy Libraries. It’s the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Master Score. And by master score I mean a reproduction of every piece of sheet music from Snow White in the composers' original hands. Only 400 of these are being released. The first 200 are available now at the Disney Music Emporium. Another 200 will be available at the D23 Expo.

Jon Heely is my first guest in The Mouse Castle Lounge today. I also chat with Randy Thornton with the Disney Music Group and Kevin Augunas, Neil Schield and Jesse Obstbaum with Fairfax Recordings.

It's a great time to be a Disney music fan. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inside The Mouse Castle 07-27-2015 - D23 Expo, Marvel's 'Ant-Man' and Disney's 'Descendants'

By Tim Callaway

In this week's episode of Inside The Mouse Castle, Anthony has an existential crisis. We're attributing it to a cataclysmic combination of Neil deGrasse Tyson, sleep deprivation, Ant-Man shrinking down to a molecular level and the wretched "Be Our Guest" number from Disney's Descendants (debuting this Friday on the Disney Channel).

With Anthony curled up in a fetal position, he and I delve deeply into these thought-provoking topics guaranteed to make you feel insignificant against the infinite backdrop of space:
  • For the first time, the D23 Expo will split their traditional motion picture fan presentation into two separate events, one for animation and one for live action. We're hoping for big announcements (or at least some new trailers) for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory.
  • I finally saw Ant-Man and thoroughly enjoyed it. I left the theater totally perplexed, though. Why don't people stay all the way to the end of a Marvel movie to see the post credit-scenes? Have they not learned? The last scene in Ant-Man (and yes, it comes at the very end) is not to be missed. It does an epic job setting up (and raising a few questions about) Captain America: Civil War.
The Sword in the Stone
  • Annnd.....The Sword in the Stone is the latest Disney animated classic to go into development as a live-action film. We recap all we know about the full slate of upcoming Disney retreads.
  • There's a new trailer for Pixar's The Good Dinosaur. Despite our earlier concerns about production delays, recasting and a new director, we're encouraged by what we see. But, with all the (justified) attention Inside Out has received, will people take to a second Pixar film in the same year?
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron will be available on digital download September 8th. Want it in a disc in a box? That's available on October 2nd.
  • Michael Jackson as Jar Jar Binks? It almost happened. Well, Michael thought it would anyway.

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