Archive for the ‘Disney Channel’ Category

The BlakeOnline Buzz, Fall 2009

September 7, 2009

Image belongs to Blake’s family. Text in image is “Action Jackson” font.

Volume 1, Issue 2

By Blake

Originally posted September 7, 2009.

Dear BlakeOnline readers,

Happy Labor Day! It’s hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. There were several big-screen blockbusters and major announcements, making summer 2009 quite a memorable season for the entertainment industry.

In late May, Pixar released their tenth film, Up, with tremendous success. So much success, in fact, that it is currently the #5 highest-grossing animated film of all time. Characters from the film continue to make appearances at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World in Florida.

Up was another hit for Pixar. Image © Disney/Pixar.

In July, Warner Bros. released the outstanding Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment in the groundbreaking film series. Its current worldwide gross is $897,184,000, which is quite an impressive number.

Disney Channel has also had success over the summer, with three major broadcasts: Princess Protection Program in June, the mash-up Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana in July, and Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie in last week.

Disney Parks and Resorts opened several new Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World recently – Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in May, the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in June, and Bay Lake Tower (a new building at Disney’s Contemporary Resort) in August.

Just last Monday, August 31, 2009, Disney announced that they would buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. When you consider that Disney purchased Pixar for $7 billion in 2006, Disney certainly is taking this buy very seriously. Hopefully exciting projects are on the way as the future of this new partnership unfolds. You can read more about the deal over at MouseExtra.com.

Here at BlakeOnline, the summer has held several points of interest, including the continuation of the Budgeting Disney series. This special group of articles analyzes how to plan a Walt Disney World vacation when you’re watching your money. After already discussing looking for promotions and deciding when to visit, over the summer the articles delved into picking a resort, purchasing tickets, and choosing where to dine. There is going to be at least one more volume in the series, so keep a lookout for it soon!

As the world transitions into fall, there are several exciting highlights in store for Disney fans. The D23 Expo will take place in Anaheim, California from September 10 through 13. Although unfortunately no one from BlakeOnline will be attending the event, many other Disney fan sites are sure to provide detailed coverage of the weekend.

The first D23 Expo kicks off in Anaheim this Thursday, September 10, 2009. Image © Disney.

Halloween festivities are already starting to begin at Walt Disney World as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom select nights now through November 1. Disneyland will join in on the fun with their annual Halloween Time from September 25 through November 1. Halloween Time includes favorites like Haunted Mansion Holiday through Christmastime at Disneyland Park and Mickey’s Trick-Or-Treat Party during select nights in October at Disney’s California Adventure. New for Halloween Time in 2009 are a new fireworks show and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, a special version of the classic thrill ride. Other special events in the Disney parks this fall include Night of Joy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during September 11-12, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from September 25 through November 8, and Festival of the Masters at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney November 13-15. Additionally, Christmas festivities will begin in mid-November.

Halloween is just around the corner, and Disney has already begun to celebrate. Image © Disney.

Disney often has several fascinating book releases in autumn, and this year is no exception. The 2010 Birnbaum Guides will be released on September 29. They include guides to Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World For Kids, Walt Disney World Without Kids, Walt Disney World Dining, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line, as well as the Walt Disney World Pocket Parks Guide.

Other exciting book and movie releases can be found on BlakeOnline’s Upcoming Disney Projects page. The major highlights include the 3D double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (October 2); the re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Blu-ray (October 6) and DVD (November 25); the new book Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (October 13); the new Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure film on Blu-ray and DVD (October 27); Up on Blu-ray and DVD (November 10); and the theatrical releases of Disney’s A Christmas Carol (November 6), Old Dogs (November 25), and the highly anticipated hand-drawn feature film The Princess and the Frog (November 25 in New York and Los Angeles, December 11 nationwide).

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are returning to select theaters for a 3-D double feature on October 2. Image © Disney/Pixar.

It’s been a jam-packed, fun-filled summer, and hopefully there’s a celebratory, inviting autumn on the way! After all, there’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day.

-Blake
September 7, 2009

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 7, 2009. Buzz Lightyear image belongs to Blake’s family. Text in Buzz Lightyear image is “Action Jackson” font. Up and Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Double Feature images © Disney/Pixar. D23 Expo and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party images © Disney. “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” music and lyrics by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, © 1963 Wonderland Music Company, Inc.

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Channel Flippin’ – No ‘Wonderful World’ This Year?

June 6, 2009

Image © Disney.
Disney might not formally be airing ‘Wonderful World of Disney’ this summer.

By Blake

Originally posted June 6, 2009.

The Wonderful World of Disney has been an ongoing, continuous television series since it debuted in 1954, back when it was hosted by Walt Disney himself. It’s taken on many different formats, has been aired on several different networks, and has had a few name changes (it was initially called Disneyland).

Over the years, the show transitioned from an episodic format with a host showcasing classic clips as well as sneak previews for current projects to the current format of simply airing a movie with Disney promos during commercial breaks. And really, that’s just fine. I still look forward to watching the show almost every time it airs.

Since 2005, it has seemed that The Wonderful World of Disney has aired strictly during the Christmas season and again during the early summer, around June – early July. This year during the summer, however, there seems to be no sign of the show airing at all.

The show’s website from last year, www.disney.com/wonderfulworld, currently redirects to the “My Page” homepage, which is questionable. Additionally, ABC.com usually has a list of what movies will be aired on the show about this time every year, but there’s no trace of those, either.

However, even if Disney isn’t planning on airing The Wonderful World of Disney formally under that same title this summer, they still have some exciting television projects coming up.

Tonight (Saturday, June 6), ABC Family is having a special night of Pixar fun. They’re airing Finding Nemo, as well as the fairly new Cars Toons shorts featuring Mater and other characters from Cars. These include the first three Cars Toons that premiered on TV last October, as well as Tokyo Mater, which debut in theaters alongside Bolt a few weeks after the film was released. If Disney had wanted to, they could have simply labeled tonight’s ABC Family lineup under The Wonderful World of Disney banner and it would have fit right in.

Finding Nemo will air tonight, June 6, on ABC Family, as will several Cars Toons shorts. Image © Disney/Pixar.

Similarly, next Saturday (June 13), ABC is airing The Haunted Mansion, the 2003 film featuring Eddie Murphy. Again, it’s not labeled as The Wonderful World of Disney, which I find sort of odd.

The Haunted Mansion will air Saturday, June 13, on ABC. Image © Disney.

However, even though The Wonderful World of Disney may not be debuting anything this summer, both Disney Channel and the new channel Disney XD (a re-marketed Toon Disney) are both premiering several new projects. Disney XD’s first original series, Aaron Stone, debuted in February and is about a video game coming to life in the real world. Disney XD’s next original series, Zeke & Luther, will debut later this month and is about two boys wanting to become skateboarders.

Disney Channel is also in the process of premiering new summer attractions. On June 26, a new original movie will debut called Princess Protection Program, and will feature Demi Lovato (from Camp Rock and Sonny With a Chance) and Selena Gomez (from Wizards of Waverly Place). Disney Channel is also continuing to air new episodes of Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Phineas and Ferb, The Suite Life on Deck, Sonny With a Chance, and their newest series, Jonas.

Princess Protection Program premieres Friday, June 26, on Disney Channel and be released on DVD on Tuesday, June 30. Image © Disney.

So both Disney XD and Disney Channel are continuing to crank out new productions. But why is Disney choosing to air movies on ABC and ABC Family on Saturday nights without The Wonderful World of Disney’s label? It’s really not that big of a deal and the quality of the movie’s presentations won’t be much different (other than not including Disney promos during commercial breaks), but it just seems a bit peculiar.

By Blake; posted June 6, 2009. All images © Disney. Finding Nemo image © Disney/Pixar.

Silver Screen Review – High School Musical 3: Senior Year

November 15, 2008

The Wildcats return with irresistible musical numbers as they say their final good-bye.

By Blake

Originally posted November 15, 2008.

As it leaps to the big screen, High School Musical 3: Senior Year displays a dazzling arrangement of music and Disney magic that creates a very complete series finale. The music is wonderful, the characters find themselves and their personalities more than ever before, and the story really makes you savor your time, not only with the characters in the movie but also on a real-life level with your family and friends. For a movie that has so much power and influence over today’s modern audiences, it’s heart-warming to know that that kind of sincere message can be played across to such a vast variety of people in a pleasing and not urging way. The film provides its laughs, but its main focus is certainly the emotional side, not so much sad as it is reflective.

The Wildcat students Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel), Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), and Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman) return to East High for their senior year of high school. In addition to the many exciting and pressuring events leading up to their graduation, such as the basketball finals and the prom, each of them is also deciding where their future lies as they transitionally bloom into adulthood and go to college next year. In an effort to have something fun to do all together as a group one last time before they say good-bye to East High, they all sign up (with some persuasion) to participate in the spring musical, which, of course, results in breaking out into song on more than one occasion, some unexpected plot twists, and a few real surprises that will have you gaping.

While the second film branched off to develop some deeper personalities for some of the other not-so-prominent characters such as Ryan and Taylor, in Senior Year it really is back to being Troy and Gabriella’s story. Their relationship is further displayed as it reaches new levels and the real-life relationship of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens certainly helps that connection between their characters to play off wonderfully onscreen.


In addition to the entire cast from the first two films returning for thirds, there are three new characters that are introduced in Senior Year, all of which are sophomores. Personally I thought they each got more than enough screen time and, towards the end of the film, found them on the verge of annoying. After all, if this really is the last time I’m going to be seeing a new HSM movie, I’d rather savor the time with the already-established characters I know than get acquainted with some pesky new characters. They did their job to progress the plot forward, but just got a little too much air time than I thought was necessary.

The music of this third volume certainly shows off impressive dance sequences and implements several uses of special effects throughout its tunes. There seems to be a slightly larger focus on slower songs this time, though, almost as if to coincide with the tender subject of saying “good-bye” that is repeated throughout the movie. I won’t name any particular song titles so as to not give away any potential spoilers, but three particular numbers come to mind when thinking of the film’s highest points.

It really is all about good-byes this time around. The characters are all going in different directions as they make their way to college and the film very nicely (and professionally), but most importantly satisfactorily, wraps itself up to conclude the epic, ground-breaking movie series. The characters make it clear to the audience that this is the last time to see them and even as I watched the movie with my family I couldn’t help but get a feeling of nostalgia as if this was something really special, a cultural phenomenon finally coming to a close. Looking back at the 2000’s in years to come, I don’t think any pop-culture look-back special would be complete without mentioning High School Musical.

Even if there will eventually be a High School Musical 4 (which is an indefinite topic around the news lately), a fourth movie is not likely to achieve the same likability from me as the other three did. Sure, it might be a huge success at the box office, but if that’s all Disney is striving for as they create a third sequel, then the movie’s story and plot will probably be bogus as a result of this money-making mindset. HSM3: Senior Year very plainly completes the Wildcats’ story right down to the last scene and furthering that story would not only most likely ruin the worth of the first three movies but also completely destroy the whole theme and effort of Senior Year.

It does get a tad bit cheesy at times and you can certainly predict when “a song is coming on,” but High School Musical 3: Senior Year proudly presents its characters, music, story, and family entertainment with importance and poise. That extra touch of Disney magic is sprinkled all throughout the movie, perhaps more than I’ve ever seen it used at one time before. I’ll certainly miss all of the HSM-related mania and hoopla once the movie’s release settles down a bit and the franchise is done for good because you can’t help but get a little emotional as the curtain closes on this whirlwind of a series for one last time.

How do I rank High School Musical 3: Senior Year? (Bolded is my choice.):

  • Utterly repulsive
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

High School Musical 3: Senior Year will most likely please: Musical Fans – Kids (ages 5-8) – Older Kids (ages 9-10) – Tweens (ages 11-13) – Teens – Parents

By Blake; originally posted November 15, 2008. All images (C) Disney.

Channel Flippin’ – ‘Twitches Too’ Movie Review

October 13, 2007

‘Twitches Too’ lacks the charm of its original.

By Blake

Originally posted October 13, 2007.

Nearly everything that’s produced by the Disney Channel is successful, these days. Disney Channel pours in tons of viewers with their three main hit shows (Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and Cory in the House), and majorly promotes some young talents who go on to be way big. (Ever heard of Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake?) Even though the network attracts the attention of millions of young viewers, it seems like the shows they’re producing aren’t made with quality and effort – it seems more like they’re made with moola in mind.
So, when I sat down last week to view Twitches (a 2005 Disney Channel movie) in preparation to view the upcoming sequel and write a review of it, I was really expecting another cheesy TV production with bad acting. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when Twitches delivered a delightful fantasy suitable for the entire family (not just bee-bopping tweens) that involves strong characters, deep family relationships, and plot-turning twists.
However, the same is not to be said of its sequel, Twitches Too (which refuses to have its title grammatically correct). A choppy, low quality film, the new movie seems to be a poor attempt to further develop a franchise to a film that really didn’t need or leave room for a sequel. The original Twitches ended happily ever after with no real reason to go back to these characters. Therefore, Twitches Too is surrounded by a not-so-appealing storyline that seems choppy at times and doesn’t really get going until the last 20 minutes of the movie. Furthermore, the choppiness of the plot means that most of the movie seems like stalling (much like the episode of a TV show) until a big twist is revealed at the end. The audience feels like they’re on the wrong end of this bad-reception phone call: we get bits and pieces of what’s going on, but we don’t really know what happened until we can catch up with our caller later.
So what’s this choppy plot? Well, twin witches (“Twitches”) Alex and Carmen are living peacefully with their foster parents after recently discovering that each other existed (in the original movie), and now they discover that their magical kingdom that they happen to be princesses of isn’t so safe anymore, like we thought it was at the end of the original. The twins’ evil uncle Thantos is taking the form of a shadow and occupying unlikely suspects’ bodies to shape the personality of his victims. Another discovery has also been made: the twins’ father, who was thought-to-have died when the twins were born, may still be alive, also taking the form of a shadow. The keep their kingdom safe, the twins must say a special spell within the presence of each other during the upcoming solar eclipse. They can either choose the freeing spell, which will free their father and make him human again (if he really is alive), but will also make Thantos come back, too. Or they can choose the vanquishing spell, which will put a stop to Thantos’ evil doings once and for all, but will also banish the twins’ father forever, as well.
Although this may sound like a thorough, well-developed plot . . . it is! However, it’s not put to justice when we don’t really know all the elements of this plot until the last 20 minutes of the film. The other 70 minutes are spent with pointless diversions, such as the twins’ protectors making their wedding plans and the twins getting new boyfriends. And it certainly doesn’t help that the actress of one of the protectors is a different actress from the original (even though it’s the same character). On top of it all, we’re repeatedly shown a poorly-rendered computer-animated, “videogame-ish”-looking castle, where the twins reign as princesses.
All in all, Twitches Too had the potential to be a really great sequel. And it could have been, if it weren’t for the stalling of the plot and the delays we’re thrust along the way. Perhaps it would have worked out better as a half-hour Halloween special. If you saw the original, then by all means you’ll want to see the sequel to know what happens next. And you should, so I suggest you see the new movie. However (like several other Disney Channel productions), just because Twitches Too will attract millions of viewers; doesn’t mean it’s a quality, worth-seeing product.
How do I rank Twitches Too? (Bolded is my choice.):
  • Utterly repulsive
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Who will Twitches Too most likely please?: Kids (ages 5-8) – Older kids (ages 9-10) – Tween (ages 11-13)

By Blake; originally posted October 13, 2007. All images (C) Disney.