Archive for the ‘Disneynature’ Category

Disney Talk – Expo Excitement

September 13, 2009

Image © Disney.

Everyone from Kermit the Frog to Miley Cyrus to Captain Jack Sparrow made appearances during the Walt Disney Studios presentation at the D23 Expo.

By Blake

Originally posted September 12, 2009.

What is Disney magic? Is it endearing music? Classic characters? Famous celebrities? The promise of enchanting things to come in the future?

Whatever it is that you personally pinpoint as the source of Disney magic, there’s no denying that it’s being put to use in full force at the outstanding D23 Expo, currently taking place in Anaheim, CA. While I’m not there, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading reports from the various events taking place. Disney magic is being used so much that ALL of the above examples have already been implemented, and the convention isn’t even over yet. The Expo’s Walt Disney Studios presentation was certainly no exception.

The presentation took place yesterday, September 11, 2009, and was hosted by Dick Cook, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios.

Among the highlights of the presentation were a 20-minute medley of classic Disney songs performed by a live orchestra, a performance by Miley Cyrus of “The Climb,” and sneak peeks of upcoming Disney films. On hand to promote upcoming titles were Robert Zemeckis, director of Disney’s A Christmas Carol; John Travolta with family members Kelly Preston and Ella Bleu from Old Dogs; Tim Burton, director of Alice in Wonderland; Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Sorcerer’s Apprentice; and actor Nicholas Cage from Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Also during the presentation, Disney announced a new film label called “Disney Double Dare You.” The movies under the label will be scary family films. I’m thinking something along the lines of the film version of The Haunted Mansion? Maybe. Several new Disneynature titles were also announced.

More Disneynature films are on the way. Image © Disney.

However, to me, the real high points of reading the reports from this very special presentation were two major announcements.

Disney has been implementing a slowly-but-surely Muppet comeback for a while now. Some of this return has already begun, given the success of the Muppets’ viral YouTube videos, their Studio DC specials on Disney Channel, and last year’s Christmas special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa on NBC. There’s been lots of talk floating around about the Muppets returning to the big screen in a huge way, and yesterday Disney finally officially announced the title of this upcoming adventure in a stellar way.

How stellar? How about a cast of Muppets appearing live on a scaled-down Mark Twain riverboat?!? Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Pepe the King Prawn, and many more of their friends appeared to perform several songs, as well as announce their film’s title. The movie will be called The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made, which is quite curious considering that Jim Henson himself had batted around an identical title. I love the Muppets and am very excited to see what this new film has in store for them.

The Muppets appeared on a riverboat at the D23 Expo to announce their upcoming film, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made. Image © Disney.

The last surprise of the presentation was a quite a doozey. You might even call it swashbuckling. I would have loved to see the shocked faces of attendees as Johnny Depp appeared on stage as Captain Jack Sparrow! Depp was in-character and also was there to confirm that he would appear in The Lone Ranger as Tonto, and reprise Captain Jack in a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment. A new bit of information was announced as the film’s title was revealed – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, coming summer 2011. I personally can’t wait.

With many exciting movies to look forward to, a new film label getting started, a new Muppet film to get pumped about, and some more news about Pirates, it was quite wonderful as a Disney fan to read all of the reports from the spectacular Walt Disney Studios’ D23 Expo presentation. “Bring me that horizon.”

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted September 12, 2009. All images © Disney.

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Disney Talk – Disney Celebrates Earth Day 2009

April 20, 2009

Earth Day arrives this year for Disney with a new Schoolhouse Rock! production, a TV marathon, and a new theatrical documentary.

By Blake

Originally posted April 20, 2009.

The Walt Disney Company has a long and dedicated history of working with animals and the natural world around us. From the research done to create 1942’s Bambi to the production of the successful nature documentaries in the True-Life Adventures series that were released from 1948 – 1960 to the development of the magnificent Disney’s Animal Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Florida, Disney has been involved in numerous examples of promoting the importance of taking care of animals and the environment.

Walt Disney adored animals and was fascinated with the way they responded to situations. He believed that learning could be fun, and that people could learn a lot from observing animals and nature.

Likewise, not only does the Walt Disney Company have experience with animals, they also have a history of celebrating Earth Day. Disney’s Animal Kingdom even opened on Earth Day, 1998. To simultaneously celebrate Earth Day and the park’s birthday, there’s usually an annual selection of activities to take part in around the park on April 22 each year. These include special exhibits and appearances by Jiminy Cricket, who has become somewhat of a symbol for Disney’s efforts to protect the environment.

In 2008 on Earth Day, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a special ceremony was held that featured Walt Disney World Senior Vice President of Operations Erin Wallace, Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and conservationist Jane Goodall. It really was an impressive ceremony, and also featured a performance by the casts of some of Animal Kingdom’s shows. You can see videos and pictures from the ceremony on LaughingPlace.com. Later on in the day, Joe Rohde held a special presentation where he told the history of the park and talked about what it was like to create it.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an all-around celebration of nature. The park features the fantastic Kilimanjaro Safaris, shown here.

Also on Earth Day 2008, it was announced that the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund would become the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and a new logo for that branch of the company was created.

This year, Disney is again participating in several Earth Day events.

On March 31, two environment-themed DVD’s were released onto shelves. The first was Handy Manny: Manny’s Green Team, a compilation of the Playhouse Disney TV series Handy Manny that featured a new green-themed episode.

Handy Manny: Manny’s Green Team is now available on DVD.

The next DVD released in time for Earth Day was Schoolhouse Rock! Earth, which was also released on March 31. The DVD features new songs and was made by the original creators of the Schoolhouse Rock! TV series.

Schoolhouse Rock! Earth is now available on DVD and features new songs.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Disney Channel will have a “Protect the Planet” marathon, featuring environment-themed episodes of their shows. Nickelodeon is having a similar event, with new green episodes of iCarly and True Jackson, VP airing that night.

However, the most prestigious of the events Disney is having this Earth Day definitely would be the theatrical release of Earth, a documentary following the real-life stories of three animal families. It will be released on Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22, 2009. Narrated by James Earl Jones, the film is the kick-off of Disney’s new film company Disneynature. StitchKingdom.com points out that although Earth is the first Disneynature film to debut in North America, the real first film from Disneynature was The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, which was released last December in France. Nevertheless, Earth should be a very fascinating film.

Disneynature will be launched in North America with the release of Earth on April 22.

It should be noted that to promote Earth, Disneynature is this year’s sponsor of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World. A sand sculpture featuring animals from Earth appears in the park during the festival.

An Earth sand sculpture is seen at the 2009 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

With various green-themed DVD’s and TV episodes, as well as the release of Earth from Disneynature, this Earth Day is sure to be an exciting one for Disney. Remember to recycle and do your part to protect the environment.

Happy Earth Day!

By Blake; posted April 20, 2009. All images (C) Disney.