Jottings on fantasy and sci-fi genre, particularly Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who, contemporary classical music, celtic music and dance, progressive rock, kids shows including classic PBS and Muppets, and whatever else comes to mind. Shameless self-promotion kept to a minimum.
My take on the idea of a new Mary Poppins:
Mixed, but in the end, the comparison comes down to the script.
That is, IF you choose to compare, you are more likely doing so not because of the performances, but because of how the character is written in the script.
The nature of Hollywood and reboots is that even if the character is supposed to be the same, the script is necessarily different. You can't compare Shatner's Kirk to Pine's, because the worlds are different and they take the character, such as it is, into different directions. Unless they actually remade classic series episodes (with minor modifications for the new continuity) with this new film cast, I will never see a need to compare Shatner's and Pine's performances: I will be spending too much time contrasting Kirk and Kirk directly because in this universe, Abrams's Kirk is not MY idea of Roddenberry's Kirk: too much is different and I am not willing to reconcile.
Same with ANY film/series based on the Musketeers: the writer is going to take a subset of Dumas's original, find what they want to emphasize, throw the rest out, then add in stuff that was never in the books (because they all do), and then the characters become molded by what the plot requires. There's no reason to even begin to compare Reed's Athos (1973) with Sutherland's (1993).
Really, only by a pure remake working from an original script (that is, Shakespeare, or Broadway), do the performances actually become comparable.
From a comment I left on this post:“What Happened to the Imagination and Innovation at Epcot?”
(this basically repeats some of what I wrote in "on making memories")
Basically what did the innoventions in is the same thing that killed the studio in Disney-MGM-Holywood: corporate secrecy.
In the grand era of the Worlds Fairs that EPCOT was inspired by, corporations loved to share. They loved to make big announcements of what they had and what they were working on. Generally this was because they’d made such a large investment on it that it would be too hard for anybody else to catch up for years once they saw it, unless they paid the patent rights.
That world ended after the 1982 Worlds Fair in Knoxville. It ceased to exist…just as EPCOT needed it. Right off the bat, EPCOT was stuck in being dependent on a world that didn’t exist anymore.
What changed? Software. Software is, unlike hardware, infinitely malleable. It is also infinitely copyable, whether as stolen bits or as someone smart like me (as a programmer) looking at it and going “I can do that”…and then doing it. It is just too easy to do. Plus it also gets out of date much more quickly, too, as fads and fashions of appearances change as rapidly as performance does with every Moore’s Law generation.
So corporations had to hide their software until it was absolutely on the market, and then it was distributed so quickly that it would be in someone’s hands before a demo of it could ever be put in Communicore or Innoventions. If you didn’t hold that secrecy, a faster competitor could knock off the same thing in a matter of weeks (all the hard thinking was already done for them by the REAL inventor) who could beat them to market and potentially invalidate their patent applications for the product.
Or if you did put out the early prototype on display, the criticism of it could kill the product before it actually hit the market.
This is that same “control the message” that marketing departments have had to demand for 3 decades now…and it is why the studio was removed from DHS.
Directors shoot a LOT of footage that doesn’t make the final film. The animation story team produce a lot of ideas and drawings that don’t even get animated. When the public is allowed to see what may happen, they will produce an opinion of it that may not be what the studio actually wants them to have. Imagine if audiences saw the more bug-like Jimminy Crickets before Ward’s final, perfectly charming design? They may not have gone to the film, worrying about how “ugly” it might be. In the case of regular films, “spoilers” is the big thing, especially under today’s social media instant-leak world.
Thus, the studio lockdown: nobody sees what Disney is working on until it is ready to go, and then the marketing team carefully controls the promotions. Failure to do so can create a flop before it has even started.
And failure to control your product’s release and demos before it is ready can kill a corporation.
So yeah, in Innoventions software is the problem: it is too quickly created, too quickly released (and replaced), too quickly copied, and too quickly criticized, to really be something to show in a building that requires a 3-6 months to refurbish and re-theme…and hardware just doesn’t impress anymore.
There are times I see macro-breweries buying micros as a bit of Screwtape & Wormwood.
The macro buys the micro, but only keeps it around if, with the macro's support and finances (and marketing), the micro succeeds in actually consuming and killing competition. When it fails to do so, the Macro will simply consume (that is, destroy) it directly, and move on to another agency.
Nothing good comes of this living Hell.
The craft brewing industry is built upon respect and friendly competition, not cutthroat winner take all. Collaborations like Stone's recent projects with Sierra Nevada are only possible under these circumstances: the sum of the craft beer world is bigger than the individual breweries.
The attitude of the Macro consuming the Micro is the antithesis of this. We all achieve less as they decide it just isn't worth it and close it down...or we all become less because their marketing power (and their abuse of distribution laws and contracts) eliminates others.
Disney artists do like to clean up the masters these days, and in many cases rightfully so. But it should be noted that ANY artist that cleans up an ancient piece of work, be it a classical Greek mosaic, a Michaelangelo ceiling, a Rembrant painting, a Shakespeare text, or a Disney feature, is doing so slightly tainted by their own times and their own vision of what the work is. In striving to make it as good as it can be, it can often end up cleaner or different even from the original they claim to be striving to achieve.
Here's one brief but well known section of Fantasia, showing the 1990 cleanup (where most of the clean-up was physically on the print - the 2000 release was a digital master of this final 1990 print) vs the 2010 cleanup for the blu-ray, where most of the work was done using software. It shows there was a definite pass made through digital color correction. In fact, if I were to color-balance the 2010 in Picasa, I actually end up getting something very close to the 1990 version.
|1990 (2000)||2010 (DVD)|
While software and perhaps an old-man's memory or two might hint that the yellowish tint (which is even more pronounced on the blu-ray than the DVD) is closer to the original, there are other pieces of evidence, like the cell print on Walt's wall in many a Wonderful World of Color/Disney intro, that show the blue-gray that most of us remember is "the original".
So which is it? Are either of them right? Does it matter?
Is color-correction of the classics the next "compression war", where artists don't restore the originals so much as make them palatable for the current trend in playback technology?
Certainly I'm keeping my 2000 DVD because the extras on it weren't duplicated on the Blu-Ray, nor did we get a new documentary feature like Beauty and the Beast - in fact even the old ones weren't duplicated, but only are available as BD-Live features.
Based on Muppetology 101, from Muppet Mindset, here's the itemized summary which I think is easier to follow than reading through all those paragraphs...
John Denver Estate:
Jim Henson Company:
So Disneyland's Twitter feed started 'live-tweeting' the Dateline Disneyland show, as if it was live, but 50 years later. They kinda petered out, but I kept going while watching the DVD.
My more general "rant" inspired by recent "I have X reserved, but Y is available, should i switch?" posts regarding Walt Disney World planning...
Pardon me if I'm getting a little philosophical/abstract, perhaps even obtuse, but, well, why does it matter?
I see a *lot* of these "X vs Y" posts these days, reflecting perhaps that factor of, "I only go to WDW so many times so I want it to be *perfect*" and, well, it can get tiresome.
I just went to Disneyland, for the first time since 2009 (which then was a rushed parkhopper day of "lets get every ride that's not on the east coast, 'cause I don't know if/when I'm going back...).
I made no extensive plans. All I did for prep was to watch the "mouse wait" times the week before, which helped me decide which day was primarily DL and which was primarily DCA.
Granted, I wasn't pressured by the current WDW practice of having EVERYTHING PLANNED OUT 6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE AND I HAVE TO HAVE EVERY DETAIL DOWN INCLUDING WHICH RIDE I HAVE TO SAY I CAN'T DO, WHILE PICKING WHAT TIME OF DAY TO DO THE OTHERS, BECAUSE WDW WILL ONLY GIVE ME 3 FAST PASSES THIS FAR IN ADVANCE practice. But there-in lies the problem.
'Cause, yeah, that's what I see. WDW's current approach has actually introduced more stress than joy, particular for those who understand the limitations, and I see it in the contrast of just how easily I managed to get 5 (plus two season-pass local friends) through Disneyland, 3 of whom (incl my 3 1/2 year old) had never been to such a park before.
I wish it wasn't that way. I wish Disney could successfully project that all of the experiences they offer at WDW are equal in quality, because that is very much what we felt over those 3 days at Disneyland last month.
So to those who have that question come up, I would say take a step back.
Have you done something before? then either decide you can't go without doing it again, or embrace the new. Both are valid ideas, but the *choice* should be yours, not ours (the other followers of these Disney groups).
if you haven't? then stressing over picking X when Y *might* be better is actually going to make *neither* of them enjoyable, since the choice was always tempered by the back of the head nagging of "what if I...". Make the choice, forget that it was a choice, and enjoy the moment...and don't be afraid that by not nailing down *everything* 6 months ahead of time that there won't be anything to do on the days you left empty.
things do open up (well, unless you're a family of 7) and keeping a little spontaneity in the schedule can do wonders for leaving room for unexpected magic to happen, because it is the *UN*expected magic that is the most memorable of all.
I've kinda been busy, first with the SubFire player, then with prepping for a vacation, then finally taking said vacation in Orange County, CA (incl Discovery Cube, Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Disneyland and DCA, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, a Signing Time concert for my kid and a friend, and walking through Crystal Cove State Park (incl a Beach with interesting tide pools we don't get on the east coast).
So, watch the photo blog, 'cause lots of pics are coming in the next few weeks.
Plus here I may recap my thoughts on Disneyland.
Ok, everybody remember 9/11? Of course you do. You also all remember so many of the false stories that the radio stations and sometimes the TV were telling until we all calmed down a little and got to focus on our thoughts (well, until buildings 5 and 7 fell, which kinda shook us all up again).
One example: there were explosions at the state department (false). There were explosions at the capital (false). There were military planes chasing civilian airliners (mostly false). There were military planes shooting at other civilian planes (false). Lots of these little rumors, all called in to the radio stations or reported on the internet (for those of us who had connectivity in that day of ultra over-load). All false.
One of the problems we had, partly due to that internet overload, is that of those rumors still being posted even after they'd long since been discredited. The caches of the news reports, or copies of them, kept getting passed around, or links to the original page continued to be spread around after the news sources had made a new page for the updated information. The old info, out of date and known to be wrong, was still on their site.
The news media took to handling that situation by basically making a master page for the news story, which they would then update and edit as if it was a wikipedia page. Any time you clicked it, it would be the most up to date version possible. This is a reasonable solution.
It is not a solution Facebook is expecting. Facebook's "OpenGraph" system basically caches an image, headline, and summary on the page as soon as somebody shares it with the system. Any one of those 3 items may change later on the actual news page, but Facebook continues to show the original summary which is full of false information, or the original headline which is very leading, subjective, and possibly not even true. All because it has cached that as being the headline for the url.
This is happening today.
Right now, the WTOP story on the DC and Southern Maryland blackout is a rather mild take on a "problem with a transmission line", belonging to PEPCO. But if you were to try to share the URL, the original headline and summary, that there was an explosion in a St. Mary's transmission station belonging to SMECO, is what gets displayed. Lots of false information, but Facebook won't correct it. This is a problem, because someday there WILL be something serious, something full of false headlines and false stories, and people's reliance on links in facebook is going to make things worse, not better.
Facebook needs to solve this problem. And soon.
Since the December holidays, I've been writing an app, SubFire, which has sucked up my spare time, but in a good way. SubFire is a client for the open-source media streamer, Subsonic, that is entirely html5 based. Being so, it can play on a variety of platforms. I originally wrote it for the Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick (which didn't have such a client yet), but it is also available as a Chrome app for the browser and ChromeBooks, and as a straight html5 page that can be played on just about any browser today (note: I've not tried IE nor Opera).
This has given me a fantastic outlet for all the experiences I've gained in the last 20 years (and most especially, the last 4), in thinking about design, layout, responsiveness, and structure...and customer relations and agile feature and bug tracking :). While I wouldn't call the code or architecture perfect or ideal, it has given me lots of insight on how to approach things in the future.
The other thing it has done has been to make my music more personal to me. One of the drawbacks of living in the cloud is that eventually all clouds kinda become the same. There's a sense of detachment that grows when one just fires up somebody else's app to listen to your music that's 20 miles (or more) away from you. Carrying mp3s on an ipod still made it feel like it was yours. Carrying a passport drive to the office machine still felt that way. But tapping into some other app to listen off the cloud and it starts to feel...different. So in making a personalized app that does what I want, I've re-personalized my music for me.
After this is 1.0'ed and out the door, I'm taking a vacation to California so expect new photos from Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Disneyland, Newport Beach, and more.