31 May 2007

Shrek 5? Now This is Just Getting Silly - Or Should I Say LESS Silly

From TheAge.com

Let's start with the Shrek series - after all, it's the franchise that saved DreamWorks SKG, the company Katzenberg co-founded 13 years ago with director Steven Spielberg and music mogul David Geffen. It also provided Katzenberg with a huge sense of personal vindication after he was sacked from the Disney Corporation by studio boss Michael Eisner in 1994.

But today Katzenberg would rather celebrate his own good luck than gloat. "They (the Shrek films) defined us as a company in terms of what a DreamWorks Animated movie is and can be and should be, so they really helped us find ourselves. That first Shrek saved the company financially. We're here today because of it. It's been a great blessing. I refer to it as the gift that keeps on giving."

The fourth Shrek instalment is in train, scheduled for release in 2010. The fifth, he says, will be the last. "It's a finite story, has been from the beginning and I think that's part of its integrity, part of its strength, that we're not thinking this up as we go," he says. "Ultimately we will come back to understand how Shrek arrived in that swamp. We will reveal his story."

While the animation in the new Shrek is extraordinary, and the film has retained much of its charm and humour, some reviewers have noted the sparkle is gone. The Hollywood Reporter thought "much of the bite and a good deal of the wit of the first two films are missing here . . . DreamWorks Animation has clearly gone to the well one time too many in Shrek the Third."

Worse, it went on, the green ogre's "manners and disposition have improved to the point (where) he is threatened by middle-class respectability".

Is it too much to expect the third to have the explosive quality of the first? "Of course it is," says Katzenberg. "That's a criticism that has been made, but . . . it has almost no validity to it. How is it possible that the third could have that level of surprise?"

20 Moments of Simpsons Ingenuity (5-1)

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this countdown offered up the following creative mix ups.

20 - Simpsons Bible Stories - Season 10
19 - 'Round Springfield - Season 6
18 - Springfield Up - Season 18
17 - The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase - Season 8
16 - The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular - Season 7
15 - Flaming Moe's - Season 3
14 - Treehouse of Horror VI - Season 7
13 - Who Shot Mr. Burns? - Seasons 6 and 7
12 - Lisa's Wedding - Season 6
11 - Bart vs. Australia - Season 6
10 - Bart of Darkness - Season 6
9 - A Streetcar Named Marge - Season 4
8 - Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire - Season 1
7 - 24 Minutes - Season 18
6 - The Way We Was - Season 2

Now the moment you have been waiting for. I give you THE TOP 5.

5 - The Seemingly Never-Ending Story - Season 17

This recursive tale is a FILO (First In Last Out) queue lovers dream. The episode unfolds as a series of stories within stories. In the episode, Lisa tells a story about Burns, in the story, Burns tells a story about Moe which contains a story about Miss Krabappel. After Burns tale concludes, a sheep busts in with a story of his own. At the conclusion of the show, we realize that the whole episode was a tale by Bart. One of the most original story structures earns this episode a spot in the top 5.

4 - Behind the Laughter - Season 11

Inspired by VH1's Behind the Music series, this episode offered a look behind the scenes of the Simpsons series where each of the characters are just actors on the show... well actually, the Simpsons are really a family, but the show is scripted. Not only does the show deliver an excellent parody of Behind the Music (complete with commercial break teases), the episode also creates an alternate reality for the family where they experienced their own arrival as a cultural phenomenon.

3 - Trilogy of Error - Season 12

This episode is supposedly a parody of Run Lola Run. I have seen that short film, and I am not sure parody is the right word, perhaps inspired by is a better description. Lola gives three branching scenarios of the same story, and Trilogy of Error gives three perspectives on a single set of events. Its kind of a The Sound and the Fury for dummies. I guess this description so far is not too flattering, so let me explain the genius behind the episode. Each act break follows one of Bart, Homer, and Lisa through the day and a series of events. During each act, the characters paths cross, but you only see the one's perspective. Its only when you see all three acts that you can piece together the complete story. Brilliant.

2 - Treehouse of Horror - Season 2

The premise is simple enough. Put the Simpsons characters in three scary tales set out of continuity with supernatural elements. This simple idea has spawned a highly anticipated yearly tradition. Not only was this the beginning of the the Treehouse episodes, but the James Earl Jones narrated segment of The Raven is one of the all time great Simpsons tales. While the formula, like all overused formulas has become a bit stale after 17 outings, this format has provided a way for marvelous Simpsonified takes of The Shining, Classic Twilight Zone episodes: It's a Good Life and Nightmare at 20,000 feet, A Ray Bradbury short story A Sound of Thunder, and Clockstoppers as well as a political tale of Clinton vs Dole and the story of Homer selling his soul for a donut.

1 - 22 Short Films About Springfield - Season 7

Topping the list is this episode which offers glimpses of the lesser knows in Springfield through hilarious vignettes. Each story is loosely transitioned to the next through clever crossover characters. Unless I am mistaken, there are actually only 20 short films, but who's counting. My favorite of these short stories are Bumblebee Man's bad day, a discussion about what they call a Krusty Burger with Cheese in Shelbyville, and Skinner's explanation of his family recipe for grilled "steamed hams." The pace of the episode never slows up, and even without much of a plot, this episode's looks at the supporting cast of the show reveals that Springfield really is an interesting place to live.

29 May 2007

Tease Me Mr J.

Another tease of the Joker was found in USA Today.

And another tiny glimpse here:

Take a Peak at some NEW Star Wars

The Clone Wars Animated Series is what the prequel trilogy should have been. Now a new Clone Wars animated series is in the works. What do you think:

Never Plunder-Estimate a Pirate

Well, looks like I may have overestimated the power of Pirates 3, but at least I didn't offend them pirates by bidding too low. As predicted, Spider-Man 3 opening record held and At Worlds End took the Memorial Day Weekend crown. It remains to be seen if Pirates 3's sea legs will get it past the web-head.

Also notable, Shrek the Third busted through the $200 million mark, and Spidey 3 wall crawled to over $300 mil.

Current Rankings:

#5 Georgia Rule - $16,805,000 (-.-%)*
#4 28 Weeks Later - $24,421,000 (-.-%)*
#3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $156,055,000 (39.5%)*
#2 Shrek the Third - $219,424,000 (67.4%)*
#1 Spider-Man 3 - $307,642,000 (80.7%)*

*Percentages earned relative to my predictions

My Predictions:

#9 Evan Almighty - $170,000,000
#8 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $175,000,000
#7 The Bourne Ultimatum - $185,000,000
#6 Transformers - $205,000,000
#5 Ratatouille - $260,000,000
#4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $275,000,000
#3 Shrek the Third - $325,000,000
#2 Spider-Man 3 - $380,000,000
#1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $395,000,000

Ink Blots LXVI - The Rescuers Down Under

Sorry for the slow posting as of late, I am in between ISPs. Bear with me. :) Now, onto the show.

Few people remember that sandwiched between the two favs The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast was Disney's first animated sequel - The Rescuers Down Under. 13 years after the original Rescuers, looking for a hit to ease the wait for Beauty and the Beast, Disney went back to the Rescuers well. The original had performed fairly well with a $29 million take in 1977. Down Under was not as big a hit earning only $28 million (1/3 of mermaids take a year earlier).

The film boasts nice animation including a Miyazakiesque flying sequence. As for plot, Down Under has pretty much the same story as the original Rescuers. Overall, I probably slightly prefer this sequel to the first. It has has brighter colors and a fresher villain pair (Joanna the lizard and the poacher) that is just a Cruella knock off. John Candy was one of the more memorable characters as the funny Wilbur the seagull.

I cant imagine people being too passionate about the Rescuers characters or movies, or them being someone's favorite Disney films. Still this one is ok, worth a B-.