Writer's Block: Say goodbye to Kansas, Dorothy

If you woke up surrounded by doctors who told you that you'd been in a medical experiment since birth and that your entire life had been a dream, how do you think you'd react?

I'd be a bit pissed. I mean over 30 years of memory nonexistent in the "real world"? Put me back under. lol

But then as with about all things in life, I'll most likely make do. I don't intend to be the sad woman from Inception.

Of course with all the things I've experienced, I can't help thinking it's very unlikely the doctors are telling the truth. I may be risking gaining actual asylum but I'd do some digging into the facts and see why this happened.

I've led a good life, so I have no wish for a "second chance" per se. I won't hold on to my old life like a security blanket. But I also won't be led by the nose either. If I'm to be in a new world, I'd like to see what happened to the old. Don't just tell me I'm part of some experiment. You'd better have video recordings as proof, or I'll go find some.

So in short, I won't overly obsess but if things look fishy I won't just lie down for it. You doctors owe me a life. Make good on what you claim.

Captain EO: Encore Overdue

note: This blog is set in 2/23/2010, re-opening day...

Speaking of 2 great tastes that go well together, how about 3? Namely: Coppola, Lucas, and Jackson.

I got the surprising good news of the century (to me) when I heard Captain EO will be gracing the terraces of Tomorrowland once more for a limited engagement in 2010, starting today.

I don't know the significance of 2/23/2010 but I do know the significance of the star. Michael Jackson passed away last year to a stream of tears from a whole generation of music lovers, leaving a legacy hard to beat by any other pop singer or rock star. Calling the return of Captain EO a Tribute is thus fitting but not the only important note.

Captain EO is also one of Disney's first 3D films that not only displays the prowess of 3D cinematography but also 3D as a standalone piece of cinema itself. Whereas before, stereoscopic-enabled films were saved for the documentaries full of majestic scenery; with EO, the medium literally rocketed into the realm of sci-fi entertainment. Imagination instead of documentation. Stirring orchestration instead of ambient melodies.

And who better to usher in this new era than the king of drama Francis Ford Coppola, the king of star battles George Lucas, and the king of pop Michael Jackson?

I remember being awestruck seeing the preshow movie for the first time. The details considered, the choreography involved, and the set pieces and costumes needed to be made. You could see the energy infused in each of the creators attached to this film-turned-phenomenon. And the last few sequences hinting at the actual scenes just make you salivate even more for the full experience. It might very well be the piece that got me hooked on behind the scenes material in DVDs. ;)

The character and set designs were a page from Lucas' Star Wars saga yet the humor and the humanity struck a chord all its own. The ragtag band of bumbling interstellar bards, bringing beauty to the galaxy through their transformative music, is just an engaging premise that deserved a film such as this.

Before such movie attractions as Shrek 4D, Captain EO had already achieved this level of 4th-wall-shattering reality by having various physical set pieces in its auditorium. From lasers to mist to even a large spotlight these little touches had brought the film to life.

Hold on to your butts!For the revival, though many of these set pieces had been replaced by Honey, I Shrunk the Audience mechanics, that doesn't mean the effects themselves had been diminished. The sound quality has been vastly improved. And the film literally took the floor as the moving floor of the theater now rocks to the beat of the dance numbers and quivers with the drives of the spaceship engines, bringing a whole new level to the experience.

I cheered with the crowd. Stomped my foot to the beat. Tried to poke Fuzzball as many times as I could and grabbed for the asteroid which exploded in my face. The Supreme Leader is still fittingly scary with her pale horned face and nasty claws. And the magic is still there.

It was one of the most satisfying lunch breaks I've had in a while. Thanks, Disney, for bringing back a classic attraction that definitely deserves an encore.

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Salvador Dali and Walt Disney, a mix most might not think of, yet in a way is like peanut butter and chocolate: Two great tastes that work well together. Dali's artistic sensibilities are stylishly compatible with Disney's imagination and in the hand of the Disney animators, this collaborative vision called Destino is brought to surrealistic life.

Originally conceived in the 1940s by Dali and Disney with music written by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez, Destino unfortunately was shelved due to Disney Studio's financial hardships during World War II. But Roy E Disney, Walt's devoted nephew who brought us Fantasia 2000 rediscovered the piece and brought it back to studio consciousness.

Public consciousness, however, remained elusive with only a cameo in Fantasia 2000 as a rejected concept piece (hosted by Bette Midler). Understandably, the cameo wasn't flattering but the short itself still surfaced in limited release on the festival circuit in 2003 and earned critical acclaim. And has been floating around making spot appearances ever since.

It's latest appearance happened to be with the very film that it was originally intended for. El Capitan Theater in Hollywood (owned by Disney, in case you're wondering) is celebrating Fantasia 2000's tenth anniversary with a limited theatrical release with a pre-show presentation spotlighting... guess... Destino.

My first and lasting impression was wonderment as I saw the calligraphic writing of Dali and Disney's names written on screen, fading out to the sandy canvas, then a white expanse with a translucent feminine figure striding towards me.

Salvador Dali's imaginative imagery takes control as we see the woman's journey to the statue she initially walked up to, dodging cyclopean green tentacles by shedding diaphanous gown to fall free hermit-crab-like in a seashell. Then there's the infamous baseball scene mentioned in Fantasia 2000 as the statue comes to life releasing a man who tries to reach the woman eventually by baseball bat-driven homerun to the heart.

Those last few minutes were actually finished work from the '40s as a test sequence pitch for Disney to reconsider the cancellation. It ended up the subject of Bette Midler's comment "baseball as a metaphor for life". Which in a way it might be, just not as wide-scoped as the statement implies.

I loved this piece. The artwork and animation has such a classic feel, as if lifted from the 40s to the here and now. The music was stirring and indeed evoked the heartbreak and hope of reunion of the two lovers. Disney's Paris studio - who helmed the completion of this piece - did a remarkable job of melding the styles and deciphering the storyboards to present a artistic and yet still engaging love story that I think both Dali and Disney fans would be proud of.

But that's just me. Make your own opinion with your own Dali-ance. ;)


According to Wikipedia, there is talk of a video release in 2010. Exactly when and in what is still debatable but here's hoping. In the meantime, enjoy the YouTubed preview copy. :)

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UPDATE: I just saw a sneak preview for a new Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 release that would include a bonus disc of "Fantasia World" shorts which I believe may include the Fantasia 2006-to-be shorts like Destino. Let's hope. ;)

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Just heard about Michael Jackson's death.

Our family grew up on Michael Jackson music. My mother was a big fan of Jackson among others and I in turn adopted many Jackson songs into my "favorites" list. ;)

Who hasn't tried to moonwalk in the 80s? Or become used to that signature whoop of his in many of his songs?

To hear the passing of Michael Jackson, I realize why I felt such incredulity. It's like losing a part of my childhood.

Because of his pop culture feel, I think it hit me more than the passing of the voice of Mickey. Mickey's voice can be replaced, as harsh as it may sound sometimes. But the persona that is Michael Jackson is unique.

Like with Elvis, I'm sure there are and will be many impersonators, but there can only be one true Michael.

RIP Michael Jackson, you left quite a legacy. You will not be forgotten. :)

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For those who can wax nostalgic about old 80s toys, be amused or even horrified at what EW suggests to rival toy-based movie fare Transformers and GI Joe. ;>

I especially dig Simon Says and MASK.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

WARNING: Since there's so many details that would be counted as spoilers, this review should not be counted as a decision maker but more of a opinion sharer. Unless you don't care about spoilers, please do not read this until you've watched the film. :)

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So after seeing this sequel, I conclude I'd love to see it again just for kicks but unless the filmmakers clean up their act a bit by providing tighter plot and better focus of the Transformers themselves, I might just skip Transformers 3.