The Dinglehopper

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Hearts Going Boom Boom Boom for the New Finding Dory Trailer

Disney Pixar released a brand new Finding Dory trailer this week on, appropriately enough, The Ellen Show. This is the first new animation we’ve seen since early November. That was a sort of quiet anticipatory intake of breath. This, though, is the smile on one’s face after cheering.

The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Finding Dory Poster

This is definitely a sequel, okay. There are three migrating species in the trailer alone. We reprise the worlds apart banter between Marlin and Crush. And we meet a new character, Destiny, for whom Dory’s signature trait is a gift rather than a burden. Which is honestly fantastic. When we saw the first teaser I wrote:

Frozen explained agape. Cars articulated wisdom. And Finding Nemo demonstrated persistence. Emotional vocabulary stuff that’s stickier for younglings than Inside Out.

And I couldn’t be happier that beyond the theme of family driving the trailer, those struggles are foregrounded and celebrated. It’s one thing to impart your values to your children. It’s another entirely to see them reified and reinforced in their favorite fictions.

I’ve come around to the notion that the additional characters and broadened contexts of the Pixar sequels are almost always vast improvements. The first installments are often sweet and powerful, but the expansions wrap up more stuff in a more engaging story. It can look crass to adults, but for kids the take home is much more significant.


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Ranking Disney’s Young Han Solo Shortlist

Who’s scruffy-looking? Apparently about a dozen dark, handsome potential nerf-herders comprise the shortlist to play the young scoundrel in the upcoming Han Solo-focused spinoff film. Variety reported eight names, and I will herein give them choice ranking from least desirable in the role to most.


Logan Lerman Star Wars8.  Logan Lerman. Are you kidding me? Percy Jackson? No. This kid belongs in a boy band, not on the Millenium Falcon. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

 

 


Dave Franco Star Wars7.  Dave Franco. I dunno. He’s a pretty boy. Too pretty. Like he literally has no scruffiness. It’s also not working in his favor that I’ve only seen him do comedy. And that when I look at him, I see “Baby James Franco.” I will have a hard time accepting him as my freighter-piloting smuggler for these reasons, and he gets the second to last spot.

 


Teller Star Wars6.  Miles Teller. Teller has the acting chops, and he’s played characters who get by on their charisma and improvisational conning, notably in The Spectacular Now. That said, there’s something too boyish about him. I have a hard time imagining him as a young Han.

 

 


Jack Reynor Star Wars

5.  Jack Reynor. Pro: played Malcolm in the recent film version of Macbeth, so must have some talent, also: Irish. Con: acted in a Transformers movie. Unsure: Looks like Chris Pratt and Nathan Fillion’s lovechild. His face is a bit too round and open, so I wonder if he has any scruff beyond that facial hair. But he’s got the exact right mouth.

 


Emory Cohen Star Wars4.  Emory Cohen. He’s been in some heavy-hitting indie films, suggesting he’s got some acting talent. But what really sells Cohen as a decent choice is the smirk. This is a Han Solo smirk, and I can stand behind it even if the rest of his face isn’t a perfect match. But can he set his face and point intently to show he’s really serious? Hopefully Disney will test that in auditions.

 


Scott Eastwood Star Wars3.  Scott Eastwood. Sometimes it’s hard to not look at Scott and just see his dad. But he’s honestly the manliest. The rest of these guys look like babies. Eastwood has the rugged face of an outsider, a guy who rides at his own discretion, in short, a cowboy. And so I could see him as our beloved space cowboy pretty easily. The cock-eyed grin definitely works.

 


Ansel Elgort Star Wars2.  Ansel Elgort. Less proven of an actor, but he’s got the eyes, the brow, and the nose. Oh, and the hair. Grow that wave mane out to be shaggier in the back, and this choice has a huge chunk of what would be required. He’s also tall, so standing next to Chewbacca won’t dwarf-size him.

 

 


blake-jenner-bio-photo1.  Blake Jenner. Um, holy crap. I have never seen this guy before in my life (cut me some slack, I’m well over 30-years old), but one look and I can see he’s perfect. He has the hair, the jaw, the eyes, the nose, the coloring, the smirk. He looks straight out of the 70’s, which is a huge bonus. And he’s sexy. I won’t hold his involvement with Glee against him–instead, I’ll look forward to his upcoming guest star on Supergirl. Disney, don’t be stupid. This is the guy.


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Finding Dory: Revisiting the Sequel Solution

It’s been more than a year since I turned in my disaffected cynic card and posted “Monsters University and the Sequel Solution.” It was a short review and comparison with the original. I ceded my critical perspective, at least with regard to children’s fare, to our toddler, gave it eleven thumbs up and allowed that it was superior in almost every respect. Because actually whatever.

So here’s the thing. Cars 2 is supposed to be a bust. They took everything that was endearing out and overlaid a spy plot, or so I hear. I bet it’s awesome. Our toddler’s favorite characters vroomin’ more often.

Flash forward to today. We own Cars 2 and it’s at least as good as the first one. That’s all. So when this bombshell dropped last month, I threw my arms up in fiero.

Disney Pixar Release Schedule

But not just because of Cars 3Finding Nemo was more than a decade old when we watched it. It’s  scary and intricate and basically nonstop action. And it’s unforgettable. Frozen explained agape. Cars articulated wisdom. And Finding Nemo demonstrated persistence. Emotional vocabulary stuff that’s stickier for younglings than Inside Out.

So we get two major sequels. Major for our family anyway. Sequels that can be shared with a younger sibling. I apologize for being part of the supposed problem, I guess.

Even knowing it was on the slate, I could barely believe it when the Finding Dory trailer dropped. I had been a dead rumor for so long.

There’s hardly anything to it. Nemo, Marlin, Dory. Their house. Oh, no! Dory’s getting away. Our preschooler doesn’t need much more than that. So, y’know, good job. Thank you. We’ll be there.


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Star Wars Saturday: Invasion Los Angeles

Here’s another example of why Star Wars fans kinda rule.invasionla

Kaipo Jones, today’s shining example of Star Wars fandom’s awesomeness, created a short film depicting the Empire attacking Los Angeles. It’s pretty amazing what Jones was able to pull off in terms of believable special effects. But it’s clear Jones is a detail-oriented artist and fan. I loved the light blue, orbiting Death Star. But the sound effects are what make it feel truly Star Wars–make sure your speakers are turned up.

Jones riddled the video with so many references, there’s also an accompanying easter eggs video to invite viewers on the mostly Disney-oriented scavenger hunt. To get a list of them, click through to the YouTube comments.

Jones also created a behind-the-scenes video to show how he created it. What a guy!


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Frozen Friday: The Snow Settles

Do you want to build a franchise? A couple months ago we shared some of the details of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against Disney over the structure and content of the first Frozen teaser. You know, the one with the wacky snowman and the reindeer racing to retrieve a carrot on a frozen lake? Wasn’t in the movie. Kind of gave the wrong impression.

It was also apparently modeled after an animated short by Kelly Wilson and Neil Wrischnik called, simply, “The Snowman.” Disney made two attempts to have the case thrown out, but could not persuade the court.

Wilson v Disney 1

“[T]he sequence of events in both works, from start to finish, is too parallel to conclude that no reasonable juror could find the works substantially similar.”

Wilson v Disney 2

 

The case was scheduled to go to trial in October. However, Wednesday saw the end of 3:14-cv-01441 Wilson v. Walt Disney Company. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria signed an order dismissing the case without prejudice because the parties had reached a settlement. We’d love to know what the details were, but not sharing them is typically part of such settlements.

We can assume the case was strong enough to encourage the conglomerate to settle, though. And that getting this out of the way was a prerequisite for moving forward with the sequel. Here’s hoping both parties walked away satisfied.


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Star Wars Saturday: Marvel Star Wars #1 Director’s Cut Dismissed and Dismayed

star_wars_1_directors_cut_coverLook, I know it’s no new thing to be indignant in the face of outrageous commercialism. And while the initial idea for Star Wars might have been a noble undertaking to create a new mythology for a contemporary age, the purity of that was corrupted with George Lucas’ first licensing with Kenner. And on top of that, Lucasfilm and now Disney have been packaging and repackaging the films for decades. The only upside I can see to the endless commercialism of the Star Wars franchise is that sooner or later Disney will offer us the original cuts of the films on blu-ray, because we will buy it, and it will make them boatloads of money.

But, really, why was I surprised when I was checking the list of comics coming out this past week and saw Star Wars #1 Director’s Cut on this list? A director’s cut of a comic book? I think they’ve got their mediums crossed back at Marvel. Sure, popular comics will go into reprint in subsequent weeks following their original release to meet continued demand, but this was something more. And it’s priced at $1 more too. Was this really a thing now? Were they trying to make it a thing?

$5.99 rather than $4.99 gets you the full comic PLUS original script pages and early artwork designs. Okay. So, first of all, this isn’t a “director’s cut” which implies added or changed scenes to the narrative. Instead, this is a blu-ray with special features. I can only assume the editors at Marvel have heard of an analogy, so I’m not sure why I need to tell them this.

These are extras. Behind-the-scenes stuff. Now, let me first point out that plenty of comics give these extras away as part of the original printing. Issue #1 of Bitch Planet had test sketches for Penny and Kamau in the final pages. And many more comics print these special features in their trade paperbacks. Similar test sketches for the new costuming of Batgirl are in the back of the Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside TPB. I can only imagine that some of these extras will be in the first Star Wars TPB.

So why am I surprised that Marvel/Disney is just milking their fandom for more rupees? I’m not. I am, however, dismayed even though I’ve been confronted with it in this particular fandom more than any other I’ve been party to.

Are the script pages by Jason Aaron insightful? Are the early sketches by my beloved John Cassaday illuminating? I don’t know. Marvel won’t be getting this particular $5.99 from me.

 


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Frozen Friday: Little Big Arendelle

Frozen Little Big Planet

This is breaking news, but it was news to me. We used to be avid, even hardcore, gamers. Like, we’d spend time between progression raids enjoying console titles. At the recommendation of some good friends, we checked out Little Big Planet and had a lot of fun. Like a lot of folks, we were enthralled by the costuming content as much as the gameplay.

So when I saw that Sony and Disney had released a Frozen-themed pack for Little Big Planet 3, I felt a tug on my heart. We’re calling this a hiatus. The period where our toddler’s motor skills and attention span develop to the point where we can all sit down and play together.

The character costumes – Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Sven – can be purchased separately or together with a bonus Olaf costume. So get that one. The Winter Creator Kit that allows you to recreate your favorite locations in Arendelle is a free download.

Frozen LBP shot