I realize it’s been unusually quiet around here lately, and it’s likely to stay that way (mostly) until the D23 Expo next month. Tickets for the Expo, by the way, are still available; details about its offerings are still firming up but it looks to be a good time.
I wanted to get in a plug for our not-quite-Spring Cleaning auctions; we’ve put a slew of things up for sale, so what better way to spend your weekend than spending money – on me! Be sure and scroll down – there’s more for sale than just a billion Disney Newseseses. We have hard-to-find EPCOT info, Countdown to Extinction rovers, and Song of the South… on VHS… from England. Something for everyone (and by everyone, I mean hard-core nerds. Like, pretty much just me).
And my third plug comes on behalf of something that (to my mind) is only tangentially Disney, but still… I want to encourage any fellow nerds like myself to be sure and check out Captain America in the theater this weekend. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s an amazingly good time, and as (thank heavens!) a period piece, it feels just like the offspring of Indiana Jones and The Rocketeer. Unsurprising, since director Joe Johnston had a hand in the creation of both those prior films.
It’s ironic that this is not a Disney-produced or released film, since it feels exactly like the kind of summer “franchise” film Disney should be releasing. Big ideas, slick execution, an able crew, and a slate of talented and appealing on-screen talent. In fact, this was just the recipe they used back in Walt’s day to make all those classic live-action films; after all, what were The Absent-Minded Professor, The Shaggy Dog, or The Parent Trap but a high concept, good script, excellent production values, and a welcome cast of Hollywood character actors? Not that it’s super-easy to pull off, but it is a recipe for success.
What producer Kevin Feige and his crew at Marvel have done is nothing short of extraordinary, regardless of your opinion of summer blockbusters or superhero films. They have created an entire film universe from whole cloth, scripting movies that are self-contained entities but weave in threads connecting to a larger mythical world that have laid the groundwork for a series of franchise-spanning crossovers simply through the clever use of post-credit stingers. For as much as the Disney studio chiefs obsess over “the franchise” – how to create them and sustain them – Marvel has been doing it for years, and successfully. Of course it doesn’t hurt that these movies aren’t simple cash-ins; Marvel producers have done a great job matching talented directors to their properties (Jon Favreau to Iron Man, Kenneth Branagh to Thor, Joe Johnston to Captain America) and treating the films with respect (which sounds funny when you’re essentially talking about comic book films, but the fans can tell). And regardless of your opinion of blockbusters, I can guarantee that a lot more thought and love went into the creation of Iron Man than Rich Ross’s attempt at a franchise starter, Prom.
So those are my promotional spiels for the weekend. I’ll be back before the Expo with a few things of interest…