Monthly Archives: October 2012

The last four years have been torture.  Studios have been attempting to pump out film versions of characters completely unsuitable for the big screen.  First it was Speed Racer, then Yogi Bear, and we can’t forget the forgettable Smurfs.

Now, Sony Animation is feeling Popeye needs to be brought to the big screen, this time in animation (Robin Williams starred in 1980’s awful live-action film Popeye).  There are few circumstances under which I will accept Sony’s Popeye.  Either, a), Genndy Tartakovsky, the appointed director, brings back, from the original 1930’s comics, Hamgravy, Castor Oyl, the Sea Hag, King Blozo, etc., or b) this movie doesn’t get made.

I hate to be so critical of this Tartakovsky project, because in terms of pure entertaiment, Dexter’s Laboratory has always been one of my favorites, but I can’t take any more of these reboots.  Ever since Fantagraphics released the original E.C. Segar comics in six book-form volumes, I’ve become a dedicated  Popeye comic-strip fan.  Segar’s original comics were the greatest adventure stories ever written.  I’d go so far as to say they were the first true superhero stories.  He took on every setting from the old west to foreign countries, and even stretched his stories into the boxing ring on Sundays.  True comic fans also know that Popeye actually rarely ate spinach, and only took on Bluto but a few times in print.

The problem with a Popeye film is the roots upon which the writers will draw.  He was a cartoon genius, but Max Fleischer’s Popeye is not E.C. Segar’s Popeye.  It’s like comparing McDonald’s and Wendy’s: they’re selling the same product, but one is just so much better than the other.  I would feel reassured if I knew Tartakovsky would base his Popeye off of Segar’s, but that just will not happen.  In an interview with Fred Topel of Crave Online, Tartakovksy stated, “You don’t want to put Popeye in a baseball hat and sunglasses and gym shoes, but at the same time he can’t be a pipe smoking sailor.”  I guess that’s reassuring that we won’t be seeing Popeye in “a baseball hat and sunglasses and gym shoes,” but that honestly should be a given.  The problem I have is that in the second part of that quote, he indicates that Popeye will have to lose his iconic pipe.  The pipe in both Segar’s comics and Fleischer’s cartoons was an absolute must.  It is as much a part of Popeye as his one eye or his over-inflated forearms!

It’s the loss of things like his pipe that reveals to me there will be no Hamgravy, no King Blozo, and no Sea Hag.  We’ll just end up seeing a rehash of the Fleischer spinach-eating, Bluto beating, mumbling Popeye.  And if Tartakovsky strays even from that, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold down lunch.  My advice: Skip the movie ticket and buy a Popeye Fantagraphic Collection book instead.

As a 16 year old boy, I’m really not supposed to have this stuff.  Some call it an unhealthy habit, some call it an obsession, and some may even call it a sin.  I think the best solution to a problem though is an admission that you have it.  Well, it’s about time I get this confession off my chest.  It’s true…I participate in Disneyana, the collecting, trading, and selling of Disney memorabilia among fellow Disneyaniacs.  It seems that this past-time is reserved more for older, even retired, adults.  Maybe it started when I was 10, or maybe it started when my parents began to indoctrinate me with the gospel of Disney before I could speak.  Whenever it started, that passion sure hasn’t died, and my cluttered, filled room can attest to that.  And so, in order to document the organization of my Disney collection, I will periodically post some of the more interesting items I find.

Today, our theme is….GUIDEMAPS!  Maybe not the most thrilling items to catalogue, but certainly a trademark of Disney parks.  (Plus, I have to start somewhere, right?)

A layout of my park guide-maps collection.  As you can see, our family really enjoys Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Quite honestly, park-maps, time-guides, and schedules are one of my favorite parts of the Disney experience.  Using the maps is actually vital in transporting you fully into that Disney element in the parks.

A special Disneyland map. The illustrations are incredibly detailed, and plenty of gags are hidden within the drawings. In addition, each attraction is decorated with either its corresponding characters.

Not only are the maps great in guidance, but I personally also find it fun to compare and contrast them all when I return from the resorts.  I admit it, that is a habit unique to a Disney Geek.  Outside Disney Geeks, it’s just a weird habit.  However, map comparisons are great.  The best changes can be seen over just a few maps.  And of course, one map must always win out over the others.

It doesn’t get much cooler than what’s been happening in the Magic Kingdom. Over four visits, Disney has changed their maps in the old toontown/New Fantastyland sections from toontown itself to empty space, and finally to two different Fantasyland advertisements. The cool thing is the top two change in their fonts. Now all I need is to return to the Kingdom to get a map with the new additions.

Another great comparison is between Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. How people confuse the two is just unbelievable to me.

The changing covers on the guidemaps are always a highlight. Disney Geeks often look forward to the new map covers upon arrival (at least I do).  I’ll have to find the old MGM guidemaps I have laying around somewhere.  A comparison of HS and MGM map styles would obviously be incredible.

So I leave you with this.  Next time in you find yourself in a park, pick up a map.  Take a seat on one of the benches nearby, and look over it.  Not only is it important to gain your bearings in an often hectic place like a Disney park, but these maps are unmatched.  No other park produces such great guidemaps.  If you look hard enough, you may even find a hidden-mickey inside the Hollywood Studios map, but I’ll save that for another day.  Just make sure you pick up maps in moderation.  I’ve learned this the hard way.

You don’t want to pack your suitcase with maps equal in thickness to a physics book.

And so there you have it: a first look into the life of a Disney addict.  Call us what you will, Disneyaniacs, freaks, weirdos, I’d probably agree with it all.  But hopefully, a little Dis-Ventory now and again will help me release some of this crazy obsession.

(Please excuse the grainy quality of the pictures.  Currently, the normal camera is off on a trip with a few family members in Mexico).

In the past few months, Disney has been releasing various short teasers and a few full length trailers for the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph, a movie that should prove to be interesting and very different from what the company has traditionally known for.  Today however, two new marketing tactics for this and next summer’s Monster’s University came to my attention.  For Ralph, Disney has released a fake commercial taking place in 1982 for the fictional Litwak’s Arcade featuring the original “Fix-It Felix, Jr. game.  Similarly, Disney/Pixar’s Monster’s University launched a detailed, realistic website for the title university (linked at the bottom).  A calendar of events, school store, admissions page, and other common categories found on college site make their way into this detailed promotional website.  What I find interesting is how incredibly detailed Disney has gotten with its marketing.  Think back on the last decade to movies like The Emperor’s New Groove and Cars.  While I understand that management has changed drastically since these movies, this type of real-world integration of movies outside the parks is unprecedented for Disney.  Although it seems natural as eventually, with expansions like Cars Land at California Adventure and the New Fantasyland in Florida, Disney would break out of its confines to the resorts.  In other words, as immersion in these movie worlds increasingly becomes a focus of the company, we can expect websites and trailers such as these to continue, and personally, I’m excited.  The company will finally be taking their peerless talents in film integration to an audience beyond park guests.  Now hopefully this trend continues.

Monster’s Univeristy