YouTube and IMDB.com have pulled the trailer and the only thing I can find it now is the official site. They have a promo video that shows some of the trailer footage. So go check that out and come back for my comments.

Meh…That’s about all I can say. I was really looking forward to this. After seeing this, I’m not that excited. I’ll still check it out, but won’t be expecting much.

When DC Comics announced they were going to produce animated Direct-To-DVD features of several of their properties, it sounded like a win-win idea. More cartoons based on great stories, what’s not to like? If this first trailer is any indication, I’m not so sure.

First, what’s with the saying it’s based on a “graphic novel” instead of a comic book? Does that make it more acceptable. Come on, it’s Superman. Everyone knows Superman is a comic book character. The original story was spread out over many of DC’s Superman related titles for over a year. It just bothers me. Why pretend to be something you’re not?

Second, the animation looks too much like the Superman Animated series. This is just me being a fanboy, but why not have it part of that canon? Why go to the trouble to produce something that’s supposed to be different. Link it to the animated series, but provide enough information that new viewers won’t be lost. I understand they’re aiming this at a more “adult” audience, but I guarantee Carter will want to watch this the minute he see the DVD case or preview.

Oh well, I’ve vented and now I feel better. Just watch the trailer and form your own opinion.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix poster
The poster for the fifth (has it been that long?) Harry Potter film, The Order of the Phoenix, has been released and it made me think about the series as a whole.

I’ve never read more than a few pages of the books. I have them all and fully intend to read them, but so far, they’ve escaped me. I’ll admit, I was surprised when I watched the first film (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was enough to see the second (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and then finally be amazed by the third (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ) –thanks mostly to director Alfonso Cuaron. The fourth (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) was again very entertaining and added many new, good elements to the series, with the Tri-Wizard tournament being the best.

So, I eagerly await the fifth film and seeing the poster made me realize one reason why. It’s the cast. I’m not saying they’re all amazing actors, but the continuity of it all makes the series as a whole much more fun. Seeing characters like Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley emerge from background parts to starring roles (even on the poster) is just cool.

I guess the experience is similar to episodic TV, such LOST, Heroes, and The Sopranos (all of which I enjoy). Even those are very similar to comic books when relating to story telling methods. TV and comics can take months to build up and play out stories, all the while the viewer/reader anticipates the next chapter and even knows when to expect it. The Harry Potter films are the cinematic equivalent of this.

Even with Spider-Man, X-Men, and others, there is a delay, a decision on whether or not to make a new one. With the Potter films, they put them out regularly enough that they feel reliable. Now, I know that’s because they are on a time-table. The young cast is growing older and Warner Bros. wants to finish the series (7 films in all) with the same actors/actresses in place, and I hope they do.

Recently, actress Kirsten Dunst was quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying something along the lines of “people aren’t stupid, they wouldn’t see a Spider-Man film without me, Tobey, or Sam (Raimi).” I have to disagree. I want to see Spider-Man and unless I’m wrong, he wears a mask most of the time. A different Harry, Ron, Hermione, or any of the other characters I would have a hard time accepting other actors/actresses in the roles.

Poster for How to Hook Up Your Home TheaterGrowing up, I was always a Looney Tunes fan more than I was a Mickey Mouse / Disney fan. Having said that, I always got a kick out of the Goofy “How to” series. I remember seeing these on TV, not sure where or when, but they were always hilarious. Goofy usually didn’t talk and a narrator would explain things as Goofy tried them. I remember ones about skiing and football, but there are quite a few more. Now, 46 years later, Goofy will return to the silver-screen with a new short, How to Hook Up Your Home Theater.

How cool is that? Not only is it the format I love, but it’s a subject I love as well (having worked in Home Electronics for years). We recently went to see Meet the Robinsons and the Donald Duck / Chip and Dale cartoon Working for Peanuts was in front of the film. I’ll have to say, the prospect of a new Goofy short would get me to see a film I was only mildly interested in, not that Meet the Robinsons was bad, it was actually quite fun.

Anyway, when Disney and Pixar merged, many predicted that Pixar head John Lasseter would do great as the new head of Disney animation, so far, I’ll have to agree. Not only did he announce the return of traditional animation (The Frog Princess), he also brought back the classic “shorts” that often ran before Disney’s feature films.

Already, a number of the upcoming titles have been leaked, including The Ballad Of Nessie (a stylized account of the origin of the Loch Ness monster), Golgo’s Guest (about the meeting between a Russian frontier guard and an extraterrestrial), Prep And Landing (in which two inept elves ready a house for Santa’s visit) and what we can reveal is now known as How To Hook Up Your Home Theater. This is the much anticipated and very welcome return to the big screen of one of Walt’s most popular characters, Goofy, in an update to the ever popular How To cartoons of the ’40s and ’50s in which a deadpan narrator (usually John McLeish) explained how to play a sport or execute a task, while The Goof attempts to demonstrate, usually with unexpected and disastrous results!

Animated Views has got a great interview with Disney animators Andreas Deja and Mark Henn that reveals a lot more details about the new short. It sounds very “classic” in style. Old style Goofy with no kids or any of the other characters that were added years later in the Goof Troop animated show.

Jill made this cake for a co-worker’s birthday. It was made using two round half-circle pans. It’s a strawberry cake with a buttercream / cream cheese frosting.

The hardest part was deciding what to use to make the golf ball dimples. We finally discovered that a cooking thermometer made just the right size and impression. I think it turned out great looking and the green paper really made it stand out.