Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bits Journal #36

This following bit is actually old news that I and many others happened to have missed...

An open casting call was out for Disney Animation's Moana back at the beginning of December, one that thankfully states that the studio wants an actual New Zealand native to voice the titular character. The Rock, who is of Samoan descent, is already in line to voice Moana's partner, demi-god Maui.

However, the casting call listed some other details about the film's story...

"Walt Disney Animation Studios is launching a global casting call for a key role for their upcoming feature, Moana, a comedy-adventure set 2,000 years ago in Oceania about a spirited teenager who learns that the future of her people is in jeopardy.

Along with a lovable pot belly pig and a legendary hero, Moana searches for a mythical island, traversing the open ocean and encountering mystical sea creatures and underworlds on an action-packed quest to save her world and make her ancestors proud."

Basically the same story we've known since last year but, hey wait a minute... A lovable pot belly pig? So we're going to get an animal sidekick? Film Divider's Charles Madison speculates that the pig will essentially be the film's Sven or Maximus, a funny non-speaking animal. That seems likely, but he also uncovered another tidbit: There will also be a speaking sidekick as well, basically an Olaf-type, a tiki god named Moke Moke.

I recall hearing something about talking tiki gods being characters a while back, and it would seem likely given the film's setting. However, I just hope these characters are there for the sake of the story, and not comic relief just because it happened to be in a film that made $1.2 billion at the box office. However, I fully trust Ron Clements and John Musker, whose weakest Disney film - Treasure Planet, a film mostly butchered by the Disney suits - is still pretty damn good. Disney has also been great with the comic relief characters for the most part in their recent films, too. We're far past the days of armpit farting gargoyles and loudmouth Rosie O'Donnell apes.

Does anyone own the piggy though? Is it Moana? Or Maui? If the pig is Moana's, let's just say it'll make me think of The Book of Life. Not in a bad way, of course!

So yes, good to hear more details and hopefully these characters have a purpose in the story...

On the superhero side of Disney comes more Ant-Man details, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly... And they aren't ant-sized ones, either...

A few pointers...

  • Kevin Feige's recent words on the Edgar Wright departure: "It is true that there were disagreements about the direction the script should take... everything was aboveboard. Everything was done with everybody else’s knowledge. There was a sense of ‘We’re going in this direction, you’re staying in this direction—maybe it’s best that we end as friends."
  • Wright was indeed shown a revised script that showed the direction Marvel Studios wanted to go in. He left upon reading it, but mostly because that draft... Well... Paul Rudd implies that the draft wasn't very good, and Marvel knew it, but they spent some time rewriting it. Evangeline Lilly (who is playing Hope van Dyne, Hank Pym's daughter) noted that she was upset about the change as well, and said that she hadn't signed her contract - she preferred to wait and see if the final revision was to her liking. She approved of the new script and stayed onboard. Another good sign right there.
  • Rudd also mentions that main structure is essentially Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish's: "The bones of it is really Edgar and Joe. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but I’m very excited now."
  • It seems Scott Lang is still a more gray character with a dark past. There were rumors over Disney having a problem with the character, but that seemed silly considering that a majority of the Guardians of the Galaxy are criminals!
  • There's a family drama angle to the film, too, thanks to the Hope character. Her relationship with her father seems rather complicated! Her story is similar to that of Scott's, since Scott wants to have more of a relationship with his daughter despite his past. That dramatic angle alone has me excited.

Best of all, it's been revealed that Marvel will look into macro photography for the film's ant-sized scenes, the method used for filming insects and bugs for documentaries. Motion capture will also be used, but dang! Those ant scenes in the teaser were standouts, think of how epic they'll be in the actual film!

Really, really looking forward to this now. I'm sure Marvel is not going to let us down!

Rumors are going around, implying that Warner Bros. plans to roll out a teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in February, to accompany the release of Jupiter Ascending, the delayed Wachowskis space epic that has so many stigmas attached to it. I can see it happening for a few reasons. It's not uncommon to premiere teasers a year before said film comes out. March 2016 is now a year and two months from now, so yes, it can definitely pop up next month. WB actually doesn't have too many biggies for this year, since the Superman/Batman film was originally intended to be this year's major WB release.

Other WB biggies are Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, Entourage, and a few others. Most of them don't open until the summer, which could very well be the area where the trailer drops. With superhero films, though, WB pulls the year thing. The Dark Knight Rises teaser premiered around whole year before the film opened, ditto Man of Steel. I think they'll do the same for this film.

Jupiter Ascending is also being called a bomb, since it had cost so much, didn't fare well in test screenings, and was pushed back to February - implying that WB just wanted to dump it. Of course, a trailer can only do so much for a film that people might not want to see. Many insist that the Star Wars prequels trailers boosted the openings of films like Monsters, Inc. (ya know, the whole story of people going into the movie just to watch the trailer and then leave?), but I find that hard to believe considering that Episode I's full trailer opened with Wing Commander, and it didn't do a thing for that film! No, people saw Pixar's film back in fall 2001 because it was hotly anticipated and it was coming off of three highly successful animated films. $62 million on opening weekend wasn't a minuscule number in 2001, that adjusts to over $90 million today...

Anyways, long story short, WB could do so but it won't really help the film in much of a way. If most audiences have made up their minds and decided that Jupiter Ascending isn't worth seeing on the big screen, they won't go - Batman v Superman trailer or no Batman v Superman trailer. I still think we'll get it though, because what other big or event-type films does WB intend to release around this timeframe? Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea? Doesn't seem like a biggie. Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard in late March? Yet another Jaume Collet-Serra directed Liam Neeson action flick Run All Night?

When do you think we'll get it?


  1. This is going to be the first time since Black Cauldron that we have a pig sidekick in WDAS

  2. I'm starting to get the feeling Disney is falling into a new formula trap with their animated films, just like they did in the 1990s.