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The Walt Disney Studios and Guillermo del Toro developing Disney’s Haunted Mansion

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – July 22, 2010 –Guillermo del Toro surprised the 6,500 fans gathered today at Comic-Con with the announcement that he is currently developing a new film for The Walt Disney Studios based on the classic Disney theme park attraction, The Haunted Mansion.

Dark imagery is an integral part of the Walt Disney legacy.  After all, Disney himself was the father of some really chilling moments and characters – think Chernabog from Fantasia or Maleficent as the Dragon or the Evil Queen in Snow White,” said del Toro.  “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of my own adaptation of the original theme park attraction Walt envisioned and that remains- for me- the most desirable piece of real estate in the whole world!”

“Millions of people from around the world visit The Haunted Mansion each year, but no one has ever had a tour guide like Guillermo del Toro,” said Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “Guillermo is one of the most gifted and innovative filmmakers working today and he is going to take audiences on a visually-thrilling journey like they’ve never experienced before.”

Since August 1969, foolish mortals have dared to trespass on the macabre grounds of Disney’s Haunted Mansion. A hallowed landmark in Disneyland’s New Orleans square, it’s the dwelling place of 999 happy haunts dying to meet new visitors each day. The plantation-style of the mansion’s facade is a sweet deception for visitors. Inside, ghostly doom buggies line the hallways. Since its construction, the mysteries of the mansion have transcended the attraction with stories surfacing about horrifying encounters with the supernatural.  Versions of the daunting edifice have been built at other Disney theme parks in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris.

Disney/Pixar's UP – Movie Review by Jeff Lange


Disney/Pixar’s UP – Movie Review by Jeff Lange


Last week, I had the innate pleasure of being one of the first to view the brand new Disney/Pixar movie “UP“. The Wadsworth’s Aetna Theater in Hartford, Connecticut held a free screening that even preceded Cannes.

The film revolves around the character Carl Fredericksen (voiced by Ed Asner), a 78 year old curmudgeonly balloon salesman who’d lived his life dreaming of  an adventure to South America with his wife Ellie. As children, they’d idolized the adventurer Charles Muntz, and Ellie longed to follow in Muntz’s footsteps to Paradise Falls. A beautiful 5-minute montage details their lives together, though sadly they never embark on this dream together. Ellie passes away, leaving Carl with a scrapbook that eventually brings about a tremendously moving moment in the film.

Carl is about to lose his beloved home, which holds a lifelong of memories of life with Ellie. As development is surrounding his house, he’s finally forced to make a decision to save his home in the only way he knows how – with thousands of balloons, taking Carl on the adventure South America that he and Ellie had always hoped for. His journey is shared with Russell, a persistent 8 year old Wilderness Scout who has been trying to “help” Carl in order to earn the last badge needed for his Wilderness Scout sash. The badge is for “assisting the elderly”, though Carl needs no assistance. Russell starts out an annoyance, but they forge a special bond by the end of the film.

The scene where Carl, or “Mr. Fredericksen”, as Russell calls him, sees Paradise Falls for the first time brings to memory the moment in Ratatouille where Remy gets his first look at Paris. Paradise Falls is based on an actual place in a remote area of South America that Pixar team members traveled to for inspiration – you can find a photo of the team in the new “UP” display at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. This is where, in the film, Carl and Russell encounter Kevin, a delightful, giant bird with a penchant for chocolate.

John Lasseter subscribes to Walt Disney’s theory that “for every laugh, there should be a tear“. “UP” delivers many laughs, but bring a few tissues as well. This Pixar film is no different than others in delivering memorable characters, with a lot of heart and real emotion. If there is only one quibble I have with the film – a minor one – the music didn’t stick with me after the film was through. I guess I’ll have to see the film again to make sure it does.

The Pixar short “Partly Cloudy” shown prior to UP” is a winner too – but would you expect less from Pixar?

UP” is in my top 3 Pixar films. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

California Recap, NFFC Convention, Disneyland Resort, Disney Dream Suite, Comic Con and more

Hi everyone,

I have finally returned from two crazy but fun weeks in California. The trip was very productive, producing over 10 hrs of video footage and over 3000 photo images! I was able to celebrate Disneyland’s 53rd birthday on July 17th and visit the following: The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, The Disney Dream Suite, Club 33, The El Capitan Theatre and more. I will also feature a report from the 2008 NFFC Convention and Comic-Con!

Please check back tomorrow for the beginning of my 2008 recap!

As always, if you want to request a future DVD idea, Photo Memory topic or comment on anything, just drop me a line at suggestions@JeffLangeDVD.com.

Click here to browse the JeffLangeDVD store.