Monday, May 21, 2007

A visit to "Todayland" in Meet The Robinsons



I saw Meet the Robinsons recently, the first digitally-projected film I've seen in a regular theater. I was curious to see how Digital-3D technology would play in full length feature.

3D has been used as a cheesy gimmick (Jaws 3D anyone?) in other films, or the technology was so ill-used I felt I had been looking through a a stained-glass window for two hours. This 3D movie was easy to watch and the "in your face" gags were kept to a minimum.

Meet the Robinson's is more a kid's film than a Pixar production. There are plenty of gags involving food getting splattered and slapstick to keep the ADD kids in their seats, along with tributes to past science fiction films to satisfy adult film geeks.

One such tribute is a robotic bowler hat named Doris, sporting a menacing red lens for an eye...much like a famous computer from a certain Stanley Kubrick film.

The Disney animators paint the backdrop of Meet The Robinsons from a palette cinematic futures, ranging Fritz Lang's gear-driven Metropolis to fiery towers of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Even Disney's own The Black Hole gets a nod when Doris deploys spinning metal blades, like Maximilian the killer robot.

The central inspiration for the pastel towers and art-deco curves of Meet the Robinsons are the over-optimistic futures ranging from pulp science fiction covers of the 1930s to Disney's Tomorrowland (Space Mountain and the old Astro-Orbiter make a cameo in a section of the future city called Todayland).

There is clear affection of Disney's creative crew for the futures that tantalized (or terrified) generations from the pulp-scifi of the early 20th century to the cyberpunk worlds of the 21st.

Meet the Robinsons
is a kids film at its core. Like the real Disney World, it is meant for kids, but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy it too, and a refreshing change from some animated films that drop crude adult-oriented jokes in a vain attempt to be hip.

And the 3D didn't give me a headache.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The space shuttle tries again for a launch...and so does this blog!


Just as soon as I completed a new header for this blog and started writing new posts, I was sidetracked by all sorts of issues, projects, and other distractions.

Sometimes I find myself drifting away from this blog, but like an object with a strong gravitational field, it pulls me back.

The shuttle Atlantis rolled back out to the pad again to take another shot at a launch. Atlantis was supposed to launch in March, then was dinged-up by a hailstorm and had to be rolled back for repairs.

Over the last month I have learned more about blogging and space travel. I was not here typing away, the mission behind this blog has continued.

The mission of this blog originally was just to be a new toy for me to mess with and to post nifty stuff I found web-surfing. I once compared this blog to my own personal Tomorrowland where I would pick the attractions.

Now with the new graphics and new array of links I have added, part of that mission has been completed. This blog has survived over a year and has shed its old Blogger template. Much work remains to be done.

Shuttle launches are often nerve-wrecking affairs. Space travel is dangerous but also filled with moments of heartbreak. People wait for hours to watch a shuttle launch, only to have the mission scrubbed for the day due to bad weather or a leaky valve.

I've had my share of false starts here. There have been times I have planned to go full blast with daily posting and building some traffic, only to get distracted or delayed. Delays happen...but I always come back.

Like the Atlantis launch, I hope this time I don't have to roll back to the hangar for more repairs.

The mission continues.