Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching Up

After a regrettable delay, I wanted to offer a few thoughts about the past two episodes of Lost before tonight's new episode.

I was very saddened, but not surprised, to see Sayid's fall into darkness in "Sundown".  More surprising to me was my sadness at the abrupt departure of Dogen.  I was just starting to really enjoy that character.  The most chilling moment of the episode was the exhange of looks between Ben and Sayid at the very end.  Ben look positively terrified, while Sayid almost had a smile of glee.

I think it's very interesting to see how Fake Locke/Smokey approaches and tempts his potential recruits.  For Sayid, he promised a reunion with his beloved Nadia.  And for Ben, Flocke offered a chance to once again be the leader/protector of the Island.  In each instance FLocke identifies the thing that cuts to the core of what the person desires most. 

I absolutely adored the episode "Dr. Linus".  I am intrigued by the idea that there may yet be redemption for Ben, who for so long has taken the role of "villain" on this show.  I particularly enjoyed his storyline in the parallel world.  We got our first hint of the new Island history, as we were told that the Dharma Initiative existed in this timeline and that Ben was a part of it.  Why did he and his father leave?  And did it have anything to do with the Incident?  It was nice to see Alex again (and Dr. Arzt).  And I was delighted to see that Jack has once again embraced a sense of destiny.  That guy definitely goes all-or-nothing, and he has once again declared that he is all-in and firmly on Team Jacob.

Last thought, I love the beach reunions on this show.  We've had a few of them over the years.  You know what I'm talking about -- after a long separation, our castaways reunite at the beach camp in slow motion, exchanging hugs and handshakes while happy/sad music plays over the scene.  For some reason, the one at the end of "Dr. Linus" felt particularly cathartic.  When Hurley gave Sun a big bear hug, I think a little dust got in my eye.  I bet that Ben, standing off by himself, was secretly wishing for a big Hurley bear hug too.

Lots of other stuff happened -- Smokey cleans out the temple, Widmore is back -- but I'll hold everything else until tonight's new episode.  Back with more soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mission 2 Mars

No, I'm not referring to this Disney dud from 2000.  Last week, Disney announced a release date for Mars Needs Moms, based on the children's book by Berkeley Breathed, creator of the classic 80s comic strip Bloom County.  The movie will open on March 11, 2011, occupying the slot successfully used this year by Alice in Wonderland.  To be honest, I had completely lost track of this project.  I remember reading a long time ago that Disney was developing it, which delighted me given that I'm a huge fan of Breathed.  The movie will be another film produced by Robert Zemeckis using his 3-D motion capture technique (The Polar Express and Disney's A Christmas Carol) and will star Seth Green and Joan Cusack.  I'm hoping that instead of creating "dead eye" replicas of the actors involved, the motion capture technology will be used to bring Breathed's distinct illustrations to life intact.

Ironically, Disney also announced last week that it was shutting down Zemeckis' motion capture studio facility, effective January 2011.  The new ImageMovers Digital studio was originally supposed to be the start of a long and fruitful partnership with the Academy Award-winning director that put Disney on the cutting edge of mo-cap special effects.  But given the high costs and disappointing returns associated with A Christmas Carol, Disney has apparently decided to cut its losses.  I assume that waiting to close the facility next January will give Zemeckis time to complete both Mars Needs Moms and Yellow Submarine.

Meanwhile, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland opened to a record breaking $116 million last weekend which, I'm sad to point out, already surpasses the lifetime box office of The Princess and the Frog.  By the end of this weekend, it will likely cross the $200 million mark, and could potentially be on its way to becoming one of Disney's all-time highest grossing live-action films (not taking into account the inflated ticket prices for 3-D and IMAX shows).

Also last weekend, Pixar's Up took home two Oscars, one for Best Animated Feature and another for Best Original Score.  The second Oscar was a nice little surprise and a much deserved recognition for composer Michael Giacchino.  Giacchino is a Disney regular, having also composed the music for The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and tv's Lost.  He will next perform scoring duties for Disney on John Carter of Mars, currently in production.

Finally, if you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor.  It just about blew my socks off.